Award Show Round Up: Emmys 2016

Due to the fact that my commute is crazy long right now, and I wanted to eat dinner when I got home, approximately every person on the internet has already shared their thoughts on last night’s Emmy Awards, but whatever. I have thoughts.

The general consensus seems to be that the show was amazing, and at first I found this surprising. It was a good show, and there were some refreshing winners, but was it really that good? But then I thought, this is the Emmys, the bar is so low. The fact that they gave awards to more than one person of color (and 2 women directors!) and managed to pay tribute to people without turning it into a showbiz funeral, was all it really took to make it a success.

Here were my personal highlights:

Jeb! I like the Bushes when they have absolutely no power to over the government. And Jeb seems to have a sense of humor about himself which is nice:

I like Master of Nonebut I loved Alan Yang’s acceptance speech:

KATE MCKINNON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All speeches that end with “topple the patriarchy” will always be featured on this blog:

Look, I know people will be disappointed by this, but I still haven’t watched Transparent, (I know, I know), but Jeffrey Tambor has always given good acceptance speech:

I have no interest in rehashing the gruesome murder of an innocent woman and her friend, so I haven’t watched The People vs. OJ Simpson, but I’m a little bit in love with Sterling K. Brown after last night and I am A LOT in love with Sarah Paulson:

Patton Oswalt has been put through the wringer this year, so I was happy that he got this recognition.

(Also, would have been happy if any one in that category won.)

For no good reason, the fake rivalry between Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon makes me really happy.

And I’m always happy for a Good Will Hunting reference whenever.

As I tweeted last night, I’ve loved Rami Malek for a very long time. (Like since he was on a stupid sitcom with Michael Rappaport long time), but I am so happy the rest of you can see what a delightful weirdo he is.

And, like I said about Modern Family a few years ago, we get it, Game of Thrones is good, they don’t really need anymore Emmys.

Also, dresses! There were a lot of one shoulder looks with cutouts, some more memorable than others.

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Kerri Washington in Brandon Maxwell (Todd Williamson/WireImage)

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Constance Zimmer in Monique Lhuillier (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

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Kristin Bell in Zuhair Murad (Photo Credit: Getty/Kevin Mazur)

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Mandy Moore in Prabal Gurung (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Priyanka Chopra in Jason Wu (Photo Credit: AP)

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Tina Fey in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Credit: GotCeleb)

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Angela Bassett in Rene Caovilla (Photo Credit: Robyn Beck/Agence France Presse – Getty Images)

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Constance Wu in J. Mendel (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The Shakespeare Project: Henry VI, Part II

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So, I could blame the fact that it took me over a year between parts 1 and 2 of Henry VI on grad school, but really it was just that I was not very enthused about the first part, and, as I have said many times, I like my War of the Roses stories to be about women and magic.*

But, reading part 2 this past weekend did give me at least two things:

  1. An opportunity to, one and for all, figure out who is related to who in the fucking War of the Roses. (BTW, technically I think it’s pretty clear that York had a better claim to the throne right?)
  2. A new respect for the badass that was Margaret of Anjou. Sure, she was a murderess, adulterous badass, but she was a woman who knew what she wanted and went for it.
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Just sitting here praying for the blood of my enemies…

Here’s my ultimate thing with the histories, there is so much about monarchy that I will just never understand. The most tragic part of this play (and that’s saying something as upwards of 5 people get their heads cut off and paraded around the stage) is that Henry just really didn’t want to be king at all. But, because his grandfather decided that Richard II wasn’t rightful monarch, poor Henry, whose own dad died when he was super young, has to run a mess of a country when he’d much rather hang out with his friend/uncle Gloucester and pray.

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Basically, this whole play boils down to:

  • Richard is King but doesn’t want to be
  • Margaret is Queen but would like to be King
  • York thinks he’s King & would probably be suited to it
  • The common people are dumb & violent & believe they could be King (i.e. Jack Cade)
  • All people who believe something different from you about who should be king deserve to get their heads cut off.

Can’t wait for part III…

*This part does have a sorcerer who tricks a woman into treason but turns out to predict the future. So…there’s that…

Best Picture Baking Project: Cavalcade

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It was finally cool enough this past weekend to turn on the oven without wanting to die, so I took that opportunity to dive back in to my list of Best Pictures. Next on my list was Cavalcade, which won in 1932/33. It’s about an English family living through the first decades of the twentieth century. So I made a “Turn of the Century” Devil’s Food cake, which was the first tiered cake I’ve ever made, and I think it turned out pretty well. But first, the movie:

Had I seen this one before?

Nope. I hadn’t heard of it.

Top 3 observations on this viewing?

  1. I was explaining to my dad last night, that I chose to go through these movies alphabetically because I didn’t want to “get stuck in the ’30s,” because really old movies can be great, but they are often interesting messes. People were still trying to figure out what movies were and how they worked. This definitely falls into that category. You can tell it was a play, and the actors are stage actors trying to figure out what film acting is supposed to look like. In the case of the lead actress, Diana Wynward, you can see her learn how not to stare into middle distance throughout the film.

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2. This is basically the original Downton Abbey (or Upstairs, Downstairs, or Titanic, etc.). Which makes it both fun and a little predictable plot wise. It’s obviously not this movie’s fault that we know what happens to the boy who swears to his sweetheart that the war is almost over, but it does get in the way of enjoying this as a modern viewer.

3. There were a few remarkably modern touches though. Especially the treatment of Fanny, the servants’ child who makes a name for herself as a dancer/jazz singer. You think she’s going to be the tragically ruined lower class girl, but she’s actually a practical woman who can take care of herself. And she gets to sing the most Noel Coward song ever:

What did it beat? Did it deserve to win?

My personal Oscar would go to 42nd Street,  I see why the Academy would see Cavalcade as more ambitious at the time.

Bechdel Test Pass?

Yes! There are at least 5 women I can think of with names (though “Cook” shouldn’t really count I suppose.) And they often talk to each other. Many of their conversations concern men, but there’s a couple of moments between the central wife/mother character Jane and her best friend Margaret about going out an enjoying life without men around. Including trips to the zoo.

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They also talk a lot about how much they love Queen Victoria.

Turn of the Century Minted Devil’s Food Layer Cake

Ingredients for Cake

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • a couple handfuls of semisweet chocolate chips

Ingredients for Icing 

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate broken up
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Butter 2 9 in cake pans and line them with parchment paper, also buttered and floured
  • Bring water to simmer in a sauce pan
  • Place cocoa in a small bowl
  • Gradually whisk in hot water
  • Whisk in buttermilk and peppermint
  • In another bowl mix flower and baking powder
  • Using an electric mixer [I got to use my mom’s KitchenAid which is a wonder machine] beat the butter until it is fluffy
  • Gradually add the brown sugar until it’s light
  • Add eggs, beating well after each one
  • Add dry ingredients and cocoa-buttermilk mixture in 2 batches each beating until just combined
  • Divide batter between two cake pans
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips over each pan
  • Bake until tester comes out with moist crumbs (about 20-30 min)
  • Cool cakes in pans on racks for 15 min
  • Run knife around outside of cakes to loosen
  • Turn out cakes onto racks
  • Let cakes cool completely while preparing the icing
  • Bring whipping cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a large saucepan
  • Turn heat to low
  • Add chocolate
  • Stir until smooth and melted
  • Add peppermint extract and remove from heat
  • Let cool completely and then place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours
  • Remove icing from fridge
  • Place one cake layer on platter
  • Spread icing over bottom layer then place other tier on top
  • Spread remaining icing over top and around sides of cake
  • Garnish with mint leaves