Best Picture Baking Project: Gigi

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(Photo Credit: MK Holman)

Firstly, I know I didn’t post about the Tony’s. I meant to, I took notes and everything, but I had a job interview the morning after the show and then, I kind of didn’t want to…and the biggest plus of a blog I do for fun is that…I don’t have to. Anyway…I got the job! (And I’ll be back to posting about awards shows soon I’m sure.)

Something I definitely wanted to do – eat cake, drink champagne, and watch Gigi! 

Had I seen this one before?

Only about 100 times as a child. My mom got me the VHS and I loved it, though I don’t think I understood it at all really.

Top 3 observations on this viewing? 

  1. It’s so much more complex and frankly less horrifying than I remembered it. When I was a kid, I mostly just loved the costumes and Leslie Caron’s hilarious, huffing physicality. But as I grew up songs like this:

and the general plot where a man watches a girl grow up and then falls for her, left a general sense of ickiness in my mouth about the whole thing. But, on this rewatch (having noticed that it was based on a novel by Colette) I can see it’s actually a really arch satire of the misogynist culture of infidelity and the “keeping” of mistresses in Parisian culture and there are so many more layers to the relationship than I could have seen as a kid. (Maurice Chevalier’s character is still super creepy and hard to watch – but I see that’s on purpose.)

2. Even as satire though, the flippant, maybe even giddy, response to Gaston’s first “lady love’s” suicide is really fucking hard to watch, especially since there is no reckoning with that particular sin after his last minute (almost literally) revelation that his lifestyle is empty and sad.

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Justice for Eva Gabor

3. This movie is still so much fun to watch, and I’m glad I don’t have to feel as queasy recommending it as I thought I did for years. Gather your girls, pour some champagne, enjoy!

What did it beat? Did it deserve to win? 

Auntie Mame – Haven’t seen it, but it feels pretty culturally similar

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Damn. This is a great movie…I mean, Paul and Liz!

Separate Tables – All I know about this is David Niven won Best Actor for it and I won a trivia point once for knowing that.

The Defiant Ones – Sidney Poitier was in this, I think?

I’m clearly not super qualified to make this call, but between the two I’ve seen…I’m still partial to Gigi, Best Picture is an Oscar for production and this is a grand one.

Bechdel Test Pass?

The Bechdel Test site says no, but I think it does. There are four named women, three of whom talk to each other. Gigi’s grandmother and aunts discuss her life (and teach her about jewels). Yes, these conversations often hinge on the idea of a man, but that’s kind of Colette’s point, I think. Patriarchy limits her options, but they are still hers. I give it a pass.

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Given my favorite song from this score, I had to make a champagne cake, which was easy and turned out so pretty!

Champagne Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 package two-layer white cake mix
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1 can 16oz pink Funfetti frosting
  • 4 large fresh strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease two layer cake pans (I did one 9in round pan and one slightly smaller disposable pie plate, but you can adjust based on what you have)
  3. Prepare the cake according to instructions on mix, except replace the water called for with an equal amount of champagne (Mix slightly longer than you normally would)
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans, spreading evenly
  5. Bake according to package directions, approx. 30min
  6. Cool in pans for 10 minutes
  7. Remove from pans and let cool completely
  8. While the cakes cool, rinse and slice strawberries for decoration
  9. Place bottom tier cake on serving plate, frost the top
  10. Frost bottom side of top layer
  11. Place upper tier on top of the bottom cake
  12. Frost top of cake, and place strawberries in circular pattern on top of cake

Award Show Round Up: Oscars 2019

You know, the fact that Green Book won Best Picture, was an unpleasant surprise at the end of the night, but let’s not let that leave a bad taste in our mouths. In general, last night’s show was pleasant and fun and there were some wonderful, history making winners.

(For the record, I do not hate Green Book, but it was pretty clearly a strange choice for best movie of the year. But…at least it wasn’t Vice.) Anyway, on to better things.

For the most part I didn’t find the lack of host to be a lack at all. There are few better ways to open anything than this song:


(Also it was fun to watch which stars were really rocking out in the crowd.)

And these ladies did a great job kicking off the awards presentations:

(If we are going to return to hosts next year – not that we need to – these 3 should do that.)

Another good way to start anything: GIVE REGINA KING AN OSCAR!!!!

Everything about the costume awards presentation was epic (especially the historic winner):

Keep the good Black Panther feelings flowing for the Production Design ground breaker:

(Also I saw a tweet last night asking if the director didn’t know where Ryan Coogler was sitting or something? Why were they never cutting to him?)

I’m going to go out of order here, but like, Alfonso Cuaron got to give a lot of speeches last night, and I liked all of them. (I only wish he also got to give the final one, but we can’t everything):


(Also love how much Angela and Javier relished rolling that R.)
“There are no waves there is only the Ocean,” is also a great philosophy for looking at art.

I also LOVE that Guillermo was there to present this to Alfonso, their friendship has always made me really happy and that hug was wonderful.

Mahershela Ali is a class act who I am always happy to see get lauded, but he’s holding Richard’s Oscar:

I didn’t see Buster Scruggs but I liked our little Western moment last night:

This was a fun moment:

But my favorite duo of presenters are these awards dorks:

My first tears of the night:

And then the second:

(Sorry about the captions, the Academy was better about uploading speeches this year, but not performances for some reason…) And yes, I see all your tweets about how their chemistry is incendiary. But to quote Katey Rich, “In this house we respect Irina Shayk!”

ACADEMY AWARD WINNER SPIKE LEE LADIES AND GENTLEMAN!:

The least surprising win of the night (totally deserved of course):

And the most. Look, I love Olivia, I really really do, but what does Glenn have to do? Kill and skin a horse?

(Also – I know his speech wasn’t perfect and he should have thanked Freddie more directly, but I love Rami and I especially love that he and Lucy Boynton are in love and so this speech warmed my heart a lot):

This blog is a Peter Farrelly free zone, so I will not be posting the video of Best Picture. So, let’s move onto fashion. It was a night of a lot of fluffy pink (like a lot) of fluffy pink, but there were a lot of great gowns!

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Constance Wu in custom Versace (Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

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Yalitza Aparicio in Rodarte (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Regina King in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Glenn Close in Carolina Herrera (Photo Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/LA Times)

Give this woman a fucking Oscar.

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Melissa McCarthy in Brandon Maxwell (Photo Credit: Getty/Steve Granitz)

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Helen Mirren in Schiaparelli Haute Couture (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Nielson Barnard)

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Emma Stone in Louis Vuitton (Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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Lucy Boynton in Rodarte (Photo Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

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Danai Gurira in Brock Collection (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

Sad Motivation Playlist

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Sometimes I get weird thematic ideas for playlists, and this week inspired by Brandi Carlile’s Grammy performance (see below), I put together this mix of songs that are uplifting but also sad. Because, apparently that’s a genre I like a lot.

As always, the mix is available here on Apple Music.

The Joke – Brandi Carlile

She Used To Be Mine- Sara Bareilles

Little Me- Little Mix

Rainbow- Kacey Musgraves

Sign of the Times- Harry Styles

(This was going to be an all female mix, but then I couldn’t help myself…)

Not Ready To Make Nice- Dixie Chicks

Praying- Kesha

Golden- Kelly Hogan

GIRL- Maren Morris

Long Live- Taylor Swift

Music For Your Weekend

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As always if you want to listen to this playlist on Apple Music, you can click here!

Carolina – Harry Styles

Happy Birthday Mr. Styles!

TROUBLE – Parov Stela feat. Nikki Wiliams

Wedding in Finistère – Jens Lekman

Come On-A-My House – Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra feat. Imelda May

Did you know Jeff Goldblum is a jazz pianist? I didn’t until today, when something from his album came up on my “For You” on Apple Music.

Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy

(Just in case you need a cry this weekend…)

Call My Name – I’m With Her

Thunder Road – I’m With Her

Did you know there is a charity album of ukulele covers of Bruce Springsteen songs? Well, now you do.

Carry On With Me – Júníus Meyvant

The Tide – Niall Horan feat. The RTÉ Concert Orchestra

It’s not surprising to anyone who knows me/follows my Instagram and saw the trek my boyfriend and I took last fall to Niall play in deep Jersey, so I was pretty excited to see today that he released a new version of his album Flicker today with the backing of the Irish TV station RTÉ’s in house orchestra. The original album is lovely, but we thought he and his band were much better live than in studio and I think these versions of these songs show a part of why.

Where Do Broken Hearts Go – One Direction 

Since we now have two former members of One Direction on this list, let’s end it with a classic. Have a great weekend!

Best Picture Baking Project: Driving Miss Daisy

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I’ve now officially seen the movie that won Best Picture the year I was born! That feels like some sort of milestone. I’m not sure what it marks except that I have actually managed to stick to a pattern of continuing this project consistently in the last few months, but I’ll take it as a win.

Had I seen this one before?

As you can guess from my intro, no I hadn’t seen it before, though, obviously, it’s joked about and referenced enough that I knew the broad outline.

Top 3 observations on this viewing? 

  1. The score – recorded all on synthesizers by composer Hans Zimmer – is so 1989 and insane, but also bouncy and kind of fun.

2. I was on edge the whole time waiting for this uncomfortable premise (old Southern white lady hires an African American man to be her driver) to veer somewhere really offensive. (I watched Cimarron, Crashand Dances With Wolves all in a row I don’t trust the Academy very much on race right now.) But, despite the deferential language Morgan Freeman uses, which would have been true to the period I’m sure, this was much more nuanced that I was expecting.

3. The fact that Dan Ackroyd was nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar for this is insane. I mean, he’s fine, nothing wrong with his performances, but it’s literally just “affable guy with an accent.” They should’ve nominated Patti LuPone as his wife for her side eye alone.

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What did it beat? Did it deserve to win? 

Born on the Fourth of July I have a lot of issues with Oliver Stone, but his is a great film

Dead Poets Society – As I am a former prep school girl obsessed with poetry, it will surprise no one that this movie is burned into my brain. it was the first time a move made me cry until I shook.

Field of Dreams – I’ll admit I’ve never seen this all the way through, but it’s great as far as I’ve seen

My Left Foot – Great. Classic. Large Irish Family, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Sheridan, what more could you ask for?

Wow, what a stacked year! I’m not mad Daisy won, but I’d give it to either Born or Poets. 

Bechdel Test pass?

Um, off the top of my head, yes I think this passes. (Note: The Bechdel site confirms it does!) Daisy and her maid – Idella – both have names and talk to each other. Though their conversations are in passing and their relationship is clearly a depiction of an uncomfortable power imbalance.

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But enough about all of that, I made a cake with Coca Cola (because the movie is set in Atlanta.) I modified the recipe by leaving the coca cola syrup off (it was supposed to have an entire box of powdered sugar in it, and as you can see the cake itself already had more than enough sugar in it.

Coca-Cola Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease and flour 13 x 9 in pan (Or be lazy like me and just line it with parchment paper.)
  3. Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk and set aside
  4. Beat butter at low speed until creamy
  5. Gradually add sugar, beat until blended
  6. Combine flour, cocoa and soda
  7. Add flour mixture to butter alternately with cola mixture (beginning and ending with flour)
  8. Beat at low speed until just blended
  9. Stir in marshmallows
  10. Pour batter into cake pan*
  11. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes

* This step broke my spatula (full disclosure, it was old):

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This is the kind of content you can get if you follow me on Instagram at @kathryndennett

Music For Your Weekend

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There is so much new music from artists I love that came out today, that I’m actually kind of overwhelmed, but I did manage to make you all a mix anyway. (Mostly of new stuff, some older that I was reminded of. You can listen to it on Apple Music here!

Red Bull & Hennessy – Jenny Lewis

Tim described this to me this morning as “exceedingly Stevie Nicks,” which makes it exceedingly for me.

Merry Happy – Kate Nash

If U C My Enemies – Rubblebucket

Overexcited – Guster

I used to listen to a lot of Guster, I haven’t in a long time, but this popped up in my “For You” playlist and I got very confused because they aren’t British, but he is singing this with a British accent. But also, it’s catchy…so…enjoy?

Small Victories – Lemon Twigs

King of the Dudes – Sunflower Bean

Don’t Lie To Me – Big Star

Breathe – Backstreet Boys

My Instagram followers already know that I am un-ironically loving the new BSB album (what can I say, they were implanted in my brain at a very impressionable age).

you only live once – isaac gracie 

Why is this video just an image of not isaac gracie? Your guess is as good as mine.

Harmony Hall – Vampire Weekend 

Music For Your Weekend

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I’m still in a mix-making mood! This week’s is pretty mellow over all, but it’s a gray, pre-storm day here in NYC so that feels appropriate somehow. If you want to listen to this mix on Apple Music you can here, and if you want a mix of your very own, let me know! (I can send them on Spotify if that’s your streaming platform of choice.)

Land of the Free – The Killers 

I know it’s cliche (and not always accurate) to say The Killers are trying to be Bruce Springsteen, but this (great) new single, feels very Boss/Pete Seeger to me, in the best and most emotional way. And by that, I mean it makes me cry.

My Mistake – Gabrielle Aplin 

Human – dodie feat. Tom Walker 

Lost – Natalie Prass 

Retrograde – Maggie Rogers 

Her whole album came out today (finally) and it’s great, and instead of finishing this mix you should just go listen to it. (Or I mean, finish my mix then go listen to it, but I’ll be just listening to this on repeat for awhile.)

Dress – Taylor Swift 

(The studio version of this song isn’t available on YouTube, but you can hear it on the Apple Music playlist!)

Cashmere – Rita Ora 

Bedroom Floor – Liam Payne 

(Yeah, it’s short this week, but like, this ending trio of songs occurred to me and then I couldn’t figure out how to transition out, so…you get 8 songs for your weekend!)

Music For Your Weekend

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I know I kind of abandoned my “Live Highlights Playlist” series at the end of the year, but it wasn’t feeling fun to put together each week anymore, and the whole point of this blog is that it’s my outlet for my thoughts on things I find fun. I may revive it later, but for now, I’m declaring it done. But that doesn’t mean no more music posts! Over the holidays I reread my favorite book Love Is A Mixtape  by (my favorite music writer) Rob Sheffield, which motivated me, as it always does, to start making a bunch of playlists. So, here’s some songs I’m liking right now. (You can also listen to this list on Apple Music.) Also, if you want a mix from me, let me know, I’m in the mood to make them!

The Opener – Camp Cope I actually have Sheffield to thank for this one, he put it on his Songs of the Year list for Rolling Stonewhich is generally great.

Portugal – WALK.THE.MOON

The start of this year has been a little rough for me, I’m fine, but I’ve been thinking a lot about big life changes that are coming up for me soon. (More on that to come, I’m sure.) But the line “Growing up is a heavy leaf to turn,” keeps popping up in my head, and I never thought I’d be taking mantras Walk The Moon, but life is funny sometimes.

On the Low – Tove Stryke

Her whole album has been my commute soundtrack this week, it’s just bouncy enough to keep me awake, but subdued enough to fit a winter mode.

1950 – King Princess

Lucky Strike – Troye Sivan

Crave – Ruth B.

I really love the phrase “damn pride issues.”

Die From A Broken Heart – Maddie & Tae

This is giving me old school Taylor vibes. (Unfortunately complete with some not great gender politics – let’s not talk about dads and pistols please – but these women wrote “Girl In A Country Song” so I’ll give them a pass this time.)

Easy to Forget – Kylie Morgan 

I Won’t – Little Mix 

I’ve become seriously obsessed with Little Mix in the last couple of months (want an intro mix, here you go!) They should be more famous in the US.

Juice – Lizzo 

Because every weekend should kick off with Lizzo.

And the Nominees Are 2019: Round 4

The BAFTA nominations came out this week, and while I’m disappointed in the continued under-appreciation of If Beale Street Could Talk and over-appreciation of Vice and Green Book, I have a few British films to share my thoughts on today. (Actually, it’s two British films and an American documentary, but whatever…)

Beast

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So, I didn’t take notes on this when I saw it at an IFC member screening earlier this year. But, I remember very much not liking it. Part of this is because I don’t like being scared, and while not a horror movie, this is a tense thriller, and I was uncomfortable for a lot of the experience. I love Johnny Flynn as a musician and was excited to see him as a leading man, but his performance has not made a lasting impression. His costar (and BAFTA EE Rising Star nominee) Jessie Buckely is the real focus of the film, and she has a creepy charisma, but I don’t think her performance made watching this film worth it.

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(I did like this dress quite a bit though) 

Three Identical Strangers

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I feel like I wrote about this movie somewhere already, but I can’t find it. Also, I don’t really know how to write about it without giving every thing away. It’s fantastic, and terrifying. It starts as a talk-show gimmick of a premise “identical triplets separated at birth, and look they all smoke the same kind of cigarette.” But, as you imagine, the story of how multiples get separated is never a feel good tale, and this is no exception. The movie has more twists and turns than a heist film, while never losing sight of the fact that it is telling the story of real human beings. OK, I’m going to shut up now and tell you go watch it.

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Mary Poppins Returns

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I needed this in my life. Not that it’s perfect, it’s probably not even great. But, it’s lovely and happy and bright. It involves Lin-Manuel Miranda singing while spinning around a lamppost, Emily Blunt practically exploding with charm, Ben Whishaw being his stammeringly adorable British self, and a cameo of Dick Van Dyke tap dancing on a desk and I can’t be critical of that.

if you’re having a rocky start to your year, “Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” towards a movie theater. (But you don’t need to watch it in Dolby Cinema, the not-quite-IMAX enhanced screening that happened to work for my timing, it’s aggressive and the brightness got a little overwhelming.

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Award Show Round Up: Golden Globes 2019

Well the season has officially begun! And, while a lot of the winners were…um…surprising? (Bohemian Rhapsody, Best Drama? Really? We’re going all in Green Book? Really, Green Book? Um, OK… I guess, I mean you’re wrong, but also, OK?)

Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg were adorable hosts:

Highlight of this though: Emma Stone screaming her apology for starring as an Asian woman in Aloha.

I haven’t watched A Very English Scandal yet, but I love Ben Whishaw in all of his nervous British energy.

Always love an excuse to talk about the brilliance of Carol Burnett

(The other lifetime achievement award of the night – Jeff Bridges – is also a legend, but his speech went off into the stratosphere so I’m not including it here.

The least surprising (but completely deserved) win of the evening:

REGINA KING WON BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, BECAUSE SOME THINGS ARE GOOD:

(Also, every one go see If Beale Street Could Talk.)

Sandra Oh is a legend, and her parents are so cute!

I love Patricia Clarkson:

I also love Darren Criss:

And I love that the HFPA gave Roma Best Director along with Best Foreign Language Film!

Continuing the list of people I love. The Favourite was not my favorite movie, but she is fantastic in it as she is always in everything:

I guess, I really have to see The Wife:

And, well, there’s no way it was in the best Drama of the year, (it wasn’t even the best musical miscategorized as a drama), but Rami is a beautiful weirdo, and his performance was very good.

And now, fashion! There were a lot of trains and a lot of capes, but also some glitter and some yellow!

 

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Emma Stone in Louis Vuitton (Photo Credit: Getty Images + Todd Williamson/NBC)

 

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Rachel Brosnahan in custom Prada (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Valerie Macon)

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Kerri Russell in Monique Lhuillier (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian/NBC)

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Regina King in custom Alberta Ferretti (Photo Credit: Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY NETWORK)

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Laura Dern in Valentino (Photo Credit: Getty/Steve Granitz)

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Claire Foy in Miu Miu (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison)

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Lucy Boynton in Celine (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Nicole Kidman in Michael Kors Collection [& super cute hair bow] (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison)