TOP FIVE: The 2015 Academy Awards


It only rains approximately 5.7 days a year in L.A. Naturally, one of those days would fall on Hollywood’s biggest night. I was set to attend a viewing party, but the universe had other plans. Suffice to say, it was a rather chaotic Oscar Sunday on my end, down to an actual technical malfunction that had me at Best Buy one hour before showtime to rectify the situation. $45 dollars later, I was back home with Chinese take-out, a box (okay, 2 boxes) of my favorite candy, my TV set-up and ready to go. As the rain started up again, I lit some candles, and settled in for a cozy night alone just a few miles away from the festivities…happily at home, just Oscar and me, for the first time in years.

Here are my top 5…

The 5 Best Moments of the Night

5. Pretty much every single winner who continued to talk well into and AFTER the “wrap it up music” – with no regard that wrap it up means WRAP IT UP!

4. Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech that quickly turned into a social commentary on wage and gender equality (and Meryl Streep’s total “YOU GO GIRl!” jumping out of her seat whoop-whoop in support).

3. I knew she could sing, and I’m a fan, but who knew THAT voice would, or could, ever come out of Lady Gaga? Go Gaga, you nailed that Julie Andrews/The Sound of Music tribute!

2. Graham Moore’s acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, taking a moment to give a shout out to the “weird ones.” Best speech of the night, by far.

1. John Legend and Common’s moving performance of “Glory” from the film Selma. It gave me chills. When they cut to David Oyelowo and Chris Pine in the audience and both had tears streaming down their face, I nearly lost it. (p.s. what is it about seeing a man cry that’s so damn sexy?)

The 5 Best Dressed Starlets of the Night

5. | DAKOTA JOHNSON in Yves Saint Larent.




3. | JENNIFER LOPEZ in Elie Saab.


2. | LUPITA NYONG’O in Calvin Klein Collection.




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Header image credit: Oscar” by lincolnblues used under CC BY 2.0

Photo sources:
Dakota Johnson
Reese Witherspoon
Jennifer Lopez
Lupita Nyong’o
Rosamund Pike


2014 Academy Awards: The Best Moments and the Top 5 Best Dressed


As we bid adieu to what was one of the heaviest rain systems we’ve seen in years in LA (yes, we’re OK!), we also say a final farewell to a powerful year in cinema with the biggest celebration of them all, the Academy Awards. I was so thrilled to see all of my predictions win the major categories. I was especially ecstatic to see Lupita Nyong’o and 12 Years A Slave take home well-deserved statues last night. Though I saw that film nearly 5 months ago, it still gives me the chills when I think about it. And to me, that’s the epitome of masterful film-making.

Ellen DeGeneres was simply delightful and managed to carry the broadcast forward with humor and grace. I can’t image a tougher gig to land in Hollywood, because it’s also the most critiqued the next day. What I found so refreshing about her was how comfortable and completely in her element she was, seemingly un-phased by the pressure. (And I’m sure Samsung is over the moon with that blatantly obvious product plug.) Overall, for a nearly 4 hour presentation – I thought it was well done. And if I do ever have a moment of doubt, I just think back to the year Anne Hathaway and James Franco  hosted and I’m suddenly more confident in my assertion.

And can I just stop and take a moment to salute:

  1. Pink on that incredible tribute to Judy Garland.
  2. Harvey Weinstein for tipping the pizza guy.
  3. Matthew McCounaghey for the most surprisingly engaging speech…
  4. …but Lupita Nyong’o for the most moving speech of the night. (We’re talking goosebumps, people!)
  5. And let’s just say that Pharell makes me “Happy.”

Now on to the fashion!

Like last year, I was a bit disenchanted with the night’s fashion. Don’t get me wrong, there were some fabulous dresses on the red carpet, but I had very few WOW! moments (there are only 2 on record). This is always quite perplexing to me. The night to really show-off and add that “I’m a movie star” glamour is on a night like this. My philosophy would be to go all out and make ’em jealous!

The good news is that there we a handful of starlets that got it right among of the many safer and less dramatic looks of the evening. Here are my top 5 best dressed on Oscar night, with honorable mentions to follow.

Who were your favorite looks?

 NUMBER FIVE: Lupita Nyong’o | Designer: Prada

What a stand-out on the red carpet last night. Aside from being the only starlet to boldly rock a bright color among a flurry of pale and darker-colored dresses; she was also the most playful, by creating a solid theme when coordinating this whimsical look. The Grecian-style design, paired with a sparkling encrusted headband is refreshing, yet sophisticated.  Lupita is and looks every part the goddess in this light blue number by Prada. Bravo!


  NUMBER FOUR: Charlize Theron | Designer: Dior Haute Couture

What would look like something is totally missing on anyone else, not only looks complete, but oh-so-polished on Charlize Theron. The reason this dress works is because it’s a risk, and one of the very few of the night on the red carpet. Clear straps on a dress like this could look totally ridiculous, particularly as your eye is drawn to the bottom where you’d expect a simple straight line thinking “don’t overdo it, Charlize.” Instead, she greets you with two last embellishments: pleated organza strips creating a fuller more mermaid-inspired skirt…and a train! By far, she had on my favorite piece of bling of the night with that stunning Harry Winston drop necklace. Ladies and gentleman, this is a movie star!


NUMBER THREE: Sandra Bullock | Designer: Alexander McQueen

It’s hard to believe this woman is turning 50 this year! Sandra Bullock is a testament that some things do get better with age (and perhaps some Botox – but to each his own, no judgement here if/when it’s done right). This midnight blue Alexander McQueen dress is such a stunner. I can only imagine that if this striking hue came across so well on-camera, how show-stopping it must have been in person. Aside from being my favorite color of the night, the elegant drapery at the waist paired with just the right amount of fabric at the train makes it the definition of evening gown glamour. The rest is in the details: the side swept tresses, the Lorraine Schwartz half lobe sparkling studs (so on trend right now, we’ll be seeing this A LOT), a simple bracelet, and yes, I even adore the blue nail polish. This is Sandy at her best. And to boot, I L.O.V.E. that she’s maintained such a positive reputation in Hollywood. Rumor has it, she’s one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Bonus points!


NUMBER TWO: Kate Hudson | Designer:  Atelier Versace

Kate Hudson was slated to be my dressed of the night when I saw her walk out onto the Oscar stage in this gorgeous silver beaded Versace gown with the best glow the night (I need to find out who does her facials and book an appointment ASAP!). The deep plunging neckline to the belly button is always a risk (hello, wardrobe malfunction), but she has the perfect frame to keep it sexy, yet classy. Minimal jewelry is the right way to go with a dress such as this because the intricacy and embellishment alone makes this gown one huge piece of fine jewelry. I’m infatuated with the simple knotting and drapery at the waistline to just below the hips giving a touch of exaggeration elevating this dress to one of the best of the night. To make things even better, the gown is still incredibly chic with or without the removable cape. This was one of two pure WOWs of the night. The other went to…



BEST DRESSED: Jenna Dewan-Tatum Designer: Reem Acra

Jenna Dewan-Tatum is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorites on the red carpet. She nails it EVERY time in my book. I can’t image too many ladies being able to pull of a near flesh tone dress with such elegance. The silhouette is incredible and I adore the sequined bodice that subtly leads to an unexpected feathered tulle skirt. This dress was one the other WOW moment of the night. Her hair, make-up, and jewelry are impeccable. Channing Tatum is one lucky guy. Flawless.




Camilla Alves in Gabriela Cadena, Maria Menounos in Johanna Johnson, and Laura Dern in Alberta Ferretti.

**Disclaimer: Since it’s obvious I wasn’t at this year’s ceremony snapping high res photos, all picture sources are here, where you’ll need to drive through the slideshow to find it – except Jenna Dewan- Tatum sourced here. Honorable mentions are linked just below the collage.

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2013 Academy Awards: Fashion Hits and Misses


What a picture perfect day in L.A. this past Oscar Sunday! Clear skies and not too chilly temperatures set the tone for Hollywood’s biggest night. I spent the evening with a few gal pals over appetizers, Italian sodas, and lots of laughs; ready to see if my award predictions rang true and to stare enviously at all things fashion. I have to say that overall, I was pretty underwhelmed by the red carpet this past Oscar night. Sure, there were some stunning dresses, but the hair and makeup would ruin the look; or the accessories were great, but the dress just didn’t grab me.

My biggest complaint was a lot of blush colored gowns set against pale skin tones that oftentimes washed a starlet out on-camera. I’m sure many of these dresses looked gorgeous in person, but our ladies (and their expensive Stylists) need to consider how a look will come off on-camera. A billion people are watching from their living rooms, only a few lucky people see it in person.

As glamorous as it seems (and likely is), it can’t be easy getting ready to face the world on Oscar Sunday. The fashion has become as pivotal to the night as the actual awards presentation and ALL eyes are on YOU. I can’t imagine the amount of pressure it takes to get it right and even if you didn’t in my opinion, I respect the courage it must take to face the world knowing that everyone is watching your every move and you showed up in something that you are proud of, regardless of what others think.

Alas, here are my top 5 Oscar Night fashion hits and misses. See you on the red carpet next year!

The Hits

AMY ADAMS| Oscar de la Renta

The color is a daring choice, it’s almost (just almost) a touch too light for her skin tone, but she pulls it off. The hair, the jewels, the makeup are all flawless.



Love the color, love the cut, love that she didn’t rock a necklace with this show-stopping ensemble. I do wish Jen would get a bit more creative with her hair. It’s typically the same thing over and over, but it works. She nailed it.



A gorgeous gown that fits her so perfectly. The classic Veronica Lake hairstyle. A bold lip and a great smile. She looks like a walking Oscar statue. This look is timeless. She’s stunning!



Long hair, short hair – this beauty can do no wrong and was a breath of fresh air in this white dress by Dior. I loved that she kept her accessories minimal and let that gorgeous face, body, and gown speak for themselves. Sexy sophistication at its best.


NAOMI WATTS| Armani Prive

Naomi Watts was an instant standout on the red carpet in this silver shimmery number by Armani Prive. I love the cut-out on the upper portion of the gown, her hair and not too fussy, but just right makeup, made her look beyond elegant and a bit more fashion forward than anyone else. Best dressed of the night!


This Misses


Rumor had it that Anne was expected to accept her first Oscar in Valentino…until she showed up on the red carpet in this blush Prada number at the last-minute. Unfortunately, the cut of the halter shaped bust and Anne’s “excitement” of the night got one distracting “wardrobe malfunction” that ruined an otherwise elegant, but safe, look. By far, she had on my favorite set of jewels in that striking necklace.



Perhaps this was one of those gowns that looked better in person, but Nicole Kidman missed the mark with this ensemble. The sequined gown sported an ombre feel on the top, into that random Batman-looking patch at the waist, to an even more random set of gold curls on the bottom. The dress is too busy. I adore Nicole Kidman, she’s hands down one of the finest actresses out there, but this didn’t do it for me at all and I heard through the grapevine her husband picked this dress!?! Hmm…



The dress isn’t exactly horrible and I know that K-Stew was on crutches most of the night (poor thing!), but I couldn’t help but wonder if she knew she was coming to the Academy Awards, right? Her hair and makeup are way too casual; so casual, in fact, it looked like she didn’t even take the time to wash her hair…or run a comb through it for that matter. I realize red carpets and her don’t mix, and she’s completely uncomfortable in front of photographers, but this screams no effort outside of an expensive dress that deserved to be taken more seriously and styled to the nines.


ZOE SALDANA| Alex Mabille Couture

Zoe Saldana is such a beautiful woman, but this dress doesn’t do her any justice. Between the detailed bodice, the crooked bow on the hip, the belt, and the multi-colored flowing hem, it’s just too much. I suspect I would have loved this dress without any of the adornments on the upper half, simply leading down to the gown’s big color reveal at the bottom. I also wished her make-up was a bit brighter overall. It’s too dark and doesn’t accentuate her features. A bold lip would’ve done wonders.


RENEE ZELLWEGER| Carolina Herrera

I don’t quite understand what happened here. Carolina Herrera is a high-end designer, but this dress looks so uninspired to me. Renee’s lack of attention to impeccable hair and makeup,  gave off such an un-glamorous, blah feeling when she turned up in front of the cameras. The Oscars are THE night to show off and Renee didn’t. Not in the least.


**Disclaimer: Since it’s obvious I wasn’t at this year’s ceremonies snapping high res photos, all pictures are courtesy of! Photo sources are noted below:
Amy Adams
Jennifer Aniston
Jessica Chastain
Charlize Theron
Naomi Watts
Anne Hathaway
Nicole Kidman
Zoe Saldana
Kristen Stewart
Renee Zellweger

2012 Best in Cinema: Features

I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat all week in anticipation of today’s big reveal! (Okay, a bit dramatic, I know). Reflections of my movie-filled year concluded today with a well deserved shout-out to my picks for the top 10 feature films of 2012.

Here we go! In alphabetical order:

Amour – A heartbreaking look at how a partnership is tested while struggling with the inevitability that will touch us all, the end of life: how it will happen and when. What struck me most about this portrait of an aging couple is how quiet it is in its approach. We spend most of the film in the same place, over a span of time, simply watching Anne and Georges go about their daily routine, making adjustments as needed and experiencing their frustration and difficulties with them. Instead of doing what most Hollywood driven films would do (i.e. overly dramatic music piercing through every single scene) to bring about emotion, Amour does the opposite. We sit in silence and allow the circumstances and the poignant chemistry of our protagonists penetrate beyond this gimmick. This was such a moving film that sticks with you. As a viewer, it very much made me think about what life might be like with a spouse in my golden years.

Argo – What works so well about Argo is that it plays off a combination of aspects fused together so well it’s gratifying. You have a based on a true story concept, set against a tumultuous political climate, shot with a late 70’s cinematic vibe, a little action, plenty of suspense, married with the comedic twist of John Goodman and Alan Arkin. The highlight of this experience will always be the last 20 minutes, executed so effectively I think my heart stopped and I didn’t take a breath until the end credits. Ben Affleck has come a long way and proved to be a force to be taken seriously.

Celeste & Jesse Forever – This was one of those films that I left the theater with such a high thinking THIS is why I LOVE movies. Celeste and Jesse are the best of friends, but terrible as husband and wife. The story picks up with their struggle at sustaining a friendship while in the midst of a divorce and pursuing other romantic interests. Rashida Jones (Celeste) and Andy Samberg (Jesse) have such a fluid and natural on-screen chemistry between them that drew me in immediately. What I was most enchanted by was not only the precise well-written dialogue; but the indie feel to how this narrative was told through its stunning salute to another main character, the sweeping city of Los Angeles, via its cinematography choices. I experienced almost every major emotion in 90 minutes of being in Celeste and Jesse’s world and I didn’t want to go. I laughed, felt my eyes water, and smiled at the very complicated, yet entertaining and relatable situation. This is also the first film I’d seen in quite some time where the music was used so impeccably it enhanced the overall experience of the film and introduced me to some of my favorite music of the year. If I had to pick my top film of 2012, this would be it (or closely tied with Zero Dark Thirty).

The Hunt – I’m not quite sure if it was the immaculate photography of the small Danish community the plot is set in because it’s so vividly quaint and unlike my personal world, or if it was solely the performance of Mads Mikkelsen that made me instantly cling to this film. In retrospect, it was both. The interaction between the main character within the beautiful  but modest Danish town mirrored each other purely to form such skillfulness in film-making. Lucas (Mikkelsen) is a beloved school teacher who is falsely accused of child molestation and is subsequently ostracized by this peers. One of the finest acting performances of the entire year came from a single shot, that said it all in the expression of his eyes, not a word uttered. I adored this film. I adored its simplicity, its use of the atmosphere around its actors; and while the circumstances of the story are very upsetting, it treated the subject matter so genuinely it scared me as the viewer about the true nature of the human condition when pushed too far.

Lincoln – At the risk of being cliché and selecting an obvious choice (alongside our Academy voting members with 12 current Oscar nominations), I cannot help but give Steven Spielberg his props. My experience with Lincoln was very reminiscent of my appreciation for the sweeping epics of the 60’s (please see my thoughts here). It was in the tiniest of details that kept us steadfast in 1865 America, the depth of a very intricate script, the uncanny and moving performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, the costume design, the art direction, and yes, I was a total sucker for John Williams’ brilliant original score. These components unified together with a very memorable sequence as we watch our 16th President proudly make his way down the long hallway after a hard fought battle was satisfying. This was a film that I went into with a rather nonchalant air, but left completely fulfilled at what had happened on the movie screen.

Middle of Nowhere – Admittedly, I went into the screening of Middle of Nowhere with the resolve that I was going to like it no matter what. Completely inspired by Ava DuVernay’s first feature film I Will Follow in 2011, I knew this was going to be something equally special. My instincts to believe in this film were dead on though I think DuVernay out did herself this time. We follow Ruby, a young medical student, who sacrifices all that she is and wants to be for the sake of supporting her incarcerated husband. We learn that despite her efforts, it’s not enough and her world is turned upside down. We thus begin Ruby’s journey to slowly find her way back to some sense of normalcy, whatever that is. The strength of this film unequivocally comes from the solid force of Emayatzy Corinealdi (Ruby) and her ability to mold into a scene with any of the other actors so naturally. Aesthetically, I was also very absorbed by the purity of the look to this film. Its use of subtle muted lighting brings the narrative to a sacred place enhancing the mood that despite the city setting, you are authentically experiencing Ruby’s middle of nowhere.

Moonrise Kingdom – Eclectic and quirky but in the best way fathomable. The town of New Penzance is on the hunt for 2 missing children that co-conspired to run away from their existing lives together. The power from this film unquestionably comes from 2 big things: excellent casting paralleled with excellent dialogue. I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like conceiving and developing this project and not be somewhat worried that it might not quite come together. If you think about it, it seems like such a risky film to make, one that could easily come across so quirky it’s just outright awful. Then again, Wes Anderson, with more experience than I, knew what he was doing. He did a phenomenal job. Moonrise Kingdom was unlike any other adventure in 2012. Add the intelligent production design, unique camera positions and framing used, as well as the fantastical elements that take place in New Penzance and you’ve got yourself one crazy “out there” hit.

Polisse – This was easily one of the most engaging, emotional, and exhausting dramatic films of the year. This French gem takes the viewer on a harsh, complex, gritty and work-obsessed journey into the lives of a group of cops in the Police Department’s Juvenile Protection Unit. What made this piece so powerful, was not only the horrendous stories of endangered children that our main characters came into contact with on a daily basis, but how they interacted among each other and in their personal lives given these difficult circumstances. I was impressed given the amount of storytelling and the number of characters followed at how solid the character development was in this film. The emotional 2 hour roller coaster of Polisse led to one of the most climatic and unforgettable endings to a film that I think I’ve ever seen.

Your Sister’s Sister – A grieving man accepts his dead brother’s ex-girlfriend’s invitation to get away from it all by taking a little break from life with a solo vacation at her family’s picturesque cabin. Unknowingly, the cabin is currently occupied by his dead brother’s ex-girlfriend’s lesbian (or bi-sexual?) sister who is also taking a much-needed mental break from life. They get drunk and…you can fill in the blank here. The following day, the brother’s ex-girlfriend (who also happens to be his best friend) arrives to keep the grieving man company and so begins our complicated love triangle, though it’s not your typical one. Of all the films I saw in 2012, this was the most surprising. Not only because of the rare story line but because of how smart it was with the material. Parts of the film were so organic that it felt like portions were  simply improvised between the three actors, done so fluidly, you felt like you were watching real sisters, best friends, and love interests maneuver this complex narrative. Again, well-written dialogue, spot on casting, and a graceful setting for such ungraceful circumstances culminate into a film that is funny and touching.

Zero Dark Thirty – The most intense on the edge of your seat aggressive experience I had at the theater. A film so flawlessly paced, acted, written, and accomplished, it doesn’t at all feel like a nearly 3 hour film and I could have easily spent another 3 seeing where our heroine was off to next in her obsession for justice. Zero Dark Thirty takes us through the decade long capture and defeat of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Jessica Chastain is Maya, a woman on a mission who is not meant to be liked, doesn’t care to be liked, but demands to be taken seriously. (You go girl !) While much controversy surrounds this film in its accuracy and depth of knowledge of the events depicted, at the end of the day you cannot deny that what happened on the screen was anything short of a masterpiece. I was very disappointed by Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar snub as this was a better crafted film than the The Hurt Locker. Easily my favorite film of the year (or closely tied with Celeste & Jesse Forever).


With that, my 2012 movie year in review is now behind me. You can read about my takes on the top classic films I spent time with last year as well and the documentary stories that moved me most here and here. Looking over this list I’m proud at how all over the place and diverse it is. As I agonized over this list for the last month before sharing it with you, I’ve come to realize and like how I can appreciate a commercial film as much as an independent film, love a quirky story as much as a political one, or cherish a foreign narrative in the same breathe as a domestic narrative. That’s the beauty of cinema, it’s an art form that has always tried to compete with itself, and like me, who wants to be placed in a box?

I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings to the silver screen.

Golden Globes: Fashion Hits and Misses

Not to brag, but this past Sunday I spent nearly four hours with the Hollywood elite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel sipping a cool beverage while rocking the most awesome ensemble to rival the stars…all from the comfort of my boyfriend’s apartment. Okay, so technically I was a few miles down the street, drinking bottled water, wearing a sweatshirt and some shorts; but hey – I was comfortable, warm, and had the best seat in the house!

The 2013 Golden Globe awards were surprisingly very entertaining this year. From the awesome duo hosting duties in funny gals Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, to the surprise range of unexpected winners (didn’t see Argo beating out Lincoln!), and some pretty moving acceptance speeches (paging Jodie Foster!). It’s also the time to discuss all things fashion. Prior to the broadcast, I spent an hour and a half watching the Hollywood glitterati make their way down the red carpet. Here are my top 5 best and worst dressed ladies. Looking forward to Oscar Night!


 {Taylor Swift}

Taylor Swift

 {Jessica Alba}

jessica alba

 {Kate Hudson}

hate hudson

{Emily Blunt}

Emily Blunt

{Shaun Robinson}

Shaun Robinson


{Sienna Miller}

sienna miller

{Emily Mortimer}

Emily Mortimer

{Mayim Bialik}

Mayim Bialik

{Rosario Dawson}

rosario dawson

{Alyssa Milano}

alyssa milano

**Disclaimer: Since it’s obvious I wasn’t at this year’s ceremonies snapping high res photos, all pictures are courtesy of! Photo sources are noted below:

Taylor Swift – Photo By Steve Granitz/WireImage
Jessica Alba – Photo By Steve Granitz/WireImage
Kate Hudson – Photo By Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Emily Blunt – Photo By Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Shaun Robinson – Photo By Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Sienna Miller – Photo By Steve Granitz/WireImage
Emily Mortimer – Photo By Steve Granitz/WireImage
Mayim Bialik – Photo By Steve Granitz/WireImage
Rosario Dawson – Photo By Steve Granitz/WireImage
Alyssa Milano – Photo By Steve Granitz/WireImage