Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Halfway Point

Since today marks the halfway point of 2011, many people are doing "best of" lists, which I think is great since a lot of people tend to forget anything that happened during the first half of the year when it comes to making their end-of-year lists in December.

I was close to doing the same, but I usually wait until the end of summer to talk about my favorite film performances especially since at this point, I just haven't seen that many movies (relatively). By the end of summer, however, I would've had my fill of summer films as well as having seen some earlier films from this year now available on DVD.

With that said, I do want to list the films I've seen so far so you know where I'm at. I'm listing these in alphabetical order, so there's no ranking implied.

  • Bridesmaids
  • The Conspirator
  • Hanna
  • HappyThankYouMorePlease
  • Jane Eyre

  • The Mechanic
  • Midnight in Paris
  • No Strings Attached
  • The Other Woman
  • Paul

  • Super 8
  • Thor
  • The Way Back
  • X-Men: First Class

I will tell you that my favorite film of the lot is Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. It really is a jewel of a film that everyone should get a chance to see. And these are the actors that have appeared in two or more o those films: Kristen Wiig, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Kevin Kline, and Tom Hiddleston. And oddly enough from that list, the Oscar winners probably had the least interesting roles of the bunch.

How many 2011 releases have you seen?

Wimbledon Report: Gentlemen's Quarterfinals

The sun came out today for the men's quarterfinal action and were there some surprises. All of the matches were basically trickier and tougher than I had imagined. For some, it was a thrill, for one match in particular though, it was very disappointing.

Six-time champion Roger Federer had a 7-1 H2H record against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga heading into their match and while Tsonga is a solid grasscourt player Federer was seen as the favorite. He became even more so after winning the first 2 sets since he was 178-0. Then the rails came off, or more accurately the Tsonga train ramped up speed. He outhit and outplayed Federer the next three sets mounting one of his greatest comebacks ever to reach his first ever Wimbledon semifinals. He'll meet Novak Djokovic who defeated qualified Bernard Tomic who unexpectedly put up a fight, winning the 2nd set and giving Djokovic headaches by varying the pace of the ball. In the end, the Serbian notched his tour-high 46th match of the year.

Defending champ Rafael Nadal continued his quest for his 3rd French Open-Wimbledon double by taking out Mardy Fish, the last American singles player left in the draw. It's a testament to Fish though that he remained close to Nadal throughout the match even winning the 3rd set. Nadal will go head to head with Andy Murray in the semifinals after the Brit won in straight sets against Feliciano Lopez. While the scoreline was quite straightforward, Murray did sustain some kind of thigh injury late in the match. Stay tuned.

Predictions: Like the women, I actually ended up predicting 3 of the 4 eventual semifinalist with Federer the only hold out. I'm still a bit in shock that he lost that game, but no use in moping around. Nadal owns Murray and Murray has underperformed on this court plenty of times, which means Nadal is the clear favorite. Tsonga-Djokovic is a bit more complicated. While Djokovic has had a nearly flawless year, it's Tsonga who heads their H2H 5-2. And yet, I believe Nadal-Djokovic will be the final we'll see on Sunday.

Sighting: Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport partnered up for Legends Doubles. I bet they could still do some damage if they joined the women's tour now. Come back to us. Please.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Poster Musings: Fright Night and Orlando Bloom

First, we have the two above posters for Fright Night, which isn't really my type of movie at all. Then again, these character posters do really well in selling the film the hot actors in the film. I mean seeing Colin Farrell all vampiry and sexy like this isn't anything new, but hello there David Tennant. He's raising stakes indeed. But more seriously, it's probably a Netflix rent for me, but I wish them luck on a good film.

Then of course there's the case of Orlando Bloom. Sure, he's working on The Hobbit right now and it's all rainbows and sunshine, but before he found himself back in Middle Earth, he, well, just take a look...

What!? These are the posters for Sympathy for Delicious (Japanese poster) and The Three Musketeers. Yes, he looks just a bit ridiculous on both of these posters, but I actually applaud him for picking atypical roles for himself. A rock star (complete with the greasy hair)? An ridiculously evil character (complete with evil mustache to twirl)? So as bad as the poster is for The Three Musketeers and however bad the movie turns out to be, I'm still looking forward to seeing Bloom play a villain. I've always wanted him to play one.

Wimbledon Report: Ladies' Quarterfinals

With most of the big names out of the tournament already, the women still put on quite a show today. And with the rain wreaking havoc throughout the day, it was the only show in town.

After upsetting Serena Williams the day before, many expected former finalist Marion Bartoli to use her experience to overwhelm Sabine Lisicki. But it was the 2009 quarterfinalist who took command early under the closed roof of Centre Court. Even after losing the second set where she had opportunities to serve out the match, she just outplayed Bartoli to reach her first ever Grand Slam semifinal. She'll meet Maria Sharapova who has impressively not dropped a set all tournament including her dominant win against Dominika Cibulkova today. This is Sharapova's first Wimbledon SF appearance since 2006.

Petra Kvitova
battled with Tsvetana Pironkova in one of the very few matches that were held and completed on one of the outside courts. Like Lisicki, Kvitova won the first set and then lost the second in a tie-break only to assert her dominance in the final set. This is Pironkova's 2nd straight Wimbledon SF appearance. She is set to meet first-time Wimbledon semifinalist Victoria Azarenka whose match with Tamira Paszek was moved from Court 1 to Centre Court due to rain. Paszek had chances, but ultimately Azarenka prevailed in straights. Their match is the latest woman's match to be played in Wimbledon.

Semifinal Preview: Even with all of the crazy upsets, I still managed to predict 3 of the 4 semifinalist before the tournament began! These four big-hitting blondes though will need to step it up for a chance to win the trophy. Lisicki is quite crafty and if the serve, which has been working quite well, abandons Sharapova, all bets are off. The Azarenka-Kvitova match is a complete toss-up. Rankings say Sharapova-Azarenka for the finals, but I'm rooting for Kvitova-Lisicki if only to salvage my hearing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weeds Returns, Now With Beefcake

Just finished watching the season premiere of Weeds and it was just okay. I mean it was a bit weird to watch it after seeing the season premiere of True Blood since both episodes featured time jumps where the main female lead was separated from the rest of her friends/family for a long time as well as some gratuitous lesbianism (Nancy in prison with her Russian cellmate and Tara sexing it up with her caged fighter girlfriend). The similarities were a bit of distraction. Plus, like True Blood, the time jump necessitated a re-introduction to the rest of the characters and how they've changed, etc.

Still, it was a fine episode for what it needed to do, and unlike True Blood they actually provided us with some nice beefcake in the form of Hunter Parrish playing a Silas-turned-model. Hopefully this line of work doesn't completely go away when they all inevitably reunite with momma.

Wimbledon Report: Fourth Round

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Prince William and Princess Kate) in attendance at Centre Court, Andy Murray swiftly handled Richard Gasquet in straight sets. On Court 1, Novak Djokovic similarly swept Michael Llodra with relative ease. Roger Federer dropped his first set of the tournament against a fiery Mikhail Youzhny, but won to reach his mind-boggling 29th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. Finally, Rafael Nadal edged out Juan Martin Del Potro in a tight match to round out the top four. Both Nadal and Del Potro injured themselves during their duel and the extent of those injuries are still unknown.

Mardy Fish reached his first Wimbledon quarterfinal by taking out last year's finalist Tomas Berdych in straights while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga showed off his grass-court skills against David Ferrer. Down 0-2 in sets, Feliciano Lopez mounted an impressive comeback to defeat Lukasz Kubot in a dogfight that lasted more than four hours. Finally, Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic continued his dream run by taking out Xavier Malisse.

Quarterfinal Preview
Rafael Nadal vs. Tomas Berdych Mardy Fish
Andy Murray vs. Andy Roddick Feliciano Lopez
Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Novak Djokovic vs. Jurgen Melzer Bernard Tomic

Predictions: It really does boggle me how consistent the top four have been in big tournaments. In fact just a few weeks ago, they all reached the semifinals at the French Open and I believe they will do it again here. Tsonga and Lopez will be tricky players though and the extent of Nadal's injury could be a factor, but for now I'm sticking with the Big Four.

Before talking about the monumental upsets that transpired today, let's talk about the other matches. Top seeds Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka easily handled their opponents, Shuai Peng and Nadia Petrova respectively. Last year's semifinalist Petra Kvitova soundly defeated Yanina Wickmayer in straight stes. Kvitova and Sharapova are the only two players to not have dropped a set. Joining them in the quarterfinals are 2009 quarterfinalist Sabine Lisicki and Tamira Paszek (reaches Wimbledon quarters for the first time).

As for the upsets, defending champion Serena Williams and her sister, 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, are ousted on the same day. It's a first for this tournament and quite shocking as they've dominated this tournament for nearly a decade. Marion Bartoli took out Serena, a bit reminiscent of when she defeated sister Venus a couple of years back, while 2010 semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova repeated her amazing win last year against Venus in dominant fashion. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki hoping to win her first major title must wait again as she was also upset by Dominika Cibulkova. Wozniacki won the first set easily, but just couldn't steal one more set.

Quarterfinal Preview
Maria Sharapova vs. Caroline Wozniacki Dominika Cibulkova
Serena Williams Marion Bartoli vs. Na Li Sabine Lisicki
Victoria Azarenka vs. Andrea Petkovic Tamira Paszek
Petra Kvitova vs. Vera Zvonareva Tsvetana Pironkova

Predictions: My early guesses were obviously wrong, but in my defense I really didn't think both Williams sisters would be gone before the quartefinals. With that said, this is turning out to be Sharapova's slam to lose as she's the only one here to have a slam title to her name. The rest of the women though all have a great shot at not only reaching their first Grand Slam final, but to win their first one as well. I think Bartoli, Azarenka, and Kvitova will join Sharapova in the semis.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Belated Thoughts on Who, Thrones, & Tara, Plus True Blood Premiere

I've been meaning to write about recent TV I've been watching, but the longer it takes me, the harder it will be to actually do it, so I'll just dive in with a few quick words.

Doctor Who - Really enjoyed the first half of the season, mostly because of the increased involvement of Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams. Moffatt though is really pushing the limits on... well everything. The audience rarely knows which way is up, down, present, past, future, real, imaginary. It might get annoying to some, but I'm enjoying the ride. My favorite episode was "The Doctor's Wife" just because it was so damn beautiful and really got to the heart of the show. Finally, River Song is WHO NOW?! I can't wait to see what happens with that in the second half.

Game of Thrones
- It started out a bit slowly and lord knows I still have no idea who half the characters are and yet I love it. It's quite epic for sure, but it's the smaller, human moments that keep me coming back. My favorite characters are the "outcasts" aka Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, and Tyrion Lannister. You know how I know they're my favorites? I wrote their names without the help of the internet. The next installment won't be until Spring 2012 and I'm almost tempted to read the books these are based on, but I don't think I will.

United States of Tara
- I never really LOVED this show even though I loved elements of it like the tour de force performance of Toni Collette or Marshall's evolution, but when we found out this season was its last, I started to really miss them all. The Bryce storyline this season was seriously dark and brilliant handled by Collette. And while the finale dealt with Bryce in a bit of a deus ex machina way, I was fine with that since I needed the finale to focus in on the family again, which it did. The ending wasn't writted as a series finale, but it worked very well as one. There isn't really a happy ending for Tara with her condition, but there'll certainly be happier times ahead.

True Blood - The premiere was last night and it was as crazy as I've come to expect from the show. It was a bit of a scattered episodes, but I guess it was necessary to introduce all of the new stories for this season as well as to catch up "a year later" which is how long Sookie had been gone. I really was caught off-guard by many things (Fairies are bad! Tara likes vagina! Eric owns Sookie's house! Bill is King!) so I give them props for all of those. Hopefully the rest of the season isn't as disjointed as the premiere though. And for the love of Godric, can someone tell Jason to take off his shirt at least once per episode?

Wimbledon: Second Week Preview

Wimbledon began with 256 tennis players looking to grab the ultimate prize in tennis. After taking some rest on Sunday, the 32 remaining players, 16 men and 16 women, are all scheduled to play tomorrow in one of the greatest day in all of tennis.

Caroline Wozniacki [1] vs. Dominika Cibulkova [24]

Maria Sharapova [5] vs. Shuai Peng [20]
Sabine Lisicki vs. Petra Cetkovska
Serena Williams [7] vs. Marion Bartoli [9]

Tamira Paszek vs. Ksenia Pervak
Victoria Azarenka [4] vs. Nadia Petrova
Petra Kvitova [8] vs. Yanina Wickmayer [19]
Venus Williams [23] vs. Tsvetana Pironkova [32]

The big story here is that the Williams sisters are still alive and since they are on opposite sides of the draw, are we headed for yet another All-Williams final? Serena Williams probably has the better chance to win the whole tournament than her sister, but she definitely has the tougher road to get there getting Marion Bartoli and then having to face either Caroline Wozniacki or Maria Sharapova.

Venus Williams on the other hand is the only one in her side to even reach a Grand Slam final, let alone win one. But she'll need to avenge last year's loss first to Tsvetana Pironkova in order to even get that far.

Predictions: The higher seeds, should get through their matches along with Sabine Lisicki and Tamira Paszek. My earlier predictions are still for the most part OKAY since those I've predicted to win that to go to the semifinals are still alive!

Rafael Nadal [1] vs. Juan Martin Del Potro [24]

Tomas Berdych [6] vs. Mardy Fish [10]
Andy Murray [4] vs. Richard Gasquet [17]
Feliciano Lopez vs. Lukasz Kubot

David Ferrer [7] vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [12]
Roger Federer [3] vs. Mikhail Youzhny [18]
Xavier Malisse vs. Bernard Tomic
Novak Djokovic [2] vs. Michael Llodra [19]

The top four keep on rolling as they, combined, have only lost three sets. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic should be heavily favored in their match-ups as should Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, but the latter two will face a bit more of a challenge especially since Juan Martin Del Potro and Richard Gasquet respectively have cost them problems before in big matches.

The other matches are a bit more in the toss-up column and for many it'll be their first fourth round showing at Wimbledon. Can some of them go one further?

Predictions: With Andy Roddick and Jurgen Melzer out, my predictions earlier are messed up, but I still have the top four meeting at the SF which I still feel comfortable in predicting. I also predicted Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to join the top four in the next round so I'll keep them. As for my replacement quarterfinalists, I'll choose Feliciano Lopez and Xavier Malisse.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Do I "Love" These "Crazy Stupid" Posters?

When the trailer for Crazy, Stupid, Love came out a couple months ago, I instantly fell in love with the film and knew I would be counting down impatiently until I had seen it. First of all, the cast is stacked with so many people I love, it's beyond hilarious. Plus for a romantic comedy, this one actually looks a bit smart, which is sadly rare enough.

More recently, the posters for the film were released, and I'm just not sure what I think about it. The graphic above of all the posters, which I got from tumblr, shows the posters a bit more saturated than what they actually are. Either way though, I have mixed feelings. My initial thought is that I liked them, but is the immense pre-love for the film clouding my judgment? Upon further reflection, yes, they're all certainly "fun" and I like the use of the words from the title to inform the images, but there's something about the bubbly background and the images chosen that seem off/unfinished to me.

Whatever, I'll still be seeing the movie opening weekend. Anyone care to judge one way or another?

ETA: I was going to make some joke copycatting Emma Stone's character's line "Seriously, it's like you're Photoshopped!" But I didn't.

Wimbledon Report: Day 6

With the All-England Club taking their traditional breather on the middle Sunday of the tournament, it was very important for the tournament to finish all of the third round matches, men and women, on this Saturday. Better weather and not a lot of super long matches, made this possible!

The cream of the crop is slowly rising as most of the top contenders are still alive and playing well. For the women, top seeds Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, and Serena Williams all move through today giving up only 5 games each to their opponents. For the men, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Juan Martin Del Potro also got through with straight-set wins. Nadal and Del Potro, however, had to dig deep to win their first two sets in tight tiebreaks, but was then able to close it out in the third much more easily. Federer faced long-time on-court foe and off-court friend, David Nalbandian.

Winning against 32nd seed Marcos Baghdatis, a relieved Novak Djokovic was happy to win by "playing ugly," losing his first set of the tournament. 9th seed Marion Bartoli also lost a set and had to come back to win it 9-7 in the third. Two former French Open champions weren't so lucky as 6th seed Francesca Schiavone and 18th seed Ana Ivanovic were ousted before the second week. Schiavone served for the match twice, but just couldn't finish it out. 16th seed Julia Georges was the only other women seed to go out early. And finally, if you had asked me a week ago if 10th seed Mardy Fish would reach his first ever Wimbledon fourth round while Robin Soderling, Gael Monfils, Jurgen Melzer, Gilles Simon, and even Nicolas Almagro won't (because they all lost today), I'd call you certifiable. And yet, here we are, even after Andy Roddick's shocking early-exit from the day before.

As I said, no tennis tomorrow, but I should be posting my general thoughts for what has happened so far and what it all means for the second week of the fortnight. Until then, time to rest.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wimbledon Report: Day 5

Crazy work day, family stuff, and a little something called Marriage Equality all conspired to make Wimbledon the last thing on my mind today, but there's no time like the present to talk about the fifth day of the tournament.

There were two big upsets today as former finalists 8th seed Andy Roddick and 2nd seed Vera Zvonareva were both ousted today. Roddick, who only reached the finals back in 2009, was beaten by solid grass court player Feliciano Lopez while Zvonareva, last year's losing finalist, was manhandled by 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova. Zvonareva was joined by 11th seed Andrea Petkovic and 12th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. The other seeded men to play today made it through with 4th seed Andy Murray and 1th seed Richard Gasquet setting up a mouth-watering 4th round duel between two former semifinalists after both winning their matches.

In keeping in line with what's happened so far, the women's match scheduled for Centre Court yet again went the distance as 4th seed Victoria Azarenka had to play a third set against 25th seed Daniela Hantuchova. They traded sets until rain forced a slight delay. When they came back, Azarenka dominated under the roof to reach the next round. A few of the other top contenders to win today include top seed Caroline Wozniacki, 5th seed Maria Sharapova, 8th seed Petra Kvitova, 9th seed Marion Bartoli, and 23rd seed Venus Williams.

Rain suspended and postponed play yet again with Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin Del Potro, Gael Monfils, Francesca Schiavone, Mardy Fish, and Tomas Berdych all being affected. Fortunately, the forecast seem to indicate that this might be the last day the rain will effect play. With the tournament taking Sunday off, they are praying that all matches complete tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New York Passes Marriage Equality Act

Don't even know what I want to say right now. I just knew that I had to blog about this historic and wonderful event. New York has become the 6th state to approve same-sex marriage after the Senate passed the Marriage Equality Act with 33 votes in favor. I've been tweeting and tumblring my reactions and I'm still buzzed from the awesomeness of it all. Great job New York. You make me love living here more and more.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wimbledon Report: Day 4

As I said yesterday, I wouldn't be able to watch today's matches because of a family matter, but it did give me a chance to take advantage of Radio Wimbledon. It wasn't pitch perfect and just listening to a tennis match was a bit odd, but it was better than nothing. So with that said, what did transpire today other than rain YET AGAIN interrupting play?

It was another eventful day on Centre Court as two matches went the distance. One of those matches was 5th seed Robin Soderling against former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt did great to win the first 2 sets, but Soderling mounted a heroic comeback winning the next three tight sets to move on. 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 16th seed Nicolas Almagro also fought hard, winning in four grueling sets. Almagro defeated American John Isner who awaits another year to make a deep run on the grass. 24th seed Juan Martin Del Potro, losing the first set last night against Olivier Rochus, wins the next three sets today in easier fashion to move through.

Favorites Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic showed great and consistent form sweeping past their opponents today as they've done so far in the tournament. In the next round, they'll get a bit tested as they'll respectively meet David Nalbandian and Marcos Baghdatis who also won today. 13th seed Viktor Troiki, 20th seed Florian Mayer, and 26th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez all fell.

The other long-distance match at Centre Court today was between wildcard recipient Sabine Lisicki and French Open champion Li Na. After winning the first set, it looked as if Li would go on cruise control, but Lisicki jumped ahead and eventually won the 2nd set. Li, for her part, composed herself and quickly led the 3rd set with a break. On Lisicki's serve, Li had 2 match points she just couldn't convert and then subsequently dropped served twice while serving for the match. At 6-7 with her forehand collapsing, Li had to serve again, this time to stay in the match. Happily for Lisicki, it wasn't meant to be for Li, as the German wins on her 3rd match point. A tough loss for sure for Li, but she can now fully savor her French Open win and hopefully be a bit more confident for the summer hardcourt season.

Funnily enough, a few former French Open champions did well to win today. 6th seed Francesca Schiavone, 12th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, and 18th seed Ana Ivanovic all made their matches look easy which is so unlike them. Elsewhere, Serena Williams, inexplicably relegated to Court 2, had to comeback yet again after dropping the first set. She clearly is still rusty, but every match is helping. There were a few seeded upsets, namely 13th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and 31st seed Lucie Safarova.

Because of rain and/or extraordinarily long matches, a few players' matches were outright cancelled or will continue tomorrow. Among those displaced were Maria Sharapova, David Ferrer, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Jurgen Melzer, and Shuai Peng.

Birthday Boy: Joss Whedon

Mad genius Joss Whedon, aka creator of my favorite show of all time, celebrates his 47th birthday today and while he was unable to pursue his dream of making a Wonder Woman film, he is quite busy writing and directing the much-anticipated film The Avengers. His long-completed horror film The Cabin in the Woods is also finally set to release this Halloween. He also received the Vanguard Award from the Producers Guild of America last year.

In honor of Joss, I decided last night to come up with a list of my top ten favorite characters from his various shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse) aka the Whedonverse*. Apart from my top pick, I found it nearly impossible to choose amongst the wonderful characters he has created throughout the years. I was debating listing 47 characters for his age, but a) that's just silly and b) that probably wouldn't have it that much easier.

*Yes, I know he's done more. There's Dr. Horrible, his other films, and his comic-book stuff, but as this is already a difficult task, I've decided to limit myself accordingly.

So presented with very little commentary, my Top Ten Whedonverse Characters:

1. Willow Rosenberg
- As I've said before, she's my favorite and will always be my favorite.
2. Faith Lehane - Part of it is Eliza Dushku inherent hotness, but how can you not love someone whose motto is "Want. Take. Have."?
3. Dr. Simon Tam - While River is the heart of the show, Simon is her keeper his relationship with her is just touching.
4. Cordelia Chase - Apart from Willow, her character growth/arc is one of the best.
5. Daniel "Oz" Osborne - A werewolf in love, do I REALLY need to say more? Because he didn't.
6. Buffy Summers - Too low? Perhaps, but I'm usually not drawn to the MAIN CHARACTER. Still, she's an automatic part of this list.
7. Winifred "Fred" Burkle/Illyria - Cheating since this is two characters? Probably, but tough since I love them both.
8. Anya Jenkins/Anyanka - Sigh. I was devastated by her death and her arc really.
9. Victor/Anthony - Enver Gjokaj was like a chameleon making this character oh so fun to watch.
10. Kaylee Frye - She has great taste in ships and men. Need I say more?

Ugh. That was really hard. Remind me to never ever do that again. Though as soon as I started writing this list, another list came to my head: Top 10 Dead Whedonverse Characters. That should be loads of fun. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wimbledon Report: Day 3

This part of the draw must be cursed since rain has yet again interrupted play. Thankfully, it only amounted to delaying the start of play with a good chunk of matches still able to be completed. Still, there'll be a few some overflow matches tomorrow.

For a second straight day, a Williams sister brought big-time drama at Centre Court. Today it was 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams who was mere points away from defeat in the hands of the timeless Kimiko Date-Krumm. Date-Krumm played some inspired grass-court tennis to almost cause the monumental upset, but she played only one truly bad game in the end that cost her the match. With her still playing great tennis at her age, it makes one wonder why others (Dementieva, Hingis, Henin, Vaidisova, etc.) walked away so early?

With this said, it was actually a relatively drama-free day for the ladies as most of the seeds that played moved to the next round. The one exception was 30th seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands who still had to play her first round match. Top ten players Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Azarenka, and Petra Kvitova all got through in straight sets. 11th seed Andrea Petkovic played the very last match of the day, winning in 3.

Unlike the women, there was a litany of upset in the men's draw. Granted most of the top contenders such as Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Andy Roddick were troubled very little. And yet it was still quite a bloodbath for seeds. Among the casualties were 14th seed Stan Wawrinka, 21st seed Fernando Verdasco, 25th seed Juan Ignacio Chela, and 31st seed Milos Raonic. The latter was the favorite to win his match and meet Nadal in the next round, but when he fell and injured his knee/thigh he had to retire.

Joining the top contenders to the next round are 6th seed Tomas Berdych, 9th seed Gael Monfils, 10th seed Mardy Fish, and 17th seed Richard Gasquet. 24th seed Juan Martin Del Potro only got a chance to play one set which he inexplicably lost in a tiebreak against Olivier Rochus. The point of absurdity was reached when the 5'6" Rochus delivered a lob winner against the 6'6" Del Potro. The Argentinian best step up tomorrow!

Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to watch any matches tomorrow due to a family thing, but I'll definitely keep up-to-date.

Looking Forward To...

In the next few weeks, some of my favorite summer shows are premiering. Sadly, one of them won't be Mad Men since contract negotiations between the creator and the network didn't go as smoothly as it should've been. No matter, these two shows (among others) should keep me entertained through the hot summer months.

True Blood
Creator: Alan Ball
Season Premiere: June 26, 2010
Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell, Nelsan Ellis, Chris Bauer, Jim Parrack, Carrie Preston, Todd Lowe, Deborah Ann Woll, and Kristin Bauer

Previously: Eric buries Russell in a ton of cement as well as tells Sookie about Bill's deal with the Queen for him to taste her fairy blood. Bill now wants to kill the Queen. Sookie, for her part, gets transported to the fairy realm while her best friend Tara leaves town. Elsewhere, Jason longs for her werepanther girlfriend, Hoyt/Jessica move in together, Sam shoots Tommy, Alcide still can't find a shirt, Lafayette's boy is a witch and more witches be coming.

Breaking Bad
Creator: Vince Gilligan
Season Premiere: July 17, 2010
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Giancarlo Esposito, Bob Odesnik, RJ Mitte, and Betsy Brandt

Previously: Walt tries to work again for Gus while keeping Jesse out of sight. Gus recruits Gale to learn about Walt's method in order to kill Walt, except Walt is way ahead of him and is already plotting poor innocent Gale's death. Captured by Mike, Walt gets a message to Jesse to kill Gale and for his part, Jesse seemingly shoots him. Elsewhere, Skyler is learning more about money laundering while Hank is still mopey.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wimbledon Report: Day 2

Even though the wind made play a bit tricky for some players, thankfully the rain stayed away after postponing many of the matches the day before. Water was shed though from a very unlikely source.

Defending champion Serena Williams played her first Grand Slam match at Centre Court since she won the title last year. It wasn't easy as she had to gut out a 3-set win and by the end her emotions overwhelmed her. She was still tearing up when she spoke to the media after the match. And who could blame her after being unable to play for a year and getting a couple of surgeries that could've threatened her career.

Other top contenders who joined Serena in the second round include top seed Caroline Wozniacki, 3rd seed Na Li, 4th seed Victoria Azarenka, 5th seed Maria Sharapova, 8th seed Petra Kvitova, 9th seed Marion Bartoli, 11th seed Andrea Petkovic, and 18th seed Ana Ivanovic who all moved routinely in straight sets. The latter absolutely demolished American upstart Melanie Oudin. Unfortunately former Grand Slam finalists 10th seed Sam Stosur and 15th seed Jelena Jankovic weren't so lucky as they were unceremoniously bounced from the first round.

Unlike the women, no huge upsets for the men today as the top contenders including 2nd seed Novak Djokovic, 3rd seed Roger Federer, 7th seed David Ferrer, 8th seed Andy Roddick, 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and 24th seed Juan Martin Del Potro who all moved through with minimal drama. 5th seed Robin Soderling had to win in four sets after seemingly injuring himself in the third set. Other four-set winners include 11th seed Jurgen Melzer, 12th seed Gilles Simon, 18th seed Mikhail Youzhny, and former champion Lleyton Hewitt. The latter outlasted the younger Kei Nishikori in one of the outer courts.

The long awaited and much-anticipated rematch of The Longest Tennis Match Ever between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut lasted about 9 hours less than their historic match last year with Isner winning again, this time in 3 relatively straightforward sets. Joining Mahut on the sideline are 22nd seed Alexandr Dologopolov (beaten by former top 10 Fernando Gonzalez), 23rd seed Janko Tipsaveric (retired against Ivo Karlovic), 27th seed Marin Cilic (beaten by veteran Ivan Ljubicic), 29th seed Nikolay Davydenko, and unseeded James Blake who lost in a tight 5-set match against 32nd seed Marcos Baghdatis. 21st seed Fernando Verdasco won his close 5-set match against Radek Stepanek, 9-7 in the fifth set.

Though it's the longest day of the year, there are still some first round matches that will need to be played tomorrow due to the packed schedule today. But for the most part, it's on to the Second Round!

Video: Perform This Way

This is possibly the single best thing pop culture has given us this year.

Yes, this is Weird Al Yankovic singing his already classic "Perform This Way," a parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." I thought the song was genius when I heard it a few weeks ago, but this music video is all kinds of amazing if only for the unforgettable image of Weird Al's face on some hot girl's body.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Critics' Choice Television Awards Winners

The wealth was nicely distributed at the inaugural Critics' Choice Television Awards with Mad Men the only show to win more than one award. On the one hand, there are some nice left field winners with deserved recognition for John Noble and Busy Phillips, but on the other hand they stayed on point when it comes to the people who might end up with an Emmy Award in a couple of months which is a bit boring.

The winners and some of my thoughts below:

Best Drama Series: Mad Men
Best Actor, Drama: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Best Actress, Drama: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Best Supporting Actor, Drama: John Noble, Fringe
Best Supporting Actress, Drama: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men & Margo Martindale, Justified

I know Mad Men is a critical favorite, but I thought it was an oddly safe choice. You'd think for their first year, they'd want to start with a bang. I myself would've probably picked Fringe or The Walking Dead. Quite happy to see Christina Hendricks tie for a win, but I honestly thought she'd be the last person they pick from the nominees. And while I personally wouldn't have picked Jon Hamm this year, let it be known that he hasn't yet won an Emmy for playing Don Draper. That's just criminal. Fuck yeah John Noble!

Best Comedy Series: Modern Family
Best Actor, Comedy: Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Best Actress, Comedy: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy: Neil Patrick Harris, HIMYM
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy: Busy Phillips, Cougar Town

I think the most shocking thing about these results is the lack of Parks & Recreation win especially since it really seemed like P&R was the critical darling this season. And yet five other sitcoms won the five awards given. I would've probably given Parks a win for Best Comedy and Best Actress. In fact Tina Fey's win, out of the whole bunch, felt the most off to be honest. Amy Poehler or Martha Plimpton really should've gotten it. Also how did NPH manage to get singled out from the insane competition he had? Was everyone still high from his Tony-hosting gig? Fuck yeah Busy Phillips!

Best Reality Series: Hoarders and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Best Reality Series, Competition: American Idol
Best Reality Show Host: Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs
Best Talk Show: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Did the Broadcast Television Journalists Association really think that American Idol was the "best" reality competition series this year? If so, I really think their credentials need to be checked again. Though, I give them some props by resisting the urge to kowtow to Her Holiness Oprah by giving Jon Stewart, aka someone who actually deserved it, the win.

All in all, a somewhat mixed bag filled with some pleasant surprises along with some dull choices. I did praise them for their nominees which I'm still confident will outstrip the eventual Emmy nominees, but now the question becomes which of these shows and actors will repeat at the Emmys? Which do you think?

Wimbledon Report: Day 1

The big story on the first day of Wimbledon is still the impending re-match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut which will be taking place tomorrow on the newly built Court 3. The match will be fourth in that court in a jam-packed Tuesday that includes more than 30 matches that were suspended or cancelled today due to rain.

Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal led the top half of the draw by playing first on Centre Court per tradition. He won his 15th consecutive match at Wimbledon after coming from a break down in the first set. Under the roof, 4th seed Andy Murray came back from losing the first set to then dominate the next three sets winning 15 consecutive games. Other seeded players to make it through before the rain include 6th seed Tomas Berdych, 9th seed Gael Monfils, 10th seed Mardy Fish, 14th seed Stan Wawrinka, 17th seed Richard Gasquet, and 31st seed Milos Raonic.

Only two men's seeds fell today, 27th seed Marin Cilic and 30th seed Thomaz Bellucci, but other notable names to exit early include 2009 semifinalist Tommy Haas and recent Halle champion Phillip Kohlschreiber.

Playing in only her fourth tournament this year, 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams played as if she's never left winning in straight sets. She left the court so fast, you almost missed out on her latest Wimbledon fashion. A few others didn't have as easy a time with 2nd seed Vera Zvonareva, 6th seed Francesca Schiavone, and 12th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova needing to go to three to move on.

Kimiko Date-Krumm continued to show everyone that age is just a number as she notched the first win at this year's tournament taking out Britain's Katie O'Brien. Joining the young Brit, these seeds went out today: 17th seed Kaia Kanepi, 22nd seed Shahar Peer, and 28th seed Ekaterina Makarova.

There's rain in the forecast tomorrow, so the schedule will undoubtedly be in chaos yet again, but I bet there will still be some great tennis!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Eight months ago Neil Patrick Harris and his boyfriend, David Burtka, welcomed fraternal twins Gideon Scott and Harper Grace into the world. A couple of months after that, the picture above was taken. God, don't they just look perfect?

So to NPH, David, and all of the dads everywhere... Happy Father's Day!

Wimbledon Preview

The tennis world moves to the green grass of the All-England Club at Wimbledon for the third Grand Slam tournament of the year, which begins this coming Monday. Below are my initial thoughts and predictions.

Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal is entering the tournament with a 14-match win streak at the All-England club and though he has a tricky draw, it's hard not to see him powering through to the finals yet again. Boosted by his performance at the French Open, 3rd seed Roger Federer, who won Wimbledon just two years ago, should like his chances to win his first Grand Slam this year. But while it's easy to predict yet another Fedal Final, 2nd seed Novak Djokovic has only lost ONE match this year and 4th seed Andy Murray, fresh from winning on grass last week, is hungrier than ever for his first Grand Slam title.

Former Wimbledon finalists 6th seed Tomas Berdych and 8th seed Andy Roddick should not be underestimated, but then again they haven't played their best tennis recently. There is also 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who recently reached the finals at Queen's Club losing to Murray as well as the two German Philipps (Kohlschreiber and Petzschner) who reached the Halle final last week. There's also big-serving Juan Martin Del Potro and former semifinalist Richard Gasquet. With all of that said though, the match everyone is most anticipating will be the first round rematch of The Longest Tennis Match Ever between Nicholas Mahut and John Isner. The tennis gods surely have a wicked sense of humor don't they?

Rafael Nadal d. Tomas Berdych
Andy Murray d. Andy Roddick
Roger Federer d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Novak Djokovic d. Jurgen Melzer

Rafael Nadal d. Andy Murray
Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer d. Rafael Nadal

With Kim Clijsters out with injury, it's just one less player Serena Williams will have to beat en route to her first title since she won the tournament last year, which incidentally was also her last tournament played until last week's turn-up event. Ranked in the 20s, but seeded 8th, she's still the favorite. Her sister, Venus Williams is seeded 23rd, but has also seen very, very little play. Still, underestimate the Williams sisters at your peril especially at Wimbledon. Former champion and 5th seed Maria Sharapova should do some damage here as well as recent French Open champion and 3rd seed Na Li.

Like for the past year or two, this is a good opportunity for top seed Caroline Wozniacki, 2nd seed Vera Zvonareva, and 4th seed Victoria Azarenka to finally step up and claim their first Grand Slam title. The latter especially would do well to at least reach her first slam final. 9th seed and former finalist Marion Bartoli shouldn't be ignored as well as former slam champions Francesca Schiavone, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Ana Ivanovic.

Maria Sharapova d. Caroline Wozniacki
Serena Williams d. Na Li
Victoria Azarenka d. Andrea Petkovic
Petra Kvitova d. Vera Zvonareva

Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova
Victoria Azarenka d. Petra Kvitova

Serena Williams d. Victoria Azarenka

FINAL WORD: Picking Federer to win is probably a bit of wishful thinking on my part since Nadal IS the favorite, but I would be shocked to see a winner not seeded in the top 4. As for Serena, if she's healthy, she will win this. There's no one that can match her will and power on court. Best people can hope for is she's really rusty, but even then she won't go down easily.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

BBC aka Bamber Broadcasting Corporation

When BBC America announced a few months back that they will start airing Battlestar Galactica as part of their "Supernatural Saturdays," more than a few heads were asking "Why?" Enter London-born and very British Jamie Bamber who stars as one of the main characters of said show. Of course, Bamber loses his British accent on the show, so one can hardly tell where he was from.

For their part, BBC America took this and ran with it in marketing the show. They released the following "Secretly British" commercial putting a fun twist to the tenor and plot of the show:

Brilliant right? But then they recently took it further by highlighting how ubiquitous Jamie Bamber really is on the network. He also stars in Outcasts, another sci-fi show part of their "Supernatural Saturday" lineup. Apart from his sci-fi roles, he plays a detective in Law & Order: UK. This led the BBC America to cheekily dub themselves as the Bamber Broadcasting Corporation in this witty commercial:

Academy Rule Changes and New Members

Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced a few changes to their award show. The main change was a new system to determine Best Picture nominees with a film needing 5% of first place votes to be nominated. This makes the final tally of BP nominees variable (minimum 5 - maximum 10) from year to year. Like any change, it's getting mixed reactions. Others like that it gives the category a bit more exclusivity while others bemoan another major change to the category so soon after the last one. For me, I generally like the idea of it, but the stats guy in me cringe at the thought of every year having different number of nominees. I'll hold off until I actually see this in practice the next few years.

In less controversial news (well relatively), the Academy also recently welcomed 178 new members to its fold giving them all that coveted chance to vote for who gets nominated and ultimately wins an Academy Award. Among them are 27 actors which I have broken up into the categories below.

Former Nominees -- Fresh off being nominated earlier this year, Jesse Eisenberg, John Hawkes, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jacki Weaver are now Academy members. Ellen Page, who had to wait a bit longer, was also invited.

Young Future Nominees -- Either these young actors delivered Oscar-worthy performances that were sadly not recognized (Mila Kunis, Anthony Mackie) or the Academy thinks this performance is in them (Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska).

Across-the-Pond Actors -- Joining Australian Wasikowska, a bunch of non-American born actors make it in this year's invite list including Vincent Cassel, Robbie Coltrane, Lesley Manville, Gerard Butler, Russell Brand, Nastassja Kinski, Connie Nielsen, and Dominic Monaghan. Where the Asians at though?

Known/Former TV Stars -- Apparently working on the small screens is not hindrance to voting for film's ultimate awards. Lost's Monaghan was already mentioned, but how about former Alias co-stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Garner? Showtime gets lots of love as David Duchovny (Californication), Thomas Jane (Hung), and John Corbett and Rosemarie DeWitt (United States of Tara) make it in. Finally, Peter Dinklage is currently wowing audience in HBO's Game of Thrones.

Miscellaneous -- Tea Leoni because they couldn't not invite her after inviting her husband (David Duchovny); Beyonce Knowles because they really didn't want to ask Justin Timberlake; Wes Studi because without him who would they hire to play Native American in films?

Of course there were a few other notable invites in other branches. Oscar winners Tom Hooper and Aaron Sorkin were obviously invited, but after having a career year Lisa Cholodenko, Debra Granik, Gregg Araki, and John Cameron Mitchell were also welcomed in. Finally, the Academy also gave their first posthumous invite to documentarian Tim Hetherington who died earlier this year, after his film Restrepo was nominated for an Academy Award. For a complete list of new member invites, click here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Birthday Boy: Arthur Darvill

Most of you are probably going "Who the hell is Arthur Darvill?" But Doctor Who fans know he plays Rory Williams, one of only a handful of male companions to accompany The Doctor as he travels through space in time. He has quickly become one of my favorite companions of the show in part due to his amazing chemistry with current Doctor Matt Smith and TV wife Karen Gillan. Plus he is easy on the eyes in that totally adorkable awkward kind of way.

Admittedly his Doctor Who role is his most popular role to date. Apparently he played "Groom" in Russell Crowe's Robin Hood and appeared in a few episodes of British mini-series Little Dorrit. He also makes his own music and is quite comfortable on stage. His next venture will be playing Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus at the famed Globe Theater in London.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SYTYCD: Season 8

My summer guilty pleasure show So You Think You Can Dance is back and hopefully better than ever. The Top 20 is back this season, but after they get down to the top 10, the fan-favorite All-Stars, which made its debut last season, will be back as well. So without further a due, here are the top 20 contestant and my very preliminary thoughts on a few:

[x] Alexander Fost, 21, Contemporary - You could tell he's a ridiculously accomplished dancer, but he is lacking personality which can cost him.
[x] Ashley Rich, 22, Contemporary
[x] Caitlynn Lawson, 18, Contemporary
[x] Chris Koehl, 21, Hip Hop
[x] Clarice Ordaz, 19, Jazz - Not sure why, but I quite like her. I'm hoping she does well.
[x] Iveta Lukosiute, 30, Ballroom - She's damn talented and her determination to be on the show is admirable. Still, she'll need to connect with the audience quickly if she wants to keep up with the younguns.
[x] Jess LeProtto, 18, Broadway - Totally adorable and very energetic. Judges already called him out on his arrogance which is not a good sign, but the audience will love him.
[x] Jordan Casanova, 18, Jazz
[x] Marko Germar, 22, Jazz - He's cute and insanely personable. Plus he has that hook of having a bullet lodge into his shoulder. Come on.
[x] Melanie Moore, 19, Contemporary - She has such a unique look and just some sick moves.
[x] Miranda Maleski, 19, Contemporary
[x] Missy Morelli, 20, Jazz
[x] Mitchell Kelly, 20, Contemporary
[x] Nick Young, 19, Tap - His style puts him at a disadvantage, but if he can keep up with the rest on others, his boy-next-door looks and personality will do him well.
[x] Ricky Jaime, 19, Contempoary - Great lines and wonderful energy and just seem like an all-around nice guy. Also did I mention cute?
[x] Robert Taylor Jr., 31, Hip Hop - He's already an audience favorite, but his enthusiasm might grate on some if he doesn't tone it down or impress early.
[x] Ryan Ramirez, 19, Contemporary - She's a bit all the the place, but if she can tone it down and/or harness that into her dancing, she could surprise. She almost made it in last year.
[x] Sasha Mallory, 23, Contemporary - With her dynamnic dance style and personality, she's a bonifide audience favorite. It helps that her relationship with her sister was featured lots pre-Hollywood.
[x] Tadd Gadduang, 25, Hip Hop - I'd probably like him more if his hair wasn't so damn distracting!
[x] Wadi Jones, 24, Hip Hop - Probably my favorite hip hopper this year, but I'm going to need to see more.

Whew. Now I don't have any favorites per se, unlike other seasons, but there are a few that I'm hoping prove me right a bit. I also hope that those few who didn't make much of an impact on me, do soon. Their first competition night is tonight and I can't wait!

TCA Awards Nominations

Earlier this week, the Television Critics Association (TCA) picked their nominations singling out the best of TV during the past year. This is not to be confused by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association who came out with their nominations just a week ago. The TCA's nominees are below...

Program of the Year
Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
Parks and Recreation

I don't watch Boardwalk Empire or Justified so who knows if they deserve to be here, but I'm definitely rooting for Parks & Rec. Now, I like Friday Night Lights, but its final season was a bit hit and miss for me. And Game of Thrones is good, but "program of the year" good? Personally I'd put The Good Wife or Fringe up instead. Speaking of the latter, Fringe was snubbed in all categories which means the TCA do not want enough TV.

Outstanding Achievement in Drama
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
Mad Men
The Good Wife

Still no Fringe which is just really frustrating, especially since it's not going to be nominated for an Emmy anytime soon, so throw the show a bone here! But really the shows they've picked aren't terrible at all. They did include Mad Men and The Good Wife so that's something. I'll be rooting for the latter to win.

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Raising Hope

It's a bit sad that Glee couldn't even muster a showing here, but I definitely agree that it did NOT deserve it this year, so I'm good. I don't watch Louie, but I've heard good stuff and I'd only be tempted to replace it with How I Met Your Mother, which didn't have a great season. Parks & Rec for the win!

Individual Achievement in Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

Happy to see Hamm and Marguilies expectantly make it in though I feel for Elisabeth Moss or Alan Cumming in their respective shows since they totally deserve to be nominated as well. Great showing for Peter Dinklage being singled out from his huge ensemble. Again, I'm pissed off at the Fringe snubs since John Noble and Anna Torv were truly MVPs this season. I also expected Michelle Forbes from The Killing to make it. Dinklage winning would be awesome.

Individual Achievement in Comedy
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Louis C.K., Louis
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Danny Pudi, Community
Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

I pretty much agree with the picks. I'm especially tickled with Offerman and Pudi's very well-deserved nominations. You could've nominated every single person in Modern Family (and Parks & Rec), so it's sad not more were able to be recognized. A bit shocked not to see Martha Plimpton here for Raising Hope especially since her show was nominated. I also thought that Chris Colfer or Jim Parsons might make it in. My pick to win would either be Burrell or Poehler.

Outstanding New Program
Boardwalk Empire
Game of Thrones
The Killing
Walking Dead

All of these show aren't on broadcast TV! HOW SHOCKED AM I? Not at all really since all of the great new shows premiered on cable or premium TV this year. Such a sad state of affairs for broadcast TV. Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones will win. I'm not really rooting for any show here.

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information
If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise
60 Minutes
The Rachel Maddow Show
30 for 30

Go Rachel Maddow! Though I heard good stuff regarding Restrepo and 30 for 30.

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming
Amazing Race
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
The Voice
Top Chef: All Stars

Where's Jersey Shore?! I demand a recount. Just kidding, I've never actually seen an episode of the dreck. I only watch one show here and so I'm rooting for Amazing Race to win. Though I'm sure it's been nominated and won before. Oh well.

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming
A Children’s Garden of Poetry
Nick News with Linda Ellerbee
R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour
Sesame Street
Yo Gabba Gabba

Surprisingly, I have no comment. Except to muse how upset Dora and Spongebob are. They're both probably knocking back a few to drown out the disappointment.

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials
Cineme Verite
Downton Abbey: Masterpiece
Mildred Pierce
Sherlock: Masterpiece
Too Big to Fail

I've only seen three and I'm probably slightly rooting for Sherlock over Downtown Abbey, but either one would be a worthy winner. The other film I saw was Mildred Pierce and actually I didn't finish watching it.

Career Achievement Award
Steven Bochco
Dick Ebersol
Cloris Leachman
David Letterman
William Shatner
Oprah Winfrey

Is there really a scenario in which Oprah Winfrey doesn't win this award? I mean really now.

Heritage Award
All in the Family
Freaks and Geeks
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Twin Peaks

What an interesting mixture of shows! I have no idea who would be the frontrunner in such a list, but they all damn deserve it. I'm slightly hoping for Freaks and Geeks to win for obvious reasons (aka I grew up with it), but it's probably the one that's least likely to, right?