Much Anticipated Academy Awards Nomination Post…


Okay, I have a confession. I am REALLY into the Academy Awards. And unlike the millions of entertainment and celebrity folks out there who tune in Oscar night to see the fashions, I watch to find out if my favorite movies won. (Although I must admit, the fashions are a bonus!)

This year (due to graduate school), I am dreadfully behind on my movies. I’ve only seen a couple of the ones in contention. And over the next coming weeks, I will do my best to see all of the movies in the main categories. (I do this every year – run around like a chicken with my head cut-off to see most of the Oscar movies before the show.)

So, over the next couple of weeks, you will have to bear with my film posts. And truthfully, I will be posting more film reviews too. If you don’t have time to check out the films yourself, be sure to drop by and check out what I thought and leave your comments. I’d love to hear what you think of the movies too. (The Academy doesn’t always select the “right” ones. LOL)

Below are the contenders (as well as my thoughts on the movies)!!!


  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  2. “Frost/Nixon”
  3. “Milk”
  4. “The Reader”
  5. “Slumdog Millionaire”

This is the category that is the MUST SEE group. In order to have an even remotely serious conversation about movies this year, you need to see the flicks in this group. I’m playing a bit of catch-up this year. I’ve only seen “Reader” and “Slumdog” out of this group. And both movies were fantastic. I haven’t seen all of these films *yet*, but I’m in love with “Slumdog.” (Damn, why didn’t I write a review.) I heart’d the movie in a big way (yes, I’m gushing a little). I also really liked “Reader.” Super powerful movie. Yet, for me, “Slumdog” has eeked out a lead for me.

It’s equally important to point out that the same movies were nominated for the Golden Globes Best Picture – Drama award. And my fav, “Slumdog” was the winner. Nuff said.



  1. Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor”
  2. Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon”
  3. Sean Penn in “Milk”
  4. Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  5. Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”

In this category, I am way behind. I haven’t seen any of the movies up for Leading Actor. I better get to it. First on my list to see – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Wrestler”. Believe it or not, I’ve heard mixed reviews on “Benjamin Button.” So, I must see for myself. And the preview for “The Wrestler” is pretty compelling. It’s not the type of movie that I would traditionally see on opening night but the drama and “realness” of the characters has peaked my interest.

Interesting to note, Leonardo DiCaprio in “Revolutionary Road” was nominated for Best Actor – Drama for the Golden Globes but not by the Academy. Hmmm.. Poor Leonardo. His performance in “Road” was good but in many ways upstaged by Kate Winslet and Michael Shannon (who played a mentally ill mathematician was chilling and intense)  in the movie. I guess that’s why they were both nominated by the Academy.

Oh, by the way, G2 (Short for Golden Globes) gave the award to Rourke for his performance in “The Wrestler.” Like I said, this movie is first on my catch-up list.


  1. Josh Brolin in “Milk”
  2. Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”
  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”
  4. Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
  5. Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”

In this category, I’ve only see “Revolutionary Road.” I should have wrote a review about it. I enjoyed the movie. The acting was superb. However, the movie was very dark and I left depressed. It is definitely not a feel-good flick. I definitely think it is a “you can’t miss this movie” kind of film. You need to see this one. (Hey, there’s your review.) I still have to see “The Dark Knight.” I wonder if the Academy would give the award to Heath Ledger, who is no longer with us. Note, Ledger won the Golden Globes award in this group.

This category truly includes actors from completely different types of movies. I’m anxious to see “The Dark Knight” and “Doubt.” I’m not so sure about “Tropic Thunder.” I don’t understand why (and not sure how I feel about) Robert Downey Jr. played a black man in the movie. (There weren’t any black actors? A little too reminiscent of “black face” for me.) With that being said, I’m still interested in seeing his skills in the role (however politically incorrect it may be.)



  1. Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”
  2. Angelina Jolie in “Changeling”
  3. Melissa Leo in “Frozen River”
  4. Meryl Streep in “Doubt”
  5. Kate Winslet in “The Reader”

This is one of my favorite categories. Maybe because I always wanted to be an actress. Anyway..I’ve seen “The Reader” and Winslet’s performance is fantastic. I haven’t seen the other movies *yet.* But, Winslet was so good in “The Reader” that either the other actresses in this category have delivered equally challenging and competitive performances? OR Winslet is going to blow the rest out of the water. My opinion obviously (especially without seeing the other movies yet), but her acting was spellbinding.

Also, Winslet won a Golden Globe award for Best Actress but for “Revolutionary Road” not “The Reader.” I’ve seen both of these films and she was amazing in both.  Hey, she also won a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress for her job in “The Reader.” She’s the chick to beat this year (for real)!

First on my list to see, “Doubt” because it has folks nominated in multiple categories. Strangely though, the movie itself wasn’t nominated for best picture.


  1. Amy Adams in “Doubt”
  2. Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
  3. Viola Davis in “Doubt”
  4. Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  5. Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler”

I love the diversity in this category this year. Wow.. We go from Penélope Cruz to Marisa Tomei to Taraji P. Henson. Love it. I’m playing major catch-up in this group.  I need to see them all. I have several friends who really enjoyed “Vicky Cristina” so I am excited to check out this movie. And again, “Doubt” is just nominated all over the place (yet not best picture).


  1. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  2. “Doubt”
  3. “Frost/Nixon”
  4. “The Reader”
  5. “Slumdog Millionaire”

Don’t books make the best movies?! Well to be honest, the movie could have been adapted from a novel, play, short story or another film. This is a major award for writers (hats off to them)! It’s hard to believe that someone wrote these award-winning and nominated movies. I’m so impressed (can you tell?).

Simon Beaufoy won a Golden Globe Best Screenplay award for his writing in “Slumdog Millionaire.” I saw the movie. He deserved an award. Fantastic. I am so inspired.


  1. “Frozen River”
  2. “Happy-Go-Lucky”
  3. “In Bruges”
  4. “Milk”
  5. “WALL-E”

This award goes to the best written screenplay. You know, who wrote the best story. (Where the acting, writing, cinematography, visual effects, sounds, makeup, etc. come together is Best Picture.)  “WALL-E” is nominated here as well as in other categories, which makes it a must-see film for me.


  1. “The Baader Meinhof Complex”
  2. “The Class”
  3. “Departures”
  4. “Revanche”
  5. “Waltz with Bashir”

I’ve only seen one movie in this category – “Waltz with Bashir.” This is one of those movies where you never planned on seeing it but are so thankful that you did. Loved this movie. I thought it was great. It was creative, interesting, compelling, bewitching, different, educational and moving. It was an animated documentary. I do have a movie review for this one, which I will post. If you haven’t seen this movie, you should. It’s creative genius.  As for the others, I will do my best to see at least one of the other flicks, probably “The Baader Meinhof Complex.” It was also nominated for the Golden Globes award…. However, no surprise to me, “Waltz with Bashir” took home the GG.


  1. “The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
  2. “Encounters at the End of the World”
  3. “The Garden”
  4. “Man on Wire”
  5. “Trouble the Water”


  1. “The Conscience of Nhem En”
  2. “The Final Inch”
  3. “Smile Pinki”
  4. “The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306″

If I had all the time in the world, I would check out every single movie in these two categories. Last semester I had the privilege (and equal parts agony) of taking a documentary class in graduate school. It has hands-down been my hardest class. We had to create 3 documentaries in 1 semester. The class made me crazy but I learned a lot. I have tremendous respect for documentaries because unlike traditional feature flicks, the content is unscripted. People don’t do or say what you want them to. And you have to create a comprehensible, interesting and compelling movie out of whatever you film — which is no small challenge. There is truly an art to uncovering, illiciting and capturing the stories, images and sound that you need. So for the documentarian in me, I’d like to see all these films.. We’ll see how far I get.


  1. “Bolt”
  2. “Kung-Fu Panda”
  3. “WALL-E”

Now all of you mothers and fathers out there have a definite advantage in this category. Many of you were dragged to the theaters by your kids to see these films. I, sadly, am childless and have not seen any of these flicks. (BTW, sadly refers to not seeing these films not being child-free…..children may come in time. LOL) Yet, I digress because you don’t need children to go see these films. Several friends of mine have seen “WALL-E” and loved it. It is first on my list to see. Apparently, it deals with the extinction of the human race. Heavy stuff for an animated film.


  1. “La Maison en Petits Cubes”
  2. “Lavatory – Lovestory”
  3. “Oktapodi”
  4. “Presto”
  5. “This Way Up”

I haven’t seen any of the films nominated for Short Animated Film. I often don’t get to the films in this category (just not enough time). If I had to chose one to see, I’d pick “Lavatory – Lovestory.” The title is intriguing for a romantic like me.


  1. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  2. “Frost/Nixon”
  3. “Milk”
  4. “The Reader”
  5. “Slumdog Millionaire”


  1. “Changeling”
  2. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  3. “The Dark Knight”
  4. “The Duchess”
  5. “Revolutionary Road”


  1. “Changeling”
  2. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  3. “The Dark Knight”
  4. “The Reader”
  5. “Slumdog Millionaire”


  1. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  2. “Defiance”
  3. “Milk”
  4. “Slumdog Millionaire”
  5. “WALL-E”


  1. “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E”
  2. “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire”
  3. “O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire”

I’m just glad that there aren’t any songs about pimps and hos in this category this year. (Yes, I may be hating but really….now really… why should that song win?!)  And I really liked the songs in “Slumdog Millionaire.” It’s amazing that two are nominated from the same movie.


There are some additional categories like Makeup, Sound Editing and Film Editing that I didn’t include here. You can visit the Oscar site to see the full list.

Ooh, I’m so excited. I love this time of year. I just wish for more hours in the day to watch and watch and watch movies. Send me your thoughts! Post comments. What are your favorite movies? Who should win?

I can’t wait until February 22nd at 5 PM PST/ 8 PM EST!!! In the meantime, I’ve got a lot to see. Here’s a treat (for reading this whole post). Check out M.I.A.’s video for “Paper Planes” remix for “Slumdog Millionaire” below. Although I like the original version best, this video gives you a taste of the Slumdog movie love.

Ciao for now.

The Caramel Bella

Layoffs at the Zoos?


A layoff for elephants? Yes, an expected effect of the current recession are state budget cuts that reduce crucial funding for exhibits at zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens. In New York alone, their 76 zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums will lose $9.1 million dollars in funding next year.

“We’re faced with this very difficult problem of firing the animals, as it were,” said Steve Sanderson to CNN. Sanderson is the CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the Bronx Zoo and the New York Aquarium.

Taking matters into their own hands, the Bronx Zoo has created a video ( to alert people to the animal layoffs.

In this case, an animal firing means some species will be shipped off to other zoos. Or if a species dies, it will not be replaced. And the overall amount of zoo exhibits will decrease.

A spokesman for the New York State Budget Office told CNN that cuts are necessary because of the state’s financial situation. New York isn’t the only place where the state’s budget problems are affecting the zoos. Animal exhibits are being streamlined or discontinued in California, Missouri, North Carolina and Maryland.

Although there is an $819 billion economic stimulus package in consideration, funding for zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums are not included. Taxpayer watchdog groups fought to keep funding from being directed at these organizations.

I hear the elephants, giraffes and other animals at the zoo are wondering: where is their economic bailout?

CB’s Green Report: Stop Crying Detroit & Build Greener Cars

gmc_yukon_denalifront_left_view2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition

GMC Yukon Denali vs. Toyota Prius Hybrid

Waaah Waaah Waaah Detroit
. Automobile makers are crying the blues at President Obama’s interest in imposing stricter emission standards on their vehicles. The president recently “ordered the government to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions to help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration.” (At the moment, automakers say only the Toyota Prius hybrid and similar vehicles would meet those standards.)

In true Obama form, he emphasized his willingness to work with the carmakers to meet his administration’s goals: energy independence and stopping global warming.

“Let me be clear: Our goal is not to further burden an already struggling industry,” Obama said at the White House according to MSNBC. “It is to help America’s automakers prepare for the future.”

American automakers claim the emission modifications could potentially put them out of business because they would have to stop producing the larger, gas-guzzlers (read: more profitable vehicles). Although GM and Chrysler just borrowed billions of dollars from the federal government, it appears they were counting on the fat price tags of their less fuel-efficient and not low greenhouse gas emission vehicles like Cadillac Escalade (MSRP mid $60,000′s), Hummer truck (MSRP $60,000-70,000′s), and even the Saab 9-5 (MSRP $40,000′s).

“I think this is the pathway to their survival,” David Doniger of the National Resources Defense Council said to the New York Times. “If carmakers are going to survive in a world of volatile oil prices and global warming, they have to be making more efficient vehicles. When the economy comes back and people start buying cars again, they’re going to expect that gas prices are going to go up, and they’re not going to want the gas hogs that they used to want. Consumers’ tastes have changed in terms of what’s cool.”

Hey Detroit, you proved that you could make a hybrid Escalade. Surely, you can get to work on updating the technology for the rest of the cars, which gives options for larger families and is better for the environment. After all, Americans are paying for it – to the tune of $17.4 billion.

In other news…

Former Vice President Al Gore is urging Congress to support legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions. In his recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gore warned the government to not get so blindsided by the economic crisis that they forget to work on international global warming initiatives. In fact, he reminds them that “the economy, terrorism and the Iraq and Afghan wars are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.” In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions cap, there is another solution that both Obama and Gore agree on: the President’s economic stimulus plan. Obama’s proposal includes investments in clean energy and green jobs that Gore and others think will help the U.S. economy. Green thinking could add up to more green..dollars that is.

Check out Gore’s recent testimony before Congress on greenhouse gases.

Jay-Z and Mr. Prez…

President Barack Obama even has Jay-Z fired up. Check it out..

Jay-Z My President is black Remix LIVE 1-18-09 from on Vimeo.

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” Made Inauguration Week Funny

With all the hype, hoopla and Obama-mania of last week’s Inauguration 2009 coverage, it is nice to know that someone found a way to poke fun at it all. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart takes us through a quick recap of the Inauguration events which include calling out former Vice President Dick Cheney’s wheelchair ride, Obama’s shut-up face and a hint that America has been in The Matrix for the last 8 years. Check it out!

Inauguration 2009 Pics

My Inauguration 2009 coverage would be incomplete without my pictures from the trip. So, here they are. Enjoy!

The Caramel Bella

Inauguration Day: The Wrap-Up

Here I am giving a fun and quick wrap-up of my Inauguration Day experience. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

The Caramel Bella

P.S. I’d love to hear how your Inauguration day experience went. Please post comments.

Inauguration Day: Let Us In!

After hours of standing in the cold among thousands of people, the blue ticket crowd begins to get frustrated. As the clock ticks closer to 11:30 a.m. and the beginning of the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony, the crowd begins to chant: “Let Us In. Yes, You Can. Let Us In.” The disappointment and desperation mount as people realize that they probably aren’t getting pass the security screening point. See for yourself below.

-The Caramel Bella

Inauguration Day: And We Waited & Waited…..

As you may have gathered, I waited for about 4 hours in the blue ticket section and didn’t get into the Inauguration Swearing-In Ceremony for President Barack Obama. It was cold especially for a person acclimated to Southern California weather. Here are some videos that I took while waiting, and waiting…. and waiting….! Well, you get the drift.

Line Not Moving

Still Waiting

The Caramel Bella

P.S. How long was your wait? Talk back. :-)

Inauguration Day: Yes, The Crowds Were Singing

If you’ve been following my story, you know that I was one of the blue ticket holders that did not reach the goal line. (Meaning, I didn’t get past security for the Inauguration Swearing-In Ceremony.) However, I’ve got some great footage of the spirit of the moment. Although the blue group (as I like to call them) was smashed together like sardines in the freezing cold (about 25 or 30 degrees), we were all pretty happy to be there. People started singing songs like “America the Beautiful.” Check out the video below to get a view of what it was like in the “blue crowd.” (Be sure to notice how the line (read: mass of people) doesn’t move forward.)

The Caramel Bella



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my luvs

My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

Things that work my nerves

Bad drivers, cranky and moody people, lack of sleep, crime, filth

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.



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