Review and Recap of the 89th Academy Awards

If there is any TV event that I have to watch, it is the Academy Awards every year. I guess because I am a filmmaker or rather an aspiring filmmaker who likes to live vicariously through something I hope to experience one day.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 89 Academy Awards this year. I’m not too familiar with him, as I’ve never been a fan of late night talk show. He did have some where he told Justin Timberlake that maybe he will be allowed back in NSYNC.

Admittedly, I don’t feel that I watch awards shows for entertainment.  I really only care about the winners and victory speeches.

Highlights for me included:

  1. When Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, the main cast of Hidden Figures, introduced on stage, Katherine Johnson (whom Henson played) right before presenting the documentary film.  I loved that moment, and it is great that now the whole world knows Johnson’s  story.
  2. Viola Davis’s victory speech.  I respect her so much because throughout her career, she takes the time speak out in favor of diversity and making sure that the people.
  3. The tourists who were surprised with getting to walk into the ceremony.  It was nice to see Denzel Washington “marrying” an engaged couple.  And overall, it was great that they got a chance to see the Oscars up close.
  4. It’s still kind of hard for me to process the very end of the show. La La Land as the winner of the picture, as has been widely expected throughout all of our season. Turned out a mistake was made. It was actually Moonlight that won Best Picture. I was definitely shocked to see that. It is rather unfortunate that there was one group of people who were told that they won when reality they did not, and it is also unfortunate that people who actually did win, had to be awkwardly told a mistake was made and that they did actually win.  Nonetheless, Moonlight’s win is a great moment since not too many films centering on the black experience (or the experience of people of color in general) win Oscars.  It makes me cautiously optimistic for greater diversity in Hollywood.

 

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Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of Her Final Public Television Interview on BET’s 106 & Park

This was Aaliyah’s final public interview.

On August 21, 2001, Aaliyah appeared on this show to give away the grand prize of her “Get Paid in the Escalade Contest.”  Every day for the past month, an audience member received a one thousand dollar cash prize, and was entered to win the grand prize of twenty thousand dollars in cash, and a black 2002 Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Aaliyah also announced that her next single would be “Rock the Boat” and that she would begin filming the video the next day.  A video for “More than a Woman,” which was originally intended to be her the second single from her self-titled album, had already been filmed, but she confirmed that it would be released after “Rock the Boat.”

We learn some personal information about Aaliyah.  She says that she has never owned a vehicle because living in New York means there is no point, since New York is not a car-friendly city, but she would like to have a truck if she did have her own automobile.  Her video for “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” was shown as the episode’s “old school joint,” an older music video, and Aaliyah explained that this was the only video she did in Detroit, which was where she grew up (Aaliyah was born in New York City).  Several of her friends appeared in the video.  Other of her favorite videos that she did included “One in a Million” and “Are You That Somebody?” because the latter consisted entirely of one of her favorite things: dancing.

Aaliyah also got the chance to interview some of the finalists.  She asked one young woman what she would do if she won the car.  She said she would drive to beach.  When Aaliyah asked what she would do with the money, she said that she would help her family and then  go on a shopping spree.

Eventually, the winner was chosen: a young man named Julian Hawkins.

This was really nice.  Aaliyah showed how relatable she was, and how much she loved to give back.  Of course, in hindsight, it seems bittersweet, but we saw how in her final days, she was still doing what she loved and reaching out to others.

Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Her Final Music Video “Rock the Boat” on BET’s Access Granted

This was the last footage of Aaliyah, other than the music video for “Rock the Boat.”

On August 22, 2001, Aaliyah began filming the music video in Miami.  The video was directed by Hype Williams, who has directed other videos for many hip-hop and R&B artists.

Aaliyah is in a studio filming a dance routine in front of a green screen.  The green screen would later be replaced by tidal waves in post-production.  We meet her “sister,” her very close friend, Fatimah Robinson, who created the routine.  Robinson stated that the dance moves were based on African and Caribbean (specifically Jamaican reggae and dancehall) influences.  The two also joke about how they try to please Aaliyah’s mother in making sure that the routine is not too sexy.  We also meet Aaliyah’s hair stylist and makeup artist, who wold also perish in the plane crash that happened three days later.

That night, Aaliyah films scenes underwater in a swimming pool.  The illusion is created to make it look as though she is wimming in the ocean.  She struggles to use the breathing machine, and so she holds her breath, and later, she states that it was hard, but worth the beautiful footage, they captured.

On August 24, 2001, production had since moved to Marsh Harbour, Abaco Islands, The Bahamsa.  Aaliyah is up early in the morning to film scenes on the shore of the beach.  She says that it is painful to wake up so early to get ready for filming, but she will do anything to make a great video.

Later she films scenes under what appears to be a hut, and the next day, she films scenes on a boat.  We also see footage of some free time, where she lunges by a pool with her makeup artist.  She asks her clothing stylist to explain how he is inspired to dress her as he does.

This episode is nice, but sad, as Aaliyah and her entourage are having so much fun (despite working very hard) on this video, and yet, they have no idea that this would be the last major thing they ever do.  Filming in a tropical paradise location, and having not a care in the world, except for the work they are doing, and not knowing they would die soon, makes the tragedy all the more heartbreaking.

 

Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of Her Episode of MTV’s Stripped

MTV’s  Stripped was a series where celebrities were interviewed in a unique way.  Instead of a person asking them questions, they would pick their own questions to answer.  The questions would be split into various categories.  And the guest would pick up a piece of paper and talk about what is written.

The episode featuring Aaliyah is seemingly the most well-known episode, and has apparently gone viral in the years following her tragic death.  When you google  “MTV Stripped,” many of the search results are related to her episode.  On Tumblr, all of the search results are related to her episode.

The episode is nice because it shows who Aaliyah the person is.  She talks about lots of things, and she shows that she is just like any non-celebrity person.

For example, Aaliyah talks about what she does to chill.  She likes to take bubble baths, or alternately, she will read a book; she said that she was currently obsessed with Harry Potter and that she is on the second book.

Aaliyah talks about musicians she admires.  She praises a not so popular, but talented singer named Lewis Taylor.  She got starstruck when she attended a public MTV for Janet Jackson, and Stevie Wonder, a singer she is a huge fan of, asked to meet her.  And her “soul sister” Sade, who shares the same birthday, and whom she praises for never compromising who she is as an artist, even if she were to take a long hiatus.  She also expresses admiration for Britney Spears and NSYNC, especially Justin Timberlake.

Aaliyah talks about being a celebrity.  She says that she doesn’t talk about her relationships because although being a celebrity means you give up lots of privacy, she feels the need to keep at least one thing out of the public eye, and that thing is her love life.  Another thing she mentions is rumors.  Aaliyah found it funny that people claim that she has a glass eye, and that that is why she constantly wears sunglasses and covers her left eye with her hair.  But she seems annoyed when she recalled how one person asked her to her face if she has a glass eye.  The person could clearly see that she does not.

Aaliyah is not afraid be a little negative.  She expresses a fear of motorbikes.  And she refuses to talk about an embarrassing date.  She also confesses to having changed a grade on her report card from a C to an A.

Celebrity interviews can be very intersting, and it is especially nice to seem them lead the way, and to give them a chance tell us about them.  Aaliyah, because she was very relatbale made this very enjoyable.