The second annual Julia awards

Last night (and this morning) the Oscars took up my living room and our Twitter feed and my dining room table:

SO. MUCH. FOOD. And yes...those strawberries are wearing tuxedos. It is the Oscars, after all.

SO. MUCH. FOOD. And yes…those strawberries are wearing tuxedos. It is the Oscars, after all.

It was lovely…and LONG. I don’t know why this year felt sooooo long…or soooooo snoozy…I’m going to go with it’s because I’m getting old.

This year, the Oscars were hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, a funny, engaging guy. The trouble? He’s no Ellen. Or Tina and Amy. Or Seth. NPH is…witty. And zingy. And the night is long and I loved the bits, but he just wasn’t my favourite.

I will tell you what my favourite was, though! Hanging out with awesome ladies, gossiping and laughing, and eating and eating and eating. Having an Oscar party is pretty damn amazing – there’s a room full of ladies who get my gossipy obsession, who can out-trivia me and back me up on dress judgments and Spanx guessing. It’s dreamy. And lovely. And there’s tons of food and comfy clothes.

I know they look demonic, but I swear they're really nice (and I have no idea how to use a photo editor...)

I know they look demonic, but I swear they’re really nice (and I have no idea how to use a photo editor…)

And now, without further ado (unlike the end of the Oscars where NPH stuck YET ANOTHER BIT), here are my picks for last night’s BEST:

Best Dressed

All the ladies, both demonic and non-, agreed: who on earth would be best dressed? There was no clear front-runner for any of us. But, I’ve come up with my favourite of the night:

Jessi Cruikshank of the Canadian eTalk team was stunning in this muted gown. When I saw her on my Twitter feed, I immediately wrote her name down as a contender.

And my runner-up was Naomi Watts. She was stunning in this peek-a-boo dress, that showed flawless skin and toned torso. I’m also a sucker for tiny, tiny spaghettini straps…because I’ll never be able to wear them.

Naomi_Watts

Best Speech

For me, it was a 3-way tie:

Mr. Pawel Pawlikowski, the Polish director who won Best Foreign Language Film for Ida. He spoke so long, he was cued off with the music…but then, he refused to budge. And he didn’t. He just kept talking. Until the music STOPPED and he was given MORE TIME. Finally, the music started up again..and he did eventually leave the stage. But it was awesome – you work your whole life for the top accolade. Why on EARTH would you ever leave the stage before you’re ready once you’ve achieved it?

Pawel Pawlikowski

J.K. Simmons, who won Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash. He told everyone that if their parents are alive, to call them. Not text, not email, CALL them. Pick up the phone and talk. I love J.K. Simmons.

87th Annual Academy Awards - Show

And our third winner, Graham Moore, who won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. In his speech he not only honoured the subject of his movie, the late Alan Turing, he also talked about his battle with depression and his attempted suicide at 16. His best advice was to the kid that thought they were too weird, too different: “Stay weird. Stay different. And when it’s your turn to stand on this stage, pass the message along.”

Graham Moore

Best Underwear

Yep. There was underwear. And all we can say is, Mazel Tov, David Burtka, Mazel Tov.

WOWZA

WOWZA

Best Irony

Or worst…because REALLY? There were a lot of causes highlighted last night, and for good reason – there’s a lot we can do to fix this world – but the worst one was Patricia Arquette standing up for equal pay for women after winning Best Supporting Actress…and Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez emphatically agreeing with her.

Meryl-Streep J-Lo gif

The cause is real. But beyond making more money than most of us will ever see, what are these women doing for the “women of America”? Because all I can see are rich ladies demanding equality in a world where equality is a joke.

Best Not-So-Veiled-We-Were-Snubbed

Before, it was Ben Affleck accepting the Oscar for Best Picture in 2013 with his “You can’t hold grudges” bit in his acceptance speech acknowledging his perceived Best Director nomination snub. This year? It was all about Selma all the time.

Terrence Howard took his presenting job as the chance to highlight the emotion behind the movie Selma, to highlight the fact that it wasn’t nominated, although it did overwhelm him.

Terrence-Howard-467

Some say it was a teleprompter problem. Others wonder if he was drunk. I’m going with, Selma wasn’t nominated for anything but Best Song and Best Picture and this was his chance to make it shine. What do you think?

Best Joke

Last year John Travolta just couldn’t get Idina Menzel’s name right. It came out Adele Dazeem…which isn’t even CLOSE. So this year, I vote the use of the John Travolta Name Generator as best joke. (It wouldn’t let me embed the video, so here is the link.)

Ben Affleck pronounced as Benedict Cumberbatch?? Awesome.

Best Creepy Moment(s)

All of John Travolta’s. No seriously.

With Scarlett Johansson.

travoltakiss3A

With Benedict Cumberbatch.

John Travolta and Benedict Cumberbatch

With Idina Menzel.

john-travolta-idina-menzel-lg

Creeeeeeeepy.

Best SHOCKER

Ummm…Lady Gaga can SING. And as everyone on Twitter pointed out, she kicked Carrie Underwood’s ASS.

lady-gaga-oscars-sound-of-music-2015-billboard-650

And the last award of the night…Best WIN Face

It has to be Eddie Redmayne, because how can you argue with JOY like this:

eddie-redmayne-was-absolutely-shocked-by-his-first-oscar-win

It was a looong show and a looong night and an early morning (hence the lateness of this post), but the people I got to hang out with, the gossip I got to rehash, and the food I got to eat all make it worth it…sort of. Now, for coffee. 🙂

~ Julia

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WVS Gift Guide for the Hunter in your life

As you all know, the love of my life Cody is a outdoors-man/hunter…although, put a spider in front of him and he will prove that label wrong.  For this gift guide, I am going to let you in on a little secret…Cody tells me ALL YEAR ROUND what to buy him and all I have to do is listen in on his conversations with his hunting group, the conversations with his friends, and with his uncle Pierre – it’s his only pastime (other than me). I am not eavesdropping…Well, I am, but only to find out how I can spoil him, because that is one of my favourite pastimes!

See? favourite pastime!

First, I will address fashion. In every hunter’s wardrobe, camo is a staple: real tree camo that is! Everything and anything: t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, hoodies, under armour, socks, boots, jackets, EVERYTHING!! This year, my eyes are on reversible camos, which go from winter to fall hunting. They are essential and very practical to closet space, when you think about it. Instead of having two sets of bibs* taking up all the room in the closet that should be for everyone’s coats, there will be plenty of room with these oh-so-fancy pants!

Those hunters are fashion forward! Such thinkers!

If you are budget savvy, then this next option is not for you! Two years ago I bought Cody a new excalibur bow, with the help of our friend Jeff, because, let’s be honest, I would go for the prettiest ones, which may work like crap. Cody had been handed down a bow from his uncle, which had seen better days. He had been talking about upgrading it and adding on a new scope to help him see better, and tweaking it to get a better shot out of it. I thought with all the upgrading he would be putting into it, why not just get a new bow? I asked Jeff if he could help out with finding one on sale, that is still a great bow, which he did. I got a picture about a week later, telling me to BUY IT – so I did! If you are to take anything away from this post, it should be do research! My form of research is the many men in my life who LOVE hunting and love Cody. All of Cody’s friends who he grew up with are thankfully interested in the same hobby, so having them as my experts is where I start. Not only will they help me find what I am looking for, but they also help me with the lingo, so when it does come time for me to purchase any one of these items, I sound like I know what  I am talking about!  The look on Cody’s face when he opened this gift was PRICELESS! This year he has been dropping hints for a new gun, but I didn’t give in this year, even though this would be right up my alley for spoiling. There is always his birthday, then the wedding.

I don’t think this is the exact model, but I can’t tell the difference. That’s where you get your researchers to help!!!!

If you have not noticed a trend, everything is real tree camo. In our area, Sail, which is an outdoor store, just opened up. At this point, Cody has not made me go into the store, so I am not sure if this is going to be the greatest thing ever because I will no longer have to travel far to get his gifts, or the bane of my existence because Cody will have a better chance of getting more “just because” presents.

Hunters require tags for every season in order for the ministry to hunt legally (this excludes waterfowl, which have other ministry limits) and they can be purchased at Canadian Tire. A great gift idea would be a gift card for their tags for the season. These requirements are Ontario-based, but I am assuming that the same concept would be across Canada and the US; however, they may have other requirements. Most people may think that gift cards are impersonal, but to me giving Cody a gift card for any one of his favourite stores to get himself all set up for the season is one of the best gifts you can give a hunter. In Southern Ontario, that includes TSC, Canadian Tire, Sail, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, which are all larger box stores that a gift card would be great for. Cody has some local favourite outdoor stores, little mom and pop shops that he visits frequently, but again do research so that you can give a gift and give back to your local small shops!

Enjoy the shopping season, and try to spread the holiday cheer!

~ Jacqui

*Bibs are the the pant sets of camos, which are worn over the shoulders. They pretty much look like snow pants for hunters…Okay, they are snow pants for hunters.

And the Julia goes to…

The Oscars are over for another year. And if I were giving out Oscars (or Julias as it may be), I would give this year the Oscar for Best Oscars.

It wasn’t because of the moments, even though there were some awesome ones.

Like Harrison Ford taking pizza from the delivery guy that Ellen called, and then asking Ellen for napkins:

Or Meryl Streep shimmying with Pharrell Williams:

Or even the photo that broke Twitter:

It was the fact that I got to spend the night with four fabulous gals: Andrea (cousin-in-law-but-really-in-life), Kim (sister-in-law-but-really-forever), and two Weather Vane sisters, Toni and Jacqui. Usually I watch the Oscars alone on the couch in my pyjamas, with Ben on the computer behind me, poking his head into my bubble of alone time every now and then to find out how I’m doing, or what’s happening on the TV, or why a particular moment is special. But tonight, he went downstairs to play video games and I hung out with four women who love snark and gossip and movies and snacks (oh, the snacks!) as much as me.

Here’s a run-down of the Julias (my own personal Oscars, dontchaknow) I would hand out, if I could:

Best Dressed

I love fashion. Love. It. I don’t have any money to purchase it, my day job doesn’t require me to wear any, and I’ll probably never make it to the Oscars, but boy do I love me some haute couture. And tonight the ladies brought it. (I would mention the men, but in truth they kind of all look the same to me (except for the hair, of course)).

The Julia for Best Dressed would go to Anna Kendrick. She was stunning in a black dress with red accents by J. Mendel:

I love the clutch, the detail, and I love her. It’s a win!

Runner-up, but definitely not a loser, is Cate Blanchett. She is always stunning. Always. And Oscar night was no exception. Wearing Armani Prive, she was a vision, as usual.

Best Acceptance Speech

The very first award to be given out was for Best Supporting Actor, which Jared Leto won. His speech was pretty great, touching on his single mother, AIDS, which his movie was about, and even the situation in Ukraine. But for me the most eloquent and heart-some (like toothsome, but different) speech was Lupita Nyong’o’s, who won for Best Supporting Actress.

Here is her speech:

Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.

Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life. [Tears, applause.] I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.

Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into Solomon, telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you — I could not be here without your work.

I want to thank my family, for your training [laughs] and the Yale School of Drama as well, for your training. My friends the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother Junior sitting by my side, thank you so much, you’re my best friend and then my other best friend, my chosen family.

When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.

So, so perfect. Can’t wait to see where her career will take her.

Best Host 

Hosting the Oscars is a tough gig. You’re in front of an audience of professionals who need to be entertained, yet not offended, and an audience of viewers that are expecting the magic that Hollywood is famous for. If your performance bombs, you’ll never live it down. And if you’re awesome, you might become Billy Crystal. Tough, tough gig.

It’s always exciting when the host nails it, and Ellen did a great job. She was funny, pushed the envelope but not too far (Hi, Seth.), and rocked her wardrobe changes (“I added a scarf!”). Loved her.

Best of the Snark

There is always so much to be catty about when it comes to Hollywood. The best of the night, though, is more of a PSA than an actual snarkiness:

Dear John Travolta,

You are a bagillionaire. Please, please, please look into different hair options. This one is just not working for you.

Love, The Julias Academy (so official!).

Best Snack

Before this year, I never had snacks for the Oscars. This year, thanks to my super fabulous guests, we had lots to choose from  – homemade chocolate chip cookies, three different types of popcorn, veggies, pretzels, pitas, dips, Doritos, Rolos, pop, and peanut M&Ms. My absolute favourite was the butter and salt popcorn – a classic that never seems to get old and is so linked to the movies (sorry, Toni – your carrots were delicious, but I love me some popcorn!).

Next Year’s Julias

Will Leo win next year? Will Ben Affleck stop throwing a hissy-fit and come back? Who will host? Who will sing (let it be P!nk again!)? Who will we remember? What will we be eating? What new starlet or star will we be excited to watch? What dress will make us swoon? What hair will make us wonder?

One thing’s for sure: I’m having another Oscar party. It was by far the best thing to happen to the Oscars and the Julias this year! So, congrats to the winners, a hug to the ones who didn’t make it, and sweet dreams to everyone living in the wrong time zone for the longest show of nonsense in the world (it’s so late!).

~ Julia and The Julias Academy