By Casey Holland
Last updated: 02/24/14 8:59pm
The 2014 Oscars are less than a week away, and audience members will be anxiously glued to their televisions as they watch to see whether their favorites will go home with an award. Here are some of the films and actors that have received the most nominations for this year’s awards:
“American Hustle” is one the leaders in nominations with 10. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor with Christian Bale, Best Actress with Amy Adams and Best Supporting Actor with Bradley Cooper.
Jennifer Lawrence also earned the movie a nominee as Best Supporting Actress. The film was also nominated for Best Director with David O. Russell, Best Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Costume Design and Production Design.
“Gravity” also roped in 10 nominations. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress with Sandra Bullock, Best Director with Alfonso Cuarón, Film Editing, Best Original Score from Steven Price and Best Cinematography with Emmanuel Lubezki.
The film was also nominated for Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.
Another big contender is “12 Years a Slave” with nine nominations. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Best Actor, Michael Fassbender as Best Supporting Actor, Lupita Nyong’o as Best Supporting Actress and Steve McQueen as Best Director.
It is also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Costume Design and Production Design.
The category of Best Picture has the most nominations this year. Along with those previously mentioned, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street are up for the award.
Disney’s “Frozen” earned a handful of nominations as well, both for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song with Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go.”
With so many nominations under their belts, “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” and “12 Years a Slave,” are practically guaranteed to leave with awards.
Other big contenders are “The Great Gatsby” for their dazzling costume design and Leonardo DiCaprio as Best Actor for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
By Sierra Lay
Last updated: 02/18/14 11:05pm
There’s an app for that.
Keeping up with the Vatican has become faster and simpler with the new availability and popularity of a mobile app called Papa Francesco News.
For many Roman Catholics and followers of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or Pope Francis, being aware of the happenings in the Vatican is paramount to keeping in touch with their faith around the world. The news app, which came out in November 2013, is now available for purchase on both the Apple and Android markets.
Upon purchasing and opening the app, users are immediately greeted with the most recent news about Pope Francis. The app can be adjusted to deliver news in Italian, English, Spanish or Portuguese. Users also can access mounds of information including photos, analysis and the history of the Pope, the Vatican and the religion itself.
Kristen Walenta, a freshman in James Madison College, said the app appeals to her because she can find all the updates about Pope Francis in one place.
“You don’t have to search through newspapers and newscasts to find out what the Pope is doing,” Walenta said.
The app provides a swift and accessible news avenue for anyone who’s interested in what Pope Francis has been doing recently. For some students who find it difficult to attend mass due to the hectic combination of work, class and homework schedules, having the news they want at their fingertips is critical to staying up to date.
Applied engineering sciences freshman Jessica Totten said the accessibility of the app keeps her updated on what she misses when she has to miss church.
“I think it is good because most people have smartphones now, and it’s much easier if it’s on my phone, right in front of me,” Totten said.
By Casey Holland
Last updated: 02/11/14 11:54am
The Beatles celebrated a golden anniversary this past weekend — February 9 marked the beginning of a Beatles takeover with their performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
A record-breaking 74 million people watched the show that night, and my grandparents were two of those people who were glued to their televisions as the British band performed.
To many, this was an iconic moment in music history. I myself wouldn’t know of the significance behind it, or The Beatles in general, until my grandparents unearthed their own piece of the band they loved.
I wasn’t really a big listener of The Beatles until I turned 13-years-old, and probably wouldn’t have become one if my grandparents weren’t such big fans. They used to own an Abbey Road vinyl, and my earliest Beatles memory was listening to it with them in their basement during the summer.
After that, I became hooked. “Hey Jude” is one of the most-played songs on my iTunes, though The Beatles are still associated with the sound of vinyl and the comfort of my grandparents’ basement for me.
50 years and three generations have gone by since the band was greeted by screaming girls as they first set foot in America. Even after the tragic deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison, their music has lived on.
Even after all this time, The Beatles are still a prominent name in music today, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to one day hear my own kids listening to them.
By Casey Holland
Last updated: 02/03/14 10:01pm
Although Sunday’s Super Bowl game prompted many disappointed groans and frustrated Facebook statuses and tweets, the commercials that ran during the game were not all discouraging.
“Full House” fans were probably pleased when they saw John Stamos, aka “Uncle Jesse,” appear in a Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt commercial. Stamos was quickly joined by his former co-stars, Bob Saget and Dave Coulier, who played neat-freak Danny Tanner and the comedic Joey Gladstone. The trio’s reunion was a reminder of their sitcom days.
Microsoft decided to display the more appealing side of technology and show viewers all the good that it can provide. It might not have initiated laughter from its viewers, but it was a refreshing break from talks of technology takeovers and “Big Brother is watching.” The ad showcased a variety of Windows and Kinect products.
The Budweiser puppy commercial had the potential to melt hearts — it would be hard not to adore the sight of a floppy-eared puppy pursuing the horse he loves. MSU’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations ranked the commercial as number one within their top 10, according to an article by MSU Today.
Bud Light took viewers on a wild ride that depicted a scenario of what would happen if someone were to offer a random person a Bud Light. The man was taken on an adventure in a limo with Reggie Watts acting as his personal DJ and later was a part of a table tennis match with Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing a wig.
As the ads rolled on, they showed a fair balance between the comedic and more serious themes. From a self-mocking RadioShack commercial to a yellow M&M facing the mob and Esurance’s big giveaway at the end of the night, the Super Bowl’s ads were far from disappointing and provided more entertainment than the game itself.
By April Jones
Last updated: 02/02/14 11:10pm
This Sunday wasn’t only about beer and football.
Aside from drunken men and women yelling at the television set watching grown men physically battle it out on a 50-yard field, there was a much calmer game played by fluffy four-legged animals.
The Puppy Bowl.
The game is an annual event that brings in millions of animal-loving viewers to watch puppies — yes, puppies — play football.
All of the puppies involved come from shelters, making the game a worthy promotion.
This year, the tenth annual Puppy Bowl introduced 36 puppies ranging from 12-21 weeks old. The puppies played inside of a model stadium while announcers gave a play-by-play.
The Puppy Bowl is filmed inside of a miniature 19-feet long by 10 feet wide stadium where the pups carelessly jump on each other to get the football. When the pup crossed into the end-zone, a touchdown was scored.
Penguin cheerleaders celebrated the victories.
According to CNN, during the first Puppy Bowl in 2005, there were 5.58 million viewers who watched the puppies take on football. Each year, the Puppy Bowl gains more viewers and last year there were a whopping 12.4 million who watched Puppy Bowl IX.
The two-hour show was aired on Animal Planet and started at 3 p.m. and continued with hourly repeats after.
While Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed at the actual Super Bowl’s halftime show, the Puppy Bowl featured the Internet-famous Keyboard Cat who was joined by kitten back-up dancers.
The Puppy Bowl is one of those ridiculously cute shows that keep the tense Super Bowl Sunday light and fun.
By Casey Holland
Last updated: 01/28/14 9:09am
The 2014 Grammy Awards on Sunday was packed to the brim with flashy performances, awards and even a wedding ceremony for 33 diverse couples. Queen Latifah performed the ceremony as Ryan Lewis and Macklemore performed “Same Love” featuring Mary Lambert.
Eighty-two awards were given before the final performance by Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Lindsey Buckingham and David Grohl. Here is a list of some of the evening’s winners.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were the first to earn an award, winning Best New Artist.
Daft Punk was next with the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their song “Get Lucky” with Pharrell Williams. The group also won Album of the Year and Best Dance/Electronica Album for “Random Access Memories” and Record of the Year for “Get Lucky.”
Best Rock Song went to Paul McCartney for his song, “Cut Me Some Slack.” Lorde’s award for Best Pop Solo Performance with “Royals” was next, the song also earning an award for Song of the Year.
The Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration went to Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake for their song “Holy Grail.” Bruno Mars was next to receive an award, his album “Unorthodox Jukebox” being recognized as the Best Pop Vocal Album.
The country awards came into play when Kacey Musgraves won Best Country Album for “Same Trailer Different Park.” Best Country Solo Performance went to Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel.”
Imagine Dragons’ performance of “Radioactive” took the title of Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album went to Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day.”
“Modern Vampires of the City” from the group Vampire Weekend won Best Alternative Music Album.
Best R&B Album went to “Girl on Fire” from Alicia Keys. Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway won Best R&B Performance for their song “Something.”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis earned an award for their song “Thrift Shop” with Wanz, the song winning Best Rap Performance. Their album “The Heist” also earned the Best Rap Album award.
By Ben Stram
Last updated: 01/23/14 9:43pm
Has it finally come to the point where it’s just too cold outside to do anything? Need something to watch that can get your mind off of school and work?
Netflix is offering even more shows for the coming months of snow and freezing temperatures.
The streaming service has added many new movies and TV shows for the new year. The list includes the final four seasons of “Dexter,” “Drinking Buddies” featuring Olivia Wilde and the movie “Jack Reacher” starring Tom Cruise.
This is all after a tremendous fourth quarter of 2013, a quarter where Netflix has seen its biggest growth since its first quarter in 2011.
Its subscriber growth has grown 2.3 million in the final quarter of 2013, and many more television enthusiasts continue to join the service daily.
This rapid growth has caused the stock to rise 16 percent from where it was projected to be by the end of the quarter. Part of this reason for the growth is due to “service improvements, marketing effectiveness, and sales of Internet-connected devices,” according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Financial Officer David Wells.
The nice thing about the steady growth that they have had is that Netflix is stepping up its game for 2014. They are adding another season of “House of Cards” on Valentine’s Day and also adding the final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” on Feb. 24.
Throughout the year, they will also be adding new seasons of “Orange is the New Black,” “Lilyhammer,” “Hemlock Grove,” “Derek,” and the exclusive final season of “The Killing.”
As Netflix continues to grow upon its 44 million subscriber base, be sure that they continue to push out exclusive content only for their subscribers.
As a Netflix subscriber, there will be something to obsess over this winter.
By Casey Holland
Last updated: 01/21/14 1:06pm
Viewers are “off to see the Wizard” once again now that NBC has picked up a 10-episode running of a new series, “Emerald City.”
The series is one of many spinoffs based off L. Frank Baum’s 14-book series that brought the magical land to life, according to a story on The Huffington Post. However, it will be a more modern retelling of the tale with an older heroine than before.
20-year-old Dorothy Gale will find herself in the middle of Oz’s conflict, only this time with much more violence and bloodshed that probably can’t be solved by throwing a pail of water on a wicked witch.
The article stated the show will be bringing back both familiar characters and all-new faces. With the abundance of ways the wonderful land of Oz has already been explored in the past, it should be fairly simple to introduce new characters into the mix.
Baum’s series sparked inspiration for the 1939 classic musical movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Walt Disney Pictures brought multiple adaptations to life, entitled “Return to Oz,” and the recently released “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
The backgrounds of other characters were also delved into with certain spinoffs. “The Wicked Years” series by Gregory Maguire painted the terrifying Wicked Witch of the West in a whole new light, and questioned exactly what it meant to be “wicked.” The first book in the series was the inspiration behind the hit Broadway musical, Wicked.
The land of Oz is one known by generations, with the first book being released in 1900. More than 100 years have gone by since its release, and tales of the magical but corrupt land are still being told.
If how much people still seem to adore Oz today is any indication, then NBC’s “Emerald City” has the potential to be successful for multiple seasons to come.
By Ben Stram
Last updated: 01/21/14 12:53pm
Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” has received more nominations for the Academy Awards than many critics might have thought.
The film was only nominated for two Golden Globe awards, and has also been criticized for its subject matter. Based on the memoir by real-life Wall Street crook Jordan Belfort, some feel that the film is too long — nearly three hours long — and it glorifies alcohol and drug use.
Brook Barnes and Michael Cieply of the New York Times described the film as, “one of the year’s most divisive pictures because of its depiction of sex and drug use that pushed the boundaries of the R rating.”
The five awards that the film is nominated for include:
Best Director, for Martin Scorcese
Best Actor, for Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Supporting Actor, for Jonah Hill
Best Adapted Screenplay, for Terence Winter
Lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio is finally starting to break through after winning his second Golden Globe Award for this film and his first award since winning Best Actor for “The Aviator” in 2005.
In terms of how the film fared compared to others this year, “American Hustle” received 10 nominations, “Gravity” also received 10, and “12 Years a Slave” reeled in 9.
Other Lead Actor nominees include Christian Bale, who was nominated for his role in “American Hustle,” Bruce Dern for “Nebraska,” Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave,” and Matthew McConaughey for “The Dallas Buyers Club.”
With DiCaprio winning the Golden Globe for Lead Actor for this film, he might have a chance to take home the Academy Award.
By Ben Stram
Last updated: 01/12/14 8:59pm
The 18th season of “The Bachelor” started last week with the introduction of the show’s newest contestant, Juan Pablo Galavis.
This season’s upcoming episodes will show Juan going through an emotional roller coaster while trying to turn 18 gorgeous girls into one beautiful bride.
This show is one had a buzz about it since it first aired in March 2002. But how much of that buzz is justified within the course of the show? As 17 long, emotional seasons have gone by, people still seem to have their eyes glued to the screen in hopes of seeing what drama might occur.
I don’t understand the value in this show. In the previous seasons of “The Bachelor,” only 10 of the seasons resulted in a successful proposal. People spend their whole night invested in the show with the hopes that this fantasy could translate to their real lives, but the couples on the show rarely live happily ever after.
Furthermore, the show has been in the news multiple times over the years for instigating the drama that occurs in the house. Rumors have also spread that the producers have told contestants to fake emotions in order to add more excitement to the show.
People have come out and said that the show is scripted and that the show edits so creatively that they fabricate story lines that were never there to begin with. It just goes to show that the entertainment industry will go to extreme lengths to get people to watch a not-so-reality TV show.
Heck, I’m not even surprised that Juan, this season’s star, even contemplated quitting the show, according to RealityTVWorld.com.
“It’s hard,” Galavis told the Reality TV Website. ”I don’t like hurting people, and it gets tough as you start getting to know these people better. You have to send people home and that’s the hardest part of this whole process.”
That’s the other thing about this show: it’s heartbreaking for the girls who give all they have for one man.
The roller coaster is a dangerous ride for all involved, which makes one wonder why so many strive to be a part of it.