Happy 50th Birthday Selma

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20141210-own-selma-legends-1-365x240 Miss Oprah Winfrey has always been very conscious about the "re-education" America on its history.

From all over the country they came to march for change. Black and white, old and young, every creed and occupation, they came as one. Watch and listen as Oprah shares a poetic narration of the history of the civil rights marches from Selma, Alabama, to the state capitol in Montgomery.

Please share her special "Selma 50" series located on YouTube at OWN TV  AND go check out the Ava DuVernay masterpiece feature film SELMA in all theatres NOW!!!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/WuH3Ytym3xQ?]

 

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Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

SELMA

SELMA

David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo (Martin and Coretta King) are brilliant and Ejogo (I'm my opinion) is the first actress to actually capture the essence of the late Coretta Scott King.  I'm sure all of the aforementioned will be honored for their hard work.  I'm actually looking forward to watching Ava Duvernay pick up lots of gold this awards season...which I thought was going to go down a few years ago with Middle of Nowhere.

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Life Itself

Growing up in St. Louis, my Mother, brother and I would watch Siskel and Ebert eagerly awaiting to see which films would get the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down".  What was even more entertaining was when the two disagreed on how whether a film was work going to see or if it was a real stinker.  I have to give it to them...they were like dogs with the last bit of meat left on the bone...not giving up without a real good fight to the finish.

However, what I most miss about Roger Ebert is that acerbic wit conveyed through the written word to those of use who loved the movies and no one loved them more than Roger Ebert.  Let it be duly noted that Ebert is the "only" film critic to ever receive a Pulitzer Prize, a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times for decades  and discovered before any of us,  the impact of blogging and how that technological advancement in media would change how movies are talked about, streamed and promoted forever.

Roger Ebert is the main reason I decided to review films via blogging.  Unsurprisingly, most film bloggers and/or reviewers are mostly middle-aged white men.  There are less than 5% of women that are reviewers and an even a less percentage of those are of ethnic backgrounds.  So, this little girl from St. Louis decided it was time to put that B.A. from Howard University in Communications to good use and set an example for others the same way Roger Ebert set one for me.

Life Itself, based on Ebert's bestselling memoir, is a colorful love letter to a funny, painful, transcendant life that was bigger than the movies he reviewed.   Roger Ebert was a loving husband, friend, adversary and journalist who became one of the most influential cultural voices in American Cinema.

He better half, Chaz Ebert is a woman whose backbone is stronger than either one of them could have ever imagined.   "No" is not in her vocabulary ...nor was it ever an option for her when it came to Roger.  The universe always knows who is right for you at the right time in the right place and in the right space.  Chaz and Roger Ebert were magical and powerful together.  Chaz continues the legacy of Roger to keep his voice as poignant now as it was when he was here with us in the physical realm through his website www.rogerebert.com, where you can find his blog posts and reviews from his various colleagues.

In the words of the legendary critic, Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert was an Urbana, Illinois  "soldier of cinema", who loved Dave Brubeck, old bookstores, old diners, attended Cannes Film Festival often over the years despite flunking French five times in school, inspired a whole new generation of filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Ava DuVernay...but most of all Robert Ebert loved the movies.

I'll let Roger have the final words for this post as he prolifically says it best in his last online journal entry...A Leave of Presence

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/a-leave-of-presence

R.I.P. Roger Ebert...I will always love you and be grateful for planting the seed with me as a young girl to appreciate the love of film through the eyes you and my Mother.   Here's  hoping you and Gene Siskel are somewhere in the universe duking it out one last time:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4SgwBRq-fU

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

RIP MAYA ANGELOU

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"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song"Maya Angelou

Being a girl from St. Louis, one of the first things I did when I arrived at Howard University was hit the Founders Library to see if they had any Maya Angelou books. I would spend hours reading them while waiting to take the bus home from school. Why? Because Maya was my home-girl born in STL!!

I was proud that someone from my hometown was such a prolific and profound influence in the literary world!

As an adult, I purchased and devoured again every book she wrote and still go to them from time to time for inspiration today.

This morning I rose to find out that this literary voice and her spirit have moved beyond this realm. Although saddened, I found solace and joy in the reality that her infamous words will live on in eternity.

Hopefully, other generations will enjoy and discover the work of Maya Angelou just as I did being a young, idealistic college student searching for ways to make this world we live in a more positive, productive place to exist...RIP Mama Maya...you will be missed😔

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Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

...And The Awards Race is On

With the 2014 Golden Globes right around the corner this Sunday, January 12th and with nomination announcements from the PGA (Producers Guild Association), WGA (Writer's Guild Association), SAG (Screen Actors Guild Awards), TMC (The Movie Critics  Choice Awards) and BAFTA's (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), I thought this would be a good time to look at who has the best chance of snagging Oscar noms on January 16th. Leading the pack of nominations is the Steve McQueen directed true life story of Solomon Northrup - "12 Years A Slave"  and  Director David O' Russell's " American Hustle" .   Right behind them are "Captain Phillips", "Gravity", "Philomena", "Saving Mr. Banks", "Wolf of  Wall Street", "Blue Jasmine", "Rush", "Inside Llewyn Davis", "Nebraska", "The Butler", "August:  Osage County", "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Her".  Almost all of these films began their awards journey at Sundance this same time last year.

Actors with multiple nominations include...Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita N'yongo, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench, Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Emma Thompson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Daniel Bruhl, Bruce Dern, June Squibb, Oprah Winfrey, Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto.

In the world of animation, "Despicable Me 2", "Frozen" and "Monsters University" are cleaning up noms along with the documentaries "20 Feet From Stardom", "Blackfish" and "The Armstong Lie".

So without going into the insanely long list of how many each project has received, I will go straight to my predictions for this 2014 season...

Best Director - Since Scorsese and Allen have had numerous awards bestowed upon them throughout the years, I think it is safe to say that this year it will be a very intense horse race between Steve McQueen and David O'Russell.

Best Picture/Film - Y'all...2013 was by far the best year for cinema that I have witnessed in quite some time.  However, with some of these films, the acting was better than the actual film.  For that reason, I feel like "12 Years A Slave" should win, but since "Gravity" was the highest grossing dramatic film of 2013 and just won The People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Movie it has a pretty good shot at taking home the prize.

Best Actor - Due to the stellar performances of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, Matthew McConaughy, Tom Hanks, Forest Whittaker, Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix it is soooo incredibly hard to choose just one.  However, my guess is that if sentimentality goes with the legends -- Forest, Tom, Bruce and Robert will be duking it out.  If not, then I say it's real tight race between Ejiofor and McConaughy.

Best Actress - Seriously, they should just call this category "The Meryl" 'cause she just chews up the scenery  in every role she inhabits on-screen.  Having said that, although Meryl "should' and "deserves to take it yet again...I would suffice to say that it may very well be a fight to the finish between Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Oprah Winfrey and Sandra Bullock.

Best Supporting Actor - There are a multitude of great performances in this category notably by Barkhad Abdi and Jared Leto.  It's safe to say that Jared Leto totally has this category on lockdown.  His performance in "Dallas Buyers Club" is the role of a lifetime.

Best Supporting Actress - In my opinion, this is probably the toughest category of them all with stellar performances by June Squibb, Lupita N'yongo, Julia Roberts, Sally Hawkins and Jennifer Lawrence.  However, it would be a surprise if Lupita N'yongo didn't sweep this.

Much to my disappointment, neither "Fruitvale Station", director Ryan Coogler or its stars Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer were recognized for their stellar work.  It's a small film that I feel got lost in the shuffle of many good films released in 2013.

Although Dane DeHaan is a BAFTA Rising Star nominee (as is Lupita N'yongo) for his role in the indie "Kill Your Darlings", he has been overlooked right along with Margo Maritndale and Julianne Nicholson in "August:  Osage County".  I was also a little salty that Allison Janney and Greg Kinnear's work in the highly touted "The Way, Way Back" wasn't recognized, but again this was a really competitive year for film.

So here are all the dates and know that I will be tweeting live for each one under my twitter handle @CaRenata.

Here we go...

January 12    THE GOLDEN GLOBES

January 16th  ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCEMENT and 1st Day of SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

January 19th  PRODUCERS GUILD AWARDS

January 25th  DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS

February 1st  WRITERS GUILD AWARDS

February 12th BAFTA AWARDS

March 2nd      OSCARS!!!!

LEE DANIELS' "THE BUTLER"

Never in my lifetime did I think I would witness a person of color become the President of  The United States.  However, not only did I witness it once...but twice!!!  I can only imagine how the subject of THE BUTLER "Cecil Gaines" must have felt having watched and listened in on some of the nation's most private and intense conversations for decades beginning with  President Dwight Eisenhower. THE BUTLER serves its audience a smorgasbord of issues to peek in on from the turbulent father/son, husband/wife relationships to the complexities of the Civil Right Movement to the difficult, borderline stressful conversations overheard while serving Presidents over the decades.  Overall, I wanted to see more about the man..Cecil Gaines. I felt like the details of his life were skimmed over to make room for the parade of stars portraying Presidents and First Lady's, as well as, the revisiting of such momentous events as the March on Selma, Freedom Riders, etc...  Don't get me wrong, all of these events and historic figures are indeed a necessity.  However, I just wanted more on Mr. Gaines.

The performances of Forest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey should and deserve to recognized as exemplary work for each.  Oprah as Gloria Gaines reminds one of that favorite Aunt, Cousin or Grandmother that you hold fondly in memory well after they're gone.  Her performance was well-rooted in reality and your heart breaks for her character on more than one occasion.  Forest Whitaker, in the lead role of  Cecil Gaines, reminds us of why we love him as an actor.  He brings dignity, manliness and respect to his role and reminds us that all people in service should be treated with just that.  Adrian Lenox as Gina is a scene stealer as is Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Carter Wilson and Lenny Kravitz as James Holloway.  Yaya Alafia is brilliant as Carol Hammie, girlfriend to Louis Gaines (David Oyelowo).

Produced by the late Laura Ziskin and the Weinstein Company, THE BUTLER is a must see for all generations to serve as a reminder on how far we have come in America and yet how far we still have to travel.  Lee Daniels' THE BUTLER opens  nationwide on August 16, 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uBXH_DLxsU