I’m not a fan of award shows. But I’m a huge Scarlett Johansson movie buff, so I do saddle up every year for the Oscars. My wife is one of those people that lives to see what the movie stars are wearing, so I also got put through two hours of “red carpet” interviews, which apparently is tantamount to the pre-game show before a football game. Some observations from last night …
- Having James Franco co-host the Oscars was the worst decision since the world’s former #1 golfer left the “Yeah, it’s me, Tiger” message on the voice mail of a Denny’s waitress. I’ve never seen anyone worse hosting the event. It was downright painful, at times uncomfortable, and had next to no funny moments. Franco had absolutely no chemistry with the gorgeous and enthusiastic Anne Hathaway, who was at least giving it the ole’ college try. If you can’t even make a Charlie Sheen joke funny right now … that pretty much says it all.
- It’s time to go back to one host. Jon Stewart is always good. Or maybe someone like Robert Downey Jr, maybe even Jack Black. The host has to be naturally funny or it doesn’t work.
- The queen and king of Hollywood smugness for 2011 in my book – Matthew McConaughy and Cate Blanchett. Listening to these two in interviews is unbearable. McConaughy starting an answer to a question about why people should go see his new film by saying “Well, I’m in it” … and then Blanchett acting like she didn’t know she’d been nominated for Oscars five times before after being told so in an interview, that kind of stuff just makes me angry. To the point where I’m standing up yelling at the TV like there was a blown call in a Browns game.
- On the flip side, actors/actresses that strike me as humble, class acts: Annette Bening, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner.
- Worst plastic surgery of the night – that “Valentino” fashion designer guy. When he’s standing next to Joan Rivers and you think to yourself, “Wow, she looks natural”, you’ve had too much plastic surgery.
- Most overmatched date – whoever Anne Hathaway is dating. Whoever that guy is, he should be really nice to her. Makes Josh Brolin landing Diane Lane seem almost reasonable by comparison.
- Most uncomfortable moment (possibly in Oscars history) – The 95 year old Kurt Douglas presenting the best supporting actress Oscar to the classless Melissa Leo. It just wouldn’t end.
- As if finally finishing the “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy of books this weekend didn’t have me excited enough for the American film versions of these books, it was exciting to once again hear last night that David Fincher will be directing and Rooney Mara will play Lisbeth. Fincher is one of my favorites, directing movies such as “Se7en”, “The Game”, “Fight Club”, “Panic Room”, “Zodiac”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, and “The Social Network”.
- Was disappointed to not see Annette Bening win Best Actress. For my money, she’s one of the best actresses ever, was certainly deserving this year, and got robbed in 1999 when she didn’t win for her role in “American Beauty”, an all time classic film and role. Though I have heard Natalie Portman, excellent in her own right, deserved it for “Black Swan”. Julianne Moore (another of my favorites) not getting nominated for her role in “The Kids Are Alright” was the biggest nomination robbery of the Oscars.
Quote of the Day …
“The price of oil is rising because of all the unrest in the Middle East. And the unrest in Wisconsin is causing the price of cheese to go through the roof.” ~ Jay Leno
This week is absolutely loaded with potentially market moving economic reports, highlighted by this Friday’s February jobs report. After several disappointing jobs reports in a row, this Friday’s # is expected to show that the economy added about 180,000 new jobs in Feb after adding just 36,000 in January. The national unemployment rate is expected to tick upwards from 9.0% to 9.1%. Despite falling from 9.5% to 9.0% in recent months, most economists feel the unemployment rate will move slightly higher as we get into the spring, as more people once again begin looking for work and try to enter the job force.
Running through the rest of the week’s economic calendar, this morning we’ve already received reports on Core PCE (inflationary index) and Personal Income, and we get data on Chicago PMI and Pending Home Sales later this morning. Tomorrow we get the ISM Index (manufacturing) and construction spending data. On Wedns, ADP private payroll data and the Fed’s Beige Book. Thursday, weekly jobless claims, productivity, and the ISM Services Index, and then the employment report and factory orders on Friday.
Last week stocks rallied into the end of the week, helping stop the bleeding for one of the worst weeks for stocks in months after the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa sent oil prices to their highest levels in more than two years. Some stabilization to oil prices and comments from Fed President Lacker that higher oil prices are not a problem for inflation expectations right now helped fuel the rally. Additionally this morning, Warren Buffett, chairman of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said in his widely read annual letter that his conglomerate will engage in record capital spending in the coming year … which also has stock investors feeling good. Stock futures are up this morning.
~ Academy Awards 2011: ‘King’s Speech’ wins Best Picture Oscar, Colin Firth and Natalie Portman Win Top Acting Awards
~ Overnight Storm Dumps Rain on Area, Slows Down Commute, Increases Flooding Risk
~ Fewer Think Home Ownership is a Safe Investment
~ US Budget Gap is a Top Worry For NABE Economists
~ JP Morgan Fund in Talks to Buy 10% of Twitter
~ Rich Americans Flock to Fast Food
~ Police Allow Protestors to Remain at Wisconsin Capital