The Best Things We Read In 2016

This year has had its ups and downs, the downs being more recent in our memories, but there were also a multitude of excellent stories told this year. We’ve read a number of articles, books, magazines, etc. this year and have compiled a list of some of the best this year had to offer. There were stories that took us to a galaxy far, far away and stories that hit close to home and helped us connect with ourselves and the ever-changing world around us.

What I Know

Rosanna Tasker – Lenny Letter

In March, New York Times best-selling author Jessica Knoll shared the story of the real rape informing her debut novel Luckiest Girl Alive (which is also one of the best thing’s I’ve read this year).  Her essay is real, powerful, and necessary. I don’t think a line of text has ever resonated with me more than the final line of her piece: “I’m not fine. It’s not fine. But it’s finally the truth, it’s what I know, and that’s a start.” 



Star Wars: Ahsoka

 

Star Wars: Ahsoka is one of the newest  Star Wars texts this year and is the first book in the canon to feature the former Jedi apprentice to Anakin Skywalker. The story, written by E.K. Johnston, focuses on Ahsoka’s time after the fall of the Republic.  For any fan of Star Wars Rebels or Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this book shares the story of how our favorite padawan became Fulcrum, the informant for the Resistance. 

Scrappy Little Nobody

Anna Kendrick’s collection of essays, Scrappy Little Nobody, was released in November of this year. It is a hilarious and charming account of her time in the business so far. She has written this book in the same authentic and candid voice that can be found on her Twitter. It was a joy to read!




The Princess Diarist 

The final memoir written by the late Carrie Fisher is by far one of my favorites from 2016.  The entire text focuses on Carrie’s reflections on and personal diaries surrounding her time filming the original Star Wars film, now known as A New Hope. She also speaks about bringing her iconic role back to the big screen in The Force Awakens.  Ms. Fisher, in her outstanding way, maintains her usual frank, witty humor throughout the text.  Many times, I found myself hearing her voice in my mind telling the story (Of course, you can actually hear her tell the story through the audiobook). – Sarah

Marcia Clark is Redeemed

via: NY Mag

The People v. O.J. Simpson was one of the biggest television events of the season and has garnered high critical praise and industry awards for best television mini-series and its leading actors.  The major appeal of the show was the sensational nature of O.J. Simpson’s trial and one of the best performances of the television season was Sarah Paulson’s portrayal of Marcia Clark.  I loved reading Rebecca Traister’s piece detailing how the show has helped the “90’s bogeywoman… become a feminist icon.”

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87th Annual Academy Awards


The Oscars are the biggest event of awards season, and to many the biggest night of the year! Neil Patrick Harris took the stage to host the Academy Awards for the first time.  His opening number was pretty epic. It paid homage to some of the industry’s best work much more than it made fun of it and being joined by Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Jack Black was a phenomenal addition! 

Some of the more interesting events that took place during the awards included:  many winners talking through the play out music, Viola Davis having to watch the briefcase containing Neil Patrick Harris’ Oscar predictions, Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island performing “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, Tim McGraw paying tribute to Glen Campbell with “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, and Lady Gaga singing an incredible medley of songs from The Sound of Music followed by Julie Andrews coming out and awarding the Oscar for Best Original Score.  The awards of course ran way over the allotted time, but nonetheless it was a great show with many memorable moments. 

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role went to J.K Simmons, for his role in Whiplash.  This came as no surprise, as he has won virtually every award for which his portrayal in the film has garnered him a nomination.  Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in Boyhood and gave an impassioned speech calling for wage equality. Eddie Redmayne won Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his role in The Theory of Everything and dedicated his award to everyone around the world battling ALS.  Julianne Moore won an Oscar for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Still Alice.

Big Hero 6 won for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. Original Screenplay went to Alejandro Iñárritu for Birdman while Adapted Screenplay was presented to Graham Moore for 
The Imitation Game and he deserves  a second award for his acceptance speech, stay weird. 
Alejandro Iñárritu also took home the Oscar for Directing Birdman

American Sniper garnered the award for Sound Editing. Whiplash won for Sound Mixing and Film Editing, and Interstellar took home the award for Visual Effects.  Birdman won for Cinematography and took home the biggest award of the night, Best Motion Picture of the Year.

Birdman was the night’s big winner, despite Michael Keaton’s lose in the Leading Actor Category.

A full list of winners can be found here.


Red Carpet Fashion


Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage
Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike looked flawless in a formfitting red Givenchy gown.
Photo Credit Getty Images
Anna Kendrick dazzled in a custom Thakoon coral halter gown. Expect to see her on the majority best dressed lists! 
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Cate Blanchett looked stunning in a simple black number by Margiela and a statement necklace by Tiffany & Co.  
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images
American Sniper star and current Sally Bowles in Cabaret Sienna Miller looked elegant in Oscar de la Renta. 
Photo credit NY Times
Felicity Jones was the epitome of the quintessential Oscars look in Alexander McQueen. 
Jason Merritt/Getty Images 
Marion Cotillard looked gorgeous in this Christian Dior Couture gown. I’ve already seen it on some worst dressed lists, but that’s a matter of opinion.  

86th Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are the biggest event of the awards season, or as movie-lovers know it the biggest night of the year! Ellen returns, for a second time, to host the Academy Awards.  Her opening monologue was filled with jokes about the nominees but none of them quite crossed the proverbial line which was quite impressive (and Jared Leto really is the most beautiful).

The telecast also did a great job of working in the theme of heroes without being obnoxious or too in-your-face about it.  When they first announced the theme I was nervous, but it didn’t deter from the actual awards process.

Some of the more interesting events that took place during the awards included: incredibly unnecessary singing from the winners of 20 Feet From Stardom, Zac Efron losing his place on the teleprompter or forgetting how to read, the tribute to The Wizard of Oz by Pink!, and one of the most anticipated performances of the night: Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go” from Frozen!! And while it would have been nice had she not performed with less than 30 minutes left to the broadcast, it was well worth the wait (although you could understandably tell she was nervous, and I’m sure Jorn Tromolto grossly mispronouncing her name didn’t help her nerves)

The awards of course ran thirty minutes over the allotted time, but it nonetheless flowed much better than in previous years.  Ellen was a great host, and it would do the awards justice to have her back next year (plus third time’s the charm).  Let’s just hope that the nominees are as incredible next year as they were this year.

The Night’s Winners

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role went to Jared Leto, for his portrayal of Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club.  This came as no surprise, as he and his amazing ombre have won virtually every award his portrayal in the film has garnered him.    Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in 12 Years a Slave.  While she didn’t necessarily run away with it, had she not won there would have been a large amount of upset, and she truly deserves the award! Cate Blanchett won an Oscar for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, and she deserved it! She gave an impeccable speech as well, proving that you can say “suck it” and remain classy. Matthew McConaughey won Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, which was to be expected based on his performance so far this awards season, but it would have been nice for Leo to leave with a little something, maybe next year.

Frozen won for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, and in all honesty it was the only choice.  It received more praise than any other film this year and lead box office sales and the Billboard charts for weeks following it’s release. “Let It Go” won for Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) giving Bobby Lopez an EGOT!

Adapted Screenplay went to John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave, while Original Screenplay went to Spike Jonze for Her.  The consensus was that Her‘s win was an upset, but it was a great screenplay and deserving of the award.

Gravity garnered awards for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Film Editing, Cinematography, and Directing.  While 12 Years a Slave took home the biggest award of the night, Best Motion Picture of the Year.

Fashion

There were so many amazing fashion choice this year! It was hard to narrow it down to a mere few to post here.


Cate Blanchett looked stunning in a nude embellished Armani Privé.  She complemented the dress with jewels by Chopard. She looked fabulous from head to toe.  The Blue Jasmine star arrived at the awards as one of the night’s top contender’s and the results of her category did not disappoint.

The 12 Years a Slave star has stunned in various colors all season and the Oscars were no exception.  Lupita Nyong’o shined in a pastel blue by Prada.  This gown gave off a more princess type vibe than some of her other gowns this season, making it a perfect Oscar gown, especially in which to accept an award.

Anna Kendrick looks fabulous in a black J. Mendel.  She looked amazing as she walked the carpet.  The gown was sexy with a strappy back and front slit.

A pregnant Olivia Wilde stunned in a black gown by Valentino.  It should be illegal to be this pregnant and still look that gorgeous! She and husband Jason Sudeikis were adorable together as they walked the carpet.


Idina Menzel looked impeccable in an emerald Vera Wang gown.  She was one of the more highly anticipated Oscar guests and her rendition of “Let it Go” was one of the best moments of the night!

Photo Source and Alternate Source

56th Annual Grammy Awards

The Grammys is the biggest awards show in the music industry. It is as much about the legendary performances that happen live as it is about who wins the coveted awards.  Tonight saw performances from everyone from the surviving members of The Beatles to Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong paying tribute to the Everly Brothers.  


Beyoncé and Jay-Z opened this year’s show with “Drunk in Love” in a spectacular and sexy display.  Lorde sang her hit song “Royals” in a display that was strange, to say the least (and was that a weeping angel on the screen behind her?).  Hunter Hayes premiered a powerful new song entitled “Invisible” and Taylor Swift played the piano and sang a wonderful rendition of “All Too Well”.  Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar collaborated and brought the house down! Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed “Queenie Eye”. Carole King and Sara Bareilles performed a mash-up of “Beautiful” and “Brave” that was sensational! Metallica paid an inspired and rocking tribute to the late Lou Reed. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed “Same Love” accompanied by Madonna as Queen Latifah officiated the wedding of couples lining the aisle of the audience. The performances tonight were phenomenal as a whole and created a show that was worth watching! 

COMPLETE WINNERS LIST

Macklemore came into the show as a three-time Grammy winner from the awards presented pre-telecast and added another Grammy to his collection during the show for Best New Artist.  “Cut Me Some Slack”, which was written by Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear, won Best Rock Song and was interestingly enough recorded using the original Sound City equipment.  Lorde and Daft Punk took home multiple awards, Best Song of the Year and Record of the Year & Album of the Year respectively. 

FASHION


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Anna Kendrick looked stunning in a strapless Azzaro gown.  She walked the red carpet with a classy air of style and grace.  She is definitely my choice for best dressed of the night! 









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Taylor Swift sparkled down the carpet in this gown by Gucci.  She looked stunning, but I have to say I would have liked this dress even more if it had been homogeneous in color and omitted the see-through part at the top of the gown, but it was gorgeous regardless.










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Pink showed off her amazing body in  Johanna Johnson and Rauwolf.  I could have done without the V in the middle of the dress which led to a curtainy look at the bottom, but Pink looked stunning regardless. 

Reveiw: The Kennedy Center Honors

The recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors were: Martina Arroyo, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine and Carlos Santana.  The honorees were presented the medallions on December 7thwith the honors ceremony held on December 8th at the Kennedy Center Opera House, where the honorees were saluted by a variety of talented performers.  The Kennedy Center Honors as aired on television consist of two hours’ time in which there are no acceptance speeches by honorees, but instead heartfelt testaments to the impact honorees have had on the world and celebrations of their work through various performances.

Contemporary stars paying tribute to living legends is the definition of multifarious.  One may not enjoy all of the performances depending on personal preferences but the show includes something for everyone. 

A wide variety of people graced the stage of the Kennedy Center including Glenn Close who opened the show by introducing all of the honorees with engaging snippets about each of their backgrounds and accomplishments.  Harry Belafonte introduced the Carlos Santana tribute which included Buddy Guy and Steve Winwood, among others.  Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor introduced the tribute for Martina Arroyo which included stunning performances from Aida.  Bill O’Reilly introduced the tribute to Herbie Hancock which included performances by many musicians, including Snoop Lion/Dogg and Mix Master Mike (from the Beastie Boys).  Kathy Bates introduced the tribute to Shirley MacLaine which was a Broadway tribute by Anna Kendrick, Sutton Foster, Patina Miler, and Karen Olivo (which was phenomenal!).   Finally, Tony Bennett introduced the tribute to Billy Joel which included performances by Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie and Garth Brooks. 

Artists celebrating artists is one of the greatest things that happens in general.  The celebration of others’ work is so freeing and lacks a self-promotion that award show performances exude. A show that can bring such diverse artists and people to the same stage, and to celebrate such a wide variety of talent is something to be celebrated in and of itself.