Wednesday, January 30, 2013

February Movies to See and Skip

In the haze of busy holiday season, and award show season, I may have missed my monthly movies to see and skip in January.  Overall January was a weak month for new releases, I do not think I saw one film, which had a release date within the month.  January was filled with catching up on films like Amour, Life of Pie, and re-seeing awesome films like Argo.  Unfortunately February does not look any better.

February 1st
Warm Bodies
Bullet to the Head
Stand Up Guys

Warm Bodies looks like it may be one of the better films of the month, putting a fun spin on the living dead concept.  Sylvestor Stallone is almost 70 and needs to stop!  Stand Up Guys looks decent enough, and the cast is great, but the older buddy comedy/drama is warn out out give it a rest.

February 8th
Identity Thief
Side Effects

I love Melissa McCarthy but this material looks beneath her, and if its anything like Horrible Bosses I will hate this film.  Side Effects looks like Contagion meets any crappy love story.

February 15th 
A Good Day to Die Hard
Beautiful Creatures
Safe Haven

Someone needs to prevent Nicholas Sparks from writing because the movies from his books look worse and worse every year.  I did not think it would be possible to make one worse than generically titled film with Zac Effron last year, but Safe Haven looks worse.  Die Hard 1 and 2 were great films, from what I am hearing this one may shoot a burst of energy into the franchise.  Beautiful Creatures has Razzies in its future.

February 22nd
Dark Skies

Oh my Gosh the Rock is playing a bad ass cops call the been there done that police.  Dark Skies has Kerri Russell but so did August Rush; she can't save everything!

My advice: Rent movies you missed coming out on DVD!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Tribute to Great Film: Manhattan (1979)

Over the year's film maker Woody Allen has had love affairs with many cities, London, Rome, Paris, and of course New York City.  Woody Allen is high up on a list of directors with whom captures the every element of Manhattan.  The Wood Man has always been known for his leading ladies, from Diane Keaton to Penelope Cruz, the women in a Woody Allen film are typically the richest characters.  Yet Mr. Allen also makes the city itself, in this case Manhattan one of the characters in the film.  The opening sequence of the film is one of the most beautifully shot sequences highlighting the qualities of Manhattan, and the importance they bear to both Isaac and Woody himself.

The use of cinema scope, lighting, and shots which characterize the characters and the city create one of the most memorable film experience.  In Manhattan Woody Allen pays homage to a city he loves in parallel to the women he loves.  Throughout this film there is a beautiful blend of humor and sadness as the characters interact with one another on their search to find happiness.

The film centers on Isaac (Allen) who is dating a 17 year old girl named Tracey played exquisitely by Mariel Hemingway.  While on a double date with his good friend Yale Isaac finds out his friend has been cheating on his wife with Mary, played by Diane Keaton.  Mary is anti-Annie Hall; she is elitist, selfish, and often someone who appears to use others to her advantage.  As Yale walks away from Tracey because of her age he is drawn to Mary when she and Yale break off their fling.  The film brings out moments of hilarity as each of the characters explore their own personal baggage, and desires.  One of my favorite story lines involves Issac's ex-wife Jill, played with edge and wonderful comedic time by Meryl Streep.  Jill now a lesbian is writing a book and talks about their relationship.

One of my favorite moments in the film is Mary reading from Jill's book the following quote: 

"He was given to fits of rage, Jewish liberal paranoia, male chauvinism, self-righteous misanthropy, and nihilistic moods of despair. He had complaints about life but never any solutions. He longed to be an artist but balked at the necessary sacrifices. In his most private moments, he spoke of his fear of death, which he elevated to tragic heights when in fact it was mere narcissism." 

Issac scoffs at the similarities but this moment is one of the most real/funniest parts of the film.

Manhattan may be Woody Allen's most underrated achievement the film blends sheer optimism with some of the most heartbreaking moments.  As you watch Isaac struggle through his own personal and professional life you can relate with the concept of passion and love he longs for.  Isaac is surround by people people who have never been faithful, from Jill to Yale, but yet he is a self pro-claimed monogamous person.  In the film Isaac second guesses his own relationship with Tracey who adores him.  Throughout the whole film she pronounces her love for him, but without her present Isaac brushes this away thinking this can't be real, using her age as the reason, and the logic of the fact that she can't know love.  In the closing sequence between the two there are some of the most beautiful/heartbreaking moments, and Woody Allen stops playing himself and you see in both of their eyes a magical connection.

This is one of Woody Allen's best films, and there is a true artistic genius in the way he characterizes, the city, love, and the way the two play so well together.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Argo Wins Best Ensemble at SAG, Downton Abbey and Modern Family win on Television Side

Tonight Argo stepped even closer to a Best Picture win at the Academy Awards.  Argo has now won Best Picture at the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Golden Globes, Producer's Guild Awards, and here.  At this very moment I can feel many film critics and Oscar pundits switching their Lincoln Best Picture win to Argo.  One of the most intriguing things to me is if Argo wins Best Picture who wins Best Director?  I will be theorizing that one for a while.

In the other film categories Lincoln picked up two trophies one for Best Lead Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), and one for Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones).  Day-Lewis has the Best Actor prize in the bag, and Tommy Lee Jones has a strong shot at the Best Supporting Actor award, but he was not there to accept, so look for missing Christoph Waltz to be a spoiler.

Jennifer Lawrence made the Best Actress category more interesting tonight beating Jessica Chastain, this puts Lawrence out front, but never count out any surprises although with Harvey Weinstein behind her campaign she has the best chance.  Anne Hathaway further proved that her dream she dreamt will come true winning Best Supporting Actress, and I like that she thanked her Dark Knight cast; she gave a much better speech.

On the television side the Comedy Winners remained as stale as day old bread.  Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey whom I love won for Best Actor and Actress, and obviously it was as a parting gift for their great work on 30 Rock.  Modern Family also won for a third year in a row, and while I love their ensemble there are so many other great ensembles out there.  I guess I am just glad Betty White did not win this year or else they would have been the exact same winners as last year.  Baldwin and Modern Family have won together for the last three years, sloppy!

In the mini-series or movie category rubber stamped winner Kevin Costner and Julianne Moore won.  Costner was not present, but neither were any of his competition.  I think this is the first time in all my years of watching award shows where not a single nominee in a category has shown up.

The drama categories finally shook things up for the television world.  Best Actor went to Bryan Cranston he beat out front runner Damien Lewis.  Claire Danes was not nominated last year, but won Best Actress last year.  Downton Abbey won Best Ensemble, and I loved watching the actress who plays Mrs. Hughes accept for the cast; she was too precious.

One of the highlights of the evening was watching Dick Van Dyke get his lifetime achievement award. In watching his film reel, and hearing beautiful but brief acceptance of the award it was a great moment in one of the more boring award shows.

Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Film Predictions

Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Silver Linings Playbook

This typically is this branch's version of the Best Picture award, and sometimes they pick the award show juggernaut more recent wins like The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Slumdog Millionaire No Country for Old Men, and The King's Speech, but more often than not they pick the true "ensemble film" The Birdcage, The Full Monty, Traffic, Gosford Park, Sideways, Inglorious Basterds, and The Help.

What type of year will this be?  An award show sweep or one where they pick a truly great ensemble.  The problem with that is that Argo has been sweeping up the trophies, and their ensemble is pretty great.  Argo is the spoiler.  Silver Linings Playbook won this award at the Broadcast Film Critics Awards like The Help last year.  Silver Linings is the favorite, and will probably win.  If Lincoln happens to win it will win Best Picture.  A win here here would obviously bump up the chances of Silver Linings Playbook too.

Will Win: Silver Linings Playbook
Should Win: Argo
Spoiler Lincoln, Argo

Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper-Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis-Lincoln
John Hawkes-The Sessions
Hugh Jackman-Les Miserables
Denzel Washington-Flight

Day-Lewis wins this in a walk, when people think Lincoln they think his performance, and this could be the reason it has not been winning in the "Best Picture" categories.

Will and Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis-Lincoln

Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Motion Picture
Marion Cotillard-Rust and Bone
Jessica Chastain-Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence-Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Mirren-Hitchcock
Naomi Watts-The Impossible

The battle is one, Jessica Chastain versus Jennifer Lawrence.  While at the beginning of this award season this race looked to be one of the most boring, but in fact its one of the most interesting again this year (like last year).  I will add this SAG category is the one of the worst at predicting a win, past winners, which did not win at Oscar were Viola Davis for The Help, Meryl Streep in Doubt, Julie Christie in Away from Her, Renee Zellweger from Chicago, and Annette Bening for American Beauty.    These five women won here at SAG and lost at the Oscars.

I am going to stick with my initial prediction, and go with Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, but Jennifer Lawrence is a very very very close second.  If Lawrence wins look for this category to have a surprise winner on Oscar night.

Will and Should Jessica Chatain-Zero Dark Thirty
Massive Spoiler-Jennifer Lawrence-Silver Linings Playbook

Best Performance by an Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Alan Arkin-Argo
Javier Bardem-Skyfall
Robert DeNiro-Silver Linings Playbook
Phillip Seymour Hoffman-The Master
Tommy Lee Jones-Lincoln

One of the biggest toss ups, with Bardem out of the race, and Arkin a distant fourth.  Silver Linings Playbook, and Lincoln were well loved by this group, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the only nominee from The Master.  So its DeNiro versus Jones.  Jones unlikeable move at the Globes could hurt him.  I am going to to go with DeNiro, but I do not think he deserves a nomination for this role.

Prediction: Robert DeNiro-Silver Linings Playbook
Should Win and Spoiler: Tommy Lee Jones

Best Performance by an Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Sally Field-Lincoln
Anne Hathaway-Les Miserables
Helen Hunt-The Sessions
Nicole Kidman-The Paperboy
Maggie Smith-The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Get a better speech ready Ms. Hathaway, you will win tonight, and at the Oscars!

Will Win: Anne Hathaway
Should Win: Sally Field-Lincoln

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Argo Wins at Producer's Guild Awards (PGA), Along with Wreck-it Ralph, andModern Family, and Homeland Win on the TV Side

Tonight Argo is continuing its massive awards haul in Best Picture categories taking home the top prize, the Daryl F. Zanuk Award for Outstanding Producer of a Theatrical Motion Picture, or the Best Picture award at the Producer's Guild of America.  This film has won three major Best Picture awards from the PGA Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), and the Golden Globes.  Will Argo win at the Oscars?  Argo is missing one key component a Best Director nominee, and the last and only film to win without a Best Director nomination was Driving Miss Daisy (1989).  Films also typically win Best Picture, and Best Director, the two honors seems to come as a pair more often than not (but not always).  Let's look at the last few years to see how the PGA has done:

2011: "The Artist"
2010: "The King's Speech"*
2009: "The Hurt Locker"*
2008: "Slumdog Millionaire"*
2007: "No Country for Old Men"*
2006: "Little Miss Sunshine"
2005: "Brokeback Mountain"
2004: "The Aviator"
2003: "The Lord of the Rings: "The Return of the King"*
2002: "Chicago"*
2001: "Moulin Rouge!"
2000: "Gladiator"*

From 2000 through 2011, 8 of 12 films that won at the PGA went on to win at Oscar.  The Last time a film won at PGA and not at the Oscars was 6 years ago, and that was Little Miss Sunshine.  Let's look at the year's Oscar and PGA did not line up.

In 2006 the PGA winner was Little Miss Sunshine and the Oscar winner was The Departed.  First strike Little Miss Sunshine was a comedy with no director nomination, or editing nomination  up against Martin Scorsese who had never won an Oscar.  Little Miss Sunshine won SAG too, while Martin Scorsese won DGA.  To be fair films directed by two people rarely get nominations for both directors at Oscars, West Side Story was an exception, but it was West Side Story.

2005 the PGA went to Brokeback Mountain and the Oscar went to Crash.  Brokeback was the overwhelming favorite, but was missing one key component, a Best Editing nomination, which Crash received and won.  The editing nomination is one of the biggest components or clues as to who can win at the Oscars.  Crash also won SAG, but was not nominated at the Globes, one of the rare times the Best Picture was not even nominated at the Globes.

2004 the PGA went to The Aviator and Oscar went to Million Dollar Baby.  This really was the Aviator vs. Million Dollar Baby Oscars.  The Aviator cleaned up in the tech categories winning Best Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Cinematography and Best Supporting Actress.  Meanwhile Million Dollar Baby won Picture, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actor.  The Aviator actually won more awards, than the Best Picture winner, but everyone loved Clint!  During this season there was a clear split in what was "the best" critics and SAG went for Sideways, Globes and PGA went for The Aviator, but DGA picking Clint Eastwood was a sign the Oscars were going to change things.

2001 Moulin Rouge! won PGA and A Beautiful Mind won the Oscar.  A Beautiful Mind won the Globe for Best Drama, and Ron Howard won the DGA.  This started to that concept of a lack on consensus trend, which you see in 2004 and 2006.

A Beautiful Mind, Million Dollar Baby, and The Departed (although a little violent for their taste) were or felt like the right picks from the Academy's point of view.  A Beautiful Mind was a clever bio-pic.  Million Dollar Baby was about an upstart female boxer.  The Departed was a chance to finally honor Marty.  The only unexplainable year is 2005, but the lack of a Best Editing nomination helps with that (somewhat).  Brokeback losing was an interesting sign that Hollywood may not be as ok with "the gay thing" as one would expect.

So what does this mean for Argo?  Argo was not the critics darling that was Zero Dark Thirty and Amour, but they are not going to win the top prize this year.  Lincoln has the most nominations, but Daniel Day-Lewis appears to be the only person winning for that right now.  Life of Pi like The Aviator will clean up in the tech categories or at least do well like Hugo last year.  Tonight's SAG awards will either clear things up or make things cloudier and less predictable.  The Weinstein Machine will most likely steam roll the competition giving Silver Linings Playbook the win.  In that case who ends up on top?  The odd answer is Lincoln.  This year looks like those years that lack consensus, and what film came out on top most of the time, the one with little to no solid precursor strength.  That would be Lincoln.  

Argo won here tonight because of the hard work the producers to get this film made, and this film could repeat at the Oscar in Best Picture, this is within the realm of possibility.  The true test will be the guild awards and who wins.  SAG, DGA, WGA, and ACE. If Argo wins any two of these consider the Best Picture race over.  SAG will likely go to Silver Linings Playbook.  DGA could go to Affleck, but they could also pick Spielberg.  WGA will go to Lincoln's script.  ACE (the editing guild) is the one to watch.  If Argo wins this guild and DGA, along with their PGA win then they should out step Lincoln.  Zero Dark Thirty has a great shot with this guild, and this prize on Oscar night, so they should watch their step.  If you want to win your Oscar pool at work, pay attention to these awards.  At the his point Best Picture is still anyone's guess.

Here are the rest of the winners: 

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producer: Clark Spencer
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
Homeland (Showtime)
Producers: Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm
The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television
Game Change (HBO)
Producers: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy
Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
American Masters (PBS)
Producers: Prudence Glass, Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart
The Award for Outstanding Sports Program
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO)
The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program
Sesame Street (PBS)
“The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover” (HBO)

Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Television Predictions

Best Performance by a Drama Ensemble
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Mad Men

Homeland has the acting categories locked up, but this is a true horse race between Downton Abbey and Homeland.  Over the past few years this has been seen as "the best show" award.  If these awards want to separate themselves from other award shows then they will pick Downton, but my thought is they will follow the trend and go with Homeland.  To be honest I am torn, but my gut says Homeland.

Will Win: Homeland
Spoiler: Downton Abbey
Should Win: Breaking Bad

Best Performance by an Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi-Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston-Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels-The Newsroom
John Hamm-Mad Men
Damien Lewis-Homeland

Lewis has won both the Emmy and the Globe there is no stopping his triple crown victory this year with a win at SAG.  Bryan Cranston is always a spoiler.

Will Win and Should Win: Damien Lewis-Homeland

Best Performance by an Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Danes-Homeland
Michelle Dockery-Downton Abbey
Jessica Lange-American Horror Story: Asylum
Julianna Marguilles-The Good Wife
Maggie Smith-Downton Abbey

Homeland is a favorite and look for Danes to topple the two legends in this category, but never underestimate a Dame.  Maggie Smith has won numerous awards for this character.  Lange has a shot too, but Horror story did not get much support from this award show.

Will Win and Should Win: Claire danes-Homeland
Spoiler: Maggie Smith-Downton Abbey

Best Performance by a Comedy Ensemble
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie
The Office
30 Rock

SAG is terrible within the Comedy categories, and they pick the most boring repetitive nominees here.  The Office ? Nurse Jackie ? Glee? Pathetic!  Modern Family takes this in a cake walk.

Will and Should Win: Modern Family

Best Performance by an Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin-30 Rock
Ty Burrell-Modern Family
Jim Parsons-The Big Bang Theory
Louis C.K.-Louie
Eric Stonestreet-Modern Family

Vegas odds would say go for Baldwin; he has literally never lost in this category at this award show.  Could 30 Rock sentimentality play out?  Honoring Baldwin one last time? Quite possibly.  I have predicted Louis C.K. to win, but people just do not want to reward him for his acting, seems like they are fine with honoring his writing.  Both Stonestreet and Burell win big at the Emmy Awards, btu that does not always translate.  Parsons is also a past Emmy winner.This is one of the harder categories on the television side.

Will Win: Eric Stonestreet-Modern Family
Should Win: Louis C.K.-Louie
Spoiler: Alec Baldwin-30 Rock

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco-Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey-30 Rock
Amy Poehler-Parks and Recreation
Sofia Vergara-Modern Family
Betty White-Hot in Cleveland

Betty White has won this award the last two years she has been nominated, the show has lost steam, and I forgot it was on to be honest, but older SAG voters seem to check her name like voting for McCain in Arizona.  White like Baldwin should never be counted out.  Will Vergara finally win something on her own? Maybe.  Fey's show is on the way out will she get sympathy?  Possibly.  Another tough category mainly because its boring.  Poehler should win in this group, but she has never won an acting trophy ever.

Will Win: Sofia Vergara-Modern Family
Should Win: Amy Poehler-Parks and Recreation
Spoiler: Betty White-Hot in Cleveland

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series
Kevin Costner-Hattfields & McCoys
Woody Harrelson-Game Change
Ed Harris-Game Change
Clive Owen-Hemingway and Gellhorn
Bill Paxton-Hattfields & McCoys

Costner vs. Harris, Costner has the edge.

Will Win: Kevin Costner-Hattfields & McCoys
Should Win: Woody Harrelson-Game Change

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series
Nicole Kidman-Hemingway and Gellhorn
Julianne Moore-Game Change
Charlotte Rampling-Restless
Sigourney Weaver-Political Animals
Alfre Woodard-Steel Magnolias

Easiest category to predict, Julianne Moore, moving on.

Will and Should Win: Julianne Moore

Friday, January 25, 2013

Goodbye 30 Rock: A Look at Seven Great Seasons with 7 Great Episodes

The seven best, or well my seven favorite episodes of 30 Rock span from seasons 1 through seasons 5.  Season 6 was a bit of a mess, but this season has improved on the quality.  What makes a great television episode is hard to pin point.  Many shows turn in quality episodes time and time again. 30 Rock is one of those shows, so picking seven was difficult, but these 7 seven stand out to me as thought with a head above the rest.

"Jack-Tor" Season 1 Episode 5 Written by Robert Carlock  and Directed by Don Scardino

From the introduction of Jenna's classic song "Muffin Top" to watching CEO Jack try to act this episode is one of the best!

"Tracey Does Conan" Season 1 Episode 7 Written Tina Fey by and Directed by Adam Bernstein

Liz going a little wonky after giving blood, Tracey being stable on Conan (although he falls asleep) and Jenna in the hard to pronounce Rural Jurror.

"Rosemary's Baby" Season 2 Episode 4 Written by Jack Burditt and Directed by Michael Engler 

Liz gets "followship" for being a good number two for Jack; she also meets her lonely but independent minded idol Rosemary (Carrie Fisher).  The highlight of the episode is Jack's impersonations of Tracey, his father, mother, step-dad and neighbors.

"Sandwich Day" Season 2 Episode 14 Written Robert Carlock, Jack Burditt  and Directed by Don Scardino

I am going corporate monkeys! Love it, Liz picking a sandwich over a man, what more could be said.  You'll all have chins, damn Liz is right food matters!

 "Believe in Stars" Season 3 Episode 2 Written Robert Carlock and Directed by Don Scardino

One word! Oprah, and Liz proves she can get out of jury duty in Chicago dressed Princess Leia, priceless.

"Anna Howard Shaw" Day Season 4 Episode 13 Written by Matt Hubbard Directed by Ken Whittingtham-Liz at the Dentist

Liz gets high on anesthesia after a trip to the dentists office and the three Jamaican women become her three exes, priceless. 

"When it Rains it Pours" Season 5 Episode 2 Written Robert Carlock and Directed by Don Scardino

"Liz finds out that a guy in editing is spreading rumors about her, Jack begins recording advice videos for his unborn son, Tracy takes steps to make sure he's there for his daughter's birth, and Kenneth tries to prove he has a purpose."

The best writer/director team is clearly Robert Carlock, and Don Scardino.  These two men have produced some of the funniest moments in the history of this show.  Yet as stated narrowing down this list is almost impossible.  30 Rock is one of the funniest shows of all time.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Goodbye 30 Rock: A Look at Seven Great Seasons with 7 Great Guest Stars

In one week from tonight they shut out the lights  at studio 6H, and 30 Rock will go off the air for good.  While the show has past its prime, this is one of the most brilliant shows to grace the television landscape, and will be missed.  From Liz and her "Blurgh" moments to Jack channeling Tracey's father and assortment of his neighbors.  This modern Mary/Mr. Grant pairings is on of the best. In honor of the shows last week I will be paying tribute to the shows best guests, episodes, best cast moments, and much more!

While 30 Rock often became a rotation of special guest stars, and sometimes they cluttered up the screen, they were still one of the most important parts of the shows history.  Many of the best were those who played a significant role throughout the shows years, while there were one or two who only showed up once and left us laughing forever.  Here are the best guest stars:

Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghey

That ole broad Elaine Stritch has always made me laugh, but her stint as Jack's mom is probably one of the funniest she has ever had.  Her folksy racism mixed with her biting hatred of everything may be the reason Jack ended up the way he is, and I do not know whether to thank her, for the laughter of course, or be scarred.

Best Quote:"Tell him his mother's here. An' she loves him. But not in a queer way."

Will Arnett as Devon Banks

Jack's gay counterpart who is always at odds with him is one of my favorite guest stars, and Arnett plays Devon fabulously.  Devon has showed up multiple times throughout the year and whether there is homoerotic banter with Jack or him making fun of Liz for her manly qualities you can never go wrong with Devon.

Best Quote: "After the election, I could have had any ambassadorship that I wanted. Even to the world's gayest country: Ireland."

Dean Winters as Dennis Duffy

Liz's first boyfriend on the show, Dennis the beeper king is the polar opposite of who you would expect her to be with, and that's one of the best parts about this character.  Whether he is the subway hero, or causing a rift between Liz and Jenna, Winters was always one of the most fun guest actors on the show.

Best Quote “I was helicoptering into Zimbabwe when I thought I saw someone I knew. So I waved from the helicopter, which it turns out is a big no-no. So the rotor took my right hand clean off. And it turns out the person I was waving to was not my old football coach.”

Jon Hamm as Dr. Drew Baird

Liz found Dr. Drew (different one) threw getting his mail by mistake.  This doctor with perfect looks see Liz on the toilet, and deals with her accidentally roofying him, but still dates her.  The good doctor seemed to be the perfect man, but spent most of his time in the "bubble" of good looks. Who knew Don Draper was so funny, Tina Fey did.

Best Quote “I was helicoptering into Zimbabwe when I thought I saw someone I knew. So I waved from the helicopter, which it turns out is a big no-no. So the rotor took my right hand clean off. And it turns out the person I was waving to was not my old football coach.”

Sherri Shepherd as Angie Jordan

Tracey's wife Angie did not show up until later in the show (in the version of Ms. Shepherd) but that Queen of Jordan is one of the funniest recurring guest stars.  Angie's real housewives like show Queen of Jordan is one of the funniest episodes in the later years of the shows history, and she proves she is one funny lady.

Best Quote:  “I need to look good for my party and I refuse to wear anything my size or appropriate for my age.” 

Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman

Chris Parnell was one of those recurring guest stars who did not get as much respect as he deserved.  Parnell's Dr. Spacemen was always there to bail out the gang in tricky medical situations helping fake DNA tests, or get Jenna skinny.  Parnell is one under rated straight man, but his comedic timing is off the charts.

Best Quote: “So, what can I help you with? I should start by saying that I can't personally help you conceive. Something happened to me while scuba diving.”

Carrie Fisher as Rosemary Howard

Who better than Liz's writing idol to make this list.  Carrie Fisher's Rosemary was sassy, and pathetic the way you would imagine an older Liz Lemon without Jack.  Fisher is the only person on this list who was only on the show once, but her appearance in the second season was one of the shows most memorable.

Best Quote"You’re just like me. You get up in the morning and smoke weed. You obsess about the Jamaican man across the hall… Help me, Liz Lemon, you’re my only hope!”

Honorable Mentions: Oprah,  John Slattery, Margaret Cho, and Salma Hayek

If I Picked the Oscar Nominees......

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild 
Holy Motors
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director                                                                               
Ben Affleck-Argo
Kathryn Bigelow-Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Haneke-Amour
Paul Thomas Anderson-The Master
Benh Zeitlin-Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Lead Actor 
Phillip Seymour Hoffman-The Master
Dennis-Lavant-Holy Motors
John Hawkes-The Sessions
Daniel Day Lewis-Lincoln
Joaquin Phoenix-The Master

Best Lead Actress
Jessica Chasstain-Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence-Silver Linings Playbook
Emanuelle Riva-Amour
Quevenzhane Wallis-Beasts of the Southern Wild
Rachel Weisz-The Deep Blue Sea

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin-Argo
Jason Clarke-Zero Dark Thirty                                       
Dwight Henry-Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tommy Lee Jones-Lincoln
Bruce Willis-Moonrise Kingdom

Best Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt-Looper
Ann Dowd-Compliance
Sally Field-Lincoln
Anne Hathaway-Les Miserables
Helen Hunt-The Sessions

Best Adapted Screenplay
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Silver Linings Playbook

Best Original Screenplay
The Cabin in the Woods
The Master 
Moonrise Kingdom                                              
Best Foreign Language Film
Holy Motors
Rust and Bone 

Best Cinematography
Beasts of the Southern Wild 
The Master
Life of Pi

Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina 
Cloud Atlas 
Moonrise Kingdom
Mirror Mirror 

Best Film Editing                                                              
Cloud Atlas
The Master 
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Makeup and Hair Styling
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Snow White and the Huntsmen
Best Original Score 
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Master 
Moonrise Kingdom

Best Production Design
Anna Karenina 
Cloud Atlas 
Life of Pi
Moonrise Kingdom

Best Sound Editing
The Avengers
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Sound Mixing                                                      
The Avengers 
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty 

Best Visual Effects      
The Avengers
Life of Pi