Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, in which WMM celebrates Daniel Day-Lewis, wonders: where is critical thought and thinks of that other great British dish, Nigella Lawson.

Oh yesterday was deep, today we must leave my mid-life crisis aside and ponder other issues, most specifically the two thoughts that I am left to ponder in the wake of Sunday night's Oscars, neither of which are related to fashion.  Lest you consider critical thought fashion. Oh that it would be fashionable again!

1) Daniel Day Lewis as genius.


You may or may not have liked Lincoln, though I happened to have liked it very much as you know.  But you would be hard pressed to convince me that Daniel Day Lewis did not deserve his third Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in the film.  Such petitions against Mr. Day-Lewis must be accompanied by powerpoint presentations, testimonials by all of your friends and neighbours, type-written and cross-checked against all academic literature related to acting.   There are few geniuses in any field; for DDL to receive his oscar from Meryl Streep appeared not dissimilar to me than if Adele had received her oscar from Judy Garland, back fresh from the grave and ready to appear on Broadway in next year's revival of Les Miserables

I was reminded, after watching Lincoln and having that performance stay with me for days afterwards, of a lifetime achievement award show I watched in the late 1970s saluting one of my all-time favourites, Fred Astaire.  Mikhail Barishnykov, then the darling defector and Lord of the Dance, stood up to pay tribute:  "I am a dancer." he said modestly, "I have no idea what Fred Astair is doing."  I wonder sometimes if some of the other actors of his generation, save a very few (like the perenially gifted and frustrating Sean Penn), wonder the same about DDL.  They are acting - what the HELL is he doing? 

Which leads me to my second thought:

2) In almost all instances the entertainment media are idiots.  After his significant win, Daniel Day Lewis was backstage giving interviews to the gathered press.  One particularly idiotic reporter had, for want of  a better word, the assinine audacity to ask him if the beard had proven a challenge to "act through".  The look of shock on DDL's face was priceless.  First: it was clear that the reporter did not understand that the beard in the movie was Day-Lewis' own, and secondly, felt that such a prosthetic might have in some way encumbered the ability to act.  Day-Lewis was gracious, though his disbelief was apparent, and it struck me again how torturous it must be for some of these top-drawer actors and actresses, forced to be interviewed by individuals who a) know nothing about the history or art of film-making and b) who treat  actors of the calibre of Day-Lewis as if they are simply another Housewife of Beverly Hills.  Yes, I imagine that a beard might be difficult for one of them to act with...  That the entertainment media have bred like rabid rabbits says more about us as a society then about them; their moguls are simply P.T. Barnums, giving the public what it wants and deserves.


 I don't watch much TV, but I can't help but feel we are all the worse for having no one, at least in the mainstream media, asking DDL the questions I most want to know the answer to: 1) what the Hell is he doing? and 2) how was he so fortunate to have landed a wife who appears to be both elegant and real all at the same time.

One can't help but know that Mr. Day-Lewis has not watched a lot of North American television and is all the better for it, IMO.

Would the North American public stand to listen to a really interested and well-versed journalist ask thought-provoking questions?  I think they would.  And they might enrich the viewing experience of the public watching these movies and television shows.  Or maybe not.  But smart, thought-provoking and entertaining movies continue to be made.  I just wish that there would be some interesting questions asked about them when hundreds of millions of people are watching.  Instead, we get to watch mani-cams and fashion reports..
 
And that, dear friends, is my rant of the day!!!

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On a completely different topic, one of my good friends gave me a copy of Nigella Lawson's new cookbook Nigellissima.


Oh Nigella.   My dear husband thinks Nigella is quite a dish, what with the ample bosom, the voluptuous curves, the delicious sighs as she licks the spoons...

I read an article today by the Associated Press about how novel that Nigella freely speaks her mind, will not allow her curves to be lessened by book editors and photographers and marvel-upon-marvel to the AP, not only knows who Bertrand Russell is, but refers to him at the beginning of her cook book.

Nigella Lawson in garden

Nigella is by no means overly large.  I think she only looks that way because we are so used to seeing poor girls starved half to death (at least 6 actresses on the red carpet Sunday night commented about how hungry they were).

I have not cooked out of this book yet, but based on my experience with her other books, I expect to like the recipes and find them easy to follow.  I have been a fan of Nigella's for quite awhile, albeit for very different reasons than my husband's reasons for loving her.  For me, my love of Nigella was forged by good recipies, but cemented when I saw this picture of her in her library.

 

I don't know if it still looks like that, but I want to go to there!

So happy Tuesday all and stay safe out there!

41 comments:

  1. what? that library is amazing- I want to go to there too!

    I love how we expect DDL to be so serious and he's actually very funny (great acceptance speech!). If only we could all feel so intelligent and articulate...sigh...

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    1. Yes, he has that British (and frequnt Canadian ability) ability for charming self-deprecation. All public figures should take classes in it, as I believes that if one ie erudite and charming, the public wll often eat right out of your hand!

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  2. Lincoln was wonderful, I could have watched another three hours of it.
    Nigella used to be pretty hefty, that's why they always used to film her from the waist up but she's lost about three stone recently. I really like her, she's a complete and utter messy trollop when she's out and about and only makes an effort when she's going somewhere, she's also incredibly clever and brilliant writer, I used to love reading her pieces when she was a columnist.

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    1. Oh me Tabs! I want to buy the movie when it comes out so I can study the set design; it was perfection! Of course, the problem for we north americans is that we tend to only get the best and the brightest British! I saw an interview between Noel Fielding and Chelsea Handler (she has a chat show here) and she was gobsmacked to learn about some geographical location, I can't recall what it was. She said to Noel "Had you ever heard of this?" and he looked at her and laughed and said "Chelsea, I was raised in the British Education System, of COURSE I know what that it." Bit of a cheeky monkey, as maybe he went to a private school, but it was a funny moment and she laughed out loud.

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    2. Tabs 40+ lbs and she still cooks, now I'm impressed.

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    3. Love her-- she looks forged from custard. Gorgeous and wicked smaht.

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  3. yep.....I wish Nigella was my friend too......and i wouldn't mind if Dan was my husband either!!!!
    NB Rebecca Miller aka Mrs Day Lewis is clearly a woman who hasn't 'done' anything to her face which must make her a total freak when she comes to LA but didn't she look all the more stunning because of it??

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    1. YOung at Heart that is exactly what I thought! SHe and Meryl Streep stand out at just naturally beautiful women who have aged. No funny lips or eyes. They just look at each other so kindly!

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  4. GREAT BRITISH WMM, after DDL received his last Oscar from "The Queen" (remember that kneel?) I was convinced only Streep could hand off this one. And Rebecca Miller, Daniel's wife is actually the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and quite accomplished in her own right. (If that's what real 50 looks like count me in.)
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3672210/Rebecca-Millers-private-lives.html

    I suppose most of us have some kind of "junk" TV or "mindless" entertainment fix. But majority of time when TV is on around here it's the Beeb (DH cannot abide most N.A. hosts except maybe Anderson Cooper). Have you ever seen BBC's weekly show "Talking Movies"? Because I was waiting for "The Following" to start (Kevin Bacon American and James Purefoy Brit yes please) I can tell you that poor Nigella is putting up with Roz Weston (also hosts radio here) on Entertainment Tonight Canada - tonight ;-) She'll run rings around him, would have a much better chat with Jian.

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    1. Funnily, Lawson used to review books for the big papers and smartie was a deputy editor at the Sunday Times in her 20s. Did annoy me that some of her dinners would cost many families' weekly grocery bill. But I also appreciate that she cheekily "admits" to having voted Labour when her father/ family were "the" Conservatives.

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    2. Last thing, promise. Think other her often slapdash (normal) and real-sized self, Nigella is to be applauded for making a rich life of her own and for her kids after a lot of tragedy (lost mother, sister, first husband young), in the well-lived sense. Not just sitting back on her family's funds, well-padded existence.

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    3. Agree completely. I did know that Rebecca was Arthur's daughter and gifted in her own right, albeit in a less public way than DDL. I have always admired Nigella for her perserverence and just getting it done. Everyone has tragedies, rich or poor; we sometimes forget that, glossed as their lives are by magazine and movies and TV.

      No "The Following" for me - too dark for me right now!

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    4. Happy to keep this round of Kevin to myself ;-) And I gotcha, can't watch Walking Dead and sometimes Homeland is hard (taps into all the work craziness around 9/11 and my friend that was affected, somehow).

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    5. I think Kevin is awfully cute!!!! Wish he would do a comedy for me! :-)

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    6. Serial killers bother me..who knew. I do like Walking Dead and am anxiously awaiting Game of Thrones. The only problem is it takes me the entire season to remember who everyone is.

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    7. HA! My son can rhyme of the game of throne character's names as if they are family names - me - not so much!

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  5. I have always wanted a library with high ceilings with books stacked up to the rafters like that! But being a semi-shorty, I would need one of those rolling library ladders too. I think this dream will not be realized, but I like looking at pictures of it. I will have to take a look at Nigella Lawson, I have never seen one of her books or tried one of her recipes. Maybe our last remaining bookstore will have something of hers I can look at (are your bookstores all closing too?).

    The media has jumped the shark, entertainment media and otherwise. There is a dearth of intelligent reporting and intelligent questioning. I hardly watch any of it now, it is brain-meltingly stupid most of the time. I don't have anything against brain-meltingly stupid TV (I watch my share haha), but I just don't like it when it's the news or DDL :) Speaking of, did you love him in Last of the Mohicans? I haven't seen Lincoln yet, but I just loved him in Last of the Mohicans ("I will find you"). I hope Lincoln goes to video soon. And Argo. And all the rest of them I didn't see in the theater.

    Have a great day!!

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    1. We just watched Argo Saturday night, so am sure it is out. OH - Last of the Mohicans. sigh......

      Husband's dream is to have a Putnam ROlling Library Ladder, made at the Putnam Rolling Ladder Co. IN NYC - we have even visited their place, which is like a little rabbit warren in a very old building and as god is his witness, he will get one someday! I happen to like Nigella. She is not a chef, but I have had success with her recipes

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  6. OK, now I really have to see Lincoln, and probably look for Nigella. (Cooking is not my forte, although I admire those that do.)

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    1. I think Nigella is good because it's more like reading a juicy book!

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    2. Too funny, I used to read the original Joy of Cooking religiously, more for the prose than the recipes!

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  7. I feel like the bad fairy at the christening, but I have in fact tried some of the recipes NL slurped over on the telly, and although she has many, many admirable, nay, sterling qualities, she is not a cook.

    My life has been better since I stopped confusing Daniel Day Lewis with Daniel Simpson Day. In fact, I have come to think that Animal House might have been even better with Daniel Day Lewis in the role, but am willing to admit there's room for other opinions.

    Kidding aside, I am proud to live in a country where Lincoln could be (eventually) made. In fact there are times I am proud to live in the country where Lincoln was elected. Even though politics was (were?) at least as vicious and dirty as today's, somehow our imperfect system works from time to time.

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    1. Agree completely Fred - Lincoln inspired me!

      As for nigella - you are right, she is no chef, though I have had some luck with some of her recipes, especially the desserts!

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  8. I have only one of book from nigella,its called "Forever Summer".Even though i love to look at the pics in it and wanted to try something from it,i kind of forgot that i have it.
    Off to rediscover it:)

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    1. i have that one - I love some of the drink recipex in it...:-)

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  9. I think DDL is the greatest actor alive, and so charming as well. I wasn't crazy about Lincoln, but was thrilled he won the Oscar, as he should have. I didn't see the post interviews, but that's the weirdest question ever about his beard - so ridiculous. I have a few Nigella cookbooks, but have yet to make anything from them. I just like her, and buy them.

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    1. Did you like Tommy Lee Jones in it? i was rooting for him as well.

      As for Nigella, my husband would agree that the books, with pictures of her, are worthwhile even without making anything.

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  10. I prefer the Last of the Mohicans DDL - looked good. I have no idea who Nigella is, name sounds familar, but I do love her curves. Hubby likes Giada. If your going to make yummy stuff at least look like you eat it.

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    1. HA! My husband like Giada as well but he calls her the "big headed italian chef"! Yes, I do like me some DDL in Last of the Mohicans..

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  11. I had the most fierce crush on DDL when I was young. Still like him, I thought he was wonderful in Lincoln. His wife Rebecca Miller is from a very privileged background but such a sad family story, she had a younger brother who was put into an institution because he had down's syndrome, leaving RM as the only and doted upon child, I always think of that when I see her. I liked her Pippa Lee movie pretty well, but I thought The Ballad of Jack and Rose was awful. Apparently she's got a new book coming out this year.
    Nigella's library is amazing. I think Barry should build you one just like it!

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    1. Every time I want to remember my huge crush on DDL, I watch Last of the Mohicans....sigh.

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    2. I think Kathy, that you express a universal truth...

      Dani - did not know about her brother or family situation except that she was Arthur Miller's daughter. I just find her lovely. Was Jack and ROse the one they did on PEI?

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    3. Yes, WMM that's it, around Souris on the Island as well as in CT. (An acquaintance of mine did a bit of location work on it. Someone got a ton of grief for fact you can see a Canadian Tire sign through car window apparently. I have never seen whole thing.)

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  12. TV is just awful for the last 6 or so years, and the entertainment reporters are mind numbing. It seems like they think that the general public/viewers are just dumb. I hardly watch any TV anymore and when we flip through we always comment in disbelief that we actually pay money for that garbage. It must be hard for good actors to spend time in the company of the new generation of actors and musicians. I saw and read some recent interviews with a well regarded singer and I honestly can't believe the musician's publicist and agent allow this musician to give interviews. I am obviously leaving out the name on purpose, but wow were these interviews awful. I fear for my child's world, for these people are their role models. Shudder.

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  13. I used to watch Nigella, but never made any of her recipes. She is fun to watch though.

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    1. You are of the same sentiment as my husband!

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  14. Wow, loads of gloriousness today. Was so happy to read about DDL as I didn't see the Oscars. I actually would not have recognised him in that photo, which is surely the sign of a good actor, he does not do Hello and I've never seen a pap photo of him. As for Nigella, the best interview ever in Oprah magazine was the recent one of her, I always remember too where she said she kept pigs' ears in the freezer and when her family was out she would fry them up. Staunch, as they say in NZ.

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    1. I forgot about that interview! You are right, Nigella has moxy! Yes, DDL's oscar was more than well deserved. I don;t think I have ever read about him in the papers except when he is promoting a show and even then, he is quite reserved!

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  15. I loved the movie Lincoln, particularly because it featured Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln's modiste and confidante. I write about Keckley in my book; I was so happy to see her portrayed on the silver screen!

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  16. I am a fan of Daniel Day Lewis as well - "A Room with a View" and "The Age of Innocence" are two of my favourite movies of all time. Also a HUGE fan of Nigella, I own all of her cookbooks except for the most recent, and have been lucky enough to see her at two book signings. She is as gorgeous in real life as on screen, and her recipes are foolproof (though definitely not for people who diet!).

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