Posted by Donna MacMeans Mar 23 2010, 4:01 am in Academy Awards, Bandita contests, Golden Heart, RITA, Romcon
by Donna MacMeans
Everyone has been a little high strung in the lair this week.
You might recall that a contest, RWA’s 2006 Golden Heart contest, brought us all together so many years ago.
Now, one usually doesn’t enter the Golden Heart without having had som
e success at smaller regional contests. Consequently you could say that the banditas are a collection of successful contest sluts.
I’m afraid the sluttiness doesn’t go away once one becomes published. There’s a whole array of regional contests for published authors. While the prize in an unpublished contest is often an editor read – for the published author, it’s just another credential to add to their biography (and sometimes a framable certificate or plaque). But the grand prize remains RWA’s RITA contest which earns the author, besides bragging rights, a
So why are we antsy in the lair? Thursday is the day the finalists in the Golden Heart/RITA contest are announced. First the finalists receive a phone call, then the names go up on the contest website and the congratulations begin flying. This year the winners of the Golden Heart and RITA contests will be announced in late July at the RWA convention in Nashville. Of cour
se, we’ll announce any bandita finalists here and post their good news on the scroll. For more information on the RWA convention, follow this link: www.Rwanational.org
The nice thing about the Golden Heart/RITA contest is that much like the Academy awards, the contest is judged by peers. For the Golden Heart, scores are collected from five RWA member judges to determine the finalists. A panel of editors determine the winner. For the RITA, scores are collected from five other published author judges to determine the finalists. Then another panel of author judges chose the winner.
But while we wait for Thursday’s announcement, I thought I’d explain some of the differences between the big published author contests.
Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Every year the reviewers at Romantic Times Book reviews magazine nominate various books/authors for a variety of awards. The reviewers choose the winner in each category and announce the winners at their convention (which this
year will be in Columbus, Ohio) in late April. The nice thing about this contest is that there is no entry fee or submission process. If you’ve published a book in the past year, you are
automatically entered. This year we have three banditas as finalists: Christine Wells/ Wicked Little Games, Anna Campbell/Tempt the Devil and Kate Carlisle/Homicide in Hard Cover. As I’ll be at the RT Convention next month, I’ll be cheering loudly for my fellow banditas to win. For more information on the RT convention, check out this link: http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS
RomCon – This is the first year for this contest, but the prizes are simply amazing. This is the only contest with a significant financial award for the winner, but it is an expensive contest to enter and, unlike the RT award, one must enter. Like many of the smaller regional contests, the judges are screened readers. The finalists will be announced next month on April 30th. The winners will be announced at the RomCon convention in early July in Denver. For more information, check out this link. http://www.romconinc.com/
So my question for you is – do contest wins or finals make a difference to you as a reader? Not everyone enters their books into contests due to cost factors. We banditas enjoy the validation that a contest win or final can bring. Are you a contest slut? How about in another venue? Before I started writing I used to enter my paintings in local art shows. I guess once a slut, always a slut (grins). So what do you think?
Posted by Caren Crane Mar 7 2010, 5:34 am in Academy Awards, Caren Crane, movies, Oscar
by Caren Crane
I love movies. I adore films of all genres, from slapstick comedies to experimental indies to reality-baring documentaries. I also love the Oscars. The hoopla, the mad campaigns, the red carpet preening and the acceptance speech snafus.
This year, the Academy expanded the Best Picture category from 5 films to 10. This has made this year’s Oscar race a bit more…interesting, let’s say. Some big box office hits have been nominated, but few Hollywood insiders believe a wildly popular film like Avatar will win Uncle Oscar, no matter how many billions it makes at the box office.
I have another passion, however. I love underdogs. I like to root wholeheartedly for those fortune frowns upon, who have more guts and willpower than credibility. Those with more luck than skill, who come from behind to surprise the crowd. Those who fight the good fight, even if they are ultimately defeated. (Yes, Firefly fans, I was thinking of our beloved Brown Coats, thus the picture of Nathan Fillion as Capt. Mal Reynolds!)
Here, for your consideration, are my underdog Oscar picks for tonight:
Best Picture – Up. It was romantic, heartbreaking, funny, uplifting and just plain fun for all ages. An animated picture has never won Best Picture, so its chances are slim to none. I loved Inglourious Basterds (and yes, that IS how it’s spelled) but even a Quentin Tarantino movie has a better chance of winning than an animated one.
Best Actor – Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker. I didn’t see this movie, but this kid obviously came out of nowhere and has almost no chance of winning against the likes of Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Colin Firth and Morgan Freeman. So, Jeremy Renner it is!
Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds. Now, Christoph Waltz is an exceptional actor and he was such a sadistic rapscallion in this movie that he won me over forever. The Academy, however, prefers weightier roles such as those carried by nominees Matt Damon, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Plummer and Stanley Tucci. I fear Christoph will be snubbed by Oscar, so he has my vote!
Best Actress – Forget Meryl, Sandra, Helen and Gabourey. My vote goes to Carey Mulligan for her role in An Education. Even though it’s one of those movies only movie snobs and fans of art house films saw, the Academy will not give Carey the love. That’s okay, she’ll get it from me!
Best Supporting Actress – This is a tough category because all the nominees were so fabulous, but I think Vera Farmiga of Up In the Air will be snubbed. I expect Mo’Nique to win, actually, even with two nominees from Up In the Air on the ballot. Anna Kendrick was wonderful, as were Penelope Cruz and Maggie Gyllenhaal, but I expect Vera to get the least love of all these talented ladies.
Best Director – Jason Reitman, Up In the Air. James Cameron worked years and invented technology in directing Avatar. Kathryn Bigelow practically invented a whole new way to tell a war story with The Hurt Locker. With Precious, Lee Daniels brought a story to the screen that no one thought could be told with sincerity, passion and dignity – but he did that and made it look easy. Quentin Tarantino climbed right out on his usual loony limb with Inglourious Basterds and had the unmitigated gall to kill Hitler in the middle of WWII – hilarious work of genius! So, I think poor Jason will get totally overlooked in the shadow of all this filmmaking greatness and slink home without a statue. (Plus, he looks like one of those guys I knew in engineering school who liked me but would never ask me out because dating would have wrecked his grade in thermodynamics. Pffft!)
I won’t even bother with all the other categories because really, who even saw any of the Live Action Short Films? I do think my beloved Coraline is an underdog in Animated Feature, especially since Up was nominated, but I couldn’t even hazard a guess about Sound Mixing or Sound Editing. They never choose who I would for Cinematography, either, so pfffft on the Academy.
Who is your favorite front runner – or underdog – for the Oscars? Which of your favorite movies/actors/actresses was totally dissed by the Academy this year (hello, Robert Downey Jr.!)? And will you be watching the Academy Awards at all – maybe just the red carpet coverage? Do tell!