Thank You, Steve Jobs

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the young age of 56. He had struggled with cancer and other health problems for half a decade before he died, so his death was not a surprise, but it was still a major loss for the world. There have been few people as visionary and instrumental in changing the world as was Steve Jobs.

His legacy isn’t just the products created by the companies he leaves behind, which include both Apple and Pixar, but what those companies have done to the world at large. Without Apple, the face of modern computing would be entirely different, Jobs invented the entire idea of a personal computer that was intuitive to use and didn’t require a lot of technical skills to understand. His company brought us personal computing, the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and the iPad — he turned gadgets into something friendly and unintimidating.

I am not an Apple fanboy, I do not rush out and buy every gadget that they release. My primary computer is a Mac, but my tablet runs on Android, as does my phone. But both of those wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Apple constantly pushing the boundaries of what technology should be, what it should do, and how it should be a part of our lives.

Steve Jobs himself was an inspiration to many. He was an adopted child of a working class family who dropped out of college because it was too expensive. Then, after the success of Apple he was summarily fired from the company in the mid 80s and went on to work in other successful companies, like Pixar, before being invited back to Apple. His story was about overcoming odds again and again, and remaining true to his vision while doing so. If anyone had the entrepreneurial spirit, it was Steve Jobs, and if you have a business or want to start one some day, I can think of no better inspiration or reminder that anything is possible.

He gave a much quoted address to Stanford University soon after his diagnosis and said, ”Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Thank you, Steve Jobs, you have made the world a better place.

Academy Awards Predictions: First Female Best Director?!

I think that Avatar’s going to win an awful lot.  Basically it’s going to win unless there’s a really compelling reason to give it to someone else.  That being said, as a technical achievement, the film is a marvel, and I think it winning the technical categories is completely called for.  And of course, most of the wins in the technical categories aren’t really for “best” so much as they are for “most”.  “Most Cinematography” and “Most Editing”.

The only thing I really want to happen is that I really want Kathryn Bigelow to win best director.  She’s only the fourth female nominee in the category.  My preference for Up in a lot of places is just that I think that animated films deserve to be more recognized than they are.  I don’t think Up is nearly as amazing as Wall-E was, but I’m going to pull for animation.  Especially as there isn’t anything here I really care that much about.

Who I want to win in italics, who I think will win in bold.  No italics where I have no preference, or not enough knowledge.

Actor in a Leading Role
• Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
• George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
• Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
• Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
• Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role
• Matt Damon in “Invictus”
• Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
• Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
• Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
• Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role
• Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
• Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
• Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
• Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
• Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role
• Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
• Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
• Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
• Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
• Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film
• “Coraline” Henry Selick
• “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
• “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
• “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
• “Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction
• “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
• “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
• “Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
• “Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
• “The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography
• “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
• “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
• “The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
• “Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
• “The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design
• “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
• “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
• “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
• “Nine” Colleen Atwood
• “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Directing
• “Avatar” James Cameron
• “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
• “Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
• “Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)
• “Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
• “The Cove” Nominees to be determined
• “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
• “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
• “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)
• “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
• “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
• “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
• “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
• “Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing
• “Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
• “District 9” Julian Clarke
• “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
• “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film
• “Ajami” Israel
• “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
• “The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
• “Un Prophète” France
• “The White Ribbon” Germany

Makeup
• “Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
• “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
• “The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)
• “Avatar” James Horner
• “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
• “The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
• “Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
• “Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)
• “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
• “Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
• “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
• “Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
• “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture
• “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
• “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
• “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
• “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
• “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
• “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
• “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
• “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
• “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)
• “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
• “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
• “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
• “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
• “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)
• “The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
• “Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
• “Kavi” Gregg Helvey
• “Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
• “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing
• “Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
• “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
• “Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
• “Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
• “Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing
• “Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
• “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
• “Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
• “Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
• “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects
• “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
• “District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
• “Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
• “District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
• “An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
• “In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
• “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)
• “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
• “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
• “The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
• “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
• “Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy