The Anatomy of a Best Song

What makes a song the “Best Original Song” for a motion picture? This year is particularly fascinating.

There appears to be a clear front runner in La La Land, nominated for the maximum two songs – “Audition” and “City of Stars.” Being a “movie musical” (yes, in quotations) the songs function in a very clear and direct way, allowing their effectiveness and relevance to the dramatic whole to be more objectively quantifiable. With two nominations, however, it runs the risk of cancelling itself out.

Furthermore, historically the academy has chosen songs by famous pop artists, which gives an edge to Justin Timberlake and Sting. Although THIS year, with the massive pop appeal of Hamilton, the prize could go to Lin-Manuel Miranda. So it’s really up in the air.

There is always going to be a large amount of subjectivity when evaluating a creative endeavor. Ideally, the law of averages works it out so that the opinions of an educated sample reflect the opinions of the educated majority.

Remember, though, that while the nominations are made by Academy members who are songwriters and composers, the winners are decided by the membership as a whole. (So beware Lin Manuel Miranda – the deciding vote may come down to a tone-deaf cinematographer.)

I’ve always thought that songs in motion pictures are a difficult thing to judge, and precisely because of that they are almost always a difficult award to predict. Add to that the bizarre and ever-changing rules which govern the nominations of songs, which results in years where only two songs (???) are even nominated.

I thought it might be interesting to go through the nominations and see how to evaluate them on the principles of the Academy.

According to the voting rules of the Academy: Continue reading The Anatomy of a Best Song

What Will Your Oscar’s Speech Be?

As I watch the various entertainment awards ceremonies that populate the first few months of the year, I am always struck by the depth of intention artists find in work that can sometimes feel like pure entertainment. I’m reminded that in everything we as actors do, we must find the greater purpose. Make it about something bigger than ourselves because that’s where the possibility for greatness lies.

Last night, during the SAG awards, many of the actors rose to the occasion of our times, understanding that the work they do does not exist in a vaccuum, but is rather reflected through the prism of the culture, giving their award an importance beyond simple recognition of talent or hard work. Continue reading What Will Your Oscar’s Speech Be?

MURDER Receives OCC Nomination

2014-awards-season1MURDER FOR TWO was honored yesterday with a nomination for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical Off-Broadway.  This is in addition to my co-star Jeff Blumenkrantz’s recent Lucille Lortel nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

I’m very proud of our little show, and if you haven’t yet seen it – then what are you waiting for?

Yesterday was also an exciting day because we participated in the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Easter Bonnet Competition.  I was selected as the member of our cast to wear our bonnet.  Go figure.

photo 1Note: this is NOT the bonnet I wore, and also this is not how I felt wearing it.

photo 2 photo 3 Jeff and I had a fun time hanging around the Minskoff theatre with the, um, cast members of The Lion King.

But the really cool part of the evening was when I unexpectedly ended up on stage with Bryan Cranston, Idina Menzel, Fran Drescher, and Denzel Washington.

photo 4 copy photo 5 copy photo(3) copy

And I just have to thank the cast of After Midnight, who was so nice to allow me to get into a pic with Bryan Cranston after they won some award for something or other.

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DARLING EARNS 10 EVVY NOMINATIONS

This past March, my musical DARLING had a workshop production at Emerson College, Boston.  That production has since been nominated for 10 Evvy Awards.

The EVVY Awards, modeled after professional shows such as the EMMYs and Oscars, have become the largest student-produced, multi-camera, live switch event in the nation. This award winning show has become nationally recognized with a first place award at the National Association of College Broadcasters awards and has received two national Telly Awards.
Throughout the year, student work can be submitted in a wide variety of categories, creating a very competitive environment right here on campus. These submissions are then sent out to professional judges in their respective field to ensure a fair and experienced judging process.

In addition to all acting categories, DARLING was also nominated for Outstanding Direction, Choreography, Lighting, Scenic, and Sound Designs, and Outstanding Theatrical Production.

Haley Vigil was also nominated for Oustanding Costume Design, which includes these fantastic designs:

Many congratulations to director Michael Bello, producer Jacob Porter, and the fantastic cast and crew of DARLING: Emerson!

The Evvy Awards are distributed May 12th, at 7pm EST, and the ceremony will be broadcast live on their site.

Ryback nominated, Best Cabaret Artist

Los Angeles, CA – Brett (B.T.) Ryback has been nominated as Best Cabaret Artist (Male) for 2011 Broadway World Los Angeles Awards for his show B.T. RYBACK: SONGS I WROTE.

Click to see his progress and VOTE for him.

Check out clips from SONGS I WROTE on youtube!

And listen to JOE IS (from Joe Schmoe Saves the World) as performed in SONGS I WROTE.