I am as big a movie fan as I am a sports fan. That's saying a lot. Give me a lazy or rainy afternoon, and I will be more than happy to spend it curled up in a movie theatre.
Last Saturday, my experiences at the 24th Annual Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) reaffirmed that this crazy profession I chose was the absolute right one for me. Saturday night's hours-long awards presentation reminded me of what the Oscars would be like if they were held at the Muvico Theatre in Rosemont. With more technical gaffes.
Delayed 45 minutes with what host Mark DeCarlo described as technical issues, the evening sparkled nonetheless, honoring local talent making good and providing opportunities to preview what Oscar night might look like on February 24.
The presence of local film critics Dann Gire of the Daily Herald, President of CFCA, and Michael Wlimington, formerly of the Chicago Tribune, livened up an evening that might have otherwise missed the presence of Roger Ebert, who was ill, and Richard Roeper, whom I either missed or was a no-show. So, for that matter, was even a Joan Rivers lookalike asking "Who are you wearing?" I would have to have answered "My blue and silver brocade sparkle blouse is vintage Oak Park consignment shop couture, my boots are Carsons Originals, and my trousers are Chic by K-Mart."
Most women were in flowing, long gowns of every hue. No color truly dominated, as I saw black, red, green and white creations, accentuated with four-inch (minimum) heels. No one dripped jewels, from what I could tell.
The film critics weighed in on their picks for best picture (Zero Dark Thirty), Best Actress (Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty) Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln), Best Supporting Actor (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master), Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams, The Master), Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty), and Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty).
And what other profession could compare with memories like this?
Sparkling on the Perillo Red Carpet.....with the perfect escort
I walked down a red carpet, with a man assigned to escort me and take my picture...just like Jessica Alba!
Paul Sorvino ('Goodfellas," "Law and Order") at the Chicago Film Critics Awards after receiving his "Commitment to the Craft" Award.
It was the night I had a conversation with Oscar-nominated actor Paul Sorvino about his daughter Mira's ability to speak four languages flawlessly (especially French). Did you know she has four children and is taking time to raise them? And that he will do recordings, but no longer give opera concerts because, "I'm 74, honey!" He seemed to be impressed that I remembered his performances because "I've been in the business a long time!"
Saturday Night Live's Joe Piscopo and me.
It was the night that "Saturday Night Live" alum and professional charmer Joe Piscopo. What's he doing now? Joe just starred in a movie with Sorvino in "How Sweet It Is." And reminded people during his impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger that he had, at least "married the babysitter."He also told me I was "too young" to remember him on SNL....okay, now I'm a fan for life!
Rumor has it that I also received a kiss at the end of the interview. But I'm a professional and won't tell.
CFCA host Mark DeCarlo and me at the Bogart's afterparty
It was the night I was reunited with my college friend Mark DeCarlo, the Emmy-winning contributor to "Windy City Live" and former host of "Studs". I tapped him out at the Bogart's afterparty. He looked up, smiled and said "Wait, I know you, right?" "Yes you do," I said. "From Drake University, the school you never talk about!. You are still the same radio/TV major who made me laugh everytime I saw you!"
I really tried to talk with Jane Lynch, the night's honoree, but she was caught up in so many conversations, with so many people to meet, she apologized to me. "I am so sorry. I have to go meet someone," she said, with what I thought was an honest tinge of regret in her voice. Jane, I WILL catch you next time! You're still okay in my book.
But the most poignant, emotional and significant moment of the evening came during the Best Documentary Award presentation. "The Invisible War," exploring the rape of women in the military, was accepted by one of the women profiled in the film. Her voice breaking, the former US Coast Guard rnsign's voice broke as she said, "This film gave me my life back."
That, to me, is the power of cinema. May it always live up to these standards.