• Pamela Froman

90th Annual Oscars

Award season is here and the mother of all award shows – the 90th Annual Oscars – is coming this March 4. The best of the best in the movie business will be there in all their gorgeous finery, each hoping to claim that coveted golden statue. The ceremony, televised on ABC, will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

There are nine amazing nominees for Best Picture this year.

Best Director nominee Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” leads the pack with 13 nods. These include nominations for Lead Actress Sally Hawkins, Supporting Actor Richard Jenkins, Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Original Score and Costume Design. This story takes place at a top secret research facility in the 1950s, where a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.

“Call Me By Your Name” stars Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet (nominated for Best Actor), and Michael Stuhlbarg. In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father's research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape. The film is also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song.

“Darkest Hour” is a historical epic that shows the inner workings of Winston Churchill during the early days of World War II. The fate of Western Europe hangs in the balance as the newly-appointed British Prime Minister must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight. In addition to the Best Picture nomination, “Darkest Hour” also received nods for Best Lead Actor – Gary Oldman, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hair and Costume Design.

Another movie set in the time of World War II, “Dunkirk” is the story of Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France who are surrounded by the German army, and then evacuated during a fierce battle. The movie is up for Best Director – Chris Nolan. It is also nominated for Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, and Original Score.

“Get Out” is the story of a young African-American man, (played by Daniel Kaluuya, nominated for Best Actor) who makes plans to meet with his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods. However before long, the friendly and polite ambience gives way to a living nightmare. “Get Out” is also nominated For Best Director and Best Original Screenplay – Jordan Peele.

Set in 2002, “Lady Bird” is the story of Christine, an outspoken teen who must navigate a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother over the course of her eventful and poignant senior year of high school. Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan makes Christine’s flaws as endearing as her warmth and vulnerability.

“Phantom Thread” takes place in 1950's London. Reynolds Woodcock (played by Best Actor nominee Daniel Day-Lewis) is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover. “Phantom Thread” is also up for Best Director – Paul Thomas Anderson.

“The Post” stars Tom Hanks and the amazing Meryl Streep (nominated for Best Actress). A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.

A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” This flick was the big winner at the 2018 Golden Globes, taking home four awards including Best Motion Picture - Drama.

Sexual misconduct in Hollywood is a serious problem – but the public is becoming more and more aware of it and women are fighting back. Following over 80 women making allegations against him, famed film producer Harvey Weinstein was dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In response to this, in October, the #metoo movement spread virally as a two-word hashtag on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of assault and harassment. The phrase, long used by social activist Tarana Burke to help survivors realize they are not alone, was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano when she encouraged women to tweet it to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

#TimesUp is a group of more than 300 women in Hollywood who are working to fight sexual harassment in their industry and beyond. Many stories of sexual violence have been shared, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, Terry Crews, Reese Witherspoon, Rosario Dawson, Viola Davis, Anna Paquin, Lady Gaga, Sheryl Crow, Björk, Sarah Hyland, Molly Ringwald, Uma Thurman, McKayla Maroney, Ellen DeGeneres and Simone Biles. At the 2018 Golden Globes, black dresses made a statement in recognition of #MeToo and #TimesUp.

The biggest question around the Oscars is the obvious one – who will win?

“The Shape of Water” won the Producers Guild Award which has often been regarded as a predictor of Best Picture success. “The Shape of Water” is also likely to take the big prize given the sheer number of its nominations. However, Martin McDonagh’s comic revenge drama, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” may just nab Best Picture.

The Best Director field is full of first-time nominees this year, with only one out of the five, Paul Thomas Anderson, nominated in this category before. Chris Nolan is leading as the frontrunner.

In “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Francis McDormand creates a quietly ferocious performance as the grieving, vengeful Mildred. This is her fifth Oscar nomination, and would be her first win since Fargo in 1997.

Gary Oldman’s performance as Winston Churchill has taken home the SAG and Golden Globe. This is Oldman’s second nomination, and he offers an inspiring view into the mind of Churchill.

Allison Janney is the favorite for Best Supporting Actress in “I, Tonya.” Janney has won a ton of Emmys, but this is her first Oscar nomination. She will probably take home the statue – especially since she's landed prizes for this role several times this awards season.

Sam Rockwell has won most of the major Supporting Actor prizes, including the SAG Award. Rockwell is a first-time nominee, so it's anyone's guess in this category.

Of course fashion on the Academy Awards red carpet is a major staple of the show. It's the most important question of the night: “Who are you wearing?” There is nothing quite as glamorous or as unforgettable. Stars from some of the biggest films have walked it, and some of them have made Oscar history.

A few standouts over the years:

Anne Hathaway stunned on the red carpet in a red Marchesa gown with rose detailed one-shoulder strap and diamonds from Harry Winston. Jennifer Lopez oozed glamour in a sari-style mint green Valentino gown. Angelina Jolie brought the slit back in a black Versace dress. Celine Dion was ultra glam in a reversed Dior suit. Cher made fashion history with her one of a kind Bob Mackie black-sequined gown. And Michelle Williams was feminine and glamorous in a bright yellow Vera Wang gown.

The 90th Annual Academy Awards is just the beginning. The after parties are even more star-studded.

Master chef Wolfgang Puck returns to create this year’s Governors Ball, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ official post-Oscar celebration. The Ball’s 1,500 invited guests include Oscar winners and nominees, show presenters and other participants.

The Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award party has raised over $175 million for the AIDS Foundation. Expect to see star attendees – from musicians like Bono, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, to super models like Heidi Klum, Victoria Beckham, and Naomi Campbell. Chef Gordon Ramsey serves up an exquisite five-course meal. The celebrity auction is the highlight of the night. Don’t be surprised if Ed Sheeran, Foster The People, or Elton John himself performs several songs!

Vanity Fair’s Oscar Party is considered “the golden ticket.” A green-and-white carpet welcomes celebrities like Emma Stone, Justin Timberlake, Orlando Bloom, and Jennifer Aniston.

Lights. Camera. Action!

Valentine's Day Sidebar

Love is in the air as the ultimate day to express your affection is here. It's Valentine's Day! There are plenty of ways to say “I love you.”

A couples massage is a romantic way to unwind together. Share a tranquility massage at The Four Seasons in Westlake Village. During this treatment, the curative touch of trained therapists guides you to new heights of relaxation.

You don’t have to travel to Italy for a romantic gondola ride. Gondola Getaway in Newport Beach is romance at its finest. Get serenaded as you glide along the water. Tradition dictates that couples kiss under every bridge.

Located in a secluded spot in Topanga Canyon, Inn of the Seventh Ray is a truly romantic find for your Valentine's Day meal. The food is organic and sustainable, with “lovers plates” composed of four complimentary dishes meant to be shared by two.

What are two items that go hand in hand with Valentine's Day? Wine and chocolate. Labyrinth Winery Tasting Room in Ventura offers a Wine and Chocolate class where you will learn how to properly pair the two strong, nuanced, powerhouse flavors.

Going to a museum is an interesting and romantic way to spend an afternoon. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is currently exhibiting works by Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, Domenico Tiepolo, Goya, and Degas.

Get funky together at a dance class. It’s a unique way to spend your Valentine’s Day. Take an introductory lesson at Karina Smirnoff Dance Studio in Woodland Hills and learn how to shake it!

Embrace your inner artist together. Painting With A Twist in Northridge is a romantic place to unwind. The artistic team guides you and your love step-by-step through the featured painting as you sip a beverage and rock out to lively music. You'll walk away with a beautiful piece of art that you've created.

A gift from the heart speaks volumes, so give your love something that shows just how much you care.

Is your partner a nature lover? Adopt an Emperor Penguin. Emperor penguins live on the floating ice of Antarctica. The $55 Emperor Penguin Adoption Kit includes a soft plush version of your adopted animal, formal adoption certificate, a full-color photo of your species, spotlight card, full of fascinating information and a personalized acknowledgment letter.

Send a Message in a Bottle. This beautiful gift features a customizable poem that will bring big smile to the face of the person you love.

Send a reminder of your everlasting love with the timeless beauty of a gold rose keepsake. A brilliant bloom, in your choice of red or pink, is delicately preserved to maintain its natural features and carefully dipped by hand in shimmering 24k gold.

Here's to true love!

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