Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hello, everybody. As we're doing this, a newsflash: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were finally wed in a private ceremony last Saturday in France. This was Pitt's second marriage (Jennifer Aniston, anyone?) and Jolie's third (Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton), and one that we weren't expecting after seven years together. was a good night for "Breaking Bad" as the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards Monday night as the already ended AMC series went out on a high note with Drama Series and acting honors for Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn. "Modern Family", despite the threat of Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black", remained unstoppable with their fifth Comedy Series prize (tying with "Frasier") and Ty Burrell's second Supporting Actor. 

But the major winners were all reruns anyway: Jim Parsons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (still Best Actor/Actress-Comedy), Julianna Margulies (Best Actress-Drama), "The Colbert Report" (still Variety Series despite Gwen Stefani's flub; also won for Writing as the Creative Arts awards), and "The Amazing Race" (once again Reality-Competition program after losing to "The Voice" last year). Other winners include "Fargo" (Miniseries) and "The Normal Heart" (Movie).

This was the first time since 1976 that the Emmys were held on a Monday, and for good reason: The Sunday was already booked for MTV's Video Music Awards across town at the Forum (which I won't get into) and that being on NBC this year, they were committed to "Sunday Night Football." Look at this year's Grammys; they had them in mid-January to avoid clashing with the Olympics, and the Oscars moving from late March to late February/early March in 2004 had the American Music Awards being held twice in 2003. Despite all that, the show pulled in a strong 15.6 million viewers, already making it the week's top program.

Other than host Seth Meyers moving things along (and ending the show a few minutes ahead of schedule) and Cranston and Louis-Dreyfus re-creating their "Seinfeld" scene, what moved us of course was Billy Crystal's tribute to Robin Williams that capped the In Memoriam segment that also included Mickey Rooney, Paul Walker, James Garner, Maya Angelou, and Don Pardo.

Once again, without running down the fashion roundup, my top five best-dressed were: A very glowing Hayden Panettiere (Lorena Sarbu), Amy Poehler (Theia), Sofia Vergara (Roberto Cavalli), Lucy Liu (Zac Posen), and Halle Berry (Elie Saab). The bottom two worst dressed besides Lena Dunham: Debra Messing (Angel Sanchez) and Katherine Heigl (John Haynes).

And last but not least...Labor Day weekend is two things: The unofficial end of summer, and of course, the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual "Show of Strength" telethon Sunday on ABC. Among the many neuromuscular diseases they're trying to find a cure for is ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, in which awareness has been raised in such a big way.

For the last month now, almost the entire world has been taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge including numerous celebrities too many to name and even former President George W. Bush. The premise is this: Take a bucket or cooler full of ice, fill it with water, issue a challenge to who knows how many people (friends, family, co-workers, even the Pope), have yourself or somebody dump it on you, and make sure you get it on video. Oh yeah, and make a donation to the ALS Association, who thanks to all this has raised $94.3 million as of Wednesday.

But not everybody has been digging this summer craze. Pamela Anderson on her Facebook page has been slamming the ALS Association for animal testing saying, "Recent experiments funded by the ALS Association, mice had holes drilled into their skulls, were inflicted with crippling illnesses, and were forced to run on an inclined treadmill until they collapsed from exhaustion. Monkeys had chemicals injected into their brains and backs and were later killed and dissected."

The California Biomedical Research Association, however, tends to differ. According to them, animal research has always been used in medical breakthroughs over the decades. Remember when monkey kidney cells were the key to Dr. Jonas Salk's polio vaccine in the 1950's? That was the result of animal research.

Back to the ice bucket challenge: As someone who used to donate to MDA, nobody has called me out yet. But if they do, I'll be take a worthy plunge colder than Nestea! So long and stay strong.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hello, everybody. Boy, it's been months, but what has been up in my life? A new job here in Atlanta, of course (and in the very high-end Buckhead district)! But other than that, scores of things going on, starting first up with -- you guessed it -- the World Cup.

Group play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has already ended and we're now into the next phase: Win or go home. And in the case of the United States, they ain't going least not yet.

After beating Ghana in their first game, the attention turned to Portugal last Sunday, where a win against them means a berth in the next round. We were just a few heartbeats away from that, until Portugal, thanks in no small part to Cristiano Ronaldo, tied it up at 2-2 in the very end. Not since Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals (in which San Antonio almost won the title until Miami's Ray Allen's 3-pointer kept his team alive; the Spurs truly got their redemption this year) have we ever seen the whole country -- especially soccer fans watching the game at Atlanta's Soccerfest in Brookhaven Park -- suffer emotional strokes after that last-second goal.

So it's on to the next game against Germany, and despite our 1-0 loss...we barely made it to the Sweet 16! Germany may have won Group G (which has been dubbed the "Group of Death"), but it's Portugal and Ghana -- among several countries including England, Australia, and defending champions Spain -- that's gone home. We survived Ghana, Portugal, and Germany; can we do the same with Belgium? We'll find out on Tuesday.

Now the USA/Portugal match was on television, but right after that, most of us hit our computers, tablets, and/or smartphones for that other big event on Sunday: The 41st Daytime Emmy Awards. Now usually I've recapped the Primetime Emmys, but quite frankly, the daytime counterpart has never been the same since Susan Lucci finally won in 1999 after some 20-odd nominations. At one point it ended up on The CW and even HLN to the point that nobody even cared anymore.

So, what did they do this year? Put the show exclusively online and, just like PBS, commercial-free! It could've been also rated TV-MA because presenter Sharon Osbourne, knowing that the awards aren't televised anymore, dropped a few F-bombs before awarding Best Drama to "The Young and The Restless." The other big winner was the absent Steve Harvey, claiming both Game Show Host ("Family Feud") and Informative Talk Show.

And last but not least: I've said that most of Atlanta watched the USA/Portugal match at Soccerfest last Sunday, which is quite fitting as we have become a soccer-crazed city as of late.

It started last spring with the Mexico/Nigeria exhibition match, which filled the Georgia Dome to the brim. That success led to the announcement of a Major League Soccer franchise, helmed by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank; they'll be playing in the new Falcons stadium under construction right now. And on the night before I started my new job last month, I went to a Braves game for the first time. Fairbanks may have a baseball team of their own with the Goldpanners, but let's face it: baseball season back in Alaska lasts about only 13 weeks while high school football runs from September till late November.

In about a few years when soccer comes our way (team name TBA), we're all going to be in our seats with our sweet tea shouting, "GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLL, ya'll!" So long and stay strong.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Hello, everybody. We'll get to the Oscars in a moment, but I should start with the serious news up front.

First up...the continuing conflict in Ukraine, as the United States and its allies are left with a decision to bolster their missile defense systems in Europe. Secretary of State John Kerry will be heading to Kiev on Tuesday to meet with the Ukrainian government while calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull his troops out of the Crimerian peninsula, which until 60 years ago was part of their country's territory. But according their Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Crimeria is still on Ukrainian soil despite the Russian presence.

Back here in the States, the week has already started with the never-ending winter with the latest (and hopefully last) blast pummeling the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, closing down schools and businesses yet again. Up to 10 inches of snow will have fallen in Washington and Baltimore with a foot of snow to come in New Jersey and parts of West Virginia, with governors of Tennessee and Virginia declaring a state of emergency.

Punxsutawney Phil was right about those six extra weeks of winter coming our way. Here, we have General Beau Lee, whose forecast called for an early spring in Atlanta. When it comes to weather in March, it's all about asking yourself one question: Who do you trust?

And now...

Slavery and "Gravity" triumph at the Oscars!

"Gravity" may have walked out of the 86th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday with the most overall haul (seven Oscars including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron); but in the end, the more prestigious honors belonged to "12 Years A Slave" with Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong'o, and Best Picture of 2013. Those two films and "American Hustle" were in a cutthroat battle for the big prize, with "Slave" coming in with a huge advantage after racking up Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA wins ("Hustle" on the other hand, got nothing, as did "The Wolf of Wall Street").

As predicted, Matthew McConaughey was named Best Actor for "Dallas Buyers Club" with Jared Leto claiming Supporting Actor, while the heavily favored Cate Blanchett completed her winning streak with her second overall Oscar, this time Best Actress for "Blue Jasmine." 

Other big winners include: "Frozen" (Animated Feature and Original Song ("Let It Go")), "20 Feet From Stardom" (Documentary Feature, punctuated by Darlene Love ultimately singing her praises), Italy's "The Great Beauty" (Foreign Language Film), and "Her" (Original Screenplay in a surprise).

Ellen DeGeneres in her second go-around as host put a whole lot of fun into the 3 1/2-hour Oscarcast, as opposed to Seth McFarlane's fawning last year. In addition to serving pizza to the audience, she was also solely responsible for the selfie that crashed Twitter, amassing 2 million retweets and counting. But I thought the best highlight went to Bette Midler in her first visit to the Oscar stage with "Wind Beneath My Wings" closing out the In Memoriam segment (which was probably completed on the fly to include Harold Ramis, whom Bill Murray gave a shout-out to)

One major highlight prior to all that's going on was in the skies above Los Angeles, as torrential rains threatened to put a damper on the fashion action. But thankfully, the sun came out to play just in time, though Jennifer Lawrence still couldn't get the sting from last year out of her head as she tripped in her red Dior yet again...this time on the red carpet. Though they both graciously lost to Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams looked like Old Hollywood in Alexander McQueen and Gucci respectively, while among the men, Jared Leto looked like a true winner himself in his Yves Saint Laurent jacket and red bow tie.

I think the best honor goes to Lupita Nyong'o in her icy blue Prada, but (back to the guys) Pharrell Williams? This is the Oscars, not the Grammys; leave those shorts in the house!

Cate Blanchett has always been the odds-on favorite ever since "Blue Jasmine" was released last summer, and her Best Actress prize did the trick for her. As for Lupita Nyong'o? Like Jennifer Lawrence last year, this is definitely not the last we'll be seeing of her...well, unlike Mo'Nique when she won that very same award four years ago.

And then there was the Sexiest Man of 2005 winner whose Texas charm has drawn the females wild for years. Even though his big-screen persona has now been carried over to the small screen in HBO's "True Detective", there is no doubt that Matthew McConaughey's stature is well cemented now that he and his wife Camilla have welcomed the newest member of their family: an 8 1/2 bundle of joy named Oscar.

Heroes and Hollywood may have been the theme, but there was one other keyword all throughout the 86th Academy Awards that held true: Diversity, and we've seen it. Quite fittingly, the Oscars did soar to new heights in more ways than one. So long and stay strong.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Hello, everybody. I'll get to my Oscar preview in a bit, but first up, the latest on Young Hollywood's bad boy and a relocation:

Now other than Keshia Knight Pulliam, I can't think of any other major celebrities that call Atlanta home. But soon, you can add Justin Bieber to the list as he has reportedly purchased a home in the exclusive Buckhead area, which has been dubbed the Beverly Hills of the South.

Apparently, some people were so against their newest resident that they wanted Bieber out...or so we thought? A group that called themselves the "Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition" started up a Facebook page and on Monday morning, even went all out to hold a protest near Blackland Street, where the house is located. It garnered worldwide media attention, but in the was all for show! Yes, this whole thing was brought to us by Rock 100.5 radio's The Regular Guys, the brains behind the phony group/fake protest, and we were all duped. Even though there were only five "protesters", two others were actually pro-Bieber. Sam Massell, the head of the real Buckhead Coalition, had nothing to do with the faux protest and is welcoming Bieber with open arms.

After that prank, I'm really all for Biebs shacking it up in Atlanta; but since it's that time of year once again, the Girl Scouts should be given fair warning.

And now...with the Winter Olympics in Sochi already over, we are immediately moving forward to two big events this weekend: the 42nd annual running of the Iditarod back in Alaska in which dog mushing's biggest names will be roughing it to see who'll be the first to Nome; and of course, the 86th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday. For the latter, crews have been working round the clock to prevent a soggy red carpet as those aforementioned rains are continuing to pound Los Angeles with a vengeance.

Meanwhile, host Ellen DeGeneres will be doing everything in her power to get the show back to becoming a major event again in the face of not just Richter scale ratings, but also AMC's "The Walking Dead" already ruling Sunday nights after taking a chunk of viewers away from the Olympics. A lot has changed since DeGeneres last hosted in 2006, but after last year's host Seth MacFarlane got some lambasting (thanks primarily to "We Saw Your Boobs") followed by Billy Crystal's rusty return and James Franco and Anne Hathaway bombing (though Hathaway got a lot of redemption also last year with her Supporting Actress win), the Academy felt that Ellen is the safe bet.

"American Hustle", "Gravity", and "12 Years A Slave" are locked in a three-way battle for Best Picture with "Slave" already the heavy favorite. As for "Captain Philips", "Dallas Buyers Club", "Her", "Nebraska", "Philomena", and "The Wolf of Wall Street"? They wished it was back to just five nominees.

Supporting Actor may be all about Jared Leto, but Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, and Jonah Hill in the mix. The Supporting Actress showdown is between Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence, who wants to add that to go along with the Best Actress she collected last year (Sally Hawkins, 2000 Best Actress Julia Roberts, and June Squibb are also in there). 

Matthew McConaughey may have Best Actor in the bag, but he's not alone as Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Chiwetel Ejiofor could take that away from him. And Best Actress? If not Cate Blanchett, then Amy Adams', Sandra Bullock's (winner of that same category four years ago), Judi Dench's, or three-timer Meryl Streep's names could be on that envelope instead.

With all that said, here's whose names I think will be embedded on that ultimate piece of hardware after Sunday night:

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence had one hell of a 2013 with her memorable trip to the Oscar stage as the headliner, but she's been a workaholic and is deserving of a long breather. The chances of back-to back Oscars have already been against her, so it's safe to say that Lupita Nyong'o is the easy bet.
BEST ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey
BEST ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock may have also shared the same sentiment with Jennifer Lawrence, but remember what Mo'Nique said when she won in 2010: It's the performances, not the politics (or your name, for that matter), that land you the Oscar, and Cate Blanchett's in "Blue Jasmine" was a whole lot powerful than political.
DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
BEST PICTURE: "12 Years A Slave"

We'll see how I fare Sunday on the original Show of Shows (sorry, Wrestlemania!), with my full recap to follow on this blog Monday. So long and stay strong.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Super Blowout for Seattle!

Hello, everybody. In what was one of the most lopsided finishes in history, the Seattle Seahawks ran circles around the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night. Fueled by their powerful defense, linebacker Malcolm Smith was named the game's MVP, giving the Broncos' Peyton Manning the worst defeat of his career.

A blowout Super Bowl like this has also resulted into blowout ratings. The game pulled in a new all-time record 111.5 million viewers, knocking the series finale of "M*A*S*H" out of the top five!!!

Maybe it was because of New Jersey natives Queen Latifah and opera superstar Renee Fleming with "America The Beautiful" and the "Star-Spangled Banner" respectively before kickoff. Maybe it was because of the unseasonably warm climates of MetLife Stadium (49 degrees!), with fears that a blizzard might postpone the big game. Maybe it was because of Hall of Famer Joe Namath and his coat that made the folks at PETA switch to the Puppy Bowl. Maybe it was because of Bruno Mars at halftime with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which I thought was excellent though Bruno, for the love of God, should get a haircut!

Or maybe, perhaps MAYBE, it was the commercials. Crude was out, class was in this time, and here were my top five favorites from the game:

5. Coca-Cola's "It's Beautiful" (remember the controversial Spanish version of our national anthem years ago? This one, on the other hand, wasn't like that in my opinion)

4. Bud Light's "Ian's Up For Whatever" (what really happens when you cast a llama, Minka Kelly, One Republic, and Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside an average Joe? Hilarity ensues!)

3. Radio Shack's "Phone Call" (Whatcha gonna do when the California Raisins, Jason from "Friday the 13th", ALF, Chucky from "Child's Play", Q*Bert, Mary Lou Retton, and Hulk Hogan clean out your very outdated store still full of boom boxes and Tandy computers and make an ass out of you?)

2. Audi's "Doberhuahua" (which was why the Puppy Bowl took a chunk of the Super Bowl's ratings this year)

And my number one favorite commercial from the Super Bowl which was also tops in "USA Today's" Ad Meter:

1. Budweiser's "Puppy Love"
(the King of Beers remained the King of Super Bowl ads, and this one was a prime, touching example)

There were others that failed to impress me, like Chrysler. They were tops on my list for three years in a row, but their "American Import" with Bob Dylan? They missed the mark this time. Scarlett Johansson's SodaStream ad (in which there was an alternate ending) also fizzled, as did Maserati's with Quvenzhane Wallis, Dannon Oikos' "Spill" after all the pre-game buzz, and newcomers Turbo Tax and Squarespace. Talk about $4 million for 30 seconds of ad time being pissed away.

The last Seattle sports team to ever win a major title was the 1979 Supersonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder). That 35-year drought has come to an end, as another trophy is coming their way...the Vince Lombardi Trophy. All of the Emerald City is still celebrating, as is my brother Lawrence in Tacoma and especially the whole state of Alaska, which has been Seahawk Country all along. And for this Super Bowl blowout, at least they, uh, "smoked" Manning and company.

Now while all this was happening, there was one major story developing on the other end of the George Washington Bridge: Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won an Oscar in 2006 for "Capote" and has also starred in "The Hunger Games" among other films, was found dead in his New York City apartment late Sunday morning of an apparent drug overdose; he was 46. An autopsy was conducted Monday while we have learned new details on his tragic death, as Hoffman had a syringe in his arm and packets of heroin stamped with an ace of hearts symbol.

The actor joined the "Hunger Games" franchise with "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay"; he was here in Atlanta working on both films. Lionsgate has announced that Hoffman won't be replaced and said in a statement: "Philip Seymour Hoffman was a singular talent and one of the most gifted actors of our generation. We're very fortunate that he graced our 'Hunger Games' family. Losing him in his prime is a tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Philip's family."

This is the second time in seven months that we have lost someone who was in the prime of his or her life; Cory Monteith is the other. And after that other week, I hope Philip Seymour Hoffman serves as a wake-up call to Justin Bieber after his DUI arrest/smiling mugshot.

And last but not least: President Obama's State of the Union Address snagged in a paltry 33 million viewers, as the state of Atlanta, Georgia was a whole lot more important. All last week, a violent snowstorm closed down schools and businesses and our freeways turning into something out of "The Walking Dead", as hundreds of cars took 12 hours or even more trying to get home from work. A lot of fingers have been pointed at Mayor Kasim Reed and Governor Nathan Deal to blame for all this, as Atlanta thought they learned from their mistakes stemming from the 2011 snowstorm that shut the city down for days though since then, they were well prepared.

Meanwhile, my folks back in Alaska had a nice laugh at all this, as at the same time, temperatures hit to as far as 60 degrees! But when it comes to heavy snow like we had, they are the experts at handling it.

Now all my life in Alaska, I've had my share of brutal winters, but Atlanta this time of year is a completely different animal. But whose winter is the 800-pound gorilla of them all? I settle this score once and for all in my...
Winter in Alaska vs. Winter in Atlanta

Winter in Alaska: The Northern Lights
Winter in Atlanta: Bunches of stars above the Atlanta skyline
Advantage: Draw

Alaska: None, but school children stay inside during recess
Atlanta: Lots, causing school children to catch up on Netflix
Advantage: Alaska

Alaska: Yes, from November to May
Atlanta: No, if you have all-weather tires
Advantage: Alaska

Alaska: Carhartts and Sorel boots
Atlanta: Varies, as temperatures fall to as low as the single digits with below-zero windchills
Advantage: Draw

Alaska: Normal
Atlanta: As we've seen last week, hellacious!
Advantage: Alaska, with auto-starts and cars plugged in at 20 degrees or colder

By a score of 5-2, experience triumphs over inexperience.

Both areas until the beginning of the year have never heard of the term "Polar Vortex", but I've been seeing the aftermath of last week's storm here with help large and small, from strangers helping out fellow strangers on the roads with food, water, and even cat litter, to business offering shelter and free meals to those who were stranded for hours. We never saw that same outpouring after the ice storm in Fairbanks a few months ago that left most without power for days.

But at the end of the day, Alaska has always been immune to severe winters as opposed to Atlanta, and for good reason: We're more well prepared than them, and there's no need for calling out our government leaders after all that mess. That's how they do it in the AK, and I have put that same expertise to work now in the ATL. So long and stay strong.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hello, everybody. They had to do it a little early to avoid the Super Bowl/Olympics crush, but the 56th Grammy Awards on Sunday was dominated by crushing wins and not-that-crushing moments.

Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams (who with his fedora was named Arby's honorary Employee of the Year) claimed the most with five Grammys including Album of the Year for "Random Access Memories" and Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Get Lucky". Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were not that behind with four; Best New Artist among them. They were followed up by New Zealand sensation Lorde picking up Song of the Year and Pop Solo Performance for "Royals", and Pop Vocal Album going to Bruno Mars ("Unorthodox Jukebox"), as a warmup to what will be an extremely cold Super Bowl halftime next week. 

And although Robin Thicke and Taylor Swift got nothing, there were others that got something: Alicia Keys (R&B Album, "Girl on Fire"), Kacey Musgraves (Country Album, "Same Trailer Different Park"), Stephen Colbert (Spoken Word Album, "America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't"); and finally, after many nods, Kathy Griffin (Comedy Album, "Calm Down Gurrl").

Beyonce with the help of Jay-Z kicked things off as only they could, but the night's ultimate highlight belonged to a mass wedding of 33 straight and gay couples during Macklemore and Lewis' "Same Love" with Queen Latifah officiating. 

As always, there are little to no rules when it comes to Grammy fashion, and I thought Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Anna Kendrick, and Beyonce aboded by them. Madonna, Paula Patton, and Katy Perry? I'm afraid they violated them.

But of course, the big talk prior to the Grammys was Justin Bieber, as on Thursday he was arrested for DUI and drag racing on a Miami area street. That would be followed by pulling a Tom DeLay for his mugshot before being released on $2,500 bail. On Sunday, he spent some downtime in Panama, but the news of his arrest was pure comedy and social media gold. You know, if I was the U.S. ambassador to Canada, I would deport Bieber's ass and bring Celine Dion with him.

And last but not least...ugh, not again! The Deep Freeze which has numbed the Midwest and Northeast U.S. on two different occasions this month has returned with a vengeance, and is now spreading to as far as the Deep South including here in Atlanta. Chicago is once again the epicenter, as wind chills may fall to -40, with schools, businesses, and city governments closed. But back in Alaska, a series of avalanches have shut down the only road to and from Valdez on the Richardson Highway, and it will remain so for a week.

With Super Bowl XLVIII now less than a week away, the only places that are worried right now are New York and New Jersey, and if the pundits are right, we may see the big game happen earlier or maybe later than Sunday. And to my Seattle Seahawks: I hope they came well-prepared; they may probably need more than gloves to grab not only the football in the frozen tundra of MetLife Stadium, but the Vince Lombardi Trophy. So long, stay strong, and stay warm.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hello, everybody, and welcome to our first blog of 2014. The road to the Dolby Theatre began in Beverly Hills on Sunday and the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, where "12 Years A Slave" (Drama) and "American Hustle" (Musical/Comedy) took the top film honors and setting things up for the ultimate showdown on March 2.

Matthew McConaughey picked up Best Actor-Drama for "Dallas Buyers Club" (which also earned Supporting Actor for Jared Leto), Cate Blanchett beat out Sandra Bullock for Best Actress ("Blue Jasmine"), and Leonardo DiCaprio collected Best Actor-Musical/Comedy for the profanity-laden "The Wolf of Wall Street." 

But it's "American Hustle" that's prematurely coming in with the huge advantage, thanks to wins by Amy Adams (Best Actress-Musical/Comedy) and Jennifer Lawrence (Supporting Actress). Meanwhile, Foreign Language Film went to Italy's "The Great Beauty" and Animated Feature Film, "Frozen."

On the television spectrum: "Breaking Bad" picked up where they left off from last September's Emmys by cooking up Best Drama, with Bryan Cranston finally Best Actor. Robin Wright received Best Actress for Netflix's "House of Cards", leaving -- you guessed it --  a now-pregnant Kerry Washington in the dust yet again. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" shot out perennial Emmy winner "Modern Family" for Best Comedy (ditto for Best Actor Andy Samberg), while repeat Golden Globes co-host Amy Poehler collected Best Actress ("Parks and Recreation") after planting a big one on Bono. Other winners include fellow Emmy leftover "Behind the Candelabra" (Miniseries/TV Movie and its star Michael Douglas) and Jacqueline Bissett, who not only took forever to get up to the stage, but sort of woke up the censors a bit. Woody Allen was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, in which Diane Keaton accepted on his behalf.

The only malfunction that occurred well before the show was a water sprinkler flooding a portion of the red carpet and the press line -- yards away from the "Entertainment Tonight", "Access Hollywood" and E! platforms -- leading up to the entrance of the Beverly Hilton.

Once again bypassing the usually dull fashion rundown, I'll say that Amy Adams (in Valentino) gets my best-dressed prize, while Sandra Bullock (Prabal Gurung)? She may be turning 50 soon, but I didn't think she didn't look it.

The Golden Globes ended a thaw from the Deep Freeze that numbed most of the country in the first full week of the year. Temperatures plummeted to as low as -15 in Minneapolis, which is the Lower 48's equivalent to -40 in Fairbanks, which I don't have to deal with anymore. Here, it went to as low as 8, which resulted in a growing number of school closures all throughout metro Atlanta including Clayton County, where I live. But three years ago at this time, a violent snowstorm shut the whole city down, turning roads into instant ice rinks for the vehicles. Compare that to the recent ice storm Fairbanks had this past fall, which left most residents without power for days.

Long story short: I'm glad that I'm enjoying real weather once again, especially when it's 50 degrees above January! Take that, Mike Shultz, and so long and stay strong.