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I'd like to thank the Academy


As I write this, we are one month away from the glitz, glamour and drama of the Academy Awards, which will be handed out in Hollywood (on ABC) Sunday, Feb. 26.

I'm in the rare position of being the first (as far as I know) to thank the voting members of the Academy. Not for a nomination, mind you, but for including George Clooney and his pal Brad Pitt in the Best Actor race.

Don't worry, I won't waste your time or mine thanking all the little people: my agent (don't have one), my manager (don't need one), my personal trainer (Ha! Good one) or my hair stylist, unless Supercuts counts.

Clooney221RHowever, I would like to thank Oscar, that shiny gold statuette every actor covets, for pitting Pitt ("Moneyball") and Clooney ("The Descendants") against Demian Bichir ("A Better Life"), Jean Dujardin ("The Artist") and Gary Oldman ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") in the Best Actor race.

I went out on quite a limb, you see, on Dec. 5. That's when I sent my Getting Reel movie column for Jan./Feb. to "The Senior Voice" publisher/managing editor Carol Butler.

"With the 2011 Oscar race heating up, it makes sense to add George Clooney and Brad Pitt to the list of enduring leading men. Both are in the hunt for Academy Award nominations (to be announced Jan. 24) and could, if nominated, walk away with a golden statuette on Feb. 26," I wrote, way before the nominations were announced.

It was a gamble, in fact huge odds I wouldn't lay down real money on at Windstar casino. But I had a gut feeling that Clooney and Pitt would land Best Actor nods for some of the best work of each of their careers.

So thanks, Oscar.

Grab your brown bag, we'll bring the flick

If I told you that you could enjoy three great movies, including one ("Rango") nominated for an Academy Award this year, for a mere 26 bucks, what would you say?

Since I can't hear you from here, I'm hoping you'd say, "Where do I sign up?"

I'm hosting a "Brown Bag Movie Nights" series through the exciting Richland College Emeritus Plus 50 program that no movie fan will want to miss. Even if you're just looking for something to do on Friday nights, this will be an excellent choice to get out of the house, meet some people and see some terrific movies.

The series kicks off with "The Shawshank Redemption" on Feb. 24. We'll watch the entire movie. Before we roll the projector, I'll talk a little about why the film of the evening was chosen for the series. Afterward, I'll lead a discussion of what we've just seen.

Click here to join us in the Brown Bag Movie Series.

Want to be a Movie Memories day-tripper?

Courthouse221It's time to sign up for what I think will be a fun-filled Movie Memories road trip. On April 21, I'm hosting a Richland College Emeritus Plus 50-sponsored day bus trip to historic Waxahachie (just a short 45-minute ride from Dallas) to visit the sites where some memorable Oscar-winning films were shot. Films like "Places in the Heart," "Tender Mercies" and "The Trip to Bountiful," just to name a few.

You don't have to be a Richland College enrollee of any kind to enjoy this excursion to beautiful Waxahachie. Here's how it works.

We'll screen "Places in the Heart" starring Sally ("You like me ... ") Field on the evening of April 20 at Richland. The next morning we'll board the bus for Waxahachie, where actor, film buff and Waxahachie Texas Theater proprietor Tim Eaton will guide us on a driving tour, then a short walking tour of key Waxahachie movie sites, including where Bonnie and Clyde allegedly left shotgun blast marks in the ceiling of the local bank during an actual robbery.

Seats are limited on the bus, so I urge you make your reservations soon. Or, even better, right now. Click this link for details.

(Photo credits -- Brad Pitt, left, Jonah Hill "Moneyball" shot courtesy: Columbia TriStar/George Clooney photo from "The Descendants" courtesy: Fox Searchlight Pictures/Ellis County Courthouse photo courtesy: garygiles.net)


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