Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hosting the Red Carpet

I had a great time hosting the Red Carpet for the Aegis Foundation Academy Award Fundraiser. Many celebrities were bidding on this job. I won't name drop (Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Star Jones, Barbara Walters and Mary Hart) but trust me many people wanted their feet planted on the plush Red Carpet. But the Aegis Foundation said, "Get us Mr. Rivers!"

As I was working the Red Carpet, I threw my camera to Anthony (who helped produce the spot) and said, "This must be documented!"

Below are some photos of guests arriving at The Hotel Minneapolis. They were all anxious to talk with me and they waited patiently for their turn. For awhile I thought we would have to alert Hollywood to delay the start of the Oscars. I wanted to be sure everyone had their moment in the Aegis Spotlight next to me. The Aegis Red Carpet was THE place to be seen.

See you next year!

Discussing who would win the Best Picture Oscar.

I held a lot of purses and programs for ladies who wanted to really strike a pose for the cameras. I didn't get one tip. Can you believe it?

Stepping aside as guests decide who is going to stand where.

It was great to see families attending the event.

Giving instructions on where to look for the official photo.

Holding more purses and programs as these ladies gave their best Red Carpet Pose! Still no tip.

I had to channel Joan Rivers for a moment and ask, "Who designed your kilt?"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Aegis Foundation Pre-Red Carpet Photos

The Aegis Foundation held a great Academy Award Fundraiser in downtown Minneapolis. When I was asked to be part of this event, I said, "Yes!" Over the next few blog posts I'll share some photos from this great evening!

The event was held at The Hotel Minneapolis.

The pile of swagbags full of party favors for guests.

The lobby of The Hotel Minneapolis.

One of three big screen TVs used to broadcast the Oscars.

Another of the big screens.

Seating areas for guests to enjoy the broadcast.

The awards given out by the Aegis Foundation.

Silent auction items lined up waiting for bids.

The main Red Carpet entrance for the Aegis Foundation Event.

Me and the Giant Oscar. Both waiting for guests to arrive and walk the Red Carpet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oscar Commentary 2009

My humble observations from the 81st Academy Awards Broadcast . . .

1. The Person I Was Most Happy to See Win.
Penelope Cruz. I loved her in Vicki Christina Barcelona. The Best Supporting Actress category had the strongest performances. Picking a favorite was tough but I was very happy Penelope won.

2. The No Surprise Win.
Heath Ledger. Did anyone doubt he would win?

3. The Presenter Who Needed to Loosen Up.
Daniel Craig. I am a huge fan and I watch anything he does. But loosen up, Daniel. You were presenting at the Oscars, not delivering the State of the Union Address.

4. The Huge Green Ring Appears Again.
At the Golden Globes, both Mickey Rourke and Amy Adams wore large green rings. At the Oscars, it was Angelina Jolie's turn. Plus, Ms. Jolie had big green earrings to match.

5. The What Was He Wearing On His Head?
Philip Seymour Hoffman. Was it a black beanie? Stick with the big green ring, Philip. It's the new trend.

6. The Close Ups You Knew Were Coming.
The producers couldn't resist cutting to Angelina Jolie when Jennifer Aniston was presenting an award. The audience held their breath. Would there be a cat fight?

7. The I've Never Seen that Done with an Oscar.
High-wire artist Phillippe Petit balanced an Oscar on his chin after helping to accept the award for the documentary on his life.

8. The I Forgot How Great She Can Sing.
Queen Latifah sounded beautiful singing I'll be Seeing You during the In Memoriam segment.

9. The Great Musical Number Surprise.
Beyonce joining Hugh Jackman. The musical number was great and only improved when Beyonce joined. She sounded amazing.

10. The Right-Back-at-You Moment.
Beyonce singing a few lines of At Last. Etta James bashed Beyonce for singing the song at the Presidential Inauguration (later said she was only kidding). Beyonce returned the bash by singing it again! And she sounded great!

11. The Best Presenters.
Steven Martin and Tina Fey. I want them to host next year!

12. The Best New Format.
I loved having five past Oscar winners present the awards for the acting categories. It was so personal to have former winners talk directly to each nominee.

13. The Celebrity that Wasn't Missed.
Jack Nicholson wearing sunglasses, sitting in the front row and the producers feeling the need to cut to him 50 times an hour. Yes, Jack is still in the front row and yes, he is still wearing sunglasses. We get it.

14. Moment Number One when the Oscar Audience and the Aegis Event I Attended Broke into Applause and Cheers.
Dustin Lance Black's speech after winning Best Original Screenplay for Milk. A quote from this speech is well deserved:
I think [Harvey would] want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours.

15. Moment Number Two when the Oscar Audience and the Aegis Event I Attended Broke into Applause and Cheers.
Sean Penn's speech after winning Best Actor for Milk. Again, part of this speech deserves to be quoted here.

I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grand children's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone.
16. Moment Number Three when the Oscar Audience and the Aegis Event I Attended Broke into Applause and Cheers.
Sophia Loren coming on stage to present the Best Actress Award. Ms. Loren appeared wearing an incredible gown, her hair and makeup styled within-an-inch of her life. She hit her mark, placed her hand on her hip and gave the crowd a look that said, "Stand up and cheer you bitches. I'm on stage." And they did.

17. The Best Diva Moment of the Evening.
See number 16.

Results of Oscar Predictions

The 81st Academy Awards are over. Thousands of pictures were taken, countless interviews were give and now the Oscars are resting peacefully in their new homes.

The results of Anthony and Michael's Oscar Predictions have also been tabulated. I wasn't going to share the results, but then I knew that I must.

In short, Anthony pulled the Red Carpet out from under me, grabbed the Oscar and ran away with it.

Michael - 10 out of 18 correct.

Anthony - 17 out of 18 correct.

Only one wrong?! How is this possible? I'm convinced that Anthony had access to the secured envelopes at Price Waterhouse. How else could he get so many correct?!

Of course, this is the exact reason why I asked him to be my co-blogger for award ceremonies. He knows his stuff!

Congrats Anthony!

I owe you a dinner!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oscar Predictions Part Three

The final installment of Anthony and Michael's Oscar Predictions 2009:

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin in Milk
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road

Michael: I think everyone is expecting Heath Ledger. If he doesn't win, it will be the biggest upset of the evening. No question.

Anthony: Heath, for the win. But wouldn't mind seeing Brolin or Downey take the prize.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams in Doubt
Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis in Doubt
Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler

Michael: I didn't think Amy Adams' performance was an Oscar one. I was surprised at the nomination. It's between Penelope Cruz and Viola Davis. I loved Penelope so I will pick her.

Anthony: Even though Adams was good, she is the weak spot of this category. I thought all other performances were great. But Cruz seemed irreplaceable in Vicky Cristina so I'll go with her as well.

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn in Milk
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Michael: It will be Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke. I will go with Mickey as he is getting so many wins.

Anthony: I agree, it'll be between those two. Sean Penn is a slight favorite but I just feel Rourke will win this one.

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Melissa Leo in Frozen River
Meryl Streep in Doubt
Kate Winslet in The Reader

Michael: It's between Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet. They've both won awards for these performances. I'll pick Kate. Voters might finally give her the award.

Anthony: Kate Winslet seems to have the momentum. Even though her performance was better in Revolutionary Road, she'll win with The Reader.

Achievement in Directing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: Slumdog Millionaire.

Anthony: Danny Boyle with Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Motion Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: Slumdog Millionaire.

Anthony: Slumdog Millionaire.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oscar Predictions Part Two

Part Two of Anthony and Michael's Oscar Predictions 2009:

Achievement in Costume Design
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

Michael: At first I thought The Duchess. But I'm picking Revolutionary Road.

Anthony: I think Revolutionary Road will be overlooked. It seems it should be between Milk or The Duchess so I'll go with the latter, slightly. The CDG awards presented on the 17th should give us more insight.

Best Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Anthony: This one is probably between Slumdog and Button. Slumdog was most memorable for me so I'll go with that.

Achievement in Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Michael: Iron Man.

Anthony: Benjamin Button.

Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: Slumdog has been getting so much attention, but I'm picking Doubt.

Anthony: This one seems to be between Slumdog and Doubt. This category could break up Slumdogs potential sweep, but I think it's doubtful. Slumdog for the win.

Original Screenplay
Frozen River
In Bruges

Michael: I loved In Bruges but I'm not sure the movie was big enough to get this award. I'll go with Milk.

Anthony: Milk is a movie that requires a win on Oscar Night, and I think this will be the category.

Best Animated Feature
Kung Fu Panda

Michael: WALL-E

Anthony: WALL-E

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oscar Predictions Part One

Anthony (my fellow award ceremony blogger) and I have completed our Oscar predictions. After much deliberation, we've come to a conclusion on 18 of the nominated categories.

We present the following for Part One:

Achievement in Art Direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

Michael: Benjamin Button.

Anthony: Benjamin Button.

Achievement in Cinematography
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: Slumdog Millionaire.

Anthony: Slumdog Millionaire. With it's recent ASC award, this should be a lock.

Achievement in Film Editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Anthony: Historically, the best picture takes this prize. And with the recent ACE award, Slumdog should win this one-handed.

Achievement in Makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Michael: Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Anthony: Benjamin Button.

Achievement in Sound Editing
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: The Dark Knight

Anthony: The sound categories are always what kill me. Last year, I picked the loudest and most complex (Transformers) and lost to the third Bourne movie. Slumdog won the Cinema Audio Society prize, but The Dark Knight seems like it needs a win somewhere. And don't underestimate the well received Wall-E or Iron Man. I'll pick The Dark Knight, slightly.

Achievement in Sound Mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

Michael: The Dark Knight

Anthony: The Dark Knight, see above.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Michael Rivers Hosting the Red Carpet

Joan Rivers started it. Star Jones tried it. Kathy Griffin was fired from it. Now it's my turn.

I will be hosting the Red Carpet Event for the Aegis Foundation's Academy Awards Fundraiser.

Join me during a live blog and/or podcast direct from the Red Carpet at The Hotel Minneapolis (details to follow).

Better yet, be part of the show and attend this night of Hollywood. You'll be supporting two great causes: One Heartland and Smile Network International!

If you have not purchased your tickets, there is still time! Purchase online now or at the door the night of the Oscars!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Michael Rivers Appears on Lori and Julia

Today I appeared on the Lori and Julia Show (FM107.1). I was on to talk about the upcoming Joan Rivers Event. We had some laughs when I shared a few Joan Stories. And we had some good discussion on why Joan Rivers is such a survivor and inspiration to people.

I guaranteed the listeners that the Mall of American weekend will be great!

Did you get your tickets yet?

If not, you can get them on the websites for Joan Rivers or

You can also stop into the QVC @ The Mall store in the Mall of America.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hell's Kitchen: Food Review 4 of 52

As part of my New Year's Resolution to try 52 new restaurants, diners, coffee shops and bakeries during 2009, I present the following review:

Hell's Kitchen.

80 S. 9th Street
Minneapolis, MN

From the Hell's Kitchen website: In the heart of downtown Minneapolis, appropriately located in a beautiful underground space, you'll discover Hell's Kitchen, a chef-owned restaurant known for its damn good food. Almost everything is made from scratch, from our award-winning peanut butter to even homemade ketchup... winning us over 67 "best" awards in the 7 years we've been open.


Who I Went With:
Anthony, my fellow awards ceremony blogger.

What We Ate:
Anthony: Jamaican Jerk Burger - A hot & sweet charbroiled bison burger rubbed with spicy Jamaican jerk seasonings, then topped with grilled golden pineapple and habanero Pepperjack cheese. French Fries. Diet Coke.

Michael: Ham and Pear Crisp Sandwich -ham, poached pears, melted Swiss and Fontina cheese on spicy-sweet buttered grilled sourdough bread. Sweet potato fries. Diet Coke.

Would I Go Back:

Worth the Price:
Yes! The price is worth seeing the great decor, fun art and the change-before-your-eyes pictures hanging in the men's room!

Opinion: While we were eating, Anthony said it best. "This is disturbingly delicious."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Joan Rivers' Schedule Announced

Everyone knows that I am excited for the upcoming Joan Rivers Event in Minneapolis.

I've just learned about the schedule for Saturday, February 28, 2009:

10am: Grand Opening of the Everything Joan Boutique.
1pm: Joan Rivers Fashion Show.
3pm: Joan Rivers Book Signing.
6pm: Cocktail Party Hosted by Joan Rivers.

Remember, to take part in this exciting event, check out Joan Rivers or QVC @ The Mall's websites for more information.

See you there!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Black Sheep Pizza: Food Review 3 of 52

As part of my New Year's Resolution to try 52 new restaurants, diners, coffee shops and bakeries during 2009, I present the following review:

Black Sheep Pizza.

600 Washington Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN

Coal Fired Pizza.

Who I Went With:

What I Ate:
Fennel Sausage, Hot Salami, Onion & Cracked Green Olives Pizza.

Meatball, Garlic & Ricotta Cheese Pizza.

Diet Coke.

Would I Go Back:
For sure.

Worth the Price:

On Saturday, Black Sheep Pizza opens at 4pm. We got there at 5:10pm and there was already a 25 minute wait. The place is popular. When we walked into the building where Black Sheep Pizza is located, wonderful smells hit us full force. We hadn't even entered the actual restaurant but the pizza smells filled the air.

The employees and host were great to the people waiting for a table. They asked us how we were doing, offered to hang up our coats and asked if we wanted a beverage while we waited.

In looking at the menu, all the pizzas sounded great. Thankfully, our waiter suggested doing a 1/2 and 1/2 order. He also recommended that half the order be the meatball pizza with garlic and Ricotta added. This was his favorite.

I had never had coal fired pizza. According to Black Sheep Pizza's website, "Coal was burned in the first ovens to bake pizza in the United States . . . Black Sheep Pizza seeks to honor the craft of these pioneers to create the great American experience pizza for you."

After tasting the pizza, I know Black Sheep does create that great experience. The flavors were so fresh. The topping combinations were perfect. You can taste each ingredient. I lost track of the times I said, "This is so good!"

Of the two pizzas we tried, the meatball, garlic and Ricotta cheese was my favorite. When I go back again, I am getting an entire pizza of that.