Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2014 Oscars Quiz

The 86th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 2, 2014 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  As you prepare for the big night, why not challenge yourself and try Number 16's fourth annual Oscars quiz.  There are ten questions.  Good luck!


1.  Marlon Brando received eight Academy Award nominations during his illustrious career and won twice, both times for Best Actor in a Leading Role.  He received his second Academy Award for his performance as Vito Corleone in the 1972 film The Godfather.  For which film did he win his first Oscar.?

A.  A Street Car Named Desire

B.  On the Waterfront

C.  Julius Caesar

D.  The Wild One

E.  Reflections in a Golden Eye

2.  Who was the only actor to win an Academy Award in a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock?

A.  Grace Kelly

B.  James Stewart

C.  Cary Grant

D.  Joan Fontaine

E.  Raymond Burr

3.  Did Richard Burton ever win an Academy Award?

A.  No, he never won an Oscar.

B.  Yes, he won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the 1953 film The Robe.

C.  Yes, Richard Burton won two Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role  - one for The Robe (1953) and the other for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).

D.  Yes, Burton won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the 1952 film My Cousin Rachel.

E.  Yes, he won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of King Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).

4.  Who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a 1965 film?  Here are the nominees.

A.  Elizabeth Hartman for A Patch of Blue

B.  Simone Signoret for Ship of Fools

C.  Julie Christie for Darling

D.  Julie Andrews for The Sound of Music

E.  Samantha Eggar for The Collector

5.  Jane Fonda is a two-time Academy Award winner.  She won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role her performance as Sally Hyde in Coming Home (1978) and her co-star, John Voight won for Best Actor. For what other film did Jane earn an Oscar?

Jane Fonda

A.  The China Syndrome (1979)

B.  On Golden Pond (1981)

C.  They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

D.  Julia (1977)

E.  Klute (1971)

6.  How tall is an Oscar statuette?

A..  12 1/2 inches (31.75 cemtimetres)

B.  11 inches (27.94 centimetres)

C.  13 1/2 inches (34.29 centimetres)

D.  14 inches (35.56 centimetres)

E.  10 1/2 inxhes (26.67 centimetres)

7.  Who was the first performer to win an Oscar in for a leading role in a foreign language film.

A.  Sophia Loren

B.  Ingrid Bergman

C.  Roberto Benigni

D.  Catherine Deneuve

E.  GĂ©rard Depardieu

8.  Which actor, at the age of 73, performed one-handed push-ups on stage while accepting his Academy Award.?

A.  James Coburn

B.  Jack Palance

C.  David Niven

D.  Christopher Plummer

E.  Art Carney

9.  Marisa Tomei won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for which movie?

Tomei with Oscar

A.  Only You

B.  Chaplin

C,  Slums of Beverly Hills

D.  The Wrestler

E.  My Cousin Vinny

10.  On February 22, 2009, Australian-born Heath Ledger became the second performer to be awarded a posthumous acting Oscar.  Ledger, who won the Oscar for his portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight, died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs on January 22, 2008.  He was only 28 years old at the time of his passing.

Who was the first performer to be awarded a posthumous acting Oscar?

A.  John Wayne

B.  Jessica Tandy

C.  James Dean

D.  Peter Finch

E.  Montgomery Clift


1.  B

Marlon Brando won his first Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Terry Malloy in the 1954 film On the Waterfront.  Brando was nominated for A Street Car Named Desire (1951) but Humphrey Bogart received the award for African Queen.  He was also nominated for Julius Caesar (1953) but William Holden got the nod for Stalag 17.

In addition, Brando earned Oscar nominations  for Viva Zapa! (1952), Sayonara (1957) and Last Tango in Paris (1973).  His final Academy Award nomination was for Best Supporting Actor in A Dry White Season (1989).  A Dry White Season deals with the subject of apartheid in South Africa and Brando plays a human rights attorney named Ian McKenzie in the film.

All of Brando's Academy Award  nominations were for Best Actor in a Leading Role except for A Dry White Season.  He famously declined his Oscar for The Godfather at the 1973 Academy Awards ceremony due to ""poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry."

2.  D

In 1942, Joan Fontaine won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Alfred Hitchcock's film Suspicion (1941).  She was chosen over her sister, Olivia de Havilland, who was nominated for Hold Back the Dawn.

3.  A

No, Richard Burton never won an Academy Award even though he was nominated seven times.  His nominations include Best Actor in Supporting Role for My Cousin Rachel (1952) and Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Robe (1953), Beclet (1964), The Spy Who Came in from from the Cold (1965), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966), Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) and Equus (1977).  Burton passed away in 1984.

4.  C

Julie Christie was awarded the Oscar for her role as Diana Scott in the 1965 British film Darling.  Darling was nominated for five Academy Awards including  Best Picture and Best Director.  It won three;: Christie for her Best Actress in a Leading Role,  Best Original Screenplay and Best Costume Design.

5.  E

Jane Fonda won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Bree Daniel, a New York prostitute, in the 1971 film, Klute.

6.  C

According to the website of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. an Oscar statuette "stands 13½ inches tall (34.29 centimetres) and weighs in at a robust 8½ pounds.(3.85 kilograms)."

7.  A

Sophia Loren and Eleonora Brown in Two Sisters

Sophia Loren was the first artist to win an Oscar for a foreign language performance.  In 1962, she was awarded an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Vittorio De Sica's Two Women.  The Italian film tells the story of a widow, played by Loren, who tries to shield her daughter from the horrors of World War II.  (Trivia Note:  Sophia was unable to accept her Academy Award in person and Oscar winner Greer Garson accepted it on her behalf).

8.  B

On March 30, 1992, 73-year-old Jack Palance won an Academy Award  for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as cowboy Curly Washburn in the 1991 film City Slickers.  After accepting his Oscar from Whoopi Goldberg, he poked fun at his City Slickers co-star, Billy Crystal (who hosted the ceremony that year) and then demonstrated his ability to do push-ups.  (It's interesting to note that Jack Palance was a professional heavyweight boxer during the 1940s and that he boxed under the name Jack Brazzo).

Palance told the audience that the producer of his first film in 1949 told him that he would someday win an Academy Award.  "43 years later he was right," the veteran actor quipped.  To watch a video of Palance's 1992 Academy Awards acceptance speech, click on the link below.

9.  E

On February 17, 1993, Marisa Tomei received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Mona Lisa Vito in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny.  Her performance was chosen over those of such acclaimed actresses as Judy Davis for Husbands and Wives, Joan Plowright for Enchanted April, Vanessa Redgrave for Howard's End and Miranda Richardson for Damage.

Tomei was also nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as Cassidy in The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke (Rourke was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role). Tomei lost to Penelope Cruz, who won the Oscar for Vicky Cristia Barcelona.  Sean Penn took home the Best Actor in a Leading Role award for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in Milk.

10.  D

Peter Finch (left and William Holden in Network

The first performer to win a posthumous acting Oscar was Peter Finch who won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of television news anchor Howard Beale in the satirical 1976 film Network. Finch received the award two months after his death of a heart attack on January 14, 1977 at the age of 60.

Newwork was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet.  It won four Academy Awards and its cast includes Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight.  Dunaway received the Best Actress award and Straight was selected Best Supporting Actress.  Chayefsky was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

- Joanne

Friday, February 14, 2014

For Valentine's Day - great quotes about love

Happy Valentine's Day from Number 16.  Are you are sick and tired of all the commercialism and advertising associated with the February 14th?  Have you had enough of silly love songs? Then this is the perfect antidote for you. Take a few minutes from your busy schedule and remove yourself from the rat race for a time.  Sick back, relax and read some great quotations about love and reflect on them quietly.  

Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.

- Ursula K. Le Guin (1929 - ), American writer
From The Lathe of Heaven [1971]

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

- William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Sonnet 116

Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

- Max Ehrmann (1872-1945), American writer
From Desiderata [1927]

To say a man is fallen in love - or that he's deeply i love - or up to his ears in love, and sometimes even over head and ears in it, carries an idiomatical kind of implication, that love is a thing below a man.

- Lawrence Sterne (1713-1768), English novelist
From Tristram Shandy

Passion makes the world go round,
Love just makes it a safer place.

- Ice-T (real name: Tracy Marrow (1958 - ), American rap musician
From: The Ice Opinion [1994]

Even memory is not necessary for love.  There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.

- Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), American novelist and dramatist
From The Bridge of San Luis Rey [1927] (closing words),

Thornton Wilder

You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

- Attributed to Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) (1904-1991), American writer, poet and cartoonist

Dr. Seuss

Happy Valentine's Day

- Joanne

Monday, February 3, 2014

Raising the minimum wage: Is it a good policy?

No one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.

- U.S. President Barack Obama
State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014

The minimum wage is very much in the news in Canada and the United States.  President Obama has indicated his commitment to increase the federal minimum wage in the U.S. for the first time since July 24, 2009.  In Canada, two provinces, Ontario and Nova Scotia, will be raising their minimum wage this year. There is an ongoing and lively debate on the subject in both countries.

South of the border, Barack Obama is supporting legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25 and index it to inflation.  Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has lost 5.8 per cent of its purchasing power.  Considering inflation, $7.25 an hour is 23 per cent lower today than it was in 1968.  The president contends that the current rate is holding back the middle class but his plan to raise it has been stalled in Congress.  Unfortunately, the Republican-led House of Representatives is unlikely to pursue the issue and no Senate Republican has supported the Obama initiative.

On the morning of President Obama's State of the Union address, the White House announced that the president will use his executive powers to increase the minimum wage for new federal contract workers to $10.10 after past legislative attempts to do so have been blocked in the gridlocked Congress.  House Speaker John Boehner quickly and vigorously denounced Obama's executive order.  He said "the move "affects absolutely no one."

Here in Canada, two provinces have just announced their intention to boost their minimum wage. In my home province of Ontario, the minimum wage has just been raised from $10.25 an hour to $11 per hour. On Thursday, January 30, 2014, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that effective June 1, the lowest paid workers in Ontario will receive a 75 cent increase from the current rate.  In a press release, the premier stated, "Increasing the minimum wage will help improve the standard of living for hard working people across the province, while ensuring that businesses have the predictability necessary to plan for the future."

This is the first increase in Ontario's minimum wage since 2010, after which it was frozen.  The lowest income workers in the province have not seen a raise for four long years, even though the cost of living has steadily risen.  Although the increase means that Canada's most populous province will have the highest minimum wage in Canada (along with the territory of Nunavut), anti-poverty activists remain unsatisfied and disappointed.  They contend that $11 an hour is not nearly enough.

Not surprisingly, many business owners are disappointed and displeased too.  Charles Lammam of the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based right-wing think tank, condemned the move by the Ontario government. He declared that it's bad for business, the economy and low-income earners.  In Lamman's view, it will cause "employers to find ways to operate with fewer workers."  He argues that, "The bulk of those working for the minimum wage do not actually belong to low-income households. In Ontario the vast majority (81.5%) live in households with incomes above measures of relative poverty."

Nova Scotia has announced that it too will raise its minimum wage on April 1, 2014 to keep up with the cost of living.  The province's minimum wage will increase by 1.5 per cent to $10.40 an hour.  Marilyn More, Nova Scotia's Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, stated, "Our government is delivering on its commitment to make life better for families in Nova Scotia."  She said, "Students, single parents and others rely on minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet. This increase will help low-income individuals and their families by making sure the minimum wage is fair."

In Nova Scotia, minimum wage increases now occur annually and are based on the previous year’s national Consumer Price Index.  Some enlightened business owners in the province, such as Steven MacPherson, general manager of Jack Astor's restaurant in Halifax and a member of the the province's Minimum Wage Review Committee, support this policy.  MacPherson remarked, "This is the fairest way for both the employer and the employees."  "As a business owner," he added, "your number one asset  is your people. You have to make sure you take care of them, and you pay them fairly."

Is it true that employers, especially small businesses, have to choice but to lay people off and impede hiring when the minimum wage rises?  There is evidence to the contrary.  Arindrajit Dube, an associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, has found little proof to support that claim.  Amherst, who has done substantial research on the subject of minimum wage, wrote the following statement last year in the New York Times.

While higher minimum wages raise earnings of low-wage workers, they do not have a detectable impact on employment. Our estimates... suggest that a hypothetical 10 per cent increase in the minimum wage affects employment in the restaurant or retail industries, by much less than 1 percent; the change is in fact statistically indistinguishable from zero.

Wise business owners realize that it is in their best interests to work with employee, not against them.  They are aware that happy, decently-paid workers will be more productive and that their job performance tends to be of a higher level.  They know that workers making a fair income will be healthier and absent less frequently.  They also know that workers who take home more money will spend it and spur the economy. It's a win-win situation.

Here are the current minimum wages in Canada:

Alberta: $9.95
British Columbia: $10.25
Manitoba: $10.45
New Brunswick: $10.00
Newfoundland and Labrador: $10.00
Northwest Territories: $10.00
Nova Scotia: $10.30 - to be raised to $10.40 per hour on April 1, 2014
Nunavut: $11.00
Ontario: $10.25 - to be raised to $11.00 per hour on June 1, 2014
Prince Edward Island: $10.00
Quebec: $10.15
Saskatchewan: $10.00
Yukon: $10.54

Source: Government of Canada

Let me return to the question I originally posed.  Is raising the minimum wage a good policy?  My answer is a resounding yes.  Why should there be any working poor?  People have to pay their bills and they have to put food on the table.  Obviously, the cost of living is certainly not going down.  That is why I strongly support increases to the minimum wage in Canada and the United States. Another consideration might be to implement a Living Wage, which is defined as the minimum income necessary for a workers to meet their basic needs.  This may be an even better way of helping the poorest members of society.  An independent study of the business benefits of establishing a Living Wage policy in London, England found that over 80 per cent of employees are of the opinion the Living Wage had improved the quality of their work and reduced absenteeism by approximately 25 per cent.

- Joanne