The Top Ten Best Disney Villain Songs

We all have our favorite Disney movies, princesses and sidekicks, but do you have a favorite Disney villain song? In almost every Disney film, we get a brief glimpse into our villain’s world. They belt out a song so dastardly, so evil, so catchy that it makes us all want to be a little bit bad.

No? Just Amanda and me?

Well either way you’re in luck, because Amanda, now going by Renee,  and I have finally made a top ten list of the best villain songs. While there were many contenders, we narrowed it down to the best of the best, or should we say the worst of the worst characters? So sit back and twirl your mustache, as we honor the greatest villain songs from Disney Animated Classics.

Honorable Mention:

Now, you might be wondering “Where the heck was there a villain song in Emperor’s new Groove?”, and let me tell you – it was nowhere.

After revisions to the plot of the movie (which was called ‘Kingdom of the Sun’, originally), this song was cut from the film and left to fade in the light. [Or, well, you know, it was put on the soundtrack.]
Ordinarily, since this song didn’t make it into the movie, I would have to leave it off the list as a matter of principle. However, this song is really good. It has so many of the same elements that made Be Prepared and Poor Unfortunate Souls top contenders. The lyrics are also fantastic.

Apparitions of eternal darkness
Spiraling in circles through the night
Creatures of beguiling blackness
No more squinting in the light”

It’s a shame that there isn’t any hint as to what the animated sequence would have looked like, but I imagine Dr. Facilier would have his work cut out for him trying to keep up with Yzma’s dance-moves. -R.H.

10. “Heffalumps and Woozles” From Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day

This little ditty comes in at number 10 on our list. Comprised of startlingly eerie lyrics (“They’ll guzzle up the thing you prize!”) and strange almost carnival-esque instruments, this song is a nightmare. No, like, literally. This song takes place entirely in Pooh’s ‘hunny’-grubbing dreamscape as he despairs the possibility of horrible creatures stealing his prized possession.

This song is also notable for its resemblance to another creepy Disney classic – Pink Elephants on Parade. Both feature psychadellic sequences of shape-changing pachyderms, strange-sounding instruments, and even similar vocal stylings. -Renee Hecht (R.H.)

9. ‘Mother Knows Best” From Tangled

Oh Tangled. The Disney film that deserved all the attention that Frozen received but for some inexplicable reason, didn’t. Mother Gothel doesn’t have the harshest most evil plan. (She essentially just wants to stay young forever, as opposed to conquering the world.) It’s the way she goes about it, that truly earns her and her song a spot on this list. After just hearing how much Rapunzel wants to leave the tower, Mother Gothel enters to remind her why she can’t, and it’s all lies.

She scares her into believing the world is a dangerous place, under the guise of love all because she’s just using Rapunzel’s hair to remain young. She’s trapping this poor girl in the tower forever to live a life of solitude because Mother Gothel wants to harvest her hair and she’s doing it all because she ‘loves’ her and wants to ‘protect’ her. It’s horrendous, creepy and gut wrenching to watch because Rapunzel falls for it every single time.  Notice at 2:18 Mother Gothel goes to kiss Rapunzel on the forehead like any parent would, but instead kisses her hair instead. Evil. -E.M.

8. “Friends on the Other Side” From The Princess and the Frog

This jazzy musical number hops in at number 8 on our list. This song feels almost like an echo of former villain-song glory – a wicked little musical number that instantly clues you in that this is not the sort of person you should trust. In addition, this is the first song in nearly a decade of Disney history that has the villain doing their own singing. (Before Dr. Facilier, the last villain to officially do their own singing was Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame!)

Facilier comes across as the perfect deal-spinning conman, and his show-stealing voodoo number was honestly the highlight of the soundtrack for me. Especially powerful is the last moment, after heavy beats and flashing lights, when the lights go out with a hissed‘husssh’ and we are left with the image of a floating skull with glowing eyes – completely sinister and absolutely spellbinding. -R.H.

7. “Dig Dig Dig” from Pocahontas

This song is horrifying on so many levels. Governor Ratcliffe sails to America to find gold. The second he sets foot on this new continent, instead of building shelter or taking care of his men, he immediately forces them to dig for gold. While he dreams of becoming a rich lord and taking his new found wealth back to Europe to rub it in everyone’s faces, his men are destroying the new world around them. Like ants coming from a mound, these new men are all identically dressed, with just one aspiration in mind, gold. Ratcliffe and his men are blinded by greed and they don’t care who or what they hurt in order to get their gold. It’s especially more powerful knowing that this actually happened. Groups of men initially came to the new world looking for power and wealth and they did unspeakable things to the Natives that lived here and the land they lived on. The song loses points though because about half way through John Smith cuts in with a really pretty melody about adventure and beauty and it undercuts Ratcliffe’s major villain moment. -E.M.

6. “World’s Greatest Mind” from The Great Mouse Detective

Here’s another villain song parroting a heroic tone. Rattigan’s crew praises his status as “The Best of the Worst around” in this piece, while the rodent himself warbles about his own accomplishments. (This he does, of course, with Vincent Price’s distinctive voice).
The song changes tone not once, but twice. The first time is when Rattigan stops to lament the interference of his nemesis, Basil of Baker Street. The second is when our great villain stops to ‘reprimand’ his henchman Bartholomew for an unfortunate choice of words.

Aside from the well-integrated changes of this dynamic tune, there are the lyrics to consider. While there may only be so many ways to call someone horrible, rotten, and a generally GREAT bad-guy, there’s nothing quite like the Rattigan’s goons crooning “Worse than those widows and orphans you drowned?” to really hammer the point home.

All in all, this song is just fun to listen to, and it showcases Rattigan’s greatest strengths and weaknesses in a single, succinct number. -R.H.

5. “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

This song is downright creepy. Judge Claude Frollo, though a religious man, is lusting after Esmeralda, a gypsy girl that goes against all of his beliefs. He sings about his wanting and aching in this song and it’s truly terrifying. He watches her dance, half clothed, in the fire debating his soul with devil like creatures sent from Hell. It’s already appalling to see a church going man justify his means by using the bible to validate his very wrong opinions, but by the end of the song he takes it to a completely new level. He sings, “Destroy Esmeralda,  and let her taste the fires of hell or else let her be mine and mine alone.” With the religious imagery, and violence towards women, never has a Disney villain felt so real. -E.M.

4. “Cruella De Vil” from One Hundred and One Dalmations

Now, this song may be a light-hearted jab at Cruella’s name, but it’s also one of the catchiest tunes in Disney’s large repitoire of unfairly catchy songs.

Cruella billows in, stick-like frame absolutely drowning in a fur coat, smoking like a chimney, as if she owns the place. While it’s clear that Perdita is afraid of Cruella, and that Pongo instantly dislikes her, it’s not immediately obvious that she’s anything worse than a self-absorbed fashionista.

The brilliance in this song is, of course, that it does foreshadow Cruella’s true nature. She’s not so much a devil as a spider, something that watches you from underneath a rock, biding its time. -R.H.

3. “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast

Though he may be one of the more tame villains, his song is certainly one of the best, and I’m sure he would be very proud of that fact. Obviously I’m talking about Gaston, the only villain to have his song title be simply his name. His song is not about his secret villain dream or his evil plan, or about his deepest desires. Gaston’s song is, naturally, all about him. It details his diet regimen, his perfect cleft chin and overall his good looks. It’s simultaneously hilarious, yet utterly terrifying. Dare I say, this was Disney’s sly commentary on our patriarchal society? It shows everything that’s wrong with machoism, while never directly commenting on it, and it’s brilliant. -E.M.

2. “Be Prepared” from The Lion King

Here’s a biggie.

Dr. Facilier might have had green smoke, and Rattigan might have had cowed followers, neither of them is quite up to the level of Scar – a Shakespearean villain hiding out in a Disney movie.

Be Prepared is equal parts comedic relief on the part of our hyenas, and sheer conniving brilliance on the part of Scar.  And, for a song about regicide, it’s pretty damn catchy. The visuals used include volcanic gas in the form of ominous green clouds, goose-stepping hyenas, and a whole lot of skeletonized animals.

Now, while Jeremy Irons is credited with the lead vocals for Scar in this staple of Disney Villaindom, at the 2012 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, Jim Cummings stated that he actually sang a good deal of Scar’s lines after Irons’ voice started to go out during production. (Jim Cummings is also the voice of Ed, if that helps you place him.) -R.H.

1. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid

Our Queen Bee coming in at number one, obviously is Ursula. The most evil and diabolical of all creatures on sea and land. Ursula did not get her happy ending, and now spends her days tricking others into giving up theirs in the guise of trying to help them. Up until this point in the film, we hadn’t seen Ursula. We meet her and almost immediately she belts out this show stopper, and suddenly we know everything we need to know regarding her. We get that she’s evil, but we also see her flare. She’s bad to the bone, but we love her for it. And she puts on a show. Sounding like something out of a Broadway musical, this number is impossibly catchy and hard to resist. Also, bonus points for the incredible animation with this song taking place entirely underwater. Her villain song is the standard that all others should be held to. -E.M.

So what do you think y’all? Did Renee and I get it right, or did we leave out your favorite? As always sound off in the comments section below and thanks for reading!

There’s Nothing Worse Than…Getting Asked Out In These 9 Ways

After the smashing success of my dating series, There’s Nothing Worse Than…I decided to follow up with another article detailing my hilarious dating trials and tribulations. Instead of focusing on one disastrous first date, I decided to showcase some of the worst ways I’ve been asked out. Because I have overwhelmingly more bad stories than good. While  most of these stories were horrible and or creepy while they were happening, they are nothing short of hilarious now.

So sit back and enjoy because these never happened to you…

1. The World was ending…and he wanted me to play a soda can

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I was riding the bus into city with someone that I hadn’t seen in a while. We were loudly catching up the entire bus ride, and I didn’t realize a guy was listening to our conversation. My friend and I were talking about the woes of acting and auditions and when we finally arrived in NYC, this guy was ready. When I got off the bus, he was waiting for me with a conversation starter. He told me he couldn’t help but overhear that I was an actress and as luck would have it, he was actually a director!

I obviously began walking very fast at this moment but he kept following me all throughout Port Authority Bus Terminal. As he tried to keep up with me he assured me that he was an independent film director who was starting his first feature length and he thought I would be perfect for the female lead!

What was the concept, you may ask? It was a post apocalyptic world where all humans were turned into tin and aluminum. He assured me it was very hip and edgy. He envisioned me as the voice of the main soda can, though he was interested in exploring motion capture technology if the funding was there.

That’s when he casually asked for my number to ‘discuss the project further.’ I told him as a rule of thumb I never give my number to men I meet in Port Authority and sprinted towards the door. He called after me that he would settle for an email address. I never looked back as I sprinted to the exit.

I mean the situation is bad enough as is, but a soda can? REALLY? Ugh. That’s not going to win me an Oscar.

2. “Here’s Your Drink can i make out with you now?”


I was at a nightclub with a couple of my girlfriends when a man sauntered up to me. He singled me out of my friends and asked if he could buy me a drink. I love free drinks, and when my friends nodded their heads in approval, I agreed.

He came back about five minutes later with two drinks. I outstretched my hand and the minute the drink touched my palm he said, “Here’s your drink, can I make out with you now.”

I was so shocked that he said that, that I actually burst out laughing. The guy gave me this really incredulous look and I just said “No.” He said, “Really?” I said, “Yes I’m not that easy. And I’m not obligated to make out with you just because you bought me a drink.”

His response? “Oh.”

That made me wonder if that line had worked before. We ended up talking and he seemed like a genuinely nice human. But then when I finished my drink he again asked if he could make out with me now.


Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

3. when your starbucks barista asks you to prom when you are 22


I usually go to the Starbucks by my work but on my day off I went to the Starbucks closest to my house. When I walked inside there was a cute, but clearly younger than me, barista waiting to take my order. He asked if he had seen me around here before. I said no probably not hoping he would drop it. He did not however.

He came back with, “No, I’m sure I’ve seen you walk over from the High School before.” I once again assured him that it was not me. And poor guy, he tried one more. “So it’s end of the year. You going to Prom with anyone? Have you figured out which college you’re going to yet?”

I still don’t know if he just thought I was someone else or really just wanted a Prom date. Either way I knew I had to let him down.

Me: Actually I just graduated college a month ago. I’m 22.

Barista: Great, your drink will be ready in a minute you can actually wait over there for it.

I swiftly left him and went to wait for my drink by the other end of the counter. It really was such a shame though. I always wanted to wear a guy’s letterman jacket in High School too.

4. He tried to SEGUE-WAY into my life on a segway


I was wandering the mall around Christmas season desperately searching for presents for my friends. I had about a half hour before work, so I was walking around by myself. This is when a guy rolled, yes rolled, up to me on a segway.

“Hey girl, you are so beautiful.” I said thanks and tried walking away. He literally cut me off by segwaying in front of me. This time he was much more direct. “Hey can I get your number.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. This guy was asking me out while riding a segway. He however did not see the humor in it. I told him no he could not have my number, when he got angry and demanded to know why. I told him it was solely because he was riding a segway and then turned around to get away from him.

He continued to follow me, zooming in and out of people still asking for my number. I finally had to dart in a store to get him to leave.

If only Gob had rolled into my life instead. Now that’s a segway that I could hop on.

5. let me card you so i can have all your info and find you later


I was out to eat with my Aunt and Uncle when the waiter came over to take our drink orders. I admit, he was handsome and there was some mild flirting going on. When I ordered a beer, he was flabbergasted and demanded my ID. He poured over it for what felt like ages and then eventually gave it back to me.

As the meal went on he kept hovering around our table and kept asking me questions and it began to grow awkward and a little embarrassing with my relatives right there.  They kept joking around that they couldn’t wait to see him ask for my number. But when the end of the night came he did no such thing. I thought it was a bit odd but I was slightly relieved.

It was only when I got home did I realize he wasn’t done with me yet. There was a friend request from him, and a new message. It said, ‘Hey Emily. I found you on facebook! I got all your information after carding you. lol.’

While I’m sure his heart was in the right place, I found it incredibly creepy and weird. I trusted this person with all of my private information and instead of just asking me for my number, or pulling me aside away from my relatives, he took information that I didn’t freely give him, in order to find me.

Needless to say, I denied that friend request. Sometimes you just aren’t meant to find love at Outback.

6. never come between me and my burrito


One of the things I love most in this world, is a Chiptole burrito. And when I walk into that Chiptole hungry, after a long day of work, I want nothing more than to quietly eat my guacamole in peace. There was one day though, I was not destined to achieve this.

The Chitpotle I was in, wasn’t particularly crowded and I selected a booth in the back of the restaurant far away from the other inhabitants. As I nestled in with my burrito and book, I was content. After a few minutes of eating and reading I noticed an older man sit down a couple of tables away from me. As he sat down he made eye contact with me. I quickly looked away and went back to my book.

A few minutes later, I looked up again and realized he was now a table closer to me. I didn’t think much of it, but ten minutes later when I looked up again I realized he was once again at a table closer to me. This continued for the next 15 minutes until he was finally seated at the table next to in an otherwise empty restaurant. At this point he was essentially dancing with red flags.

I gathered my things and started wrapping up my burrito. He then went in for the kill. “Excuse me miss, I just wanted to say you’re really beautiful.” I quickly said thanks, hoping that was it. He then asked me for my name. He also asked me if I was from the area, which I find incredibly amusing. I said no and headed towards the door. He asked if he could ‘show me around then.” I did not respond.

But honestly, why would he interrupt me when I’m with my book and burrito? Doesn’t he know, no man could live up to that level of perfection, let alone a creep like him?

7. “You’ll remember me as the guy who hit his head on glass”


I was getting my car’s oil changed and was watching the process in the waiting room through the window when a youth came barreling up the stairs to the waiting room and went to the bathroom. When he came out he sat down on the same couch as I was. He went to look out the window at his car, when I heard a loud thud and OWWW. I realized that in his eagerness to exist in this world, he had rammed his head into the glass.

He then started laughing and said, “I guess you’re gonna remember me as the guy that hit his head on the window.” I fake laughed and asked if he was okay. He assured me he was and said “I’m Andrew what’s your name?”


I quickly said my name and then went back to reading my book, but alas, he did not take the hint. The following is an exact transcript of our actual conversation:

Andrew: So do you go to school around here?

Me: Nope.

Andrew: Oh I do. It’s my first time going to school in the area so I don’t know anyone.

Me: That sucks.

Andrew: Where do you live?

Me: A couple towns over.

Andrew: Yeah but where?

Me: *lies about a town*

Andrew: That’s so close to here…So what are you reading?

Auto Guy: Hey miss, your car is ready.

Me: *grabs all my worldly possessions and dashes towards the exit* NICE MEETING YOU GOOD LUCK WITH EVERYTHING.

Andrew: Wait! I wanted to talk more-



I really sincerely hope he makes friends…and graduates high school.

8. he sent me a friend request while i was sitting next to him


After a long and tiring day at work, all I wanted to do was ride the bus home mindlessly scrolling through my various social media like a normal human. However a guy around my age sat down next to me and clearly sized me up. He started asking me a million questions about my life. I was trying to answer as politely as possible but also with crisp, short answers so as not to encourage him.

He continued asking me questions despite my lack of enthusiasm, so I decided to take a more direct approach. I pretended to be asleep. This worked for all of 30 seconds until he decided to ask me another question, completely ignoring my hint.

After about five minutes of ignoring him with my eyes closed I gave up and tried a different approach. I mindlessly started scrolling through my I-Phone to phase him out that way.

At first, it seemed to work. I was scrolling through Facebook and he seemed to back off. However things went from bad to worse.

I suddenly realized that I got a friend request. I went to see who it was and realized that I didn’t know the name. I was just about to decline it when I heard the guy next to me say, “So you going to accept that?”

With utter horror I realized the friend request was from the guy sitting next to me. It was like that moment in the horror films where the police tells the young woman that the call is actually coming from inside the house.

He must have been watching me check out my profile and thought it wouldn’t at all be creepy if he just sent me a friend request.

Spoiler Alert: It was creepy.

In hindsight, I am almost positive he wasn’t a serial killer. At the time though, I was fairly certain I was going to die. However, after years of watching Criminal Minds I’ve learned that you do what the killer tells you to, in order to stay alive. I gave a hollow laugh and accepted it and silently prayed that the bus would drive faster.

After about five more minutes of really awkward conversation, he officially asked me out. I lied and said I had a boyfriend. He still asked for my number right when my bus thankfully got to my stop. I said no and jumped up from my seat.

The second I got off the bus, I blocked him from my profile and have never seen nor heard from him again. Turns out bus delays aren’t the worst thing about NJ Transit.

9. no clever title…he was just wearing a mumu


I was at an outdoor party with a couple of friends when a rather large man walked right up to me. I was quite startled to realize that he was, in fact, wearing a mumu.

As I was staring at him in shock, he asked me slyly, “Have you seen my cock?” I was utterly horrified. Frantically I thought I must have misheard him and asked him to repeat himself. This time he repeated himself louder and prouder. ‘OY HAVE YOU SEEN MY COCK?”

I had no idea what was going on. Obviously I had never seen this man’s cock, and I had no idea why he was asking me this question. Then he pointed to his mumu. That’s when I realized his mumu had roosters on it.


I nervous laughed. That’s when he asked me to stroke his beard. I’m not sure what face I made but his response back was, “Oh you’re a delicate little thing aren’t you?”

He then asked me for my number. As I had no desire to stroke his beard I politely declined and walked away.

So moral of the story, if a man asks you if you’ve ever seen his cock, check first to see if he’s wearing something with roosters.

Well that’s all of them. Thanks for reading everyone! Have any of you been asked out in worse ways? I want to hear all about it. Sound off in the comments section below.


Oscars: 2016 Predictions



Hello my lovelies, guess what’s this Sunday? THAT’S RIGHT IT’S THE OSCARS, which means I’m as happy as a clam. Nothing makes me happier than predicting the Academy Awards. While this year has been overshadowed with controversy, (For more info check out my blog post here #ShamelessPlug) it’s still the biggest Awards Ceremony of the year and hard to ignore. While almost every category is pretty locked up, there are still a couple of races going, including Best Picture. With the addition of Chris Rock hosting, this year is shaping up to be an interesting one.

This year, besides my own picks, my friends and long time collaborators, Glynis Neely and Nick Nappo are offering up there picks as well for some much needed perspective, and competition among us. So may the odds be and our Oscar pool be ever in our favor.

Best Picture:

the revenantspotlight

Will Win: Spotlight

Could Win: The Revenant

Dark Horse: Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant or Spotlight could take home this prize, and it’s really a toss up for me.  Despite not having seen the film, I’m leaning more towards Spotlight.  I saw The Revenant and while it was a good film, I don’t think it was the best I’ve even seen this year.  That award goes without a doubt to the film that wins in my dreams: Mad Max: Fury Road.  I am already predicting it will sweep the technical categories, but as for best picture I would be thoroughly shocked if it actually won. -Glynis Neely

Will Win: The Revenant

Could Win: Spotlight

The Revenant has garnered a lot of publicity lately, and topped many critics’ year-end lists, which would justify many of the pundits bumping it up their lists.  I think we’ve reached the point where that’s the one. – Nick Nappo

Will Win: The Revenant

Could Win: Spotlight

Dark Horse: The Big Short

There are two films currently battling it out for Best Picture, The Revenant and Spotlight. Both have won their fair share of important awards and both have a pretty passionate fan base. Going into awards season, Spotlight was the front runner, but it lost momentum halfway through the season and The Revenant is picking up speed. It’s a really tough call this year but ultimately I’m picking The Revenant only because of what happened at last year’s Oscars. It came down to a similar race, a front runner that had lost some momentum, Boyhood and a hip up and coming film directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman. The Academy eventually picked Birdman  so this  time around I’m picking The Revenant. Though in the event of a complete voting split, look for the pretty beloved The Big Short to sneak in there for the surprise win. – Emily Miller

Best Actress:

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Will Win: Brie Larson

I have loved her from Day 1 on United States of Tara.  So excited for her to get some recognition! – G.N.

Will Win: Brie Larson.

Could Win: Saoirse Ronan.

In a “No Guts, No Glory” world, I’d say Ronan takes it, but let’s be real here – everyone’s been saying Larson since the beginning.  What a performance. -N.N.

Will Win: Brie Larson

Could Win: Saoirse Ronan

Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence have won this award too recently to really be considered for Best Actress. Charlotte Rampling made some controversial comments during the #OscarsSoWhite controversy which leaves her out as well. That leaves Larson and Ronan and out of those two, Larson has gotten the better reviews and has swept the awards circuit pretty thoroughly this year. It’s hers to lose. -E.M.

Best Actor:



Could Win Even Though They Aren’t Nominated: Michael B. Jordan / Idris Elba

I think this is it guys.  This is the year Leo FINALLY gets his statuette.  And if I’m being honest, this is not the role I would’ve hoped he would win for.  I wanted it to be The Departed, but alas better late than never right?  However, even the nominations for this category are not great.  I would have preferred to see Michael B. Jordon on that list for Creed or even Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, but they were not even nominated.  Such a shame #oscarssowhite. -G.N.

Will Win: DiCaprio

Could Win: NO ONE. -N.N.

Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

Could Win: Michael Fassbender

For Bryan Cranston and Matt Damon whose nominations were less than guaranteed, just being here is the win. While Eddie Redmayne gave a great performance in The Danish Girl, he won only last year, and the Academy won’t want to reward him so quickly. That leaves DiCaprio and Fassbender. Both are actors who have been nominated before but have yet to win. The odds are for Leo who has won every major award this year for his performance and is pretty beloved by all of mankind and the internet. This would be the upset of the night if he loses. -E.M.

Best Supporting Actress:

alicia.vikanderrooneySteve Jobs

Will Win: Alicia Vikander

Could Win: Rooney Mara

I agree with the AV Club’s assessment that Rooney Mara should’ve been nominated in the lead actress category and Cate Blanchett moved to supporting, but I’m not sure it would’ve made a difference on the winners.  Alicia Vikander came on the scene with her affecting turn as a cyborg in Ex Machina, and then followed it with seven more films.  After The Danish Girl, it would not surprise me that she finally wins. – G.N.

Will Win: Alicia Vikander

Could Win: Rooney Mara

I’m still relatively hopeful for Rooney, but Alicia Vikander gave a very bold, fearless performance in The Danish Girl. -N.N.

Will Win: Alicia Vikander

Could Win: Kate Winslet

Besides Rachel McAdams, any of the nominees could really sneak in there and win it. Jennifer Jason Leigh gave a career high performance after working in the industry for over 30 years in The Hateful Eight, and yet there are members the Academy who don’t like Tarantino’s use of gratuitous violence. Rooney Mara gave one of the best performances in the year, though it’s had a hard time finding its category. It’s not quite supporting but Cate Blanchett is the real star of Carol, so she’s not exactly lead either. Still there was some outcry that she ended up in this category.This will ultimately hurt her. Alicia Vikander has also had the same trouble of finding her category but to a lesser degree. She’s won a lot of important awards and has become the front runner of this very crowded category. However if there are still some voters who are genuinely upset that she ended up in this category look to Kate Winslet to steal it away. She’s already pretty beloved by the Academy and she gave a genuinely good performance in an actual supporting role. -E.M.

 Best Supporting Actor:


Will Win: Sylvester Stallone

Could Win: Tom Hardy

So it looks like Stallone is definitely going to take this statue, and while I understand the choice, I still would have preferred Tom Hardy to sneak out a win for The Revenant.  He was truly incredible in that film, even more so than Leo, and it’s a shame he’s likely not going to win.  I could also say I would’ve loved to see Benicio del Toro nominated for Sicario because he turned in a simmering and scary performance for Sicario; despite being a similar character to ones he played before, it is easily one of his best performances. -G.N.

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone

Could Win: Mark Rylance

Rationale Although I love Mark Rylance and thought he was fabulous in Bridge of Spies, I really felt something from Sly this time like I’ve never felt before.  Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s the comeback, but he gave one of the standout performances of the year. -N.N.

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone

Could Win: Mark Rylance

Dark Horse: Tom Hardy

You know it’s a tough year when a previous winner in this category Christian Bale is probably least likely to win. Even Mark Ruffalo, who gave a great supporting turn in an ensemble film that’s nominated for Best Picture, is going to need a lot of luck to hear his name called. Tom Hardy has a decent shot at it. He gave an intense performance in the film most likely set to win Best Picture and Best Actor. He hasn’t won any major awards though and will have needed to make up a lot of ground campaigning. Mark Rylance was the front runner for the longest time, however his film Bridge of Spies began to lose momentum right around the time  Creed  premiered and threw Sylvester Stallone into the stratosphere. Stallone has now swept a lot of the major awards, riding a wave of nostalgia that doesn’t seem to end any time soon. He’s the predicted favorite but I suspect he isn’t as locked down as we think, and look for Rylance or Hardy for the upset. -E.M.

Best Director:


Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Could Win: George Miller

In this case, I think The Academy will honor Innarritu 2 years in a row (he won for last year’s Birdman) which has not happened at the Oscars in 66 years!  But of course, although I do respect him immensely, I was still gunning for George Miller’s incredible world building with Fury Road.  Miller created a spectacular post-apocalyptic wasteland and proceeded to steal my heart. -G.N.

Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Could Win: George Miller

Rationale Although Mad Max: Fury Road was arguably the most stylistically rich from the perspective of direction, I think Iñárritu edges out on the basis that it’s his direction which seamlessly integrates with the acting, writing, and production design. -N.N.

Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Could Win: George Miller

Generally, it’s a pretty safe bet that the Best Picture Winner’s Director will win the Best Director category. Since this year seems to lean towards The Revenant, Iñárritu is the logical choice. As last year’s winner he is clearly well liked and one of the hottest directors in the industry now. However, if the Academy feels like being a bit more creative, look for them to honor George Miller for his passion project, Mad Max: Fury Road which was a film, decades in the making. -E.M.

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win:  Spotlight-G.N

Will Win: Spotlight

Could Win: Nah, I think Spotlight takes it.  Really well-written film, that was. -N.N.

Will Win: Spotlight

Could Win: Inside Out

With The Revenant most likely beating out Spotlight for Best Picture, this will be the first major category that the film could win. Voters will most likely make up for their guilty feelings of not voting for it by rewarding it here. However, if voters are voting with their hearts not their heads, then Inside Out might just swoop in and steal it. Because honestly, there really wasn’t a more original screenplay this year. -E.M.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: The Big Short

Could Win: Carol

Having read the Price of Salt just last year, I would love for Carol to win this award. However, I think it will more likely go to The Big Short. -G.N.

Will Win: The Big Short

Could Win: Room

I mean, where did The Big Short go wrong in its writing?  Dry, witty, sophisticated, sarcastic, smart, compelling…it was as much fun to listen to as it was to watch.  That’s good writing. -N.N.

Will Win: The Big Short

Could Win: Room

This is like the exact same circumstance for Best Original Screenplay. The Academy will want to reward The Big Short, a wonderful film that will most likely get shafted out of Best Picture, in the next best category. However, if voters go with their hearts they will reward Emma Donoghue for her tremendous work adapting her own novel, Room, into a Best Picture contender. -E.M.


Will Win: The Revenant 

Should Have Been Nominated: Tangerine 

Emmanuel Lubezki has been doing incredible work for years and after the awe-inspiring cinematography of The Revenant, I think it is finally his time to shine. However, the gimmick in Tangerine of shooting the entire film with iPhones is a staggering achievement and should have at the very least been acknowledged. -G.N.

Will Win: The Revenant.  All those glorious, vast natural shots.

Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road -N.N.

Will Win: The Revenant

Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Regardless of whether you think The Revenant deserves to be Best Picture, or you were turned off by the story or violence, you cannot deny the sheer beauty of this film. All of the nature shorts paired with the fact that they only used naturalized lighting, creates an epic  sweeping feat. However, if viewers are feeling a bit more adventurous then look to Mad Max: Fury Road for the win. -E.M.

best costume design

Will Win: Cinderella – G.N

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: Cinderella -N.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: Cinderella

Dark Horse: Carol

This is actually one of the closest categories this year and very much up for grabs between three films, Mad Max: Fury RoadCinderella, and Carol. There are very few names in the costume world that jump off off the page, but Sandy Powell is one of them. She’s a three time winner in this category, going for four this year. The problem is, her biggest competition is herself. She’s nominated for Cinderella and Carol. If voters can get themselves organized, Cinderella might be the winner. However what’s more likely to happen is that voting will be split and Mad Max: Fury Road will step in for the win. -E.M.

Best film editing

Will Win: Max Mad: Fury Road

Mad Max ended up on so many critics best of 2015 lists, that it’s hard to accept it likely won’t win for Best Picture.  However, the technical skills involved in creating this film are so impressive that in all its other nominated categories, I think this one is a cinch from nuts to bolts. -G.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Could Win: The Big Short.

The Big Short was a mindf**ker right from the get-go, due in large part to the editing.  Great stuff. I will say, however, that the editing here really complemented the snappy dialogue, which good editing should do – it’s the technical representation of the film’s tone.  Props to Hank Corwin here. -N.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: The Big Short

A lot of the technical categories are going to honor Mad Max: Fury Road since it doesn’t have a shot at winning a lot of the top awards. Technically speaking, the film deserves the win. However, The Big Short has a lot of love within the Academy and has some really exhilarating editing that’s been gaining a lot of traction lately. -E.M.

best makeup and hairstyling

Will Win:  The Revenant -G.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

No contest. -N.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: The Revenant

The sheer scope of creating an entire world for Mad Max: Fury Road will edge out the 19th century period of The Revenant. However some automatic votes for the Best Picture potential might just spill over into this category causing an upset. -E.M.

best production design

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road -G.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Could Win: The Revenant

I haven’t seen such epic proportions since Ben-Hur. -N.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: The Revenant 

Once again this race will be between who created the best version of an apocalyptic desert or a 19th century American frontier. Once again I give the edge to Max, but again look to The Revenant for the upset if members want something a little more traditional. -E.M.

best original score

Will Win: The Hateful Eight 

Should Win Even Though It Wasn’t Nominated: It Follows

I will be the first to admit that I was more excited for this film because of Ennio Morricone’s score than for Tarantino, but I do have my gripes.  My only wish is that it was used more in the film.  Morricone’s score for The Thing is one of my all-time favorites, and it’s used throughout the entire film.  Tarantino had him create a theme and a couple variations, but they are not used enough in this film.  And as for It Follows, that score truly made the film.  If there was not such a genre bias against horror films, I would have no doubt this score would’ve been on the short list. -G.N.

Will Win: The Hateful Eight

Could Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Morricone’s 88. Dude’s had a baller career.  Give him the gold. But there’s also John Williams. -N.N.

Will Win: The Hateful Eight

Could Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Though The Hateful Eight received mixed reviews, it was utterly unanimous that the original score was insanely good. Also for all the Tarantino fans within the Academy, this is their one best shot to get his film some recognition. But don’t ever count John Williams out of the Best Original Score category. This is nostalgia at it’s finest and I wouldn’t blame Academy members if they voted with sentimentality. -E.M.

best original song

Will Win: “Til It Happens to You” -G.N.

Will Win: “Til It Happens to You”

Could Win: “Writing on the Wall”

#Gaga- N.N.

Will Win: “Till It Happens to You”

Could Win: “Writing on the Wall”

Lady Gaga has been on a roll lately and it’s not going to stop here. People are going to want her to get the famed and allusive EGOT. She’s got a Grammy, and if she wins tonight she’ll just need a Tony and an Emmy. Yet if any of Gaga’s antics have gotten on the nerves of some of the more traditional Academy members then look to Sam Smith who wrote a beautiful classic ballad that’s more their style. -E.M.

best sound editing

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road -G.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Could Win: The Revenant.

Mad Max: Fury Road was a technical masterpiece. But The Revenant had great editing, too. -N.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: The Revenant

Dark Horse: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Honestly, all 5 of the nominees have a shot at taking this Award. The safe bet is to assume that the majority of the technical awards will be given to Mad Max. However The Revenant will always be lurking in the background and this is one of the easier categories for it to slip in, in the event of voting exhaustion for Mad Max: Fury Road. But don’t count Star Wars out either. It has a lot of love and with it being nominated in only a few categories, there are only a handful of chances for it to win an award and this could be it. – E.M.

best sound mixing

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road -G.N.

Will Win: The Revenant

Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

I’ll say that The Revenant will win because they did a lot of great work to create an enhanced soundscape from the wilderness. Then there’s that aforementioned technical masterpiece. -N.N.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Could Win: The Revenant

Dark Horse: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

For all of the reasons I mentioned for the previous category. The Revenant has a real shot at winning this, but generally these two categories go hand in hand and voters believe they should vote for the same film in both categories. This is why I give the very slight edge to Max. -E.M.

best visual effects

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road -G.N.

Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Just because. -N.N.

Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Nostalgia. Beats. Apocalyptic desert. -E.M.

Best animated feature

Will Win: Inside Out

This film is brilliant and easily the most inventive and poignant film Pixar has made. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop everything and go do that now. -G.N.

Will Win: Inside Out

Could Win: No contest here. -N.N.

Will Win: Inside Out

Could Win: Anomalisa

This category is definitely Inside Out‘s to lose and it would be one of the biggest upsets of the night if it lost. However there has been a late surge for Anomalisa and while I think it’s unlikely, it certainly has a chance with some voters who are tired of Disney/Pixar monopolizing this category. -E.M.

best documentary feature

Will Win: Amy

I still have yet to watch this documentary, but my mother watched it and said it was amazing.  The fact that my mother wants to watch it yet again says more about that movie than I ever could. -G.N.

Will Win: Amy

Could Win: I think this’ll be unanimous. -N.N.

Will Win: Amy

Could Win: Cartel Island

Ever since the Academy opened up the voting in this category to all Academy members and not just exclusively to voters who specialized in documentaries, the winner has typically gone to the popular or feel good film. This year the easy choice is Amy an incredible documentary about polarizing singer Amy Winehouse. Even if members haven’t actually seen these films, they will gravitate towards Amy because at least they know the subject matter. However if voters want something with a little more meat to it, look to the topical Cartel Island a feature about the drug trade in Mexico to steal it. -E.M.

best Foreign Language Film

Will Win: Son of Saul -G.N.

Will Win Son of Saul

Could Win Idk, I haven’t seen any foreign films. -N.N.

Will Win: Son of Saul

Could Win: Mustang

This is a notoriously difficult category to predict, however the clear front runner of this category belongs to Hungary’s Son of Saul. It won the Grand Prix at Cannes and the Golden Globes this year which are excellent pre-cursors to this category. Yet don’t count France’s Mustang out  which has had a great late surge. -E.M.

best animated short

Will Win: The World of Tomorrow– G.N.

Will Win: Bear Story

Could Win: Sanjay’s Super Team -N.N.

Will Win: Bear Story

Could Win: Sanjay’s Super Team

Dark Horse: The World of Tomorrow

The short categories are kind of a free for all. If anyone tells you they have a guarantee winner, they are lying. Yes, there are front runners but there aren’t many high profile awards or publicity about these categories to give an accurate judge of what’s to come. Things tend to go a little haywire here. That being said, the front runner is Sanjay’s Super Team. The problem is, in the past few years the front runner has lost. Also this film was a little intense and mildly scary for smaller kids. Which is why I’m taking a chance and selecting Bear Story. An adorable film about a lonely old bear telling his life story through a diorama. But also don’t count out The World of Tomorrow because this category is a hot mess.

best documentary short

Will Win: Body Team 12 -G.N.

Will Win: Body Term 12 

Could Win: Claude Landmann

I’ll just go with that cuz it has a cool title. -N.N.

Will Win: Body Team 12

Could Win: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah 

Dark Horse:  A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness  

Many critics are divided pretty equally in this category. I’m giving the slight edge to Body Team 12 because it has a bad ass name and subject matter. It follows the team of 12 that collect the dead bodies of Ebola victims.  However don’t count out  Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah because the Academy loves nothing more than to honor films about films and films with Holocaust subject matter. It’s like they get to pat themselves on the back. And lastly, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness  because of the aforementioned hot mess. -E.M.

best live action short

Will Win: Ava Maria -G.N.

Live Action Short Film

Will Win: Shok

Could Win: Ave Maria -N.N.

Will Win: Ugh, I don’t know

Could Win:  All of them.

Day One, deals with the story of a divorced Afghan-American woman who is sent to Afghanistan to work as an interpreter and runs into a very unique situation. Everything Will Be Okay, is about a divorced father and his daughter, or Stutterer might be a worthy competitor here too because it sounds exactly like what it’s about! But Shok could shock them all and Ava Maria is actually the legitimate front runner. Ugh.  To be different from Nick and Glynis I think I’m going to pick StuttererBut also, Shock might be my real pick. -E.M.

So what do you all think of our predictions? Thanks for reading and sound off in the comments section below!


White Do You Mean? #OscarsSoWhite Controversy


We are about a week away from Oscars and instead of talking about who will win and imagining what the stars will be wearing, an uglier more serious issue has come to the forefront. For the second year in a row, the Academy has chosen not to nominate any actor or actress of color. That’s right, all 20 of the actors nominated this year are white. It’s an especially devastating blow because the same issue was brought up last year, and after promises made by many inside the Academy to fix it, it’s become apparent that those promises went largely unheard.

Now this year the #OscarsSoWhite is back with a vengeance. The hashtag, started last year in protest, once again spread like wildfire on twitter, prompting some stars to boycott the ceremony and even forcing the Academy into new rule changes regarding how long a member could stay a member for.

On the other hand, some people have been offended at being called racists, and insist that voting is fair and only those who deserve to be nominated should get a nomination.

So what’s actually going on?

Since this is a difficult issue that should be discussed thoroughly with all sorts of opinions and people, I’ve asked 5 of my coolest friends to weigh in on this and they have graciously offered agreed. Thank you Gina, John, Glynis and Nick for weighing in.

Gina Marie Rodriguez: 

Look, I have a Hispanic last name and an Italian face.  I have never had to deal with prejudices in the same way as my fellow Boricuas.  People don’t look at me and see a “minority.”  I don’t look at me and see a minority.

I can’t imagine what it is like to look in the mirror and be afraid that my looks will… cost me an award, cost me a job, cost me a beating, or cost me my life.  This is the real issue at hand here.  I want to make it clear that the reason that #OscarsSoWhite is an issue is because of the underlying dilemma, the cracks in the foundation that everyone are all too eager to jump over.  RACISM.  Yes, it still exists.  If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that.  If you don’t- best to keep reading, darling.

The issue is NOT that a couple of whiney actors of color are upset that they don’t get the chance to walk away with a meaningless statue.  The ISSUE is that to this day, after hundreds upon hundreds of years of oppression, they still can’t get a bunch of old white dudes to ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR EXISTENCE.

Don’t tell me that there “just aren’t any worthy actors of color this year.”   What happened at the Academy this year and for many, many years prior is this: A bunch of old white dudes (and a few old white ladies) have the power to judge a wide breadth of films.  We, as a people, gravitate toward what we know.  What do a bunch of old white people know best?  Other white people.  They select what is most comfortable for them, faces to which they can relate, cultures to which they can relate, stories to which they can relate, and styles to which they can relate.  These Academy members may not even be inherently racist, they are simply choosing what they know, but because the collective as a whole is not diverse, the votes are heavily weighted to favor people with less melatonin.

Were I to become famous right now, I would not face these same issues.  I fall into the Cameron Diaz category.  We are Hispanic but we are the right kind, the “white kind.”   It is a damn shame. 

The issue of racism does not just face African Americans; it faces anyone and everyone who is not the right shade of perfect.  Latinos, African Americans, Indians, Native Americans; the list goes on and on; all are suffering because our country refuses to accept on a larger scale that racism is still running rampant.

Don’t let anyone tell you that #OscarsSoWhite is some bullshit scam just because Will Smith is mad that he didn’t get nominated.  Actors of color already know that they are talented and so do the millions of fans who watch their work regularly.  This is not about walking away with a trophy.  This is about dignity.  This is about expecting a country, who so proudly touts itself as the “Melting Pot” to recognize that intelligence, personality, and talent are unrelated to skin color.  The Academy, and the rest of the world, must encourage diversity and stop using a color palette as a rating scale.

Gina Marie Rodriguez- is an old soul desperately trying to navigate her way around the 21st Century. A graduate of Rutgers University, Gina holds a B.A in Theater Arts and Communication.  She is therefore unemployed.  (Just kidding, just a little artist humor for you). She bides her time blogging, scriptwriting, filmmaking, acting and modeling.  She’s a true Renaissance woman (but don’t ask her to cook or sew- it will not end well). She has three independent films under her belt and is the Founder and Director of the Rahway International Film FestivalFollow her on Facebook @Gina Marie Rodriguez, Twitter @NotThatGina, and on her blog Babble, Banter and Blather

John McHale:

Another thing is that you can’t ask the nominees to not attend. That’s just dumb. You were recognized by a prestigious group for your accomplishment and not going is a middle finger to them and more importantly, yourself. Mark Ruffalo, nominated for Spotlight, put it best when he said he will be attending as a way to honor the victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Brilliant!

Now, my white privilege might allow me to say this next part, but I do think that if five white people perform better than five black people, the five white people should be nominated and vice versa. That’s how any good contest is decided. If you do better, you win, or in this case, you get nominated. However, where this argument stops is when you look at society in general.

White people have gotten a tremendous head start and have gotten the short end of the stick far less than people of color. So do we treat this Affirmative Action-style? I don’t know. This is a contest. That’s what the Oscars are. But this is also the film industry. It’s a business. And white people generally make it through business a lot easier than people of color.

So what’s the right way to go about this? Not sure.

Either way, you probably have to realize that there’s a bigger issue than just white nominees. Take a look at the people doing the voting. The Academy is made up, generally, of old, white men. In the words of Brock Lovett in Titanic: “There’s your first clue, Sherlock!” It’s not the acting pool that needs diversification; it’s the people giving them a chance to expand their careers.

Now, I’m sure by now we’ve all heard of the report that the Academy is doubling the number of women and minority voters, right? Sounds great, right? The trouble is that number only really goes up by about 300 people in a voting body of about 1700 people. AND!

It won’t happen until 2018, which sort of makes me wonder how hard it is to find women and minorities. My feeling is not very.

Anyway, I also think that we are doing a disservice to other groups when we only say “white people were nominated. Blacks should have been too!” We gloss over the rest of the world. Think of it: we have 197 other countries with countless backgrounds and we’re focused on two. Even more to the point: The Danish Girl is the story of a transgender woman played by Eddie Redmayne. He’s a great actor and I have every confidence that he handled that role beautifully, but how about the fact that there are transgender actors who can’t even get roles about the story of their lives? That seems more unfair.

And if we are going to talk only about the nominees, we’re missing something else: how about the movies that get nominated for Best Picture? The Danish Girl is not there. Creed, which has a black main character, is not there. Beasts of No Nation, another movie with a black main character, is not there. Carol, the story of two gay women, is not there (yes, I know it got two acting nominations). Does that strike you as a little strange?

Now, if these movies just weren’t as good, cool. But the Academy can pick 10 Best Picture nominees. They chose eight. Maybe that’s something worth looking into.

John McHale- works for a major news network. Politics and current events are always playing a massive part in his life, but he still tries to keep up with his college love of theatre and show biz. For more of his two cents, please check out the “Movies that BETTER BE GOOD” section of this blog.

Glynis Neely:

After the Oscar nomination list was released last week, the hashtag invented about last year’s nominations #OscarsSoWhite, resurfaced with a vengeance. And although the opinions have been mixed, one thing I think we all can agree on is that people are finally talking about this issue.  There is a serious problem with this industry and representation.  I cannot even begin to understand how it feels to have experienced this type of discrimination your entire career.  I most admire Viola Davis for speaking out against the industry itself.  “The problem is not with the Oscars, the problem is with the Hollywood movie-making system.” There is a dearth of talent in the minority community that is not being called upon. If these jobs were available, it would be an entirely different story. And while the nominations this year are indeed depressing, they aren’t exactly surprising either.  The Oscars are simply one piece of a systemic problem.

The Academy itself still takes some of the blame, however.  The Academy is majorly white (94%), largely male (77%) and unsurprisingly aged 50 or older (86%).  These statistics are indicative of the makeup of the overall Hollywood industry, so it makes sense that the Oscars would reflect the choices of this demographic.  Until there is change within the industry that puts money behind minority-led projects, there will not be a change in the films that are nominated. “How many Black films are being produced every year?” Davis continues. “How are they being distributed? The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role? Can you cast a Black woman in that role? Can you cast a Black man in that role?”

Oftentimes, producers and casting directors have no vision of thinking outside the box when it comes to casting their films.  And only certain roles are bookmarked for Black or Asian or Latin characters; they can’t be seen in leading roles because people don’t want to see films like that – allegedly.  While I’m sure there are bigots for whom that would matter, the majority of the American population just want to see good movies, which has nothing to do with the color of the actor’s skin.

Let’s take the film that has now officially been named the highest-grossing worldwide opening of all time. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has pulled in over $2 billion worldwide and is still climbing higher.  While it did receive some technical Oscar nominations (film editing, original score, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects) the lead female (Daisy Ridley) and lead males (John Boyega and Oscar Isaac) are notoriously absent.  People are clearly not bothered by these characters in the most popular movie of the year. The question is why do studios think it will be so hard to garner an audience with these actors?

Then we have a film like Creed, of which I have heard nothing but good things for its lead actor Michael B. Jordan. The Academy chooses to acknowledge the white supporting actor, Sylvester Stallone, while the lead of the film is completely ignored.  Some supporting actors have gotten Oscar nominations without their lead in tow, but it is most definitely not common and especially strange considering all the critical praise for Jordan’s performance.   Idris Elba was also touted as Oscar material for his turn as a ruthless commander in Netflix’s acclaimed film Beasts of No Nation.  And yet, both of them are absent from even the nominations.  Even Straight Outta Compton, which has a large African-American cast, was well received by audiences and critics and yet the only people nominated were the two white screenwriters. Even in their own films, they do not get their due praise. These films are being made and they are out there, but until studios decide to fully fund them and market them properly, the numbers will likely stay the same.

And there needs to be opportunities to work in order for the best to rise to the top.  The pay gap needs to be closed and more women and especially women of color need to be put at the helm of projects, as they have been found to often be more open minded with their casting choices.  We need to see more female directors and producers and decision makers at the top.  Without giving their voices a platform to tell their stories, they can only remain silent; the system as a whole needs to change to reflect the time we live in.

Increasingly more celebrities are stepping forward and speaking out about the inequalities within the industry that must change in order for us to move forward. Many of these people advocating on behalf of their peers are women. Geena Davis has been encouraging studio executives to add more female characters to their scripts.  Meryl Streep has founded a screenwriting lab intended for women over 40. Ava DuVernay has been building up her distribution company, which releases films specifically by women and directors of color. And Viola Davis, as I have mentioned, has been crashing through the glass ceiling every chance she gets, from her jaw dropping reveal on How to Get Away with Murder to her demand for equality on the red carpet. There are so many talented women who are not even getting offered those roles because of the sexism, racism, and ageism ingrained in the industry. Davis’s comments ring true yet again: “You could probably line up all the A-list Black actresses out there, [and] they probably don’t make what one A-list White woman makes in one film,” she said. “That’s the problem. You can change the Academy, but if there are no Black films being produced, what is there to vote for?”

And what can we vote for this year?  I am so disappointed in the Academy, I don’t even want to watch and I can completely understand why some actors, namely Jada Pinkett-Smith and Snoop Dogg, have chosen to boycott the Oscars.  I am angered on their behalf.  The Academy needs to be aware of how polarizing their ceremony is and what it says about our society as a whole.  I can only be thankful that Chris Rock is hosting this year.  The Academy has given him more than enough material to rip their show to shreds and I can only hope that he does so in the most hilarious way possible.  If anyone can tear down the industry’s inherent racism, it’s him.

Some new films by and starring people of color to check out:


Glynis Neely– is a TV addict with the dedication of a devout seamstress and the attention span of a small child. She loves dissecting pop culture in her spare time and enjoys staring longingly at pictures of Oscar Isaac, especially when they include cats. She is highly opinionated with the movie knowledge to back it up; her friends often refer to her as a walking IMDB. She is also extremely passionate about feminism and has no problem calling people out for misogynist, racist bullshit.

Nick Nappo:

So the lovely and talented Emily Miller asked me to make my return to the blogosphere to comment on the recent #OscarsSoWhite controversy.  At this point in this Sunday evening, Carly Rae Jepsen is singing this God-knows-what song in “Grease: Live”, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.

Firstly, I do agree with the general chatter – for the second straight year, the Oscars nominations have been…ahem…a sort of mayonnaise/Wonder bread hybrid.  In other words, very Caucasian.  However, I’m not entirely certain that this is a reflection of racial bias among members of the Academy.  I’m going to take an opposing view here and say that maybe it just so happened that the nominees that got the highest number of votes were all Caucasian.

To be honest, it’s a little difficult for me to say that Hollywood is completely “racist” in light of Idris Elba’s win last night at the SAG Awards for his amazing performance in Beasts of No Nation.  After all, as actors voted for the SAG Awards, many of them are also members of the Academy, which votes for the Oscars.

What’s especially apparent to me, however, is that we live in an extremely polarized society nowadays.  I think the nominations announcement came at an unfortunate moment, coming off the #BlackLivesMatter sandstorm of 2015.  The nominations only exacerbated the situation.  But I don’t think we should jump to say that the Academy won’t honor artists from all races and ethnic backgrounds.  After all, in recent years we’ve seen honors bestowed to people such as Steve McQueen, Lupita Nyong’o, Octavia Spencer, and Mo’Nique. 

Plus, when have the Oscars honored every deserving artist of the year?  It’s in the nature of the ceremony to exclude people.  And just because they happened to exclude people of a different race at this particular time does not mean they’re against all people of that different race, and it doesn’t mean they won’t include them in coming years.

What we must understand is that merit is not confined to an object such as an award.  As Viola Davis said last night, actors of color, even if they aren’t recognized by a governing body, will continue to do great work now and into the future.  I, for one, am looking forward to seeing future work from them, and all actors.  I don’t see actors in colors – I see them as a collection performances and a community of artists.

Nick Nappo- is a marketing director for a small financial services firm in downstate New York.  When he’s not doing that, however, he enjoys all types of the arts, especially film.  He went to Drew University for Theatre Arts with some of the contributors to this article, which is why he was asked to contribute.  For his horribly outdated blog, visit


Emily Miller (mE, hA.):

Anyone who has ever met me knows what an Oscar fanatic I am. Every year I blog about and obsess over every detail. Which is why the #OscarsSoWhite controversy has been especially difficult, because the Academy is truly an organization that I have grown up loving and idolizing.

There comes a point though when one becomes disenchanted with the hero they’ve loved. And while I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Oscars, on nomination day for the first time in my life, my idol failed me.

While it’s true that we shouldn’t nominate actors, directors, or films who don’t deserve it, I find it incredibly hard to believe that in two years, there wasn’t a single actor or film involving an ethnicity other than white, that didn’t deserve a nomination.

For me, it showcases two problems. The first is within The Academy themselves. For a long time The Academy was an enigmatic group of people. No one knew who they were or how many of them actually existed. The Academy has a rule that once you are inducted in, you are a member for life. (Which side story, explains Sister Dolores, who became a member and then joined a convent!)

However a few years ago, the LA Times after extensive research, issued an explosive story on who the Academy actually was. While these statistics are a few years old, they are still fairly accurate.

-94% White
-77% Men
-2% Black
-2% Latino
->.5% Asian, Native combined

The average age, is 63.

It’s hard not to balk at those statistics and admit there isn’t a problem. It’s difficult to take their nominations seriously when old white men keep nominating white actors and stories that focus on men. And for those that say they have nominated ethnicities in the past, let’s take a closer look.

In case you’re interested:

Over the course of its history, 66 Black actors have been nominated for an Oscar and 15 have won; 28 Latino actors have been nominated and 9 have won; 17 Asian actors have been nominated and 4 have won. This is the 88th Oscars, meaning 352 awards to actors have been given overall out of 1760 nominees.

Black actors nominated = 3.75% of total nominations; Black actors awarded = 4% of total awarded

Latino actors = 1.6% of total nominations; 2.5% of total awarded

Asian actors = 1% of total nominations; 1.1% of total awarded

For comparison, Black people are 13.2% of the US population; Latinos are 17%, and Asians are 5.6%.

Kind of puts things into perspective.

For almost all of modern culture, it has been the artists that have been the most liberal. The artists that have been able to stand up and protest with their creativity and art. The artists that have kept the humanity alive in the darkest of times. And so now, in the hour when the #BlackLivesMatter movement is growing stronger and they look to the artists to support them, they get no help back.

It’s frustrating for any person, but as someone that identifies as an artist, I’m especially crushed.

The way I see it, is the Academy 100% dropped the ball.

Now it would be easy to sit here and blame the Academy for all of these problems, but honestly it’s not entirely their fault. Were there films that showcased minorities that just blatantly weren’t nominated, yes. Were they bombarded with so many films featuring people of color that they had no choice but to nominate them, no.

The #OscarsSoWhite does highlight a nasty trend growing within the Academy but it really showcases a much larger issue, representation in Hollywood. Because overwhelmingly the films being made have a white male protagonist. And usually if a female stars in it, it’s a Romantic Comedy.

The film industry needs to do a better job at including everyone. We need more films starring women, in roles that men could play. We need more films telling LGBTQ narratives, actually starring those people. We need films with every race and ethnicity represented. We need less white men directing, producing, and writing films and more of everyone else.

Because we can change The Academy rules all we want but until the film industry offers equal opportunity for all, The Academy will continue to nominate the story of the white man, and continue to nominate white actors.

Yes, #OscarsSoWhite is a reality, but so is #HollywoodSoWhite. While we have created change among The Academy, lets not forget about an even greater change that needs to occur.

I’m Emily– and welcome to my blog. After graduating college with a dual degree in History and Theatre Arts, I put them to good use by working at a 2 classical theatre companies. Watch me in a webseries that’s about everything except the white man, called Sidetrack. Follow me on Twitter and my blog for all my pop culture commentary. I promise to be witty in at least one of those places at all times.

And as always, sound off in the comments section below and thanks for reading.

How I Became the Hook-up App Queen


For Valentine’s Day this year, I wanted to do a couple of blog posts celebrating the wonderful/terrible holiday. Today I have a guest columnist, my fabulous friend Kaycia Voorman. She’s recently had some adventures and heartache using a Hook-Up App, and really, who hasn’t?

So this is her honest account about the ugly truth of dating apps around Valentine’s Day:

How I Became the Hook-up App Queen By Kaycia Voorman

We met on an app, but that’s not what I tell everyone. I say we met at the diner, because technically that’s when we saw each other face-to-face. He worked at the liquor outlet, and I remember staring at his work boots. Something about those sturdy, scuffed Timberlands. For me, it’s too easy to love a man wearing work boots.

Together, we squeezed the juice out of each remaining summer day. We went kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, exploring the woods around our houses and each other. On a bus to Harrisburg, I gazed out the windows at farmlands, crazed with anticipation to visit him at school.

He picked me up at the bus station wearing a Hawaiian shirt. We had dinner at Chipotle. I was in awe of the effort that went into making his burrito: everyone had to change gloves, and get new spoons to scoop rice and vegetables because nothing could touch gluten. To think that this proud, athletic man could become devastatingly ill by ingesting a single Cheerio.

That evening, he took me to a red, white, and blue themed party. I was painfully self-conscious, clinging to my drink, my back pressed against the kitchen cabinet. He coaxed me into the other room, where it was dark and thrumming with activity. “Guys,” he said, “I want you to meet my friend.”

I knocked back whatever was left in my plastic cup and bolted. Shivering against the cold cement of the garage, I offered a weak smile to partygoers asking if I was ok. He came outside after what seemed like an eternity later. Just to twist the knife in my back, he asked, “Was it because I introduced you as my friend?”

I dragged my feet walking back to his house. Obstinately, I crouched down on the sidewalk to sob for several minutes and refused to stand up. We sat in plastic lawn chairs in his backyard, both crying and not making sense of each other’s words. He wanted to drive me back to DC that night, but I refused. We were both exhausted.

The car ride began in silence the following morning. He still can’t drive without turning on the radio. I hated myself for loving his music. We were making jokes like bare-knuckle punches at a brick wall of awkwardness, but were both singing along to Dirty Heads and Childish Gambino by the time we reached Maryland.

What still gets me is he stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. “It’s your favorite,” he said. He was right. I looked over guiltily from my plate of biscuits with sausage gravy as he puzzled over the gluten free menu. The gluten free menu at Cracker Barrel is exactly as you’d expect: various combinations of fruit and eggs. I began to tear up and ran to the bathroom. When I sat back down, he told me “I was afraid you wouldn’t come back.”

I explained (truthfully) that I only came back to the table because DC was still not within walking distance, and under no circumstances would I leave Cracker Barrel without a baggie of biscuits. “If I didn’t want to see you again, I wouldn’t have spent 3 hours in the car with you driving you back to school. I want you in my life; I just need to be alone.” That statement hung over me like a spectre for the rest of the ride.

When we finally arrived at my house, no one was home. He carried my bags to my room. I offered a bottle of water for the road, which he refused. Stepping over the threshold and back outside, he kissed me. I wanted to scream. After shutting the door, I did. I screamed while unpacking my carefully chosen party clothes. I screamed at the nude calendar of his club soccer team he gifted me before things turned sour. I screamed at his smiling picture wearing the world’s worst sweater vest on his campus tour guide card, which is admittedly a nifty idea the Blue and Gray tour guides should take note of.

We met again during winter break. He confessed to me, almost bragging, that he hadn’t been with anyone else that semester. “I already found my hook-up app queen.” We went rock-climbing, competed over Scrabble, shared a New Year’s Eve kiss, and played Grand Theft Auto. I contemplated the utter unknowability of a man who refused to be my boyfriend in name, but kept in touch while I celebrated the holidays in New Mexico and insisted on spending his every day off from the liquor outlet with me.

My last day home on break ended with a question mark. He had spent the morning at the Russian spa with his dad and cousin, and sacrificed me at family dinner by telling his parents, “She thought the Russian spa was a bunch of naked old guys being served grapes.” When we were finally alone, he refused to make any promises to visit and avoided giving any satisfying response to “I’ll miss you.” I asked what was wrong. “I just can’t live here anymore.”

Right now, we’re engaged in a tactical chess game of who texts first. Spoiler: it’s always me; I have the weaker resistance between us. I dropped the idea of him visiting DC without mentioning Valentine’s Day, like casually dropping a Tootsie Roll wrapper on the ground when nobody is looking. He told me he would check his schedule for February. I don’t see why he can’t take time off from hugging deer or whatever environmental science majors do to see his hook-up app queen. The secrets of his heart remain utterly inscrutable to me; but in the meantime, you can find me on Tinder.

Kaycia Voorman is a third year student at Georgetown University studying Linguistics. This is her first foray into writing and she may continue pursuing it, depending on the comments section. (Kidding, sort of.) In her spare time she enjoys dancing, making killer friendship bracelets, baking, telemarketing and feeding nuts to squirrels.

There’s Nothing Worse Than…Getting Dumped Wearing Lederhosen

While talking with my best friend about one of my more recent dating tragedies, she laughingly told me that I should do a dating series for my blog entitled, ‘There’s nothing worse than’ because my stories are so absurd. This is how I ended up writing my blog post, That’s (Not) My Jam, What To Do With Your Ex’s Jam After You Break Up. Now a few months later, I’m taking her advice again and chronicling yet another dating disaster story. Because everything is funny in retrospect and you can’t waste a good title.

So this is the story of how I got dumped, while wearing slutty German lederhosen.

About a year ago, I met this unbelievably gorgeous guy. It was almost sickening looking at him because he was just that handsome. We had a couple of interactions at my job where I acted like a complete dork, and he was intelligent and witty because, of course he was.

After about a week of infrequent and ordinary interactions, he stopped coming to my job. That was it. But then about 9 months later, he appeared in my workplace again for a special event.

We were both dressed fancy and looking our best and I thought it was time to strike up a conversation. (Did I mention I was drinking?) But our conversation went better than I could imagine. It was only about five minutes later when he asked what I did for a living did I realize he had no idea we had met several times previously. I was mortified.

When I sheepishly told him I worked in the very building where we were standing in, it was his turn to get embarrassed. He seemed genuinely upset that he hadn’t remembered me and apologized profusely. We then spent the rest of the night laughing and joking around. My little crush became a legitimate one after that.

The next day I received a facebook friend request from him and an immediate message continuing our conversation from the night before. I was on cloud 9.

Now here’s where it got a bit tricky. We continued messaging on fb for three weeks straight. That’s right. THREE WHOLE WEEKS. For a guy that’s, like, a year.

And while our conversations were fun and interesting, he never once asked me out. Yet he would talk to me almost every day.

I was growing restless in his complacency. So I decided to take matters into my own hands, and I asked him out for drinks. He texted back ‘did you just ask me out?’ I said yes and held my breath until he responded back with a ‘let’s do it🙂’

I’m surprised y’all couldn’t hear my victorious screaming from wherever you were.

Just a few short days later, we went out on our first date. It started out as drinks, and then followed dinner, which segued into dessert. In total, our first date lasted six hours. And the conversation never lagged once. He even walked me to my bus stop where he kissed me goodnight. I was officially smitten.

Then came the awful waiting game. I knew I wanted to see him again, and I assumed he wanted to see me again after the world’s longest first date, but the rest of the weekend went by and I never heard from him. I was starting to grow worried.

Meanwhile, while all of this was going on, I was in a play. The show took place in Germany during the 1800s, and my costume reflected that. Yup, that’s right I was dressed like a slutty German girl in lederhosen. I’m providing a picture because the rest of the story is so much better with this image in your head.



So flash forward a few days later and I’m backstage in my costume waiting to go on when I finally got a text from him. I was so excited that he was finally reaching out to me that I almost missed my cue. And then I read it and almost missed my cue.

Basically he said he had a really great time with me, and thinks I’m a really great person and can’t wait to continue our friendship. He had zero interest in going out with me again but said I could absolutely continue texting him all of my theories on Game of Thrones.

I just kept staring at my phone until one of my cast members grabbed it out of my hand and pushed me out.

I stood onstage under the bright lights, utterly humiliated and hurting. Then I looked down and realized, to my horror, what I was wearing. I had been rejected and I was now standing onstage trying to get my lines out in slutty lederhosen.

I’ve often thought my life was a joke. I don’t think the moment was ever fully realized though until this exact moment in time.

After spending 6 hours together and talking for everyday for about a month I had been so sure he liked me. And I had really liked him.

Now instead of going out on a second date, I was trapped onstage desperately trying not to cry. Of course there was no way of him knowing what I was doing when he sent that text message, and I do genuinely appreciate him reaching out to me and not ghosting me, but still. Everything was terrible. When practice was over I ran to my car and cried.

I went home and ate some Ben and Jerrys, watched the awful wonderful Amy Adams classic, Leap Year and had a good cry.

A week later, my spirits had returned. I had wallowed and eaten copious amounts of ice cream and macaroons and was ready to put my embarrassing past behind me.

I woke up late for work and sprinted out the door in no make up, glasses, hair up in a bun, and a rather large sweatshirt.

Naturally, that’s when I ran into him, on a street, in the largest city, in the country. You know, as you do.

To quote the great Humphrey Bogart from the movie Casablanca, “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”

We were approaching each other in the center of the street from opposite ends like the first 30 minutes of every bad romantic comedy. I looked awful and he was perfect, and to top it off, he was walking with a girl.

I tried to play it cool, but honestly that’s not really something I can do.

I think what I ended up doing was some kind of awkward combination of waving and grimacing. Graving? Wimicing? Either way, he just stared at me and kept walking.

When I got to my job I wanted to sink quietly into the floor and die. And then a few hours passed and I felt better and then he texted me and then I actually wanted to die.

The following is the exact quote of his text: “Hey, did I walk by you this morning? It clicked after the fact cause of the glasses and hair up…”

I’ve always empathized most with Buster Bluth on Arrested Development because of our affinity to juice, but that day he truly emulated all of my emotions.


I openly admit I wasn’t looking my best, but to blatantly walk by me because you couldn’t recognize me? All I could think was I’M A HIDEOUS MONSTER.

My life really was a bad romantic comedy.

After one minor mental breakdown, I had nothing left to do but laugh with my coworkers. The situation and my life was just too absurd.

If I follow “The Rule of Three” then I think he is finally out of my life. While I don’t entirely have closure, I have learned some valuable lessons. The first is always wear contacts when walking between 42nd and 9th.

The second, more valuable lesson though is, lederhosen is ALWAYS a bad idea.

What did y’all think? Better or worse than my last dating tragedy? Got any worse than mine, cause I want to hear all about it. As always, thanks for reading guys and sound off in the comments section below.

The Best Songs of 2015

Every year since I’ve had my blog I’ve done an end of the year music review. I am not a music expert and my tastes are eclectic at best. But I genuinely love discovering new music and talking about great new artists. So I indulge in a Best of Music list and hope that a few people out there check out my reviews.

I tried to include a song from every genre  and limited it to just one song per artist.  All of these songs were released in 2015 as either a single or off an album. As to why there are 40 songs, it just felt right.

Warning: There is no method to my madness.

40.  “Indian Summer” by Jai Wolf

What better way to start off this playlist than with this happy song. It’s impossible to remain in a mood other than pure joy when listening, so turn it up. This is bliss.

39. “Too Much Time Together” by San Cisco

Never has an uncoupling sounded so happy. An electric feisty beat is paired with the lyrics “I wanna be with you forever, But we need space, You should stay at your place.” If only all break-ups could be this easy and enjoyable.

38. “Pieces” by Tanlines

This moody dance song is an impressive feat with its powerful bass synthe and catchy lyrics. But it’s  2/3 into the song when it introduces its killer brass section, does it transcend from a good song to a great one.

37. “Pay My Rent” by DNCE

Never has the millennial struggle been captured in such a dance-able song. Because love is great, but finding someone who can pay your rent? That’s what’s really counts.

36. “Biscuits” by Kacey Musgraves

I am the first to admit that country is not my cup of tea, but it’s hard to resist this catchy song by Country outsider Kacey Musgraves. The infectious tune will make you feel good and trick you into enjoying country.

35. “Believe (Nobody Knows) by My Morning Jacket

This song has been done before. It’s soaring anthem of a chorus sounds like a song from the 80s. Yet when My Morning Jacket earnestly sings BELIEVE NOBODY KNOWS, it’s hard to resist. The powerful vocals will have you believing soon enough.

34. “Dream Lover” by Destroyer

I’m sure The Beatles can’t help but laugh when they hear lyrics like “oh shit, here comes the sun.” Equal parts groovy and breezy, Destroyer is, dare I say it, the best music to come out of Canada this year. (Sorry Biebs)

33. “Stereotype” by Samsaya

The Indian born, Norwegian raised singer Samsaya knows a thing or two about combining cultures. The song is infused with sounds and rhythms that represent many walks of life to create a truly unique song that wholly represents her. As she gleefully sings in the chorus that she’s not down with the stereotype, we realize how special this song really is.

32. “Water” by Ra Ra Riot, ROstam

There is something incredibly freeing and relaxing about this track. The song is centered around  vocals singing, “Don’t punish me for what I feel,” and simply “I jumped into the water.” If this doesn’t encourage you to let it all go, then you’re just stuck with Queen Elsa, and that could get rather tiresome if you ask me.

31. “Take It or Leave It” by Great Good Fine Ok

A synth pop duo with catchy melodies and an impressive falsetto and a band member with one of the greatest beards I’ve ever seen? I’m weak at the knees. This is easy listening at it’s finest. Also, I kinda have a crush on their band name. #SorryNotSorry

30. “Head Over Heels” by J. D. McPherson

It’s time to rock out like it’s 1955. With a groovy hard rock sound that would make Elvis proud, McPherson creates an electrifying tune. So what do you get when you mix old school rock with some modern trimmings and catchy chorus? A song that demands to be turned up.

29. “Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes

I think I’ve died and gone to the funk-rock stratosphere. It’s dark, stormy and paired with Brittany Howard’s powerhouse vocals, this song commands your attention. It’s so sharp and edgy there is almost a fear it could cut you.

28. “Gone” by JR JR

I dare you to sit still for this song. This infectious tune is the perfect anthem to jump around your room and dance horribly to. Confession, I’m doing that now as I’m typing. I blame the whistling and snapping melodies that casually weave their way in and out of the song.

27. “River” by Ibeyi

Darkly beautiful. With one minimalist beat throughout, the song relies heavily on vocals and the twin sisters are more than capable. Singing about coming to the river to wash their soul, it’s unclear whether the sisters are talking about a baptism or drowning. It creates this other worldly sound and imagery that’s only heightened when they start chanting in Yoruba.

26. “flood on the floor” by Purity Ring

Sinfully delicious.

25. “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” by Jamie XX

It’s a rap song with a Caribbean-leaning xylophonic composition that loops. What more do you need to have a good time? Seriously though, this should have been the song of the summer. You can practically see the swagger drip off of it.

24. “Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King

This is modern rock at its finest. Elle King is crunchy, fire-y and unapologetic and it’s awesome. In a typically male dominated genre, King has proven that she’s better than they boys, and picked up some Grammy nominations on the way.

23. “S.O.B” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Have you honestly heard truer song lyrics than “Goddamn … I need a drink.” ? Lead singer Nathaniel Rateliff means it too. His raspy voice barely gets the words out before belting out ‘Son of a Bitch” The opening of the song is great with Rateliff’s voice paired with a simple clapping beat but the song really soars with the full band interludes. Refusing to fit into any genre, this song is in a category all by itself.

22. “A New Wave” by Sleater-Kinney

So, like, we all knew that Sleater-Kinney was reuniting, and we knew that they were going to kick ass, but did we know it was going to be this good? I guess we should have come to expect it from the divine goddesses that they are, but seriously. Who sounds this good after a ten year hiatus? Life is unfair for the rest of us commoners but in the mean time we have “A New Wave” to listen to, to ease our pain.

21. “WTF (Where They From)” by Missy Elliot, Pharell Williams

To unironically quote LL Cool J, don’t call it a comeback, Miss Elliot’s been here for years. This song is weird, cool, different, fun, timely and undeniably good. It’s everything Queen Missy has been doing for years. She’s once again proven that she owns the Hip-Hop genre. OWNS IT.

20. “Hotline Bling” by Drake

This is the song that got under all of our skins. It refused to go away with all the numerous covers, and Donald Trump SNL skit and ended up annoying a lot of people. But outright dismissing this song because it was overplayed is a huge disservice to Drake and your earbuds. With a great hook, and arguably the best cameo by an organ in 2015, this song is brilliant and catchy, and has stayed in the pop stratosphere for a reason.

19. “No No No” by Beirut

What starts out like music from the happiest video game, morphs into a song that cannot be missed. Beirut is all about combining melodies and sounds to create entirely unique beats. Featuring horns, strings and synth this instrumental arrangement will never leave your head.

18. “How Could You Babe” by Tobias Jesso Jr.

Tobias tricks us all into believing that this is a happy song after listening to the first couple of jolly piano chords. Then he starts passionately singing and we realize this is a sad song. With heartbreaking lyrics like “Nothing’s as hard to do / as just saying goodbye. / And when love is in the way, you gotta say / ‘I guess love ain’t always right,” it’s hard  not get caught up in his emotion. As he endlessly laments how could you babe over and over again it’s hard not cry right along with him, because we’ve all been there.

17. “Things Happen” by Dawes

“Let’s make a list of all the things the world has put you through / Let’s raise a glass to all the people you’re not speaking to / I don’t know what else that you want me to say to you… Things happen, that’s all they ever do.” That’s the beautiful chorus. I don’t think I really need to say anything more.

16. “Then Came the Morning” by The Lone Bellow

This is the song to listen to after your heart is broken. This is the gentle reminder that everything will be okay. That the morning will come. The soulful band almost sounds gospel like with their subject matter and haunting harmonies. Listening to this song means healing.

15 “Leave a Trace” by CHRVCHES

This catchy electro-pop song can and should be endlessly played on repeat. With a great beat, irresistible vocals and real lyrics like “And I know you’ll never fold/But I believe nothing that I’m told” I swear this song gets better every time I listen to it.

14. “Nobody’s Empire” by Belle & Sebastian

I’ve been a huge fan of Belle & Sebastian for years and was floored when I heard their new song. One of the biggest complaints against the band is that a lot of their songs and albums sound the same. But this song is entirely different from anything they’ve created. Though it still has the same thoughful lyrics like “If I had a camera I’d snap you now, because there’s beauty in every stumble,” it features new exciting melodies that will continue to delight no matter how many times you listen. There’s a giddy sentimentality that’s utterly contagious.

13. “Written in the Water” by Gin Wigmore

Gin Wigmore’s  voice is magic. Equal parts rock/neo soul/ gravely awesomeness, she puts her entire being into every syllable she sings. She takes us on a catchy journey and we’d all be crazy to get off.  There is such lightness and darkness here, anchored by a drum rhythm that refuses to quit and a big band backdrop that will keep you swinging and singing forever.

12. “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” by Father John Misty

This is everything modern romance should be. Accounting the romance of his now wife Emma, Josh Tillman writes a mesmerizing song  about the perfect first days of a new courtship. With a homage to a mariachi band that somehow doesn’t feel out of place and emotion filled vocals, this song builds and builds until he asks, “What are you doing with your whole life? How bout forever?” That’s when we realize he’s in love. The best part though is, he realizes it too, and his vocals never sounded more pure.

11. “All The Things Lost” by MSMR

Haunting. Beautiful. It has the power to touch you’re soul, if you let it. The beauty is in its simplicity. There have never been more truthful lyrics than, “Everyone keeps asking are we okay / Truth is we’re not, but I don’t know what to say.”

10. “Hello” by Adele

This is a pop culture moment. Perhaps the biggest song of 2015 and deservedly so.  This song proved it has the staying power of a hit and Adele isn’t going anywhere. Bonus points for ‘can’t get out of your head’ lyrics that makes performing this at karaoke drunk all the much easier.

9. “Higher Than Love” by Royal Concept

If someone told me that this song was from the 1980s, I wouldn’t bat an eye, and I mean that in truly the best way possible. Everyone’s favorite Swedish band is back and pardon the pun, they are higher than ever. They’ve always been cool but now they’ve found their groove. They are more enjoyable, danceable, and soul filled than ever. If the pop rock genre had a baby with a musical, this would be it and again I mean that in the best most wonderful way possible.

8. “Yoga” by Janelle Monae, Jidenna

Full disclose: Janelle Monae is one of my all time favorite artists.  Pretty much the Queen of Indie-Funk and Psychedelic Pop, Monae has a very consistent sound and appearance. Yet this March she’s proven that there is so much more to her, when she released “Yoga.” Queen Janelle also decided it was time to conquer the Hip-Hop and Trap world as well and she made it so. Slightly more mainstream than she usually goes, she created a song that is so catchy and irresistible that it will be left on repeat for days.

7. “Silent Movies” by Madisen Ward and Mama Bear

Easily the most bad ass mother/son band this side of the Mississippi. This duo creates one of the most sincere, toe tapping head nodding songs of the year. When Ward croons, “When you dance they call you funny, so how ‘bout we get real funny, girl?” it’s hard not to get up and dance. It’s even more adorable knowing his mother is right there next to him jamming right along.

6. “Should Have Known Better” by Sufjan Stevens

This song is a wonder. It’s so loud in its ability to be quiet. Frail but intricately so, the vocals and the guitar whisper their story to you. Equal parts painful and hopeful, this song is what the genre Folk is all about.

5. “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges’ debut album is like something out of another decade. Filled with doo-wop and soul, there is not a song on his album that isn’t spectacular. Appropriately titled ‘Coming Home’ this song really is a homecoming. Some were worried his first album wouldn’t live up to the hype. But when Bridge sings, “I wanna be around you girl” it becomes clear that we had nothing to fear and that we always want him to be around.

4. “King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar

“I got a bone to pick,” is how Kendrick Lamar starts off the epic ‘King Kunta’ and boy does he. Lamar is unapologetic as he takes on other rappers using ghost writers, and racial issues in 2015. Perhaps the greatest compliment this song received was from Pharrell who said it’s “unapologetically black and amazing.” This song and album is pretty close to perfection and proves that Lamar is a young genius in the making. 2015 song of the year may have belong to Adele, but Best Album and overall year itself belongs exclusively to Kendrick.

3. “My Baby Don’t Understand Me” by Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass’ voice is so quiet and fragile it sounds like she’s singing for the first time. Accompanied by a loud and brash horn section, the song creates a dynamic that’s entirely unique. Blown away by the beauty of this piece, it took multiple listens to realize that this stunning song is actually about the most basic of boy problems. Her baby doesn’t understand her anymore. It’s something we’ve all been through before and Natalie just captures all of the emotions. You can practically hear the tear drops in this song.

2. “Pedestrian At Best” by Courtney Barnett

Though Courtney Barnett once sang that “I much prefer the mundane” her new song is anything but. A forceful take down of both herself and her lover she sings, “I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.” She’s hellbent and frustrated but it’s not entirely directed at her ex. Sometimes I’m not sure she even knows what she’s singing about. She sounds like an artist that has outgrown herself when she rocks out to the chorus, “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you.” Barnett is one of the best artists currently making music, and I can only hope that she continues to experiment and challenge herself.

1. “Delilah” by Florence and the Machine

The first 90 seconds of the song is just Florence Welch singing, accompanied by a chorus of Florence Welches. Her haunting voice is almost ethereal, giving off an other worldly quality that can never be replicated. It’s a stunning intro that would make a brilliant song in itself, but that 90 seconds is just the beginning. What follows next is a wonderful ride that you hope never ends. With a lovely piano, danceable beat, hand claps, falsetto and a catchy rytham, this song takes off and never comes down. It’s triumphant.



And there you have it, 2015 in music. What do you think? Did you like my order or did I totally screw it up? Have some favorites that didn’t make the cut? Let me know. Sound off in the comments section below and thanks for reading.