This does not reflect what I think are the best in any category, but what will actually win so you can win at your local office pools.


La La Land

BEST DIRECTOR - Damian Chazelle

La La Land

BEST ACTOR - Casey Afleck

Manchester by the Sea


La La Land


Mahershala Ali


Viola Davis


Mahershala Ali

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea


La La Land


La La Land




La La Land




La La Land


La La Land


Hacksaw Ridge


The Salesman
La La Land

BEST SONG - La La Land (City of Stars)

La La Land




OJ Made in America






I spoke to my films students about this last week...


Will AI be the future? Will films cease to exist and can I simply use CGI from beginning to end? Will I finally be able to put Brando in one of my films?

Yes, yes, and yes.


I do believe Facebook will be one of many locations where we watch films, but what we consider a film will shift into something more authentic and participatory.

You'll see art house cinemas gain a new following. People will show up to bars and get a dose of a DJ, film clips, a comedian, and a podcast -- all in one go.


Mini Lalapaloozas will become the norm.

Microbudget features will become popular for a year or two, as the need for content grows and technology and usability meet.

Then, this will peter out


Users will make films of varying lengths. In some cases, these will not resemble films but a mix between CGI, photography, voice-over, and a peeping tom look into someone's life.

Everyone will be able to animate and create effects to various degrees. 

Reality and non-reality will become synonymous.

Drones will be able to follow users into any situation, and the need for fancy cranes, jibs, steadicams, and dollies will be obsolete.


Everyone will be able to make a certain type of film, and these will be the shared elements on sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

User content on YouTube will get so good you won't be able to tell what is done by a production company versus a 17 year old kid in Rochester.


Physical skills, such as dancing, singing, or acting will seem as antiquated as painting or chamber orchestras.


Coding and programming will be the new arts. Designers will come up with complex algorithms that will create virtual environments that can be entered and shared with other users.

(Imagine it like a Westworld, but there's no need for robots. Everything will be virtual.)


Physical touching and the exchange of fluids will seem crass. Users will seek pleasure and intimacy in virtual environments and not need to leave their cubicles.

A counterculture will grow that encourages the opposite. They will be seen mostly like nudists twenty years ago and will represent 1-2% of the world's population.


Memory implants and corrections have been surgeries attempted for years now, but new breakthroughs in brain mapping have allowed for a manipulation of brain receptors to be aligned with programming so the latest craze will be virtual experiences that coincide with memories and dreams that can be controlled extracted, amended, deleted, and shared.

Rough Oscar Picks

Best Picture


Best Director

Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Best Actor

Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, Theory

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actor

Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman

Best Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida, Poland
Leviathan, Russia

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood, Richard Linklater

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, Foxcatcher
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Theory of Everything

Best Original Song

“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie; Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from Selma; Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Documentary—Short

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Film Editing

Sandra Adair, Boyhood
Barney Pilling, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Tom Cross, Whiplash

Best Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Interstellar, Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
Into the Woods, Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Best Animated Short

The Bigger Picture

Best Live Action Short

Boogaloo and Graham
The Phone Call

Best Sound Editing

American Sniper, Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Birdman, Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
Interstellar, Richard King

Best Sound Mixing

Whiplash, Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Best Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy, Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
Interstellar, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

Best Documentary — Feature


Best Costume Design

Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods

Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, Maleficent

The Dream Where Everyone Hated Me

I had a dream last night that I was living in this house where everyone hated me. At first, I didn't know why, and I had to spend a lot of time trying to uncover the plot. Finally, it was revealed that I laugh at everyone.

"Really?" I asked.

"Yup," one of the dream residents said. "As soon as someone walks away, but they're still within earshot, you laugh at them."



I sat there dumbfounded. I knew I was in a dream, so I started to think it might be because I thought I was better than people, or maybe because I was underwater in some other way by being drunk or other things. I was still trying to solve the riddle when a group of the dream residents surrounded me and started calling me naive and stupid and other horrible things.

"I've never liked you," one of the dream residents stated very matter of factly.

"Yes," another agreed--who looked strangely like Daniel Craig--"and when you did that scene with the knife the other day, that was dangerous. You could have killed the actor--"

"I don't think any actor was in danger--"

"It was dangerous," Daniel Craig resident said and started walking behind the group that was now in a half semi-circle around me.

That was when I noticed my cameras in boxes on the ground in a closet. They were boxed and being shipped off.

"Those are my cameras," I said and pointed at the boxes.

"Jeez," the matriarch of the house said, "you're staying with us and you don't want to share?"

"Huh?" I said.

"We share everything--"

"But you didn't even ask me if you could rent these out. You've already sent them."

"Man, this guy is so selfish," the matriarch announced to the group. "We don't know if we can be around a person like this."

"Yeah," Daniel Craig piped up from the back.

"Okay," I said. "I'm sorry. I usually ask people to borrow things."

"Ask?" the matriarch shouted. "We do not ask!"

I woke up later and lied in bed for a bit. I remembered how Dariusz Rawa, a shaman, used to tell me that sometimes a dream was just a dream, and how other times there was something more to them. In fact, I might be confusing this slightly, because I now remember clearly Dariusz standing over me--like he always was--saying, "the first thing think about in the morning is the first thing you need to do."

So I lied there with my dream and realized that I was and wasn't all the things the dream residents accused me of. I can be selfish, naive, and off-putting. I can also be the opposite of all those things. I can be quite selfless, wise, and charming. It really was a question of being superior. The dream residents had an agenda. They thought they were better than me from the onset and were looking for ways to oust me from the group. This has often been my relationship with groups. I hang around on the outskirts just looking and get pushed back a hundred feet for any reason that's suitable.

Often, I find this same scenario in life. I might want something or to just be able to accomplish something good in life, and I'm met with suspicion or a pushing from someone who wants to exert control because they feel threatened or confused because my actions might have disrupted expectations. But I don't make films or art for success alone. My priorities are the creation and its evolutionary process. That's the joy for me. And working with a team. Success is usually an after-thought and much more of an artistic experiment in trial and error without the financial or connected means to move a product like those in power do.

I realize now my dream is an affirmation that I'm doing okay. If the dream residents don't like me, then I must be doing something right. I don't want to live in a house with no rules where everyone shares everything and has no boundaries. Rules are okay for me.

I also realize that the "dream residence" was similar to a hippy commune and that people who are super liberal are just as bad as people who are extremely conservative and constricting. The extremes make for a bad environment, because it's just as bad to be made to go to the back of the bus for your skin color as it is to be guilted into thinking a certain way because someone has an agenda.

These days Facebook shows us people's daily agendas. Everyone is posting on topics that are important to them. This is to be expected. But, oftentimes, folks want to start battles to get other people to agree with their agendas or platforms.

"Why don't you like this post?" the Agenda Pusher might ask. "Why don't you share this campaign?"

But I'm not here in this world to share everything. I'm just making things and trying to be helpful and good and myself. I can't help it if I'm genuinely naive sometimes. I also can't do anything if I seem that way because I don't agree with an agenda so much so that I disconnect from other human beings.

I'm here to make things and be with humans.

If I'm not invited to the parties, that's okay. Our parties usually happen on film sets and writing sessions anyway. It's in those exchanges that I come alive.

Then I walk the streets in LA, and I talk to strangers, and I find that I'm not alone. We're working the night shift at a gas station, or running a magazine rack, or performing our hearts out at a theater, or driving home from a long day's work, or sitting at home on a computer reading the screen--and all the while knowing that we're all at the party, and it'll only take a moment to reach out to a complete stranger and say hello to have a genuine moment, where you might talk about working a shitty job and how everyone probably just comes to this magazine rack to buy water and smokes.

"Yup," the guy running the magazine rack says. "Usually cigarettes and snacks."

"Well, I got my snacks," I tell him and hold up my coffee, protein bar, mints, and one liter water.

He smiles and peaks around to the front of the store to make sure a girl's not stealing out front. She turns to him. holds up a magazine, and says something unintelligible.

I open my Starbucks frappacino, drain it, and then the salesman offers to throw away the bottle.

"You from LA?" I ask.

"Glendale," he says.

"Armenian?" I ask.

"Mexican," he says.

"What's your name?"


"I'm Pirooz," I say and shake his hands.

Discussion on Ferguson and Community Outreach

Violence happens when language can't express feelings adequately. A person's hurt, pain, and rage gets so big he or she feels like they'll explode. Then, as in the case of Ferguson, it becomes easier to loot against oneself, because an immediate action can be taken to alleviate pain that can be seen and may feel right in retrospect for the system's inadequacies. It's not unnatural to self-implode if enough pressure is applied. It could happen to anyone. The implosion is definitely heartbreaking, but it's not unusual for human beings. I support the people of ferguson and the police and judicial system that operates there. At the same time, there is a growing sickness that needs to be addressed in all American communities and that is 1) gun safety and limitations by the public; 2) increased therapy and support for officers across America and in low-income communities; 3) support groups, therapy, and financial relief efforts for those in low income communities; and 4) increased discussion and awareness of how racism is created. 

This last element can cause a lot of confusion, because people often think they are not creating judgments about others based on race, but it happens everyday and is extremely prevalent throughout all societies in the world. Therefore, the only way to combat this issue is in understanding that difference can only be created by the looker initially. If a person is treated differently based on race, this leaves a lasting scar, and it may be that this afflicted human then goes and applies the same hurt against the very "race" of the person who first treated them badly. Then, the cycle continues until everyone is affected throughout the world. So, the only true separation from difference is not seeing any from the onset. This is the key to battling hate in any community. 

A person's way of thinking about you is not who you are. Many people don't realize this, so they walk around thinking they are the wrong color, religion, political party, body weight, etc.--but deep down we all know intrinsically that there is no separation between any human beings on this planet. People simply make choices. And, if society is to improve, and we hope to support each other for a healthier world, then it'll be better for us to recognize our thoughts are simply ideas and far from an absolute truth. 

In order to create this state of mind, it'll be helpful to employ programs that help people exercise healthier ways to deal with anger, frustration, rage, sadness, poverty, power, privilege, and racism. It will also be helpful for human being to get together and practice some form of community activism and self reflection to help connect together in positive ways. This will help the world become a better place for all human beings.

Michael Brown

I walk into the room and see them and
smile and put down my bag and say
“Hey” and they frown and they say
“Did ya’ hear?” and I shake my head and

I know before they say it—something in the back of me,
like an SMH tweet I read the next morning about “Progress”
and Rodney King on a monitor half the size of the table
when Jenny asks “Why they do that, teacher?”
and I’m already into the middle of the week—
after the 10 freeway’s been shut down and Aaron says
“They need to take the protest to people who don’t want to hear it!”

Trying to find the right poem for another class—
I read Donald Glover’s tweets about being a “big white rapper”
and I laugh and think that’s the perfect one:

For someone who laughs and bumps students around him after Billy Elliot kisses a boy, until an older girl in the theater shouts 
that he’s “out of control” and we know her idea of “control”
is the same as ours without saying it.

For Ahman, I think.

I copy and paste the piece into MS Word and think about what they will say all the way down Wilshire into the Language School, where Jenny tells us what she thinks of America and back across Rossmore to the performing arts college where they sit with their backs to me—

and I wonder if I make any difference at all when Jenny says she is “a feared” when she walks to the subway at night and “America is no freedom” and Colby asks me “Why?” and Aaron says “I don’t know why they expected it to be any different?” and

I just say “maybe” and “I don’t know” and “Mmm” because my heart pounds the same rhythm it always has—ever since 1984 when that man refused to cut my hair and I understood difference wasn’t inside me, but something I was told based on who was looking—when the wound was passed without knowing better than to ignore it—