Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast on ABC is the industry’s most abnormal Oscarcast ever, one that’s frustrating to plug into due to the pandemic. Though I’ve seen a clutch of nominees, none were viewed in a traditional movie theater. Streaming has been the only option for most, and viewing a film via streaming is, well, akin to watching TV. You miss the bells and whistles of large screen watching, and popcorn with arare, too. I mean, do you make homemade popcorn to sit in front of the tube?

Didn’t think so. Still, it’s fun to predict who’ll win. It helps to have seen a flick and a performance, so the fewer movies you’ve streamed, the more you feel distanced. How was he, or she, in a touted role?

Nonetheless, I’m posting my choices, but only in films I’ve seen, Happily, what I’ve viewed seem to be among the wider-reaching films in a year of unfortunate circumstances limiting access, and consequently, viewing.


Best Picture: “Nomadland.” Hulu exhibited this one – a dark, often gloomy, fascinating and organic glimpse of a subculture of folks who aren’t homeless, but live like those without a roof, traveling hither and yon in vans. It’s mobile home folks, inhabiting camps and thus co-exist as a tight, itinerant community with shared woes and hopes.

Best Director: Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland.” She yielded an artistic stroke, converting the somber and lonely landscape into a character with a commanding sense of reality. Besides directing, she wrote, edited and produced the film.


Best Actor: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Netflix screened this one, and Boseman (he died last August) is a sentimental posthumous winner playing a brilliant but stubborn musician in the band of a luminous blues singer in difficult times.

Best Actress: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland.” She was gritty, grand and commanding as the turf she frequented as a roving gypsy in her van, a difficult journey and a demanding challenge.


Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” He inhabited the role of Fred Hampton, the Black Panther Party chairman and activist, dominating the film in what clearly is a leading actor performance, which sort of gives him a better chance of winning this category. Premiered on HBO Max.

Best Supporting Actress: I have to pass here, since I’ve not seen Yuh-Jung Youn, the favored winner from “Minari.” Streamed on YouTube and Apple TV. I’ve seen the other nominees (Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy;” Amanda Seyfried, “Mank;” and Maria Bakaloa, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) but if Youn doesn’t win, I’ll go with Close.

Two categories I can vote for, on titles I’ve seen:

Best Documentary Feature: “My Octopus Teacher,” a stunning diary of undersea mystery (streamed on Netflix), following a favored octopus, who appears, disappears, and reappears in the watery forests off the coast of South Africa. Kudos to co-directors James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich for this visual journal that doubles as a love story of dedication and perseverance between a sea creature and a filmmaker. In pandemic times, this was a splash with flash.

Best Animated Film: “Soul Story,” a joyous triumph by Pete Docter, whose Pixar experience yielded a stunning, entertaining, and about a jazz musician who goes to heaven. Should win for Best Score. Easily could have been a contender for Best Picture. Streamed on Disney+.


May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, and on May 1, there are two celebrations – one virtual on TV, one live in a Waikiki club –worth considering.

The traditional mammoth Hawaiian party at the Waikiki Shell, is only a memory now; the Brothers Cazimero, who staged Lei Day annually for years, pulled the plug a number of seasons ago. Since then, Roland Cazimero died, and Robert Cazimero has tried to carry on some measure of the beloved celebration.


Robert surfaces again this year, in a televised performance, at 6 p.m. May 1 on KGMB, then an hour later at 7 p.m. on KFVE, with a re-telecast at 8 p.m. May 3 again on KFVE. Facebook Live by Kahuli Leo Le’a will carry the program for worldwide viewing.

Kahuli Leo Le’a is producing the event, “Hawaiian Airlines May Day 2021: Makai’ika’I,” which will assemble Cazimero and his Halau Na Kamalei o Lililehua, along with Keauhou, Manu Boyd, the Ha’eha’e girls, Ka La ‘Onohi Mai o Ha’eha’e directed by Tracie and Keawe Lopes and Halau Mohala ‘Ilima directed by Mapuana de Silva. Billy V. emcees

The mission is to create a robust burst of Hawaiian culture amid the perimeters of your TV screen at home. The scent of freshly-strewn blossons of lei will be missing, unless you abide by the Cazimero mantra for years, “Make a Lei, Give a Lei, Wear a Lei.” Zachary Lum, a member of the group Keauhou, is the producer-executive director of the telecast show, and is staging the production “as Hawaii continues to welcome malihini back to the islands,” he said. “We are eager to utilize online platforms, bringing May Day to wider audiences and delivering an important message through this creative presentation.”

Hawaiian Airlines is the title sponsor of the e-show.


As part of his residency at the Blue Note Hawaii club at the Waikiki Outrigger Hotel,Kuana Torres Kahele presents May Day with a plethora of hula and serenaders, creating a tapestry of culture which is part of his signature.Shows will be at 6 and 8:30 p.m. May 1 (doors open at 4:30 and 8 p.m.), with Kahele assembling three wahine kumu hula: Vicky Holt Takamine, Leimomi Ho and Leina’ala Pavoa Jardin, who will share their dancers and artistry, along with unnamed guest dancers.

Tickets: $35 premium, $25 loge and bar zone; call 777-4890 or visit www.bluenotehawaii.com

In addition, there will be designer pop up by designer Manaola.

Social distancing protocol will be observed. Also, Blue Note will offer meal options.

Two islanders in Disney+ series

Two island actors, with roles in motion pictures, television and Broadway, will appear in separate Disney+ series in the weeks and months ahead.

Keala Settle, best known for her role as the Bearded Woman in Hugh Jackman’s “The Greatest Showman” flick in which she performed the Oscar-nominated “This Is Me” song, will have a recurring role in the just-released “Big Shot” series in which she will be playing Christina Winters, the mom of basketball player Destiny Winters, in the high school basketball  comedy starring John Stamos as coach Marvyn Korn. You may also know her for her Broadway appearances in “Waitress,” “Les Miserables,” and “Hands on the Hardbody,” and the most recent “Rent” revival on TV.

Keala Settle
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is anthony-2.jpg
Anthony Ruivivar

Anthony Ruivivar, whose TV credits include “Third Watch,” is completing filming of a reboot of “Turner & Hooch,” in which he will perform as U.S. Marshall James Mendez. The series, starring Josh Peck as Stuart Turner, is completing production in Vancouver, B.C., will premiere July 16 and its 12 weekly episodes will air through Oct. 1.  You may recall Ruivivar from TV shows like “Blue Bloods,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “American Horror Story”   and films including “Starship Troopers,” “Tropic Thunder,” and “Race the Sun.”

Harmon to stay on ‘NCIS’ but no DiZonno for Hawaii

This just in: Mark Harmon, the star of CBS’ “NCIS,” has decided to sign for another season, which means his character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, will be back this fall for the procedural’s 19th season.

According to The Holllywood Reporter, Harmon’s decision to remain on the network’s most popular show extended the life of the series; he also serves as an executive producer.

If he didn’t agree to return as the centrifugal force of the No. 1 investigative show on prime time, the show would have been shuttered.

There were layered concerns – if Harmon exited, would the show continue and hope he might make limited recurring appearances? Though “NCIS” will extend its run one more year, Harmon has not expressed a desire to appear full time, since the coronavirus pandemic continues. Covid has cut the number of episodes during the 17th and 18th season, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The recent decision also does not mention a second year extended to  make it the 20th season. To date, TV’s longest-running show is  NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU,” which has been on air for 21 seasons and gunning for 22 his fall.

Harmon’s decision to keep the brand going also gives impetus to “NCIS: Hawaii,” which is primed to be on the fall agenda with execs from the soon-to-shut-down “NCIS: New Orleans,” ending its seventh year, serving as the new island team.

Meanwhile, “NCIS: Los Angeles” – in its 12th year, going on 13–also will continue, with possible crossover episodes with the Hawaii spinoff.

And CBS’ “Magnum P.I.” has been renewed for a fourth season, meaning Hawaii will again have two live action shows competing for actors and locations since the earlier termination of the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot.

But CBS’ “Bull,” starring Michael Weatherly, also has been granted a sixth season, thus putting to rest to the rumors and hope that  the actor might become part of the Hawaii “NCIS” as Tony DiNozzo.

‘Brighter Days’ at Hawaii Theatre


It’s the circle of life for the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation, which will mark its fifth anniversary beginning this weekend, with a virtual tribute presentation of “Brighter Days,” a retrospective special in the spirit of the earlier “Brighter Still,” from the Hawaii Theatre.

Thus, IABK returns to where its theatrical life began, continuing to preserve the legacy of the late Ron Bright, the veteran director-educator who inspired hundreds of youth to enjoy the magic of theater and scores who actually made it to Broadway.

“Days” will originate from the Hawaii Theatre stage and streamed live beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday (April 18 )to statewide audiences via the Hawaii Theatre and the IABK sites.

Familiar talent, from Bright shows over the last five years. will be featured, including Jade Stice (“Children of Eden” and “Songs For A New ,World”), Bailey Barnes (“The Wiz”), Jade and Michael Bright (“Children of Eden”), Kathleen Stuart (“The King and I”) and, Miguel Cadoy III (“Children of Eden” and “Songs For A New World”).

Other participating actors include Matthew Pederson, Drew Bright, Kaikou Kaimuloa, Austin Pangilinan, Chat Atkins, Michael Cabagbag, Kevin Pease, Alyse Glaser, Selah Fronda, Susan Hawes, and Vanessa Manuel Mazzullo.

Also, students from IABK’s Summer Musical Theatre Arts Education Program (“On Dragonfly Wings,” ”Once On This Island” and “Seussical KIDS will struth their stuff plus unnamed surprise guests will appear.

A suggested donation of $5 per person is suggested. However, other donation tiers are available: $100 for IABK legacy donations or $25 for ohana contributions. For details, go to the Hawaii Theatre events page the IABK website.

The show airs through June 18 through at the IABK YouTube channel. Details: Hawaii Theatre events page (www.hawaiitheatre.com) or on the IABK website (www.iabk.com).

In addition to the streaming, IABK has tapped two Oahu restaurants to provide comfort food dinner to accompany “Brighter Days.”

Café Kalawe (247-9527) in Kaneohe, 46-005 Kawa St., will serve “Mr. B’s Mixed Plate,” and the Honolulu Baking Company (596-2556) in Kakaako, 523 Ahui St., is preparing lasagna or vegetarian pot pie. Meals are $12, with ordering deadline extended to 2 p.m. Friday (April 16).

Further, to promote the “Brighter Days” show, IABK regulars will appear on Manoa Valley Theatre’s “MVT Live” program at 5 p.m. Friday (April 16) with host Devon Nekoba talking story with Miguel Cadoy III, Mary Chesnut Hicks, and Jade Stice. All appear in “Brighter Days.”

Go to www.manoavalleytheatre.com for the live link.

Cadoy is a music teacher at Farrington High School, where he is artistic director of the Farrington Performing Arts Center; Hicks is a veteran voice teacher, opera singer and Iolani School teacher; and Stice is a founding member of IABK and has global acting credits including the original “Miss Saigon” Broadway production.

PHOTO: Bailey Barnes in “The Wiz.”