“A night filled with Hollywood glamour and selfies:” Twin Cities 2015 Oscars gala

It was Valentine’s Day and it was cold, but the passion inside Wixon’s jewelry store couldn’t have been warmer. The luxury jewelry store in Bloomington donated an exclusive 2.43-carat pear shaped Garnet ring, valued at almost three thousand dollars, to the 2015 Oscars Viewing Party at the Marriott Minneapolis City Center.The staff is as excited about the ring as they are about the event they are donating it to.Now celebrating its 22nd year, the Twin Cities Oscars Gala is the longest running Oscars party in the U.S. outside of Los Angeles and is the only party in the state sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.“This gemstone ring will steal the [Oscars Gala] show. The ring is made in 18k yellow gold and the Garnet is surrounded by 92 round brilliant cut diamonds, totaling .65 carats which are displayed in a beautiful double halo design,” said Jason Krepka, Wixon sales executive. “We are very excited to participate in this year’s raffle for the Aegis Foundation at the 2015 Oscars Gala.”Oscars Gem GlamWixon Jewelers is known for donating items to need-based organizations, but this is the first time the company has donated to the Oscars Gala, said owner Hope Wixon.“[The Oscars Gala] had to go through an application process and then I make sure what the cause is,” said Wixon.Hope and husband Dan are avid gem collectors. “They hand select every gemstone we carry,” said Krepka. Continue Reading

87th Oscars nominations announced

Directors Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams, actor Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards Jan. 15. For the first time, nominees in all 24 categories were announced live.Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards:Performance by an actor in a leading roleSteve Carell in “Foxcatcher”Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”Performance by an actor in a supporting roleRobert Duvall in “The Judge”Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”Performance by an actress in a leading roleMarion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”(Above) Reese Witherspoon is nominated in the leading actress category for Wild. Photo by Jeff RutherfordPerformance by an actress in a supporting rolePatricia Arquette in “Boyhood”Laura Dern in “Wild”Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”Best animated feature film of the year“Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight“How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki NishimuraBest motion picture of the year“American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers“Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers“The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers“Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers“The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers“Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, ProducersAchievement in directing“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu“Boyhood” Richard Linklater“Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson“The Imitation Game” Morten TyldumAchievement in cinematography“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope“Unbroken” Roger DeakinsAchievement in costume design“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline DurranBest documentary feature“CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky“Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel“Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester“The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier“Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna NatasegaraIn the acting categories, nine individuals are first-time nominees: Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, J.K. Simmons, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike, Patricia Arquette and Emma Stone. Four of the nominees are previous acting winners: Robert Duvall, Marion Cotillard, Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep.(Above) This is actor Steve Carell’s first Oscars nomination (Foxcatcher). Continue Reading

Fans vote for their favorite Minnesota State Fair vendors

Photos by Jeff Rutherford
Minnesota State Fair fans chose their favorites in the Great Minnesota Get-Together’s third People’s Choice Awards. In a ceremony held on Aug. 28 at the International Bazaar Stage, State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer presented the following awards honoring fairgoers’ favorite vendors. Best Food or Beverage: The Sandwich Stop

Best Attraction: Foci – Minnesota Center for Glass Arts (glass blowing demonstrations at West End Market)

Best Value: Minnesota Apples

Best Customer Service: Railroad Art by John Cartwright

Best Product or Service: Borgert Products Inc. (concrete pavers, stones, retaining walls, fireplaces, outdoor ovens, and fountain kits for outdoor living spaces)

The awards program began in 2012 with the goal of recognizing outstanding vendors, while allowing fairgoers to determine the best of the best. During the first five days of the State Fair, visitors were invited to nominate their favorites in these five categories at any information booth, according to the State Fair. Continue Reading

Gymnastics meets horseback riding at Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair has one of the premier horse expositions in the Upper Midwest and all events are free with gate admission. Each year, the Fair offers new features to the horse show. New to the 2014 State Fair was the Northern Lakes Vaulters and Gaited Horse Demonstration at the Warner Coliseum Aug. 24. The large audience was in awe watching graceful gymnastic aerial moves on the back of a trotting horse. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | DigiFest goes viral at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

Photos by Jeff Rutherford
It was hard to tell if it was thunder in the sky or the cheering of thousands of teens at the DigiFest Minnesota concert at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand Sunday. It was both. The occasional rain downpours never dampened the thundering cheering of fans devoted to beloved YouTube and Vine personalities gathered in one place. To be sure, DigiFest is all about social media. I attempted to find a brochure, a flyer, a catalog, something that would explain what a DigiFest was. Continue Reading

Minnesota State Fair: Good deed treat among new foods for 2014

Not often do new food products at the Minnesota State Fair have a great taste, a feel good story and a pay it forward note after you finish. But that’s exactly what JonnyPops delivers. JonnyPops, one of 28 new foods debuting at the 2014 Fair, were created by a group of St. Olaf College entrepreneurs, who donate a portion of profits to Hazelden in hopes of helping teens battling addiction. Johnathan “Jonny” Jeffrey was a cousin of founder Erik Burst. Continue Reading

Jared Leto to media press room: Viva la revolution, baby

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA. One of the best reporting gigs of the Academy Awards is the backstage Interview Room, where the Oscar winner goes after receiving their award. Fresh off the stage, the winner is in a grand mood; exhilarated, happy and feeling a rush of emotion. “And I’m standing here now … I got a prize for excellence for the work I do in something that’s not my job, it’s not my hobby and it’s not my fad; it’s my career. That feels wonderful,” said Matthew McConaughey, Best Actor in a Leading Role winner, to the Interview Room press. Continue Reading