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While You Were Out: Oscar Nominations, Zooey’s News, Royals On Instagram, and More


“While You Were Out,” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the water cooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to whether it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

The Oscar Nominations Go To...

The 87th Academy Award nominations were revealed this week with some definite surprises. The quirky offerings of Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel led the nominations, each securing Best Picture, Best Director, and Cinematography nods. Boyhood also saw a lot of love from the Academy, nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress. Seriously disappointing was the lack of nominations for Selma, which, while nominated for Best Picture, failed to garner any acting nominations (a huge snub to the amazing David Oyelowo), and missed a historic and well-deserved opportunity to nominate Ava DuVernay for Best Director (which would have made her the first African-American woman to be nominated in the traditionally male-dominated category). While I was also disappointed by Jennifer Aniston being shut out of the Best Actress category for her role in Cake, and The Lego Movie being left out of Best Animated Feature, I was quite pleased to see Foxcatcher and Whiplash (which both feature amazing performances by their casts and shed stark light on the hazards of pushing for greatness) receive their well-deserved accolades.

Monica Weigel

This Week’s Consolation

If you’ve ever mispronounced someone’s name, at least it probably wasn’t this bad.

Mary Rose Somarriba

Still Alice Opening in Theaters

The widely anticipated Still Alice opens in theaters this weekend, right on the tails of Julianne Moore's Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Adapted from the beautiful and poignant book by Lisa Genova, the film follows the story of Alice Howland (Moore), a successful professor and happily married mother of three, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. I couldn't put the book down when I read it and it haunted me for weeks afterwards, so I am eager to see if the cast (rounded out by Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth) can capture the magic of the novel. Either way, the book and the movie should go a long way in raising awareness about the pain caused by this illness, both for the person diagnosed and for their caregivers.


As If We Needed Another Reason to Love Benedict Cumberbatch…

Cumberbatch would prefer it if his fans didn’t refer to themselves as “Cumberbitches” even in jest, saying that the term is less than empowering for women. The Sherlock actor, who is expecting a baby with fiancée Sophie Hunter, told Ellen DeGeneres that he was “very flattered,” but believed that it “set feminism back a little bit.” We couldn’t agree more.

Sophie Caldecott

Didn’t We Almost Have It All

The anticipated biopic of Whitney Houston airs this Saturday on Lifetime. The film is directed by Oscar-winner Angela Bassett, who happens to have starred with Houston in Waiting to Exhale. I for one will be tuning in to remember one of our generation’s greatest voices.


A Much-Memed Evening

Did you see Prince present the award for Best Song at Sunday’s Golden Globes? Because Allison Janney did. And she may just be the world’s biggest Prince fan. Her face is one of the many hilarious memes that have emerged after the awards show. Check out the others that had us cracking up at Verily HQ.

(And be sure to check out why this year’s Golden Globes made us hopeful for womankind.)

Maggie Niemiec

Women in TV Recognized

Elle hosted its fifth annual Women in Television dinner this week. In its corresponding February issue, Zooey Deschanel explains part of her journey toward her TV career: “I wasn’t the world’s most popular child, which gave me built-in tenacity. Nothing has ever come easy for me, and I think that’s a really good thing. I learned at an early age that you have to work hard for what you get.”


Zooey Has Some Other News to Share As Well

America’s favorite quirky starlet also announced this week that she is pregnant. The baby will be her first child with producer Jacob Pechenik. Deschanel has said that the two of them are over-the-moon excited about meeting their little one. We couldn’t help but remember her interview with InStyle last summer, in which she exclaimed,

“Like every woman is dying to give birth! I don’t think so. Nobody asks guys that… And you go into a supermarket and every tabloid is like, ‘Pregnant and Alone!’ Stuck in the 1950s ideal of how a woman should live her life. This brings out the fiery feminist in me.”

She has a point that the media loooves a good pregnancy story, although the statement that women are “dying to give birth” didn’t sit well with many. But, dying to give birth or not, she definitely now appears to be ready—and we have no doubt she’ll be great at it!


Obstructing The View?

Rumor has it that The View can’t keep its viewers. We've also heard co-host Rosie Perez is leaving the show—which sources are calling “a sinking ship.”


A New Path for Ann Curry

More than two years after being ousted from NBC’s Today Show, Ann Curry is leaving NBC. The news anchor was fired from Today in 2012, after working on the show for 15 years, but she was kept at the company as an NBC News correspondent—with a contract reportedly worth $12 million a year. Curry is moving on to become the founder of a media startup, which is backed by NBCUniversal but will give her the flexibility to produce content for other networks, too.

"This is about reaching for the edge of the future in journalism, which we know is undergoing an irrevocable transition…. In today’s world of fragmented media, this is the time to seize the opportunity to improve the way we distribute and even tell stories. I want to expand my drive to give voice to the voiceless, to emerging platforms and produce both scripted and non-scripted content, in addition to continuing to report on-air about stories that matter."

I’m excited to see Curry soar in her new role. Executives may not have deemed her the best fit for Today, but there’s no doubt she’s a talented international and humanitarian reporter. I, for one, will be watching.


Fertility Awareness Gaining Popularity

The Pill is not going away anytime soon, but there’s a new trend of people finding alternatives to preventing pregnancy. It’s called the Fertility Awareness Method, also known as Natural Family Planning. "I'm a healthy person. I try to eat healthy food, so the idea of being pumped with synthetic hormones didn't appeal to me,” said one woman. I say, knowledge is power.


Woman Telling Husband She’s Pregnant + Photo Booth = Adorable

Speaking of seeking or avoiding pregnancy, here’s a melt-worthy clip that went viral this week of a husband and wife sharing a photo booth...with a surprise visitor.


Taylor Swift Keeps Giving

After giving multiple fans surprise Christmas presents in what became lovingly known as “Swiftmas,” Taylor’s latest act of generosity was to give a fan $1,989 towards the repayment of her student loan debt. The star has coined the phrase “Taylurking” to describe the process by which she and her team stalk the chosen fans on their social media accounts. She heard about Rebekah's struggle to pay for her education via Tumblr, before sending her a “Swift-Ex” care package complete with hand-written notes and even some homemade art. Never one to hold back, Taylor's enthusiastic appreciation of her supporters is a refreshing change in an industry where it’s often more common for artists to act too cool to care.


Prince William and the Duchess Are on Instagram (!!!)

Or, rather, the Kensington Palace is on Instagram. The first photo went up January 14, and the account now has more than 100K followers. @KensingtonRoyal is my new go-to for photos about the “work and activities of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.” Fingers crossed little Prince George is included in that lineup, too.


Noticeable Lack of U.S. Presence at Paris March

The United States received scrutiny this week for not sending a significant official to the march in Paris commemorating those lost in the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. The White House has since admitted its flub.


Possible Bill Cosby Prosecution

How many months has Cosby been in the news now? This may be a never-ending story. One more woman came out of the woodwork this week, and this one may actually have a chance of having her story heard in court. Chloe Goins says she was 18 when the comedian drugged and assaulted her at an event in the Playboy Mansion.

Speaking of, this is the second claim that I’ve heard come out of the Playboy Mansion. With so many sketchy happenings there, might it be time for reputable organizations to stop hosting events at the site?


In Better News...

Last Saturday, the youngest congresswoman in the United States swore in at a ceremony held in Plattsburg, New York. Thirty-year-old Republican representative Elise Stefanik is breaking records and cites Sheryl Sandberg as an influence: “I read Lean In at a really important time as I was deciding to run for office.” Stefanik's achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the average age in congress is 58, and only around 20 percent of the U.S. government is female. Elected shortly after reaching the minimum age required to stand, Stefanik reportedly joked, “I may be the only woman who was looking forward to her 30th birthday.”

It’s exciting to see that the positive things that were unfolding for women in all walks of life last year continue to gain momentum this year. Here's hoping it continues!