Saturday, 27 January 2007

Screen Actors Guild predictions

Here they go. Trying to guess what the Screen Actors will do is usually easy, but not so much this year with all but 1 catergory up in the air.

Best Ensemble. The SAG's like comedys alot. Perhaps because all actors know that comedy is hard. Sidways, The Full Monty, The Birdcage, Gosford Park, Shakespear in Love, Chicago (a musical, but still in the same field). So in the past 11 years a comedy/musical have won the ensemble award. So barring Bobby winning, we are looking at the winner being the only true ensemble of the group:

Winner - Little Miss Sunshine

Best Supporting Actress. Helps to have a film nominated in Best Ensemble. Check Abigail Breslin, the Babel women, and Hudson. Helps to be a respected veterin or a head line grabbing bright young thing. Hudson the latter.

Winner - Jennifer Hudson just barely makes it though. Breslin or Kikuchi could still upset.

Best Supporting Actor. This usually goes to a respected actor who has been around. Tim Robbins, Iam McKellen, Christopher Walken, Albert Finney, Paul Giamatti, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Robin williams, Ed Harris, Martin Landau. The only deviation has bee Cuba Goodig Jr. This race is down to Alan Arkin, Eddie Murphy, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Winner - Expect Leo to take this one due to category fraud. (but Arkin and Murphy can still upset)

Best Actress...Ohhh difficult

Winner - Helen Mirren (unless they think she has already won for Gosford Park, and want to get Meryl up there. Unlikely...but food for thought)

Best Actor. Hmmm With Leo out of the way, and Ryan Gosling sitting this one out for now it looks like a 3 way race between Will Smith, Forest Whitaker and Peter O'Toole. It could really be any of these, but I am thinking they may want to award O'Toole. They didn't nominated Smith for Ali so the love is not over flowing there. The do like actors playing real like (Hoffman, Crowe) but they also like comedy (Depp, Benigni, Nicolson) I think O'Toole may just about take this. Last and only time the actors guild are likely to award him.

Winner - Peter O'Toole

Friday, 26 January 2007


Back at school, me and this girl Tracey Keeble used to do this, run around singing Feelings as Beaker from The Muppet Show. God this made me smile. Thank to my cousin Carolyn for sending it!

And just for shits and giggles, I added Manah Manah, because we all need a little sometimes. Those cows are sexy!!!!

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Music Video Backtrack 2 - Shakespears Sister

Oh man did I love the combination if Marcella's high pitched squeek, and Siobhan's deep growl. One of those groups that most people remember for having that huge hit 'Stay', but that had such a strong back catalogue, and very inventive videos. Here is hoping they can put their differences behind them and reunite one day.

Oscar Talk - The Backlash - This year J-Hud.

Ok people, we all know this was expected. First out of the gates everyone was falling over themselves to praise J-Hud as the second coming. Now on certain blog discussion threads the same ugly voice is creeping up. "Jennifer Hudson doesn't deserve to win an Oscar as she doesn't act so much as perform."
Am I mistaken, or is the title of the award she is up for "Best PERFORMANCE by an Actress in a supporting role"? Since she is in a movie and speaks lines and got paid for it I would say…Yes…she is an actress. And what did she give in the movie…was it…a….performance?
I say leave her alone and give her the award.
This award is usually cursed as the one who wins it usually never goes on to repeat this career high point (CZJ, Jennifer Connelly, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Kim Basinger, Mercedes Ruehl, Brenda Fricker). And if they do, it is only through smart script choices and perfecting their craft (Dianne Wiest, Cate Blanchette, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave and Maggie Smith) so it is deserved. I doubt J-Hud is gonna do a Meryl.
Abigail Breslin already has work lined up for herself. So do Adriana Barraza and Cate ‘I never take a bloody break’ Blachett’. J-Hud and Rinko Kikuchi are the only ones with nothing for the future, and lets face it, the latter will now find loads of work, if not in America, definitely in Japan. Just let her win and leave it be. Plus she is really lovely and will really appreciate it….awwwwwwwwwww.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Back in my day - Movies worth getting excited about.

Ahhh...remember 2001. What a great year it was for movies. Peter Jackson introduced us to his trilogy. David Lynch introduced Naomi Watts, and we were all re-introduced to the brilliance of Robert Altman. Then we were hit by not 1, but 2 brilliant musicals (sorry Dreamgirls, but this is how it should be done)! Makes this year look so pathetic.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Oscar Talk - The Nominations

I was up watching the announcement on the internet this morning (love technology), texting my best mate Dean getting ready to pee myself from excitment. This was an unpredictable year a few months ago. But now, that the nominations have been announced, it all just seems so bloody dull. Best Actress and Supporting Actress were locks for a while. So was Best Actor (aside from Leo's 2 films), Best Supporting Actor was not even that hard in the end.
What I took away was never underestimate the power of Clint Eastwood. I do feel bad for the Dreamgirls team, even though it was not one of my favourite films. Oh well....a list of thoughts and questions.

1. The Departed is not as strong as I originally thought. 5 total nominations is not alot.

2. They really like Babel. Could the Globes be some sort of tragic fore shadowing?

3. The Academy love Clint Eastwood, but in honesty the man did make 2 companion films. I was expecting a nomination, just not at Dreamgirls expense.

4. Dreamgirls is technically strong, with 2 good performances. Kind of what I thought while watching it. I know people will scream (racism is already being flug about) about this, but most of the Academy would probably watch Dreamgirls on a DVD screener and it does not translate well at all. When it is released on DVD you will see.

5. I do think that Pan's Labyrinth came very close to the big two prizes. 6 nominations in total, tied with The Queen and beaten just by Babel and Dreamgirls. If only it had been release a month before.

6. For the first time in a long time there is no match between Best Actor and Best Picture. In fact 4 of the 5 nominated actors hold thier movies only nomination.

7. The Academy are idiots for not nominating Volver for Best Foreign Film. I am gobsmacked about that one.

8. Paul Greengrass made his statement, and got justly rewarded for it.

9. Finally, the costume category recognises the work of contemporary film. About bloody time. I think the last time was for Pricilla, Queen of the Desert (and it won)

10. I no not think all the categories are as locked up as people think. There still could be huge upsets especially in the acting categories....we will see how SAG plays out.

11. I have to stop guessing with my heart and use my head a little more when it comes to predictions. I just like to throw out a little hope sometimes.

Looking ahead - Link-a-rama

Since I am a little 'meh' with the nominations I am looking ahead to next years movies.

There are some films that look good...see if they make it.

An American Crime - with Catherine Keener, Ellen Paige and directed by Kimberly Pierce of 'Boy's Don't Cry' fame.
Black Snake Moan - Looks interesting, probably not Oscars taste, but I am sure it will have a huge fan base.
The Lookout - Could go either way, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been making interesting choices.
Becoming Jane - Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy and Julie Walters........I smell a nomination somewhere.

Who leads in what

Here is a tally of all the nominated films, by the number of nominations they received.

8 Nominations

7 Nominations

6 Nominations
Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen

5 Nominations
The Departed, Blood Diamond

4 Nominations
Little Miss Sunshine, Letters from Iwo Jima, Notes on a Scandal,
Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Mans Chest

3 Nominations
Apocalypto, Children of Men, Little Children

2 Nominations
Cars, The Devil Wears Prada, Flags of Our Fathers, An
Inconvenient Truth, The Prestige, United 93

1 Nomination
After the Wedding, The Black Dahlia, Borat, Click, Curse of the
Golden Flower, Days of Glory, Deliver us from Evil, The Good
German, The Good Shepherd, Half Nelson, Happy Feet,
The Illusionist, Iraq in Fragments, Jesus Camp, The Last King of
Scotland, The Lives of Others, Marie Antoinette, Monster House,
My Country, My Country, Poseidon, The Pursuit of Happyness,
Superman Returns, Venus, Volver, Water

The Oscar Nominations!!!

Best Picture
Little Miss Sunshine
The Departed
The Queen
Letters from Iwo Jima

A Black Musical beating Clint Eastwood, I was so naive. Since Dreamgirls was the gayest film, I should not be as shocked by it being left out as I am.
How I did in predictions: 4 out of everyone I missed Letters for Dreamgirls

Best Director
Martin Scorsese - The Departed
Alejandro González Iñárritu - Babel
Stephen Frears - The Queen
Paul Greengrass - United 93
Clint Eastwood - Letters of Iwo Jima

Clint.......please stop making movies for at least 3 years.......let some other people get recognition. You know how the Academy worships you. Guillermo del Torro and the Sunshine team should have been here.
How I did in predictions: 4 out of everyone I missed Clint for Condon

Best Actor
Forest Whitaker - Last King of Scotland
Peter O'Toole - Venus
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond

Now.......none of these nominees are in a picture nominated for the big prize, never seen that happen. And boo to DiCaprios nomination. Should have been for The Departed.
How I did in predictions: 4 out of 5. Last minute placed Baron Cohen in the mix and took out Leo

Best Actress
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Penelope Cruz - Volver
Kate Winslet - Little Children

Great line up....but predictible.
How I did in predictions: 5 out of 5 Yippe!!

Best Supporting Actor
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
Djimon Honsou - Blood Diamond
Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed

Thank God no Jack!!!!! Strong line up.
How I did in predictions: 4 out of 5, had Jack instead of Mark.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal
Adriana Barraza - Babel
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine

Was hoping for Toni Collette to pull an upset. Oh well, strong category.
How I did in predictions: 5 out of 5 Yippe!!

Original Screenplay
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Aside from Letters, Brilliant!
How I did in predictions: 4 out of 5 totally did not see the Clint love coming.

Adapted Screenplay
Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

Now we are talking! Fantastic!
How I did in predictions: 3 out of 5, had The Devil Wear Prada and Dreamgirls and not Little Children and Borat.

After the Wedding
Days of Glory
Lives of Others
Pan's Labyrinth!

No Volver!!!! That is horrible!!! I did not do these predictions

Happy Feet
Monster House

Go Happy feet!!

Achievement in art direction
The Good Shepherd
Pan's Labyrinth
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man's Chest
The Prestige

Hmmmm, This should go to Pan's.....notice no Best Picture nominees in here.

Achievement in cinematography
The Black Dahlia
Children of Men
The Illusionist
Pan's Labyrinth
The Prestige

Pan's or Children of Men.....notice no Best Picture nominees in here either.

Achievement in costume design
Curse of the Golden Flower
The Devil Wears Prada
Marie Antoinette
The Queen

About time they realised that contemporary design is just as difficult. Go The Queen and The Devil Wears Prada!

Best documentary feature
Deliver us from Evil
An Inconvenient Truth
Iraq in Fragments
Jesus Camp
My Country, My Country

Ohh No Dixie Chicks....Boo! Go AL GORE!!

Achievement in film editing
Blood Diamond
Children of Men
The Departed
United 93

Guess Best Picture is between Babel and The Departed then.

Achievement in makeup
Pan's Labyrinth!

Go Pan's!!!

Original score
The Good German
Notes on a Scandal
Pan's Labyrinth!
The Queen

Go Pan's!!!

Original song
"I Need to Wake Up" - An Inconvenient Truth
"Listen" - Dreamgirls
"Love You I Do" - Dreamgirls
"Our Town" - Cars
"Patience" - Dreamgirls

Go Dreamgirls 'Love you I do'

Achievement in sound editing
Blood Diamond
Flags of Our Fathers
Letters from Iwo Jima
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man's Chest

Um........go Pirates?

Achievement in sound mixing
Blood Diamond
Flags of Our Fathers
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man's Chest

Go Dreamgirls!

Achievement in visual effects
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man's Chest
Superman Returns


Monday, 22 January 2007

Happy Oscar Nominations Eve!!!!

I am done! There are too much second guessing going on in my head. My final predictions are up. Come on AMPAS!!! Do your worst!!!

My no guts no glorys are:

Pan's knocks out The Queen for Best Pic
Guillermo and the Sunshine team make it in for Best Director
Leo is left with no Actor nom, making way for Sasha Baron Cohen
Toni Collette takes a Best Supporting Actress nom
James McAvoy shows up in Supporting Actor in the biggest showing of category fraud since...last year.

Good night and Good Luck. Heeeeeee!

The Underrated

There are always those performances that go unnoticed/ignored each year in the hoopla surrounding awards season. This is usually due to another more known actors hogging the spotlight, or the film itself over powers the performance.

And the unsung heroes are.

Sergi Lopez – Pan’s Labyrinth.
The horrors within the labyrinth did not compare to the horror of Captain Vidal. Sergi Lopez plays him as a man so obsessed by his military position and unborn child that nothing will stand in his way. His disregard for the lives around him is shocking, but so are the glimpses of humanity Lopez subtle injects. Human monsters are always the most upsetting

Maribel Verdu – Pan’s Labyrinth.
The polar opposite to Lopez. Verdu’s Mercedes appears unfeeling and cold. She displays almost no emotion, and then slowly you begin to see her come to life. Hate, love, pain and fear come to the surface of her face and warms your heart. The subtlety of this performance lingered with me so long after the film finished, a true mark of an actress who understands her craft.

Leslie Phillips – Venus
Known for playing the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter, Leslie Phillips shone this year in his seemingly over the top performance as Peter O’Toole’s overly theatrical Best Friend in Venus. He shoots out numerous witty one liners, then, when you expect him to go overboard with emotion, he becomes quiet and true. In his silence, he gave years of back story….not an easy task.

Vanessa Redgrave – Venus
She make amazing use of her little bit of screen time. The moment she fills the screen you understand her, and know what she has been through with her husband, and why, after all he has done, she allows him back into her life. What Venus had over most other films this year were vanity free performances from its cast, and the result was emotional truth.

Toni Collette – Little Miss Sunshine
God I love Toni. Not once in the film did I notice Toni Collette. What I saw was Sheryl Hoover, a mother desperately trying to keep her family happy. Unable to juggle every task fully, she buys KFC for dinner. She's the emotional rock, but stays in the back ground while the other, more colourful family members take centre stage. A honest portrayal of being a mother.

Sook-Yin Lee – Shortbus
I really can’t think of a braver performance than this one. Lee gave herself to her directors vision fully, and gave a quiet performance of humor, desperation, and yearning. In the colourful world that Shortbus inhabits, playing it reserved can get your performance lost, luckily Sook holds so much power and emotional honesty in her face that she shone like a beacon

Stanley Tucci – The Devil Wear Prada
Oh how I wish there was more made of his performance. As Miranda’s right hand man Tucci shows the years of hard work behind their relationship, and the resentment he has towards her, and the tight rope he still has to walk. Genius! And he looked kind of sexy too!

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The Overrated

Overrated performances of the year. A touchy subject. For someone’s Roberto Benigni is someone else’s Daniel Day Lewis. But this year I want to comment on the years most overly praised works (IMHO). In no particular order.

Forest Whitaker – Yes, really. Don’t get me wrong, I felt it was very good, but it was not the second coming the critics said it was. For starters he was playing a well known subject. There must be hours of footage on Idi Amin for Forest to sit down and copy from. However, unless it can transcend mimicry to become less about the actor showcasing talent in impressions and more about the subjects psyche then why should I care? I mean why should I praise his work over that of James McAvoy in the same film? Is it just because I have a reference to compare to? That is just lazy appreciation. I do a pretty mean Bunsen Honeydew impression……where is my Oscar?

Daniel Craig - So there is a new Bond, and so they got a respected actor to play him. Ladies and Gentlemen wake up!!! This is James Bond, just without gadgets and women with silly names. It is not the second coming either!! Sexy though

Jack Nicholson – Why oh why are people falling over themselves for this performance? This is not acting, this is rehashing old characters with new dialogue. If you combine The Joker from Batman and Daryl Van Horne from The Witches of Eastwick and you get Frank Costello from The Departed. The common denominator is they are all played by Jack Nicholson. Please man….give us something new instead of all this repeating. You have 3 Oscars, all for variations on a theme, get a fourth for somthing new.

Cate Blanchette - Nineteen films in six years…….talk about saturating the market. As much as I admire this very talented actress and am of the opinion that she is one of the better actresses currently working, I can’t help but see she was woefully miscast in Notes on a Scandal. The character is naïve and foolish, Cate Blanchette is neither, and boy does it ever show. I spent the whole film saying “Cate ,you should know better”. Had she succeeded in her performance, the thought should have never crossed my mind.

Brad Pitt - Oh Brad Brad Brad. Not topping up on Just for Men and forgetting to moisturize for a month does not a performance make. Sure you cry, run, shout, sweat and cry some more, but that alone does not make a performance. I did all of that yesterday.

Mini Review number 7 - Venus

This will not be so much a review of the movie as it will be thoughts on performance. Peter O'Toole has never ever won a competitive Oscar. Sure he won an honorary one, but that is usually what the Academy give to someone they expect to die soon, or never make anything award worthy again. In Peter O'Toole's case it was probably a combination of the two and how he has proved the latter wrong. When an actor becomes great, is when they realise that vanity will always prevent them inhabiting the character they play. The boundary between actor and role is blurred so much, that you forget you are watching a performance. In Venus there is no showy scene. He doesn’t shout, cry, die painfully or have a breakdown. He just is. In an industry where awards are given for attention grabbing acting, it is nice to see so many of the older generation of actors, this year, proving that subtlety can resonate so much stronger. O’Toole is greatly supported by Leslie Phillips and Vanessa Redgrave, two other veteran actors showing the youngsters how it is done. The movie is flawed, but the performances are sublime.

The Producers Guild announce!!

And Little Miss Sunshine is the winner!!! So happy as this film is one of my favs of the year, but also for the first time in ages there is no clear front runner going into the Oscar nominations! The Departed has won a few critics, as has The Queen and United 93. Babel won the Globe Drama, and dreamgirls won the Globe Comedy/Musical (lets face it, they will always give it to the Musical matter what). And now Little Miss Sunshine has the PGA. Looking very strong going into Oscar noms now.