Saturday, 8 September 2007

Off on Holiday

I need a break. This summer in the UK has killed me, as in there has not beeen one.
Me and mine are off to Sitges for fun and frollicks in the (sea) foam.
I have a whole pile of posts saved in drafts, so do not worry about me not publishing for a week...it is all sorted.
Coming up will be more in our Nicole, My predictions for Best Actress and Supporting Actress, my musings on the lack luster career of a certain actress and much more. Have a good week my (few) faithful readers! And for any new readers....don't forget to vote in the poll. Your voice counts!!

Love Michael (and yes that is me in a swim suit......the shame!!)

Best Adapted Screenplay Predictions

The Top Five

1 - ”No Country for Old Men” should see Joel and Ethan Coen up for a nomination here, no worries. The source material is very cinematic, and it has been winning just about everything. This should be a lock, and , well it is.

2 - ”Atonement” has received spectacular word of mouth. From the direction and actors to the technicals. One thing that is mentioned is the strength of the screenplay. This should see Christopher Hampton get a second Oscar nom and perhaps second win.

3 - “There Will be Blood” looks like it will be a movie that is best know for it’s acting and screenplay. Paul Thomas Anderson knows how to write a very evocative and mesmerizing script. Getting a nomination for this should not prove to difficult.

4 - Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer have created a film loved by many, and could very well see themselves nominated for “Into the Wild”. The film has a large fanbase and this is a very likely place to see it nominated, even over Director and Picture.

5 - He is loved, so do not be surprised to see Aaron Sorkin up for “Charlie Wilson’s War”. The film may be a bit of a miss, but the screenplay is said to crackle and spark and that should be enough to see it included here. This is the category that will sometimes award a near miss film with Oscar illusions.

The Next Five

6 - James Vanderbilt is hoping he can squeeze in with his worthy screenplay for “Zodiac” Screenplay is where they award great films not up for best picture.

7 - “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” could see Ronald Harwood score his third nomination.

7 - “Away From Her” could see Sarah Polley getting her first ever nomination.

8 - John Logan for "Sweeney Tood”

9 - David Benioff for “The Kite Runner”

Friday, 7 September 2007

Mini Review - Atonement


I have just come from the cinema.
I have just seen “Atonement”
I am glad that I had a 30 minute walk home to recoup. Otherwise I was going to be bursting into tears.

I will keep this short.

Joe Wright has made a stunning movie. Stunning in story, stunning in execution and stunning in detail. Those who read movie blogs know enough about this film, so I needn’t go into the plot.
Two lives are devastated by a child and the lie she tells.

The look and feel of this film is perfect. Every detail is captured and bought to life, not in reality, but as memory. This is what I would picture in my head as I am reading it. The sun being brighter, people being more beautiful, colour vividly dancing across the screen.
The director of photography, Seamus McGarvey, deserves all the awards he has coming. The world he paints is both glorious and wretched. Every frame could be hung on your wall as art.
Likewise for Dario Marianelli for his ingenious use of score, using the typewriter, the thumping on a car bonnet, the stomping of feet to creat percussion that builds mounting tension to the beautiful score.

As for the cast.
Well…..
There are few words.
Should James McAvoy not get an Oscar nomination…well I will just loose faith. What he does here is beautiful work. His Robbie Turner will charm the knickers off you before breaking your heart.
Keira Knightley proves once again that she is a wonderful actress. She fills Cecillia with enough hard nose snobbishness that you begin to hate before she shows the flicker of tenderness that allows her to unravel. Her scene with McAvoy when they meet years later is full of pent up rage, love, passion and sorrow. Knightley expertly conveys every emotion on her beautiful face. Hers is not a showy role but long after the movie is over, it is her face you see.

The Briony’s were all excellent, but special attention should be given to Saoirse Ronan. Not since Anna Paquin in “The Piano” has a child on screen been so believably manipulative and yet na├»ve. Her Briony is full of entitlement and self-importance. Her over active imagination and need for childish revenge drives her to do an awful thing and Ronan plays it perfectly.

There is nothing more I can say about this film than go and see it. Treat yourself to one of the best films of the year.
A-

"There Will Be Blood" poster and "Charlie Wilson's War" test screening review.

First the trailer broke most trailer rules and left us Salivating for more, and now the poster is released.


WOW! May be the best poster of the year (this or Sweeney Todd”)

Also here is a review review of “Charlie Wilson’s War” from AINC. It is only a test screening, but it may give a little insight as to audiences response. Good marks for Hanks and Roberts, and I am defiantly thinking that I should up the movie in the screenplay category now. I will wait though and see what trickles in.

Nine rumors (well just the one)

From what I know of “Nine” (and honestly that is not much) is that is based on an Italian play by Mario Fratti inspired by Federico Fellini's autobiographical film 8 1/2.
It focuses on film director Guido Contini, savoring his most recent (and greatest) success but facing his fortieth birthday and a midlife crisis blocking his creative impulses and entangling him in a web of romantic difficulties in his life.

The Weinstein Company has the rights, with “Chicago” director Rob Marshall at the helm. So far he actors who have been approached are Javier Bardem (Contini), Marion Cotillard as Luisa (his wife), Penelope Cruz as Carla (his mistress), Catherine Zeta Jones as Claudia (his muse) and Sophie Loren (his dead mother). There is no word on who would play the agent (Liliane).
The cast does sound completely dreamy, however, why not get some of the revival cast? Jane Krakowski won a Tony for her performance as Carla, and we all know she is a triple threat (singing, acting and dancing).

This new trend of casting non musical actors in musical films is kind of stunt casting….so we all flock to the cinema to see if they can really sing.
I guess the actors who take on these roles take them to prove appoint, a kind of ‘I can do anything’ ego trip. This is all well and good until you look at all the actors and actresses who can sing and dance and act, but are ignored by Hollywood because they are shackled in the confines of Broadway.
Such a shame for the rest of the world. Those of us in the know, however, get to see these stars shine the brightest out of all.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Best Original Screenplay Predictions

The Top Five

1 - The name on everyones lips right now is Diablo Cody and her wonderful screenplay for "Juno". She will be nominated and could eventually win. She is hot stuff right now in Hollywood, and she is turning out script after script. this category is kinder to comedies.

2 - Tony Gilroy is a likely shot for “Michael Clayton". The film is loved, especially the screenplay. It is one of the only seriously adult films of the bunch and Gilroy is highly respected. I think the end fight will be between this and "Juno" for the prize.

3 - With the critical reception and massive fan base, Brad Bird should have no trouble getting nomination for “Ratatouille”. The screenplay categories are much kinder to animated films, and someone as well respected as Bird should have no trouble getting a nod.

4 - There is always a comedy spot in original screenplay. I am thinking it will most likely go to Tamara Jenkins for “The Savages”. If Sundance is anything to go by, the screenplay is a hoot, and this will have it’s rabid backers. Think “Little Miss Sunshine”

5 - "Lars and the Real Girl" is just quirky enough to succeed in this category. The film is apparently saved by the central performance and the screenplay, which says heaps about the writing of Nancy Oliver. Nice this category is dominated by women....are they more original?


The Next Five


6 - “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead” has done well with the critics and the buzz is very very strong right now. Kelly Masterson could get nominated easily.

7 - “Knocked Up” was one of the big hits of the year, with both audiences and critics. It will not get into Best Picture, but this is the category that has rewarded the big comedy hits in the past, so do not be surprised to see Judd Apatow’s name called.

8 - “Once” is one of those critical hits that should not be ignored. There is enough love for it to gain a nomination and perhaps it will gain John Carney an Oscar nod here.

9 - “Margot at the Wedding” is already getting mixed reviews, but Noah Baumbach does know his way around a screenplay. Some people love it (enough though?)

10 - Steven Knight could repeat his Oscar nom with “Eastern Promises”. His first was a corker! Perhaps the dark subject matter could be off putting, but in a year where there are so many original comedies, this would be a welcome addition.

The Kite Runner trailer

When I saw “United 93” I was so impressed with the performance of Khalid Abdalla so I am very excited to see what he can do under the direction of Marc Forster, who has an excellent track record with actors.

“The Kite Runner” looks like it will be critically applauded. How will Oscar see it? Well that is something we can never know.
They embraced “Babel” when it came to nominations, but not with trophies. This looks to be both enlightening and controversial.
We can only wait and see.

The film is based on the critically loved book, and is about Amir who, fter spending years in California, returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble.
View the high definition trailer here.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

"I'm Not There" first good/bad/indifferent review

I have read Variety's review a few times and cannot decide what it is really saying in terms of awards.
He seems to both praise and insult Cate Blanchett, as well as the writer director.

"As the performance goes on -- it's by a fair distance the dominant turn in the picture, both in impact and duration -- and the character becomes increasingly wigged out by drugs and paranoia, the reliance on mannerisms over psychological depth becomes more apparent."

The only two people who come off this review in tact is Dylan himself, and Marcus Carl Franklin the young black boy who portrays dylan as a kid.

"Such open-mindedness is further spurred by the first "Dylan," who receives significant screentime. Young Marcus Carl Franklin is charmingly forthright as a guitar-toting kid who, in 1959, rides the rails, '30s-style, and identifies himself as Guthrie when he doesn't claim to be Arthur Rimbaud."

Not that this means anything in terms of a Blanchette Oscar nod, we all know the Academy is more impressed with mimicry that character , but it could be a taint in Screenplay and such for Haynes.

For a more negative review check out film blather's review which, trashed Blanchett and everyone else, but praises, once again, Franklin. Hmmmmmmmm

European Film Academy unveils noms

For those of you looking to view movies perhaps a little more challenging and worldly wise than what Hollywood produces, you may want to check out some of the films nominated by the European Film Academy.

Many of the films were released during last years Oscar run, but the Euopeans (thank God) do things a little differently.

The final list will be whittled down to smaller nominee's in seven categories (Picture, Director, Actress, Actor, Cinematographer, Composer and Screenwriter)

Expect Edith Piaf and The Queen to battle it out for Best Actress (With perhaps a surprise winner). And here is hoping Idi Amin does not walk to victory again, and perhaps this may give "Once" it's chance to internationally shine!!

check em out here

P.S. What a classy looking award.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Best Supporting Actor Predictions

This is the most predictable. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

The Top Five

1 - Javier Bardem has high praise for his formidable turn in “No Country for Old Men”. The Academy likes him enough to nominated him for a foreign performance, plus he has won almost everything he can. A lock if ever there was one.

2 - Tom Wilkinson is wonderous in "Michael Clayton". He takes a character who could have easily been cartoonish and makes him sympathetic yet grounds him firmly in reality. With being nominated for everything, expect him to get his second career nomination to date.

3 - All I have heard about “Into the Wild” is how amazing Hal Holbrook is in his small scene. With every review singling him out he is in. He missed the GG nom, but the SAG and BFCA will see him through safely, even if the film itself does not spark with the Academy.

4 - Philip Seymour Hoffman is apparently wonderful (in a scenery chewing kind of way) in “Charlie Wilson’s War”. He has 3 potential nominations this year, but this one seems the most likely. He is bound to show up somewhere in this race, best bet on here.

5 - SAG gave Tommy Lee Jones a HUGE boost for his apparently amazing work in this film. His other bet ("In the Valley of Elah") seems to not be happening so he could swing this nomination based on his body of work for the year.

The Next Five

6 - Casey Affleck has impressed critics not once, but twice this year. He will likely get a nomination for his disturbing and creepy work in "The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford". It does not hurt that he is the actual lead, and neither doesthe GG, BFCA and SAG noms.

7 - This would be a total case of gimmick over performance. While it was fun seeing Travolta dance again in "Hairspray" the performance totally missed the mark. However the Golden Globes nominated him so he could still slip through with that and Academy support, however unlikely.

8 - Max Von Sydow is a legend, and he is supposed to be wonderful in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. Sentiment could get him in and he has been nominated before. The only thing working against him now is lack of precursors.

9 - “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead” has been getting pretty ravy advance notices across the board, and for all actors involved. If there is one cast member that should really be winning an Oscar it is Albert Finney. The man is overdue and this could be the film to do it.

10 - Philip Bosco could get the grumpy old man vote for “The Savages”…they certainly love em! His only problem is there are alot of veterans in this category vying for the top spot. Right now is is simply a question of how big a slash his film made.

Save the world Keanu

In the late 80’s and early 90’s everyone was in love with the Hawaiian. I never was. In films he was always one of two things, dumb, or wooden. Pretty to look at sure, but that is really it.

It seems he may have found a role that will suit his…(snigger)….talents.

The man who walked in a shat all over “Bram Stokers Dracula” will play Klaatu, a humanoid alien who arrives on Earth with a warning to world leaders that their continued aggression will lead to annihilation by species watching from afar in the remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

Yeah yeah…another remake of a classic film. It does seem as though there originality bucket is down to it’s last scrapings. Scott Derrickson is directing and David Scarpa is writing. Both not really proven, but could be a chance for them to do a scathing study on politics and corruption under the protective guise of sci-fi.
Then again no one at the beginning of their career is really going to take a risk like that.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Best Director Predictions

1) Danny Boyle – “Slumdog Millionaire”
His films are usually not the type that Oscar wholly embraces. This is a bona fide crowd pleaser. It should see him through since the reviews are all praising him. He does pull it off. previous ranking: 2)



2) Chris Nolan – “The Dark Knight”
He is a very respected Director. All his main films, bar ‘Insomnia’ were nominated for Oscars in one or two categories. People love his work. He mixes mainstream with an indie artistic cred that get everyone on his side. This will happen for him.previous ranking: 1)



3) Gus Van Sant – “Milk”
Will ‘Milk’ be the film that melds his ideals with more mainstream friendly fare? Will the Academy want to reward him with a nom, not because he is due, but to prove, post ‘Brokeback’ that they are not a bunch of homophobes? Seems likely.previous ranking: 3)


4) David Fincher – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Even if the film is a let down they will have a hard time ignoring the work the man has put in. He has directed some of the most highly thought of films in the past 20 years (‘Se7en’, ‘Fight Club’, ‘Zodiac’). previous ranking: 5)


5) Darren Aronofsky – “The Wrestler”
For me, the man has not made a bad, or even ok film to date. This is supposed to be his best, and most accessible film. Expect this to go a long way in securing him year end kudos. But people have to see the film first.previous ranking: 6)


6) Ron Howard – “Frost/Nixon”
The man beat out Peter Jackson, Robert Altman, David Lynch and Ridley Scott in 2001. That should be reward enough. We will have to wait and see how the film is, but I think it will be about the actors, not the director. previous ranking: 12, 7)



7) Sam Mendes – ‘Revolutionary Road”
Will this be the big awards contender we thought a year ago? It has been hard for him to top his debut, but I am thinking directing his wife may have made him step up his game. The responce is just ok though.previous ranking: 7, 8)



8) Mike Leigh – Happy –Go-Lucky”
This film is going very well with critics, and although many thought most of the attention would focus on his star, most critics are pointing out how superb his direction is. He has surprised before..previous ranking: 8, 9)


9) Jonathan Demme – “Rachel Gettting Married”
A lot of the props for the film are going to Demme for his assured and clever direction. It will be interesting to see if the Academy notices the direction. It is not his usual style and that may confuse some voters.previous ranking: 9, 10)




10) Andrew Stanton - "WALL-E"
How far fetched is this really?

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Best Picture Predictions

Ok, so the top two are almost sure things. Numbers three and four are looking likely but could still be left off. The fifth, sixth, seventh and eights spots could all be swapped around and still be very likely. This race is hard to predict. Right not "Atonement" gets the spot simply because it will have tech support, good will for the cast, and the support from the British voters.

The Top Five (still not clear)

1 - “No Country for Old Men” was raved at Cannes, it ill be raved at more festivals and when it opens it will be raved some more. This film should easily be nominated. So far this and “Atonement” are the only ones that feel like sure bets, but something can always happen.

2 - The Academy loves to reward actors turned directors, especially if the film is question is great, and the actor in question is well respected. Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild” is garnering the type of reviews that make For Your Consideration ads makers drool. The Guilds love it.

3 - “There Will be Blood” is the type of film the Academy may not love (far too dark and unlikable) but is so well regarded and powerful that they have no choice in nominating. Paul Thomas Anderson has not been rewarded for his work and this is the time to reward him.

4 - “Juno” With such heavy fare there is a welcome slot for a good comedy. And there always is a comedy or ‘light’ film in the mix. This film has been praised very highly, so we may see this appear victorious in the end. The precursors were very kind and box office is grand.

5 - We all know that “Atonement” will be in the mix somewhere. Everything from the acting to the costumes is getting praise. The guilds have stayed away, although HFPA loved it. Could enough outsider and brit love see it still slip in?

The Next Five

6 - “Michael Clayton” has already gotten BIG praise. The reviews are very very positive and after seeing the movie I can see why. My only reservation is the film is very serious, and if you look above at the other films in contention, non of them are what you would call happy

7 - ”The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is foreign, but it is also feel real good. The film is extremely touching and getting heaps of praise from the critics and is crossing over nicely. The battle between the next 3 films in line is fierce. All could be in.

8 - “Sweeney Todd” could be one of the three musicals that make it in. It seems the most likely at this point although the other two were VERY well received. The reviews are great, the only worrying thing is the lack of support from the guilds and critics thus far.


9 - “The Kite Runner” is a controversial choice, but I get the feeling the voters will want to seem ‘global’ and liberal and throw a couple of nominations this way. The director has had great success with the Academy before, and the trailer makes this film seem very promising.

10 - “Charlie Wilson’s War” has already been called the front runner. I say too soon! There is no concrete evidence of this being a great movie. Advanced screeners say it is very good. However the talent behind it means you cannot completely rule it out. We shall have to wait and see.

The Rest In Line

11 - “Hairspray” Got the GG, BFCA, and SAG nom, plus it is hard not to love.
11 - ”American Gangster” something just does not feel right to me about this.

"Mr Woodcock" Trailer

Now I know I am in the middle of doing my Oscar predictions, and this will have no effect on the race, but it is rare I laugh out loud during a trailer. Thank you Amy Poehler and may you be great and get an Oscar nom so I can see that plane scene as an Oscar clip!!!!

Best Actor Prediticions

Why Frank? Well I do not know. I thought I would be different and predict him. There has to be a surprise nominee somewhere that no one was expecting, doesn't there?

The Top Five!

1 - It has been too long since Daniel Day Lewis graced our screens. I think over all admiration for him will see him in the mix for “There Will Be Blood”. I also cannot remember a time when he gave a performance nothing less that great, and he plays bad this time.

2 - George Clooney – “Micheal Clayton”. This performance has been critically praised. He is also Hollywood royalty. This will happen. He has loads of Awards for this already and has also been nominated for EVERYTHING.

3 -Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd”. I think this is silly. If he can get nominated for a Disney ride he can get nominated for this. Word is although he is not the best singer, he more than makes up for it in the acting side of things. Not alot of precursor love though.

4 - Viggo Mortenson was probably semi close in getting nom for Aragon for the “LOTR” trilogy. He may have been close for “A History of Violence” too. This time he is praised for his turn as a Russian mobster in “Eastern Promises” and he has BFCA, GG, and SAG to back him up.

5 - Frank Langella is a dark horse, but is critically praised with many 'Oscar' mentions for “Starting Out in the Evening”. He started out will in the precursors, but lagged behind by missing out SAG and GG. I still think sentimentality could win out though.


The Next Five

6 -This is the strangest thing to happen all season. I would never have thought Ryan Gosling would be a serious contender for "Lars and the Real Girl" but he has BFCA, GG, and SAG noms. He could do it. Another nomination so soon though?

7 - James McAvoy is a rising star, and may feel he should have been nominated last year. Now, with a critically successful film where he is singled out. However with no support from the precursors (aside from the Golden Globes) he is in real trouble.

8 - Emile Hirsh has gotten the much sought after SAG nomination for “Into the Wild". This alone could see him through, but he is young and the race is crowded with more loved actors. If the film is a big hit, he should get carried through.

9 - Denzel Washington is an actor the Academy loves. He has 5 nominations and two wins under his belt. The last time he played the bad guy he won…but he has LOADS of competition in this race, and the film, although a hit, is not considered to be amazing like "The Departed"

10 - “In the Valley of Elah” is already dividing critics (much like “Crash” did), but they all agree on one thing. Tommy Lee Jones is brilliant in the role of a grieving father. The good will for the actor and the political nature of the film should see him into the final five.