Saturday, 20 December 2008

Best Actress Race

Except my Oscar. I'll give up all that other stuff, but only if I get to keep my Oscar.

I thought the voting for the 1993 Best Actress race was going to be a lot closer than it ended up being. I know you are all waiting with breath that is baited for the results. So with out further adieu:

In 5th place with no votes at all we find this year Best Supporting Actress Oscar hopeful Debra Winger for 'Shadowlands'

In 4th Place with not much better results we have Stockard 'I should work more than I do' Channing with 2% of the votes for 'Six Degrees of Separation'.

In 3rd place previous winner and Oscar winner Emma Thompson comes in with 7% of the votes for 'The Remains of the Day'.

In 2nd place we have the eventual Oscar winner Holly Hunter in 'The Piano' with 31% of the votes

So that means ladies and gentlemen that the first place winner is

Angela Bassett as Tina Turner in 'What's Love Got to Do with It?' with a whopping 61% of the votes.

And it is not surprising. The woman was so unforgettable and brilliant as Turner that by the end of the film you have actually forgotten what the real Tina Turner looks like. She became the woman both on and off stage.
This performance went beyond mere mimicry and set a very high bar for bio pic performance.

Well done Angela. May you get you chance to actually win the damn thing soon!

Now to the Best Supporting Actress of 1993:

WALL-E for Best Picture

Without a doubt, this is really one of the the best pictures of the year. Will Oscar feel the same way? Will it allow an Animated film to transcend it's category ghetto to the pic leagues? I do not think there is a movie studio out there more deserving of this that Pixar.
The film has racked up enough Best Picture wins from the critics to be taken VERY seriously as a contender for the big prize. I am sure the Producers Guild will show it some love as well. So I ask thee....

The Best Actress Race

Friday, 19 December 2008

Kate - Non Fug - Winslet

The Go Fug Yourself girls have topped even themselves.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Angelina and the Best Actress race.

How do you accurately guess the nom for Oscar? Especially the Best Actress race. On Oscars preferential ballots the top five nominees have to score enough number 1 points in order to get a nomination (or so I understand).

Will enough people think Angelina Jolie gave the number 1 best performance by an actress in a lead role in 2008? I cannot imagine that. I can see it for Meryl Streep, Sally Hawkins, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet and Melissa Leo, but just not for Jolie. Sure her film and role is more Oscar friendly, but Oscar has (albeit slowly) been changing.

Sure Cate Blanchett scored a nom for ‘Elizabeth: The Blah di Blah’, but the Academy obviously LOVE her (she is after all the apparent next Meryl Streep – I’ll be the judge of that), and they do not seem to feel the same way for Jolie. Will they feel she is owed? I think not. Do they really want Brad and Angela there? Doubtful really, I mean they hardly show a lot of love for the Pitt.

Sure there are the pro’s to her getting a nomination:
1 – Making up for an injustice last year
2 – Oscar baity role
3 – Part of Hollywood power couple
4 – Directed by Clint

But there are some glaring cons:
1- Overall reaction to the performance is iffy
2 – Reaction to the film is less than good
3 – She is not that loved in Hollywood
4 – There are plenty more deserving Actresses vying for the position
5 – The role, although baity, does seem a little ‘been there, done that’

Who do you all think are the most likely nominees for Best Actress?

Chicago Film Critics WINNERS!!

Note: The past five winners of this award have gone on to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

BEST DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
BEST ACTOR: Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
BEST ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kate Winslet - The Reader
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: WALL-E (Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Slumdog Millionaire (Simon Beaufoy)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Dark Knight (Wally Pfister)
MOST PROMISING PERFORMER: Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire
MOST PROMISING DIRECTOR: Tomas Alfredson - Let the Right One In

Can WALL-E really go all the way? Is it possible? Can it be? Can this be the year of the genre film?

SAG noms!

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Anne Hatahway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Rev Road

Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey , Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Night
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, Benjamin Button
Kate Winslet, The Reader

Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

Great news for Taraji P. Henson, Dev Patel, and Amy Adams. Not so great news for 'The Dark Knight' and Sally Hawkins. Surprised by the double nom for Kate, but well done to the Great Kate!

SAG Predictions

Or how I am trying to shake things up a little (even though I will score horrendously in these). How cool would it be if they did this though. Trying anything not to think about it being the same ole same the SAG's usually throw a curve ball in somewhere.

Best Ensemble

The Dark Knight
Rachel Getting Married
Vicky Christina Barcelona

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway
Sally Hawkins
Melissa Leo
Meryl Streep
Michelle Willams

Best Actor
Clint Eastwood
Richard Jenkins
Frank Langella
Sean Penn
Mickey Rourke

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz
Viola Davis
Rosemarie DeWitt
Taraji P. Henson
Deborah Winger

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin
Robert Downey, Jr.
James Franco
Heath Ledger
Brandon Walters

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Can Michelle Do It?

Ok, I know I am probably one of the only people who is thinking it could happen, but it is that far fetched? Michelle Williams has been getting across the board raves for her understated performance in ‘Wendy and Lucy’. Of course when it comes to understated performances, Oscar usually doesn’t take notice (they like screaming crying women – so I guess Jolie is in), but with all the buzz surrounding Heath Ledger could there be a sway of sympathy towards giving Williams a nomination? Last time either of them was nominated it was in the same year for ‘Brokeback Mountain’.

With Steep and seemingly Hathaway and Hawkins almost locks could it not be possible that Jolie, Scott Thomas, Leo and Winslet could all lose votes to Williams?
Jolie has her loud detractors (although that did not hurt Blanchett last year for ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’ – or as I like to call it, ‘Elizabeth: The Movie in which Samantha Morton is the only one to walk away with any Dignity’).
Winslet could cancel herself out completely, Scott Thomas seems to have drifted out of minds a bit (and also has her detractors) and Leo is in a small film as well, and Williams is younger and much higher profile.

Am I crazy?

Precursors, by the numbers...thus far

So every year, when the various awards bodies and the critics and the top ten lists get announced, I get my little XL spreadsheet tracking thing and tally up the numbers just to see who is leading in the race. It is all very mathematical, with wins from certain precursors counting as higher than others, and noms from some counting as higher. Than others as well. Plus the top tem list add a completely different dimension.

So in the main 6 categories here are the top five….and yes there are a lot of ties… happens in maths! Ask Barbara Streisand.

Best Picture

1 – Slumdog Millionaire
2 – WALL-E
3 - The Dark Knight
4 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5 – Milk

(Frost/Nixon, The Wrestler, Happy-Go-Lucky, Doubt, ad Rachel Getting Married round out the top 10 in that order)

Could this be the final 5? Could very well be…. Keeping optimistic about WALL-E’s chances

Best Director

1 – Danny Boyle (way out ahead)
2 – Gus Van Sant
3 – Christopher Nolan
4 – David Fincher
5 – Ron Howard

(Stephen Daldry, Andrew Stanton, Jonathan Demme, Mike Leigh and Sam Mendes round out the top 10)

Can Stanton get in (How cool would it be?)

Best Actress

1 – Sally Hawkins
2 – Anne Hathaway (coming in for the kill)
3 – Meryl Streep
4 – Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)
5 – Angelina Jolie

(Melissa Leo, Kate Winslet (The Reader), Kristen Scott Thomas, Cate Blanchett and Michelle Williams round out the top 10)

Is this Kates year? Sally’s? Anne? Or will Meryl finally win her 3rd?

Best Actor

1 - Sean Penn
2 - Mickey Rourke
3 – Richard Jenkins
4 – Frank Langella
5 – Clint Eastwood

(Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Dustin Hoffman, and Josh Brolin (W) round out the top 10)

Give or take Leo this looks like the final 5 to me. I think it will be either Richard or Leo who face the axe.

Best Supporting Actress

1 – Penelope Cruz
2 – Viola Davis
3 – Marisa Tomei
3 – Rosemarie DeWitt
5 – Kate Winslet (The Reader
5 – Amy Adams (Doubt)
5 – Taraji P. Henson

I think these are the seven players in the game, unless Winger makes a surprise.

Best Supporting Actor

1 – Heath Ledger
2 – Robert Downey, Jr.
3 – Josh Brolin
4 – Philip Seymour Hoffman
5 – Dev Patel
5 – Michael Shannon
5 – Eddie Marsden

Perhaps there will be upsets from James Franco, Ralph Feinnes or Bill Irwin

Best Original Screenplay

1 – Milk
2 – Rachel Getting Married
3 – The Visitor
4 – Synecdoche, New York
5 – Gran Torino
5 – In Bruges

Also in serious contention is WALL-E and Happy-Go-Lucky.

Best Adapted Screenplay

1 – Slumdog Millionaire
2 – Frost/Nixon
3 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4 – Doubt
5 – The Reader
5 – The Dark Knight

These are really the major players in this category. Perhaps a last minute surge for Revolutionary Road can change things.

'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' Trailer

Well I am just so excited about this you have no idea. This does look like it is going to be really really good, I mean it isn't often a movie trailer makes me clap my hands and leave me with my mouth hanging open.

Everything looks perfect. Gambit....fantastic! cool, and Leiv as Sabertooth is just brilliant casting.

Don't you think? I have no other words other than 'Hugh Jackman is bloody fit'.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

She's so Unusual

Cyndi Lauper is a treasure.

When she came out with her latest album 'Bring Ya To The Brink' some people got excited and proclaimed it her big comeback. It didn't happen, mainly because why would radio play Cyndi Lauper, even Madonna struggles getting airplay.

This is a shame because this album is everything 'Hard Candy' should have been. The track 'Lay Me Down' is one of the best club tracks I have heard in ages and it is such a shame this album has not warrented huge club play, because it could keep me dancing forever.

An empty street, a quiet smile
Without steady feet
You know the reckless kind
Keep coming, coming back
To the same old place
With that wild eyed stare
Up in your face

Lay me down, let me down
In a big old town
Lay me down, let me down
In a big old town

He must have lost his soul
When he found the rent
He wrestles with control
Still hasn't pinned it yet
Once in, once in a while
Loose that cigarette
There's always some strange smile
Underneath his breath

Lay me down, let me down...

... passion's fist against a wall
The crush of a kiss, the rise and fall
Take me there, take me there
To that wounded sound
It's just love's despair
Gone and hit the ground

Lay me down,, let me down
In a big old town... in a big old town...


You know that dream where you are flying? Not superman flying, but doing a series of really long graceful jump. You kick off and glide through the sky for ages then slowly sink back down to the surface, and then you kick off again. Well this song by Elbow called funnily enough 'Weather to Fly' captures that feeling exactly.

This English alternative rock band uses innovative sound and front-man Guy Garvey's candid, evocative lyrics capture lifes moments in pure eye watering cinematic glory.


Are we having the time of our life?
Are we having the time of our lives?
Are we coming across clear?
Are we coming across fine?
Are we part of the plan here?
Are we having the time of our lives?
Are we coming across clear?
Are we coming across fine?
Are we having the time of our lives?
Are we part of the plan here?

We have the driver and time on our hands
One little room and the biggest of plans.
The days were shaping up,
Frosty and bright.
Perfect weather to fly.

Perfect weather to fly.

Pounding the streets where my fathers feet still
Ring from the walls,
we'd sing in the doorways,
or bicker and row
Just figuring how we were wired inside
Perfect weather to fly.

So in looking to stray from the line
we decided instead
we should pull out the thread that was
stitching us into this tapestry vile,
And why wouldn't you try?
Perfect weather to fly.

We have the driver and time on our hands
One little room and the biggest of plans.
The days were shaping up,
Frosty and bright.
Perfect weather to fly.

Perfect weather to fly.

Pounding the streets where my fathers feet still
Ring from the walls,
we'd sing in the doorways,
or bicker and row
Just figuring how we were wired inside
Perfect weather to fly.

So in looking to stray from the line
we decided instead
we should pull out the thread that was
stitching us into this tapestry vile,
And why wouldn't you try?
Perfect weather to fly.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Mini Review – ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Not so much a review as a very brief summary.

What could have been a typical triumph over adversary movie is greatly helped by a non explanative direction, stunningly vibrant cinematography and a smart un-sappy screenplay.

This is the film that has been sweeping the precursor awards this season and currently looks like the picture to beat come Oscar time, and with good reason. IT is one of the most uplifting films to garner this much critical praise since, well, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, but this is not a comedy.

Dev Patel makes an impressive (not necessarily 'Oscar' impressive) debut as the older hero, as is Anil Kapoor as the game show host, but it is the kids in the pic that really shine (and Iffran Khan - but doesn't he always)

This is the story of how love and honesty can drive you to do great things, no matter who you are.

For me, this film did not blow me away, but I can understand how the critics have gone gaga over this. In a year of dark dark film making, this is a beacon of hope and reminds us of all things good and pure while not shying away from life's seedy underbelly
Grade: B

Chicago Film Critics nominations

Have no real idea what to make of these, except these are much better that the Golden Globes. 'The Dark Knight', 'Doubt' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' are in the lead with 5 noms a piece, and 'WALL-E', 'Milk', 'Rachel Getting Married' and 'Benjamin Button' each have 4. Pretty damn cool I have to say!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle–Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher–The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Christopher Nolan–The Dark Knight
Andrew Stanton–WALL*E
Gus Van Sant–Milk

Clint Eastwood–Gran Torino
Richard Jenkins–The Visitor
Frank Langella–Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn–Milk
Mickey Rourke–The Wrestler

Anne Hathaway–Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins–Happy-Go-Lucky
Angelina Jolie–Changeling
Melissa Leo–Frozen River
Meryl Streep–Doubt

Robert Downey Jr.–Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman–Doubt
Bill Irwin–Rachel Getting Married
Heath Ledger–The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon–Revolutionary Road

Amy Adams–Doubt
Penelope Cruz–Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis–Doubt
Rosemarie Dewitt–Rachel Getting Married
Kate Winslet–The Reader

In Bruges–Martin McDonagh
Milk–Dustin Lance Black
Rachel Getting Married–Jenny Lumet
Synecdoche, N.Y. –Charlie Kaufman
WALL*E–Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button–Eric Roth
The Dark Knight–Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Doubt–John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon–Peter Morgan
Slumdog Millionaire–Simon Beaufoy

The Band’s Visit
A Christmas Tale
I’ve Loved You For So Long
Let the Right One In

American Teen
Dear Zachary
Man On Wire
Standard Operating Procedure

Kung-Fu Panda
Tale of Desperaux
Waltz with Bashir

Australia–Mandy Walker
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button–Claudio Miranda
The Dark Knight–Wally Pfister
The Fall–Colin Watkinson
Slumdog Millionaire–Anthony Dod Mantle

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button–Alexandre Desplat
The Dark Knight–Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
Milk–Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire–A.R. Rahman
WALL*E–Thomas Newman

Russell Brand–Forgetting Sarah Marshall
David Kross–The Reader
Lina Leandersson–Let the Right One In
Dev Patel–Slumdog Millionaire
Brandon Walters–Australia

Tomas Alfredson–Let the Right One In
Lance Hammer–Ballast
Courtney Hunt–Frozen River
Martin McDonagh–In Bruges
Steve McQueen–Hunger

New York Film Critics Online Awards

I have no idea how the online New York film critics differ from the NYFCA but here are their picks. Notice how 'Slumdog' is again leading (saw it last thoughts later on). This film is dominating the awards race thus far. Once again Sally Hawkins dominates the critics awards. Who would have thought?

Picture: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Director: Danny Boyle w/ Loveleen Tandan - “Slumdog Millionaire”
Actor: Sean Penn - “Milk”
Actress: Sally Hawkins - “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger - “The Dark Knight”
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz - “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire - Anthony Dod Mantle
Screenplay: “Slumdog Millionaire” - Simon Beaufoy
Foreign Picture: “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days”
Documentary: “Man on Wire”
Animated Feature: “Wall-E”
Score: Slumdog Millionaire - “A.R. Rahman”
Breakout Performance: Sally Hawkins - “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Debut As Director: Martin McDonagh - “In Bruges”
Ensemble Performance: Milk”
10 Best Pictures (alphabetical):
“A Christmas Tale”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Rachel Getting Married”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
“The Wrestler”

Boston Film Critics Announce winners.

Best Picture: WALL•E and Slumdog Millionaire (tie)
Best Actor: Sean Penn for Milk and Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (tie)
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Director: Gus Van Sant for Milk and Paranoid Park
Best Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black for Milk
Best Cinematography: Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li for Paranoid Park
Best Documentary: Man on Wire
Best Foreign-Language Film: Let the Right One In
Best Animated Film: WALL•E
Best Film Editing: Chris Dickens for Slumdog Millionaire
Best New Filmmaker: Martin McDonagh for In Bruges
Best Ensemble Cast: Tropic Thunder

I love how Boston have praised WALL-E and Milk, and once again given Hawkins a much deserved win!

American Film Institute announce top 10

And here they are. Interesting to see 'Wendy and Lucy' in the mix.