Saturday, 20 March 2010

Best Art Direction

And the most interesting and creative are:

The scope of this work was mind boggling. Everything seemed so well thought out (script aside) that you imagine this work existing somewhere on Earth.

The imagination on display here was awe inspiring. One of the most unusual looking films of the year.

'District 9'
From the military building to the slums, every set seemed individually cluttered, as though it were being used for many many years.

'Fantastic Mr Fox'
Animated films this year seemed to be the best looking. That warm country design seen in every frame.

Perhaps a controversial choice, but that apartment was masterful. The trinkets of years past giving clues to the characters. As a viewer you almost feel suffocated.

'Where the Wild Things Are'
I think every boy wanted to live in a fort like that. Clever and organic to the rest of the film.


Friday, 19 March 2010

Best Make Up

And the most inventive are:

'District 9'
Not overly showy, but serves the story impeccably. You never question the transformation.

'Drag Me To Hell'
Gruesome and startling. Sometimes showy works wonders, and this work was hard to look at

'Inglourios Basterds'
The women were stunning, but it was the scalping and swastika carving that really made you look....away

His deterioration was sickening to watch. The hues his skin became turned your stomach.

'Star Trek'
Aliens and prothetic ears galore, but it was alienizing Eric Bana, yet keeping him sexy that did it for me.

That can I say. I am a total sucker for the living dead.


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Best Cinematography

The prettiest to look at were:
(certain films were not viewed that most likely would be on here, most notably 'Antichrist'. Also it was very very hard to leave out 'Watchmen' but at whose expense - possibly 'Wild Things' in the long run - I couldn't decide, it seriously ended up being a coin toss)
Mauro Fiore - 'Avatar'
It is mostly computer generated, but on my what computer generation. Raise you hands if you want to move to Pandora.

Greig Fraser - 'Bright Star'
I especially loved how every romantic scene was shot with breathtaking beauty. It made mother nature proud.

Tristan Oliver - 'Fantastic Mr Fox'
So warm and inviting with the country autumn hues. Makes you want to go and move to the farm land and live in a tree.

Robert Richardson - 'Inglourious Basterds'
The stunning and boldly comic use of Nazi red and the smaller character moments combined the beauty and the ugly.

Eduard Grau - 'A Single Man'
The use of framing and colour was something to behold. The focus was so exact you could feel the emotions rising.

Lance Acord - 'Where the Wild Things Are'
A child hood fantasy of the book bought to bold and beautiful life. Every scene filled with so much to see you just want to look at it forever.


Thinking differently

I am not going to comment any further on the Howard Stern comment on Gabourey Sidibe than saying - "he is one to talk about appearance."
All he really did was give 'Precious' a lot more credence as a film. We do laugh at people who are physically different. We are all basically twats - some of us more than others.
However it does bring up an interesting point on black actresses in Hollywood. We all know how difficult good roles are for them to get. If they get a juicy role in a film, that happens to be considered a 'black' film, then the audience is automatically limited. In other aspects they are usually supporting players or in an independent film.
If you look at the lead actresses nominated for Oscar, the picture becomes clear:
1954 - Dorothy Dandridge in 'Carmen Jones'
1972 - Diana Ross in 'Lady Sings the Blues'
1972 - Cicely Tyson in 'Sounder'
1974 - Diahann Carroll in 'Claudine'
1985 - Whoopie Goldberg in 'The Color Purple'
1993 - Angela Bassett in 'What's Love Got To Do with It'
2001 - Halle Berry in Monsters Ball *
2009 - Gabourey Sidibe in 'Precious'
That is 2% of nominees since the beginning of Oscar time (* indicates winner).

Supporting actress is a little different:
1939 - Hattie McDaniel in 'Gone with the Wind' *
1948 - Ethel Waters in 'Pinky'
1959 - Juanita Moore in 'Imitation of Life'
1967 - Beah Richards in 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner'
1983 - Alfre Woodard in 'Cross Creek'
1985 - Oprah Winfrey in 'The Color Purple'
1985 - Margaret Avery in 'The Color Purple'
1990 - Whoopie Goldberg in 'Ghost' *
1996 - Marianne Jean-Baptiste in 'Secrets and Lies'
2002 - Queen Latifah in 'Chicago'
2004 - Sophie Okonedo in ' Hotel Rwanda'
2006 - Jennifer Husdon in 'Dreamgirls' *
2007 - Ruby Dee in 'American Gangster'
2008 - Viola Davis in 'Doubt'
2008 - Taraji P. Henson in 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
2009 - Mo'Nique in 'Precious' *
That is a little less than 4.5% of nominees in this category (* indicates winner).
Whoopie is the only black actress to receive two nominations so there are more milestones to go.
So yes, Gabourey is going to have a hard time, but things are getting better. What troubles me is that so many people have written her off as a one hit wonder without seeing any more of her work. We will be able to judge on August 16th (Madonna's Birthday!) when her showtime series 'The Big C' premiers.
But it seems we are all ready to kill her career before it has even began based on how she looks. When did we become so f*cking cynical?
Perhaps if we thought better of the film industry, they would come around. I mean things are getting better. 43% of black actresses nominated in the supporting category were from this past decade (the lead category still needs to catch up with the 1970's - sadly).
Why do we look at someone and, judging by their appearance, dismiss them? Shouldn't we try and see everyone as equal to begin with? Isn't that the point of 'Precious' in the first place?

I think there is a place for her in Hollywood. She is something fresh, new and intelligent and that is something the film industry needs much more of. All it will take is a few screenwriters to think a little bit out side of the box in terms of what image they give their characters for and casting directors to think a little bit out side of the box in terms of filling roles.

At the end of the day, the legacy all actresses leave behind is one of two things. Their image, or the quality of their work. Sometimes, if they are incredibly lucky, it will be both.

MAFFE Break - Trailers galore

Which of these will get some end of year awards traction? None, one, all?

Anyway, here they are.

'Eat, Pray, Love'

Gosh I love Julia - is there anyone more charming? And I love Viola (naturally not getting a lead role, but stuck with supporting Best Friend - will black actresses ever get a break?) and this looks like a nice charming little film to get lost in. Here is hoping there is a little more meat than what is on offer in the trailer. Seeing as how it is based on a true story one would hope so.


The old turkey baster switcheroo eg? Here we have Anniston coasting on her charisma. Perhaps there are some risks being taken here, perhaps not. I just wish she would take a risk and step out of her comfort zone just so we can see if she can. If she fails then back to rom coms. Anywhoo, it looks kind of cute, but that child has already annoyed me.

'The Greatest'

See Susan and Pierce hysterically grieve. See Carey Mulligan try and live up to the expectations thrust upon her.
The story does seem kind of full of schmaltz, but it could be a little grittier. Trailers do have a way of making all drama seem very 'Lifetime'.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Best Costume

And the wonderfully dressed are....

'Bright Star' - Janet Patterson
I mean these costumes were sensational. Showing individual eye and character specific. Stunning.

'Inglourious Basterds' - Anna Shepherd
Military can be boring, but here it is iconic, plus she has some fabulous women to dress.

'Julia' - April Napier
The costumes help depict just what sort of character Julia is as much as the performance. Garish and rather pathetic.

'Julie & Julia' - Ann Roth
Delicious in showing the leanings to the French style as Julia tries to become more and more French.

"A Single Man' - Adrianne Phillips
Sexy, stylish and says so much about the character who wears them. More important it added to the visual eye candy.

Where The Wild Things Are' - Casey Storm
You may argue, but I consider these costumes and my word, what wonderful costumes these were.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Best Score/Song

Best Original Score

'Avatar' - James Horner
Big and epic, like the film itself. Horner knows how to stir the soul

'Coraline' - Bruno Coulais
Mixing the whimsical and the eerie to great effect. You close your eyes and are transported to a world of the fabulously grotesque.

'Fantastic Mr Fox' - Alexandre Desplat
A little bit country, a little bit blue grass. IT sets the mood and keeps your toe tapping.

'A Single Man' - Abel Korzeniowski & Shigeru Umebayashi
The strings, the clock, the drama of it all. You get so caught up you almost can breath.

'Up' - Michael Giacchino
Automatically transports you to those first 10 minutes. A musical memory. sniff

'Where the Wild Things Are' - Carter Burwell and Karen O.
The frantic frenzied sounds of childhood made slightly bitter sweet.

Best Original Song

Someone Else - Crazy Heart - Song Writers: Stephen Bruton and T-Bone Burnett
Paints a great picture of the character, feels like he has been singing it for years.

The Weary Kind - Crazy Heart - Song Writers
Just really a beautiful song that makes an ok film feel so much better.

AyAyAyAyAy - The Maid - Song Writers: Sebastian Silva and Pedro Piedra.
I could sing this song all bloody day. So damn catchy.

Take it All - Nine - Song Writers: Maury Yeston
An extremely flawed film, but it gets it right with giving this number to Cotillard. Wonderful immersion of song and acting.

Possibility - Twilight Saga New Moon - Song Writers: Lykke Li
Another flawed film, but Lykke Li captures the mood of love and longing perfectly

All Is Love - Where the WIld Things Are - Song Writers: Karen O & The Kids.
It is the musical equivalent of happy childhood's where you are running as fast as you can.


Monday, 15 March 2010

Best Poster

'Los Abrazos Rotos'
Iconic, why have one image on Penelope when you can have four. Totally carries over the obsessive current of the film.

Each character poster is a little slice of fun, showing the quirky design and the darkness of the film.

'District 9'
Brilliant use of segregation posters. One of the most effective and striking campaigns of the season.

'The Hurt Locker'
Just an iconic design for the war film, each version giving a better glimpse into the films subject.

'Inglourious Basterds'
Gory, fun, violent, intelligent and beautiful. Posters to describe the film.

That first broken teaser, then the simple sad painting, then the long shot of our hero with wings to soar, and finally that iconic full head shot. POWERFUL!


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Best Trailers

The nominees for Best Trailers are:

'Fantastic Mr. Fox'
It just seemed like so much fun

It made this film look like it was going to be the best film of the year. Masterful trickery.

'A Serious Man'
Clever, hysterical and unlike any other trailer this year. Almost a remix.

'A Single Man'
The sex, the beauty, the scrore, the drama and that ticking clock. Keeps everything close to its chest.

The geek in everyone was excited with this overly stylized, so source material accurate trailer.

'Where the Wild Things Are'
I think we all jumped and clapped like children after seeing this.


Best Adapted Screenplay

And my best adaptors are:

Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for 'District-9'
Adapted from their own Original Short film they managed to create a thrilling and taught feature length film that made you question your own humanity. Adapting a full length film from a short is never an easy task.

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach for 'Fantastic Mr Fox'
The most unlikely pairing created cinematic genius. Funny, touch and whilst keeping in the spirit of the wonderful Roald Dahl it has the Anderson and Baumnach stamp all over it.

Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche for 'In The Loop'
Dialogue this smart and funny and fast should come with the warning "MANY REPEAT VIEWING NECESSARY". Adapted from their own TV series 'The Thick of It' they created most probably the funniest screenplay of the year

Geoffrey Fletcher for 'Precious'
After reading the book, my first thought was "HOW?". It seemed un-filmable. The bleakness, the violence, the sexual abuse. Fletcher allowed the light in, all while staying true to each and every character. A flawless adaptation

Tom Ford - 'A Single Man'
How is it possible to capture grief? Well novelist Christopher Isherwood did it, and Tom Form created a heartbreating visual study on it. It is not dialogue heavy, but it works beautifully

Spike Jones and David Eggers - 'Where The Wild Things Are'
Just for the sheer audacity of making something so big out of something so little. It may not work as a while but its screenplay is a thing of pure imagination


Best Original Screenplay

And the most original are:

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
For taking a tried old genre (the rom com) and breathing brand new life into it by not going for the easy happy endings.

Quentin Taranti
There was no one writer more deserving of Oscar attention this year than Quentin. In fact there are not many more creative writers of film who can hold a candle to this man.

Adam Elliot
Animation seems to be where you are able to truly soar in creative writing. This story was told with such wit and emotion you end up staring at the screen thinking you've just witnessed a miracle.

Duncan Jones and Nathan Parker
A very very simple premise that would go terribly wrong had it not been for a tight and focused screenplay. Sci-fi writers have a hard time keeping it real. This is uncomfortably real.

Pete Doctor, Bob Peterson, Thomas McCarthy.
Those first 10 minute alone warrant them being here, but then making us continue to care, weep and laugh for the remaining 86 minutes is a miracle in story telling.

Michael Haneke
Every single word and action has such meaning. Michael Haneke has created such a mesmerizing and complex metaphor for humanities evil that you may feel shell shocked for a few days.