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Ciao at the moment have a Product Of The Month about the Oscars, more specifcally the 81st Academy Awards (2009) and our opinion on the winners this year. So here is my review. I hope you enjoy, and please comment. If you are a ciao member as well, take a look at the review over there as well if you want. The Oscar for Best Director for the best film ever made goes to Kirsty F... wait; I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself here, that's not going to happen for a few more years. As most of you know I do dream of doing something within the media industry, whether it's directing, writing or editing, these awards are for everyone, most of the crew within a film are looked at for their creativity, their passion and most importantly the final footage that comes together, came together because of their brilliance. These awards are called The Oscars and this year in my opinion they were very special. The Oscars are integral part of the media industry, there is a season during January/February where all of the actors, actresses and everyone else in the media industry get dolled up and go to countless awards ceremonies, The Golden Globes and The BAFTA's to name a few, however it all comes down to one night. All the awards ceremonies before this night are rehearsals almost to the biggest night in film history... The Oscars. ==================== What Are The Oscars ==================== Here is a short little explanation of what the Oscars are and why they are such a big thing within the film industry. The Oscars or Academy Awards are annually presented by the AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), and they award some of the best people in the media world, from the best actress, actor to best cinematography in a film. The first ever Academy Awards was held in May 1929 in the middle of the Great Depression in America and was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks and William C. deMille. Since then there have been 81 Academy Awards, the latest was at the start of 2009 and was held on February 22nd 2009 at the beautiful Kodak Theatre and the host was the equally beautiful Australian actor Hugh Jackman. ================== 81st Academy Awards ================== 2009 and the 81st Academy Awards in my opinion are very special this year, not only have they got a new host to host the awards who is great eye candy for us ladies, but the quality of the films is just out of this world. I don't think there has been another year with so many contenders for the Best Picture award, and I think that anyone could win it. I think the last time that there were so many good films (according to some people) was 2005, where Crash and Brokeback Mountain were up for Best Picture. The films this year are just amazing, towards the end of 2008 and the start of 2009 films began to come out of the wood work and shock us all with their stunning cinematography, brilliant acting and what makes a film brilliant in my eyes, the screenplay/script. I tape the Oscar's every year; well I have to really because I'm not insane enough to stay up on a school night, but every year I wake up the next day and find myself not being able to watch any channel or check my emails without finding out the main winners of the awards. I do still like watching the awards and with Sky + it's brilliant as you can forward through the awful performances. I sat down to watch the Oscar's and dreamily stared at the screen when Hugh Jackman came on and began to sing and dance with the brilliant Anne Hathaway. Here is where the main part of the review begins, the question I have to answer here is 'How do I feel about this year's winners?', I'll expand that question slightly because I believe that without every other person that was nominated the Oscar's wouldn't be what it is today, so I'll be writing about how I feel about the winners of the 81st Academy Awards and if they deserved the award over their competitors within that race. ======================= The Awards & The Winners ======================= Here are my opinions on the winners and if I think they deserved the award or not. =========== Best Picture =========== I am a bit impartial here as I have not been able to go out and say if any of the other nominations should have won. Out of the 5 that were nominated for the Best Picture award I have only seen two of them, and these two were just amazing, two of the best films I have ever seen and two films that will still be talked about when I hopefully win my Oscar. I think that this year really showed how brilliant films can be and even though certain films may have an out of this world budget they may not be what the academy deems Award worthy. The Nominations ----------------------- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Frost/Nixon Milk The Reader Slumdog Millionaire And The Winner Is... --------------------------- Slumdog Millionaire Is the Award Deserved? -------------------------------- I don't think a film has ever been more deserved of the best picture award than Slumdog Millionaire was. This film that nearly went straight to DVD, has followed its plot and gone from rags to riches and has stormed the world. I think this is one of the best films I have ever seen, I think it was beautifully done and considering that it had such a small budget Danny Boyle and his team really did do something brilliant with this film. Like I said before, I have only seen a small amount of these films, but I think from what I have heard that they are all must see films, and even thought it was pretty predictable that Slumdog Millionaire was going to win this award, the other's still had a chance, there was many bets on the fact that Millionaire would win, however I think that The Curious Case, Milk, Frost/Nixon and The Reader could have took the award from them. My opinion on Slumdog Millionaire winning this award is that it was well deserved, I think Danny Boyle directed a masterpiece and one that I will be buying as soon as it comes out on DVD. ====================== Actor In A Leading Role ====================== Even more so than the Best Picture Award I really am impartial here as I have only seen one of these films, so I can only say that I thought that Brad Pitt really did deserve the award, however I can't really compare it to the likes of the Frank Langella or Sean Penn, as I haven't seen those performances, however the Best Actor award is the one award within the whole ceremony that wasn't written down on paper before hand, everyone knew that Mickey Rorke, Brad Pit and Sean Penn had a fighting chance of winning the award, but it was undecided who was going to win. The Nominations ------------------------ Brad Pitt (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) Sean Penn (Milk) Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) And the winner is... --------------------------- Sean Penn- Milk Is the Award Deserved? -------------------------------- I have not seen Milk, but I have heard so many good things about Sean Penn within that role that yes, I do think the award is deserved and I think that he really is a brilliant actor and if this is the performance of his career then it really is going to be a magnificent role. I myself think that Brad Pitt's role in Benjamin Button was seriously overlooked, I think mainly because this is a marmite type film, I think that 60% of the population adore the film and the rest hate it. This may have come across when giving Brad Pitt the award of Best Actor, because a lot of people didn't like the film and then didn't like his performance in the film. I think from a lot of reviews I have read about The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke really played the role brilliantly well and this comeback king gave the performance of his life within this film. I think it would have been nice for him to win this award, however I have to laugh because a friend of mine said he bet some money on Rourke and Winslet winning best actress and best actor, he won for Kate Winslet but not for Rourke and he wasn't too happy. I do think that the award is very much deserved here, I think that Penn's role must be magnificent, I may be editing this review when I finally get around to watching the film, however I think that to come up against so many good actors and win, he must have done brilliance here. ====================== Actress In A Leading Role ====================== I'm just going to kick out Angelina Jolie and Melissa Leo out of the occasion here, I have never heard of Leo and never heard of Frozen River before the Oscars and I can't stand Angelina Jolie, I really think if she's there when I of course win my Oscar and I win over her, I will point and laugh because even though she can act, she thinks she is the world. Anyhow, getting down to it, I think this was the award that was pretty much written in stone before the nominations came out, okay everyone was saying Winslet would win an award for Revolutionary Road and that film wasn't even looked at, but every one knew she was going to win. The Nominations ----------------------- Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) Angelina Jolie (Changeling) Melissa Leo (Frozen River) Meryl Streep (Doubt) Kate Winslet (The Reader) And the winner is... --------------------------- Kate Winslet Is the Award Deserved? -------------------------------- Come on, Kate Winslet is a damn good actress, probably our best Actress and she's always been the bridesmaid and never the bride and she finally produces two of probably the best roles of her career in the same year. It really was a shame that Revolutionary Road wasn't put up for any nominations as from what I've heard it really is brilliant. I think Winslet really deserved the award and even though it was pretty much written in stone, she was up against some brilliant actresses, come on, who can say they beat Meryl Streep for best Actress, this woman is probably one of the best actresses of our time, she has had 15 career nominations and is just a fantastic actress and Winslet beat her to the post. Anne Hathaway is still very young, and the potential that she has shown over the years has been very prominent and I don't think anyone including her, ever thought that she would beat Streep and Winslet for best actress, but she looked like she was having the time of her life at those awards and she really looked in awe of the people around her. Winslet deserved the award this year, but I think we'll be seeing Annie Hathaway win one years down the line. ====================== Actor In A Supporting Role ====================== I think this like Best Actress was also written in stone for this award, on January 22nd 2008, actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose, leaving behind him, one completed film and one half completed film. I think that anyone who says that the only reason Ledger was nominated for this award was because of his death, but come on, did they see the performance he gave within The Dark Knight? It was terrifying, psychotic and brilliant at the same time, I think even if he was still with us today, he would have still won the award The Nominations ----------------------- Josh Brolin (Milk) Robert Downey Jnr (Tropic Thunder) Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt) Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) And the winner is... --------------------------- Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) Is the Award Deserved? -------------------------------- I think that anyone who says that the only reason Ledger was nominated for this award was because of his death, but come on, did they see the performance he gave within The Dark Knight? It was terrifying, psychotic and brilliant at the same time, I think even if he was still with us today, he would have still won the award because he and Robert Downey Jnr who I think is a blummin talented actor were not on the same league at all, and I don't think any of the others really held a torch to the performance that Heath Ledger gave. I believe Ledger was only the second Posthumous Recognition winner, which means he is only the second person to win an award after he died, a bit controversy surrounded who was going to get the award as he was not married and his daughter was too young, however they have put it in procession of his daughter's mother, and she'll get it when she's 18.I think the other's were all brilliant performances however none really shone a torch to Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight. ======================== Actress In A Supporting Role ======================== I think that the Actress in a Supporting Role was a waste of time, I think really only two people could win the award, that is Penelope Cruz and Marisa Tomei. I think you'll all agree with me when an award is given out for supporting actress, it should be given to someone who takes the focus away from the lead actor. I have heard from countless people that Amy Adams, despite being good within Doubt, is the same as she's always been. There is no range there and the role that Viola Davis plays in Doubt, was only a few minutes long and not really worthy of an Oscar nomination let alone a win. Now we come onto the one that I have actually seen, that is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, to say that I was shocked that when I saw that there had been a nomination for a supporting actress from the film and it wasn't Cate Blanchett, I actually had no idea who the hell Taraji P Henson was. Here are the nominations: The Nominations ----------------------- Amy Adams (Doubt) Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) Viola Davis (Doubt) Taraji P Henson (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) And the winner is... --------------------------- Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) Is the Award Deserved? -------------------------------- Why the hell was Taraji P Henson nominated for this award over Cate Blanchett, this I can't get my head around, because seriously, she was in the film for a little bit of time, I don't think I even wrote about her in my review of Benjamin Button, she was overshadowed by Blanchett who really shined within this film and wasn't' even looked at for the award. Back to the winner, I haven't heard much about Vicky Cristina Barcelona, only the fact that it's got the weird looking guy from No Country For Old Men in looking cute for an older guy. I think that Penelope is a good actress, I'm not sure if she deserved the award, I will have to wait to see the film, because I'm not wasting what is a ticket now £5.80 or something to see it at the cinema. Overall I don't think that any of the people that were nominated for best supporting actress were worthy of the nomination let alone the win. I think that it was a shame the lieks of Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway lost to Kate Winslet when in this category they would have been in a war of their own. =========== Best Director =========== The thing about these Oscar's is that it was so publicised over here and in America because of the brilliance of the films that were nominated that every one really knew who was going to win Best Director. This is the award I hope to win and it really peeves me off that not many women get nominated for the best director award and hopefully I will be up against some of the greats. Here though it was obvious that Danny Boyle was going to flourish and become victorious. The Nominations ----------------------- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Frost/Nixon Milk The Reader Slumdog Millionaire And the winner is... --------------------------- Danny Boyle- Slumdog Millionaire Is the Award Deserved? -------------------------------- Yes, I think that Slumdog Millionaire is a film that everyone should see, it is truly beautiful and brilliant and this was down to Danny's direction and the cast he chose. I think that the likes of Ron Howard who is one of my favourite directors, could have won, as I hear that Frost/Nixon is brilliant, but it was Danny Boyle that shone, I knew as soon as I saw the film that it was one of the best Directed movies out there. ============= Music (song) ============= I thought I might as well include the music, when I wrote my review on this film I said the music adds a lot to it and here you have it, two songs have been nominated and they are brilliant songs. Jai Ho, which I have no idea what it means is my favourite and I think that it was played so much to advertise the film that it sticks in your head, a rightful winner. The Nominations ----------------------- Jai Ho- Slumdog Millionaire Down On Earth- Wall E O Saya- Slumdog Millionaire And the winner is... --------------------------- Jai Ho- Slumdog Millionaire ============= Film Editing ============= I think personally, that the editing is the bit that is overlooked when it comes to film making, the Director and writer are probably the only two crew members that are talked about when it comes to films and I am the same, I usually ignore the film editors and the producers and things like that, but if you think of it like this, the writer is the one that comes up with the story, and writes it down on paper, the director gets the actors to perform and it's his ideas along with the cinematographer that make the film look how it looks however it is the editor that makes the film how you see it, he puts the sounds with the footage, he/she is the final part of the film making process and probably one of the most important parts, I have always said if I don't get to be a director, an editor would sound brilliant. The Nominations ----------------------- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight Frost/Nixon Milk Slumdog Millionaire And the winner is... --------------------------- Slumdog Millionaire ============= Visual Effects ============= I think there was one very clear winner for this award, The Dark Knight had some great visual effects but come on, Benjamin Button was just amazing, I don't think the Dark Knight and Iron Man had a chance when it came to this award, the way the visual effects team super imposed Brad Pitt's face into the old man's body and how they made Brad Pitt younger than he did in Thelma & Louise is just shocking and brilliant. A well deserved an award. The Nominations ----------------------- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight Iron Man And the winner is... --------------------------- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button ============= Final Opinion ============= For me these Oscars were the best ones I have seen yet, I think Hugh Jackman despite all the criticism he faced after the awards was not only charming, but he made the awards flow, I'm sure it is very hard for all of those people to sit on their asses for that long, come on, the awards were what 5 hours long, Angelina Jolie could have adopted another tribe of children in that time. For me, the highlight of the film has to be the fact that us Brits did brilliantly well, it was Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle that brought home the most amount of Oscar's I believe out of the 10 they were nominated for they won 8 which is just amazing for a film that nearly was going to go straight to DVD. Our best actress, well one of them, finally became the bride; Kate Winslet won her rightful Best Actress Oscar, bringing one more for the Brits. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was nominated for a staggering 13 awards including Best Picture however disappointingly only came out with 3 awards which is a bit dismal if you think about it, I think that this film was amazing and deserved a lot more than 3 awards, I do think it is the film that has been overlooked at the Oscar's but steeling a phrase from Jim Carey, That's the way the cookie crumbles. There was a beautiful performance from Queen Latifah preformed I'll Be Seeing You as a tribute to all of those that we lost last year, Heath Ledger was not there as he died before last years awards, however the likes of Bernie Max, Sydney Pollack, Paul Newman, Anthony Minghella and Charlton Heston were all within the tribute. ============= ============= ============= ========= Overall, How Do I Feel About This Year's Oscar Winners? ============= ============= ============= ========= I think pretty much that everyone that won an award actually deserved the award, the films that were nominated within these awards were out of this world quality and they are some of the best films of my time at least, I think everyone knew that the likes of Slumdog Millionaire and Kate Winslet were going to do well however the awards were not that predictable, I don't think anyone really knew who was going to win Best Director or who was going to be Best Actor and it was lovely that Danny Boyle, who was before Slumdog Millionaire a seriously underrated Director. Sean Penn in my opinion is a seriously underrated actor and it was lovely that he was honoured for what I have heard is a brilliant role. Role on Oscar's 2010, I hope that they are going to be as good as this Oscars was and let's hope the gorgeous Hugh Jackman hosts them again. (C) Kirsty 2009 The last review like this that I did, ended up with some idiot accusing me of copying something he had apparently wrote. So here is to him, when I say that all of this work is my own, thank you to this website http://www.oscar.com/nominees/?pn=nominees where I got my list of nominees and winners from because it's impossible to remember all of them. Everything but the names of the films and who won is completely my own opinion.
Here's my attempt to liveblog (not exactly but you know what I mean) the Oscars fashion -- Fearn Cotton -- Obviously not a movie star, just presenting for Sky 1, but all i've got so far! I must admit to a deep-held dislike of Fearn Cotton - she is dead behind the eyes - why do people keep employing her? - so I could be a bit prejudiced against her fashions. She's wearing a Cerise Pink Tea Dress - Quite a nice cut and style, subdued and suitable for a presenting job. But the hideous eye makeup! Fearns wearing dark pink eye make up - and loads of liner. Some people could rock this look - but she's just not pulling it off, I think a darker skin tone is needed to prevent the 'black eye' look. Hair is in a 40s wave, tucked behind one ear - she's going for old Hollywood glamour, not a disaster, but nothing special. Please let people arrive soon! UPDATE - Anthony Hopkins says he likes Fearn's eyeshadow - he says it is 'different", I think he is just so bored with her interviewing style he has to say something. Fearn's hair isn't holding up from the back - which doesn't really suit this type of filming - but she not annoying me too much. Far too much of this review is of Fearn, it's because i'm only getting glimpses of everyone else. -- Dominic Cooper -- Ok there's not much to say about men's fashion - just a boring old tux - come on ladies - I have to see some fashion before I go to bed! -- Zac Efron -- Horrible slicked back hair - don't do it Zac, you are too young for me but can look quite cute - not today! I guess he's going for suave and sophisticated - it's a total failure! -- Vanessa Hudgens -- Just got a quick glimpse of Vanessa. She's wearing a long, black tulle fishtail dress, with flower detail. The dress is Marchesa, but It's vile - the bottom of the skirt is massive, and looks totally out of proportion with the rest of the dress. It has been altered from short to long, with very bad effect. -- Miley Cyrus -- Miley's wearing a white, layered 'princess' dress, with tons of beading - exactly the kind of thing a 15 year old would pick for prom. She looks cute, but not really stylish. Like a scalloped mermaid - and what is with the belt! Hopefully i'll get a closer look soon. -- Dev Patel -- Burberry suit - "keeping it British". What a cutie - go slumdog! -- Frieda Pinto -- One Shouldered beaded blue John Galliano dress. It's good to see some colour already. Nice unusual neckline, but i'm not sure about the beading or the cut. Ferns fave dress of the night (so far). It's not mine - too old fashioned and ageing. Her hair is plain and boring. -- Taraji P. Henson -- White mermaid dress - and an amazing diamond necklace - it's huge, pewter looking and so so beautiful. Her hair is lovely and sleek. She's extoling the virtues of Spanx and has brought her mom and nan as her dates - what a superstar, how lovely. -- Heidi Klum -- Is in a long red dress, with a side split. High red heels. Only caught a glimpse so far - but she has some amazing earings on. They are huge flowers, super glamorous. She has tons of massive thick bangles and bracelets on too - love these - can't wait for the topshop knock offs. Her hair looks very weird. Turns out she is wearing Heidi Roland Mouret - love him, but not 100% sure of this. Heidi wins for Jewels. -- Mickey Rourke -- What a legend in his white suit. Better still is his bling - no million dollar diamonds for this dude, no way - instead he announces that the gold chain hanging from his trousers is the choke chain previously worn by his late dog, Loki. And for a second reference to his canine friend the medallion round his neck contains a picture of Loki. Less blandness from everyone else - more of this! -- Amanda Seyfried -- Also in a long red dress with a massive bow - looks a bit old for her, and the colour is a bit too orange for her skintone - It's Valentino - The first she tried on- but she has amazing long blonde rapunzel hair, and the bling! Huge diamond necklace made up of five flowers. -- Amy Adams -- Another red dress, Carolina Herrera, with a flowing detail in the middle - I don't care for it - but again she's rocking her necklace. -- Sarah Jessica Parker -- She looks like a princess. It's a big, beaded and belted ball gown - and is Dior Haute Couture - she is so so lucky. It's ott, but i'm loving it - it looks absolutely beautiful. She's got big brown wavy hair - my favourite so far. -- Marisa Tomei -- She looks cute in a one shoulder oyster white gown, very fitted and she looks tiny - and it only arrived this morning, she is so brave! The dress has an amazing train. She's not loving the interview though - she just looks bored. -- Kate Winslet -- In a dark grey one shouldered frock, with a wide sequin black lace sash. I'm not sure - I'll have to get a better look from the pics tomorrow - it's not a boring dress - but i'm not sure yet if it has worked. The dress is Yves St Laurent, a classic designer, but at the mo the jewellery is the star - classic diamond earings and bracelet. I don't think i'm convinced with the hair - too old. -- Natalie Portman -- Some colour - Someone is finally wearing this season! I love it! She looks stylish but modern, nice to see someone taking a (small) risk and moving away from white and black. -- Penelope Cruz -- In a beautiful detailed white dress with a full skirt - The fuller, ballgown skirts are getting my vote this year. This is nice - but SJP's is better. The fit of this dress isn't very good on Penelope, which is a real shame. Her hair is quite a plain bun - that seems to be the look everyone is rocking this year. -- Beyonce -- Just got a quick glimpse of her dress - a strapless, bodycon black mermaid dress with a fishtail - with a vile gold pattern. Beyonce is so hit and miss with her fashions - this is such a miss. her hair is rubbish, no jewellery, but she does have a great bod. -- Angelina -- Is wearing the most amazing green earings. She's got a long plain black dress on and looks stunning - but it's no surprise she's in black - give us some colour Angelina! -- Tilda Swinton -- Often looks crazy - but is pretty plain tonight - in black and beige. -- Meryl Streep -- Looks classic, old hollywood - she's lovely. Her dress is a grey-brown, long sleeved off the shoulder effort. -- Anne Hathaway -- Another one in white - although all the jewels on the dress are make the top look gold. I like the top, but the bottom of the dress is an unflattering shape. Nice sleek hair tho. -- Jennifer Aniston -- In an off-white beaded gown which looks beautiful. A great shape on her. Her casual hair with a small french plait also looks chic and elegant. --Tina Fey-- Also is beaded white - I love this, the cut is fantastic and the dress is timeless. Her hair is in a big side bun, which is that bit more glamorous and sleek than the buns sported by lots of the celebs tonight. --Goldie Hawn-- Just a quick shout out for the worst fitting dress of the night - So unflattering - how did a stylist let this get anywhere near the door. So it seems like black and white are the colours of the day, classic, glamorous, but not very exciting. At least we just had New York Fashion week for some more exciting looks - This was a classic Glam year. No mega disasters, although i'm sure there will be some once the magazines come out. Oh well - I'll reassess tomorrow, haven't even seen the bottom of most of these dresses! Thanks for reading to my inane ramblings if you got to the end of this - no-one wanted to stay up with me - and I had to talk about the fashion asap!
I usually don't like writing this sort of review and seeing that I was up until 4 am this morning listening to Bruce Springsteen and the Hilltop Hoods on U tube I feel lazy and tired today so this might not be the best account of my writing skills. Seeing that Dooyoo's man in red has asked me to list my nominations for the glittering prizes I will give it my best shot. He is much better at this sort of thing - he is far more analytical than me. I think a lot of us think that the Oscar ceremony is a lot of fuss about nothing. Perhaps it is but I still find it exciting and can't wait for the results. When I was younger the awards were much more important to me. I remember the times well - 17 years old living in a bed sit in The City of Steel with a sofa bed, a one bar electric fire and a TV as big as a house. My mates lived across the road but they didn't have a TV so it was always in my flat where we woud dress up in our posh frocks, dab a bit of blusher on our pale, soft cheeks and tie ribbons in our long locks. We wanted to look as glamorous as the stars, of course. But before the fancy dress rehersal one of us would pop down to the Victoria Wine shop on London Road for a bottle of the cheapest and foulest fake champagne on offer. We didn't have any glasses so had to drink the yellow liquid out of Easter egg mugs from the previous year. After drinking that stuff it is a surprise that I am still alive and kicking. In those days Johnny wasn't around or Sean Penn. I was in love with four guys at once - Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and Richard Dreyfuss. As for the ladies - I wasn't in love with any but I admired one or two. Meryl was around then so she is doing okay - she is till dominant and looking pretty good for her age. Barbara Streisand was pretty famous in those days. Although, I never thought she was attractive she had a funny side to her that I kinda liked. Anyway, I think I am beginning to waffle here so I will get on with the awards for 2009. Are you ready? Let's take a look at the nominees for Best Picture. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Frost/Nixon Milk The Reader Slumdog Millionaire I have seen all of these films but have only reviewed 3. Frost/Nixon I wasn't too mad about - I thought it dragged on too long and was a bit boring, in my opinion. The Reader is a very good film in parts but I have to admit I came out of the cinema thinking that it had lost the plot half way through and I wasn't really sure what the film was about. Classed as a holocaust film yet we were only introduced to it half way through the film and personally I thought that was just a backdrop and the film was more about the generation born after the war who learnt that the generation of people they loved was actually guilty of hideous crimes - so in that way I suppose there is a link to the holocaust. For me, it was a messy film and just didn't fit together. Slumdog, I love with all my heart and I would love the film to win this award but it won't - this is Hollywood and they are going to choose one of their own babies. Milk - a great film - interesting and an emotive subject. Well acted by Mr. Penn with his quiffy hairstyle and false hooter. The filming in this is very low key and sympathetic to the man, Harvey Milk. Could be in with a chance but then so could Frost/Nixon. It's the sort of political film the Yanks love. The Reader from what I have read looks an interesting watch. So we are left with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - well I know there has been a mixed reaction from Dooyoo readers about this film and the Poles here in Warsaw are totally confused by the concept and did not like the film at all. I loved it and I am not a Pitt fan. He did a fine job and the cinematography was far out. If it was up to me I would give Slumdog the vote but it isn't and I think Benjamin Button will win. Best Director Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire Stephen Daldry - The Reader Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon Gus Van Sant - Milk David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Danny Boyle has had a mixed career and some of his films have been very hit and miss but I think his direction on Slumdog is excellent even though an Asian friend of mine living in Warsaw, who is a Bollywood promoter, disagrees with me. He told me last night that he didn't think the Jamal's accent was the accent from a Mumbai slum. Also, Indian critics have criticised the film for glamorising poverty or alternatvely not representing the subject authentically. His view is that it is just an average sort of film - nothing special. I disagree. However, as much as I love Boyle's work on this movie I am not going to nominate him. Gus van Sant - I like his work very much. He is very artistic and has an individual style although his work on Milk wasn't his usual style so this time I have to take him out of the running. So we are left with Ron Howard, Stephen Daldry and David Fincher and the award goes to David Fincher. Hurrah! In my view, he should win the Oscar and I think he will. His work this year has been outstanding. He is so imaginative and his use of colour and excessive detail make his work outstanding in beauty and composition. Terrific work! Now for my favourite category - Best Actor And the nominees are: Richard Jenkins - The Visitor Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Sean Penn - Milk Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon Micky Rourke - The Wrestler Brad Pitt was very convincing in Benjamin Button and I have to say I was impressed with his acting ability. Frank Lagella was pretty good in Frost/Nixon too as was Richard Jenkins. Obviously, they are all good - that's the reason they have been nominated but the two who shine out to me are Sean Penn and Micky Rourke. Whether you like Penn or not he is totally believable as Harvey Milk. His mannerisms are exact. His pursuasiveness and his flamboyant air are very convincing. But as much as I love him I am not going to nominate him because there is someone else who deserves the Oscar and I think he will win. Tonight, ladies and gentleman, the Oscar for Best Actor, goes to Mickey Rourke for his portrayal of the tired, beaten up wrestler, Randy Robinson. Next Category - Best Actress Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married Anjelina Jolie - The Changeling Melissa Leo - Frozen River Meryl Streep - Doubt Kate Winslett - The Reader In my view it is between two ladies - Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep. Now, we all know that Kate Winslet is one feisty lady and usually she plays intelligent roles but I fear in The Reader she is a bit of a dim-wit which takes a bit of getting used to. Her role is of a woman who lives in post-war Germany and her involvement with the cruel ways of the Nazis eventually catches up with her. I have to say she is really good in this role and not at all glamorous. In fact I would say that she was exceptional in this but she was in Revolutionary Road as well where she played the bored housewife. And what about the grandee of Hollywood - Ms Streep. Mmmm - well dominant as always. I think I described her as a Gothic cat in my review of Doubt. She knows her craft inside out and there is no doubt about that (no pun intended) and in the film she holds your attention at all times. I think she will win the Oscar for Best Actress but I am going to nominate Kate Winslet because she deserves the accolade. Streep plays over the top - Winslet doesn't. Next....Best Suporting Actor Without listing the names we know who is going to win this but I will list them anyway. Josh Brolin - Milk Robert Downey Junior - Tropic Thunder Philip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt Heath Ledger - Dark Knight Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road Okay, so Heath Ledger will win the award because he is dead and he was outstanding in The Dark Knight but I am going to nominate Josh Brolin out of Milk although Hoffman was good in Doubt but out of the two I would say Brolin is the better actor. That's short and sweet. And Next we have - Best Supporting Actress Amy Adams - Doubt Penelope Cruz - 'Vicky Christina Barcelona' Taraji P Henson - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Viola davis - Doubt Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler And my nomination goes to Taraji P Henson whose portrayal of the ferocious and dominant woman who adopts Benjamin is outstanding. Her peaceful eyes and fiery spirit are a pleasure to watch. Marisa Tomei would get second prize if there was one because she was very convincing as the ageing stripper in The Wrestler. Her devotion to the man and the way she was always rooting for him melted my heart. Superb. Amy Adams is too wet behind the ears and far too sweet for my liking and although Viola Davis played a strong role I just think Henson and Tomei have the edge. As for Penelope Cruz - nil point. So that's all the biggies but I will just give you my nominations for the remaining categories. Best Cinematography - I want Slumdog to win but I think Benjamin Button will Best Animated Feature Film - Kung Fu Panda Best Foreign Film - Waltz with Bashir (Israel) Best Original Screenplay - Millk (Dustin Lance Black) Best Adapted Screenplay - Doubt (John Patrick Shanley) Best Documentary Feature - Man on Wire Best Original Score - Slumdog Millionaire or Defiance (Can't make my mind up on that one) Best Costume Desugn - Revolutionary Road Best Make Up - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Best Visual Effects - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but I think Dark Knight will win this one. There are a few more categories left but I had better not go on too long as I know people don't like lists. So there you are folks - my nominations. Not sure if they are the same as the man in red's although I bet Kate Winslet is on his list. 2008 was a bit of a mixed bag - some great movies and some awful ones. What saddens me is that Defiance isn't up there with the nominations. I have watched that film a few times now and I like it a lot more than when I first reviewed it and I apologise to Danny boy (Daniel Craig) because I don't think I did him justice in my review. So tomorrow we will see who the winners are. Goodbye and Goodnight.
10 days from now we will witness the biggest night of the year for everyone in the film industry. The 81st Annual Academy awards will take place on 22nd February 2009. The awards will be presented by Australia and X-Men star High Jackman, and is set to be a massive night for the British Film Industry. Although I don't often pay much attention to whether a film has won awards when I am deciding whether I will watch it or not, it has occasional swayed my opinion and so I can see why they are seen as important in the film industry. With just 10 days to go until the event I thought it would be good to cast my eyes over the nominations. Because I really can't give an opinion on some of the categories I will just offer my opinion on the categories I have something valuable to sat about. Award: Best Picture Nominations: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire Obviously one of the most prestigious awards at the Oscars, the film that wins it is generally pretty good. The two front runners without a doubt are Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button. However, having seen both films as well as dominating the BAFTA's I can only see one winner, Slumdog Millionaire. The Reader and Milk are following closely behind the two frontrunners. However, I can't see either of them winning although Milk has the better chance simply because it is about an iconic American Politician. For me Frost/Nixon has just managed sneak in there ahead of the likes of The Dark Knight and Wall-E although the latter never really stood a chance being an animated film. Award: Actor In A Leading Role Nominations: Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Sean Penn (Milk), Brad Pitt (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) I am sure it is a real professional achievment for any actor to have his work recognised by an Oscar. Mickey Rourke won the BAFTA for Best Actor and I feel he has prbably done just enough to win the Oscar. For me this is a very tight category with Sean Penn and Brad Pitt also in with a good chance and Pitt would fully deserve it if it came his way. However, don't forget about Richard Jenkins and Frank Langella who can't be written off. Award: Actor In A Supporting Role Nominations: Josh Brolin (Milk), Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) Another great award to win and I really hope it goes to Heath Ledger. He absolutley deserves it for his role as the manic Joker in The Dark Knight. However, Josh Brolin and Phillip Seymour Hoffman have a very good chance with Robert Downey Jr and Michael Shannon the outsiders. Surely the award will go to Ledger though. Award: Actress In A Lead Role Nominations: Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Angelina Jolie (Changleing), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), Meryl Streep (Doubt), Kate Winslet (The Reader) Like the award for Best Actor the Best Actress Award is a great professional achievment. Although I don't know too much about the films these Actresses appear in, I still feel that Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep are the frontrunners. I really can't see any of the other three contenders taking the award and it will be a close one between Streep and Winslet. Award: Actress In A Supporting Role Nominations: Amy Adams (Doubt), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Christina Barcelona), Viola Davis (Doubt), Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) Again a great achievment but like the Best Actor award I am not that familiar with the films involved. I really can't seperate the nominees. It would be nice to see Taraji P. Henson win for her role as Benjamin Button's adopted mother. However, I see the award going to Penelope Cruz. Award: Best Direction Nominations: David Fincher (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Gus Van Sant (Milk), Stephen Daldry (The Reader), Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) A great achievment for any director and defintley one of the bigger awards. I think Danny Boyle will take this and similarly to the best picture category David Fincher will be close behind. I don't think any of the other nominees are in with a serious chance after all, traditionally the winner of the Best Picture Award wins the Best Director Award. They are the main awards and I will simply list the nominations and who I think will win for the final few as I have little opinion on them but can predict who will win. Award: Animated Feature Film Nominations: Bolt, Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E Winner: Wall-E Award: Adapted Screenplay Nominations: Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, The Reader Winner: Slumdog Millionaire or The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button So there we have it my opinion on the 81st Annual Academy Awards. Obviously these are just my opinions and some people will probably disagree with what I have said.
After Kate Winslet shamefully 'blubbed' her way to an Oscar nomination at the Golden Globes for 'The Reader', the tale of a love affair between a female SS officer and her underage Jewish lover, one cant help recall her cheeky appearance on Ricky Gervais brilliant sardonic sitcom 'Extras'. There, of course, she was dressed as a nun, quipping that 'if you want to go for an Oscar just play a 'Holocaust Jew or a mental'. Well she did the former last year and has the nomination in the best actress in a leading role category, ironically going up against Jewish golden girl Mel Streep who plays a nun in 'Doubt'. I think it is fair to say that Holocaust related movies do rather well at the Oscars and that type of film is deliberately released in the awards season, this period also clashing with World Holocaust Week in January where the Jews are quite rightfully and honourably remembered around the world, and some say why they got away with attacking Gaza in the same month. Hollywood and the entertainment business is dominated by Jewish people and so no surprise their particular large voting block in the Academy use it to 'Big Up' their own sometimes. It's your town and you make the rules. When in Rome! Its rumoured that closet gay men also pull a lot of strings in Hollywood and so films about gay men also seem to feature in the nominations when a big actor takes on that type of role, this time Sean Penn up for 'Milk' for best actor in a leading role category, the biopic of San Francisco first openly gay mayor likely to get that particular cities branch of the Academies block vote. For me Brokeback Mountain and those nice boys in cowboy hats was like some sort of Hollywood Executives gay fantasy being played out. LOL. An example of films for me that won Oscars because of that bias would be The Pianist and Philadelphia, two very average and typically sprawling award targeted movies. As we all know the best movie of the year rarely wins the Oscar and the films that do hardly anybody has seen them as they are released so near the big awards, the Academy the ones who decided, they heavily influenced by lobbying, trinkets and freebies. Three or four years ago some members were receiving goody bags at the big January parties of up to ten grand! If an arty or laborious film gets a nomination, like the tedious Juno did last year, its grosses will shoot up, of course, just as bands record sales would if it wins a Brit Award. Again no one believes the best films win the big prizes but if you can lobby hard enough like Danny Boyle and Slumdog have done this year you can squeeze out hyped movies and get yours noticed. The interesting aspect to 2009 was how you got nominated in the various categories, Kate Winslet managing to squeeze in twice at the Golden Globes for the same category in best supporting and best actress for The Reader. That isn't allowed at the Oscars in the acting categories and so her performance in Revolutionary Road has missed out. In the other awards like the Globes and BAFTAS you can get away with getting a best actress performance into a best supporting actress nomination and so win more awards, again the case at The Globes. The various big award ceremonies have different rules of nomination and so you need to lobby differently, lobbying the name of the game. -The nominations- *Best Picture* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Frost/Nixon Milk The Reader Slumdog Millionaire All five films were released in January and so no surprise there. Hollywood does'nt want anyone watching them to see how boring most of them are. The glamour was Brad Pitt for the tiresom Benjamin, Button what looks like Forest Gump 2, whilst Hollywood bad boy Penn was due another Oscar. It was great that Slumdog was in there, a wondereful movie and a rare event because it's effectively a foreign language film with an unknown cast in the top category. Frost/Nixon had a chance, being American and political in this momentous year for the United States, British actor Michael Sheen playing his Alan B`stard again. But for me the winner was bang on and Slumdog the rihtful star of the show! Winner: Slumdog Millionaire *Best Director* David Fincher for 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' Ron Howard for 'Frost/Nixon' Gus Van Zant for 'Milk' Stephen Daldry for 'The Reader' Danny Boyle for 'Slumdog Millionaire' Danny Boyle is my favorite home grown director but I just couldnt see Hollywood what they will see as a foreign language movie to do well as it will tank in American multiplexes. I honestly thought Fincher would win it for the complex Benjamin Button movie to back up its best picture award. But he didnt, 2-0 to Slumdog! Winner:Danny Boyle *Best Actor* Richard Jenkins,' The Visitor' Frank Langella, 'Frost /Nixon' Sean Penn, 'Milk' Bradd Pitt, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' Mickey Rourke, 'The Wrestler' Although the temptation was for a glamorous 'Brangelina' double with The Changeling and Benjamin Button, Mickey Rourke was nailed on from the off. But Sean Penn tends to chase Oscars and has his supporters and sometimes it's too obvious in his performance, rather hammy for Milk (as it was in I Am Sam) as he tries to do 'gay' on screen. I have seen both Milk and The Wrestler and so Mickey by a mile. But Penn won. Winner: Sean Penn *Best Actress* Anne Hathaway, 'Rachael Getting Married' Angelina Jolie, 'Challenging' Melissa Leo, 'Frozen River' Meryl Streep, 'Doubt' Kate Winslet, 'The Reader' This was the most contested catergory for me of 2009, our Kate going up against Hollywood's golden girl Meryl Streep. The Holocaust themes were the main reasons this film had been nominated for me and for that reason alone it was always going to win. The world is political and 'Doubt', a film about pedophilia and abuse in the Catholic Church, was never going to win and had even 'stronger forces' working against it winning. The surprise nomination here was Kate Hat-Stand for 'Rachael is getting Married', a tedious romcom offender. The Winner: Kate Winslett * Best Supporting Actor* Josh Brolin, 'Milk' Robert Downey Junior, 'Tropical Thunder' Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt' Heath Ledger, 'The Dark Knight' Michael Shannon, 'Revolutionary Road' The bizarre nomination for Rob Downey Junior 'blacking up' for Tropical Thunder got the biggest murmur at the nominations announcements in 2009, but Heath Ledger for the first posthumous Oscar for a long time with his role in Batman the heavy favorite. Hollywood was never going to go for Phillip Seymour Hoffmans pedophilic priest, PSH brilliantly seedy in everything he does, a strategic award here to avoid the unspoken Hollywood taboos, Ledger getting his gong in the grave, the rightful winer. * Best Supporting Actress* Amy Adams,' Doubt' Penelope Cruz, Vicky, 'Cristina Barcelona' Viola Davis, 'Doubt' Taraji P.Henson, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' Marisa Tomei, 'The Wrestler' The years ethnic 'noms' seem to have been dumped in this category and so chance for some glamour up on stage. Marisa Tomei got a bizarre Oscar for playing a similar character as she plays in The Wrestler in a silly film called 'My Cousin Vinny', so we could quikcly rule her out in 2009, and perhaps the chnance to give Benjamin Button its first golden statue for its 13 nominations with Tarajia Henson. When a film gets that many nominations then the Hollywood money machine wants it to win. But they went for glamour with the stunning Penelope Cruz gettig it for the rather tedious Christina Barcelona. -Other selected winners- Milk : Best Screenplay Slumdog : Best song Man on a Wire : Best Documentary Departures : Best Foreign Film Wall-E : Best Animated Film *My predictions at the time* Best Picture: Curious Case of Benjamin Button Best Director: David Fincher for 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, 'The Wrestler' Best Actress: Kate Winslet, 'The Reader' Michael Shannon, 'Revolutionary Road' Taraji P.Henson, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Ask me a year ago and i would have said that the Oscar was widely useless and a award that didnt mean as much as people and actors think it does. Ask me now, and i would say it's the best award a movie actor or actress can get, not only will their profile be raised and they be entitled to a more generous salary but they will gain acclaim, status and would be offered more better roles in future. Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker, Reese Witherspoon etc With the Oscar nominations annouced today i thought it fitting to review the system. A great system but is it a conicidence that the Oscar and SAG wins are the same as the Oscars, are the right people invited to vote from the industry, i heard Jennifer Aniston is a voter hmmmm and Steve Carell? hmmmmmmm - but over the years the Oscar awards have honoured a good diversity of different movies and i tend to mostly agree, they manage to make five films have brillant exposure and showcase to me movies i'd like watch, i plan to watch all five of this years Best Picture nominations at the least. The nominations annouced today....where quite biased towards Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button and i was abit bemused why the same sort of movies where up for Screenplay, director, acting, producing and best picture etc Best Film The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Frost/Nixon Milk The Reader Slumdog Millionaire A good combination, Well done Oscar! I think Slumdog Millionaire has this in the bag, strangely i can see Milk winning in a twist. I think there might be a suprise win? Director David Fincher - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon Gus Van Sant - Milk Stephen Daldry - The Reader Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire I think Danny Boyle will win this easily. Best Actor Richard Jenkins - The Visitor Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon Sean Penn - Milk Brad Pitt - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler I think Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler will win very easily, Brad Pitt i mean come on! he is not a GREAT actor sorry....i think Sean Penn could be a suprise winner Best Supporting Actor Josh Brolin - Milk Robert Downey Jr. - Tropic Thunder Philip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road Heath Ledger will win this, the others can almost not turn up! it's not even competitive competition apart from Hoffman. Best Actress Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married Angelina Jolie - Changeling Melissa Leo - Frozen River Meryl Streep - Doubt Kate Winslet - The Reader Suprised no double nomination for Kate Winslet as i thought but then she would have lost because of splitting the vote. Kate Winslet will win! 100% sure of it Best Supporting Actress Amy Adams - Doubt Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona Viola Davis - Doubt Taraji P. Henson - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler I can see Penelope Cruz winning this quite easily. Adapted Screenplay Eric Roth, Robin Swicord - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button John Patrick Shanley - Doubt Peter Morgan - Frost/Nixon David Hare - The Reader Simon Beaufoy - Slumdog Millionaire Tough one, i think Slumdog Millionaires got this sewn up Original Screenplay Courtney Hunt - Frozen River Mike Leigh - Happy-Go-Lucky Martin McDonagh - In Bruges Dustin Lance Black - Milk Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter - WALL-E I think Milk will win this not any of the others! Animated Feature Bolt Kung Fu Panda WALL-E I want Kung Fu Panda but surely WALL-E will win? Art Direction Changeling The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight The Duchess Revolutionary Road Tough one but i think Dark Knight will/should win. Jolie v Pitt ha ha ! but they'll both lose... Cinematography Changeling The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight The Reader Slumdog Millionaire See the same movies again, this gets pointless! Dark Knight to win. Costume Design Australia The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Duchess Milk Revolutionary Road Button's got this me thinks. Or Revolutionary road? Documentary Feature The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) Encounters At The End Of The World The Garden Man On Wire Trouble The Water I thin maybe The Garden cause it sounds good not seen anyone of them though LOL! Documentary Short The Conscience Of Nhem En The Final Inch Smile Pinki The Witness - From The Balcony of Room 306 The Witness, it sounds better LOL! sorry not seen this Editing The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight Frost/Nixon Milk Slumdog Millionaire Isnt it great Dark knight up for actor, producing directing etc etc and its not up for best picture. Editing wise i thin Millionaire will win Best Foreign Language Film The Baader Meinhof Complex The Class Departures Austria Waltz With Bashir Waltz with Bashir will win no contest Makeup The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight Hellboy II: The Golden Army Dark Knight LOL! cause you cant beat it???? Original Score Alexandre Desplat - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button James Newton Howard - Defiance Danny Elfman - Milk A.R. Rahman - Slumdog Millionaire Thomas Newman - WALL-E I think Slumdog will win this of course, top score Original Song 'Down to Earth' - WALL-E 'Jai Ho' - Slumdog Millionaire 'O Saya' - Slumdog Millionaire Sound Editing The Dark Knight Iron Man Slumdog Millionaire WALL-E Wanted Sound editin Dark knight the best but i think WALL-E will get this Sound Mixing The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight Slumdog Millionaire WALL-E Wanted Wall E how is this different from the above category LOL! Visual Effects The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight Iron Man Dark Knight no contest, i am sure it'll win this one Animated Short La Maison de Petits Cubes Lavatory - Lovestory Oktapodi Presto This Way Up Not heard of them but i think La Maison got a better chance? Live Action Short Auf der Strecke (On the Line) Manon On The Asphalt New Boy ** Spielzeugland (Toyland) I think New Boy might win sounds clever. what a great set of nominations but mainly the same movies up for lots of different nominations?
To many this will appear to be a sacrificial mutilation of a great man and the greatest ideological concept in world cinema, but rest assured it is not. This weekend an ageing Italian American will almost certainly be receiving a golden award in front of a gaping audience of peers and admirers. His acceptance speech will no doubt be short and grateful, but it will draw a line under a career and business in turmoil. If Martin Scorcese is offered the Oscar on 27th February 2005, it should be declined and it should be written off. Not only for the sake of Academy credibility, not only for the sake of his past achievements but for the future of film and it's progression to a new place and I shall explain why. Martin Scorcese grew up in an age of film enlightenment he landed on his feet in the most glamorous and the most desirable job on earth. Along with other young starry-eyed directors at the time, Spielberg, Coppola, Lucas, Bogdanovich and Friedkin, they were thrust into the realms of possibility and opportunity. Marty was a hard worker, technically talented academically limited. Like many of his peers he looked towards gritty, reality based independent movies, making a name for himself with Mean Streets (1973), starring Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro. As a breakthrough film this ranks as one of the best, and no doubt aided his assent to the top of the Hollywood ladder. Many keener readers will note that Mean Streets was not his first feature, and as true as this I think it stands apart from earlier attempts dramatically enough to be seen as his introduction. Scorcese fleeted in and out of the scene creating amiable short piece ItalianAmerican (1974) and the inoffensive Alice doesn't live here anymore (1974). He wasn't capitalizing on the raw reputation he was attempting to conjure, but in true new wave style, Scorcese rose to the challenge and started a project that would shape and define his career, Taxi Driver. Released in 1976 (3 years after Mean Streets) it was an instant cult hit, but received a mixture of reviews, some praised the unique style and outrageous content whilst others questioned the motives and risqué storylines. The film was a success, not a huge blockbusting success like Friedkins 'Exorcist' but a success all the same. It gave Marty the rule of the roost in alternative cinema in America a position which would cost him everything. Scorcese was power hungry, much like fellow Italian American Coppola and friends Spielberg and Lucas he believed that the world was at his feet. He took copious amounts of drugs fell into bouts of ill health due to chronic asthma and other self-induced illnesses. But worst of all he thought he was invincible, he like all that came before him and all that failed after him thought that everything he touched would turn to gold. Unfortunately he was proven wrong in the biggest collapse of his roller coaster career. Scorcese hit rock bottom both personally and professionally after the stunning financial losses incurred on New York, New York (1977) a rather unsuccessful foray into the world of musicality. The film was critically annihilated which subsequently meant that audiences kept well away. His career was once again in tatters, not in any way helped by his ailing health at the time. He did continue to produce a couple of small films and presentations, but only a begging phone call from his friend and lead man, Robert DeNiro. It was DeNiro who forced Scorcese to make Raging Bull (1980), Scorcese didn't want to just make another Rocky, and he didn't think the story had the legs to beat the blockbusting positive energy such a film had created. This was a dark story of a wife abusing, alcoholic world champion boxer who lost everything, not like Stallones positive thinking American Dream style presentation. He made it under great pressure, he saw it as his swan song possibly his last work before he died, which made him put everything into it, and even though it nearly destroyed him the results were astounding. Raging Bull was one of the most critically acclaimed films of the decade, and although audience turnout was not immense it affirmed Scorcese as a top director once more. But alas how long could it last? Not very he began to string out his films leaving gaps between his works much like Kubrick was famed for doing. His next effort was the enjoyable but ultimately rather shallow King of Comedy (1983), which did very little business in America, and drifted Scorcese back into the wilderness. But this time there was no Raging Bull or Taxi Driver to save him, he directed tepid productions like After Hours (1985) and the ill-judged return of the 'Hustler' in 'The Colour of Money' (1986). He even ventured into the lowest denominator for a serious director, directing the music video for Michael Jacksons 'Bad' he was in freefall. Nothing remained of his anarchic routes, his gritty realism, his real life personalities and character driven plots, that was a distant memory, just like the New Wave itself. The new wave had capitulated; it started as a European influenced band of free thought, on a low budget. It ended with high-risk non-personal pulp fiction adaptations. Whilst his friend Steven Spielberg continued to create his own 'individuality' Scorcese was stuck in a rut and with each film he made the deeper he sank. The Last Temptation of Christ (1987) offered him some redemption (excusing the pun), it bought him firmly back into the limelight, whilst the film was a luke warm hit the controversy it created was immense. Whilst some may argue that it was only the acting of Dafoe and Keitel that truly made the film, it was a step back to where he ought to be, but where would he be taken next? Leaving behind all that he had done and all that he had achieved in the past he moved on, for the first time he modernised and extenuated his real niche, he was a gangster movie man, and Goodfellas (1990) was the perfect repost. Whilst I personally dislike the film for it's crude overacting, jumpy editing and stylisation of an undesirable lifestyle it became a success and he had his Taxi Driver 2, finally after 14 years of toil, it had arrived. Critics and audiences raved about this return to form, and whilst the more cynical were disappointed at what he had left behind, there was once again a future for Mr. Scorcese. He had now become a cult hero, people revered his work like he wanted them to do for the last ten years. He was in the mood to direct and that he did, but once again they were tepid run of the mill Hollywood stories lacking a Scorcese dynamic, if in fact this really exists. Cape Fear (1991) was quite honestly awful, The age of innocence (1993) didn't fair much better and Casino (1995) looked to start where Goodfellas left off but missed the mark by a mile. He was back where he was in the 1980's producing films below his ability but now people respected him, now people clambered for awards and notification of his achievements. A few more films slipped through the net before he got onto his lifes ambition, the work that the hype suggested would define Scorcese and was a labour of love for him. This turned out to be Gangs of New York. I watched this film a gazing amazement, was this a film by the same man who directed Taxi Driver and Raging Bull? (At that time two of my favourite films) It was formulaic, unimaginative, linear it was everything that his past works were not, the Midas touch had become inverted, but still nobody minded. This looked more like the work of friend Spielberg than Scorcese, it was a blockbuster with high paid Hollywood actors, not the DeNiro's and the Keitel's of the old days this looked like, smelled like and essentially was a Hollywood mainstream production. What is wrong with that you may wonder? Well this is not what he is, Scorcese is meant to be something different, an artist in a world of mechanical reproduction. Yes as an artist he reserves the right to pursue the paths he sees fit, but i fear he has become what he and his generation has always opposed, a part of the industry. Coppola did it, Spielberg and Lucas were always in it and Friedkin tried but failed to get in it, Scorcese was just another hack working for a system not for himself. Driven by his desire for that golden statue and some kind of acceptance from all those who doubted him in the past, he has dipped into a tar pit of monotonous similarity. What distinguishes him from a Chris Columbus or a Ridley Scott, nothing now, 30 years ago something, but now absolutely nothing. He can't go back, nobody can, he will never make another Taxi Driver and this is the cross he must bare. Just like Coppola tried to recreate Godfather 1 & 2, with varying success until he bankrupted himself. Marty faces a future that offers little, his ability to change and adapt over 30 years is as surprising as it is depressing. He was part of a group that offered a dream of idealised filmmaking free from money, free from interference and free from moral restrictions. He worked tirelessly as a student to become a filmmaker, to change what films then were about, but through age he has lost this will and passion. Maybe it is an impossible dream, maybe it is completely impractical but like it or not that is what he was best at and that is what he will be remembered for. The Aviator is just another sad chapter for me, it is another nail in the coffin for any lingering hopes that he could one day create something that outrages and captivates. It bears none of the hallmarks of a Scorcese film (in the traditional sense) and it looks and feels like a film that could have been made by any number of mildly talented directors walking the Hollywood sidewalks. There is no way that Scorcese should get this award for the Aviator, but he's not going to is he? Scorcese is getting the Oscar as an apology, it is his destiny to win one and as we are all mortal time may not be on his side. But is guilt and a sense of timing the best way for a diplomatic important event to take place, I think not. Scorcese should therefore reject this peace offering for the shallow attempt at academy redemption. After all how much can that statue truly bring him personally, we all know what he's capable of and we all know just how far this falls short of the mark. So maybe Taxi Driver shouldn't have lost out to Rocky, but we cannot change the past. I fail to see how overlooking more worthy candidates on this occasion does anything more than simply increase the problem. For example why did Clint Eastwood not get one for Mystic River? Because it was Polanski's turn (and trust me it really was), so surely Clint will win next time right? Who's he against now? Scorcese, who has the better film? Clint, who's going to win? Neither? Unthinkable. This is the last stand for new wave cinema, this is the final full stop, if Scorcese wins and accepts the award for the aviator, all that has gone before will be undone. We will have gone full circle, they were rebelling against Hollywood pumping money into musicals and epics, which wasted money and required no skill. Now look at our film industry, Lord of the Rings did a clean sweep, Chicago won best film even Gladiator got a hatful and now the near extinct format of the fictionalised biopic makes an appearance. It could be 1955 all over again, we aren't moving forward, we are stuck in a never-ending circle which passes from phase to phase, but always engulfing and destroying the dreams and the dreamers along the way. It's not Scorceses fault that he is what he is he must adapt to survive, and had he stayed trying to make another Taxi Driver then maybe I would not be talking about him now. Oscars have become a worthless parade, supplying those who work enough with a reward. As George C Scott said when he declined his Oscar, how can you judge fellow artists against each other? What makes one more deserving than the other, the top films of any given year will inherently be very different but who's to judge what type of different is better. It is a fallacy to assume that this remains a true representation of achievement, it is just a publicity merry-go-round, a pat on the back for a few popular winners and everybody goes home happy. It is as scripted and rehearsed as a wrestling contest we all secretly know who's going to win but we hope and pray that it might be something different. Good luck to all those who enter, but look around whats the competition? Bogart, Gable, Chaplin, Olivier, Welles, Brando, DeNiro, Pacino? Kubrick, Fellini, Bergman, Welles (again, I like him alright), Godard, Ford, Coppola? These aren't the best, these aren't the immortals of yesteryear, they are what we are left with, a product of a factory style production line of semi-talented good-looking people. The lustre has gone, it has been overtaken by bling and extreme makeovers. 30 years ago the best films on offer were Chinatown, Godfather Part 2 and The Conversation, now it is Aviator, Finding Neverland, Sideways, Ray and Million Dollar Baby, 3 biopics 1 feel good and one comedy. Best directors, Coppola, Polanski, Truffaut and Cassavettes now we have Mike Leigh, Clint Eastwood and Scorcese, people who were around 30 years ago but who can only make a lasting mark in this day in age. Maybe in time I will be proven wrong the names of Tom hanks, Russell Crowe and Sean Penn will be remembered just as well as we do today for Cagney, Grant and Gable, who knows. But in my opinion we live in a film society that looks to prey on known success formulas, utilise actors of adequate talents and offer audiences nothing more than two hours of escapism. But film can and has offered more we are just not trying to see it, Scorsese was a pioneer for this, which makes his decline all the more infuriating and unbelievable. Directors now survive as relics, a name that can be attributed to past glories and on which future success is a guarantee. Young talented directors are a rarity, they just aren't commercial. M. Night Shyamalan made a good fist of it but, with numerous flops after the initial success of Sixth sense the future seems as bleak as ever. Some oldies have proven that they still can make the best films, look at Polanski who rolled back the years to atone for his defeat to Coppola in '75 to create arguably his best work. But this is rare, we have not seen an influx of quality films, there has been no kind of revival, we are essentially trapped in a barren wilderness where change is minimal and progression is impossible. That may be bleak but over the past few years little has been done to prove this hypothesis inaccurate. Yes I should accept that the New Wave is dead but why instead must it be replaced by a barely functioning independent Hollywood? Finance has become the key to filmmaking, the audience is a distant after thought. The power that actors hold over studios demanding 6 or 7 figure sums to create a film has lead to studios clamping down on risky projects. I don't see why we should be expected to accept second best, why something new and amazing that blows the Godfather, Easy Rider and Taxi Driver out of the water cant be done. We know there is the talent out there but something is preventing it from achieving it's aim. Most people today would take a stack of money against critical recognition and the possibility of eternal acknowledgement because that is quite simply what is most important. Why make another Chinatown and make only $5million profit when you could make another Star Wars movie and make $250 million? We have learnt to accept and not to question, we receive a barrage of high cost blockbusters, Ben Stiller comedies but rarely get anything that really offers us anything completely different, something that doesn't insult our intelligence so completely. But that is what has and will happen, with Scorcese just another example of it. To say that he is great is overstating it to say that he 'was' is possibly more accurate. Everyone has their successes and failures but when you step back and really look it is time to put your hands up and admit to what you have done. Nobody has had a perfect career, we all have blots on our landscape, but this is especially prominent in those with an artistic temperament. Scorsese dealt with failure by persevering but in doing so he left all that he was behind, just as all of his contemporaries had done and just how the new generation ultimately will one day do. So please Marty, Mr. Scorcese if they offer you that golden figurine pass it straight back. Unless they write Taxi Driver or Raging Bull on it is worthless, after all what would you rather be remembered by, winning with one average film. We know what Scorcese can achieve but the sad fact is that, all that he truly achieved was done a generation ago, and now with all the pomp and ceremony of an Oscar ceremony on the horizon, we are about to witness the end of credibility in film and the end of the New Wave mystique. The idea that all artists subscribed to that the film was the most important thing, a projection of self on the big screen. It was about artistic integrity, it was about innovation and ideas. The New Wave was not about the Americans, it was about the French; Godard, Truffaut it was about the Polish; Polanski, it was about the Czechs; Forman it was an ideal that engulfed cinema. Strains of it can still be seen in world cinema, but in America the dream was crushed, and now we are supposed to accept the empty shells of that period as purveyors of standard Hollywood dirge? Yes the New Wave died out, yes I should come to accept this, but why has the hard work of so many, been frittered away so cheaply? The romanticism, the ideological basis for filmmakers where is that now, what signs are left of this most important legacy? The truth is that there are few, just directors cashing in on past glories (excluding Polanski, but he was never really a simple case), independent one hit wonders that get gobbled up, devoured and then regurgitated by the studio system in a palatable form. Hopefully a new revolution is imminent, a generation of disenfranchised youth has collected under very similar circumstances to the last major movement. An unpopular war being waged in foreign climbs (Vietnam Iraq) an unpopular president (Nixon Bush) and a rise in the popularity of rock music. But alas in todays world where can you survive, in the sea of prosthetic actresses and painted smiles, who wants to know about the harsh realities of life? Maybe there just isnt a place for realism, artistry and independence in film, and maybe that is why Scorcese has bitten the bullet and accepted his fate as a mainstream film director. The Oscars is a sham of an awards ceremony for a sham of a business, and with each year that passes this becomes more and more evident. Maybe you liked the Aviator, maybe you enjoyed Ray, I cant say thats wrong, but what we should consider is just where is it all leading to, what dark abyss are we being lead to? Triviality and uniformity are the staple ideas of Hollywood, repackaging successes until they become failures then discovering the next formula. So good luck everybody who is nominated for an Oscar this weekend and enjoy it to all those who intend to watch.
We're in the run up to Oscar time again, and as usual Hollywood is buzzing with excitement about who will win what. And the big question is, this time - can Martin Scorcese finally win an Oscar for Best Director? Here are the main categories of interest and my thoughts on each. Best Director --------------- Yes, believe it or not, the legendary director has never won anything he's been nominated for. 1981: Raging Bull (winner: Ordinary People, Robert Redford) 1989: The Last Temptation of Christ (winner: Rain Man, Barry Levinson) 1990: Goodfellas (winner: Born on the Fourth of July, Oliver Stone) I can understand the last two of these, but Ordinary People? I've never even heard of Ordinary People. Ok, ok, I haven't seen that. But Raging Bull is regarded as one of the best films of the last 25 years! And if you're wondering where Taxi Driver is, it didn't get nominated. It has been said by many that this will be Scorcese's year. However, the reaction to his film, Gangs of New York, has been mixed to say the least, which could put a spanner in the works. Further, Oscar controversies keep appearing in the news and Gangs of New York is caught up in yet another such story. Director Robert Wise, multi Oscar winner, posted an ad in The Los Angeles Daily News saying that Scorcese deserved the award for the film. But Oscar rules state that voters aren't to reveal their choices, hence much criticism. However, this doesn't exactly seem worth a story, and seeing as Jack Nicholson has apparently been stating he'll be voting for Adrien Brody for Best Actor anyway, who cares? It's either a slow news day, or someone's out to sabotage Gangs of New York's chances. There's been too much Oscar flummery in recent years. The nominations are: Stephen Daldry (The Hours) Rob Marshall (Chicago) Pedro Almodovar (Talk To Her) Roman Polanski (The Pianist) Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York) Talk to Her is a little known foreign film so it'll be a miracle if Almodovar wins. The only awards that The Hours could win certainly won't be in this category, so that leaves Marshall, Polanski and Scorcese. Polanski won the Bafta; Scorcese won the Golden Globe; and Marshall won the Directors Guild Award. The latter is usually a sign of who will win the Oscar, but don't count out Scorcese. Polanski should win, but Marshall will probably take it. Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: Martin Scorcese (Gangs of New York) BAFTA: Roman Polanski (The Pianist) Director's Guild: Rob Marshall (Chicago) Best Actor ------------ Adrien Brody (The Pianist) Nicolas Cage (Adaptation) Sir Michael Caine (The Quiet American) Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York) Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt) Nicholson was odds on favourite for his excellent performance as Warren Schmidt. However, Daniel Day Lewis has been winning at the recent ceremonies so don't count him out. Caine won't win, because the film material is a touchy subject and he's already got two Oscars in his pocket (albeit Best Supporting ones, for Hannah and her Sisters, in 1987, and The Cider House Rules in 2000). Cage would be a major surprise. Which leaves Adrien Brody, who might just come out of nowhere and take this award. I'll go for Day Lewis. Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: Jack Nicholson (dramatic, About Schmidt) Richard Gere (comedy/musical, Chicago) BAFTA: Daniel Day Lewis (Gangs of New York) Screen Actors Guild: Daniel Day Lewis (Gangs of New York) Best Actress -------------- Salma Hayek (Frida) Nicole Kidman (The Hours) Diane Lane (Unfaithful) Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven) Renèe Zellweger (Chicago) This is a two horse race, no question. Nic ole Kidman was nominated last year for Moulin Rouge, and although she didn't win, she's had a pretty good couple of years career wise. Her performance as Virginia Woolf in The Hours could be strong enough to win. Renee Zellweger is the other strong contender with her entertaining performance in Chicago. She was also nominated last year for Bridget Jones's Diary and failed to win. Salma Hayek is good in Frida, but I suspect the nomination had more to do with her effort in getting the film made than anything else. I haven't seen Julianne Moore in Far from Heaven and know nothing about Diane Lane in UnFaithful. Moore may suffer from having nominations in two different acting categories (see below) as it would split the vote. Kidman should take this. Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: Nicole Kidman (dramatic, The Hours) Renee Zellweger (comedy/musical, Chicago) BAFTA: Nicole Kidman (The Hours) Screen Actors Guild: Renee Zellweger (Chicago) Best Supporting Actor ------------------------- Chris Cooper (Adaptation) Ed Harris (The Hours) Paul Newman (Road to Perdition) John C Reilly (Chicago) Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can) Probably the hardest one to call. Ed Harris And John Reilly are good actors but their performances don't merit their names being here. Although that has never stopped the Oscars awarding the unworthy before. Newman has been nominated for acting roles nine times and won Best Actor once (for The Color of Money in 1986) so chances are he won't get it. Which leaves Cooper or Walken. My bet is Walken. Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: Chris Cooper (Adaptation) BAFTA: Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can) Screen Actors Guild: Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can) Best Supporting Actress ---------------------------- Kathy Bates (About Schmidt) Queen Latifah (Chicago) Julianne Moore (The Hours) Meryl Streep (Adaptation) Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago) Like the previous category, Queen Latifah and Kathy Bates don't really merit inclusion for their average performances (how many dooyoo members have I annoyed so far?). Meryl Streep has won twice before - (Kramer vs Kramer in 1979, and Sophie's Choice in 1983), but this is her 13th nomination, so another win may be long overdue. Moore gave a fantastic performance in The Hours, and Zeta Jones sizzled in Chicago. Fingers crossed for Zeta Jones, as she's the most deserving, and we need a Brit to take one of the acting awards. Although two would be good! *nudges Caine and Day Lewis* Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: Meryl Streep (Adaptation) BAFTA: Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago) Screen Actors Guild: Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago) Best Original Score ---------------------- Catch Me If You Can (John Williams) Far From Heaven (Elmer Bernstein) Frida (Elliot Goldenthal) The Hours (Philip Glass) Road to Perdition (Thomas Newman) This is another interesting category to call, and also a somewhat controversial one due to the omission of Howard Shore's score for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Academy rules state that only original material can be included, and as TTT included themes from the first film, it's out. This also stopped Moulin Rouge being nominated last year). Catch Me If You Can's score was fun, but JW has won this often enough before. Thomas Newman has been nominated four times without taking it and that trend will continue. Goldenthal's Frida score was excellent but the heavy reliance on cultural music means it's probably not mainstream enough to win. Bernstein would be a popular choice, not having won this in a LONG time (Thororughly Modern Millie, 1967) but chances are that Glass will win for his excellent score for The Hours. Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: Elliot Goldenthal (Frida) BAFTA: Phillip Glass (The Hours) Best Visual Effects --------------------- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Spider-Man Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Frankly this is a boring category as visual effects have taken over film too much. Episode II may be visually stunning but George Lucas relies so heavily on effects that I don't want him to win this award. Give it to the Two Towers. Other ceremonies: BAFTA: Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers Best Music (song) -------------------- Burn it Blue (Frida) Father and Daughter by Paul Simon (The Wild Thornberry's Movie) The Hands That Built America by U2 (Gangs of New York) I Move On (Chicago) Lose Yourself by Eminem (8 Mile) Disappointingly, 'I Move On' is the only Chicago song that can be nominated as it was written specifically for the film (oh, those Academy rules!!!). Eminem will hopefully take this one. Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: The Hands that Built America by U2 (Gangs of New York) Best Screenplay ------------------ Far From Heaven Gangs of New York My Big Fat Greek Wedding Talk to Her Y tu Mama Tambien GONY won't win. MBFGW certainly won't win! Chances are that Oscar will be feeling generous in this category and give it to one of the foreign films. I'll go for Talk To Her. Other ceremonies: Golden Globes: About Schmidt BAFTA: Talk to Her Writer's Guild: Bowling for Columbine Best Adapted Screenplay ----------------------------- About a Boy Adaptation Chicago The Hours The Pianist If there's any certain winner at this year's awards, it is Charlie Kaufman for Adaptation by a mile... Other ceremonies: BAFTA: Adaptation Writer's Guild: The Hours Best Picture -------------- Chicago Gangs of New York The Hours The Pianist The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 9 times out of 10, the winner of Best Director usually goes on to win Best Picture. The last time this didn't happen was in 2001 when Steven Soderbergh surprisingly won Best Director for Traffic and Gladiator won Best Picture.The only chance of that happening this time round is if Scorcese wins Director (GONY certainly won't win Best Picture). I'll plump for Chicago winning. LOTR will be overlooked as usual. Next year perhaps? Monday 24th March BBC1 12:50am - 5:05am The 75th Annual Academy Awards. Yes, BBC1 have live coverage of the event, presented by Jonanthan Ross (bring back Barry Norman). No doubt he'll have a few Hollywood guests (i.e. people who weren't invited to the ceremony). BBC1 won't have the ad breaks of course, so there'll be the usual studio discussion. If you're watching it live (guilty!) bring a pillow - it is 4 hours after all!
The 75th Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars will take place on March 23rd, and will be hosted by comedian Steve Martin, and for over 2 weeks now extensive canvassing has been going on amongst the nominees to see who can win one of the coveted statuettes. Everyone has their own opinion on who will win what, so here is mine... ////ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE//// The nominees here are Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt), Daniel Day Lewis (Gangs Of New York), Nicolas Cage (Adaptation), Adrian Brody (The Pianist) and Michael Caine (The Quiet American). I think this is a pretty close run thing, with old stalwart Nicholson and Day Lewis emerging as the front runners. I think that Day Lewis will be given the nod. He was the star of a blockbuster, and he has returned from a self imposed exile and it is 14 years since his Oscar win for 'My Left Foot'. If the Academy want a new star, then they will have no choice but to opt for the very strange looking Adrian Brody, who stars in 'The Pianist', a film which shows the horrors suffered by Jewish people at the hands of Hitler and his followers. PREDICTION: DANIEL DAY LEWIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: TOM HANKS (ROAD TO PERDITION) ////ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE//// The nominees here are Chris Cooper (Adaptation), Ed Harris (The Hours), Paul Newman (Road To Perdition), John C Reilly (Chicago), and Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can). This is one of the awards which has had the least speculation surrounding it. Personally, I would like to see Chris Cooper get the award, as he is a hard working actor, who always seems to be on the edge of the big time, but never quite getting that one big break. I suspect the award will go to old timer Paul Newman, purely for sentimental reasons. PREDICTION: PAUL NEWMAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: OLIVER MARTINEZ - UNFAITHFUL ////ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE//// The nominees here are Salma Haye k (Frida), Nicole Kidman (The Hours), Diane Lane (Unfaithful), Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven), and Renee Zellwegger (Chicago). Most people I have spoken to or heard being interviewed are certain that 2003 will be the year of Nicole Kidman, but I hope that they are wrong. Don't get me wrong, I like her, but I think the orchestrated media campaign which is in place to maximise her exposure is more than a touch tasteless. Personally, I am a Julianne Moore fan, so I would hope that her performance in 'Far From Heaven' will not be overlooked due to the media frenzy and focus on the nose the Kidman needed to play the part of Virginia Wolff in 'The Hours'. PREDICTION: NICOLE KIDMAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: NAOMI WATTS (THE RING) ////ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE//// The nominees here are Kathy Bates (About Schmidt), Julianne Moore (The Hours), Queen Latifah (Chicago), Meryl Streep (The Hours) and Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago). Once again, we witness the media hype in the run up to the Oscars, and this time it is the Catherine Zeta Jones media train that many people have jumped on. I hope that Julianne Moore manages to shine out from the other nominees, as I am sure she will be overlooked for Best Actress, so she is more than deserving of this award, although it is in a lesser category. PREDICTION: JULIANNE MOORE SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: CAMERON DIAZ (GANGS OF NEW YORK) ////BEST PICTURE//// The nominees here are Chicago, The Hours, Gangs Of New York, The Lord Of The Rings: Two Towers and The Pianist. Now this is a difficult one, especially after the BAFTA was given to the lesser fancied film 'The Pianist'. I do not think it will triumph at the Oscars, mainly because the director Roman Polanski is not held in high esteem, and The Academy would be loathed to award him in any way. That leaves the way open for 'The Hours' and 'Gangs Of New York', and I am confident that the long time in the making 'Gangs' will prove triumphant. PREDICTION: GANGS OF NEW YORK SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: UNFAITHFUL Those are the main awards, and I am sure that the Oscar for Best Director will go to Martin Scorcese, as his nearest rival is Roman Polanski, and he is facing charges of rape should he ever re-enter America, then it is highly unlikely that he will receive the accolade. I would love to see Eminem win Best Song, and I hope that The Academy take the risk and reward him. Agree....disagree, please let me know
'...and the winner for the most clumsy acting goes to...clissoldjones, for dropping his mobile phone in the Thames' The applause was tremendous and as I stood up I saw Spielberg and an array of Hollywood stars clapping furiously. As I made my way up to the stage my legs felt like they were about to dissolve into a little puddle and my ears rang with the noise. Meg Ryan smiled and handed over the Oscar which I clasped with trembling hands. I waited for the applause to die down and began my speech. 'Wow! This is absolutely brilliant. I'd like to thank everyone...sniff...and (my eyes were now watering)...this is dedicated to all white middle class teenagers who need a role model to show them that they can something in life. Thank you and God bless England!' I then proceeded to burst into floods of tears, while clawing at my cheeks and hurling the Oscar into the air where a flying hippo gratefully accepted it... I awoke with a start and sadly realised that I had not actually won an Oscar for my regrettable action of complete stupidity the day before: stepping off my friends small boat and onto the shore, my mobile phone had slipped from my pocket and sank slowly into the muddy Thames. Bugger. It did, however, get my thinking about the actual Oscar ceremony just a week earlier. It didn't last long, as I was hungry and so went and made some toast, but I was back ten minutes later thinking about the Oscars, or rather the highlights I had witnessed on the BBC. Now it seems you either love or hate or don't mind or don't really care or do not know about the Oscars. I personally don't mind them but others, such as mpafp have written damning opinions that attack the pretentiousness and tackiness of the ceremony. I won't. Probably one of the reasons why I quite like the Oscars is the hysterical ending to the film Naked Gun 33 (I have yet to discover how to type a 'third'-answ ers in the comments section if you please) where Leslie Nielson's Frank Drebin tries to thwart a terrorist attack on the Oscars and mayhem ensues. This film and the section mentioned is one of my favourite comedy moments and will be referred to, so if you have an allergic reaction to it or do not want to know the outcome, look away now. The 2002 Oscars started strangely enough with Whoopi Goldberg descending from the roof wearing one of the most bizarre costumes ever. Most of the glamorous actresses in the audience breathed a sigh of relief. The appearance of Goldberg was bad news (including many unfunny jokes and more bizarre outfits) but also good news (it meant my mum who was not a fan, had to leave the room saving me her continual insults aimed at Russell Crowe and strange cooing noises whenever an actress swathed in a decadent dress appeared) As well as Goldberg, there was a living legend conducting the orchestra, Mr.John Williams. He reminded me of the conductor in the Naked Gun film, a small man with white beard, who has a microphone bounce off his head, and Leslie Neilson vomiting down a tuba much to the tuba player and audiences disgust. These Oscars were a triumph for the African American. Not only was the legendary Sidney Poitier given a lifetime Oscar, but Denzil Washington won best actor and Halle Berry won the Best Actress award. Now no opinion on the Oscars would be without a mention on Halle Berry's wonderful performance. Which incidentally brings me to rule number one of the Oscars: 1) The host must be a comedian with very bad jokes and then rule number two 2) The winner of the best actress award must burst into tears, hug, kiss (rape if necessary) friends and members of their row. Then stand for a minute crying and spilling tears all over your dress before spending ages thanking everyone from your hubby and parents to the boy in grade 6 who gave you your first kiss. Having finis hed, or booed off the stage, go and have a cold shower followed by herbal bath and only when completely emotionally secure are you allowed to be let out again. Halle Berry followed Oscar rule number 2 admirably. Marks out of ten, 11/10. Denzil Washington did what he and the other three nominations had to do, make sure Russell Crowe did not win it. Crowe did appear, handing (an eventually soaked) Oscar to Berry, but lucky for humankind the New Zealand actor turned hairy-fatty was not chosen as best actor again. The British flag was flown by the great Jim Broadbent who has a wonderful chin, and the writer of the excellent Gosford Park whose name left me this morning to go for a walk. They did their usual bit, sticking well to rule number three... 3) Judi Dench and Kate Winslet represent the British women, while an English actor who is either scary (Jeremy Irons, (Anthony Hopkins; yes I know he is now American and formerly Welsh but he'll just have to do)) or has an odd chin or other feature. I was a little disappointed that Beautiful Mind ended up winning the main two, mainly because the director Ron Howard had such a bizarre head, and also Crowe acted in the film, and I was also saddened that we weren't greeted with the sight of Peter Jackson bouncing onto the stage, hair and huge spectacles flying everywhere. I was also a little annoyed nothing went wrong unlike in the Naked Gun. It would have been nice to have seen Leslie Nielson take part in the acrobatics or just fall over once in a while. But no, we had Whoopi Goldberg instead. Whoopi. No The final Oscar rule was successfully achieved... 4) Continue the belief that there is a conspiracy by choosing the wrong best film or best something or other. And here to round of the opinion, are some final thoughts: 1) Will there ever be the case of an actor winning both 'best actor' and 'best actress'? S urely...? 2) I feel that like the Olympic Games they should look to add an extra award (sport for the Olympics) each year. For example, for 2002, the award for the film with the most implausible ending (Vanilla Sky). Some others for your consideration... a) OSCAR for...gruffest voice of male star. Nominations include Russell Crowe and most Hollywood leading men. b) OSCAR for...most slow motions in a film. Nominations include John Woo as director. c) OSCAR for...cheesiest ending to a film. d) OSCAR for...most unwise move from pop singer to actress. Nominations include Britney Spears and obvious winner Mariah Carey. #note# Oscar to be made out of plastic and when held, a voice sings 'oops! I did it again'. 3) Alarmingly Maggie Smith resembled Anne Robinson. 4) That is enough
Being a (sad) film buff, I always look forward to that Monday in March - the day after Oscar Night. You see, I always tape the ceremony which is broadcast overnight in the UK and then watch it in full the next evening. I spend the whole of Monday avoiding news broadcasts (in fact media at all) and almost any conversation in the desire to not find out who won any of the awards until I actually get to see it. I also don't like to watch the BBC1 edited highlights on Monday evening because they are, well EDITED, and so you don't get the full effect. So, it was with great joy that I watched the ceremony this Monday just gone, and here are my thoughts: Firstly, the presenter - this year it was Whoopi Goldberg. It was the 4th time she had presented, and she did an adequate job. It was nothing special, although it was better than the job Steve Martin made last year. Unfortunately she's not a patch on Billy Crystal, who has presented the show 7 times since 1990. Thankfully we didn't get David Letterman again. He's only done it once (in 1995) and he was awful. Whoopi's best bit was her entrance, where she came down from the ceiling in the same manner as Nicole Kidman's entrance in MOULIN ROUGE. However, for us watching on TV there were also other hosts. Firstly Jonathan Ross in the studio, who added his own commentary during what would have been commercial breaks on the American broadcast. Ross is OK, but he's not a patch on Barry Norman. Indeed, the whole of the BBC's film coverage has gone downhill since Norman defected to Sky and Ross took over. However in the same way as Barry, Ross was joined in these intervals by virtually unknown actors and actresses (certainly these days) who put their own thoughts on what was happening. But frankly who cares what Tom Conti, Dyan Cannon (admittedly Oscar winners in the past) and some Scottish guy who now lives in the US think? Cannon was particularly annoying, cackling at any mildly amusing comment made by Ross or the Scottish guy as if it was comedy of the highest order. Which it wasn't. We also had the sad spectacle of Glenn Close and Donald Sutherland introducing the ad breaks for goodness sake. What a shame that these great actors would be reduced to that. I hope they got paid a hell of a lot of money because it was awful. As for the awards... BEST PICTURE - A Beautiful Mind. This is an OK film, but not deserving of Best Picture, although Jennifer Connelly is an excellent actress (and gorgeous to boot). I'm glad LORD OF THE RINGS didn't win, although I'm sure that either Part 2 or Part 3 will do at some point in the future. This award SHOULD have gone to MOULIN ROUGE. BEST ACTOR - Denzel Washington in TRAINING DAY. I've not seen the film but Washington is a wonderful actor. He's come a long way since TV's ST. ELSEWHERE! BEST ACTRESS - Halle Berry in MONSTER'S BALL. Again, I've not seen the film and not seen much of Berry in the movies (although I'm told I should see her in SWORDFISH for two reasons - not sure what the reasons are though!). Nicole Kidman should have won for MOULIN ROUGE, or THE OTHERS (although it's a shame she wasn't nominated for THE OTHERS - it would have been good to see her going up against herself - oo-er!). BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Jim Broadbent in IRIS. Good. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Jennifer Connelly in A BEAUTIFUL MIND. Excellent. BEST DIRECTOR - Ron Howard for A BEAUTIFUL MIND. I'm glad for Howard because I've always liked him since TV's HAPPY DAYS, although David Lynch should have won. No doubt about it, MULHOLLAND DRIVE is by far the better movie but I knew he would never win for it. It's a great shame. Lots of other awards were given of course, and I'm glad that LORD OF THE RINGS only won a few, although see my comment above about the future. MOULIN ROUGE should have won more than it did, although Best Costume Design was especially well deserved. We should also remember that the Academy also always present 'technical' awards on another night, and only clips of this are televised. When I saw how gorgeous Charlize Theron looked when presenting these I decided that I am going to lobby the Academy for her to present the main awards ceremony next year. She looked far better than Whoopi. Then again, that's just my opinion. Well, as you can see, I am very opinionated when it comes to the Oscars, and maybe I'll come back to this opinion at some point in the future to add my thoughts on past awards, or maybe the ceremony which will be held next March.
Well it wasn?t that bad for the Brits, eight of the twenty acting nominations were for our boys and girls with Jim Broadbent and the guy who wrote Gosford Park bagging a statue each. Oh and some tart who did the make up on Lord of the Rings whose bound to get one of those Revlon adverts. These awards were about black faces, or lack of them in the movie awards, especially when they dominate the music business in this industry. So Hollywood had to finally throw away there prejudice tonight and promote black people in the movie in big style. You knew something was up when Sidney Poiter, who was supposed to have heralded change 40 years ago, picked up an honorable Oscar for his services to film. But they great actor hasn?t worked for ten years and you kind of feel it was a bit of a PR excersize to cash in on the abundant black talent. The last black actress in Whoopi Goldberg was hosting the show so the omens were good for the colored nominees. I have seen Training Day, which Washington won his award and have to say it was a very average performance as he played himself. This is the man on September the twelfth said that the ?New York thing?in dismissing the terrible atrocities with blaze arrogance whilst filming his award winning pic. I know nothing of the beautiful Halle Berrys turn in the low budget Monsters Ball, but she whacked up her bankability big time for popping her tits out in Swordfish.This lady has the most stunning looks and body that should bring her tons of work after the big night win. The expectance speech was special as she was indeed opening the doors for black actresses which MR poitior had slammed after him all those years ago. But to be the first black African American girl to win an Oscar must make the proudest black person brushaway that chip. Hollywood and its lobbyist disgustingly ignored Lord of the Rings as they favored the cliché formula of ,A beautiful Mind with that boorish Russell Crowe, a nd the worlds biggest movie studio group in Time Warner. In fact The Fellowship managed only two gongs for technical stuff as the peoples fav film by a mile was blatantly shunned. Ron Howard who brought us the brilliant Apollo 13 probably did deserve best director for the Crowe film and I think Richie from Fonz at least should claim this for previous work. Our biggest winner in Jim Broadbent was a very unglamorous affair. He mumbled something very British as he excepted the statue looking like an insurance clerk, and was even more of a duck out of water at the world famous Vanity Fair Party which actually bans journalist. So know one for Russ to punch then. The leery Aussie actor seems to have had his day and pushed the patience of the acting establishment has fame has very much gone to his head. So what of the winners and losers, well a great director once said ?There all so jealous here in Hollywood.Its not enough to have a hit. Your best friend should also have a failure. Sissy Spacek (Carrie) looked dated in her seventies specs with Judy Dench unsure what to do with her hands after the show with no Oscar to clutch. For me it was yet another corporate machine ceremony with the movie moguls using these awards to push next year?s money-spinners. Halle is the babe in the last Pearce Brosnon Bond with Washington also lined up in the rival Mission Impossible Three franchise. This offering to black Hollywood should allow them to be represented on the stage as they are in the music biz, allowing more Spike Lees and Morgan Freeman?s to the rewards they so richfully deserved. I don?t think black actors in Hollywood have been blocked in recent movie years, but I do think it has lifted the final doubt in the minds of black and Asian talent that they really can dominate this game as they do the music one.
Well the Oscars came and went. I taped the whole live 4 hours on Sunday night, knowing that there wouldn?t be anything in the papers the following morning, so I could watch it in the morning and still not know the winners. It all went very well, until three hours in, it stopped recording, even though only half the tape had been used. And I had used Video Plus. So I missed out on all the big awards and found out who had won on Teletext instead ? not as exciting. Here?s my in-depth review of the whole shebang. My hopes were riding with Moulin Rouge to sweep the board. The odds were against it but it was an unpredictable race. I quite openly admit I have actually seen very few of the nominated films, and Moulin Rouge was the only film I had seen in the Best Picture category. Yet whatever, Moulin Rouge, in the few months it has been released, has become my favourite film of all time and I doubt that any of the other nominees can top it. Especially not a Beautiful Mind. All the ?mud slinging?, as Whoopi so gracefully put it, has put me off this film, and with good reason I feel. A film should never be made just to appeal to the Academy, nor should key elements be missed out. I got excited as soon as the ceremony began. First, Whoopi?s descent from the ceiling on a trapeze, which was very funny and also a huge surprise. Then, early on, as the technical awards were announced, many of which Moulin Rouge was nominated for, there seemed to be the most applause from the audience each time its name was mentioned. When it beat Lord of the Rings in costume design and art direction there were signs that it may not be ignored in the main categories. Before the ceremony had even begun, there were some big Academy errors in the nominations. Ewan McGregor and Jim Broadbent not being nominated for the film in the acting categories was a surprise (although of course, Broadbent won for Iris), but Baz Luhrmann not being nominated for Best Director was surely unfair . That was the award I most expected the film to win. Apparently, on part I missed during the latter half of the show, Whoopi described everything that was brilliant about Moulin Rouge before going on to say that, ?Apparently, the Academy don?t believe there was anyone who directed it.? But it wasn?t to be. First up was Best Actress. Once again, I admit not to having seen any of the other films. I really wanted Nicole Kidman to win it. She?s classy, elegant, a brilliant actress (she should have been nominated for The Others as well) and would have injected some real life into the ceremony. She?s really shone in the last year and is one of few young actresses who I can see being remembered in the long-term. Instead, the award went to the talking point of the evening, Halle Berry. I don?t dislike the woman ? but couldn?t believe the way she behaved. Her original tears may have been joy and shock, but her speech was carefully rehearsed and I must say, wonderfully acted. I?ve read loads of opinions on the Internet about this over the last few days ? some say it ?truly was a historical moment?, others disagree. I do too. Hopefully, people voted for her not because she was black, but because of her acting ability. Her race should have absolutely nothing to do with it. Is Hollywood going to become like Oxbridge has become ? accepting poorer candidates just because they are black /from a comprehensive school rather than white actors/ better independent school kids? So what if there haven?t been any black women winning the Best Actress Oscar. I don?t believe this has anything to do with racism or prejudice. Simply the quality of the acting, although looking over the list of nominees, I can?t be too sure this year. Odd that the year Denzel Washington and Halle Berry win, Sidney Poitier gets an award even though he hasn?t been involved in the industry for some years. If a white actor stood up on stage and dedicated their award to all ?nameless, faceless white people?, there would be uproar. Halle Berry even made time to thank her ?lawyer for making this deal?, although what this means we shall never know. An interesting comment I read earlier today is that any leading lady with any sort of respect would pay tribute to the other wonderful women they were nominated with. It was also highly annoying every time Whoopi Goldberg would make a joke regarding black people, the cameras would always zoom onto Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson or Denzel Washington. Another moan about the ceremony was the seating of Russell Crowe. It was embarrassing watching him tapping everyone on the back as they went up to collect their awards from his end-of-the-front-row seat. As I said earlier, it was disappointing that A Beautiful Mind won Best Picture ? it would have been better for Moulin Rouge to lose out to any of the other competitors. A film, which leaves out a homosexual and anti-Semitic past just to steer clear of controversy, is not a deserving winner in my opinion. Still, Whoopi?s joke early on that Frodo Baggins was an anti-Semite was very funny. The show itself was pleasant enough. Whoopi Goldberg was a great host, the new theatre was very nice indeed, but I must admit to fast forwarding through Woody Allen and the Cirque de Soleil. I was very disappointed that Moulin Rouge only left with two awards (as you?ve not doubt guessed by now), but Oscar or no Oscar, it still is a brilliant film. It just deserved to be recognised. I was also disappointed that Monsters, Inc. lost out to Shrek in the animated film category. Although Shrek is brilliant, Monsters, Inc. is a stronger picture in that it relies less on one-liners and more on a very original plot that really tugs on the heartstrings as well as making you laugh. For The Birds, the short film shown at cinemas before Monsters, Inc., did win Best Short Animated Film at least. Finally, what Oscar review would be complete without the dresses? Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman both looked gorgeous ? Kate really sparkling in her beautiful red gown with flowers over one arm, and Nicole in cream Chanel looking as classy as usual. The black dresses were all a bit boring, but there were plenty of fashion errors. Top of everyone?s list was Gwyneth Paltrow, looking a real mess with her see-through top. Jada Pinkett-Smith looked awful in a luminous orange skirt, and contrary to popular opinion, I didn?t like Halle Berry?s outfit at all. I like to see actresses in real dresses. I liked Jennifer Lopez?s hair ? the just-got-out-of-bed look, but couldn?t make up my mind about Cameron Diaz. Cameron?s hair was definitely a mess, and her dress was a bit like a pair of curtains. She just got away with it. Barbra Streisand looked ridiculous wearing velvet curtains, but there were no swan dresses this year. Maybe they didn?t invite Bjork back this year. Also looking stunning was my favourite, Geri Halliwell, snapped at the Vanity Fair party. Not sure what she was doing there, but she was wearing one of the best dresses of the evening, looking chic and sexy in a backless lilac dress. The Oscars were disappointing for me winner-wise and were all a bit to politically correct for me. Apparently presenters have to say ?the Oscar goes to? and not ?the winner is? so nobody feels left out. The whole Halle Berry issue was a bit pathetic, especially as earlier there had been protesters protesting that the Oscar statue was white ? because all winners were white. A Beautiful Mind did what it was intended to do ? appealed to the masses. As someone has already said, the other award ceremonies more often give to the deserving.
Ahh, the Oscars. The time when every Hollywood film star, along with all those who want to be film stars but just don't have "it", break the bank in order to buy the sparkliest dress, the sexiest tux, the tiniest frock, on order that, even if they don't win, they're sure to be splashed across the front of every two-bit tabloid from here to Timbuktu tomorrow morning. Yes, that grand spectacle of mutual back-slapping that means just about nothing to us mere mortals, except of course that we get to look at lots of pretty pictures of people wearing sparkly dresses and sexy tuxes. The Oscars are irrelevant. The only purpose they can possibly serve is as another notch on an already overcrowded CV for the elite, or as recognition by "the Biz" for a lifetime of service for some quiet, inobtrusive actor who, unfortunately, never quite got the recognition they deserved when their career was at its height. And the selection process. As an outsider looking in, it seems to me that the judges simply wait for one film to perform superbly at the box office (even better if it's foreign) whilst still painting itself in an aura of originality and respectability (oh, and it must be either laden with top-quality special effects, or have absolutely none at all, and be entirely dialogue-driven; there can be no in-between), or they pick a film which only about five people have seen, give it every prize going (including the coveted Best Make-Up) and elevate it to the status of cult, without ever actually taking any notice of how good it really is. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Oscars. A PR dream, a nightmare for those of us who live in the real world. And, as we open the envelope, we see that the winner is... anyone with enough intelligence to do something else instead.
I tune in to the Oscars every year. I get a kick out of the clothes and who is with who stuff. I am also very interested in what the academy deems as the best of the best. This year I was very disappointed in their choice as best actress. First, Julia Roberts is not exactly a talented actress. She is a beautiful woman, with a great smile who people like to watch. She isn't exactly known for moving roles. Erin Brochavich's story was compelling and inspiring. Any actress could have played that part and been successful. We as an audience were not moved by any stunning portrayl, instead it was a story driven movie with little to no character developement. I felt Julia was one demensional and at times boringly sterotypical. I certainly think there were better proformances out there this year. Actresses who really needed to work and stretch to become real characters. Along with Class and style, the Oscar's has lost it's ability to sort true, good work from hype. It's too bad.