And the Oscar Goes To…

Ben Affleck and the cast of Argo, the movie that directed itself to Best Picture

Ben Affleck and the cast of Argo, the movie that directed itself to Best Picture

I cannot lie. I love this stuff.  The Academy Awards…excuse me, THE OSCARS, is my high holy day. It has been for as long as I can remember.

This year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, actually started out really strong . “The quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now.” But then immediately dropped off when the camera cut to TLJ who was, of course, laughing.

MacFarlane was back up when he addressed Ben Affleck’s snub right off the top. “They know they screwed up. Ben, it’s not your fault.”  He probably should have quit while he was ahead – about thirty seconds in.

What came next, the taped segment, with William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, went on WAAAAAY too long and was so wildly hit or miss. That horrible “boob”song nearly brought the whole thing to a halt. I don’t know who was cheering when it was over, unless it was because it was over.  Every actress, except Jennifer Lawrence, that they cut to was horrified. Charlize looked embarrassed, but then again, maybe it was a setup because the next thing we knew she was on stage with Channing Tatum doing Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, while Seth sang Jerome Kern!! Unreal, unexpected and entirely fabulous!

…followed by a really stupid sock-puppet thing that almost sucked the air out of the Dolby Theater, then THAT was followed up by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, MacFarlane and Daniel Radcliffe doing a song and dance to “High Hopes”.  At this point, I started to think that the whole show was bi-polar – a tribute to Silver Linings Playbook.

Presenting the first award of the night, Best Supporting Actor, Octavia Spencer looked really good, but was really trying way too hard for applause that didn’t come. And of course, I start of 0-1 by not going with Christoph Waltz (for a role that was really a co-lead and not supporting). I should have known better. Oh well. Waltz does give a helluva speech.

Be still my cold and cynical heart!! Surprise #1! Brave won Best Animated Film!! My faith is restored!

I did call Claudio Miranda for Cinematography. I called it as soon as I saw the film. Gorgeous. I still would have liked Roger Deakins to get it. He’s 0-10.

The Jaws theme used to play off those whose speeches run long was inspired, The Avengers reunion was not.

The James Bond at 50 tribute wasn’t all I expected it to be until Dame Shirley Bassey classed up the joint and belted out “Goldfinger” like a boss in head-to-toe gold sequins and then, rightfully, got a standing ovation. Do you have any idea how old she is? No, of course not.  Would you believe me if I told you she’s 76? Wow.

As predicted Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress and as predicted she acted surprised. That whispered, “it came true!” was a tad twee. I know I’m cynical but the breathy speech was a bit much. On the other hand, it is a freakin’ OSCAR! The big one! Sure we all thought she’d win, but thinkin’ ain’t knowin’. And she deserved it.

The “In Memoriam” segment never fails to make me verklempt, but this year, when Marvin Hamlisch’s name came up and I heard the first strains of “The Way We Were”…chills. I am still in awe of Barbra Streisand. I always have to remember that she and my mother are the same age. (Apropos of nothing, anyone else think someday Jennifer Aniston should play her?)

There was only one Best Original song choice and it won (and I swear if the Ted song had won, I’d have stopped watching). “Skyfall” from Skyfall is the only song anyone will remember two days from now, let alone when future generations look at past Oscar winners. And Adele showed up to flawlessly sing it. She’s only 24 folks. Why the hell they felt the need to drag that out, I have no idea. By the time that award was handed out, we were at the 2 hrs, 45 min. mark.

I was really hoping for a write-in for Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow. It’s my child-like hopefulness. So Ang Lee became the only director to win twice without his movie being named best picture.

It’s no secret that I wanted Jessica Chastain to get Best Actress, especially since the film had so unfairly been treated as “dead-in-the-water” for the past few weeks, but I can’t take issue with Jennifer Lawrence or her performance. It’s amazing to think that she’s only 23 and had been nominated for Best Actress twice and won once already. Move over Meryl. If Streep had been able to hand Lawrence the Oscar, it would have been an almost literal passing of the torch.

When it was time for Best Actor, half the audience probably used it for a bathroom break, so foregone was the conclusion. By the time Meryl announced, rather than read, Daniel Day Lewis’ name, it was anti-climactic, despite the fact that he just made Oscar history by becoming the only actor to win three times in the lead category. I’m just glad I got to hear him speak. He never fails to impress and surprise me whenever he does. Pure class, intelligence, humor and grace.

Jack Nicholson got an assist from the first First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama (!!) as he announced that Ben Affleck’s “little film that could”, Argo, took Best Picture. If, upon subsequent viewings, the tension is still palpable surrounding an event one knew the outcome of even before the first time that you saw it, THAT is a great movie. (I think the same can be said of Zero Dark Thirty). I have no idea what kind of man he actually is, but Ben Affleck is a damn fine filmmaker. He’s an actor who wasn’t getting the kind of roles that he wanted so he decided to take matters into his own hands and create them for himself.  I’m so glad that  Alan Ladd, Jr. took a chance on him and allowed him to make Gone Baby Gone. Affleck has directed three stellar films, each one better than the last, in which he’s directed an actor to an Academy Award nomination and each one that holds up under multiple repeat viewings. He’s only forty years old. How will he top himself now? I can’t wait to find out.

FINALLY it’s over…nope. Seth MacFarlane has one last song to sing, with the help of Kristin Chenowith…serenading the “losers”. It wasn’t nearly as funny as it needed to be to avoid being superfluous. Oh well, it’s all over but the lamentations of those lamented “losers”.

In the immortal words of Porky Pig, “I belibelibelibelibelibel…that’s all folks!”

Here’s your complete List of Winners. My predictions are in red. If by some miracle of prognostication I got it right, it’s marked with **.  In the more likely event that I got it wrong, it’s in yellow (actually I did pretty well, if I do say so myself – 18 out of 24):

BEST PICTURE

Argo**

Django Unchained

Life of Pi 

Lincoln 

Zero Dark Thirty

Les Miserables

Silver Linings Playbook

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Amour

BEST DIRECTOR

Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Michael Haneke, Amour

Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

LEAD ACTOR

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln**

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Denzel Washington, Flight

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

LEAD ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin, Argo

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, The Master

Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables**

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman**

Frankenweenie, Tim Burton

ParaNorman,  Sam Fell and Chris Butler

The Pirates! Band of Misfits,  Peter Lord

Wreck-It Ralph,  Rich Moore

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Anna Karenina,  Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained, Robert Richardson

Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda**

Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall,  Roger Deakins (If I had a vote I’d go for Deakins who deserves a win)

COSTUME DESIGN

Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran**

Les Misérables,  Paco Delgado

Lincoln, Joanna Johnston

Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka

Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

BEST DOCUMENTERY FEATURE

5 Broken Cameras
Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi

The Gatekeepers
Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky, Estelle Fialon

How to Survive a Plague
David France, Howard Gertler

The Invisible War
Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering

Searching for Sugar Man
Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn**

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

“Inocente”
Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

“Kings Point”
Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider

“Mondays at Racine”
Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan

“Open Heart”
Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern

“Redemption”
Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

FILM EDITING

Argo,  William Goldenberg

Life of Pi, Tim Squyres

Lincoln,  Michael Kahn

Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers

Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Amour  Austria**

Kon-Tiki  Norway

No Chile

A Royal Affair Denmark

War Witch Canada

ACHIEVEMENT IN HAIR & MAKE-UP

Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane

Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell**

ORIGINAL SCORE

Anna Karenina Dario Marianelli

Argo Alexandre Desplat

Life of Pi Mychael Danna**

Lincoln John Williams

Skyfall Thomas Newman

ORIGINAL SONG

“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph

“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted
Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane

“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi
Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri

“Skyfall “from Skyfall
Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth**

“Suddenly” from Les Misérables
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Anna Karenina
Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright

Les Misérables
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson

Life of Pi
Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Lincoln
Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

ANIMATED SHORT

“Adam and Dog” Minkyu Lee

“Fresh Guacamole” PES

“Head over Heels” Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly

“Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” David Silverman

“Paperman” John Kahrs**

LIVE ACTION SHORT

“Asad” Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura

“Buzkashi Boys” Sam French and Ariel Nasr

“Curfew” Shawn Christensen**

“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele

“Henry” Yan England

SOUND EDITING

Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman

Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton

Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers**

Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson

SOUND MIXING

Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia

Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes**

Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin

Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins

Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

VISUAL EFFECTS

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White

Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott**

Marvel’s The Avengers , Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick

Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and M

Martin Hill

Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Chris Terrio, Argo**

Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

David Magee, Life of Pi

Tony Kushner, Lincoln

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Michael Haneke, Amour

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained**

John Gatins, Flight

Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

…well it is if  you’re as addicted to film and film culture as I am. It’s the SUPER BOWL of Cinema! It’s the Oscars!

As I stated a few days ago, I do believe that there are a few certainties for the 85th Annual Academy Awards set to take place this Sunday February 24. Chief among them, Daniel Day Lewis’ win for Best Actor and Anne Hathaway’s win for Best Supporting Actress.  But that means that there are a few of the major categories still up for grabs.  That’s kind of refreshing, considering how quickly the contenders are singled out and whittled down and put into groups with labels like “front runner” or “not a prayer” etc.

Consider how many movies are released throughout the year.  A movie is declared to be “awards worthy” or in “awards contention” by the studio when it is given a coveted year end release date.  The fact that Argo has emerged as the clear front runner for Best Picture, a film released in early October, is almost as much an anomaly as the 2010 winner, Hurt Locker, was when it was released in June of 2009.

Speaking of The Hurt Locker, when the nominations were announced for The Oscars – you’ll notice that AMPAS is not calling them The Academy Awards this year, as well as downplaying the fact that it is the 85th anniversary of the awards – way back on January 10, my jaw literally dropped when that film’s director as well as the first woman to win Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow‘s name was NOT read as a nominee. That pretty much slammed the lid, in my humble opinion, on Zero Dark Thirty‘s chances for Best Picture, despite the fact that it was nominated and had, up until that point, been dominating critics awards. I think either Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) or Michael Hanneke (Amour), both ineligible for the Directors Guild, got Bigelow’s nomination.

They snaked Ben Affleck‘s, for Argo, as well.  Bigelow had been taking those same critics awards for director until Affleck took the big one, the Critics Choice. Since then, as we all know by now, it’s been all Affleck – all the time. What the hell were Academy members thinking? It will be interesting to see how Best Director plays out. The pundits are still scratching their heads. Some are going with Spielberg by default, others Ang Lee. I’m going with David O. Russell. Oddly enough, if Lee wins he’ll have his 2nd Oscar for directing without his film winning Best Picture, as he did in 2006 when he won for Brokeback Mountain but Paul Haggis’ Crash took Best Picture. (But that’s another story.)

The Best Picture list was capped at nine. I’m not at all surprised that the overrated Amour was nominated in nearly every category for which it was eligible. It reinforces the idea that the Academy is comprised of geriatrics with nothing else to do. (Which makes all of this courting of the youth market a tad ironic.) The only film I was surprised not to see on the list was Anna Karenina, but it was recognized in the artistic categories that I predicted it would be.  Lincoln is, of course, the film with the most nods, at twelve. I’m holding in another rant, but as I’ve said before, it doesn’t make any damn sense, having as many as ten Best Picture nominees, but only five directors. Argo will (and seriously, if a movie wins the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Best Picture is in the bag) become only the fourth film to win without its director having been nominated.

It is important to remember that this is a predictions post. I predict Argo will win although my personal first choice would be Zero Dark Thirty. Argo would still be my second choice and under the Academy voting rules, that would, if I had an actual say, give it a very good chance.

The way it works is known as “Instant Runoff Voting”. It starts by asking each voter, “Of these nine Best Picture nominees, which is your favorite?”

Voters are asked to rank each of the nine from 1st to last. All of the films voted as #1 are put in various piles. If a movie secures more than half of votes cast, that movie wins on the first pass. Otherwise, the movie with the fewest first place votes is eliminated. Ballots assigned to the eliminated film are recounted and assigned to one of the remaining films based on the next preference on each ballot. This process continues until one movie wins by obtaining more than half the votes.

Head spinning yet? Back to my predictions…

It’s important to remember in the Original Screenplay category that Quentin Tarantino was not eligible for the Writer’s Guild Award which went to Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty. As much as I would like to believe that he will prevail again, I think QT will take the Oscar for Django Unchained.

I’ll stick with Chris Terrio and Argo in the Adapted Screenplay category, although I’d be equally happy if David O. Russell took it for Silver Linings Playbook. (If he does, he won’t get director. If he doesn’t, he probably will.)

I’m sticking with Jessica Chastain for Best Actress despite Jennifer Lawrence’s BAFTA win. They are both amazing actresses, as is Naomi Watts and before I saw Zero Dark Thirty I was in her camp. But not only does she disappear for a huge part of the movie for which she’s touted as the lead, but Jessica Chastain blew me away. Regardless of who wins, all three of these women will almost undoubtedly be nominated again. Emmanuelle Riva, who gave a beautiful performance in Amour is now the oldest (85) Best Actress nominee and going up against the youngest, Quvenzhane Wallis, who was six when she appeared in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Neither of these facts is enough, in my humble opinion, to truly compete with the other three powerhouses.

Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained, which was another surprise, (not at all surprised the film’s star Jamie Foxx was neglected. He has been from the jump) but Christoph Waltz was, and the film was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay (although if that award went to the relative new kids on the block, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom, I would not be upset) and Best Picture. Again, no nomination for Quentin Tarantino as director (so it wouldn’t be the 1st time they threw him a screenplay bone instead, as was the case of Pulp Fiction). Waltz won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA but I think SAG winner Tommy Lee Jones is going to take the Oscar for Lincoln.

In the Best Actor Category, either Denzel Washington or Joaquin Phoenix got John Hawkes‘ nomination, although I shouldn’t be surprised by either one. I think both Joaquin Phoenix, as well as his costar Philip Seymour Hoffman, gave exceptional, understated performances. There is not a single scene in the film in which one or the other, if not both, is on screen. Their final scene together is, as it should be, the most powerful.  It consists of closeups on the two men’s faces and it had me holding my breath, watching the oh-so-subtle changes taking place. Phoenix’s characterization is almost entirely physical. He conveys nearly everything we need to know about his character from the way he walks, carries himself, even the way he holds his mouth when he speaks.

Washington was nominated for Flight not just because he’s Denzel, but also because he gave a multi-layered performance in what was ultimately an incredibly flawed movie.

Bradley Cooper‘s award was his nomination, which will surely change his career.  Kudos to David O. Russell for allowing Cooper’s “inner thespian” to shine through. Who knows he may be back next year. Early buzz on A Place Beyond the Pines is very good.

It’s all academic anyway since there’s no way in hell anyone but Daniel Day Lewis goes home with the prize. He will become the first man to win Best Actor three times.

I really want Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Brave to win Best Animated Feature. Conventional wisdom says Wreck-it Ralph (which wasn’t nominated for the BAFTA) will take it but I’m sticking.

Okay so let’s all watch on Sunday night and see how delusional I am for all of the above.  Oh, and then we all have to watch Jimmy Kimmel’s celebrated post-Oscar show.  This year he’s doing a sequel to last year’s film, “Movie the Movie 2V”. One of the stars of the “film”, Gerard Butler, talked to Total Film about it last night at the Artists for Peace & Justice Pre-Oscar Hollywood Dominoes event:

“When we asked Butler if he’d been working on anything on the day of our interview, he told us, “I’m glad you asked that question because I actually have a relatively interesting answer.

“I was with Jimmy Kimmel earlier filming his Oscar spoof thing. Basically I’m doing a piss-take of Taken. I’m looking for my baby, and I’m shouting on the phone – then you cut to a wide shot and I have my baby right in front of me… Then they gave me a flamethrower – so I had this backpack and flamethrower with a baby in tow – fighting sexy aliens.

It’s hilarious. Matt Damon was doing it, and Bradley Cooper. It’s not every day you get to throw on a baby and a flamethrower at the same time.  If there’s ever a day you want a journalist to say ‘so what have you been up to today?!’”

Movie: The Movie 2V, which will also feature Jessica Chastain, Jude Law and Amanda Seyfried:

Here’s a preview.

Movie the Movie starring Jessica Chastain, Jimmy Kimmel

And now, here’s your complete list of Oscar nominees (my predictions are in red):

BEST PICTURE

Argo

Django Unchained

Life of Pi 

Lincoln 

Zero Dark Thirty

Les Miserables

Silver Linings Playbook

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Amour

BEST DIRECTOR

Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Michael Haneke, Amour

Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

LEAD ACTOR

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Denzel Washington, Flight

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

LEAD ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin, Argo

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, The Master

Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

Frankenweenie, Tim Burton

ParaNorman,  Sam Fell and Chris Butler

The Pirates! Band of Misfits,  Peter Lord

Wreck-It Ralph,  Rich Moore

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Anna Karenina,  Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained, Robert Richardson

Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall,  Roger Deakins (If I had a vote I’d go for Deakins who deserves a win)

COSTUME DESIGN

Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran

Les Misérables,  Paco Delgado

Lincoln, Joanna Johnston

Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka

Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

BEST DOCUMENTERY FEATURE

5 Broken Cameras
Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi

The Gatekeepers
Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky, Estelle Fialon

How to Survive a Plague
David France, Howard Gertler

The Invisible War
Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering

Searching for Sugar Man
Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

“Inocente”
Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

“Kings Point”
Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider

“Mondays at Racine”
Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan

“Open Heart”
Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern

“Redemption”
Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

FILM EDITING

Argo,  William Goldenberg

Life of Pi, Tim Squyres

Lincoln,  Michael Kahn

Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers

Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Amour  Austria

Kon-Tiki  Norway

No Chile

A Royal Affair Denmark

War Witch Canada

ACHIEVEMENT IN HAIR & MAKE-UP

Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane

Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

ORIGINAL SCORE

Anna Karenina Dario Marianelli

Argo Alexandre Desplat

Life of Pi Mychael Danna

Lincoln John Williams

Skyfall Thomas Newman

ORIGINAL SONG

“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
Music and Lyric by J. Ralph

“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted
Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane

“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi
Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri

“Skyfall “from Skyfall
Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

“Suddenly” from Les Misérables
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Anna Karenina
Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright

Les Misérables
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson

Life of Pi
Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Lincoln
Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

ANIMATED SHORT

“Adam and Dog” Minkyu Lee

“Fresh Guacamole” PES

“Head over Heels” Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly

“Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” David Silverman

“Paperman” John Kahrs

LIVE ACTION SHORT

“Asad” Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura

“Buzkashi Boys” Sam French and Ariel Nasr

“Curfew” Shawn Christensen

“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele

“Henry” Yan England

SOUND EDITING

Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman

Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton

Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers

Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson

SOUND MIXING

Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia

Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin

Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins

Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

VISUAL EFFECTS

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White

Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott

Marvel’s The Avengers , Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick

Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and M

Martin Hill

Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Chris Terrio, Argo

Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

David Magee, Life of Pi

Tony Kushner, Lincoln

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Michael Haneke, Amour

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

John Gatins, Flight

Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

A Few Words on the Meaning of Play or Pay & Then Some More Olympus Has Fallen Goodies!

When an actor accepts a role and signs on the dotted line of the contract , he or she takes a few things on faith, not the least of which is that he will be paid the agreed upon fee for his services. In exchange, the actor agrees to be physically available during the time period set forth in the contract (which will probably include the contingency of reshoots as well as the promotion of the finished product), to the exclusion of all other offers.

Now, since we all know that “shit happens”, and sometimes the best laid plans of mice, men and producers, go awry,entertainment lawyers have devised something called “a guarantee”.In filmmakers terms, a guarantee refers to a clause in an actor’s (or director’s) contract that guarantees him or her compensation if, through no fault of their own, the individual is released from the contract prior to the completion of their services. This is what is known in “the biz” as “play-or-pay”.

Why are we talking about this?Well, for those of us who follow such things, it’s been in the news recently as regards one of our favorites, Gerard Butler, who is suing the producers of the now-defunct Motor City, which as we know, shut down production late last summer just weeks before cameras were set to roll. Butler is claiming to have had a “play or pay” contract and he wants his money.

Of course the other side is claiming that he had no such contract and that all they had was what amounted to a verbal agreement and they owe him nothing. Seriously, regardless of what anyone thinks of Butler’s acting abilities (or even his ability to choose a quality project), does anyone actually believe he’d agree to do a movie on the basis of a handshake? Would anyone?

While some studios are reluctant to agree to guarantees, they accept them as part of the deal for signing major talent. They also have the advantage of enabling a studio to simply remove a player under such a contract with few legal complications – usually the lesser of two evils between legal and financial). Motor City wasn’t a major studio production, however.

Butler’s camp argues that it was on the basis of his name and bankability (and again folks, remember what I’ve said in the past, regardless of what you perceived to be the quality, Butler’s films generally make money) financing was secured for the flick. This point is difficult to argue since there is ample evidence of him working hard for the money down in the south of France during last year’s Cannes Film Festival.In addition to his duties promoting the sale of Olympus Has Fallen (which he went on to film shortly thereafter), he was doing the same forMotor City, which was to have been his second project of 2012.

Based on his commitment to Motor City, Butler alleges that he had the shooting schedule for OHF modified to accommodate that film.He also did not pursue, and indeed turned down, other projects.Those of you who may have been wondering why he’s been on an extended vacation for the last six months, now know why. Motor City was to have filmed, say late September to late November.Thunder Run, to be directed by Simon West and to costar Sam Worthington and Matthew McConaughey, which was changed from motion-capture, all CGI to live-action, was also pushed back (so that McConaughey could eat a sandwich after whittling himself away to nearly nothing for the filming of Dallas Buyers Club. Skeletons don’t make for very convincing tank commanders). Both of these things left Butler with a huge gap in his schedule.So the carnival rolled on.

Lending credence to Butler’s claims is the fact that he is not the only one unhappy with the producers of Motor City. Members of the various unions, who don’t have the luxury of “pay or play” contracts but who were relying on the weeks or months of employment, were told to pack up and go home. Many of them had turned down other work as well.Then there are the various suppliers of various services that had already been rendered to the location set when the plug was pulled, that have yet to be paid.

The producers can say anything they please (short of libel) with reference to the “frivolousness” of the lawsuit and the ridiculousness of Gerard Butler’s claims. that does not mean it is or they are.That’s for a judge to decide.My money’s on Butler. Whatever else you think he is, he’s not stupid.

Okay after all of that, let’s get back to Olympus Has Fallen.For whatever reasons, whether fairly or unfairly, both of Butler’s 2012 releases, Chasing Mavericks and Playing for Keeps, met with less than enthusiasm from critics and indifference from most of the ticket buying public (although not only did both do much better in foreign markets than domestic, but I do think both will do very well on dvd and VoD ).

As I’ve said before, perception is everything. So, despite the fact that the reasons for his inactivity were technically beyond his control, combined with the perceived failure of his last two films, the need for Olympus Has Fallen to hit and hit big, is even greater.

The good news is that, in my humble opinion, this flick just might do the trick. In Olympus Has Fallen, you’ve got a director not only capable of directing action but he’s also capable of directing actors.Antoine Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to a Best Actor Oscar in Training Day, after all. While I won’t be so bold as to predict any such thing will happen here, he has worked with some really fine actors including Clive Owen, Keira Knightely, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Mads Mikkelsen, Joel Edgerton, Stellan Skarsgaard, just to name a few.

Fuqua has assembled a truly talented cast this time around, including Academy Award winners Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo, nominees Angela Basset and Robert Forster, Independent Spirit Award winners Aaron Eckhart and Ashley Judd as well as Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott.

The screenwriters for Olympus Has Fallen may be first timers, but the script written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt was so hot that it went into production very quickly and with virtually no rewrites. Well, until the producers got a hold of it. Still, practically unheard of, especially for first-timers.

The most promising news, in my humble opinion, is that the usually cynical coterie of movie bloggers and other web-based cinephiles, despite whatever reservations they may have about Butler of late, seem to be willing to give this one a chance. While some may snicker at the “Die-Hard in the White House” label, the majority seem to be saying “Hell yes!” to the full-on action. A lot of those that have been calling for Butler to abandon the rom-coms and return to his perceived (there’s that word again) macho roots are in that number. I even read a tweet from one the other day that said OHF should have been Die Hard 5 over what we were given instead (A Good Day to Die Harder).

We have the first featurette to share with you in which Butler and Freeman discuss the film. If the rest of the clips, featurettes and tv spots that are sure to follow in the next six weeks are met with the same generosity, I predict opening weekend for Olympus Has Fallen will be huge. (Okay at least better than average…Or pretty good…I don’t want to jinx anything!)







images courtesy of ComingSoon and Film District – video courtesy of Yahoo

For Your Consideration: Seth MacFarlane as Oscar Host + Some Terrific Posters

There are a few things that I believe are so sure to happen on Oscar night, Sunday February 24, that if I had the proverbial farm, I would wager it down to the last little piggy:

  1. Ted the bear will make an appearance (A song, sung by Norah Jones, from the host’s film of the same name is nominated. Jones will probably have him on her lap as she sings it.)
  2. Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor for Lincoln
  3. Anne Hathaway will win Best Supporting Actress for Les Miserables. (And deservedly so, even if she’ll give a better performance acting surprised when she accepts.)
  4. Ben Affleck will present an award and receive thunderous applause and a standing ovation – as if that could make up for the egregious snubbing. (Unfortunately, he probably won’t utter one of the best lines in his movie, “Argo fuck yourselves”, even though I’ll bet he’d love to. I know I’d love it.)

The producers of the telecast for the 85th Annual Academy Awards are trying very hard to capture (wrangle, reel-in – there are many metaphors to choose from and you will undoubtedly read or have read them all by the time the night rolls around) a younger audience, one that they can cultivate for years to come. This search led to the misguided pairing of Anne Hathaway and James Franco for the 2010 show, as well as the creation of the very cool poster that you can see below, by hot Mondo artist Olly Moss, and the appointment of “Family Guy” and Ted creator Seth MacFarlane to be this year’s host. (Don’t believe me? Then why have the members of the cast of The Avengers been asked to reassemble on Oscar’s stage? As a plug for the sequel that hasn’t even gone into production yet? No.)  This goal could also be met by nominating some of the films that the coveted 18-25 year old male demographic typically goes to see, like The Dark Knight Rises or Skyfall, for Best Picture, both of which had been on a lot of people’s long lists and a cry of disappointment went up when neither made the short list, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Without comparing the merits of those two named films to the nine movies that are nominated, I’ll just offer my humble opinion.  I don’t believe that dangling a carrot in the shape of an Oscar statuette with a superhero’s name etched on it would ever turn 18 year old boys into life-long watchers of the Academy Awards ceremony. They may sit around with their frat brothers to watch the guy who voices Stewie Griffin play host this year, but I guarantee that they’ve already thought of ways to turn it into a drinking game. Even if the experiment works and the Academy pulls in their greatest numbers ever, do they invite him back next year and every year until he and the audience age out?  Do they try to top MacFarlane with someone hipper, edgier, more appealing to that market segment? Like who, Daniel Tosh?

Hosting the Academy Awards is obviously no easy thing and I imagine that every year several are called before someone says “yes”.  What works in other arenas, does not work when hosting a globally televised awards show, just ask David Letterman or the aforementioned Franco and Hathaway. Irreverent humor often works as it did for the longest running hosts, Hollywood insiders Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal, but it's a fine line. It did not work for Jon Stewart (although he was asked back a second time). The cardinal rule is "know thy audience". The almost universally liked Ellen DeGeneres was too “soft”, Chris Rock too “hard”. Hugh Jackman in 2008 appeared to be "just right" and the natural successor to Crystal. Jackman is a born showman, a song-and-dance man as well as an actor, and seemingly without ego. The Academy and the producers of the show would have him back again and again, it’s Jackman who’s turned them down. Schtick never works, as in the case of Letterman (that “Uma/Oprah” thing was bad the first time he said it, let alone after it was repeated ad nauseum throughout the night) as well as the final time Whoopi Goldberg hosted. (Remember her endless costume changes including "white face"?)

Then there was last year’s debacle involving director Brett Ratner’s ignominious ouster and host Eddie Murphy’s subsequent departure. Ratner, best known as the director of those Rush Hour flicks as well as Tower Heist (of which Murphy was the star). Recently he’s turned his hand mostly to producing, but in any case, I think his selection was an attempt at “edgy”. (And yet the Academy was shocked that an ill-chosen remark went viral.) Old-school Billy Crystal was subbed-in almost at the last minute, did his usual bang up job and saved the Academy’s face.

Eighty five years of history would hang over the head of whomever had decided to take the hosting gig. Seth MacFarlane is very talented. He’s an accomplished singer of big-band era standards and I do hope we get to hear him during the telecast. In addition to his voiceover work, he’s obviously a comedically-gifted writer and even earned praise for his live-action directorial debut, Ted.  Translating his brand of off-beat humor is still a dodgy proposition as evidenced by these soundbites:

I’m afraid the rest of the world won’t find him nearly as funny as he finds himself. At least he has the right attitude going in to the proceedings:

Now to those cool posters. In addition to the official poster showing a new rendition of the Oscar statuette, and including for the first time the names of the nominees, we have that Olly Moss poster, which depicts the Oscar modified to represent the Best Picture winner for each year. The AMPAS/oscar.org website features “Art Inspired by the Nominated Best Pictures” with a poster by hip and happening illustrators and graphic artists. (Be sure to *click* to see them better.) I’ll be back soon with my predictions.

AMOUR by artist Matt Owen.

ARGO by artist Anthony Petrie

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD by artist Rich Kelly

DJANGO UNCHAINED by artist Mark Englert

LES MISÉRABLES by Phantom City Creative

LINCOLN by artist Jeff Boyes

LIFE OF PI by artist Tom Whalen

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK by artist Joshua Budich

ZERO DARK THIRTY by Godmachine

And the BAFTA Goes To…

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Tonight, Sunday February 10, the 2013 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).were announced during a glitzy ceremony held at London’s Royal Opera House and hosted by Stephen Fry.

Before we get to the meat, let’s be shallow and talk fashion. (I’ve included a few pics at the bottom.)  I’ll start with one of my girl-crushes, Jessica Chastain, who killed it in a Roland Mouret dress, the color of which matched her eyes and looked flawless with her red hair and porcelain skin.

Anne Hathaway played it safe in a studded and British black Burberry number. Also in black and white (but with feathers), Elizabeth Olsen in Chanel Couture. Andrea Riseborough and Marion Cotillard chose blinding lemon yellow, the former in Vivienne Westwood, the latter in Dior Couture, the style of which was very similar to Jennifer Lawrence’s Golden Globe dress with it’s weird hidden layers. Lawrence chose Dior Couture this time as well, but it was a simple gem-studded strapless gown. (Poised, savvy, funny, scary-talented with 2 Oscar nominations to her name -hard to believe she’s only 23).

Fashion bloggers praised Gemma Arterton’s one-shouldered column Celia Kritharioti, but I thought she looked like an anemic bee. Amy Adams looked far older than her years in black lace Elie Saab while Thandie Newton looked like she got her black lace Louis Vuitton from the Frederick’s catalog. Speaking of Elie Saab, Sarah Jessica Parker, WTF were thinking?

Ben Affleck’s better half, Jennifer Garner looked gorgeous in a black and white Rolan Mouret that perfectly complimented Ben, his beard and the satin lapels of his tux. Speaking of power couples, Helen McCrory in a pale robin’s egg blue vintage Givenchy from 1963 that matched the darker blue of hubby Damian Lewis’ velvet tux. (*girly sigh*) Eddie Redmayne probably spent the ceremony throwing up because Lewis as well as Luke Evans pulled off the velvet thing better than he has. (He actually had the flu – I'm not being gross) Then there was the Prince and Princess of Wacky, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. (I’m disappointed she hasn’t repeated the mismatched shoe thing!)

Last but not least, I must mention the incomparable Helen Mirren. I love and adore this woman, but even more than ever for her pink hair, the twinkle in her eye and the fact that she twirled…TWIRLED…on the red carpet. That’s how I want to do 67, too.

One more thing: Someone needs to explain Paloma Faith to me. I realize she’s the British flavor of the month but 1. Why was she singing INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” while a montage of the year’s films (not just nominees) played behind her  and 2. WTF was on her head? The red carpet wasn’t bad enough then she plunked some sort of shrubbery slash chandelier on the top of it. Apparently this sort of fuckery is a thing with her. She’s like Lady Gaga crossed with LaVay Smith by way of the Andrews Sisters. Or something.

On to the main event: I mentioned that Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, led with ten nominations, ahead of Les Miserables and Life of Pi, which both had nine. I also made the observation that in the weeks between the BAFTA nominations and the ceremony, Lincoln appeared “almost dead in the water”. I think the results bore that out. The only award it went home with was the only sure thing of the evening: Daniel Day-Lewis for Leading Actor.

Emmanuelle Riva’s win for Leading Actress, probably the biggest shock of the night, actually works in Jessica Chastain’s favor in terms of the Academy Awards. Riva had won a couple of critics groups but Chastain, despite her loss of the Screen Actors Guild Award to Jennifer Lawrence, had won many more. If BAFTA had gone for Lawrence, I think it would be clear the Academy would too, hence my thought that Chastain is still in it. Just my humble opinion, of course. Conventional wisdom says BAFTA equals Oscar for actresses who haven’t won much else. Eg: Marion Cotillard in 2008 and Meryl Streep in 2012. We’ll see.

I gave you my picks (which are marked with ** a few days ago in this post.  Let’s see how I did, shall we? The winner is highlighted in yellow.

BEST FILM:

**ARGO Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

LES MISÉRABLES Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

LIFE OF PI Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark

LINCOLN Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

ZERO DARK THIRTY Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

Ben Affleck’s little film-that-could has now unquestionably become an unstoppable juggernaut on a trajectory for an Oscar win. (Hyperbole? Perhaps. We’ll see on February 24.)

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM:

ANNA KARENINA Joe Wright, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster, Tom Stoppard

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL John Madden, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Ol Parker

LES MISÉRABLES Tom Hooper, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh,

William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin

**SKYFALL Sam Mendes, Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan

As I said, “All of these are worthy. I’d love to see Seven Psychopaths take it but I have to go with Skyfall. It’s a massive global hit, but it’s also intrinsically British and they are very proud of the Bond franchise. It’s also damn good.”

Director Sam Mendes, upon accepting the award from Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper said, “On behalf of the 1500+ people who made this {film} we're accepting this. We had high expectations of this film and it surpassed them all. I also have to single out the man around whom we built this film, and that's Daniel Craig.”

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER:

BART LAYTON (Director), DIMITRI DOGANIS (Producer) The Imposter

DAVID MORRIS (Director), JACQUI MORRIS (Director/Producer) McCullin

**DEXTER FLETCHER (Director/Writer), DANNY KING (Writer) Wild Bill

JAMES BOBIN (Director) The Muppets

TINA GHARAVI (Director/Writer) I Am Nasrine

As I said, Dexter Fletcher was purely a sentimental choice. LOL

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE:

**AMOUR Michael Haneke, Margaret Ménégoz

HEADHUNTERS Morten Tyldum, Marianne Gray, Asle Vatn

THE HUNT Thomas Vinterberg, Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Morten Kaufmann

RUST AND BONE Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux

UNTOUCHABLE Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou, Laurent

Zeitoun

DOCUMENTARY:

THE IMPOSTER Bart Layton, Dimitri Doganis

MARLEY Kevin Macdonald, Steve Bing, Charles Steel

McCULLIN David Morris, Jacqui Morris

**SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

WEST OF MEMPHIS Amy Berg

ANIMATED FILM:

**BRAVE Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

FRANKENWEENIE Tim Burton

PARANORMAN Sam Fell, Chris Butler

“Awards season favorite Wreck-it Ralph isn’t even nominated so I think this goes to Brave.”

DIRECTOR:

Michael Haneke AMOUR

**Ben Affleck ARGO

Quentin Tarantino DJANGO UNCHAINED

Ang Lee LIFE OF PI

Kathryn Bigelow ZERO DARK THIRTY

It’s no secret that his skill as a director has rejuvenated Ben Affleck’s career. In his acceptance speech, an effusive Affleck said “This is the second act and you’ve given me that. This industry has given me that. So I’d like to dedicate this award to anyone else who’s looking for their second act.”  Ben Affleck – Class Act.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Michael Haneke AMOUR

**Quentin Tarantino DJANGO UNCHAINED

Paul Thomas Anderson THE MASTER

Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola MOONRISE KINGDOM

Mark Boal ZERO DARK THIRTY

As worthy as all of these screenplays are, there was no question it would be QT’s.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Chris Terrio ARGO

Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

David Magee LIFE OF PI

**Tony Kushner LINCOLN

David O. Russell SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

I almost changed my prediction to Argo after it’s late win at the Scripter Awards Saturday night, just on hunch, but decided to let Lincoln stand. I would have been wrong either way. This is another category that’s too close to call for Oscar night at this point. Silver Linings Playbook, Argo and Lincoln all have some critics association wins. We’ll know more on Feb. 17 when the Writers Guild hands out their prizes.

LEADING ACTOR:

BEN AFFLECK Argo

BRADLEY COOPER Silver Linings Playbook

**DANIEL DAY-LEWIS Lincoln

HUGH JACKMAN Les Misérables

JOAQUIN PHOENIX The Master

LEADING ACTRESS:

EMMANUELLE RIVA Amour

HELEN MIRREN Hitchcock

JENNIFER LAWRENCE Silver Linings Playbook

**JESSICA CHASTAIN Zero Dark Thirty

MARION COTILLARD Rust and Bone

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

ALAN ARKIN Argo

CHRISTOPH WALTZ Django Unchained

JAVIER BARDEM Skyfall

**PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN The Master

TOMMY LEE JONES Lincoln

As I said, I stepped out on this one. Oh well. I think this seals the deal on another Oscar for Waltz.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

AMY ADAMS The Master

**ANNE HATHAWAY Les Misérables

HELEN HUNT The Sessions

JUDI DENCH Skyfall

SALLY FIELD Lincoln

ORIGINAL MUSIC:

Dario Marianelli ANNA KARENINA

Alexandre Desplat ARGO

**Mychael Danna LIFE OF PI

John Williams LINCOLN

Thomas Newman SKYFALL

Mychael Danna is the relative newcomer on this list. His score for Life of Pi was beautiful and he did win the Golden Globe, John Williams could scoop it though. Alexandre Desplat was nominated for the wrong film, he should have been nominated for Moonrise Kingdom).

CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Seamus McGarvey ANNA KARENINA

Danny Cohen LES MISÉRABLES

**Claudio Miranda LIFE OF PI

Janusz Kaminski LINCOLN

Roger Deakins SKYFALL

This was presented by Mark Strong – better than being right.

EDITING:

ARGO William Goldenberg

DJANGO UNCHAINED Fred Raskin

LIFE OF PI Tim Squyres

SKYFALL Stuart Baird

**ZERO DARK THIRTY Dylan Tichenor, William Goldenberg

PRODUCTION DESIGN:

**ANNA KARENINA Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

LES MISÉRABLES Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson

LIFE OF PI David Gropman, Anna Pinnock

LINCOLN Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

SKYFALL Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock

COSTUME DESIGN:

**ANNA KARENINA Jacqueline Durran

GREAT EXPECTATIONS Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

LES MISÉRABLES Paco Delgado

LINCOLN Joanna Johnston

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN Colleen Atwood

MAKE UP & HAIR:

**ANNA KARENINA Ivana Primorac

HITCHCOCK Julie Hewett, Martin Samuel, Howard Berger

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Peter Swords King, Richard Taylor, Rick Findlater

LES MISÉRABLES Lisa Westcott

LINCOLN Lois Burwell, Kay Georgiou

SOUND:

DJANGO UNCHAINED Mark Ulano, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Wylie Stateman

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Tony Johnson, Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges,

Michael Semanick, Brent Burge, Chris Ward

**LES MISÉRABLES Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John

Warhurst

LIFE OF PI Drew Kunin, Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton, Ron Bartlett, D. M. Hemphill

SKYFALL Stuart Wilson, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS:

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Peter Bebb, Andrew Lockley

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher

White

**LIFE OF PI Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer

MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Nominees TBC

PROMETHEUS Richard Stammers, Charley Henley, Trevor Wood, Paul Butterworth

SHORT ANIMATION:

HERE TO FALL Kris Kelly, Evelyn McGrath

I’M FINE THANKS Eamonn O’Neill

THE MAKING OF LONGBIRD Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson

SHORT FILM:

THE CURSE Fyzal Boulifa, Gavin Humphries

GOOD NIGHT Muriel d’Ansembourg, Eva Sigurdardottir

**SWIMMER Lynne Ramsay, Peter Carlton, Diarmid Scrimshaw

TUMULT Johnny Barrington, Rhianna Andrews

THE VOORMAN PROBLEM Mark Gill, Baldwin Li

“I picked Swimmer because it’s directed by the same Lynne Ramsay that gave us We Need to Talk About Kevin, as well as the upcoming western Jane Got a Gun with Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, Joel Edgerton and Rodrigo Santoro, making it the only short film I’ve heard of. Subjectivity at its finest LOL  Ramsay, like a lot of feature film directors, got her start in shorts, too.”

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public):

ELIZABETH OLSEN

**ANDREA RISEBOROUGH

SURAJ SHARMA

*JUNO TEMPLE

ALICIA VIKANDER

“A case could be made for any of the four actresses …Both Riseborough and Temple are British. I’m going with Riseborough because I’ve been a fan since “The Devil’s Whore” with Michael Fassbender. (Look at that, I managed to get in two Fassy references.) She’s incredibly talented and has been “on the verge” for a long time. She deserves the push.”  Juno Temple gave a fantastic performance in William Friedkin’s Killer Joe opposite Matthew McConaughey and was in The Dark Knight Rises for about a minute. Still wanted Riseborough to get it.

BAFTA gave their Fellowship Award (the equivalent of a Lifetime Achievement Award) to Sir Alan Parker, acclaimed director of such films as Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone, The Committments, Mississippi Burning and Evita. (He also wrote a song for the soundtrack of Halloween III)

All in all, I didn’t do too badly.  14 right out of 24 categories.  That’s 58%. Eh. I've done better.  I’ll meet you back here in a couple of weeks to talk about my Oscar predictions.

 Pics are *clickable*



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Catching Up Before We Find Olympus Has Fallen

The last Gerard Butler movie that I discussed at this address was Coriolanus. There wasn’t a lot to talk about in the Land of Butler for many moons, but after a long drought, last fall we were given Chasing Mavericks and then in short order, Playing for Keeps, both of which I championed prior to their theatrical runs, elsewhere. It’s fitting that we talk about them here, now, as they’re both due to be released on dvd within the next few weeks.

Let’s start with Chasing Mavericks in which newcomer Jonny Weston played real-life surfing legend Jay Moriarty and Gerard Butler played his mentor, Rick “Frosty” Hesson.

By now, even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ve seen myriad interviews and reviews. Once again I’m struck by the disconnect between what those who are paid to view and review movies think and what the movie-going public actually likes. While I don’t always agree with public sentiment, on this film I do. 77% of the Rotten Tomatoes crowd liked this movie a lot, while only 32% of critics did.

Let me offer my completely biased opinion on this one. As far as inspirational stories go, despite the fact that you may think you know the tale (and cynics will tell you that is the case), this one has managed to sidestep a lot, not all, of the usual hackneyed, movie-of-the-week, traps. Of course it does tick some of those boxes – Absent father: check, Neglectful mother: check, Girl-Next-Door: check, etc.

But, instead of focusing on the fact that it contains a lot of clichés found in other inspirational sports movies (Is it cliché if it’s true? The fact that certain elements are part of the true story is the reason someone wanted to film it in the first place) or Butler’s accent (although to be fair, a lot of critics who didn’t like the film overall have praised his performance, some calling it his best), why not focus on what the movie is really about: relationships.

While the film is set in the insular world of big-wave surfing, both Frosty and Jay have strong growth arcs as their “surrogate father/son” relationship forms, grows and then reverses. Chasing Mavericks isn’t just about Jay Moriarty becoming a world-class surfer, it’s also about his personal growth from misfit kid into a confident man, as well as Frosty’s growth as a husband and more importantly, as a father.

What you get is an emotionally stirring story set against some of the most incredible surf footage on film, made all the more poignant knowing that everything that Frosty warns Jay about, as well as providing him with the wisdom to survive it, is real.

It’s a true story so yes, people are born and people die within the course of the film. The overall message though is simple: live life every day, every minute. Live like Jay.

Playing for Keeps is more problematic.

What started as a story about a little league dad besieged by desperate housewives called “Slide”, morphed into a soccer movie (about pretty much the same thing) when producer Gerard Butler optioned the script. The title was changed to Playing the Field and the plot would seem to support that title. Butler’s character is a pro-soccer (even though I’m American, I so want to call it football as the rest of the world does) player whose career is at an end. Apparently it was all downhill from there and since nothing else has gone right in his life, he decides it’s time to reconnect with his son and his ex-wife (Noah Lomax and Jessica Biel respectively) who are living in a small town somewhere in Virginia. The trouble of course, arrives in the form of those infamous “soccer moms” who can’t keep their hands off of him. (Why anyone had a problem believing this part of the story is beyond me. C’mon!) These women are played by Catherine Zeta Jones, Uma Thurman and Judy Greer, so it’s not as if it would have been a hardship for George (Butler) either.

Okay, so that’s all well and good. I would have liked to have known a little bit more about George and why his career ended, but frankly that was the least of this film’s problems. The trouble really began when someone somewhere along the line decided to shift the focus of the film from George and the ladies in what could have been a funny, sexy romp, finally taking advantage of its star's appeal, to a family melodrama about George and Stacy and Lewis. With the tonal shift came a title change as well, to Playing for Keeps. (My theory is that the producers, Butler among them, heard the universe groaning under the weight of another bad rom-com and took a different tack.)

But having decided that they were now going for warm and fuzzy as opposed to hot and sexy, both elements of the story remained. Women still pursued George and he still accepted their favors, conflicted about his attraction to them and his desire to “play the field” vs nurturing a renewed relationship with his wife and son, but the comedy had been bled out of it.

Here’s the thing, either element could have worked on its own and I even believe both elements could have worked in the same movie, but they had to GO FOR IT. The director, Gabriele Muccino, is Italian. Italians appreciate romance, drama and farce all in one movie (and the fact that this one opened HUGE in Italy, not to mention Roberto Benigni’s entire career, bear that out). I think Muccino pulled his punches for an American audience.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot to like about Playing for Keeps. (Despite what you may have heard, I don’t think it was in any way misogynistic. But then again I don’t ascribe hidden motives or darker meaning to it in any way.) For one, the star hasn’t looked this good in a long time. (In both Chasing Mavericks and Playing for Keeps, Butler's hair deserved its own credit. In PFK he got to keep his accent! Bonus! And then there was that towel…) Okay all of that aside, in PFK, Gerard Butler gives one of his finest, most subtle performances since Dear Frankie (when the script allowed him to be subtle and vulnerable and emotionally engaged that is).

I’ve never been much of a Jessica Biel fan, but then I haven’t seen a lot of her work. I caught a film version of Noel Coward's Easy Virtue with Biel, Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas and she held her own in some pretty good company. I think she was equally good here.

Catherine Zeta Jones looked like she was having a blast playing the vixen in a small but crucial role. Perpetual second-fiddle Judy Greer (who really needs a starring role) also looked like she was having fun. The woman who nearly stole The Descendants from George Clooney got to put the moves on Gerard Butler and had some nice comic moments as well. Uma Thurman’s character, I believe, fared the worst. There was nothing wrong with her performance, but her scenes were cut to make her look a tad nuts. Crying in one scene, then the next time we see her she’s rolling around in a bed lying in wait for George and giggling like she’s on Lithium.

I believe that the stories of each of these characters, as well as that of Dennis Quaid, were more fleshed out in the original and a lot was left on the cutting room floor.

The best part of Playing for Keeps, at least the version we got to see, was George’s relationship with his son Lewis. The young actor who played him, Noah Lomax, was a revelation. He’s adorable, but he’s also talented. There was nothing “kid actor” with its attendant mugging and stiffness about him, there was only a natural kid. Noah next appears in Safe Haven with Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, out next weekend. I hope he goes far.

I’ve mentioned the disconnect between critic and Joe Ticketbuyer, but I also wonder about the gap between what an actor promoting a film says that his or her experience in making that film was, as compared to what the critics have to say about the finished product.

If an actor really doesn’t believe in the product they’re trying to sell you, I think it’s obvious, just as it’s obvious when they do. I realize they are “actors,” but I look for non-verbal cues like body language, which are usually dead giveaways, to me anyway.

One of the things I have always liked about Gerard Butler is how passionate he gets about his work and how committed and tireless he is when it comes time to promote it and get it out there. During interviews answering the same questions over and over, he manages to sound enthusiastic and respond in a slightly nuanced way each time. My obvious soft spot for Butler notwithstanding, (I’ll be the first to say that he needs to choose his projects better) but if that’s “acting”, give the man a break, a good role and an Oscar.

“A movie has to be really bad for me not to like it. If a movie entertains
me and/or makes me laugh {or cry} then I will like it. A movie’s number one job
is to make sure the audience is having a good time…”*

Can we talk about Olympus Has Fallen now?

Here’s the official synopsis:

When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President (Aaron Eckhart) and avert an even bigger disaster. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directs an all-star cast featuring Butler, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd and Rick Yune.

This one has been through a few title changes as well. First it was Olympus Has Fallen, then it during the Cannes Film Market it was changed to White House Taken then, so as not to be confused with Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, it was changed back to Olympus Has Fallen. Personally, I like that title a lot better.

Film District (which also released Playing for Keeps) has decided to move UP the release date for Antoine Fuqua’s action flick, from its April date to March 22. One theory is the move is an attempt to put even more distance between OHF and that other similarly themed flick starring our favorite tater, Channing Tatum-tot. (It’s a tag team match folks! Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart vs Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx! Who will win? We may have to have Antoine Fuqua take on Roland Emmerich as the tie-breaker. Secret weapon: Morgan Freeman vs. James Woods. Advantage: Olympus Has Fallen.)

Personally, I really don’t get the assumption that Olympus Has Fallen is somehow the “low rent version" of Tot’s pic. OHF was announced first, cast first, rolled into production first and finished first. It has a better cast and purportedly a better script. How does that make it the “Hydrox version” to WHD’s “Oreo”? WHD did get a series of stills published in Entertainment Weekly back in November. That is the kind of thing that signals the upper hand to the average movie-goer. As it is, you can’t read or hear about one movie without the other being mentioned.

We now have two trailers out for OHF, both a domestic and UK edition. The UK version is slightly shorter, tighter. The differences are very subtle. (I've included both below) Director Antoine Fuqua has admitted working on the trailer up until about three days before it was dropped. Think maybe the earlier release date caught him by surprise?

Personally, I think the move had something to do with getting a “quality” product with Butler’s name on it before the viewing public ASAP. It’s all about perception. And the perception is, G needs a hit.

White House Down is currently scheduled for June 28. We’ll see if it stays that way. As Deadline (and countless others have) pointed out, the theory is it’s usually better to be first ie: Capote did much better than Infamous. BUT just last year, after a spirited game of leap frog, Relativity put Mirror Mirror out first, yet Universal’s Snow White And The Huntsman did far better. Of course they were apples and oranges. And it’s still all about the execution.

Olympus Has Fallen also stars Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Dylan McDermott and Radha Mitchell and will be released in the US on March 22 and in the UK on 19th April. My hopes remain high.

*Eriq Martin/IGN

Parts of this post have appeared on INeedMyFix.com

Domestic Trailer:


UK version:


…Annnnd we’re back! (Just in time for the BAFTAs!)

It’s been nearly a year since I posted here, so if I’m yelling into a well at this point, I’ll understand. I’ve neglected this blog for so long because I was engaged elsewhere, but now that I have a little bit more time, it’s an opportunity to dust this off as a place where I can discuss movies and all things film related.

We're in the thick of awards season, which loyal readers of this blog know is my favorite spectator sport, so what better way to jump back into the fray than with my prognostications for this Sunday’s BAFTA Awards!

On January 9th, before the Golden Globes or any of the Guild and (most) critics association awards were handed out, Jeremy Irvine (Great Expectations) and Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness) announced the nominations for the 2013 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).

Way back when, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which leads the pack with ten nominations, ahead of Les Miserables and Life of Pi, which both scored nine, was the awards season front-runner and the film to beat. Going into Sunday’s BAFTA ceremony, it now appears almost dead in the water. The above named movies will all compete for Best Film, along with Ben Affleck‘s Argo and Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty.  

Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), along with Affleck, Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) and Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) will vie for Leading Actor. No one is going to best DDL.  In the Leading Actress category, Zero Dark Thirty‘s star Jessica Chastain will go up against Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and Dame Helen Mirren (Hitchcock).

The best director award was a bit of a surprise with the British Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) left off the list. Lincoln apparently directed itself as well – no Spielberg.  Those that did get a nod: Affleck, Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Michael Haneke (Amour), Ang Lee (Life Of Pi) and Bigelow. How do you nominate a movie for Best Picture without the director and vice versa? I’ve never understood that, but these Awards governing bodies (I’m looking at you  AMPAS) apparently do. (Hooper and Spielberg got Oscar nods while Affleck and Bigelow did not. But you knew that.)

James Bond’s 23rd outing, the global blockbuster Skyfall, secured nods for Dame Judi Dench (Supporting Actress) and Javier Bardem (Supporting Actor), as well as for Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Sound and Outstanding British Film.

The full list of nominations for the EE British Academy Film Awards*:

My picks are marked with **

BEST FILM:

**ARGO Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

LES MISÉRABLES Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

LIFE OF PI Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark

LINCOLN Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

ZERO DARK THIRTY Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

Will the Brits care about a piece of America’s recent historical past enough to go with Argo? Then again, an Argo win means George Clooney on stage. Lincoln has Spielberg not to mention Daniel Day-Lewis going for it. Les Miserables is a British film based on a play originally staged in London by Brits. Zero Dark Thirty is an amazing film about an American mission to hunt down a global criminal. (I have no doubt that the London and Glasgow bombings are still fresh in BAFTA minds.)  Playing “pin-the-tale-on-the-movie”, I’m going with Argo.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM:

ANNA KARENINA Joe Wright, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster, Tom Stoppard

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL John Madden, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Ol Parker

LES MISÉRABLES Tom Hooper, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh,

William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin

**SKYFALL Sam Mendes, Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan

All of these are worthy. I’d love to see Seven Psychopaths take it but I have to go with Skyfall. It’s a massive global hit, but it’s also intrinsically British and they are very proud of the Bond franchise. It’s also damn good.

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER:

BART LAYTON (Director), DIMITRI DOGANIS (Producer) The Imposter

DAVID MORRIS (Director), JACQUI MORRIS (Director/Producer) McCullin

**DEXTER FLETCHER (Director/Writer), DANNY KING (Writer) Wild Bill

JAMES BOBIN (Director) The Muppets

TINA GHARAVI (Director/Writer) I Am Nasrine

Purely a sentimental choice because I like Dexter Fletcher as an actor. The only film I’ve seen on the list is The Muppets, so if the award is given based on box office…

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE:

**AMOUR Michael Haneke, Margaret Ménégoz

HEADHUNTERS Morten Tyldum, Marianne Gray, Asle Vatn

THE HUNT Thomas Vinterberg, Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Morten Kaufmann

RUST AND BONE Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux

UNTOUCHABLE Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou, Laurent

Zeitoun

DOCUMENTARY:

THE IMPOSTER Bart Layton, Dimitri Doganis

MARLEY Kevin Macdonald, Steve Bing, Charles Steel

McCULLIN David Morris, Jacqui Morris

**SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

WEST OF MEMPHIS Amy Berg

ANIMATED FILM:

**BRAVE Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

FRANKENWEENIE Tim Burton

PARANORMAN Sam Fell, Chris Butler

Awards season favorite Wreck-it Ralph isn’t even nominated so I think this goes to Brave.

DIRECTOR:

Michael Haneke AMOUR

**Ben Affleck ARGO

Quentin Tarantino DJANGO UNCHAINED

Ang Lee LIFE OF PI

Kathryn Bigelow ZERO DARK THIRTY

You’ll notice both Affleck and Bigelow are nominated here, despite those now infamous Oscar snubs. I have to go with Ben Affleck because he’s got the momentum and while I’m happy Argo has filled the spot I thought surely Zero Dark Thirty would be in at this juncture, I would love it if Bigelow won for the latter film.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Michael Haneke AMOUR

**Quentin Tarantino DJANGO UNCHAINED

Paul Thomas Anderson THE MASTER

Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola MOONRISE KINGDOM

Mark Boal ZERO DARK THIRTY

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Chris Terrio ARGO

Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

David Magee LIFE OF PI

**Tony Kushner LINCOLN

David O. Russell SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

LEADING ACTOR:

BEN AFFLECK Argo

BRADLEY COOPER Silver Linings Playbook

**DANIEL DAY-LEWIS Lincoln

HUGH JACKMAN Les Misérables

JOAQUIN PHOENIX The Master

LEADING ACTRESS:

EMMANUELLE RIVA Amour

HELEN MIRREN Hitchcock

JENNIFER LAWRENCE Silver Linings Playbook

**JESSICA CHASTAIN Zero Dark Thirty

MARION COTILLARD Rust and Bone

Keeping my faith in Chastain’s win, although after the Screen Actors Guild Award upset by Jennifer Lawrence, nothing is guaranteed and both actresses delivered awards-worthy performances.

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

ALAN ARKIN Argo

CHRISTOPH WALTZ Django Unchained

JAVIER BARDEM Skyfall

**PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN The Master

TOMMY LEE JONES Lincoln

I’m stepping out on this one. Europe, Great Britain in particular, liked The Master a lot more than the US did. I still find the lack of love from both the BAFTAs and the Oscars for Leonardo DiCaprio beyond baffling. Oh well.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

AMY ADAMS The Master

**ANNE HATHAWAY Les Misérables

HELEN HUNT The Sessions

JUDI DENCH Skyfall

SALLY FIELD Lincoln

ORIGINAL MUSIC:

Dario Marianelli ANNA KARENINA

Alexandre Desplat ARGO

**Mychael Danna LIFE OF PI

John Williams LINCOLN

Thomas Newman SKYFALL

Mychael Danna is the relative newcomer on this list. His score for Life of Pi was beautiful and he did win the Golden Globe, John Williams could scoop it though. Alexandre Desplat was nominated for the wrong film, he should have been nominated for Moonrise Kingdom).

CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Seamus McGarvey ANNA KARENINA

Danny Cohen LES MISÉRABLES

**Claudio Miranda LIFE OF PI

Janusz Kaminski LINCOLN

Roger Deakins SKYFALL

This is a tough one. All of these films were beautifully photographed. I would argue that Cloud Atlas should be on this list as well, but no one asked me.

EDITING:

ARGO William Goldenberg

DJANGO UNCHAINED Fred Raskin

LIFE OF PI Tim Squyres

SKYFALL Stuart Baird

**ZERO DARK THIRTY Dylan Tichenor, William Goldenberg

PRODUCTION DESIGN:

**ANNA KARENINA Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

LES MISÉRABLES Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson

LIFE OF PI David Gropman, Anna Pinnock

LINCOLN Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

SKYFALL Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock

COSTUME DESIGN:

**ANNA KARENINA Jacqueline Durran

GREAT EXPECTATIONS Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

LES MISÉRABLES Paco Delgado

LINCOLN Joanna Johnston

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN Colleen Atwood

MAKE UP & HAIR:

**ANNA KARENINA Ivana Primorac

HITCHCOCK Julie Hewett, Martin Samuel, Howard Berger

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Peter Swords King, Richard Taylor, Rick Findlater

LES MISÉRABLES Lisa Westcott

LINCOLN Lois Burwell, Kay Georgiou

SOUND:

DJANGO UNCHAINED Mark Ulano, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Wylie Stateman

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Tony Johnson, Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges,

Michael Semanick, Brent Burge, Chris Ward

**LES MISÉRABLES Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John

Warhurst

LIFE OF PI Drew Kunin, Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton, Ron Bartlett, D. M. Hemphill

SKYFALL Stuart Wilson, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS:

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Peter Bebb, Andrew Lockley

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher

White

**LIFE OF PI Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer

MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Nominees TBC

PROMETHEUS Richard Stammers, Charley Henley, Trevor Wood, Paul Butterworth

SHORT ANIMATION:

HERE TO FALL Kris Kelly, Evelyn McGrath

I’M FINE THANKS Eamonn O’Neill

THE MAKING OF LONGBIRD Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson

SHORT FILM:

THE CURSE Fyzal Boulifa, Gavin Humphries

GOOD NIGHT Muriel d’Ansembourg, Eva Sigurdardottir

**SWIMMER Lynne Ramsay, Peter Carlton, Diarmid Scrimshaw

TUMULT Johnny Barrington, Rhianna Andrews

THE VOORMAN PROBLEM Mark Gill, Baldwin Li

I picked Swimmer because it’s directed by the same Lynne Ramsay that gave us We Need to Talk About Kevin, as well as the upcoming western Jane Got a Gun with Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, Joel Edgerton and Rodrigo Santoro, making it the only short film I’ve heard of. Subjectivity at its finest LOL  Ramsay, like a lot of feature film directors, got her start in shorts, too.

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public):

ELIZABETH OLSEN

**ANDREA RISEBOROUGH

SURAJ SHARMA

JUNO TEMPLE

ALICIA VIKANDER

A case could be made for any of the four actresses (but not so much Suraj Sharma. He was unknown before Ang Lee discovered him for Life of Pi. I’m not sure that makes him a “rising star”). Both Riseborough and Temple are British. I’m going with Riseborough because I’ve been a fan since “The Devil’s Whore” with Michael Fassbender. (Look at that, I managed to get in two Fassy references.) She’s incredibly talented and has been “on the verge” for a long time. She deserves the push.

The awards will be handed out on Sunday 10 February at London’s Royal Opera House. In the US, we’ll be able to watch it at 8pm ET on BBC America. Stephen Fry will host.

Thanks for reading! Don’t be a stranger, y’hear?

*They used to be called the “Orange British Academy Film Awards” but Orange was swallowed by telecommunications company EE. They’re kind of the T-Mobile of Great Britain.