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

And the BAFTA Goes To…

604035_10151320010634010_1426618750_n

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*



–>

“It’s Good to Be George Clooney”

If they gave out Oscars for being a bon vivant, the best raconteur or guy-you'd-most-like-to-have-at-your-next-dinner party, then George Clooney would be a shoo-in. I could listen to him talk for hours. He's intelligent, charming, self-effacing and very, very funny. He's also not hard on the eyes. I enjoy his films immensely. He makes smart choices and if he can't find a movie from someone else that he wants to do, he and his producing partner, Grant Heslov, will write their own. Then he gets his friends to help out.I've never heard or read a single negative anecdote told by actors who've worked with him and his private life and behavior don't make the tabloids for anything other than the fact that he's a serial monogamist.
 
He also puts his celebrity to good use, which is a better reason to admire the man  than the way he looks in a tux. There is no question his interest in the crisis in Darfur has shone a light on a region of the world that no one was paying attention to, despite the fact that another holocaust was happening under our noses. He's by no means the only activist to highlight what's happening in the Sudan (Sam Childers aka "The Machine Gun Preacher" may have been there longer and is more hands on, but until recently not many had ever heard of Sam or his work) nor is he the only celebrity attempting to put their fame to good use (ie Angelina Jolie or Madonna) but, I think the fact that he's so well regarded in general means attention will be paid.   

He's a great guy and everyone loves him.

The problem I have is with George Clooney, Academy Award nominee for Best Actor. I enjoyed The Descendants both times I saw it, but when I walked out the second time, my opinion hadn't changed from the first. It's a good movie. It's well written and it's well acted, which is what we should expect when we buy a ticket. We should not be so surprised when we come upon quality that it's immediately given front runner status for Awards Season. There is a lot to like in that film, most notably, in my opinion is the discovery of Shailene Woodley. She's just twenty years old and has a great career ahead of her if she continues to make smart choices. (For the record I don't consider her performance awards worthy either, even though she was touted for Best Supporting Actress early on.) Nor do I think this was Clooney's best work, a phrase being bandied about more and more as we get into the final stretch before Oscar night.

I would suggest that he was better in Michael Clayton (for which he was nominated but lost out to Daniel Day Lewis for There Will Be Blood). I suggest that he was better as Archie Gates in Three Kings, Jack Foley in Out of Sight or even as Everett in O Brother, Where Art Thou? all of which were made when it was still possible for him to disappear into a character. Now, whenever I see him on screen, I rarely see anything other than George Clooney. He's too famous to completely disappear into a role. (Something I dread happening to all of my favorite actors, the ones the world has suddenly caught on to like Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy. It's already happened to a large extent to Gerard Butler.) In the clip below, Clooney mentions how, in his later years, Spencer Tracy always played some version of Spencer Tracy, but "you couldn't take your eyes off of him." That's how I feel about Clooney. 

I am very happy his script for Ides of March was nominated. More than the performances (and Clooney was very good, make no mistake. So were Gosling, Wood, Tomei, Hoffman and Giamatti for that matter), the words were the star, just as they were when it was a play. I love the story he told "The Hollywood Reporter about how restless he is and how he wakes up five times a night and it was during one of these sleepless nights that he wrote a particularly memorable line of dialogue from Ides of March. (Arguably the most memorable) "I woke up and sat down and wrote the whole scene in the kitchen between Ryan and myself: 'You want to be president…You can start a war, you can lie, you can cheat, you can bankrupt the country, but you can't fuck the interns.'" 
Speaking of that venerable publication, Gorgeous George is on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter next week and he invited the photographer and journalist into his home for the interview.  Below is a video clip of the photo shoot. (This is by the way, the 2nd time this awards season that Clooney has allowed cameras to film him in his private domain. The first was for CBS News' "Person to Person" with Charlie Rose and Lara Logan. The seventeen minute video can be found at the link. If he were anyone other than George Clooney, one might say he was lobbying hard for that Oscar. But because he IS George Clooney, it's easier to give him the benefit of the doubt. He just wanted to invite us all in for a chat.