Thursday, January 31, 2008

Living Hitchcock Actors: Who's Left?

Who among the living Hitchcock actors most conjures up the Master and his movies? My answer: Tippi Hedren, who tops my list of the Top Ten Most Significant Living Hitchcock Actors (plus 84 others). Why the list? Just for fun and for Hitchcock fans who want to know that these actors are still with us. Side note: Namoi Watts is slated to play the lead in the 2009 remake of The Birds!


1. Tippi Hedren (b. 1930) (The Birds, Marnie)
2. Kim Novak (b. 1933) (Vertigo)
3. Joan Fontaine (b. 1917) (Rebecca, Suspicion)
4. Farley Granger (b. 1925) (Rope, Strangers on a Train)
5. Eva Marie Saint (b. 1924) (North By Northwest)
6. Nova Pilbeam (b. 1919) (The Man Who Knew Too Much [1934], Young and Innocent)
7. Doris Day (b. 1924) (The Man Who Knew Too Much [1956])
8. Rod Taylor (b. 1930) (The Birds)
9. Pat Hitchcock (b. 1928) (Stage Fright, Strangers on a Train, Psycho)
10. John Forsythe (b. 1918) (The Trouble With Harry, Topaz, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: “I Saw the Whole Thing”)

THE REST (Alphabetical):

1. Kathryn Adams (b. 1920) (Saboteur)
2. Mary Anderson (b. 1920) (Lifeboat)
3. Julie Andrews (b. 1935) (Torn Curtain)
4. Brigitte Auber (b. 1928) (To Catch A Thief)
5. Diane Baker (b. 1938) (Marnie)
6. Laurinda Barrett (b. 1931) (The Wrong Man)
7. Charles Bates (b. 1934) (Shadow of a Doubt, Spellbound)
8. Kimberly Beck (b. 1956) (Marnie)
9. Henry Beckman (b. 1921) (The Wrong Man, Marnie)
10. Martin Benson (b. 1918) (Under Capricorn)
11. Karen Black (b. 1939) (Family Plot)
12. Morgan Brittany (b. 1951) (The Birds)
13. Faith Brook (b. 1922) (Suspicion)
14. Frank Cady (b. 1915) (Rear Window)
15. Veronica Cartwright (b. 1950) (The Birds)
16. Sean Connery (b. 1930) (Marnie)
17. Charles Cooper (The Wrong Man)
18. Carolyn Conwell (b. 1930) (Torn Curtain)
19. Bernard Cribbins (b. 1928) (Frenzy)
20. Roger Dann (I Confess)
21. Bruce Dern (b. 1936) (Marnie, Family Plot)
22. William Devane (b. 1937) (Family Plot)
23. Douglas Dick (b. 1920) (Rope)
24. Karin Dor (b. 1938) (Topaz)
25. M’el Dowd (b. 1940) (The Wrong Man)
26. Robert Ellenstein (b. 1923) (North By Northwest)
27. Jon Finch (b. 1941) (Frenzy)
28. Gisela Fischer (Torn Curtain)
29. Rhonda Fleming (b. 1923) (Spellbound)
30. Bonnie Franklin (b. 1944) (The Wrong Man)
31. Sally Fraser (North By Northwest)
32. Jimmy Gardner (b. 1924) (Frenzy)
33. John Gavin (b. 1931) (Psycho)
34. Kathryn Grant (Rear Window)
35. Rand Harper (Rear Window)
36. Barbara Harris (b. 1935) (Family Plot)
37. Mariette Hartley (b. 1940) (Marnie)
38. John Heldabrand (The Wrong Man)
39. Katherine Helmond (b. 1928) (Family Plot)
40. Paul Jasmin (voice, Psycho)
41. Louis Jourdan (b. 1919) (The Paradine Case)
42. Martin Landau (b. 1931) (North By Northwest)
43. Harry Landers (b. 1921) (Rear Window)
44. Louis Latham (b. 1922) (Marnie)
45. Ed Lauter (b. 1940) (Family Plot)
46. Joan Leslie (b. 1925) (Foreign Correspondent)
47. Barbara Leigh-Hunt (b. 1935) (Frenzy)
48. Norman Lloyd (b. 1914) (Saboteur, Spellbound)
49. Alec McCowen (b. 1925) (Frenzy)
50. Hector MacGregor (Stage Fright)
51. Shirley MacLaine (b. 1934) (The Trouble With Harry)
52. Patrick MacNee (b. 1922) (Alfred Hitchcock Presents: “Arthur”)
53. Karl Malden (b. 1912) (I Confess)
54. Joe Mantell (b. 1920) (The Birds)
55. Jean Marsh (b. 1934) (Frenzy)
56. Anna Massey (b. 1937) (Frenzy)
57. Jerry Mathers (b. 1948) (The Trouble With Harry)
58. Vera Miles (b. 1929) (The Wrong Man, Psycho)
59. Martin Milner (b. 1931) (Dial M For Murder)
60. Patricia Morrow (b. 1944) (The Wrong Man)
61. Bill(y) Mumy (b. 1954) (Alfred Hitchcock Presents: “Bang! You’re Dead”)
62. Kate Murtagh (Family Plot)
63. Paul Newman (b. 1925) (Torn Curtain)
64. Maureen O’Hara (b. 1920) (Jamaica Inn)
65. Christopher Olsen (b. 1946) (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
66. Adele Pearce (aka Pamela Blake) (b. 1918) (Mr. & Mrs. Smith)
67. Gilles Pelletier (I Confess)
68. Nehemiah Persoff (b. 1919) (The Wrong Man)
69. Michel Piccoli (b. 1925) (Topaz)
70. Robert Quarry (b. 1925) (Shadow of a Doubt)
71. Marge Redmond (b. 1930) (Family Plot)
72. Frances Reid (b. 1913) (voice; The Wrong Man)
73. Melody Thomas Scott (b. 1956) (Marnie)
74. John Stephenson (b. 1923) (Topaz)
75. Michel Subor (b. 1935) (Topaz)
76. Clive Swift (b. 1936) (Frenzy)
77. Richard Todd (b. 1919) (Stage Fright)
78. Philip Truex (b. 1911) (The Trouble With Harry)
79. Charles Tyner (b. 1925) (Family Plot)
80. Peggy Webber (The Wrong Man)
81. Billie Whitelaw (b. 1932) (Frenzy)
82. Elizabeth Wilson (b. 1921) (The Birds)
83. Googie Withers (b. 1917) (The Lady Vanishes)
84. Edna May Wonacott (b. 1932) (Shadow of a Doubt)

Alfred Hitchcock's cast of actors is dwindling, however. Since I compiled the list of the last 100 significant Hitchcock players in my blog entry of 11/05/07, two actors have passed and news of the passing of four others (who had died earlier in the year) was reported. The six who died are as follows: Lonny Chapman (1920-2007) (The Birds), Laraine Day (1917-2007) (Foreign Correspondent), Hansjorg Felmy (b. 1931-2007) (Torn Curtain), Teddy Infuhr (1936-2007) (Spellbound), Elizabeth Inglis (1913-2007) (The 39 Steps), and Suzanne Pleshette (1937-2007) (The Birds) [who today received a posthumous Star on the Walk of Fame— link].

This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will bestow a lifetime achievement award on art director/production designer Robert F. Boyle, who was one of Hitchcock's frequent collaborators— Boyle worked with Hitchcock on SABOTEUR, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, NORTH BY NORTHWEST (which earned him his first Oscar nomination), THE BIRDS, and MARNIE. Link to AMPAS press release.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bond 22: "Quantum of Solace"

Earlier this month, the title of the new James Bond movie was revealed. QUANTUM OF SOLACE is a title of a short story from the FOR YOUR EYES ONLY collection. I always thought that it would be used as a movie title even if it was an unusual one. The only other unused titles (now that all the book titles have also been used) are: RISICO (which I also believed would be used some day— it was the working title of Bond 22!) and THE HILDEBRAND RARITY (unusable) from FOR YOUR EYES ONLY; THE PROPERTY OF A LADY (from the OCTOPUSSY collection, and originally published in PLAYBOY; unusuable); BERLIN ESCAPE (the original title of THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS [OCTOPUSSY] from the PLAYBOY story, unusable); and 007 IN NEW YORK (which appeared in Fleming's travelogue book THRILLING CITIES, unusable). So they're really down to the end title-wise (maybe they'll use RISICO for Bond 23).

Word is that nothing of QUANTUM OF SOLACE will be in the movie (which follows CASINO ROYALE directly plotwise). I suspect, however, that somehow, something of the story will remain. The story itself, is actually pretty good, if atypical. It features Bond as a guest of Government House in Bermuda, having just completed a distasteful mission to destroy two boats that were bringing arms to Cuban rebels (distasteful since Bond feels sympathetic to the rebels). Bond is relaxing after a dreary party and dreading the last minutes talking to the Governor for fear the conversation will be dull, but surprised by a story the Governor tells of a young couple and his theory of the Law of the Quantum of Solace. The Governor explains: "....all relationships between a man and a woman... can survive anything as long as some kind of basic humanity exists between the two people. When all kindness is gone, when one person obviously and sincerely doesn't care if the other is alive or dead, then it's just no good. That particular insult to the ego— worse, to the instinct of self-preservation— can never be forgiven...." I wonder if Bond or some other character will give a speech describing the theory in the new movie.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"The Other Side of the Wind" Gone with the Wind?

Oh brother, here we go again. For as long as I can remember Peter Bogdanovich has been saying the completion and release of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is imminent. As I reported in my blog entry of 11/26/07 it really looked like 2008 was actually going to be the magic year. However, just today I saw a posting on the message boards (in rumor form) that the Showtime deal is off. Please let this not be true. I do believe that if THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND isn't completed this year, the best we'll ever get is a DVD release of a loosely constructed narrative and a "what might have been documentary," which will hardly satisfy the decades-long wait.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Check out:

There's an interesting new website,, that's an imdb of casting almosts. The site is a database chronicling movies' casting and listing the actors/directors who were at one point considered or attached. You can browse by movie, actor, or year. It has a wikipedia-like way of adding entries: anyone can e-mail additions, and they are vetted and posted. I added the entries noted on the front page under new additions for CITIZEN KANE and TOOTSIE.

Currently the star with the most entries is Joan Crawford (49)— a notch over Audrey Hepburn (48); and the movie with the most entries is WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (41)— a notch over GONE WITH THE WIND (40). The oldest film on the site is 1926s THE TORRENT (Norma Shearer was originally slated for the Garbo role).

There is also a sister site that charts the early professions of celebrities (

Sunday, January 27, 2008

SAG Awards 2007

The big surprise/upset was Ruby Dee's win in the supporting actress category-- nice for her (it's unlikely though that it will translate into an Oscar).

Here is the list of winners in the film categories (link to full list):

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Daniel Plainview – There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
JULIE CHRISTIE / Fiona – Away From Her (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
JAVIER BARDEM / Anton Chigurh – No Country For Old Men (Miramax Films)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
RUBY DEE / Mama Lucas – American Gangster (Universal Pictures)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

DGA Awards 2007

As expected, Joel and Ethan Coen won the DGA award for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN— they're that much closer to the Oscar. Barry Sonnenfeld was one of the TV winners (Comedy Series) for PUSHING DAISIES. Link to full list of DGA winners.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Oscar Trivia Friday!

For each of the Fridays between now and the 80th Annual Oscars, I offer some good old-fashioned Oscar trivia, leading us up to the big night. If you want to post guesses in the comments, that's fine-- I'll reveal the answers in the subsequent Friday entry. No prizes!!! Just for fun!

Match the Oscar host with the quip:

Johnny Carson _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Chevy Chase _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Billy Crystal _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Ellen DeGeneres _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Whoopi Goldberg _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Bob Hope _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

David Letterman _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Steve Martin _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Chris Rock _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Jon Stewart _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

(A.) “Welcome to the Academy Awards, or, as it’s known at my house, ‘Passover.’” (1968)

(B.) “I see a lot of new faces, especially on the old faces.” (1979)

(C.) “Good evening, Hollywood phonies.” (1988)

(D.) “Where is that big terrible number that usually opens the Oscars?... The one that goes (singing): “It’s a wonderful night for Oscar…” (1990)

(E.) “Uma…. Oprah…. Have you kids met Keanu?” (1995)

(F.) “… the last time I was here the most controversial thing you could put on a dress was a ribbon. But times change.” (1999)

(G.) “… hosting the Oscars is like making love to a beautiful woman— it’s something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town.” (2001)

(H.) “OK, who is Jude Law? Why is he in every movie I have seen the last four years?” (2005)

(I.) “’Good Night and Good Luck,’ which is not just Edward R. Murrow's signoff, it's also how Mr. Clooney ends all his dates.” (2006)

(J.) "I think most people dream of winning an Academy Award, I had a dream of actually hosting the Academy Awards, and so let that be a lesson to you kids out there— aim lower." (2007)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

IMP Awards Pick Winners

SWEENEY TODD topped the IMP Awards' Best Poster. THE SIMPSONS MOVIE got best teaser. The EVAN ALMIGHTY advance got the funniest. BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD got Bravest Poster (No Celebs).

Link to all IMP's choices.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oscar Nominations 2007: My Thoughts

It's been said for years that the movies that get the nominations are the ones that are released in the last month or so of the year, and generally I'd like to think that this ISN'T true— a really good movie or really good performance from the early part of the year will make it. However, this year I think a few films did get slighted because of just this: AMERICAN GANGSTER certainly, INTO THE WILD, maybe; and I think if A MIGHTY HEART and ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE's release dates were switched there would be a switch-up there as well (Jolie in, Blanchett out). And I wonder how ZODIAC would have fared if it were a December release? THERE WILL BE BLOOD definately benefited from a late release by getting the critical buzz necessary to launch it into serious Best Picture contention.

Here's my reactions to the nominations:

TOP TEN BIGGEST SHOCKS (NOMINEES)— Not necessarily 'cause I did or didn't like them, just surprising
1. Jason Reitman (Best Director: JUNO)
2. Tommy Lee Jones (Best Actor: IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH)
3. SURF'S UP (Best Animated Feature)
4. AWAY FROM HER (Best Adapted Screenplay)
5. ENCHANTED (Best Song: "Happy Working Song")
6. ENCHANTED (Best Song: "So Close")
7. MICHAEL CLAYTON (Best Picture)
8. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END (Best Visual Effects): thought this had run its course [no pun intended]
9. Laura Linney (Best Actress: THE SAVAGES)
10. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (Best Costume Design)

TOP TEN BIGGEST SHOCKS (SHUT-OUTS)— Again, not necessarily 'cause I like or dislike them, just surprising
1. INTO THE WILD (Best Song)
2. CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR (Best Adapted Screenplay)
4. Tim Burton (Best Director: SWEENEY TODD)
5. Angelina Jolie (Best Actress: A MIGHTY HEART)
6. Sean Penn (Best Director: INTO THE WILD)
7. INTO THE WILD (Best Picture)
8. PERSEPOLIS (Best Foreign Language Film)
9. BEE MOVIE (Best Animated Feature)
10. Denzel Washington (Best Actor: AMERICAN GANGSTER)

1. AWAY FROM HER (Best Adapted Screenplay)
2. Julie Christie (Best Actress: AWAY FROM HER)
3. Marion Cotillard (Best Actress: LA VIE EN ROSE)
4. SICKO (Best Documentary)
5. RATATOUILLE (Best Original Screenplay)
6. Laura Linney (Best Actress: THE SAVAGES)
7. Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor: THERE WILL BE BLOOD)
8. Hal Holbrook (Best Supporting Actor: INTO THE WILD)
9. INTO THE WILD (Best Editing)
10. ONCE (Best Song)

1. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS (Best Foreign Language Film)
2. Sean Penn (Best Director: INTO THE WILD)
3. INTO THE WILD (Best Picture)
4. Jennifer Garner (Best Supporting Actress: JUNO)
5. Catherine Keener (Best Supporting Actress: INTO THE WILD)
6. Emile Hirsch (Best Actor: INTO THE WILD)
7. THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (Best Animated Feature)
8. 300 (Best Visual Effects)
9. THE DARJEELING LIMITED (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration)
10. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Best Score)

2. Anamaria Marinca (Best Actress: 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS)
3. Sarah Polley (Best Director: AWAY FROM HER)
4. Michael Cera (Best Supporting Actor: JUNO)
5. Cristian Mungiu (Best Director: 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS)
6. AWAY FROM HER (Best Picture)
7. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS (Best Original Screenplay)
8. Ethan Hawke (Best Supporting Actor: BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD)
9. Olympia Dukakis (Best Supporting Actress: AWAY FROM HER)
10. THE DARJEELING LIMITED (Best Screenplay)

WISH THEY HADN'T BEEN NOMINATED: I just can't do it— I can't begrudge anyone an Oscar nomination. (But believe me I could think of some!)

THANK GOD IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!: John Travolta (Best Supporting Actor: HAIRSPRAY)

Referring back to my "ballot" (link to blog entry), here's my scorecard in terms of what I wished for (a poor showing, sad to say):

Best Picture (1/5): JUNO
Best Director (0/5!)
Best Actor (3/5): George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Viggo Mortensen
Best Actress (3/5): Julie Christie, Marion Cotillard, Laura Linney
Best Supporting Actor (1/5): Hal Holbrook
Best Supporting Actress (1/5): Amy Ryan
Best Original Screenplay (2/5): JUNO, RATATOUILLE
Best Adapted Screenplay (1/5): AWAY FROM HER

Other categories: INTO THE WILD (Best Editing), NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Best Sound Editing), ONCE (Best Song), RATATOUILLE (Best Animated Film), SICKO (Best Documentary), SWEENEY TODD (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration), THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Cinematography).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar Nominations 2007: Interesting Facts

• This year BREAKS A RECORD for most films garnering acting nominations: 18 films are represented in the acting categories— the most in any year in the entire 80-year history of the Academy Awards. Additionally, this is the first time since 1935 that only one movie got multiple nominations in acting (MICHAEL CLAYTON) [this happened several times in the early years: 1927-28 (0 crossover), 1928-29 (0 crossover), 1929-30 (0 crossover), 1931-32 (1 film), 1932-33 (0 crossover), 1934 (1 film), 1935 (1 film)].

• Cate Blanchett is the first person to be nominated for Best Actress twice for playing the same role (this has happened in Best Actor a few times). She is the 11th person to be nominated in lead and supporting categories in the same year.

• The Coen Brothers are only the third "duo" to be nominated for Best Director (the others were winners Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for WEST SIDE STORY and nominees Warren Beatty and Buck Henry for HEAVEN CAN WAIT).

• ENCHANTED is only the fourth film to receive three nominations in the Best Song category (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LION KING, and DREAMGIRLS are the others).

• This is the first year since 1996 that an animated movie didn't get a Best Song nomination.

• This is the first year since 1992 that neither John Williams nor Thomas Newman were nominated for Best Score.

• Kevin O'Connell, Oscar's "biggest loser" after nineteen nominations and no wins, has garnered his 20th nomination for TRANSFORMERS.

Oscar Nominations 2007

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and THERE WILL BE BLOOD tied for most nominations: Eight

Oscar Nominations (link):

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd...” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah” (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises” (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal)
Julie Christie in “Away from Her” (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in “The Savages” (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in “Juno” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There” (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster” (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement” (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone” (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

Best animated feature film of the year
“Persepolis” (Sony Pictures Classics) Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Brad Bird
“Surf's Up” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Achievement in art direction
“American Gangster” (Universal): Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in cinematography
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.): Roger Deakins
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Seamus McGarvey
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Janusz Kaminski
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Roger Deakins
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit

Achievement in costume design
“Across the Universe” (Sony Pictures Releasing): Albert Wolsky
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Jacqueline Durran
“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal): Alexandra Byrne
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse): Marit Allen
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Colleen Atwood

Achievement in directing
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Julian Schnabel
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight) Jason Reitman
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) Tony Gilroy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Paul Thomas Anderson

Best documentary feature
“No End in Sight” (Magnolia Pictures): A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (The Documentary Group): A Documentary Group Production : Richard E. Robbins
“Sicko” (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company): A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
“Taxi to the Dark Side” (THINKFilm): An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
“War/Dance” (THINKFilm): A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Best documentary short subject
“Freeheld”: A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
“La Corona (The Crown)”: A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
“Salim Baba”: A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
“Sari’s Mother” (Cinema Guild): A Daylight Factory Production: James Longley

Achievement in film editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Christopher Rouse
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Juliette Welfling
“Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment) Jay Cassidy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

Best foreign language film of the year
“Beaufort” A Metro Communications, Movie Plus Production
“The Counterfeiters” An Aichholzer Filmproduktion, Magnolia Filmproduktion Production
“Katyń” An Akson Studio Production
“Mongol” A Eurasia Film Production
“12” A Three T Production

Achievement in makeup
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
“Norbit” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount) Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
“The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions: Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Falling Slowly” from “Once” (Fox Searchlight): Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney) : Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush” (Warner Bros.): Nominees to be determined
“So Close” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best motion picture of the year
“Atonement” (Focus Features) : A Working Title Production ; Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight): A Dancing Elk Pictures, LLC Production; Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.): A Clayton Productions, LLC Production; Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production; Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production; JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best animated short film
“I Met the Walrus” : A Kids & Explosions Production: Josh Raskin
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada): A National Film Board of Canada Production; Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
“Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)” (Premium Films): A BUF Compagnie Production: Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
“My Love (Moya Lyubov)” (Channel One Russia): A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production
Alexander Petrov
“Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films): A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production: Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film
“At Night”: A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
“Il Supplente (The Substitute)” (Sky Cinema Italia): A Frame by Frame Italia Production: Andrea Jublin
“Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films): A Karé Production
Philippe Pollet-Villard
“Tanghi Argentini” (Premium Films): An Another Dimension of an Idea Production; Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
“The Tonto Woman” : A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production; Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Achievement in sound editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal): Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Matthew Wood
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Achievement in sound mixing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal): Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate): Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) : Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Achievement in visual effects
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney): John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Adapted screenplay
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
“Away from Her” (Lionsgate): Written by Sarah Polley
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Original screenplay
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight): Written by Diablo Cody
“Lars and the Real Girl” (MGM) : Written by Nancy Oliver
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.): Written by Tony Gilroy
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
“The Savages” (Fox Searchlight) : Written by Tamara Jenkins

Monday, January 21, 2008

What Film Will Get the Most Oscar Nominations?

Tomorrow morning at 5:38:30 AM PST, the Oscar nominations will be announced. What is your guess for the film that will get the most nominations? Last year it was DREAMGIRLS-- any easy pick (and which managed the feat without being nominated for Best Picture).

Here are the possible choices for this year:

ATONEMENT: It'll clean-up in the Art Direction, Costume Design-type nods; however, it might get completely shut out of the acting nods (but has a chance at four). It received the most Golden Globe nominations.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD: Shoo-in for two acting noms (Day-Lewis, Dano) and all the technical stuff (Editing, Sound Mixing, etc.), plus Cinematography and Score.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: Least likely of the probably Best Picture nominees for most nominations since only Javier Bardem has acting buzz and the absense of a Score nomination will hurt it in the final count.

INTO THE WILD: Again, just one acting nomination is predicted (Hal Holbrook), but it could score two Best Song nominations. Unfortunately, it might not get nominated for Best Picture.

JUNO: Ellen Page and maybe Jennifer Garner will make the acting nominations; but less likely in such categories as Costume Design and Editing.

SWEENEY TODD: Might get complete acting shut-out: Depp is the only one really in the running anyhow.

Well, it seems like ATONEMENT is the one but I'm going to put my money on dark horse INTO THE WILD to score the most nominations: maybe Catherine Keener and Emile Hirsch will make the list and a Best Picture nomination could put it over the top.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

This Month on TCM: A Bill of Divorcement (1932)

On Tuesday January 29th, TCM is showing several films starring John Barrymore, including A BILL OF DIVORCEMENT, which is mostly notable as Katharine Hepburn’s very first film.

According to the biography GEORGE CUKOR: A DOUBLE LIFE, the casting of the daughter role was initially a choice between Jill Esmond (then married to Laurence Olivier) and Anita Louise; however Cukor wanted a fresh face. Although no one was really all that impressed with Hepburn’s screen test, Cukor saw something in it—particularly in a moment when she picked up a highball glass with her back to the camera—that suggested something to him—“a sad lyric moment” and he convinced David O. Selznick to cast her. This was a plum part as it was opposite then-legendary John Barrymore (the same year he appeared in GRAND HOTEL).

A BILL OF DIVORCEMENT is about an institutionalized man (Barrymore) who returns to his family after fifteen years, having escaped from the asylum, who faces the harsh reality that time has past him by. Daughter Hepburn discovers that it wasn’t just shellshock that sent him there in the first place. The film is broadly dramatic, but has enough style and momentum to be reasonably entertaining— and worthwhile enough for one to devote the 70 minute running time.

The dated film is mainly marred by stage-bound-stiff dialogue in which each character TELLS us how he or she feels every moment. One scene follows another in a linear fashion but there’s enough suspense— about why Hilary (Barrymore) went to the asylum, his escape, how and when he’ll find out about his wife’s divorcing him, if he’ll let her and her new fiancé go, etc.— and tragedy, to keep things moving.

Katharine Hepburn plays her no-nonsense, headstrong, free-spirited role well, setting herself up for a career of the type. She holds her own completely opposite veteran Barrymore. Barrymore IS convincing in the film— quiet and sad one moment, angry at the world the next— as her not-so-cured father returning from his mentally ill haze but falling back with every other moment. Nice scene where Hilary says that he realizes that his wife Meg (Billie Burke) has changed, gotten harder, and how Sydney (Hepburn) is like Meg used to be (“she’s more you than you are”) and how Meg’s “grown right up, away, beyond me, haven’t you?” He then optimistically says that Meg will help him “catch up” but the audience knows that the world’s past him by.

In later scenes, admittedly, Barrymore does get a bit over-the-top. This was surely one of the starring parts that Barrymore felt should have won him the Oscar— but as he had been quoted to say, they would never give him one for fear that he’d show up drunk to the ceremony! Billie Burke’s technique is quite old-fashioned, but works for her part as the guilt-ridden Meg.

Again, a worthwhile movie in order to see Hepburn’s screen debut [the credits misspell her first name!] and as (another) showcase for Barrymore. Hepburn wrote in her autobiography ME: STORIES OF MY LIFE: “[Barrymore] was sweet— he was funny— and he could certainly act…. I was indeed lucky to be in the film. It was a showy part.”

A Bill of Divorcement (1932): Dated film with stage-bound-stiff dialogue has enough style and momentum to be reasonably entertaining at its modest length— plus a great showy performance by John Barrymore and Katharine Hepburn (in her screen debut) setting up a career of headstrong female parts.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Top 250 Films of the 21st Century

Every January, the website THEY SHOOT PICTURES, DON'T THEY? re-issues their "top films of the 21st century" list to incorporate the films from the previous year. This is an interesting list to look at, particularly in light of what manages to "stay" on it: the future VERTIGOs and KANEs. Still #1 is Wong Kar-wai's IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (photo left).

Here is a list of the 2007 additions (and link to the entire list):

128. ONCE

Friday, January 18, 2008

Writers Guild Strike 2007, Weeks Ten and Eleven

So, the Oscars are still in jeopardy, and the WGA was made to look bad when AMPTP worked out a deal with the DGA in five days (Jan 12-17). The DGA deal establishes a new residuals formula for paid Internet downloads and establishes residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet. Writer for THE SHIELD, Shawn Ryan, suggests in an online article that AMPTP waited purposefully (stepping away from the negotiating table) to work out something with the DGA first. He says that he hopes that the negotiation with the DGA would offer the AMPTP a face-saving way of working something out with the WGA in the near future.

However, the Oscars noms are Tuesday morning and we're no closer yet to a resolution.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oscar Poster Uses Trajan!

AMPAS has released the poster design for the 80th Annual Academy Awards. It's a little sad the poster employs the Trajan font which has lately been outed as the most overused and cliche font choice for movie posters/trailers. See links below for some funny takes on Trajan!

Check out the Goodie bag episode: TRAJAN IS THE MOVIE FONT: link

And funny short, ETCHED IN STONE, about the font in movie posters: link

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BAFTA and Iowa Film Critics Assn. Announcements

That's an odd duo— but these two groups both announced their picks today.

BAFTA Film Noms, main categopries (and link to full list):

AMERICAN GANGSTER – Brian Grazer/Ridley Scott
ATONEMENT – Tim Bevan/Eric Fellner/Paul Webster
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Quirin Berg/Max Wiedemann
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Scott Rudin/Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – JoAnne Sellar/Paul Thomas Anderson/Daniel Lupi

ATONEMENT – Tim Bevan/Eric Fellner/Paul Webster/Joe Wright/Christopher Hampton
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Frank Marshall/Patrick Crowley/Paul L Sandberg/Paul Greengrass/Tony Gilroy/Scott Z Burns/George Nolfi
CONTROL – Orian Williams/ Todd Eckert/Anton Corbijn/Matt Greenhalgh
EASTERN PROMISES – Paul Webster/Robert Lantos/David Cronenberg/Steve Knight
THIS IS ENGLAND – Mark Herbert/Shane Meadows

THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in their First Feature Film
CHRIS ATKINS (Director/Writer) – Taking Liberties
MIA BAYS (Producer) – Scott Walker: 30 Century Man
SARAH GAVRON (Director) – Brick Lane
MATT GREENHALGH (Writer) – Control
ANDREW PIDDINGTON (Director/Writer) – The Killing of John Lennon

ATONEMENT – Joe Wright
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Paul Thomas Anderson

JUNO – Diablo Cody
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
THIS IS ENGLAND – Shane Meadows

ATONEMENT – Christopher Hampton
THE KITE RUNNER – David Benioff
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Paul Thomas Anderson

nominations announced on Friday 4 January
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY – Kathleen Kennedy/Jon Kilik/Julian Schnabel
THE KITE RUNNER – William Horberg/Walter Parkes/Rebecca Yeldham/Marc Foster
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Quirin Berg/Max Wiedemann/Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
LUST, CAUTION – Bill Kong/James Schamus/Ang Lee
LA VIE EN ROSE – Alain Goldman/Olivier Dahan

SHREK THE THIRD – Chris Miller
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE – Matt Groening/James L Brooks

GEORGE CLOONEY – Michael Clayton
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS – There Will Be Blood
JAMES McAVOY – Atonement
VIGGO MORTENSEN – Eastern Promises
ULRICH MÜHE – The Lives of Others

CATE BLANCHETT – Elizabeth: The Golden Age

JAVIER BARDEM – No Country for Old Men
PAUL DANO – There Will Be Blood
TOMMY LEE JONES – No Country for Old Men
TOM WILKINSON – Michael Clayton

KELLY MACDONALD – No Country for Old Men
TILDA SWINTON – Michael Clayton

Iowa Film Critics Association Picks:

Best Film: No Country for Old Men by Joel and Ethan Coen

Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Charlie Wilson’s War

Best Actress: Julie Christie, Away From Her

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Best Animated Film: Ratatouille by Brad Bird

Best Film Yet to Open in Iowa: There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Catching Up: PGA Nominees, Online Film Critics, Central Ohio Critics, and Oklahoma Film Critics Picks

The Producers Guild announced yesterday, January 14; winners to be announced on Febraury 2nd. Here's a link to their site and their picks below:

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax)
"Juno" (Fox Searchlight)
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax/Paramount Vantage)
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage/Miramax)

"Bee Movie" (Dreamworks Animation)
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation)
"The Simpsons Movie" (20th Century FOX)

"Body Of War" (Phil Donahue Productions/Mobilus Media)
"Hear And Now" (HBO)
"Pete Seeger: The Power Of Song" (The Weinstein Company)
"Sicko" (The Weinstein Company)
"White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki" (HBO)

The Online Film Critics announced their nominees on January 3 and winners on January 8. Here's a link top their site and their picks, below:

* No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

* The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Julian Schnabel
The Host
La Vie en Rose
The Lives of Others
The Orphanage

In the Shadow of the Moon
Into Great Silence
* The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters by Seth Gordon
No End in Sight

Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
* Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
David Cronenberg - Eastern Promises
David Fincher - Zodiac
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

George Clooney - Michael Clayton
* Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
Emile Hirsch - Into the Wild
Frank Langella - Starting Out in the Evening
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

* Julie Christie - Away from Her
Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
Angelina Jolie - A Mighty Heart
Laura Linney - The Savages
Ellen Page - Juno

Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
* Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson’s War
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

SUPPORTING ACTRESS (six nominees due to a tie)
Cate Blanchett - I’m Not There
Jennifer Garner - Juno
Kelly MacDonald - No Country for Old Men
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
* Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Kelly Masterson - Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Steven Knight - Eastern Promises
* Diablo Cody - Juno
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Brad Bird - Ratatouille

Christopher Hampton - Atonement
Ronald Harwood - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
* Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
James Vanderbilt - Zodiac

* Ratatouille by Brad Bird
The Simpsons Movie

Roger Deakins - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Seamus McGarvey - Atonement
Janusz Kaminski - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
* Roger Deakins - No Country for Old Men
Robert Elswit - There Will Be Blood

Paul Tothill - Atonement
Christopher Rouse - The Bourne Ultimatum
* Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Dylan Tichenor - There Will Be Blood
Angus Wall - Zodiac

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Dario Marianelli - Atonement
Michael Brook, Kaki King & Eddie Vedder - Into the Wild
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Once
* Jonny Greenwood - There Will Be Blood

Ben Affleck - Gone Baby Gone
Juan Antonio Bayona - The Orphanage
John Carney - Once
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
* Sarah Polley - Away from Her

* Nikki Blonsky - Hairspray
Glen Hansard - Once
Sam Riley - Control
Carice van Houten - Black Book
Tang Wei - Lust, Caution

The 6th Annual Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards, honoring the best in film for 2007, were announced on January 11, 2008. Link to their website.

Best Film
1. No Country for Old Men
2. The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)
3. Juno
4. Once
5. There Will Be Blood
6. Lars and the Real Girl
7. 3:10 to Yuma
8. The Savages
9. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
10. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon)

Best Director
• Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - (No Country for Old Men)
• Runner-Up: Paul Thomas Anderson - (There Will Be Blood)

Best Actor
• Daniel Day-Lewis - (There Will Be Blood)
• Runner-Up: Ryan Gosling - (Lars and the Real Girl)

Best Actress
• Ellen Page - (Juno)
• Runner-Up: Amy Adams - (Enchanted)

Best Supporting Actor
• Javier Bardem - (No Country for Old Men)
• Runner-Up: Ben Foster - (3:10 to Yuma)

Best Supporting Actress
• Cate Blanchett - (I'm Not There)
• Runner-Up: Emily Mortimer - (Lars and the Real Girl)

Best Ensemble
• No Country for Old Men
• Runner-Up: 3:10 to Yuma

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
• Philip Seymour Hoffman - (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Charlie Wilson's War, The Savages)
• Runner-Up: Josh Brolin - (American Gangster, Grindhouse, In the Valley of Elah, No Country for Old Men)

Breakthrough Film Artist
• Sarah Polley - (Away from Her) - (for directing and screenwriting)
• Runner-Up: Ellen Page - (Juno) - (for acting)

Best Cinematography
• Óscar Faura - (The Orphanage (El Orfanato))
• Runner-Up: Roger Deakins - (No Country for Old Men)

Best Screenplay - Adapted
• Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - (No Country for Old Men)
• Runner-Up: Paul Thomas Anderson - (There Will Be Blood)

Best Screenplay - Original
• Diablo Cody - (Juno)
• Runner-Up: Tamara Jenkins - (The Savages)

Best Score
• Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová - (Once)
• Runner-Up: Dario Marianelli - (Atonement)

Best Documentary
• The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
• Runner-Up (tie): In the Shadow of the Moon
• Runner-Up (tie): No End in Sight

Best Foreign Language Film
• The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)
• Runner-Up: The Orphanage (El Orfanato)

Best Animated Film
• Ratatouille
• Runner-Up: Paprika

Best Overlooked Film
• Air Guitar Nation
• Runner-Up: The Lookout

The Oklahoma Film Critics (link) announced way back on Dec. 23rd, just now getting around to posting their picks:

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle 2007 Film Awards

Top Ten Films

No Country For Old Men
Michael Clayton
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Gone Baby Gone
Eastern Promises

Best Film of 2007

No Country for Old Men

Best Director(s)

Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men

Best First Feature

Ben Affleck, Gone Baby Gone

Best Actress

Ellen Page, Juno

Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Breakout Performance
Ellen Page, Juno

Best Documentary
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Best Foreign Film
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Animated Film

Obviously Worst Film

Not-So-Obviously Worst Film
Youth Without Youth/Bee Movie (Tie)

Monday, January 14, 2008

“The Sarah Connor Chronicles” Debuts

Tonight the second part of the two-part premiere of THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES aired.

Sunday night’s “part one” started off pretty rocky— average at best— and then got a bit better toward the end of the episode. I didn’t expect much improvement following this first hour, but the “upcoming scenes” looked good, so I had hope— happily, the second hour was a vast improvement.

I like the fact that the first hour planted seeds for two character-driven aspects of the show: (1.) That Sarah worries about losing John in the present even though she knows she’s also “saving” him and humanity in the future and (2.) That the girl terminator (“Cameron”) has been built for reasons beyond just protecting John (especially intriguing is the fact that the bad terminator I.D.'s her as an "unknown cyborg").

The series smartly got itself out of 1999 and up to present day (or at least 2007). I especially liked the idea that John immediately wants to check out the new computers and electronics— and that’s how we segue into the cliché search on the internet, without it being quite so cliché.

The casting of Summer Glau as the girl terminator is smart: she’s a hottie but she does have an unusual look— a high forehead, round face, and a certain quality about her eyes. The choice of long hair is a little bit more Hollywood than would make sense: a fighting warrior would not have such a weakness (even if it might contribute to her other possible reasons for being, i.e. her attractiveness to John). One thing though— her performance did change between the first and second hour: from more “normal” to markedly “Terminatoresque”— I think she got a note from the director at some point: “More Terminator!” Love it when she mimicked the girl leaning back on the truck.

Lena Headly’s Sarah Connor is beginning to grow on me— the writing of her tossing Cameron out the window was genius! And the tete-a-tete between the two in the final scene was very nicely written and played.

Lastly, I’m glad there were some clues to narrative secrets (“not this John”) but that the series didn’t go the LOST/ HEREOS route of “what the hell is going on?” every second— just nice compact 24 (or FUGITIVE)-like hour-long installments. Looking forward to the whole season.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

No Film Wins More than Two 2007 Golden Globes

Well, the "press conference" version of the Golden Globes is over, and I'm just glad it is. The Globes are pretty idiotic anyhow-- and this approach (i.e. rather than postponing the event) just drove the point home for me. I wonder how this will affect next year's ratings-- will people be glad it's back, or realize that they didn't miss it very much last year anyway, and tune out.

In terms of the winners, some surprises in the TV wins but the movie wins were mostly the expected, the biggest surprise perhaps Julian Schnabel's win for Best Director for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY. My initial reaction is: has there ever been a year when no single film has won more than two Golden Globes?... Looking into this I discovered that it has happened, but rarely. Since the first awards honoring films from 1943, only nine times has no film won more than two Globes: 1946, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1963, 1995, 1996, 2000, and this year 2007.

In terms of the Oscar, the win in the Best Actress (lead and supporting) categories is the most interesting: with Julie Christie and Marion Cottiard winning, that means that they will be neck-and-neck at the Oscars-- and a split vote may allow a surprise win by Ellen Page; Cate Blanchett may now have the edge over Amy Ryan. Also, with its Best Drama win, ATONEMENT is now, for sure, an Oscar nominee in the Best Picture race.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Oscar Ballot: Movie Year 2007

The Oscar nominations polls close at 5 p.m. PST today. Below are my choices for nominations in the 80th Annual Academy Awards. I've limited them to the "big" categories, but I added a few choices among the rest. The nominations will be announced 5:30 a.m. PST on Tuesday, January 22nd.

Best Picture:
Away from Her
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Into the Wild
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Best Director:
Wes Anderson for The Darjeeling Limited
Seth Gordon for The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Cristian Mungiu for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Sean Penn for Into the Wild
Sarah Polley for Away From Her

Best Actor:
George Clooney in Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
Emile Hirsch in Into the Wild
Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises
Gordon Pinsent in Away From Her

Best Actress:
Julie Christie in Away From Her
Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney in The Savages
Anamaria Marinca in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Rose McGowan in Grindhouse

Best Supporting Actor:
Jason Bateman in Juno
Michael Cera in Juno
Ethan Hawke in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild
Vlad Ivanov in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

Best Supporting Actress:
Olympia Dukakis in Away From Her
Jennifer Garner in Juno
Catherine Keener in Into the Wild
Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone
Sigourney Weaver in The TV Set

Best Original Screenplay:
The Darjeeling Limited
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Away From Her
The Bourne Ultimatum
Into the Wild
Rescue Dawn

Also Noteworthy:
The Darjeeling Limited (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration)
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Best Foreign Language Film)
Into the Wild (Best Editing, Best Make-Up, Best Score, Best Cinematography)
Music and Lyrics (Best Song: “PoP! Goes My Heart”)
No Country for Old Men (Best Sound Editing)
Once (Best Song: “Falling Slowly”)
Ratatouille (Best Animated Film)
Sicko (Best Documentary)
The Simpsons Movie (Best Animated Film)
Sweeney Todd (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration)
There Will Be Blood (Best Cinematography, Best Score)
300 (Best Visual Effects)

Friday, January 11, 2008

One Line Review's Top Ten Movie Posters of 2007

1. PARIS, JE T'AIME. A beautiful idea, nicely done, with a smart inner-and-outer circle concept of presenting the large group of names for directors (wisely more prominant) and actors.

2. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (advance). A knockout concept (the COMING SOON doesn't quite work though) that is stark and unsettling, as is the movie.

3. THE DARJEELING LIMITED. Unusual use of text and an array of colors whose palate is hardly the norm in movie posters; puts you in the mood for the film to come.

4. GRINDHOUSE. A perfect companion to the film, an on-the-nose homage to the outrageousness of the grindhouse movie "pitch."

5. MICHAEL CLAYTON. Great use of star actor (still clearly visible) without losing the meaning of the film; "depth" is arresting.

6. MR. BROOKS. Retro style is at once creepy and comforting.

7. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON. Although text at the bottom messes it up a bit, an interesting visual that shows the rocket as "small"-- a hint to the "insignificance of man."

8. EVAN ALMIGHTY (advance). Just plain funny.

9. THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Striking image is as stark as the advance poster, with the askew tie a nice touch for our off-center protagonist.

10. MUSIC AND LYRICS. Subtle poster shows the leads enjoying themselves, as we hope to by watching them; not showing their eyes is risky and unusual.

Honorable Mentions:

HM. 300. Depicts an exciting scene in the film, visually interesting— like the film itself.

HM. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM. Highlights Matt Damon's subtle performance as the ever-unsure amnesiac Jason Bourne.

HM. DAN IN REAL LIFE. Funny, with perfect "real life" image, if somewhat strange.

HM. SUPERBAD. Shows off our two oddball leads, just being themselves, which is what the movie's about.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Internet Movie Poster Awards Nominees Announced

The site has posted their picks for best movie posters in various categories. Winners will be announced Wednesday, January 23rd. Click here for the full list of nominees in all categories. Tomorrow I'll be posting my own Ten Best Posters of 2007.

Internet Movie Poster Awards Five Nominees for Best Movie Poster 2007:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

DGA Announces Plus VILLAGE VOICE Poll Returns!

OK, so in my blog entry of 12/30/07 I said: "Years ago, the VILLAGE VOICE started this great big compilation list of top movies and performances that read like an annual SIGHT & SOUND poll. It contained few Hollywood movies in its high ranking and usually had movies you never heard of. In addition, there was a list of best festival movies that had yet to get theatrical distribution. Then, last year, the list vanished (to my horror), until I realized that it hadn't really vanished, it had been taken up by Indiewire: in the exact same format. In years past the list came out in the first few days of January, but this year it's already up. It's a great list for discovering foreign films on DVD."

Now, lo and behold the VILLAGE VOICE list is "back" (link) and, yes, as in years past it's out in the early days of January (it came out on the 2nd). But if you look at the two lists side by side you can see my confusion!... clearly, in the interum, Indiewire modeled their list on the VILLAGE VOICE poll, and, clearly, they have some of the same critics being polled (as the lists are VERY similar).

But now we have kind of a "second opinion." Funny, when I saw Indiewire's poll my first reaction was that I couldn't believe that NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was #3, that surely I expected it to either be #1 or (as it is in the VILLAGE VOICE poll), second only to THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Anyway, now at least the list won't "go away" if two groups are doing it-- but I suspect there will be a battle next year to beat the other one out with the results.

Side-by Side:

Indiewire Vs.Village Voice
1 There Will Be Blood/ There Will Be Blood
2 Zodiac/ No Country for Old Men
3 No Country for Old Men/ Zodiac
4 Syndromes and a Century/ 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
5 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days/ I'm Not There
6 I'm Not There/ Syndromes and a Century
7 The Assassination of Jesse James/ The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
8 Colossol Youth/ Killer of Sheep
9 Killer of Sheep/ Ratatouille
10 Offside/ Colossal Youth

Onto the DGA noms:

• Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
• Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)
• Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
• Sean Penn (Into the Wild)
• Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Sadly no Sarah Polley, and surprisingly no Tim Burton (or Ridley Scott, or Joe Wright). Very happy about Sean Penn-- his movie is vastly underrated in terms of awards-winners this year. I think these choices represent the way the Oscar will go BEST PICTURE-wise for four of the five choices (except I think JUNO will replace MICHAEL CLAYTON). Burton may oust Tony Gilroy for Oscar director noms.