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Academy Awards winners and photopost!

Finally, here are the results of the 79th Academy Awards ceremony. After months of speculation and headscratching, there we are… I was planning on posting this morning but the stupid computer crashed. In compensation, you get a ridiculous amount of pictures with the post. You may already know who won, but not what I think about it (not that you’d care…).
Photo credits– it all belongs to IMDb / MSN Entertainement / Yahoo!Movies / Empire Online. Their Oscar coverages are simply delightful!
Moving on!

The report…
Best Picture
Winner: The Departed
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Well, that was unexpected! Not quite an upset, but still a surprise… Who thought The Departed would be winning The Big Prize? I’m really glad that, UNLIKE LAST YEAR, the Academy actually chose a deserving film. Infernal Affairs fans will not be happy, but I reckon the film is still a cinematic achievement which deserves its prize. And for once, the Academy went for the more ‘mainstream’, closest-to-the-audience choice.

Continue reading…

"'Cause I feel low…"

*Well, that might have to do something with exams coming up and a presentation in front of the entire class on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. Can’t bring myself to prepare for that…

*There’s also the fact that the third season of Six Feet Under gave me a really hard and painful time lately. Especially the end. I know I’m making a drama out of it all and it’s just a TV show blah blah, but I can’t cope with so much grief and despair, and that dream sequence very nearly killed me. I don’t think I’ve ever been more depressed by an episode, and it was just so difficult to watch. Then I was hoping for the fourth series to make it feel a bit easier, but as Nate rightfully pointed out in the second episode, it doesn’t. And I haven’t mentionned the fact that everytime Nathaniel Sr. shows up, it reduces me to tears. Six Feet Under made a WRECK out of me, it really did. And yet I don’t think I’ve seen a better show, in terms of characters and writing (or maybe I have).

*And just when I thought one TV show was enough to bring me down… Rome has already reached its midseason stage, and Monday’s next episode, ‘Philippi’, is credited as Tobias Menzies’ last appearance on the show. I’ll lose my marbles over that one, I swear I will. I don’t want to see that, I don’t want to see Brutus getting humiliated, I don’t want to see his legions defeated –but most of all, I don’t want to see him kill himself, because there’s just so much one can endure. And I hate myself for getting so emotionally involved with the character in the first place, because I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN. My heart is fuckin’ bleeding for him, I can’t see him go… Dooooon’t maaaake meeee watch iiiiiittt… *goes nuts*

*In less depressing news, Priscilla and myself have bought our tickets for James Morrison‘s concert in Paris. Yay! I heart his voice…

*Elsewhere, the Vanity Fair Hollywood Portfolio scans have been posted. You can them here. It’s sort of disappointing. My favorite one is the one with Helen Mirren and Judi Dench in the car. Beautiful! The rest is meh.

*Predicatably enough, Little Miss Sunshine won the Writers Guild Award for Original Screenplay. The Departed won the trophy for Adapted Screenplay. I’m happy for both, although I would have loved to see United 93 win. I’m used to it by now, though.

*Speaking of the Paul, The Bourne Ultimatum is now shooting in NYC. Of course, The Man Himself was in London to pick up his well-deserved Best Director Bafta for United 93 (pic credit to the British Acacademy official site). But apparently, they’re back shooting in New York now (after a quick appearance in Berlin for The Good Shephard, Matt Damon has been sighted on set by It has also been confirmed this week that ” [Matt] has already guaranteed his spot in the cast of the movie Greengrass will make about Iraq.” Yay again!

*Marion Cotillard needs to be nominated at the Academy Awards next year, for her incredible, gutsy turn as Edith Piaf in Olivier Dahan’s La Môme. Seriously. Allez Marion!

* Coldplay’s official site informs us that Coldplay (sort of) won an Grammy Award. Hee! The BBC also recently caught up with Jonny and Chris, where they discussed their future album, Glastonbury and… Arcade Fire! You can read the quick chat here. Also, after four months and a baby, the band has resumed touring. Their first date was in Chile, on Valentine’s Day (pic curtesy of My There’s a hilarious video from that night, during “In My Place” in which Chris actually GETS BETWEEN GUY’S LEGS (wtf?)… No comment…

*Finally, I’ve updated the entire musicians fanlistings section (why I didn’t do it before remains a mystery), and added a few others.

Baftas winners!

The winners and photos are still off the press (I’m not even sure the ceremony is over) but the British Academy has chosen its winners. You can read Empire’s early coverage here.

Winners are indicated in bold.
Best Film
The Departed
The Last King of Scotland
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

British Film of the Year
Casino Royale
The Last King of Scotland
Notes on a Scandal
The Queen
United 93

Best Film Debut
Andrea Arnold, Red Road (director)
Julian Gilbety, Rollin’ with the Nines (director)
Christine Langan, Pierrepoint (producer)
Gary Tarn, Black Sun (director)
Paul Andrew Williams, London to Brighton (director)

Best Director
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel
Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Paul Greengrass, United 93

Best Original Screenplay
Guillermi Arriaga, Babel
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Guillermo Del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth
Peter Morgan, The Queen
Paul Greengrass, United 93

Best Adapted Screenplay
Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis, Casino Royale
William Monahan, The Departed
Aline Brosh McKenna, The Devil Wears Prada
Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock, The Last King of Scotland
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal

Best Foreign Film
Black Book
Pan’s Labyrinth
Paint It Yellow

Best Animated Feature
Flushed Away
Happy Feet

Best Actor
Daniel Craig, Casino Royale
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
Richard Griffiths, The History Boys
Peter O’Toole, Venus
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland
Jack Nicholson, The Departed
Leslie Phillips, Venus
Michael Sheen, The Queen

Best Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine
Frances de la Tour, The History Boys
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Best Film Score
Casino Royale
Happy Feet
The Queen

Best Cinematography
Casino Royale
Children of Men
Pan’s Labyrinth
United 93

Best Editing
Casino Royale
The Departed
The Queen
United 93

Best Production Design
Casino Royale
Children of Men

Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead’s Man Chest

Best Costume Design
The Devil Wears Prada
Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead’s Man Chest
The Queen

Best Sound
Casino Royale
Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead’s Man Chest
United 93

Best Visual Effects
Casino Royale
Children of Men
Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead’s Man Chest
Superman Returns

Best Make-Up and Hair
The Devil Wears Prada
Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead’s Man Chest
The Queen

The Orange Rising Star Award
Emily Blunt
Eva Green
Naomie Harris
Cillian Murphy
Ben Whishaw

Wow, what can I say? The Queen winning the top prize was very much deserved and expected. Two wins (Directing, Editing) for United 93 is just overwhelmingly satisfying. Congratulations Paul, you totally deserve it!! Children of Men getting Cinematography and Production Design is brillant (cheers, Chivo!). Andrea Arnold winning Best Debut for the magnificient Red Road is also very well-done. The Last King of Scotland turns out to be the big winner with 3 “major” Baftas -Best British Film, Best Actor and Adapted Screenplay; and so is Pan’s Labyrinth with three “minor” prizes -Foreign Film, Costume Design and Make-Up. That was quite unexpected… So was Little Miss Sunshine winning Best Original Screenplay over The Queen
On the lesser bright side, Happy Feet winning Best Animated Feature -I reckon both Cars and Flushed Away were superior… Pirates of the Caribbean 2 getting Visual Effects is neither surprising nor deserved (well, it is but–). Casino Royale and Babel, which were leading the nominations, got one prize each -Best Music and Best Sound. Not exactly the wins you’d expected… Finally, Eva Green is the breakthrough of the year. I love her, but Cillian Murphy -augh!
All in all, quite satisfying results, although I have to say, seeing Paul Greengrass winning is heavily clouding my judgement. I didn’t really expected it; but the thought of an entire academy recognizing his achievement, over thesps’ such as Marty Scorsese and Stephen Frears, it’s quite surprising indeed…
Update : Empire’s minute-by-minute blog is hilarious ! Thank God for these guys, really…
The lovely Kate Winslet presents the first award for Best
British Film in a lovely fashion. It’s a scientific fact that anyone who
dislikes Kate Winslet is actually the devil and will kill your granny. C’mon
United 93! We’re rooting for ya!
The Last King of Scotland?! Whaa? Good, but not the best of
the list. The loveliness of Kate Winslet is the only thing soothing our desire
to storm the stage, dragging Paul Greengrass up with us.
Really happy for the people who won the awards for short film and animation, but it’s a slow start. [Heh!]
Ricky Gervais steals the show mocking the boringness of awards ceremonies and taking the piss out
of Jonathan Ross. The collective BAFTA producers are somewhere asking, “why didn’t we hire him to present?”
Ricky Gervais is awesome. Please, get him back next year. Those bloody penguins win Best Animated Film. Happy Feet was WEIRD and CREEPY.
Paul Greengrass wins Best Director. The only way we can express the glee of the assembled Empire staff is “WHEEEEEEEEE!” An elegant and eloquent speech from him.

Yup. Gotta love Empire

In the movie world lately…

*The traditional Academy Award nominees luncheon was held last Monday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. I was looking forward to seeing Paul Greengrass, but my guess is that he is too busy shooting The Bourne Ultimatum to show up… Other nominees were in attendence, though- pictured here are Leonardo DiCaprio, looking as handsome as ever, The Departed castmate Mark Wahlberg, queen Helen Mirren (as I like to call her), and ol’ Steven Spielberg, nominted even when he doesn’t direct a film (he produced Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima). More pics can be seen in the Road to Oscars gallery.

And then of course, here is the pic of all the nominees…
Picture credit goes to Oswarwatch.

Let’s see whose face is recognizable — I can spot Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Paul Haggis, Penelope Cruz, Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin, Thomas Newman (!!), Rinko Kikuchi, Will Smith, Djimon Hounsou, Eddie Murphy, Randy Newman, Peter Morgan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo Del Toro, Gustavo Santaolalla, Alexandre Desplat, Adriana Barraza, Clint Eastwood, Jackie Earle Hayley, Todd Field, Forest Whitaker, Melissa Etheridge, Steven Spielberg, Gil Kenan, Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Hudson… That’s twenty-nine people. A better score than last year’s. Heh.
Loads of absentees, though! I’ve already mentioned Paul Greengrass, but there’s also the three best actresses nominees – Judi Dench, Kate Winlset and Meryl Streep as well as Cate Blanchett or Ryan Gosling… I thought the luncheon was mandatory if you’re a nominee? Ah, well…

*Following the Academy Awards’ nominees announcement, the campaign ads have to adapt. For example, the latest FYC Ad for Little Miss Sunshine created quite a stir. I’ll post my favorite two here — cinematography and production design ad for The Prestige (I’m still so proud over Wally Pfister and Nathan Crowley getting a nod!), and a director-centered one for United 93, put on the front page of The Hollywood Reporter. How cool is the “Paul Greengrass, Academy Award nominee” thing? Heeeeeeee.

*Speaking of Paul Greengrass, I listened yesterday to his audio commentary for United 93, which was released on DVD recently in France, and it was truely fascinating. He spoke extensively of the differences between the pre- and post-9/11 world, as well as the experience of working with actual air traffic control professionals who portrayed themseves on screen. I felt that his intelligence was limitless -his words were just so accurate, and meaningful. He was very keen on insisting on the fact that we were still in this period where the answers to the 9/11 terrorist attacks still haven’t been found, and that the breaking down of systems -systems on which our lives rely- really was what happened that day. He also threw in a few highly insightful remarks on religion and the role of political leadership, which I really agreed with. I cannot wait for his next project, after The Bourne Ultimatum, to start taking shape (The Daily Mail posted additional information on the project two weeks ago).
Watching the film itself, once again, was a real emotional ordeal for me. I bawled my eyes out, cried myself to sleep, cursing myself for willingly putting myself in this position. The last minutes were just so gut-wrentchingly painful that I simply had to look away. Because this is the world we live in, because that day happened… Not necessarily in the precise way portrayed in the film, but nonetheless. And I’ve never cried so much watching a bonus feature, I can assure you. I thought the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King‘s extended edition bonus was bad enough, but here, with the passengers and crew’s families -who lost their dearest ones on that day; sharing their experiences, telling what the film has meant to them… *gulps* It was all very difficult and gruelling. Emotions aside, I reckon the photography and editing on this film are just astoundingly good. Barry Ackroyd’s work is exceptional considering the fact that the film, obviously, was not shot on a plane. I just kept wondering how he achieved that lighting, which really had a plane-like quality to it! Simply incredible… And the editing… No wonder it took three persons -Chris Rouse, Clare Douglas and Richard Pearson- to make it. They really succeeded in emphasizing the important shots, and in capturing the subtlety of all the details. Most of all, the pace of the film is impeccable, which is really amazing since Paul’s directing tends to be frenetic while the story itself isn’t at all. The final result is just impressive. I wish they’d win the Oscar…

*This week’s box-office results scared me. Out of the 5 films getting the most money, not one of them achieved more than a 50% approval rate from critics, as this screencap from RT shows.
I hate the fact that American audiences pull out the biggest figures when it comes down to box-office money, and yet, don’t know HOW TO CHOOSE THEIR FILMS. No wonder Superman Returns ‘failed to impress’…

*What looks like a teaser poster for Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd has been posted on the film’s IMDb forums. It will star Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen and the screenplay is written by John Logan. Brillant!

*Annie Leibovitz has had a busy schedule this month. She shot this beautiful ad for Disney, featuring Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella.

You can view the other two ads, featuring Beyoncé Knowles as Alice and David Beckham as Prince Philip, by clicking this link.

*Additionally, her talents were employed by Vanity Fair for their annual Hollywood issue.

Small preview of the cover-
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Chris Rock and Jack Black (yay!).

Sneak peek of the photoshoot-
Edward Norton and Kate Winslet; Bruce Willis; Angelica Huston and Diane Lane; Rinko Kikuchi, Abigail Breslin, Bill Nighy, Penelope Cruz and Ben Affleck; Forest Whitaker and Robert Downey Jr.; Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz.

Behind the scenes photographs-
Jennifer Connelly, Julianne Moore and Kate Winslet; Jennifer Connelly and Robert DeNiro; Abigail Breslin.

An entire sneak peek of the photographs can also be seen in a video posted on the magazine’s official website, here. Apparently, this year’s issue has a special theme -“a film noir masterpiece to die for”. There’s also more behind-the-scences pictures for your viewing pleasure. I will probably post more pictures when the issue will actually hit newsstands!

*A lovely interview with the lovely Mr. Cillian Murphy can be found at the Premiere magazine website, right here. The gossipers at Oh No They Didn’t also posted even lovelier scans of Cillian, which you can read right below by clicking the image.

*About the blog, in case you didn’t notice, I added a little “lastly seen in DVD section” in the menu –just to keep you folks informed on the lastest films I’m watching at home. Not that you’d care but…
Well, I think that’s about it for now. Tomorrow is the Baftas ceremony (my favorite!) as well as the announcement for the Writers Guild Awards winner. Well, you know me, I couldn’t support any other film than United 93… Stay tuned for updates!

Filmmakers and critics

Here’s a little story I’d like to share with y’all. As surprising as it may be, it’s about cinema…

Over the past few years, I’ve been feeding myself with all kinds of information about moviemaking. I’ve had my periods over directors and screenwritersthe movie brat generation, Peter Jackson, Bryan obviously, Chris Nolan, Paul Greengrass, Sam Mendes, all those guys I keep talking about.
Not to mention cinematographers -Emmanuel Lubezki, Janusz Kaminski, Wally Pfister, Tom Sigel, Rodrigo Prieto, Conrad Hall, Roger Deakins, Andrew Lesnie; film editors -Michael Kahn, Chris Lebenzon, Stephen Mirrione, Christopher Rouse, Lee Smith; music composers -Tom Newman, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, John Ottman, Gustavo Santaolalla, John Powell, David Julyan; production designers -Rick Heinrichs, Nathan Crowley, Grant Major, Dan Hennah, Stuart Craig, Dante Ferreti; costume designers -Colleen Atwood, Trisha Biggar, Ngila Dickson; and other kinds of crew members, such as Gabrial Hardman or Bill Bernstein, Klemens Becker or Avy Kaufman…
Heck, even Weta wizards (Richard Taylor, of course, and let’s not forget Jeremy Bennett and Jamie Beswarick) got me all inspired. All these people sort of have my undying admiration for their careers, and what they’ve accomplished so far. They’re examples of creativity and excellence in a cruel and unforgiving industry. In other words, they are stuff my dreams are made of. There’s so many names I’m forgetting…

What’s my point? Well, my point is that, although all these are ‘role models’ (in the sense where they’re people I look up to), there also is an entire different kind of people I admire, not involved in the process of making movies but still in the film industry; and these are film critics.
I’m the first one to think everyone should have their own opinions and that one’s judgement shouldn’t have too much influence on someone else’s -that naturally, film critics are despicable, elitists pricks (most of the times) who nearly always get it wrong. But the truth is, there are some journalists whose writings I love to read. The first one was this French critic, Gérard Delorme, who wrote in the French Premiere (it used to be way better than the American edition). And then, I discovered Empire, which is all-around the best film magazine I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, and still is. Over the years, there are some publications I’ve come to trust in terms of movie critics; five of them coming to my mind are Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Sight & Sound, The New York Times, Entertainement Weekly. I have my favorite reporters in all of them : the infamous Ian Nathan, Chris Hewitt, Kim Newman, Helen O’Hara, Dan Jolin, Olly Richards, Damon Wise -all Empire staff writers of course! And elsewhere Anne Thompson, Owen Gleiberman, Liza Schwarzbaum…
But today, today, I’ve found Mr. Scott Foundas and read all of his articles. Oh okay, not all of them, but at least a dozen -and I’m very well impressed with both his words and tastes. He writes for both Los Angeles and New York newspapers (L.A. Weekly and Variety in L.A.; Village Voice and The New York Times in N.Y.), which is quite amazing since these two groups of critics have been fighting for ages.
Anyways, I kind of agree on everything he says. The way he puts it into words is the exact expression of my thoughts, only with a ‘better vocabulary’ (as Harold Crick would say).
Here’s what he had to say for this year’s most memorable films -click to read the entire article.

United 93

Rather, as the film hurtles toward its inevitable conclusion and those aboard flight 93 prepare to take their fateful actions, [director Paul] Greengrass shows us people stripped to their very core, to their elemental survival instinct. In doing so, he restores something that is all too often lost in the transmission of moving pictures, be they those of a Hollywood movie or of the evening news: the felt value of a single human life.

But the filmmaking itself is joyless, and despite the impressive enormity of the physical production, the images are flat and drab, with one major sequence (set in a voodoo priestess’s foggy lair) so stage-bound it could have been shot inside the Pirates ride. [Director Gore] Verbinski also can’t execute an exciting action scene to save his life. Even when he has a great idea for a stirring set piece — like a third-act, three-way sword fight that culminates atop a giant runaway mill wheel — he persistently turns his camera away from the action at the very moments he should be pulling us deeper into it, until you begin to wonder if Verbinski isn’t trying to mutiny his own movie. […] Either way, [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer is laughing all the way to the bank. [Heh.]

Visually, the movie is beyond anything [director Bryan] Singer (working with his longtime cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel) has done before, filled with moments of strange and ethereal beauty […] What is finally most surprising about Superman Returns is how unexpectedly moving it is — for its nostalgia; for its yearning for hearth and home; and for its overarching belief in the fundamental goodness of people…

Indeed, long before the movie’s climax, in which Magneto (Ian McKellen) turns smashed-up automobiles into fiery projectiles to be hurled at his enemies, those in the audience will know what it means to behold a flaming hunk of junk. [Hee!]

The result is an oddly lopsided yet compulsively absorbing movie in which the director is less drawn to his main characters than to those on the periphery — to Tesla and to Angier’s wizened illusion designer Cutter (Michael Caine) and, by extension, all those other men through the ages who have sought to bridge the gap between the real and the illusory, the natural and the supernatural.
Directing his first period feature, with most of the same design team (including Oscar-nominated cinematographer Wally Pfister) that served him so well on Batman Begins, [director Christopher] Nolan has picked the ideal setting for his rationalist inclinations — that seismic moment at which the Victorian Era began to cave under the weight of the nascent Machine Age.

Children of Men

But it’s also one of the year’s most imaginative and uniquely exciting pieces of cinema. [Director Alfonso] Cuarón, whose interests as a filmmaker seem to know no boundaries […] has made that rarest of cinematic hybrids: a brilliant genre entertainment that channels the spirit of a 1960s protest picture (the influence of the British faux-documentarian Peter Watkins is keenly felt); a political thriller in which the politics are never permitted to overwhelm the narrative; and a human drama that is about nothing less than the survival of the species.

The Departed

Indeed, the very vibrancy of this movie is tied to its familiarity, to the thrill of seeing [director Martin Scorsese] shrug off his yen for enshrinement in some ersatz canon and rekindle the old razzle-dazzle — the pulse-quickening energy, the restless zooms and tracking shots, the explosions of gory violence — that once made every young film student in America want to be him (before they decided they wanted to be Tarantino instead).

The Queen

As the resolutely populist Blair (deftly played by Michael Sheen, whose scenes with Mirren have a deliciously oedipal kick) runs interference between an increasingly bitter public and an intractable monarchy, what emerges isn’t so much a battle of wills as a clear-eyed portrait of a nation’s past meeting its future, the one wondering what (if anything) it might have to learn from the other. At the center of it all, [actress Helen] Mirren gives us a profoundly human Elizabeth…

Well, I don’t know with you all, but to me, that’s gorgeous English and insightful thinking. I love this guy (even though he didn’t like King Kong)! Will be reading his reviews as carefully as I read my monthly Empire