Monthly Archives: February 2012

And the Oscar doesn’t go to…..

The Artist is a film that I enjoyed but I didn’t really understand all the awards attention it garnered including the Best Picture Oscar.

I thought I would look back at some other films (from the 70’s till today) that won the top award, and in my opinion did not deserve the honour.

1975

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (it was the year of Nashville – need I say more?)

1976

ROCKY (same year as Taxi Driver)

1980

ORDINARY PEOPLE (same year as Raging Bull)

1982

GANDHI (Tootsie was a gem that year)

1990

DANCES WITH WOLVES  (Marty loses again with Goodfellas)

1994

FORREST GUMP (bests Pulp Fiction)

1996

THE ENGLISH PATIENT (how can one ever forget Fargo)

2001

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (the year of Gosford Park)

2005

CRASH (crashed the party for Brokeback Mountain)

2010

THE KING’S SPEECH (when is Fincher’s turn? – the year of The Social Network)

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16 out of 24 not too bad?

16/24

Two thirds correct is better than half.

I did ok in my Oscar picks better than last year.

Congratulations to all this years Academy Award winners.

As predicted The Artist won Best Picture and another 4 awards, Martin Scorcese’s 3D Hugo took home 5 – all technical.

The big surprise (for me) was Meryl Streep winning Best Actress for The Iron Lady after a 30 year absence – her 3rd Oscar (she gave a terrific speech – a class act). Not her greatest performance but a good caricature of Margaret Thatcher – sad that Viola Davis missed out, glad that Octavia Spencer grabbed gold for supporting actress in The Help. 

Golden lady of the night – Meryl Streep in a Lanvin gown.

Thrilled that Aussie lad Kirk Baxter won his 2nd oscar for co-editing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – he must love his boss David Fincher after winning last year for The Social Network.

Aussie golden boy Kirk Baxter with his co-winner Angus Wall.

Glenn Close joins the record books (most actress losses – 6) and so does Christopher Plummer now the oldest Oscar winner (well deserved).

I enjoyed Billy Crystal and his banter, the jokes worked for me even if a tad tired. Loved the Wizard Of Oz target audience send-up from Chirstopher Guest’s gang.

The outrage for me was the late costume designer Eiko Ishioka not being in the “in memoriam” section – she has won an Oscar (for Bram Stoker’s Dracula), yet was forgotten – how did Steve Jobs make the cut??? I predict Eiko will be up for an award next year for the upcoming Mirror Mirror, and win!

Julia Roberts in an Eiko creation for the new film “Mirror Mirror”

Talking about next years Oscars – expect a post soon on Bab’s super early predictions!!!

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In a tent, on a beach, it’s the Independent Spirit Film Awards.

The Independent Spirit Awards for 2012 were handed out today. The last of the awards ceremonies before the Oscars tomorrow they are traditionally held in a tent on Santa Monica beach. They celebrate the American independent film scene. It is known as a very casual and relaxed, fun affair.

I like these awards as they honour non-studio films and usually have a far more eclectic and worthy bunch of winners. Alas this years golden award winner The Artist took four of the awards – even though it is a French production, hardly an American Indie ?? Surely it will win the Oscar tomorrow without a doubt?

Even so I was pleased that Shailene Woodley of  The Descendants was the surprise winner in the supporting actress race.  I loved her in the film and am pleased she has at least one major award in her hand for the role – she missed out on an Oscar nomination.

Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

Here are a list of the winners (in bold), with no real surprises. The awards won by Margin Call have made it a must see on my list – it is up for best original screenplay  at the Oscars.

Best Feature
“50/50”
“Beginners”
“Drive”
“Take Shelter”
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Mike Mills – “Beginners”
Jeff Nichols – “Take Shelter”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Nicolas Winding Refn – “Drive”

Best Screenplay
Joseph Cedar – “Footnote”
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Tom McCarthy – “Win Win”
Mike Mills – “Beginners”
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash – “The Descendants”

Best First Feature
“Another Earth” – Director: Mike Cahill
“In the Family” – Director: Patrick Wang
“Margin Call” – Director: J.C. Chandor
“Martha Marcy May Marlene” – Director: Sean Durkin
“Natural Selection” – Director: Robbie Pickering

Best First Screenplay
Mike Cahill, Brit Marling – “Another Earth”
J.C. Chandor – “Margin Call”
Patrick deWitt – “Terri”
Phil Johnston – “Cedar Rapids”
Will Reiser – “50/50”

John Cassavetes Award
“Bellflower” – Writer/Director: Evan Glodell
“Circumstance” – Writer/Director: Maryam Keshavarz
“Hello Lonesome” – Writer/Director: Adam Reid
“Pariah” – Writer/Director: Dee Rees
“The Dynamiter” – Writer: Brad Inglesby, Director: Matthew Gordon

Best Female Lead
Lauren Ambrose – “Think of Me”
Rachael Harris – “Natural Selection”
Adepero Oduye – “Pariah”
Elizabeth Olsen – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

Best Male Lead
Demián Bichir – “A Better Life”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Ryan Gosling – “Drive”
Woody Harrelson – “Rampart”
Michael Shannon – “Take Shelter”

Best Supporting Female
Jessica Chastain – “Take Shelter”
Anjelica Huston – “50/50”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”
Harmony Santana – “Gun Hill Road”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

Best Supporting Male
Albert Brooks – “Drive”
John Hawkes – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
John C. Reilly – “Cedar Rapids”
Corey Stoll – “Midnight in Paris”

Best Cinematography
Joel Hodge – “Bellflower”
Benjamin Kasulke – “The Off Hours”
Darius Khondji – “Midnight in Paris”
Guillaume Schiffman – “The Artist”
Jeffrey Waldron – “The Dynamiter”

Best Documentary
“An African Election”
“Bill Cunningham New York”
“The Interrupters”
“The Redemption of General Butt Naked”
“We Were Here”

Best International Film
“A Separation” (Iran) 
“Melancholia” (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany)
“Shame” (U.K.)
“The Kid With a Bike” (Belgium/France/Italy)
“Tyrannosaur” (U.K.)

Robert Altman Award
“Margin Call”

Michelle Williams an indy darling finally wins an award for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe after many nominations in the past

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Don’t speak….Bullets headed for Broadway

I am very pleased with the news that Woody Allen’s brilliant comedy “Bullets Over Broadway” is coming to, where else?

Broadway.

Woody is adapting his 1994 movie as a musical, aiming for a New York opening in 2013.  The musical is being co-written with Douglas McGrath, from their original screenplay, and will feature period music from the Depression era.

It tells the story of a struggling writer David Shayne who agrees to cast a gangster’s girlfriend – Olive, in his new play in exchange for financing.

I think this is one of Woody’s best films and certainly one of his funniest. It features a superb cast (John Cusack, Jennifer Tilly, Jim Broadbent, Tracey Ullman amongst others) and it gave the divine Diane Wiest her second Oscar for her portrayal of stage diva Helen Sinclair, who utters the famous words “don’t speak” in moments of ecstasy! A true laugh out loud moment.

Dianne Wiest (Helen) and John Cusack (David) in a moment of pure art direction and stunning costume design from the film.

 

Here are a few bits of the very funny dialogue from the film, hopefully to remain intact for the stage version, why would one change a word?

*The coloured maid Venus and the gangsters moll Olive (Jennifer Tilly – hysterical in her Oscar nominated role) have an interaction over cocktails…..

Olive: Hey, didn’t I tell you to make “horse durves”?
Venus: I don’t make nothin’ out of horses, especially “horse durves”, ’cause I don’t know what they are, and neither do you.
Olive: Oh, aren’t you the big mouth since you hit your number!
[raising her voice]
Olive: And I said the imported stuff!
Venus: The imported stuff ate through the bottle! It’s gone!
Olive: A likely story!
[composing herself – to David]
Olive: It’s very hard to get good help these days.

Jennifer Tilly as Olive.

*Sid Loomis, Helen’s agent (Harvey Fierstein) accuses her of being a drunk….

Sid: You’re a star because you’re great and you are a great star, but let me tell you something, Helen. In the last couple of years you’re better known as an adulteress and a drunk. And I say this in all due respect.
Helen: Look, I haven’t had a drink since New Year’s Eve.
Sid: You’re talking Chinese New Year’s.
Helen: Naturally. Still, that’s two days, Sid! You know how long that is for me?

*When Helen has a drink at the bar with David….

Helen: Two martinis please, very dry.
David: How’d you know what I drank?
Helen: Oh, you want one too? Three.

*And of course Helen’s most famous line, as David asks her for a kiss…..

Helen: No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return.
David: Just one…
Helen: Don’t speak.

I can’t wait to see who gets the role of Helen Sinclair, sure to be filled by a true Broadway diva. (Patti Lupone anyone?)


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Babs Oscar picks 2012

As preparations are underway for this years 84th Academy Awards ceremony to be held at the Hollywood and Highland Centre (formerly the Kodak theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard this Sunday night (Monday lunchtime in Australia)  Babs gives you his predictions of the winners and who he would like to see win.

Babs is a bit underwhelmed by this years Oscars, a lot of the movies never lived up to their hype. Both The Artist & Hugo seemed to en-trance every movie loving critic but I felt that although they showcased amazing film craft , overall they weren’t that great. The major ommission of Drive in many categories was an upset to me, and how the hell did Charlize Theron miss out for Young Adult? Of course it is the Oscars and as we all well know they aren’t a true reflection of what is great in cinema out there. Of my predictions I would honestly love it if I did badly – I would love this year to be full of upsets and surprises – but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Best Picture

Will win – THE ARTIST

Should win – THE DESCENDANTS

Actor in a Leading Role

Will win – JEAN DUJARDIN – The Artist

Should win – GEORGE CLOONEY – The Descendants

Actor in a Supporting Role

Will & Should win – CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – Beginners

Actress in a Leading Role

Will & Should win – VIOLA DAVIS – The Help

 Actress in a Supporting Role

Will & Should win – OCTAVIA SPENCER – The Help

Animated Feature Film

Will & Should win – RANGO

Art Direction

Will & Should win – Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Shiavo – HUGO

Cinematography

Will win – Emmanuel Lubezki – THE TREE OF LIFE

Should win – Robert Richardson – HUGO

Costume Design

Will win – Mark Bridges – THE ARTIST

Should win – Michael O’Connor – JANE EYRE

Directing

Will win – MICHAEL HAZANAVICIUS – The Artist

Should win – ALEXANDER PAYNE – The Descendants

Documentary Feature

Will win – IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT

Documentary Short Subject

Will win – GOD IS BIGGER THAN ELVIS

Film Editing

Will win – Anne-Sophie-Bion & Michael Hazanavicius – THE ARTIST

Should win – Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Foreign Language Film

Will & Should win – A SEPARATION

Makeup

Will & Should win – Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland – THE IRON LADY

Original Music Score

Will win – Ludovic Bource – THE ARTIST

Should win – Alberto Iglesias – TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY

Original Song

Will win – “Real In Rio” from RIO

Should win – “Man Or Muppet” from THE MUPPETS

Short Film Animated

Will win – THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE

Short Film Live Action

Will win – PENTECOST

Sound Editing

Will win – HUGO

Should win – DRIVE

Sound Mixing

Will win – HUGO

Should win – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Visual Effects

Will win – HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2

Should win – RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Writing Adapted Screenplay

Will & Should win – THE DESCENDANTS

Writing Original Screenplay

Will win – WOODY ALLEN – Midnight In Paris

Should win –  ASGHAR FARHADI – A Separation

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Oscar trivia – I see double

Twice the fun.

Here are a few Oscar facts related to the number 2.

*In the Best Picture race there are 5 actors who appear in 2 of the best picture nominees.

VIOLA DAVIS nominated for her role in THE HELP also appears in EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE she is spectacular in both.

BRAD PITT nominated for his role in MONEYBALL also appears in THE TREE OF LIFE – he is also nominated as producer for Moneyball bringing him a total of 2 noms this year.

JESSICA CHASTAIN nominated for her role in THE HELP also appears in THE TREE OF LIFE – one of her co-stars in The Help OCTAVIA SPENCER is also nominated in the same category (supporting actress) therefore 2 from that film vying against each other.

JOHN GOODMAN appears as a doorman in EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE and as a movie mogul in THE ARTIST.

TOM HIDDLESTON an up and coming English actor appears as a soldier in WAR HORSE and played F. Scott Fitzgerald in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.

* 2 Best Supporting Actor nominees are octogenerians – both 82!!

MAX VON SYDOW in EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE.

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER in BEGINNERS.

Should either of them win they will become the oldest Oscar winner ever, beating JESSICA TANDY who was 80 when she won best actress for Driving Miss Daisy back in 1989. HAL HOLBROOK  (Into The Wild) and RALPH RICHARDSON (Greystoke) were also 82 at the time of their nominations but did not win.

Christopher Plummer & Max Von Sydow co-starred in the 1984 film DREAMSCAPE

*2 Best Picture nominees feature  characters who don’t utter a word of dialogue

THE ARTIST – in which nobody is heard – it is a silent movie after all.

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE – Max Von Sydow plays a mute.

*2 of the Best Picture nominees are set in Paris.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and HUGO

*2 of the Best Picture nominees feature young boys who are searching (with a key) for answers to a mystery left by their dead fathers.

HUGO and EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE

*John Williams has been nominated 2 times in the Original Music Score category for WAR HORSE and THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN, both for director Steven Spielberg. This brings his total nominations to 47 winning 5 times.

GEORGE CLOONEY is up for 2 Oscars this year – Best Actor for THE DESCENDANTS and Best Adapted Screenplay for THE IDES OF MARCH co written with Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

COMING SOON – Babs Oscar Picks.

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A loss for the record books?

As a loser I expect that Glenn Close will go into the record books this year. She has been nominated for the 6th time at the Oscars for her performance in the film Albert Nobbs. If she loses then she will tie with Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter for the most losses in female-acting categories in the history of the Oscars. They all have had 6 nominations. Deborah was a bigger loser than Glenn because all of her noms were for Best Actress. Glenn has 3 for Best Actress and 3 for Supporting. Thelma’s 6 were all for supporting.

Peter O’Toole is the king of Oscar losers he has had 8 noms and no wins.

Of course Glenn Close can beat the record in the future and get nominated again, and lose again but Deborah and Thelma cannot as they are both dead.

I know I am pre-empting the results but I feel that Viola Davis (The Help) is a sure thing with Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) right behind her. I wouldn’t mind an upset though. The Oscars and the awards seasons of late have been so predictable and boring I would love a surprise on the night.

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Heaven sent.

There is a new musical on the horizon that I am quite excited about. The songwriters responsible for Grey Gardens – Scott Frankel and Michael Korie are returning to the Playwrights Horizons with their new musical Far From Heaven as part of the Off-Broadway company’s 2012-2013 season.

It is based on the film of the same name, Far From Heaven and the book has been written by Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out). Michael Grief (Grey GardensRent, Next to Normal) is set to direct the production that will premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this American summer.

Playwrights Horizons, have  commissioned the work, but they have not announced dates for the off-Broadway  production. Grey Gardens also premiered at Playwrights prior to the Broadway transfer. I am a big fan of Grey Gardens and absolutely adore the film  Far From Heaven so I have high hopes for this one.

The 2002 movie was directed by Todd Haynes and  starred Julianne Moore, Dennis Haysbert and Dennis Quaid and had a supporting cast that included the wonderful Patricia Clarkson who was always harping on about the catering – I smell a song for her character, and Oscar nominee Viola Davis once again playing the maid.

This is how the musical is being billed – “Cathy Whitaker seems to be the picture-perfect wife and mother in 1957 suburban Connecticut. But roiling beneath the surface, secret longings and forbidden desires cause her world to unravel––with incendiary consequences. With a lush score that is both jazz-inflected and hauntingly lyrical, Far From Heaven is a powerful story of romance, betrayal, intolerance and a woman grappling with her identity in a society on the verge of great upheaval.”

No casting has been announced but it will surely have a great role for a singer/actress to play the part of Cathy. And like the great performances created in the musical Grey Gardens perhaps it will lead to a Tony award if the piece is successful and transfers to the Great White Way. I am looking forward to the sets and costumes that will be created as the film had such a lush look that surely needs to be replicated in some creative way.

Here are some beautiful stills from the movie…

Viola Davis

Julianne Moore & Dennis Haysbert

Patricia Clarkson – “oh I must check with the caterers” & Julianne Moore


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An Oscar feast for 2012

It’s exactly one week away to the Academy Award ceremony. Babs usually plans an Oscar night party  with friends, this year he is going to an industry live event, very excited as nothing beats watching the awards live, and no media block out required.

I had been planning my annual Oscar menu so I will still share it with you even though I won’t actually be doing food this year. As usual I like to tie in theme related treats that correspond to the best picture nominees.

THE ARTIST

The Artist is set in the golden days of Hollywood silent movies full of glamourous film premieres and such, as the movie has been made by the French I thought French champagne should flow.

THE DESCENDANTS

The unique setting of Hawaii has influenced my menu choices – Prawn Cocktail to eat  and a Blue Hawaiian cocktail to drink. (a cocktail soon to appear in the new Australian film “The Sapphires”).

EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE.

I have yet to see the film (it opens in a few days) so I don’t know if there is any significant food items appropriate. As the film is a post 9/11 story  I thought I would make something from the “Windows Of The World” menu – the famed restaurant was atop the twin towers.

THE HELP

Its a no brainer – southern fried chicken – yum yum.

HUGO

A French railway station setting and a cafe  run by Frances de la Tour helped with this choice – macaroons!

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

Another French set movie, this time the sophisticated drawing rooms of the artistic and literati – Duck Liver Pate to go with the champagne I think

MONEYBALL

Set in the world of baseball it’s an easy choice – gourmet mini hot dogs!

THE TREE OF LIFE

I disliked this movie so much that I can’t even bother to include an inspired dish to tie in, but if I was to include some food related to it I would say corn as in corny duh!

WAR HORSE

Well as the story goes old nags end up as mince meat – so yummy meatballs are in order with a tomato sugo to represent the blood of war (I know it’s a stretch)

So if you are thinking of having your own Oscar night do then include some of these delicious treats and party away.

 

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Betty visits Carrie.

Betty Buckley the Tony winning Broadway diva who played Carrie’s mom in the original Broadway flop-turned-cult-musical (she was also the gym teacher , Miss Collins in the movie version) went to see the new revisited off-Broadway revival. She liked it but called it a PG. version of the original. I love Betty and I love Carrie too.

A couple of my New Yorker friends have seen it and have given it the thumbs up with a few reservations, it’s not the dog one expected but also not the misunderstood masterpiece, overall it seems it’s a good night at the musical theatre.

pic by Jenny Anderson/Broadway.com

Betty Buckley, center, with Molly Ranson, left, who plays Carrie, and Marin Mazzie, who plays Carrie’s mother.

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