Tag Archives: Academy Award

Coming soon….my year of the diva!

From wikipedia:

diva is a celebrated female singer; a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, and by extension in theatre, cinema and popular music. The meaning of diva is closely related to that of prima donna.

The word entered the English language in the late 19th century. It is derived from the Italian noun diva, a female deity.  The basic sense of the term is goddess.

(My definition includes actors, playwrights, novelists and any form of artistic expression.)

Jennifer Hudson

 

 

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Meryl you are a witch???

No I am not complaining about my disappointment in Meryl Streep’s Oscar win last week for “The Iron Lady“.

This post is much more of a delight.

Meryl Streep is rumoured to be cast as the Witch in a film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical “Into The Woods”. The film is to be directed by Rob Marshall who brought “Chicago” to the screens successfully (in box office terms-not artistic) but we must remember he is also responsible for bringing “Nine” to the screen which was a disaster (box office and artistically!) I do love his TV remake of “Annie” that was a success in my own opinion.

But there is more rumour-mongering about Meryl as the Witch…..

The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare In The Park Festival are mounting an outdoor production of the Sondheim musical this July and rumoured to play the Witch is none other than the reigning Oscar Queen Meryl. Is this an audition?

I am a big fan of this show and was very very lucky to see the original Broadway production way back in 1987 – Bernadette Peters played the Witch and she was fabulous. Of the course the role to steal the show belongs to the Baker’s Wife. Who will be cast in that coveted role? Joanna Gleason won the Tony that year and she was also fabulous! I recall turning to my partner and said – “she will win the Tony, not Peters!”

Brilliant Bernadette Peters – the original Witch of the woods.

In the meanwhile…..

Sondheim has announced that he is collaborating on a new musical with playwright David Ives who is currently represented on Broadway with the hit show “Venus In Fur” – of which Babs has on his list of “shows to see” when he is in town in May.

He has apparently written 20-30 minutes of the piece and says of it – “Having spent the better part of four years writing two books [Finishing the Hat and Look I Made a Hat], I’m really rusty,” Sondheim humbly said of his process. “I sit at the piano and think, ‘Where’s middle C?’ Any muscles, as you know, atrophy when you don’t use them, and I haven’t been using my musical muscles.”

Who cares? Any thought of another Sondheim musical certainly gets my muscles into action. I am so excited about this.

And what does he say about Streep the Witch? Sondheim neither confirms nor denies the rumours. “We will see,” the composer said. “I think she’d be great.”

My hero Stephen Sondheim.

Nina Arianda & Hugh Dancy star in David Ive’s “Venus In Fur”.

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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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