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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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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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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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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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Oscar ceremony looking grim….

AAMPAS have just released a trailer to promote the 2012 Oscar ceremony hosted by Billy Crystal – I think it is an unfunny dud !! I do hope that the ceremony fares better than this lame clip.

 

Check it out, click on the link

Academy Releases Oscar 2012 Trailer – The Vote on Variety.com.

 

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Breaking news – 2011 Gloscars delayed ! ! !

BREAKING NEWS ! ! !

EXCLUSIVE ! ! !

THE GLOSCARS  EYE NEW DATE CHANGES.

Babs has decided for the first time to extend the annual movie award wrap up – “The Gloscars” for another month. Usually the cinema year is marked from Jan 1 – Dec 31 but this can sometimes make the annual awards seem dated as some films are last years Oscar winners and therefore last years news. Australian cinema releases differ from the US. By extending for another month it means that some Oscar hopefuls can end up on the Gloscar list. So from now on the cinema year will commence on Feb 1 and end on Jan 31. Not that Babs should be influenced by the end of the year award season, its just that nobody wants to be old hat, and Babs does differ from Oscar results on many occasions.

The nominations and list of eligible films (those seen by Babs in a cinema) will be announced on Feb 1 and the winners announced a week later Feb 8.

It has been quite an ok year at the cinema with some worthy films and excellent performances – I wonder if you will agree with Babs.

Stay tuned.

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On your marks……

Award season kicks in next week with the New York Film Critics announcing their choices of the years best on Nov 29, soon followed by the National Board Of Review (Dec 1)  and the infamous Golden Globe Award  (noms Dec 11), then comes a flurry of award shows and critics top ten lists concluding with the grand poobah of ceremonies – The Oscars. (nominations due Jan 24, ceremony Feb 26)

And we must never forget The Gloscars!!! (first week in January)

Awards pundits are in a prediction frenzy that puts Nostradamus to shame. I will join them all and try and predict a few in some categories. Of course this does not respect my choices and I have not seen all of the films.

Check out some of the trailers at the end to see what all the fuss is about.

Film

This year there is a possible 5-10 nominees depending on how the new voting system pans out. I wish they would bring back the 5 only rule.

THE ARTIST

The critics darling, a homage to the days of silent film making in Hollywood. Silent film star George Valentin refuses to participate in the talkies leading to his downfall and a romance with a young upcoming dancer/actress. Directed by a Frenchman and coming out of nowhere it is sure to be one to beat.

WAR HORSE

Steven Spielberg directs this adaptation of a famous children’s novel. A young boy goes to war to find his beloved horse who had been drafted earlier. The same story has been adapted into a play by London’s National Theatre that earlier this year swept Broadway’s Tony awards – winning best play. It has all the hallmarks of a sentimental Spielberg extravaganza, and looks like pure Oscar bait.

THE HELP

A surprise sleeper hit that scored at the US box office. A story of the trials and tribulations of being a black maid in America’s south around the time of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. A terrific ensemble cast that are sure to be recognised in the acting categories.

THE DESCENDANTS

George Clooney stars in this new film by Alexander Payne who scored well with “Sideways” a few years back. A dramedy set in Hawaii about a family in crisis.

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE

Stephen Daldry directs this post 9/11 story that I am dreading to see, not a fan of Daldry as a film director, stick to the stage Steve! The trailer is dreadful, so I  can imagine what the film will be like 😦

THE TREE OF LIFE

Terrence Malick’s bore of a film may make it to the block. I hated it, critics raved. A film that divides opinion.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

Woody Allen’s souffle of a film. A return to form for Woody and a box office success – a rarity for him.

THE IDES OF MARCH

The handsome duo of George Clooney and spunk of the moment Ryan Gosling star in this political drama directed by Mr Clooney.

J. EDGAR

Clint Eastwood’s biopic of the famed founder of the FBI – a cross dressing closet case apparently. Leonardio DiCaprio stars.

MARCY MARTHA MAY MARLENE

This years Sundance stand out success, a staple lately in the Oscar race.

Direction

STEPHEN DALDRY – Up Close And Extremely Personal *Yuk*

STEVEN SPIELBERG – War Horse *Groan*

MICHELl HAZANAVICIUS – The Artist

MARTIN SCORCESE – Hugo

Scorcese first children’s film and in 3D, critics are raving at it is doing well at the box office. Like “The Artist” it plays tribute to the early years of filmaking. Set in a Parisian railway station it is sure to rule the technical nominations.

TERENCE MALICK – The Tree Of Life  – Aaargh!

Actor

GEORGE CLOONEY – The Descendants

A previous winner in the support category for “Syriana” it has ben a good year for this debonair star, he may make it to the podium for a second time

JEAN DUJARDIN – The Artist

If the film strikes a chord with the Academy, expect this French actor to go along for the ride.

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO – J. Edgar

Often nominated, never to win, could it be Leo’s year? Perhaps he will have to wait for his Gatsby turn next year, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER – Shame

Swooooooon!!!! A big year for Fassbender appearing in 4 films (Jane Eyre, X-Men:First Class, A Dangerous Method) It is his turn as a sex addict that is turning heads and gaining serious momentum. Not to mention he is naked a lot and full frontal too!! Controversial and brave I guess. Film is directed by artist Steve McQueen who brought us to the attention of the actor with the brilliant but gruelling “Hunger”.

MICHAEL SHANNON – Take Shelter

A much talked about performance from Sundance, it was a while back but I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns up on the list. He was nominated a few years back for his supporting turn in “Revolutionary Road” so not a stranger to Oscar voters.

Actress

MERYL STREEP – The Iron Lady

Meryl as Maggie Thatcher how can we or the Academy resist? I am sure it will be the only nod for the film. Critics have been harsh, only praising the magnificent M but not the direction of her “Mamma Mia” collaborator Phyllida Lloyd who is another of those pesky stage directors who should not be allowed behind a lens.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS – My Week With Marilyn

Critics are raving about Michelle as the famed movie goddess but lukewarm about the film itself. She looks good in the trailer and has been so excellent in all her past performances. I predict a win!

TILDA SWINTON – We Need To Talk About Kevin

Ice queen Tilda is sure to gain a nomination in this controversial role of a mother who doesn’t warm to her child with disastrous results

GLENN CLOSE – Albert Nobbs

It has been a while since she was in the Oscar line up (1989 her last) after numerous nominations (5) and no win. This one looks promising as it is a cross-dressing role and the Academy love them. She plays a woman who masquerades as a butler to survive in 19th century Ireland, it is a pet project of Glenn’s so hopefully she may be rewarded.

ELIZABETH OLSEN – Martha Marcey May Marlene

This years Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)? Rave reviews at Sundance, she plays a young girl who escapes from a religious cult and her struggle to re-enter society. She is also the sister of TV’s the Olsen twins!! This is the  performance I am looking forward to seeing.

in with a good shot – VIOLA DAVIS – The Help (outstanding in “Doubt” she grounds this fine cast with such grace)

Supporting Actor

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – Beginners

After such a long distinguished career and many a fine performance surely this is his year to get the golden man. Playing a  gay man in his golden years who comes out of the closet after the death of his wife much to the dismay of his son. This film is a heartbreaker and Mr Plummer is the highlight.

ALBERT BROOKS – Drive

Normally seen in comedy roles, Albert Brooks is menacing as an ex-film producer turned gangster in a film that I absolutely loved. The Academy do like to reward comedy actors in dramatic roles.

MAX VON SYDOW – Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

Max may get the veteran vote and be competition for Plummer

KENNETH BRANAGH – My Week With Marilyn

Some say miscast as Sir Laurence Olivier but many say hilarious and a standout alongside Miss Williams as Marilyn. He always saw himself as a successor to Olivier with his Shakespeare film adaptations, now he gets to play him – go figure!

EZRA MILLER – We Need To Talk About Kevin

Creepy children can do well with the Academy (Linda Blair or Patty McCormack anyone?)

Supporting Actress

OCTAVIA SPENCER – The Help

Very funny and strong performance that is sure to be recognised. And shit she can make a mean chocolate pie!

JESSICA CHASTAIN – The Help

Appearing in no less than 5 films this year (she should team up with Michael Fassbender next) – Tree Of Life, The Debt, Take Shelter and Coriolanus are the others. it was this scene stealing role that grabbed attention and will surely get her a nod.

VANESSA REDGRAVE – Coriolanus

A grand lady of acting and a previous controversial winner (her speech not the role) for “Julia” many years ago. If they go the veteran route this year and not the newcomer then it will be her year.

SHAILENE WOODLEY – The Descendants

Apparently shines in the role of Clooney’s daughter – she will play the newcomer card alongside Chastain

CAREY MULLIGAN – Shame

Playing the songstress sister of sexaholic Fassbender, a raw performance that is garnering praise alongside her co-star

Best Art Direction

HUGO – Dante Ferretti

WAR HORSE – Rick Carter

THE ARTIST – Laurence Bennett

THE HELP – Mark Ricker

J. EDGAR – James J. Murakami

Costume Design

HUGO – Sandy Powell

THE ARTIST – Mark Bridges

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN – Jill Taylor

THE HELP – Sharen Davis

J. EDGAR – Deborah Hooper

Cinematography

HUGO – Robert Richardson

WAR HORSE – Janusz Kaminski

TREE OF LIFE – Emmanuel Lubezki

THE ARTIST – Guillaume Schiffman

DRIVE – Newton Thomas Sigel

Check out some of the trailers below.

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