Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Final Oscar® Ballots Mailed Today & Tidbits

Final ballots for the 79th Academy Awards® were mailed today to the 5,830 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Completed ballots must be returned to Pricewaterhouse-Coopers by 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 20. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted.

Listed on the ballots are nominees in 19 Oscar® categories. Separate ballots for five Awards categories (Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, and Animated and Live Action Short Films) will be distributed after verification of mandatory member attendance at screenings.

Following the tabulation of the votes, the winners’ names will be placed in sealed envelopes to be opened on Oscar Night®, Sunday, February 25.

TIDBITS:

1 - Laura Ziskin, 79th Academy Awards® telecast producer, announced yesterday that Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley will be the voice of fashion for “Road to the Oscars®,” the Oscar red carpet arrivals segment. Talley would be one of four commentators tapped to co-host the pre-show. Talley’s comments will focus on red carpet fashions.

2 - Representing Algeria, Canada, Denmark, Germany and Mexico, five of the world’s leading filmmakers will participate in the Academy’s standing-room-only Foreign Language Film Award (FLFA) Nominees Symposium on Saturday, February 24, at 10 a.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. In addition to presenting clips from the nominated films, the two-hour event will also provide the opportunity for questions from the audience. Doors open at 9 a.m. All seating is unreserved.

Free advance tickets to the Foreign Language Film Award Nominees Symposium are necessary to secure admission. There is a two ticket per person limit. Tickets will be available beginning tomorrow, February 1st, at the Academy’s ticket office. For ticket order information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit
http://www.oscars.org/events.

3 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced 15 winners of Scientific and Technical Academy Awards on 11 January, which will be presented at the Beverly Wilshire hotel on Saturday, February 10.

Awards Administration Director Rich Miller said that unlike other Academy Awards, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards do not have to have been developed and introduced during 2006. “The achievement can be a device or a discovery, a formula or a method, but it must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures,” Miller said.

4 - For the 18th consecutive year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has chosen special events producer Cheryl Cecchetto to produce its annual Governors Ball, the post-telecast celebration for the 79th Academy Awards® on Sunday, February 25, 2007. Cecchetto, along with her Sequoia Productions team, will work with Governors Ball Chair Cheryl Boone Isaacs (not Pat's daughter) to manage every detail pertaining to the event, including décor, entertainment, food and personnel.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST), beginning with a half-hour arrivals segment, “The Road to the Oscars.”

Sunday, January 28, 2007

PADRE NUESTRO Wins at Sundance

PADRE NUESTRO, an immigrant saga about a Mexican teen's heartbreaking search for his father in America, received the grand-jury prize for best U.S. drama at the Sundance Film Festival. Jorge Adrian Espindola portrays the youth who sneaks into the U. S., Jesus Ochoa the father, and Armando Hernandez a conniving fellow illegal immigrant.

PADRE NUESTRO (Our Father, U.S.) is Christopher Zalla's debut film, and it follows last year's QUINCEAÑERA (Fifteenth Birthday, Brazil/ U.S., 06 - also known as Echo Park), which qualified for this year's Oscars but received no nominations. This makes two years in a row that a Mexican-immigrant tale with U.S. producing credits have won top dramatic honors.

For more about PADRE NUESTRO, see the previous post, "Banderas Film Premieres at Sundance." For more of my notes about the winners, click my Film Festival Page's link on the right sidebar.

The grand-jury award in the U.S. documentary competition went to another Latin Amercian story recounting government corruption and kidnapping in Brazil, MANDA BALA (Send a Bullet, Brazil / U.S.), directed by Jason Kohn, MANDA BALA also won the documentary cinematography prize for Heloisa Passos.

From the U.S., GRACE IS GONE, a tear-jerker movie about a father (John Cusack) who takes his young daughters on a road trip to postpone breaking the news that their Army sergeant mother has been killed in Iraq, won the audience award for favorite U.S. drama. The award is chosen by balloting among Sundance movie-goers. Writer-director James C. Strouse won the Waldo Salt screenwriting award for the movie.

For a full list of winners, click (.pdf).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Banderas Film Premieres at Sundance


SUMMER RAIN, (El Camino de los Ingleses, Spain), directed by Antonio Banderas had its world premiere at this year's Sundance International Film Festival, wrapping tonight. The film is adapted from an award-winning novel written by the director's childhood friend, Antonio Soler, who wrote the screenplay. It is a deeply personal and lyrical recreation of their generation growing up in Malaga in the late 1970s, pulsating with sexuality, resonant with poetry and song. The cast: Alberto Amarilla, María Ruiz, Raúl Arévalo, Victoria Abril, Félix Gómez, Juan Diego, and Fran Perea. In 1999, Banderas directed his first film, Crazy in Alabama, and then returned to acting in Spy Kids and The Legend of Zorro. With SUMMER RAIN, he returns to his Spanish roots.

— The film follows the lives of three young men--Miguelito, Paco, and Babirusa--each of whom must confront his past, as well as his future, while indulging in the expected pursuits of youth on the threshold of adulthood, especially, of course, love and sex. For Miguelito, the poet, this centers on one girl in particular, Luli. As each young man discovers what life's erratic fortunes have in store for him, they venture forth together, leaving their past and youthful indiscretions behind.

SUMMER RAIN also screened on the evening of 24 January as a part of SUNDANCE EN ESPAÑOL (Sundance in Spanish), which featured a collection of six Spanish Language films, selected from throughout the Festival program. Each film was selected by the Festival’s programming team and reflects a variety of Spanish speaking cultures from Spain, Mexico, Bolivia, and the U.S. The other films screened were:

BAJO JUAREZ, THE CITY DEVOURING ITS DAUGHTERS (Mexico, Alejandra Sánchez and José Antonio Cordero, directors)

— In an industrial town in Mexico near the U.S. border, hundreds of women have been sexually abused and murdered. As the body count continues to rise, a web of corruption unfolds that reaches the highest levels of Mexican society. U.S. Premiere.

COCALERO (Bolivia/Argentina, Alejandro Landes, director)

— Set against the backdrop of the Bolivian government’s attempted eradication of the coca crop and oppression of the indigenous groups that cultivate it and the American war on drugs, an Aymara Indian named Evo Morales travels through the Andes and the Amazon in jeans and sneakers, leading a historic campaign to become the first indigenous president of Bolivia. World Premiere.

LA MISMA LUNA (The Same Moon, U.S., Patricia Riggen, director, and Ligiah Villalobos, screenwriter.)

— When his grandmother dies a young Mexican boy struggles to cross the border to reunite with his beloved mother, who is working hard in Los Angeles to create a better life for the family. World Premiere.

EL BUFALO DE LA NOCHE (The Night Buffalo, Mexico, Jorge Hernandez Aldana, director. Jorge Hernandez Aldana and Guillermo Arriaga, screenwriters,) BUFALO, adapted from a novel by Guillermo Arriaga, who also co-wrote and produced the film, is best known for his longtime collaboration with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Peros, 21 Grams), and for making waves with their film BABEL at the Golden Globes this year, winning best picture and six other nominations including best screenplay. BABEL is one of the five nominees for best screenplay and best picture Oscar®. See most previous posts.

The Night Buffalo tells the erotic tale of, Manuel a young man of 22, whose lust for beautiful women leads him down a path of deception, betrayal, and disillusionment. He lays out a plan that will drive him and his lover into an abyss of madness. World Premiere.

PADRE NUESTRO (Our Father, U.S., Christopher Zalla, director and screenwriter)

— Fleeing a criminal past, Juan hops a truck transporting illegal immigrants from Mexico to New York City, where he meets Pedro, who is seeking his long-lost father. World Premiere.


For more on Sundance, click Film Festival Page link on right sidebar.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More on DREAMGIRLS Snub and Tidbits

According to an article supplied to Yahoo! by Reuters, it turns out that the movie DREAMGIRLS, which led all the Oscar nominees with eight nominations, is a historical omission in the Best Film category. Never in the 79-year history of the awards has the film with the most nominations failed to earn a best picture nomination. Furthermore, DREAMGIRLS box office gross is second only to THE DEPARTED.

BEST FILM NOMINEES (in order of best gross, millions, as of 21 January.
DREAMGIRLS, not nominated in this category is in brackets, shows where it would have ranked in the box office gross had it been):

THE DEPARTED = $121,732,446
[DREAMGIRLS = $78,669,177]
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE = $59,593,606
THE QUEEN = $35,557,521
BABEL = $23,658,420
LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA = $2,442,552

BABEL received seven nominations, Mexico's PAN'S LABYRINTH (nominated in the best foreign language film category) and THE QUEEN, six each. Martin Scorsese's THE DEPARTED snared five each as did BLOOD DIAMONDS.

TIDBITS:

1 - SUNSHINE A SLEEPER? - THE DEPARTED will be re-released to theaters this Friday, 26 January. Watch for it at your local theater, if you have not seen it. The DvD will be available 13 February, so get Netfilx (link on right sidebar), and/or put it in your queue, now! I've seen it, and with DREAMGIRLS out of the running, I think DEPARTED's closest competition is THE QUEEN.

However, as I wrote in yesterday's post, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE might squeeze through and win. The article from Reuters (linked above) stated, "Rolling Stone magazine critic Peter Travers said the best picture race was now a toss-up. If Oscar voters find the Scorsese and Eastwood films too violent, THE QUEEN too British and BABEL too multilingual, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE could win. The low-budget comedy was recently named best picture by the Producers Guild of America, a group whose choices are often echoed by the Oscars."


Another however - - The Producers Guild missed the last two years. See my recent entry for Producers Guild on my Film Awards Page (link on right sidebar). Also, the article was released after I made my post and prediction.

2 - SCORSESE/EASTWOOD BEST DIRECTOR DUEL - Interesting quote in that Reuters article, "Movie pundit Tom O'Neil was quoted as having said Eastwood and his low-profile IWO JIMA -- with U.S. ticket sales of just $2.4 million -- have 'once again ambushed the Oscar race when Martin Scorsese was out front, and was now the one to beat."


I know, with what happened to DREAMGIRLS it's easy to speculate, but I think THE DEPARTED is way out front in direction compared to MILLION DOLLAR BABY and THE AVIATOR. If Scorsese does not win this year . . . well, when?

3 - STREEP'S RECORD - Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) is the sole American contender for the best actress in the leading role. Penelope Cruz (Volver) is from Spain, while the other three are Brits Kate Winslet (Little Children) and the two Dames, Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal) Helen Mirren (The Queen). This year Streep breaks her 2002 record for the most nominations for anyone with her 14th nomination this year. The DvD will be in my mailbox Friday!!

4 - MORE INTERESTING BOX OFFICE - Gross for some other films as of 21 January (in millions):

CARS (Best Animated Film ) = $244,082,982
HAPPY FEET (Best Animated Film ) = $190,695,949
MONSTER HOUSE (Best Animated Film) = $73,661,010
PAN'S LABYRINTH (Best Foreign Language Film) = $9,932,414
VOLVER (film not nominated) = $6,718,079

The 2006 Box Office Champ - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest = $423,315,812.

The Box Office Reports from: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No DREAMGIRLS, VOLVER

It is hard to believe that with television viewers of the Academy Awards® consistently decreasing over the past decade, the members of the Academy did not nominate DREAMGIRLS for Best Picture of 2006. What were they thinking? The awards will lose even more viewers this year because of this oversight. I have seen it, and it is an audience pleaser with a powerful message, and great music. I watched the nominations today on Good Morning America, and the first thing out of Diane Sawyers mouth was, "No DREAMGIRLS for best picture?"

DREAMGIRLS, the motion picture, is nominated for art direction, costume, sound mixing, and three original songs, "Listen," "Love You I Do," and "Patience.” Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy are nominated for best acting in supporting roles. Surely, Hudson and Murphy will each sing one of the nominated songs. That could be a tiny crumb of saving grace for the Academy's best picture snub.

Martin Scorsese vs. Clint Eastwood for best director, again? Looks that way. If Scorsese does not win this year, many will be disappointed. I have seen THE DEPARTED and Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. I am rooting for THE DEPARTED to win best motion picture on the merits of the film itself, best adapted screenplay, and Scorsese is way overdue that best director nod.

I know, too, that LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is a huge achievement, a film in Japanese with a Japanese POV made by an American director, but that film will not play in Peoria. The smaller theaters rarely show films with subtitles. BABEL screened in my area for a only a shortened booking, a few days. I missed it because of bad weather.

VOLVER. The situation here is that two excellent Spanish-language films were submitted for best foreign language film, VOLVER (Pedro Almodóvar, director) from Spain and PAN'S LABYRINTH (El Laberinto del Fauno, Guillermo del Toro, director) from Mexico. The first in Castilian Spanish and the second in South American/Mexican Spanish. Guess which is more understood in New York and L.A.?

Plus, Almodóvar has won at least two Oscars® with a number of nominations, and VOLVER is visually much the same as his other films, while del Toro's LABYRINTH is something new visually, and this is his first nomination. Two films containing the same language, in this case technically Spanish, and the Academy must choose one to nominate. They chose LABYRINTH, and I am not surprised. Of course, neither film will screen anywhere near me. I must wait for the DvD.

I think LABYRINTH will win the best foreign language film, and possibly more, because it has five other nominations: art direction, cinematography, makeup, original score and original screenplay. Penélope Cruz is nominated in the best actress in a leading role category for her performance in VOLVER but if I were betting, I would go with Helen Mirren for her performance in THE QUEEN.

Other than the three nominated films mentioned above, I think THE QUEEN will be a strong contender as best picture and in other categories. The sleeper film could be LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE because of big splits in the votes for the other four nominees. Remember CRASH and SIDEWAYS? Will it happen with SUNSHINE this year? I think it is possible. It is available on DvD and in my queue at Netflix, as are THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, CARS and MONSTER HOUSE. See Netflix link on the right sidebar.

The ABC-assisted Official Oscar Web site, http://www.oscar.com/, is now up and running. See all the nominees by category listings as well as by film. There are direct links to the films, categories, and much more, plus the printer-friendly options for the full nomination list and a handy ballot!

I will be writing more on the major categories in the days to come, but I must give a nod to Al Gore's AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH for its nomination in the best documentary category. I have seen it, and it is available on DvD. So, get it and watch it!

The Oscars® will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST), beginning with a half-hour red carpet arrivals segment, “The Road to the Oscars.”

Sunday, January 21, 2007

OSCAR® POSTER FOR SALE



Dozens of the most memorable and quotable lines from motion pictures will share the 79th Academy Awards® poster canvas with Oscar. The commemorative poster features words and phrases that have become part of society’s colloquial speech.

All of the lines showcased in the poster except one are from films that have received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Picture, Writing, or both, between 1936 and 2005. (Finding the exception should be the first of many trivia contests that the Academy expects the poster to generate.)

The concept and design for the poster was created for the Academy by TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles. Photographer Albert Watson captured the Oscar statuette featured on the poster. You can read the lines, and order the poster until 12 March, by clicking the link below, or the link for the Academy (AMPAS®) on the right sidebar.

The 27x40 poster, printed on premium recycled paper, uses a black canvas and highlights the quotes in gold metallic ink, each in a distinctive typeface to reflect the movie it represents.

The poster will be available for purchase only through March 12, 2007, on the Academy’s Web site at http://www.oscars.org/publications/ or by calling 1-800-554-1814. The price is $25 per poster, which includes tax and shipping within the U.S. for up to five posters. Shipping and handling for international orders is an additional $15 for each five posters.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis and Academy member, plus past Oscar® nominee, Salma Hayek will preside.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST, beginning with a half-hour arrivals segment.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Nine Foreign Language Films Make Cut

Nine films will advance in the voting process in the Foreign Language Film category for the 79th Academy Awards®, 2006 Oscar®.

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 61 eligible films qualified in the Best Foreign Language Film Category, and their ballots determined the shortlist of nine which is listed in alphabetical order by country:

Algeria, DAYS OF GLORY, Rachid Bouchareb, director.

Canada, WATER, Deepa Mehta, director.
Denmark, AFTER THE WEDDING, Susanne Bier, director.
France, AVENUE MONTAIGNE, Daniele Thompson, director.
Germany, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director.
Mexico, PAN'S LABYRINTH, Guillermo del Toro, director.
The Netherlands, BLACK BOOK, Paul Verhoeven, director.
Spain, VOLVER, Pedro Almodovar, director.
Switzerland, VITUS, Fredi M. Murer, director

Next, the Phase II committee, made up of ten randomly selected members from the Phase I group and joined by additional ten-member contingents in New York and Los Angeles, will view the short-listed films and select the five 2006 nominees for the category. Screenings for this group will take place from Friday, January 19, through Sunday, January 21, in both Hollywood and New York City.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced this coming Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Actress Salma Hayek will join Academy President Sid Ganis in announcing the nominees.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST), beginning with a half-hour arrivals segment, “The Road to the Oscars®.”


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

GLOBES ALL OVER THE MAP

If you did not attend the Golden Globe awards, or watch it on television last night (January 15th), you missed one of the best award shows since the Academy Awards® last year. Beautiful people everywhere, including Lorraine Nicholson, 16, daughter of actor Jack Nicholson with Rebecca Broussard. Miss Nicholson is Miss Golden Globe this year and assisted in the ceremony.

The awards were scattered among various films and television shows. Only one person emerged as a true winner, actress Helen Mirren. She won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama - for THE QUEEN, as Elizabeth II. She also won and Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television - for her role as Elizabeth I in the series Elizabeth I. The series also won the "best" Globe for a mini-series.

BABEL won Best Motion Picture - Drama. As I expected, DREAMGIRLS won Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, plus two others. Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson won for Best Supporting Actor/Actress in a Motion Picture. Therefore, with three awards, DREAMBIRLS won the most for the night.

The Globes made history last night in regards to the awards in particular and Hollywood in general. As for the awards, this year marked the first time the Globes had a Best Animated Motion Picture category. CARS, HAPPY FEET and MONSTER HOUSE were nominated. CARS won. HAPPY FEET'S song, "The Song of the Heart" by Prince, won the Best Song.

The Globes made history last night for the Hollywood film industry in general by nominating two movies made in the U.S. in the Best Foreign Language category: Mel Gibson's APOCALYTO and Clint Eastwood's LETTERS FRM IWO JIMA, which won, from the Hollywood Foreign Press at that. A total history-making event. Will the Academy Awards nominate likewise?

Hopefully, the win by Martin Scorsese as Best Director - Motion Picture - for THE DEPARTED will hold true for the Academy Awards. Some have felt that he has been deprived of the golden statuette because he made THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, a movie the Christian Fundamental Evangelicals railed, still rail against, and one that was mainly misunderstood. Listen up, you'll. Forgiveness, already.

You can see the full list of winners and make your own analysis at the Golden Globes Official Web Site. Also, you might like to check my Film Awards Page, updated today. See link on right sidebar.

Now, I have some awards I wish to make:

1. Best Acceptance Speech - Meryl Streep, accepting Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - for THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. The runner up is Warren Beatty, accepting the honorary Cecil B. De Mille Lifetime Achievement Award.

2. Best Presentation - Tom Hanks, presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement to Warren Beatty. However, Hanks went a bit over the top when honoring him for having balls, which Hanks defined as artistic determination and talents.

3. Most Crude and Vulgar Acceptance - Sacha Baron Cohen, accepting the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. If he receives a nomination by AMPAS, I hope he is not allowed to repeat this performance. It was embarrassing and disgusting.

4. Most Disappointing - Apparently, neither Dame Judi Dench or Peter O'Toole attended.


Since the nomination ballots for the Academy Awards were already at PWC by last night, these awards will have no impact upon the Oscar® nominations. However, there is no doubt that many Academy members may take them into account when they vote for the final winners.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST, beginning with a half-hour arrivals segment.





Friday, January 12, 2007

OSCAR® BALLOTS DUE

AMPAS® members must return their completed Oscar nomination ballots by 5:00 PM tomorrow (Saturday, January 13) to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), which means Academy members must make their nomination choices before the Golden Globe winners are known. The Golden Globes will be give out January 15. See previous post about Golden Globes.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards® will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

For more, click the links on the right sidebar for Mimi's Film Awards Page, AMPAS, and IMDB's Road To the Oscars.

DOWNLOAD GOLDEN GLOBES BALLOT

The Foreign Press Association will award its 64th annual Golden Globes for film and television Monday night (15th), broadcast live (NBC) beginning at 8:00 p.m., EST. See the nominee list on the official Web site and download a ballot (.pdf) at the IMDB's Road to the Oscars. You can make your choices and mark the results.

For more click the link on the right sidebar for Mimi's Film Awards Page.