Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snubs at 80th Academy Awards®

There was one glaring omission during the 80th Academy Awards® presentation show Sunday night. Whoopi Goldberg was not included in the montage of former hosts of the Academy Awards.

The Oscar®-winning actress (GHOST, 1990) hosted the Awards in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002. Plus, she has two nominations, including one for THE COLOR PURPLE.

She was consoled yesterday by her The View television co-hosts, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Sherri Shepherd. Will AMPAS® offer an explanation?

The Academy did not give an explanation for the omission of actor Brad Renfro (THE CLIENT) in the Academy Awards tribute to 43 Hollywood figures who died this past year. Renfro died in January of a morphine overdose, but they did include Heath Ledger, who died from an overdose of prescription drugs one week later.

Speculation is rife that Renfro was omitted because his drug of choice was morphine, or because he was not considered as big a star as Ledger. Leslie Unger, Academy spokeswoman, offered only that they could not include everyone.

Oscar-nominated Roy Scheider (JAWS) was not included, but it was explained that Scheider's death, on 10 February, fell outside the time frame of the tribute video, which covered 1 February 2007 to 31 January 2008. No mention was made as to whether or not Scheider would be included next year.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

And the Oscar® goes to . . . . .

80th Academy Awards®
24 February 2008
Winners

Full list of all 80th Academy Award winners and nominees. There is a link on the right sidebar, too - - 80th Winners & Nominees.

In the previous post, I gave my picks for the major awards. My hypothesis was that the data collected through my Awards and Film Festival Pages, showing the most wins in a particular nominated category, would correlate to support an Oscar win in that category. I went with the data I had collected, and these were my conclusions, not including some of the tech stuff and short films (three I missed marked in red):

NOTE: I really didn't have enough data for the score and song, so to be fair, these first two were really my choices.
Best original score: Dario Marianelli, ATONEMENT, because I REALLY like the last name!
Best song: "Falling Slowly," ONCE, written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova .

Best cinematography: THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
Best supporting actress: Amy Ryan for GONE BABY GONE. MISSED
Best supporting actor: Javier Bardem for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Best actress: Julie Christie for AWAY FROM HER. MISSED
Best actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
Best animated feature: RATAEOUILLE, paws down.
Best documentary: SICKO, Michael Moore. MISSED
Best foreign-language feature: THE COUNTERFEITERS, Austria.
Best original screenplay: JUNO, by Diablo Cody.
Best adapted screenplay: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, by Ethan & Joel Coen.
Best director(s): Ethan and Joel Coen, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Best motion picture feature (best picture) - NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

I gave a rationale for the picks in the previous post. Now I shall give the rationale for the three I missed. They were and they went to:

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard for LA VIE EN ROSE.
Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton for MICHAEL CLAYTON.
Best Documentary: TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE.

In the best supporting actress category, Ruby Dee was nominated for AMERICAN GANGSTER, Tilda Swinton for MICHAEL CLAYTON, and Amy Ryan for GONE BABY GONE. SAG nominated all of them in this category along with Cate Blanchett, I'M NOT THERE, and Catherine Keener, INTO THE WILD. Neither of these last two ladies had shown any legs in other awards.

SAG gave the award to Dee. Because all the data was stronger for Amy Ryan, I went with Ryan, figuring the SAG award for Dee was a sentimental one. I never gave Swinton a thought because her award tally was almost nothing. Apparently, the actual vote was really split in this category. Anyway, my data showed Ryan, so I went with her, and she did not win.

Both Julie Christi and Marion Cotillard were nominated by SAG in the best actress category. SAG gave the award to Christi, and the other data for Cotillard was weak as it was for Swinton, so I went with Christi. Again, with the rules.

Members of the Academy have told me that when they face that final ballot, they often vote their "gut," and the odd thing was that my "gut" was telling me to go ahead and vote for Marion Cotillard, but I stayed true to my experiment.

The documentary category is like the music categories, there isn't that much data out there to make a strong case for any particular film. SICKO had the most votes according to the data available to me.

However, the experiment basically worked. It worked perfectly in the other categories. This year, at least.

Mimi's Oscar® Picks for 80th Awards

Host Jon Stewart opening television gala in 2006, and he returns tonight.


Trying to choose the winners of the Academy Award® Oscar® is no picnic. Never has been, but every year I try, and every year I miss some.

All year long, I track the winners of film festivals and the various awards. Not all. That's impossible. I try to track the ones I think might influence voters of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS®).

The cold facts are these: AMPAS is composed of voting members that come from the guilds, i.e. unions, who work in the movie industry. The largest voting block is the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), followed in a random order by the Writers Guild (WGA), Directors Guild (DGA), and Producers Guild (PGA), etc.


Then there are the so-called "technical guilds," e.g., cinematographers, film editors, sound mixers, lighting designers, etc., and all of these have a cadre of technicians. Next come the "artistic guilds," and they are the folks who design, decorate, and execute sets, costumes, hair, makeup, etc. Plus, there is a plethora animators, running the gamut of everything necessary from enhancing major motion pictures to bringing those cute little critters who populate animated movies to life.

Of course, these members are subject to influence by their guilds and others such as film critics and film festival juries, but it basically comes down to how the AMPAS members vote when faced with that annual final ballot.
However, I am going with the data I have collected, and these are my conclusions (not including some of the tech stuff and short films):

Best original score: Dario Marianelli, ATONEMENT, because I REALLY like the last name!
Best song: "Falling Slowly," ONCE, written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova .
Best cinematography: THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
Best supporting actress: Amy Ryan for GONE BABY GONE. *
Best supporting actor: Javier Bardem for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Best actress: Julie Christie for AWAY FROM HER.
Best actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
Best animated feature: RATAEOUILLE, paws down.
Best documentary: SICKO, Michael Moore. * *
Best foreign-language feature: THE COUNTERFEITERS, Austria. * * *
Best original screenplay: JUNO, by Diablo Cody.
Best adapted screenplay: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, by Ethan & Joel Coen.
Best director(s): Ethan & Joel Coen, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Best motion picture feature (best picture) - NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

My rationale? NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN has won more major guild and critical awards than any other nominee, including the DGA, PGA, SAG, and WGA. I think it is finally the year the Coen brothers reap their rewards. However, one interesting note, JUNO has garnered more box office than any of the other "best picture" nominees, and has been dubbed, "The little movie that could".
__________________
* - - NOTE - Ruby Dee (MICHAEL CLAYTON) has won only one major award in the best supporting actress category, but it is the SAG award, and she is a sentimental favorite of AMPAS (as was her late husband Ossie Davis). However, the actress who has won most awards in this category, including influential critics awards such as the National Board of Review, plus the BFCA, L.A., N.Y., S.F., and Boston critics' awards is Ryan. Therefore, I'm going with Ryan with a possible Dee.

* * - - NOTE - The best documentary feature category is a tough one, but I'm going with Michael Moore's SICKO, because it has won more awards in this category, with NO END IN SIGHT running strong. Then, there is TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE that got out of the gate late. Who knows? Only the envelope does.

* * * - - NOTE - This year, the BFLF category is a disaster. Many respected critics agree. Unfortunately, AMPAS made it so. AMPAS either fixes the mechanism by which foreign movies are selected before the awards next year, or the category will become a mockery. See my previous blog post for much more on this year's BFLF nominees.

Download and print an Oscar ballot from IMDb's "Road to the Oscars".

LINKS RELEVANT: Mimi's Movie Awards Page / Mimi's Film Festival Page07 / Mimi's Foreign Movie Page (also on right sidebar).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Disappointing Foreign Film Oscar®


This is the first year since the best foreign-language film category (BFLF) was established for the 29th Academy Awards® in 1956, that this category thoroughly disappoints me. It is disappointing because the foreign movies that have been judged best by film festivals and other legitimate awarding organizations were shut out of the competition by self-appointed committees, and stifling rules.

It is also disappointing because the Academy seems to have forgotten why the category was begun in the first place, loading the qualification rules with insufferable specifications, and providing ways to cut some submitted films off by their knees. When it first began, the films were to be in the native language of the submitting country, and be of exceptional acting and cinematic quality for a an outside-of-Hollywood movie. The goal being to find such films and filmmakers, and help provide their distribution so that they might obtain a wider audience through an Oscar nomination and /or win.

One of the most awarded foreign movies of 2007 is the Romanian movie, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (4 runi, 3 saptamini SI si 2 zile), directed by Cristian Mungiu. It won the Golden Palm as Best Film at Cannes, the Best European Feature in the European Awards, plus many other awards. Naturally, Romania submitted it for the BFLF Oscar®, only to see it fail to meet the first cut by the first selection committee. The L. A. Weekly, and others, called it, ". . . the best foreign film of the year."

So, were the committees appointed to screen the 63 submitted movies and cut the list from which the nominees would be chosen down to only nine, totally unaware of the awards the Romanian movie had won, or was it because the movie is about abortion?

Then, there was the denial of Taiwanese director Ang Lee's LUST, CAUTION. The Academy ruled that not enough of the actors and production staff were actually from Taiwan. Or, was it because some were afraid adults might learn about the Karma Sutra?

Another controversial absence involved the disqualification of Israel's THE BAND'S VISIT, because more than 50 percent of the dialogue between an Egyptian band and Israeli villagers is in English, albeit mostly broken English. Again, it comes down to an archaic insistence on language as the ground rule in the 21st Century where filmmakers are making multi-lingual movies through multi-country co-productions.

Language caused the French Academy to misstep by submitting the animated feature PERSEPOLIS in the BFLF category, which did not even make the short-list but did get a nod in animation. The movie is entirely in French, but is based on a graphic novel by an Iranian, Marjane Satrapi, the co-writer and co-director is the same Iranian, and the subject is a coming-of-age of a young Iranian girl in Iran during the Iranian Islamic revolution. "Persepolis" is a Greek word meaning, The City of Persians for the city, Persian name Parsa, in ancient Iran. The ruins of Parsa are still in Iran. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By submitting PERSEPOLIS for the BFLF Oscar, the French shut out one of two wonderful French movies, either THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, or La Môme (U.S. title = LA VIE EN ROSE), either of which could have won in the original system, but no one knows what would have happened under the current one.

Actress Marion Cotillard, who portrays the late, great French singer Edith Piaf in the latter, is nominated for best actress. Artist, and DIVING BELL director, Julian Schnabel received a best director nod.

The committee did provide a movie that contains two favored themes for the BFLF voters, World War Two and the Holocaust. THE COUNTERFEITERS is from Austria. Perfect.

From Israel comes BEAUFORT, a story of defeat. In 2001, the last Israeli soldiers must retreat from a famous fort captured by Israel in 1982. While abandoning the fort, the soldiers confront the futility of the mission to capture it in the first place. This in place of the delightful, THE BAND'S VISIT? An abomination.

From Poland comes the best known director in the competition, Andrzej Wajda, whose KATYN tells the true story of 15,000 Poles massacred by Soviet secret police in 1940, one of which was his own father. Wajda holds an honorary Oscar (2000) and many other awards. If this one had no made the list, I would have regurgitated.

Kazakhstan received its first Oscar nomination for MONGOL, in which Russian director Sergei Bodrov chronicles the early life and love of the warrior Genghis Kahn on the Mongolian steppe. Where is Kazakhstan? Does anyone really care? It must be right behind Siberia in my list of never-go-there places.

Another Russian director, Nikita Mikhalkov, whose 1994 picture BURNT BY THE SUN won the best foreign film Oscar for Russia, has made what is described as a "loose remake" of Sidney Lumet's classic court drama 12 ANGRY MEN (1957), which Mikhalkov calls, 12. Will this remake of the Hollywood classic put it in good standing for the Oscar? Is it a "remake" or plagiarism?

Variety film critic Robert Koehler is quoted as saying, "There is a consensus that this is an embarrassing selection and it exposed the category as by far the most problematic one the Academy has."

Bien dit! ¡Bien dicho! Bene disse! Gut sagte! Well said! Is that too much English?

Oh, in case you are wondering, that first BFLF Oscar went to LA STRADA (Italy, 1956), directed by Federico Fellini, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti, starring Fellini's wife, Giulietta Masina, and Anthony Quinn. Now, if any committee member does not know who these people were, they should never be on another BFLF committee! I would be happy to prepare a test to make sure the prospective committee members are thoroughly qualified in foreign film.

Reference my Foreign Movies Page.

Friday, February 22, 2008

J-Marc Twins Arrive!


Lopez and Anthony in November, and Lopez in mid-February


It's true. Early this morning, Singer / actress Jennifer Lopez gave birth to twins, a 5-pound, 7-ounce girl arriving first, followed by a 6-pound boy, in an unannounced location on New York's Long Island. The "J-Marc" pregnancy was one of he most closely watched this decade. These are her first children, his third and fourth.

Lopez, 39, a.k.a., J.Lo. and singer / actor Marc Anthony, 38, married in 2004, becoming known together as J-Marc, as in the previous "Benifer" for the Lopez / Affleck marriage. As early as last August, there was much media speculation about a pregnancy. Last November, The J-Marc couple ended the speculation and confirmed in Miami that they were, indeed, infanticipating. They made the announcement the night their concert tour wrapped.

Earlier this month, her father David Lopez told Telefutura's "Escandalo TV" that the couple were expecting twins. At that time, it also became apparent that J.Lo's due date was rapidly approaching, and the frenzied media watch resumed.

I can't tell you how relieved and happy I am about all this. I've been on pens and needles for months. Yeah. Sure.

Now, on to more important things, like posting about the Academy Awards® to be broadcast Sunday night! Hasta lavista!

UPDATE = The first day of March: They named the twins Emme and Max.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oscar® Red Carpet Ready to Roll


Academy members have cast their votes. The polls closed yesterday at 5 p.m. PT. By tomorrow, they will all be counted and some trusted secretary (administrative assistant) will begin typing away on the envelopes and the cards that will be inserted within them. Lucky person now, because most of the work is already done by computer and it is mainly "type winning name in the proper place on the data page that will be merged with the template."

The Oscar® red carpet will be in place Saturday, 23 February, when 50 students from Inner-City Filmmakers (ICF), a training and film industry job development program, will carry the Oscar statuettes for the 80th Academy Awards® down the red carpet and into the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® this Saturday at 10 a.m.

The statuettes, which have been on display at the “Meet the Oscars” exhibition since 1 February, will be transported to the red carpet, along Hollywood Boulevard, where they will be placed in the hands of the ICF students, and they will then carry them down the red carpet into the Kodak Theatre. Once inside, the Oscar statuettes will be kept backstage, under close watch, until they are presented to the winners during the 80th Academy Awards ceremony the next day.

Academy Award nominees, presenters and performers will be greeted on Oscar’s red carpet on Sunday by film historian, television host, and Hollywood Reporter columnist Robert Osborne. This will mark his third time as official greeter. Red carpet guest arrivals are expected to begin at approximately 3 p.m. PT. Therefore, on the East coast the red carpet show will begin at 6 p.m. ET, followed by "The Barbara Walters Special" at 7. The Oscar® telecast will begin at 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET. Barbara Walters will be seen after the Oscar broadcast, Central and Pacific Times.

The guy who thinks of himself as "the king," Regis Philbin, will host the official 30-minute red carpet arrivals show preceding the 80th Academy Awards® presentation gala. This will be Philbin’s first time hosting the show that airs on ABC, immediately prior to the Academy Awards presentation.

This hosting assignment marks a return to the Oscar® red carpet for Regis, who was a pioneer interviewer of arriving stars beginning in the 1970s. Regis will be joined by first-time co-hosts Samantha Harris and Shaun Robinson. Who?

Samantha Harris is best known for her daily reporting for E! Entertainment Television’s “E! News” and co-hosting duties on “Dancing with the Stars.” A two-time Emmy nominee, she also serves as a special correspondent for “Good Morning America” and as an occasional guest co-host on “The View.” Prior to joining E!, Harris served as the weekend co-host for the nationally syndicated entertainment news magazine “Extra.”

Shaun Robinson is the weekend co-host and correspondent for the syndicated entertainment news show “Access Hollywood.” She is an Emmy® Award-winning journalist who has served as a guest co-host on “The View” and contributed reports for “The Today Show,” MSNBC, CNN and “NBC Nightly News.” Prior to joining the world of entertainment, Robinson was an anchor and reporter for WSVN-TV in Miami, Florida.

Now you know. Enjoy the red carpet show, or ship it. As for me, I shall save my "couch time" for the presentation show, and perhaps the "The Barbara Walters Special," as mentioned above, also on ABC, before or after the presentation show, depending upon where you live. Check your local station for all the times.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oscar® Show Participants Announced


The 80th Academy Awards® telecast is definitely a "go" for Sunday, 24 February, with the customary glitz and glam. Everyone at the Academy continued to prepare, knowing that everything had to be ready today, Valentine's Day, if the curtain was to go up as scheduled. Hats-off to them all, because today they were ready to officially "greenlight" the Oscar® Gala.

Producer Gil Cates and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis announced the presenters and performers who will participate in the Oscar telecast at a press conference held at the Academy’s headquarters.

Cates and Ganis announced the presenters scheduled to date, including all four of last year’s winners in the acting categories, Alan Arkin, Jennifer Hudson, Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker, as well as: Amy Adams, Jessica Alba, Cate Blanchett, Josh Brolin, Steve Carell, George Clooney, Penelope Cruz, Miley Cyrus, Patrick Dempsey, Cameron Diaz, Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Garner, Tom Hanks, Anne Hathaway, Katherine Heigl, Jonah Hill, Dwayne Johnson, Nicole Kidman, James McAvoy, Queen Latifah, Seth Rogen, Martin Scorsese, Hilary Swank, John Travolta, Denzel Washington and Renee Zellweger.

They also announced the performers of the nominated songs, three of them from ENCHANTED, and all of them with music by Alan Menken and lyric by Stephen Schwartz. The three songs are: "Happy Working Song," sung by Amy Adams; “That’s How You Know,” sung by Kristin Chenoweth and Marlon Saunders; and “So Close,” to be performed by Jon McLaughlin.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova will perform their nominated song, “Falling Slowly,” from the motion picture ONCE. From AUGUST RUSH, Jamia Simone Nash will sing "Raise it Up" with the IMPACT Repertory Theatre of Harlem, headed by Jamal Joseph, who shares the song’s music and lyric credit with Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas.

Second-time Oscar show host Jon Stewart is bringing several writers to work on the telecast. Also, scheduled to return to the Oscar telecast team will be writers Hal Kanter, Buz Kohan, Jon Macks and Bruce Vilanch.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2007 will be presented at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WGA Strike Settled!


INT. NIGHT.

A montage of various adults sitting at computers and typing furiously to a close up on one computer screen that reads, "WGA STRIKE OVER!" Freeze frame.

FADE OUT:


THE END

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Year of the Oscar® Rat?


In this Year of the Rat in Chinese astrology, it is may be only fitting that the Academy Awards honor Remy, the young rodent chef wannabe. The Academy members may, or may not, but the Annie Award, which is almost as important to animators as the golden statuette, did.

Pixar Animation Studios' RATATOUILLE dominated the 35th annual Annie Awards Thursday night. The International Animated Film Society (ASIFA, Hollywood) honors the best in animated features.

The Chinese consider the Year of the Rat lucky, and the Chinese lunar year 4705 (06) began 7 February, the day before the Annie Awards. The determined charismatic rodent not only took the top prize for the best animated feature movie, but the top directing and screenwriting awards for Brad Bird as well, a total of nine overall, which included character animation, character design, music, production design, storyboarding and voice acting.

RATATOUILLE is nominated for an Oscar in the best animated feature category along with PERSEPOLIS and SURF'S UP. The latter received Annies for animated effects and animated production artist, but the other ASIFA nominees, PERSEPOLIS and THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, came up empty handed.

The Annie Award has become one of those "predictors" for winning an Academy Award® in the best animated feature category. However, last year ASIFA gave CARS the Annie, and the dancing penguins won (HAPPY FEET). Win some. Lose some.

PERSEPOLIS was submitted by France to compete in the Best Foreign Language Film (BFLF) Oscar category instead of submitting THE DIVING BELL and the BUTTERFLY. The irony? PERSEPOLIS missed the Oscar BFLF nod, but is nominated in the best animated feature category.

Well, what about people born in the Year of the Rat? They are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex. They work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions and are likely to be perfectionists. They are basically thrifty with money. Rat people are easily angered and love to gossip. Their ambitions are big, and they are usually very successful.

Are you a "rat person?" You are if you was born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, or 1996. If so, this could be your lucky year, too. Uh, oh. Time to stir the Sauce Béarnaise. See my Chinese New Year Page.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

WGA Agreement and Awards


The Writers Guild Boards, East and West, today tentatively approved the agreement discussed in the previous post. It is still a nail biter, because the cut-off date to proceed with the full Oscar® telecast, which will include the presence of the host (Jon Stewart), celebrity presenters and recipients, etc., is this Thursday, Valentine's Day.

As of the moment of this post, according to a recent "breaking news" notification, membership meetings will be held Tuesday to allow writers to decide whether the three-month strike should be brought to an immediate end. This according to Patric Verrone, president of the guild's West Coast branch.

The Guild also announced their annual screenwriting awards. Diablo Cody won for her original feature script, JUNO. The adapted script award went to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, written by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, which is based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Both are Oscar-nominated for best motion picture.

The best documentary award went to Alex Gibney for TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, which looks at U.S. torture practices in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is nominated in the best oscar documentary category.

In TV, HBO's "The Wire" won for the best writing of a TV drama, and NBC's "30 Rock" won for comedy.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Writers' Strike May End Monday


The New York Times is reporting this morning that the governing boards of the two writers’ guilds (WGA, West and WGA, East) are expected to meet as early as tomorrow, and the long and bitter strike could be over by Monday morning. They released a written agreement between the WGA and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) negotiating committees upon which the WGA membership at large will vote. Read the proposed agreement here (pdf.)

After a self-imposed news blackout, the Guild let it be known yesterday (Friday) that the east and west divisions were in talks with AMPTP and, if they agreed, Guild members might be able to vote as early as Sunday (tomorrow), or Monday, to end the strike.

Earlier his month, the Directors Guild of American (DGA) reached a hand-shake agreement with AMPTP. Their members are scheduled to vote on ratifying that agreement 20 February. The question is: Will DGA ratify that agreement, or will they now consider the terms of the WGA - AMPTP agreement and vote to reject? If they do the latter, negotiations must start over.

Next up to negotiate with AMPTP? The Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Their agreement with AMPTP expires in June. SAG has steadfastly supported the WGA, most notably declining to participate in the 80th Academy Awards® broadcast.

That brings us to the next question. If the WGA ends the strike on Monday or so, how will that affect the Oscars®? The way I understand the communications I receive from the Academy, the cut-off date to proceed with the full Oscar telecast as usual, which will include the presence of the host (Jon Stewart), presenters, recipients, etc., or the glam and bling, is this Thursday, Valentine's Day. That's the date the service people (caterers, florists, waiters, etc.), and the craft guilds (carpenters, painters, lighting technicians, camera operators, stage hands, costumers, etc.) have set as the absolute date they must be authorized to deliver what the Academy will require on the 24th. In other words, AMPAS fully commits on the 14th to pay for the ordered services, and the support services will have the needed time to deliver same.

So, the final answer is, "The 80th Academy Awards can only be 'fully greenlighted,' if the strike is officially over by this Thursday (14th)." Otherwise, there will be that "other show," on the 24th, which Gil Cates does not want to produce, and most will not want to watch.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Santa Barbara IFF Wraps


Wow! What a festival! Couldn't make it to Santa Barbara, CA, for the annual film festival? Get a capsule read on my Film Festival Page 2008, plus great links to explore more.

Find out why these stars attended: Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, and John Travolta, plus learn about some winning films: AMAL, AQUARIUM, BEAUTIFUL BITH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, and SAVING LUNA. Click permanent link on the right sidebar of this blog. What are you waiting for?

ORPHANAGE (El orfanato) Leads Goya Wins


The Academy of Cinematic Arts and Sciences of Spain handed out its Goya Awards (considered equivalent to the U.S. Academy Awards®) last night in Madrid, and there were a few surprises. THE OPHANAGE, Spain's submission for an Oscar nomination in the BFLF category but didn't make the cut, received the most Goya Awards (Premios Goya), named for the famous Spanish painter. However, the biggest surprise of the evening was that SOLITARY (La soledad) won all three categories for which it was nominated, including the two big ones: Best Motion Picture and Best Director (Jaime Rosales). The other was for Most Promising New Actor, José Luis Torrijo. SOLITARY came in under the radar, so to speak.

For the most nominees and winners, the scores break down this way: THE ORPHANAGE = 14 / 7; 13 ROSES = 15 / 4; SEVEN FRENCH POOL TABLES = 10 / 2; AND SOLITARY = 3 / 3. Carlos Saura's feature documentary FADOS = 2 / 1. Juan Antonio Bayona (THE ORPHANAGE), not nominated for Best Director, won for Best Director of a Movie Based on a Novel.

Other than Bayona's award, and the Best Original Screenplay for Sergio García Sánchez, THE ORPHANAGE'S other awards were for craft (makeup and hair, art direction, and production direction) and technical awards (sound, and special effects). Surprisingly, the best and supporting actress awards did not go to THE ORPHANAGE'S Belén Rueda and Geraldine Chaplin, but to Maribel Verdú and Amparo Baró, both for their performances in SEVEN FRENCH POOL TABLES (Siete mesas de billar francés), directed by Gracia Querejeta, the daughter of prominent producer Elías Querejeta.

The movie that received the most Goya nominations, 13 ROSES, won only 4: Best Supporting Actor, José Manuel Cervino; Best Original Score, Roque Baños; Best Cinematography, José Luis Alcaine; and Best Costume, Lena Mossum. Even more disappointing was that Iciar Bollaín's MATAHARIS - - no English title but translates to Female Private Detectives - - nominated for 6 Goyas, received none, nada.

Two other movies won two each, UNDER THE STARS (Bajo las estrellas) and REC. STARS garnered Best Actor for Alberto San Juan, and Best Original Screenplay for Félix Viscarret. REC's wins were for Most Promising New Actress (Manuela Velasco) and Best Sound (David Gallart). Carlos Saura's FADOS, nominated for two won only one, Best Original Song, "Fado da saudade".

The HONORARY GOYA was presented to actor Alfredo Landa. Javier Bardém produced the Best Feature Documentary, INVISIBLES. Yes, that's the same Bardém nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

See all the nominees and winners, plus links and much more info, on my Awards Page, permanent link on right sidebar, but go directly to my translated Goya Awards' list here.