Though I could gripe immediately with a bunch of the nominations given, I’m going to give the first part only of this over to the minor grips I have with the BAFTA nominations, announced this morning (and here in full via Empire Magazine).
The leading nominees, each with eight, are Avatar, The Hurt Locker and An Education. The overrating of An Education, at the expense of better British films like In the Loop and Fish Tank, is a little irritating, but the acting is so strong in the film that it seems to have elevated everything around it, including the nominated script by Nick Hornby and the nominated directing by Lone Scherfig. Avatar’s eight is mostly taken up with technical nods, which is entirely fair, but its picture nod, over Inglourious Basterds and Up, is predictable but wrong. Obviously, for those who read or listen to anything I say or write, know that I wholly agree with all The Hurt Locker nods, with my only desire to see much more attention given to Anthony Mackie in the supporting categories.
As with the Golden Globes, I can’t possibly pass this opportunity up to criticise the nomination of The Hangover for script, specifically given it is just a slightly adjusted take on Dude, Where’s My Car?. On personal taste, I probably wouldn’t have sought to reward the script for An Education, but kudos for adding District 9 which, despite a host of action movie tropes peppered throughout, is a much smarter film that the credit given would suggest.
The acting sections are all pretty good. That said, I wouldn’t have given Alec Baldwin a nod for It’s Complicated due to Anthony Mackie’s great performance in The Hurt Locker, but Baldwin is good so not too much annoyance there. Also very good indeed to see Christian McKay nominated for his amazing performance in Me and Orson Welles. Also great nod for Anne-Marie Duff for supporting actress in Nowhere Boy. This seems like the only place where Mo’Nique just might not win for Precious, so Duff and the others could nick it.
It’s a decent enough selection from BAFTA. They are slightly over-praising, as most have, An Education and, as most haven’t, Coco Before Chanel. The nomination of Audrey Tautou over the incredible debut by Katie Jarvis is jarring, but sometimes you have to give concession to BAFTA’s predeliction for costume drama, no matter the costume. But nothing but praise should be given to the nods for The Hurt Locker and District 9, though you might wish that some of the better British films, notably Moon and In the Loop, were given a little more attention outside of nods in those Brit-focused categories.
You can listen to us discussing these films at length on the podcast on the show, but please do check out the list below for perpetuity. Sam’s list is annotated and included below, Tom’s is not annotated and its right here. This just means you will have to check out the podcast to hear Tom’s viewpoints. So check out Sam’s choices after the jump, along with a few choice thoughts and honourable mentions. Enjoy!
Remember to get tickets to see Jon Cooper’s show for Ignition at the Tristan Bates Theatre. You can check out the details for his two performances here and here. Also, please check out Jon’s blog, alternately known at Silent Working and Dirty Feed, and go back and listen to Silence in C Minor, the radio show produced by our very own Producer John and written by the Cooper.
- The other song from Rocky I was trying to think of was ‘Heart’s on Fire’ by John Cafferty. Listen to it here.
- To back Jon’s assertion, here’s the Rickrolling figures.
- Fisher Stevens was not in Wing Commander. But he was in Hackers. I think this makes Tommy right.
- Trailer for The Killing Room.
- Trailer for Fish Tank and my review on SoundScreen.
- The Vin Diesel Random Fact Generator.
- A turtle having an orgasm.
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As we are of the British persuasion, we often feel an obligation to promote really great British movies. Fish Tank, the second film from the immensely talented Andrea Arnold, is out on Friday and we urge you to see it ASAP. The film is quite superb and contains an amazing performance from Katie Jarvis, in her film film.
Michael Haneke has won the Palme d’Or for his acclaimed The White Ribbon (review by Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian). The film, described by IFC’s The Daily as “a two-and-a-half hour parable of political and social ideas set entirely in a north German village in 1913 and 1914”, marks the first Palme d’Or win for Haneke following a number of other awards successes for the German provocateur at the festival. He has in the past won prizes for Hidden, The Piano Teacher and Code Unknown, but this is his first win of the top prize.
Alain Resnais, an outside member of the Nouvelle Vague and creator of the time-warping masterpieces Last Year in Marienbad and Hiroshima, Mon Amour, was given the Special Jury Prize in honour of his Wild Grass (review by Daniel Kasman at The Auteur’s Notebook). The Grand Prix was given to Jacques Audiard’s The Prophet (review by Anthony Kaufman at indieWIRE). The director prize went to Brillante Mendoza for his violent drama Kinatay, already torn a new one by Roger Ebert. The eminent Chicago Sun-Times voice essentially opens his review with an apology to Vincent Gallo over his past assertion that The Brown Bunny was the worst film in the history of the festival.
Ebert goes on to say:
“After extensive recutting, the Gallo film was redeemed. I don’t think editing is going to do the trick for “Kinatay.” If Mendoza wants to please any viewer except for the most tortured theorist (one of those careerists who thinks movies are about arcane academic debates and not people) he’s going to have to remake his entire second half.”
Onwards with Cannes however, The Prix de Scenario for Best Screenplay was given to Feng Mei for the Lou Ye-directed Spring Fever (review by Sukhdev Sandhu at The Telegraph). That has itself been surrounded by controversy over the decision by Ye to screen the film in Cannes without the approval of the Chinese government.
The Camera d’Or for Best First Feature was given to Australian Warwick Thornton for Samson and Delilah (interview here and review, by The Telegraph’s Sandu, which indicates the love to have come for this film), his indigenous realist drama.
Very nicely, the Prix du Jury was given to Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (review by The Guardian’s Bradshaw) and Park Chan-wook’s horror film Thirst (review by Twitch’s Todd Brown). Arnold, whose outstanding Red Road won the Jury Prize in 2006, had been tipped for a possible Palme d’Or this time round but will instead have to settle for outstanding reviews yet again.
The acting honours provide the most curious choices. Tarantino’s lukewarmly received Inglourious Basterds (review by Spout’s Karina Longworth) saw Christoph Waltz take home the Best Actor Prize while Charlotte Gainsbourg won Best Actress for her performance in Lars von Trier’s hugely controversial Antichrist.
Probably the most notably absentees from the possible prize winners are Jane Campion’s Bright Star, her story of the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawn, and Ken Loach’s fondly-tipped Looking for Eric. Bright Star was another beloved by critics in the UK while Looking for Eric didn’t quite live up to all expectations but was mostly liked too. Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void, his follow-up to the equally loathed and admired Irreversible, seemed to spark little in the way of notice for those attending the festival, but did at least bring some searching analysis from those who did take notice.
The line-up for the Edinburgh International Film Festival has been announced with a few reasonably big hitters to join in the fun, including Steven Soderbergh and the world premiere of Shane Meadows’ new film, Le Donk.
The latter, which stars Paddy Considine, with whom Meadows worked on Dead Man’s Shoes, is being heavily anticipated given the reuniting of the two and the brilliance of Meadows’ last two films, This is England and Somers Town.
Mendes’ film comes from a script by Dave Eggers and The Believer-founder Vendela Vida and follows the travails of newly-pregnant couple John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph.
The festival is to be closed by Adam, a romantic drama from Max Meyer following the burgeoning relationship between a man with asberger’s syndrome and a young lady, the latter played by Damages’ Rose Byrne.
The announcements also notes some interesting in-depth interviews to take place, including ones with Darren Aronofsky, Joe Dante and Local Hero-director Bill Forsyth.
ContentFilm has struck a deal for the distribution rights to Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, the follow-up to her brilliant Red Road debut, for the French market ahead of its in-competition bow at the Cannes Film Festival.
Paolo Sorrentino is to head the 2009 Un Certain Regard jury at Cannes, the out-of-competition prize at the Festival. His Il Divo won the prize in 2008. Incidentally, Isabel Huppert is heading the main jury alongside James Gray, Asia Argento, Robin Wright Penn and Hindi film star Sharmilla Tagore.
NBC has unveiled its pick-ups for the new season, including six new projects along with (surely) a surprise re-up for Heroes and an encouraging one for Office spin-off Parks & Recreation.
A Rand Corp report, published by the MPA, has found “substantial evidence” that D-Company, the organised crime syndicate-turned-terrorist group, has received funding from film piracy.
The line-up for the Cannes Film Festival has been announced with a number of interesting projects set to bow in and out of competiton.
As all will already know, Pixar’s Up is opening the festival, the first animated and first 3D film to do so. The other most notable entry is The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, the Terry Gilliam-directed movie already set in infamy for being what Heath Ledger was working on when he died.
In competition, Quentin Tarantino comes with Inglourious Basterds, unlikely to repeat the Palme D’or-winning success of Pulp Fiction, while other past winners include The Piano’s Jane Campion with Bright Star and Ken Loach with his Looking for Eric. Loach won a couple of year’s ago for the excellent The Wind that Shakes the Barley and is presently among the favourites to take the top prize this year.
Also involved in competition is Michael Haneke with The White Ribbon, Irreversible’s Gaspar Noe with Enter the Void, Lars von Trier with his creepy-looking Antichrist, Johnnie To with Vengeance, Ang Lee with Taking Woodstock, Red Road’s Andrea Arnold with Fish Tank and Pedro Almodovar with Broken Embraces.
Also notable is the midnight screening of Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell and the return of Alejandro Amenabar with the phenomenal-looking Agora.
Could be a mighty interesting competition this year, especially given the tendency in the past few years for the festival to pick out surprise winners so it’s quite possible that all the films above won’t be in with a shout when it comes down to it.