Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for District 9
Nick Hornby for An Education
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Ianucci and Tony Roche for In the Loop
Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air
There was at least a degree of surprise at the BAFTAs this year that it wasn’t one of the English nominees that took home this prize. After all, An Education managed to garner eight nominations overall and ended up walking home with little in return from the one place it would have felt most favoured. I’ve never been a big supporter of that film – it’s beautifully acted but the construction ends up feeling rushed and gives the film a slightness which undermines the acting – but, even with that known, I don’t think Nick Hornby has any chance of going home with this.
You can read a full list of nominations here, but I thought it best just to note a few little aberrations and nice surprises which the Academy threw our way this year.
- The Blind Side for Best Picture – I don’t know how, why or for what reason this has happened, but awards boards and ceremonies are becoming increasingly too interested in rewarding the most popular rather than the quanitifiably ‘best’ films of the year. How this syrup-fest slice of mawkish shit has managed to score a few nods, I really don’t know. This nomination does give hope however to all those Hallmark/Lifetime movies about retarded children in inner-city schools or single mothers dealing with cancer that they could one day make the leap up.
- District 9 for Best Picture – Rewarding a film which was not only popular, but broke all the present rules of blockbuster filmmaking – intelligent plotting, no on wearing catsuits and made on a budget which didn’t allow egomaniacal directorial masturbation. Blomkamp strikes on for all the people out there convinced that summers can be better.
- Lee Daniels, Best Director for Precious – Not that Precious isn’t specifically well-directed, but there seems a much better argument to have Neill Blomkamp in there for District 9 given his handling of his material. Some of the decisions in Precious make the film play a little flat, which means that some of what should be the most powerful scenes lose much of their intended force.
- Penelope Cruz for Nine – Yes, she is the only person that comes out of the film with real dignity left intact. No, this does not mean she should be rewarded over Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds. Julianne Moore in A Single Man and Rosamund Pike in An Education would also have been more deserving.
- No Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – A film which not only should have been given a nod in the expanded animation category, but also for its sparkling script. Probably one which many Academy members failed to see on the same terms as a film like Up which, my opinion only, it is just as successful as.
- An Education for Best Adapted Screenplay – The characterisations are not what made An Education a decent film. That is a movie saved from flat direction and a weak script by great acting, so the script getting a nomination, over the wonder that is Where the Wild Things Are, is a travesty.
- In the Loop for Best Adapted Screenplay – A fantastic, completely deserved nomination for a film which has some great performances but, like The Thick of It, is driven by the foul-mouthed poetry of the script.
- Avatar nine, but no script – Avatar gets nine nominations in all the right places. Undoubtedly a breathtaking cinema experience, I’ll allow its Best Picture nod. But the Academy had the sense only to reward Cameron’s direction in the upper categories, meaning that it rightly competes to take home, deservedly, every technical nod it can be given.
- Nine for Hurt Locker, Eight for Inglourious Basterds – I’ve had a short-term turnaround in Inglourious Basterds, a film I didn’t enjoy in first watch, liked more on second and now fucking love. Eight nods is right. The Hurt Locker, the only film from the past year considered for my Best of Decade list, is a deserved recipient of nine nominations, with the script and Bigelow’s direction the most likely places for it to be triumphant.
I did predict a few little while ago, but much has changed in the interim and I feel it necessary to update my prediction season for the nominees, something I will do again in early February just before the nominations are announced.
The primary change is the fall of Nine, previously considered a shoe-in for most categories, which looks likely to win absolutely nothing outside of a possible couple of technicals. Add to that the rising popularity of Inglourious Basterds and the seemingly-unstoppable attention being given to The Hurt Locker, plus the apparently disastrous The Lovely Bones, and some things have to change.
Below then are my predictions for the top few categories, with some explanation as to why and, bold as it may be, my predictions for the likely winners in each category.
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!
X-Men Origins: Wolverine followed its super-sized bow in the US with a chunky haul in the UK too, taking £6.6m during its first five days on release. It meant Miley Cyrus and her Hannah Montana: The Movie had to settle for second, despite the youngster’s publicity wave throughout the week trying to promote the film.
Hannah Montana took a solid £2.03m to finish in second, over double the take of previous number one State of Play, taking £0.98m to just nip in ahead of Matthew McConaughey and his Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
Zac Efron clung onto fifth with 17 Again, followed up by Monsters vs Aliens, Fast & Furious, I Love You, Man, In The Loop and The Uninvited to round out the top ten.
The only disappointment of the week was the £123,309 taken by Is Anybody There?, the new film from Sir Michael Caine.
It’s likely Wolverine’s time at the top will be obliterated in the coming week with the release of Star Trek but, after a very troubled route to cinemas, this one really did some solid business, as can be shown from the ridiculous number of further X-Men projects now being flung into development.
So I’ve been extremely busy with film-watching and outings all this week, so I have had no time to put together nice posts and news for you all to enjoy. Today though, sitting in bed and vegging like a pro, I will provide a round-up of all the interesting happenings from the past week in film.
It’s been confirmed that Jonathan Nolan will not be credited for writing Terminator Salvation. In laterally-related news, Christian Bale said he will commit to the next Batman movie, with or without the presence of Christopher Nolan.
Universal has confirmed plans to remake Drop Dead Fred, the cult classic early-90s movie starring Rik Mayall, with Russell Brand to take over the lead role. This will go alongside the previously announced remake of Dudley Moore-vehicle Arthur for our cheeky chappy.
An interview with Lauren Shuler Donner has seen her say that spin-off vehicles for both Gambit and Deadpool will come, if she has her way. Given the utterly awful Wolverine, that would be something of a result to have a movie which will provide us with easily the two most interesting characters from the film.
Todd McFarlane has entered talks over bringing Spawn back to the screen. It was made before to a very poor reception in 1997. During the interview, with IESB, he also talked a little about the David Fincher-helmed Torso, the adaptation of the Brian Michael Bendis graphic novel. That was dropped by Paramount but McFarlane believes another house will pick it up given the presence of Matt Damon in the lead and Rachel McAdams alongside him.
Some photos have emerged of Megan Fox in Jonah Hex, the adaptation of the John Albano-penned DC series. As you would imagine from a movie about a gonzo version of the Wild West, Fox has eschewed the demure look in favour of chicken house chic. Fox did experience a mild disappointment this week, beat to the FHM 100 Sexiest Women poll’s top spot by Girls Aloud’s Cheryl Cole.
Rainn Wilson, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Natalie Portman have joined the cast of Hesher, an indie dramedy to be directed by Spencer Susser. /Film has a host of extra information on this, including a really bewitching zombie short directed by Susser.
Here’s an odd one. The next movie coming from Zhang Yimou, the helmer of the astounding Hero and House of Flying Daggers, is reportedly a remake of the Coens’ Blood Simple.
McG and Michael Bay could well end up slapping ’em out on the table and bringing out the rulers, should the challenge put forth by the former to the latter become reality. Yes, McG has challenged Bay to a dick-measuring contest.
So apparently Oliver Stone, Michael Douglas and Shia LeBoeuf have signed up to take on a sequel to Wall Street, Stone’s visceral attack on the lack of ethics involved in big money trading. It seems a little late at this point but, praise be, no Charlie Sheen.
On the business side, the merger between agency giant William Morris and Endeavour has been approved. Relativity and Lionsgate have brokered a distribution agreement which will cover around five movies per year. Time Warner has announced a 14 per cent fall in profits in the first quarter, primarily owing to problems with AOL, which it is looking to spin-off imminently, and in Time Inc, the magazine side of the conglomerate.
Cinematical has a review of Departures, the Japanese foreign film Oscar winner from this year.
Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro will open the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes.
Benicio del Toro is reportedly in talks to play Brett Easton Ellis in an adaptation of his Lunar Park.
Here’s a first look at Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 2.
The Forgotten, the indie comic series by Evan Young and Jareth Grealish, has been optioned for a movie adaptation.
Bruce Willis is reportedly being courted to star in Red, an adaptation of the Warren Ellis-penned series.
The BBC has commissioned more The Thick of It from Armando Ianucci, coming on the back of the success of In the Loop.
Warner Bros has acquired the rights to Death Note, the manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba.
Mike Newell is in talks to direct a new version of The Lone Ranger.
Fox Searchlight has picked up Whip It, the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore starring Ellen Page.
Iran’s About Elly has won the jury prize at Tribeca.
Garry Shandling, the notoriously prickly star of the genius Larry Sanders Show, has signed up to star in Iron Man 2.
The first trailer for Bong Joon Ho’s Mother has arrived on Twitch.
Channing Tatum is not Nordic-looking enough to play Thor.
Maria Bello has signed on for Adam Sandler’s as-yet-untitled reunion ensemble comedy.
A man committed suicide this week during a showing of Watchmen.
In case you missed it, our buddies at Film Chair have a host of clips from Armando Iannucci’s In the Loop.