Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nominees for 15th SAG Awards

Here are the nominees for the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, with scores and comments:

BUT to get it out of the way: I DON'T like the nominations all that much.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Score: 4/5. Left out Pitt for DiCaprio. After getting two nominations two years ago, DiCaprio is shut out for what many critics have been calling a career-best performance. I'm thinking he fell slightly short of votes. Hopefully, he'll still get the Oscar nod. Though I expected it, the Eastwood snub is pretty big.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

Score: 3/5. I quite foolishly removed Jolie and Leo from my list, but it was also hard to imagine the actors not voting for Hawkins and Scott Thomas. The lack of nods for these two is seriously telling and could be really hurtful, particularly for Scott Thomas, who apparently is not as much of an "actor's actor" as many (including myself) have thought. The Blanchett snub also stings, given how well her film performed in other categories.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin (Milk)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)

Score: 4/5. The voters are so in love with Slumdog Millionaire that they voted in Patel and ignored Shannon's much heralded (though brief) performance. Huge boost for the young British actor coming into the homestretch.

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams (Doubt)
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Score: 3/5. Another film that they love: Doubt. Adams, written off by many because of Davis's scene-stealing supporting performance, gets a big boost. So does Henson, SAG's most nominated actor of the year (this one, an ensemble nod for the film, and one for TV's "Boston Legal"). Most glaring omissions: the girls of Rachel Getting Married (no love for DeWitt for even Winger!).

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire


Score: 2/5. Got only Doubt and Milk right. Has there been any other year where this slate has looked so much like a typical Oscar Best Picture predictor instead of what it should be, i.e., something that rewards a great ensemble cast? Is Slumdog's really that much better than The Dark Knight's or Rachel Getting Married. The lack of nods for the latter and for its two supporting players may mean the end for its campaign for the Oscar Best Pic nom. Dark Knight's is lessened to some extent. As to how much, it's not exactly easy to tell. It may still rally, especially with its re-release next month. Benjamin Button, the film that many have labeled as not much of an actor's film, gets a nod here and two for its actors. We may very well be looking here at the eventual Oscar Best Pic list, with the likely exception of Doubt.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Predictions for 15th Annual SAG Awards

Here are my predicted nominees for the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, to be announced on 18 December 2008:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road)
Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Kristin Scott-Thomas (I've Loved You So Long)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin (Milk)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Debra Winger (Rachel Getting Married)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Dark Knight
Doubt
Milk
Rachel Getting Married
Revolutionary Road

AFI Top 10

Here are the American Film Institute's Top 10 Films of 2008:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Frozen River
Gran Torino
Iron Man
Milk
WALL-E
Wendy and Lucy
The Wrestler

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hugh Jackman to Host the Oscars

In the year when a comic book movie will likely get deserved respect as a Best Picture nominee and its principal villain will win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, will be hosting the 81st Academy Awards ceremonies in February. Of course, he was chosen because of how well he hosted the Tony's (he won an Emmy for it), and since he's all big and popular again because of Australia, but it's fun to think about it that way, right? Maybe Christian Bale will present an award and they'll have a Batman vs. Wolverine reference (not to mention one of battling magicians). Nice choice, I must say. Out of the box indeed.

Go to the official AMPAS press release here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nominees for 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards

The Golden Globes are now officially the wackiest, unpredictable (at least by way of catering to expected Oscar fodder), and interesting precursor awards leading up to the Oscars. I knew that when they nominated Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) and Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) when the critics were not paying attention. I love the HFPA for their chutzpah, daring to honor unheralded performances simply because they liked them enough and not because they're expected to be cited for Oscar glory. Tom Cruise for Tropic Thunder! Totally unexpected but, considering how he stole the film from just about everyone, well-deserved (though translation into an Oscar nom is still highly unlikely). General snubs for Milk and The Dark Knight may not matter all that much when Oscar noms come out, but it makes for very interesting curveballs in major categories thought practically sewn up.

Anyway, here are the nominees with my scores and comments:

BEST MOTION PICTURE-DRAMA
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire


Score: 4/5 (though I had mentioned 6). Australia is officially off the Oscar competition. If anyone were to honor it, it would be the internationally flavored, Kidman-loving Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Just like practically everybody, I'm rather surprised that Milk was left out given the love from the critics. I left out Frost/Nixon, thinking (quite silly of me) that the HFPA wouldn't go for it. Just as I predicted, no The Dark Knight.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE-DRAMA
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Kristin Scott-Thomas (I've Loved You So Long)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

Score: 4/5. Big boost for Scott-Thomas after being ignored by the critics. I thought Cate Blanchett, who had performed very well in past Globes, would get the nod. This is likely how the final slate for the Oscars will look, unless Blanchett makes a surge or Sally Hawkins gets enough love.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE-DRAMA
Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Score: 5/5. No brainer; the HFPA loves their celebrities, so Brad Pitt was an easy guess. It's him or Eastwood for the last slot for the Oscar. Richard Jenkins needed this one, though there's still the SAGs, which is more telling of favor with actors.

BEST MOTION PICTURE-MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Burn After Reading
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Mamma Mia!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Score: 4/5. I thought they'd go for Tropic Thunder instead of In Bruges. I have not seen the latter, but people say it's great so I suppose it's well deserved.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE-MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Frances McDormand (Burn After Reading)
Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia!)
Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey)

Score: 4/5. It was easy to predict Sarah Jessica Parker being nom'd in this category by the HFPA, but Rebecca Hall, ultimately more deserving, got the nod.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE-MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Colin Farrell (In Bruges)
James Franco (Pineapple Express)
Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)
Dustin Hoffman (Last Chance Harvey)

Score: 2/5. Got only Bardem and Hoffman right. They really love In Bruges, don't they? And I should have predicted the Franco nod; the reviews of his perf in this film were considerably good.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Amy Adams (Doubt)
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Score: 3/5. Lots of love for Doubt. Big boost for Tomei, not really so much for Adams. Most conspicuous absence: Rosemarie DeWitt (or Debra Winger, for that matter).

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Ralph Fiennes (The Duchess)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Score: 3/5. Tom Cruise! HFPA is wacky (in a good way). I ultimately expected the Franco shut-out to give room for Downey, but Fiennes was unexpected despite the glowing reviews of his performance here. A strong campaign for the Oscar nom wouldn't hurt. The absence of Josh Brolin and Michael Shannon are the most glaring omissions, especially considering the love for Revolutionary Road in the other categories.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Bolt
Kung-Fu Panda
WALL-E


Score: 3/3. These will likely be the Oscar nominees.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
Everlasting Moments (Sweden/Denmark)
Gomorrah (Italy)
I've Loved You So Long (France)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

Score: 2/5. Got only Gomorrah and Waltz with Bashir. The snub for The Class is unexpected, more so than the one for Let the Right One In. With the exception of I've Loved You So Long (not eligible for the Oscar), this will likely be the line-up come Oscar time (The Class will fill the last slot).

BEST DIRECTOR - MOTION PICTURE
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Stephen Daldry (The Reader)
David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon)
Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road)

Score: 3/5. It was unwise of me to bet against Howard both here and in the Oscar nom predictions. But Gus Van Sant seemed a shoo-in. How this helps Mendes in his Oscar campaign is still iffy.

BEST SCREENPLAY - MOTION PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Score: 2/5. Got only Button and Slumdog. These are all adapted screenplays and likely nominees in that Oscar category. Which one can possibly get displaced by the screenplay for Revolutionary Road?

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - MOTION PICTURE
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Defiance
Frost/Nixon
Slumdog Millionaire


Score: 1/5. Ouch. Guessed only Button's right. I thought Eastwood would get a nod for Gran Torino, not Changeling. Anyway, big boost for the praised work for Defiance and Slumdog. And yet another Frost/Nixon nod.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG - MOTION PICTURE
"Down to Earth" (WALL-E)

"Gran Torino" (Gran Torino)
"I Thought I Lost You" (Bolt)
"Once in a Lifetime" (Cadillac Records)
"The Wrestler" (The Wrestler)

Score: 2/5. A synaptic misfire had made me stupidly forget to write down the Bolt song even while thoughts of Miley Cyrus as an Oscar nominee were already haunting me the day before. Eastwood's getting more nods as a musician than as actor-director. Odd.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Predictions for 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards

With the Golden Globe nominations coming out in a few hours and the major contenders having come out, I thought that I'd throw out there my predictions on those major pre-Oscar honors:

BEST MOTION PICTURE-DRAMA
Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Milk
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE-DRAMA
Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE-DRAMA
Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

BEST MOTION PICTURE-MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Burn After Reading
Happy-Go-Lucky
Mamma Mia!
Tropic Thunder
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE-MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City)
Frances McDormand (Burn After Reading)
Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia!)
Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE-MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town)
Dustin Hoffman (Last Chance Harvey)
John Malkovich (Burn After Reading)
Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Josh Brolin (Milk)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Bolt
Kung-Fu Panda
WALL-E


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Class (France)
Gomorrah (Italy)
Let the Right One In (Sweden)
Mermaid (Russia)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

BEST DIRECTOR - MOTION PICTURE
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Stephen Daldry (The Reader)
David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)
Gus Van Sant (Milk)

BEST SCREENPLAY - MOTION PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Milk
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire
Vicky Cristina Barcelona


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - MOTION PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Gran Torino
Revolutionary Road
WALL-E


BEST ORIGINAL SONG - MOTION PICTURE
"Another Way to Die" (Quantum of Solace)
"Down to Earth" (WALL-E)
"I Want It All" (High School Musical 3: Senior Year)
"Jaiho" (Slumdog Millionaire)
"The Wrestler" (The Wrestler)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

14th Critics Choice Awards Nominees

The following are the nominees for the 14th Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Awards:

PICTURE
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
The Wrestler

ACTOR
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

ACTRESS
Kate Beckinsale, Nothing But the Truth
Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
James Franco, Milk

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Vera Farmiga, Nothing But the Truth
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Kate Winslet, The Reader

ACTING ENSEMBLE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Doubt
Milk
Rachel Getting Married

DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
Gus Van Sant, Milk

WRITER (ORIGINAL OR ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley, Doubt

ANIMATED FEATURE
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
WALL-E
Waltz With Bashir

YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS (UNDER 21)
Dakota Fanning, The Secret Life of Bees
David Kross, The Reader
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Brandon Walters, Australia

ACTION MOVIE
The Dark Knight
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Iron Man
Quantum of Solace
Wanted

COMEDY
Burn After Reading
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Role Models
Tropic Thunder
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
John Adams
Recount
Coco Chanel

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
A Christmas Tale
Gomorrah
I’ve Loved You So Long
Let the Right One In
Mongol
Waltz With Bashir

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
I.O.U.S.A.
Man on Wire
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
Standard Operating Procedure
Young at Heart

SONG
“Another Way to Die,” Jack White and Alicia Keys/Jack White, Quantum of Solace
“Down to Earth,” Peter Gabriel/Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, WALL-E
“I Thought I Lost You,” Miley Cyrus and John Travolta/Miley Cyrus and Jeffrey Steele, Bolt
“Jaiho,” Sukhwinder Singh/A.R. Rahman and Gulzar, Slumdog Millionaire
“The Wrestler,” Bruce Springsteen/Bruce Springsteen, The Wrestler

COMPOSER
Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Clint Eastwood, Changeling
Danny Elfman, Milk
Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, The Dark Knight
A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Dark Knight Score Eligible for Oscar

A reversal of the earlier decision of the Academy's music branch has rendered the brilliant The Dark Knight score eligible for an Oscar. Read the Variety article here.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

National Board of Review 2008

Film: Slumdog Millionaire
Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Actor: Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Foreign Language Film: Mongol
Documentary: Man On Wire
Animated Feature: WALL-E
Ensemble Cast: Doubt
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt
Directorial Debut: Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
Original Screenplay: Nick Schenk, Gran Torino
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Spotlight Award: Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression: Trumbo

TOP TEN FILMS

  • Burn After Reading
  • Changeling
  • The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Knight
  • Defiance
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Gran Torino
  • Milk
  • WALL-E
  • The Wrestler

TOP FIVE FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS

  • Edge Of Heaven
  • Let The Right One In
  • Roman De Guerre
  • A Secret
  • Waltz With Bashir

TOP FIVE DOCUMENTARY FILMS

  • American Teen
  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
  • Dear Zachary
  • Encounters At The End Of The World
  • Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired

WILLIAM K. EVERSON FILM HISTORY AWARD:
Molly Haskell And Andrew Sarris

Source

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Two Oscars for Kate Winslet?

In a previous entry ("What Will It Take to Win Kate Winslet an Oscar?"), I had stated that re-teaming with Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio in an intense drama could finally land Kate Winslet her first Oscar. A reader commented that, as Winslet herself had said in a hilarous episode of "Extras" (perhaps my favorite ep), she would have to appear in a Holocaust film for that to happen.

Can Kate Winslet win an unprecedented two Oscars on the same night two months from now, one for Best Actress for Revolutionary Road (the intense drama with DiCaprio) and the other for Best Supporting Actress for The Reader (the Holocaust film)?

For the sake of this argument, let's assume the scenario wherein Winslet is actually nominated in both categories, a prospect that is increasingly becoming likely. This would imply that 1) the voters REALLY love her and 2) they're willing to look past the category fraud (her role in The Reader is arguably a lead). Both would already steer things in her favor, especially if one takes note of the glaring fact that has set up discussions like this in the first place: despite five nominations, she has yet to win.


Of the two races, the nomination for Revolutionary Road is likelier. Once she gets past the category confusion and potential vote-splitting (let's cross our fingers here that the Satellite Award nom in the lead category for The Reader, and not for Road, is not a foretelling), she easily has what it takes to win. While reviews of the film have not been as solid as hoped for, very few are unimpressed by Winslet's performance. In incendiary scenes with DiCaprio that a number have found reminiscent of several in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Winslet shows great depth and skill. It's the type of fireworks that Oscar voters (who are mostly actors) love to eat up.

Winslet's greatest competition is still Meryl Streep, despite the mixed reactions of critics to her performance. Streep is a 14-time nominee who has not won an Oscar (one of only two) since 1983, so the voters who obviously love her might want to see her up the stage again. The criticism has been either that she relies on the sheer showiness of her role or that she's simply not as impressive as Cherry Jones because of her different take on the character. But these critics are not voters. Jones herself praised the performance. Actors most likely would rally around Streep for her brave, unique interpretation of the character. And since when have they shunned showy performances, much less from Streep herself? Still, the controversy may be enough to dampen the general enthusiasm over the perf. If the film had been more universally praised than Revolutionary Road, then perhaps that would be another point for Streep. But the lack of precursor citations so far for Doubt is telling.

Not to be discounted in this category is Kristin Scott-Thomas, probably the "actor's actor" in this year's race. She has turned in solid work in the past and earned the respect of her peers, winning several accolades including an Oscar nomination for her work in The English Patient. Since then, she has been working in both the UK and in France. Actors likely have even higher respect for the British actress for her ability to shift languages and work with multiple cultures. The performance here is strong, particularly in some key sequences between her and Elsa Zylberstein, and the buzz has only strengthened since the first stirrings were made earlier in the year. But would the voters reward another French-language perf just a year after Marion Cotillard won for La Vie en Rose? Will they give her the statuette over a five-time, winless nominee or a 14-time nominee with only two Oscars, the last in the 80s? Perhaps not, but she is certainly the biggest threat to the Winslet-Streep smackdown. Potential nominees Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Sally Hawkins, or Melissa Leo should be content with simply getting nominated and watching these three slug it out.


A nomination for The Reader in the supporting category would be more difficult to achieve and yet would be more telling of voter favor for Winslet. And once that is in place, it would be difficult to think of a scenario in which she does not win the Oscar. There is general praise for the performance from critics, and it's even more of the type of perf that wins Oscars: she has a German accent, she ages, and the film is set in post-war Germany. Penelope Cruz would be the most obvious competition, what with buzz over her acclaimed turn in Vicky Cristina Barcelona never having waned and her nom being the closest thing to a lock in this category. It's a scene-stealing performance that can certainly win an Oscar if voters like her enough to overlook Winslet's Oscar-friendly turn. But another serious contender (if she gets nominated, which is increasingly becoming likely) is Rosemarie DeWitt, the Rachel of Rachel Getting Married. With several precursor nominations and surging buzz over co-star Debra Winger, it is not unlikely that both women get Oscar's nod for Best Supporting Actress. If that happens, DeWitt, a relative neophyte in film who can be argued to be the emotional core of Rachel, can very easily threaten Winslet and Cruz for the statuette. We all know how much this Academy loves rewarding youngish, first-time nominees in this category.

So is a record-setting two wins likely for Kate Winslet in the 81st Oscar ceremonies? The likelier nomination is for Revolutionary Road, but the likelier win, should she get two noms, is for The Reader in supporting. She'll most likely walk away with the Oscar for that. Assuming that she gets both noms, Meryl Streep will be the biggest threat to what could possibly be the sweetest Oscar redemption story ever.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Twilight Vs. Let the Right One In

A side-by-side comparison of this year's most talked about (for different reasons) vampire movies:

THE VAMPIRE

TWILIGHT

LET THE

RIGHT ONE IN

Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)

Eli (Lina Leandersson)

Bella: “How old are you?”

Edward: “Seventeen.”

Bella: “How long have you been seventeen?”

Edward: “A while.”

Eli: “I’ve been twelve for a while…”

Undead

Uncertain; Eli says that she is “not dead,” but this likely refers to the unnatural state of undeath

Aloof, detached, cold, cautious, but humane and capable of strong love

Aloof, detached, careless, capable of at least strong affection

Super-strength, super-speed, telepathy (exclusive to Edward and a few other vampires), climbing trees (in film)

Heightened agility, scaling walls, enhanced strength and speed hinted at in final sequence of the film

-Apparently no weakness against traditional anti-vampire measures such as crosses, garlic, sunlight, having to seek permission to enter a home, etc.

-Strong urge to feed

-Can be incinerated by sunlight, must acquire permission to enter a home or be severely hurt, effect of other measures uncertain

-Strong urge to feed

Low scare factor. He can be vicious, but he glitters in sunlight and can be consumed by romance.

Moderate scare factor. She is vicious and makes horrifying sounds while feeding, but she is young for a vampire.


THE MORTAL

TWILIGHT

LET THE

RIGHT ONE IN

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart)

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant)

Seventeen

Twelve

New student, daughter of police chief, generally well liked, has a circle of friends in school, attracts a lot of boys

Bullied by classmates, generally ostracized, has no friends in school

First reaction to vampire revelation: Shock and confusion that immediately dissolve in love

First reaction to vampire revelation: Shock, confusion, misplaced anger

Absurdly high loyalty to vampire lover. Will do anything and give up everything for Edward without reservation

High loyalty to vampire lover. Will probably do anything and give up a lot for Eli but with reservation


THE MOVIE

TWILIGHT

LET THE

RIGHT ONE IN

Dir: Catherine Hardwicke

Dir: Tomas Alfredson

Source material: Novel by Stephenie Meyer

Source material: Novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist

English

Swedish

Teen romance/drama, with a dash of action and comedy

Coming-of-age drama/romance, with a dash of horror

US box office: $119,687,620

US box office: $266,886

Rotten Tomatoes rate: 43%

Rotten Tomatoes rate: 98%

Strengths: Contemporary soundtrack, commendable lead performances, high entertainment value, new twist to vampire mythos, generally loyal to source material

Strengths: Minimalist score, commendable lead and supporting performances, strong script and direction, non-reliance on visual effects, elements of horror, loyalty to standard vampire mythos

Weaknesses: Low-quality visual effects and makeup design, weak supporting performances, weak direction and script, new twist to vampire mythos, generally loyal to source material

Weakness: No new twist on the vampire mythos

Final Verdict: Sappy and uneven but ultimately entertaining, C+

Haunting, affecting, thought-provoking, lingering; A


13th Annual Satellite Awards Nominees

Motion Picture, Drama

  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • Frozen River
  • Director

  • Thomas McCarthy - The Visitor
  • Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
  • Gus Van Sant - Milk
  • Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight
  • Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Stephen Daldry - The Reader
  • Actress In A Motion Picture, Drama

  • Melissa Leo - Frozen River
  • Angelina Jolie - Changeling
  • Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
  • Kristin Scott Thomas - I’ve Loved You So Long
  • Meryl Streep - Doubt
  • Kate Winslet - The Reader
  • Actor In A Motion Picture, Drama

  • Mickey Rourke -The Wrestler
  • Mark Ruffalo - What Doesn’t Kill You
  • Richard Jenkins - The Visitor
  • Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
  • Leonardo Dicaprio - Revolutionary Road
  • Sean Penn - Milk
  • Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical

  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Tropic Thunder
  • In Bruges
  • Choke
  • Actress In A Motion Picture, Comedy Or Musical

  • Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Meryl Streep - Mamma Mia!
  • Lisa Kudrow - Kabluey
  • Kat Dennings - Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Catherine Deneuve - A Christmas Tale
  • Debra Messing - Nothing Like the Holidays
  • Actor In A Motion Picture, Comedy Or Musical

  • Ricky Gervais - Ghost Town
  • Sam Rockwell - Choke
  • Josh Brolin - W.
  • Michael Cera - Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Brendan Gleeson - In Bruges
  • Michael Cera - Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Mark Ruffalo - The Brothers Bloom
  • Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Rosemarie DeWitt - Rachel Getting Married
  • Penelope Cruz - Elegy
  • Anjelica Huston - Choke
  • Sophie Okonedo - The Secret Life of Bees
  • Emma Thompson - Brideshead Revisited
  • Beyoncé Knowles - Cadillac Records
  • Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road
  • Robert Downey, Jr. - Tropic Thunder
  • Rade Sherbedgia - Fugitive Pieces
  • James Franco - Milk
  • Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
  • Motion Picture, Foreign Language Film

  • Let the Right One In - Sweden
  • The Class - France
  • Sangre de mi Sangre - Argentina
  • Reprise - Norway
  • Gomorrah - Italy
  • Caramel - Lebanon / France
  • Motion Picture, Animated Or Mixed Media

  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
  • WALL-E
  • Bolt
  • Waltz With Bashir
  • The Sky Crawlers
  • Motion Picture, Documentary

  • Man on Wire
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Encounters at the End of the World
  • Religulous
  • Anita O’Day - The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • Waltz With Bashir
  • Screenplay, Original

  • Philip Roth - Elegy
  • Thomas McCarthy - The Visitor
  • Eric Roth, Robin Swicord - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Courtney Hunt - Frozen River
  • Baz Luhrmann, Stuart Beattie, Ronald Harwood, Richard Flanagan - Australia
  • Dustin Lance Black - Milk
  • Screenplay, Adapted

  • John Patrick Shanley - Doubt
  • Peter Morgan - Frost/Nixon
  • David Hare - The Reader
  • Simon Beaufoy - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Justin Haythe - Revolutionary Road
  • Original Score

  • David Arnold - Quantum of Solace
  • Thomas Newman - WALL-E
  • John Powell - Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
  • A.R. Rahman - Slumdog Millionaire
  • David Hirschfelder - Australia
  • Danny Elfman - Milk
  • Original Song

  • ”Another Way to Die”/Jack White - Quantum of Solace
  • “If the World”/Guns N’ Roses - Body of Lies
  • “Down to Earth”/Peter Gabriel - WALL-E
  • “By the Boab Tree”/Angela Little et al. - Australia
  • “Jaiho”/ A.R. Rahman and Gulzar - Slumdog Millionaire
  • “The Wrestler”/Bruce Springsteen - The Wrestler
  • Cinematography

  • Jess Hall - Brideshead Revisited
  • Gyula Pados - The Duchess
  • Mandy Walker - Australia
  • Tim Orr - Snow Angels
  • Tom Stern - Changeling
  • Claudio Miranda - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Visual Effects

  • Quantum of Solace
  • Iron Man
  • The Dark Knight
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Australia
  • Film Editing

  • Quantum of Solace
  • Iron Man
  • The Dark Knight
  • Australia
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Sound (Mixing & Editing)

  • Quantum of Solace
  • Iron Man
  • The Dark Knight
  • Australia
  • WALL-E
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Art Direction & Production Design

  • Australia
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Duchess
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • City of Ember
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Costume Design

  • The Duchess
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • Australia
  • Sex And The City
  • City of Ember
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Auteur Award

  • Baz Luhrmann
  • TOP 10 FILMS OF 2008 - [ listed alphabetically ]

  • BALLAST
  • CHANGELING
  • DOUBT
  • THE DARK KNIGHT
  • FROST / NIXON
  • FROZEN RIVER
  • MILK
  • THE READER
  • REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
  •