Awards Watch Archive for December, 2006

2006 Movies Eligible for an Oscar

Eligible For Oscar ABOMINABLE ACCEPTED AKEELAH AND THE BEE ALEX RIDER: OPERATION STORMBREAKER ALL THE KING’S MEN AMERICAN DREAMZ AMERICAN HARDCORE ANNAPOLIS THE ANT BULLY APOCALYPTO APRIL’S SHOWER AQUAMARINE ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES ASK THE DUST ATL AURORA BOREALIS BABEL BACKSTAGE BARNYARD BASIC INSTINCT 2 THE BEAUTY ACADEMY OF KABUL BEERFEST THE…

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Best Screenplay Chart

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Writer(s) – Film Comment Little Miss Sunshine Challenging work behind the typewriter The Queen (GG) A piece of docudrama that is both extreme and subtle Letters From Iwo Jima Very subtle, but builds… Volver Pedro! Half Nelson A tightrope act Babel (GG) Wouldn’t be a surprise if in The Pursuit of Happyness…

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Best Actress Chart

BEST ACTRESS Actress – Film Comment Helen Mirren – The Queen (GG) Lock fatigue is the only danger Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada (GG/C) The most influential filmed performance of the year by any actress Judi Dench – Notes On A Scandal (GG) As always…. Kate Winslet – Little Children (GG) Could she…

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Best Actor Chart

BEST ACTOR Actor – Film Comment Will Smith – The Pursuit of Happyness (GG) A great emotional performance Forrest Whitaker – Last King Of Scotland (GG) A great character performance Ken Watanabe – Letters From Iwo Jima A great performance of quiet charm and power Peter O’Toole – Venus (GG) A great legend Sacha Baron…

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Best Director Chart

BEST DIRECTOR Director – Film Comment Martin Scorsese – The Departed (GG) What more is there to say? Clint Eastwood – Letters From Iwo Jima (GG) Great work… but not his year to win Bill Condon – Dreamgirls The Globes created one of the year’s top non-stories Stephen Frears – The Queen (GG) Solid Alejandro…

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Best Picture Chart

BEST PICTURE Picture – Studio Comment Dreamgirls (GG) In spite of the world’s whitest critic questioning its soul, voters want to see it and are cheering Letters From Iwo Jima The smart, dry, critics choice The Queen (GG) Solid, speaks to the age group The Departed (GG) Well enough liked to get a nom… too…

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Week Ten – 67 Days to Go The Great Settling ’06

Yes, ladies & gentlemen, it’s that time again…. The Great Settling of 2006 has begun. We got past the last gasp of hypersensitivity with the on-again/off-again DGA screener battle. Hair was pulled, egos were floated, millions of dollars were at stake… and in the end, same old same old. And now, as the week leads…

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The Oscars 2007 Poster

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The Top Ten Chart for December 15, 2007

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Best Screenplay Chart

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Writer(s) – Film Comment Little Miss Sunshine Could well be the (well deserved) consolation prize The Queen (GG) Dry perfection The Pursuit of Happyness Couldn’t be wetter Letters From Iwo Jima The Academy has agreed to allow this movie inspired by a book to be original… hmmm…. Volver The Great Almodovar Babel…

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Best Actress Chart

BEST ACTRESS Actress – Film Comment Helen Mirren – The Queen (GG) Unless The Academy decides Hudson is a lead, Dame Helen is your winner Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada (GG/C) A lurking horse of the darkest order Judi Dench – Notes On A Scandal (GG) Brilliant, but the movie seems to be…

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Best Actor Chart

BEST ACTOR Actor – Film Comment Will Smith – The Pursuit of Happyness (GG) Action and comedy star making people cry is hard to beat Forrest Whitaker – Last King Of Scotland (GG) A classic supporting role that may not get as much support as hoped for in this category Ken Watanabe – Letters From…

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Best Director Chart

BEST DIRECTOR Director – Film Comment Martin Scorsese – The Departed (GG) Could Eastwood siphon enough away from Scorsese to give it to Condon or Frears? Could. But let’s hope not. Clint Eastwood – Letters From Iwo Jima (GG) Not likely to win again so soon… but who knows? Bill Condon – Dreamgirls Movie is…

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Best Picture Chart

BEST PICTURE Picture – Studio Comment Dreamgirls (GG) Even those who doubt can’t deny the massive audience rousing power of the big moments The Queen (GG) Dark horse Letters From Iwo Jima The presumed #2, destined to be more respected than loved The Departed (GG) Great movie… but too B for O The Leading Contenders…

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Week Nine – 74 Days to Go – The Night Before The Globes Noms

The Search For Meaning The Golden Globe Nominations mean nothing. Nothing. Okay… well not nothing. But pretty close to nothing. People, professionally prognosticating and not, seem to be anxiously searching out answers at this time of year and particularly this year, when the season was pretty well defined before Thanksgiving. Change. We need change. Please,…

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Best Screenplay Chart

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Writer(s) – Film Golden Globes Comment The Queen * Emotional choice… consolation prize? Little Miss Sunshine * Funny The Pursuit of Happyness * Sony saying it’s an original, Chris Gardener’s life screenplayed before made into a book Volver Almodovar’s been here before World Trade Center A very dramatic real life Babel Would…

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Best Actress Chart

BEST ACTRESS Actress – Film Golden Globes Comment Helen Mirren – The Queen D With Hudson out of the way, she is a clear frontrunner… but too long in front is trouble… a threat would help lock her in more tightly Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada C/M Could be the threat Judi Dench…

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Best Actor Chart

BEST ACTOR Actor – Film Golden Globes Comment Will Smith – The Pursuit of Happyness D Should be the winner, but Golden Globes remain a mystery Ken Watanabe – Letters From Iwo Jima D Very soilid performance of great strength Leonardo DiCaprio – The Departed D Blood Diamond has more support than sanity dictates… but……

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Best Director Chart

BEST DIRECTOR Director – Film Comment Martin Scorsese – The Departed Now being pushed by Clint Clint Eastwood – Letters From Iwo Jima Again? Bill Condon – Dreamgirls Could win if the above pair split the vote Stephen Frears – The Queen Steady brilliance Gabriele Muccino – The Pursuit of Happyness If the film gathers…

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Best Picture Chart

BEST PICTURE Picture – Studio Golden Globes Comment Dreamgirls C/M Clearly the likely leader in nominations… it’s spirit and show biz story should make it the easy winner Letters From Iwo Jima FL Significantly better than Flags, which will make it the perceived #2… but a languid 2:20 running time and Japanese language makes it…

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Awards Watch

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin