Oh Crap, The Emmys…

I woke up on Monday to discover that I had completely missed this years Emmys. The nominations, the red carpet, the whole award presenting bit – all of it passed me by. Could this be because I am a lazy TV blogger whose finger is gradually falling off the pulse as I drift on in an internet haze? Or because I have been away from the internet for two weeks? Who can say.

I will now ramble my way through the winners offering the unique opinion of a British blogger with an unquenchable crush on Zooey Deschanel and confusing feelings for Maggie Smith.

Commence ramble:

Outstanding Comedy Series
Modern Family
So long as The Big Bang Theory doesn’t win I consider it a victory for mankind.

Outstanding Drama Series
Homeland
Homeland is only bettered by Breaking Bad. Downton Abbey and Mad Men have had weak years and all the boobs and violence in the world won’t make me watch Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire.

Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie
Game Change
In a shock twist I have actually seen this years miniseries winner. It made Sarah Palin look like a right bitch as well as being stupid, lovely. Shame Sherlock didn’t win as a warning to Elementary to back off.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men
I dislike Jon Cryer. That’s not entirely true; I dislike Two and a Half Men and it has left a taint on poor Duckie.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Damian Lewis for Homeland
Being both British and ginger there is no one more suited to winning any award ever.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Kevin Costner for Hatfields & McCoys
Eh? No Cumberbatch? Too tricky for the engravers?

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep
On the one hand an excellent choice for a fine actress in a great show. On the other hand she is not Zooey Deschanel so I am confused.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes for Homeland
Go Claire! It’s your Birthday! What? April? My mistake.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Julianne Moore for Game Change
She was very good, almost as good as Tina Fey. Almost. I will give a massive shout out to Emma Thompson in The Song for Lunch. The Song for Lunch is a 50 minute masterpiece you must seek out and watch.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family
Should have been Max Greenfield for successfully taking my attention away from Zooey in New Girl.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad
A well deserved win I have nothing amusing to say about – much like the previous categories.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Tom Berenger for Hatfields & McCoys
I’m not convinced that Hatfields & McCoys even exists and refuse to be proven otherwise.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen for Modern Family
Yes. Fine. Very good.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey
Maggie Smith is easily my second favourite dame after Dench so is clearly a deserving winner.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Jessica Lange for American Horror Story
American Horror Story was good and Lange was good in it. Like a crazy/creepy version of Maggie Smith in Downton.

All in all the winners are an acceptable bunch and the Emmys are far from exciting. Downton Abbey may not have collected the majority of the awards it was nominated for but time will move forward, people will keep watching, and Benedict Cumberbatch will keep having a moan. Shame Sherlock won nothing, I do like that show.

The full list of winners and nominees can be found here.

Oscars 2012: One Big Yawn of Agreement

The Oscars are clearly, and arbitrarily, the most important of all the award ceremonies yet coming as they do after a dozen of similar awards are given out to the same winners, by the time the Oscars finally arrive we are suffering from award season fatigue. This is where the desire for surprising winners comes in, despite The Artist, Meryl Streep, Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer all being worthy winners writing about them winning the awards they were tipped to win isn’t all that exciting.

But is that the point? The Artist really was the best film of the past year and deserves to win all the awards it won, the list of winners is not surprising but for the first time in years it is hard to disagree with any of the choices. Let’s not gripe about predictability and just be happy that worthy winners won awards and that Eddie Murphy wasn’t the host.

I am happy that The Artist won five Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Score) leaving Hugo to pick up all the technical awards. I am happy that A Separation won Best Foreign Language Film for being an amazing drama and that Rango won Best Animated Film despite being semi-grown-up. I’m happy that Woody Allen won an Oscar for the screenplay for Midnight in Paris and showed that he remains a relevant film-maker. I’m happy that Jim Rash co-won an award for co-writing The Descendants leaving amazing-but-almost-cancelled-sitcom Community with an Oscar winner amongst its cast. I’m happy that The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won Best Animated Short Film because, as we all know, it is damned adorable.

What I am most happy about is Bret McKenzie won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet”. There has never been a more obvious (there was only one other nominee for a start) yet deserving win.

So there you have it, the 2012 Oscar awards have made me happy but weren’t very exciting. It was the award ceremony equivalent of eating a trifle (for me at least).

BAFTA 2012 Debrief

Last night BAFTA presented their annual film awards to an excited crowd of famous people, and I managed to forget that the ceremony was happening due to having a fun weekend and the fact that BAFTA somehow forgot to invite me along to the event.

BAFTA made some wise choices last night as they threw plenty of awards at The Artist, (Best Film, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Music and Best Costume Design) and showed some much-needed love for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Outstanding British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay).

Meryl Streep took home an obvious win for her role in The Iron Lady making her Oscar win so certain it isn’t that exciting any more (and makes me think I should really make an effort to see the film). Christopher Plummer took home Best Supporting Actor for Beginners, a great role in a charming film which hopefully more people will seek out now that Plummer is winning awards all over the place.

Senna picked up Best Documentary and Best Editing making this the first year I can actually see what makes the editing in a certain film superior to others. As Senna was cut and pasted together from archive footage with nothing new being filmed for the documentary it is a pure feat of editing. It’s the equivalent of taking all of your old home movies and trying to cut together a BAFTA winning documentary, probably not worth the effort.

Further down the list of winners The Skin I Live In was dubbed Best Film not in the English Language and Rango won Best Animated Feature Film. Both films from my Top 20 Films of 2011 and both deserving winners, not least because I haven’t really seen any of the other nominees.

Perhaps the category with the most interest for me, partly because of the great talent taking up each space on the short list and partly because this was a category for which the winner was not obvious, was the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The award went to Paddy Considine for Tyrannosaur and is a great victory for a stunning debut. Frankly I would probably have had the same reaction for any of the nominees (though possibly not Coriolanus) as I have a lot of love for Black Pond, Submarine and Attack the Block.

For the full list of winners skip on down to IMDb.

Well done BAFTA, you did good.

Get Ready for the 2012 Oscars – Foreign Language Films

Hopefully by now you’re further along in your preparation for this year’s Oscars, there’s only two weeks to go. Assuming you’ve dutifully watched the animated short films I gathered together for you, it’s time to swat up on the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Luckily for anyone living in London, the Tricycle cinema in Kilburn is running a ten-day run of screenings covering a wide range of the films submitted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, though sadly not all of the final five nominees. The screenings include one UK premiere, two advance preview screenings and some special guests; plenty to get excited about.

Tickets only go as high as £8.50 and can be bought online at www.tricycle.co.uk or by phoning the Tricycle box office on
020 7328 1000. The Tricycle is a lovely cinema and only down the road from me (hence the plug), so pop in for a cup of tea while you’re in the area.

The full screening schedule is below: Continue reading

Get Ready for the 2012 Oscars – Animated Short Films

The Oscars are less than three weeks away, are you prepared? It’s not enough to simply go and see The Artist and The Descendants, and train yourself to say Albert Nobbs without giggling (though these are all things which need doing). To become a true Oscar bore you need to familiarise yourself with the niche categories too, not going so far as to bother with Sound Mixing/Editing, I’m not crazy.

To help you out I’ve tried to collect together all of the films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, with trailers or clips for those unavailable to stream. Presented without critique, simply in order of brilliance/availability online.

Fair warning, watching some of these may result in tears.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Sunday

Wild Life

A Morning Stroll (Trailer)

La Luna (Clip)

A Few Obligatory Thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations

In case you haven’t been lucky enough to have me mumble at you about the 2012 Oscar nominations in person, I thought I’d share with you some of my gut reactions to this year’s list of films of actor types that may win a fancy gold statue. For the full list of nominees have a look on IMDb, it’ll save me a lot of copying, pasting, and messing around with italics.

Extremely Lame & Poorly Reviewed
Somewhere amongst the nine nominees for Best Motion Picture of the Year is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the family drama about a young boy searching for the lock to match a key left to him by his father, a victim of 9/11. What makes this film stand out, beyond its terrifying poster, is that it is the worst reviewed film to get nominated for this award for the past 10 years. At the time of writing this potential Oscar winner has just 47% positive reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes with a pretty damning consensus; “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close has a story worth telling, but it deserves better than the treacly and pretentious treatment director Stephen Daldry gives it.”

Albert Who?
Noticing that a film called Albert Nobbs had gathered three nominations I decided to look into it. Turns out that Albert Nobbs is a woman in 19th century Ireland pretending to be a man in order to survive, and is played by Glenn Close. Curious to see what Glenn Close would look like as a man I bravely Googled on.

Thanks Glenn, I didn’t need to sleep tonight anyway.

Gary!
With Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sadly missing out on a Best Picture nod it’s great to see Gary Oldman getting his first ever Best Actor nomination, and not for his role in Kung Fu Panda 2. In Tinker Oldman ably held together a weighty bit of British cinema and showed hipsters that some people actually wear oversized glasses for medical reasons. What a guy.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Mediocre Biopic
With Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams both getting nominated for Best Actress, it seems that it really doesn’t matter how lukewarm the reaction is to your film so long as you give a scarily accurate portrayal of an icon. In a way it’s reassuring to know that no matter how mediocre the film you’re in, there’s still a chance to act your way above the rest of the film.

Plummer!
It’s exciting enough that the little seen film Beginners might get some free press thanks to Christopher Plummer’s nomination, but the fact that Captain Von Trapp has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor twice out of the last three years is almost too much too handle. Excuse the hyperbole, I’m tired.

Woody’s Back
Woody Allen has another hit on his hands as Midnight in Paris garnered four nominations, and three of them are the kind that people actually care about. Shame I have 45 Woody Allen films to get through before I’m allowed to watch this one.

How Could They Leave Out ________?
For every nomination which warms the cockles of your heart there will be dozens of omissions which are completely outrageous and terribly short-sighted of the academy, only in your humble opinion of course. For me there’s not enough love for Drive and Olivia Colman has been robbed, robbed blind I say! I’m sure you have your own opinions, but how can they be as important as mine?

A Few Surprising Screenplays
The fact that fantastic Iranian film A Separation and delightful silent film The Artist are both nominated for Best Original Screenplay, a category normally filled with English scripts filled with dialogue, shows a fun bit of diverse nominating from the academy. It brings to mind the fact that the only time Buffy was nominated for a Golden Globe for writing was for the almost silent episode Hush. For anyone not sure why I’m rambling about Buffy, why not have a look at what the script for The Artist looks like, you can download it here.

The Difference Between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing is…
The same as the difference between Drive and Moneyball, apparently. These two categories, for Sound Mixing/Editing, have always baffled me and no more so than this year where they share a fourfilmnomineecrossover.

Is the Animated Feature Oscar Just for Kids?
I had a theory that Best Animated Feature only goes to the most accessible end of the animated film genre. With a few “proper” animated films on the shortlist, Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris among them, I look forward to being proven wrong. The absence of Cars 2 from the list gives me hope.

If nothing else, at least we’ll get to see this fella again (I hope):

BAFTA Nominations and the Great British Debuts

The BAFTA nominations were announced yesterday and showed plenty of love for The Artist, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and, in a pleasant surprise, Drive. With all nominations limited to the technical categories, Harry Potter best give up its hopes of finally getting any major awards. Less frivolous than the Golden Globes and a major stop on the way to the Oscars, the BAFTA nominations are exciting if pretty unsurprising.

Amongst this huge list what I want to focus on are the nominations for the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. In a time when we are looking towards the future of independent British cinema this is an uplifting category to see, especially after the devastation of Felicity Jones not making the shortlist for the Rising Star Award. I still love you Felicity, don’t worry.

Of the five nominees for Outstanding Debut, Attack the Block, Black Pond, Coriolanus, Submarine and Tyrannosaur, I have seen four and three of those made it into my carefully constructed Top 20 Films of 2011. Having five confident debuts from British talent is proof that the UK film industry has a future and that the various funding schemes are working. Looking back at yesterday’s talk of funding for production it’s interesting to see that Film4 helped fund Attack the Block, Submarine and Tyrannosaur, lottery funds went into both Attack the Block and Tyrannosaur, and Black Pond was made for just £25,000.

In my various reviews I’ve described these first-time features as intense, confident, fun, effortless, powerful, brutal and honest. What am I trying to say? Just that I’m incredibly proud of British cinema and continue to be relieved that yesterday’s report didn’t try to mess with a winning formula.

And now for the full list of nominees without comment: Continue reading

2012 Golden Globe Awards or: Hey Look a Dog in a Bow Tie

When a dog is wearing a bow tie you know it’s a special occasion. The reason Uggie from The Artist is all dressed us is that it was the Golden Globes last night, and as they are the first award ceremony of the year we have to pretend that they matter. At least the Golden Globes has Ricky Gervais on hand to entertain and offend everyone.

My predictions were hit and miss as usual but overall I’d say the awards went to the right people. The Artist, everyone’s favourite film right now (I did a small poll last night), received Best Comedy/Musical, Best Actor (Comedy/Musical) and Best Original Score (sorry Kim Novak) and should have won every other award going.

The Descendants, a film I enjoyed but for some reason don’t want to win any awards (I’m complicated), did very well for itself taking home Best Drama and Best Actor (Drama), leaving the Oscar battle as a dead heat between The Descendants‘ George Clooney and The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin.

Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams both won Best Actress awards, seemingly proving that a great performance in a mediocre not-quite-biopic beats any other effort this year. It still remains to be explained to me just how My Week With Marilyn fits into the Comedy/Musical category. Williams and Streep should have gone head to head in the drama category, and then lost to Tilda Swinton, in my achingly pompous opinion.

A quick shout out for Christopher Plummer winning Best Supporting Actor, Woody Allen winning Best Screenplay and A Separation winning Best Foreign Language Film; three worthy but unexpected wins. Also worth mentioning Madonna’s allegedly awful film W.E. picking up the award for Best Original Song In A Motion Picture which is a token award for a film that may never win anything again, unless another awards body wants to be able to invite Madonna along to their parties.

On the TV front all is well with Best Drama, Comedy/Musical and Miniseries going to deserving series Homeland, Modern Family and Downton Abbey respectively. The fact that I have actually seen all three is almost too much excitement for me this early on a Monday.

On the acting side it’s not too surprising to see Kate Winslet taking home an award, though she may have done better work in the film catagory this year (see Carnage). Peter Dinklage and Clare Danes rightly won in their categories and Matt Le Blanc picked up Best Actor In A TV Comedy/Musical as if to show how weak that category was this year. All that remains to be said is that Damien Lewis was robbed of his rightful award by Kelsey Grammer and Zooey Deschanel by Laura Dern.

For a full list of winners click here, and for a picture of Uggie with his very own Golden Globe look no further:

He thinks he’s people!

2012 Golden Globes Nominations

With awards season truly hotting up we are treated with the nominations for the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. They’re an interesting bunch, a lot of the more challenging and/or smaller films have been passed by. The Los Angles Times has it spot on when they say that the nominations seem to recognise those works featuring the A-list actors, more accessible films and less dark dramas. No Tyrannosaur or Like Crazy to be found below.

What you will find is my gut reaction and my opinions for each category (apart from Best Original Song and Best Original Score as that is not my strong suit) whether you want it or not. Continue reading