Empire Awards: The Horror! The Horror!

Thought the awards season was over? Well yesterday Empire Magazine held their own awards ceremony and the results are mostly horrible.

Avatar won both best film and best director with Zoe Saldana picking up best actress. Another major mistake was Sherlock Holmes winning Best Thriller. Without getting into a debate about what constitutes a thriller I dispute Holmes being a better film than Inglourious Basterds.

On the plus side In The Loop finally won something as it acheived Best Comedy beating out a four more successful, but less brilliant films. Sadly Moon and District 9 were again overlooked in favour of the more flashy Star Trek, at least Cameron didn’t get this one. The full list of winners can be seen here.

What happened Empire? You used to be cool man!

It makes me wonder when the Mild Concern awards are.

2010 Oscars Debrief

The fact that my Oscar predictions were 73% accurate is less a testament to my psychic powers and more a sign of just how predictable this years ceremony was. Not to mention long.

All the acting awards went to the recipients everyone expected and the big showdown between Avatar and The Hurt Locker was thankfully won by the latter. A full list of winners can be found here.

The show was an odd one. It felt incredibly long as the more famous winners seemed to be allowed to drag their speeches out forever, and most did not save their thank you lists for when they were off stage. Baldwin and Martin were funny hosts and were warmly received by the audience, something Jonathan Ross somehow failed to achieve at the BAFTAs. The tribute to John Hughes was genuinely moving and a celebration of the horror genre included some odd clips; is twilight a horror?

One of the big successes of the night was the personal speeches made about the ten Best Actor/Actress nominees, given by their friends and former co-workers. Another highlight was Neil Patrick Harris giving a great song and dance performance to open the show though it seemed a little out of place in a more toned down show, filled with movie stars.

The big win for me was Avatar just getting technical and visual awards, saving the big awards for films with more substance. It was interesting, for me at least, that none of the acting roles winning big awards were from award-heavy films. Ultimately the lack of tension over who would win most of the awards detracted from the usual Oscar excitement, only Best Foreign Film was a complete surprise; no one seemed to have even heard of the winner El secreto de sus ojos.

If this seems a bit scatty and all over the place just appreciate that I was up until 5am.

Oscars Tonight!

Tonight the awards season comes to a head with The Oscars, serving as a night of either disappointment or excitement, launching some careers and proving a last hurrah for others.

Tonight’s show has been designed to be more appealing to the viewer at home starting with the hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who should in theory inject some comedy into the ceremony. Hugh Jackman’s all singing, all dancing performance last year will be hard to top, though the show is said to have a draw-dropping opening.

There are a few changes this year including the attempt at saving the lists of thank yous from winners till after they have exited the stage, some younger presenter appealing to a youth audience and the removal of performances of the nominated songs. The emphasis is clearly on a more streamlined and entertaining evening.

One interesting change is the way the acting awards will be presented. Last year five previous winners announced a nominee each before the winner was revealed, a friend of each nominee will be on hand to call out the nominees and present the award to the eventual winner. With this, and the emphasis on speeches about what the award means to the winners, emotions should be flying high on stage.

I will be watching with interest to see if this all pays off, and of course to see how accurate my predictions were. While I won’t be live-tweeting, come back tomorrow for Mild Concern’s look at what happened at Hollywood’s biggest night out.

The Oscars are airing on Sky Movies Premiere from 1am 8th March. If you don’t have Sky a live stream will be available here: http://www.livestream.com/theoscars

BAFTA Debrief

Despite some horribly received jokes courtesy of Jonathan Ross’ final year hosting, the BAFTA’s turned into a great ceremony where nearly all the awards were given to worthy candidates. Though hopefully next year the BBC will broadcast live so I don’t have to close twitter to remain unspoiled. While the Oscars will no doubt have a more entertaining show the winners are likely to be much more disappointing. Let’s look at who won:

Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer – Duncan Jones for Moon

This was a great start for the night as a very promising new director steps out from his father’s shadow and gave a teary acceptance speech for a much deserved award. Shame this wasn’t kept for later on in the evening when things started to drag.

Best Acheievement in Special Visual Effects/Best Production Design – Avatar

The two awards I have to admit Avatar is entitled to. The film pushed boundaries and the teams looked dead chuffed to win. Cameron remained seated for both awards thank god.

Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds

Yes it was obvious, especially when up again Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated, and it won’t be his last award but Waltz deserved to win. The only debate is whether he was really a supporting actor or just knew it would be easier to win in that category.

Best Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

She didn’t even turn up to collect the award! I’m sure she was very good but I’d have preferred someone from Up in the Air to win. Poor Anna Kendrick struggled to look happy while Edgar Wright beside her pretended to be Jason Reitman so no one would realise they’re dating.

Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year – Fish Tank

I have yet to see Fish Tank but it is supposed to be good and I know In the Loop had no real chance. An Education once again was shown to have lost its awards buzz sometime over Christmas.

Orange Rising Star Award – Kristen Stewart

Looks like those Twilight fans have been voting hard. Outside of the vampire franchise Stewart has put in some good performances in films such as Adventureland and Into the Wild and my only concern with her winning is that she is hardly a newcomer, they even showed a clip of her in Panic Room from 2002.

Best Screenplay (Adapted) – Up in the Air: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

I was very surprised and happy with this win though sadly Reitman wasn’t there to collect and Edgar Wright had to give up pretending to not simply being Anna Kendrick’s date. I’d be surprised if same result came out at the Oscars.

Best Animated Feature Film – Up

It was no surprise that Up won but it was a beautiful film. Pixar is so often expected to win in these categories but never has it been so well deserved. I always find the Pixar people slightly too nice and sincere though.

Best Film not in the English Language – Un prophète

Having seen none of the nominees like a true British cinema-goer I have no real opinion apart from to say that I thought Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte would win, for no good reason.

Best Actor – Colin Firth for A Single Man

After a long career Colin Firth has finally become a real actor. He looked very happy and gave the funniest speech of the night. Jeff Bridges will probably get the Oscar but should start to worry a little bit.

Best Actress – Carey Mulligan for An Education

Coming from almost nowhere Mulligan wowed critics and raised awards hopes that had almost disappeared, but with the home advantage she finally won something and was her usual adorable self upon accepting the award.

Best Screenplay (Original)/David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction/Best Film – The Hurt Locker

Winning these three big categories had made me realise I should probably get around to watching The Hurt Locker, a film that looks like it just might deserve the awards it keeps winning. Not sure why they kept calling the film a risk, but they certainly seemed to think it was one.

Academy Fellowship – Vanessa Redgrave

It was sad to see her daughter Natasha Richardson feature in the “In Memoriam” montage but Vanessa Redgrave seemed genuinely honoured to receive her Fellowship. Everyone watching became less and less happy for her though as her speech nearly reached the ten minute mark, an oddly painful way to close the show.

BAFTA Film Awards

Sunday night brings the BAFTA film awards, Britain’s only answer to the Oscars that isn’t a product of ITV’s marketing department. With any luck the BAFTAs will offer up different winners to the American awards as the nominations were certainly more inclusive of smaller films.

An Education and it’s star Carey Mulligan garnered a lot of award buzz last year that has since died down, but with nominations for Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Achievement in Directing and Best Adapted Screenplay it could well finally get a few of the awards it has been promised. Carey Mulligan is definitely one of the biggest contenders for the Orange Rising Star Award. Sally Sparrow for the win!

Personal favourites, and mostly ignored films, from last year were Duncan Jones’ Moon and In the Loop, both now nominated for Outstanding British Film. In The Loop is also up for Best Adapted Screenplay and Duncan Jones for Most Promising Newcomer. A win for any of these nominations is quite possible and would be a real victory for these underrated little gems, it’s just a shame neither Sam Rockwell or Peter Capaldi are nominated.

The final two films I think may fare better this side of the pond are District 9 and Fantastic Mr. Fox, though both probably only retain an outside chance of victory. Nowhere Boy and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll are getting some of their first nominations outside of the British Independent Film Awards, though probably have little chance of success here.

The four award heavyweights, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, have racked up their usual slew of nominations and could easily win in any category without much surprise or effort. While Avatar is also up for a few big awards I don’t see it faring too well as it faces stiff competition from other more worthy films. I could be wrong; Avatar did surprisingly well at the Golden Globes. Fingers crossed at least.

The British Academy Film Awards air on BBC1 from 9pm Sunday 21st February, and the full list of nominees can be found here.

Double Oscar Speeches

This years Oscar ceremony will have twice as many speeches, though luckily only half will be on stage. With the intention of reducing the length of acceptance speeches and eliminating long lists of thanks the producers are introducing the “Thank You Cam”.

All nominees have been instructed to prepare a 45 second speech detailing what winning the Oscar means to them to for onstage, and they can then list their personal “thank you”s to the camera backstage. This footage will then be put online so that everyone can actively ignore it, barring those who were thanked of course.

I am dubious as the whether this will work, winners are notorious for running over and ignoring the increasingly insistent orchestra trying to play them off. This should however level the playing field, with every winner being played off after 45 seconds. It’s all too obvious that they let well know, established performers talk for much longer than the obscure German director who is getting their first bit of recognition.

I hope that this plan has at least a small impact on the show, as long lists of names can be tiresome, but when emotions are running high the rules tend to be ignored and understandably so.

The Oscars 2010 – Predictions

Oscar nominations were announced early this afternoon (or this morning in the US) and were mostly predictable, nominations for In The Loop and District 9 being the only gladly received surprise nominations. Below are my predictions, marked (p), and hopes, marked (h), for the Oscars. In some categories it was a hard choice as some of my favourites of the past year go head to head. Continue reading

Golden Globes Debrief

Last night the Golden Globes succeeded in giving out some well deserved, if unexpected, TV awards. Glee, Dexter, Big Love and United States of Tara all got awards that I had hoped for but not expected, putting me in a very good mood to begin with.

The film categories were less of a success, despite Jason Reitman and Christoph Waltz getting some recognition, as both Robert Downey Jr. and Avatar picked up awards that simply were not justified. Joseph Gordon Levitt surprised everyone this year and deserved to win over Downey Jr. who has put in many better performances than his in Sherlock Holmes.

Avatar winning best Director and Best Film (Drama) was a real kick in the teeth as I am adamant that, while providing technological breakthroughs, Avatar is not even the best of the five nominees, let alone the best of any drama in the past year. I especially get annoyed when it is said that Avatar will change the face of cinema, as so many films will not use or benefit from motion capture techniques.

Golden Globe Hopes

Below are my hopes, not necessarily predictions, for tonight’s Golden Globes. I have removed a couple of categories where I know none of the nominees.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Inglourious Basterds

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
(500) Days of Summer

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
George Clooney for Up in the Air

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Carey Mulligan for An Education

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Joseph Gordon-Levitt for (500) Days of Summer

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air

Best Director – Motion Picture
Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Up in the Air

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Up: Michael Giacchino

Best Animated Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best Television Series – Drama
Dexter

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Glee

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Thomas Jane for Hung

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Toni Collette for United States of Tara

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Michael C. Hall for Dexter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Anna Paquin for True Blood

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
John Lithgow for Dexter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Chloë Sevigny for Big Love