Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscars - Reaction

It feels not long ago since the post-Crash morning last year, and now we're back here again. Awards season is over. We have to wait 364 days until 2007's films are crowned. In the next couple of weeks I'll start my 2006 personal film awards (because I live in Britain and release dates are horrific), and then I'll make my first 2007 Oscar predictions sometime in April. So here are my last words on the Oscars for this year. Hope you all had a fantastic awards season, and at least everything wasn't a done deal.


Best Dressed

5. Helen Mirren - Looked royally superb in a light, peachy looking thing that made her look at least 15 years younger.

4. Cameron Diaz - Some people didn't like this but I thought she sold it very well. A long, white dress with a strange flap at the chest that I thought worked very well. Sharp and memorable.

3. Reese Witherspoon - I love the new Reese. Her beauty looks so effortless. Wearing dark purple she was a vision of elegance and the hair is gorgeous. Smokin' eye makeup. A star.

2. Cate Blanchett - I love, love, love the colour of this dress. A kind of steely grey its single strap on the left shoulder flattered her statuesque figure but took nothing away from her beauty.

1. Rachel Weisz - What can I say? Perfect vintage dress that shimmered and sparkled like a 40s movie star. Her hair and makeup were daring, flawless, and worked so well with the dress. Gorgeous necklace too.

Worst Dressed

5. Jennifer Lopez - I really did not like this. Had some weird draping things above her cleavage. The hair was odd too. Not sexy.

4. Beyonce - Not good. The strap was lumpy and boring. I didn't like the layout of the dress either. The whole thing just looked bulky and over-the-top.

3. Anne Hathaway - The black bow on her chest was a mistake. White with a black bow? Just, no. It looked stuck on and her jewelery was hideous.

2. Jennifer Hudson - A boring brown dress, which I could kind of handle had she not put a silver metallic shrug on top of it that looked as if it had been bought at some "tragic, casual corner" for a miniscule sum.

1. Kirsten Dunst - Whoever made her collar needs to be hung, drawn, and quartered. Translucent pale collar with a baby blue dress? I love Dunst but this was a big big disaster.

Generally a good night for fashion though. Other pluses go to Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and for the men.. Jackie Earle Haley, Jaden Smith, and the ever-smart Leonardo Di Caprio.


My prediction score is 14/24. I'm pleased. This year was much more difficult to predict than previous years. Especially the tech's. Regarding the ceremony...

Plus Points

The Departed winning Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Editing, taking home more prizes than any other film. It's about time we had a BP winner that really and truly deserves the title. It's absoloutely fitting that this should be remembered as Scorsese's year. His fim had more life, more punch, more polish than any of the other nominees. Bravo academy.

Happy Feet taking home the Animated prize. An Inconvenient Truth taking home documentary. A victory for global warming on all fronts. Milena Canonero's victory in Costume Design. We can now call Marie Antoinette an Oscar winner. Yay! Helen Mirren's speech. Regal. Engaging. Genuine. Jennifer Hudson's speech. Heartfelt. Oscary. Meryl Streep turning her smile effortlessly into an ice-cold glare at Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway when they presented Costume Design. Fantastic. The standing ovation for Martin Scorsese and the continual modesty of one of the greatest living directors.

Minus Points

Ellen presenting. Bring back Billy Crystal. Forest's excessive and boring speech. Pan's Labyrinth winning over Children of Men in cinematography. The fact that nominees now only get a five -second clip, and not much longer than that to accept their prize. Surely they could cut down on the montages. Nobody cares.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscars 2006: Picture

So here we are. It's february 25th, and tonight is the biggest night of the year. Certainly since as long as I've been watching the Oscars I can't remember a Best Picture race as tight as this. Here's my take on the matter...

Best Picture

The Departed
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Who should win? I haven't seen Letters From Iwo Jima yet. I managed to download a copy of it illegally(ssh -- oh don't judge me, I pour enough into the film industry the amount of films I go to see). Not the biggest Eastwood fan though, so I'm not expecting to be wowed there. Let's go through the remaining four..

I was hardly enthralled by The Queen. It's definitely good filmmaking but the characters aren't particularly deep, some being embarassingly cartoonish (Cherie Blair, Prince Philip, Alistair Campbell). Babel is my least favourite here. Again, it's well-made, but doesn't represent a great deal to me. Its 'message' about communication is a little too generic for my taste. The other two pictures, The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine, are both great in their own right. How can you not commit your heart and soul to Sunshine's near-perfect ensemble? But Scorsese's film is an exhilarating exercise in factional warfare and without doubt the finest movie here. The Departed gets my vote.

Who will win? Now, this is the question. There's a case for any of these five walking away with this statuette, and even though they may not represent the finest in cinematic talent, I can't say that I actively dislike any of them.

Little Miss Sunshine is the film that gained the most from the guilds (PGA, SAG and WGA wins) which would suggest it's in the lead, but things aren't always determined by precursors (Crash's victory last year serves as an example). This is a comedy, and few BP winners in the past couple of decades fit into that bracket. Comedy is looked down on. Having said that, it has very serious elements to it, and most of the people I've spoken to only have warm feelings about the film. Plus there's detractors for all of its rivals.

It's difficult to say how popular Eastwood's upset nominee Letters From Iwo Jima is, based on the fact that a) it's a foreign language film, b) it has very poor box-office figures, and c) after winning the NBR and LAFCA seemed to lose a lot of buzz, resulting in being snubbed by the guilds. History suggests that NBR winners = Oscars bridesmaids, and that's why I think it's the least likely to win. A lot of people seem to be downplaying The Queen's chances -- small, British, heavily dependent on its leading performance -- but it's been a continual presence in this awards season, and it could very well appeal to the aging Academy demographic. Plus America always seems to be fascinated by the royal family.

Martin Scorsese is still missing a Best Director Oscar, and indeed a Best Picture winner from his glorious career. The former looks an almost certainty, but he could take home the pair. Along with The Queen, The Departed has consistently been in the awards mix, included in almost every BP lineup, and taking home many critics prizes. But it lost the Globe, it lost the SAG, and it lost the BAFTA so it's hardly a formidable frontunner by any means. People were saying it was too action-orientated. Maybe they were right. Still, this is by far the best film, and made over $280m at the box-office. Commercial and critical champion often = Oscar winner.

I've been pondering my prediction in this category a lot. It's just so tough to call. Something at the back of my head is feverishly demanding I go for Babel though. Despite being critically much less liked than all of its rivals here, and admittedly very disliked in some circles, it seems like the most logical pick. The way I see it. Everybody votes for Best Picture. AMPAS may be a private organisation, but it has an internal community all of its own. Babel is the film that most tries to appeal to everyone, and its overtly self-important multi-narrative may propel it above its likely nearest competitors -- an 'action' movie, and an indie comedy. I'm choosing Babel.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Oscars 2006: Actor In a Supporting Role

OK so I'm nearly done. I've left the two tightest major races until last. That's, of course, the still five-way dash for the Best Picture prize, and the kind of open -- in the sense that nobody's really sure Eddie Murphy has the respect here -- Supporting Actor category. I simply must leave BP till the very end (I'm still undecided) so here are the guys ajudged of propping up their films (and leads) the best.

Actor In a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children
Dijmoun Hounsou - Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed

Who should win? Four out of these five performances are great, but only one will likely make my final line-up in this category -- the incredible Jackie Earle Haley. Of the five films noted here, Little Children is the one I like the least, and yet his haunting performance reels you in, even amongst shallow relationships and trigger-happy injections of pretension. His role may be very showy but if you look at the rest of the performances (2 drug addicts, a desperate father, and a wisecracking cop), he's in the more subtle bracket here.

Who will win?
Now this is the question. I'm inclined to believe that Mark Wahlberg can be ruled out here. This isn't the kind of role that wins oscars and truthfully, he's a bit young for this. As is Dijmoun Hounsou, who despite being nominated three years ago, would shock if he were to take home the golden guy. It's baity but this kind of award usually goes to either a veteran or a showman, which leads me to the likely Arkin Vs. Murphy showdown.

Eddie Murphy has a couple of critic awards, the Golden Globe, the SAG, an entertaining (and human) role, and a high Hollywood profile. But is he respected enough? He really only ever does comedy, or some form of it, and often it's not of the tasteful variety (Has anybody seen the Norbit trailer? Ugh). Alan Arkin, on the other hand, is a veteran oscarless actor with a funny role in a Best Picture nominee. Yet Arkin has only the BAFTA to show for himself. But what of the comeback kid? Jackie Earle Haley. His role isn't really identifiable (neither are the others), and his character isn't very likeable either. But still, Little Children has a decent presence at these Oscars, and he has the most critic awards of any nominee. Could he steal in?

Long story short... Arkin has gained momentum. Whether it's enough to win is debatable. I'm going for an Alan Arkin win, but it's close.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Oscars 2006: Actor In a Leading Role

Actor In a Leading Role

Leonardo Di Caprio - Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
Peter O'Toole - Venus
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland

Who should win?
By furlongs, lengths, kilometres, miles.. over bridges, through forests, scaled mountains and oceans, Ryan Gosling deserves to walk away with this award. It isn't that this performance is merely convincing. The depth of Gosling's performance creates a window into the mentality of addiction itself. He resists putting on the savage turn that people expect and perhaps prefer, in turn blurring the distinction between himself and his drug-dependent persona. Have the drugs taken over him? Do they provide escapism? Maintain youth? The main thing is that their effect is neither flaunted nor sensationalised, and Gosling's performance is indicative of that.

Who will win?
Every year there's one critically lauded performance I just don't get. Sometimes more than one (all of the acting winners, Robbins excepted, in 2003). This year it's the likely Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, in The Last King of Scotland. It's admittedly a powerful, intimidating, and occasionally touching portrayal of tyrant Idi Amin, but while Whitaker's incessant bellowing and sweating are, very watchable, I think the narrative contributes as much to the character as he does. There just isn't enough range in this for me.

An eighth loss for Peter O'Toole would mean he'd remain Oscarless and frankly very unlucky, considering the terribly uninspiring collection of Actors this year. I don't think this lineup is particularly bad, but it's hard to really love any of them that much -- apart from the fantastic RG. History suggests there may be a glimmer of hope for O'Toole (Page, Newman, Tandy), but Whitaker has swept the board this year, and plays a real-life character. It's depressing when the last non-biopic performance to win in this category came courtesy of the almost unwatchable Sean Penn in Mystic River. *Sigh* If Whitaker loses I'd be shocked.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Oscars 2006: Director


Clint Eastwood - Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears - The Queen
Paul Greengrass - United 93
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - Babel
Martin Scorsese - The Departed

Who should win?
A very good lineup actually. So good in fact that it's difficult to decide which I found better. It's between two. The ever-masterful Martin Scorsese, whose buzzing, exciting direction of The Departed made it an exhilarating experience, and a very easy watch. And Paul Greengrass, who probably has the more difficult job of filming in such an enclosed environment for long periods of the film. The effect of his direction on the film cannot be underestimated. Either of these I would be happy with winning.

Who will win?
As much as The Departed seems to be increasingly losing popularity I cannot see the oscar going anybody but Marty's way this time around. I don't actually think he has deserved to win most of his nominated directorial feats, but surely it's time now. He's such a nice guy. They're almost obliged to give him it this year. The only possible shock would be a win for Paul Greengrass, who grabbed the BAFTA and could get the DGA (you never know). But as much as Greengrass may have conceivably gained more #1 ballot placings for his docudrama, when everybody goes to vote, it will be difficult to look past Scorsese's name, knowing that he's lost here five times already.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Oscars 2006: Actress In a Supporting Role

And so we come to the category of Supporting Actress, (Can you tell I'm leaving the competitive categories until the end?) which has generally produced a high level of quality this year -- even if that level is not representative in the Oscar line-up. I'll refrain from saying too much about each particular performance, should my comments be needed for Stinkylulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown for 2006's nominated ladies, but nevertheless, here's my analysis of the race.

Best Actress In a Supporting Role

Adriana Barazza - Babel
Cate Blanchett - Notes On a Scandal
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel

Who should win?
In all honesty, only one of these performances really humanly touched me, and that was ten year-old Abigail Breslin's adorable portrayal of a wannabe child beauty queen. It's a mature and honest performance that never feels manipulative or artificial, as child performances sometimes tend to. When she identifiably bursts into tears under the pressure of failure, uttering the words "I don't wanna be a loser", the sincerity is enough to make you melt. The rest of the performances in the category I found either Leading turns misplaced as Supporting (Blanchett, Hudson), or great roles with merely good performances attached to them (Barazza, Kikuchi).

Who will win?
When you get a chance in life, you have to grasp it with both hands. I understand that. Jennifer Hudson will undoubtedly win this Oscar. She puts everything she has into her role as Effie, the forgotten woman and real talent of an aspiring group. Her version of "And I am Telling You" is great, making it her own (if considerably inferior) version of Holliday's showstopping tune.

When is all and said and done though, Jennifer Hudson is not an actress. She's a singer. And it does show. Hudson does very little to push the boundaries of her character, choosing to conserve the vast majority of her energy on the vocal aspect of the role. I think it's valid to question just what level of performance we're happy to accept from a media-endorsed 'product' like Jennifer Hudson. Admittedly, reality television shows like American Idol are not massively respected, but Oscar has a history of embracing media starlets, and they'll certainly embrace this one.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Brit Awards: Winners & Reaction

2007 Brit Award Winners:

British Male Solo Artist - James Morrison
British Female Solo Artist -
Amy Winehouse
British Group -
Arctic Monkeys
MasterCard British Album - Arctic Monkeys, “Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not”
British Single - Take That, “Patience”
British Breakthrough Act - Fratellis
British Live Act - Muse
International Male Solo Artist - Justin Timberlake
International Female Solo Artist - Nelly Furtado
International Group - The Killers
International Album - The Killers, “Sam’s Town”
International Breakthrough Act - Orson

Prediction Accuracy: 5/12 (42%) -- eeek!


Well I generally can't complain about most of the wins. My score was typically rather embarassing. I can never really guage the way things are going to go. The Oscars are much easier, which is clearly a bad thing, if the last few years are anything to go by. But never mind that! Music!

I'm absoloutely thrilled that The Killers walked away with two deserved awards, same goes for Arctic Monkeys. Although James Morrison and Amy Winehouse were both my second choices for their respective awards, this could have been much worse. I find it difficult to accept that Lily Allen didn't deserve anything from this (her categories were hardly loaded with superstars), but she isn't a very likeable person, and neither is her father, truth be told.

Russell Brand is officially God. Definitely the best presenting job I've seen at the Brits (that's not saying much I know). His digs at Robbie Williams may have gained a wry smile from the rehabilitating pop star -- 'may' being the operative word in that sentence. Take That resisted mentioning him though, as they collected their Best Single prize for "Patience". Deserved, if not quite up to Razorlight's "America". Question: What on earth were The Feeling doing in the single shortlist? I liked their first song, but the other three piss me off. Especially that one.

I can't pretend to be thrilled about either wins for Muse (dull), or The Fratellis (great band, but probably 3rd most deserving -- this IS a breakthrough category after all), or Nelly Furtado (although 'Maneater' and 'Promiscuous Girl' were great she seems to have abandoned the folk roots that made her so different and appealing). But these do not compare to the awards for Justin Timberlake and Orson. The former did not surprise me, the latter dumbfounded me. I know JT had 'SexyBack' this year, but is one song representative of this award? 90% of the people I know own a Jack Johnson album. And Orson. My god. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel. I know this is a Breakthrough prize, but if groups like Girls Aloud and McFly, that produce great music in frowned-upon genres can gain no nominations, and clownish wannabes that churn out average music in an ascending genre can win, then it makes me wonder if Punk Rock is the new crack. The Brits have been addicted to this for the past few years.

That's all

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oscars 2006: Actress In a Leading Role

Best Actress In a Leading Role

Penélope Cruz - Volver
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet - Little Children

Who should win?
When looking at this category, you really can't help but admire the quality. Even if it does seem to be the same women who make the Academy's shortlist again and again, their consistent brilliance is undeniable. Perhaps with the exception of Winslet, all five of these performances would be worthy of this Oscar, especially when you look at the state of last year. Having said that, I must admit to finding Helen Mirren's performance slightly overrated (still excellent but this isn't the greatest thing anyone's ever done).

The other three performances in this category are exceptional, and I'd be delighted if any of them were to claim glory (I have to dream, don't I?). If I'm honest though, I think the one who has the most difficult job of selling their character is Penélope Cruz, who also has to align herself completely with the sensationalist blackness of the film, which she does so effortlessly with fiery dynamic gumption.

Who will win?
Without the need of a crystal ball, rune stones, tarot cards, or any other predictive instrument, I can confidently say (along with the rest of the world) that Helen Mirren will be crowned Queen of the Oscars.

Ever since this performance (or at least the role) first emerged into being, her buzz has soared and soared, and still won't be reined in despite the film having been released over four months ago. Playing the Queen has its advantages, both in terms of Oscar preference, and media interest. Never have I seen the media take a performance and put it on so high a pedastal, and never has Helen Mirren had as high a profile as she does right now.

Mirren is Queen of the critics too, garnering nearly thirty prizes, and losing just ONE, to the unflinching vicious Ellen Page in Hard Candy. Fairly astonishing considering what an excellent year it was for actresses. Still, her motor through the precursors has killed off any competition. This is no contest.

The Brit Awards 2006 - Predictions

So, the Brit Awards are upon us, and the exciting thing.. they're LIVE this year. The even more exciting thing? Russell Brand is hosting. Talk aplenty about dinkles and Hare Krishna? Let's hope so.

British Male Solo Artist

James Morrison
Jarvis Cocker

Paolo Nutini
Thom Yorke

Who deserves to win? In rather a weak category (I'm not a fan of Cocker, Lemar, or Nutini) Thom Yorke is way the best. And if there was a God in this world, perhaps he might take it. But there isn't, and he won't.

Who will win? Because that honour will be bestowed upon either James Morrison, whose other nominations suggest he's a big favourite with the voting panel, or Lemar, who despite churning out very little, has won this prize before. I'm going to give them some credit and predict a James Morrison victory.

British Female Solo Artist

Amy Winehouse
Corinne Bailey Rae
Lily Allen
Nerina Pallot

Who deserves to win? Lily Allen. She's proved time and time again this year that she's a class act. Three great singles, an excellent live lounge session, and a brilliant album. Amy also has two great songs, but I fancy they'll be remembered far less than Allen's somewhat outlandish material.

Who will win? Probably Corinne Bailey Rae. As popular as Lily is, her arrogance is well-documented. Her refusal to seriously acknowledge the Brits (she may not even turn up) means they'll likely go with the likeable Rae, whose music is soulful, if not perhaps very daring.

British Group

Arctic Monkeys

Snow Patrol

Who deserves to win? The Arctic Monkeys, by about ten lengths.

Who will win? The Arctic Monkeys, by about four lengths, from Razorlight.

British Album

Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black"
Arctic Monkeys - "Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m Not"
Lily Allen - "Alright, Still"
Muse - "Black Holes & Revelations"
Snow Patrol - "Eyes Open"

Who deserves to win? Arctics. Allen's album is top drawer but for its showstopping headlong dives into social and cultural identity, the Monkeys reign supreme.

Who will win? The Monkeys. It's the fast selling British debut Rock album. It's a given.

British Single

Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put your records on"
The Feeling - "Fill my little world"
James Morrison - "You give me something"
Kooks - "She moves in her own way"
Leona Lewis - "A moment like this"
Lily Allen - "Smile"
Razorlight - "America"
Sandi Thom - "I wish I was a punk rocker"
Snow Patrol - "Chasing cars"
Take That - "Patience"
Will Young - "All time love"

Who deserves to win? Take That, Lily Allen, and especially the fluctuating output of Razorlight, the highlight of which is their fantastic track, 'America'.

Who will win? Take That. Having had just one single, this is the only category they could have realistically placed in, and they did. Their comeback will be sealed with this win.

British Breakthrough Act

Corinne Bailey Rae
James Morrison
Lily Allen

Who deserves to win? Lily Allen. From daddy's girl to fierce girl.

Who will win? Hmm.. James, Lily, James, Lily, James, Lily, James (has anyone else noticed these are the forenames of Harry Potter's parents? What a strange thought).. fuck it. Lily Allen.

British Live Act

George Michael

Robbie Williams

Who deserves to win? I couldn't care less.
Who will win? Well if Robbie Williams is as unpopular as his single nomination suggests, Muse have this sewn up.

International Male Solo Artist
Bob Dylan
Damien Rice
Jack Johnson
Justin Timberlake

Who deserves to win? Jack Johnson! Can somebody please give this guy some major recognition? He made a classy, classy album.

Who will win? Timberlake's SexyBack was great, but is that song alone enough to beat JJ's two-year long momentum and impressive album sales? I hope not. Jack Johnson.

International Female Solo Artist

Cat Power
Christina Aguilera
Nelly Furtado

Who deserves to win? Who is Cat Power? It's Valentines, so I have to pick P!nk (shut up, I would have picked her anyway).

Who will win? Nelly Furtado's two major successful singles this year could be enough to top RnB diva Beyonce, but being a bigger media star always helps. Beyonce by a hair.

International Group

Flaming Lips
Gnarls Barkley
Red Hot Chili
Scissor Sisters

Who deserves to win? In a great category, I have to concede that the Killers probably deserve to win. In fact, they definitely do.
Who will win? The Scissor Sisters have one song this year but they're practically ADORED here. The sisters.

International Album

Bob Dylan - "Modern Times"
Gnarls Barkley - "St Elsewhere"
Justin Timberlake - "FutureSex/LoveSounds"
Killers - "Sam’s Town"
Scissor Sisters - "Ta Dah"

Who deserves to win? Um. I haven't heard Dylan's new stuff but I suspect it's nothing revelatory. There's a case for both Gnarls Barkley, and The Killers, but one would think that you're less likely to grow tired of Barkley's smooth tone.

Who will win? I'm actually tempted to go with Gnarls Barkley. We don't have an International Single category, and therefore there's nowhere to honour the brilliant and massive ten-week number one, Crazy. Except as part of an album. Voila.

International Breakthrough Act

Gnarls Barkley

Ray Lamontagne
Wolfmother Island

Who deserves this? Lol.

Who will win? Folk singer Ray Lamontagne has built up a hefty fanbase, but he's no superstar. Gnarls again.
Enjoy the show everybody!

Valentines Special: Romantic Comedies

Hello lovers,

I've decided to do a special Valentines Day ode to the often cute and often shamelessly manufactured Rom Com genre. As horrifically tacky, and mercilessly sweet as Valentines Day truly is, occasions such as this do tend to make life a little less dull -- even if you're in love and still single (as I am -- What can I say? I'm fucked up. I'm sure there's plenty others). So whether it's Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson swapping glasses, Meg Ryan imitating an orgasm, or Reese Witherspoon haunting Mark Ruffalo in the shower, let's salute the Best and the Worst of, probably, the most produced genre out there.

Worst 5 Romantic Comedies

4. Notting Hill
3. A Good Year
2. The Sweetest Thing
1. Return To Me

Best Romantic Comedies

Ten Things I Hate About You
4. When Harry Met Sally
3. Some Like It Hot
2. Bringing Up Baby
1. Annie Hall

If You Don't Have Someone...

If You Have Someone...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Oscars 2006: Who Should/Will Win? [Screenplays]

Best Original Screenplay

Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Who deserves to win? I'm not seeing Jima till the 23rd. Of the other films vying for the prize, only Little Miss Sunshine manages to create characters that you can imagine going about their daily existence before and after the film's detailed ephemeral portion. Pan's Labyrinth is certainly a very original script, though is at times incredibly easy to read. As for Babel and the Queen, the less said the better.

Who will win?
Probably Peter Morgan's script on the aftermath of the death of media darling Diana. One suspects Little Miss Sunshine definitely has a shot here, given that they love to give this prize to the indie comedy (Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine), but Morgan's screenplay seems to have strangely gathered a rather prestigious aura. But lest we forget that Sunshine is probably the BP frontrunner, and Crash was thrown the bone here last year. I'm saying The Queen.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

Who deserves to win?
Patrick Marber, whose Closer screenplay I completely detested, creates some wonderful phrases for Dench to spit out in Notes on a Scandal. William Monahan's Departed script is lively and exhilarating, though a couple of its characters seem like spare parts.

Who will win?
Definitely The Departed. No other film here has anywhere near enough support on that front. Borat probably has a few supporters but does it really represent good scripting? I'm dubious.

BAFTA Predictions 2006

My predictions.. All British acting winners :-P

The Departed

THE ALEXANDER KORDA AWARD for the Outstanding British Film of the Year
The Queen

THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in their First Feature Film
Andrea Arnold (Director) - Red Road

THE DAVID LEAN AWARD for Achievement in Direction

Martin Scorsese - The Departed


The Queen - Peter Morgan


Notes on a Scandal - Patrick Marber


Pan's Labyrinth

Happy Feet

Peter O'Toole - Venus


Helen Mirren - The Queen


Michael Sheen - The Queen


Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada

THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD for Achievement in Film Music

The Queen - Alexandre Desplat


Pan's Labyrinth - Guillermo Navarro


United 93 - Clare Douglas/Christopher Rouse/Richard Pearson


Pan's Labyrinth - Eugenio Caballero/Pilar Revuelta


Marie Antoinette - Milena Canonero


Casino Royale - Chris Munro/Eddy Joseph/Mike Prestwood Smith/Martin Cantwell/Mark Taylor


Casino Royale - Steve Begg/Chris Corbould/John Paul Docherty/Ditch Doy


Pan's Labyrinth - José Quetglas/Blanca Sànchez


Emily Blunt

Friday, February 09, 2007

Oscars 2006: Who Should/Will Win? [Minors]


Since I've seen the vast majority of nominees (including all the acting ones -- for the first time ever I might add), I'm going to assess who I think should win, and who I think will win. First up are all the minor categories..

Best Animated Film

Happy Feet
Monster House

Who deserves to win? 'Happy Feet'! As much as I really enjoyed 'Monster House', the dancing penguins comfortably get my vote. It's the most creative and energetic animation in years, wonderfully manifesting existing pop songs into its rapturous exercise. It's also incredibly poignant.

Who will win? Probably 'Cars'. Pixar still rule the roost when it comes to animation -- even when it's considerably second-rate by their standards.

Best Art Direction

The Good Shepherd
Pan's Labyrinth
Pirates 2
The Prestige

Who deserves to win? 'Pan's Labyrinth' by a country mile. 'The Prestige' has very interesting art direction but it's not on the level of Pan's wacky, sinister fantasy.

Who will win? I think it's probably between Pans and 'Dreamgirls'. I'll go for Pans. The girls will probably get two major awards, and surely a song prize, and Pans has much more momentum.

Best Cinematography

The Black Dahlia
Children of Men
The Illusionist
The Prestige
Pan's Labyrinth

Who deserves to win? I must admit to not fully remembering Dahlia's cinematography, but let's be honest, who wants to? Not when Lubezki's masterful camerawork is available here. He deserved it last year as well.

Who will win? I think probably 'Children of Men'. Lubezki is a big name, plus its major competition, Pans, will pick up prizes elsewhere.

Best Costume Design

Curse of the Golden Flower
The Devil Wears Prada
Marie Antoinette
The Queen

Who deserves to win? Canonero's divine costumes in Marie Antoinette. If there was ever a collection of dresses deserving of the term 'powerhouse'. These are it.
Who will win? Lots of people don't like Marie Antoinette. I'm hoping this doesn't interfere with the race too much, but still, I'm thinking 'Dreamgirls' could take this, being the biggest film there. Plus the costumes are great.

Best Film Editing

Blood Diamond
Children of Men
The Departed
United 93

Who deserves to win? 'United 93'. All of these have great editing but United's is so crucial to the feel and the mood of the film, and it's flawlessly executed.
Who will win? It's the type of award they give to films that have multi-narratives, so I think 'Babel' will probably get this. I certainly wouldn't rule out Schoonmaker though. They love her.
Best Makeup
Pan's Labyrinth

Who deserves to win? Probably 'Apocalypto'. I really don't have much of an opinion here.

Who will win? Well I certainly am not ashamed to say that I haven't seen 'Click'. Something tells me though that people are not going to want it deemed an Oscar winner. There are plenty snobs out there. I think the smart money is on 'Apocalypto', given the level of violence in the film as well as the tribal markings.

Best Original Score

The Good German
Notes on a Scandal
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Who deserves to win? Desplat's beautiful Queen score. Just gorgeous. It adds a contemplative element to the film almost single-handedly.

Who will win? I think Desplat will. This will be a tight race. Santaolalla won last year, but 'Babel' uses its score very well in the film. Newman isn't out of it either.

Best Sound Editing

Blood Diamond
Flags of our Fathers
Letters From Iwo Jima
Pirates 2
Who deserves to win? I think the sound in Gibson's film is excellent, and really helps to build intensity. Eastwood's Flags uses it better though. The war scenes harrowingly vast in authenticity and effect. I haven't yet seen Jima.

Who will win? I fancy Jima probably will, since it likely won't win anything else. Also Eastwood has 2 in this category.
Best Sound Mixing

Blood Diamond
Flags of our Fathers
Pirates 2

Who deserves to win? Flags again. Although 'Dreamgirls' has plenty to appreciate on the sound front.

Who will win? Dreamgirls. When in doubt, pick the musical.

Best Visual Effects

Pirates 2
Superman Returns

Who deserves to win? Definitely 'Poseidon'. Breathtaking, breathtaking stuff.

Who will win? Pirates. 5 Nominations + major box office leader. It's a done deal.