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Category: BAFTA

Mike Leigh blasts BAFTA and Oscars

September 17, 2010 |  7:01 pm

Notoriously candid director Mike Leigh really let loose when I sat down with him at the Toronto International Film Festival and asked him what he thought about showbiz awards. He's grateful for the love he gets from Yankee and European kudos, but — yikes — quite upset over being snubbed by the top film awards in his native Britain.

"Let's put it this way," he said. " 'Happy-Go-Lucky.' Sally Hawkins got the Silver Bear for best actress (at the Berlin Film Festival). She got a Golden Globe. We had Oscar nominations and a huge number of critics' awards in the States. We had no nominations in any categories at all in the BAFTAs."

"Why do you think that is?" I asked.

"God only knows and if he existed I would ask him!" Leigh harrumphed. When I pressed him further, he added, "BAFTA genuflects to Hollywood. The result of that is that some kinds of British films get neglected."

And what about the Academy Awards?

"I've been to the Oscars a few times," he replied. "Fascinating experience. We know we're never going to win because the guys from Hollywood do. I don't mind that. It's the name of the game. From the point of view of what actually matters most, which is getting our films in front of audiences, it's a terrific bonus."

Video by Paul Sheehan

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'Harry Potter' stars dominate BAFTA TV nominations

May 10, 2010 |  9:24 am

Bafta Statues Although Daniel Radcliffe was snubbed two years ago by the BAFTA TV Awards -- the British equivalent of the Emmy Awards -- for his performance in the telefilm "My Boy Jack," six of his older "Harry Potter" co-stars are contending in top races at this year's kudos.

Leading that list is Julie Walters, the on-screen mother of Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), who competes with herself in the best actress race. All four of the nominated performances are for real-life roles -- Walters as politico Mo Mowlam in "Mo" and assisted suicide advocate Anne Turner in "A Short Stay in Switzerland"; Helena Boham Carter -- the dastardly Bellatrix LeStrange in "Harry Potter" -- as beloved children's author Enid Blyton in "Enid"; and Sophie Okonedo as Winnie Mandela in "Mrs. Mandela." Both of Walters' works contend for best single program against "Five Minutes of Heaven" with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt and Samantha Morton's directorial debut, "The Unloved."

Three of the four nominees for best actor, also a catch-all category that includes performances in one-offs, minis and series, are "Harry Potter" stars. Kenneth Branagh -- who played vain professor Gilderoy Lockhart -- was snubbed last year for the first season of "Wallander," which earned him an Emmy nomination, but contends for the second season of the mystery series. Brendan Gleeson -- who plays Phoenix member Alastor Moody -- won an Emmy last year for his BAFTA-nominated performance as Winston Churchill in "Into the Storm." John Hurt -- who was wand merchant Mr. Ollivander -- won the BAFTA 34 years ago for his portrayal of Quentin Crisp in "The Naked Civil Servant" and contends again for the sequel "An Englishman in New York." Rounding out the race is David Oyelowo for "Small Island," which vies for best serial against "Occupation," "Red Riding" and "Unforgiven."

Okonedo is also contending in the supporting actress race for the miniseries "Criminal Justice" against Rebecca Hall ("Red Riding 1974"), Lauren Socha ("The Unloved") and Imelda Staunton ("Cranford"), so memorable as Harry Potter's nemesis Dolores Umbridge. Supporting actor nominees are Benedict Cumberbatch ("Small Island"), Tom Hollander ("Gracie!"), Gary Lewis ("Mo") and Matthew Macfadyen ("Criminal Justice").

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Come Fly Away' to Broadway | 3-D or not 3-D | Katherine Heigl on Emmy uproar

March 26, 2010 |  4:09 pm

Come Fly AwayTwyla Tharp -- who picked up a Tony in 2003 for choreographing "Movin' Out," set to the songs of Billy Joel -- is back with another dancefest. "Come Fly Away" tells the story of four couples to the tunes of Frank Sinatra. The musical opened Thursday to mixed reviews from the Gotham critics. "Movin' Out" landed 10 Tony nominations, including best musical, but took home just two awards (orchestrations was the other). Among the five acting bids were a lead one for John Selya and a featured one for Ashley Tuttle, both of whom appear in "Come Fly Away."

• No surprise that the BAFTAs will be held on Sunday, Feb. 13. As with this year, that places these kudos two weeks before the just-announced date of the Oscars.

• And no surprise that Oscar winner Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") is skipping Saturday's Kids' Choice Awards where she contends for favorite movie actress against Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox and Zoe Saldana. Her rep told People she was never slated to attend.

• The father of the alleged other woman -- Michelle McGee -- says that his daughter decided to come forward after seeing Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James attending the Oscars as a happily married couple. THE 33

How To Train Your Dragon • Friday brought a marked increase in the cost of seeing 3-D films in both regular cinemas and Imax. Director Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") and critic Roger Ebert offer up very different views on the 3-D explosion. For Nolan -- whose latest film, "Inception," is not in 3-D -- this resurgence is an "interesting development." However when reviewing "How to Train Your Dragon," Ebert opined, "The 3-D adds nothing but the opportunity to pay more to see a distracting and unnecessary additional dimension."

Oliver Stone explains to Claude Brodesser and Jada Yuan why the release date of "Wall Street 2" got bumped from April 24 to Sept. 23 despite high-profile cover stories for both Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf touting the earlier date. "'This is the flat-out truth: [Fox] said, 'We’d like this for April.' We’d finished shooting principal photography on December 9. That’s a tight squeeze, but I could have made it.' But then the possibility of Cannes arose, which Stone thought was a great platform; also contributing to the decision was the disturbingly close May 7 opening of the behemoth that will be 'Iron Man 2,' which 'gave Fox a bit of a shiver.' " NEW YORK

• Though the latest version of "Robin Hood" is slated to open the Cannes filmfest, it will be screening out of competition. The film -- which unspools on the Croisette two days before its U.S. and U.K. release -- marks the fifth collaboration for director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe, who plays the title role; their first pairing was on 2000 best picture champ "Gladiator" which won Crowe his Oscar. Another Oscar winner -- Cate Blanchett ("The Aviator") -- costars as Maid Marian.

Entertainment-heigl-cover_1801 • "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl -- who won the supporting actress Emmy in 2007 -- declined to submit herself for consideration in 2008, telling Gold Derby, "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination." This week the actress apologized for the furor she caused, telling Michael Ausiello, "I could have more gracefully said that without going into a private work matter. It was between me and the writers. I ambushed them, and it wasn’t very nice or fair." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• Supporting actress champ Mo'Nique ("Precious") was all set to take her Academy Award out on the road as she tours the country with her comedy but she discovered, "Oscar's heavy, and I thought they would give me a hard time at the airport, so I left Oscar at home." However, she adds, "I'm going to bring him on some of the tour." CONTACT MUSIC

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Top Photo: "Come Fly Away" playbill. Credit: Marquis Theater

Middle Photo: "How to Train Your Dragon" poster. Credit: Paramount

Bottom Photo: Katherine Heigel on "Entertainment Weekly" cover. Credit: EW

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars odd couple | 'Lost' actors find new work

February 25, 2010 |  5:05 pm

Bill Mechanic Adam Shankman OscarsAnthony Breznican interviews rookie Oscars producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman and discovers "the division of labor is simple: Mechanic puts together the show; Shankman puts ON the show." He notes that "they liked last year's innovation of having five past Oscar winners coming out to introduce the individual acting contenders. But Shankman and Mechanic want the presenters to have some past connection to the person they're introducing. 'For things where you can't have a connection, for example documentary short, we'll put a comedian,' Shankman adds. 'We'll put an entertainment value there.' As for other entertainment, 'there will be two big dance numbers. Though Shankman doesn't want to reveal too much, smart money is on a few awards being presented within a dance routine." USA TODAY

• While the first three Oscar presenters announced were last year's living acting winners, the next four were all teen sensations (Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart), and the newest is the one-man media powerhouse Tyler Perry. As the press release notes, "Perry, who is the driving force behind Tyler Perry Studios, writes, produces and directs films in which he also often performs. Perry wrote, produced and starred in 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' in 2005. His subsequent film credits include 'Madea’s Family Reunion,' 'Daddy’s Little Girls,' 'Why Did I Get Married?' 'Meet the Browns,' 'The Family That Preys' and 'I Can Do Bad All by Myself.' " The announcement omits Perry's executive producing credit on the best picture nominee "Precious." AMPAS

• The official calendar for the 64th annual Tony Awards has been released with these key dates: eligibility cutoff (April 29), nomination announcement (May 4), nominees' press reception (May 5), nominees' private reception (May 20) and the award ceremony (June 13).  TONYS

Lost_LogoWilliam Keck reports that "Lost" Emmy winner Terry O'Quinn "is shopping around a bible for a TNT-type show that would pair him back up with his real-life chum and on-screen foe, Michael Emerson (Ben), as suburban hit men juggling family issues. Though Terry asked me not to spill show specifics, he has spoken with 'Lost' creator J.J. Abrams about the project and says, 'I really hope this works out because Michael would be in his prime in this. We’d play kind of awkward partners.'" TV GUIDE

Dave Karger says, that "with so many of the acting races already sewn up at the Oscars this year, Missy Schwartz and I decided to turn the spotlight on four underdog nominees that we’re rooting for with passion … and not a little futility. True, these four performers don’t have a shot in Hades to reach the Kodak Theatre stage on March 7, but that doesn’t mean they’re not deserving of our love." Dave's personal picks are the two BAFTA lead acting winners -- Colin Firth ("A Single Man") and Carey Mulligan ("An Education") -- while Missy opts for Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") and Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air").   ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• In the first of a series, Melena Ryzik answers readers' questions on the Oscars. The first query -- the difference between sound editing and sound mixing? Melena turns to Oscar-winning sound editor Alan Robert Murray, who explains that the supervising sound editor "is like 'the architect or planner of the soundtrack, meaning he designs and sets up everything having to do with sound effects, dialogue -- nothing to do with music, that’s a whole separate thing -- then would go out and record sounds for the production that he needs, design specific things the director wants,' whether that’s an invented audio effect or simply the sound of a door closing. When it’s ready, all of that audio goes to the sound-mixing stage. 'The sound mixers mix the dialogue at a level that you can hear it, they add the music into the movie and interweave that with all the other sounds, and they basically do the finished product, Mr. Murray said. 'And both are under the input of the director, of what he’s looking for.' " THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Top photo: Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press

Bottom photo: "Lost" logo. Credit: ABC

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Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger predix Oscars | So does Sasha Stone | Oscars marketing gambits

February 23, 2010 |  4:12 pm

The Hurt Locker poster • Before revealing that he is sticking with "The Hurt Locker" for the best picture Oscar, Dave Karger recaps the derby parallels between that film and "Brokeback Mountain" four years ago: "'Brokeback' managed the rare feat of winning Best Picture and Best Director at both the New York and Los Angeles film critics awards; so did 'Hurt Locker.' 'Brokeback' also picked up those two big prizes at the Broadcast Film Critics Awards; so did 'Hurt Locker.' 'Brokeback' won the trifecta of PGA, DGA, and WGA trophies; so did 'Hurt Locker. 'Brokeback' won 4 BAFTAs, including Best Film, Director, and Screenplay; 'Hurt Locker' picked up 6 awards, including Best Film, Director, and Screenplay. And of course, 'Brokeback' lost the SAG cast award, and so did 'Hurt Locker.' (The main difference between the two films’ tallies is that 'Brokeback' did win four Globes, including Best Drama and Best Director, while 'Hurt Locker' went 0 for 3.)" ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• After noting that, "'The Hurt Locker' director Kathryn Bigelow could be the first woman to win Best Director, a triumph for female filmmakers everywhere," Nicole Laporte wonders, "is the Academy voting for her movie or her gender?" She begins her analysis of the issue with this anecdote: "At a recent awards ceremony where Bigelow accepted one of the many accolades she's earned on the pre-Oscar circuit, Bigelow, who is 58, was met with a whooping cry of 'Go, Girl!' It was the kind of remark that's hard not to smile at -- at least, at first -- but that lingers in the air, eliciting a longer-lasting cringe, and ultimately dumps out a suitcase's worth of sexist issues of the sort that have been trailing Bigelow on her long march to the Academy Awards." THE DAILY BEAST

Pete Hammond reports, "campaigners are pulling out all the stops trying to position their movie as the one with the gravitas that befits a best picture winner. In addition to the usual trade and newspaper ads, TV spots and billboards, at least one 'Hurt Locker' nominee apparently feels the best way may be hand-to-hand combat via e-mail. The Academy may frown at this direct attempt to contact its members, but 'Hurt Locker' co-producer Nicholas Chartier, who through his Voltage Pictures was the film's key financing wizard, is making pleas to friends and friends of friends to get out the vote for 'Hurt Locker' like it was some sort of political grass-roots campaign. His pitch isn't so much about the quality of the film, but rather its independent nature versus that movie with the blue people that cost so much to make. He doesn't mention 'Avatar' by name." NOTES ON A SEASON

• Gold Derby's Emmys forum has been buzzing with speculation over which category Showtime will enter "Dexter" star John Lithgow: supporting or guest? Lithgow recently won the Golden Globe in the supporting slot, but Showtime media chief Richard Licata tells us that Lithgow will compete in the guest slot at the Emmys. The actor won the first of his four Emmys as a guest performer on the series "Amazing Stories" back in 1986. The other three came for his regular lead role on the laffer "Third Rock From the Sun."

The Blind Side PosterSasha Stone offers up her Oscar predictions in a compelling piece of writing that includes these observations: "In the Best Actress category, it is perhaps a three-way race, with Sandra Bullock firmly in the lead, followed by Meryl Streep and then perhaps Carey Mulligan in a possible upset. There is little doubt that Meryl Streep gave the best performance, but Sandra Bullock has paid her dues and 'The Blind Side' managed to get a Best Picture nomination, which is practically a miracle. For Bullock to lose at this point there would have to be a good reason for it -- and that reason would probably be something like a messy divorce or a bar room brawl. Best Actor still feels like it’s Jeff Bridges’ to lose. There isn’t anyone gaining Adrien Brody-like steam. The only one would have been Viggo Mortensen in 'The Road' but he didn’t get a nod. Jeff Bridges is so beloved and his performance was so good -- and he was in a movie that people seem to really like, certainly enough to give Maggie Gyllnehaal the supporting nod." She also says, "Supporting actor and actress couldn’t be more locked. Both will seen as the big wins for their respective films, which means they can’t really lose. The two open categories right now are still Picture and Original Screenplay in the major categories. Everyone is so quick to call the race done and done, but the truth is, with ten nominees and preferential ballot, anything could happen." AWARDS DAILY

Randy Lewis reports, "Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham will make what may be their swan song appearance together in conjunction with the film 'Crazy Heart' when they perform one of the movie’s songs at  the 25h anniversary Spirit Awards ceremony on March 5 in Los Angeles. Rather than singing the much-lauded theme 'The Weary Kind,' the best-song Oscar-nominee that Bingham and Burnett wrote, the trio plans to offer up 'Fallin’ and Flyin’, written by the late Texas singer and songwriter Stephen Bruton, who oversaw the film’s music with producer and longtime friend Burnett. Bruton died of cancer shortly after completing work on the music." POP & HISS

Roger Friedman reports, "Monday night in the main ballroom at the Plaza Hotel, AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, gave its lifetime achievement awards to an eclectic bunch. They were: 'Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, CBS' Charles Osgood, 'Soul Man' Sam Moore, the cast of 'Sesame Street' and Latin American artist Juanes. The winners inspired an equally eclectic group of presenters: Don Imus, for Sam Moore; Tony Bennett, for Juanes; Bill Geist for Osgood." SHOWBIZ 411

Oscars Expanded Best Picture RaceMelena Ryzik makes merry with the academy's proposed party kit for Oscar night. "When you think Oscars, you think, 'Bingo!' right? The Academy’s reaching-out-to-the-youth campaign continues with snazzy party-planning tips on its website, including a downloadable card for Oscar bingo, with squares for 'Crying,' 'Winner Accepts Oscar in a Foreign Language' and, mystifyingly, 'Lauren Bacall.' (Spoiler?!) Also on the Academy’s fun primer -- available at oscars.org/partykit -- is a video with Cheryl Cecchetto, a producer of the Governors Ball, the official Oscar afterparty, offering 10 tips for throwing your own Oscar-watching party. 'Must-have number three,' according to Ms. Cecchetto: 'Set the mood by featuring the soundtracks of the nominated pictures.' (Right, since you won’t be hearing them on the actual show.) And must-have No. 4 is 'Champagne, Champagne and more Champagne.' No argument there." THE CARPETBAGGER

• While Heidi Klum won't be on hand, the academy is staging its own version of "Project Runway" this year. Nine up and coming designers -- five from LA, two from New York, and one each from Chicago and Phoenix -- have created gowns to be worn by the models who appear onstage at the Kodak Theater. But only of their creations will make it to the Oscars with online voting from now till March 1 determining the winner. The unveiling of this design will be in the pre-show airing on ABC just before the Oscars on March 7. AMPAS

• One star who has definite ideas about what she will be wearing to the Oscars is best actress nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education"). As Phil Boucher writes, "Having already appeared once in Vogue, is Mulligan taking editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s advice on what to wear to the Oscars? Not according to Mulligan, who has visions of her own. 'Anna said I should wear short for the Oscars,' says Mulligan. 'I was like 'No, that is so not what I had in my head when I was six years old!'" PEOPLE

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Top photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

Middle photo: "The Blind Side" poster. Credit: Warners

Bottom photo: Academy Award statuettes. Credit: AMPAS

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Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

February 23, 2010 | 10:07 am
Oscars predictions Academy Awards best actress Sandra Bullock news

The Oscars and BAFTA Awards reputedly share about 500 voters, so maybe that explains why BAFTA has correctly predicted the Oscars' lead actress race for the last four years. If they're really in sync, what are we to make of Carey Mulligan's lead-actress victory for "An Education"? Does this mean we're underestimating her voter pull at the Oscars? Or maybe the Brits just decided that they wanted to take a break from Hollywood groupthink this year and embrace a local British gal?

What makes parallels difficult is the fact that Oscar front-runner Sandra Bullock wasn't nominated at BAFTA because she wasn't eligible. "The Blind Side" didn't open in Britain in 2009. Maybe the fact that Mulligan won BAFTA just means Mulligan, not Meryl Streep, poses the biggest challenge to Bullock, who may the Oscar front-runner, as most pundits believe.


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Photos: "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics), left; "Julie & Julia" (Columbia), "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.)

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Gold Derby nuggets: OMG! Kristen & Taylor at the Oscars | Emmys for Betty White and Ann-Margret? | Memorable Oscars of yesteryear

February 22, 2010 |  4:48 pm

Taylor Lautner Kristen Stewart Twilight Oscars • While last year's Oscar champs Sean Penn, Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz were referred to by their last names in the Feb. 11 academy news  release touting their appearances on this year's Oscars, tween and teen stars Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart merited first-names only in Monday's announcement of their bookings. For Cyrus and Efron, it will be their second time on the Kodak Theatre stage while "Twilight" stars Lautner and Stewart will be making their debut appearances at the Oscars. AMPAS

Scott Feinberg talks to Harvey Weinstein about the Oscar odds of "Inglourious Basterds" and a wide array of other subjects. As Scott reports, "Over the course of our 20-minute call, he repeatedly tries to steer the conversation back to 'Basterds,' Waltz, and especially Tarantino, with whom he’s collaborated ever since the boy wonder’s first film 'Reservoir Dogs' (1992) 18 years ago. But the reason that I requested this interview was to talk not about the puppeteer but rather about the puppeteer’s puppeteer." AND THE WINNER IS

• Four-time prime-time Emmy champ Betty White could be in the running again this year if the Facebook campaign to land her a hosting gig on "SNL" pans out. Michael Ausiello reports, "White would not be hosting alone. Rather, I hear 'SNL' is putting together a 'Women of Comedy' episode that would team the former Rose Nylund with several of her younger contemporaries. Ex-'SNL' MVP Molly Shannon is on board, I hear, and feelers have also been put out to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler." Last year, Fey and Justin Timberlake won the guest acting Emmys for their hosting of "SNL." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

SVU LogAnn-Margret might finally nab the Emmy that has eluded her five times in the past with the news that she will be guesting on "Law & Order: SVU." As per Robyn Ross's exclusive interview with executive producer Neal Baer, "the actress will portray "a star of commercials that were made in the '70s" and will be joined in the episode by Jaclyn Smith, who Baer says will play "a retired cop who works with Benson and Stabler to solve an old crime." Baer calls it "'Charlie's Angels' thirty years later." Over the years, guest actresses on "SVU" have earned 14 Emmy nominations resulting in four wins. TV GUIDE

Brad Brevet does a superb job reviewing the Oscar-nominated live action and animated shorts.  As Brad notes, Short Films International and Magnolia Pictures are currently screening all 10 shorts theatrically. For Brad, "Miracle Fish" from Australia is the best of the live action bunch while among the animated shorts, it may just be "A Matter of Loaf and Death." As Brad writes, "What is there really to say? It's Aardman. It's Wallace and Gromit. Isn't that enough? This time around Wallace has started up a baking business and all around him other bakers are being knocked off one-by-one." ROPE OF SILICON 

• While Steve Pond thinks "The Hurt Locker" will win best picture at the Oscars, he still isn't ready to say the race is over. As he writes, "'Avatar' has already beaten all the odds at the box office, and it’s picked up a good chunk of voters who view it as such a transformative, groundbreaking experience that it’d be crazy to vote for anything else. 'Avatar' is the reason the Oscar show will see its ratings increase dramatically, and Academy voters know that. All of which makes “Avatar” the film that could possibly, conceivably throw the usual rules out the window and grab a win that hasn’t been indicated at any of the significant precursor awards." THE WRAP

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpJeff Wells observes, "It's being asked which of this year's Best Picture nominees will be watched by film buffs 50 years hence. Just as I've watched (and will watch again) a 50 year-old Korean War film called 'Pork Chop Hill,' I can't imagine 'The Hurt Locker' not being a fascinating timepiece for those looking to absorb what the Iraq War was for U.S. troops. And just as 'Ben-Hur' is a necessary flick to own (especially when it finally comes out on Blu-ray or at least see once, who can imagine 'Avatar' not being a essential sit in 2060?" Jeff then recaps the merits of the 1959 Oscar nominees as well as those films snubbed by the academy. HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• A trio of Time Out scribes -- David Fear, Joshua Rothkopf and Keith Uhlich -- count down their top 50 most-deserving Oscar winners of the past 81 years. While the cinematography of "The Third Man" (1950) just made the cut, topping their list is the visual effects of "2001." As Rothkopf writes, "Our consensus choice by a galaxy-wide margin, Stanley Kubrick’s seismically influential special effects—landmark accomplishments in their field—were steered by an intelligence that spent years pursuing a vision of total realism." TIME OUT NEW YORK

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Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Top photo: Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in a scene from "Twilight: New Moon." Credit: Summit

Middle photo: "Law & Order: SVU" logo. Credit: NBC

Bottom photo: Academy Award statuettes. Credit: AMPAS

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'The Hurt Locker' wins six BAFTA Awards

February 21, 2010 |  2:34 pm

The Hurt Locker poster "The Hurt Locker" won six of its eight races at the BAFTA Awards in London including the top prize of best picture. Since the BAFTAs were moved up in 2000 to take place while academy members were still voting for the Oscars, these laurels have foreseen only three of the nine best-picture winners: "Gladiator" (2000), "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003) and last year's "Slumdog Millionaire."

Unlike this year's Oscars, there were only five films nominated for the top BAFTA and the winner was decided by a simple vote count. Of the four other nominees, all of which are also in contention at the Oscars, "Avatar" took two of its eight races, production design and visual effects; "An Education" prevailed with just one of its eight nominations, best actress (Carey Mulligan); "Up in the Air" went one for six winning adapted screenplay; and "Precious" came out on top in one of its four categories, supporting actress (Mo'Nique).

The BAFTAs have done better at predicting the acting Oscar champs since the date change. Of the 36 acting Oscars handed out this decade, 22 went to BAFTA winners. In 2006 and 2007, all four BAFTA champs went on to win at the Oscars. Last year, three of the four BAFTA winners repeated at the Academy Awards; Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") was the exception. 

However, this year the BAFTA track record is likely to be just two for four. The lead acting BAFTAs went to two homegrown stars, neither of whom is favored at the Oscars: Colin Firth winning the only award for "A Single Man" and Mulligan doing the same for "An Education." However, the supporting BAFTAs were won by, no surprise, Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique. 

That win by Waltz was the only one for "Inglourious Basterds," which had six nominations including directing and screenplay bids by Quentin Tarantino.It was not nominated for best picture, however. Among the other best-picture Oscar hopefuls, "District 9" lost all seven of its races; "Up" took two of its four categories, animated film and score; and "A Serious Man" lost its only BAFTA bid, for original screenplay, to "The Hurt Locker." As "The Blind Side" has yet to open in Britain, it was not eligible for consideration.

Thus that film's star, Oscars front-runner Sandra Bullock,  was not eligible to contend here for best actress. Mulligan -- the only English rose in the BAFTA bunch -- bested two of her American Oscar rivals -- veteran Meryl Streep, who scored her 12th nomination for "Julie & Julia," and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious") -- as well as two second-time nominees -- Ireland's Saoirse Ronan ("The Lovely Bones") and France's Audrey Tautou ("Coco Before Chanel"). The BAFTA best actress has won the Oscar six of nine times this decade.

To win best actor, one-time past nominee Firth edged out three of his Oscar competitors -- three-time previous BAFTA nominee George Clooney ("Up in the Air") and first-time contenders Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") and Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") -- as well as fellow Brit and first-time nominee Andy Serkis ("Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll"). The BAFTA best actor has repeated at the Oscars five of nine times this decade.

In the supporting actor race, Waltz won over just one other Oscar nominee, Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones"), and Mo'Nique bested the Oscar-nominated "Up in the Air" co-stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. The BAFTA supporting actor champ has prevailed at the Oscars four of nine years, and the supporting actress winner has taken home the Oscar an impressive seven of nine times.

Although only four of the nine BAFTA directing champs of this decade went on to victory at the Oscars, this year's winner, Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker"), is likely to even those odds. Two of her Oscar rivals  -- James Cameron ("Avatar") and Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds") -- were also in contention at the BAFTAs.

Among the other highlights of the ceremony at the Royal Opera House, Prince William, the newly announced president of the British academy, and Uma Thurman presented the fellowship -- the equivalent of the honorary Oscar -- to Vanessa Redgrave.

For the full list of winners visit the BAFTA website.

Photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars nixed 'Bruno' for host | Dave Karger BAFTAs predix | WGA Awards preview

February 19, 2010 |  3:26 pm

Bruno Oscars Sacha Baron Cohen • The Oscars took pity on the poor ABC censor when they said no to rookie show producers Bill Mechanic's and Adam Shankman's idea to have Sacha Baron Cohen ("Bruno") host the Oscars. As Shankman told "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross, "it would just be spectacular. But I think the Academy felt like not only is it unpredictable but it could overshadow the nominees. Then we immediately went to this idea of co-host." Among the other tidbits he shared was this one about the presentation of the acting Oscars: "We're doing something a little bit different with it, but in point of fact, something like that is going to be done and the way we're doing it has to do with a bit more of interconnectivity because what was really, really stunning about last year the way they did that was the video clip buildup to the reveal of the stars, I mean the editing of that stuff was so breathtaking and so big that when those screens went up and you saw the five walk out, you're just like going, whoa, my God, it was so dramatic and beautiful." NPR

• As well as all those previous Academy Award winners, last year's Oscars also had "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson presenting. This year, the other two sides of the love triangle at the heart of the film -- Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner -- will be onstage at the Kodak Theatre on March 7. Stewart admitted to Mark Malkin that she is very nervous. "I'm trying to pick shoes that I know I won't fall down in." E ONLINE

• "Up in the Air" novelist Walter Kirn will be in the audience after all to see whether Stewart falls. Following his earlier airing of his frustration that he had not been invited to the Oscars, today he tweeted: "thanks to Paramount Pictures for coming through with Oscar tickets and proving true to its word, which i shouldn't have doubted." TWITTER

Bafta StatueDave Karger says, "I've always been a firm believer in the power of the BAFTA Awards to give us an idea of how the overall awards-season winds may be shifting. After all, 'The Hurt Locker' tied 'Avatar' with the most nominations at the BAFTAs before it managed the same feat on Oscar nomination day. But then there’s the BAFTA wild card, 'An Education,' which also scored eight nods." Says Dave, "Avatar" will win best picture while for best director "clearly this is a race between Cameron and Bigelow. I’m wondering if 'The Hurt Locker' might be too American-indie feeling to sway the British voters, but I still think Bigelow will take it." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Pete Hammond reports, "Voters seem more confused than ever on the new preferential voting even though the academy tried to diligently spell out specific instructions for members who may be ballot-challenged when it comes to selecting their best picture choices in order of preference. One academy member, a savvy publicist I know who has worked on many campaigns, is puzzled himself by the new process that requires voters to rank the 10 nominees. 'I have read the instructions four times now, and I still don't know what they want from me,' he said in total frustration. 'I have no dog in this hunt this year, but if I can't figure this out, how do they expect others to, especially the older ones used to just picking one winner?'" NOTES ON A SEASON

• And Jack Mathews bemoans the late date of this year's Oscars. "The Academy Awards season, even with a mid-to-late February finale, is far too long. And as it has turned out this year, as it turns out in most years now, many of the winners are known long before the show. Current example: Golden Globe and SAG winners Jeff Bridges ('Crazy Heart'), Sandra Bullock ('The Blind Side'), Christoph Waltz ('Inglourious Basterds') and Mo'Nique ('Precious') have nothing to fear but forgetting people to thank on March 7." MOVIEFONE

Wga-awardSasha Stone delivers an insightful analysis of this Saturday's WGA Awards. Says Sasha, "Since 'Inglourious Basterds,' 'In the Loop,' 'District 9,' 'The Messenger,' Up,' and 'An Education' were all ineligible for the WGA, things are bumped off the rails even more. It could mean that, for the first time in five years, there will be a mis-match in Original Screenplay." She concludes with, "for now, I’m going with 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Up in the Air' for the WGAs and 'Inglourious Basterds' and 'Up in the Air' for the Oscar." AWARDS DAILY

Top photo: "Bruno" publicity still. Credit: Universal. Middle photo: BAFTA statuette. Credit: British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Bottom photo: Writers Guild of America award. Credit: WGA

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How BAFTAs voting works and differs from the Oscars

February 19, 2010 | 10:09 am

While the BAFTAs preview many of the eventual winners at the Oscars, the two prizes are awarded in very different ways. Last year, BAFTA chairman and Oscar-winning producer David Parfitt ("Shakespeare in Love") spoke to Gold Derby about the three-part process used to determine the eventual winners. To listen to the full podcast download the MP3 file here. (You may need to hold down your computer's control key while clicking.)

First off, what's the overlap between BAFTA and Oscars voters? "We don't know, of course. It's hard to find out," Parfitt said, but he offered some helpful information. Oscars consultants estimate that there are about 500 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members in the U.K. -- surely, they're almost all BAFTA members too. Add to that many of the BAFTA members living in the U.S. "We've got 1,200 members between L.A. and New York," Parfitt says.

Bafta_1_bafta_awards

Considering how restrictive the Oscars are about membership, let's suppose that no more than half of those BAFTA stateside members  also belongs to the Oscar academy. That means there's probably an overlap of 1,000 voters between the two voting groups, which both have between 5,000 and 6,000 total voting members.

Parfitt explained all of the fine details: how to qualify to become a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, how much dues cost (350 pounds for folks in the U.K., 250 pounds for members beyond) and how much the top ticket costs is to attend the BAFTA Awards ceremony (750 pounds). Voting is compulsory for those members who register to do so, and is conducted online.

But what was most interesting was his explanation of how the voting process works and how it differs from the Oscars.

"We have three rounds of voting," he said. Everybody can vote in the first round, which results in "long lists" with 15 contenders in each category. Five of those contenders are chosen by each category's corresponding peer group -- Parfitt calls them "chapters" -- and those chapter choices are highlighted on the long lists so all voters can see what the experts like. "We don't have a chapter vote in performance categories," he noted.

"In round two, the whole membership votes in the main categories to determine the five nominations," Parfitt explained. "In round three, the chapters vote for their own and the whole membership votes in the performance categories, best film and best foreign film.

"The award for best British film is a hybrid. It's got some general membership votes in there, but it's finished by a committee. Normally, we take the top five decided by the membership, but the committee has the option to bring a title up into that five if they wish. The winner is chosen by this committee of about 30 people."

Listen to the full chat here. And see a full list of nominees at the BAFTA website.

Photo: BAFTA statuette. Credit: British Academy of Film and Television Arts

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Will BAFTAs preview Oscars again?

February 19, 2010 |  8:43 am

Slumdog Millionaire BaftasSince the BAFTAs were moved up in 2000 to take place while academy members were still voting for the Oscars, these laurels have foreseen only three best-picture winners -- "Gladiator" (2000), "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003) and last year's "Slumdog Millionaire." The BAFTAs do far better at predicting the acting Oscar winners. In 2006 and 2007, all four BAFTA champs went on to win at the Oscars. Last year, three of the four BAFTA winners repeated at the Academy Awards -- Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") was the exception. Of the 36 acting Oscars handed out so far this decade, 22 went to BAFTA winners.

Two of the front-runners at this year's Oscars -- "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker," as well as homegrown favorite "An Education" -- lead the pack at this Sunday's BAFTAs, with eight nominations each, including best picture bids. Another two of the top Oscar contenders -- "Up in the Air" and "Precious" -- fared less well, though they count best picture bids among their six and four BAFTA bids, respectively.

Another favorite at the Oscars -- "Inglorious Basterds" -- also contends in six BAFTA categories, including directing and screenplay nods for Quentin Tarantino, but was bumped from the best picture race, which has only five contenders. Among the other best-picture Oscar hopefuls, "District 9" has seven nominations, including directing and screenplay bids, "Up" contends in four categories, including animated film and original screenplay; that latter category was where "A Serious Man" earned its only BAFTA nomination. As "The Blind Side" has yet to open in the UK, it was not eligible for consideration.

That means Oscars front-runner Sandra Bullock is not contending for best actress at the BAFTAs. Her chief rival for the Oscar -- Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") -- is in the running at the BAFTAs. However, Streep  numbers only one win -- best actress in 1982 for "The French Lieutenant's Woman" -- among her previous 12 BAFTA nominations. Of the others in the BAFTA race, Saorise Ronan ("The Lovely Bones") and Audrey Tautou ("Coco Avant Chanel") are both past onetime nominees while Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Gabby Sidibe ("Precious") are newcomers. The BAFTA best actress has won the Oscar six of nine times this decade.

Among the BAFTA best actor nominees, George Clooney ("Up in the Air") leads with three previous acting bids while Colin Firth ("A Single Man") has one previous film nomination. Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart"), Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") and Andy Serkis ("Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll") are all first-time BAFTA film nominees. The final Oscar contender -- Morgan Freeman -- was denied a BAFTA bid for "Invictus," which was shut of these awards entirely. The BAFTA best actor has repeated at the Oscars five of nine times this decade.

Alfred Molina ("An Education") is the only previous BAFTA contender in the supporting actor race while Kristin Scott Thomas -- with three previous BAFTA bids -- is the only vet in the supporting-actress race. Neither of them is contending at the Oscars. The overlap between nominees for both supporting races is just five for 10. The BAFTA supporting actor category includes two Oscar nominees -- front-runner Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds") and Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones") while the BAFTA supporting-actress race has three Oscar contenders --  likely winner Mo'Nique ("Precious") as well as "Up in the Air" co-stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. The BAFTA supporting-actor champ has prevailed at the Oscars four of nine years while the supporting-actress winner has taken home the Oscar an impressive seven of nine times.

Just four of the nine BAFTA directing champs of this decade went on to prevail at the Oscars. This year's BAFTA race has three of the five Oscar nominees -- James Cameron ("Avatar"), Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") and Quentin Tarantino ("Inglorious Basterds"). 

See the full list of nominees at the BAFTA website.

Left photo: BAFTA logo. Credit: British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Right photo: Publicity still from "Slumdog Millionaire." Credit: Fox Searchlight

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Gold Derby nuggets: Brits go Lady Gaga | Oscars set set | Prince William presenting at BAFTAs

February 17, 2010 |  5:03 pm

Lady Gaga BritsLady Gaga went three for three at Tuesday's Brit Awards in London, winning international album, female and breakthrough act. Home-grown boy band JLS won best British breakthrough act and best single for "Beat Again." Dizzee Rascal, Florence and the Machine and Lily Allen also picked up prizes. "Two special categories were created to celebrate the 30th Brits ceremony -- the Spice Girls' 1997 performance of their hits 'Wannabe' and 'Who Do You Think You Are' was named the best moment in Brits history, while Oasis' '(What's the Story) Morning Glory' was named best album. Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher accepted the award, with no sign of brother Noel, and threw the statuette straight into the crowd. Robbie Williams received the honorary award for outstanding contribution to music, ending the show with a live medley of his greatest hits including 'Let Me Entertain You,' 'No Regrets' and 'Angels.'" BBC

James Cameron told Christopher John Farley, "the book version of 'Avatar' will follow the film version 'quite closely' in terms of the plot. But the novel will also include 'interior monologues' and provide details about the characters and Pandora. 'There are things you can do in books that you can’t do with films.' Cameron said he first considered writing the book when he was filming the movie. 'I told myself, if it made money, I’d write a book,' the director said. 'Avatar' has grossed more than $666 million domestically." WALL STREET JOURNAL

• Says Steve Pond, "I think the preferential system will definitely hurt 'Avatar,' but I think it’ll help 'Basterds' less than it’ll help 'The Hurt Locker.' 'Basterds' may be less divisive than 'Avatar,' but it’s not the kind of broad, consensus favorite that could challenge the frontrunners. It’s too sprawling, too audacious, too violent and too brazenly, defiantly revisionist to be an everybody’s-top-five kind of movie. Yes, 'Basterds' beat 'Locker' for the SAG ensemble award. But that prize traditionally goes to big casts, not small ones. I don’t see that translating into a decisive edge with the Academy’s actors branch, which gave the two films the exact same number of nominations: one Best Actor nod for 'Locker, one Supporting Actor plaudit for 'Basterds.' As for the other films that could sneak in via the preferential ballot, 'Up in the Air' and 'Up' may well make moves as the count goes into its later rounds, making up for a smaller number of Number One votes with lots of Twos and Threes. But they’re going to start with a significant disadvantage (particularly 'Up'), and I don’t think they’ll be able to make up ground fast enough to become real contenders." THE ODDS

Oscar Set 2010 • Steve Pond also reports, "the academy unveiled its most complicated, high-tech Oscar set ever at a Wednesday morning press conference in the lobby of the Kodak Theater, where the show’s crew now has about 14 days to mount and fine-tune the collection of rotating LED panels, turntables, film projection screens and mirrored curtains before the stars start showing up. 'We have two weeks to get it right, and the best technical people in the world,' said show co-producer Bill Mechanic after the unveiling. 'Two weeks to get all the bugs out. One of the risks of being ambitious is that you could trip. But if we don’t trip, you’re going to get one of the most dynamic shows that you’ve ever seen.' The set was designed by David Rockwell, who did the Oscars for the first time last year, although he and his firm also designed the Kodak Theater itself. Rockwell’s set for 2009’s 81st Oscar show, was, said co-producer Adam Shankman, 'one of the stars of last year’s show.'" THE ODDS

• Predicting the Oscars? There's an app for that, says the academy: "The app’s features give iPhone and iPod touch users access to a nominees list for each of the 24 categories, see trailers for the 10 Best Picture-nominated films, and predict winners in each of the categories. Users’ predictions will be saved to a database that will enable sharing with friends via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as well as by e-mail and SMS text. 'We want to connect with movie lovers wherever they are,' said Janet Weiss, the Academy’s director of marketing. 'Our Oscar App gives fans a way to participate in all the excitement and buzz right up to and through the show.'" AMPAS

Chris Willman says, "It's considered a given that Jeff Bridges will win best actor for portraying fictional country singer Bad Blake in 'Crazy Heart' and that the same film's primary theme song, "The Weary Kind," is a shoo-in for best song. But the movie's backers aren't taking any chances, so Bridges actually sang for his supper -- or his Oscar -- at an exclusive mini-concert in Los Angeles Monday night attended by a crowd heavy on Academy members. The actor was joined in his performance by T Bone Burnett, who produced the music for 'Crazy Heart' as well as co-writing most of its songs, and alt-country favorite Ryan Bingham, who co-wrote "The Weary Kind" and has a small part in the film as a pickup musician. Also putting in cameo musical appearances at this unusual gig: Robert Duvall, Harry Dean Stanton and a seriously underrated honky-tonk pianist by the name of Elton John." CMT

Prince WilliamPrince William will bestow the BAFTA fellowship -- the equivalent of a honorary Oscar -- on Vanessa Redgrave at this Sunday's awards. There is a certain irony to this as Redgrave -- who accepted a CBE in 1967 -- is said to have turned down the honor of being made a Dame of the British Empire in 1999. William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II would have been the one to officiate at Redgrave's induction.  DAILY MAIL

Sasha Stone does her usual thorough analysis of the BAFTAs including these observations: "In terms of Actor and Actress, it’s a tough call. But let’s say that Actress could be down to Meryl Streep versus Carey Mulligan. Streep has never won a BAFTA since the date change and has been nominated six times, including one year where she was nominated for both lead and supporting. It would be a shame if the BAFTA didn’t recognize Streep here, but you know how everyone feels about Carey Mulligan. Odds are probably on Mulligan for the win. With a teentsy potential upset with Gabby Sidibe. Actor is probably going to be either Colin Firth or Jeff Bridges. I didn’t get much of a 'Crazy Heart' vibe from the BAFTA, though, gotta say. The truth is, any of them could win it. Bridges holds steady if he is nominated. George Clooney could get a tiny bump, but not likely. The real upset here would be Jeremy Renner winning. That boy is like fire and gasoline when you get him on stage so if he gets one chance to win it might make him some competition for Bridges." AWARDS DAILY

Top photo: Lady Gaga backstage with her three Brits. Credit: Brit Awards

Middle photo: 82nd Annual Academy Awards set. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Prince William. Credit: The Prince of Wales website

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