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Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Film

Catherine Hardwicke will not direct 'Twilight' sequels

December 7, 2008 |  6:33 pm

Despite introducing America's most successful new movie franchise, Catherine Hardwicke will not direct the sequels to "Twilight." Summit Entertainment Co-Chairman/Chief Executive Rob Friedman tells Nikki Finke of DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com: "Catherine and Summit have agreed to part ways on the sequel because our visions are different."

Catherine_hardwicke_twilight

Finke reports a source says the studio is taking Hardwicke off the sequel because she "was 'difficult' and 'irrational' during the making of "Twilight." The movie received lukewarm reviews — scoring 53 on Metacritic — but it nabbed respectful notices from some major media, such as Entertainment Weekly magazine and the Los Angeles Times, was produced for a modest budget of $40 million and has grossed more than $160 million in several weeks. Most hit films suffer huge attendance plunges after opening weekend, but "Twilight" has held on for a third weekend, coming in second place these last few days, reaping $13.2 million. The success of "Twilight" is so spectacular that plans are now underway to shoot the next two installments of Stephenie Meyers' books — "New Moon" and "Eclipse" — back to back in order to save money.

"This terrible news for Hardwicke comes just as she and the 'Twilight' cast (Robert Pattinson, Kristin Stewart) are on their European press tour," Finke adds. "No doubt tomorrow's interviews in France will now focus entirely on what, if anything, Catherine did to deserve this treatment. This also could blow up into a scandal for Summit if it chooses a male director over Hardwicke, whose 'Twilight' easily beat Mimi Leder's 1998 'Deep Impact' box office gross as the biggest opener for a female director."

The Los Angeles Times applauded Hardwicke's direction of "Twilight": "Neither Laurence Olivier attempting Shakespeare nor Konstantin Stanislavski tackling Chekhov approached their material with the degree of reverence that Hardwicke brings to 'Twilight.' A director whose entire career ('Thirteen,' 'Lords of Dogtown,' even 'The Nativity Story') has been built on the veneration of young adults, Hardwicke has connected so intensely to the Meyer novel that it's hard to imagine anyone else making a better version.

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Here's how to subscribe to Gold Derby's RSS feed

December 2, 2008 |  7:12 am

Rss_feed

If you're viewing Gold Derby via Internet Explorer, check out the orange icon at the top of this blog next to the word "Subscribe." If you're using the Firefox browser, the orange icon is up in the URL address window. Either way, click on that square icon and you'll be taken to Gold Derby's RSS page where you can click on the "++" icon in the top left corner and receive this blog in the future via RSS feed. That means you can access this blog's edit items by clicking on your "favorites" menu in Internet Explorer, for example, then clicking on the "Feeds" icon — presto, you get instant Gold Derby news.

 

Personally, I think the greatest RSS feed is Google Reader. Don't know it? For shame! Check it out HERE and remember to add Gold Derby's blog's main URL — http://goldderby.latimes.com/

If all of that is too complicated, then just bookmark this link in your "favorites" menu, to reach the main page of Gold Derby easily in the future.


EXCLUSIVE: Why Baz Luhrmann loves tripping up the derby with wild ponies like 'Moulin Rouge!' and 'Australia'

December 1, 2008 |  2:50 pm

Seven years after director Baz Luhrmann experienced a crazy romp through the kudos derby riding "Moulin Rouge!" he's back with "Australia. " What does he think of awardsmania? Why does he risk the wrath of gritty film critics to make his wildly romantic movies in the cynical 21st century? Last Wednesday night, Baz and I teamed up to do a Q&A screening chat at the Directors Guild of America theater in New York. We didn't have enough time to cover all key topics, so we hooked up again on Friday afternoon to continue dishing — this time with a video camera tuned in so you can watch.

Camerawork by Paul Sheehan


Will 'Kung Fu Panda' dropkick 'Wall-E' at the Annie Awards?

December 1, 2008 |  2:10 pm

Today's Annie Awards nominations could be the first sign that "Wall-E" is less of a lock for the animated feature Oscar than we thought. Although the Pixar picture was hailed by critics, ranking as one of the top-rated films of the year, it managed only eight nods from those truly in the know about the art of making animation — the Kung_fu_panda_walle_3_edited1 International Animated Film Society. Just as "Kung Fu Panda" trumped it in the worldwide box office race ($633 million to $488 million), so too did that DreamWorks feature prevail here, reaping a staggering 17 nominations.

Both films are up for the top award of best animated feature, competing against  "Bolt" (five noms total), "Waltz with Bashir" with four nods, and double nominee "$9.99." Although "WALL-E" did reasonably well across the board, "Kung Fu Panda" pulled off triple nominations in both character animation and voice acting and double nods in storyboarding and production design.

Since the Academy Awards introduced a best animated feature award of their own in 2001, the winners of the two awards have matched up every year but 2006, when "Cars" won the Annie but "Happy Feet" danced off with the Oscar. However, last year's double winner "Ratatouille" was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning 10 of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two eventual Oscar nominees "Surf's Up," which won two of 10 nods while "Persepolis" went zero for four.

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Two pundits bail on 'The Reader'; Variety's review is mixed

November 30, 2008 |  8:18 pm

Variety's review of "The Reader" is good news/ bad news. Todd McCarthy says, "Stephen Daldry's film is sensitively realized and dramatically absorbing, but comes across as an essentially cerebral experience The_reader_kate_winslet2 without gut impact . . . . Kate Winslet supplies a haunting shell to this internally decimated woman," but McCarthy feels cheated because she's so emotionally remote that "one can never look inside the character of Hanna."

Already Oscarologists Kris Tapley of InContention.com and Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com are bailing on "The Reader," which I think is a huge mistake. It's a serious contender for best picture and actress as the nominations for the Satellite Awards just demonstrated. Sure, those awards aren't important themselves, but often they are fascinating tea leaves not to be ignored.

In recent years the Satellites were the first awards of derby season to bestow best-picture noms to small contenders like "Good Night, and Good Luck," "Little Miss Sunshine," "Juno" and "Lost in Translation." Sure, they nominated other flicks that got skunked like "Antwone Fisher," "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Jarhead," but some past best-pic nominees like "Half Nelson" and "Hustle & Flow" at least poked through in acting slots at the Oscars, which may be significant this year because of Kate Winslet's dueling bids for "The Reader" and "Revolutionary Road."

Meantime, I stand by my declaration that "The Reader" is a serious contender in all top Oscar races — READ MORE

Photo: Weinstein Co.


Satellite Awards snub 'Benjamin Button' and 'The Dark Knight' for best picture!

November 30, 2008 |  8:16 pm

Uh-oh! Kate Winslet's vote-splitting has officially begun! The Satellite Awards just nominated Kate Winslet in the best-actress race for "The Reader" instead of "Revolutionary Road," thus ignoring her campaign to put the "Reader" role in supporting. However, both films are up for best drama picture, but there are several, big curious omissions in that race: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Doubt" and "The Dark Knight." The latter snub is especially bizarre considering Christopher Nolan is up for best director.

Satellite_awards3

The other contenders for best drama pic: "Slumdog Millionaire," "Frost/Nixon," "Milk" and — surprise — "Frozen River." The pix up for best comedy/musical: "Happy-Go-Lucky," "Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," "Tropic Thunder," "In Bruges," "Choke." Notable snubs: "Burn After Reading," "Mamma Mia!" and "High School Musical 3," which all could rally at the Golden Globes.

None of the helmers of those comedies got a bid for best director. In addition to Nolan, the nominees for that race: Thomas McCarthy ("The Visitor"), Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon"), Gus Van Sant ("Milk"), Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight"), Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") and Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"). The snub of Sam Mendes ("Revolutionary Road") is surprising.

There are lots of other peculiarities in this year's list. "Australia" has nine nominations, but none for best picture. Penelope Cruz is considered to be a front-runner at the Oscars in the supporting race, but she isn't nominated by the Satellites for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," which is up for best comedy. She did score a bid for "Elegy," though. "Benjamin Button" is based upon a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it's nommed in the category for original screenplays.

The Satellites are bestowed by a rebel group of foreign journos who broke off from the Golden Globes back in the early 1990s. Often their tastes reflect the views of their foreign colleagues, who in turn mirror the outcome of the Oscars. But often the views of the Satellites can also seem like they're beamed in from the planet Neptune.

Last year they nominated only two of Oscar's five best-picture contenders: "Juno" and "No Country for Old Men." At least they managed to include the winner. Last year's Oscar champ as best actor, Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"), wasn't nominated, but the film was probably absent from all races because voters didn't see the late-year release in time. (The same is probably true this year for "Gran Torino," which is snubbed.) In fact, the Satellites forecast only two of Oscar's best-actor finalists: Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises") and Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah"). However, they did tap all best-actress contenders.

How do the Satellites compare to the Globes? Just as often as they agree, they seem to disagree — drastically. Last year the Satellites for best picture went to "No Country for Old Men" and "Juno." Globers preferred "Atonement" and "Sweeney Todd." In 2007, the two awards agreed again on best comedy/musical ("Dreamgirls"), but the Globes chose "Babel" for best picture while the Satellites opted for "The Departed." The previous year both kudos picked "Brokeback Mountain" and "Walk the Line." In 2004, they split: Both chose "Sideways" as best comedy/musical pic, but the Satellites opted for "Hotel Rwanda" as best drama and the Globes went for "The Aviator."

Below is a partial list of nominees. See full list at the Satellites' website. The awards will be bestoed on Dec. 14 at the Century City InterContinental Hotel.

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
"The Reader "
"Slumdog Millionaire "
"Revolutionary Road "
"Frost/Nixon "
"Milk "
"Frozen River "

BEST PICTURE, COMEDY/MUSICAL
"Happy-Go-Lucky "
"Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist "
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona "
"Tropic Thunder "
"In Bruges "
"Choke "

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Sean Penn goes gay — dying for another Oscar?

November 29, 2008 | 10:33 am

Good news for Sean Penn fans: At the end of "Milk" — SPOILER ALERT — you get to watch your hero get blown away by gunfire.

Sorry, but that seems to be the price Penn must pay if he wants to win another Oscar to match the chunk of academy gold he nabbed for 2003's "Mystic River." That's because gay roles that win Academy Awards for actors almost always must suffer ghastly deaths.

Gay_oscars

No star has ever won an Oscar for portraying a gay, lesbian or transgender person who lives happily ever after. The character of Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gets to live, yes, at the end of "Capote," but we know that he'll end up croaking from booze and pills someday while stumbling around Joanne Carson's house in Beverly Hills.

The five other roles that paid off with Oscars have horrible ends on screen: Tom Hanks dies of AIDS in "Philadelphia," Hilary Swank gets beaten to death in "Boys Don't Cry," Nicole Kidman commits suicide in "The Hours," Charlize Theron is executed in "Monster," and William Hurt gets shot — much like Sean Penn — in "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

If you don't count roles that just hint at a character's homosexuality (Paul Newman in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" or Tom Courtenay in "The Dresser"), I've tallied up 28 gay, lesbian and transgender roles that have been nominated for Oscars. (Have I missed any? If so, click the comments link below.)

Nine get killed off. Some snuff themselves: Kathy Bates uses a pistol in "Primary Colors," Ian McKellen drowns himself in "Gods and Monsters," Ed Harris jumps out a window in "The Hours, " Javier Bardem dies of AIDS in "Before Night Falls."

The fact that Sean Penn is heterosexual in real life hikes his Oscar hopes significantly. No gay person has ever won an Academy Award for playing gay, and only two openly homosexual actors have been nominated for portraying someone with a lavender lilt: James Coco and Ian McKellen. Coco wasn't officially and fully "out" of the closet, but he was candid about his private life to friends and colleagues and frequently flaunted a flamboyant nature in public.

ACTORS NOMINATED FOR GAY ROLES
(X = Winner)
Estelle Parsons ("Rachel, Rachel") (1968)
Peter Finch, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971)
Al Pacino, "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975)
Chris Sarandon, "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975)
John Lithgow, "World According to Garp" (1982)
Marcello Mastroianni, "A Special Day" (1977)
James Coco, "Only When I Laugh" (1981)
Robert Preston, "Victor, Victoria" (1982)
Cher, "Silkwood" (1983)
X - William Hurt, "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (1985)
Bruce Davison, "Longtime Companion" (1990)
Tommy Lee Jones, "JFK" (1991)
Jaye Davidson, "The Crying Game" (1992)
X - Tom Hanks, "Philadelphia" (1993)
Greg Kinnear, "As Good as It Gets" (1997)
Ian McKellen, "Gods and Monsters" (1998)
Kathy Bates, "Primary Colors" (1998)
X - Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry" (1999)
Javier Bardem, "Before Night Falls" (2000)
Ed Harris, "The Hours" (2002)
X - Nicole Kidman, "The Hours" (2002)
Julianne Moore, "The Hours" (2002)
X - Charlize Theron, "Monster" (2003)
X - Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote" (2005)
Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica" (2005)
Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
Judi Dench, "Notes on a Scandal" (2006)

Photos: TriStar, Island Alive, Miramax, Fox Searchlight

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'The Reader' roars into the Oscars derby and may trip up a chief rival

November 26, 2008 | 10:48 am

No wonder that notorious rascal Harvey Weinstein was so hellbent to push "The Reader" into this year's Oscars derby. It became quite clear after a screening Tuesday night in New York: It's a serious contender for best picture, director, actress (lead or supporting — more on that later), supporting actors, screenplay plus other slots. And that could possibly trip up a rival contender.

There have been grave doubts about "The Reader" because it takes an ambivalent look at a perpetrator of the Holocaust rather than a sympathetic one of the victims. Kate Winslet portrays a woman who dispatched Jews to gas chambers and doesn't seem obviously repentant later when she's tried in court. How can anyone, especially Jewish Oscar voters, embrace that?

The_reader_kate_winslet_revolutiona

The question got a fascinating test at the screening at a Jewish organization, the 92nd Street Y, a branch of YMHA, where the audience of more than 750-plus viewers was largely enthralled. Afterward, I overhead lots of huzzahs and no slams.

The screening was followed by a Q&A session conducted by Columbia University professor Annette Insdorf with director Stephen Daldry, who savvily articulated the reasons why "The Reader's" story may not be offensive. Kate Winslet's character isn't overtly sorry for her past, no, not early in the film anyway, but viewers may believe she becomes so later, especially when she does something that may be perceived as punishing herself. The uncertainty makes "The Reader" all the more fascinating as a drama.

"I tried to leave things ambiguous," Daldry said. "I want to keep what she learned and what she didn't from us. It's not for us to know."

During the first part of the film, it's clear that Kate Winslet's character, Hanna, is "morally illiterate," Daldry added. (There were loud gasps throughout the audience when he uttered that phrase.) But later in the story, Daldry said, he and screenwriter David Hare cautiously applied "complicated calibration to try to find careful relations to when you are sympathetic to her and when you're not."

Two Oscar pundits who saw "Revolutionary Road" and "The Reader" this week and who asked not to quoted by name (for reasons I don't understand but will honor) believe that "The Reader" has a better shot at a best-picture nomination and even a lead actress bid for Winslet. A few others I admire disagree and pick "Revolutionary Road" for both categories. Personally, I haven't sorted out my own thoughts yet, but the former opinions — and the response "The Reader" got Tuesday night in New York — tell me that Harvey Weinstein may be quite happy on Jan. 22 when noms are unveiled.

Reader_panel_1

Let's consider, first, a best picture bid. "The Reader" will get a chunk of No. 1 votes on nomination ballots, but enough? Dunno. Considering how Oscar voting works, using that odd preferential ballot, it could get in with a strong minority vote even if it's not listed among the five choices ranked by a majority of academy members. Remember, only No. 1 (and sometimes No. 2) votes really count when tallies are done.

Secondly, about 80% of best pic nominees usually line up with films in the helming race. That's great news for "The Reader." Stephen Daldry has never not been nominated for best director. "The Reader" is his third feature film, and he previously reaped bids for "The Hours" and "Billy Elliot." "The Hours" got nommed for best pic, "Billy Elliot" didn't.

Thirdly, movies nominated for best picture usually get corresponding bids in screenplay and acting, and "The Reader" is strong in those races. David Hare got nominated for penning "The Hours," and Ralph Fiennes and David Kross are strong contenders for supporting actor.

Now let's consider the lead actress race, the most intriguing Oscar mystery of all. Kate Winslet is campaigning in lead for "Revolutionary Road" and supporting in "The Reader." That preference may make sense to Winslet — "Revolutionary Road" is directed by her husband, Sam Mendes — but, frankly, it's absurd to define her role in "The Reader" as supporting.

Winslet gives powerhouse lead performances in both films, but according to the academy's bizarre rules, she can only be nominated once per category. (Directors and writers, however, can have multiple bids per slot.) Oscar voters may graciously assign her two roles to the separate categories, as she asks, but they've ignored category guidance in the past in cases like "Whale Rider" star Keisha Castle-Hughes, who campaigned for supporting and got upped to lead when noms came out.

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'Valkyrie' to 'Heil Razzies'?

November 26, 2008 |  9:44 am

Looks like the Razzies are confident in their prophesy that "Valkyrie" will land in their next derby, which commences on Jan. 21 when noms are unveiled. Last year the Razzie ceremony ended with big photos on stage of films they expect to see next year. Tom Cruise in that eyepatch got the biggest play — and the most howls, guffaws and applause from the audience.

Now check out the far left column of their website and follow the link to Courtney Hazlett's "'Scoop" column at MSNBC.com. She gives her tattle report on a screening of "Valkyrie," which notes, "A scene where Cruise's character, Claus Von Stauffenberg, is forced to give the infamous 'Heil Hitler' salute. 'It's an unsettling scene but you almost start to laugh,' a source says. 'His character is resisting it but you never forget it’s Tom Cruise saying 'Heil Hitler.' It's funny and shocking at the same time . . . . 

"The film just isn't a thriller at all," said one 'Valkyrie' viewer. 'It's a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It's too bad. And Tom doesn't speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it's as if he could say "I complete you" at any time. This is not his Oscar moment."

Tom_cruise_valkyrie1

Photo: United Artists


Curious about the early reviews for 'Benjamin Button'?

November 24, 2008 |  2:58 pm

Benbutton2

Following the first widely attended screening of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" this weekend in L.A., the initial reviews are certain to raise Oscarwatchers' curiosity about a top kudos contender.

Among the Oscar bloggers, Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly says, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is "an Oscar movie with a capital O, with jaw-dropping production values, a soaring romance, and terrific performances, particularly from supporting-actress candidate Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin's de facto mother. Even if Brad Pitt doesn't make it into the tough Best Actor race (the likes of Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio may squeeze him out), I still can see 'Button' racking up as many as 11 nominations, which could very well be the highest tally for any film this year. Once the film opens on Christmas day, I guarantee we'll all be talking about one thing: whether or not Benjamin Button made you sob."

Curious_case_of_banjamin_button

Kris Tapley of In Contention, who admits, "I didn’t fall in love like so many in the crowd did," thinks the film will do even better at the Oscars: "I think there is no argument against Cate Blanchett being nominated for Best Actress, and again, I think she takes this award in a cake walk. There is no actress in that category standing up and demanding this award like her work is here. Nominations for Picture, Director, Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup, Original Score and Visual Effects are virtually assured. That’s 10 you can take to the bank. Meanwhile, Jacqueline West’s costumes are certainly good enough (and varied enough) to demand a spot, while Taraji P. Henson really is the heart of the piece in many ways and could find herself in the running for Best Supporting Actress — no news there. And the sound design, from interesting voice manipulation to a riveting wartime sequence, could easily slip in. So if you’re keeping count, that’s 13. Brad Pitt does not blow the role of Benjamin Button out of the water and perhaps he underplays it a bit too much. But it is great to see him happy to get out from underneath his star persona, and with the right level of support, he could make it 14."

And Sasha Stone of Awards Daily says flat out "if I had to name the film that would probably have the best shot at winning Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costumes, Art Direction it would be this one." As she explains, "The first and probably most important reason is that this is a film that works on every level. It is an authentic bit of writing, straight from the heart of Eric Roth." And, as she says, "Combine Roth’s emotional output with David Fincher’s exactitude and you have something nearly perfect. With so many limbs, emotions and ideas the film shouldn’t work at all, but somehow it does. Much credit is due to Brad Pitt, whose Benjamin Button is a soul-shattering creation. Cate Blanchett, who bursts forth like her own hurricane. Taraji P. Henson as Queenie is the heart of the film." For Sasha, "The film is a visual delight — though it’s oddly cold in its scenery. A warmer, cozier world wouldn’t have made it a Fincher movie. The truth is that it works with Fincher as the director. It is stranger than it would have been if, say, Spielberg had directed it. Nonetheless, with Spielberg it might have tipped too far into sentiment and been mush as a result, no offense. I did not feel a detachment to it at all and I fully expected to. I didn’t think that Fincher could pull off something overly sentimental. I thought it would be a few steps removed and all about the effects and the gimmick. It turns out, though, that this film is about the human experience."

Steve Zeitchik who pens the Risky Biz blog at the Hollywood Reporter says, "For about forty-five minutes the concept takes you by storm (and makes your head hurt, in a good way), with the narrative and visual inventiveness not seen in an American film in a long time (at least one not made by Charlie Kaufman, anyway). The movie (some spoilers below) droops a little after that, as Button begins to make his discoveries out in the world. But it rebounds powerfully in its final hour as the doomed love story (he's getting younger, she's getting older, and they can only be in love for a few years in the middle) finally takes flower and as Button reaches the end (that is, the beginning) of his life. It winds down on a note of melancholy that will break your heart (and make it, frankly, a slightly tougher sell than expected as a popcorn entertainment while winning it, undoubtedly, scores of awards supporters." However, he too notes, "Pitt's acting and character are, contrary to how you might expect material like this to be handled, actually a little understated."

And finally, after teasing us with someone else's thoughts on the film last week, Anne Thompson of Variety weighs in saying, "David Fincher and screenwriter Eric Roth ("Forrest Gump") have delivered an historic achievement, a masterful piece of cinema, and a moving treatise on death, loss, loneliness and love." She thought, "The actors are superb, especially Pitt and Cate Blanchett, who should earn Oscar noms. What's missing has partly to do with the limitations of the technology. Button reminds me of Peter Sellers as Chauncey Gardner in "Being There." He's oddly passive and restrained, zen-like as he floats through all the decades, watching, listening, learning. He narrates the tale via his diary, along with his dying love Blanchett. We see him engaging with people, but he never says much. We see him from the outside; we never get under his skin, and we never learn the fruits of his wisdom. He stays much the same."

For Todd McCarthy of Variety, "Much of the film's romantic and philosophical posture hinges on Benjamin and Daisy getting together at the right time, and they do so in an entirely satisfying way; by the time of consummation, with Brad Pitt now in full physical glory and Blanchett at her womanly peak, they — and the audience — are more than ready for it. But their passion is all the more pointedly ephemeral due to the consciousness of being headed in opposite physical directions." And McCarthy thought, "In all his physical manifestations, Benjamin is a reactor, not a perpetrator, and Pitt inhabits the role genially, gently and sympathetically. Blanchett's Daisy is the more volatile and moody one and, after bluntly revealing the selfish impetuousness of Daisy's youthful self, the thesp fully registers both the passion and insecurity of the mature woman." However, he concludes, " for what is designed as a rich tapestry, the picture maintains a slightly remote feel. No matter the power of the image of an old but young-looking Benjamin, slumped over a piano and depressed about his fading memory and life; it is possible that the picture might have been warmer and more emotionally accessible had it been shot on film."

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'Twilight' and Rob Pattinson may be doomed by vampire's curse at the Oscars

November 22, 2008 |  2:33 pm

OK, "Twilight" fans -- please hurry up and get over the fact that studio chiefs aren't entering Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart for Oscar consideration. Or that they're entering in only two categories: song and music score.

Twilight_robert_pattinson

It's not as if other vampire flicks have done well at Oscars past. There were eight nominees for best picture of 1931, but none of them was Bela Lugosi's "Dracula," which was snubbed in all other categories too.

"Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) received four nominations and won three: costumes, sound effects editing, makeup. "Shadow of the Vampire" (2000) was nominated in two races that it lost: best supporting actor (Willem Defoe) and makeup. "Interview With the Vampire" (2004) was nominated for art direction and music score.

None of these vampire favorites had any noms at all: "Blade" (1989), "Blacula" (1972), "Van Helsing" (2004), "Fright Night" (1985), "Lifeforce" (1985), "Love at First Bite" (1979), "Vampire's Kiss" (1989), "The Vampire Lovers" (1970).

Frank Langella may be considered a strong contender for best actor this year, but his "Dracula," directed by John Badham in 1979, was totally snubbed.

Read more about "Twilight's" Oscar hopes HERE.

Photo: Summit Entertainment


Which songs from 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year' will Oscars voters prefer?

November 21, 2008 | 11:53 am

There are so many strong songs in "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" that Disney doesn't know which ones to trumpet in their Oscar campaign for best song. Remember, the rules are different this year. While the Mouse House was able to score three nominations last year for tunes from "Enchanted," the most bids any one film can reap now is two. Theoretically, to keep things simple, the studio should inform voters which two songs those should be, but the best it can do is narrow the choices down to four.

Zac_efron_high_school_musical_3_s_2

These four songs are being officially campaigned for "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" — "Can I Have This Dance?" (written by Adam Anders and Nikki Hassman, sung by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens), "I Want It All" (written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil, sung by Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel), "A Night to Remember" (written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil, sung by film cast) and "Scream" (written by Jamie Houston, sung by Zac Efron).

When I asked our message-board posters which song has the best shot to be nominated and win, I got a lot of cynical replies from snarky non-fans of the "High School Musical" franchise who harrumphed, "None!" Ah, well, others were more helpful.

Kams says, "My favorite song is 'I Want It All,' but, since I have seen the movie, I have the feeling that 'Can I Have This Dance?' will be nominated."

Dr. McPhearson agrees, adding, "'I Want It All' would be the easiest choice were I an Oscar voter: it references show-biz, paparazzi, and even makes a mention of Oscar (when Grabeel says, 'And the Oscar goes to...'). It is most likely going to be the nominated one, if any."

What do you think?

Photo: Disney


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