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Category: Valkyrie

'The Dark Knight' dominates Saturn Awards with 11 nods while 'Twilight' is almost shut out

March 11, 2009 |  4:39 am

"The Dark Knight" dominates the competition at the upcoming Saturn Awards, leading with 11 nominations, including a best picture bid as well as acting nods for leads Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal and supporting players Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart. Three years ago, "Batman Begins" won three of its nine Saturn Awards races — fantasy film, lead actor (Christian Bale), and writing (Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer).


This 35th annual edition of the awards honors films across four genres — sci-fi, fantasy, horror and action/adventure/thriller. That last catch-all category is where "The Dark Knight" is competing against "Changeling," "Gran Torino," "Quantum of Solace," "Traitor," and "Valkyrie."

"Valkyrie," directed by sci-fi veteran Bryan Singer, earned mixed reviews but did surprisingly well in terms of the Saturns. Besides that best picture bid, the film's seven Saturn nods include one for leading man Tom Cruise and another for Singer. Cruise is a previous seven-time Saturn nominee with one win for "Vanilla Sky" back in 2001, while Singer is a five-time contender winning for "X-Men" in 2000.

As the acting races span all four genres, Cruise's competition besides Bale (a two-time nominee) includes Oscar nominee Brad Pitt, who picked up his third Saturn nod with his bid for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." That epic time-traveling fantasy earned nine nods in total. Sci-fi hit "Iron Man" scored eight including a lead actor nom for Robert Downey Jr., who won this award in 1993 for "Heart and Souls" and had one other nod. Harrison Ford contends for his work in the sci-fi romp "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which has six nominations in total. Ford won lead actor for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1982 and has now been nominated for all four films in the franchise.

Heartthrob Robert Pattinson was snubbed for his leading role in "Twilight." Did past four-time nominee Will Smith, who won the award last year for "I Am Legend," edge him out with his nod for "Hancock"? That critical flop but commercial hit also landed a bid for best fantasy film as well as a second supporting actress nod for Charlize Theron. The only nomination for "Twilight" came in the fantasy film race where it faces off against "Hancock" as well as "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Spiderwick Chronicles" and "Wanted."

Pattinson's "Twilight" love interest, Kristen Stewart, was likewise left off the list of lead actress nominees. Oscar contender Angelina Jolie competes here as "Changeling" earned her a third Saturn nod. Among her competiton are two other Oscar winners — Cate Blanchett, who picked up Saturn nod No. 4 for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and Gwyneth Paltrow, who landed her second Saturn nom for "Iron Man" — as well as four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore, who is now a four-time Saturn nominee with her bid for "Blindness," newbie Emily Mortimer ("Transsiberian"), and one-time past Saturn nominee Gyllenhaal.

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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 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."


Photo: United Artists

Should Oscarologists be leery of that wacky Tom Cruise in that sneaky Nazi flick?

October 31, 2008 |  3:29 pm

United Artists insists that Tom Cruise's next flick "Valkyrie" is not an Oscar contender. Studio execs claim it's just a great, old-fashioned popcorn thriller that just so happens to showcase an Oscar-overdue superstar in a film opening up at peak Oscar time: Dec. 26. That's the same day that top derby contender "Revolutionary Road" debuts and, curiously, one day after another lead pony, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," hits the track running.


Do we believe UA? Should we write off "Valkyrie"? Or are the studio chiefs just downplaying Oscar expectations to dodge humiliation if the controversial Cruise gets snubbed? No such Oscar pooh-poohing went on early this year when "Valkyrie" was still scheduled to debut in theaters at the start of Oscar season — Oct. 3. However, when the trailer came out in summer and some bully bloggers mocked Tom Cruise for using a Yankee accent to portray a Nazi, "Valkyrie" suddenly got pushed out of the derby entirely. Its release date got bumped to next February.

But then later, quietly, it got moved back onto the 2008 calendar and we Oscarologists must now wonder: Should we watch that sneaky Nazi flick closely? "Valkyrie" has a lot of Oscar-friendly elements and, if it's as good as its early buzz (which is strong), it could take us by surprise and break out as a major contender if Hollywood suddenly decides that this is the moment to forgive Cruise for all past craziness. In recent months, he has been handling his PR rehabilitation admirably.

At 46, Tom Cruise is at a crossroads career-wise. His action movies are not the guaranteed hits they once were and his last serious film, "Lions for Lambs," was slaughtered by critics. However, after three losing Oscar bids ("Born on the Fourth of July," "Jerry Maguire," and "Magnolia"), some may consider Cruise overdue to win. His latest role certainly ticks a lot of boxes on the acting checklist.

Tom Cruise plays a true-life WW II hero, as did past acting champs Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") and William Holden ("Stalag 17"). This hero has a physical handicap (covered by that eye patch) just like past winners Al Pacino ("Scent of a Woman") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("My Left Foot"). However, just as his "Lambs" co-star Robert Redford chose not to attempt an accent while portraying an Englishman in "Out of Africa," Cruise chooses not to sound too German as an officer plotting to kill Hitler. His other "Lambs" co-star, Meryl Streep, could have reminded Cruise that, if a foreign accent is successfully employed, it can boost a star's odds to be nominated, but he didn't want to chance it. Perhaps wisely. As a payoff for pulling off a Danish lilt in "Out of Africa," Streep received one of the 11 nominations reaped by the eventual best picture champ of 1985. However, costar Robert Redford got skunked.


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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscar hopes dim (again) for Tom Cruise? | Gotham Awards to honor Penelope Cruz | See Hugh Laurie's and Michael C. Hall's Emmy eppys

August 19, 2008 |  4:03 pm

• Just days after United Artists moved the release "Valkyrie" back into derby season, thus generating renewed hope that Tom Cruise might be back in the running for best actor, comes disappointing news. Brian Kinsley of says about Tom Cruise's role after reading the script: "I can’t Valkyrie_tom_cruise imagine (Cruise) being nod-worthy in such a packed year." Kinsley describes the flick as "seemingly more of a people pleaser than an Oscar chaser." So that means we'll probably see another one of Cruise's ex-lovers beat him to the podium. First, there was Cher, then Nicole Kidman, next Penelope Cruz . . . .

Penelope Cruz may begin her march to Oscar glory later this year when she'll be presented with a special Gotham Award Tribute at the Gotham Awards on Dec. 2 in New York City.

• Much web-howling could be heard when Jeff Wells of suggested that Robert Downey Jr. might be nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor for portraying a ridiculous Oscar winner in "Tropic Thunder," but now Sasha Stone of takes the notion seriously too.


• The second season of "Dexter" (Emmy nominatee for best drama series) just came out on DVD. If you buy it, pay careful attention to the episode titled "There's Something About Harry" — that's the one Michael C. Hall entered in the best-actor derby. Pay attention to the episode of "House M.D. " titled "House's Head" on the new DVDs of Season 4 that just got came out. That's the one Hugh Laurie submitted to Emmy jurors in the race against Hall. Kona Gallagher of calls "House's Head" one of the greatest TV episodes ever and offers video sneak peeks of the upcoming season, which starts on Sept. 16, but can be previewed HERE.

• Don't expect Michael Jackson to "join his siblings on Sept. 4 when they pick up their lifetime achievement salutes at the BMI Urban Awards," reports the New York Post. The singer, who is reportedly in a wheelcheer nowadays, "hasn't spoken to his brothers since he was acquitted of child molestation charges three years ago — even though they've been trying to reach him about money he owes them," adds the Post. "Sources say Wacko Jacko owes Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and Jackie Jackson $840,000 in royalties from their Jackson 5 hits."

(Photos: United Artists, Fox, Showtime)

New 'Valkyrie' date puts Tom Cruise back in the Oscars derby

August 14, 2008 |  1:56 pm

United Artist denies that Tom Cruise's film "Valkyrie" is being given a new, Oscars-friendly release date of Dec. 26 because of high kudos hopes, but now the Nazi thriller is back in the derby, like it or not.

Variety reports: "Sources close to events said the move was made for purely commercial reasons, after a screening of the film went well. The studio sees it as a holiday pic and award consideration was not a factor, they say."


Even if you believe that party line, Oscar expectations are inevitable. It's based upon a real, heroic person in a World War II flick (think past winners Adrien Brody in "The Pianist" or William Holden in "Stalag 17"), a guy with a handicap, no less (that eye patch — voters are suckers for stars who adopt a physical or mental disability, of course, like Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot" and Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman") and it's directed by a chap who got Kevin Spacey that Oscar in the supporting slot for "The Usual Suspects" (Bryan Singer).

Originally, "Valkyrie" seemed like such obvious Oscars bait that it was set to open right at the start of derby season (Oct. 3), but then the first trailer came out and bloggers started lambasting Tom Cruise for not bothering with a German accent while portraying a Nazi officer who plots to murder Hitler. Director Singer had made that creative decision. He asked all of his actors to speak in their natural voices. But once the kvetching started, the studio pushed "Valkyrie" out of Oscar alley and moved its release to Presidents Day weekend next February where it would compete against Disney’s "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and Sony’s "Pink Panther 2."

But now it's moved back. Hmmm . . . the timing of the decision is rather curious, coming less than a day after Tom Cruise's biz partner Paula Wagner left her management job at UA. Coincidence?

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