Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Nationwide Oscar Predictions / Results

They're off!
They're on!
After the runaway success of the Nationwide BAFTA Predictions (6 out of 20!) here are the Nationwide Oscar Nominations, the biggie. The mutha. The one where nationwide asserts a finely tuned knowledge......or is it? Scores in pink.

Best Actor
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood"
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd..."
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah"
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises"
If Daniel Day Lewis doesn't get this I'll, I'll...be wrong. On a good day, they'd all get it, and deservedly so, but that ain't gonna happen, is it? So DDL will get it. Just you wait an see.

Have I ever been wrong? (Er, yes)
Yes!!
Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James..."
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War"
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild"
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton"
Certainly I'd love to see Philip Seymour Hoffman get it, fantastic part, brilliantly played with swagger and bitterness, but Casey Affleck was the real star of "Jesse James". So he gets it.
No doubt.

Boo!!
Best Actress
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie in "Away from Her"
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose"
Laura Linney in "The Savages"
Ellen Page in "Juno"
The Academy wouldn't give to a foreigner would they? Everybody LURVES Ellen Page but I'd really like Laura Linney to get it and share the glory with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Boo!!
Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There"
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster"
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement"
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton"
Ruby Dee wasn't on screen long enough for me, she was outstanding but I hope Tilda Swinton gets it.
Hurrah!!
Best Animation
"Persepolis"
"Ratatouille"
"Surf's Up"
Ratatouille. If only for the backgrounds.
Yay!!
Art Direction
"American Gangster"
"Atonement"
"The Golden Compass"
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
"There Will Be Blood"

Authenticity? (American Gangster/Atonement/Blood) or swagger? (Golden Compass, Sweeney Todd). And the award goes to.........Sweeney Todd, for swaggering ostentatious over the topness. (no it won't)
Hurrah!!
Cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James..." Roger Deakins
"Atonement" Seamus McGarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" Janusz Kaminski
"No Country for Old Men" Roger Deakins
"There Will Be Blood" Robert Elswit
Roger Deakins! Roger Deakins!! Yay!!! Go Roger! Go Roger!

Er, boo. I wanted Roger to get it. Or Seamus.
Costume design
"Across the Universe"
"Atonement"
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
"La Vie en Rose"
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Well no matter how important a green/little black dress is, you can't win Oscars for them. Elizabeth....they spent all that money.
Hurrah!!
Best Direction
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" Julian Schnabel
"Juno" Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" Tony Gilroy
"No Country for Old Men" Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" Paul Thomas Anderson
Everybody just loves the Coens right now.
Hurrah!!
Documentary feature and Short Doc
No idea. I mean really. Not a clue.
OK, er, Sicko. Go Michael!


Editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" Christopher Rouse
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild" Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men" Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood" Dylan Tichenor
It can ONLY be Christopher Rouse, a masterpiece of editing. Although if Roderick Jaynes gets it, I'd love to see who collects it. (Spoiler folks : he doesn't exist). Seriously, Bourne is in a league of its own here.
Hurrah!!
Best foreign language film
"Beaufort" Israel
"The Counterfeiters" Austria
"Katyn" Poland
"Mongol" Kazakhstan
"12" Russia
The Counterfeiters by a country mile. A masterpiece.
Huzzah!!
Makeup
"La Vie en Rose"
"Norbit"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
Disney's Pirates has godda get something and this would be neat.
Ooer, boo, I suppose.
Original score
"Atonement"
"The Kite Runner"
"Michael Clayton"
"Ratatouille"
"3:10 to Yuma"
Both Kite Runner and 3:10 were given an emotional intensity by their scores that worked for me, so I'd give it to 3:10.
Boo.
Original song
No idea. Haven't a flippin clue mate.

Best motion picture of the year
"Atonement"
"Juno"
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"
The Coens will get it. Unless all that marketing spend on Atonement does the trick.
Yay!!
Sound Editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"No Country for Old Men"
"Ratatouille"
"There Will Be Blood"
"Transformers"
Ratatouille must have been a nightmare to edit, but I'd stick it to Bourne again, lay it on thick.

Yay!!
Achievement in sound mixing
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"No Country for Old Men"
"Ratatouille"
"3:10 to Yuma"
"Transformers"
PLEASE don't give it to No Country - I could barely make out a damn word they were saying! Bourne again please.

Yay!!

Visual Effects
"The Golden Compass"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
"Transformers"
I know it was a giant toy advert but for those of you lucky enough to se Transformers, this is the award it should get. It was stunning. But I'll bet the Academy doesn't think so. Optimus Prime! Optimus Prime!
Die!!
Adapted screenplay
"Atonement"
"Away from Her"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"
This is difficult for me since I haven't read any of the original books (or part books in the case of Blood) but since I liked all the scripts, but have to opt for one, I'd say the most satisfying story was Atonement.
Boo.
Original screenplay
"Juno"
"Lars and the Real Girl"
"Michael Clayton"
"Ratatouille"
"The Savages"
There won't be a dry eye in the house if Juno gets it, and all of America realises that your dreams can come true, you can rise from the streets and win an Oscar! Yo!
But wouldn't it be just fabulous, in a heart warming kind of way, if the real story of most people's lives, caring for their dying parents, got it?
"Are you the savages?" Best line, but one of many.
Yay!! (on the assumption I actually chose Juno)


A fantastic result on 19 categories where I professed to know something, if not someone, the score is 12 yeses and 7 nonos. I hereby offer my services to The Academy.






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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nationwide's BAFTA Predictions

OK, never mind being the supercilious smartarse after the event, pretending you knew all along; Here - just momentarily before the event, a matter of hours in fact - are the Nationwide predictions.
(Obviously I would be on the red carpet tomorrow but the absence of an invitation and a dinner party in Cheam prevent me).

BEST FILM
AMERICAN GANGSTER
ATONEMENT
THE LIVES OF OTHERS
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
It can only be the Coen Brothers. I've never seen such rave reviews and Scott Rudin is the man. They are all great - I really do love all five - but hats off to the Coens. Or rather let's keep our hats on and fucking mumble under our breath.


BEST BRITISH FILM
ATONEMENT
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
CONTROL
EASTERN PROMISES
THIS IS ENGLAND
It's going to be Atonement, obviously. Brilliant film, I like it. Bourne was a zillion times more exciting but was the closing episode of a trilogy and Eastern Promises was one of the best films of the year. But we all know it's going to be Atonement, don't we?


DIRECTOR
ATONEMENT – Joe Wright
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Paul Greengrass
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Paul Thomas Anderson
If it's not Paul Greengrass there is no justice in the world. All five (six? seven?) deserve nominations but please give it to him.



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
AMERICAN GANGSTER – Steven Zaillian
JUNO – Diablo Cody
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
MICHAEL CLAYTON – Tony Gilroy
THIS IS ENGLAND – Shane Meadows
I'd like it to be Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck - who's going to read that one out? - but this is Bafta...well done Shane Meadows?


ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
ATONEMENT – Christopher Hampton
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY – Ronald Harwood
THE KITE RUNNER – David Benioff
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Paul Thomas Anderson
A toughie because I haven't read any of the books and therefore have five favourites here, so let's just go for my favourite script out the five - David Benioff.


FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
THE KITE RUNNER
THE LIVES OF OTHERS
LUST, CAUTION
LA VIE EN ROSE
Now this is really difficult for a variety of reasons, leaving aside the fact that they're all sensational. Julian Schnabel and Ang Lee created two beautiful looking movies, La Vie En Rose was a wonderful illustration of what we miss from Edith Piaf and had more French Cultural spend than anything I've seen in living memory. The Kite Runner, a deserved winner, but The Lives of Others? Genius. And true.


ANIMATED FILM
RATATOUILLE
SHREK THE THIRD
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE
It can only be Ratatouille which had great animation, especially the backgrounds. The Simpsons was very enjoyable but let's not break with the half hour format again please chaps and Shrek 3, well, what can I say? The only movie I walked out of in 2007.


LEADING ACTOR
GEORGE CLOONEY – Michael Clayton
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS – There Will Be Blood
JAMES McAVOY – Atonement
VIGGO MORTENSEN – Eastern Promises
ULRICH MÜHE – The Lives of Others
By FAR the toughest category, the stiffest competition. I'd LOVE it to be Daniel Day Lewis because it's a master class, the rest of the movie is relatively insignificant behind him. Is that a reason to win? The accusation is he's OTT - yeah? Compelling genius.
James McAvoy, best I've ever seen him after Shameless, really strong stuff, I'd be happy if he got it.
George and Viggo - sensational peformances, who'd complain if they actually got it?
But the late Ulrich Muhe gave what turned out to be the most devastating performance of his life. Totally mesmerising and a posthumous award here would be admirable.


LEADING ACTRESS
CATE BLANCHETT – Elizabeth: The Golden Age
JULIE CHRISTIE – Away From Her
MARION COTILLARD – La Vie en Rose
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY – Atonement
ELLEN PAGE – Juno
Difficult for the wrong reasons. Didn't like Keira, didn't like "Elizabeth", thought Marion was fab (but miming thoughout) and didn't actually see the other two. Although by the time you read this I'll have seen Juno and fallen in love with Ellen Page I'm sure.
So it's Julie Christie then. (sorry)


SUPPORTING ACTOR
JAVIER BARDEM – No Country for Old Men
PAUL DANO – There Will Be Blood
TOMMY LEE JONES – No Country for Old Men
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN – Charlie Wilson’s War
TOM WILKINSON – Michael Clayton
It's Philip Seymour Hoffman for an OUTSTANDING support. Others, great, but no contest.


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
CATE BLANCHETT – I’m Not There
KELLY MACDONALD – No Country for Old Men
SAMANTHA MORTON – Control
SAOIRSE RONAN – Atonement
TILDA SWINTON – Michael Clayton
Kelly Macdonald was soo good I couldn't understand what she was saying either! But then again Tilda Swinton doesn't actually know how to do mediocre.


MUSIC
AMERICAN GANGSTER – Marc Streitenfeld
ATONEMENT – Dario Marianelli
THE KITE RUNNER – Alberto Iglesias
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Jonny Greenwood
LA VIE EN ROSE – Christopher Gunning
In the first four, the music was responsible for holding together the actual film, in all cases brilliantly. In the fifth, the film was about the music.


CINEMATOGRAPHY
AMERICAN GANGSTER – Harris Savides
ATONEMENT – Seamus McGarvey
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Oliver Wood
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Roger Deakins
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Robert Elswit
If there is any justice in the world Seamus McGarvey will get this so that Roger Deakins can get the Oscar.


EDITING
AMERICAN GANGSTER – Pietro Scalia
ATONEMENT – Paul Tothill
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Christopher Rouse
MICHAEL CLAYTON – John Gilroy
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Roderick Jaynes
Absolutely no contest, Christopher Rouse take a huge fucking bow and take as long as you want on the stage. Although if Roderick Jaynes was to win, who would come and collect it?


PRODUCTION DESIGN
ATONEMENT
ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
LA VIE EN ROSE
My money's on Liz. Tough call though - is Harry Potter over? - and La Vie En Rose was endlessly creative.


COSTUME DESIGN
ATONEMENT – Jacqueline Durran
ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE – Alexandra Byrne
LUST, CAUTION – Pan Lai
SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET – Colleen Atwood
LA VIE EN ROSE – Marit Allen
Well they certainly spent more.

SOUND
ATONEMENT
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
LA VIE EN ROSE
Almost meaningless to the outside world but Bourne. Sensational stuff.


SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
THE GOLDEN COMPASS
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END
SPIDER-MAN 3
Absolutely no idea. All fab. No idea which one I prefer. Suspect Harry Potter


MAKE UP & HAIR
ATONEMENT
ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE
HAIRSPRAY
SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET
LA VIE EN ROSE
Wouldn't it be fab if Hairspray got it? But this is BAFTA and we know that Sweeney Todd's got to get something.


THE ORANGE RISING STAR AWARD
SHIA LABEOUF
SIENNA MILLER
ELLEN PAGE
SAM RILEY
TANG WEI
PLEASE Shia Lebouf - did NOBODY see TRANSFORMERS??


Don't say I didn't tell you!


Breaking news.......
Out of 20 chosen categories the Nationwide tally is a staggeringly impressive 6 in agreement with the BAFTA juries, er, so it looks like I didn't tell you after all! What-ho!













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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sex on TV

I find pornography quite difficult to address; inherently ambigous, seedy, distasteful, it leaves a slightly unsavoury aura around me. I don't actually have much of a view morally, I don't look at it in any form really, and never have. I choose not to, that's all. In the newsagents I never really look at the top shelf, I don't buy dvds or go see porn movies.

On my Sky home TV system I can still choose: to watch any of the 580 rubbish channels of the 600 available, and on my re-organised EPG (electronic programme guide) I can sift through for hours on end, all the way from family viewing to movies and news. Lately, by accident (I pushed the UP button rather than DOWN) I discovered a whole new section, of specialist, shopping and adult groupings. In the adult category it's mostly pay-per-view but there are dozens of free channels. They are very odd.

What they consist of are ladies in a state of semi undress on the phone. They're being called by guys (and gals, apparently) who want telephone sex. OK, that's fine with me. I assume it happens all over the world, but now, courtesy of Sky TV, we can watch the action too.

The "action" is the odd part. You can't hear what's going on, which is strange as it all revolves around telephone calls, but you can make an educated guess as the ladies bump and grind, kneel, lie on their backs, and simulate all manner of things. They appear to shout down the phone, then stick their fingers in their mouths, take their clothes off, then put them back on again, and so on, in a muted carnival of frenzied sex simulation. It's the oddest thing I think I've ever seen and not, in case you're wondering, the slightest bit erotic.

There are rules too. It all kicks off at 9pm but if you stagger in late from an evening out, the content after midnight is considerably enriched with the addition of more frenzied activity, mostly pretend masturbation, a little light girl on girl kissing, and exhortations to dial in, talk to the girls, or even listen in to their conversations. All at considerable cost.

There's no real set dressing. Basic beds are the rule, but occasionally a little creative thinking will produce a coloured shadow, a sofa, or even a desk! During daylight hours, the girls sit demurely, fully clothed but with a little cleavage - so sorry, make that a large amount of cleavage - on show. Smiling to camera and occasionally picking up calls.

I've clearly made a study of this and had to explain to my partner late one night what I was doing after she'd stumbled in at 1am. This was more than a little embarrassing.

I actually find the whole thing rather sad. The ladies vary enormously, and have all manner of tattoos and, er, wrinkles. They are some very attractive young women, and some that are not. Up the far end of the spectrum, there are "northern birds", "real wives" and "over forties" whose selling points are not, evidently, grace and beauty.

To be honest, I don't know why it's there (apart from the fact that it obviously pays) or even how it got there. Who invented it?

And why?




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