Archive for the ‘Awards Season’ Category

The Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto announced their top 10 films of 2014 with Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ capturing the top spot.

There was a David and Goliath battle brewing at the 82nd annual Academy Awards: indie underdog The Hurt Locker was going head-to-head with the big budget Avatar. In the end, The Hurt Locker emerged with a solid victory taking home six Oscars, including best picture, versus Avatar’s three well-earned technical honours.

Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow made history Sunday night with her unrelenting, independently funded drama about a bomb squad in Iraq by becoming the first woman to win Oscar’s top prizes in best picture and best director categories. They were Bigelow’s first Academy Award nominations and wins in her 32-year film career.

These successes are the cherry on top of an incredible story of the little film that could, which unbelievably almost went straight to DVD. However, rave reviews and critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 proved the start of a remarkable journey. The Hurt Locker earned just $12.7 million domestically since its June theatrical release; only a fraction of the record $706 million taken by Avatar, which was directed by Canadian James Cameron, who’s also Bigelow’s ex-husband.*

Presenter Barbara Streisand proclaimed at almost midnight (the awards running nearly 30 minutes over time), “Well, the time has come!” The announcement drew a standing ovation and Bigelow dedicated the directorial award to the “women and men of the military who risk their lives daily in Iraq and Afghanistan … may they come home safe.” She repeated these sentiments just moments later, taking the stage with the main cast members and her boyfriend and winner earlier in the night for best original screenplay Mark Boal to accept the best picture trophy from Tom Hanks.

Sandra Bullock won her first Oscar nomination, earning the best actress award for The Blind Side, a drama about a white woman who helps a poor black youth achieve his football dream. After a standing ovation, she wondered out loud, “Did I really earn this, or did I just wear you all down?” before graciously acknowledging her fellow nominees. Bullock beat out Academy favourite Meryl Streep, who with 16 nominations is the most-nominated woman in Oscar history.

Jeff Bridges was also a first-time winner, receiving best actor honours for his portrayal of a fallen country star in Crazy Heart. It was his fifth nomination. Bridges appeared giddy, ignoring the 45-second time limit to thank everyone from his parents and wife to everyone who worked on the film.

Supporting acting trophies went to two outstanding and disturbing performances. Mo’Nique took home best supporting actress for her portrayal of a monstrously abusive mother in Precious: Based on the Novel `Push’ by Sapphire, an inspiring tale of a teen girl that overcomes all manner of adversity. Mo’Nique thanked the academy for proving “it can be about the performance and not the politics” after receiving some criticism for not campaigning enough. Christoph Waltz earned the best supporting actor title for playing the nefarious Jew hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, accepting the first nomination award as a welcome to Hollywood after years of making films in Europe.

Geoffrey Fletcher provided yet another rookie upset, winning best adapted screenplay for Precious. Canadian Jason Reitman was the heavy favourite to win for Up in the Air with his co-writer Sheldon Turner.

Pixar also took home their first Oscar for best animated feature, Up, after six nominations.

Here’s the complete list of winners for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Winners appear in bold.

Avatar – James Cameron and Jon Landau, producers
The Blind Side – Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, producers
District 9 – Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, producers
An Education – Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, producers
The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, producers
Inglourious Basterds – Lawrence Bender, producer
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, producers
A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, producers
Up – Jonas Rivera, producer
Up in the Air – Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, producers

Avatar – James Cameron
The Hurt Locker – Kathryn BigelowInglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Lee Daniels
Up in the Air – Jason Reitman

Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
George Clooney in Up in the Air
Colin Firth in A Single Man
Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

Penélope Cruz in Nine
Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Matt Damon in Invictus
Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

The Hurt Locker – written by Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds – written by Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger – written by Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
A Serious Man – written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Up – screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

District 9 – written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education – screenplay by Nick Hornby
In the Loop – screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air – screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Coraline – Henry Selick
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog – John Musker and Ron Clements
The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore
Up – Pete Docter

Almost There from The Princess and the Frog – music and lyrics by Randy Newman
Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog – music and lyrics by Randy Newman
Loin de Paname from Paris 36 – music by Reinhardt Wagner, lyrics by Frank Thomas
Take It All from Nine – music and lyrics by Maury Yeston
The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) from Crazy Heart – music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Avatar – James Horner
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat
The Hurt Locker – Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
Sherlock Holmes – Hans Zimmer
Up – Michael Giacchino

Burma VJ – Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
The Cove – Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
Food, Inc. – Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
Which Way Home – Rebecca Cammisa

Avatar – Mauro Fiore
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Bruno Delbonnel
The Hurt Locker – Barry Ackroyd
Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson
The White Ribbon – Christian Berger

Avatar – Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
District 9 – Julian Clarke
The Hurt Locker – Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Joe Klotz

Avatar – Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
District 9 – Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
Star Trek – Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Avatar – art direction Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; set decoration Kim Sinclair
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – art direction Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; set decoration Caroline Smith
Nine – art direction John Myhre; set decoration Gordon Sim
Sherlock Holmes – art direction Sarah Greenwood; set decoration Katie Spencer
The Young Victoria – art direction Patrice Vermette; set decoration Maggie Gray

Il Divo – Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
Star Trek – Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
The Young Victoria – Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Bright Star – Janet Patterson
Coco before Chanel – Catherine Leterrier
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Monique Prudhomme
Nine – Colleen Atwood
The Young Victoria – Sandy Powell

Avatar – Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottosson
Inglourious Basterds – Wylie Stateman
Star Trek – Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
Up – Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Avatar – Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
The Hurt Locker – Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
Inglourious Basterds – Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
Star Trek – Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Ajami – Israel
The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) – Peru
A Prophet (Un Prophète) – France
The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) – Argentina
The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) – Germany

China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province – Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner – Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant – Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
Music by Prudence – Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
Rabbit à la Berlin – Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

French Roast – Fabrice O. Joubert
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte) – Javier Recio Gracia
Logorama – Nicolas Schmerkin
A Matter of Loaf and Death – Nick Park

The Door – Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
Instead of Abracadabra – Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
Kavi – Gregg Helvey
Miracle Fish – Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
The New Tenants – Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

*Numbers from Associated Press March 8, 2010

Young People Fucking, the romantic comedy at the centre of last year’s debate on Bill C-10 regarding government film sponsorship, has earned eight nominations from the Canadian Comedy Awards.

The 10th annual awards, which will be presented October 2 at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, NB, announced the nominations for best in film, television and stand-up comedy on Monday. The awards show will air later in the season on The Comedy Network.

YPF follows four couples and one threesome through six stages of a sexual experience. The bedroom adventures gained recognition in the acting, writing and directing categories. The film’s stars – Josh Dean, Ennis Esmer, Peter Oldring, Kristin Booth, Natalie Lisinska and Carly Pope – all received nominations for their roles. Booth won a best supporting actress Genie Award for her performance earlier this year.

Martin Gero was nominated for directing the rom-com and shares a second nomination with Aaron Abrams for writing the screenplay.

Ottawa native Jeremy Hotz, who wrote for The Jon Stewart Show in the 1990s, has three nominations. He’s up for best male stand-up and has two nods in the category of best taped, live TV performance: one for his “Just for Laughs Gala” and another for “What a Miserable Show This Is.” Other best male stand-up nominees include Scott Faulconbridge, Glen Foster, David Pryde and Sugar Sammy.

Toronto’s Debra DiGiovanni has two nominations – one for best female stand-up and another for best taped, live TV performance for her “Halifax Comedy Festival” special. Also nominated for best female stand-up are Kate Davis, Shelley Marshall, Allyson Smith and Kristeen Von Hagen.

More Jon Stewart alum, The Daily Show writer Samantha Bee and partner Jason Jones, were named for their performances in Cooper’s Camera. Other films to earn recognition include Boyfriend Latte, Hooked on Speedman and Wild Cherry.

In the TV categories, CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes has five nominations, including best writing. In addition, CBC’s Rick Mercer Report has a writing nomination, while Alan Park received a nod for his performance in the final year of Royal Canadian Air Farce.

Other TV shows with multiple nominations include mockumentary sitcom The Jon Dore TV Show with three and Winnipeg-shot Less Than Kind with four.

This was one of the most anticipated Academy Awards in years. Fingers were crossed for the little movie that could and organizers were whispering of big changes to the worn-out ceremony. And for once, the promises of grandeur were fulfilled.

Fan favourite Slumdog Millionaire was named best picture, beating out Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Milk, and nomination-leader The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The low-budget, British-Indian drama about a Mumbai street boy’s rise to game-show glory went home with eight Oscar statues, winning all but two of its nomination categories.

Filling Slumdog’s pot of gold were awards for best director (Danny Boyle); adapted screenplay (Simon Beaufoy); original score and song (A.R. Rahman); cinematography; editing; and sound.

In the acting categories, Kate Winslet (The Reader) overtook Meryl Streep (Doubt) for best actress and Sean Penn (Milk) out-manoeuvred Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) for best actor. A wonderful Oscar moment came when Winslet asked her father to whistle so she could find him in the crowd and thank him directly during her speech.

The expectants took away supporting honours, with Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) taking home an Oscar and Heath Ledger (Dark Knight) winning posthumously for his portrayal of the Joker. Ledger’s mother, father and sister accepted the award on his daughter’s behalf, addressing the teary-eyed crowd with heartfelt thanks. However, inconsiderate planning had the next segment on documentary film cuing up as Ledger’s family exited the stage and the audience attempted to compose itself. A commercial break would have been much more appropriate.

Benjamin Button only took home awards for three of its 13 nominations, winning best art direction, makeup and visual effects.

Another Oscar moment immortalized itself when Philippe Petit, the subject of best documentary Man on Wire, made a coin magically disappear and balanced the gold statue on his chin while being played off the stage.

The following is a full list of 2009 Academy Awards winners:

Best picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best director
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best actor
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler

Best actress
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt
Kate Winslet, “The Reader

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”

Best supporting actress
Amy Adams, “Doubt
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, “Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler

Best foreign-language film
“The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Germany
“The Class,” France
Departures,” Japan
“Revanche,” Austria
“Waltz With Bashir,” Israel

Best adapted screenplay
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
David Hare, “The Reader
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best original screenplay
Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”
Mike Leigh, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Martin McDonagh, “In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, “WALL-E”

Best animated feature film
“Kung Fu Panda”

Best art direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best cinematography
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best sound mixing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best sound editing
The Dark Knight
“Iron Man”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best original score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
James Newton Howard, “Defiance”
Danny Elfman, “Milk”
A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman, “WALL-E”

Best original song
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E,” Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best costume design
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
The Duchess
“Revolutionary Road”

Best documentary feature
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
Man on Wire
“Trouble the Water”

Best documentary (short subject)
“The Conscience of Nhem En”
“The Final Inch”
Smile Pinki
“The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306”

Best film editing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Best animated short film
La Maison en Petits Cubes
“Lavatory — Lovestory”
“This Way Up”

Best live action short film
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)”
“Manon on the Asphalt”
“New Boy”
“The Pig”
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best visual effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”

Next to the winners (and their attire), the other big talk of Oscar night was the actual ceremony and its unconventional host.

Hugh Jackman brought a showman’s flair to the occasion with a couple of musical numbers, as opposed to the traditional comedic jabs. But the night was not jab-less. Jackman’s introductory song included an enjoyable number with Anne Hathaway as Nixon, but another about not having seen The Reader and his intention to just catch it on DVD. Ben Stiller took a knowing poke at Joaquin Phoenix’s new, bizarre persona, when he accompanied Natalie Portman to the stage dressed as the actor-turned-rapper.

Steve Martin and Tina Fey joined each other on stage to present the screenplay awards, but stole most of the attention for themselves as they exchanged playful banter. The skit culminated with Fey looking affectionately at Martin, and him demanding, “Don’t fall in love with me.”

A short sketch comedy featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco as their Pineapple Express characters was scripted by Judd Apatow. Unfortunately, the Academy’s reluctance to show the boys getting high restrained some of the funniness.

The best song performances were wonderful, with dozens of Indian dancers and numerous drummers accompanying A.R. Rahman’s renditions of the two nominated songs from Slumdog Millionaire. Unfortunately, Peter Gabriel chose not to perform “Down to Earth” from WALL-E, leaving the task to John Legend.

A third musical featured a duet with Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles; Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical; and Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper of Mamma Mia!. However, Jackman and Knowles’ duet could have been cut a tad shorter.

The technical awards were grouped, so presenters handed out all honours in compatible categories; and in between awards presentations, genre montages of nominated and non-nominated film clips were projected on the big screen. But the most applauded change was the presentation of top acting awards by five exceptional winners from previous years. Not only was it a welcome change from viewing the overplayed film clips, but it made just being nominated a little more special – ask Hathaway, who was brought to tears when she was honoured by Shirley MacLaine.