Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Monday, 27 February 2012

Oscars Analysis: How has The Artist Triumphed so Utterly?

A few months ago, The Artist's success was unimaginable. How has it come to pass?

It has become easy over the last few months, as The Artist has been celebrated by every single awards ceremony in existence, to forget quite how extraordinary its success is. To remind us of that fact, let’s put it in plain terms. A black and white,almost completely silent film has just won the Oscar for Best Picture. Had someone predicted this 12 months ago, they would have been laughed out of Tinseltown.

The Artist Takes the Oscars

Silent Movie Wins Five Awards; Hugo also wins five

As widely expected, it was The Artist’s night at The 84th Annual Academy Awards, as it won five awards, including Best Picture, Director, and Actor for Jean Dujardin. However, the Academy also showed its affection for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which also won five awards in technical categories. Meryl Streep, Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer won the other acting awards.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Oscar Predictions

Here's a full list of my Oscar predictions, excluding the short film categories, and it looks like it's going to be a very good night for The Artist

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Best Actress: Viola Davis – The Help
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help
Best Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Cinematography: The Artist
Best Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Best Art Direction: The Artist
Best Costume Design: The Artist
Best Makeup: The Iron Lady
Best Original Score: The Artist
Best Original Song: The Muppets – “Man or Muppet”
Best Sound Mixing: Hugo
Best Sound Editing: Hugo
Best Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Documentary Feature: Pina

The Best Picture Nominees Ranked and Reviewed

The Best Picture Nominees Reviewed Ahead of Tonight's Oscars

9. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Truly one of the worst Best Picture nominees ever, Stephen Daldry’s cold and irritating post-9/11 dirge is boring, manipulative and features the most annoying child character for quite some time. To get on this year’s list, 5% of Academy voters had to put the film as their first choice. How they could do that for this tripe and not for films such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or We Need to Talk About Kevin is just beyond the comprehension of the sane and rational.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Potential Oscar Shocks

The Oscars seem predictable this year, but are there some surprises on the horizon?

The awards season finally comes to an end this weekend with the 84th Academy Awards, the Oscars, taking place on Sunday evening in Hollywood.  What originally held some promise to be one of the most keenly contested races for quite some time, has, like so many races before, become a procession in favour of one film.

There is no real doubt that The Artist will be dominating the world’s press for the last time on Monday morning, but Oscar has shocked us before and there is the slim possibility that it may do so this year. So, in the most probably vain hope of surprise, let’s go looking for some potential Oscar shocks.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Review: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The Most Undeserving Best Picture Nominee for a Very Long Time

Well, I didn’t hate it. Not the most encouraging start to a review and I reckon that it’s probably the high point, because Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is one of the most baffling and disappointing Best Picture nominees ever. Often irritating and constantly unmoving, this is a film which completely fails to do justice to the dreadful event of 9/11 which it invokes.

The story is simple enough. A boy, who may have Asperger’s, loses his father in 9/11 and a year later he finds a key amongst his father’s possessions in an envelope simply marked “Black”. Determined that this was left by his dad deliberately, the boy, Oskar (Thomas Horn), goes about New York seeking the lock that the key fits.

Friday, 17 February 2012

If you missed The Muppets last week, catch it now

It's time to start the music. It's time to light the lights. It's time to meet The Muppets...

With the days still dark, and a cold and wet weekend on the way, it seems like we could all afford to cheer ourselves up a bit. I can recommend no better tonic than The Muppets which is an absolutely ideal combination of silly, absurd and musical fun for all the family.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

To Adapt or Not To Adapt?

There have been great film versions of plays, and disappointing adaptations too. What is required to make a good transition from stage to screen?

After seeing Carnage, I emerged having been entertained but with one nagging criticism on my mind: it was stagey. Yasmina Reza’s play “The God of Carnage” arrived on the big screen as a funny, well-acted, good piece of entertainment, but one that just isn’t very cinematic.

There have been some great films based on plays, such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Casablanca and various screen adaptations of Shakespeare. There have also been some adaptations which just don’t feel at home on the big screen. Doubt and The History Boys were two prime examples of films which still felt constrained by the limitations of a Proscenium Arch.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Hands up if you're Bored by the Awards Season

The Oscars have their thunder stolen every year, but maybe that's about to change

This year has featured one of the more interesting awards seasons of recent times. It has still become very boring before the real event. We all know that The Artist is going to win big at the Oscars in a fortnight’s time, and, after the endless awards ceremonies, it is becoming increasingly hard to care.

The Artist Triumphs at the BAFTAs

Seven awards for The Artist confirms that it is unstoppable in its march towards Oscar success

The Artist swept all before it at Sunday night’s BAFTAs, winning seven awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy won for Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay, tying with Hugo, The Iron Lady and Senna on two awards each.

The BAFTAs had threatened to buck the trend of the French silent-movie winning all of the major awards it was up for, with the adaptation of Le CarrĂ©’s spy thriller looking like a strong contender as the flag-bearer for British film this year. However, BAFTA demonstrated its admiration of The Artist by awarding it the most awards of the night by far, including a surprise win for Jean Dujardin in the Best Actor category, an award which Tinker Tailor’s Gary Oldman had been expected to win.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best Film and Full List of Predictions

In a battle of two much-admired films, the sheer amount of love for The Artist will carry the day

The Oscars have a list of nine films for Best Picture. BAFTA has five films in its list for Best Film. BAFTA’s list is better, for BAFTA includes The Artist and The Descendants, two of the finest films you’d wish to see, the worthy The Help, which was surprisingly nominated ahead of Hugo, and it includes Drive, one of the most brilliantly well-executed films of the year, and, of course, it is the only major awards body to have given a nomination to the best film of 2011, namely Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

So, who will win?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best Director

The under-appreciated get a chance, but can they stop The Artist and Michel Hazanavicius?

The nominees for Best Director are a fine selection indeed. BAFTA has recognised the cinephile work of both Michel Hazanavicius in The Artist and Martin Scorsese for Hugo, as had everyone else, but they have also picked three of the very best and under-appreciated directors of last year. We have the Best Director from Cannes, Nicolas Winding-Refn for Drive, the meticulous Swede Tomas Alfredson for the masterful Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Lynne Ramsay for We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Anyone of these would be very worthy winners, and the competition is very close to call. BAFTA does not pick its Best Director winners lightly. They often go for exceptional filmmakers whose work is not getting rewarded widely. In recent years, Paul Greengrass won for United 93, Peter Weir won for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Mike Leigh won for Vera Drake.

Friday, 10 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best Actress

There are contenders other than Dame Meryl

A few months ago, the Best Actress category was looking pretty simple. No matter which awards body it was, they were going to vote for Meryl Streep’s incredible, engrossing and moving portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. However, queries have been raised since then about how inevitable Streep’s victory is.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best Supporting Actor

How refreshing it is to see five completely worthy nominees. What a shame it is that only one can win.

It is hard to have any complaint about the Best Supporting Actor category this year. I have quibbles, such as the fact that not one member of the brilliant supporting cast in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy managed to make it onto the list (presumably they all cancelled out each other’s votes), and that Christopher Plummer, great though he is, has been nominated more for the outlandishness of his role (an elderly father who belatedly comes out) than for the quality of his performance (I personally thought he was better in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

However, you can stand back and look at these five nominees and say not only that they’re all worthy of their place there, but also that you wouldn’t mind any of them winning.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best British Film

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy may be the only nominee to also be up for Best Film, but that's no guarantee for success in the Outstanding British Film Category

The Best British Film category at the BAFTAs should be an open and shut case, shouldn’t it? Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is nominated in that category, but is the only nominee to also be up for Best Film, so it must win, right?


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best Supporting Actress

The Supporting Actress category is a story of bizarre omissions and an inspired inclusion

Having praised BAFTA yesterday for its Best Actor picks, I must express a certain degree of bemusement over its selections for Supporting Actress. It has largely followed the line of other awards ceremonies, nominating Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain for their performances in The Help, and Melissa McCarthy for her comedic turn in Bridesmaids. However, it has deviated from others by nominating Carey Mulligan in Drive, and Judi Dench in My Week with Marilyn.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best Actor

In the first part of Reel 6's week-long preview of the BAFTAs, it's Oldman vs. Fassbender for Best Actor

The BAFTAs are the awards body which gets the nominations right. On the whole, that is. Though they occasionally over reward the British contingent when the awards are handed out, they do at least recognise more of the very best in film than Oscar actually does. No category represents this better this year than Best Actor.

BAFTA is in line with everyone else in appreciating the excellence of George Clooney (The Descendants) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist), who appear to be the two battling it out for the Oscar. They have also been charmed by Brad Pitt (Moneyball), but it is two Brits (well, a Brit and an Irishman) who seem to be in pole position for the BAFTA.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

War Horse is simply a mixed bag

A film which flits between brilliance and over-indulgence has generated a false division amongst critics

War Horse has been incredibly divisive. Is it a moving, genuinely affecting masterpiece? Or is it a schmaltzy, manipulative, over-the-top deluge of sentimentality (no pun intended)?

Well, as is often the case with such divisive movies, it is a bit of both. It is Spielberg with phasers set to blub and firing on all cylinders and the end result is that some of the film is thrilling, moving and often devastating filmmaking, whilst other bits of it just go far too far.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mortensen and Fassbender together is an irresistible prospect

An acting match-up to compare with De Niro and Pacino

The release of A Dangerous Method is being talked about for many reasons. Spanking. Keira Knightley. Keira Knightley being spanked. It’s all been very high-brow, but for the real film fans amongst us there is a great reason to get excited. The film features one of those acting head-to-heads which are unmissable. Like De Niro and Pacino in Heat was for an entire generation of film buffs, so Mortensen and Fassbender in A Dangerous Method is for another.

The Death of Film

Is there a place for film in a digital world?

The signs are unavoidable: film is dying. The rise of digital has been unstoppable for a long time, but now it is claiming casualties.

Eastman Kodak, the name internationally synonymous with film, filed for bankruptcy a few weeks ago and now it is attempting to have itsname struck off the theatre where the Oscars are held. There has been no bigger sign of the death of film to date.