The First Annual Governors Awards

When the announcement was made several months ago that the Academy was upping the Best Picture nominees to 10 and removing the honorary and career awards from the telecast, I died a little on the inside. As a huge film nerd, I live for the lifetime achievement portion of any awards show, sometimes more than the actual awards themselves. Why? Because in a few years I won’t care what movie won Best Picture (unless it’s Crash; I’m still bitter about that) but I’ll always care about Blake Edwards, Robert Altman and Ennio Morricone – to name a few recent recipients – receiving an honorary statuette.

With the honorary awards bumped from the live telecast, the Governors Awards banquet has been created. Last night, Nov. 14, was the first such banquet. Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman, Gordon Willis and John Calley were honored.

But because there was no television coverage and limited press coverage, something remarkable has happened. These four honorees received a tribute equivalent (in time, at the very least) to the entire Academy Awards ceremony. (This NY Times blog post highlights the event much better than I can.)

Although these awards won’t been shown in full at the telecast, the honorees are finally receiving the respect they deserve from the industry in the form a semi-private affair. Finally the Academy is making something work out right.

Now about those 10 nominees for Best Picture…

Update: Cynical me has been proven wrong again. You can watch the acceptance speeches on the Oscars web site here.

Live Blogging the Oscars Red Carpet!

6:26 PM – Hello! Cinefille here and it is time to start my live-blog of the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

I’m am, sadly, not watching the Red Carpet on the Big Vowel with Ryan Seacrest right now. But maybe that is a good thing. According to the text message my ex-roommate Freddie just sent me High School Musical has invaded the red carpet. I guess they are trying to bring in the tween crowd this year.
I am also waiting for Freddie to come to Blanchard so we can eat and I can actually start watching the awards. I frankly do not like receiving text messages about Miley Cyrus ruining the Oscars. I prefer to watch trainwrecks in person.

6:33 – Remember last year when Gary Busee mauled Jennifer Garner? That was a great red carpet moment. In fact. You can watch it now.

6:50 – Still not watching, Freddie just told me that Hugh Jackman is performing with Efron and Hudgeons. I think I just had a hernia.

7:09 – I have finally turned on the Big Vowel. I barely caught an interview with Michael Sheen, who plays David Frost in Frost/Nixon. Sheen on Frost: “I can’t get rid of him now.”

7:10 – Interview with Richard Jenkins. This is what happens when Seacrest meets talent. Jenkins could care less about Seacrest and his crappy interviewing skills.

7:12 – SJP is wearing a titanium plate on her chest. I think. Sidebar: Why is SJP even at the Oscars?

7:15 – R PATTZ! I hate Twilight with a passion but I think Robert Pattinson is dreamy.

7:18 – SJP and Broderick. The titanium plate up close. SJP talked about Sex and the City. She claims not to know anything. Lies SJP, lies. Poor Broderick, he’s just an accessory at these things.

7:20 Since we don’t why anyone is actually at the awards unless they are nominated of course, someone like Natalie Portman is listed on an “attendee.” This is fine by me. As long as she’s not singing too.

7:21 – Giuliana Rancic: “I think we have to take a break because I just caught a glimpse of Natalie Portman. I need to reevaluate my life”. Well, Giuliana maybe if you laid off the tanner and worked not being a shitty journalist, you wouldn’t have to do reevaluate your existence.

7:26 – Marisa Tomei! Seacrest to Tomei – “The role you played was a very determined mother.” That’s one way of describing her role as a stripper who is naked for most of the movie.

7:27 – Seacrest is trying to describe what Mickey Rourke is wearing. Based on Ryan’s description, “He is wearing an off-white suit,” he just might not actually be gay.

7:29 – Mickey Rourke is always an interesting interview. Every time he talks about his dogs, I get a little weepy.

7:35 Peter Gabriel just announced that Best Song nominees are going to be performed in medley and that is why he isn’t performing tonight. He felt that wouldn’t do the song justice. I actually respect that because he is the artist afterall, and by asking him to perform a medley with two Bollywood-esque songs is asking him to compromise a lot.

7:38 – I was attempting to do my homework for my film class, when I heard Giuliana Rancic scream. Had Busey attacked Seacrest attacked? No. Brangelina has arrived. AND Angelina is wearing a form-fitting dress. It is still black, but progress is still progress.

7:42 – Ryan Seacrest is interviewing Penelope Cruz. He just said Vicky Cristina Barcelona in a horrible Spanish accent. Cruz’s face is priceless during this exchange.

7:51 – Why I love E! There is always the possibilty of a “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” commercial. Now while Kate Winslet is being interviewed, I am pondering the size of Kim Kardashians ass and whether or not it is shrinking.

7:58 – Brad Pitt is too important to stop and talk to Seacrest.

8:00 – Switching over to ABC Red Carpet… with TIM GUNN!! This is clearly the serious portion of the Red Carpet.

8:03 – Tim Gunn to Amy Adams (I’m paraphrasing here): “You are shrouded completely in black in Doubt and you are competing against

8:03 – Room reaction to SJP – “EW! It’s HORSE FACE!”

8:05 – I love Frank Langella. He is orgasmic. Ellen to me: “How awesome would it be if Javier Bardem presented the award to Frank Langella? What if they got into a mud wrestling fight on stage?” It’s not nice to tease me like that.

8:06 – Tim Gunn meets Brangelina for a… two-second interivew. AND WHAT IS MILEY CYRUS WEARING!!!!!!!!!! She looks like she’s going to a quincieria in fairy land.

8:09 – Tim Gunn and Valentino. Epic. I just learned something about fashion that Jay Manuel could never teach me.

8:10 – Cast of Slumdog Millionaire! Cute little kids from the cast!

8:12 – Something you will only hear at a women’s college Oscar party: “Zac Efron looks like a butch lesbian.” Thank you, Saskia.

8:23 – Sorry. Got sidetracked. Was talking about Skins with Saskia.

8:24 – Some dude is interviewing Jack Black, Jonah Hill and Judd Apatow at the bar. I guess they’re not important enough to be interviewed on the

8:27 – The musical director is talking about the music that will be used tonight. Benny Goodman. Lawrence of Arabia theme. Are they trying to make me orgasm? After I typed this, Fred leans over my shoulder and whispers, “And then Zac Efron will perform.” Way kill the moment Fred.

8:28 – TWO MINUTES!!!!!!!!

The Underdogs of the Oscars

With this year’s Oscar buzz being focused on Helen Mirren and Jennifer Hudson, it’s easy to forget that many of the other races do not have clear frontrunners or that the best movies nominated are not nominated for Best Picture.

Best Actor

On Sunday night Peter O’Toole, one the greatest living screen actors, could become the most-nominated actor never to win an Academy Award.

The fact that O’Toole has never won a competitive Academy Award (he received an honorary Oscar in 2003) is a crime. However, this year is his best chance to finally win. Despite Forest Whitaker’s obvious domination of the Best Actor category, O’Toole is the most likely actor to an Oscar upset.

The Academy loves to honor actors who have never won, especially those who may have just delivered their last great performance. Think of Henry Fonda winning for On Golden Pond or Jack Palance for City Slickers.

O’Toole’s touching performance as the aging actor Maurice in Venus could (and should) allow him one final moment to shine.

Best Foreign Language Film

When Pan’s Labyrinth, Mexico’s submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category, received six Oscar nominations, there was a common expression of surprise among entertainment reporters.

Compared to the two films that received more Oscar nominations, Babel and Dreamgirls, Pan’s Labyrinth has gathered the least publicity and it is without a doubt the best of the three films.

Director Guillermo del Toro has created a cinema masterpiece. The film is about a young girl who uses a fairy tale to escape her troubled life. Don’t be surprised when this wonderful film walks away with not only the Academy Award in this category, but in other categories as well.

Best Picture

The award show season unofficially begins sometime during December. By the time the Golden Globes occur in early January, the frontrunners in most categories are obvious. Yet, this year is unique because there is no apparent leader for Best Picture.

The favorite flip flops between Babel and The Departed, and then other days Letters from Iwo Jima or The Queen seem [to be] the likely victors. Little Miss Sunshine has always been the underdog.

Maybe after last year’s Crash/Brokeback Mountain fiasco, critics are more wary to pick a winner. Or maybe it is because this has been a superb year for performances and not a great year for movies. Honestly, the Best Picture of 2007 is anyone’s call and the only certainty is that Dreamgirls doesn’t have a shot at winning.

Published: The Mount Holyoke News
February 22, 2007

What They’re Saying

The Oscar nominations are out. Here’s a round up of some of the more interesting articles I found about the 2007 Academy Awards

An Oscar Season in Hell — by Mark Harris, Entertainment Weekly
When will the Academy admit that its decision since 2004 to give voters less time to consider worthy films and performances is a disaster?

Reading the Tea Leaves — by Dave Karger, Entertainment Weekly
The Academy shows ”Borat” and ”Labyrinth” some love, but tells ”Dreamgirls” it’s not going…to be Best Picture. Here are five big surprises and five points we’ll be talking about until Oscar night

Awards Cheat Sheet — Entertainment Weekly
Before you enter your office pool, check our grid to see who’s racking up prizes so far

Snubbed… but Still Loved! — Entertainment Weekly
They’re not nominated for Oscars this year — but here’s why ”Children of Men,” Brad Pitt, Emily Blunt, and others deserved to be.

Dream machine stalls — LA Times
“Dreamgirls” was a sure thing for the best picture category. What went wrong?

Dreamgirls’ Leads in Oscar Nominations but Is Snubbed for Best Picture — by David Carr, NY Times

Ebert’s take on the Oscar picks — by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Roeper at Sundance: Oscar’s big surprises — by Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times

That’s the most I could find at the moment. But plenty more articles are going to pop up in the coming weeks. (p.s. I really reccomend reading the first column, “An Oscar Season in Hell”)