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2012 Oscar Nominations

Posted by: Matthew Turner 27/01/2012 @ 15:07
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 24
Films seen in the last two weeks: Red Light Revolution, The Woman In Black, The Muppets, The Sitter, Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, The Grey, The Adopted, X: Night of Vengeance, Acts of Godfrey, Underworld: Awakening (3D), Chronicle, A Monster In Paris (3D), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (3D), Safe House, Bel Ami

FILM OF THE WEEK: The Descendants

Oscar Nominations
As any film fan worth his or her salt will have spotted, the Oscar nominations were announced this week. As usual, they brought forth the usual howls of protest (Twitter in general was mostly upset about the snubs for Drive and Shame) and it is fair to say there were a number of baffling decisions this year, even for the Oscars. Why only nine Best Picture nominees, for example? Couldn't they have thrown in an extra one just to make the numbers up?

Still, it's worth celebrating the nominations that the Oscars got right alongside their numerous fails. Let's start with the fails though: I am very sad for Albert Brooks, who seemed a shoo-in for his supporting turn as a mobster in Drive and that nomination would have gone a long way to appeasing Drive's solid and vocal fan base. I'm sad too for The Descendants' Shailene Woodley, who was getting mild Oscar buzz during the LFF, though it failed to materialise along with the other Descendants noms. I also thought Tilda Swinton would be a sure thing for We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Interestingly, the SAG awards chose Swinton over Rooney Mara, just as they also chose Leonardo DiCaprio over Gary Oldman and Armie Hammer over Max Von Sydow. (The Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close nominations in general seemed to take most Oscar pundits by surprise). I am also gutted for Michael Fassbender (though Shame was always going to be a tough sell with the Academy, since they're largely conservative and it's not exactly a film about hugging and learning) and Olivia Colman (who gave, to my mind, the best female performance of the year), but the biggest snub is the Oscar-wide shut-out of Young Adult, which I was convinced would pick up – at the very least – noms for Best Picture, Best Actress (Charlize Theron – she is brilliant in it), Best Screenplay (Diablo Cody) and Best Director (Jason Reitman) and was hoping it would get a Best Supporting Actor for Patton Oswalt.

On the plus side, however, I'm thrilled that Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris (one of my favourite films from last year) managed to land Best Picture and Best Director nominations rather than just the traditional nomination for Best Screenplay (present and correct and the award it's most likely to win). I'm also delighted that Moneyball is up for a variety of awards, as it's a film that has really grown on me since I saw it; I also love that every sub-The Sitter comedy from now on is going to be advertised with the phrase “Starring Academy Award Nominee Jonah Hill.” Needless to say, I'm also very happy for The Artist, though it's been the front-runner for so long now that the celebrations have lost their edge a bit.

There are some other good ones in there too, namely: Jessica Chastain (I loved her in The Help and it's my favourite of the 237 performances she turned in last year), Gary Oldman (come on, the Brits, etc), Nick Nolte (particularly as I predicted his nomination after seeing Warrior, though, sadly, he's going to lose to Christopher Plummer), A Separation (a lock for Best Foreign Film) and, rather wonderfully, Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie for the fabulous Man or Muppet song from The Muppets. Finally, no blog post on the Oscar noms would be complete without a link to this hilarious “If 2012 Oscar-nominated Movie Posters Told The Truth” piece from the comedy geniuses at The Shiznit.

Trailerwatch: Casa De Mi Padre (House of My Father)
I first spotted this trailer a few weeks ago while catching up on a webcomic called Theater Hopper. Oddly, it hasn't yet taken the internets by storm, or if it has, I was busy that day and missed it. At any rate, it looks right up my street and not just because I speak Spanish. The gimmick is fairly obvious – it's a Will Ferrell comedy western (think Desperado with more laughs) but the dialogue is all in Spanish (I particularly like Parks & Recreation's Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) asking Ferrell's character if he speaks English). It looks like they've put an enormous amount of effort into it though and I love the tagline gags: “Guns! Special Effects! Cigarettes! Slaps!” (the sight gag with “Special Effects” made me laugh out loud).

The posters are pretty cool-looking too. I'm also pleased to see that My Good Friends Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are in it. It's probably too much to hope that the film will live up to the trailer (which is impressively directed and scored in its own right), but I'm really looking forward to it anyway. No UK release date as yet but hopefully that'll change soon.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
There was no blog last week so technically there's only one new entry this week with just Oscar-nominated drama The Descendants making it into the top ten. However, I've added Haywire, which I would have put into the top ten last week, even though it was a very mediocre week for new films. Incredibly, Margaret is STILL showing at the Odeon Panton Street (whoever programs that cinema is a wonderful human being), so please rush out and catch it while you still can.

Interview-wise we have press conference interviews with Descendants stars George Clooney and Shailene Woodley and director Alexander Payne and an exclusive (from San Sebastian) press conference interview with the stars of Intruders (Clive Owen, Daniel Bruhl, Carice Van Houten, Ella Purnell and the lovely Pilar Lopez de Ayala). Last week the new interviews were with Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy for W.E. and you can still read those too, alongside our exclusive round table interviews with the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston for War Horse, our exclusive round table interview with lead Jeremy Irvine, our exclusive interview with original author Michael Morpurgo and a press conference interview with director Steven Spielberg.

Elsewhere you can still read our press conference interview with Shame writer Abi Morgan and director Steve McQueen, and No Shame actor Michael Fassbender, our exclusive interview with Dreams of a Life director Carol Morley, our press conference interviews with Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jnr, Jude Law and Noomi Rapace for Sherlock Holmes 2 and our press conference interviews with Hugo director Martin Scorsese and Hugo actors Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz and Ben Kingsley.

1. The Artist
2. The Descendants
3. Margaret
4. Shame
5. Moneyball
6. My Week With Marilyn
7. Margin Call
8. Haywire
9. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
10. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

DVD of the Week: Drive (released 30th January, online RRP £10.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Based on the novel by James Sallis, it stars Ryan Gosling as an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as an ultra-efficient, no-questions-asked getaway driver, overseen in both cases by his friend and mentor Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Though he normally keeps himself to himself, the driver's solitary existence is ruffled when he forms an attachment to an attractive woman (Carey Mulligan as Irene) and her young son (Kaden Leos) after they move into his building. When Irene's ex-con husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison, the driver agrees to help him with the debt he owes a local gangster by agreeing to drive during a heist. However, when the heist goes wrong, the driver finds his life threatened by gang boss Nino (Ron
Perlman) and crooked businessman Bernie (Albert Brooks), both of whom have history with Shannon.

With minimal dialogue and almost no facial expression except the occasional flicker of an enigmatic smile, Gosling delivers a supercool performance as the driver, aided in no small part by the instantly iconic white satin, gold scorpion-emblazoned jacket he wears throughout the film. There's also strong support from Isaac, Perlman (who gets one of the film's best lines) and Cranston, as well as an eye-catching turn from Christina Hendricks as gangster's moll Blanche, while the casting of Albert Brooks as a villain turns out to be a stroke of genius and he's simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely sinister.

Refn's direction is achingly stylish throughout (his lack of a Best Director Oscar nom is a disgrace), with long, fluid takes accompanied by a terrific soundtrack and some stunning production design work (whoever chose that jacket deserves some sort of award named after them). He also orchestrates some genuinely exciting action sequences, such as a thrilling car chase, as well as some pulse-pounding scenes punctuated by explosions of strong violence. In short, Drive was, hands down, the coolest film of last year, thanks to a strong script, impeccably stylish direction and a terrific central performance from Ryan Gosling. Highly recommended.

Extras include a 30 minute Q&A with Nicolas Winding Refn, the theatrical trailer, the TV spot trailer and a gallery. No deleted scenes, cast interviews or commentary though, sadly, so bad luck if, like me, you were hoping for a spot of Christina Hendricks action. Drive fans should note that there is a special tweet-along-a-Drive event planned for 8pm on 30th January – follow @Drive_UK on Twitter and tweet while you watch the film under the hashtag #DriveTime.


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