Paramount via Everett Collection
With so many different awards organizations announcing their nominations one after the other, it's difficult to remember how heavily to weigh each one's picks when filling out your Oscar pool sheet. Generally speaking, the BAFTAs are a fairly safe guide when it comes to the Best Picture category. Since 2008, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has accurately predicted the Academy's top winners, with (even more impressively) only two discrepancies in Best Picture nominations throughout those five years (both in 2012, interestingly enough). Looking at this latest batch of BAFTA's chief nominees — which includes...
American Hustle,Captain Phillips,Gravity,Philomena,and 12 Years a Slave
— we're not especially surprised by any of the films included in as much as we are a bit displaced over the absence of one of this past year's biggest titles: The Wolf of Wall Street. By now, everyone with his ear close to the conversation is predicting that Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave is a lock for the Best Picture Oscar, but the consideration rarely comes without honorable mention of Martin Scorsese's Wolf. Still, the satirical picture is far from awards fodder. Called far too "extreme" for the Academy's liking, the 3-hour tour de force of mortifying hedonism would be a far cry from an Oscar even without the competition of 12 Years. Instead, as suggested by BAFTA's list of Best Picture nods, organizations are leaning towards the safer, sweeter, more palatable, less controversial, and effectively less good spiritual counterpart to Wolf of Wall Street: American Hustle.
Hustle is a fine movie all its own — it's fun, dynamic, well-acted, and does indeed feel "lived in." But it falls shy of the artistic reach represented by fellow con man epic Wolf, to which comparisons are inevitable (you can hear a terrific discussion on the matter on the latest episode of Fighting in the War Room). While we'd be hard pressed to deny David O. Russell's funny, campy, emotionally charged picture its due recognition of quality, the choice to nominate it for Best Picture over Wolf of Wall Street seems like a statement of fear: "We don't want to nominate that large, messy, outrageous picture that's got everybody all in a huff," mutters a nervous BAFTA. "But what about the one with the hair? That's sorta like Wolf of Wall Street, but cleaner. Jolly good!"
The choice is a scary one, if only that it suggests the possibility that BAFTA has veered away from Wolf of Wall Street due to the volatility associated with the movie rather than due to the quality therein. By this token, would a few more Armond Whites have robbed 12 Years a Slave of its nomination? How about a few more Neil deGrasse Tysons stealing the nod from Gravity?
Hopefully, the Academy will not emulate this aversion to Scorsese's movie — one that more than deserves mention, and would even take home a few trophies in a just system. Peruse the rest of BAFTA's nominations below (which also, obscenely, omit Her in the Original Screenplay category) and share your thoughts on the matter.
BEST FILM12 YEARS A SLAVE Anthony Katagas, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueenAMERICAN HUSTLE Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, Jonathan GordonCAPTAIN PHILLIPS Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De LucaGRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, David HeymanPHILOMENA Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward
DIRECTOR12 YEARS A SLAVE Steve McQueenAMERICAN HUSTLE David O. RussellCAPTAIN PHILLIPS Paul GreengrassGRAVITY Alfonso CuarónTHE WOLF OF WALL STREET Martin Scorsese
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAYAMERICAN HUSTLE Eric Warren Singer, David O. RussellBLUE JASMINE Woody AllenGRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás CuarónINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Joel Coen, Ethan CoenNEBRASKA Bob Nelson
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY12 YEARS A SLAVE John RidleyBEHIND THE CANDELABRA Richard LaGraveneseCAPTAIN PHILLIPS Billy RayPHILOMENA Steve Coogan, Jeff PopeTHE WOLF OF WALL STREET Terence Winter
LEADING ACTORBRUCE DERN NebraskaCHIWETEL EJIOFOR 12 Years a SlaveCHRISTIAN BALE American HustleLEONARDO DICAPRIO The Wolf of Wall StreetTOM HANKS Captain Phillips
LEADING ACTRESSAMY ADAMS American HustleCATE BLANCHETT Blue JasmineEMMA THOMPSON Saving Mr. BanksJUDI DENCH PhilomenaSANDRA BULLOCK Gravity
SUPPORTING ACTORBARKHAD ABDI Captain PhillipsBRADLEY COOPER American HustleDANIEL BRÜHL RushMATT DAMON Behind the CandelabraMICHAEL FASSBENDER 12 Years a Slave
SUPPORTING ACTRESSJENNIFER LAWRENCE American HustleJULIA ROBERTS August: Osage CountyLUPITA NYONG’O 12 Years a SlaveOPRAH WINFREY The ButlerSALLY HAWKINS Blue Jasmine
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILMGRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman, Jonás CuarónMANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM Justin Chadwick, Anant Singh, David M. Thompson, William NicholsonPHILOMENA Stephen Frears, Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward, Jeff PopeRUSH Ron Howard, Andrew Eaton, Peter MorganSAVING MR. BANKS John Lee Hancock, Alison Owen, Ian Collie, Philip Steuer, Kelly Marcel, Sue SmithTHE SELFISH GIANT: Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCERCOLIN CARBERRY (Writer), GLENN PATTERSON (Writer) Good VibrationsKELLY MARCEL (Writer) Saving Mr. BanksKIERAN EVANS (Director/Writer) Kelly + VictorPAUL WRIGHT (Director/Writer), POLLY STOKES (Producer) For Those in PerilSCOTT GRAHAM (Director/Writer) Shell
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGETHE ACT OF KILLING Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge SørensenBLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR Abdellatif Kechiche, Brahim Chioua, Vincent MaravalTHE GREAT BEAUTY Paolo Sorrentino, Nicola Giuliano, Francesca CimaMETRO MANILA Sean Ellis, Mathilde CharpentierWADJDA Haifaa Al-Mansour, Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
DOCUMENTARYTHE ACT OF KILLING Joshua OppenheimerTHE ARMSTRONG LIE Alex GibneyBLACKFISH Gabriela CowperthwaiteTIM’S VERMEER Teller, Penn Jillette, Farley ZieglerWE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS Alex GibneyANIMATED FILMDESPICABLE ME 2 Chris Renaud, Pierre CoffinFROZEN Chris Buck, Jennifer LeeMONSTERS UNIVERSITY Dan Scanlon
ORIGINAL MUSIC12 YEARS A SLAVE Hans ZimmerTHE BOOK THIEF John WilliamsCAPTAIN PHILLIPS Henry JackmanGRAVITY Steven PriceSAVING MR. BANKS Thomas Newman
CINEMATOGRAPHY12 YEARS A SLAVE Sean BobbittCAPTAIN PHILLIPS Barry AckroydGRAVITY Emmanuel LubezkiINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Bruno DelbonnelNEBRASKA Phedon Papamichael
EDITING12 YEARS A SLAVE Joe WalkerCAPTAIN PHILLIPS Christopher RouseGRAVITY Alfonso Cuarón, Mark SangerRUSH Dan Hanley, Mike HillTHE WOLF OF WALL STREET Thelma Schoonmaker
PRODUCTION DESIGN12 YEARS A SLAVE Adam Stockhausen, Alice BakerAMERICAN HUSTLE Judy Becker, Heather LoefflerBEHIND THE CANDELABRA Howard CummingsGRAVITY Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne WoodlardTHE GREAT GATSBY Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
COSTUME DESIGNAMERICAN HUSTLE Michael WilkinsonBEHIND THE CANDELABRA Ellen MirojnickTHE GREAT GATSBY Catherine MartinTHE INVISIBLE WOMAN Michael O’ConnorSAVING MR. BANKS Daniel Orlandi
MAKE UP & HAIRAMERICAN HUSTLE Evelyne Noraz, Lori McCoy-BellBEHIND THE CANDELABRA Kate Biscoe, Marie LarkinTHE BUTLER Debra Denson, Beverly Jo Pryor, Candace NealTHE GREAT GATSBY Maurizio Silvi, Kerry WarnTHE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Peter Swords King, Richard Taylor, Rick Findlater
SOUNDALL IS LOST Richard Hymns, Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor, Micah Bloomberg, Gillian ArthurCAPTAIN PHILLIPS Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro, Oliver TarneyGRAVITY Glenn Freemantle, Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead, Niv Adiri, Chris MunroINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Peter F. Kurland, Skip Lievsay, Greg OrloffRUSH Danny Hambrook, Martin Steyer, Stefan Korte, Markus Stemler, Frank Kruse
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTSGRAVITY Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould, Nikki PennyTHE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric ReynoldsIRON MAN 3 Bryan Grill, Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Dan SudickPACIFIC RIM Hal Hickel, John Knoll, Lindy De Quattro, Nigel SumnerSTAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton, Patrick Tubach, Roger Guyett
BRITISH SHORT ANIMATIONEVERYTHING I CAN SEE FROM HERE Bjorn-Erik Aschim, Friederike Nicolaus, Sam TaylorI AM TOM MOODY Ainslie HendersonSLEEPING WITH THE FISHES James Walker, Sarah Woolner, Yousif Al-Khalifa
BRITISH SHORT FILMISLAND QUEEN Ben Mallaby, Nat LuurtsemaKEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES Megan Rubens, Michael Pearce, Selina LimORBIT EVER AFTER Chee-Lan Chan, Jamie Stone, Len RowlesROOM 8 James W. Griffiths, Sophie VennerSEA VIEW Anna Duffield, Jane Linfoot
Sir Paul McCartney, Madonna and Barry Gibb showed off their comedic chops this weekend (21Dec13) by joining Justin Timberlake and funnyman Jimmy Fallon for a Christmas edition of U.S. sketch show Saturday Night Live. Timberlake and Fallon kicked off Saturday's live gig by performing a medley of songs dressed as a tube of wrapping paper and a gift bag respectively, as they parodied tracks such as Ludacris' Roll Out (My Business), Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know and It's Tricky by Run-D.M.C.
Fallon then delivered the opening monologue by showing off impressions of David Bowie, Bob Dylan and McCartney as he acted out his dream collaboration, blaming heavy New York traffic for preventing the rockers from appearing in person.
However, as he began to mimic the former Beatle, McCartney himself stepped out onstage, much to the crowd's delight, and quipped, "I was (stuck in traffic) but then I took a Citi Bike (public bike-sharing system). Am I too late to sing a song?"
The unlikely duo then launched into a rendition of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas as fake snow fell all around them.
McCartney's unexpected appearance was just the first of many surprises - Madonna joined in a discussion about politics during spoof segment The Barry Gibb Talk Show, with Fallon sporting '70s attire, a fake wig and fake facial hair to portray the only surviving Bee Gees star.
The Emotions hitmaker appeared to be in on the joke as he joined Timberlake and Fallon, who were both rocking vintage hair styles and suits, to close out the skit.
Even outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made time for a cameo during SNL's Weekend Update to discuss his plans after stepping down from the post early next year (14).
Saturday Night Live will return to U.S. TV screens for a new episode on 18 January (14) when rapper/actor Drake will serve as guest host.
An actress who has appeared in The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries has pleaded guilty to sending ricin-laced letters to U.S. President Barack Obama and outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Shannon Rogers Richardson was arrested in June (13) amid allegations she sent three 'poisoned' notes to Obama, Bloomberg and his colleague Mark Glaze, threatening harm if they continued to push for tougher gun control laws.
The actress, who also goes by Shannon Guess Richardson, originally tried to pin the blame on her estranged husband, Nathaniel Richardson, who filed for divorce in June (13), but she has now taken responsibility for the crimes.
Richardson entered the guilty plea on Tuesday (10Dec13) in Texarkana, Texas.
Former Lcd Soundsystem star James Murphy is hoping to revolutionise the sound of New York City's subways by creating individual soundtracks for each station for the benefit of weary commuters. The rocker is hoping to share some of his musical talents with the millions of residents who use one of the world's busiest transit systems each week.
In an interview with U.S. radio programme Sound Opinion, Murphy reveals he is keen to create distinct soundtracks for more than 400 underground stations in the New York City area, so commuters and tourists alike will be able to associate each place with a specific sound.
He explains, "I've been fighting for 14 years to get all the subway turnstiles to make music. I want to make every station in New York have a different set of dominant keys, so that people who grow up will later on in life hear a piece of music and say, 'Oh, that’s like Union Square.' It's such a brutal city. I think one little gift of kindness would be nice."
Murphy previously approached outgoing New York mayor Michael Bloomberg with the idea, but got nowhere. He is now hoping newly-inaugurated city leader Bill de Blasio will help him realise his symphonic subway dream.
Heavy metal legends Metallica performed at the New York Yankees' stadium on Sunday (22Sep13) in honour of retiring baseball star Mariano Rivera. The sportsman was feted in a special presentation prior to a game against the San Francisco Giants at the Yankee Stadium, and Metallica were there to serenade him with their hit Enter Sandman, which became Rivera's theme tune in recent years and has marked his entrance onto the pitch since 1999.
The rockers played with special guitar picks designed in the style of the Yankees' kit, and presented Rivera with gifts including a giant amp emblazoned with the world 'Sandman' and his kit number, as well as the rockers' autographs.
Sunday was also declared Mariano Rivera Day by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Rivera says of the tribute, "The whole thing was special. I wasn't expecting something like that... (There were) a lot of emotions. It was more than what I was thinking," while a post on Metallica's Twitter.com page adds, "Exit Sandman! Thank you Mariano!"
Actor Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness served as co-chairmen at the New Yorkers for Children autumn gala this week (beg16Sep13). The X-Men star and Furness were joined by Gayle King, Selita Ebanks and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday (17Sep13) for the event in aid of children in foster care, according to the New York Post's Page Six column.
Jackman says, "I love what New Yorkers for Children does. It's at a grass-roots level, it doesn't throw money here and there, it really looks after kids with what they need emotionally as well as financially."
Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson has thrown his support behind New York City mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn, whose ancestors hail from the Emerald Isle. The Taken star is backing Quinn for office ahead of the Big Apple's mayoral election in November (13), when New Yorkers will go to the polls to decide on a replacement for incumbent leader Michael Bloomberg.
Voicing his support for the flame-haired politician, he says, "I am proud to endorse Chris Quinn to be our next mayor. I was an amateur boxer before I was an actor - and I know a good fighter when I see one. No one will work harder than Chris Quinn for New Yorkers who need a fierce advocate in City Hall."
The pair has met before - Quinn presented the star with the Thomas Manton Irish Man of the Year Award in March (13), on the fourth anniversary of the death of his wife Natasha Richardson.
Quinn's Irish grandmother emigrated to the U.S. aboard the doomed Titanic liner in 1912. She survived the disaster.
Late salsa icon Yomo Toro is set to have a New York street named in his honour. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg authorised plans to rename a road after the legendary guitarist this week (begs01Jul13) as fans marked the first anniversary of his death.
Toro was born in Puerto Rico but regularly performed to sold-out audiences at the Palladium nightclub in Manhattan and at the El Teatro Puerto Rico venue in the Bronx.
He died at a Big Apple hospital on 30 June, 2012, after suffering kidney failure at the age of 79.
Director Brett Ratner is making amends with the gay community following his 2011 homophobic slur scandal by helping to raise over $25,000 (£16,129) for lesbian Christine Quinn's New York City mayoral campaign. The moviemaker stepped down as the producer of the 2012 Oscars after he admitted he never allowed actors to practice on set because rehearsals were for "fags", causing a major backlash from gay rights groups.
Ratner apologised by shooting a public service announcement for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and now he has thrown his support behind Speaker of the New York City Council Quinn, who is hoping to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he retires at the end of his current term.
The Rush Hour director raised $28,400 (£18,322) in campaign donations from his Hollywood friends, including Rob Reiner and Tom Hanks, and Quinn insists his efforts have gone a long way in helping the gay community forgive the star for his past mistakes.
She tells the New York Post, "What Brett Ratner said when he was preparing for the Academy Awards was completely unacceptable. (But) he went about fixing it and making it better and making sure he never does that again. He didn't just talk the talk of an apology, he walked the walk of an apology... He made amends in a public and real way and has turned a mistake around into something that has become positive in moving forward."
An actress accused of mailing letters laced with ricin to U.S. President Barack Obama has been indicted in Texas. Shannon Rogers Richardson was taken into custody by police in early June (13) over allegations she sent three poisonous notes to Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his colleague Mark Glaze, threatening harm if they continued to push for tougher gun control laws.
The actress, who had bit parts in TV dramas The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries, originally tried to pin the blame on her estranged husband, Nathaniel Richardson, who recently filed for divorce, but on Friday (28Jun13) she was formally charged by officials at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas.
The 35 year old, who is currently pregnant with her sixth child, was hit with two counts of mailing a threatening communication and one count of making a threat against the President of the United States.
If convicted, she faces up to 15 years behind bars.