Dr. Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife Ruth (Sissy Spacek) are throwing a summer barbecue at which their lone prodigy Frank (Nick Stahl) is proudly showing off his summer romance. Ruth vehemently disapproves: Natalie (Marisa Tomei) is an older single mother of two who is not quite divorced from the dark abusive Richard Strout (William Mapother) whose family runs their town of Camden Maine. For Frank Natalie is someone to keep the pipes greased before he heads off to study architecture at graduate school in the fall. Maybe. Frank is thinking of getting serious with Natalie and ditching school if Natalie would have him but there's that not quite ex-husband to deal with. The not quite ex-husband ends up killing Frank (this is supposed to be a plot twist but is the only action in the first two hours of the movie) which leads to much soul searching for Matt and Ruth--the raison d'etre of the movie.
With all due respect to Spacek who's been receiving a lot of Oscar buzz for her turn it's really Tom Wilkinson (The Full Monty Wilde The Patriot) who gives the most outstanding astonishing performance in this film. Matt's stilted missteps at each and every turn are so human so real you empathize with the pain he's feeling while you cringe at his every inappropriate action. An Academy win for Wilkinson seems more than merited though likely won't happen. Marisa Tomei is as good as she's ever been in the role of Frank's lover Natalie. The emotional tug-of-war in her relationship with Nick is clear on her face and the distress of never getting Ruth's approval is deafening. Spacek has a hard time claiming even the second-best performance of the film but she is compelling as Ruth the kind-hearted high school teacher who's become more closed and unforgiving than she ever imagined. You can see Spacek shutting down as her world crumbles around her. William Mapother and Nick Stahl do fine jobs with their (relatively) limited characters especially Mapother who is sufficiently creepy and desperate as Natalie's husband.
An actor turned director Todd Field wastes the fine performances in his debut film. Field seemingly likes to impart significance in the mundane moments of real life which works only sporadically. Field's direction is similar to Matt's reaction to his son's death: all of his actions seem stiff and mannered and when he does do something appropriate it's a complete accident. Worse Field leaves no room for character development only letting the characters descend further and further into despair ultimately turning the film into an art house Death Wish. (With apologies to Charles Bronson.) Given the supposed strength of the Maine proletariat it would have nice to see Matt and Ruth Fowler struggle against their evil inclinations before giving in so completely. Under Field's helming the film flounders at inopportune moments rendering the story utterly meaningless.
When the nominations for the 74th Academy Awards® were announced today in Los Angeles, Miramax Films received a total of 15 overall nominations, the most for any studio, including a Best Picture nomination for In the Bedroom, and a Best Foreign Language Film nomination for Amélie.
The Best Picture nomination is the company's 11th Best Picture nomination over a span of the last 10 consecutive years (1992-2001), the longest streak for any company since the Academy limited the Best Picture nominees to five films in 1944.
"We are very humbled that the members of the Academy have honored and celebrated such a wide range of Miramax's films over the past ten years," said Harvey and Bob Weinstein. "It is a great tribute to the writers, actors, directors, producers, cinematographers, composers, costume and set designers, editors, sound technicians and everyone else who made these films possible."
In the Bedroom, directed by Todd Field, stars Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, and Marisa Tomei.
Set on the coast of Maine, In the Bedroom tells the story of a couple whose only child is involved in a love affair that ends tragically and the characters' evolving response to the loss.
"I am grateful to the Academy for acknowledging the film in this way, although I am reluctant to use the word I, because it is we who are grateful--my co-writer, my producing partners, and the actors, whose performances transcended my expectations for these characters in every way," said Todd Field, writer, director, and producer of In the Bedroom.
Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Ruth Fowler in In the Bedroom, for which she also won a Golden Globe and received a BAFTA nomination and SAG nomination. In 1981, Spacek won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Coal Miner's Daughter.
"I am so thrilled to be recognized by the Academy and it makes it so sweet to be nominated along with Tom and Marisa," said Sissy Spacek. "It's wonderful for a film of this nature to get the recognition and support that it has. What a gift."
Tom Wilkinson was nominated for Best Actress for his role as Dr. Mark Fowler in In the Bedroom, for which he also received a BAFTA nomination and a SAG nomination.
"I am very thrilled that all our work on In The Bedroom has been thankfully recognized," said Tom Wilkinson. "And I hope this will encourage more people to see the film."
Marisa Tomei was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Natalie Strout in In the Bedroom, for which she also received a Golden Globe nomination. In 1993, Tomei won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for My Cousin Vinny.
"I am tremendously excited to be put in the company of my fellow nominee's and to be recognized for a film and a role that I loved so much," said Marisa Tomei. "I am so thankful to the Academy for honoring me in this way."
Amélie received five nominations, including one for Best Foreign Language Film, which is Miramax's 20th nomination in this category over the past 14 years. Amélie was also nominated for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound and Best Original Screenplay.
Amélie is a fanciful comedy about a young woman who discreetly orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating a world exclusively of her own making.
"I am thrilled and honored that the Academy has recognized this great team who collaborated on Amélie, said Jean-Pierre Jeunet, writer and director of Amélie.
Academy Award-winner and British legend Dame Judi Dench was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Iris Murdoch in Iris. Last year, Dench received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Miramax's Chocolat.
"I am very moved to receive this nomination," said Judi Dench. "My performance is very much due to the work of director Richard Eyre and Jim Broadbent, and Richard (Eyre) and Charles Wood, who wrote such a delicate, beautiful film."
Kate Winslet was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the Young Iris Murdoch in Iris.
"I'm absolutely thrilled and amazed," said Kate Winslet. "I would not have received this nomination if it wasn't for Richard and his brilliant direction. It was enough of an honor to support Judi Dench in this film, and to be nominated along side her and Jim Broadbent, not to mention the other nominees in my category is like all my Christmas's at once."
Jim Broadbent was nominated for Best Actor for his role as John Bayley in Iris.
Renee Zellweger was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Bridget in Bridget Jones's Diary.
"I am shocked, honored, grateful and shamelessly laughing and dancing around my apartment," said Renee Zellweger. "I am just happy--so happy!"
Sting was nominated for Best Achievement in Music (Original Song) for "Until..." from Kate & Leopold, for which he also won the Golden Globe. Last year, Sting was nominated for Best Achievement in Music (Original Song) for "My Funny Friend and Me" from The Emperor's New Groove.
"I'm thrilled and delighted by this honor particularly because it is for the song 'Until...,'" said Sting. "I was sent this film to watch shortly after September 11th at a time when we all felt numb. The movie was filled with love and optimism and inspired me to write a song that would be as romantic and positive as the film itself. I'm pleased that those sentiments have been met with such enthusiasm. Trudie and I had such a wonderful time last year at the Oscar's and I'm glad to have been invited back."
Tom Hanks is turning into Jackie Chan. No, he isn't learning Chinese and studying to become a martial arts master--which I wouldn't put past him. Hanks is accepting everything being offered to him lately, like the hyper-busy Chan, with one exception: Hanks is only doing films with DreamWorks studio. At this moment, Hanks is either working or in negotiations on four films for the studio, having already made Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away and the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers for DreamWorks. Do you think Hanks owns stock in the company?
First up is Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can, where Hanks will star opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as an FBI agent after the notorious Frank Abagnale Jr. (DiCaprio), the youngest man to make the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. Then comes Sam Mendes' The Road to Perdition, as Hanks plays a Chicago hitman nicknamed "The Angel of Death." (It's about time Hanks plays a bad guy). The two newest films to hit the street: Terminal, with Hanks as a Balkan refugee stuck living in an airport terminal and Comrade Rockstar, based on the life of the late rocker Dean Reed. Hanks is in negotiations to star as Reed, a musician/actor who wasn't able to make it big in the States but was a megastar in the Soviet Union and who died tragically either from suicide or homicide; no one is quite sure.
Rita Wilson sure isn't going to be seeing much of her husband over the next year and a half.
Cindy's second chance
Supermodel Cindy Crawford feels like she didn't give it her all in her 1995 debut Fair Game. Remember that truly spectacular piece of filmmaking? Crawford plays a lawyer (stay with me) who becomes an unwitting target to ex-KGB operatives and Billy Baldwin plays the cop trying to protect her. Coming back to you? Yeah, it stunk up the joint, but that doesn't mean it was Crawford's fault...right?
Six years later, Cindy's older, wiser, and hopefully has taken a few more acting classes. Yup, Cindy will tackle a new role, this time in a romantic drama called The Simian Line. The story revolves around three close-knit couples who are told by a psychic that one of them will break up by New Year's Eve. Oh, goody. At least she'll be joining a stellar cast, including William Hurt, Lynn Redgrave, Eric Stoltz and Harry Connick Jr., and should feel a little more comfortable given the good company.
Lane plays "The Great One"
Broadway/film star Nathan Lane is going to take on the awesome responsibility of portraying the legendary Jackie Gleason in the biopic To the Moon. Many fans will scrutinize Lane's performance, to see if he can pull it off. The good thing is the talent behind the film is as strong as its star. It's being written by Rob Festinger (In the Bedroom) and will be produced by Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella.
Lane told Variety, "Jackie Gleason has been a huge influence on me since I was a child. The thing that gets to me about him is that despite the bravado of his public persona and the broad hilarity of some of his comedy, there remains a tremendous amount of sadness and vulnerability in his eyes. Hopefully we will explore that in the film." I hope so, too.
Cage gets behind the camera
Actor Nicolas Cage has picked a rather edgy topic for his directorial debut. Would you expect anything less? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film Sonny, which Cage will direct and produce, centers around "a male hustler who joins the Army in an attempt to get out of his family's gigolo lifestyle and get a real job. When he's discharged, Sonny stops by to visit his family in New Orleans and look for work, only to find that his mother is determined to bring him back to the family business." Well, that's sounds uplifting.
James Franco, the young stud who admirably portrayed James Dean in the TNT biopic of the same name, will take on the title role. Cage joins a very long list of actor-turned-directors; as we all know all actors really want to do is direct, and it's only a matter of time before they get the clout to do it.
Murphy is a "Shrinking Man"
Eddie Murphy has decided to take a look at the world from a small person's point of view. A very, very small person. He's going to star in the Keenen Ivory Wayans remake of the 1957 film The Incredible Shrinking Man. Murphy will play Grant Williams, who begins to shrink after being exposed to a strange mist, and must battle for survival the smaller he becomes. The original wasn't a comedy. The poor guy had to battle cats, bugs and all kinds of awful things as he shrank to virtually nothing. Fun.
Lily Tomlin had enough sense to make a comedy about an incredible shrinking woman in 1981. Disney made the comedy Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; a kid fell into bowl of Cheerios. That's just hysterical. I would think with Wayans and Murphy attached, this remake would be the mother of all comedies.
The Oscar race is officially on.
In the first honors of the 2001 award season, the National Board of Review announced Wednesday their list of this year's best movies, giving the first indication of how the Academy Award nominations may pan out.
Topping their list for best film was Baz Luhrmann's French burlesque musical Moulin Rouge, starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, followed by Todd Field's In the Bedroom. Field also nabbed best director and screenplay honors (with co-writer Rob Festinger).
Upon hearing Rouge was chosen as the No. 1 film, Luhrmann told Daily Variety, "As we all know, it was a very difficult film to make. We had the simple mission of trying to reinvent the musical as a popular form today. Art isn't a horse race, but being recognized in this way is a great thing."
Field said, "I feel deeply touched to be held in such esteem by the National Board of Review."
The remainder of the best film list included Ocean's Eleven, Memento, Monster's Ball, Black Hawk Down, The Man Who Wasn't There, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Pledge and Mulholland Drive.
Other film winners included Shrek for best animated feature, Amores Perros for best foreign film and The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Adventure for best documentary.
Billy Bob Thornton was named best actor for his performances in the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There, the death-row drama Monster's Ball and the quirky heist comedy Bandits, while his Monster's co-star Halle Berry was named best actress.
"It's gratifying to be recognized for all those films because when you have that many movies out, you're afraid some of them might not be noticed," Thornton told the Associated Press.
Cate Blanchett took the best supporting actress spot for her turns in Lord of the Rings, The Shipping News and The Man Who Cried. British actor Jim Broadbent was named best supporting actor for Moulin Rouge and Iris.
Jon Voight received a career achievement award, while director Steven Spielberg was honored with the Billy Wilder Award for excellence in direction.
Rounding out the list, director John Cameron Mitchell was honored with the best directorial debut for his outspoken film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, while Naomi Watts and Hayden Christensen both won the breakthrough performance award for Mulholland Drive and Life as a House, respectively.
The New York-based NBR committee is comprised of mostly anonymous educators, screenwriters and film historians. The awards will be presented at a ceremony emceed by Peter Riegert Jan. 7 at New York's Tavern on the Green.
Pop singer Britney Spears has officially left her teenage years behind her. She celebrated her 20th birthday with her friends and family at the Italian restaurant Solaia in Englewood, N.J., Sunday night, enjoying food, ambiance--and a male stripper. Sitting with her mother and 10-year-old sister Jamie, Ms. Spears giggled and blushed through a steamy dance by hunky stripper Steven Peters. "She told me, 'This is the best birthday present I've ever gotten!'" Peters told Pagesix.com. Although her boyfriend, 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake, was in Las Vegas rehearsing for the Billboard Music Awards, the singer talked to him on the phone while opening his gifts--Baccarat crystal glasses, a baby-blue teddy bear and silver candelabras.
Oscar winner Julia Roberts and music maven Madonna were the only two superstars to make The Hollywood Reporter's list of the 50 most influential women in show business, ranked No. 3 and 42, respectively. Universal Pictures chairman of production Stacey Snider ranked No.1, while Sherry Lansing, Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group chairman, followed in the number two spot.
Kevin Spacey and Drew Barrymore were awarded with Star of the Year honors at the 61st annual Golden Apple Awards on Sunday. The Hollywood Women's Press Club hosted the luncheon. Sour Apple award recipient Jerry Springer, however, was a no-show.
Rock 'n' roll lyricist Kal Mann, who co-wrote such classic songs as Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear" and Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again," died of Alzheimer's disease last Wednesday in Pompano Beach, Fla. He was 84.
Carol Burnett wed Brian Miller, a percussionist who is also a music contractor for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a few days before her CBS special aired Nov. 26, her spokeswoman told People. This is Burnett's third marriage.
Mark Wahlberg is being sued by his former bodyguard, Leonard Taylor, for $2 million, Taylor's lawyer told Reuters Monday. Taylor alleges the actor assaulted and beat him outside a lower Manhattan restaurant on Nov. 16. A spokesman for Wahlberg declined comment.
A U.S. District Court judge in Michigan reduced a $19 million judgement awarded to a Detroit publishing house for copyright infringement of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Jingle All the Way, ruling that "the bulk of the award was supportable neither by law nor in fact." Writer Brian Alan Webster and Murray Hill Publications had sued 20th Century Fox, claiming they stole the idea from Webster's screenplay Could This Be Christmas.
British actress Elizabeth Hurley's ex-beau, Steve Bing, is questioning his paternity of Hurley's baby, which she announced she was carrying last month. He released a statement Monday saying they were not in an exclusive relationship when she became pregnant but, "if indeed I am the father, I will be an extremely involved and responsible parent."
Nathan Lane has signed on to star in a biopic of the late comedian Jackie Gleason for Mirage Enterprises, written by Rob Festinger (In the Bedroom). No director has yet been attached.
RealNetworks Inc. and three of the leading record labels--Warner Music, EMI Group and Bertelsmann's BMG--will launch their online subscription venture MusicNet Tuesday. Subscribers will be able to get 100 Webcast sources and 100 downloads a month from a selection of over 75,000 songs.
DreamWorks' smash animated hit Shrek looks to be the top-selling DVD of all time, having sold 5.5 million copies and raking in an estimated $110 million since its Nov. 2 release date.