If Molly Ringwald — be she poor and unpopular or rich and revered — had her eye on some dreamboat, you can bet your letterman jacket that John Hughes would stick the two of 'em together in the end. The pair would share a kiss over a flaming cake or outside their incarcerating high school, just in time for the credits to roll and our eyes to tear up. That's the Hollywood ending. The moreover satisfying, albeit sometimes offensively flimsy, conclusion that brings two physically appealing young white people together. Forever. It doesn't matter how little substance backs their teenage love affair, nor how disturbingly misguided their romance might in fact be (remember Can't Hardly Wait? We're supposed to believe she falls totally in love with her stalker mere hours after her very first inkling that he even exists?), audiences just eat up these glitzy, amorous bonds.
It's a time-tested tradition throughout mainstream cinema. Sure, not all movies opt for the schmaltzy, ice cream finale, vying instead for something bleak, bittersweet, and embedded in realism, but we're moreover guaranteed a presence of that Hollywood send-off throughout the industry's rom-com output. Except, for some reason, when it comes to gay movies. Take Tribeca's G.B.F., a bubbly, colorful, pithy high school comedy, centering on the newly outed student Tanner (Michael J. Willett) and his closeted best friend Brent (Paul Iacono). When Tanner becomes the apple of every popular girl's eye, each of the school's queen bees coveting the glimmering accessory of Gay Best Friend, it puts a strain on his longtime camaraderie with Brent, leading — in classic rom-com fashion — to a fight, then a reconciliation, then a kiss, then an infatuation. And if this were your average heterosexual high school movie, you'd likely wind up with a romantic union to tie the story together and warm the audience's hearts. You'd see an eternal adhesion Tanner and Brenda, or Tanya and Brent. It'd be goofy, neglectful of real world consequences, and surface value ecstasy.
All of that would fit just fine into G.B.F., which, despite being sweet, progressive, and insightful at times, is just your ordinary candy-coated high school romp. But for whatever reason, a Hollywood ending is avoided, despite a very Hollywood beginning and middle. The movie wraps with Tanner and Brent agreeing that they're better as friends, dismissing their obvious attraction to one another (or at the very least, Brent's attraction to Tanner), and carrying on perpetually with their platonic affection.
On the one hand, this is reassuring. At least the movie recognizes something rare for show business: just because these two characters both happen to be gay, that doesn't mean they "belong" together. But in this chewing gum reality of G.B.F., these two lifelong best friends do seem to belong together. At least no less than Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling or Ethan Embry and Jennifer Love Hewitt or Alicia Silverstone and her Paul Rudd step-brother. In movies as bright and brimming as Sixteen Candles, Can't Hardly Wait, and Clueless, the Hollywood ending makes sense — the same can be said for the equally fast-paced and sparkly G.B.F.. So why, then, don't we see the credits roll over a long anticipated Tanner/Brent kiss?
Why, in fact, are we so rarely inclined to see this kind of ending in movies about gay couples? Although the film industry is gradually inviting more films about homosexual relationships toward the mainstream, they all seem to vie for the bleak and bittersweet... or just bitter. The most famous entry to date is Brokeback Mountain, which chronicled the passionate love of cowboys Heath Ledger (who totally ended up with the girl in 10 Things I Hate About You) and Jake Gyllenhaal (who totally ended up with the girl in Bubble Boy... sorry for bringing up Bubble Boy), ripping the enamored men apart and killing the latter prematurely. Following in the same vein, we have romantic dramas like Weekend, A Single Man, Shelter all shoot for sorrow and sobriety. While films like these, about straight and gay romances alike, are imporant and valuable, it feels like something is missing. If there is something to be gained from the endings of Clueless and 10 Things, then there would be something to be gained by a saccharine intertwining of G.B.F.'s heroes.
But that's not what we get, despite all the signs pointing to it as the logical shot for the film's final moments. Is it simply that Hollywood is still afraid of tackling a gay romance under the guise of a mainstream movie? Even when presenting a movie that is about being gay and celebrates open-mindedness and tolerance and disparages objectification, we run into this aversion. And it's frightening — if G.B.F., a movie tailor made for the sort of Kat-and-Patrick wrap-up, is afraid of or otherwise opposed to this kind of closer, then where on Earth are we going to find it?
Sure, you'll find no shortage of filmgoers who can't stand the rom-com genre. It's fake, vapid, superficial. But it's a tradition, and one that seems to make everyone else happy. These movies, in delivering shiny stories as thick as cardboard, foster the belief in true love. They sell romance in the simplest of forms, begging viewers to buy into the mentality, if only to pony up the dough for the next big picture release. But capitalistic intentions aside, the same process should be afforded to same-sex rom-coms. The same sort of flimsy, chocolate-chomping "true love" should be touted in regards to the likes of Tanner and Brent. Gay moviegoers deserve to see themselves in the same light as the Ringwalds and Silverstones, deserve to be fed the same line of Fluffernutter as their straight counterparts. Movies like Can't Hardly Wait, 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, and everything by John Hughes might be hokey and ill-fit for realistic expectation, but they serve a purpose: they purport something people want to believe in. And that needs to happen for the G.B.F.s of the world, too.
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The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards are out. But while Denzel Washington is laughing for having fooled the Academy into thinking Flight is an Oscar-worthy movie, Anne Hathaway is crying into her celebratory mimosa, and Kathryn Bigelow is trying hard not to cry for a completely different reason, we are scratching our heads. Thursday morning's announcement has left us with myriad ponderables. Here are 10 burning questions that have us yelling, "We want answers!" and running to Google faster than a cheetah on a treadmill.
The Best Supporting Actor category has a reputation for being dominated by Hollywood's veteran gentlemen. But, before this year, has there ever been an acting category filled with actors who already have an Oscar in their trophy case?
Nope. This would be the first time. Christoph Waltz won for Inglorious Basterds in 2010, Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote in 2006, Robert De Niro for The Godfather: Part II (1975) and Raging Bull (1981), Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine in 2007, Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive in 1994.
This could be the third Oscar for Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis. Who else has three? And who has the most wins?
Actors Ingrid Bergman, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, and Walter Brennan all have three Oscars. But Katherine Hepburn beats them all with four Best Actress wins. Competitors in non-acting categories, however, rake in even more awards. Composer Alan Menken has eight, costume designer Edith Head has eight, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren has nine, and Walt Disney has the distinction of winning the most Academy Awards — he has 22.
In addition to his hosting duties, Seth MacFarlane was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category. Is this the first time a host has also been up for an award?
Nope! Just two years ago, James Franco co-hosted with Anne Hathaway while he was also nominated for Best Actor for 127 Hours. And before Franco, six other hosts played dual roles on the big night: Frank Capra (1938), Bob Hope (1952), David Niven (1958), Michael Caine (1972), Walter Matthau (1975), and Paul Hogan (1986). Capra, Hope, and Niven also walked away with trophies their respective years.
Austrian tear-jerker Amour has five chances to take home a trophy this year. How many times has the same movie been nominated for Best Picture as well as Best Foreign Language Film? And has the same movie ever won the Oscar in both categories?
There have only been nine foreign language films nominated for Best Picture: Grand Illusion, 1938; Z, 1969; The Emigrants, 1972; Cries and Whispers, 1973; Il Postino, 1995; Life Is Beautiful, 1998; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000; Letters from Iwo Jima, 2006; and Amour, 2012. Of those movies Z, Life Is Beautiful, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won Best Foreign Language Film rather than Best Picture. The Emigrants is the only film to lose both. Grand Illusion was nominated before Best Foreign Language Film was created, Letters from Iwo Jima was ineligible because it was an American production, and Cries and Whispers and Il Postino were not nominated. No movie has ever won both categories.
Silver Linings Playbook has nominations in the five biggest categories (Best Picture, Director, Actress, Actor, Screenwriting). Has a film ever swept all five?
In Oscar history there have been three films to sweep the major acting categories as well as take directing, screenwriting, and Best Picture awards: It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
While Argo and Zero Dark Thirty are considered frontrunners for the Best Picture win, their directors (Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow, respectively) weren't nominated for Best Director. Is it rare for a film to take home Best Picture and not Best Director?
In a word, yes. Of the 85 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 65 of them have also taken home the award for Best Director. And in only three instances have the directors of Best Picture-winning films not been nominated themselves — Wings (1928), Grand Hotel (1932), and Driving Miss Daisy (1989).
Eiko Ishioka, who passed away this year, is nominated for Best Achievement in Costume Design for her work on Mirror, Mirror. How many Oscars have been awarded posthumously?
There have been 15 posthumous awards won in the competitive categories out of 73 nominations for people who were also in the "In Memoriam" reel that year. The most recent winner was Heath Ledger in 2008 for Best Supporting Actor in The Dark Knight. Composer Howard Ashman has the most posthumous nominations (he has four). Art director William A. Horning has the most wins: he won two awards in two consecutive years, for Gigi in 1958 and Ben-Hur in 1959. In 1959 he was also nominated for art direction of North by Northwest. That's one busy corpse! In Ishioka's Best Costume Design category there have been four posthumous nominations (three for the same person) and zero wins.
Lincoln, which has so far raked in over $145 million at the box office, is the only Best Picture contender this year you could really call a "blockbuster." What was the lowest grossing film to ever take the Best Picture category?
The lowest grossing Best Picture winner was The Hurt Locker in 2010, which only grossed $50 million. Four of this year's nine Best Picture nominees have currently grossed even less than that. Silver Linings Playbook has only made $35 million, Beasts of the Southern Wild has only made $11 million, Zero Dark Thirty has only made $5 million, and Amour $340,798. That makes The Hurt Locker look like Titanic.
Is Quvenzhane Wallis the youngest person to be nominated for an Oscar? And who's the oldest?
Nine-year-old Wallis is not the youngest person ever to be nominated; that distinction belongs to Kramer vs. Kramer's Justin Henry, who was eight at the time of his nomination. Wallis is also tied with Skippy's Jackie Cooper. Wallis is, however, the youngest actress to ever be nominated in the Best Actress category, beating out former youngster Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider). If she wins, Wallis will be the youngest person to ever win an Oscar. On the flip side, Amour's Emmanuella Riva is, at 85-years-old, the oldest woman to be nominated for Best Actress. And she is the second oldest person to ever be nominated for an acting Oscar — Gloira Stuart, who was 87 when she was nominated for Titanic, holds that title.
Quvenzhane Wallis was nominated for her first-ever film. Has an actor or director ever won the award for his or her debut project?
This happens a lot more often than you would think — 23 times, to be precise. Five actresses have won the Best Actress Oscar for their debut films: Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba (1952); Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (1953); Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins (1964); Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl (1968); Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God (1986).
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Batman movie The Dark Knight has added five more trophies to its impressive haul of prizes -- scooping the top accolades at the Annual Saturn Awards.
The film, starring Christian Bale, came out on top at the ceremony in Burbank, California, on Wednesday night, which is hosted by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
The Dark Knight was named Best Action-Adventure Thriller, while late star Heath Ledger was honored posthumously as Best Supporting Actor. The sequel also took prizes for its script, special effects and score.
Comic book action movie Iron Man triumphed in three categories, including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director for Jon Favreau, and Best Actor for Robert Downey Jr..
Angelina Jolie took the Best Actress trophy for Changeling and her partner Brad Pitt's movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, landed three awards -- seeing off competition from Twilight to be named Best Fantasy Film.
The picture also garnered a Best Supporting Actress honor for Tilda Swinton and a prize for its makeup effects.
Will Smith's son, Jaden Christopher Smith, was honored with the Best Performance by a Younger Actor award for his turn in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Swedish vampire horror Let the Right One In scored Best International Film, and Wall-E was Best Animated Film.
In the TV awards, mystery drama Lost was named Best TV show and Battlestar Galactica landed the Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series honor, as well as acting prizes for stars Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell.
Veteran Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony.
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Poor Shrek (Mike Myers). The irascible ogre just can’t catch a break. First he has to leave his beloved swamp to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz). Then he marries her and has to go meet the in-laws. NOW he’s stuck in Far Far Away as its de facto ruler after the frog king croaks. Oh and he finds out Fiona is pregnant too. All this throws the great green one into a tailspin because 1) impending fatherhood scares the bejeezus out him and 2) he believes he has no business being king. So Shrek sets out with his pals Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to fetch Artie aka Arthur (Justin Timberlake) Fiona’s cousin and next in line for the throne. Thing is Artie’s just a teenager—and kind of a loser one at that; he really doesn’t want to be king either. Meanwhile on the home front Fiona and her merry band of princesses have to defend the castle against the vain Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) who’s hell bent on getting revenge and taking over Far Far Away. And so the high jinks ensure. But it’s OK it all works out in the end. Certainly part of Shrek’s charm is its vocal talent. Myers Diaz and Murphy are all old pros by now—which is actually a good and bad thing. They are definitely more comfortable with their roles but Shrek isn’t nearly as charmingly irritable as he once was and Fiona not as feisty. Guess they are growing up. And Murphy used to get all the best lines as the jittery Donkey. Now that job has been delegated to the likes of Banderas as Puss as well as side characters such as the Gingerbread Man (Conrad Vernon) Pinocchio (Cody Cameron) and the Three Little Pigs (also Cameron). Also adding to the humor are the various princesses especially SNL alums Amy Poehler as the sardonic Snow White and Maya Rudolph as turncoat Rapunzel plus Amy Sedaris as the dimwitted Cinderella. Timberlake is sweetly goofy as Artie while Brit comic legend Eric Idle voices the New Age-y on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown Merlin the magician with aplomb. It’s these characterizations that make Shrek the Third zing. Much like Shrek 2 this third installment ultimately comes off as a retread. They just haven’t been able to recapture the magic created in the original. Instead the filmmakers regurgitate the same comic set ups and in some cases the same jokes. Maybe they won’t ever be able to reach that same plateau. But you’ve still got to give the Shrek franchise props for being the granddaddy of fairy-tale spoofs. Even if the sequels don’t measure up the Shrek phenomenon on the whole has set the bar creating a certain charisma in the let’s-make-fun-of-traditional-lore milieu. Shrek the Third highlights include: Worcestershire High School where Artie goes to school which is full of John Hughes teenagers talking in medieval oh-thou-di’nt-just-say-that speak; Charming being relegated to doing third-rate dinner theater; Pinocchio trying to talk his way around not lying and more. Oh who cares what us dumb critics say anyway. Kids are going to love Shrek the Third regardless of whether it hits the mark or not.
Gay cowboy movie Brokeback Mountain has made the biggest impression on the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award nominations, its stars picking up four acting nods ahead of the ceremony later this month.
The movie is nominated in the Best Cast in a film category, Heath Ledger as best actor and Jake Gyllenhaal as best supporting actor. Their co-star Michelle Williams is also nominated in the best supporting actress category.
Ledger will have to compete with Cinderella Man star Russell Crowe for the best actor prize; as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman, nominated for Capote; Joaquin Phoenix for Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line; and David Strathairn, for Good Night, and Good Luck.
Reese Witherspoon is among favorites to pick up the best actress award for her role as June Carter Cash, in a category in which she is up against Dame Judi Dench for Mrs. Henderson Presents; Felicity Huffman for Transamerica; Charlize Theron for North Country; and Ziyi Zhang for Memoirs of a Geisha.
In the TV categories, the casts of Grey's Anatomy, The West Wing, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, Boston Legal, Desperate Housewives, Everybody Loves Raymond, Lost, Six Feet Under and My Name Is Earl all feature prominently in nominations.
The ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Jan. 29.
The full list of nominations is as follows:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Russell Crowe, Cinderella Man
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk The Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Dame Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Charlize Theron, North Country
Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line
Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Don Cheadle, Crash
George Clooney, Syriana
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDormand, North Country
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Good Night, and Good Luck
Hustle & Flow
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Kenneth Branagh, Warm Springs
Ted Danson, Knights of the South Bronx
Ed Harris, Empire Falls
Paul Newman, Empire Falls
Christopher Plummer, Our Fathers
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Tonantzin Carmelo, Into The West
Epatha Merkerson, Lackawanna Blues
Cynthia Nixon, Warm Springs
Joanne Woodward, Empire Falls
Robin Wright-Penn, Empire Falls
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Alan Alda, The West Wing
Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy
Hugh Laurie, House
Ian McShane, Deadwood
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Patricia Arquette, Medium
Geena Davis, Commander In Chief
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl
William Shatner, Boston Legal
James Spader, Boston Legal
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Candice Bergen, Boston Legal
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Six Feet Under
The West Wing
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Everybody Loves Raymond
My Name Is Earl
Screen Actors Guild Awards 42nd Annual Life Achievement Award: Shirley Temple Black.
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