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
The lovely and talented star of Grimm, Bitsie Tulloch, gives us the scoop on this season's changes, chats about her feature film Parkland and how she went from Harvard, to Hollywood, to Portland.
So Grimm is one of television’s most popular shows right now. What do you think makes the fans so loyal?
Grimm has a little something for everyone - it's a procedural, it's fantasy, sci-fi, horror (albeit a palatable kind of scary in my opinion), and there's plenty of romance and humor. David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf who created Grimm had previously been on Buffy and Angel - they EXCEL at mythology, which is one of the best things about this show, and Season 3 is delving deeper and deeper into that mythological Wesen family tree. I also believe that one of the reasons it's been so successful internationally is that it's not a show that is easily lost in translation - fairy tales and the format of a fairytale transcend language and culture. The fairytale format is often about a young protagonist forging his/her path and fighting against all odds in order to find his way home. But at the end of the day, as in life, it's more about the journey than the end goal, which I think is something to which everyone can relate.
How do you see your character, Juliette, growing this season? Do you relate to Juliette on any level?
Juliette will be tested in many ways: both her physical and mental endurance, but also her understanding. She finally began to believe in the Wesen world in the penultimate episode of season 2, when all her Wesen friends morphed for her. In the next episode, she was literally thrown into the fire and having to fight for Nick's life while fighting to save her own from a zombie invasion. Season 3 will see her getting much more involved in the action (the Scooby Squad, if you will) and putting to use her background as a doctor. As far as relating to her, I think I'm pretty thoughtful like she is, and I similarly tend to put my foot in my mouth. But I'm much more impatient and stubborn than she is, all of Season 1 she was incredibly understanding about giving Nick his space in the wake of his aunt's death. If I was at all unsure about a friend or family member hiding something from me I think I'd last maybe 24 hours before confronting them.
Can you give us some insight into how Nick and Juliette’s relationship will change now that she has her memory back and knows about his powers?
Juliette finally being in the know about Nick and about the Wesen world changes everything for both of them. It's been really fun for me and David Giuntoli shooting season 3. Our characters spent 2 seasons hiding things from each other! It's been a blast being able to actually discuss the Wesen world and cases in more detail. This will both test and strengthen their relationship - but being able to go through this together I think ultimately just brings them closer together. They're a team again.
If you could sum up Juliette in a sentence, what would it be?
Juliette is smart, sincere, and well-meaning. She can be a little naive about the ways of the Wesen world, but that's not her fault, and she'll learn.
Can you share a little of the culture on the Grimm set?
The cast and crew are tremendous. Everyone on the cast lives within about a 5 minute walk from one another. David lives 2 doors down from me in my apartment building, and Reggie is a few floors up! Everyone else is super nearby. Being on location we are definitely much closer than we would be had Grimm shot in LA. We are constantly doing things as a big group such as going out to dinner, bars, or even just live-tweeting. David, Bree and I watched the World Series together at my place. As hard as it was to leave LA in the beginning, now I realize what a blessing it has been, and I do love Portland.
The show is filmed in Portland. Beautiful city! Can you tell us how it is to film such a huge show outside of Hollywood? Must be fun for the locals.
I love Portland. It's simply fantastic. It's a small city full of creative people - it has a very artsy vibe which I love. Amazing food, all very fresh, great wine (love the Oregon Pinot Noir), and lots to do, whether it's wine country, the coast, or hiking up to the top of Multnomah Falls. The locals all know us here which is sort of funny - it must be what it feels like to be super famous anywhere else. Everyone is super kind and pleasant. Nothing stalker-ish so far with the exception of being followed around a grocery store for 20 minutes - that I could have lived without.
Congrats on Parkland! Can you tell us a little about your character Marilyn Sitzman?
In Parkland I play Maryland Sitzman, who was the assistant to Abraham Zapruder, the man who inadvertently filmed JFK's assassination on a home movie camera. It was the first time I've played a real person onscreen so I first tried to do as much research as possible about her and from that point on my focus became more about the idea of a small-town girl in a big city. I kept thinking about this girl in her early 20s who was brave enough to leave her town and her family behind, and be on her own working in a metropolis. That in and of itself speaks volumes of the huge changes happening as far as a shift in gender politics. I can definitely relate to her independence and bravery. I read every interview she ever did and watched footage of her, and as much as the event clearly traumatized her, she was always clear-headed and courageous.
This is a very important film (with an all-star cast) about a very important time in our history. How does it feel being a part of this?
Parkland was a different experience from any other film I've shot, not only because it was set in the 1960s and about one of the most controversial assassinations in history, but because I was playing someone who actually lived and breathed (not to mention the INCREDIBLE ensemble cast). Marilyn broke my heart, it was incredibly easy to access an almost unsustainable level of emotion because I was so hyper aware that she had been 23, so full of hopes and dreams, and then was mere feet away from seeing her idol murdered. It makes me emotional to even think about it now. Then our director Peter Landesman showed me home video footage that Zapruder had taken of Marilyn and his secretary Lillian Rogers so that I had an idea of how loving he had been as a boss, and how close-knit the work family was. That was very important to me because it was just me and Paul Giamatti out on that grassy knoll together and I knew I had to feel intimate with him and relate to him as a brother/father figure. We shot that scene right in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, which was incredibly poignant and agonizing. Paul and I were standing exactly where Abraham and Marilyn were standing. Shooting just feet away from where JFK was shot, looking at the X that has been painted on the street that marks exactly where he was shot,-- that in and of itself added a heaviness to the entire situation. I was getting fairly emotional from the moment I stepped out of the production van because it was so eerie being there. Paul kept saying to me, "It's just so sad." You know? There's no other way to put it. That was a moment that obviously changed the course of history but also shattered the lives of these simple people who were just out there watching the motorcade. They wanted a glimpse of glory and instead got bloodshed.
On a happier note, I really bonded with Paul and Billy Bob. How could you not? They're both such incredible men and actors. We were all supposed to fly from Dallas to Austin after we finished filming in Dallas, but at the last minute we decided to drive. We all piled into an SUV and made stops along the way at BBQ places. I have a hilarious picture that Billy Bob took of me eating a pulled pork sandwich next to Paul, who was taking a photo of Billy Bob. Paul and I had a great time catching up at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
People may not know this about you, but you went to Harvard. How does having a background in academia help with your acting?
My intention was always to just take a brief break from academia and then go to graduate school for art history. I suppose I had a tiny inkling that I was interested in acting but I was certainly never one of those people who as a child was always dressing up and putting on plays. Acting never occurred to me as a career until I was an adult. My becoming an actress was a serendipitous journey that started with Marshall Herskovitz discovering me in a play in LA and casting me as the lead in ‘Quarterlife.’ It was such a magical way to enter this industry and this world, and now I quite literally can't imagine having more fun doing anything else. As far as the academic background helping, one of my majors was English literature and I do think that I'm very good at breaking down a script and story. There's no part of me that regrets getting an education, even though it had me starting the game later in life.
What’s next for you?
I'm doing an independent film over my brief winter hiatus, but otherwise I'm here in Portland shooting season 3 of ‘Grimm’ until mid-April 2014.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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The Queen and its star, Helen Mirren, were the big winners at Sunday’s Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), winning the Best Film and Best Actress awards.
Elsewhere, Forest Whitaker won the Best Actor prize for Last King of Scotland, Little Miss Sunshine star Alan Arkin won Best Supporting Actor and Jennifer Hudson won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls.
The ceremony took place at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.
The full list of winners is as follows:
The Academy Fellowship: Anne V. Coates
Film: The Queen
The Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: Nick Daubeny
The Alexander Korda Award for the Outstanding British Film of the Year: Last King of Scotland
The Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in Their First Feature Film: Andrea Arnold, Red Road
The David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction: United 93, Paul Greengrass
Original Screenplay: Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt
Adapted Screenplay: Last King of Scotland, Peter Morgan/Jeremy Brock
Film Not in the English Language: Pan's Labyrinth
Animated Feature Film: Happy Feet
Actor in a Leading Role: Forest Whitaker, Last King of Scotland
Actress in a Leading Role: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Actor in a Supporting Role: Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Actress in a Supporting Role: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
The Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music: Babel, Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinematography: Children of Men, Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing: United 93, Clare Douglas/Christopher Rouse/Richard Pearson
Production Design: Children of Men, Jim Clay/Geoffrey Kirkland/Jennifer Williams
Costume Design: Pan's Labyrinth, Lala Huete
Sound: Casino Royale, Chris Munro/Eddy Joseph/Mike Prestwood Smith/Martin Cantwell/Mark Taylor
Achievement in Special Visual Effects: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, John Knoll/Hal Hickel/Charles Gibson/Allen L. Hall
Makeup & Hair: Pan's Labyrinth, Jose Quetglas/Blanca Sanchez
Short Animation Film: Guy 101, Ian Gouldstone
Short Film: Do Not Erase, Asitha Ameresekere
The Orange Rising Star Award: Eva Green
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