Mike Leigh celebrates “hidden city” of London

Posted by · 3:52 pm · October 11th, 2010

My attention was drawn to this article last week, but since the London Film Festival kicks off this week (and Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” will be competing for top honors there), now seems an appropriate time to link to it. Picking up on the role England’s capital city has played in a number of Leigh’s […]

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REVIEW: “Another Year” (***1/2)

Posted by · 5:01 pm · May 15th, 2010

Cannes Film Festival “On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?” asks one character of another in Mike Leigh’s new film “Another Year.” “One,” is the doleful reply, as if Leigh himself is swearing off the sunnier skies of his previous feature, “Happy-Go-Lucky.” He needn’t have made the point so emphatically. For […]

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THE LONG SHOT: A little bit of English

Posted by · 6:41 pm · January 20th, 2010

Yesterday, while talking with one of my sane friends whose thoughts drift to film awards perhaps one day a year, the conversation turned to the BAFTAs, which announce the nominations for their 2009 film awards tomorrow. “The BAFTAs, they’re like the Oscars for British films, right?” she asked. “Not quite,” I replied. “They’re open to […]

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Predict the NSFC Awards

Posted by · 7:03 pm · January 2nd, 2010

Tomorrow my personal favorite precursor body, the National Society of Film Critics, will announce their 2009 winners. Regular awards-watchers will know that the NSFC is generally the most highbrow of the critics’ groups, as well as the most independent-minded — last year, they went wholly against the Oscar grain, giving Best Picture to “Waltz With […]

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indieWIRE lists the decade’s worst Oscar snubs

Posted by · 2:59 pm · November 12th, 2009

The end-of-decade reflective mood is obviously catching. In yesterday’s Long Shot column, I looked back on the last ten years of the Academy Awards, singling out some of their most inspired choices and positive developments. You responded in great numbers, rare goodwill towards the Academy dominating the comments thread for a change. Of course, however, […]

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THE LONG SHOT: What are precursors for, anyway?

Posted by · 11:00 am · September 30th, 2009

I didn’t time my holiday to coincide with the sleepiest week of awards season, but that’s how it panned out anyway. While I spent 10 days drinking my way along the canals of France’s Burgundy region, divorced from my computer screen and, I admit, any thoughts of Oscar whatsoever, the industry, too, took a collective […]

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Wearing the ‘Wild Things’

Posted by · 1:12 am · September 29th, 2009

The roll-call of hipster names affiliated with Spike Jonze’s take on “Where the Wild Things Are” is beginning to border on the obnoxious. (I say that with nothing but love and anticipation.) But if Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O was going to be involved, it only makes sense that she should bring her stylist […]

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Focus backs Mike Leigh’s latest

Posted by · 4:15 pm · April 30th, 2009

Here’s something to brighten the day. It would seem that a new Mike Leigh joint (sorry, I couldn’t resist) is on its way sooner rather than later — great news considering the four-year gap between “Vera Drake” and “Happy-Go-Lucky.” Screen International reports that Focus Features International has secured worldwide rights to the still-untitled project, and […]

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Simon Channing Williams (1945-2009)

Posted by · 3:38 pm · April 14th, 2009

These days, there aren’t many producers in the often too-cosy British film industry who genuinely earn the adjective “fearless,” but Simon Channing Williams, who passed away last Saturday after a long battle with cancer, was one of them. As much credit as auteur Mike Leigh deserves for changing the landscape of British cinema with his […]

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Under the radar: ‘Song of Sparrows’

Posted by · 4:53 pm · April 8th, 2009

As the box office charts reveal, spring can be a harsh season for the discerning filmgoer — with the industry shifting its focus from prestige product before February’s Oscar winners can even shake off their hangovers, we have to dig deeper than usual for fare with more on its mind than monsters, aliens and petrol. […]

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All in good taste

Posted by · 10:32 am · March 24th, 2009

There’s no real reason to pay attention to the Chlotrudis Awards,which took place on Sunday. After all, they’re a casually organised set of honours determined by an enthusiastic group of Boston-based film lovers — that apparently get mentioned on IMDB and precisely nowhere else. But hey, when their taste is this exemplary, they deserve a […]

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Mike Leigh on Hollywood, Mickey and losing an Oscar

Posted by · 2:46 am · February 26th, 2009

If, like yours truly, you’re one of those who believe that British auteur Mike Leigh was robbed on Sunday night, you’ll thoroughly enjoy his Oscar diary. Ever the Hollywood outsider, Leigh attended the Academy Awards with his two adult sons as his guests, and he reflects on the ensuing madness with all the droll, dry […]

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You were right, I was wrong: Guy’s final predictions

Posted by · 1:24 pm · February 21st, 2009

(Expanded thoughts and reasonings on yesterday’s list of predictions.) It’s years like 2008 when I throw my hands up and admit (albeit with great reluctance) that my family and friends have been right for the last two decades. Carla, Tom, Kim, Auntie Mavis: I give up. I am insane to care as much as I […]

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Best Original Screenplay: The case for ‘WALL-E’

Posted by · 10:36 am · February 4th, 2009

I think it was some smart person on Nat Rogers’ most recent podcast who remarked that if you really want to get a picture of what was going on cinematically in any given year, you’d be better off bypassing Oscar’s Best Picture category and heading straight for the Best Original Screenplay nominees – a category […]

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Denby nails it

Posted by · 5:50 pm · February 2nd, 2009

If you saw his TV chat with Charlie Rose and A.O. Scott, you won’t be surprised to read that critic David Denby doesn’t think much of this year’s Oscar crop. (And if you didn’t, you could probably guess.) Anyway, in this very lucid New Yorker piece, he expands on the points he raised on the […]

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Standard crowns ‘Hunger’ best film

Posted by · 1:44 pm · February 2nd, 2009

I have to hand it to the Evening Standard Awards: they are a breath of fresh air in a suffocating awards season. While their choices can have a bit of an over-democratic, drawn-from-a-hat feel to them (Stephen Daldry for Best Director? On what planet?), they are never afraid to veer from the herd. And so […]

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The Bagger finds the meaning

Posted by · 5:05 am · January 30th, 2009

There are few journalists with as sharp an understanding of the tunnel vision that affects award-season coverage as David Carr.  So it’s with a guard of irony that, in yesterday’s ruminative NYT piece, he describes this year’s race as “somehow less frivolous than it has (been) in recent years.” While he acknowledges the comparative slightness […]

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Guessing games

Posted by · 7:06 pm · January 22nd, 2009

I only just got round to counting up my correct predictions across all categories, and wound up with a tally of 68 from 97 slots. This is the first year I’ve ever gone remotely public with my Oscar predictions, so while I can tell you that this was a pretty poor year for me (3/5 […]

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