Hey Academy, why not Brendan Gleeson?

Posted by · 6:12 pm · August 17th, 2011

For a series of not-entirely-connected reasons, a little Irish indie called “The Guard” has been on my mind today. For starters, a reader named Stephen asked me on Twitter when it would reach US theaters — only for me to discover that it’s been in limited release there for several weeks already. (UK audiences can […]

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PAGE TO SCREEN: “London Boulevard” by Ken Bruen

Posted by · 7:39 pm · July 13th, 2010

When Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (“The Departed”) brings Irish crime writer Ken Bruen’s 2001 novel “London Boulevard” to screen in his directorial debut, he won’t be adapting the text so much as returning it to its natural source. A short, sharp, deliciously black-hearted thriller that reads not unlike a readymade screenplay in its brisk, dialogue-dominated […]

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Why the public should never be allowed to vote for anything

Posted by · 8:07 am · March 31st, 2009

Except maybe the occasional president. And, okay, a reality-TV contest or two. But film awards — no. As spectacularly wrong as organizations like the Academy, and the odd critics’ groups, can get it sometimes, nobody can rival the collective movie-going public for sheer cluelessness when it comes to determining the best of the art form. […]

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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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Predicting BAFTA, part two — main categories

Posted by · 4:20 pm · February 7th, 2009

Continuing yesterday’s not-so-educated guesses at tomorrow’s BAFTA Awards, we move on the main categories. In many ways, they’re easier to predict than the frequently confounding technical categories, but that’s no reason to get complacent – as we saw last year with then-unexpected wins for Tilda Swinton and Marion Cotillard, BAFTA is more than capable of […]

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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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Brit critics follow the script

Posted by · 11:38 am · January 29th, 2009

It seems we really have reached consensus here. The Richard Attenborough Film Awards, a relatively new set of awards voted on by regional UK critics, haved chimed in with nearly everyone else, handing their Film of the Year and Director of the Year honours to Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire.” They stuck with the well-awarded in […]

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Hey, it ain’t ALL bad

Posted by · 8:25 am · January 22nd, 2009

OK, looking at the bigger picture, I’m as mortified as everyone else by this morning’s Academy Award nominations. By playing it safe in numerous areas, AMPAS voters have once more failed their art form … but more surprisingly, they have failed their audience. Kris has already touched to some extent on the most glaring injustices […]

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81st annual Oscar nominations announced, ‘Button’ leads with 13, ‘Dark Knight’ snubbed in Best Pic

Posted by · 6:18 am · January 22nd, 2009

Weinstein is back.  (As are comments…sorry for the delay there.) The short reply is the easy reply: the Academy has embarrassed itself this day.  Seven  nominations across the tech branches and a tip of the hat for Heath Ledger will be the Oscar legacy of “The Dark Knight.” The director — shunned. The writers — […]

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My dream ballot: part two

Posted by · 12:24 pm · January 21st, 2009

OK, I explained the deal with this yesterday, when I covered the technical categories. What follows are the names and films that I, in a perfect world, would like to hear announced by Sid Ganis and Forest Whitaker bright and early tomorrow morning. (Or tomorrow afternoon, in my case … living across the Atlantic does […]

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BAFTA predictions

Posted by · 2:00 pm · January 14th, 2009

The BAFTA nominations drop tomorrow, and while I hardly covered myself in glory with my foreign film Oscar forecast yesterday, I’m going to wade into the murky waters of prediction once more. On the one hand, it’s a fool’s errand trying to predict the BAFTA nods, as they can frequently be the most perverse and contrarian awards […]

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ACE nominees

Posted by · 8:59 am · January 12th, 2009

They sure cranked these out early this morning.  Thanks to N8 for posting in the comments section.  This year’s American Cinema Editors (ACE) nominees are: Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic) “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter) “The Dark Knight” (Lee Smith, A.C.E.) “Frost/Nixon” (Mike Hill, A.C.E. & Dan Hanley, A.C.E.) […]

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Guessing the WGA: the originals

Posted by · 7:39 pm · January 6th, 2009

I almost let this one slip by without taking a stab at it.  It’s all happening! Anyway, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) will be announcing its list of screen nominees tomorrow.  I figured I’d take an in-depth look at both categories, starting with the original scripts, which provide a much broader field than the […]

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‘Dark Knight’ tops our list of the year’s best

Posted by · 9:29 am · January 6th, 2009

In lieu of a proper Tuesday list, I thought I’d do something a little different this year, since we have a slew of contributors and In Contention is no longer the brain space of just one person.  I polled all our writers for their individual top 10 lists, which you can find detailed after the […]

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Small pleasures: Guy’s best (and worst) of 2008

Posted by · 1:14 pm · January 2nd, 2009

It’s a lovely thing when you realize, at least part of the way through adulthood, that we still possess the ability to surprise ourselves. When left to graze at leisure, the mind can stumble upon some unexpected notions, frequently overriding the conclusions we thought we had reached after twelve months of watching, writing and (occasionally […]

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Detroit critics go for ‘Slumdog,’ Tomei neck-and-neck with Cruz with sixth win

Posted by · 9:32 pm · December 19th, 2008

(Updated to amend tally error on my part.) I know I declared a moratorium on these until the dust settles, but I stumbled onto the list of winners for the Detroit Film Critics Society while compiling the master list and didn’t see them reported elsehwere yet, so here you go.  This list is significant to […]

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‘Slumdog,’ ‘Hunger,’ ‘Happy’ rule London crix nods

Posted by · 5:40 pm · December 18th, 2008

Sorry for following up on this so long after Kris’ teaser… what can I say? It’s Christmas party central round these parts. Anyway, the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards are a bit of an odd duck in the kudos calendar, but not an uninteresting one. They tend to try to have their cake and eat […]

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And the critics just keep on coming

Posted by · 6:49 am · December 16th, 2008

Thanks to AwardsDaily, ever on the ball, for pointing out yet another set of critics’ awards, this time the Phoenix Film Critics Society. Somebody stop the madness! Anyway, more gongs for “Slumdog,” “Let the Right One In,” Danny Boyle, Sean Penn, Heath Ledger zzzzzzzzz… Sorry, dozed off there. But hey, any “In Bruges” love is […]

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