OSCAR GUIDE: Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Posted by · 11:54 am · March 5th, 2010

Best Original Screenplay: 2009’s most difficult category to predict. Why? Certainly not because of each contender’s merits (when does that ever come into play with the Academy). No, this field is a hair-puller because you have a vibrant, likable personality up against the Best Picture frontrunner, always a recipe for a close race (and, sometimes, […]

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Lenny Bruce is not afraid

Posted by · 8:34 pm · November 13th, 2009

I’m in San Francisco through the weekend and, having missed the week’s “2012” press screenings, I headed on over to the Van Ness AMC to settle in for Roland Emmerich’s two and a half hours of global destruction, and as overwrought, cheesy, painstakingly contrived (“Where’s the map!?”) and downright BAD as the film is — […]

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‘The Wrestler’ wins big at the Indie Spirits

Posted by · 2:18 pm · February 21st, 2009

Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” walked away three trophies at today’s Independent Spirit Awards, including top honors for Best Actor (Mickey Rourke) and Best Feature. In his greatest acceptance speech of the season, Rourke seemed fully uninhibited, almost as if he said, “Screw it, ballots are in,” and he cut loose.  The tough guy thing poked […]

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SANTA BARBARA: Writers talk writing, Cruz walks the red carpet

Posted by · 11:38 am · January 25th, 2009

Yesterday was another busy event day for the Santa Barbara fest.  It was a shame the Director’s Panel was canceled, but participant Andrew Stanton switched gears to join Robert Knott (“Appaloosa”), Tom McCarthy (“The Visitor”) and Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) for an Anne Thompson-moderated discussion on their work at the keyboard this year. It was […]

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In the round

Posted by · 5:59 pm · November 20th, 2008

I don’t know why exactly, but the “roundtable” format of interviews that crops up a lot during awards season often strikes me as rather less fascinating than it’s meant to be. Unless the panel is very smartly chosen, I find the discussion tends to veer towards back-patting and faintly smug in-jokery, rather than stimulating argument […]

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Best Original Screenplay: beyond the obvious

Posted by · 8:11 am · September 21st, 2008

Everyone has a favourite Oscar category, and Best Original Screenplay is mine. It’s partly because I’m a screenwriter myself, so I feel a little more invested in the outcome. My evaluation of the category often comes down to the question: “Which screenplay do I most wish I’d written first?” More importantly, however, it’s the category […]

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Harwood and Oliver share Humanitas Prize

Posted by · 12:23 am · September 19th, 2008

To revisit some old friends from the 2007 awards season, the Humanitas Prize in the feature film category has been jointly awarded to Ronald Harwood, for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” and Nancy Oliver for “Lars and the Real Girl.” The prize is a screenwriting award aiming to honour achievements that “explore the human […]

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Variety ponders the season at the mid-way point

Posted by · 2:24 am · July 4th, 2008

We’ve already been over what a thin year it’s been so far for Oscar candidates – or good films at all, for that matter. Now Variety has come to the same conclusion. In his mid-year awards-season study, Timothy M. Gray goes so far as to say that “the past six months have offered fewer potential […]

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Will Oscar have an unexpected ‘Visitor?’

Posted by · 5:49 am · July 3rd, 2008

As you all know, we in the UK tend to be a bit behind the curve on most American releases, so I didn’t get to see Tom McCarthy’s wonderful “The Visitor” in time for our mid-year review. Had I done so, it certainly would have been in contention for my ‘best of the year so […]

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REVIEW: “Flags of Our Fathers” (***)

Posted by · 3:01 pm · October 8th, 2006

Clint Eastwood is largely considered one of the most uneven directors working today.  For every probing piece of thematic greatness (“Unforgiven,” “Mystic River”) there are three or four considerable missteps, from “The Gauntlet” and “Heartbreak Ridge” to “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Blood Work.” Such inconsistency is the price a hard-working […]

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