Talent without glamour at the GREAT British pre Oscars reception

Dame Barbar Hay with Tom Hooper at the GREAT British reception

The dearth of Oscar nominations for British stars sucked the glamour out of the Great British Film reception in Los Angeles last night. Hosted by British Consul-General Dame Barbara Hay, the event, which launched in 2012, is held on the Friday before the Academy Awards Ceremony to celebrate the success of the UK’s creative achievement.

Addressing the assembled crowd of her guests, Dame Barbara said that the UK had established itself as a centre for excellence in filmmaking, boasting over 100 film studios, nearly 5000 production companies, 2500 post production companies and offering 300,000 jobs.

Indeed, her residence was swarming with the best talent in the world in all aspects of filmmaking, including animation, documentary, musicals and live action movies. Among the guests were members of production teams from Oscar nominated pictures such as the feature animations The Pirates: In an Adventure with Scientists and Paranorman, the musical Les Miserables, and documentary Searching for Sugar Man.

The director of Les Miserables, Tom Hooper, who missed out on a nomination in the Best Director category, was in a good mood. “I am happy we won the Golden Globes for best picture,” he told me. I recall seeing him quite nervous on the eve of the Golden Globes awards last month, when he was competing against Silver Lining Playbook in the Musical and Comedy category, but now he knows that there is no point of stressing out about it. “There is no Musical category at the Oscars, so I don’t think we have a chance. Argo will most likely get it,” he concedes, smiling.

Ironically, in spite of their absence, the two Oscar-nominated British stars, Daniel Day-Lewis, in the Best Actor category for Lincoln, and Adele, in the Best Original Song for Skyfall, are expected to take home the coveted trophy.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host the Golden Globes

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Two-time Globes-winning comedy actress, Tina Fey, and a Globes nominee, Amy Poehler, will host the 70th annual Golden Globes, airing live on NBC Jan 13th from Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The announcement was made by Globes organizers: the Hollywood Foreign Press, NBC and Dick Clark’s productions, who were thrilled to have the two comedians on board.

“Having both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on board to host this year’s festivities is a major coup,” said NBC’s Paul Telegdy.  “Tina and Amy have a proven chemistry and comedic timing from their many years together on SNL to their successful co-starring roles in ‘Baby Mama.’”

Fey is executive producer, head writer and star of NBC comedy hit show 30 Rock, which was nominated for a record 22 Emmy awards and won 3. In addition to collecting 2 Globes, Fey’s performance in the show has earned her an Emmy and 3 SAG awards. She has also won an Emmy and two Writers Guild awards for her writing on Saturday Night Live, which she had worked on for 9 seasons before she created 30 Rock.

Poehler produces and stars in the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, for which she gained a Golden Globes nomination last year and 3 Emmy nominations for acting and one for writing. She has previously co starred with Fey in Saturday Night Live and in the films Mean Girls and Baby Mama.

The event had been presented without host until 3 years ago, when British Comedian Ricky Gervais took to the stage and unleashed his uncompromising comedy, rattling Hollywood and offending its stars. In spite of his controversial delivery, Gervais was rehired to host the Globes for additional two years.

The Golden Globe Awards, which span both television and motion picture achievements, are voted for by The Hollywood Foreign Press 81 members and will air on January 13, reaching more than 192 countries. Last year, the show drew 17 million viewers and earned an Emmy nomination.

The 85th annual Academy Awards, which will be hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, is to be held on February 24, but unlike previous years, when its nominations were revealed one week after the Globes, this year they will be announced on Jan 10th, three days before the Globes ceremony.

Oscar Finalists for Doc shorts announced

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled a shortlist of 8 finalists for Oscar nomination in the short documentary category.The contenders, which were chosen from this year’s 31 eligible entries by volunteers academy voters, are:

“The Education of Mohammad Hussein,” Loki Films
“Inocente,” Shine Global, Inc.
“Kings Point,” Kings Point Documentary, Inc.
“Mondays at Racine,” Cynthia Wade Productions
“Open Heart,” Urban Landscapes Inc.
“ParaÍso,” The Strangebird Company
“The Perfect Fit,” SDI Productions Ltd.
“Redemption,” Downtown Docs

Three to five of the above projects will be announced on January 10th as the nominees in the short documentary category at the the 85th Academy Awards.


Hugo tops Oscar noms with 11 nods

Hugo tops Oscar noms with 11 nods

Hugo tops Oscar noms with 11 nods

Martin Scorsese’s love letter to film, Hugo, led Tuesday’s Oscar nominations with 11, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Score, followed by another tribute to filmmaking, the black-and-white silent The Artist, which received 10 noms, including best picture, best director, best actor, best screenplay, best cinematography and best score.

The two movies are competing in the best picture category with seven others: War Horse, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, The Help, The Descendants, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. 

In the best director category, Scorsese and Michel Hazanavicius are joined by Terrence Malick (The Tree of life), Alexander Payne (The Descendants) and Woody Allen, who picked up his 7th nomination for his 41st movie, Midnight in Paris.

Meryl Streep earns a record 17th nomination for portraying Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. She will be competing in the best actress category against Glenn Close (Albert Knobs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo) and Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn).

The Artist’s lead actor, Jean Dujardin, will be challenged by George Clooney (The Descendants), Demian Bichir (A Better Life), Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and British actor Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) in the best actor category. It is Oldman’s first Oscar nomination since he began acting 30 years ago, in a film that was overlooked at the Globes.

Two octogenarian actors, Christopher Plummer (The Beginners) and Swedish Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close) are competing in the supporting actor category. They are joined by Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warrior) and British star Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn).

Co-stars of The Help, Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain, will be competing for the best supporting actress, alongside Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), the Artist’s Bérénice Bejo and Britain’s Janet McTeer (Albert Knobs).

The best animated feature category is occupied by Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rango, A Cat in Paris and the British-made Chico & Rita. They were selected from 18 eligible pics.

Iranian film A Separation, which recently triumphed in The Golden Globes and other awards, received a nod in the best original screenplay in addition to the best foreign language film category, in which it was joined by Belgian Bullhead, Israeli Footnote, Polish In Darkness and Canadian Monsieur Lazhar.

Several of the nominated pictures have been already recognized by critics, guilds and the Golden Globe, but today’s announcement ends months of speculations about this year’s murky Oscar race that lacked a clear frontrunner.

Notably missing in the nominations are Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Ryan Gosling (nominated in the Golden Globes for both Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love) and Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin). Golden Globe winner, The Adventures of Tin Tin, and Toronto Film Festival winner, Lebanon’s Where We Go Now, failed to make it in the Animation and Foreign Film categories respectively.

The nominations were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Tom Sherak and last year’s Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence at 5:38 am at the Academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills. 

The winners will be announced at the 84th annual Academy Awards show on Feb 26, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The show will be hosted by Billy Crystal and broadcast live on ABC, reaching over 500 million people around the world.

The full list of nominees is as follows:


Performance by an actor in a leading role


  • Demián Bichir in A Better Life (Summit Entertainment)
  • George Clooney in The Descendants (Fox Searchlight)
  • Jean Dujardin in The Artist (The Weinstein Company)
  • Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing)


Performance by an actor in a supporting role


  • Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn (The Weinstein Company)
  • Jonah Hill in Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing)
  • Nick Nolte in Warrior (Lionsgate)
  • Christopher Plummer in Beginners (Focus Features)
  • Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros.)


Performance by an actress in a leading role


  • Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs (Roadside Attractions)
  • Viola Davis in The Help (Touchstone)
  • Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing)
  • Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (The Weinstein Company)
  • Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn (The Weinstein Company)


Performance by an actress in a supporting role


  • Bérénice Bejo in The Artist (The Weinstein Company)
  • Jessica Chastain in The Help (Touchstone)
  • Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids (Universal)
  • Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs(Roadside Attractions)
  • Octavia Spencer in The Help (Touchstone)


Best animated feature film of the year


  • A Cat in Paris (GKIDS) Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico & Rita (GKIDS) Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) Chris Miller
  • Rango (Paramount) Gore Verbinski


Achievement in art direction


  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Production Design: Laurence Bennett, Set Decoration: Robert Gould
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Bros.) Production Design: Stuart Craig, Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
  • Hugo (Paramount) Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) Production Design: Anne Seibel, Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
  • War Horse (Touchstone) Production Design: Rick Carter, Set Decoration: Lee Sandales


Achievement in cinematography


  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing)Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo (Paramount) Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse (Touchstone) Janusz Kaminski


Achievement in costume design


  • Anonymous (Sony Pictures Releasing) Lisy Christl
  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Mark Bridges
  • Hugo (Paramount)Sandy Powell
  • Jane Eyre (Focus Features) Michael O’Connor
  • W.E. (The Weinstein Company) Arianne Phillips


Achievement in directing


  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company)Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) Alexander Payne
  • Hugo (Paramount) Martin Scorsese
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) Woody Allen
  • The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) Terrence Malick


Best documentary feature


  • Hell and Back Again (Docurama Films) A Roast Beef Limited Production,Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Oscilloscope Laboratories) A Marshall Curry Production, Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory An @radical.media Production, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
  • Pina (Sundance Selects) A Neue Road Movies Production, Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
  • Undefeated (The Weinstein Company)A Spitfire Pictures Production, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas


Best documentary short subject


  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement A Purposeful Production,Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • God Is the Bigger Elvis A Documentress Films Production, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • Incident in New Baghdad A Morninglight Films Production, James Spione
  • Saving Face A Milkhaus/Jungefilm Production, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom A Supply & Demand Integrated Production, Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen


Achievement in film editing


  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • Hugo (Paramount) Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) Christopher Tellefsen


Best foreign language film of the year


  • Bullhead A Savage Film Production, Belgium
  • Footnote (Sony Pictures Classics)A Footnote Limited Partnership Production, Israel
  • In Darkness (Sony Pictures Classics) A Studio Filmowe Zebra Production, Poland
  • Monsieur Lazhar (Music Box Films)A micro_scope Production, Canada
  • A Separation (Sony Pictures Classics)A Dreamlab Films Production, Iran


Achievement in makeup


  • Albert Nobbs (Roadside Attractions)Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Bros.) Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady (The Weinstein Company) Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)


  • The Adventures of Tintin (Paramount) John Williams
  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo (Paramount) Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features) Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse (Touchstone) John Williams


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)


  • Man or Muppet from The Muppets (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • Real in Rio from Rio (20th Century Fox) Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett


Best motion picture of the year


  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) A La Petite Reine/Studio 37/La Classe Américaine/JD Prod/France3 Cinéma/Jouror Productions/uFilm Production, Thomas Langmann, Producer
  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) An Ad Hominem Enterprises Production, Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros.) A Warner Bros. Pictures Production, Scott Rudin, Producer
  • The Help (Touchstone) A DreamWorks Pictures Production, Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and    Michael Barnathan, Producers
  • Hugo (Paramount) A Paramount Pictures and GK Films Production, Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) A Pontchartrain Production, Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) A Columbia Pictures Production, Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
  • The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) A River Road Entertainment Production, Nominees to be determined
  • War Horse (Touchstone) A DreamWorks Pictures Production, Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers


Best animated short film


  • Dimanche/Sunday (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production, Patrick Doyon
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore A Moonbot Studios LA Production, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
  • La Luna (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Enrico Casarosa
  • A Morning Stroll (Studio AKA) A Studio AKA Production, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Wild Life (National Film Board of Canada)A National Film Board of Canada Production, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby


Best live action short film


  • Pentecost (Network Ireland Television) An EMU Production, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
  • Raju A Hamburg Media School/Filmwerkstatt Production, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • The Shore An All Ashore Production, Terry George and Oorlagh George
  • Time Freak A Team Toad Production, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • Tuba Atlantic (Norsk Filminstitutt) A Norwegian Film School/Den Norske Filmskolen Production, Hallvar Witzø


Achievement in sound editing


  • Drive (FilmDistrict) Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce
  • Hugo (Paramount) Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount) Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse (Touchstone)Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom


Achievement in sound mixing


  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • Hugo (Paramount) Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing)Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount) Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse (Touchstone) Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson


Achievement in visual effects


  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
  • Hugo (Paramount)Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and  Alex Henning
  • Real Steel (Touchstone) Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox)Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount) Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier


Adapted screenplay


  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight)Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
  • Hugo (Paramount) Screenplay by John Logan
  • The Ides of March (Sony Pictures Releasing) Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features)Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan


Original screenplay


  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids (Universal) Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • Margin Call (Roadside Attractions) Written by J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics)Written by Woody Allen
  • A Separation (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Asghar Farhadi





Eddie Murphy disapproves of Ricki Gervais hosting style

Eddie Murphy disapproves of Ricki Gervais hosting style

Eddie Murphy disapproves of Ricki Gervais hosting style

Meeting Eddie Murphy, the host of the upcoming 84th Academy Awards show, at Universal Studios this morning, he told me that Ricky Gervais was saying wild stuff at last years Golden Globes ceremony.

I think he is funny and charming and has a great smile, but I was going Woo and wow, he laughs. Those shows, like the Golden Globes and Oscars, are not about whos hosting them even if you got a great person hosting, its about that show, and you want to do that show the way it’s supposed to be done and not turn over any apple carts or do any stuff.

Indeed, Gervais did turn several apple carts when he mercilessly dug his comedic claws into the private and professional lives of major Hollywood celebrities, outraging his client, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). However, the show was a phenomenal rating success and last summer was nominated for an Emmy award.

In contrast, last years tame Oscar show, which was hosted by actors James Franco and Ann Hathaway, was deemed a colossal failure, prompting the Academy bosses to seek the help of the veteran comedian Eddie Murphy to bring the show back to its deserved glory.

Projecting an air of unmistakable confidence, the Oscar-nominated actor, who hasnt hosted the show before, is not weighed down by the burden of responsibility.

What the worst thing that can happen? he laughs. You can suck! But Ive sucked in front of a billion people before. Ive put some movies out before. The worst thing that can happen is you dont do it good, but I cant imagine it not being good.

Interestingly, the Academy officials havent even had a chat with Murphy about their expectations of the show.

Im anticipating some type of conversation and whatever they say the evening should be like, thats what its going to be like because Im there to host the show, be entertaining and move smoothly and all that. Im a hired gun so its not about me that night.

Having said that, the 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop star is aware that people are expecting a little dash of naughty from him.

Not too naughty though, he quips. “I am going to have my clothes on.

Although he has been watching a lot of new releases, Murphy hasnt written anything for the show yet. He and a team of writers will commence writing sketches and jokes when the Oscar nominees are announced.

In spite of Gervais’ fallout with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, there is a good chance that he will host next years Golden Globes show. If he does and repeats his last year’s success then Murphy will be under pressure to outperform him.  But the American superstar is not concerned.

I dont have butterflies, but I am excited about doing it, he enthused. It has nothing to do with the last Oscars or the next ones. I want to make it the best I could make it that night.

Murphy is currently seen in the newly-released comedy Tower Heights, directed by Brett Ratner, the producer of the upcoming Oscars show.

Patagonia to represent the UK at the Oscars

Patagonia to represent the UK at the Oscars

Patagonia to represent the UK at the Oscars

BAFTA’s film committee has chosen Welsh director Marc Evans’s Patagonia to represent the UK at the next-year’s Oscars in the foreign-language category.

Patagonia tells two stories in Parallel: one of a Welsh couple who travels to Argentina in order to reinvigrate their relationship and another of a Patagonian woman, who comes to Wales in search of her roots.

The UK enters the foreign-language Oscar race in years when it sees a good a chance for a contender to win. The most recent submission was “Afghan Star” in 2009.

Patagonia is the 7th Welsh film to represent the UK in the glamorous award show. Two of the previous pictures, “Hedd Wynn” in 1993 and “Solomon and Gaenor” in 1999, received Oscar nomination.

In total, the UK has submitted nine films to the annual competition in the past 20 years, but none has won the award.

Patagonia played in several film festivals, before getting a small UK theatrical release this March, grossing £50,000.

James Franco laughs off his Oscars critics

James Franco laughs off his Oscars critics

James Franco laughs off his Oscars critics

In his first interview since he co hosted the Oscars show in January, James Franco told me that singling him out as the cause of a bad show is short-sighted.”
Critics accused him of being sloppy and unprepared. Some even suggested he was under the influence of drugs.
“I did try my hardest and I feel confident as a performer,” he stresses. ”Looking back at it I don’t know how could I do it differently. I didn’t have a low energy; I was saying those lines as good as I could and trying to deliver them as funny as I could.”
The “127 hours” star also regretted posting a mocking photo of screenwriter, Bruce Vilanch, who worked as a writer on 22 Oscar ceremonies, on Twitter.
“I made a mistake,” he smiles. ”I messed with the phenomenon of Twitter. I saw a comment that he ostensibly made out of context and so I responded quickly and then I tried to take the photo down in 5 minutes but because it’s the internet, it was already out. We have made up. But no one bothered to report that.”
Like the rest of the world, Vilanch had blamed the Show’s failure squarely on Franco’s poor performance, telling the press that he had arrived too late to the pre show rehearsals.
Last December, the 32-year-old actor, along with actress Anne Hathaway, was picked up by the Academy to host the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony in order to attract the young generation.
But not only did the show suffer a decline in its telecast rating, it was also decried by some as the worst in the Oscar’s history. While Hathaway escaped the wrath of the critics, Franco was mercilessly savaged.
Looking fresh and ebullient, the Oscar nominee, who is busy studying for a Master in Literature at Yale, arrived today to promote “Your Highness,” a comedy he is co-starring with Natalie Portman and Danny McBride.