Friday, January 29, 2010

2010 Oscar noms predix!

Oscar nominations come out on Tuesday, February 2nd and self-described Oscar experts (yours included, hahaha) are wasting no time in coming out with prediction lists that aim to second-guess the Academy’s propensity for late-minute surprises.

Surprise nominations and omissions are not uncommon on nominations day. Oscar enthusiasts (yours included, again! hahaha) know this but it is always difficult what to drop and what to include in the list. Almost always, many fall flat on their faces after the Academy president and the designated former Oscar nominee have announced the list 5 minutes after 8:30 New York time.

But failures in the past to accurately predict the nominations do not deter me or everyone else I know from coming up with our own list year after year after year.

And this year is no exception. Even if 2009 had more blockbuster movies that were admittedly technically polished, there were far fewer movies that can be called Oscar-worthy. It’s a lean crop what we got this year but out of those few are certainly cinema gems.

So, without further ado, here are my predictions on who will get on the Academy’s final shortlist come Tuesday morning:


Best Picture:
Avatar
An Education
The Blind Side
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Invictus
Precious
A Simple Man
Star Trek
Up in the Air

Possibles – [500] Days of Summer, District 9, The Hangover, Nine, Up, A Single Man

Best Director:
James Cameron, Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Possibles – Clint Eastwood (Invictus), JJ Abrams (Star Trek)

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Viggo Mortensen, The Road
George Clooney, Up in the Air

Possibles: Colin Firth (A Single Man), Michael Stuhlbarg (A Simple Man)

Best Actress:
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Possibles: Emily Blunt (Young Victoria), Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones), Penelope Cruz (Broken Embraces)

Best Supporting Actor:
Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Matt Damon, Invictus
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Possibles: Alfred Molina (An Education), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)

Best Supporting Actress:
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Mo’nique, Precious
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

Possibles: Samantha Morton (The Messenger), Penelope Cruz (Nine)

See you February 2nd!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

JD Salinger is dead :(

The world mourns the death of celebrated writer JD Salinger at the age of 91 today. Salinger was the writer who created one of the most famous and influential fictional characters in the world: Holden Caulfield, the rebellious teen who can't seem to fit into his concept of society...

Here is AFP's news report of his death...

*****
Reclusive US novelist J.D. Salinger dies at 91

by Sebastian Smith

NEW YORK (AFP) – J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of "The Catcher in the Rye," has died at 91, his agent said Thursday, raising tantalizing questions over whether the legendary writer might have left behind a hoard of unpublished works.

Salinger died Wednesday at his home in New Hampshire, the Harold Ober Associates literary agency in New York said. The cause of death was not announced.

Born in 1919, Salinger was part of a generation of major 20th century US novelists and among the biggest cultural celebrities in the world.

His 1951 tale of teenage rebellion, "The Catcher in the Rye," became a cultural icon and made him rich and famous.

But overwhelmed by his sudden fame, he retreated to a hermit-like existence in Cornish, New Hampshire, publishing his last work in The New Yorker magazine in 1965 and refusing interviews for the last three decades of his life.

Fiercely guarding his privacy, he turned to the courts to stop publication of his letters and steadfastly refused offers to sell movie rights to "Catcher."

Just in July last year, a US judge suspended the publication of an unauthorized sequel to "Catcher" by Swedish author Fredrik Colting.

Salinger's death is likely now to reignite speculation over whether he may have left behind some valuable works which could be published posthumously.

He hinted at this in an interview with the Boston Sunday Globe in 1980, when he said: "I love to write, and I assure you I write regularly. But I write for myself and I want to be left absolutely alone to do it."

The market for any posthumous Salinger writings would likely be highly lucrative.

Letters he wrote to his young lover Joyce Maynard, with whom he started a year-long relationship in 1972, sold for more than 150,000 dollars at auction in 1999.

In Hollywood, there is particularly intense interest in making a film of "Catcher," a novel that sold more than 60 million copies worldwide and entered American pop-culture, being referenced in everything from movies to songs and other books.

Even John Lennon's assassin in 1980, Mark Chapman, suggested his motive could be found in the book, which he said "holds many answers."

Repeated attempts have been made to film "Catcher" and portray its anti-hero Holden Caulfield, reportedly including by the BBC and movie moguls Steven Spielberg and Harvey Weinstein. But each time they were rebuffed by Salinger.

His antipathy to film adaptations is said to have been triggered by Hollywood's treatment of his short story "Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut."

What will happen now remains unclear. Reports, including from the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB), say he had blocked adaptations until after his death.

Jerome David Salinger was born on New Year's Day 1919 in Manhattan, New York, the son of an Irish mother and Jewish father with Polish roots.

As a teenager he began writing stories. In 1940, his debut story "The Young Ones" about several aimless youths was published in "Story" magazine.

Then came America's entry into World War II, and the young Salinger was drafted in 1942. He took part in the D-Day stormings of the Normandy beaches, and his wartime experiences are said to have marked him for life.

He married a German woman after the war, but the marriage fell apart after just a few months, and Salinger renewed his writings with a passion.

In 1948 he published the short story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in the New Yorker, bringing him acclaim and introducing the Glass family and its seven rambunctious children Seymour Buddy, Boo Boo, Walt, Waker, Zooey, and Franny, who were to populate several of his short stories.

But it was "The Catcher in the Rye," published three years later, that sealed his reputation.

Sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield's adventures and musings as he makes his way home after being kicked out of school touched a raw nerve and have fascinated generations of disaffected youngsters.

The novel was also sharply criticized for its liberal use of swear words and open references to sex, and was banned in some countries.

Top 5 movies getting most buzz at Sundance!

This story is brought to you courtesy of ArtInfo.com


PARK CITY -- At the festival's midweek mark, here are the five films everyone is talking about.

The Kids Are All Right
Although its entry into the festival was so late that its place on the schedule read "Surprise Premiere," Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right" has already spent a day as the it-flick of Sundance. With a bidding war precipitating between companies for its distribution - with Focus Features eventually winning out - the comedy, starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple whose kids reconnect with their sperm-donor father, has garnered praise for its tackling of queer domestic issues.

Buried
Director Rodrigo Cortes' first English-language film, "Buried," had people talking well before its Saturday night premiere. The 90-minute thriller follows Ryan Reynolds' desperate attempts to escape from a coffin in which he's been buried alive. With a concept devoid of the usual cinematic resources -- supporting actors, for instance -- skeptics expected a claustrophobic, single-angle picture. But Cortes' ingenuity quickly won over doubters, and Buried turned out to be the first movie at the festival to be purchased for major release.

Exit Through The Gift Shop
The spray paint had barely dried on many Park City walls when British street artist Banksy premiered his late-entry documentary to a full theater at midnight Sunday. Part street-art doc, part celebrity critique, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" was prompted by another filmmaker's attempt to make a movie about the elusive underground star. Banksy's highly guarded identity is at the center of the film's debate, with the artist-turned-director questioning of the relationship between privacy and fame - drawing celebrities from Jared Leto to Adrian Grenier to its premiere.

The Runaways
With its non-competition status (meaning it already has a distributor) instantly labeling "The Runaways" as a bigger-budget film, the band biopic featuring Kristen Stewart as singer Joan Jett and a now-pubescent Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie is a Hollywood retelling of the story of the all-girl rockers who hit the mainstream in the late 1970s. In contrast to the 2004 Runaways documentary, however -- which excluded Jett and dished dirt about the jail-bait band's inner drama -- the Sundance debut is co-produced by Jett and nixes the alleged physical abuses by producer Kim Fowley in favor of playing up the band's halfhearted successes.

8: The Mormon Proposition
This Sundance has been marked by an explosion of documentaries, but none of the year's crop was more controversial than "8: The Mormon Proposition." Directed by Miami-area filmmaker Reed Cowan, "8" details the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints' efforts to raise $22 million to support California's anti-gay-marriage proposition. As expected, the film caused protests from citizens of the predominantly Mormon state, but less expected was the film's exclusion from Park City's Cinemark Holiday Village Theatre, the venue for most of the festival's official press screenings. Since the CEO of Cinemark made a large donation to the Prop. 8 campaign in 2008, one can only speculate as to why this compelling documentary was left out of the industry loop.

Best Oscar show ever??

Adam Shankman, one the producers of the producers of this year's Oscar awards has announced that this year's show will be the best ever!

Read AP's Sandy Cohen's report...

***

Oscar producers promise fun, energy, innovation
By Sandy Cohen, AP Entertainment Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The Academy Awards' art department is plastered with geometric and architectural images. Sketches show the brand-new stage setup in various forms. A sample of the show's crystal curtain hangs in one corner. Copper-colored circles, squares and rectangles dangle from a cork board.

"We commissioned, with every great intention, the most complicated automated set the Oscars have ever had," says Adam Shankman, half of the production team putting on this year's Academy Awards. "We've had to add additional technical days now, just to make sure that it's all going to work together. So there's a mixed bag of excitement-slash-fear that's coming with that because, if it works, it will be the most beautiful thing the audience has ever seen on the Oscars."

Shankman and Bill Mechanic have been crafting the March 7 telecast since October. They've planned their production numbers, designed the new stage and come up with a clever way to present the 10 best-picture nominees. They've hired the hosts (Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin), booked a bunch of presenters and sketched out the show's 13 acts.

Now, all they need are the nominees.

"By and large, we know the layout of the show," Shankman says from the Academy Awards production office, tucked inside a quiet office building in Beverly Hills. "But there is a huge piece of content that is yet to be decided, which is the most significant piece of the content."

"We can't finish the show until we know," Mechanic says.

Sitting on twin black sofas inside Shankman's office, the two men finish each other's sentences and praise each other's work. When they first took the Oscar assignment, though, they didn't even know each other.

"I knew him through his movies," Mechanic says, citing Shankman's 2003 film "Bringing Down the House" and 2007's "Hairspray." "If we did any production numbers, I thought (his approach) was very contemporary. It felt like dance that I could watch.

"Dance for straight guys!" Shankman quips.

But when he first got Mechanic's call, "I actually thought it was a joke," Shankman says. "I'm not even in the academy."

He did perform on the Oscar show once, as a dancer in a production number in 1989, which "was so overwhelming and it just felt like a huge, huge deal."

("I had the weirdest thing where I got thrown off stage and almost killed Jessica Tandy," he recalls.)

Mechanic, meanwhile, is a longtime academy member and studio chief who has been to several Oscar ceremonies with films such as "Braveheart," "Titanic," "Cast Away" and "Boys Don't Cry." After attending the Oscars a few times, he started thinking maybe he could put on a better show. And now he's getting his chance.

The two men say they're a well-matched team. Mechanic is "the true film historian and the insane fan," Shankman says, "and I'm a little bit more of the P.T. Barnum energy."

So what kind of film-focused circus magic are the two planning?

The show will be funnier, shorter and more inclusive than past telecasts, Mechanic says. It'll feature not just nominated films, but popular movies from throughout the year. Music and performance will be integrated in a way that's "really spot-on," Shankman says, and the newly expanded best-picture category will "create some consistency" in the traditionally long telecast.

Expect "fun" presenters, Mechanic says: "We didn't do the normal-normal thing." Look for lively, emotional and educational moments, Shankman says: "You want to feel either like you're learning or you're getting to know people." And expect an homage to the best year in box-office history.

The two producers have been watching the season's other awards shows "to see what the story of the night is going to be and trying to build that into the show in a meaningful way," Shankman says.

Already emerging? The theme of ex-spouses James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow possibly competing against each other in the picture and director categories, Mechanic says.

The duo will have to wait until nominees are announced on Tuesday to discover what the night's other themes might be.

Regardless, the producers promise an Oscar show for movie makers, movie stars and movie fans.

"The cliche is it's the granddaddy of it all. There wouldn't be any other awards shows if it wasn't for the Oscars," Mechanic says. "It's the real thing. If you're in football, it's the Super Bowl. If you're in baseball, it's the World Series. If you're in movies, it's the Oscars. There's nothing like it."
___

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clint Eastwood Tops Johnny Depp as Hollywood's Best-loved Star!

Johnny Depp, Alive and No. 2 on Harris Poll

by Mike Ryan · January 26, 2010

In "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," Davy Jones asks Johnny Depp's iconic character, Jack Sparrow, if he felt dead. Sparrow replies, as might Johnny Depp right now, "You have no idea."

Despite untimely rumors to the contrary, not only is Johnny Depp very much alive, he's also just been named the runner-up in the much-ballyhooed Harris Poll. The poll, which measures public opinion on movie stars living and long gone, named Depp the second-most-loved Hollywood celebrity. Clint Eastwood came in first.

It's been an interesting week for Depp. Over the weekend, an Internet rumor that the 46-year-old star had perished in a traffic accident in France gained traction on Twitter. Then today, the "Public Enemies" star learned that he finished second in the new Harris Poll to an actor who hasn't been in a movie in over a year. (Clint was last seen in his 2008 film "Gran Torino"; he directed - but does not appear in - this year's critical favorite, "Invictus.")

John Wayne, who died in 1979 and hasn't been featured in a film since 1976, is the only actor to be ranked in the countdown every year since its inception in 1994. Wayne finished first in 1995, when he barely edged out this year's winner, Clint Eastwood.

Denzel Washington, who has finished in the top spot on the poll for the last three consecutive years, fell to No. 3 this year.

John Wayne aside, the Harris Poll has a history of honoring actors that haven't appeared in any recent films. Mel Gibson -- who before this upcoming weekend's release of "The Edge of Darkness" has not starred in a film since 2002's "Signs" -- topped the poll in 2003 and continuously ranked in the top 10 until 2006. Conversely, Meryl Streep, who has been nominated for 15 Academy Awards, made her first-ever appearance on the poll, finishing eighth. "The Blind Side" star Sandra Bullock was the highest ranking woman, finishing fourth.

The top 10 in this year's "America's Favorite Movie Star" Harris Poll (with last year's rank in parenthesis) is as follows:

1. Clint Eastwood (2)
2. Johnny Depp (8)
3. Denzel Washington (1)
4. Sandra Bullock (not ranked)
5. Tom Hanks (7)
6. George Clooney (not ranked)
7. John Wayne (3)
8. Meryl Streep (not ranked)
9. Morgan Freeman (9)
10. Julia Roberts (6)

Anne Hathaway to Announce Oscar Noms!

From the net....

LOS ANGELES – Actress Anne Hathaway will be among the first to learn who's up for an Oscar this year.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says the 27-year-old Hathaway will join motion picture academy president Tom Sherak to announce Academy Award nominees on Feb. 2.

Sherak and Hathaway will reveal nominations in 10 of the 24 categories at an early-morning news conference at the academy's Beverly Hills headquarters.

Hathaway was nominated for an Oscar last year for her leading role in "Rachel Getting Married." Her other credits include "The Devil Wears Prada" and "The Princess Diaries."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

List of Winners at 16th Annual SAG Awards

Winners of the 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards presented Saturday night:


Movie Winners: (I correctly predicted four of the winners and my alternate pick for Best Cast won!)

Best Cast: "Inglourious Basterds."
(My first pick was "The Hurt Locker", this movie was my alternate)

Best Actor in a leading role: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart."

Best Actress in a leading role: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side."
(I was wrong, Sandra Bullock is very much in contention for Best Actress!)

Best Supporting actor: Christoph Waltz, "Inglorious Basterds"

Best Supporting actress: Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Best Stunt ensemble: "Star Trek."



Television Winners:

Best Drama series cast: "Mad Men."

Best Actor in a drama series: Michael C. Hall, "Dexter."

Best Actress in a drama series: Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife."

Best Comedy series cast: "Glee."
(My pick was "30 Rock")

Best Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock."

Best Actress in a comedy series: Tina Fey, "30 Rock."
(My pick was Toni Collette)

Best Actor in a movie or miniseries: Kevin Bacon, "Taking Chance."
(Stubbornly picked Jeremy Irons)

Best Actress in a movie or miniseries: Drew Barrymore, "Grey Gardens."
(With apologies to Drew...)

Best Stunt ensemble: "24."


There you go folks. Next stop would be February 2nd when the Academy announces this year's Oscar Nominations. See you then...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

screen actors guild awards this saturday!

here are my predictions to this weekend's highly anticipated SAG awards. these predictions now differ from the one i made in december when the nominations were announced. there were latest developments that made me rethink my picks. of course, my favorites remain the same. do i need to remind you it's "[500] days of summer" and "[500] days of summer"? lol

here are the nominees and my predictions in red:

MOVIES:

Actor: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"; George Clooney, "Up in the Air"; Colin Firth, "A Single Man"; Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"; Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker."
*** Predix: Jeff Bridges (after a rousing ovation at the globes, he is the man to beat!)

Actress: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"; Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"; Carey Mulligan, "An Education"; Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire"; Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia."
*** Predix: Meryl Streep (Sandra was my earlier predicted winner but a tepid reaction to her win at the globes was disquieting, hmmm)

Supporting actor: Matt Damon, "Invictus"; Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"; Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"; Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"; Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds."
*** Christoph Waltz (i hope a suprise springs from here to make the Oscars a lot more exciting)

Supporting actress: Penelope Cruz, "Nine"; Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"; Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"; Diane Kruger, "Inglourious Basterds"; Mo'Nique"; "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire."
*** Mo'Nique (same goes here and, if ever, a win by Anna Kendrick would be totally mind-blowing!)

Ensemble cast: "An Education," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Nine," "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire."
*** The Hurt Locker (tough call but either this movie or "Inglourious Basterds" will walk away with the win)

Stunt ensemble: "Public Enemies," "Star Trek," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."
*** Star Trek
___

TELEVISION:

Actor in a movie or miniseries: Kevin Bacon, "Taking Chance"; Cuba Gooding Jr., "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story"; Jeremy Irons, "George O'Keefe"; Kevin Kline, "Great Performances: Cyrano de Bergerac"; Tom Wilkinson, "Salter."
*** I will go with Jeremy Irons

Actress in a movie or miniseries: Joan Allen, "Georgia O'Keefe"; Drew Barrymore, "Grey Gardens"; Ruby Dee, "America"; Jessica Lange, "Grey Gardens"; Sigourney Weaver, "Prayers for Bobby."
*** Jessica Lange (Drew's win at the globes was a "surprise")

Actor in a drama series: Simon Baker, "The Mentalist"; Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"; Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"; Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"; Hugh Laurie, "House."
*** Michael C. Hall (and not just because he had his successful battle with cancer publicized days before the globes and the SAGs)

Actress in a drama series (tie vote resulted in six nominees): Patricia Arquette, "Medium"; Glenn Close, "Damages"; Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"; Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace"; Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"; Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer."
*** Julianna Margulies (or Glenn Close)

Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"; Steve Carell, "The Office"; Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"; Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"; Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men."
*** Alec Baldwin

Actress in a comedy series: Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?"; Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Tina Fey, "30 Rock"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine."
*** Toni Collette

Drama series cast: "The Closer," "Dexter," "The Good Wife," "Mad Men," "True Blood."
*** Mad Men (but i heart "True Blood" more than any other series!)

Comedy series cast: "30 Rock," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Glee," "Modern Family," "The Office."
*** 30 Rock (a win by "Glee" would probably kill my good friend xtine! haha)

Stunt ensemble: "24," "The Closer," "Dexter," "Heroes," "The Unit."
*** 24

movies to watch at sundance this year

From Jim Kiest over at www.mysanantonio.com, here's a cheat sheet on the movies getting top buzz at this year's edition of robert redford's wintertime film tradition sundance film festival.

***
Sundance highlights

"Enter the Void": Often controversial director Gaspar Noe ("Irreversible") competed at Cannes with this visually striking film, which follows the departed spirit of a murdered drug dealer on a sex and drug-fueled final voyage.

"Frozen": Horror films don't get any more minimal, or chilly, than this entry from indie director Adam Green, who made a splash a few years back with the slasher homage "Hatchet." In his latest, three young skiers are stranded and forgotten on a chair lift in the cold and dark.

"Mother & Child": Director Rodrigo Garcia weaves together the stories of three women (Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington) whose lives are shaped by adoption. Absence and missed connections haunt the heartrending tale.

"The Runaways": "Twilight's Kristen Stewart (Joan Jett) and a surprisingly tuff looking Dakota Fanning (Cherie Currie) star in this biopic of the girl punk godmothers.

"The Shock Doctrine": British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom is one of the directors of this doc based on Naomi Klein's provocative book, which argues that Western powers take advantage of disasters, tying aid to regulations that favor big business, not people.

"The Killer Inside Me": Winterbottom also directed this crime drama, set in West Texas, about a small-town deputy who's also the most dangerous criminal in his jurisdiction. Based on the book by hard-core noir author Jim Thompon, it stars Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson.

late-night drama is over; jay leno wins!

finally, the late-night wrangling between conan o'brien and jay leno on who will get to host the 11:35 pm "tonight show" is over. today, nbc announced conan's departure and jay leno's return to the show.

conan is not leaving empty-handed though. he is taking with him nearly $33 million dollars while his staff of 200 gets a hefty $12 million dollars - not bad to get fired eh?

here is the official AP story on nbc's decision:

***
NEW YORK (AP) — NBC said Thursday it has reached a $45 million deal with Conan O’Brien for his exit from the “Tonight” show, allowing Jay Leno to return to the late-night program he hosted for 17 years.

Under the deal, which came seven months after O’Brien took the reins from Leno, O’Brien will get more than $33 million, NBC said.

The rest will go to his staff in severance, the network said in an announcement on the “Today” show.

His final show will be Friday, and Leno will return to “Tonight” on March 1.

O’Brien will be free to begin another TV job as soon as September, NBC said.

O’Brien landed the “Tonight” show after successfully hosting “Late Night,” which airs an hour later, since 1993. But he quickly stumbled in the ratings race against his CBS rival, David Letterman.

Under Leno, the “Tonight” show was the ratings champ at 11:35 p.m. Eastern, but he proved an instant flop with his experiment in prime time.

2010 BAFTA nominees out!

'Avatar' gets 8 noms for British film awards
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – Sci-fi extravaganza 'Avatar,' Iraq drama "The Hurt Locker" and coming-of-age story "An Education" earned eight nominations apiece Thursday in the race for the British Academy Film Awards, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.

The three films are up for best picture alongside "Up in the Air" and "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire."

The British awards, known as BAFTAs, are handed out two weeks before the Academy Awards in Hollywood and considered an important indicator of likely Oscar success.

South African alien thriller "District 9" received seven BAFTA nominations, while Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" and Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" got six each.

The nominations boost the Oscar hopes of James Cameron's "Avatar," an astronomically expensive eco-adventure that has already taken more than $1.6 billion (euro1.13 billion) at the global box office. "Avatar" — Cameron's first narrative feature since the Oscar-sweeping "Titanic" in 1997 — has already won Golden Globes for best drama and director.

At the British awards, Cameron is competing for best director against his ex-wife, "The Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow. The other director nominees are Neill Blomkamp for "District 9," Lone Scherfig for "An Education" and Quentin Tarantino for "Inglourious Basterds."

The best actor race pits George Clooney, for "Up in the Air," against "The Hurt Locker" star Jeremy Renner, Jeff Bridges for "Crazy Heart," Colin Firth for "A Single Man" and Andy Serkis for his portrayal of musician Ian Dury in "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll."

Meryl Streep received her 13th BAFTA nomination for "Julie & Julia." The other best-actress nominees are Carey Mulligan for "An Education," Audrey Tautou for "Coco Before Chanel," Irish actress Saoirse Ronan for "The Lovely Bones" and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe for "Precious."

Nominees for outstanding British film are "An Education"; "Fish Tank"; "In the Loop"; "Moon" and "Nowhere Boy."

Five films are competing for best foreign-language film — fashion biopic "Coco before Chanel," Pedro Almodovar's lush "Broken Embraces," Swedish vampire story "Let the Right One In," Jacques Audiard's prison drama "A Prophet" and Michael Haneke's chilling "The White Ribbon."

The British prizes — officially the Orange British Academy Film Awards — will be awarded at a ceremony at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 21.

Last year, Danny Boyle's underdog picture "Slumdog Millionaire" won seven BAFTAs, including best film; it went on to win eight Oscars.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

[500] days of summer helmer to direct new spider-man next!

here's an exciting news release from sony!

***
A NEW WEBB FOR SPIDER-MAN™

Marc Webb Chosen To Direct Next Chapter of the Acclaimed Series

-Spider-Man to Climb into Theaters in Summer, 2012 -

CULVER CITY, Calif., January , 2010 – Marc Webb, the director of the Golden Globe nominated Best Picture (500) Days of Summer, will direct the next chapter in the Spider-Man franchise, set to hit theaters summer 2012, it was jointly announced today by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Written by James Vanderbilt, Webb will work closely with producers Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin in developing the project, which will begin production later this year.

Commenting on the announcement, Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, said, “At its core, Spider-Man is a small, intimate human story about an everyday teenager that takes place in an epic super-human world. The key for us as we sought a new director was to identify filmmakers who could give sharp focus to Peter Parker’s life. We wanted someone who could capture the awe of being in Peter’s shoes so the audience could experience his sense of discovery while giving real heart to the emotion, anxiety, and recklessness of that age and coupling all of that with the adrenaline of Spider-Man’s adventure. We believe Marc Webb is the perfect choice to bring us on that journey.”
Arad and Ziskin added jointly, “Over the years, the Spider-Man comics have been told with bold and creative new writers and artists who have re-calibrated the way audiences see Peter Parker. Marc Webb will do for the new direction of the films what so many visionary storytellers have done with the comic books. He is an incredibly talented filmmaker and we look forward to working closely with him on this new adventure.”

Webb said, “This is a dream come true and I couldn't be more aware of the challenge, responsibility, or opportunity. Sam Raimi's virtuoso rendering of Spider-Man is a humbling precedent to follow and build upon. The first three films are beloved for good reason. But I think the Spider-Man mythology transcends not only generations but directors as well. I am signing on not to ‘take over’ from Sam. That would be impossible. Not to mention arrogant. I'm here because there's an opportunity for ideas, stories, and histories that will add a new dimension, canvas, and creative voice to Spider-Man.”

Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, added, “I’m excited that Sony has chosen a director with a real penchant and understanding for the character. This is a brave, bold direction for the franchise, and I can’t wait to see what Marc comes up with next.”

Added Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, “The idea of re-imagining the on-screen story for one of the world’s most iconic superheros is sure to deliver an exciting new dimension to Spider-Man fans everywhere. There are volumes of comics and material available to inspire fresh and compelling takes on Peter Parker and his journey as Spidey and we look forward to seeing this come alive onscreen.”

MARC WEBB has won acclaim with his film debut (500) Days of Summer. He has several MTV VMAs™ including 2009's Best Director award for Green Day's "21 Guns," 2006 Best Rock Video for AFI’s “Miss Murder,” and Best Group Video for The All-American Rejects’ “Move Along.” The Music Video Production Association honored him in 2006 as the Director of the Year for his work with Weezer, AAR, and My Chemical Romance.

In addition to two Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture (musical or comedy), his first feature film, (500) Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature. Webb was also awarded the Spotlight Award, which honors outstanding directorial debuts, by the National Board of Review.

best foreign language film contenders named!

the academy has released the list of nine foreign films competing for the final five slots in the best foreign language film category at the oscars.

the nine films in consideration are:

"El Secreto de Sus Ojos" from Argentina
"Samson & Delilah" from Australia
"The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner," from Bulgaria
"Un Prophete" from France
"The White Ribbon" from Germany
"Ajami" from Israel
"Kelin" from Kazakhstan
"Winter in Wartime" from the Netherlands
"Milk of Sorrow" from Peru

 pedro almodovar's "broken embraces" was not spain's entry. the philippines' entry "grandpa is dead" sadly didn't make the list as well.

the oscar nominations will be announced on tuesday, february 2 at 5:30 am pacific time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

postscripts to the globes and critics awards this past weekend...

two groups with vastly different tastes handed out their trophies to last year's best movies and performances. i made some fearless predictions and as usual i've fallen flat on my face again. the TV categories at the golden globes are something that always, always kill me!

so let's forget TV...

i successfully predicted the winners for drama picture, director, drama actress, comedy actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, animated movie, foreign film, and screenplay. i missed in the two music categories (i thought "avatar" would sweep), drama actor, comedy actor, and comedy picture. not so bad, i guess.

jeff bridges was the night's biggest surprise -- but very much deserving! his win now puts the oscar best actor race interestingly competitive. morgan freeman and george clooney are his main competitors. my early pick for the oscars would be bridges given the fact that freeman and clooney have their own oscars at home already and bridges is the year's sentimental favorite (saw his oscar-nominated turn in the 1971 classic "the last picture show" last night and he was amazing in it!) and not sandra bullock as i have been loudly hoping. the huge standing ovation he received was a testament to his frontrunner status!

and is it just me or was the reception to bullock's win somewhat tepid and at times unenthusiastic??? i have been told that i am over analyzing stuff but then again, actors comprise the biggest voting bloc in the academy and if sandra couldn't even get a decent ovation, how can she get into the winners circle?

if sandra doesn't win at the SAG, and meryl does, then my pick is meryl at the oscars. 27 years and she will finally get her third.

out of the two winners for best pictures at the globes, only "avatar" will (not may but will!) get the corresponding nomination at the oscars. but the winner at the oscars may not be "avatar"... hmmm...

on to the critics choice now. the group picked "the hurt locker' for best pic and director kathryn bigelow for best director. the win locks it for an oscar nomination. the tie between streep and bullock was not really unexpected and i really, really hope i am wrong with my analysis on the seemingly lukewarm applause bullock received at the globes. jeff bridges also won for best actor and he the frontrunner for Oscar gold. period.

and where was my favorite movie of the year, "[500] days of summer", in all these awards shows?? sure, it got nominations at both groups but it didn't win anything nor has it won anything major yet leading to the oscar nominations announcement next week. awww...

but there'll be ten best pic nominees and am very sure, "[500] days of summer" will make it. please, please, please....

jackie chan: the spy next door

here's the story i wrote of my interview with jackie chan...

********
The 'spy' who makes movies for fun
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent
(The Philippine Star) Updated January 18, 2010 12:00 AM

“It was fun but it was so tiring!” Jackie Chan told this writer during the junket for his latest movie, The Spy Next Door at SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. The Chinese superstar took part in the Pasadena Rose Parade last Jan. 1 and spent more than three hours waving to the crowd. He was not complaining though. In fact, he was still wearing the rose pin on his lapel during our interview!

He could just have employed the light “beauty queen wave” (the one where only one hand moves) but he insisted on waving both his arms to everyone on the parade route who wouldn’t let up in screaming his name. “How can I resist when people are like, ‘Jackie, I love you… Jackie, over here!’ They were so great, they were there for two nights!” he said.

This is one of the reasons why Jackie is considered a rarity in the entertainment business. He has the longevity in movies seldom enjoyed by action stars. He makes movies in China and Hollywood and fans from all over the world continue to flock to the cinemas to catch him. He has this charming personality that easily wins him affection from fans.

Even youngsters, who are just discovering his movies, can’t resist his charm. On the day we had the interview, this writer was surprised to discover that among the nine other journalists with me at the round table was this cute and smart 12-year-old girl named Mariam El Hasan who represented Scholastic Kids news. Apparently, she won a contest to interview Jackie and she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm as she gushed about being a big fan of Jackie. And when her idol finally entered the room, I looked at her and she was clearly mesmerized!

Jackie has been making movies for decades and yet he shows no signs of ever slowing down. “I make movies for fun,” he said. “If I continue making Rush Hour, it’s not fun at all. Every movie is different. I do an American movie now and I do a Chinese movie next. I don’t do the same movies consecutively.”

And he insisted that there would never be another Rush Hour movie. “If it happens, it’s a miracle!”

He continued, “Every day it’s a different challenge. It’s very fun and people pay you a lot of money. You know what’s boring?” he asked, barely containing a smile. “Your job!” he teased us and the room erupted in laughter. “You know why? Because you may write about different actors but you are still just writing. But in my case, I am in a movie in Hollywood now but tomorrow I am in Beijing.”

Indeed, he is right. But interviewing celebrities is not really boring especially when you get to meet superstars as grounded and as candid as Jackie Chan. This year, the Asian superstar has two Hollywood movies: The fun and hilarious The Spy Next Door and the remake of the Karate Kid movie with Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith.

In The Spy Next Door, Jackie stars as Bob Ho, an undercover CIA super-spy who decides to retire and finally settle down with his next-door neighbor and girlfriend, Gillian (portrayed by former supermodel Amber Valletta).

But there is one hitch: Gillian has three kids who extremely dislike Bob Ho. When Gillian suddenly has to leave town, he volunteers to babysit the children in an attempt to earn their approval. But when one of the kids mistakenly downloads a top-secret formula from his computer, terrorists move in for the attack, forcing Bob to juggle the roles of spy and prospective stepfather in the most challenging mission of his career.

The movie is a fun and riotous ride for the entire family. Jackie’s fans will definitely not want to miss the thrilling action stunts that only he can do so well. He is also at his best doing his own brand of physical comedy.

But it was neither the action stunts nor the comedy that he found most difficult to do. English was.

“English is so difficult, especially when the children do not follow the dialogue. They just speak so fast!” he declared. “And my dialogue coach wanted me to speak all the “H” words also. Sometimes, in conversations, it’s okay because you don’t care about it but in the movie it’s difficult.”

He demonstrated the particular problem he had enunciating the word “with” to the delight of everyone in the room. On the set, he would say “with the children” with the emphasis on the “T” instead of “H” at the end of the word “with” or pronouncing “D night” instead of “the night.” The director would always correct him. “It is very difficult. The more you emphasize it, the more it drives me crazy! Stunts are easier — it’s choreographed! I have been doing it for many years.”

Jackie also shared how his face turned red on the set one day when he was slapped numerous times during a scene with Amber. “I don’t know why the director wanted to have so many takes! ‘This side, that side, all sides…’ no other actor can stand this kind of pain!” he jokingly complained.

In most of his previous movies, he seldom gets to have romantic scenes with his leading ladies. In this movie he shares several kissing scenes with Amber. “First time, huh?” he said smiling. “In my movies, we don’t have a lot of kissing or love scenes. Personally, I don’t like these kinds of things. I don’t think my audience would like to see Jackie Chan naked and making love.” He also considers the children who watch his movies and the effect those scenes would have on them.

“When I go to Africa, to Egypt, I see children and they do this…” (He stood up and struck a martial art pose)… “and they learn from me. I have to think about the children before I do dirty moves on the screen.” He doesn’t use the “F” word anymore and his characters are not seen drinking alcohol or smoking on screen anymore. He wants to educate his audience as subtly as possible.

It is a far cry from the time when he did the first Drunken Master movie where he transforms into a fighter every time he has a drink.

“In First Strike, I was a wanted man. There is a scene where someone throws a newspaper with my face on the cover. I pick up the newspaper and put it in the trash can without seeing myself on the cover. I hope the audience recognizes what I am doing, if not, it’s okay, it is still entertainment. If they do, I am really happy.”

For someone who found fame brandishing his martial arts skills on screen and killing bad guys with a single strike, Jackie has carefully toned down the violence in his movies. Of course, his trademark martial-art moves that have endeared him to his fans are still on display in this movie but are considerably less gruesome and because The Spy Next Door is a wholesome family movie the fight sequences are tame but still visually exciting!

Jackie lamented, however, how martial arts in the US has evolved into a violent spectator sport like the bloody spectacle provided by the ultimate fighting championship tournaments. “I don’t like to watch it,” he revealed. “As a martial artist, I find it too violent. They put the challengers inside a cage and at the end it’s not martial arts anymore. Martial art is all about respect. When somebody is knocked out, you stop! That’s the spirit, it’s not like ‘Oh, you’re down’ and you go on continue beating the guy. We learn martial arts as helping the weak. You never fight the helpless.”

Aside from educating his audience, Jackie is also actively involved with his Dragon Heart foundation. He has built 24 schools all over China. He plans on building two more schools this year and he is sending 50 volunteers to document what is going on in his schools. “I just don’t want to build schools and leave them. I care. I want to know what’s broken, what needs to be repaired.”

There is a certain charm and genuine goodness in Jackie that is quite tangible. It is true, indeed, what others have said that anyone who gets to meet him couldn’t help but be drawn to him, impressed by how seemingly grounded he seems to be despite his superstar stature yet still be surprised by how candid, frank, and at times wickedly funny he can be.

The Spy Next Door, released by Viva International, is now showing nationwide.

Friday, January 15, 2010

critics choice awards tonight!

on vh1 tonight, kristin chenoweth will host the annual critics choice awards. the weinstein's "nine" and "inglourious basterds" are going into the show with 10 nominations each. but the big winner might not be either of the two...

here are my predix:

Critics Choice Awards Nominees!

BEST PICTURE: "The Hurt Locker", upset winner will be "Up in the Air", but definitely not "avatar"

BEST ACTOR: George Clooney, with possible upset by Morgan Freeman

BEST ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock, can't help, she's my sentimental favorite but the biggest possibility for a win belongs to Carey Mulligan.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, the guy has been on a roll since Cannes, he will win. No upsets in the offing.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo'nique, she's winning more frequently than Anna Kendrick, but a win by either two is very much deserving.

BEST DIRECTING: James Cameron!!!!

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: {500} days of summer, are there other nominees?? Hahaha, i looooove this movie, no more questions!

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Up in the Air, Jason Reitman's reward for his beautifully crafted movie.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 golden globes predix

this sunday, the hollywood foreign press association will stage the annual golden globe awards. the glitzy event honors film and tv achievements of the past year. the group's selection tend to be populist and they usually favor big movies with big stars.

here are my predictions on who will walk away with the trophies on sunday...

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
1. AVATAR
2. THE HURT LOCKER
3. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
4. PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE
5. UP IN THE AIR

my predix: avatar
my choice: up in the air


BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
1. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
2. THE HANGOVER
3. IT’S COMPLICATED
4. JULIE & JULIA
5. NINE

my predix: nine
my choice: [500] days of summer


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
1. EMILY BLUNT – THE YOUNG VICTORIA
2. SANDRA BULLOCK – THE BLIND SIDE
3. HELEN MIRREN – THE LAST STATION
4. CAREY MULLIGAN – AN EDUCATION
5. GABOUREY SIDIBE – PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE

my predix: sandra bullock
my choice: sandra bullock


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
1. SANDRA BULLOCK – THE PROPOSAL
2. MARION COTILLARD – NINE
3. JULIA ROBERTS – DUPLICITY
4. MERYL STREEP – IT’S COMPLICATED
5. MERYL STREEP – JULIE & JULIA

my predix: meryl streep
my choice: meryl streep


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
1. JEFF BRIDGES – CRAZY HEART
2. GEORGE CLOONEY – UP IN THE AIR
3. COLIN FIRTH – A SINGLE MAN
4. MORGAN FREEMAN – INVICTUS
5. TOBEY MAGUIRE – BROTHERS

my predix: george clooney
my choice: morgan freeman


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
1. MATT DAMON – THE INFORMANT!
2. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS – NINE
3. ROBERT DOWNEY JR – SHERLOCK HOLMES
4. JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT – (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
5. MICHAEL STUHLBARG – A SERIOUS MAN

my predix: daniel day-lewis
my choice: joseph gordon-levitt


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
1. PENÉLOPE CRUZ – NINE
2. VERA FARMIGA – UP IN THE AIR
3. ANNA KENDRICK – UP IN THE AIR
4. MO’NIQUE – PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE
5. JULIANNE MOORE – A SINGLE MAN

my predix: mo'nique
my choice: mo'nique


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
1. MATT DAMON – INVICTUS
2. WOODY HARRELSON – THE MESSENGER
3. CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – THE LAST STATION
4. STANLEY TUCCI – THE LOVELY BONES
5. CHRISTOPH WALTZ – INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

my predix: christoph waltz
my choice: christoph waltz


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
1. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
2. CORALINE
3. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
4. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
5. UP

my predix: up
my choice: up


8. BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
1. BAARIA (ITALY)
2. BROKEN EMBRACES (SPAIN)
3. THE MAID (CHILE)
4. A PROPHET (UN PROPHETE) (FRANCE)
5. THE WHITE RIBBON (GERMANY)

my predix: the white ribbon
my choice: the maid


BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
1. KATHRYN BIGELOW – THE HURT LOCKER
2. JAMES CAMERON – AVATAR
3. CLINT EASTWOOD – INVICTUS
4. JASON REITMAN – UP IN THE AIR
5. QUENTIN TARANTINO – INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

my predix: james cameron
my choice: james cameron


BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
1. NEILL BLOMKAMP, TERRI TATCHELL – DISTRICT 9
2. MARK BOAL – THE HURT LOCKER
3. NANCY MEYERS – IT’S COMPLICATED
4. JASON REITMAN, SHELDON TURNER – UP IN THE AIR
5. QUENTIN TARANTINO – INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

my predix: up in the air
my choice: up in the air


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
1. MICHAEL GIACCHINO – UP
2. MARVIN HAMLISCH – THE INFORMANT!
3. JAMES HORNER – AVATAR
4. ABEL KORZENIOWSKI – A SINGLE MAN
5. KAREN O, CARTER BURWELL – WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

my predix: avatar
my choice: up


BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
1. “CINEMA ITALIANO” – NINE
2. “I WANT TO COME HOME” – EVERYBODY’S FINE
3. “I SEE YOU” – AVATAR
4. “THE WEARY KIND (THEME FROM CRAZY HEART)”
5. “WINTER” – BROTHERS

my predix: avatar
my choice: none


BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
1. BIG LOVE (HBO)
2. DEXTER (SHOWTIME)
3. HOUSE (FOX)
4. MAD MEN (AMC)
5. TRUE BLOOD (HBO)

my predix: mad men
my choice: true blood


BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
1. 30 ROCK (NBC)
2. ENTOURAGE (HBO)
3. GLEE (FOX)
4. MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
5. THE OFFICE (NBC)

my predix: glee
my choice: none


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
1. GLENN CLOSE – DAMAGES
2. JANUARY JONES – MAD MEN
3. JULIANNA MARGULIES – THE GOOD WIFE
4. ANNA PAQUIN – TRUE BLOOD
5. KYRA SEDGWICK – THE CLOSER

my predix: january jones
my choice: anna paquin


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
1. SIMON BAKER – THE MENTALIST
2. MICHAEL C. HALL – DEXTER
3. JON HAMM – MAD MEN
4. HUGH LAURIE – HOUSE
5. BILL PAXTON – BIG LOVE

my predix: hugh laurie
my choice: simon baker


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
1. TONI COLLETTE – UNITED STATES OF TARA
2. COURTENEY COX – COUGAR TOWN
3. EDIE FALCO – NURSE JACKIE
4. TINA FEY – 30 ROCK
5. LEA MICHELE – GLEE

my predix: courteney cox
my choice: toni collette


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
1. ALEC BALDWIN – 30 ROCK
2. STEVE CARELL – THE OFFICE
3. DAVID DUCHOVNY – CALIFORNICATION
4. THOMAS JANE – HUNG
5. MATTHEW MORRISON – GLEE

my predix: alec baldwin
my choice: none


BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
1. GEORGIA O’KEEFFE (LIFETIME TELEVISION)
2. GREY GARDENS (HBO)
3. INTO THE STORM (HBO)
4. LITTLE DORRIT (PBS)
5. TAKING CHANCE (HBO)

my predix: grey gardens
my choice: none


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
1. JOAN ALLEN – GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
2. DREW BARRYMORE – GREY GARDENS
3. JESSICA LANGE – GREY GARDENS
4. ANNA PAQUIN – THE COURAGEOUS HEART OF IRENA SENDLER
5. SIGOURNEY WEAVER – PRAYERS FOR BOBBY

my predix: jessica lange
my choice: none


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
1. KEVIN BACON – TAKING CHANCE
2. KENNETH BRANAGH – WALLANDER: ONE STEP BEHIND
3. CHIWETEL EJIOFOR – ENDGAME
4. BRENDAN GLEESON – INTO THE STORM
5. JEREMY IRONS – GEORGIA O’KEEFFE

my predix: jeremy irons
my choice: none


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
1. JANE ADAMS – HUNG
2. ROSE BYRNE – DAMAGES
3. JANE LYNCH – GLEE
4. JANET McTEER – INTO THE STORM
5. CHLOË SEVIGNY – BIG LOVE

my predix: rose byrne
my choice: none


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
1. MICHAEL EMERSON – LOST
2. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS – HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
3. WILLIAM HURT – DAMAGES
4. JOHN LITHGOW – DEXTER
5. JEREMY PIVEN – ENTOURAGE

my predix: jeremy piven
my choice: neil patrick harris


there you go, see you back monday and we'll check how i fare :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

cloudy with a chance of meatballs!

here is my story on the animated movie "cloudy with a chance of meatballs" and the filipino who worked on designing some of the characters in the film.

************


The gastronomic side of a movie

By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent
(The Philippine Star) Updated January 12, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Say you are planning something for the weekend and you ask someone what the weather forecast might be. Then, instead of rain or sunshine, you are told that the weekend will be cloudy — with a chance of meatballs! Now, wouldn’t that be one delicious weekend? You got cream pies, burgers, pancakes, ice creams, and pizza, among many other delectable goodies, falling from the sky; it is one delightful weekend to look forward to, indeed!

Sony Pictures Animation conjures this interesting and mouth-watering scenario with its latest offering, the animated 3D film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which opens in theaters Jan. 27.

In the movie, the seaside town of Swallow Falls is plagued by a weakening economy and diminishing food supply. Their major industry, the Baby Brent Sardine cannery, has closed for good and the town is left with the remaining sardines as their only food source.

To solve this grim situation, an enterprising young man, Flint Lockwood, whose previous inventions have turned into disasters, decides to invent a machine that will convert molecules from water into food. The invention would have been successful had it not suffered a major setback: During a test run, the machine explodes, destroys the town, and rockets into the atmosphere.

The town becomes an angry mob and everyone turns against Flint — but not after the sky turns gray and cheeseburgers start raining over the town. The people celebrate and Flint becomes their hero. It would turn out to be a fleeting celebration. The machine soon takes a life of its own and starts to churn out more food and eventually threatens the entire world. Flint and his gang now have to devise a solution to disable the machine. Would they be able to do it? You’ll have to see the movie to find out if our hero makes it.

The movie is a fun and exciting adventure for the entire family. Scenes of meatballs and other delicious foods hurtling towards the town is one spectacular and tempting sight. Those who made watching their diets their new year’s resolution are sure to have a good time feasting on the gastronomic sight without adding on the calories and extra pounds!

Credit for this eye-popping display of movie magic goes to the young pair of filmmakers who expressed how much fun they had making this movie. “It’s like making a very expensive student film,” says Phil Lord, who with Christopher Miller, shepherded the making of this movie over a period of three years. Yes, it took three years to make this movie! “This journey actually started for us when we were seven years old after we read the book. It’s our earliest example of how to do whimsical sort of humor.”

And would it still surprise anyone to know that a Filipino helped design how the movie will look? I guess not.

John Butiu (pronounced Boo-too-wee) and his team from 3D Visual Development started work on the movie more than three years ago. Before the film gets made, the producers and director, working from the storyboard, commissions a two-minute clip of the movie which will be used to decide the look of the movie and sometimes even dictates whether a movie gets green-lit at all. That’s what our compatriot John does.

“We do a two-minute short version of the film so that the producers, directors, and bigwigs who are going to make the movie can see if it’s going to look like the movie they want to make. That way they can tell how the characters look like, the lighting, the environments,” John tells this writer one morning a couple of weeks ago during a tour of the Sony Animation Studios inside the Sony lot in Culver City. “I personally worked on the main characters like Flint, Sam, Brent, Tim, and the character called Mr. T, (who is really based on the famous TV character actor),” he adds. There was a character designer who worked on the initial design of the characters and John improved on the design, animated the characters, and rendered them in 3D. Sounds easy to do, eh?

Not so. The two-minute clip is called the pre-visualization process. “It is not as highly rendered as the final film but you can tell the lighting, the color, and the characters,” says John. Designing the characters, mixing the colors, and rendering the 3D animation took John and his team six months to complete.

Thanks to the humungous box-office hit Avatar, 3D animation is now considered a major industry in Hollywood and John is happy to be at the forefront of it.

John, who recently became a first-time father and whose family hails from Davao City in Southern Philippines, initially wanted to become a car designer and studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena before dropping out due to financial reasons. His career in Hollywood was somewhat fortuitous.

Together with some friends he got his start in Hollywood at the Rhythm and Hues Studios in Marina Del Rey where he did character modeling works on the movie Babe and a host of other TV commercials. He later moved to Disney and worked on Chicken Little, among others. From Disney he transferred to Sony where he worked on two high-profile franchises: the Harry Potter series and the Narnia Chronicles.

When 3D started making a comeback in the late ‘90s, John was prepared and knew how the technology works. “When I quit school, I taught myself the 3D side of animation because since I didn’t graduate and go to school, I didn’t have a 2D portfolio just yet, so I started working on character modeling and I just built from there.”

All he did professionally until he moved to 3D Visual Development was 2D stuff. For those unfamiliar with the term 2D here is the most elementary explanation: All movies are considered 2D, or two-dimensional, unless they are specifically labeled as 3D or three-dimensional.

Over time, the machine got faster, software became much easier to use and all one did was to simply just press a button or use this pen-like instrument that allows the animator to draw and sketch directly on the screen. John makes it clear, however, that “just anyone can push buttons or anyone can learn to light but if you have the skill to draw and design that makes you a designer.”

John’s work on this movie and the recent blockbuster 2012 gives him the chance to further improve his craft while enjoying how his art has completely evolved since he started in the business more than 10 years ago.

But even with the availability of the most advanced technology all art forms still rely on basic talent. In the case of animation, it’s the skill to draw and the eye for color coordination that sets the difference. And to anyone who wants to get into the business, John has the following advice: ”Take classes, go to school, do research on-line, and just start doing it.”

Will we ever see a Filipino character soon in an animated film? “Of course, yeah, I’d love to do it,” John excitedly declares. ”But it really depends on what the director wants. It will be cool to see little Johnny on screen!”

Perhaps soon, when John starts directing movies, we’ll see images of ourselves being silly, being brave, being funny, or just being cute on a big Hollywood film.

Until then we have John’s work to enjoy on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which features the voices of Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, and Mr. T, himself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

30 movies break $100 mil at US box office in 2009!!!

Whoa, what a record-breaking year 2009 has been!
Here are the thirty movies that breached the $100 million domestic box office mark last year.
Hollywood execs must must grinning from ear to ear... I wouldn't wonder why :)

(List as compiled by box office mojo)

1] Avatar     [$435,957,707]
2] Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen    [$402,111,870]
3] Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince    [$301,959,197]
4] Up      [$293,004,164]
5] The Twilight Saga: New Moon      [$290,872,087]
6] The Hangover      [$277,322,503]
7] Star Trek      [$257,730,019]
8] The Blind Side      [$219,479,602]
9] Monsters Vs. Aliens      [$198,351,526]
10] Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs      [$196,573,705]

11] X-Men Origins: Wolverine      [$179,883,157]
12] Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel      [$179,106,580]
13] Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian      [$177,243,721]
14] Sherlock Holmes      [$166,380,468]
15] 2012      [$164,105,051]
16] The Proposal      [$163,958,031]
17] Fast and Furious      [$155,064,265]
18] G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra      [$150,201,498]
19] Paul Blart: Mall Cop      [$146,336,178]
20] Taken      [$145,000,989]

21] A Christmas Carol      [$137,619,783]     
22] Angels & Demons      [$133,375,846]
23] Terminator Salvation      [$125,322,469]
24] Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs      [$124,542,775]
25] Inglourious Basterds      [$120,540,719]
26] G-Force      [$119,436,770]
27] District 9      [$115,646,235]
28] Couples Retreat      [$108,743,480]
29] Paranormal Activity      [$107,903,961]
30] Watchmen      [$107,509,799]

Conan O' Brien's open letter

allow me to veer away from oscar talk for a minute here and let me share with you all the open letter released by the beleaguered tonight show host conan o'brien.

here is the letter as posted on the TMZ website:

***

People of Earth:


In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.

Yours,
Conan

[500] days of summer earns WGA nomination!

my favorite movie of the year is in the running for best original screenplay! yay!

`Avatar,' `Trek,' `Hangover' earn WGA award noms

LOS ANGELES – The sci-fi tales "Avatar" and "Star Trek," the comedy "The Hangover" and the recession-era story "Up in the Air" were among nominees announced Monday for best screenplay from the Writers Guild of America.

Writer-director James Cameron's "Avatar" and "The Hangover," written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, were nominated for original screenplay.

They are up against Mark Boal for the Iraq War saga "The Hurt Locker," Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for the romance "(500) Days of Summer," and Joel and Ethan Coen for their 1960s comic drama "A Serious Man."

"Star Trek" collaborators Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman are competing for adapted screenplay against "Up in the Air" writer-director Jason Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner.

Also nominated are Scott Cooper for the country music tale "Crazy Heart," Nora Ephron for her Julia Child story "Julie & Julia," and Geoffrey Fletcher for the Harlem drama "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire."

The guild honors potentially give a boost for the films' prospects at the Academy Awards, where screenplay nominations are chosen by the writers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Oscar nominations come out Feb. 2.

Among documentary nominees were Michael Moore for his recession study "Capitalism: A Love Story," and Chris Rock and co-writers Jeff Stilson, Lance Crouther and Chuck Sklar for "Good Hair," a look at black-hair culture.

Other documentary nominees were Richard Trank for "Against the Tide"; Mark Monroe for "The Cove"; Robert Stone for "Earth Days"; and Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman for "Soundtrack for a Revolution."

The guild presents its awards Feb. 20 in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York City.

oscar shortlist for best makeup bared!

"District 9," "Star Trek" in hunt for makeup Oscar
By Gregg Kilday Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Queen Victoria, Vulcans and the aliens of "District 9" all remain in contention for the Oscar for best makeup.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday released a shortlist of seven films that remain in competition in the makeup category for the Academy Awards on March 7.

They are "District 9," "Il Divo," "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," "The Road," "Star Trek" and "The Young Victoria."

The number will be whittled down to three after the members of the Academy's makeup branch hold a vote on January 23, and those films will be announced -- along with the nominees in all the other categories -- on February 2.

ACE noms announced!

`Avatar,' `Star Trek' vie for editing honors

AP 7 mins ago

LOS ANGELES – The science-fiction tales "Avatar," "Star Trek" and "District 9" have grabbed three of the five nominations for top dramatic honors from the American Cinema Editors.

Also nominated for best editing in a dramatic film are the war story "The Hurt Locker" and the recession-era tale "Up in the Air."

Nominated Monday for editing on a comedy or musical were the romances "(500) Days of Summer" and "It's Complicated," the Vegas romp "The Hangover," the Julia Child story "Julie & Julia" and the 1960s domestic tale "A Serious Man."

Animated film nominees are "Up," "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "Coraline."

Winners will be announced at a Hollywood ceremony Feb. 14.

george and meryl win NY film critics circle awards

From Renata Espinoza on the web:

Clooney, Streep Win Top Honors at New York Film Critics Circle Awards

New York – It was a busy year for George Clooney, but one that is starting to pay off in the form of official accolades, as awards season for the films of 2009 gets underway.

Clooney took home best actor honors for "Up in the Air" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" on Monday, Jan. 11, at the 2009 New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

Sporting a bushy salt-and-pepper beard, Clooney arrived with Italian TV host girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis.

"Up in the Air" stars Clooney as a man whose job it is to constantly fly around the country and fire people as he racks up the frequent flier miles, aiming to eventually collect one million.

Wes Anderson, Clooney's director in "Fantastic Mr. Fox," took home the award for best animated film.

Meryl Streep also had a busy year - she lent her voice to "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and starred in "It's Complicated" and "Julie & Julia" - won best actress for her role as legendary chef Julia Childs in "Julie & Julia." The film tells the parallel stories of Julia Childs' rise to fame in the sixties and Julie Powell, a contemporary blogger who achieves notoriety by cooking every recipe in Julia Childs' cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

Kathryn Bigelow, who directed Iraq war film "The Hurt Locker," which won best picture, also won the award for best director.

Best supporting actor honors went to Christoph Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds," and Mo'Nique won best supporting actress for her role as an abusive mother in "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire."

The Film Critics Circle Awards, founded in 1935, have often signaled actors and films that will later go on to win Academy Awards. The group of film critics, which used to only include writers from New York's daily newspapers, now includes critics from national magazines, as well as a handful of West Coast journalists.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

producers guild bares nominees list!

from the web:

"Avatar," "Up" among Producers Guild nominees
By Gregg Kilday
Tue Jan 5, 11:08 am ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Box office hits "Avatar," "Star Trek," "Up" and "District 9" scored nominations on Tuesday for the Producers Guild of America Awards, a race that often foretells the winner of the best picture Oscar.

The guild took its cue from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by revealing 10 films, instead of the traditional five, when it announced its nominees. For the first time in decades, the Academy is naming 10 best-picture nominees this year in a bid to boost ratings for the telecast.

The other contenders for the PGA award are: "An Education," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Invictus," "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire" and "Up in the Air." Pixar's "Up" became the first animated film to score a nomination.

Notable movies that failed to make the cut included female-oriented entertainments like "Julie & Julia" and "It's Complicated," the musical "Nine" and specialty fare like "A Serious Man," "A Single Man" and "Crazy Heart."

The awards will be presented January 24 at the Hollywood Palladium. In past year, the PGA nominations have served as harbingers of the eventual Oscar nominations for best picture, but it remains to be seen whether that will hold true in the new age of ten nominees. Oscar nominations will be announced on February 2, with the awards ceremony set for March 7.

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