Inside Movies and Pop Culture with Gregory Ellwood
Brit says Del Toro is 'terrifying' as a werewolf
Golden Globe nominee Emily Blunt talks about The Wolfman and Young Victoria.
To say Emily Blunt is a favorite of the Hollywood Foreign Press is a bit of an understatement. The 26-year-old Brit was a surprise Best Supporting Actress nominee for her breakout role in "The Devil Wears Prada" (Oscar didn't agree) and won a statue the same year for her supporting Television performance in "Gideon's Daughter." Therefore, there was little surprise among the industry when Blunt was nominated this year for playing Britain's longest reigning monarch in "Queen Victoria."
The period drama received stronger reviews stateside than it did overseas and has done well since opening in limited release a few weeks ago. Blunt sat down and talked to Awards Campaign about the responsibility of playing Queen Victoria and whether she'd return to depict another era of Victoria's dramatic 63 year reign. More intriguing, and you can see her slight smile when discussing it, Blunt gives some tidbits on the growing buzz over her long in production remake of "The Wolfman" alongside Benecio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.
You can check out the interview embedded in this story our watch a larger version here.
"The Young Victoria" is now playing in select cities and is expected to expand nationwide later this month.
As the season heats up, look for breaking awards season news and commentary daily on Awards Campaign. For the latest, follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.
Sam Worthington will present along with Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg
Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington reunited at the ceremony to present James Cameron with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but will both actors appear on the Golden Globes? It's unclear at this point, but Worthington will definitely make his presence known.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
One of the most competitive categories at this year's Golden Globes will be Best Picture - Drama. In theory, four of the five nominees which include "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," and "Up in the Air" could all win the coveted prize and increase their chances on the road to Oscar. To say the approximately 80 members of the HFPA are influenced by public and industry opinion before tabulating their final ballots is a bit of an understatement. So, even if the membership loves "Basterds" the most, if they feel they need to award it to "Avatar" or "Air" to appear "correct" they will. At this point it's too early to speculate on who will win the Globe statue, but the HFPA and NBC are making sure the "Avatar's" leading man will be around if it comes out on top.
Maestro James Cameron is already nominated in the directing category (Kathryn Bigelow of "The Hurt Locker" is still a slight favorite) and Sigourney Weaver will be in attendance as a nominee in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television category for "Prayers for Bobby" (she'll likely lose to either Drew Barrymore or Jessica Lange from "Grey Gardens"). Now, the film's star, Sam Worthington, will join the festivities as a presenter during the show's telecast. It doesn't hurt that Worthington also has another upcoming film, "Clash of the Titans," to promote.
'District 9,' 'The Blind Side' and 'This Is It' could sneak in
Penelope Cruz is the only actress who has remain unscathed from critics for her work in "Nine." Reviews have not been as kind to co-stars Nicole Kidman or Fergie.
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
The box office gods were not kind to Rob Marshall's "Nine" over the weekend.
After expanding from four to 1,412 theaters, the movie musical grossed only $5.4 million with an incredibly disappointing $3,862 average. If The Weinstein Company and Relativity Media production had been a low budget indie along the lines of "The Hurt Locker," "A Single Man" or "Crazy Heart" this wouldn't be that big a concern. However, "Nine" cost $65 million after tax credits (or so both companies say, other reports have it anywhere from $80-85 million) and a road to profitability for the high profile movie seems incredibly difficult at this point. And if Oscar avoids anything, it's high-profile, Oscar bait bombs. This is not about celebrating red ink people.
Like most movie musicals, "Nine's" biggest day was Friday ($2 million) and it dropped every day following (that's not a good sign). The Weinstein Company is well aware that "Nine" didn't expand as hoped and told the LA Times the film will be pulled from smaller cities in the midwest where it performed poorly. Instead, they will take their chances on the big cities and hope further awards recognition will help fuel the box office. That's akin to making a big hell mary pass in the fourth quarter with your receiver on the other side of the field. "Nine" was savaged by critics including two damning reviews from the papers of record, the New York and Los Angeles Times, and overall national response hasn't been any kinder. If Oscar was still operating under its old five-picture system "Nine" would have already gotten the Heidi Klum "You're out" speech. Instead, it stands perilously on the edge of not making the inaugural ten nominees. That's a big fall from being the frontrunner way back in September and August. Well, except for those of us who'd heard the horror stories of bad test screenings and continuous re-edits.
In any event, with Academy members ranking their top ten nominees the question becomes what film could get enough support to knock it out? It's not enough for "Nine" to be kicked out, support has to go somewhere else. To figure out how that scenario could play out, let's take a quick look at the overall field.
Plus: Halle Berry and Colin Farrell to hand out Globes
Halle Berry at last year's Vanity Fair party following the 81st Academy Awards. Berry will be a presenter at this year's Golden Globe celebration.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Hollywood and Los Angeles are more deserted than a ghost town in the Old West, but awards season keeps chugging along. Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 5,777 nomination ballots have been mailed out to eligible members for this year's 82nd Academy Awards.
Members must return their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2010 or risk not having their votes counted. Prior to mailing, the accounting staff administers a thorough verification process to ensure that there are no duplicate ballots and that none are missing. In addition to being counted and sorted, the ballots are numbered to guarantee that each one is addressed to the appropriate Academy voter. Yes, there will be no ballot box stuffing for Oscar.
Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater because the Academy still thinks you need to have these on morning TV to find out about them. Sigh.
In other awards season news...
Plus: 9 questions and answers about the season so far
Sam Worthington in his Avatar body in a scene from James Cameron's acclaimed epic.
Credit: 20th Century Fox
A funny thing happened on the way to the Academy Awards nominations and it's just happens to be a little movie called "Avatar." Jim Cameron's lauded Sci-Fi epic was supposed to be a mess, but the final result had many critics and pundits (including this one) eating crow. Now, the 3-D phenomenon is poised to take the Christmas box office crown after becoming the "must see" movie for the holiday season. Who knew the Oscar for Best Picture was also in its future?
It was apparent to many Oscar prognosticators after finally seeing "Avatar" that it could win it all, but the reports of a packed house of Academy members going gaga for the picture this past weekend all but sealed the deal. When 1,100 of around 6,000 members go bonkers for a flick that means something. And, amazingly, 20th Century Fox hasn't even really started a campaign yet (although note to Foxie: don't discount the importance of getting Saldana, Cameron and Weaver out on the awards circuit).
Now, based on the latest results, not everyone at the esteemed Movie City News' Gurus of Gold agrees with this voting member. But the other pundits who do, Pete Hammond, David Poland, Kris Tapley, Sasha Stone and Anne Thompson? Let's just say we have a track record...and if EW's Dave Karger wants to stick with "Air"? Well, that's the disadvantage of living in New York and covering Oscar. Sorry, truth hurts people. Plus, he can always change his vote next week. With that in mind, Award's Campaign's latest contender countdown:
Strange career so far for the former 'Lady in the Water'
Bryce Dallas Howard talks about "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" and "The Twilight Saga Eclipse."
It's no exaggeration to say that Bryce Dallas Howard has had quite a strange road to "stardom." Especially considering she's the daughter of Oscar-winning director Ron Howard.
Her big break came in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" and she followed that up by starring in Lars Von Trier's "Manderlay." She then reunited with Shyamalan for "Lady in the Water" which was "supposed" to take her to the A-list. Unfortunately, it was the biggest critical and commercial bomb of the filmmaker's career. She recovered bit with raves for her work in Kenneth Branagh's HBO adaptation of William Shakespeare's "As You Like it," but then found herself barely in the picture (literally) as Gwen Stacy in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" (another disappointing sequel). Wait, did we say disappointing sequels? Why yes, that leads us to Howard's role as Kate Connor in this past summer's "Terminator Salvation." The Sci-Fi flick made some cash, but Howard was barely in it and there is no guarantee the planned follow up will ever occur. Now, somewhere during the lucrative "Spider-Man" and "Terminator" productions she found the time not only to have a baby, but to topline "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" which is finally hitting theaters this month.
Plus: NBC's smart Ricky Gervais campaign, 'Hurt Locker' racks them up and more
Jennifer Aniston will join Julia Roberts to present at the 67th Annual Golden Globes next month.
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
With the 67th Annual Golden Globes less than four weeks away, the HFPA have announced the initial presenters for this years show and, as expected, star power is a prominent consideration. Globe nominee this year for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical Julia Roberts (eh, don't get us started) will join last year's Best Actor in a Drama winner Mickey Rourke and perennial HFPA favorite Jennifer Aniston in helping to drive even higher ratings for the show. And if you haven't noticed that seems to be a priority for both the HFPA and NBC.
The organization made two very smart moves this year. First, they decided to bring on Ricky Gervais to host -- and he should be a perfect fit for the already irreverent and intoxicated mood in the Beverly Hilton ballroom -- and second, they made the show live on the West Coast. Don't discount a ratings uptick because of this. The ability to have the show air three hours earlier should been a two-fold increase in parties and events for a show that is already a must-watch for both the movie and TV industries. And in Los Angeles, that's pretty much 90% of the population (OK, maybe from Silverlake to Brentwood it is). Realizing they have a huge opportunity here, NBC has whipped out some very smart promos featuring Gervais to hype up the show such as the one below.
From 'Let the Right One In' to 'The Dark Knight' and everything in-between
An iconic image from Christopher Nolan's masterpiece "The Dark Knight."
Credit: Warner Bros.
It's a daunting task to come up with a list of best films for a year let alone a decade. And strangely, unlike the 90's, the past 10 years has just whizzed by with so many movies that were good, but not great that many years seem like a blur. You try to think of movies that stand out only to discover they came out in 1999 or within the past two years. That can't be an accurate look at the decade, can it?
The first part of the 21st Century in film is marked by two events: 9/11 and the Writer's Strike of 2008. Obviously, one has truer historical importance, but both deeply affected the movie industry both creatively and economically. I'll leave it to cinema historians to reflect on the deluge of war documentaries and features in the middle of the decade that were a direct reflection of the tragic events in New York, but there is some irony that the best of those films, "The Hurt Locker," was one of the last and as good as it is, didn't make this list.
From 'Precious' to 'Avatar' to 'A Single Man,' the best of the year
Gabby Sidibe in "Precious: Based on Push a Novel by Sapphire," Awards Campaign's choice as the best film of 2009.
This wasn't a particular amazing year for movies, but it wasn't necessarily a bad one either. In fact, it's hard to remember a year so middle of the road in film quality as 2009. It's one reason why pundits such as this one are having such a tough time nailing down the last three to four slots in the Oscar race.
Now, some will blame the Writer's strike almost two years ago for this absence of "spectacular" work but that's a sorry excuse and hardly explains the weak slate of independent film. Plus, how can you knock 12 months that features a renaissance in hand drawn and stop motion animation? Or that could provide such monster hits like "Star Trek," "The Hangover" and "The Proposal" which were actually good movies. And the Sundance, Toronto and Cannes Film Festivals all had pretty positive notices. Sometimes, it's just cyclical. You can't have the bum rush of critical breakthroughs such as in 2007 every year.
Now, HitFix's Film Editor Drew McWeeny has already weighed in on his best of 2009, but Awards Campaign sees thins a big differently. Take a gander yourself and see how you weigh in on the last year of the 00's.
Reflecting on the career of an actress who should have gone A-list
Brittany Murphy at a New York Fashion Week event in 2008.
Credit: AP Photo/Pete Kramer
A little over three yeas ago, while I was still writing my column for MSN Movies, I spent a few hours on a Friday afternoon waiting for Brittany Murphy to arrive to discuss her new movie "The Dead Girl." As time passed, more and more journalists would give up and head home figuring it wasn't worth it after a busy week. I was a tad stubborn as Murphy hadn't done any press the previous month for the monster hit "Happy Feet" and, moreover, I had an agenda. Unlike the other writers who were no doubt hoping for some random snippet about a possible "Sin City" sequel (like that's ever going to happen), I wanted to ask Murphy about her burgeoning music career. Or, so I thought.