Predict the Globes correctly and win a Kindle Fire
(UPDATE: It's been pointed out to me by the competition is open to US readers only. Sorry -- I don't make the rules.) It was clear from your response to our SAG and Globe-related open-floor posts recently that many of you can't resist a prediction opportunity, so here's your chance to put that urge to profitable use. HitFix is holding an Awards Pool for the upcoming Golden Globe Awards next month, inviting readers to submit their best guesses in the film and television races -- with a shiny new Kindle Fire waiting for the person with the most accurate forecast. You have little to lose but your own credibility -- plus, it's the Globes, where cred hardly comes into it. Your guesses are literally as good as mine in the TV categories, but the comedy-musical film races are a walk in the park, right? Enter here.
We handicap the field of 18 contenders
This year's race for Best Animated Feature Film is a bit of a full one. After only 15 titles qualified last year (yielding just three nominees), the total number of qualifying films in the hunt this time around is 19, meaning we'll have a set of five contenders when the nominees are announced in January.
And yet, I can barely think of five films worth being included. It's a rather weak year in general for animation (despite two animated contenders popping up in my top 10). I've been pushing through the ones I've missed along the way, as well as those that came from the fringe. So it seems to me a good enough time to really set the field.
An interesting note on this year's field of contenders is the presence of live action filmmakers and outsider animation teams in the mix. And two key entries in that light both come from Paramount: Gore Verbinski's "Rango" and Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin."
The film marks the cinematographer's twelfth collaboration with Spielberg
Steven Spielberg has Diane Keaton to thank for opening his eyes to the work of cinematographer Janusz Kaminski. The director happened to see Keaton's TV movie "Wildflower" in 1991 and liked the photography so much, he hired Kaminski to shoot a TV movie for his company, Gregory Hoblit's "Class of '61." From there the two collaborated on 1993's "Schindler's List" and the rest was history.
Kaminski has shot 11 of Spielberg's features since, working almost exclusively with the director. "War Horse" is the latest example of their combined visual eye, a sweeping epic with nods to classic cinema and a fierce reverence for the landscape it captures.
Indeed, the environment is a key element of a cinematographer's arsenal. "An essential part of the job is to tell the story through non-verbal means," Kaminski says. "Placing the actor within their environment is essential not just from the cinematographer's point of view but from the storytelling point of view. So whether a character lives in Manhattan or whether he lives in Montana, it shapes him.
'The Descendants' and 'The Help' follow with five as 'Ides of March' rallies
Oh, the Globes. Whether they get things right or wrong -- or both, as in this morning's list -- they never really disappoint. Those who enjoy brandishing pitchforks at the HFPA for their shameless star-whoring have plenty to work with here: Angelina Jolie nominated for Best Foreign Language Film! Madonna nominated for Best Original Song ahead of any of the Oscar-favored tunes from "The Muppets!" George Clooney breaking a Globes record with four individual nominations! And so on and so forth.
But for those who enjoy the Globes more for their taste in offbeat underdogs, there are bright spots too. I'm delighted to see Brendan Gleeson crack a comedy actor nod for his superb work in the tiny Irish black comedy "The Guard," and not just because I predicted it. And just when you thought "A Dangerous Method" had evaporated from the season, it shows up here with a deserved supporting nod for best-in-show star Viggo Mortensen. Meanwhile, I know the many fans of "50/50" among our readers will be pleased with mentions for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the film itself.
Also: Armond attacks the embargo and a wordsmith admires the silence of 'The Artist'
The SAG ensemble award is a strange beast, one that has made official nominees of such noted thespians as Gwen Stefani, Eli Roth and the RZA, sometimes at the expense of more accomplished colleagues. A quirk that causes trouble every year is their rigid but random method of determining which actors are key players in the ensemble, a screen credit issue that often leaves valued players out in the cold. This year, Corey Stoll, whose hilarious performance as Ernest Hemingway made him, for many critics, the MVP of “Midnight in Paris,” wasn’t included in the film’s ensemble nod, while Carla Bruni, perfectly fine in her bit part as a museum guide, was. Go figure. Nathaniel Rogers ponders this and other injustices, gets a diplomatic (but clearly vexed) response from Stoll, and offers a sensible solution. [Film Experience]
How Sergei Eisenstein's 'Ivan the Terrible' stuck with him
Earlier this morning I had a nice sit-down with "Hugo" star Ben Kingsley. Sir Ben Kingsley, I beg your pardon. It was a nice back and forth about working with Martin Scorsese, the dynamics of acting with a child actor, being sparked creatively by the set design of the film and more. I'll try to have that for you tomorrow or Friday, but for now, a nugget regarding Kingsley's cinematic awakening.
"Hugo," of course, is Scorsese's ode to the art form, ultimately a bit of a history lesson on its earliest beginnings and a study in passion through the prism of film preservation. Kingsley recalled seeing a great many films as a school boy and admits his knowledge of film history is all the more nourished for having collaborated with Scorsese on two occasions, now, last year's (criminally underrated) "Shutter Island" being the first.
I asked him if he could recall anything that really jumped out from those formative years where a passion for the cinema was concerned.
Acting winners include Michael Shannon and Brit Marling
After recently releasing a list of nominees, the San Diego Film Critics Society has announced "The Artist" as Best Picture of the year. Though the film won nothing else from the group. Nicolas Winding Refn took the Best Director honor for "Drive," which is becoming consistent. Check out the full list of winners below.
Offer up your burning queries
You know the drill. We're back to business as usual this week after last Friday's top 10 edition of Oscar Talk. We'll be addressing "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," as well as the week in awards announcements. Rifle off your need-to-knows aside from that and we'll address a few on the show.
He'll be awarded for his work in 'The Tree of Life' and 'Moneyball'
It looks like the Palm Springs International Film Festival has chosen its Oscar stallion for the year. Brad Pitt has been selected to receive the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award for his lead role in "Moneyball" and his supporting role in "The Tree of Life."
As has oft been discussed, Palm Springs's tendency toward predictive selections for its honorees has only increased over time. When the festival announced that Michelle Williams would be this year’s female awardee, we pointed out that the male recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award has gone on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for four straight years. Will this be the fifth?
I am an admirer of Pitt’s work. I respect that he took a career that could have been vanilla ice cream and shaped it into something unique. He makes interesting choices. He has grown over time and been willing to do so. That takes a particular kind of will and character. It amazes me how often people continue to dismiss him as an actor because he happens to be an extraordinarily good-looking movie star. I would prefer to see his work in “The Tree of Life” honored this year, but I would not be surprised to see him nominated in both fields.
We predict 'The Artist' to come out tops in tomorrow's Golden Globe nods
We offered you a space to share your Screen Actors' Guild and Golden Globe predictions yesterday -- but since the majority of you had only SAG on the brain then, here's another chance for you to spitball the Globes list. They're always a fun lot predict, mostly because of the comedy/musical categories: even with a stronger field of industry favorites in the running this year, there's still plenty of room for them to throw in a star-baiting head-scratcher. Julia Roberts in "Larry Crowne?" Johnny Depp in "The Rum Diary?" Take your pick.
I've set the ball rolling with my own predictions across all their film categories. One doesn't need a crystal ball to tell that "The Artist" is set to have another strong morning: I'm expecting it to top the list with six nods, while the Best Drama category looks rather modest by comparison. Will "War Horse," "Hugo" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" bounce back after being totally blanked in today's SAG list? And why do I have a funny feeling that "Drive" could spring a surprise here? Take a look at my best guesses after the jump, and share yours in the comments.