Waking Sleeping Beauty concludes with the acknowledgement that any domestic troubles within Disney Animation Studios would not be remembered as vibrantly as their cinematic output. For the most part this is fortunate (the documentary exposes many disgruntled egos without offering much personality to the individuals or the disputes) but there is one person who I wish would be celebrated as much as his creations, Howard Ashman.
Within a section of the documentary, and also the 'Making Of' that accompanies the DVD of Beauty and the Beast, his Disney colleagues fall over themselves to sing the praise of Ashman. Outside of this niche realm, however, there is very little dedicated to the man who "gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul". His vision, passion and belief is not only visible but infectious. At one point in Waking Sleeping Beauty, someone aptly compares Ashman to Walt Disney...and it is not difficult to understand why.
The fact that he was dying from AIDS while he was giving his all to the creation of Beauty and the Beast is a bittersweet pill. It was not dedication but passion that drove this enthusiasm, one that undoubtedly enhanced one of the more ambitious Disney animations. It is irresistible to imagine Beauty and the Beast through the perspective of Ashman, and impossible to imagine the film without it.
As such I feel that his story deserves to be told.
"...When we get married we marry, like, one girl, 'cause we're resistant the whole way until we meet one girl and we think I'd be an idiot if I didn't marry this girl she's so great. But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option...'Oh he's got a good job.' I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who's got a good job and is gonna stick around."
As a huge supporter of this new period of Walt Disney Animation Studios and an equally big admirer of the film itself, I can't help but feel that Tangled deserved a nomination for Best Animated Feature. When will a traditional Disney musical win this prize?
'Bound To You' and 'You Haven't Seen the Last of Me Yet' from Burlesque were snubbed for Best Original Song...so much for my dreams of Cher and Christina Aguilera performing on the Oscar stage.
I was hoping that Another Year would feature surprisingly well. It didn't. One nomination for the film that deserved much more.
Deserving candidates in small films (John Hawkes, Jacki Weaver, Michelle Williams) and understated performances (Mark Ruffalo) made it into their respective categories. This is a good day for independent film.
True Grit was embraced with open arms. 10 nominations is an impressive tally for a film whose Oscar potential was never considered strong.
I Am Love is nominated for Best Costume Design. I am rooting for it to win.
I'm not a huge fan of Christopher Nolan's direction on Inception and, as such, am happy to see his exclusion from a list full of great work. But I can not understand his nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Do they genuinely think his talent lies as a writer? If so, they are mistaken. Such is the way of the Academy.
The Academy passed on the younger folk (Andrew Garfield, Mila Kunis)...which is surprising as they had featured heavily throughout the award season. Or are they simply bored of Black Swan and The Social Network? Still it is a shame that both performances were snubbed.
The King's Speech seems to building the momentum towards winning Best Picture. I think it will do it. Maybe.
I love a surprise but in a year where so many terrific filmmakers and films are set to be awarded I care less about my own enjoyment and more about the films that will be boosted by Oscar attention. A rarity.
The Kids Are Alright
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
Upset:127 Hours, Another Year
Wish: Another Year, Black Swan, Easy A, The King's Speech, I Love You Phillip Morris, Rabbit Hole, The Social Network, Tangled, Toy Story 3, True Grit
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan for Inception
Upset: Danny Boyle for 127 Hours, David O. Russell for The Fighter
Wish: Aronosfky, Coens, Fincher, Hooper, Mike Leigh for Another Year
Jeff Bridges for True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
Colin Firth for The King's Speech
James Franco for 127 Hours
Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter
Upset: Javier Bardem for Biutiful, Robert Duvall for Get Low, Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine
Wish: Bridges, Jim Carrey for I Love You Phillip Morris, Eisenberg, Firth, Franco
Annette Bening for The Kids Are Alright
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
Upset: Lesley Mansville for Another Year,Julianne Moore for The Kids Are Alright, Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Wish: Kidman, Mansville, Portman, Steinfeld, Emma Stone for Easy A
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale for The Fighter
Andrew Garfield for The Social Network
Jeremy Renner for The Town
Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are Alright
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech
Upset: John Hawkes for Winter's Bone
Wish: Bale, Garfield, Ruffalo, Rush, Justin Timberlake for The Social Network
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams for The Fighter
Helena Bonham-Carter for The King's Speech
Mila Kunis for Black Swan
Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom
Upset: Barbara Hershey for Black Swan, Lesley Mansville for Another Year (if supporting), Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit (if supporting)
Wish: Adams, Bonham-Carter, Kunis, Rosamund Pike for Made in Dagenham, Weaver
Best Original Screenplay
The Kids Are Alright
The King's Speech
Upset: Another Year,
Wish: Animal Kingdom, Another Year, Black Swan, Easy A, The King's Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
Upset: The Ghost Writer, Rabbit Hole
Wish: I Love You Phillip Morris, Rabbit Hole, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit
Yesterday evening I was in the presence of my favourite young British starlet, Keira Knightley. Alongside Elisabeth Moss and Ellen Burstyn, The Children's Hour was one of the most impressive pieces of theatre I have yet seen on the West End stage. Knightley's accent may have faltered but she was otherwise terrific: she is most definitely an underrated actor. And my appreciation of her has only quadrupled.
Although I have been an admirer of the Coen brothers, I have always approached their films with caution. There are many I love (A Serious Man, Burn After Reading, Fargo) but there are many I dislike (No Country for Old Men, The Ladykillers, The Big Lebowski). And, as you can probably tell from these lists, my reactions do not always correlate to those of critics and audiences. Hence why my excitement for True Grit was not ignited by the surprising interest of American audiences or any one of the terrific reviews the film is receiving - but by the emergence of Hailee Steinfeld as an Oscar contender for Best Actress/Supporting Actress.
I feel ashamed! The Coen brothers deserve much more than that meagre motivation, and I will be rushing to their next adventure with eagerness. Their films are as potent as any other American filmmakers (and yes that is including my beloved Darren Aronofsky). And True Grit may be their greatness film yet. It is flawless. From the cast to the cinematography to the music to the costumes. Perfection.
I adore tough women holding their own in a world dominated by men. Anne Hathaway has all the elements to make a fine Selina Kyle/Catwoman. And this is coming from someone who worships the previous incarnation perfected by Michelle Pfeiffer.
"I don't think you're an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother's pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever's in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences. I realise when I met you at the turkey curry buffet I was unforgivably rude and wearing a reindeer jumper my mother had given me the day before. But the thing is, um, what I'm trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much."
Melissa Leo winning Best Supporting Actress left me heartbroken. And her acceptance speech was as painful as the 'jokes' of Ricky Gervais. Amy Adams should have won. That is all.
The red carpet seemed more lively than usual. Julianne Moore went PINK. Anne Hathaway went Joan Crawford. Sandra Bullock bravely exposed her new hairdon't. Natalie Portman destroyed a perfectly nice gown with a rose. And Catherine Zeta Jones got my vote for best in show.
Was it just me or was there a lot of love in the room for Tangled whenever it was mentioned (which was twice)?
Ricky Gervais should be shot. Then tortured. And then shot some more. Then he should be replaced the flawlessly funny Tina Fey. She has been the highlight of every award show she appears in.
The Academy Awards 2011 will be incredibly unexciting...unless there is some major surprise: The Social Network will win Best Picture; David Fincher, Director; Colin Firth, Actor; Natalie Portman, Actress; Christian Bale, Supporting Actor; Melissa Leo, Supporting Actress. 5 of these I will applaud happily but I still would like some excitement.
Aaron Sorkin's acceptance speech was rather odd. His congratulation of female performances was messy and will only make him more vulnerable to (justified) claims of sexism within his screenplay for The Social Network.
Andrew Garfield is gorgeous.
My favourite win of the evening was Chris Colfer for Supporting Actor TV for his role in Glee. Once upon a time I adored that show and he was a key reason for this. I would never expect such an undramatic role to win awards but it is completely deserved. His opening line - "I think I dropped my heart between Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore..." - was the single best moment of the evening.
I loved Helena Bonham Carter's expression towards the conclusion of Leo's acceptance speech. She did not look amused.
Cher should demand an apology from Gervais. Or order his execution.
I finally found the time to sit and watch the phenomenon of 2010, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. My one reaction? That I can't wait to see David Fincher make his version. This should be blasphemous as I am a film buff who usually feels ill when Hollywood decides to redo foreign language successes, but this particular retake will be for the great cinematic good.
I'll admit that I haven't read the book (and I have no interest in doing so) but as a film, there was much potential that I feel was not realised. Never did I feel to understand the psyche of any of its character. What is more, I don't think I ever wanted to. I adore the films of Fincher for one thing in particular: characterisation. I may not like all of the characters (or, in the case of The Social Network, any of them) but I always find myself empathising with them. This difficult trick will offer the new version the opportunity to reach the potential of the narrative and make one great piece of cinema.
Just look at what he did with Zodiac. He cannot fail.
I still find myself fighting against the notion that The Social Network is the lone front-runner for Oscar 2011. Unfortunately I am beginning to know I am being silly. The Social Network will likely win Director and Screenplay with relative ease, suggesting that it should also take the Film prize. I am sorry to say I think it will, and then its Oscar success will be assured. Where's the excitement?
Best Film - Comedy/Musical
Win: The Kids Are Alright
Upset: Alice in Wonderland
Win: David Fincher for The Social Network
Wish: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
Best Actor - Drama
Win: Colin Firth for The King's Speech Upset: None
Wish: Colin Firth
Best Actress - Drama
Win: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Wish: Natalie Portman
Best Actor - Comedy/Musical
Win: Paul Giamatti for Barney's Vision
Upset: Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland
Wish: Paul Giamatti
Best Actress - Comedy/Musical
Win: Annette Bening for The Kids Are Alright
Wish: Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs
Win: The Social Network Upset: The King's Speech
Wish: The King's Speech
Best Supporting Actor
Win: Christian Bale for The Fighter
Upset: Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech
Wish: Geoffrey Rush
Best Supporting Actress
Win: Amy Adams for The Fighter Upset: Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Wish: Amy Adams
Can Amy Adams finally gain some deserved momentum and win the Oscar? She would need to win the Golden Globe or the SAG Award. And I really think she can. She has proven her worth as an actress and a star. This should be her time. Unfortunately for Adams there are a handful of terrific performances also deserving recognition. Melissa Leo has held much of the media attention while Helena Bonham Carter has been around longer and has had huge box-office success these last 12 months. Then there is Mila Kunis and Jacki Weaver who people really do love in their respective films, Black Swan and Animal Kingdom. This race is currently wide open and the Golden Globes will have a big hand in shaping it.
Best Original Score
Win: Inception Upset: The Social Network Wish: The King's Speech
Best Original Song
Win: 'You Haven't Seen the Last of Me Yet' from Burlesque