Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oscars. Fashion.

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The question is - which dress/suit is your fave?

Penélope looked the best in Versace, imo.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscars!

Triple delight – Hudson winning over Breslin, Scorsese finally wining, Pan’s for cinematography.

Triple annoyance – Babel for ORIGINAL score, LMS for Supporting Actor & Screenplay

More later. :)

I’m happy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chelsea win the Carling Cup!

Yay!

I hope the Oscars this evening will prove this pleasing.
My only hopes - Little Miss Sunshine & United 93 leave empty handed, Pan's wins at least 3.




A few images of today's game for your pleasure:
Yay!



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They weren't in chronological order, 'cos I couldn't be bothered.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Oscar Predictions as they Are Now.

Please note that this is who I think will win, and most certainly not who deserves to win. (in most cases. Agreed on best film.)

Film: The Departed.
Director: Marty.
Actor: Forest.
Actress: Helen.
Supporting Actor: Eddie.
Supporting Actress: Jennifer.
Original Screenplay: Little Miss Sunshine.
Adapted Screenplay: The Departed.
Cinematography: Children of Men.
Score: Notes on a Scandal.
Art Direction: Pan’s Labyrinth.
Foreign Film: Pan’s Labyrinth.
Sound: Dreamgirls.
Costume: Dreamgirls.
Editing: The Departed.
Sound Editing: Letters.
VFX: Pirates.
Make Up: Pan’s.
Song: Listen.
Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Look Ahead to Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

These are the others in the series that I’ve done:
- Supporting Performances- Screenplay - Original Score- Animated- Make-Up - Visual Effects- Costume Design- Cinematography- Editing- Art Direction (hehe)

Actress was a decently chosen category. I agree with 2 of the choices, and 2 of the other performances make my overall top 10. Not bad at all.

Penelope Cruz (Volver)
Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal)
Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
Kate Winslet (Little Children)


How I did: 100%. As with Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. These were the only two categories I predicted perfectly.

01. Penelope Cruz, Volver
Almodovar wrote the character of Raimunda specifically for Cruz, and, having seen her give this searing, majestic performance, I can safely say that no-one could have done it better. Raimunda is character of countless layers – struggling economically, she works many jobs to make up for her sack of crap husband. She also has a teenage daughter from whom she harbours a terrible secret. The plot turns in this film are freakishly Almodovarish and very disturbing indeed, but throughout, Cruz is the shining star of it, ensuring that whatever happens, Volver is a delightful watch and a film of huge heart. As Raimunda goes from hiding her husband’s corpse in a freezer to belting out the titular torch song “Volver”, she displays an enchanting range of emotions and acting traits, without ever giving in to histrionics or over acting. Raimunda is may be Almodvar’s creation, but Cruz makes her what she truly is – she never crumbles in the face of adversity, but fighting through life with courage and power, yet, at the same time, we can see she is a very vulnerable person, and fragile emotionally. If we were in a perfect world, Penelope would win this award, for embodying one of the most creative, difficult roles of the new millennium and rising to the challenge wonderfully. Volver may have been snubbed terribly (it deserved nominations for score, foreign film, script and many more if you ask me), but let’s just be grateful that the true star of it has not gone unrewarded. A.

02. Helen Mirren, The Queen
Now that I’ve waxed lyrical about Penelope, it may seem that I’m out of good things to say about my fellow countrywoman Helen Mirren. Far from it. She was tremendous as Elizabeth II, in another difficult role. For the many accolades that the Dame has picked up for her work, it would be all too easy to throw around phrases like “overrated” and “mediocre”, but I refuse to fall into the trap. It *was* good acting from her in this film, as she plays a woman that finds a nation she has invested so much time and commitment to turning against her. Mirren captures both the regal grace of the Queen as well as her emotional helplessness. Her scenes opposite Michael Sheen are an absolute treat. A-.

03. Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. However I’d pictured Barbara from reading the novel, I must say, Dench’s version is a lot scarier. At the same time, she lives up to my expecations of Barbara in practically every way. Each crevice of her face exudes a shrewd disparagement, and watching her in her pursuit of Sheba’s story sends a shiver down your spine. The British film magazine Empire – whom I rarely see myself agreeing with – called her work “Hannibal Lecter in Drip-Dry knitwear”, and I agree with this canny choice of phrasing. Nonetheless, it’s still a performance that is easier to admire than to like. B+.

04. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wear Prada
Contender for my second favourite actress of all time, Streep certainly had a good year in 2006. She was absolutely splendid in The Prairie Home Companion, in a winning role, but also did good work with a much nastier character in this film. Her Miranda Priestley is unfathomably devilish – she hands Andy near-impossible assignments, reduces her inferiors to tears with a simple “that’s all” and in the end, betraying one of her closest friends, but Streep, and only Streep could, make her magnetic and humane. We, like Andy, feel sucked into her superficial, greedy world. B+.

05. Kate Winslet, Little Children
A decent enough performance, but got where it was more due to the Winslet fanboys and not really the quality of the acting. C+ .

Who should win: Penelope Cruz
Who will win: Helen Mirren
Who deserved to get nominated: Ivana Baquero, Pan’s Labyrinth

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Look Ahead to Best Supporting Actress & Actor.

Supporting Actor bores me, so I may just have pictures instead of writing. :D

Adriana Barraza (Babel)
Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal)
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Rinko Kikuchi (Babel)
How I did: 80%. I got all right, except I predicted Emily Blunt to get nominated instead of Abigail Breslin.

Unlike last year, where I had Amy Adams, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz in my personal ballot, only one of my choices match this – Hudson. Also, my analysis is not that good today seeing as I'm writing this with on eye on the FA Quarter Final Draw, so if it's quality analysis of actress around the edges you want, head over here.

01. Jennifer Hudson
It’s not become quite fashionable to diss this performance, but I really enjoyed Hudson’s work in this film. She plays the archetypal dreamgirl with brashness and sass, and showing that she’s much more than just a little voice. She is the shining star of the film, each of her musical numbers are a treat, but, more importantly, her performance is great too, giving Effie White the emotional layers and she steals every scene she’s in. What’s more, with the BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG and various other rewards under her belt, there’s no way that Abigail Breslin will win this over her, so I’m insanely pleased. A-.

02. Adriana Barraza
Long-time Innaritu Barraza plays au pair Amelia, a woman caught in a dilemma. Her performance is emotionally impactful without being overshowy. Throughout the movie, the increasing panic and terror felt by her at her error in judgement is evident. The highlight scene for Barraza is the look on her face when deserted in the desert. B+.

03. Rinko Kikuchi
On one of the forums I frequent, one of my pals there had put up Kikuchi’s picture as their avatar, and for some reason, I was really pleased with him. It’s odd, you know, because she Rinko doesn’t actually make my personal top 10. But it’s more one of those performances you want to tell people about, because it shows such commitment to the Art, and intrigue, rather than personally admire. She is, in many ways, the soul of Babel, a character whose personal aspirations becomes the focus of the film. Vociferously mesmerizing. B.

04. Cate Blanchett
Well, for anyone who’s read the book or seen the movie, this is obviously a leading role. Still, category fraud does occur freakishly often now, so I won’t hold that against Blanchett. She captures the flightiness of Sheba well, and even after her actions (having an affair with an underage – but very yummy [it’s OK for me to say this] boy), she remains eternally likeable to the audience. We sympathise with her. But still, I wasn’t convinced by her acting in the last act of the film. It felt overdone and hammy. Sorry, Cate. C+.

05. Abigail Breslin
I know there’s a lot of fans of this performance, but sadly I wasn’t one. I know it was supposed to be winning and sweet, but, to be honest, I just found it nauseating. She’s better than Fanning, though. E.

Who will win: Jennifer Hudson
Who should win: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Who deserved to get nominated: Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada)



And now, the fellas:

Alan Arkin (Little Miss ...)
Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children)
Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond)
Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)
Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)

How I did: 40%. I don’t wanna talk about this.

01. Marky Mark (B+)
02. Eddie Murphy (B+)
03. Djimon Honsou (B)
04. Jackie Earle Haley (C+)
05. Alan Arkin (C)


For you - cuz I'm lazy.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Look Ahead to… Best Original & Adapted Screenplay.


I’m cheekily doing the two categories together. This is totally wrong for of course - screenplay is one of, if not the most important aspect of a film, and I’ve been giving individual articles to all of the other “minor” technical categories. But, looking at m calendar, I’ve just realised how little time I have left before the Oscars next Sunday. It’s back to school tomorrow [I’ll blog about how much/little fun I had this “holiday” later if I have time], so I’m just gonna double up a few categories. I should have planned this in advance so that I left the amount of time each of these categories deserve. But I didn’t, so there.

That’s enough for rambling. Here are the nominees for original screenplay:

Babel
Letters From Iwo Jiwa
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen


How I did: 80% - I predicted Volver in the slot of Letters of Iwo Jiwa. And I personally feel that Volver was snubbed (haven’t actually seen Letters, but hey…)

Many think the winner for this category is, without a doubt, Little Miss Sunshine, but I’m more cautious. I think it could go for a three way thing between Babel, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen. Now. Evaluation. (Note, I haven’t seen Letters.)
01. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)
My favourite film from 2006 (in case you’d missed my incessant reminding for the last 100 times) has come under fire from quite a lot of critics for the fantasy/realism line, but, in my opinion, it only adds to the greatness of the movie. The juxtaposition between fairytale-like fantasy and brutal realism – it’s still painful to think about the torture scenes comes together wonderfully, and the creations of the faun and the rest of the world are detailed and well-crafted. There’s so much range covered here, from mystery, to heartbreak to adventure, and I loved every minute of the cinematic quest. And who can forget the protagonist? Ofelia is such a dazzling, dazzling girl of courage, heart, soul, pluck, candour, and any other positive words you want to throw about. The finale is one in which she is revealed to be a heroine worth rooting for, and there really aren’t enough of those left in cinema nowadays. Quite possibly, my favourite female film character of all time. A.

02. The Queen (Peter Morgan)
Peter Morgan’s follow up to the TV play The Deal, also directed by Frears recounts the week in September 1997, when, in the wake of Princess Diana’s death, the nation turns against the Royal family. I really liked this script, simply for the fact that it was realistic and made the characters likeable and human. Tony Blair was presented as the wide-eyed ingénue of the political world, striving to better the UK, and the eponymous Queen is a drawn as a character of true integrity, and one who truly believes she’s acting for the better. But that isn’t to say the film is a glorification of all that is British, for it remains refreshingly impartial, just presenting the story to us without any judgement. Morgan, who also wrote one of the best British films of 2006 (The Last King of Scotland), writes cannily, keeping the film serious and emotionally fulfilling as well as chucking in the odd bit of satire. Bravo! A-.

03. Babel (Guillermo Arriaga, Alejandro González Iñárritu)
My, my, what scope. This multi-linear storylined film tackles global issues varying from terrorism, prejudice, loneliness, and globalisation to love, and further makes things harder for themselves by setting the film all over the world, in locations from US, to Morroco, to Japan. And do they succeed? Well, that depends on how you look at it. For, whilst I never quite got the “message” of Babel (I think it’s essentially either that humans can do stupid things or that we should listen to others), there are some strands which are compelling and moving (Academy award nominees Rinko and Adrianna grabbed my attention more than Brad & Cate, oddly.) Some of the emotions felt by the characters seem genuine [Adriana’s anguish caused in her dilemma is excellently presented] whereas others just feel overwrought, but there are many moments that shock and impact the viewer. But throughout my viewing of the film, the word “coincidence” was running through my mind constantly. There’s slightly one too many in this grim depiction of a grim world. B.

04. Little Miss Sunshine (Michael Arndt)
Mhm. Nietzsche-loving teenager who “hates everyone.” Cocaine-snorting granddad with a love affair with porn. “Cute” kid who wins the heart of everyone who comes across her. Depressed, sarcastic intellectual. Who came up with this bunch of wonderfully original characters? Oh, and how can I forget the creativity of vision in putting these adorable characters on a road trip? Such originality! E. (I was trying to do the Carrell there, but I kinda failed.)
Who will win: Little Miss Sunshine
Who should win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Who deserved to be nominated: Volver (the second best script of the year. Completely snubbed.)

And now, Adapted Screenplay:
Borat
Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal


How I did: 40%. Uh. Firstly, I thought that Letters from Iwo Jiwa had Adapted Screenplay, so I had predicted it here. I also predicted The Devil Wears Prada, partly because I loved the film so much. And, of course, I’d predicted the Best Picture frontrunner of that time, Dreamgirls.

01. Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, et al.)
Borat was a film I enjoyed greatly, but it is not one that I particularly love. After all, it’s pretty hard to love a film that’s anti-Semitic, racist, sexist and makes a joke of paedophilia. But credit where credit is due, it was had a hilarious script. Hilarious might not necessarily equate to quality, but for this weak category, I’m going to give Borat the edge. Because it was funny. (Sorry, but it was.) B+.

--- because it was such a weak category and because I’ve got homework that needs doing, I’m not evaluating the others ---
02. The Departed B.
03. Notes on a Scandal B-.
04. Children of Men B-.
05. Little Children E.

Who will win: The Departed
Who should win: Borat
Who deserved to get nominated: The History Boys, The Last King of Scotland & The Devil Wears Prada

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Look Ahead to Best Original Score.

Look what I made!!!

This will be the last of the technical categories that I shall evaluate, unless I can be bothered to do a Sound & Sound Editing double bill sometime next week. But so far in the series, I’ve done:
- Animated
- Make-Up
- Visual Effects
- Costume Design
- Cinematography
- Editing
- Art Direction (hehe)

Now. Score. My favourite category of the Oscars! Yippeee!

Babel (Gustavo Santaolalla)
The Good German (Thomas Newman)
Notes on Scandal (Philip Glass )
Pan's Labyrinth (Javier Navarrete)
The Queen (Alexandre Desplat)

How I did: 50%. How can anyone get 50% out of 5, I hear you ask. Well, you see, I’d predicted Desplat already, just for his score to The Painted Veil. I’d predicted Hans Zimmer’s score to The Da Vinci Code over Thomas Newman’s score to The Good German, for the simple fact that Newman (my favourite film composer, ever, ever, ever) had gotten NO buzz. But I’m over the moon for him! And the other surprise – I’d predicted double nods for Glass – for The Illusionist and Notes on a Scandal, but the first of his scores didn’t get in, but Javier Navarrete did, for his beautiful score to Pan’s Labyrinth! Yippeee!

(music makes me giddy.)

OK, I’ve seen four of these films. The Good German is the one I haven’t seen, but luckily I found some tracks from the score littered about over the Internet. So all is good.

Oh, and in the spirit of all things musical, I’ve included excerpts from the scores to Babel, Good German, Notes on a Scandal and Pan’s, so you can listen along and judge for yourself. [Click on the film title for the downloads. :)]

Babel (Gustavo Santaolalla)
Last year’s winner for Brokeback Mountain puts forward another haunting score this year, though I personally feel that there was a little less effort put in this time round. The highlight - Deportation/Iguazu, uses part of Santaolalla’s previously developed, improvised score to give the film some character and identity, but sadly, that is the one track that isn’t original. The rest of the score fits in well with the film, but ultimately, a lot of it are just sound effects on the guitar. Very babbleish, but not great listening. C.

The Good German (Thomas Newman)
Well, from what I’ve heard, this is a far deviation from the usual Newman stuff. He lends a hand to brass and strings, giving the work an edge of fanfare. As I’m yet to see the film I can’t comment on how it fits in with the images, but the music is certainly great, haunting, and grand, and marginally better than his other score of ’06 for Little Children. B.

Notes on a Scandal (Philip Glass )
I’m at two minds about the score to this film. On one hand, I thought it captured the melodramatic, claustrophobic style of the film perfectly, through the minimalist uses of themes and encores. Also, a masterwork in how to fit strings and clarinets alongside each other – something many a composer can’t accomplish, is shown. Yet sometimes, the score feels a little overwrought, even for the intensity of the film. B+.

Pan's Labyrinth (Javier Navarrete)
A score that I can listen and listen to again and again and not tire of. The use of a single lullaby, on several different instruments works amazingly. The OST nearly reaches the maximum listening time for a CD – 80 minutes, and Navarrete's score risks becoming an repetitive listening experience, but every minute of the score charms, and there is something in it for everyone. Like The Wings from Brokeback Mountain, the lullaby can invoke tears in me. Music was meant to be that powerful. A.

The Queen (Alexandre Desplat)
Alexandre Desplat is one of my favourite composers, so obviously any way in which he shall receive an Oscar nomination shall please me. His score to The Queen I feel is one of his lesser works, not anywhere near as rich to his (ironically), sparse scores to Syriana or Girl with a Pearl Earring, though it is effective in capturing the grandness of the Royal family with all its usages of timpani and pizzicati, as well as some slower, more melancholic passages reflecting the emotional frailty of The Queen. B-.

Who will win: Notes on a Scandal (Philip Glass)/Babel (Gustavo Santaolalla) [haven’t decided yet.]
Who should win: Pan's Labyrinth (Javier Navarrete)
Who deserved to get nominated: The Fountain (Clint Mansell) & Volver (Alberto Iglesias)


P.S. It doesn't look like I'm going to have time to analyse Best Orignal song, so, for my sins: I Need to Wake Up, one of the nominated songs.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Look Ahead to best Cinematography.

On my post-nomination thoughts, the cinematography category was one of the ones that I was truly content with. Completely Best Picture nominee free, it shows that people are actually starting to judge cinematography for what it is, rather than for the film it appears in.

The nominees:

The Black Dahlia
Children of Men
The Illusionist
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Prestige


How I did: 40%. Ouch! I thought that both Clint’s movies would edge in here, as well as Apocalypto. Oh well.

Now, onto comments. I’ve seen all these films, but The Illusionist was seen on pirate DVD whereas the other four were seen on the big screen.

The Black Dahlia (Vilmos Zsigmond)
Good work here, with the cinematography far exceeding the overall film. De Palma’s Hitchcockesque influences show here through the ominous uses of colour and shadow. Some camerawork is quick, with cuts and camera whirls, too. So, all in all, quite pretty, stylish work. B+.

Children of Men (Emmanuel Lubezki)
The cinematography here caught my eye for its gloriously long takes and exhilarating camera motion, the focus always with our protagonist, ensuring we're kept in the middle of world’s disintegration. Hand held camerawork doesn’t usually do it for me (*cough*United 93 cough), but here it worked magnificently. The grittiness of future life is felt absolutely, and by not removing the gross parts – such as the blood spattering onto the camera screen, the audience truly feel taken into the atmosphere created. A-.

The Illusionist (Dick Pope)
As I said, this being the movie I saw on pirate DVD, I didn’t have quite the facilities to appreciate the full extent of its cinematography. The thing I noticed most here was the faded palette Dick Pope gives the movie a faded watercolour look, inspired by the Lumiere brothers' autochrome technique. Anyway, from what I saw, the camerawork was fluid, got you into the movie from the first scene, but nothing totally earth breaking. B.

Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo Navarro)
Woop! Woop! Woop! Yay! Yay! Yay!

PAN'S!!!

[In other words, my favourite cinematography of 2006. The transitions between fantasy and realism. The beautiful, rich, bold colours. The use of shadows. Everything.] A.

The Prestige (Wally Pfister)
In a film where the cinematography plays a secondary role to the plot, Pfister did a fine job here. Er… yeah. That’s all I feel like saying. B.

So.

Who will win: Children of Men
Who deserves to win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Who deserved to get nominated: Marie-Antoinette

I met Sophie Kinsella yesterday!!

… That’s the author of the hugely popular chicklit “Shopaholic” series, as well as two other stand alones, Can You Keep a Secret and The Undomestic Goddess. Her books have the same impact on me that films like Legally Blonde and Monster’s Inc (two random selections, I know) do –they make me laugh, make me cry, and I totally connect with the fantastic central protagonists. So when I heard that Kinsella was doing a reading & book signing, naturally, I just had to go.

After I’d sipped at my complimentary cup of squash (they wouldn’t give me wine) for about 15 minutes, the lights dimmed and Kinsella walked up to the centre stage. She was dressed smartly and stylishly without looking too flashy in black trousers, a black shirt and a reddish pink jacket and gold belt. Furthermore, she was pretty in an intellectual way. I liked her immediately.

When Sophie (real name Madeleine Wickham) spoke, she exuded an unaffected, confident attitude. She spoke about her latest book, Shopaholic and Baby, as well as how her real life (she was pregnant 18 months ago) influenced her writing of the book. She also spoke about the importance of her family and how supportive they had been throughout, which I thought was lovely, after all, if you don’t have your family, then what’s the point of all the success?

I was a bit of an idiot and forgot to bring pen & paper, because although I have a hazy recollection of a lot of the witty things she said, I can’t remember them word for word. Damn. But I do remember the answers to the two questions I asked – yep, ME – come Q&A time. Firstly, I’d asked who she’d want to play Becky in the upcoming film version of Shopaholic. Her answer was a refreshing one – she wanted an unknown who could encompass Becky’s Shopaholic, airhead side, as well as her sweet, caring nature. And the other question I asked was why teenagers/women all loved reading about Becky/Samantha (from The Undomestic Goddess)/Emma (from Can You Keep a Secret), and her reply was that they were essentially good people, and when you read a book, you’ve got to like the protagonist. Totally true.

Anyway, Sophie also said that her aim in writing was to “write what you want to read.” She told all the aspiring authors out there not to pander to any particular readers, but to write for yourself. It was an absolute delight to hear Sophie speak in her classy-yet-customary way, juggling anecdotes about her days as a financial journalist with words like “diss.” And she showed that authors are every bit as human as their creations, as she told us that her proudest moment was hearing a reference to her books on The Weakest Link. That, and when a random Italian man told her “I am Becky Bloomwood.” Hehe.

Overall, it was a wonderful night spent listening to one of my favourite authors, as she talked about her penchant for Vivien Westwood wedding dresses, said that the Shopaholic books should be compulsive reading for all males of the species, and revealed (to my disgust), that the film version of her book will be produced by… Jerry Bruckheimer. MEH!!! For a woman who said that she “wrote to make people smile”, she also got the same effect through speaking. Sophie rocks.


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Monday, February 12, 2007

My Thoughts on BAFTA yesterday.

Below-par is probably the phrase I’d use to describe yesterday’s ceremony. I’m a huge fan of the BAFTAs, I think their choices are nearly always more intelligent that those of Oscars’, their ceremony is more fun, laid-back and classier, and above it, it feels wonderfully British.

Yet, for some (various) reasons, a deep sense of malaise hung over my viewing yesterday. The first, most pertinent reason, is probably that there was no film that I cared for as much as I did about Brokeback Mountain last year. You know the sort of passion I’m talking about – like what Chris Cooper felt for orchids in Adaptation. To really, really, FEEL for something. I felt loads for Brokeback Mountain, and every time it won something during Awards season, I felt personally proud.

Well, sadly, there haven’t been any films from 2006 that have invoked such care in me. I really love Pan’s Labyrinth, though, it sits somewhere in my top 40, so that’s the film that I will be rooting for all the way through Oscar time. But you know, out of all the front-runners for Best Picture, there isn’t any film I really love all that much, and therefore I found it difficult to muster up all that much energy to care about who won what.

So, to save this from being totally boring from you, at random times, I’ve noted down profound/cute things that my 8-year-old brother said. We were watching this together, and, even though he’s seen hardly any of the films, I invited him to try and guess the winners too. That, at least, made the show a little more fun.

Things started out decently. This year, the BAFTAs were held in the London Opera House, a wonderfully grand place to be. Jonathon Ross stepped in for Stephen Fry, who retired. And, as much as I love the show Friday Night with Jonathon Ross, I must say, Wossy isn’t that well suited to the presenting Britain’s most prestigious film award. His jokes felt a little recycled and resorting to digs about Victoria Beckham showed the mark of a truly desperate comedian.

Anyway. The opening clip, BAFTA’s annual montage of clips from greats that have graced our screen over the last 12 years. Pretty. And then, the awards themselves began.

[Minor categories – shown at the end:
- Make Up: Pan’s (yay!)
- Production Design: Children of Men (good, but would have preferred Pan’s to get it.)
- Costume: Pan’s (lovely surprise! It wasn’t nominated for the Oscar so I thought it had no chance.)
- Sound: Casino Royale (well, it’s good that this movie won something, and I’m just thanking God that it wasn’t for Craig.)
- Editing: United 93 (I didn’t care for the editing in this film much, as you can probably tell.) ]

Best British Film – As I’d predicted, The Last King of Scotland won. Kate Winslet seemed really surprised to be announcing them, for some reason. Anyway, I was really pleased –it was my personal favourite from that category. However, I wasn’t so pleased to see the lovely James McAvoy sporting a not-so-lovely moustache. Not good.

Rising Star Award – Speak of the Devil, James McAvoy comes on to present this. He’s wearing a tux and a black shirt underneath and, at the risk of sounding like Borat, I have to say “I like.” Anyway, the clips chosen for each of the Rising Stars were well done. My brother predicts Emily Blunt and so do I. It goes to Eva Green. Am slightly disappointed for Emily, but Eva has such an elegant way about her, that it’s hard not to like the woman. However. What the frick is up with her hair??? Looks like a Bird’s nest has sat on top of her head! Can’t say I care too much for her red dress either. Nonetheless, Eva’s speech is good, genuine, and delivered in that cool French-with-a-touch-of-Anglophile accent.

Foreign – My brother hasn’t seen any of the films here, so he predicts Paint it Yellow, because, as he puts it, “the people take their clothes off and look happy.” The joys of being an 8-year-old, eh? I predict Pan’s, not just because my heart says Pan’s, but because… OK, basically, because my heart says Pan’s. And my heart is right for once! It wins, and I dance around the room, screaming delightedly.

Cinematography – Damien Lewis feels the need to define the word “cinematography” for us. Thanks, dear. Anyway, the “below-par” that I was speaking of previously shows here – Lewis re-uses a joke about how cinematographers can make or break an actor’s looks, that was said by Jason Isaacs in 2005. Did he really think I wouldn’t notice? The award goes to Children of Men, which is good, because I thought BAFTA might take pity on Babel and reward it (undeservingly) here. But they didn’t, so all is good.

Best British Filmmaker in their First Feature – another fine figure of a man/boy, Jamie Ball walks up to the tune of Scissor Sisters’ I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. Oh, the wit. Surprisingly he stumbles through his speech, although his slip-ups aren’t anywhere near as funny as last year, when Matthew Modine called Harry Potter Harry Potty. Andrea Arnold, director of Red Road, deservingly takes this award. (if you remember, she was one of the Brits that did me proud.) It’s funny to see her daughter sitting next to her. Her daughter looks about 10, and I can just imagine her saying, “mum, can I watch this Red Road movie that you’ve made?” That would sure Hell make for somewhat of an awkward conversation. Anyway, I love Arnold’s speech, she sounds genuine and happy.

Supporting Actor – Sienna Miller comes to announce this one. I have mixed feelings about her dress, though kudos to BAFTA for playing some Justin Timberlake in the background. Anyway, this was one of the categories in which my brother beat me. He saw Alan Arkin’s clip and immediately said, “he’ll win”, whereas I, choosing to predict with my heart rather than my brain, wished and wished that that Scottish sexpot James McAvoy would make it. He doesn’t, Arkin wins, and funnily, hasn’t even bothered to show up. *tears* Just because we’re British, doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings, y’know!

Film Music – Kyle Minogue’s dress is shiny. To be honest, I’m wasn’t particularly bothered about who won this category. Whilst I adore both Santaolalla and Desplat (the women announcing it says Deh-plah, which I get the feeling is incorrect), I felt that their scores to Babel and The Queen were mediocre by their standards. I mean, I loved the usage of “Iguazu” in Babel, but when will people remember that that is NOT an original piece of music? Santaolalla has used it in about 5 other films! Still, he wins, and I don’t mind too much, because it’s my opinion that he shoulda won last year for his majestic score to Brokeback Mountain. Furthermore, he actually pronounces Babel correctly. He’s the first person tonight to do so.

Original Screenplay – gotta love Simon Pegg, whoring his film in a way that’s shameless and funny. Anyway, I refused to believe that Peter Morgan would leave tonight without an award (he’s nominated for writing both The Queen & Last King of Scotland), but I predict him for the wrong win, and, much to my fury, Little Miss Sunshine wins the award for screenplay. My brother had also predicted this one. And to add to my anger, the writer of this film also hasn’t bothered to shown up. Meh!

Animated – Gervais was funny and temporarily took my mind off being angry about the previous category. He mentions playing Truman Capote, which would actually be quite amusing. The award goes to Happy Feet, which I must say, took me completely by surprise. I thought that BAFTA would have backed Flushed Away, as it was British, or Cars, as it was Pixar. But no, it’s nice to have a surprise, even if the speech was very boring.

VFX – predictable. Andy Serkis isn’t funny.

Best Supporting Actress – Don’t kill me ladies, for saying this, but I really think that Daniel Craig is quite skanky indeed. The award goes to Jennifer Hudson, and even though this means Blunt leaves the event without a single award, I’m pleased, because I was quite surprised with how good Hudson was in Dreamgirls (she’s my choice for best of the supporting actress category), plus, now that she’s won this, she truly is a lock for the Oscar. So Breslin won’t get it! Yay! (My brother also told me that even though Breslin didn’t win, she was still smiling winningly, which shows – she’s about half my age, but ten times the charmer I am. *is angry, again.*)

Adapted Screenplay – Chewey Ejiofor is classy as he walks on. And this is the category that Peter Morgan does win – for The Last King of Scotland. I’m over the moon for him, he was also one of the Brits that did me proud. I thought that BAFTA might award The Departed here just so that it didn’t leave empty handed, but it was wrong of me to think so lowly of them; The Last King of Scotland is the rightful winner. And Peter Morgan rocks!

Direction – I have here written in my notes “beautiful dress”, though I haven’t actually written who the dress was worn be. Well, I’ll take a guess here and say Penelope Cruz, because her dress last night was one of the most gorgeous things I’ve seen since the turn of 2007. It was wonderfully embroidered, with lovely patterns running across it. Cruz herself looked a queen, with her hair flowing prettily.

Yes, as you can see, I’m focussing on talking about the presenter and not who the award went to, because just the sheer thought of it angers me too much. I don’t wanna say.

But wow, Penelope looked stunning!

Actor in a Leading Role – Thandie Newton comes on in a very plain looking brown dress. I’d predicted O’Toole for this category, partially because I guess I would have liked their to have been more a surprise. But no, Whitaker got it, for his impassioned performance in The Last King of Scotland. I liked his speech, he sounded really happy to be winning the award. I’m also very disappointed that my Leo didn’t even bother showing up, after all, BAFTA actually nominated for the right movie,

Actress in a Leading Role – As if I needed any more reminding what 2005 had in film that 2006 did not, Jake “Second Hottest Man on the Planet” Gyllenhaal strolls all 6 feet 2 inches of his adorableness onto the stage. I’m so pleased that he’s returned, because what a lot of American stars do (cough Philip Seymour Hoffman cough) is come the year they’ve won their award, but then not bother showing up the following year, just because it’s the BAFTAs. But I’m proud of Jake for showing that he’s not at all, in any way, too big for his boots. Anyway, the award goes to Helen, and she, like us, looks completely unsurprised. Ooh, in the background, I saw Dominic Cooper (cute guy in The History Boys.) Helen’s speech is wonderfully thorough and British, and she offers another pronunciation of French composer Desplat – “Des-plat.” How do you pronounce it, anyway? So basically, pleased for Helen, she is one classy dame. And her necklace was lovely.

Best Film – I got a lot of my predictions wrong, but I actually got the main one right, and The Queen takes Best Film. Seeing as it’s so slim pickings for quality in this category (Little Miss Sunshine – bleh, Babel – decent but bland), I would have been happy if either Last King of Scotland, The Departed, or The Queen took it. The winners entertain us with a lively speech, saying “Michael Sheen’s the only person who could make Blair look sexy.” I have to say, in an odd way, I kind of agree.


The best dressed men: James McAvoy, Sweetheart Gyllenhaal
The best dressed women: Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet
Best Hair: Sienna Miller
Best Acceptance speech: Helen Mirren
Most deserved win: Pan’s, Best Foreign Film
Most undeserved win: United 93, Best Direction
Entertainment rating: 2/10 (I should have watched Arsenal Vs. Wigan on Sky. Heck, even Little Britain in BBC3 would have been funnier [and I detest Little Britain.])
Personal happiness rating: 5/10 (hated the love for LMS and United 93, but I must say, I’m pleased that Pan’s won three.)

Last thoughts… why couldn’t any of the announcers pronounce Babel properly?? And as you’ve seen from my write-up, when I’ve become more focussed on the dresses and suits than the winners of the categories is when you should worry. Though there were some stellar performances and work in technical categories in 2006, there really hasn’t been a single film that I’ve felt so, so, passionately about.

In fact – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – I’m seriously considering not staying up on the 25th to watch the ceremony this year. My mocks start in March, so I could well do with the sleep, but really, I just don’t think I’ll be missing out on too much if I don’t watch it.

Sad story.
Wow.