The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Before taking a holiday break, Saturday Night Live announced that Louisville native and white-hot movie star Jennifer Lawrence will host the show’s first edition of 2013 on Jan. 19. The musical guest will be Denver-based folk rockers The Lumineers.
Lawrence was catapulted to A-List status in the past year with her starring role as Katniss Everdeen in the post-apocalyptic blockbuster The Hunger Games. She has since gained rave reviews and Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for her performance in the quirky comedy Silver Linings Playbook. She is considered a strong contender for an Oscar nomination for the same role. It would be the second Oscar nomination for Lawrence, 22, who was nominated for best actress in 2011 for her performance in Winter’s Bone (2010).
Silver Linings Playbook is about an odd relationship that forms between Lawrence’s character, Tiffany, and Bradley Cooper as Pat, who is undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder as the movie opens. The film has not opened yet in Lexington but is playing in Louisville and Cincinnati.
Jan. 19 will be Lawrence’s first turn hosting Saturday Night Live.
It was not too long ago George Clooney had not even attended the Academy Awards. The Lexington-born, Augusta-raised Kentuckian said he was not going to go until he was nominated.
Now, Clooney is an Oscar winner and something of a perennial – at least biennial nominee. Sunday night, he won one of the bellwether honors for the Oscars: the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama for his performance in The Descendants. That begged the question, is Clooney in line to add another Oscar to his trophy case, which includes the 2006 statue for best supporting actor in Syriana?
In a normal year we’d say yes. But the Oscars-Golden Globes equation is a little off kilter this year because everyone in Hollywood seems to be in love with The Artist and its star, Jean Dujardin, which won the Golden Globes for best motion picture comedy or musical and best actor in a comedy or musical, respectively.
The French film, which has not played in Lexington yet, created instant buzz as a silent and black-and-white movie that showed decades after its demise the format is still a delightful forum for storytelling. It is the sort of film and performance Oscar loves – different and kind of gimmicky. Given the buzz out of Hollywood, you have to think Dujardin is the frontrunner for the Oscar for best actor. But Clooney should be part of the conversation, if he is not Giamattied.
Here’s the omen: The Descendants was written and directed by Alexander Payne who also wrote and directed Sideways in 2004, which featured a widely praised performance by Paul Giamatti. To this day I feel like an idiot anytime I drink merlot thanks to Giamatti’s performance as Miles, a struggling author and wine snob whose life is unraveling.
When the Oscar nominations were announced, certainly Giamatti was going to be in the hunt. But noooooo. In what is now viewed as one of Oscar’s great snubs, Giamatti was not even nominated in the year that Jamie Foxx won best actor for his performance in Ray.
With a lot of praise for his performance as a Hawaiian land baron who’s fallen out of touch with his family and that Golden Globe in hand – accepted, like his 2006 Globe for Syriana, with a dash of locker room humor – Clooney looks like a safe bet to be named when the Oscar nominations are announced next Tuesday by Louisville’s Jennifer Lawrence. He will probably have more chances too as he is likely to receive nominations for writing and directing The Ides of March, which is also mentioned as a best picture contender, and Gorgeous George didn’t do a bad acting job in that one either.
So Clooney could add to his Oscar total this year. But in the best actor race, this will probably be the year for another artist.
UPDATE: The Artist opens Friday, Jan. 20, at the Kentucky Theatre. Shame, which had previously been announced, has been pushed back and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will be held over.
Some years, the Golden Globes sign off and we really have a lot of big questions about what will happen come Oscar night.
This does not feel like one of those years.
The night of Feb. 27 could end up feeling a lot like the night of Jan. 16, save for the TV stars and banquet format. It would not be at all surprising if Oscar night we watch Christian Bale and Melissa Leo win supporting acting awards for The Fighter, Colin Firth win best actor for The King’s Speech, Natalie Portman win best actress for Black Swan and The Social Network walk off with best picture, director for David Fincher and screenplay for Aaron Sorkin.
That’s sort of the way the love has felt like it was going the last few weeks.
Maybe Anglophile tendencies could have taken over to push The King’s Speech ahead of the Facebook movie. But that was a movie built on centuries-old building blocks of drama, and it’s being rewarded for it. And Firth did have some competition in the best actor in a drama category with Mark Wahlberg leading that act-off cast of The Fighter and James Franco for 127 Hours. But hey, Anglophilliac tendencies, the award bait of playing a person with a physical disorder and Colin is a heckuva an actor whose time has come.
Not only could this be your Oscar night, it may very well be several award presentations between now and then.
Let’s wish any of those a ceremonies a more consistently interesting evening than this year’s Globes. It started off promisingly with host Ricky Gervais delivering a biting monologue that invited as many guffaws as laughs from the Beverly Hilton crowd as he bit the hands of his employers for the night, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and their insipid nomination of The Tourist for best Comedy or Musical.
That and some spicy speeches from Bale and others made it seem like this was a herky-jerky night that could easily come off the rails. But, after Robert Downey Jr.’s raunchy introduction to the best actress in a comedy or musical presentation, the show settled into predictability - sorta like this awards season.
Jan18Filed under: Film, Oscars, Television; Tagged as: Avatar, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Crazy Heart, Dave Karger, Entertainment Weekly, eonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, James Cameron, Jeff Bridges, Julie and Julia, Kate Winslet, Lost in Translation, Moët & Chandon, Oscars, Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Robert Downey Jr., Rock Band, Sandra Bullock, Sherlock Holmes, Sideways, The Blind Side, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hangover, The Princess and the Frog, Titanic, Up, Up in the Air, Woody Allen
Maybe I’m just not checking the right pulses, but I don’t sense the excitement about “Avatar” for best picture it seems like I should be feeling.
This is the awards season Oscar has been saying it wanted for a dozen years: A year like 1998, when James Cameron’s “Titanic” was No. 1 by several hundred million at the box office and movie fans were excited to see it add some award-show cred to its huge profits. Again, we have a James Cameron pic, “Avatar,” his first since “Titanic.” And again, he picked up best director and best picture at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards. But it rang a little hollow.
Maybe it’s because, unlike “Titanic,” “Avatar” doesn’t have any on-screen talent in the awards race like 1998, when Kate Winslet was a nominee, and many thought Leonardo DiCaprio should have been. Maybe, being more of a sci-fi genre film, it’s not attracting awards-show-friendly audiences the way the more classic-Hollywood “Titanic” did. Maybe, at the Globes, it was because Cameron seemed more interested in talking about his bodily functions.
Maybe it’s just too early.
As we get closer to Oscar night, March 7, maybe the excitement will build — the nominations will pop up at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 2.
“Avatar” could have also suffered from being the big winner on a pretty ho-hum Golden Globes.
Ricky Gervais was the first actual emcee in recent memory, but the main thing we’ll remember about him is how a recurring joke of him pushing his own shows got really tired.
Goldie often gives us train wreck speeches courtesy of Moët & Chandon, but the closest we got tonight was Robert Downey Jr. accepting his trophy for best actor in a comedy or musical for “Sherlock Holmes” saying, “If you start playing violins, I’m going to tear this joint apart.”
That seemed to stem more from personal bravado — and probably some annoyance at an orchestra that seemed bent on playing people off before they could say, “Thank yo … ” — than getting a kick from champagne.
There were some other cute lines, like Paul McCartney, presenting the award for best animated feature saying he is now known as, “that guy from ‘Rock Band.’”
Animated feature seemed to portend a routine evening on the movie side, giving Pixar’s “Up” the trophy despite strong competition from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” — bad omen for “Fox” star George Clooney. Hollywood’s favorite Kentuckian also came up short in the race for best actor in a drama for critic’s darling “Up in the Air.” Four-time Oscar nominee Jeff Bridges won for “Crazy Heart” and is emerging as a sentimental favorite for the Academy Awards — I’d give it to him for “The Fisher King.”
In Oscar’s best actress category, it looks like Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side,” who won the drama award, vs. Meryl Streep for “Julie and Julia,” who won the comedy/musical award. That Bullock would be facing off against Streep would have seemed as unimaginable a few years ago as an actual comedy winning the best comedy-musical award.
The last few years, the award and most of the nominations have gone to musicals or “serious” comedies such as “Lost in Translation” (2003) or “Sideways” (2004). Then,there was 2006, when it went to a drama, “Walk the Line,” that just happened to have music in it. But Sunday night, an unqualified comedy, “The Hangover,” won. It was immediately controversial on Twitter, with posters such as Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger incredulous.
Here at le blog, we say bravo Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and we don’t say that much. Comedy really gets the short shrift this time of year, but filmmakers deserve recognition for something that is simply laugh-out-loud funny without having to make a profound statement about the human condition or possess the cachet of a name like Woody Allen atop the marquee. Maybe “The Hangover’s” win will be a bellwether of more open mindedness by the HFPA.
Is it a sign “Hangover” will be a finalist for Best Picture when Oscar nominees are announced Groundhog Day? Who knows. Film fans need something to get excited about for Oscar night.
Join me in following the Golden Globe Awards on Twitter tonight. How will our own George Clooney and “Up in the Air” do? How will Ricky Gervias do as the host? Will he be allowed to drink and host, or are you only allowed to drink and accept awards? Will James Cameron become “King of the World” again – or the world and Pandora?
Of all the award shows, the Globes are usually the most unpredictable, so let’s chat in real time. I’ll be using the hashtags #Globes and #GG. Click here to go to my Twitter profile, or follow tweets in the green window on the far right.
That clanging you hear from Hollywood could be the bellwether ringing for Slumdog Millionaire.
Things in this year’s awards season were not terribly clear until Sunday night, when Danny Boyle’s story of an unlikely game show winner won four Golden Globes, including best motion picture drama, best director for Boyle and best screenplay for Simon Beaufoy. It seems like everyone who’s seen this movie has tremendous enthusiasm for it, and that is translating to award voters.
It would be an interesting contrast to last year if Slumdog continued its run into the Academy Awards. While the awards, so far, have not seen the return of blockbusters, which we thought we might see, Slumdog is a much more hopeful film than last year’s pitch black winner, No Country for Old Men.
While last night’s honors seemed to put Slumdog into a solid frontrunner position, they also raised some interesting possibilities for the Academy Awards, which announces its nominations Jan. 22. Like, is Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the winner for best motion picture comedy or musical, now a best picture contender? What about Kate Winslet? Does her dual win, as best actress in a drama for Revolutionary Road and supporting actress for The Reader, indicate this is the year the five-time Oscar nominee might win one of the guys? And will she have to contend with Sally Hawkins, who beat out award perennials Meryl, Emma and Frances for best actress in a comedy or musical for her performance in the little seen Happy-Go-Lucky?
Will everything be a huge disappointment if we don’t get to hear Mickey Rourke give another acceptance speech? After he won for The Wrestler, the star, who looked like he thought he was at the Grammys, gave an oddly-touching and funny address in which he thanked his dogs and had to have had somebody’s nervous finger ready to hit the censor button.
It was actually a night to push FCC boundaries and reminded us why this cocktail party is so much better than having Billy Bush read the winners’ names, which is what happened last year, due to the writers strike. Winning best actress in a TV show musical or comedy, Tina Fey invited her Internet tormentors to do something I don’t think I’m allowed to say on a newspaper-affiliated blog. At the end of the night, Slumdog producer Christian Colson said a word I know I’m not allowed to repeat here after being told to wrap up his best drama acceptance speech.
That’s OK. He’ll probably have more chances to get it right.
Dec11Filed under: Film, Oscars, Television; Tagged as: 30 Rock, Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway, Brad Pitt, Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon, Golden Globe Awards, Heath Ledger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Michael Sheen, Robert Downey Jr., Sean Penn, Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Office, Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder, Wall-E
All the talk that blockbusters may make a charge back onto the Oscar ballots has to be somewhat muted by the 2009 Golden Globe Award nominations.
Box office champs that seemed poised to muscle their way into contention this year were largely left off the Hollywood Foreign Press Associations list of finalists, that was once again dominated by arthouse fare from prestige studios such as Paramount Vantage and Fox Searchlight. They’re all probably fine films — we haven’t seen most of them in Central Kentucky, yet — but it is a safe, predictable and unimaginative list.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon and Doubt topped the movie nominations with five nods each, while efforts such as Batman: The Dark Knight and Tropic Thunder just received one and two nominations respectively, all in the best supporting actor category: Tom Crusie and Robert Downey Jr. for Thunder and the late Heath Ledger for his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Cruise’s self-effacing turn in the Ben Stiller comedy is a pleasant surprise.
Pixar’s Wall-E, which is winding up atop numerous critics’ Top 10 lists, did get a nod for best animated feature. There has been speculation that the environmentally conscious film about a dutiful robot left to clean up a trashed and vacant Earth may transcend the animated category come Oscar time and get a best picture nomination.
On TV, cable once again was dominant, claiming all but one of the shows in the drama category, Fox’s House being the lone broadcast representative. NBC’s 30 Rock and The Office were the two broadcast comedy representatives.
Last year’s Academy Awards were followed by widespread kvetching that a lack of box office draws contributed to some of Oscar’s lowest ratings ever. As 2008 progressed, hints started emanating from Hollywood that maybe this year’s Oscars would have a little more box office and star power — with films such as The Dark Knight receiving strong critical notices.
But the Golden Globes, often viewed as a harbinger of Oscar nominees, don’t seem to be interested in taking a populist route, electing to stay with the kind of films that have dominated awards seasons for the past decade.There is a little more star power in the acting awards with tabloid darlings Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button) and Angelina Jolie (Changeling) nominated for best acting performances in the drama category along with other marquee stars such as Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road), Sean Penn (Milk) and Meryl Streep, a dual nominee for best actress in a drama (Doubt) and comedy or musical (Mamma Mia!).
Absent from contention this year are Kentuckians George Clooney and Johnny Depp, who had become awards season mainstays the last few years. Clooney starred in Burn After Reading, which was nominated for best comedy or musical, but Frances McDormand was the only acting nominee from that film.
Absent from Central Kentucky, so far, are any of the best drama nominees. Slumdog Millionaire is currently slated to open Dec. 19 at the Kentucky Theatre, Benjamin Button is set for a Dec. 25 opening, and Revolutionary Road (with a supporting performance from Lexington’s own Michael Shannon) is Jan. 16, though all of those dates are subject to change. The other nominees, Frost/Nixon and The Reader, are currently in limited release. We’ll let you know here at Copious Notes blog and Twitter when opening dates for those and other nominees are announced for Lexington.
So, what do you think of the nominations? Does this look like a good field, or were you hoping for a few of those more populist films to get in the race? Are you OK with the migration of quality scripted drama and comedy series away from broadcast? Hit the comment tab and discuss.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich