Oscar History

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Janelle Monae's Breakout Year

One of my favourite artists of the decade. I've had the pleasure of seeing her live twice. I would've loved to see more of her in Moonlight. Loved that role and loved seeing her. -Roger

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Entries in Helena Bonham Carter (12)


A Heart Full of Uh-Oh... Taylor Swift for "Les Misérables"

Last night while innocently checking Facebook, a reader forced me -- literally forced me -- to read unpleasant news, reaching through the screen, yanking my eyeballs out and plopping them right down on this news that Taylor Swift was joining the cast of Tom Hooper's Les Miserables as Eponine.

I said "Don't make me think about THAT!!!". I mean, I'd just shared my top ten list so I was still hooked up to an IV joy drip and he wanted me to focus on THAT. I couldn't do it! THAT would have to wait until tomorrow, I said.

But here we are in tomorrow and THAT is still whatever it is. So let's recap what's going on with the casting of the most important movie musical in the pipeline.

The Three Roles The Whole Thing Rests On
Jean Valjean.......................... Hugh Jackman
Inspector Javert .................... Russell Crowe
Fantine ................................  Anne Hathaway

We know that Jackman and Hathaway have spectacular golden age quality movie musical voices and that all three of these movie stars can really act. That's a crucial thing since Les Misérables is actually an epic weepie and not the more commonly seen musical comedy. If "Bring Him Home" (Valjean) and "I Dreamed a Dream" (Fantine) don't ruin you emotionally, Les Miz will lose 87% of its dramatic potency.

Crowe? Have we heard him sing outside of rock music? Hooper is supposedly NOT doing this musical in the typical way of pre-recording and then lipsynching / acting later on. Instead, or so we hear though it sounds complicated given the chaotic milieu of the story, that the actors will actually be singing while they act. This might make for an electric movie experience (I mean the source material is already great) but who knows.

the rest of the cast after the jump


Click to read more ...


Pip Pip Hooray For Helena

JA from MNPP here. I consider myself fairly well read, and yet lately the news has seemed stuffed with exceptions where I have to admit that oh, somehow that book that I'm supposed to have read slipped by me. Yesterday I felt that way with the news that Steve Buscemi is planning on adapting William S. Burroughs' book Queer (with the fantastic trio of Guy Pearce, Ben Foster, and Kelly MacDonald) causing me to realize and shamefully acknowledge the fact that I haven't read any Burroughs at all.

And today we have the first images from Mike Newell's adaptation of Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations, and as I considered writing a post on these pictures a thought occurred to me - I've never read this book either! My education was a farce. And, while according to Wikipedia the book's been adapted for various mediums dozens of times, the only version I have ever seen is Alfonso Cuarón's loose adaptation in 1998 with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow and Anne Bancroft camping it up as "Ms. Dinsmoor," their take on book's infamously wackadoo jilted bride Miss Havisham.

Which brings us to this, the reason we're here:

Exclamation points!!! Love it. That's Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in Mike Newell's film-to-be, and it's an extraordinary enough thing to look at that I decided my knowledge of the source material or lack thereof be damned, this must be gawked at. Just the other day Nat was talking about how often Kirsten Dunst plays destroyed brides - looks like HBC's giving her a run for the money in that department. Bride wars, part two!

You can see one more picture over at Deadline, where the picture originated. The film's not out until next Fall; it also stars Sally Hawkins and Jason Flemyng and as head-boy Pip we've got War Horse's Jeremy Irvine. What do we think?


Supporting Actress Finale: Fashion, Speech and Reader's Choice.

I have displayed the talented women above in the order of Readers Choice voting. Jacki Weaver (25%)  just barely won your virtual Oscar over Amy Adams (24%) . Of course the Oscar went to Melissa Leo (21%), who memorably hammed it up with Kirk Douglas before bringing the crazy that we've come to expect and dropping a rare Oscar night F Bomb on the Kodak. Film Experience readers didn't wish the win on Hailee Steinfeld (15%) or Helena Bonham Carter (11%) in big numbers though I noticed that Hailee trounced her competition in Awards Daily's balloting of readers. Different crowd with some overlap. Like AMPAS & BAFTA ;)

It's all over but the memories... and the fallout... and the statistics... and the gowns. Oscar night has a way of bleeding over. Certain competitions remain in the popular memory, or at least the blog memory for long periods of time. Consider how often people still talk about Annette Bening vs. Hilary Swank (1999, 2004) as opposed to say, Marion vs. Julie (2007) ?  or especially Reese vs. No One (2005). I sense that Supporting Actress 2010 will be one of those categories we come back to time and again, not only for the real sense of "it could go to any one!" drama that sprung up in the hive mind of Oscar watchers, but for the way that Kirk Douglas almost psychically seemed to understand that dragging out the envelope opening to ridiculous but funny lengths as the women laughed nervously.


Melissa's Speech

Oh my god. oh wow. really really really really really really  truly wow. I know a lot of people said a lot of nice things to me for several months now but i'm just shaking in my boots here. ok all right. thank you David O. Russell. I wanna thank the actors Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy My Sweet Sister Amy, Jack, our lovely daughters. ok yeah I am kind of speechless. [Looks up] Golly sakes there's people up there, too.

When i watched Kate two years ago it looks so fuc [BLEEPED OUT] Alice Ward. Your beautiful family that opened your hearts. I saw Mick here earlier. Dick? all right Dick's not in the room. Thank you so much opening your hearts to all of us to make this film. I thank David. I'll thank him again. My family, my beautiful son who is traveling right now who couldn't join me. It's okay I'm okay Jeff. My mom and my dad and my brother and my friends and my family. And I want to thank the very most of all the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences [sic] the Board of Governors and all their members and many of you are here today. This has been an extraordinary journey getting to know what the academy is about. And first and foremost thank you Academy [suddenly shouting] because it's about selling motion pictures and respecting the work! Thank you so much.

And then she stole Kirk Douglas cane. She brought the kooky and Oscar needs moments like that.

Three Questions
1. Best dressed of the category?
2. Who will be back the quickest to the nominee pool?
3. Who owes Melissa $200 dollars?



Costuming Helena, Finding Sherlock, Winning Oscar

As one half of the first costuming team I ever noticed as a young movie fanatic, interviewing JENNY BEAVAN was a special treat. She's currently enjoying her ninth Oscar nomination for her work on The King's Speech. This is her third solo nomination. She and her former partner John Bright costumed the Ishmael Merchant & James Ivory period dramas that I grew up obsessing over: A Room With A View, Howard's End, Maurice and the like. When Jenny and I spoke to discuss her current Oscar run for The King's Speech, however, it was less period drama and more modern comedy. "I'm guessing as to what you're saying" she told me while technical difficulties had us both comically shouting into our phones / computers until the situation was resolved.

We began at the beginning.

Merchant/Ivory is after all, a very good place to start, both for a young film buff in the 80s and a costume designer embarking on a huge career in the movies.  "That was my start in the whole thing," Beavan recalled, noting that the films were great fun to do.

The Merchant & Ivory Days
John Bright's name was peppered throughout her conversation. In fact, she had just seen him earlier that day. I had long wondered why they stopped working together. "We were known as Jenny Bright and John Beavan," she says about their close partnership. "I mean, he is just one of my absolutely best friends and also my most important collaborator. Believe me we're still collaborating. Just not so officially."

As it turns out Bright owns and runs Cosprop, a hugely important costume house which specializes in period wear,  an enormous job in and of itself though he still does the odd film. I mention how much I love his work on the ravishing The White Countess (2005) with elicits a barrage of superlatives from Beavan. "Absolutely brilliant!" 

Howards End (1992), a masterpiece.

We discuss a particular moment in Howards End that I'm very fond of. The Schlegel sisters (Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham-Carter) walking home one evening run into Mr Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins). One can't get enough of the beauty of that movie. The clothes are so modest but there's such sensuality to them and something so resonant and bohemian about the sisters. Beavan credits the screenplay with the specificity that makes character costuming easier and the actresses with the film's modernity.

Beavan, having logged a lot of time in costume dramas, thinks there's real power with staying utterly within period. If you step away from the period, she explains "it looks wrong and then you get a sort of worry in the audience."  Producers, particularly the America ones, she shares, don't like to see hats in the movies. And sometimes you just have to use hats. "Everybody wore hats up until the 1950s in England!" she says with feigned exasperation.

My grandmother would never go out without a hat on. She wouldn't have felt dressed.

After the golden period of the Merchant/Ivory films, Beavan's official partnership with John Bright ended and  the designer got a chance to "fly a bit more my own." That's what one might call an understatement.

READ THE REST for thoughts on Helena Bonham Carter's style, "finding" Sherlock Holmes and more.


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16 BAFTA Moments. Helena Was Queen.

Since we all saw the BAFTAs on tape-delay, live-blogging seemed pointless. So SAG will have to stand as the last live-blog of the season. But here are my ___ favorite moments from BAFTA in chronological order. What were yours?

01.  Helena Bonham Carter on the red carpet, when the red carpet reporter describes her as Brit Movie Royalty (which she is).

In fact, this is the year of queens for me. I do big headed queen, then medium sized, maybe next year I'll do pinheaded queen. It's always fun to play queens because people do start treating you like royalty, it's a bit hilarious.

Helena is the only person alive that doesn't make me cringe when they're referencing Alice in Wonderland. She uses this joke again in her acceptance speech but it works both times.

02. Emma Stone on the red carpet joking that Andrew Garfield has been trying to kill her on the set of Spider-Man (2012). I still think it's pointless to reboot that movie but at least the principle cast is heaven.

03. Yay for Useless Trivia: Hailee Steinfeld reveals that the BAFTAs are one year to the day of her True Grit audition. And Darren Aronofsky reveals that Black Swan wrapped one year and one day before the BAFTAS.

04. Paul McCartney saying "I get to the pictures quite often". I love calling movies "the pictures."  It feels so Old Hollywood Magical. The Social Network is McCartney's favorite.

05. Amy Adams LOLing heartily at a joke about Sex & the City 2. The joke went like so:

Two of my favorite movies of the year aren't even nominated. Sex and the City 2 and The Expendables. What's not to love there. A band of old mercenaries get back together taking no prisoners -- you know where I'm going with this don't you? --  laying waste to everyone standing in their way. And The Expendables was great, too.

06. Discovering that Alexandre Desplat is a winker. He winked at no less than three people on his way up to the stage to accept Best Score.

07. The hokey joke of playing Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" instead of The Inception score when it won Best Visual Effects.

08. Helena's acceptance speech. Pretty great. I'd quote it but they let her talk for five minutes.

09. Jessica Alba's intro to Best Supporting Actor just because it's so illustrative of the "supporting" problem.

Robert DeNiro in the Godfather Part 2. Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspect. Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. Time and again history remembers the supporting actor as much as the lead. Sometimes more so.

And then she goes on to list 5 nominees only one of whom, Pete Postlethwaite (The Town), is in a purely supporting role. The rest you can argue till the end of the day about whether they're leads in their films or not. OF COURSE THEY'RE REMEMBERED AS MUCH AS "LEADS" heh.

An Education reunion: Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike flubbing their lines.

10. Rosamund Pike and Dominic Cooper having MULTIPLE problems delivering the Original Screenplay. It just keeps getting worse. Pike almost reads the winners before the nominees .  As it cuts to clips, Dominic mumbles  "It's gone well"

11 Stephen Fry, a national treasure in Britain but basically an international treasure to those paying attention, introduces the Harry Potter tribute. He does a stunning job of balancing effusive praise with cutting wit so as not to make the tribute a total "HarryPotter!ZOMG!!!" gag-fest. And the plug for his audio readings of the same was pretty funny.

12 The intro to Aaron Sorkin's Adapted Screenplay acceptance speech.

Under more normal circumstances I would be very excited about this but sitting in the seat in front of me is one of the Beatles. Sitting in the seat in front of him is Julianne Moore and in the seat in front of her was Annette Bening so I'm maxed out.

Awwwww. Don't you love it when celebrities get all thunderstruck by otehr celebrities? I know I do. 'Stars! They're just like us!!!'


...wait, you didn't need anything more specific than that did you? She's always a favorite moment.

14. The cognitive disconnect I felt when Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg accepted for David Fincher "He's busy making his next gift for all of us in another country." I experienced it as "He's busy making his next gift for all of us, Another Country" which would be quite quite something else entirely. Could you imagine a David Fincher remake of that homo-laced British Boarding School drama? But Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg... who gets to play Colin Firth and who would gets to play Rupert Everett? The other option would be an adaptation of James Baldwin's novel which would be something else, too! Especially since Jesse and Andrew would be all wrong for that one.

15 Gerard Butler introing Best Actress without commas

a lesbian couple with a dragon tattoo take up ballet to avenge their father's death.

Speaking of movies one could have fun inventing in one's head!



16. It was wonderful to see 88 year old Christopher Lee getting a tribute, and from one of his own directors too (Tim Burton, who he has worked with four times). He seemed genuinely touched and even moreso than many honorary winners of such things. Plus he was amusing: "I'm grateful that I don't follow in the steps of the great Stanley Kubrick whose award was posthumous."

That's it!

P.S. By the way Darren Aronofsky calling Natalie Portman the most focused committed actor he'd ever worked with kind of weirded me out. Not that I don't think it could be true but EVER? His films aren't exactly lacking for great performances or great actors.

P.P.S. How are YOU doing out there, quiet people in the dark? Speak. And by speak I mean type.

P.P.P.S. all the BAFTA posts in case you missed the nominees, fashions or winners.