By Jessica Allen - Monday, February 18, 2013 - 0 Comments
… and why the Oscars might be funny this year
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 10:59 AM - 0 Comments
Jodie Foster’s Golden Globe speech will be remembered for many things, other than how not to give a speech. We’ll remember the wackiness, the coming out that wasn’t, and, of course, Mel Gibson. Something that likely won’t be remembered and should, is this:
“You guys might be surprised,” Foster said to a gallery of teary-eyed celebrirites, “but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child.”
Foster, a former child actress, went on to explain that she is not like the seven-year-old laughing stock of this continent because she enjoys her privacy. Not only that: she has earned her privacy.
So, too, I think, has Alana Thompson (the person behind Honey Boo Boo Child). Unfortunately, the adults in and outside her life don’t really seem to care. Why? Because we live in a cruel world in which it’s socially acceptable for adults to relive and rewrite their adolescence (follow, unfollow, friend, unfriend). Continue…
By Jessica Allen - Monday, January 14, 2013 at 5:33 AM - 0 Comments
Daniel Day Lewis, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway take home top honours on the road to Oscar
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the 70th Golden Globes on Sunday night, and helped to dole out 25 statuettes awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to honour the year’s best in both motion picture and television categories. Here are the winners:
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM - 0 Comments
Best Picture – Comedy or Musical
…Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Best Picture – Comedy or Musical
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Silver Linings Playbook
Best Picture – Drama
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi Continue…
By macleans.ca - Friday, October 19, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Glenn Beck’s new shill, a star turn for a senator’s spouse, and an MP stands up for shark fin soup
Time to move on
Canadian soccer star Christine Sinclair has “no regrets” about venting to Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen about two dubious calls she made during the Olympic team’s controversial loss to the U.S.A. this August. “I don’t regret what I said,” Sinclair said in her first comments since being slapped with a four-game suspension and fined $3,500 by FIFA for “unsporting behaviour.” We may never know what Sinclair told the ref, but she backed down on suggestions that Pedersen wanted a U.S. victory: “No, I don’t ultimately believe she went into the match hoping the U.S. would win.” It was a face-saver for both sides. FIFA defended itself against match-fixing allegations, and Sinclair stood up for her team against two lousy penalties. Soccer Canada will pay her fine, and the suspensions will be in meaningless friendly games.
There may be truth to the theory that the flap of a butterfly’s wings can eventually generate a hurricane. British artist Damien Hirst is weathering a storm after news that 9,000 butterflies died during a summer-long retrospective of his work at the Tate Modern gallery in London. The free-flying insects, an installation he called In and Out of Love, were part of a retrospective including his famous dead pickled shark and other iconic works. Some butterflies were killed when visitors stepped on them or brushed them off their clothing, but most lived out their life cycle in the gallery, a Tate spokesman said. Hirst said a butterfly expert was hired “at considerable cost” to ensure conditions were perfect. Many enjoyed longer lives than in the wild, he said, “due to the high quality of the environment and food provided.” The flap didn’t stop almost 500,000 visitors from touring the exhibit—among the Tate’s most popular ever.
A giant leap for mankind
On Oct. 14, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner stood perched on a tiny shelf the size of a skateboard, ﬁxed to a capsule he’d ridden to the edge of space. Then he jumped. Baumgartner plunged over 39 km—more than three times the cruising height of a jetliner—reaching a maximum speed of 1,342 km/h and landing safely with a parachute in the New Mexico desert. Sponsored by Red Bull, Baumgartner’s mission was more than a publicity stunt; it was a testament to how the human body can cope with the extreme conditions of space, and made him the first human ever to break the sound barrier in a skydive (one of several records broken that day). But Baumgartner wasn’t thinking about that as he jumped. Before stepping off his perch, he radioed to mission control: “I’m coming home.”
With his outsized salary, me-first attitude and admitted steroid use, New York Yankees third-baseman and three-time league MVP Alex Rodriguez has never been an easy guy to like. But his popularity is now plunging to unheard-of lows after his bat fell silent in the post-season, which resulted in him being demoted in the line-up and benched. A-Rod’s meltdown came as the sporting world watched another implosion of a former star: seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, whose career is now officially in tatters after details about the official investigation into his team’s massive doping scheme became public.
Tea Party denim
Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck has apparently identiﬁed an underserved fashion market in America: libertarian hipster dads. This week he became the latest celebrity to roll out his own line of selvage jeans under the label 1791 Supply & Co. (named for the year the Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution). After berating Levi’s for outsourcing manufacturing overseas, Beck is promising $129 pants in “straight” and “classic” cuts (no youthful skinny jeans here) that are “100 per cent made in the U.S.A.” The pitch comes complete with a bizarre, Americana-laden commercial showing a bearded man wielding a hobby rocket, lighting its fuse, and then running away full tilt. Perhaps because he suspects it’s a dud?
A Google homage
Google’s homepage art on Oct. 15 may have single-handedly revived the reputation of Winsor McCay, creator of the 1905 fantasy comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland. Gerald Lynch of Tech Digest was so impressed by the animated recreation of McCay’s style, where Little Nemo falls into “Google Land” and has surreal adventures, that he pronounced it “the best Google Doodle ever” despite never having heard of the strip before. McCay-mania spread so far on the Internet that the National Post published an article on the controversy over whether or not he was born while his mother was visiting Canada. You know someone’s famous again when Canadians want to take credit for him.
A bowlful of controversy
At Jade Restaurant in Richmond, B.C., Conservative MP Alice Wong recently enjoyed a controversial meal: a bowl of shark fin soup. The dish is banned in Toronto and North Vancouver, while other communities—including Richmond—are considering following suit. Several shark species are endangered, and the techniques used to fish them are notorious; but Wong, who reportedly only invited Chinese media to witness her meal, insists municipalities should butt out and let Ottawa decide whether to enact a ban. Restaurant owner David Chung went further, calling a ban “culturally insensitive.”
Back on the market
The standards by which we, as a society, judge the possibility of monogamy—that is, the marriages of Hollywood stars—continue to crumble. First, after 30 years together, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman decided they were no longer interested in mutually diminutive matrimony. According to Radaronline, DeVito’s flirtatious ways were to blame and now the short, bald 67-year-old is “embracing the single life” (step one: shopping around for a new sports car). Meanwhile, Hollywood hunk and celebrated phone-thrower Russell Crowe is back on the market after nine years of marriage to Danielle Spencer. Her partner on the Australian version of Dancing With The Stars is rumoured to be the problem. DeVito will no doubt be calling Crowe soon in the hopes of procuring a wing man.
A few weeks removed from pleading guilty to a mid-air disturbance, Maygan Sensenberger took to the runway in Ottawa as a model citizen, or at least a model. The 23-year-old wife of 69-year-old Sen. Rod Zimmer took her turn on the catwalk as part of Ottawa Fashion Week, modelling the work of Canadian designer Gwen Madiba. “She may be shorter than all the other models, but she’s beautiful and glowing,” Zimmer told the Ottawa Citizen. Sensenberger, who was sentenced to probation after her mid-flight squabble with Zimmer became a minor media sensation, is also apparently taking acting lessons and, according to Zimmer, is up for a role in an upcoming movie to be filmed in Ottawa.
It’s a checkpoint there, Charlie
Mauritania is a dangerous place, even if you’re the president. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was shot by one of his own soldiers at a military checkpoint. The shooting immediately set off alarm bells in the strife-torn country, whose most recent military coup brought Aziz to power. But the recovering leader announced from his hospital that his injuries weren’t due to terrorism or another coup, but rather, mistaken identity: he was driving home alone after a relaxing weekend trip, and didn’t bother to stop at the checkpoint even after warning shots were fired. Mauritanians can rest easy knowing the only danger they face is from their own trigger-happy soldiers.
Air Canada to the rescue
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were named hosts of the 70th annual Golden Globe awards this week. The announcement that the 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation stars will team up has fans anticipating all kinds of funny for the Jan. 13 show, particularly after Fey was skipped over as an Academy Awards host in favour of comedian Seth MacFarlane. The duo replace the merciless Ricky Gervais, who hosted the Golden Globes for the past three years—and made the once marginal awards show a must-watch event. The Golden Globe gig won’t be the first time Fey and Poehler have teamed up, and fans are hoping their hosting duties might resemble something like their Saturday Night Live classic, with Fey as Sarah Palin and Poehler as Katie Couric.
We are all Malala
The entire world, it seems, is praying for Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old gunned down by the Taliban for speaking out against them, and promoting education for girls. She was flown to Britain this week, where doctors say she is making good progress.
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, January 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM - 0 Comments
There’s a fine line between mean-spirited and warm ‘n’ fuzzy. Ricky Gervais swung from one extreme to the other in a twinkling last night, morphing from the hostile host who would never get invited back to the man who looks poised to become the Golden Globes’ Billy Crystal. And the Globes themselves—always the ‘fun’ party compared to the quasi religious ritual of the Academy Awards—even seems to have usurped some of Oscar’s dignity and gravitas. Where were the drunken gaffes? The sloppy acceptance speeches. Aside from Meryl Streep forgetting her reading glasses and stumbling through a speech before being played off by the band, everything went like clockwork. And was Gervais even drinking that beer on the podium?
Gervais, of course, had promised he wasn’t going to soften his act to appease critics, but there was a definite spoonful of sugar surrounding the satirical barbs this year. He actually said some nice things about people. And it helped that he arrived at 69th annual Golden Globes riding a huge wave of hype. The audience was primed, the stars were ready to be roasted, and that made all the difference. Even Gervais seemed surprised by the tone of goodwill in the room, as he noted midway through the show, “It’s going well, isn’t it? You’re so much better than last year’s audience. They had a right stick up their ass.” Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Monday, January 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM - 0 Comments
Poor Ricky Gervais. He couldn’t possibly live up to the kind of hype he got from the moment he was invited back to host the Golden Globes a second time. In the press releases, the initial coverage, the Saturday Night Live sketch, it was like he was Gabbo from The Simpsons, a little character who was going to take the world by storm through his willingness to say anything about anyone.
His comments last year were only mildly critical—really, the jokes everyone was making about Charlie Sheen or the Sex and the City women, except that awards-show hosts are traditionally expected to be a little less blunt about them—so it was hard for him to live up to that fearless truth-teller reputation. Plus there has been a bit of Gervais backlash recently (though less in North America for the moment, if only because Life’s Too Short hasn’t aired there yet) and a lot of parodies of his style. So even if he’d wanted to shock and surprise us all, he couldn’t have done it. It was left to the unscripted moments, like Meryl Streep’s s-bomb, to liven up a less than lively evening.
And yet Gervais is a good fit for the Golden Globes, and might someday be a good fit for the Oscars. These shows are primarily for celebrities—the Golden Globes are an excuse for stars to dress up and get drunk; the Oscars are literally the awards showbiz people give themselves—so the host has to appeal to the celebrity audience while also appealing to the home audience. Maybe Gervais isn’t quite well-known enough in North America to have the kind of direct link to the home audience that other hosts have. (The trick of a really good host is to be loved by the stars while also being loved by the regular viewer, who has a sort of love-hate relationship with stars.) But his humour captures the way celebrities think about themselves and their peers: loving them, considering them the most important people in the world, while also poking fun at how little they deserve their god-like status. Gervais’s joke about Natalie Portman taking time off to have a baby was, I thought, a good joke and a good summation of the way Hollywood people see themselves: they see themselves, or say they see themselves, as putting family and children first, even as they know perfectly well that taking time off for family and children are bad for their careers.
Gervais also has what we might call the Bob Hope sweet spot in terms of his career: someone who is famous enough to be a genuine peer of the celebrities in the audience, but is also able to portray himself as an outsider in a room full of beautiful, award-winning people. (Gervais has won awards; he just won’t win an Oscar; at least not for a while.) He’s not actually an outsider, but he can play the part.
By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 12:02 PM - 0 Comments
The Golden Globes nominations were unveiled this morning, and The Artist—France’s silent black-and-white valentine to retro Hollywood—continues to charm its way down the long road to the Oscars by topping the Globes with six nominations. The Descendants and The Help are tied for second place with four nominations apiece. Both George Clooney and Canada’s Ryan Gosling are golden. Clooney snagged three nominations, as best dramatic actor for Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, plus best director and screenplay for The Ides of March. Gosling was nominated in the comic acting category for Crazy, Stupid Love, and in the dramatic acting category for Ides, which has him going head to head against with Clooney. Unlike the Oscars, the Globes break down the best picture and acting categories into dramas and comedies-or-musicals, which allows the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to better spread the wealth. But the rationale is often wonky. The Descendants, a quirky mix of comedy and drama, is classified as drama, presumably because someone dies; My Life With Marilyn was considered a comedy-or-musical, but though it’s got a couple of tunes, it’s not a musical, and despite some laughs, it’s much less of a comedy than The Descendants. Go figure.
The Globes gave a boost both to The Ides of March and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which have been ignored by most of the critics’ awards. Tattoo‘s cyberpunk heroine, Rooney Mara, hacked her way into a heavyweight actress slate, competing with Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Viola Davis (The Help), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs).
The most notable snub was ignoring Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which won the Palme D’Or in Cannes and has been honoured by several critics’ groups, including the Toronto Film Critics Association. However, its star, Brad Pitt, was nominated for Moneyball in the dramatic acting category, along with Clooney, Gosling, Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar). Honouring DiCaprio instead of Take Shelter‘s Michael Shannon underscores the HFPA’s tacky pedigree as a gang of junket whores who never saw a superstar they didn’t like. (If you think that’s too harsh, Ricky Gervais has said much worse things about the HFPA, yet they’ve hired him back to host the Globes, which adds a curious S&M kink to the junket whore role.) Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:31 AM - 11 Comments
While host Ricky Gervais un-friended half of Hollywood last night as host of the Golden Globes, The Social Network cemented its status as the movie of the year, as both its writer and director went out of their way to make it up to the man they portrayed as a selfish, cold-hearted geek—Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The Social Network won four Golden Globes, including best picture, director, screenplay and score.
Meanwhile a midlife crisis-obsessed Colin Firth and a visibly pregnant Natalie Portman were king and queen of the Hollywood prom, winning best actor and actress for The King’s Speech and Black Swan, respectively. Melissa Leo and Christian Bale won supporting actress and actor awards for their showy turns as white-trash trash talkers in The Fighter. And an exuberant Paul Giamatti gave “the great nation of Canada” a big shout-out as he accepted the best actor in a musical or comedy for Barney’s Version. It was a good night for lesbian portrayals as Annette Bening won best actress in a musical or comedy for The Kids are All Right, and Jane Lynch won a supporting actress for her TV role as the gay gym teacher in Glee, which won three awards. Robert De Niro tried reprising his King of Comedy role with some weakly scripted one liners as he accepted the Cecil B. De Mille Award for lifetime achievement. And at the end of the night a persistently venomous Ricky Gervais eliminated his last possible friend in the room as he thanked God for making him an atheist.
That’s the short version of a three-hour show that was, nevertheless, shorter than the average Oscar night. The universe unfolded more or less as it should, with the Globes setting up a fairly sound set of predictions for the Oscars—although the Oscars don’t have a separate comedy/musical category, so don’t expect Giamatti to spin his triumph into an Academy nod.
Recently in a Maclean’s video, I shot my mouth off about how the Golden Globes are a joke, and how the choices of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are warped by self-interest—whether it’s honouring The Tourist to lure Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie or honouring Burlesque after taking a free junket to see Cher perform in Vegas. Of course, I’m not the only one saying this. Everybody is. And shortly before last night’s awards, a former publicist for the Golden Globes show launched a $2 million lawsuit alleging its organizers have taken bribes. Which provided Gervais with fresh material to demolish the folks who had hired him.
Regardless of all that, the Globes are still more fun to watch than the Oscars. Because the party maters more than the awards. And because the stars drink during show. Even the host drinks during the show. Or is that just part of his schtick?
Last night I curled on the couch with a laptop, typing. The time flew by, and I was only watching people drink. (I’ve learned from past experience that typing and drinking don’t mix). You can find a list of all the award winners and nominees here, but here’s my blow-by-blow account of the evening:
Ricky Gervais’s beer is waiting for him on the podium. He takes a sip and says, “It’s going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking, or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast.”
Gervais launches right into the controversial highlights. Admits he hasn’t seen The Tourist, then adds, “It must be good because it’s nominated. So shut up. I want to quash this ridiculous rumour that the only reason the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated The Tourist is so they could hang out with Johnny Depp. That’s not the only reason. They also took bribes.”
Moving right along to the scandal about the HFPA’s junketeers taking a free ride to see Cher sing in Vegas, Gervais says, “You want to go see Cher? . . . No . . . Why not? . . . Because it’s not 1975.”
Then he draws so groans as he takes a low blow at an easy target, citing heterosexual actors pretending to be gay as “the complete opposite of some well-known scientologist.” Tom Cruise does not appear to be in the room.
Speaking of easy targets, next comes Hugh Hefner’s marriage to twentysomething Crystal Harris, who is 60 years his junior. The joke: that she thought he was 94, not 84. The sight gag: Crystal performing fellatio on the old man while checking her watch and thinking, “Hold out, and just don’t look at it when you touch it.”
Christian Bale takes best supporting actor in a drama for The Fighter. As if determined to erase his image as a cantakerous jerk in a single speech, he thanks everyone on earth, pointing to his wife. Any man would be lucky as hell to be married to her. He’s wearing a beard. A lot of actors are wearing beards. It’s what they do between roles.
Katie Segal, a blast from the past, seems as shocked as we are to see her win something. Yes, that Katey Sagal from Married With Children. She wins best supporting actress in a TV drama for Sons of Anarchy.
Carlos, the spectacular French TV mini series that Olivier Assayas directed as a super-long motion picture—and is the only ‘movie’ on all the New York Times film critics’ top 10 lists—wins for best TV mini series. So what is it, a movie or a TV show? And will it be eligible for the Oscars? Someone, please Google that.
Ricky Gervais continues to get away with murder. “Please welcome Ashton Kutcher’s dad, Bruce Willis,” he says, as Demi Moore’s ex walks out. And you half-expect Willis to slug the impudent Limey.
Chris Colfer takes best supporting actor in a TV series for his role as a gay kid in Glee, and makes the evening’s first political statement by dedicating his prize to all the kids that watch the show how he hopes it inspires them fighting the bullies who won’t let them be who they are.
Gervais now introduces his host, HFPA pres Philip Berk, saying he’s so old “I just had to get him off the toilet and put his teeth in.” And as Berk step up to the podium, after that intro it’s impossible not to fixate on the guy’s bad dye job (if it’s his real hair). Berk apparently has been a member of the HFPA for 33 years, and somewhere along the line seems to have lost his sense of humour. All this talk of bribery and corruption be getting to him, “Ricky,” he says, “next time you want me to help you qualify your movies, go to another guy.” Making it sound more like a threat than a joke. Let’s add extortion to the list of the HFPA’s alleged crimes.
Steve Buscemi wins best actor in TV drama for Boardwalk Empire. The prompts are telling him to get off the stage almost before he’s got his speech out of his pocket. Suddenly Buscemi, so often typecast as weasel, seems more human by the second as he devotes most of his gratitude to his family. Yes, he has one.
Gervais says The Social Network was his favorite picture of the year. Sounding serious, more of an opinion than a joke. Then the joke: “The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is worth $7 billion. Or as Heather Mills calls him, “‘The one that got away.’”
I guess that HFPA Vegas junket to see Cher did the trick. The song she sings from Burlesque, “You Haven’t Seen the Best of Me,” wins best song. But it’s the songwriter who accepts, not Cher. Oh right, she’s doing a show in Vegas.
It’s cute-as-a-button teen time as Hailee Seinfeld and Justin Bieber present the animated feature award, which goes, not surprisingly, to Toy Story 3. The guy who accepts wonders if they were even born when the first Toy Story came out.
Gervais introduces Robert Downey Jr., noting that his movie credits—Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Two Girls and A Guy, Bowfinger—all sound like porn titles, then adds that “most of you know him from the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail.”
RDJ, introducing best actress for comedy and a musical hones in on what everybody by now must be thinking with a line that cuts as deep as anything Gervais has said: “Aside from the fact that it’s been incredibly mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I’d say the vibe of the show is pretty good so far, wouldn’t you?”
Downey Jr., immediately usurping Ricky’s role as the Smartest Guy in the Room, then launches into an ingenious routine, naming all the best actress candidates for a musical or comedy saying, “I don’t know if an actress can do her best work until I’ve slept with her . . . Julianne, I told her I was working with strange new feelings that were confusing me. Annette . . . ” And on it goes. “Just saying, if I could, I would give it to all five of you.” Finally a comic has connected with the audience, rather than just making them wince.
Annette Bening wins best actress for a musical or comedy, and thanks “the 1962 winner for the GG for most promising actor, my husband, Warren Beatty.” Warren looks like a proud papa.
Gervais introduces Sly Stallone, praising his “versatility” for playing both a boxer and Rambo.
Geoffrey Rush, looking like William Burroughs in a black suit and fedora presents an award with an über-pale Tilda Swinton, who’s all in white and resembles an albino alien. They’re quite the couple; they should go on the road together.
Al Pacino gets a standing ovation as he accepts his fourth Golden Globe, for playing Jack Kevorkian in You Don’t Know Jack and says, “It’s a great honour for me to have played Jack Kevorkian….it’s great for actors who portray real actors. It’s kind of a special thing for an actor when they get to play a real person.” He’s being sincere. I wonder if Jesse Eisenberg feels the same way, knowing he’s unlikely to win even if The Social Network sweeps.
The most passionate speech of the night so far comes from Claire Danes, who wins best actress in a TV movie drama for Temple Grande. The autistic subject of the movie is in the house. Danes, surfing the verge of tears, says no one but HBO would make a movie like this. I wonder: why can’t there be more HBOs?
Ricky Gervais keeps swinging below the belt, producing more shudders than laughs.
He introduces “the ungrateful Steve Carrell” as a “jobbing actor” who became famous by starring in a remake of his show, The Office. “He’s now leaving that show and killing a cash cow for both of us,” says Gervais. Carrell deadpans a loud, sarcastic “Ha, ha, ha” but looks genuinely unamused as he says this routine is getting old.
Aaron Sorkin, accepting the screenplay award for The Social Network, thanks Sony’s studio execs for believing “that the people who watch movies are at least as smart as the people who make movies.” He praises director David Fincher for being “able to make scenes of typing, and sometimes just talking about typing” play like bank robberies. And he patches things up with the movie’s anti-hero, Mark Zuckerberg. Turning his speech into an virtual amendment to the script, Sorkin him a “visionary” and an “altruist,” then closes off by telling his daughters that “elite is not a bad word, it’s an aspirational one.” Makes you wonder what’s up with those kids.
Jane Fonda, who presents a trailer for Burlesque, looks like Barbarella Redux in a metallic dress with pointy shoulder pads.
Jeremy Irons, in his English Actor voice, out-enunciates everyone as he presents best supporting actress to Melissa Leo for The Fighter. After situating herself—in “ Southern California, the home of my mother, her mother, her mother before her”—she makes sure everyone knows that she almost didn’t go meet the director because she figured she was to young to play Mark Wahlberg’s mother.
Matt Damon presents the Cecil B. De Mille Award to Robert De Niro, who, after the obligatory montage, puts on his King of Comedy hat and joins in the roast of his hosts. “I’m glad you made the announcement two months ago, well before you had a chance to review Little Fockers,” he says. “We’re all in this together, the people who make the movies, and the members of HFPA who pose for pictures with the movie stars. “
After watching the montage, he says, Awakenings was one of my favorite movies, great performance by Robin Williams. I just forgot that I was in it.”
And: “All these movies are like my children. . . except my children are more expensive and you can’t remake them in 3-D to push up the grosses.” Who writes this stuff?
Megan Fox, only moments earlier fodder for a joke by De Niro about full-body scans, arrives in a gown that makes her look like goddess bandaged in pink satin and sequins. She looks fabulous and then demonstrates her inability to read a teleprompter.
Annette Bening presents best director to director David Fincher, who sounds as smart as his films. When he was asked to make The Social Network, he recalls, “I thought, ‘This is so strange because I normally make pitch-black studies of misanthropes or serial killers.” After speed-reading his gratitude with dispassionate cool, he thanks his entire cast by their first names then says, “I’m personally loathe to acknowledge the wonderful response this film has received for fear of becoming addicted to it.” Like Sorkin, he also goes out of his way to praise Zuckerberg, whose life served as “a metaphor for communication and the way we relate to each other.”
This feels unprecedented: filmmakers rehabilitating the reputation of a subject that they have tarnished onscreen. It’s as if Zuckerberg, newborn philanthropist and Time Person of the Year, has spun the movie’s portrayal of him into a fresh Facebook update.
Halle Berry presents best actor for motion picture comedy or musical. Johnny Depp is competing against himself for roles in two movies that aren’t really about acting, as the Mad Hatter and Angelina Jolie’s lapdog. Which leaves the field wide open for Paul Giamatti. His win is the ultimate nerd victory. When his name is announced, the star of Barney’s Version gets kissed first by Robert Lantos, his jubilant producer, and then by presenter Halle Berry, which leaves a stronger impression:
“Jesus Christ, Halle Berry. Jesus Christ. Halle Berry,” says Giamatti, who seems more excited by the Berry kiss than by the hunk of metal in his fist. “I’m a little jacked up because I ate 5 boxes of the free Godiva chocolates,” he says. “Halle Berry! I always think a mistake has been made because the other men in this category are superior to me in every regard, as men and actors. . .
“I had three wives in this movie, just a trifecta of hotties. I got to smoke and drink and get laid in this movie and I got paid for it. An amazing thing.” Giamatti goes on to thank “this incredible family of Mordecai Richler,” who let me snoop around in their private lives. But he lavished his most fulsome gratitude on Richler’s home turf, where the movie was shot: “Montreal—an incredible place in a great nation. Canada! I salute the great nation of Canada!”
Jeff Bridges presents the Globe for best actress in a movie drama to a visibly pregnant Natalie Portman for Black Swan. After thanking her parents and grandparents, she thanks the Black Swan choreographer who is the father of her child, and whose character has a key line in the film, telling the artistic director he wouldn’t sleep with her. “He’s the best actor,” says Portman. “It’s not true! He totally wants to sleep with me!”
Hanks, taking the stage with Tim Allen, tries to even the odds somewhat by taking a swipe at the host: “Like many of you, we recall when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very nice comedian.”
10:40 p.m. Colin Firth, showing a glimmer of grey in his hair, gives the night’s most eloquent speech, proving he’s an actor by being able to thank a host of people in lovely language without pulling a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket: “Getting you through the mid-stage of your life with your dignity and your judgment intact can be somewhat precarious. Sometimes all you need is a little gentle reassurance to keep you on track.” Clutching his statuette, he says, “Right now this is all that stands between me and a Harley Davidson.” He goes on to express his affection or director Tom Hooper and co-actor Geoffrey Rush, by referring to “a surprisingly robust triangle of man-love that has somehow moved forward in perfect formation for the last year and a half of so…Geoffrey, my true friend and geisha girl.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Michael Douglas, cancer survivor, looking good, crowns the evening as he comes up to present Best Picture. “There’s got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation,” he says.
As The Social Network wins the top prize, producer Scott Rudin adds his voice to the filmmakers’ Facebook friending campaign, thanking “everybody at Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg for allowing us to use his life and his work as a metaphor.” At this rate, Zuckerberg will be getting a lifetime achievement Oscar.
11 p.m. Apparently, all is fair in the manufacture of Hollywood fable. It’s all about sportsmanship. And as Ricky Gervais signs off, he thanks everyone in the room for being good sports . . . “and thank you to God, for making me an atheist.” God, I guess, is the ultimate good sport. But by now, even He has tuned out.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 1:01 PM - 2 Comments
How could the Hollywood Foreign Press snub Javier Bardem?
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM - 0 Comments
Canadian Ryan Gosling nominated for best actor
King’s Speech is the big winner of this year’s Golden Globes nominations—the biopic on King George VI has earned seven, including best dramatic film. The other for best drama nods went to The Fighter, Inception, Black Swan and The Social Network. In the television categories, Glee led the competition with five nominations. Best Actor nods went to: James Franco (127 Hours), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter), Colin Firth (King’s Speech) and Canadian Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine). Best Actress nods went to: Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) and Halle Berry (Frankie and Alice). Actors from two Canadian productions were nominated for “best actor in a comedy or musical.” Kevin Spacey was nominated for Casino Jack and Paul Giamatti for Barney’s Version. The 68th Annual Golden Globes will be hosted by comedian Ricky Gervais on Jan. 16 in Hollywood.
By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 11:46 AM - 0 Comments
The fine organization that honoured Pia Zadora for her breakout performance in Butterfly has announced its latest round of nominations in both film and TV.
Some of the film nominations are a bit crazy if not quite up to the Zadora tradition — with both Alice in Wonderland and Burlesque up for “best motion picture – comedy or musical” and multiple The Tourist nominations — but the TV nominations are more standard, even depressingly reasonable. Katey Sagal getting a nomination for Sons of Anarchy is good news; like her long-suffering colleague Ed O’Neill, she’s never been nominated for an Emmy, and I welcome anything that might finally shame the Academy into noticing she exists. (Though she and O’Neill repeatedly got Golden Globe nominations in the ’90s and it didn’t seem to make the Emmy people wake up.)
Also, the people who nominate these things seem to really love Showtime, handign out nominations not only to Dexter and Nurse Jackie but The Big C. Someday award nominators are going to notice that Showtime is not what it was when Robert Greenblatt was there, but for now they’ve got a nice little operation going, where they get all the award attention of a prestige network even though they don’t necessarily do much to earn it. Oddly, Weeds, which had a good comeback season, got shut out, but I probably shouldn’t try too hard to think of these nominations in terms of which show had the best season, as opposed to which show the network was pushing hardest and which ones the voters had heard of. This also explains why 30 Rock was the only NBC comedy that got a nomination.
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, January 18, 2010 at 11:58 AM - 21 Comments
This is a live-to-tape blog. Written in real time offline while watching the Golden Globe Awards and cleaned up (and tarted up) the morning-after so it’s less boring and at least semi-coherent. Gotta love the Globes. Acceptance speeches keep getting undercut by dark hints that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is one of the more corrupt awards outfits on the planet, a cabal of obscure junketeers who are (ahem) prone to influence, even if it’s just face time with a superstar. But Hollywood has appropriated the HFPA’s event as a party and a publicity orgy. And for the stars, this dress rehearsal for the Academy Awards is way more fun and less formal than Oscar night. They can get loaded on champagne then let the emotions fly on the podium. Plus it brings together film and TV, even though the TV folk get treated like minor league players.
Our host, a TV genius who has made the jump to the big screen with a movie unrecognized by the Globes (The Invention of Lying), is Ricky Gervais. He comes out swinging. Takes repeated shots at Steve Carell, then plugs a boxed DVD set of The Office, his breakout BBC series, which he says is better than Carell’s U.S. spin-off. Carrel mouths “I’m going to kill you,” making a joke of it, but frankly, he looks unamused.
“I will be making the most of this opportunity,” says Gervais. “I’m not used to these viewing figures. Another is NBC.” [This will be the first of many swipes at the train-wreck network. The other constant reference to NBC is in the frequent pleas to donate to the Haiti relief effort. Presenters ritually ask viewers to go to NBC.com. So this morning I did go to NBC.com, expecting some serious hype for charity. What do you know, amid all the glitz ads promoting Jay Leno and various NBC programming triumphs, I found a tiny, unadorned "Donate to Haiti Relief" box , which takes up maybe two percent of the NBC home page.]
Gervais’s nothing-to-lose monologue veers into blue territory as he praises the great work done this year . . . by cosmetic surgeons, then talks about his penis reduction surgery. “Just got the one now. And it is very tiny. But so are my hands. So when I’m holding it, it looks pretty big. And let’s face it I usually am holding it. I wish I was doing that now, instead of this, to be honest.” Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, January 18, 2010 at 11:03 AM - 25 Comments
James Cameron’s Golden Globe-winning movie has single-handedly brought back old-fashioned movie magic
It looks like the movie about blue aliens by that brash Canadian from Niagara Falls is poised to become the top-grossing picture of all time. After roaring past the $1-billion threshold in a record 17 days, James Cameron’s Avatar will likely shatter the $1.8-billion tidemark set by Cameron’s own Titanic 12 years ago, especially if it does well at the Oscars. Which begs the question: why? Everyone seems to agree that the story is corny, its message is naive, and its cliché of the noble savage is retrograde. Friends of mine who have no desire to see Avatar keep asking, why is it so huge? Is it just a massive feat of marketing?
No, it’s the magic, stupid.
Love it or hate it, Avatar boldly goes where no movie has gone before. Some of the ﬁlm’s harshest critics have even confessed they would see it again—just for the 3-D experience of being so deeply inside a movie. Then there are those who swear they’ll never see it, as if on principle. They dismiss it as just another escalation in the Hollywood blitzkrieg of special effects, a victory of digital artillery over human emotion. I would argue the opposite. Sure, Avatar’s prototype of 3-D spectacle is the biggest game-changer since Star Wars launched the arms race of sci-ﬁ blockbusters 33 years ago. But what’s revolutionary about Cameron’s ﬁlm is not its ﬁrepower. The real feat is how it uses cutting-edge technology to bring back a kind of old-fashioned movie magic.
Despite the guns and spears that occasionally poke through the fourth wall, what has Avatar audiences spellbound is not the frontal assault of 3-D, but the enchantment of being drawn into a world that softly envelops the senses. It’s akin to the childhood wonder of discovering a classic Disney cartoon. I went back to see Avatar a second time, and was struck that the 3-D was most effective when the action slowed to a virtual standstill. There’s a scene in Pandora’s bioluminescent forest where jellyﬁsh-like spores from the moon’s sacred tree ﬂoat down to tickle the blue limbs of the story’s avatar hero. Which sounds ridiculous on the page. But it’s a Tinker Bell moment of transcendent beauty. You can sense the collective awe in the theatre—time has stopped and we’re in the movie.
It’s as if Cameron, a veteran deep-sea diver, has transformed the screen’s ﬂat rectangle into an aquarium and asked us in for a swim, with 3-D glasses serving as scuba gear. The ﬂying sequences are exhilarating—and oceanic, as Na’vi natives ride bareback on giant birds that swoop over cliffs like manta rays grazing coral reefs. But Avatar’s stereoscopic vision goes beyond optics. With performance-capture technology that erases the line between live action and animation, the actors teleport their performances into another dimension; they, like their characters, drive avatars.
The ﬂattest thing about the movie is the script. Cameron’s saga of a Marine who goes native in an alien world, leading an aboriginal revolt against U.S. military invaders, is a humourless pastiche cobbled from virtually every hoary, heroic myth Western culture has to offer. Avatar wants to be Dances With Wolves, Apocalypse Now and 2001: A Space Odyssey all at once. But in a world of wall-to-wall irony, the ﬁlm’s earnest sentiment comes as a tonic. The state-of-the-art anachronism feels weirdly fresh, as if the entire movie is an avatar—a high-tech Trojan Horse hiding a 19th-century colonial romance.
And that’s all part of its industrial alchemy. Cameron never liked nuance. Fuelled by Wagnerian ambition, his righteous anti-war epic wrestles our emotions to the ground with operatic force. We’re drawn into a jungle paradise only to see it destroyed in a Goya-like pageant of horriﬁc beauty. It’s profoundly sad, and the depth of the 3-D drives home the tragedy with a visceral impact. The second time I saw the ﬁlm, I found myself constantly on the verge of tears, as if the screen was exerting a tidal pull on the heart.
What’s most remarkable about Avatar is how Cameron created technology in order to demonize technology. In the process, he has reversed the engines of a blockbuster culture geared to loud, fast special effects. His movie proves that 3-D works best as an immersive medium: with the detail of that third dimension, the ﬁlm’s violent action scenes tend to get too busy. Avatar plays like a movie by a man at war with himself—a gun-loving tree-hugger addicted to machines who, like the hero who goes native, wants to ﬁght his way back to the garden. Now that he’s found it, action movies may never be the same.
By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 10:39 AM - 0 Comments
Nothing very interesting there, though there’s plenty to get you annoyed if you take these nominations seriously (nominations for Dexter, Entourage and Anna Paquin, nothing for Jim Parsons).
I find it mildly odd that Curb Your Enthusiasm, which actually won a Golden Globe for best comedy, was left out, since you’d have thought that the strong season combined with the mega-popular Seinfeld reunion gimmick would have guaranteed it a nomination. But, again, this is maybe taking these awards more seriously than they deserve; the TV division of the Golden Globes is like an afterthought of an afterthought, and they seem largely based on which nominees will look best at the awards show.
By Jaime Weinman - Monday, October 26, 2009 at 2:51 PM - 0 Comments
I heard lots of people saying over the past few months that Ricky Gervais should host the Academy Awards. He’s funny, he’s quick-witted, he’s likable, he appeals to American and non-American viewers, and he’s actually done movies; who could be a more perfect choice? Well, it turns out he is going to host a movie awards show — the other one, the Golden Globes. The announcement is a bit of rare good news for NBC, which is broadcasting the Globes.
The other interesting thing here is the question of whether he was ever under consideration to host the Oscars, or if that was just internet wishful thinking. It does, though, seem to cement the idea that the Globes are more fun to watch than the Oscars; people have noticed in recent years that the Golden Globes show usually has better clothes and more relaxed, funny stars (not just because they can drink, but because the pressure to win is not as overwhelming). And now they’ve grabbed the host who seemed like a great Oscar choice, a host who furthermore has the kind of hip credentials that the un-hip Globes don’t usually possess. If they do it right, it could be a festival of self-deprecation, Gervais making affectionate fun of himself and show business, while the stars also poke a bit of fun at themselves. This is what separates the Golden Globes from the Oscars; everybody takes those seriously, even the ones who pretend not to.