By Colby Cosh, Ryan Mallough and Jamie Weinman - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 0 Comments
Rory McIlroy now with Nike, Obama’s brother enters politics and Zero Dark Thirty Oscar controversy
While Kate, duchess of Cambridge, gamely called her first formal portrait “amazing” and “brilliant,” critics compared Paul Emsley’s work, now hanging in London’s National Portrait Gallery, to North Korea’s mawkish propaganda portraits and even the soft-focus Twilight films.
Rebelle with a cause
It’s been a wild ride for Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen, 38. Last week, War Witch (Rebelle), his intimate drama about an African child soldier, received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. And this week War Witch, made for a modest budget of $3.8 million, topped the list of movies honoured by the newly created Canadian Screen Awards with 12 nominations, outstripping larger productions such as Midnight’s Children, Goon and Cosmopolis. Shot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nguyen’s film features a stunning performance from Rachel Mwanza, who was discovered as a homeless street kid in Kinshasa.
The worst kept secret in golf was unveiled this week when Nike announced it signed top PGA golfer Rory McIlroy to a reported $200-million contract. The deal makes McIlroy one of the world’s highest-paid athletes, and gives Nike the rights to golf’s two biggest and most marketable stars (including No. 2 ranked Tiger Woods). Woods was believed to be recruiting McIlroy for Nike while the two were paired together during the PGA playoffs last fall, and seen to be getting along well. The 23-year-old McIlroy will sport the swoosh for the first time at this weekend’s HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM - 0 Comments
It’s been a spectacular few days for Quebec writer-director Kim Nguyen. On Thursday his film Rebelle (War Witch) received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, just one of five titles plucked from a year of world cinema. And back home today, Rebelle tops the list of films honoured by the newly created Canadian Screen Awards, with a total of 12 nominations. Shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, his modest but affecting drama about a child soldier—portrayed by Rachel Mwanza, a girl he discovered in the street—trumped much larger Canadian productions such as Midnight’s Children, Goon and Cosmopolis.
On its tail with 10 nominations is Laurence Anyways, the story of a teacher’s transsexual odyssey by Quebec auteur Xavier Dolan. Quebec features dominate the awards with four of the six best picture nominations, the two exceptions being Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children and Michael McGowan’s Still Mine. Mehta’s adaptation of the Salman Rushdie novel, led the non-Quebec field with eight nominations. Like Rebelle and Laurence Anyways, it also scored nominations for director and screenplay.
Still Mine and Nicole Robert’s l’Affaire Dumont were tied with seven nominations; both have double lead acting nods. Michael Dowse’s hockey comedy, Goon, has six nominations, including best director.
The Academy’s choices differ sharply from those of the Toronto Film Critics Associaton, which honored Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell with its $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award for 2012. The Academy has nominated Polley’s movie in the documentary feature category. Goon, one of the TFCA’s two Rogers runners-up, didn’t figure among the Academy’s six best picture nominees; and the TFCA’s other runner-up, Denis Côté’s experimental doc Bestiaire, received no nominations from the Academy.
Heading the list of TV nominees are Flashpoint, with 11 nominations, Less Than Kind with 10, and Michael with eight. Among the nation’s news programs, CBC’s The National topped the list with six nominations.
Re-engineered by the Academy’s new CEO, former TIFF director Helga Stephenson, the Canadian Screen Awards have merged cinema’s Genie Awards with TV’s Geminis. The winners of the film and TV nominees will be announced at a two-hour inaugural gala hosted my Martin Short and broadcast live Sunday March 3, 2013 at 8 p.m. (8:30 N.T) on CBC.
Replacing the Genie and Gemini trophies is a new statuette, a spike-shaped figure with a pair of enveloping cape-like arms. The form, says Stephenson, “symbolizes two screens with the public at the core of it all. The new Canadian Screen Awards statue celebrates Canadian talent and Canadian productions, now destined for multiple screens.”
Amalgamating Canada’s film and TV awards makes sense—certainly on the film side. The Genies have been limping along for many years, and just like English Canadian cinema, they’ve had a hard time finding an audience. Film is supposed to carry more prestige than TV, but that’s worthless if a Genie falls in the forest and no one hears. Film and TV are increasingly interlocked. And hitched to the industrial power of the broadcast biz, the film awards may gain more traction. With some synergy, hopefully, Canada’s film and TV glitterati can create an entertaining prime-time awards show we can proud of. And they couldn’t have a better energizer bunny than the virtuosic Martin Short, who was dazzling in his recent turn as host of SNL.
The anomaly, of course, is that the film awards include Quebec while the TV awards do not. But Quebec television is its own industry, with its own star system. Canadian film is a smaller world than Canadian TV—it sounds counter-intuitive, but the big screen is smaller than the small screen. Yet cinema is, at least theoretically, the more universal medium. Besides, if Canadian cinema can’t claim the likes of Villeneuve, Arcand, Falardeau and Nguyen among our auteurs, we would be pretty impoverished.
The TV nominees are too voluminous to list, but is the full slate films nominated for the Canadian Screen Awards: