Saturday, 21 January 2012


The Oscars

Hollywood instituted Film Awards Events and still holds the reigns today. The most prestigious award of all is the 13 1/2 inch tall 24 k gold plated Oscar Statuette first awarded in 1929. Oscar is the most recognized trophy in the world. There are presently 2,809 in the world today. This event was held for the very first time May 16, 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel for $5.00 a ticket and it was not known as ‘the Oscars’. That came later when a librarian looked at the statuette and remarked it looked like her uncle ‘Oscar”. The name stuck.

In testament to the importance of ‘the Oscars’, The Academy Awards (The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences) has only had four incidents over its entire existence when a last minute scheduling change was necessary. In 1938 massive flooding in LA delayed the event 1 week. In 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated days before the event, his funeral was April 9th, out of respect the awards were postponed until the 10th. In 1981 the Oscars were postponed because of an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. In 2003, US forces invaded Iraq, the red carpet shrank and most of the world press were uninvited days before the event!

The Golden Globes

The Golden Globes presented by HFPA (The Hollywood Foreign Press Association) began in 1943 by 8 foreign journalists. It had very humble beginnings and no money. The actual golden trophy was created in 1946 a golden globe with a filmstrip encircling it.  The Golden Globes kicks off the Film & TV Awards Season preceded by the Critics Choice Awards (since 1995) and the People’s Choice Awards, (held since 1975 with two counterparts: PCA (Australia and the British Comedy Awards) all Hollywood Events in early to mid January. The most famous Golden Globes incident apart from the time in 1999 when Jack Nicholson mooned the audience occurred in 1958 when an inebriated ‘Rat Pack’ (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.) stormed the Golden Globes stage and took over the show. From then on it became a night for the stars to roast and toast each other. The evening was getting quite stuffy and hard to separate from other events until Ricky Gervais hosted the ‘2011 Globes’ bringing back some of the glory days of irreverence and lighthearted entertainment to an international audience of now 250 million viewers.

The DGA Awards

The Directors Guild Awards began in 1938 and are given by the Directors Guild of America. The first DGA Award was given to D. W. Griffith.  Traditionally the DGA Award for Feature Film is a very reliable indicator for the Best Director Oscar. The Directors Guild of America is a huge organization with an extensive network and valuable resources including everything from financial assistance to legal help. The eyes of the world turn to the DGA’s held at the Hollywood Grand Ballroom end of January.


The first BAFTA was given out in London, England 1947.  There are actually 5 yearly BAFTA events. BAFTA awards honour excellence in film, television and video games. The award is a golden mask – the Grecian maquette designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe. The official BAFTA name was adopted in 1979 before this it was The British Film Academy and then The Society after merging with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors. BAFTA like the Golden Globes had terrible initial financial struggles. David Lean donated the royalties from Bridge Over The River Kwai and Doctor Zhivago to provide invaluable working funds in the early years. The Queen also donated royalties from Richard Cawston’s documentary Royal Family enabling significant further growth and a permanent home for BAFTA and allowed it to become the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The BAFTA’s move the international film world’s gaze to England in mid February (this year at the Royal Opera House in London).

Although there are now many remarkable and significant film festivals around the world these are the ones that started the international film awards events. All have had humble beginnings, struggled to find financing, were frequently driven forward by the dedication of industry devotees for the purpose of celebrating and encouraging outstanding creative achievement in the field of film and television (now video games as well).  Just to be nominated for any one of these awards is massive!

Moira Romano

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Golden Globes 2012: Winners myETVmedia Picked & Why

The winners are given to the performances that were truly original and surprising. We have left all the clever repartee to Ricky Gervais, and simply defend our selections based on the merit of the movies.

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:

“My Week With Marilyn”

“My Week With Marilyn” wins Best Picture against a number of good films. “50/50” is a movie that deals with a very difficult and not much addressed subject – young men with cancer – and does so with humor and the kind of candor missing before this. “The Artist”, is a pleasant movie and it is certainly original to revive the old black and white, ‘silent’ movie genre. ‘Bridesmaids’ is an entertaining movie with an interesting switch from the male take on pre nuptial ‘brotherhood’ traditions to a novel ‘sisterhood’ but apart from the expected “The Hangover” ish romp it is more fluff than substance. “My Week With Marilyn” has phenomenal performances from a slate of distinguished actors, period accuracy that is a delight to enter and a personal tale that is engrossing and endearing. It also succeeds with a difficult premise, that of telling the story of a screen icon we all know extremely well as herself.

Actor, Drama:

Michael Fassbender: “Shame”

Michael Fassbender is our choice for Best Actor, Drama. Brad Pitt gives a great performance in Moneyball as the man who changed baseball history and Leonardo DiCaprio portrays J.Edgar with exceptional skill despite the lousy makeup. George Clooney has already run off with a Best Actor for his performance in The Descendants as a bereaved father but in our estimation these are not the best. Michael Fassbender has to completely go outside the norm and play the role of an uncomfortable character that we do not relate to. His portrayal of Brandon, a sex addict is so compelling and his portrayal so convincing that we start to understand this initially repulsive person as he reveals the deep layers of vulnerability that are hard to even contemplate.

Actress, Drama: 

Rooney Mara, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

Rooney Mara, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, wins the Best Actress in a Drama against really tough competition from Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep and Tilda Swinton. Once again, Rooney Mara creates a totally new portrayal of a character we are not familiar with, Lisbeth Salander, which was an even tougher job in light of Noomi Rapace’s riveting performance in the original Swedish version.


Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”

Best Director was a hard call with the real competition being between Scorsese and Payne for such very different movies. The Descendants is so incredibly well stitched together under Alexander Payne’s direction that his skill at taking a story that could have been rather flat and turning it into this mesmerizing story of a family that we laugh, cry and cheer for is undeniable. The performances he managed to get from his young actors was stellar and completely convincing and Sheilene Woodley confidently held her own on screen with one of the most celebrated, seasoned actors of our time.

Actor, Musical or Comedy: 

Ryan Gosling, “Crazy Stupid Love”

Actor, Musical or Comedy the winner is Ryan Gosling for Crazy, Stupid Love. This is a performance and a movie that is thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing. “The Artist” has received huge attention and is a pleasant movie but it truly is just that although kudos to Michel Hazanavicius for almost single handedly resurrecting a form of theatre that is almost extinct except in the ‘old movies category’ and reminding us all for a moment of what ‘nostalgic’ means.

Actress, Musical or Comedy:

Michelle Williams, “ My Week With Marilyn”

Michelle Williams managed to pull off an extremely difficult role, in fact almost impossible – trying to convince the audience that she is Marilyn Monroe, one of the greatest screen idols in the history of cinema. Even though Meryl Streep delivers a truly remarkable performance as Maggie Thatcher she did not have the same mountain to climb and her character was not as indelibly etched in our screen conscience, as is that of Marilyn Monroe.

Supporting Actor:

Viggo Mortensen, “ A Dangerous Method”

Viggo Mortensen is so completely Freudian it is uncanny how well he depicts this man whose name connotes sexual analysis and possibly peculiar sexual preferences not spoken about. Viggo Mortensen portrays a distinguished physician, a man of letters, a gentleman who is so engaging that it is completely possible that he could indeed know your most private thoughts. Director David Cronenberg deviates only enough to allow Mortensen’s actual good looks to replace the historically disfigured looks of the real Freud. Mortensen ties the trio that includes his best friend Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Jung’s patient Sabrina (Kiera Knightly) and himself together with subtlety and power in a beautiful Merchant Ivory style period piece that is superb.

Supporting Actress:

Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs

Best Supporting Actress goes to Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”. This romantic, gender bending, period piece drama is masterfully directed by Rodrigo Garcia and although Glenn Close delivers one of her unique performances, it is Hubert Page played by McTeer that is deserving of a best here.

Foreign Language:

“The Kid With A Bike”

Foreign Language winner is “The Kid With A Bike” by the Dardenne brothers is outstanding. Thomas Doret’s performance as Cyril is spellbinding and the ability of the directors to get this performance on screen is a testament to their remarkable, celebrated talent.

Animated Film:


Rango wins for Animated Film because once again it was truly unique and thoroughly engaging. That little green reptile won our hearts in a completely new and compelling way with the voice of Johnny Depp to ensure an unforgettable performance.


Alexander Payne, Nat Faxwon, Jim Rash, "The Descendants";              

Several screenplays were outstanding. Moneyball was a fascinating and difficult story to tell that Sorkin and Zaillian spent an incredible amount of time researching and perfecting. Woody Allen is a masterful story teller but "Midnight in Paris" was not his strongest movie script.  "The Artist" did not have the scope or depth that would garner top honors. "The Ides of March" is a wonderful political piece but not outstanding when compared to "The Descendants" which is powerful and memorable in every way.

Original Score: 

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo";

Best original score is a tough choice to make and we decided to go with the digital music remix of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” featuring vocals by Karen O (Yeah Yeah) under the direction of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross. The vocals by Karen O (Yeah Yeah) heightened the movement and drama of the mystery unfolding before us. The music is memorable and immediately brings the movie and the story to mind perfectly setting the mood and the moment. The other musical scores were more predictable and honestly not standout in this manner at all.

Original Song:

"The Keeper" (music and lyrics by Chris Cornell), "Machine Gun Preacher"; 

Best Original Song is well deserved by Chris Cornell, who has written and performed “The Keeper” for the movie ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ which premiered at TIFF and went on to grab international attention for the cause in Africa. Cornell’s song is piercing, transcending the physical distances between the children in Africa and their plight, exposing their vulnerability. All royalties go to Angels of East African, spearheaded by Sam Childers, the man portrayed by Gerard Butler.

Friday, 13 January 2012

2012 Red Carpet Awards Season blasts off with Nostalgia

The 17th Critics Choice Awards (Jan. 12)  launched the 2012 Music & Film Awards Season. It is a joyful and moving event to see someone who has had such an influence on all our lives receive the recognition and tribute they have earned. The Critics Choice Awards paid homage to director Martin Scorsese for his remarkable contributions to film, showing segments from Taxi Driver, The Aviator, Raging Bull, No Direction Home, Last Waltz, George Harrison: Living in The Material World and many other of his films and docs. He was honoured on stage at the Hollywood Palladium in LA, by people he has come to know intimately through his work; George Harrison’s widow Olivia, Bob Dylan and Leonardo DiCaprio. The award for Music and Film meant a lot to Scorsese who was humbled by the honour. Actor/activist Sean Penn was also honoured for his humanitarian work in Haiti.

Another veteran actor/director/producer we all know and love, George Clooney took the trophy for Best Actor in The Descendants but everyone else on the top of the roster was a surprise. ‘The Help’, a story rejected by 60 publishers before a taker came along leapt to the forefront with a Best Actress win for Viola Davis, and Best Supporting Actress, Octavia Spencer as well as Best Ensemble. Davis plays her character,  Aibileen with power and heart. “I wanted to be somebody. I wanted to dream big and make a mark somehow”said Davis. She wanted to “pay homage to these women…who were not allowed to dream.”

Best Comedy went to a silly but highly entertaining film Bridesmaids, which was a winner because of the excellent ensemble of actors. Bridesmaids is a ‘bit of a female version of The Hangover’ - a welcome switch in perspective. The big winner of the evening “Best Picture” went to a black and white, silent or almost silent, film except for a few stray words and a lovely soundtrack “The Artist”. “The Artist’ is a French film by Michel Hazanavicius who has almost single handedly resurrected the silent film. “The Artist” started to gain serious attention at TIFF. “The familiar story is reminiscent of classics like Sunset Boulevard and A Star is Born”, said Michele Maheux (TIFF).  The Artist inspires “ a newfound appreciation for silent cinema, melodrama and the intense emotional effects this type of genre can deliver.”  It is certainly doing just that.

Considering the remarkable lineup of movies in contention this year more surprises are yet to come. Some of my favourites are Moneyball, Shame, Hugo, Albert Nobbs, J. Edgar, MI4, War Horse, Sherlock Holmes and TinTin. Check out the reviews and interviews with the stars on myETVmedia. Select your own and enjoy a great year in film! The bar has been raised.