The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and the Very, Very Independent — the Spirit Awards and the Razzies

Posted on February 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

The Spirit Awards for independent film were announced yesterday, as were the Razzie nominations for the worst films and performances of 2011.  Good news for “The Artist,” not such good news for Adam Sandler, who broke the record for the most Razzie nominations, because three of his films were included along with his performances as both actor and actress (in drag) in “Jack and Jill.”

Spirit Awards

BEST FEATURE: “The Artist”
BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
BEST MALE LEAD: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
BEST FEMALE LEAD: Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
BEST SUPPORTING MALE: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”
BEST FIRST FEATURE: “Margin Call”
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Feature Under $500,000): “Pariah”
BEST SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY: “50/50”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Artist”
BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Interrupters”
BEST FOREIGN FILM: “A Separation”
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD: “Margin Call”

 

The Razzies (Golden Rasberry Awards)

WORST PICTURE •  Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star • New Year’s Eve •Transformers: Dark of the Moon •The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1  

WORST ACTOR • Adam SandlerJust Go With It Jack and Jill • Nick Swardson , Bucky Larson •Russell Brand , Arthur • Taylor Lautner , Abduction Breaking Dawn • Nicholas Cage , Drive Angry 3-D, Season of the Witch, Trespass

WORST ACTRESS •  Adam Sandler,  Just Go With It &  Jack and Jill •  Sarah Palin,  Sarah Palin: The Undefeated •  Sarah Jessica Parker,  I Don’t Know How She Does It  New Year’s Eve • Kristen StewartThe Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 • Martin Lawrence,  Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR • Al Pacino, Jack and Jill •  Patrick Dempsey,  Transformers: Dark of the Moon •  James Franco, Your Highness, •  Nick Swardson , Jack and Jill & Just Go With It • Ken Jeong  for four movies—Big Mommas,The Hangover: Part II, Transformers & Zookeeper.

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS • David Spade , Jack and Jill •  Martin Lawrence,  Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son •  Nicole Kidman , Just Go With It • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley , Transformers: Dark of the Moon • Katie Holmes, Jack and Jill

WORST SCREEN ENSEMBLES • The Entire Cast of Bucky Larson • The Entire Cast of Jack and Jill • The Entire Cast of New Year’s Eve • The Entire Cast of Transformers • The Entire Cast of  Breaking Dawn

WORST SCREEN COUPLE •  Nicholas Cage & “anyone sharing the screen with him in any of his three 2011 films” •  Shia LaBeouf & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley,  Transformers • Adam Sandler & Jennifer Aniston or  Brooklyn Decker,  Just Go With It • Adam Sandler & Katie HolmesAl Pacino or himself,  Jack and Jill • Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner or  Robert PattinsonBreaking Dawn.

WORST PREQUEL, SEQUEL, REMAKE OR RIPOFF • Arthur •  Bucky Larson •  The Hangover: Part II • Jack and Jill • Breaking Dawn

WORST DIRECTOR •  Michael Bay,  Transformers •  Tom Brady,  Bucky Larson •  Bill CondonBreaking Dawn • Dennis Dugan,  Jack and Jill  Just Go With It •  Garry Marshall,  New Year’s Eve.

WORST SCREENPLAY • Bucky Larson • Jack and Jill • New Year’s Eve •  Transformers • Breaking Dawn

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Awards

Teenage Paparazzo Empowerment Tour

Posted on February 26, 2012 at 8:00 am

The Teenage Paparazzo Empowerment Tour is raising money to deliver messages about media and celebrity to high schools across the country.  Adrian Grenier (HBO’s Entourage) gets behind the camera to explore the concepts of celebrity and fame in today’s media saturated society. The documentary interviews scholars, celebrities, and paparazzo themselves in order to take an in-depth look at why and how people consume popular culture and are affected by media saturation and technology. The Empowerment Tour will bring together teachers, students, local media, guest speakers, and educators at high school campuses across the country. Schools get the opportunity to screen the film, engage in a live exhibit of art reflecting themes presented in the film, and engage in local media events. They are reaching 80 schools and 50,000+ students in a 6 month period, beginning in the fall of 2012.

 

 

 

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Contests and Giveaways Teenagers

Paulzeye Interviews Me!

Posted on February 25, 2012 at 8:00 am

Many thanks to Paulzeye for the opportunity to answer very thoughtful questions about being a movie critic.  I was very touched by his kind words:

Whether Minow’s busy being a mom or busy being the Movie Mom, one thing is cer­tain: she encom­passes all the qual­i­ties and virtues of the hard-working 21st Cen­tury woman. And her com­men­tary is a reflec­tion of her own per­sona: hon­est, sharp, to the point, and always very insightful.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Paulz­eye:  As a critic, you’ve seen a fair share of good films and bad films. How would you define a mas­ter­ful or good film?  How would you define a bad film?

Nell Minow:  I eval­u­ate every movie accord­ing to its aspi­ra­tions – oth­er­wise, every review will be, “It’s not ‘Cit­i­zen Kane.’”  How well does it meet the expec­ta­tions of its intended audi­ence?  If it is a silly com­edy or a chases and explo­sions film it makes no sense to com­pare it to an Oscar con­tender.  But, at its core, every movie should be grounded in the sin­cere com­mit­ment of the peo­ple who made it to do the best they can for the audi­ence they are try­ing to reach.  The one kind of film I really hate is the kind that con­de­scends to its audience.

Paulz­eye:  What are five films, new or old, that should be on every family’s ‘must-see’ list and why?

Nell Minow:   “To Kill a Mock­ing­bird,” “The Court Jester,” “Some Like it Hot,” “The Mir­a­cle Worker,” and “The Wiz­ard of Oz” are all clas­sics that have some­thing for every age and give fam­i­lies a lot to talk about.

Paulz­eye:  Peo­ple tend to think that being a film critic is an easy pro­fes­sion but surely it must be dif­fi­cult to spend hours in a mul­ti­plex watch­ing sev­eral films back to back and then review­ing them. Talk to us about that process. What’s a day at the movies like for you?

Nell Minow:  Most days, I see only one or two movies.  The inde­pen­dent and foreign films are most often in a lit­tle screen­ing room at the Motion Pic­ture Asso­ci­a­tion build­ing across Lafayette Square from the White House dur­ing the day and the big stu­dio films are in the evening, in movie the­atres with a cou­ple of rows reserved for crit­ics and the rest filled with peo­ple who won tick­ets on radio sta­tions or other giveaways.  I really enjoy the other local crit­ics, who have become friends and colleagues.  They make even the worst movies fun to watch.

Paulz­eye:  As a critic, what do you feel more com­fort­able writ­ing about: a film that you absolutely loved or one that you absolutely loathed?

Nell Minow:  Both are fine because they both inspire a lot of thoughts.  The tough­est ones are the bland and mediocre movies, because it is so hard to think of any­thing to say or any vivid way to say it.

Paulz­eye: You’ve inter­viewed sev­eral impor­tant fig­ures (politi­cians, actors, and direc­tors) over the years. What are some of your most mem­o­rable inter­views and why?

Nell Minow:  I espe­cially like talk­ing to writ­ers and direc­tors, who are not inter­viewed as often as actors and who are more inter­ested in talking.  Some of the most mem­o­rable include John Irv­ing, Jason Reit­man, Ran­dall Wal­lace, Mike Mills, and John Cameron Mitchell.  One of my favorite recent inter­views was with Mar­tin Sheen for “The Way.”  He is an enthralling racon­teur and I could have lis­tened to him all day.  I was also very impressed at how kind he was to the staff in the hotel, intro­duc­ing him­self to every­one and really lis­ten­ing to them.  Another actor I won’t name infu­ri­ated me by being very rude to the wait­ress and maître d’.

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Media Appearances

Slate Analyzes Oscar Acceptance Speeches

Posted on February 24, 2012 at 11:32 pm

The dresses and the acceptance speeches are often more hotly debated than the awards on Oscar night.  Everyone remembers Sally Fields’ famous, “You like me!” speech and Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s impetuous, “I love you!” Jack Palance did one-handed push-ups.  Adrian Brody saw one of the most beautiful woman in history read his name and it was easy to understand why he could not resist the temptation to sweep Halle Berry into his arms for a passionate kiss.  Julia Roberts told the conductor he’d better not start waving his baton to start the music because she had more to say.  Roberto Benigni climbed over the chairs on his way to the stage.  Louise Fletcher (Best Actress, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) memorably used American Sign Language for her thank yous because her parents are deaf.  When Tom Hanks thanked his high school drama teacher in his acceptance speech for playing a gay lawyer in “Philadelphia,” he appeared to out him as well (Hanks had called for permission).  That inspired the Kevin Kline movie “In and Out.”

Clark Gable (Best Actor, “It Happened One Night”) gave the shortest speech, just “Thank you.”  Greer Garson (Best Actress, “Mrs. Miniver) gave the longest speech.  While it is sometimes reported as having lasted over an hour, in reality, according to the official historian of the awards, it was just seven minutes.  But it was after 1 am and it probably seemed longer.  Garson was a good sport.  The following year, as a presenter, she got up to the podium and said, “As I was saying….”

What’s your guess about who gets thanked the most often?  Parents?  Drama coach?  Director?  Agent?   Slate has done a comprehensive analysis of the past decade of Oscar acceptance speeches and it is a lot of fun.  I wonder why God is thanked so much more frequently at the Grammys and MTV awards than the Oscars.

 

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Actors Awards
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