Oscar Thoughts from Three Top Critics

Posted on February 22, 2009 at 9:27 am

Jeannette Catsoulis tells us the Oscars should embrace the lowbrow in Las Vegas CityLife:
tudios spend all year milking dollars from young people only to turn around at Oscar time, overcome with shame and a newly minted commitment to quality, and nominate a bunch of old-lady favorites. (Only one of this year’s nominees is even set in this century.) Am I — gasp! — arguing for award by populism? Damn right I am: If Hollywood wants support for its sickeningly expensive, annual display of onanism, it needs to be proud of what it does best. Leave the recognition of Art to the Independent Spirit Awards and the Director’s Guild and give Oscar back to the people who keep him in business: average Americans.
She makes a compelling argument that the movies overlooked by Oscar like “Dark Knight” and “Quantum of Solace” are not just bigger at the box office — they are better.
In the future, the organizers should give Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin co-hosting duties (with no restrictions on the jokes), have Matt Stone and Trey Parker write the intros, give Stan Lee as many awards as possible and invite Miley Cyrus and the Jonas clones to sing the nominated songs.
Christopher Orr also objects to stuffiness of the nominees at The New Republic, which he describes as “the mushy middle, a showcase of high-toned, politically palatable films meticulously engineered to approximate art.”
“WALL-E,” for my money the best film of the year, was relegated to the animated-film ghetto from which only “Beauty and the Beast” has ever emerged. “The Dark Knight”–which, for all its flaws, was an ambitious, fascinating work of pop mythology–will have to content itself with whatever technical awards it can scrape up. (Best Visual Effects! In your face, “Iron Man!”) And even as the Academy ignored the summer’s big mass-cultural phenomena, it simultaneously managed to skip over the fall and early winter’s quieter, more thoughtful indies–“The Wrestler,” “Rachel Getting Married,” and the bleak, bewildering “Synecdoche, New York.”
Dana Stevens in Slate finds the “aestheticization of Indian poverty unsettling” in “Slumdog Millionare” and is bothered by the “icky premise” of “The Reader.” She wistfully hopes for more “weirdness,” not just in the movies but from the actors, to make it more fun to watch.

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Awards

The Spirits and the Razzies

Posted on February 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

Just before the Oscars every year, two other important awards are announced. The Razzies (named for the rude noise called a “raspberry”) are given to the worst of the year from Hollywood. This year the recipients are:
Worst Picture: The Love Guru (which I also picked as the year’s worst in my essay for Rotten Tomatoes)love guru.jpg
Worst Actor: Mike Myers in “The Love Guru”
Worst Actress: Paris Hilton “The Hottie and the Nottie
Worst Screenplay: “The Love Guru”
Worst Supporting Actor: Pierce Brosnan in “Mamma Mia!”
Worst Supporting Actress: Paris Hilton again in “Repo! The Genetic Opera”
Worst Couple: Paris Hilton again with either Christine Lakin or Joel David Moore in “The Hottie & The Nottie”
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
And by the way, anyone can vote on the Razzies for a modest fee.
The Spirit Awards (formerly called Independent Spirit) are given out by Film Independent, a resource group for independent film-makers. Its annual awards ceremony is broadcast on the Independent Film Channel and it is always hilarious, outrageous, and lots of fun (warning: very strong language and provocative material).
This year’s Spirit winners include:
“The Wrestler” (best feature, best actor Mickey Rourke, best cinematographer)
“Vicky Christina Barcelona” (best screenplay by Woody Allen, best supporting actress Penelope Cruz)
“Milk” (best first screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, best supporting actor James Franco)
“The Visitor” (best director Tom McCarthy)
“Synecdoche New York” (best first feature, Robert Altman ensemble award)
“The Class” (best foreign film)
“Man on Wire” (best documentary)
“Frozen River” (best actress Melissa Leo)
Membership is also available in Film Independent.
2009 Independent Spirit Awards at LocateTV.com

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Awards

Beliefnet Movie Awards

Posted on February 20, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Congratulations to Beliefnet judges and community members for selecting an outstanding group of winners for the Beliefnet movie awards.

Judges

Best Spiritual Film: The Road
Best Inspirational Film: Precious and Up (Tie)
Best Spiritual Documentary: ‘More Than a Game’

People’s Choice
Best Spiritual Film: The Blind Side
Best Inspirational Film: Precious
Best Spiritual Documentary: Earth

And check out the gallery of lessons from Oscar-nominated films, too!

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Awards

Epiphany’s Most Inspiring Film Award Winners

Posted on February 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Epiphany has announced the winners of its most inspiring film awards.

Fireproof,” from Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, has won the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for “Most Inspiring Movie of 2008,” sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to exploring life’s biggest questions.

The $100,000 Epiphany Prize for “Most Inspiring TV Program of 2008” was presented to “The Christmas Choir,” telecast by The Hallmark Channel.

Baehr also presented his prestigious “Crystal Teddy Award” for the “Best Movie for Families to “WALL-E,” from Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures. “The Best Movie for Mature Audiences” was given to “Ironman,” from Paramount Pictures

The “Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance in Movies or TV in 2008” was given to Adriana Barraza for “Henry Poole is Here.”

The “Faith and Freedom Award for Promoting Positive American Values in Motion Pictures” was awarded to “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” from Rocky Mountain Pictures. The winner for TV was a tie between “John Adams,” from HBO, and “The Medal: Celebrating our Nation’s Highest Honor,” from 45 North Communications.

The $50,000 “Kairos Prizes” for “Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays by Beginning Screenwriters,” also sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, were awarded to:

· “A Matter of Time” by Christina D. Denton of Martinsville, Va. — $25,000
· “Touched” by Rusty Whitener of Pulaski, Va. — $15,000
· “Moody Field” by Darcy Faylor of Greenville, S.C. — $10,000

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Awards

Epiphany Nominees for Most Inspiring Movies and Television Programs

Posted on February 10, 2009 at 8:00 am

Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of the Movieguide® family guide to movies and entertainment, has announced in a Hollywood online press conference the nominees for the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for Most Inspiring Movie of 2008 and the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for Most Inspiring TV program of 2008, which are sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.
The Epiphany Prize for Movie Nominees (in alphabetical order) are The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Fireproof, Grand Torino, Henry Poole is Here, and Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys. The Epiphany Prize for Television Nominees (in alphabetical order) are The Christmas Choir, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, John Adams, and The Medal: Celebrating Our Nation’s Highest Honor.
The 10 Best Film Nominees for Families (in alphabetical order) are Bolt, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Fireproof, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Nim’s Island, The Tale of Despereux, and Wall-E. The 10 Best Film Nominees for Mature Audiences (in alphabetical order) are Changeling, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Grand Torino, Henry Poole is Here, Iron Man, The Longshots, Marley & Me, Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys, and Valkyrie.

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