Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stream: Belong - "Late Night" (Syd Barrett cover)

I mentioned a couple weeks back that Belong had issued a free digital EP (which is still available btw), and that they would soon release a limited edition vinyl-only EP entitled Colorless Record. Well, now we have the first glimpse of the EP - which happens to consist of four "covers" - as P4K's imeem page has a uploaded a stream of Belong's re-interpretation of Syd Barrett's "Late Night". For those who aren't privy, the original track comes from the original Pink Floyd frontman's cult classic LP, The Madcap Laughs.

Of course, "cover" is used in the loosest sense of the word here, as the ambient duo judiciously layer swaths of droning guitar noise over top the alien transmissions of Barrett's "Late Night". There is just something about this band and their music that can transport me whenever I hear them. It's a feeling that I previously only associated with like minded artists such as Fennesz, Johann Johannsson or Stars of the Lid. In fact, with this being (as far I know) the debut of a voice in a Belong track, "Late Night" actually doesn't sound too far removed from a dronier Stars of the Lid track, as they also frequently pipe in obscure film samples and radio transmissions within their ambient sculptures to add subtle context. If this is what Belong has in store for their forthcoming full-length, considering me excited. (via Forkcast)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Future Child...

Yeah well, a guy can dream can't he?

Anyway, Pissed Jeans are on tour right now, and as you should know by now, their latest record, the lung-collapsing Hope for Men, made a sizable dent in Stereo Sanctity's year-end lists, placing at #12 on our Top 100 Albums of '07, while the mind-frying "Bad Wind" also placed at #12 on our Top 50 Songs of '07 roundup. And it's good thing I ran across this picture, as I couldn't find a stream for "Bad Wind" as I was compiling that song list a month or so ago. But today I found a complete stream, so enjoy. I've thrown in "People Person" as well. It should go without saying, this music isn't for the the kids or the faint of heart. Man, why can't there be more bands like this?? You know, bands who worship at the church of the Jesus Lizard. (picture via Brooklyn Vegan)

Spoon's Britt Daniel on "Cooking with Rockstars"

This really has nothing to do with anything unless you are wondering about the eating habits of Spoon front man Britt Daniel. There is a little live footage interspersed in the quick convo however. Oh, and if you haven't copped a copy of Spoon's stellar Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, what are you waiting for? (via forkcast)

Sean Penn in "Milk"

Oh No They Didn't has procured some leaked pics of Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant's upcoming Harvey Milk bio-pic, Milk. Considering the pedigree (Josh Brolin & Emile Hirsch are set to co-star) and the subject matter (according to IMDB, it tells "the story of California's first openly gay elected official...who was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by San Francisco Supervisor Dan White") it stands to reason that the film could me a major player come Oscar time next year.

I'm almost as excited about this as those two Steven Soderbergh directed Che Guevara bio-pics that will no doubt make a big critical splash this coming fall/winter. (from Awards Daily via ONTD via Oh La La Mag)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vampire Weekend Live @ Other Music

It's been kind of a slow go of it for music to begin the year, but today marked the day of one of the year's most anticipated records, Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut. For such an unassuming band and laid back record, the band is receiving wildly disparate reactions. I just think it's good, super-literary, afro-pop inflected indie-rock. Nothin wrong with that, right?

Anyhow, here's a nice 10 minute clip of a recent in store performance by the band at Other Music. There is also a quick little interview with the band where they talk about their first record purchases and show going experiences.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tarantino Attack at Sundance

This is pretty self explanatory. Basically what you have here is Quentin Tarantino slapping the taste out of the mouth of a Park City paparazzi. Movie geeks can be tough guys too, see. (via Red Carpet District)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

SAG Winners

Outside of Ruby Dee's nice win, things went just as expected at tonight's SAG awards. The front runners have officially been established, with supporting actress one of the only races that may prove to be worth anticipating come Oscar night. On the Best picture front, No Country for Old Men seems to be getting stronger with every passing day. The only thing that could derail it is if voters get sick of all the hype before they cast their ballots (think of it as the Brokeback Mountain curse if you will). Not much to say about anything else, except to express my love for Josh Brolin's show ending comment: "The Coens are freaky little people, man. And we made a freaky little movie, whether you liked the ending or not." Pure Genius.

Here are the winners:

Best Ensemble Cast: No Country for Old Men
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
Best Actress: Julie Christie in Away from Her
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting Actress: Ruby Dee in American Gangster

The Coen Brothers Win the DGA!

Joel and Ethan Coen took yet another step closer to their elusive first directing Oscar, winning the Director's Guild of America award last night for their stunning 2007 achievement, No Country for Old Men. The DGA is by far the most important precursor award around, as the guild has a frighteningly accurate prediction rate for the eventual Best Picture winner at the Oscars. Last years winner, Martin Scorsese, was on hand to present the award to the duo.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Falling Slowly" Disqualified?

The music branch of the Academy is an absolute travesty. First they snub Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and his Into the Wild songs for a total of three (!) songs from Enchanted, and now it seems that Glen Hasard (of the Frames) and Marketa Irglova's show stopping "Falling Slowly" from Once may be on the verge of being DQ'ed. And this coming on the heals of Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood & his groundbreaking There Will Be Blood score being deemed ineligible. The academy just can't can't handle rock stars I suppose. They have no problem giving Eminem and Three Six Mafia Oscars however. Go figure. (from Awards Daily via The Carpetbagger)

If you haven't seen Once, I'd say go rent it ASAP, or just take a look at the "Falling Slowly" scene from the film. Really beautiful stuff.

UPDATE: It's eligible. The Academy can live another day...

"There Will Be Blood" Roundup

There are tons of There Will Be Blood videos, parodies and general tomfoolery circulating on the net - some good, some stupid. Here are some of the better ones:

If you're at all into this whole There Will Be Blood/"milkshake" phenomenon, then you have no doubt seen this youtube video, but just in case. Very funny.

This Thomas the Tank Engine version of the trailer isn't quite as funny, but it is original, I'll give it that. My favorite moment occurs at the 1:29 mark, when video editor Deloreonsyk matches Paul Dano saying "get out of here devil" with Thomas the Tank making the "O" face.

And yes, this is a completely serious forum for TWbB fanatics:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Boredoms' "Super Roots 9" Coming to America

According to a news report over at P4K, the legendary Japanoise collective Boredoms, known around these parts as the blue-tinted sun worshipers gracing Stereo Sanctity's homepage picture, have signed to venerable Chicago imprint Thrill Jockey. It's probably best not to expect a new record anytime soon, seeing as how eYe & Co. aren't exactly the most prolific bunch (their last studio record, Vision Creation Newsun, arrived in America waaaay back in 2001), but they will inaugurate their signing with the stateside release of 2007s live entry in the Super Roots series, Super Roots 9 (which, quite honestly, was arbitrarily ranked at #77 on my Best Albums of 2007 list). This is obviously great news for Boredoms enthusiasts like me who have been reliant on that 40 minute imeem stream of the record for the past 6 or 7 months. Which reminds me, have a listen...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Re-Up Gang (Clipse) - "20k Money Making Brothers on the Corner"

One can only hope we don't have to wait 4 years in between Clipse records this time around, but just like last time, the Virginia duo satiates during their downtime with a We Got it 4 Cheap mixtape, the forthcoming volume the third in the ongoing series. "20k Money Making Brothers on the Corner" is credited to the Re-Up Gang, which is more or less Clipse and other random Re-Up rappers, in this case Ab-Live. You won't see too many rap posts here on Stereo Sanctity, but any new Clipse music is cause for celebration. (via forkcast)

2008 Coachella Lineup

This was released on Monday, but I thought it had to be joke, so I held off on posting it. I mean, Jack Johnson? Has it really come to this? And no disrespect at all to Roger Waters, as Pink Floyd will forever be one of my favorite bands, but c'mon, there is no Dark Side of the Moon without the other band members, or at least Dave Gilmour.

On the other hand Portishead was a great pull. Who knows when the last time they played the US was (I'm guess close to 10 years ago maybe)? But the only time a Portishead reunion show could possibly be anti-climatic is when everyone was expecting a My Bloody Valentine reunion instead.

I would also never complain about Kraftwerk, but they headlined not too many years ago, right? It all just seems very by-the-numbers this year. That's not to take anything away from all the other great young bands playing, but the headliners are just so much weaker than usual. A few of the under card highlights are the Breeders (who let's be serious, should really be headlining the first night. This is an indie-rock fest, right?), Animal Collective, Battles, The National, Mum, Jens Lekman, Dan Deacon, Stephen Malkmus, Islands, Bonde De Role, Akron/Family, New Young Pony Club, Spiritualized, Les Savy Fav, Man Man and I'm From Barcelona.

And just my luck, it figures that a watered down lineup would emerge the very year I received a free 3 day pass. I'm looking to sell it cheap if anyone is interested.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

RIP Heath Ledger

I'll be completely honest, prior to 2005, I didn't think much of Heath Ledger as an actor. However, he had a nice role in Monster's Ball in 2001, which held immense promise, so I kept an eye on him. It wasn't until he landed the career defining role of Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee's stellar Brokeback Mountain that his career began to take shape. Of course, now that history has been written, and Ledger's performance in that film has been compared to everyone from Sean Penn to Marlon Brando (and rightfully so, as it still stands as one of the decade's great feats of acting), it is easy to see the film as a turning point in not only his career, but in his mindset.

Each film that has followed has been of the utmost competency of integrity. And while Casanova and Candy left something to be desired as stand alone films, Ledger excelled in both, particularly in the latter where he portrayed a heroin addicted poet. Last year he turned in one of the best males performances in Todd Haynes' brilliant I'm Not There, while his upcoming turn as the joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, was, to say the least, one of the year's most anticipated performances. As the curtain falls on Ledger's short but impressive career, now seems as good a time as ever to revisit some of the man's most memorable moments. RIP.

I'm Not There ("I Want You" montage)

The Dark Knight trailer

Brokeback Mountain (final encounter)

Oscar Nominations!!!

Well I was right about one thing, this morning's Oscar nominations brought surprises left and right. The biggest let down was certainly the complete smack down laid on Sean Penn and his great film Into the Wild, which received a paltry 2 nods (I predicted 8...). It's snubbing from the Best Pic race isn't too surprising, but nearly everyone had Penn pegged for at least a Directing bid, not to mention Screenplay, Best Actor, Cinematography etc..

There were of course many acting snubs and surprises like always, which I will get to as I break down each category. Let's do it...

Best motion picture of the year

“Atonement” (Focus Features)
A Working Title Production
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight)
A Dancing Elk Pictures, LLC Production
Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
A Clayton Productions, LLC Production
Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production
Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

I should have known the Academy didn't have it in them to get too "out there" with their selections, which is why they sadly ignored Into the Wild and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly for tamer fare like Atonement and Juno. It's hard to really argue though when you like every film in contention (when was the last time that happened?), but it just goes to show you that Academy, no matter how much they have recently loosened up, are still the Academy, and are prone to select certain types of movies (prestigious, moneymakers) over arguably more substantial work.

Achievement in directing

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Julian Schnabel
"Juno" (Fox Searchlight) Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) Tony Gilroy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Paul Thomas Anderson

Even with Sean Penn inexplicably missing here, I'm still trying to figure out how Jason Reitman got a nod. No offense to Reitman at all, but Juno is above all else a writer's movie. And in a year with so many auteurish type films (Before the Devil, I'm Not There, Assassination, Zodiac), it seems a little odd that he would get in here. In fact, I can't name anywhere where I saw Reitman as even a potential nominee. I stuck to my guns with Tony Gilroy though, even though most didn't, so that was nice reassurance. I should have stuck to my original hunch however that Julian Schnabel would be the lone director slot. Oh well, he deserves it either way. No matter what happens with Best Picture, I think the Coen Brothers take this easily.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
(DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

The biggest individual shock of the day came when Tommy Lee Jones' name was revealed for his great performance in Paul Haggis' underrated In the Valley of Elah. I said in my final predix column that I thought Jones would make an appearance in the supporting race based on the love for No Country, coupled with his overlooked but obviously respected work here. Things apparently worked in an opposite but equally worthy way. The other four I predicted correctly, along with most everyone else who knows anything about this year's race. I am rather sad about Emile Hirsch being left out however.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson’s War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Like I said yesterday, the smart money was on these 5, which I would have went with if this whole Tommy Lee Jones/In the Valley of Elah thing had revealed itself earlier. This race is over anyways. Just give Bardem the statue and let's move on.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in "Juno" (Fox Searchlight)

I was correct in my reasoning for Laura Linney getting in, although I didn't think it would be at the expense of Angelina Jolie. It kind of baffles me that Blanchett could score for such an overwrought film, but she happens to be in that Meryl Streep/Kate Winslet territory where they seemingly get nominated for everything. This will be one of the tightest races of the year however.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Cate Blanchett in "I’m Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

This was the first category announced, and when Catherine Keener's name wasn't called, it all but sealed the fate of Into the Wild. Ruby Dee more than likely took her spot, and rightfully so I suppose, as she was easily the best thing about the disappointing American Gangster. This is a two woman race between Ryan and Blanchett now, with the latter having the edge despite her lack of precursors for the simple fact that 1) she plays a man (and an iconic one at that), and 2) because she's Cate freakin' Blanchett and she has 2 nominations this year.

Adapted screenplay

"Atonement" (Focus Features)
Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
"Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
Written by Sarah Polley
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn)
Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

I wanted Zodiac to score here so badly that it clouded my judgment I guess. Atonement is a writer's movie, both for and about, but Away from Her was a real surprise. A lot of women are represented in the writing categories this year though, which is a nice change of pace.

Original screenplay

"Juno" (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Diablo Cody
"Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM)
Written by Nancy Oliver
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Written by Tony Gilroy
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney)
Screenplay by Brad Bird
Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
"The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Tamara Jenkins

Exactly as expected. Juno should takes this handily, unless Michael Clayton surges.

Best animated feature film of the year

"Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics) Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Brad Bird
"Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Yes! Thank god that the horrible Simpsons Movie wasn't nominated. Justice is served. Put the series out of it's misery already.

Achievement in art direction

"American Gangster" (Universal)
Art Direction: Arthur Max
Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
"Atonement" (Focus Features)
Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood
Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners)
Art Direction: Dennis Gassner
Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Art Direction: Dante Ferretti
Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Art Direction: Jack Fisk
Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

These are the categories where it is easy to see the across-the-board love for There Will Be Blood.

Achievement in cinematography

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.) Roger Deakins
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Seamus McGarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Janusz Kaminski
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roger Deakins
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit

Fantastic list here. Sadly, Roger Deakins may split his own vote and go home empty handed yet again.

Achievement in costume design

"Across the Universe" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

I am somewhat surprised that TWbB didn't get in here, but it's it's cool that Across the Universe got a nod somewhere.

Best documentary feature

"No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures)
A Representational Pictures Production
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group)
A Documentary Group Production
Richard E. Robbins
"Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company)
A Dog Eat Dog Films Production
Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
"Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm)
An X-Ray Production
Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
"War/Dance" (THINKFilm)
A Shine Global and Fine Films Production
Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Not surprised to see lots of war/political topics on display here. I'd say Sicko would take it if Michael Moore didn't already have an Oscar, so I'll go with No End in Sight for the time being.

Achievement in film editing

"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal) Christopher Rouse
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment) Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

As any true Oscar watcher knows, this is the category that can make or break a film's Best Pic chances. By that rational, it looks to be a two film race between No Country and There Will Be Blood, two very un-Academy type films. Very odd that Into the Wild would actually scored here over Michael Clayton.

Best foreign language film of the year

"Beaufort" A Metro Communications, Movie Plus Production
"The Counterfeiters" An Aichholzer Filmproduktion, Magnolia Filmproduktion Production
"Katyń” An Akson Studio Production
“Mongol” A Eurasia Film Production
“12” A Three T Production

Ouch. This entire branch is a mess though, so I wouldn't take too much stock in these choices.

Achievement in makeup

“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
“Norbit” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount) Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Good god, Norbit is Academy Award nominee!

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
“The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

The two best scores of the year aren't represented here, so I really have no preference, but the Academy all but handed the award to Atonement yesterday when they disqualified There Will Be Blood. So for all intents and purposes, TWbB would have garnered the most nods if not for this ridiculous ruling.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Falling Slowly” from “Once”
(Fox Searchlight)
Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
“Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted”
(Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush”
(Warner Bros.)
Nominees to be determined
“So Close” from “Enchanted”
(Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”
(Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Someone tell me how 3 (!) songs from Enchanted get nominated and not one from Into the Wild. At the very least, Eddie Vedder's music seemed to be the one thing that everyone could agree on with the film. The Academy must have really despised this movie. I'd take Once for the win though, and rightfully so - beautiful song.

Achievement in sound editing

"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal)
Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Skip Lievsay
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney)
Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Matthew Wood
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Ouch again, but seriously how am I supposed to judge this category?

Achievement in sound mixing

"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal)
Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney)
Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate)
Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Ahhh, much better.

Achievement in visual effects

"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners)
Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" (Walt Disney)
John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

No 300 love anywhere to be found.

Best documentary short subject

A Lieutenant Films Production
Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
"La Corona (The Crown)"
A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production
Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
"Salim Baba"
A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production
Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
"Sari’s Mother" (Cinema Guild)
A Daylight Factory Production
James Longley

Best animated short film

“I Met the Walrus”
A Kids & Explosions Production
Josh Raskin
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada)
A National Film Board of Canada Production
Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
“Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)" (Premium Films)
A BUF Compagnie Production
Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)" (Channel One Russia)
A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production
Alexander Petrov
"Peter & the Wolf" (BreakThru Films)
A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production
Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film

"At Night"
A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production
Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
"Il Supplente (The Substitute)" (Sky Cinema Italia)
A Frame by Frame Italia Production
Andrea Jublin
"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)" (Premium Films)
A Karé Production
Philippe Pollet-Villard
"Tanghi Argentini" (Premium Films)
An Another Dimension of an Idea Production
Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
"The Tonto Woman"
A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production
Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

There Will Be Blood - 8
No Country for Old Men - 8
Michael Clayton - 7
Atonement - 7
Ratatouille - 5
Juno - 4

Monday, January 21, 2008

Final Oscar Predictions

Tomorrow is the day I will stumble out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. to (hopefully) be shocked and surprised at this year's Academy Award Nominations. It's been a crazy, wide open year, and I look forward to surprises in nearly every major category. Last year it seemed as if any of the five nominated films could win Best Picture, yet 2007 has one-upped '06 by sending at least 8 legitimate contenders into the running for a nomination. What follows are my predictions in every category (in order of the likelihood of nomination), as well as my hopefuls, a few of which I can only hope make it to the big dance. Enjoy:

Best Picture

No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Michael Clayton
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild

Alternates: Juno, Atonement
In my dreams: I'm Not There, Zodiac

Let's be serious: the only movie guaranteed a place in the Best Pic lineup this year is No Country. Anything else could conceivably be snubbed. I don't quite feel the buzz for Juno that I once thought was there, although being the only legit money maker among the contenders certainly helps it immensely. The Into the Wild backlash has started full force, although when ballots were being filled out, the film was peaking in terms of visibility. I really can't believe I am predicting a small foreign film (albeit a great one) to make the cut, but The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has scored in all the right places, and Julian Schnabel's directing nod is guaranteed. And Atonement, no matter what he guilds say, simply cannot be ruled out. This category could go so many different ways that it's getting exhausting. No matter the outcome, 2007 will feature one of the strongest Best Pic lineups in recent memory, and for that we should be grateful.

Best Director

Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sean Penn - Into the Wild
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton

Alternates: Sidney Lumet - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Joe Wright - Atonement, David Fincher - Zodiac
In my dreams- Todd Haynes - I'm Not There

I am fairly confident in the top 4 picks, whether or not Into the Wild makes the Best Pic cut or not. The directors always seemed to throw a curve ball however, so don't be surprised if the legendary Sidney Lumet makes an appearance here. There is hardly ever a 5/5 match up between director and picture, but this year it feels right, and I gotta go with my gut.

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd
Emile Hirsh - Into the Wild

Alternates: Ryan Gosling - Lars and the Real Girl, Denzel Washington - American Gangster,
In my dreams - Philip Seymor Hoffman - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

The top 4 seem secure here as well, even though Depp missed the SAG nod. I have been praising Hirsh since the day I saw Into the Wild, and I am banking on a big showing for the film as a whole tomorrow, so I have to be consistent across the board. Gosling gave the year's best performance in my opinion, but the film seems rather polarizing to carry it's star to his second straight nomination. Denzel and James McAvoy would have been stronger contenders if their films would have gained any momentum whatsoever this awards season.

Best Actress

Julie Christie - Away from Her
Ellen Page - Juno
Marion Cotillard - la Vie en Rose
Angelina Jolie - A Mighty Heart
Laura Linney - The Savages

Alternates: Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Keira Knightley - Atonement
In my dreams: Kerri Russell - Waitress

The top 4 are locks, and to most, Cate Blanchett would seem the likely fifth nominee, but Elizabeth: The Golden Age was slaughtered by critics. She hasn't scored in any major precursor so far, but I don't see how voters won't be able to mark off Laura Linney's name for her supremely underrated turn in The Savages. She is beloved within the industry (although not as much as Blanchett mind you), and I see this being one of the morning's many pleasant surprises.

Best Supporting Actor

Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton
Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Tommy Lee Jones - No Country for Old Men

Alternates: Phillip Seymor Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War, Paul Dano - There Will Be Blood, Max Von Sydow - the Diving Bell and the Butterfly
In my dreams: Robert Downey Jr. - Zodiac

This is the category where things always get interesting, and so it will be the category where I stick my neck out the furthest. Conventional wisdom says Phil Hoffman grabs the 5th slot for Charlie Wilson's War, but I see the No Country love running deep this year, which is why I am going with Tommy Lee Jones. He also happened to give probably his best performance to date in the little seen but very good In the Valley of Elah, which could inspire voters to cast their votes here. Of course, if There Will Be Blood picks up a bevy of nods (which I fully expect it to), Paul Dano could get swept up in the heap, while the legendary Max Von Sydow is a two scene wonder in the Diving Bell, and is certain to snag some #1 votes. Outside of them, I don't see too many other possibilities.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton
Catherine Keener - Into the Wild
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement

Alternates: Jennifer Garner - Juno, Ruby Dee - American Gangster
In my dreams - Marissa Tomei - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

This is a perfect example of keeping things consistent within my predictions. If I had gone with Juno for Best Pic, I may have slid Jennifer Garner into the 5th slot here, but alas I went with Into the Wild, in which case Catherine Keener seems like a logical inclusion. Does she deserve it? No, but what does that have to do with Oscars? Ruby Dee is the only spoiler here I believe, although another legend by the name of Vanessa Redgrave certainly makes an impression in her one scene in Atonement. I think the Academy goes with her Atonement co-star however, Saoirse Ronan, continuing their love for child actors over the years.

Best Original Screenplay

Michael Clayton
The Savages
Lars and the Real Girl

Alternate: American Gangster
In my dreams: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, I'm Not There

Not much to say here. If it doesn't go this way, I'd be pretty shocked.

Best Adapted Screenplay

No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild

Alternates: Charlie Wilson's War, Atonement
In my dreams: Zodiac is my dream

Top 4: locks. In a heated 3-way race for the final slot, we have the forgotten Charlie Wilson's War, the continually snubbed Atonement, and one of the hottest films of the moment, Zodiac. It picked up surprising nominations from both the WGA and the USC Scripter, and with the recent release of the Director's Cut DVD, things seem to be aligning at the right moment. Yes, it is a gutsy pick, but hopefully the Academy will want to honor the film in some capacity outside of the tech field.

Animated Feature

The Simpsons Movie

Best Documentary Feature

No End in Sight
Lake of Fire
Taxi to the Other Side

Best Foreign Language Film

Days of Darkness (Canada)
The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (Brazil)
The Counterfeiters (Austria)
Mongol (Kazakhstan)
The Unknown (Italy)

This category is a travesty with the like of Persepolis and 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 Days being disqualified. This is a shot in the dark lineup if there ever was one.

Best Original Score

Lust, Caution
3:10 to Yuma
The Assassination of Jesse James

My dream of Jonny Greenwood and Nick Cave competing against each in this category was thwarted by another Academy technicality, which gave the shaft to Greenwood's already iconic There Will Be Blood score.

Best Cinematography

There Will Be Blood
The Assassination of Jesse James
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men

Best Art Direction

There Will Be Blood
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sweeney Todd
Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Best Editing

No Country for Old Men
The Bourne Ultimatum
There Will Be Blood
Into the Wild
Michael Clayton

Best Visual Effects

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Best Costume Design

There Will Be Blood
Sweeney Todd
Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Best Makeup

La Vie en Rose
Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Best Sound Mixing

No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Sound Editing

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Siderman 3

Best Original Song

Falling Slowly, Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova, Once
Guaranteed, Eddie Vedder, Into the Wild
That’s How You’ll Know, Enchanted
Do You Feel me, American Gangster
Got So Far (Got So Far to Go), Hairpsray

Final Nomination Tally:

There Will Be Blood - 9
No Country for Old Men - 9
Into the Wild - 8
Michael Clayton - 7
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - 5
Atonement - 5

There Will Be Controversy

Kris Tapley over at the Red Carpet District has the best write up on it, but long story short, Jonny Greenwood's sure-fire nomination There Will Be Blood score has been disqualified from Oscar contention. Here's the run down:

" The disqualification has been attributed to a designation within Rule 16 of the Academy's Special Rules for Music Awards (5d under "Eligibility"), which excludes "scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music."

Greenwood's score contains roughly 35 minutes of original recordings and roughly 46 minutes of pre-existing work (including selections from the works of Arvo Pärt, as well as pieces in the public domain, such as Johannes Brahms' "Concerto in D Major"). Peripheral augmentation to the score included sporadic but minimal useage (15 minutes) of the artist's 2006 composition "Popcorn Superhet Receiver."

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

what do you want me to say?

I probably shouldn't be posting on my day of birth, but even as I've been lost in a haze all day, I've still managed to see Randy Moss step ever closer towards his first ring, watch a mini marathon worth of Gilmore Girls, and as a treat for me and me alone, set aside some time to revisit one of my favorite records of all time, Emergency & I, by the almighty Dismemberment Plan.

It had to have been around 3 years since I last listened to it, and yet every moment remains so fresh in my mind, while at the same time being like my very first listen all those many years ago. Travis Morrison's lyrics are some of the densest, most head-spinningly original observations on day-to-day minutiae ever conceived. The CD booklet should be required reading for any high school or college level English class. Emergency & I came in at #8 on my list of the Best Records of the 1990s, but every time I listen to it, nothing else seems to compare. It's a perfect record - an aligning-of-the-stars moment where one of the most original bands of the era struck upon a sound so innovative that it has yet to duplicated. I've never heard anything else like it, and I probably never will.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BAFTA Nominations

The British Academy announced their nominees late last night, and just like everything else this year, things went more or less as planned. Is it any surprise that the Brits would shun a quintessentially American film like Into the Wild and embrace something like Atonement? I think not. In fact, Atonement leads with 14 nods, which according to "rm" posting on Awards Daily, now stands as the most nominated movie in BAFTA history, alongside The Aviator and American Beauty. Useless stat I know, but interesting. No Country and There Will Be Blood both came in with 9 nominations, solidifying their across the board (and across continents) love. It's also nice to see Control finally get some well deserved props. Here are the nominees, courtesy of Awards Daily:


AMERICAN GANGSTER – Brian Grazer/Ridley Scott
ATONEMENT – Tim Bevan/Eric Fellner/Paul Webster
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Quirin Berg/Max Wiedemann
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Scott Rudin/Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – JoAnne Sellar/Paul Thomas Anderson/Daniel Lupi


ATONEMENT – Tim Bevan/Eric Fellner/Paul Webster/Joe Wright/Christopher Hampton
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Frank Marshall/Patrick Crowley/Paul L Sandberg/Paul Greengrass/Tony Gilroy/Scott Z Burns/George Nolfi
CONTROL – Orian Williams/ Todd Eckert/Anton Corbijn/Matt Greenhalgh
EASTERN PROMISES – Paul Webster/Robert Lantos/David Cronenberg/Steve Knight
THIS IS ENGLAND – Mark Herbert/Shane Meadows

for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in their First Feature Film
CHRIS ATKINS (Director/Writer) – Taking Liberties
MIA BAYS (Producer) – Scott Walker: 30 Century Man
SARAH GAVRON (Director) – Brick Lane
MATT GREENHALGH (Writer) – Control
ANDREW PIDDINGTON (Director/Writer) – The Killing of John Lennon

ATONEMENT – Joe Wright
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Paul Thomas Anderson

JUNO – Diablo Cody
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
THIS IS ENGLAND – Shane Meadows

ATONEMENT – Christopher Hampton
THE KITE RUNNER – David Benioff
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Paul Thomas Anderson

nominations announced on Friday 4 January
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY – Kathleen Kennedy/Jon Kilik/Julian Schnabel
THE KITE RUNNER – William Horberg/Walter Parkes/Rebecca Yeldham/Marc Foster
THE LIVES OF OTHERS – Quirin Berg/Max Wiedemann/Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
LUST, CAUTION – Bill Kong/James Schamus/Ang Lee
LA VIE EN ROSE – Alain Goldman/Olivier Dahan


SHREK THE THIRD – Chris Miller
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE – Matt Groening/James L Brooks


GEORGE CLOONEY – Michael Clayton
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS – There Will Be Blood
JAMES McAVOY – Atonement
VIGGO MORTENSEN – Eastern Promises
ULRICH MÜHE – The Lives of Others


CATE BLANCHETT – Elizabeth: The Golden Age


JAVIER BARDEM – No Country for Old Men
PAUL DANO – There Will Be Blood
TOMMY LEE JONES – No Country for Old Men
TOM WILKINSON – Michael Clayton


KELLY MACDONALD – No Country for Old Men
TILDA SWINTON – Michael Clayton


AMERICAN GANGSTER – Marc Streitenfeld
ATONEMENT – Dario Marianelli
THE KITE RUNNER – Alberto Iglesias
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Jonny Greenwood
LA VIE EN ROSE – Christopher Gunning


ATONEMENT – Seamus McGarvey


ATONEMENT – Paul Tothill
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Christopher Rouse
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Roderick Jaynes


ATONEMENT – Sarah Greenwood/Katie Spencer
ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE – Guy Hendrix Dyas/Richard Roberts
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Jack Fisk/Jim Erickson
LA VIE EN ROSE – Olivier Raoux


ATONEMENT – Jacqueline Durran
LA VIE EN ROSE – Marit Allen


ATONEMENT – Danny Hambrook/Paul Hamblin/Catherine Hodgson
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Kirk Francis/Scott Millan/Dave Parker/Karen Baker Landers/Per Hallberg
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Peter Kurland/Skip Lievsay/Craig Berkey/Greg Orloff
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – Christopher Scarabosio/Matthew Wood/John Pritchett/Michael Semanick/Tom Johnson
LA VIE EN ROSE – Laurent Zeilig/Pascal Villard/Jean-Paul Hurier/Marc Doisne


THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Peter Chiang/Charlie Noble/Mattias Lindahl/Joss Williams
THE GOLDEN COMPASS – Michael Fink/Bill Westenhofer/Ben Morris/Trevor Woods
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX – Tim Burke/John Richardson/Emma Norton/Chris Shaw
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END – John Knoll/Charles Gibson/Hal Hickel/John Frazier
SPIDER-MAN 3 – Scott Stokdyk/Peter Nofz/Kee-Suk Ken Hahn/Spencer Cook


ATONEMENT – Ivana Primorac
LA VIE EN ROSE – Jan Archibald/Didier Lavergne


HEAD OVER HEELS – Osbert Parker/Fiona Pitkin/Ian Gouldstone
THE CRUMBLEGIANT – Pearse Moore/John McCloskey


DOG ALTOGETHER – Diarmid Scrimshaw/Paddy Considine
HESITATION – Julien Berlan/Michelle Eastwood/Virginia Gilbert
THE ONE AND ONLY HERB MCGWYER PLAYS WALLIS ISLAND – Charlie Henderson/James Griffiths/Tim Key/Tom Basden
SOFT – Jane Hooks/Simon Ellis
THE STRONGER – Dan McCulloch/Lia Williams/Frank McGuinness


(voted for by the public) – nominees announced on Tuesday 8 January

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NO!: The Origins of No Wave

P4k is running a great feature this week: an excerpt from music critic Marc Masters new book on the highly influential No Wave movement of the late 70s/early 80s, entitled simply No Wave.

No Wave is, was and forever will be one of my favorite genres. I continually find myself purchasing random No Wave compilations, such as N.Y. No Wave: The Ultimate East Village 80s Soundtrack, entries in the New York Noise Series, the recently reissued Downtown 81 soundtrack, as well what should be the foundation of any respectable music collection, the Brian Eno-produced No New York compilation, which all but defined the genre. Masters gets into all this and more with this generous feature, which also includes interview snippets from members of DNA, The Contortions, Mars and Teenage Jesus & the Jerks (pictured above). Here's an excerpt from the excerpt:

"Artists looking to break rules would logically want to avoid creating their own. No Wave thus produced a wide variety of sounds and styles, with few bands sounding alike. Yet commonalities inevitably emerged. "I think the aims and methods of each band were quite unique," says Jim Sclavunos, a member of four different No Wave groups. "However, one common aspect to all the bands was their auditory roughness: harsh, strident instrumentation, dissonance and atonality to some degree. All of the bands had somewhat alienating stage presentations. Audiences were subjected to random outbursts of violence or cool obliviousness or disdainful hostility, sometimes all of the above."

Most No Wave groups used guitar noise, via unusual tunings and primitive techniques, to create texture and mood. Lyrically, their snippets of language told surreal stories, made oblique references to artistic influences, and confused the listener with incomplete or contradictory ideas. Like the songs themselves, their words were often short and sharp, erring on the side of omission rather than indulgence. And singers emitted yelps, gasps, and grunts-- whatever it took to say 'No' to conventional singing. All of these elements were deployed with a loose abandon that suggested improvisation, but in fact No Wave bands rarely played off-the-cuff. Most were slavishly devoted to practice and repetition, honing their noisy outbursts into machine-like rituals.

These musical similarities were not adopted solely to deconstruct rock. They also reflected the reality of the participants' lives and surroundings in New York. No Wave music, as obscure as it could be, was a kind of downtown diary, a regurgitation of the desperation of the city and the era. "I had to document my insanity, my anger, my history, in a very direct and specific way," explains Lunch. "I had to document what was driving me insane."

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Free Belong 2006 Tour EP

New Orleans ambient duo Belong have just made available an mp3 EP composed of three typically beautiful songs recorded on their 2006 tour. Click the link below to download it.

If you've been following my music posting pre-Stereo Sanctity, then you may remember that Belong's debut record, the still-fantastic October Language, placed at a cool #14 on my Top 50 records of 2006 list. Belong have a new EP entitled Colorless Record due out February 18, with, according to their Myspace, a second EP and a full length October Language follow-up due by the end of the year as well.

Belong - 2006 Tour EP

PGA Nominations

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

The Producer's Guild annouced today, a couple of days too late to really effect the Oscar nominees, but it is interesting to note where the guild's allegiances lie so far. This is the first major guild that Into the Wild has missed out on, although I wouldn't worry much about Sean Penn's film at this point. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly continues to makes waves, having scored with every major guild. And although Juno predictably made the cut here, the Diving Bell may have made it's official entry onto my Best Pic predictions in place of the infinitely more popular teen comedy. I didn't even want to dignify the Golden Globes with a post, but I will say that Julian Schnabel taking home Best Director last night bodes even better than originally thought for his deeply moving labor-of-love. The other three films were foregone conclusions and don't neccesitate any commentary aside from the fact that they have all secured their spots at the Shrine Auditorium.

So that's that. All the guilds have annouced and pretty much everything has been cleared up. Some minor changes should be coming to my final Oscar predictions, which will arrive the day before the AMPAS annoucement.

Friday, January 11, 2008

ACE Nominations

The editors have rang in, and unless you're new to this, you should know that the ACE trail only the DGA in terms of Best Pic importance. Your five nominees will more than likely come from the following list (from Awards Daily):


The Bourne Ultimatum – Universal
Christopher Rouse, A.C.E.
Into the Wild – Paramount Vantage
Jay Cassidy, A.C.E.
Michael Clayton – Warner Bros. Pictures
John Gilroy, A.C.E.
No Country for Old Men – Paramount Vantage/Miramax
Roderick Jaynes
There Will Be Blood - Paramount Vantage/Miramax
Dylan Tichenor, A.C.E.


Hairspray – New Line Cinema
Michael Tronick, A.C.E.
Juno – Fox Searchlight Pictures
Dana E. Glauberman
Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End – Disney
Craig Wood & Stephen Rivkin, A.C.E.
Ratatouille – Disney
Darren Holmes, A.C.E.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – DreamWorks/Paramount
Chris Lebenzon, A.C.E.

I've updated all my Oscar predictions in the sidebar as well. I will tweak them slightly before the final nominations are announced, but I don't feel much will change between now and then.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2007 WGA Nominations


JUNO, Written by Diablo Cody, Fox Searchlight

MICHAEL CLAYTON, Written by Tony Gilroy, Warner Bros. Pictures

THE SAVAGES, Written by Tamara Jenkins, Fox Searchlight

KNOCKED UP, Written by Judd Apatow, Universal Pictures

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, Written by Nancy Oliver, MGM


NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Screenplay by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy, Miramax

THERE WILL BE BLOOD, Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, Based on the Novel "Oil" by Upton Sinclair, Paramount Vantage

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, Screenplay by Ronald Harwood, Based on the Book by Jean-Dominique Bauby, Miramax

INTO THE WILD, Screenplay by Sean Penn, Based on the Book by Jon Krakauer, Paramount Vantage

ZODIAC, Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Based on the Book by Robert Graysmith, Paramount Pictures


THE CAMDEN 28, Written by Anthony Giacchino, First Run Features

NANKING, Screenplay by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman & Elisabeth Bentley, Story by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman, THINKFilm

NO END IN SIGHT, Written by Charles Ferguson, Magnolia Pictures

THE RAPE OF EUROPA, Written by Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham and Bonni Cohen, Menemsha Films

SICKO, Written by Michael Moore, Lionsgate/The Weinstein Company

TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, Written by Alex Gibney, THINKFilm


Well, the WGA usually lines up with the Academy pretty well - usually 4/5 in each category, and that will probably be how things go again this year. The biggest surprise with these nominees is the exclusion, yet again, of Atonement. This film is dying a slow, painful death. Zodiac on the other hand is on the rise, and it more than likely took Atonement's place among the nominees today. It couldn't be more deserving in my opinion. I just watched the newly released Director's Cut DVD last night, and this film just keeps getting better and more rewarding with each subsequent viewing. That's now nominations for Zodiac from the USC Scripter and the WGA. Charlie Wilson's War still has a legit chance, but James Vanderbilt looks pretty good for an Oscar nod at this point.

On the original side of things, it looks like it may be time to drop those Before the Devil Knows You're Dead predictions from the charts and put your money on Nancy Oliver and her Lars and the Real Girl script. I didn't think this film would translate well within the awards circuit, but it has proven me wrong, and truthfully, I couldn't be happier. Finally, since animated films aren't eligible for the WGA, Ratatouille was left off this list in favor of probably Knocked Up. I see these two films swapping places in the final Oscar lineup however. Everything else seems just about right at this point. Either way, this has been a breakthrough year for female writers, with 3 potential nominees in the Original category alone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Music Video: Excepter - 'Burgers (Medium Rare Edit)

Here's a brand new video from the always fascinating Brooklyn improv collective Excepter. This song comes from their forthcoming Debt Debt LP, and by the sound of it, the band is once again traversing the more accessible terrain they first plumbed on 2006s underrated Alternation. Of course, "accessible" is a relative term for these guys, and while this song isn't half as interesting as their earlier, noisier experimental sound collages such as the still mind-boggling "Vacation", their fractured-house approach to beat making is certainly worthwhile, as well as being pretty darn disorienting...or maybe that's just the lo-fi beatnik images flashing around John Fell Ryan and his burgers. (via forkcast)

2007 DGA Nominees!

The nominees are:

Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Sean Penn - Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

We have reached the turning point of this year's awards race with the announcement of the 2007 Director's Guild of America nominees. It is vitally important to remember that the DGA is the most reliable predictor of the eventual Oscar Best Picture lineup (but take note, not necessarily Best Director). What we learned today is pretty simple: No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood and Into the Wild are locks for Best Pic nods, as well as Best Director notices (all well deserved). On the other hand, the chances of American Gangster and Sweeney Todd coming through have all but vanished. I don't think box office alone can bring Ridley Scott's film any love, and Sweeney Todd, while still a threat for a director's bid, will probably have to settle for tech nods.

The remaining two slots for Best Pic aren't as secure however. Let's start with Michael Clayton. I have been holding back all season on predicting the film for a Best Pic nod because it didn't feel quite right to me, but the film's wide support across multiple branches bodes well for it's inclusion. The only thing about Michael Clayton that makes me hesitant is the Academy's preferential ballots, which only take into account #1 and #2 votes. I have no doubt that Michael Clayton will show up on a lot of ballots, but will it secure spots at the tops of voter's lists? Maybe, maybe not, but going against the numbers at this point would be foolish.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly however is in the exact opposite position: It is a beloved film, one sure to garner many #1 votes. The snag? It's a foreign language film, and it is extremely difficult to breakthrough to the final five when your film is not in English. Pan's Labyrinth couldn't quite do it last year, and I'm still not convinced that Diving Bell can either. What is assured for the film however is Julina Schnabel's nomination for Best Director, a consolation traditionally given to critically acclaimed foreign and/or divisive American films (Mulholland Dr., City of God, Vera Drake and United 93 all spring to mind from this decade alone).

So right now I'm predicting a 4/5 split between the DGA and the Oscars. The two film's vying for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly's slot are Juno and Atonement, the latter of which just hasn't been able to buy a break yet. Juno has all the heat right now, and Jason Reitman isn't looking like a Best Director threat of any kind, so it seems entirely plausible that Juno gets into the final five and forfeits it's Directors slot to Julian Schnabel. Juno is also looking good for the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Comedy), a PGA nomination (if not a win) and a sure-fire winner for the Original Screenplay Oscar, not to mention it's great run at the box office so far. Granted, it's really hard for me to not predict Atonement in any major category, but right now I don't see it pulling through anywhere significant. The Academy does love British-centric films, but no SAG nominations? No love from the BFCA? And now Joe Wright being shut out here? Not a good sign.

Of course things could change, although with the cancellation of the Globes ceremony, there isn't much left to influence voters before their ballots are due (by week's end mind you). Either way, I'll have a complete revamp of the predictions chart up by Friday, after the remaining Guilds weigh in.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Critics Choice Winners & Reaction

For being such an unpredictable year, things are starting to fall into a pretty boring pattern. Not that I'm not thrilled with what has been winning, but some variety would be nice. The Coen's continue to dominate with No Country, taking home everything at the 13th Annual Critic's Choice Awards except for Best Screenplay, which it probably would have taken if the two categories had been split like normal. Daniel Day-Lewis is like a belt sander headed for some pine at this point, and Amy Ryan's mantle keeps getting more crowded. The only category that seems like it may bring some surprises is Best Actress. Julie Christie has won the most precursors, and this win from the critics for her is not good for Oscar hopeful Marion Cotillard, whose biggest supporters up until now had been the critics. I think we are looking at a Page vs Christie showdown for the gold. The biggest joy and surprise for me of the whole night was Jonny Greenwood taking home the prize for Best Composer for his polarizing score for PT Anderson's There Will Be Blood. And was it just me, or was it somewhat surreal to see Feist on stage announcing his name?

Alright whatever, the DGA announces tomorrow and then things should be quite clear, if they're not already getting there. Complete revamp of the Oscar predictions as well will be up by week's end.

Critics Choice Winners (from Awards Daily):

Best Picture - No Country for Old Men

Best Directors - Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Best Actress - Julie Christie - Away From Her

Best Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood

Best Picture Made for Television - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Best Documentary -Sicko

Best Family Film - Enchanted

Best Animated Film - Ratatouille

Joel Siegel Humanitarian Award - Don Cheadle

Best Foreign Language Film - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Supporting Actress - Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone

Best Supporting Actor - Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men

Best Song - Falling Slowly - Once

Best Composer - Jonny Greenwood - There Will Be Blood

Best Comedy - Juno

Best Young Actor - Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada - The Kite Runner

Best Young Actress - Nikki Blonsky - Hairspray

Best Screenplay - Diablo Cody - Juno

Best Ensemble - Hairspray

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The 1st Annual Stereo Sanctity Awards

I've done this in the past, but just not here on Stereo Sanctity. What it is is simple: If I where an Academy member, what films and performances would I deem worthy to garner my all-important vote. If you've read my top ten list, you should know my 5 Best Pic selections already, but beyond that, everything should be new. If things were right in the world, this is what the nominees would look like on Oscar nomination morning. Just don't hold your breath.

Winner in Bold:

Best Picture:

The Assassination Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
There Will Be Blood
No Country for Old Men
I'm Not There


Best Director:

Andrew Dominik - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Todd Haynes - I'm Not There
David Fincher - Zodiac

This was a director's year if nothing else, which explains the 5/5 match up for Best Pic and Best Director. Julian Schnabel's work on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was the only other possible inclusion here.

Best Actor:

Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
Phillip Seymor Hoffman - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Ryan Gosling - Lars and the Real Girl
Emile Hirsch - Into the Wild
Sam Riley - Control

This was tough category. Every performance here is outstanding. Day-Lewis probably takes the Oscar, but no one kept me transfixed like Gosling did as Lars Lindstrom. Truly emotional stuff.

Best Actress:

Julie Christie - Away From Her
Laura Linney - The Savages
Kerri Russell - Waitress
Ellen Page - Juno
Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose

Yet again this was a weak year for actresses. I didn't even like La Vie En Rose, so I couldn't really single out Cotillard, and Christie was really good in a one note performance. I still don't see why Linney and Russell haven't been getting more love, as they were truly impressive, but Ellen Page easily takes this prize. And I can't think of a better or more honest line reading all year than, "I don't really know what kind of girl I am..." .

Best Supporting Actor:

Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Max Von Sydow - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Phillip Seymor Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War

I can already see myself regretting not picking Bardem for his maniacal turn in No Country, but Holbrook left me reeling with emotion as the heart and soul of Into the Wild. They are both impossible performances to shake, for completely different reasons mind you, but today I'd go with Holbrook for the sole reason of bringing some much needed love to this great actor.

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Jennifer Garner - Juno
Samantha Morton - Control
Marissa Tomei - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

All these performances are fantastic and it is really hard to single one out, but how can you possibly overlook what Blanchett did as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There? It's an uncanny approximation of mid-60s Zimmerman.

Best Original Screenplay:

Lars and the Real Girl
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

The Savages

Michael Clayton

What a stacked category. I love all these scripts with a passion, but Diablo Cody, taking cues from Heathers before her, nearly invented a new language with Juno, and I admire that immensely.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

No Country for Old Men
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
There Will Be Blood
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

This was the easiest category to call. A brilliant return to form for the Coen's, retaining their trademark wit and dark humor, they infused Cormac McCarthy's novel with a sinister yet deeply moving richness missing from standard thrillers.

" have everything to gain..."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

USC Scripter Nominations

The Scripter nominations don't hold the weight of say, the WGA, but they nonetheless can give that all important final boost to a fledging film during an awards race. This year that film is obviously Zodiac, which has positioned itself as a potential dark horse for an Adapted Screenplay nomination from the Academy. It's got a tough hurdle to cross though, what with Charlie Wilson's War and particularly The Diving Bell and the Butterfly currently on more people tongues. I wouldn't count it out until we see what the WGA has to say however. Everything else went according to plan. Here are the finalists:

Into the Wild
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood