Oscars Real Time with James Franco

Actor and Oscars co-host James Franco recorded a lot of the backstage action last night on his mobile.

When he came out for the opening with Anne Hathaway, you may have noticed him filming the audience on his phone.

He posted a collection of the photos and videos during the ceremony last night, under the name of Oscars Real Time, and they give an interesting glimpse to what goes on backstage at a big TV event like the Oscars.

Video Intro:

Getting in a lift before the show:

Walking Backstage (a Spinal Tap ‘Hello Cleveland‘ vibe to this one):

More walking backstage:

Famous last words right before the show begins (‘it might be bad’):

Entering the stage and filming the audience:

Showing Anne Hathaway something funny on his phone backstage:

Backstage with Anne Hathaway and Oprah Winfrey:

Oscars Real Time: Oprah!

Backstage in drag whilst David Seidler wins for The King’s Speech:

Walking out on stage with the phone in his pocket whilst he introduces Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey:

Backstage with the head writer of the show Jordan:

Laughing backstage with Anne Hathaway:

‘What am I doing?’:

Posing with Billy Crystal and Anne Hathaway:

Oscars Real Time: Billy

Backstage whilst Randy Newman plays the song from Toy Story:

‘Are you filming again?’:

Anne Hathaway tells the audience that the nominees have power bars under their seats:

Oscar writer Bruce Villanch backstage:

Tired

Florence:

The Best Actor bit with Sandra Bullock:

Anne Hathaway gives him a hand massage (not what it sounds like):

At the airport heading back to college:

:(

> See more Franco photos and videos here
> James Franco at Wikipedia

DVD & Blu-ray Picks: Monday 28th February 2011

DVD PICKS

Another Year (Momentum): Mike Leigh’s latest film is a pitch-perfect ensemble piece revolving around the friends and family of an ageing married couple.

Nearing retirement age, Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) live in North London and seem genuinely happy as they work, tend to their allotment and play host to an array of characters who come in and out of their lives.

These include: their son Joe (Oliver Maltman), who is still close to them; Mary (Lesley Manville), a needy divorcee with relationship problems; Ken (Peter Wight), an old friend with a taste for food and alcohol; and Katie (Karina Fernandez), a therapist who forms a relationship with Joe.

Each section of the film is titled with a season and as they change, so do the characters to varying degrees as they deal with the stuff of life: love, death, humour, despair, loneliness and friendship.

It follows the familiar Leigh formula of finding drama in lives of distinctive characters in a particular setting and, like his previous films, relies heavily on the actors to make it work.

The good news is that nearly all the cast bring something distinctive to their roles, creating a rich tapestry of emotions and memorable situations.

After opening at Cannes in May, it deservedly garnered great reviews (some of the best of Leigh’s career), although the expected awards nominations didn’t really happen, which is a shame because Lesley Manville gave one of the great performances in recent memory.

Unfortunately, Momentum haven’t done a Blu-ray release for this title (presumably for cost reasons) which is a shame because DP Dick Pope shot it beautifully and captured the everyday world with a keen eye for detail.

Extra features are hard to come by, but presumably feature a trailer and short making of featurette.

> Buy Another Year on DVD at Amazon UK
> Longer review of Another Year
> More reviews of Another Year at Metacritic and MUBi

Waste Land (Entertainment One): Lucy Walker’s inspiring documentary charts the journey of Brazilian artist Vik Muniz who goes back to Brazil to literally create art out of rubbish.

Recruiting garbage pickers from Rio’s largest landfill site he makes re-creations of paintings, and provides a fascinating glimpse into his creative process and the people who join him in his project.

Director Lucy Walker manages to capture the humanity of everyone involved without ever patronising them and the film deservedly received acclaim at Sundance and was Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary.

Again, cost considerations appear to have prevented a Blu-ray release and details of extras are thin on the gound.

> Buy Waste Land on DVD from Amazon UK
> Official Site
> Reviews of Waste Land at Metacritic

ALSO OUT

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) [Blu-ray / with DVD – Double Play]
Battle Royale (Arrow Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Bedevilled (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Brighton Rock (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Remastered]
Cronos (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Special Edition]
Cuckoo (Verve Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Due Date (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / + DVD and Digital Copy]
Episodes (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Pan’s Labyrinth (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Special Edition]
Paranormal Activity 2 (Paramount Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Primal Kaleidoscope (Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Bicycle Thieves (Arrow Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Devil’s Backbone (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Special Edition]
The Promise (4DVD) [Blu-ray / Normal]

UK cinema releases for Friday 25th February 2011
>
The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010

Oscar Winners

Here are tonight’s winners:

BEST PICTURE
THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co)
A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers

BEST ACTOR
COLIN FIRTH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

BEST ACTRESS
NATALIE PORTMAN – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
CHRISTIAN BALE – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
MELISSA LEO – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)

BEST ANIMATED PICTURE
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)

BEST DIRECTOR
TOM HOOPER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co.)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
THE KING’S SPEECH, David Seidler (The Weinstein Co)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Aaron Sorkin (Sony Pictures)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Denmark, In a Better World (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Zentropa Production

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Inception (Warner Bros.) – Wally Pfister

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Representational Pictures Production Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Strangers No More – A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Inception (Warner Bros) – Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) – Production Design: Robert Stromberg, Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) – Colleen Atwood

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) – Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment) – A Passion Pictures Australia Production Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
God Of Love – A Luke Matheny Production – Luke Matheny

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Inception (Warner Bros) – Richard King

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Inception (Warner Bros) – Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick

Oscar Special Mentions

As the awards season comes to a close, let’s forget about the campaigning and debate about what would or should win and reserve a special mention for some of tonight’s nominees.

In what has been a strong year these are various people I think deserve special mention, regardless of whether they win tonight.

SPECIAL MENTIONS

Javier Bardem in Biutiful: The most powerful performance of the year was Bardem’s searing portrait of a decent man on the edges of modern Barcelona.

Although the film’s relentless focus on death turned off dweeby critics, Bardem’s acting will be remembered for years to come.

Christopher Nolan for Writing and Directing Inception: The enormous commercial success of Nolan’s career has strangely obscured his very real creative accomplishments. Fashionable contrarians and elederly members of the Academy were turned off by the gorgeous labyrinth that was Inception, mainly because it was ‘too loud’ or ‘too clever for its own good’.

The fact that Nolan (as director) and his veteran editor Lee Smith were snubbed still hints that some Academy members don’t get his films. But for a generation of filmmakers it will be discussed, analysed and appreciated for years to come.

Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter for editing The Social Network: One of the crucial aspects of Fincher’s drama that makes it work is the phenomenal edit job by Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter.

It might take a couple of viewings to fully appreciate, but the criss-crossing timelines and overall construction of sequences is masterful. Some Academy voters might not have got the film on first viewing but repeated viewings highlight the dazzling, but often understated, work that went into it.

Roger Deakins’ cinematography for True Grit: Although already something of a legend for his amazing body of work, Deakins managed capture the haunting beauty of the west in True Grit whilst providing some indelible images.

Many people think it is his time to be awarded an Oscar and who would begrudge him a statuette this year?

The Visual Effects in Inception: The team at British SFX house Double Negative who worked on Nolan’s film (Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, and Peter Bebb) deserve a lot of credit for helping build convincing dreamscapes through live action and CGI.

The inventive blend of real locations, stuntwork and CGI were stunning and in the hotel fight sequence, limbo city and the overturning of Paris have set a new standard for effects work at this level.

The score for The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: One of the most startling and arresting scores in recent memory was this wonderfully discordant electronic score. The way in which the dialogue driven opening scene gives way to the unsettling title sequence is one of the most memorable film transitions of the year.

Just a few minutes later the urgency of the Face Smash sequence is powered by an unforgettable frenzy of beats and noise. In some ways the score to the film is what gives the film it’s unique flavour, with no cliched strings or cliched tracks from the time, it gives the story a distinct and original feel.

The Sounds of Inception: People always get confused between sound mixing and sound editing. To simplify, editing involves how the parts are assembled, whilst mixing is about the whole soundscape is put together.

It is a crucial and often undervalued aspect of movies and in the case of Inception, Richard King did an incredible job of recreating the sounds of all the different dream levels, which involve trains, guns, explosions, punches, car chases. The construction of the audio landscape in Inception was one of the great unsung reasons as to why it worked so well.

Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job: The documentary category this year is incredibly strong but Charles Ferguson’s documentary about the financial crisis deserves special mention.

Brilliantly dissecting the way Wall Street has essentially captured a generation of politicians and held society hostage for their own ends, it is a chilling reminder of how the political orthordoxies of the last 30 years have wreaked havoc but largely gone unpunished.

Full list of Oscar nominations for 2010-11
Official Oscars site
83rd Academy Awards at Wikipedia
> Analysis at Awards Daily and In Contention

Indie Spirit Awards Winners

Black Swan was the big winner at this year’s Indie Spirit Awards, claiming Best Feature, Best Director, Best Female Lead and Best Cinematography beating out the hotly tipped Winter’s Bone.

The show highlights independent films produced for under $20 million, and the list of full winners are below.

BEST FEATURE
Black Swan

BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronfosky, “Black Swan”

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Get Low

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
Daddy Longlegs

BEST SCREENPLAY
“The Kids Are All Right”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
“Tiny Furniture”

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”

BEST MALE LEAD
James Franco, “127 Hours”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Dale Dickey, “Winter’s Bone”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Exit Through The Gift Shop

BEST FOREIGN FILM
The King’s Speech

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
“Please Give”

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Anish Savjani (“Meek’s Cutoff”)

SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Mike Ott (“Little Rock”)

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Jeff Malmberg (“Marwencol”)