Awards Season

Oscar Nominations Live

Awards Season

Interviews with Oscar Winners

Oscar Trophies

Here are links to interviews I’ve done in the past year with people involved in films that won at the Oscars last night.

I also interviewed people connected with films that were nominated:

Check out more interviews here and subscribe to our interview podcast via iTunes or RSS feed.

> My Oscar predictions from yesterday    
> All the interviews I’ve done since 2007
> Wikipedia entry for the 81st Academy Awards
Official Oscar site
> More awards season analysis at Awards Daily and In Contention

Awards Season News

Oscar Winners

Oscar Winners 2009

Here is the full list of winners at the 81st Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire 
  • Best Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire 
  • Best Actor: Sean Penn – Milk 
  • Best Actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader 
  • Best Supporting actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight 
  • Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona 
  • Best Original Screenplay: Milk 
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire 
  • Best Animated Feature Film: Wall-E 
  • Best Animated Short Film: La Maison en Petits Cubes 
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Departures (Japan) 
  • Best Documentary Feature: Man on Wire 
  • Best Documentary Short Subject: Smile Pinki 
  • Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 
  • Costume Design: The Duchess 
  • Make-up: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 
  • Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire 
  • Best Live Action Short Film: Spielzeugland (Toyland) 
  • Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 
  • Sound Editing: The Dark Knight 
  • Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire 
  • Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire 
  • Best Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire 
  • Best Original Song: Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire 

Official Oscar site
> Follow more analysis at Awards Daily and In Contention

Amusing Awards Season Viral Video

Salon Oscar Runner Up Mashup

Salon have done an interesting mashup of different actors and their reactions to not winning an Oscar.

Although not included here, Samuel L Jackson’s reaction to losing to Martin Landau in 1995 (he clearly mouthed ‘sh*t!’) has to be the most refreshingly honest.

Awards Season Thoughts

Oscar Predictions

81st Academy Awards posterThe 81st Academy Awards are on tonight at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

The main feature of the awards this year is that a lot of the major categories seem to be already decided.

Of the big 6 awards only Best Actor seems a difficult one to call.

Having said that, there can be surprises.

Here are the nominations and my predictions:


  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire

Who will win: Slumdog Millionaire.

After dominating the awards season up to this point, it would be a major upset if Slumdog didn’t get Best Picture. The unlikely feelgood story of the film is mirrored by extraordinary journey of this production.

Just a few months ago it was low budget drama with no stars that looked to be in major trouble after the closure of Warner Independent.

But after early buzz at festivals, it was acquired by Fox Searchlight (one of the savviest studios at marketing lower budget films) and has ridden an amazing wave of critical acclaim and word of mouth success.    

In some ways it is the Barack Obama of this Oscar season – an unlikely outsider who has trumped much better funded and more favoured early candidates like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon.


  • Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
  • David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
  • Stephen Daldry, The Reader
  • Gus Van Sant, Milk

Who Will Win: Danny Boyle.

It is often the case that the director of Best Picture wins Best Director and that trend is almost certain to happen this year.

Given the visual style of Slumdog and the fact that he has also scooped the DGA award, it would be a major shock if Boyle didn’t win.


  • Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
  • Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
  • Sean Penn, Milk
  • Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Who Will Win: Sean Penn.

This is the hardest major category to predict even if it is essentially a two horse race between Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn.

Both have won key awards but I slightly favour Sean Penn because he won the SAG Award (often an indicator for Oscar) and because his performance is showier than Rourke’s.

Another possible reason Rourke won’t win is because The Wrestler is the kind of gritty, contemporary film that puts off older members of the academy.

Whilst my heart is rooting for Rourke, as a win would be an extraordinary comeback, my head says Penn.       


  • Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
  • Angelina Jolie, Changeling
  • Melissa Leo, Frozen River
  • Meryl Streep, Doubt
  • Kate Winslet, The Reader

Who Will Win: Kate Winslet.

Having been nominated 5 times, it is almost certainly Winslet’s time.

Although The Reader is a film that wasn’t universally embraced, her performance (allied to her turn in Revolutionary Road, for which she could have also been nominated) is up to her usual high standards and exactly the kind that older Academy members love (remember her Extras speech?).

Some feel that Meryl Streep or even Melissa Leo could pull an upset but that looks highly unlikely. 


  • Josh Brolin, Milk
  • Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
  • Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
  • Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Who Will Win: Heath Ledger.

This is the easiest category of all to predict. Ever since the film came out last summer the talk has been of Ledger being a lock for this category.

Not only will it be a tribute to the late actor’s career but it will also be an acknowledgement that The Dark Knight was more than just another blockbuster. (Some studio execs were upset that The Dark Knight was snubbed in the bigger categories).

Director Christopher Nolan looks likely to collect on Ledger’s behalf. 


  • Amy Adams, Doubt
  • Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Viola Davis, Doubt
  • Taraji P. Hensen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Who Will Win: Penelope Cruz.

Although there is room here for an upset, it would be  a shock if Penelope Cruz didn’t win for her sparkling turn in Woody Allen’s latest film. 

If there is to be an upset then Viola Davis or Marisa Tomei are an outside possbility.


  • Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
  • Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Dustin Lance Black, Milk
  • Martin McDonough, In Bruges
  • Andrew Stanton, Wall-E

Who Will Win: Dustin Lance Black.

Although this is something of a two horse race between Milk and WALL-E, I think Dustin Lance Black is going to win for the former.

Andrew Stanton is just as deserving, but the fact that his innovative screenplay is for an animated film (albeit a masterful one) may count against him.


  • Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • John Patrick Shanley, Doubt
  • Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
  • David Hare, The Reader
  • Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Who Will Win: Simon Beaufoy.

The Slumdog train will keep on rolling with Beaufoy almost certain to collect the award for his bold and clever adaptation of Vikas Sawrup’s novel. 

If there is an upset here then Peter Morgan would be my pick, but I don’t see that happening.


  • Bolt
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • WALL-E

Who Will Win: WALL-E.

Arguably this masterpiece should have been nominated for Best Picture, but it looks certain to continue Pixar’s amazing run in this category.


  • The Baader Meinhof Complex
  • The Class
  • Departures
  • Revanche
  • Waltz With Bashir

Who Will Win: Waltz With Bashir.

This looks like a two horse race between Waltz With Bashir and The Class.

I slightly favour Ari Folman’s remarkable film about his experiences as an Israeli soldier, which is a sadly prescient tale about the effects of war.

The Class is a more accessible film with a more feelgood vibe, so it could also win.


  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
  • Encounters at the End of the World
  • The Garden
  • Man on Wire
  • Trouble the Water

Who Will Win: Man On Wire.

James Marsh’s outstanding documentary about Philippe Petit’s astounding wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 is the clear front runner.

It the most accessible of the nominees and has the added bonus of playing like a thrilling, existential heist movie.  


  • “Down To Earth” (WALL-E)
  • “Jai Ho” (Slumdog Millionaire)
  • “O Saya” (Slumdog Millionaire)

Who Will Win: Jai Ho.

Although Peter Gabriel’s song for WALL-E is a strong contender, I think the final song from Slumdog has the edge, especially given the fact that it accompanies the final song and dance number of the film. 


  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance, James Newton Howard
  • Milk, Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E, Thomas Newman

Who Will Win: A.R. Rahman

Although I think Thomas Newman did some fantastic work on the WALL-E soundtrack, the exotic joy of A.R. Rahman’s score for Slumdog played a large part in why its proved such a hit. So, another win for the Dog.


  • Australia, Catherine Martin
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Jacqueline West
  • The Duchess, Michael O’Connor
  • Milk, Danny Glicker
  • Revolutionary Road, Albert Wolsky

Who Will Win: Jacqueline West 

There is a depressing logic that dictates that period dramas with big dresses always scoop this award – if this is the case then The Duchess will win.

However, given that the Academy has got a little smarter in recent years I’m hoping they will recognise the considerable achievement of Jacqueline West’s costumes in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which impressively span a number of decades.


  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall
  • The Dark Knight, Lee Smith
  • Frost/Nixon, Mike Hill & Dan Hanley
  • Milk, Elliot Graham
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Chris Dickens

Who Will Win: Chris Dickens.

It is very often the case that the Best Picture will also win Best Editing, so this will be another victory in this year of the Slumdog. 


  • Changeling, Tom Stern
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Claudio Miranda
  • The Dark Knight, Wally Pfister
  • The Reader, Chris Menges & Roger Deakins
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Anthony Dod Mantle

Who Will Win: Anthony Dod Mantle.

The Slumdog bandwagon will roll on with Anthony Dod Mantle, but even if it was the projected big winner of the night, he would still be a strong contender for his imaginative and stylish shooting of Mumbai. 

If there is to be an upset here, then look out for Claudio Miranda, who did some sterling work on Benjamin Button.


  • Changeling, James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Donald Graham Burt & Victor J. Zolfo
  • The Dark Knight, Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
  • The Duchess, Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
  • Revolutionary Road, Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt

Who Will WinDonald Graham Burt & Victor J. Zolfo

Given that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had a ton of marketing money spent on it, expect some of that to stick when it comes to the technical categories. 

In any case, it is probably a deserving winner as the art direction was highly impressive. The main competition here is from The Dark Knight, which could also do well in the technical categories.


  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
  • The Dark Knight, Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin
  • Iron Man, John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan

Who Will WinEric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron.

It is hard to see Benjamin Button not winning here for the groundbreaking work by Digital Domain in ageing Brad Pitt backwards.

The main contender here would be The Dark Knight, but the deliberate lack of obvious CGI for that film may not have helped its chances (even though that’s what made it look so good). 


  • The Dark Knight, Richard King
  • Iron Man, Frank Eulner, Christopher Boyes
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Tom Sayers
  • WALL-E, Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood
  • Wanted, Wylie Stateman

Who Will WinBen Burtt, Matthew Wood

The sound work on WALL-E was simply extraordinary and it will be a scandal if it doesn’t win in both categories.

The Dark Knight is its main rival, so expect it to win if the Pixar film doesn’t.


  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten
  • The Dark Knight, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
  • WALL-E, Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt
  • Wanted, Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt

Who Will WinTom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt.

See above as to why WALL-E should win.


  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Greg Cannom
  • The Dark Knight, John Caglione, Jr., Conor O’Sullivan
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Mike Elizalde, Thom Floutz

Who Will WinGreg Cannom

A slam dunk win for Benjamin Button as its makeup effects were quite remarkable.


  • The Conscience of Nhem En, Steven Okazaki
  • The Final Inch, Irene Taylor Brodsky, Tom Grant
  • Smile Pinki, Megan Mylan
  • The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306, Adam Petofsky, Margaret Hyde

Who Will WinThe Conscience of Nhem En


  • La Maison de Petits Cubes, Kunio Kato
  • Lavatory – Lovestory, Konstantin Bronzit
  • Oktapodi, Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand
  • Presto, Doug Sweetland
  • This Way Up, Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes

Who Will Win: Presto


  • Auf der Strecke (On the Line), Reto Caffi
  • Manon on the Asphalt, Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont
  • New Boy, Steph Green, Tamara Anghie
  • The Pig, Tivi Magnusson, Dorte Høgh
  • Spielzeugland (Toyland), Jochen Alexander Freydan

Who Will WinSpielzeugland (Toyland)

If you have any predictions then leave them in the comments below. 

> Official Oscar site
> Follow more analysis at Awards Daily and In Contention

Awards Season News

Independent Spirit Award Winners

Indie Spirit Awards

The Wrestler led a fairly evenly split Film Independent’s Spirit Awards yesterday in Santa Monica, winning awards for Best Feature, Best Actor Mickey Rourke and Best Cinematography.  

The other notable winners were Milk, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Frozen River.

Here is the complete list of who won what:

BEST FEATURE: The Wrestler

BEST DIRECTOR: Tom McCarthy, The Visitor

BEST FIRST FEATURE: Synecdoche, New York

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD: In Search of a Midnight Kiss

BEST SCREENPLAY: Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY: Dustin Lance Black, Milk

BEST FEMALE LEAD: Melissa Leo, Frozen River

BEST MALE LEAD: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Maryse Alberti, The Wrester



ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD: Synecdoche, New York – Charlie Kaufman (Director), Jeanne McCarthy (Casting Director), Hope Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Tom Noonan, Emily Watson, Diane Weist, Michelle Williams

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD: Heather Rae, Frozen River

ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD: Lynn Shelton, My Effortless Brillance

LACOSTE TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD: Margaret Brown, The Order of Myths

UPDATED: The highlight was Mickey Rourke’s acceptance speech:


> Official site for the Indie Spirit Awards
> Find out more about the awards at Wikipedia

Interesting News

The Perils of an Oscar Hoax

Some prankster has released what is almost certainly a fake document detailing the ‘Oscar winners’ on Sunday.

Oscar hoax 2009

It is purportedly a ‘memo’ from AMPAS President Sid Ganis, but not only does it look fake, they have also made the mistake of listing Ben Burtt as working on The Dark Knight (he didn’t).

Academy spokesperson Leslie Unger has issued a stern denial to Entertainment Weekly, saying:

”The document is a complete fraud.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is still counting the ballots and there are only two people there who will know the complete list of winners in advance of the envelopes being opened during the ceremony.

The Academy’s president is not advised of the winners in advance and no such list is created with his name on it.”

However, in some respects, it is a sly hoax as the purported ‘winners’ in the big categories are heavily tipped to win anyway (Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture, Danny Boyle for Best Director, Mickey Rourke for Best Actor and Kate Winslet for Best Actress).

Oscar hoax 2009 close-up

So, the nightmare scenario for the Academy will be the (highly unlikely) event in which all these ‘predictions’ come in.

Even if it was a fake, a lot of people might not believe protestations to the contrary.

But it is worth remembering how the voting process actually works.

Once the ballots are in, the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers tabulates the nominee ballot votes in secrecy.

The Academy then announces the nominees in an early morning press conference and soon after the Academy mails the final ballots to all members.

They then have two weeks to return their final votes and then polling is closed.

PricewaterhouseCoopers tabulates the votes in absolute secrecy and seals the results.

After all the ballots are in, and the votes are counted, it all comes down to the actual night itself.

There is an urban myth that in 1992 Marisa Tomei was wrongly awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress because the presenter Jack Palance read the wrong winner out.

However, one of the reasons this isn’t true is because, since 1953, two representatives from PriceWaterhouseCoopers are waiting in the wings when each award is announced.

If, for some reason, the presenter announced the wrong winner then they would come on stage and re-announce the real winner.

But if the hoax winners correspond to the real ones, expect the conspiracy theories to begin in earnest.

> The full list of this year’s Oscar nominations
> Snopes on the Marisa Tomei myth
> How Stuff Works on The Oscars 
> A Slate article questioning whether PWC can be trusted with the Oscar results

Interviews Podcast

Interviews with BAFTA Winners

And the BAFTA goes to...

Here are some interviews I’ve done in the past year with people involved in films that won at the BAFTAs tonight.

Check out more interviews here and subscribe to our interview podcast via iTunes or RSS feed.

> Full list of this year’s winners
Official BAFTA site
Full list of this year’s nominees

Awards Season News

BAFTA Winners

BAFTAs 2009 [Photo by Flickr user FoxyCoxy]

Here are the full list of winners at tonight’s BAFTA awards, which were held at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

Slumdog Millionaire

Mickey Rourke
– The Wrestler

Kate Winslet – The Reader

Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Danny Boyle – Slumdog Milllionaire

In Bruges – Martin McDonagh

Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy

I’ve Loved You So Long


THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD (Special achievement by a British director, writer or producer for their first feature film)
Steve McQueen (Director/Writer) – Hunger

Slumdog Millionaire – AR Rahman

Slumdog Millionaire – Anthony Dod Mantle

Slumdog Millionaire – Chris Dickens

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Donald Graham Burt, Victor J Zolfo

The Duchess – Michael O’Connor

Slumdog Millionaire – Glenn Freemantle, Resul Pookutty, Richard Pryke, Tom Sayers, Ian Tapp

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Barba, Craig Barron, Nathan McGuinness, Edson Williams

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Jean Black, Colleen Callaghan

Wallace And Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death – Steve Pegram, Nick Park, Bob Baker

September – Stewart le Marechal, Esther May Campbell

Man On Wire

THE ORANGE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
Noel Clarke

Official BAFTA site
> Full list of this year’s nominees
The original longlist

[Photo courtesy of Flickr user FoxyCoxy]