Daily Rushes

Raw and unedited points of view from a couple of film fanatics

1. Unlike Scott, I was one of those who found Sally Hawkin's Poppy intensely annoying. Like Scott, I think it was a lovely performance: a lovely performance of an intensely annoying character. But her omission doesn't rank on the same scale of criminality as Kristin Scott Thomas being snubbed for I've Loved You So Long, for which someone should call the Hague, or at least commission a truth and reconciliation council or something.

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was too long, too self-important and too reminiscent of another certain ageless-naif-who-inspires-love-and-life-lessons-in-all-he-meets created by Eric Roth. Surely its 13 nominations just reflect its good showing in the technical / costume / make up /set design stakes rather than any genuine frontrunner status?

3. Ok, so it seems Slumdog has it pretty much wrapped up at this stage, even if it's inspiring the mother of all backlashes in India.

4. Sean Penn deserves the Oscar over Mickey Rourke. If people got handed Oscars just because their roles resembled their own arduous life journeys then Madonna would have gong for Evita, Courtney Love for Larry Flint, and Howard Stern for, well, Howard Stern.

5. If Anne Hathaway gets the Oscar over Kate Winslet, there is no justice. And yes, Hathway was good in Rachel Getting Married, but Oscar needs to get over its fetish for young hot mentals (Tomei in My Cousin Vinny; Angelina in Girl, Interrupted; Theron in Monster) and let someone develop their acting chops a little more before honouring them too soon and then watching their career slide into Lancombe ads and action movie B-parts (see: Paltrow, G.)

6. I do hope Kate wins, but I also hope she KEEPS IT THE HELL TOGETHER. Stiff British upper lip, my ass. Her SAG speech was a nice riposte to the Globes disaster.

2:04 PM

Academy-Go-Fucky (Yourselves)

Posted by Scott |


Sally Hawkins delivered a divisive performance this year in "Happy-Go-Lucky". Some people found it an infectious celebration of a role, others an intensely annoying creation. Whatever side of the fence you stand, what's undeniable is the craft that lay behind it.

Mike Leigh's film-making style demands that characters be born organically from a thorough pre-production process where the actors are thrusted together to develop their roles from scratch. 'Poppy' is Hawkins' creation through and through, and far from the reductive one-note optimist some reviewers would have you believe she represents. It's a fine balance of surface optimism, internal compromise and sheer compassion, a performance underscored even further when you realise how unlike Poppy Hawkins is in real life. It's a pearler of a turn.

I'm not alone on this. Hawkins won the lion's share of the critics awards, including the four biggest (aside from Oscar and SAG): the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, the LA Film Critics Association and the Golden Globe.

That's one impressive swag. So impressive, in fact, that only 7 actresses in the last 34 years have managed it: Hawkins (2008), Helen Mirren for 'The Queen' (2006), Holly Hunter for 'The Piano' (1993), Emma Thompson for 'Howard's End' (1992), Michelle Pfeiffer for 'The Fabulous Baker Boys' (1989), Meryl Streep for 'Sophie's Choice' (1982) and Sally Field for 'Norma Rae' (1979). 

Here's the thing: 5 of them won the Oscar and the other, Pfeiffer, should have (her loss to Jessica Tandy that year is the stuff of nightmares for Oscar enthusiasts). It's simply unprecedented for Hawkins to be absent from today's Oscar shortlist. Sure, she missed a SAG nomination, and her Golden Globe was in the Musical/Comedy category, historically viewed as less persuasive than that of Drama. And yet. For Hawkins to miss a nomination altogether with such commanding statistics and one hell of a performance behind her is still a massively surprising and altogether unusual, not to mention unjust, outcome.

BOO ACADEMY (again).

At least Hawkins can content herself in the knowledge that she might one day win an Oscar for playing PJ Harvey.

7:33 PM

The stunt cast

Posted by Jo |


Why? Why would they? There's no surer sign that a TV show is about to hurl its ass Fonzie-style across shark-infested waters than the stunt-cast. It's never good. It never works. The pop cultural graveyard is littered with the corpses of TV hacks who in their last gasps were heard to utter, "You know what Ugly Betty's been missing all these years? Post Spice!" Whether it's Nancy Reagan warning Arnold and Willis to say no to drugs or Brad Pitt's wooden banter and woeful in-jokes on Friends (hahaha he hates Rachel ...) or Color Me Bad and Jeremy Jordan thrashing out early-90s white boy R&B in the Peach Pit, stunt casting is just awkward and embarrassing for all concerned. Suddenly the characters in this neat little self-contained universe are turning to the cameras and giving us the big wink and nudge and asking us to revel in the hilarity of oh look, it's Mrs. Cunningham on Drew Carey! It's not clever, meta, postmodern, self-reflexive or any other dumb things you spouted in cinema studies tutes. It's just dumb. It's lame. And Jessica Alba and Jack Black belong nowhere near Dunder Mifflin. That is all.

4:51 PM

Linkalicious

Posted by Jo |


1:59 PM

Hugh Jackman to host Oscars

Posted by Jo |
3:35 PM

Got Milk?

Posted by Jo |



Here at Daily Rushes we're shining our shoes, picking out our best Bob Massey headwear and rustling up our Oscars bingo cards ("honor just to be nominated," "girl from a trailer park," "Harvey Weinstein," BINGO!) because IT'S AWARD SEASON, Y'ALL!

POSSIBLY ILL-ADVISED EARLY PREDICTION #1: Milk will win Best Picture.

While everyone else has been putting their money on Slumdog Millionaire, Daily Rushes has had 30 maths nerds working day and night, each paid with thirty peanuts, a Troop Beverly Hills DVD and the promise of Oscarblog glory, who've poured through the research data and all of Three 6 Mafia's back catalogue to arrive at this foolproof algorithm:

M = B-C/b+p(2)+J(z)k/W

Where:

M = Milk wins

B = Number of Best Picture trophies Milk has taken out (One: New York Film Critics)

C = Number of Best Picture trophies Slumdog has taken out (Two: National Board of Review, British Independent Film Awards)

b = Prop 8 topicality and liberal Hollywood guilt arising from Brokeback snub, (hereafter known as The Incident,) with said snub attributable to homophobic octogenarian Oscar voters who have since moved on to the great Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in the sky.

p = Stellar cast with establishment heavies (Penn), rising middleweights (Brolin), indie darlings (Luna, Hirsch), and one surprise heartthrob breakout (Franco).

J = Producers Guild of America's Stanley Kramer Award (which honors pictures for taking on 'provocative social issues'; see "b",) with Producers Guild a reliable indicator of Oscar glory, notwithstanding the Little Miss Sunshine misfire of 2004.

z = Desire to reward Gus Van Sant for returning to semi-commercial Hollywood fare with conventional plot, character and continuity (cf Good Will Hunting) with nary a big-thumbed cowgirl or snow-walkin' Gerry to be seen.

k = Homeground advantage for Real American Van Sant vs British interloper Danny Boyle.

W = Ten bonus Billy Crystal points for biopic.

11:33 AM

Liveblogging Australia

Posted by Jo |


00:05 Nicole Kidman appears. Her name is Laura Ashley, or something.

00:07: Woah boy, does she hate that Drover.

11:00 Already one kangaroo, one Crikey and one Bill Hunter.

13:00 Laura Ashley is British and so uptight and repressed. She says things like "quite" when she means "yes".

20:30 The narrator child Nullah's mother dies, and he's upset for about five minutes.

25:30 But then he falls in love with a new mother. Hurrah!

33:00 Hey, it's Diver Dan!

38:15 Diver Dan's the bad guy. ie He has a pencil-thin moustache.

39:30 Also, when he needs to say something mean he walks up and says it right into Laura Ashley's ear even though there's no one else in the room.

48:00 Laura Ashley sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Something beneath that bodice there's a heart of gold and a fiery lust for some brawny Aussie beefcake.

1:10:30 The Drover hangs out with two Aboriginal people. They don't say much except to occasionally speak wise truths to him about his commitment issues.

1:17:00 Also, the Drover is friends with a Chinese man. We don't know his name. He cooks food and plays a ukelele. He says something about Beijing.

1:17:30 Hey look, it's Ben Mendelsohn! He has a plummy accent but we all know he's gonna end up back on the junk.

1:30:00 A stampede of cattle and a roaring orchestra. It's the live action Lion King.

1:35:00 The Drover pours water over his rock hard, glistening abs.

1:39:00 Also, he cracks whips. HE IS ALL MAN.

1:46:00 Everyone calls the drover Drover. That's cos he's embarrassed by his real name. Hector.

1:54:00 "Listen lady, I mix with dingoes, not Duchesses." AWESOME.

2:10:00 Now there's a ball and it's just like college with sweaty boys wearing tuxes and drinking straight out of longnecks.

2:17:00 Hahaha the Drover has come to the ball to show up all those stuffy suits.

2:20:00 Then it rains and he and Laura Ashley kiss in an embarrassing, old-couple kind of way.

2:25:00 Aaaargh they're bombing Darwin. Plot twist!

2:27:00 The Japanese land on the beaches of Darwin. Followed by Gwen Stefani.

2:37:00 OMG The Drover is saving the whole stolen generation. This is such a history lesson.

2:45:00 The Drover and Laura Ashley live happily ever after. Australia goes on to earn ten billion at the box office and Baz gets 43 Oscars, plus Australian of the Year, plus first president of the new republic, plus Ricky May Day gets renamed Baz Lurhmann Day.

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