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London Film Critics: Carey Mulligan Twice & Non-Hollywood Productions + Box Office Flops Top Satellite Awards

A Prophet with Tahar Rahim: Among London Film Critics' numerous non-Hollywood nominationsA Prophet with Tahar Rahim. Directed by Jacques Audiard from a screenplay by Audiard and Thomas Bidegain – itself from “an original screenplay” by Abdel Raouf Dafri and Nicolas Peufaillit – A Prophet / Un Prophète is in the running in the London Film Critics' Circle's Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor categories. Rahim plays Malik El Djebena, a French-Algerian street thug who, after being sent to prison for six years, must find a way to keep himself in one piece while navigating between his fellow inmates' rival Corsican and Muslim factions. A Prophet, which has brought in a solid $10.3 million at the French box office, is one of several non-U.S. productions that found space on the London Film Critic's nomination roster.

London Film Critics find room for non-Hollywood movies

The London Film Critics' Circle's 2009 nominations have been announced. The best thing about this year's crop of nominees is their “internationality”: As usual, Hollywood productions dominate the various lists, but the London Film Critics have found plenty of room for non-American fare as well.

Jacques Audiard's French prison drama A Prophet / Un Prophète managed to land five nominations, including Best Film (or “Film of the Year”), Best Director, and Best Actor (Tahar Rahim), while Michael Haneke's German-Austrian psychological-political drama The White Ribbon / Das Weiße Band received four nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Both were also shortlisted in the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Screenplay categories.

British talent in the running

Additionally, British talent found its way in the non-British categories as well. Carey Mulligan is one of the Actress of the Year nominees for her schoolgirl involved with older man Peter Sarsgaard in Lone Scherfig's An Education (which leads the pack with seven nods), while that film's screenwriter, Nick Hornby, is also up for Best Screenplay award.

The In the Loop screenwriters – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, and writer-director Armando Iannucci – were also shortlisted. And so was Australian actress Abbie Cornish for her performance in Jane Campion's romantic period drama Bright Star.

'Avatar,' 'Up in the Air' & 'The Hurt Locker' lead Hollywood contingent

The Hollywood contingent is led by James Cameron's futuristic fantasy adventure Avatar, Jason Reitman's socially conscious comedy-drama Up in the Air, and Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker. All three were nominated in the Best Picture and Best Director categories – though, curiously, none of the three is up for Best Screenplay.

Another curiosity: performances considered “supporting” in the U.S. are here placed in the Actor/Actress of the Year categories, e.g., Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air, Christoph Waltz for Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and Mo'Nique (instead of Gabourey Sidibe) for Lee Daniels' Precious.

Carey Mulligan An Education with Peter Sarsgaard: 1 of Best Actress faves and London Film Critics 2x nomineeCarey Mulligan in An Education, with Peter Sarsgaard. In Lone Scherfig's British drama An Education, London Film Critics' Circle double nominee Carey Mulligan – Actress of the Year & British Actress of the Year – plays an adolescent who, in the early 1960s, begins an eye-opening relationship with a man (Peter Sarsgaard) about twice her age. Besides Mulligan and Sarsgaard – the former an awards season favorite; the latter all but ignored – An Education features the following: two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Best Actress for Howards End, 1992; Best Adapted Screenplay, Sense and Sensibility, 1995), Dominic Cooper, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, Sally Hawkins, Matthew Beard, Cara Seymour, Rosamund Pike, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes, and Ellie Kendrick. Nick Hornby – whose novels include About a Boy and Fever Pitch – penned the An Education screenplay, from Lynn Barber's memoirs.

British categories

The London Film Critics split achievement categories between “Best of the Year” and “British Best of the Year,” something that, however unintentionally, always makes it look as if the British productions are inferior to the international fare.

For instance, Carey Mulligan managed to be nominated in both Actress of the Year categories, but Helen Mirren was only included in the “British” shortlist for her work in Michael Hoffman's The Last Station. In other words, Mulligan was good enough to run in the international race; Mirren was not.

That says something about how the London Film Critics feel about British filmmaking in 2009. Not one of the five British films of the year – Bright Star, An Education, Fish Tank, In the Loop, Moon – is up for the Film of the Year award.

London Film Critics' best of the best

The London Film Critics have also announced that U.S. filmmaker Quentin Tarantino will be given this year's Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Cinema, and that Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam War drama Apocalypse Now was their best “Film of the Year” winner since the Circle was formed 30 years ago. See below.

The London Film Critics' winners will be announced at London's The Landmark on Feb. 18.

Update: Full list of London Film Critics' winners & nominations.

The London Film Critics' Top Ten 'Film of the Year' since 1980

1. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1980).

2. Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1994).

3. The Lives of Others / Das Leben der Anderen (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2007).

4. Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992).

5. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005).

6. Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1990).

7. L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997).

8. Fargo (Joel Coen, 1996).

9. Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1989).

10. The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1983).

The London Film Critics' 'British' Irish

Dec. 23 update: Some have wondered why Irish performers are in the running in the “British” categories of the London Film Critics' Circle.

Michael Fassbender, the star of last year's widely acclaimed Hunger and the German-born son of an Irish mother and a German father, was shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actor category for Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, while Saoirse Ronan, born in New York City to Irish parents (she currently resides in Ireland) is one of the nominees in the Young British Performer of the Year category for her portrayal of the dead angelic girl in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones.

Hoping to clarify matters a bit, the London Film Critics have posted the following on their website:

“British and Irish film makers are eligible for most, if not all, of our awards. The word British in the title of some of our awards is simply to distinguish them from the general best actor/director/film awards. Irish citizens are eligible for these awards but many Irish actors and directors work on what are technically British films and their work deserves recognition. There is no intention to suggest that Irish talent is British should an Irish citizen be nominated in the 'British' categories and all Irish nominees know this. It simply recognises the complex nature of film making, a collaborative affair often crossing national boundaries and anyone who wishes to raise the matter should do so with Jason Solomons, current chair of the Awards Committee.”

Satellite Awards winner The Hurt Locker: From under the radar to top Best Picture choiceSatellite Awards' winner The Hurt Locker with Jeremy Renner. This awards season's top Best Picture choice is a Summit Entertainment release that turned out to be a major box office disappointment in spite of its low budget. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow from Mark Boal's screenplay, the Iraq War-related thriller about a U.S. Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was bypassed at this year's Venice Film Festival – where another war thriller, Samuel Maoz's Lebanon, was the Golden Lion winner – and, apart from a couple of nominations in the acting categories, it went under the radar at the 2008 Spirit Awards as well. Besides Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker features Guy Pearce, Brian Geraghty, David Morse, Anthony Mackie, Christian Camargo, Evangeline Lilly, Sam Redford (the son not of Robert Redford, but of British actor Ian Redford), and two-time Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (as Best Supporting Actor for Schindler's List, 1993; as Best Actor for The English Patient, 1996).

Satellite Awards: Best movies 'The Hurt Locker' & 'Nine'

The International Press Academy has chosen two domestic box office disappointments, The Hurt Locker and Nine, as, respectively, Best Film - Drama and Best Film - Comedy or Musical of 2009. The announcement was made on Dec. 20. (See further below the full list of Satellite Award winners and nominations.)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who won the IPA's Best Director Satellite Award, The Hurt Locker follows an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team in Baghdad. The war thriller has been winning tons of accolades and it's one of the favorites for the 2010 Academy Awards. Its lead, Jeremy Renner, was named the IPA's Best Actor.

Rob Marshall's film adaptation of the Broadway musical based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical 1963 hit , the coolly received Nine stars:

  • Two-time Best Actor Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot, 1989; There Will Be Blood, 2007) in the old Marcello Mastroianni role.
  • Best Actress Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, 2007).
  • Best Actress Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours, 2002).
  • Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, 2008).
  • Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love, 1998).
  • Best Actress Oscar winner Sophia Loren (Two Women / La Ciociara, 1961).
  • Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, 2000).
  • Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy nominee Fergie (“Big Girls Don't Cry,” 2008).
  • Berlin Film Festival Best Director Silver Bear winner Ricky Tognazzi (Ultrà, 1991; tied with Jonathan Demme for The Silence of the Lambs).
  • Best Actor David di Donatello winner Elio Germano (My Brother Is an Only Child / Mio fratello è figlio unico, 2007).

earned Federico Fellini a Best Director Academy Award nomination, in addition to being chosen the Best Foreign Language Film of 1963.

Both Nine and revolve around a temperamental Italian filmmaker facing various problems in his career and private life, as he must deal with both a dearth of new ideas and an overabundance of women, including his actresses, his mother, his wife, and his lover.

Surprise winner Shohreh Aghdashloo & Pedro Almodóvar tie

Shohreh Aghdashloo, who has been all but ignored this awards season, was the surprise winner in the Best Actress - Drama category for Cyrus Nowrasteh's Iranian-set sociopolitical drama The Stoning of Soraya M., while Meryl Streep was the expected winner in the Best Actress - Comedy or Musical for her portrayal of chef Julia Child in Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia.

Michael Stuhlbarg for Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man – not Daniel Day-Lewis for Nine – was the Best Actor - Comedy or Musical.

Some of the other top Satellite Award winners were expected – e.g., Christoph Waltz, Mo'Nique – but there were a handful of surprises as well:

  • Sebastián Silva's The Maid and Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces shared the Best Foreign Language Film award.
  • Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern's Every Little Step – not Louis Psihoyos' The Cove – was named Best Documentary.

Satellite Awards' winners & nominations

Best Motion Picture (Drama)
Bright Star.
An Education.
* The Hurt Locker.
The Messenger.
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire.
The Stoning of Soraya M.

Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)
The Informant!.
It's Complicated.
Julie & Julia.
* Nine.
A Serious Man.
Up in the Air.

Best Foreign Language Film (tie)
* Broken Embraces.
I Killed My Mother.
* The Maid.
Red Cliff.
The White Ribbon.
Winter in Wartime.

Best Documentary Feature
The Beaches of Agnès.
The Cove.
* Every Little Step.
It Might Get Loud.
The September Issue.
Valentino: The Last Emperor.

Best Motion Picture (Animated or Mixed Media)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
* Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The Princess and the Frog.
Up.
Where the Wild Things Are.

Best Director
Jane Campion, Bright Star.
Neill Blomkamp, District 9.
Lone Scherfig, An Education.
* Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.
Rob Marshall, Nine.
Lee Daniels, Precious.

Best Actress (Drama)
* Shohreh Aghdashloo, The Stoning of Soraya M.
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria.
Abbie Cornish, Bright Star.
Penélope Cruz, Broken Embraces.
Carey Mulligan, An Education.
Catalina Saavedra, The Maid.

Best Actor (Drama)
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart.
Hugh Dancy, Adam.
Johnny Depp, Public Enemies.
Colin Firth, A Single Man.
* Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.
Michael Sheen, The Damned United.

Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal.
Marion Cotillard, Nine.
Zooey Deschanel, (500) Days of Summer.
Katherine Heigl, The Ugly Truth.
* Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.

Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
George Clooney, Up in the Air.
Bradley Cooper, The Hangover.
Matt Damon, The Informant!.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine.
* Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man.

Best Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt, Sunshine Cleaning.
Penélope Cruz, Nine.
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air.
Mozhan Marno, The Stoning of Soraya M.
* Mo'Nique, Precious.

Best Supporting Actor
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger.
James McAvoy, The Last Station.
Alfred Molina, An Education.
Timothy Spall, The Damned United.
* Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Original Screenplay
Jane Campion, Bright Star.
* Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer.
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker.
Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man.
Bob Peterson & Pete Docter, Up.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9.
Nick Hornby, An Education.
Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia.
* Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious.
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air.

Best Cinematography
Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds.
Guillermo Navarro & Erich Roland, It Might Get Loud.
* Dion Beebe, Nine.
Dante Spinotti, Public Enemies.
Lü Yue & Zhang Yi, Red Cliff.
Roger Deakins, A Serious Man.

Best Film Editing
Julian Clarke, District 9.
* Chris Innis & Bob Murawski, The Hurt Locker.
Greg Finton, It Might Get Loud.
Claire Simpson & Wyatt Smith, Nine.
Angie Lam, Yang Hongyu & Robert A. Ferretti, Red Cliff.
David Brenner & Peter S. Elliot, 2012.

Best Original Score
Gabriel Yared, Amelia.
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant!.
Elliot Goldenthal, Public Enemies.
Michael Giacchino, Up.
* Rolfe Kent, Up in the Air.
Carter Burwell & Karen O, Where the Wild Things Are.

Best Original Song
* “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart (T Bone Burnett & Ryan Bingham).
“We Are the Children of the World” from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam).
“Cinema Italiano” from Nine (Maury Yeston).
“I See in Color” from Precious (Mary J. Blige).
“Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog (Randy Newman).
“Down in New Orleans” from The Princess and the Frog (Randy Newman).

Best Art Direction
Terry Gilliam, Dave Warren & Anastasia Masaro, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Nathan Crowley, Patrick Lumb & William Ladd Skinner, Public Enemies.
Eddy Wong, Red Cliff.
Chris Kennedy, The Road.
* Ian Philips & Dan Bishop, A Single Man.
Barry Chusid & Elizabeth Wilcox, 2012.

Best Costume Design
Consolata Boyle, Cheri.
* Monique Prudhomme, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Colleen Atwood, Nine.
Tim Yip, Red Cliff.
Sandy Powell, The Young Victoria.

Best Visual Effects
District 9.
Fantastic Mr. Fox.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Red Cliff.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
* 2012.

Best Sound (Mixing and Editing)
It Might Get Loud.
Nine.
Red Cliff.
Terminator Salvation.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
* 2012.

Best Ensemble
Nine.

Outstanding New Talent
Gabourey Sidibe.

Auteur Award
Roger Corman.

Tesla Award (Achievement in Technology)
Roger Deakins.

Mary Pickford Award (Outstanding Artistic Contribution)
Michael York.

Ten Best Films of 2009
Bright Star.
An Education.
(500) Days of Summer.
The Hurt Locker.
Inglourious Basterds.
Nine.
Precious.
A Serious Man.
The Stoning of Soraya M.
Up in the Air.

 

The Satellite Awards' International Press Academy website.

Tahar Rahim A Prophet image: UGC Distribution.

Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan An Education image: Kerry Brown / Sony Pictures Classics.

Jeremy Renner The Hurt Locker image: Jonathan Olley / Summit Entertainment.


         
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