The best thing about the 2007 César nominations is the fact that Alain Resnais’ beautiful, haunting, magical Coeurs / Private Fears in Public Places received a total of 8 nominations, including a Best Director nod for Resnais himself, and a best screenplay nod for Jean-Michel Ribes’ adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn’s play.
The worst thing about the 2007 César nominations is the fact that Alain Resnais’ beautiful, haunting, magical Coeurs / Private Fears in Public Places failed to receive a nomination in the best film category. Adding insult to injury, none of the film’s generally outstanding performers – particularly Sabine Azéma, Pierre Arditi, Isabelle Carré, and André Dussollier – were nominated in any of the acting categories. (Dussollier, however, did land a best supporting actor nod, but for his role in Ne le dis à personne / Tell No One.)
The French Academy’s five best film nominees are:
Indigènes / Days of Glory - Rachid Bouchareb’s socially significant but dramatically simplistic film about the contributions of North Africans to the Allied cause during World War II. Days of Glory helped to change an unbelievably nasty French law denying equal benefits to Algerian war veterans, but in terms of storytelling it crams in just about every possible war film cliché during its two-hour running time. (Bouchareb did an infinitely more pointed – and more cinematically effective – social critique in his 1991 satirical drama Cheb.)
Nonetheless, Days of Glory – a huge box office success in France – is the favorite in the best film race. It has also been nominated for a best foreign-language film Academy Award (2007), and its male principals won an ensemble best actor prize at the 2006 Cannes festival. Surprisingly, none of its actors were singled out for a César nomination.
Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas / Don’t Worry, I’m Fine - Philippe Lioret’s social drama about a young woman (best female newcomer nominee Mélanie Laurent) looking for her twin brother in a series of soulless, identity-less Truman Show-like Parisian suburbs. Lioret and Olivier Adam were nominated for their adaptation of Adam’s novel.
Lady Chatterley - Pascale Ferran’s adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s scandalous novel, with best actress and best female newcomer nominee Marina Hands as the adulterous aristocrat of the title role, and Jean-Louis Coulloc’h as the gamekeeper she loves (or lusts after) in an England where everybody speaks French.
Tell No One - Taken from Harlan Coben’s suspense novel, Guillaume Canet’s thriller follows a nice pediatrician (best actor nominee François Cluzet) who may not be such a nice guy after all – in fact, he may be his wife’s murderer. The all-star cast includes Nathalie Baye, Kristin Scott Thomas, Marie-Josée Croze, Jean Rochefort, and best supporting actor nominee André Dussollier. (Cluzet was also nominated in the best supporting actor category for his performance in Quatre étoiles / Four Stars.)
Quand j’étais chanteur / The Singer - Writer-director Xavier Giannoli’s tale of a love affair between a small-time singer (best actor nominee Gérard Depardieu) and a woman (best actress nominee Cécile De France) old enough to be his granddaughter – or almost.
The only one of the five best film nominees that failed to receive a matching best director nod was The Singer. Alain Resnais took Xavier Giannoli’s slot.
Among the other César nominees are Jean Dujardin as a sort of French James Bond in the popular spy comedy-action-thriller OSS 117 - Le Caire nid d’espions / OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, best film winner at last year’s Seattle Film Festival; best actress nominee Catherine Frot, as a pianist in La Tourneuse de pages / The Page Turner; and veterans Mylène Demongeot and Bernadette Lafont, both nominated in the best supporting actress category, the former for La Californie / French California (that’s the Mediterranean coast) and the latter for Prête-moi ta main / I Do.
Danièle Thompson’s crowd-pleasing (and quite charming) ensemble piece Fauteuils d’orchestre / Avenue Montaigne surprisingly failed to nab a best picture nod (and a best foreign language film Academy Award nod), though it did receive three acting mentions: best actress nominee Cécile De France, who is competing against herself in Quand j’étais chanteur; and in the best supporting actress category, Dani, in a touching performance as a theater concierge about to retire, and Valérie Lemercier, hilarious as the stage and TV star who convinces exasperated Sydney Pollack to exclaim “Fuck Sartre!”
Additionally, Danièle Thompson and her son, actor Christopher Thompson (who also has a role in the film), were nominated for their original screenplay.
Another veteran, Michel Blanc, received a best actor nomination for his role as a widowed French farmer who tries to find himself a hardworking Romanian wife in director-writer Isabelle Mergault’s Je vous trouve très beau / You Look So Handsome. Mergault was nominated for her original screenplay.
And speaking of veterans, Gérard Depardieu’s nomination for Quand j’étais chanteur is his 15th – and his first in 12 years. The actor has won two Césars, for Le Dernier métro / The Last Metro (1980) and Cyrano de Bergerac (1990).
The Prix César 2007 winners will be announced on Feb. 24, one day before Hollywood’s Academy Awards.
Surprisingly, the Association of German Film Critics did not pick Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s internationally acclaimed Das Leben der Anderen / The Lives of Others as the best German film of 2006. Instead, their choice was Hans-Christian Schmid’s Requiem, based on the real-life story of a woman who believed herself possessed by the devil. (That same story also inspired the undemonic The Exorcism of Emily Rose.) Henckel von Donnersmarck had to content himself with winning the best first film prize.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Lives of Others has had the biggest opening for a German-language film ever in the United States. (I’m assuming that those figures – as usual – haven’t been adjusted for inflation. I mean, what about Das Boot?) Having been greeted with overwhelmingly positive notices in Germany and abroad, the – in my invariably humble opinion, overlong and unconvincing – spy melodrama is up for a best foreign-language film Academy Award.
As the bedeviled Requiem lead, Sandra Hüller was voted best actress (she also won the Silver Bear at last year’s Berlin Film Festival), while Ulrich Mühe, as the conflicted spy in The Lives of Others, was chosen best actor.
Wolfgang Kohlhaase was the best screenwriter for Sommer vorm Balkon / Summer in Berlin, directed by Andreas Dresen. The film revolves around the travails of two women (Inka Friedrich, Nadja Uhl) spending the summer in Berlin.
2007 Art Directors Guild Awards
2007 Art Directors Guild award nominations: Jan. 18.
2007 Art Directors Guild award winners: Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills on Feb. 17.
CHILDREN OF MEN PD: GEOFFREY KIRKLAND
* PAN’S LABYRINTH PD: EUGENIO CABALLERO
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST PD: RICK HEINRICHS
SUPERMAN RETURNS PD: GUY HENDRIX DYAS
V FOR VENDETTA PD: OWEN PATERSON
Single Camera Television Series
24 - “7AM - 8AM” PD: JOSEPH HODGES
DEADWOOD - “TRUE COLORS” PD: MARIA CASO
HEROES - “SIX MONTHS AGO” PD: RUTH AMMON
STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP - PILOT PD: CARLOS BARBOSA
* UGLY BETTY - “THE BOX AND THE BUNNY” PD: MARK WORTHINGTON
Multi-Camera Television Series
THE CLASS - PILOT PD: GLENDA ROVELLO
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER -
“WORLD’S GREATEST COUPLE” PD: STEPHAN OLSON
* MAD TV - EPISODE 1207 PD: JOHN SABATO
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE -
“EXILE ON LAME STREET” PD: CABOT MCMULLEN
TWO AND A HALF MEN -
“THE PISTOL-PACKIN’ HERMAPHRODITE” PD: JOHN SHAFFNER
Television Movie or Mini-Series
* STEPHEN KING’S DESPERATION PD: PHILIP DAGORT
THE LOST ROOM PD: KEITH NEELY
RETURN TO HALLOWEENTOWN PD: EDWARD L. RUBIN
Variety or Awards Show, Music Special, or Documentary
* 58TH ANNUAL EMMY AWARDS PD: JOHN SHAFFNER &
COMIC RELIEF 2006 PD: BRUCE RYAN
HELL’S KITCHEN - EPISODE 201 PD: JOHN JANAVS
TONY BENNETT: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC PD: JOHN MYHRE
UNANIMOUS - EPISODE 101 PD: JOHN JANAVS
NOMINEES FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR COMMERCIALS FOR 2006
CAPITAL ONE - “HOT DOG” PD: CARLOS MENENDEZ
CAPITAL ONE - “TRASH” PD: CARLOS MENENDEZ
NETZERO - “RUSSIAN SUB” PD: MICHAEL GAW
* VICTORIA’S SECRET - “SEXY” PD: JEFFREY BEECROFT
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dean Tavoularis
Outstanding Contributions to Cinematic Imagery Award: Terry Gilliam
Art Directors Guild website
2007 Costume Designers Guild Awards
2007 Costume Designers Guild award nominations: Jan. 11.
2007 Costume Designers Guild award winners: Beverly Regent Hotel in Beverly Hills on Feb. 17.
Excellence in contemporary film
Patricia Field for The Devil Wears Prada
* Consolata Boyle for The Queen
Nancy Steiner for Little Miss Sunshine
Lindy Hemming for Casino Royale
Michael Wilkinson for Babel
Excellence in period film
Milena Canonero for Marie Antoinette
Sharen Davis for Dreamgirls
* Chung Man Yee for Curse of the Golden Flower
Ngila Dickson for The Illusionist
Penny Rose for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Excellence in fantasy film
Sammy Sheldon for V for Vendetta
Kym Barrett for Eragon
* Lala Huete for Pan’s Labyrinth
Judianna Makovsky for X-Men: The Last Stand
Renee April for The Fountain
Outstanding made-for-television movie or miniseries
* Mike O’Neill for Elizabeth I
Julie Weiss for Mrs. Harris
Tom McKinley for High School Musical
Michael T Boyd for Into the West
Andrea Galer for Bleak House
Outstanding contemporary television series
* Eduardo Castro for Ugly Betty
Catherine Adair for Desperate Housewives
Juliet Polcsa for The Sopranos
Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko for Big Love
Amy Westcott for Entourage
Outstanding period/fantasy television series
* April Ferry for Rome
Katherine Jane Bryant for Deadwood
Patia Prouty and Maria Schicker for Cold Case
Excellence in commercial costume design
* Jennifer Rade for Target Branding Circle and Target Holiday Home Decor
Casey Storm for Geico’s Caveman
Distinguished Actor Award: Helen Mirren
Lacoste Career Achievement in Film Award: Patricia Norris
Career Achievement in Television Award: Grady Hunt
Costume Designers Guild Site