Lebanese actress-filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s second feature, the musical Et maintenant, on va où? / Where Do We Go Now?, was the surprise winner of the Toronto Film Festival’s Cadillac People’s Choice Award. Toronto doesn’t have a jury like Cannes, Berlin, or Venice; festivalgoers pick the winner each year.
Apparently inspired by Aristophanes’ Lysistrata – which presents women as peace lovers and men as (sex-starved) war lovers – Where Do We Go Now? tells the story of female Lebanese villagers who take some unusual steps to prevent Muslim-Christian strife in their area. Those include hiring Ukrainian casino showgirls and serving hash-laced cookies.
Labaki’s feature-film debut, the charming romantic comedy-drama Caramel, had its North American premiere at the Toronto festival in 2007. That movie didn’t win any awards in Toronto; Labaki wasn’t expecting any for Where Do We Go Now?, either, what with the English-language media insisting that only Hollywood (or at least English-language) movies matter, e.g., Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, Bennett Miller’s Moneyball, Steve McQueen’s Shame.
As a result, Labaki wasn’t around to pick up her award, which comes with a $15,000 cash prize. In an emailed statement read at the awards gala ceremony, she described her emotional state: “I’m running around jumping up and down at the Frankfurt airport!”
Where Do We Go Now? is Lebanon’s submission for the 2011 Academy Awards. The country now has a good chance of getting its first-ever Oscar nomination in that category.
Last year’s People’s Choice Award winner, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, went on to win the Best Picture Academy Award. Since 1978, nine Toronto winners have gone on to win Best Picture or Best Foreign Language Film Oscars. In addition to The King’s Speech, there were Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Tsotsi (2005), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), American Beauty (1999), Life Is Beautiful (1997; Oscar win for the following year), Antonia’s Line (1995), The Official Story (1985), and Chariots of Fire (1981).
Other Oscar-friendly Toronto winners include Precious, Eastern Promises, Hotel Rwanda, Whale Rider, Amelie, Shine, The Fisher King, Cyrano de Bergerac, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Decline of the American Empire, Places in the Heart, and The Big Chill.
Where Do We Go Now? photo: TIFF.
Cadillac People’s Choice Award
Nadine Labaki for Where Do We Go Now?
Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award
Gareth Evans for The Raid
Cadillac People’s Choice Documentary Award
Jon Shenk for The Island President
The International Federation of Film Critics Awards Prize Discovery
Axel Petersén for Avalon
The International Federation of Film Critics Awards Prize Special Presentation
Gianni Amelio for The First Man
City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature
Philippe Falardeau for Monsieur Lazhar
Skyy Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film Nathan Morlando for Edwin Boyd
Award for Best Canadian Short Film
Ian Harnarine for Doubles with Slight Pepper
Nadine Labaki Where Do We Go Now? image: TIFF.
Best Foreign Language Film Oscar: Valérie Donzelli ‘Declaration of War’ is French Entry
La Guerre est déclarée / Declaration of War is France’s submission for the 2012 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. The second feature film directed by actress-turned-filmmaker Valérie Donzelli (Who Killed Bambi?, The Untouchable), who also co-wrote it with her former real-life companion Jérémie Elkaïm (perhaps best known in the US for the 2000 gay drama Come Undone), Declaration of War is a tear-jerking family drama inspired by events in their own lives.
In the film, Donzelli and Elkaïm play a young couple, Roméo and Juliette, whose baby (at the age of 8 played by the couple’s real-life son, Gabriel Elkaïm) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Roméo and Juliette then proceed to declare war against death while struggling to save their own relationship as well. (The French-language title sounds like a pun on the title of Alain Resnais’ 1966 classic La guerre est finie / The War Is Over.)
Declaration of War has become a sleeper critical and box office hit in France following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week sidebar. After ten days, the film has collected $3.3 million at less than 250 locations as per Box Office Mojo.
Among the committee members who selected Declaration of War at France’s National Center of Cinema and Moving Images were veteran actress Jeanne Moreau, Cannes Film Festival managing director Thierry Frémaux, and French Film Academy president Alain Terzian. Neither Maïwenn Le Besco’s Cannes Jury Prize winner Polisse nor Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist were eligible, as they will open in France in October – days after the Academy-imposed Sept. 30, 2011, deadline.
Considering France’s past Oscar record, Declaration of War has a very good chance of landing a nomination: since the Academy began handing out competitive awards for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1957 ceremony, movies officially* representing France have earned a total of 36 nominations (including six since 2000), in addition to three (including an Italian co-production) pre-1957 winners of the Special Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film exhibited in the United States.
Yet, the last French entry to win a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award was Régis Wargnier’s 1992 period drama Indochine, starring Best Actress nominee Catherine Deneuve. Last year, France’s well-regarded submission, Xavier Beauvois’ Des hommes et des dieux / Of Gods and Men, failed to be included even among the nine semi-finalists in that category.
* I’m not including films such as Costa-Gavras’ Z or Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside the Law, which are mostly French productions with some non-French financing/talent. Both Z and Outside the Law were officially nominated as Algerian entries.
Photo: Declaration of War (Wild Bunch Distribution)
‘Darfur Now’ screening
Cameron Bailey reviews Ted Brauns (right) first theatrical documentary, Darfur Now, screening today at the Toronto Film Festival:
“The ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, remain one of the worlds great challenges not just to our politicians but to each of us individually. Eventually, when the crisis ends, what can we say we did to help resolve it? This is the question that drives Ted Brauns urgent, necessary new documentary. Darfur Now follows six people who have taken up the challenge to help stop the murder, rape and displacement the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit people of Darfur have suffered since 2003.
“One of those six is a movie star, and it is to this films great credit that his work on Darfur is stitched seamlessly together with the others efforts. Don Cheadle first became active in humanitarian crises in Africa after starring in Hotel Rwanda. Darfur Now shows him continuing to spend the currency of his celebrity to make the situation in Darfur more widely known and impossible to dismiss. Were trying to speak in a loud voice now, he says, so that people cannot say “I was unaware.” They can only say “I acted” or “I stood by.”
“The title Darfur Now is no accident. This film insists that since the crimes continue now, now is the time to act.”
The other five people portrayed in the film are fighter Hejewa Adam, UN World Food Program worker Pablo Recalde, displaced persons camp worker Ahmed Mohammed Abakar, The Hagues International Criminal Courts Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and U.S. activist Adam Sterling.
Emmy Awards: Presenters Will Arnett & Amy Poehler + Ashton Kutcher
Emmy nominees Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Sofia Vergara and Julianna Margulies will be presenters at the Sept. 18 Emmy Awards ceremony. Also presenting will be Ashton Kutcher and Zooey Deschanel.
Amy Poehler (Wild Girls Gone, Baby Mama) is up for two Emmys, as Lead Actress and producer of the comedy series Parks and Recreation. Will Arnett (Horton Hears a Who!, Monsters vs. Aliens), who happens to be Poehler’s husband, is in the running as Guest Actor in a Comedy for 30 Rock. Sofia Vergara, one of the featured players in the international box office blockbuster The Smurfs, is a Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy nominee for Modern Family. Last year’s winner Julianna Margulies (City Island, Snakes on a Plane) is once again a nominee for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for The Good Wife.
No Strings Attached‘s Ashton Kutcher and (500) Days of Summer‘s Zooey Deschanel star in two new series, Two and a Half Men and New Girl, respectively.
The Emmy Awards ceremony will be broadcast live at 8pm ET on Fox.
Watch the Emmys Online Livestream Behind the Scenes
Jane Lynch will be hosting the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards this evening at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The Emmy telecast will be aired live on Fox at 8 ET/5 PT. You can also watch backstage at the Emmys online, as comedian Michael Kosta will be hosting a livestream of the event (see below).
In addition to her hosting duties, Lynch is a nominee in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy category, along with veteran Betty White, Hot in Cleveland; Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live; and Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock.
Among the “movie actors” nominated in the various television categories is Best Actress Oscar winner Kate Winslet, up for an Emmy in the Outstanding Leading Actress in a Mini-series or Movie for her performance in Mildred Pierce, Todd Haynes’ remake of Michael Curtiz’s 1945 melodrama/film noir that earned Joan Crawford a Best Actress Oscar.
Three of Winslet’s competitors are fellow Oscar veterans (nominees, not winners): Diane Lane (Cinema Verite), Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey), and Taraji P. Henson (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story).
Among the other Oscar nominees shortlisted by the Emmys are Paul Giamatti, James Woods, Mare Winningham, Laura Linney, Alec Baldwin, and Matt Damon. In addition to Oscar winners Cloris Leachman, Kathy Bates, Melissa Leo, Gwyneth Paltrow,William Hurt, and two-time winner Maggie Smith.
By the way, Alec Baldwin has pulled out of the Emmy telecast because Fox exercised its right of censorship, which is really no right at all. “I did a short Emmy pretape a few days ago,” Baldwin tweeted a couple of days ago. “Now they tell me NewsCorp may cut the funniest line.” The “funniest line” had to do with NewsCorp honcho Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire has been enmeshed in a nasty phone-hacking scandal. NewsCorp, needless to say, owns Fox.
Maggie Smith wins her second Emmy Award
Outstanding Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
* Downton Abbey
The Pillars of the Earth
Too Big To Fail
Outstanding Leading Actress in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
* Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs
Outstanding Leading Actor in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
* Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Edgar Ramírez, Carlos
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce
Melissa Leo, Mildred Pierce
Mare Winningham, Mildred Pierce
* Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Eileen Atkins, Upstairs Downstairs
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
* Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Bryan F. O’Byrne, Mildred Pierce
Tom Wilkinson, The Kennedys
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
James Woods, Too Big to Fail
Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Olivier Assayas, Carlos
Curtis Hanson, Too Big to Fail
Todd Haynes, Mildred Pierce
* Brian Percival, Downton Abbey
Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, Cinema Verite
Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
* Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes
Mildred Pierce, Todd Haynes, Jon Raymond
Sherlock: A Study in Pink, Steven Moffat
Too Big to Fail, Peter Gould
Upstairs, Downstairs, Heidi Thomas
Outstanding Drama Series
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
* Mad Men
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
* Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Outstanding Actress in a Drama
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: SVU
* Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
* Margo Martindale, Justified
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
* Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Walton Goggins, Justified
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andrew Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama
Beau Bridges, Brothers & Sisters
Jeremy Davies, Justified
Bruce Dern, Big Love
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
* Paul McCrane, Harry’s Law
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama
Cara Buono, Mad Men
Joan Cusack, Shameless
* Loretta Devine, Grey’s Anatomy
Randee Heller, Mad Men
Mary McDonnell, The Closer
Julia Stiles, Dexter
Alfre Woodard, True Blood
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
* Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Louis C.K., Louie
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
* Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
* Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy
Idris Elba, The Big C
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Zach Galifianakis, Saturday Night Live
* Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live
Matt Damon, 30 Rock
Will Arnett, 30 Rock
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy
Kristin Chenoweth, Glee
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
* Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee
Cloris Leachman, Raising Hope
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock
Outstanding Variety, Comedy or Musical Series
The Colbert Report
* The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Reality Competition Program
* The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
Photo of Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in Downton Abbey: Nick Briggs / ITV.
Eddie Murphy Oscar host
This will be Murphy’s first time as Oscar host. Predecessors include Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and James Franco and Anne Hathaway.
A couple of months ago, it was rumored that the Academy and/or Ratner and Mischer were after Oprah Winfrey as Oscar hostess. Instead, Winfrey turned out to be a highly controversial pick for this year’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
“Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever,” Brett Ratner is quoted as saying in the Academy’s press release. “With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances – especially on stage – I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don and I want to produce in February.”
Just don’t expect anything along the lines of Eddie Murphy Raw. This is the Oscars, after all. Ratner, by the way, also happens to be the director of Tower Heist, Murphy’s upcoming star vehicle that opens next November. Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni, Alan Alda, Gabourey Sidibe, and Michael Peña co-star in the action comedy.
Best known for his series of low-brow/kiddie-oriented comedies, Eddie Murphy’s movies include 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, The Nutty Professor, Doctor Dolittle, and Norbit. Murphy also provided the Donkey voice in the Shrek movies, and received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls. Murphy’s two most recent comedies, Imagine That and Meet Dave, turned out to be gigantic flops in the United States; overseas, Meet Dave was merely a disappointment, while Imagine That was a total disaster.
The information below is from the Academy’s release:
Murphy began his career at the age of 15 as a stand-up comedian. In 1980, at the age of 19, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, becoming the show’s youngest cast member to that point, and bringing to life many of the show’s most memorable characters. His 1983 album “Eddie Murphy: Comedian” won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording. It included portions of his groundbreaking HBO special Eddie Murphy Delirious.
In 1987, Eddie Murphy Raw was theatrically released and went on to gross over $50 million. Murphy made his feature film debut in 1982 with the classic 48 Hrs. and would go on to star in such box office hits as Beverly Hills Cop and the The Nutty Professor and Shrek franchises. All told, movies in which he has performed have earned in excess of $7 billion worldwide during their theatrical releases.
The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the United States, the telecast will be broadcast live on ABC. The Oscarcast will also be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Photo: DreamWorks Studios