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Home Movie Awards Gotham Awards: Jealous Chilean Maid Surprises + Spanish-Titled Drama Tops Chinese Cinema Night

Gotham Awards: Jealous Chilean Maid Surprises + Spanish-Titled Drama Tops Chinese Cinema Night

27 minutes read

Catalina Saavedra The Maid: Gotham Awards surprise winner
Gotham Awards: Catalina Saavedra in The Maid.

Gotham Awards winners

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

“Kudos to you, great performance,” Rosie Perez told Willem Dafoe, after saying that Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, a dark, sex-filled drama in which Dafoe co-stars with Charlotte Gainsbourg, was a “sick-ass movie.” That was followed by: “Was that your … Oooohhhh. It was?”

And so went the 2009 edition of the Gotham Awards, in which performers cracked jokes that would be unacceptable on network TV. Unfortunately, that didn’t necessarily make the jokes any funnier or the show any better than, say, the Oscars or the Golden Globes, but on the bright side some of the Gotham choices were unusual – and thus interesting as well.

Chief among those was the choice of Catalina Saavedra as Breakthrough Actor for her performance as a resentful maid in Sebastián Silva’s Chilean-made The Maid (no rhyme intended). Saavedra made her acceptance speech in Spanish, dedicating the award to director-screenwriter Silva, co-screenwriter Pedro Peirano, and fellow cast members. (Silva interceded on her behalf at one point, telling the crowd, “Hey guys, she doesn’t have an agent!” Now, if Saavedra is as lucky as Melissa Leo was last year, she’ll surely have one after landing a best actress Oscar nod early next year.)

Ry Russo-Young’s You Won’t Miss Me, the tale of a problematic young woman (Stella Schnabel) released from a psychiatric hospital, was voted the Best Film Not Showing at a Theater Near You, while Robert Siegel was chosen best director for Big Fan, the tale of a New York Giants fan (Patton Oswalt) who gets beaten up by his favorite player – and then has to deal with it.

Unsurprising were the two The Hurt Locker victories: best picture and best ensemble. A Gotham best picture win usually indicates more awards (or at least award nominations) elsewhere. Among past Gotham best picture winners are Frozen River, Into the Wild, Half Nelson, Capote, and Sideways.

Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc., a likely Oscar contender, was named best documentary.

The evening’s special honorees were producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who received their award from Joel and Ethan Coen; actress Natalie Portman, who was praised at length by Jim Sheridan, her Brothers director; likely best supporting actor nominee Stanley Tucci, who declared upon receiving his award from his The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia co-star Meryl Streep, “I feel it’s a little early…”; and The Hurt Locker director and likely 2010 Oscar nominee Kathryn Bigelow, who got her trophy from Willem Dafoe.

A special Gotham tribute should have been handed to Shohreh Aghdashloo as well, for taking care of business without sounding giddy or uttering a single crack.

Among other award presenters were Ellen Burstyn, Anthony Mackie, and Brooke Shields.

And the last Gotham 2009 word goes to Meryl Streep: “If you’re not a supporting actor, you’re not an actor.” (Streep then went on to say that she felt “buttressed” by Stanley Tucci.)

Wait, I take that back. The last Gotham 2009 word goes to Stanley Tucci, referring to the state of the arts – especially the laborious and (relatively speaking) expensive art of independent filmmaking: “I do believe that these ups-and-downs are cyclical, and that things will get better.”

Here’s hoping he’s 100 percent right.

Gotham nominations

Considered the official beginning of awards season in the United States, the Independent Feature Project announced its 2009 Gotham Award nominations earlier today in New York City.

The five nominees for best picture are:

  • Cherien Dabis’ Amreeka, the tale of a Palestinian mother (Nisreen Faour) who immigrates with her teenage son to the American Midwest. No more pesky Israeli check-points, but lots of meat-patty flipping at burger joints.
  • Robert D. Siegel’s Big Fan, in which a hardcore New York Giants fan (breakthrough actor nominee Patton Oswalt) gets beaten up by his favorite player – and then has to deal with his unbridled fanaticism.
  • Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker follows a US Army bomb squad unit doing some dangerous work in an Iraqi town under siege.
  • Directed by Sebastián Silva, and written by Silva and Pedro Peirano, La Nana / The Maid chronicles the emotional ups and downs of a devoted maid (breakthrough actor nominee Catalina Saavedra) whose position is threatened at a wealthy Chilean household. (Curiously, this Chilean-Mexican production – winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance 2009 – got in as an “American” film; else, it couldn’t have received a Best Picture nomination.)
  • Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man, in which Michael Stuhlbarg plays a man whose life is suddenly turned upside down.

The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man (both of which also received Gotham nominations for best ensemble performance) are strong contenders for US critics’ awards, Golden Globes, Oscars, et al, while the inclusion of The Maid in the Gothams’ best picture/breakthrough actor lists will possibly increase the chances of Catalina Saavedra to add a few more awards to the World Cinema Prize for Acting she won at Sundance.

The Gotham 2009 winners will be announced on Nov. 30.

Full list of 2009 Gotham Awards winners and nominees

Best Feature
Cherien Dabis, director; Christina Piovesan, Paul Barkin, producers (National Geographic Entertainment)
Big Fan
Robert Siegel, director; Jean Kouremetis, Elan Bogarin, producers (First Independent Pictures)
* The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow, director; Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro, producers (Summit Entertainment)
The Maid
Sebastian Silva, director; Gregorio Gonzales, producer (Elephant Eye Films)
A Serious Man
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, directors / producers (Focus Features)

Best Documentary
* Food, Inc.
Robert Kenner, director; Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein, producers (Magnolia Pictures)
Good Hair
Jeff Stilson, director; Chris Rock, Kevin O’Donnell, Nelson George Jenny Hunter, producers (Liddell Entertainment and Roadside Attractions in association with HBO Films)
My Neighbor My Killer
Anne Aghion, director/producer (Gacaca Productions)
Michael Almereyda, director; Michael Almereyda, Laurie Butler, producers (Post Factory Films)
James Toback, director; James Toback, Damon Bingham, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

Breakthrough Director
Cruz Angeles for Don’t Let Me Drown
Frazer Bradshaw for Everything Strange and New
Noah Buschel for The Missing Person (Strand Releasing)
Derick Martini for Lymelife (Screen Media Films)
* Robert Siegel for Big Fan (First Independent Pictures)

Breakthrough Actor
Ben Foster in The Messenger (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Patton Oswalt in Big Fan (First Independent Pictures)
Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment)
* Catalina Saavedra in The Maid (Elephant Eye Films)
Souleymane Sy Savane in Goodbye Solo (Roadside Attractions)

Best Ensemble Performance
Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Ryan Reynolds (Miramax Films)
Cold Souls
Paul Giamatti, Dina Korzun, Emily Watson, Katheryn Winnick, David Strathairn (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
* The Hurt Locker
Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly (Summit Entertainment)
A Serious Man
Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed (Focus Features)
Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino, Michael Gaston, Andre Holland, Ann Whitney, Richard Bull, Ellary Porterfield, Jaime Tirelli (Sony Pictures Classics)

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
Everything Strange and New
Frazer Bradshaw, director; Laura Techera Francia, A.D. Liano, producers
Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench
Damien Chazelle, director; Jasmine McGlade, producer
October Country
Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher, directors/producers
* You Won’t Miss Me
Ry Russo-Young, director/producer
Zero Bridge
Tariq Tapa, director; Tariq Tapa, Josee Lajoie, Hilal Ahmed Langoo, producers

Career Tribute Awards
Kathryn Bigelow
Natalie Portman
Stanley Tucci
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner

List of 2009 Gotham Awards winners and nominees via the Gotham Independent Film Awards website

Watch Gotham Awards online

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) has partnered with Ustream to present a live webcast of the 2009 Gotham Awards, which will take place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Monday, November 30, at 8:00pm ET/ 5:00pm  PT.  The show will be streamed live in its entirety on Ustream at

Among this year’s Gotham Awards nominees are: Amreeka, The Maid, and The Hurt Locker as best feature; Food, Inc. and My Neighbor My Killer as best documentary; Derick Martini (Lymelife) and Robert Siegel (Big Fan) as Breakthrough Director; and Ben Foster (The Messenger), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), and Catalina Saavedra (The Maid) as Breakthrough Actor.

In addition to the competitive awards, director Kathryn Bigelow, actors Natalie Portman and Stanley Tucci, and producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, will each be presented with a career tribute.  The awards ceremony will be hosted by comedian Kumail Najiani.

Among the Gotham feature and documentary winners and nominees that have gone on to receive wide acclaim elsewhere are Frozen River, Into the Wild, Half Nelson, Iraq in Fragments, Trouble the Water, Capote, Murderball, and Sideways.

Previous Breakthrough Actor recipients include Oscar contenders Melissa Leo (2008), Ellen Page (2007), Rinko Kikuchi (2006), Amy Adams (2005) and Catalina Sandino Moreno (2004).

As per the Gotham Awards’ press release, “in addition to being available on the web, fans can also watch and interact using Ustream’s iPhone Viewing Application or the Ustream Android Viewer, released last week. Both are free applications that enable viewing any Ustream stream, including the Gothams, on 3G or Wifi from the iPhone and Android mobile devices. The applications are available for free download in the iTunes App Store and Android Market. For more information, visit”

No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti by Leon Dai

Golden Horse Awards: Spanish-Titled Social Drama Tops

Screenwriter-director Leon Dai’s Taiwanese black-and-white social-cum-family drama No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (above), Taiwan’s submission for the 2010 best foreign language film Academy Award, was the top winner at the 2009 Golden Horse Awards ceremony held Saturday evening in Taipei.

The real-life inspired tale of a poor single father who fights Taiwanese bureaucracy so as to retain custody of his daughter, No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti bagged trophies for best picture, best director, best original screenplay (Dai and best actor nominee Chen Wen-pin), and outstanding Taiwanese film of the year. (Curiously, the Taiwanese filmmaker of the year wasn’t Dai, but veteran lighting designer Lee Lung-Yue.)

“I especially want to thank this piece of land, Taiwan,” Dai told reporters backstage. “It’s this land that nurtured this movie. And we have been working hard to use the nutrition we received to develop this land.” No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti was reportedly made for less than US$200,000. In addition to his roles as director and co-screenwriter, Dai also produced and edited the film.

The biggest surprise of the evening, however, happened elsewhere.

Nick Cheung and Huang Bo tied in the best actor race – a first in the Golden Horse Awards’ 46-year history. Cheung plays a former boxer who resorts to kidnapping in The Beast Stalker, while Huang plays a peasant eager to protect his dairy cow from Japanese Imperial Army soldiers in Cow.

The best actress award was given to Li Bingbing (above) for the thriller The Message, about Japanese invaders in China who try to uncover a spy hidden among their local collaborators. Co-star Zhou Xun had also been in the running.

Li, who may one day be remembered as the Greer Garson of the Golden Horse Awards, could get neither the tears nor the words to stop flowing. “I didn’t expect to be recognized and I didn’t think about what I would say,” she remarked, and proceeded to ramble on. Twice she was cued to get off the stage, but there she remained. (Greer Garson allegedly gave the longest Oscar speech ever, back at the 1943 awards ceremony.)

Veteran Hong Kong star Wai Ying-hung was chosen best supporting actress for her performance as a single mother whose son faces rape charges in At the End of Daybreak, while Wang Xueqi was the best supporting actor for his portrayal of an old opera performer in Chen Kaige’s Forever Enthralled.

Cheung King-wai’s documentary about 17-year-old Hong Kong musical prodigy Ka-jeng, KJ: Music and Life (above) won three awards: best documentary, best editing and best sound effects.

“The Golden Horse Awards jurors are sending us a message,” Cheung remarked, “that documentaries can compete with feature films from a technical standpoint.”

Less lucky was Clara Law’s romantic drama Like a Dream, which failed to win any of its nine nominations.

Photos: Huayi Brothers (The Message); Golden Horse Awards (all other images).

Golden Horse Awards

2009 Golden Horse nominations: Oct. 07. Winners: Nov. 28.

Best Film
* No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
Luminoso Film Co., Ltd., Partyzoo Film Co., Ltd.
United Star
Crazy Racer
Beijing Film Studio, Warner China Film HG Corporation, Beijing Guoli Changsheng Movies & TV Productions Co., Ltd
Homegreen Films
Like a Dream
Beijing PolyBona Film Distribution Co., Ltd., Arc Light Film Company Limited, Bona Entertainment Company Limited, Lunar Films Company Limited

The Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year
Let The Wind Carry Me The Fleeting Moments of Mark Lee
Chiang Hsiu Chiung. Kwan Pun Leung. Tony Luo
* No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
Luminoso Film Co., Ltd., Partyzoo Film Co., Ltd.
Yang Yang
Khan Entertainment Co., LTD

Best Documentary
* KJ: music and life
CNEX Foundation Limited
Baseball Boys
Public Television Service Foundation
Let The Wind Carry Me The Fleeting Moments of Mark Lee
Chiang Hsiu Chiung, Kwan Pun Leung, Tony Luo

Best Director
* Leon Dai, No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
Guan Hu, Cow
Tsai Ming Liang, Face
Clara Law, Like a Dream

Best Leading Actor (tie)
Chen Wen-Pin, No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
* Nick Cheung, The Beast Stalker
* Huang Bo, Cow
Daniel Wu, Like a Dream

Best Leading Actress
Sandrine Pinna, Yang Yang
Yolanda Yuan, Like a Dream
Zhou Xun, The Message
* Li Bingbing, The Message

Best Supporting Actor
Cai Zhen Nan, Ending Cut
Huang Chien-Wei, Yang Yang
Zhang Han Yu, The Equation of Love and Death
* Wang Xue Qi, Forever Enthralled

Best Supporting Actress
Liou Yiin Shang, Sleeping With Her
Lu Yi-Ching, A Place of Ones Own
* Wai Ying Hung, At the End of Daybreak
Zhang ZiyiForever Enthralled

Best New Performer
Chen Wen-Pin, No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
Her Sy-Huoy, Yang Yang
* Yu Shao Qun, Forever Enthralled
Michelle Chen, Hear Me

Best Original Screenplay
* Leon Dai, Chen Wen-Pin, No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
Cui Siwei, Xing Aina, Wang Hongwei, Wang Yao, Zhou Zhiyong, Yue Xiaojun, Zhang Cheng, Crazy Racer
Cheng Wen-Tang, Cheng Jin Fen, Chang I-Feng, Tears
Eddie Fong, Clara Law, Like a Dream

Best Screenplay Adaption
* Guan Hu, Cow
Chen Kuo-Fu , Zhang Jialu, The Message
Gu Xiaoni, Death Dowry

Best Cinematography
Song Xiao Fei, Cow
Sion Michel, Like a Dream
Zhao Xiao Shi, Wheat
* Cao Yu, City of Life and Death

Best Film Editing
* Cheung King Wai, KJ: music and life
Leon Dai, No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
Kong Jinlei, Cow
Zhang Yifan, Du Yuan, Tang Hua, Crazy Racer

Best Original Film Score
Lim Giong, Yang Yang
* Dou Wei, Bi Xiao Di, The Equation of Love and Death
Paul Grabowsky, Like a Dream
Liu Xing, Wheat

Best Original Film Song
“Sayonala,” from Tears
Lyric: Yang Ta-Cheng, ENNO; Composer: ENNO; Performer: ENNO
“The Flow of Clouds,” from Young Spirit of a Taiwanese Opera Singer
Lyric: Peng Zhang-zhan; Composer: Peng Zhang-zhan; Performer: Christine Shu
* “For My Heart,” from Death Dowry
Lyric: Zeng Yan; Composer: Zeng Yan; Performer: Tao Hong, Tan Weiwei

Best Art Direction
HuaTa-Hua, No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti
* Lee Tian Jue, Patrick Dechesne, Alain-Pascal Housiaux, Face
Yee Chung Man, Like a Dream
Shi Haiying, Yang Haoyu, The Message

Best Makeup & Costume Design
Emi Wada, The Warrior and the Wolf
Chen Tong Xun, Forever Enthralled
* Christian Lacroix, Wang Chia Hui, Anne Dunsford, Face
Ye Jingtian, The Message

Best Visual Effects
Jiang Weibin, Lei Zaixing, Da Ming Palace
* Wang Jianxiong, Jimmy Chen, Li Liping, Crazy Racer
Don Ma, City of Life and Death
Hu Xuan, Xiao Yang, The Message

Best Action Choreography
Tung Wai, The Beast Stalker
Chen Guan Long, Qin Hai Qiang, Cow
Philippe Decouflé, Face
* Sammo Hung, Ip Man

Best Sound Effects
* Cheung King Wai, KJ: music and life
Tu Duu-Chih, Yang Yang
Tu Duu-Chih, Like a Dream
Wang Changrui, Wheat

Best Short Film
* Sleeping With Her, Chih Yi Wen
Invisible Loneliness, Lin Jung Hsien
Ending Cut, Wus Production Co.

* Yang Yang

The Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year
* Lee Lung-Yue
Jack Kao
Leon Dai

Lifetime Achievement Award
Ming Ji

Special Contribution Award
George Wang

Oscar Documentary Feature Semifinalists: From Agnès Varda’s beaches to dolphin slaughter

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 15 semifinalists in the 2010 Academy Awards’ Documentary Feature category. Eighty-nine films had been in the running.

The 15 documentary feature semifinalists are:

The Beaches of Agnes, Agnès Varda, director (Cine-Tamaris)

Burma VJ, Anders Østergaard, director (Magic Hour Films)

The Cove, Louie Psihoyos, director (Oceanic Preservation Society)

Every Little Step, James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, directors (Endgame Entertainment)

Facing Ali, Pete McCormack, director (Network Films Inc.)

Food, Inc., Robert Kenner, director (Robert Kenner Films)

Garbage Dreams, Mai Iskander, director (Iskander Films, Inc.)

Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, Mark N. Hopkins, director (Red Floor Pictures LLC)

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, directors (Kovno Communications)

Mugabe and the White African, Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, directors (Arturi Films Limited)

Sergio, Greg Barker, director (Passion Pictures and Silverbridge Productions)

Soundtrack for a Revolution, Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, directors (Freedom Song Productions)

Under Our Skin, Andy Abrahams Wilson, director (Open Eye Pictures)

Valentino The Last Emperor, Matt Tyrnauer, director (Acolyte Films)

Which Way Home, Rebecca Cammisa, director (Mr. Mudd)

Themes range from the Valentino couturier empire (Valentino The Last Emperor) to doctors risking life and limb in the line of fire (Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders); from veteran filmmaker Agnès Varda’s reminiscences (The Beaches of Agnes) to the strong ties between the crap we’re given to eat, the food industry, and the U.S. government (Food, Inc.); from the staging of A Chorus Line (Every Little Step) to the nasty abuse of dolphins (The Cove).

Other subjects include: Lyme disease (Under Our Skin), immigration hardships (Which Way Home), the life and death of UN ambassador to Iraq Sérgio Vieira de Mello (Sergio), the Pentagon papers and the demise of the Richard Nixon administration (The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers), the anti-junta protests staged by Burmese Buddhist monks (Burma VJ), and the garbage trade in Egypt (Garbage Dreams).

Now, I’m really surprised that Yoav Shamir’s Defamation, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, and R. J. Cutler’s The September Issue failed to make the cut.

According to the Academy’s press release, the Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed “all the eligible documentaries for the preliminary round of voting.” Documentary Branch members will now pick five nominees out of the 15 titles on the shortlist.

The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the US, it’ll be televised live by ABC.

The Cat Piano, Eddie White and Ari Gibson

Oscar animated semifinalists

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 10 semi-finalists in the animated short film category of the 2010 Academy Awards. Thirty-seven entries had originally qualified in the category. They are:

The Cat Piano, Eddie White and Ari Gibson, directors (The People’s Republic of Animation)

French Roast, Fabrice O. Joubert, director (Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films)

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Nicky Phelan, director, and Darragh O’Connell, producer (Brown Bag Films)

The Kinematograph, Tomek Baginski, director-producer (Platige Image)

The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Javier Recio Gracia, director (Kandor Graphics and Green Moon)

Logorama, Nicolas Schmerkin, producer (Autour de Minuit)

A Matter of Loaf and Death, Nick Park, director (Aardman Animations Ltd.)

Partly Cloudy, Peter Sohn, director (Pixar Animation Studios)

Runaway, Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada)

Variete, Roelof van den Bergh, director (il Luster Productions)

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco in January 2010.

The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the US, it’ll be televised live by ABC.

More on the Oscars: Music director Marc Shaiman

Oscar-nominated composer Marc Shaiman will be the music director for the 2010 Academy Awards, telecast producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic have announced.

Shaiman received Original Score Oscar nominations for The American President (1995), The First Wives Club (1996), and Patch Adams (1998), in addition to nominations in the Original Song category for “A Wink and a Smile” from Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and for “Blame Canada” from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999).

Shaiman has also been nominated for four Emmy Awards, including three nods for his work on Oscar telecasts. He won the Emmy in 1992 for co-writing Billy Crystal’s Oscar Medley for the 64th Academy Awards.

Among Shaiman’s other film credits are The Bucket List, Bee Movie, Hairspray, A Few Good Men, Sister Act and City Slickers.

The 2010 Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the US, it’ll be televised live by ABC.

Marc Shaiman Photo: Chris Beyer.

The Stoning of Soraya M.

Satellite Awards’ nominations

Why should anyone give a damn about the (Golden) Satellite Awards?

Well, how often will you see a small, little-seen indie like The Stoning of Soraya M. (above) listed as one of the best films of the year? Or Hugh Dancy shortlisted for his performance in Adam? Or Mozhan Marno listed as best supporting actress, also for The Stoning of Soraya M.? Or the absence of two of the “top ten films of the year” from the list of the year’s twelve best films (six dramas, six comedies or musicals)?

The two absent (best) films, by the way, are (500) Days of Summer and Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino was also ignored when it came to the shortlisting the year’s best directors. Three women (Lone Scherfig for An Education, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, Jane Campion for Bright Star) were nominated, and so were two openly gay men (Lee Daniels for Precious, Rob Marshall for Nine). The sixth nominee was Neill Blomkamp for the sleeper sci-fi hit District 9.

Most of nominated Golden Satellite performers will probably see their names mentioned later this year and early next year as well, but there were a few surprises (at least to a certain extent), among them the presence of best actress (drama) Shohreh Aghdashloo for The Stoning of Soraya M. and Catalina Saavedra for The Maid (above), the aforementioned Hugh Dancy for Adam and Michael Sheen for The Damned United in the best actor (drama) category, and Bradley Cooper as one of the best actor (comedy or musical) contenders for The Hangover.

Among the surprising absentees were Michelle Pfeiffer for Cheri, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin for It’s Complicated, Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air, Judi Dench for Nine, Gabourey Sidibe for Precious (though she’s getting her own New Talent award), and Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren for The Last Station, plus Peter Jackson’s supernatural crime drama The Lovely Bones, James Cameron’s trillion-dollar Avatar, and Clint Eastwood’s nation-building rugby drama Invictus.

According to a spokesperson for the International Press Academy – initially an offshoot of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – IPA members did watch both The Lovely Bones and Invictus. Avatar, however, wasn’t screened to them in time.

Either way, Nine led the pack with 11 nominations.

Also, honorary Oscar winner Roger Corman will receive this year’s Auteur Award.

The winners of the 2009 Satellite Awards will be announced on Dec. 20.

Asia-Pacific Screen Awards

2009 Asia-Pacific Screen Award winners: Australia’s Gold Coast on Nov 26.

Writer-director Warwick Thornton’s Samson & Delilah, Australia’s submission for the 2010 best foreign-language film Academy Award, took best film honors at the 3rd Asia-Pacific Screen Awards held in Queensland, Australia. Samson & Delilah tells the story of two young aborigines (Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson) who flee their village in the Australian desert; the problem is: they have nowhere to go. Thornton’s drama has also been nominated for 13 Australian Film Institute Awards.

Best Feature Film

* Samson & Delilah – Australia
Produced by Kath Shelper

Forever Enthralled People’s Republic of China
Produced by Han Sanping and Du Jiayi

City of Life and Death People’s Republic of China
Produced by Han Sanping, Quin Hong, Zhou Li, John Chong and Andy Zhang

About Elly Islamic Republic of Iran
Produced by Asghar Farhadi and Mahmoud Razavi

The Time That Remains Palestinian Territories / France / Italy / Belgium / UK
Produced by Hani Farsi and Elia Suleiman, Co-Produced by Avi Kleinberger

Best Documentary

Polamuang Juling (Citizen Juling) Thailand
Produced by Ing K, Manit Sriwanichpoom and Kraisak Choonhavan

* Hashmatsa (Defamation) Israel / Austria / Denmark / USA
Produced by Knut Ogris, Karoline Leth, Sandra Itkoff and Philippa Kowarsky

Gandhi’s Children Australia
Produced by David MacDougall

Seishin (Mental) Japan / USA
Produced by Kazuhiro Soda

L’important, c’est de Rester Vivant (Survive, In the Heart of the Khmer Rouge Madness) Cambodia / France
Produced by Gerard Lacroix, Leslie F. Grunberg and Gerard Pont, Co-Produced by Chandara Saidnattar and Antoine Martin

Best Animated Feature

Perviy Otryad (First Squad: The Moment of Truth) Russian Federation / Japan / Canada
Produced by Eiko Tanaka, Misha Sprits and Aljosha Klimov

* Mary and Max Australia
Produced by Melanie Coombs

Sukai Kurora (The Sky Crawlers) Japan
Produced by Tomohiko Ishii

Samâ Wôzu (Summer Wars) Japan
Produced by Nozomu Takahashi, Takuya Ito and Takashi Watanabe, Co-Produced by Yuichiro Saito

Pro Fedota-Streltsa, Udalogo Molodtsa (The Tale of Soldier Fedot, The Daring Fellow) Russian Federation
Produced by Alexander Boyarsky and Sergey Selyanov

Best Director

Darbareye Elly (About Elly) Islamic Republic of Iran
Directing: Asghar Farhadi

* Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death) People’s Republic of China
Directing: Lu Chuan

Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds) Sri Lanka / France
Directing: Vimukthi Jayasundara

Dev.D India
Directing: Anurag Kashyap

Ai No Mukidashi (Love Exposure) Japan
Directing: Sion Sono

Best Actress

Darbareye Elly (About Elly) Islamic Republic of Iran
Actress: Golshifteh Farahani

* Mother / Madeo Republic of Korea
Actress: Kim Hye-ja

Akasa Kusum (Flowers of the Sky) Sri Lanka | India
Actress: Malani Fonseka

Volchok (Wolfy) Russian Federation
Actress: Yana Troyanova

Li Mi De Caixiang (The Equation of Life and Death) People’s Republic of China (Mainland China | Hong Kong)
Actress: Zhou Xun

Best Actor

* Okuribito (Departures) Japan
Actor: Masahiro Motoki

Ddongpari (Breathless) Republic of Korea
Actor: Yang Ik-june

Eid milad Laila (Laila’s Birthday) Palestinian Territories / Tunisia / The Netherlands
Actor: Mohamed Bakri

A Wednesday India
Actor: Naseeruddin Shah

Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are The One) People’s Republic of China (Mainland China / Hong Kong)
Actor: Ge You

Best Screenplay

* Darbareye Elly (About Elly) Islamic Republic of Iran
Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi

Okuribito (Departures) Japan
Screenplay: Kundo Koyama

Jang-rye-sik-ui Member (Members of the Funeral) Republic of Korea
Screenplay: Baek Seung-bin

Madeo (Mother) Republic of Korea
Screenplay: Bong Joon-ho and Park Eun-kyo

Mumbai Meri Jaan (Mumbai My Life) India
Screenplay: Yogesh Vinayak Joshi and Upendra Sidhaye

Best Cinematography

Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia) Thailand
Cinematography: Uruphong Raksasad

* Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death) People’s Republic of China
Cinematography: Chao Yu

Cheraghi Dar Meh (A Light in the Fog) Islamic Republic of Iran
Cinematography: Ali Mohammad Ghasemi

Bumaznyj Soldat (Paper Soldier) Russian Federation
Cinematography: Alisher Khamidhodjaev and Maxim Drozdov

Volchok (Wolfy) Russian Federation
Cinematography: Alexei Arsentiev

Best Children’s Film

3 Doa 3 Cinta (Pesantren: 3 Wishes 3 Loves) Indonesia
Produced by Nan Achnas, Nurman Hakim and Adiyanto Sumarjono

The Strength of Water – New Zealand / Germany
Produced by Fiona Copland, Co-Produced by Karl Baumgartner and Raimond Goebel

Tahaan (Tahaan: A Boy with a Grenade) India
Produced by Shripal Morakhia and Mubina Rattonsey

* Ye Haeng Ja (A Brand New Life) Republic of Korea / France
Produced by Lee Chang-dong, Laurent Lavole and Lee Joon-dong

Mommo-Kizkardesim (The Bogeyman) Turkey
Produced by Atalay Tasdiken

Jury Grand Prizes: Asghar Farhadi (Iran), Darbareye Elly (About Elly), and Elia Sulieman (Palestinian Territories), The Time That Remains

UNESCO Prize: Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia) by Uruphong Raksasad (Thailand)

FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film: Isao Matsuoka

Jury’s High Commendations: Yang Ik-june for Best Performance by an Actor for Ddongpari (Breathless); Alisher Khamidhodjaev and Maxim Drozdov for Achievement in Cinematography for Paper Soldier; Tahaan: A Boy with a Grenade for Best Children’s Feature; and Gandhi’s Children for Best Documentary Feature.

Jury: Huang Jianxin (president, China), Tahmineh Milâni (Islamic Republic of Iran), Gina Kim (Republic of Korea), Aden Young (Australia), Andrew Pike (Australia) and Pryas Gupta (India)

Mar del Plata Film Festival Awards

2009 Mar del Plata Film Festival: Nov. 7–15.

Directed by Mariana Chenillo, Cinco días sin Nora (Five Days Without Nora) tells the story of a woman who, after fourteen failed suicide attempts, finally succeeds in moving on to the Great Beyond. Her widower is left with his sorrows and a never-ending wake. However, a revealing photo forgotten under her bed implies that there is something else going on. This Mexican comedy stars Fernando Luján, Silvia Mariscal, Cecilia Suárez, Juan Carlos Colombo, and Verónica Langer.

Golden Astor: Cinco días sin Nora, Mariana Chenillo

Silver Astor – Special Jury Prize: to the cast of El cuerno de la abundancia, Juan Carlos Tabío

Silver Astor – Best Director: Elia Suleiman, The Time That Remains

Silver Astor – Best Actor: Gary Piquer, Mal día para pescar, by Alvaro Brechner

Silver Astor – Best Actress: Allison Janney, Life During Wartime, by Todd Solondz

Silver Astor – Best Screenplay: V.O.S., Cesc Gay

Special Mention: Vikingo, José Celestino Campusano

Special Mention: Andrey  Khrzhanovskiy, for Room and a Half

Best Argentinean Feature (tie): TL-2- la felicidad es una leyenda urbana, Tetsuo Lumière, and El hombre de al lado, Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn

Special Mention: Padres de la plaza: 10 recorridos posibles, Joaquín Daglio

Best Argentinean Short: Ana y Mateo, Natural Arpajou

Special Mention: Marcela, Gastón Siriczman

Best Latin American Feature: La hora de la siesta, Sofía Mora

Best Latin American Short: La chirola, Diego Mondaca

Special Mention: Hiroshima, Pablo Stoll

Work in Progress Award: “La Caracas,” Andrés Cedrón

FIPRESCI Award: Vikingo, José Celestino Campusano

SIGNIS Award: Mother, Bong Joon-ho

SIGNIS Special Mention: V.O.S., Cesc Gay

Argentinean Film Critics Award: The time that remains, Elia Suleiman

Special Mention: Room and a half, Andrey Khrzhanovskiy

Audience Award: El cuerno de la abundancia by Juan Carlos Tabio

International Jury: Julieta Serrano, José Wilker, Juan José Campanella, Alvaro Buela, Michael Shapiro

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Dinari H Karoyo -

Islam led rules and regulations that respects the rights of women. The can Inherit, work, speak, go for education, they ought to be respected…….such a scenario the the movie is so bad and its a portrayal of what would happen before the coming of Islam/the days of ignorance….Islam is the Most modernized religion..the movie is purely extremism and that kind of male chuvinism have to be abolished completely in the Islam Ummah.

josette cortez -

Although there are quite a few good documentary this year, Every Little Step takes a very realistic view of auditions for Broadway, where all the actor want is “to get the job”, 8 shows a week. Unlike American Idol, where the producers use the contestants and often ridiculed them, and are often very rude to them, for their own TV program which often shows an unrealistic view of the business.


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