Michelle Monaghan & Mélanie Laurent + Italian Politics: Surprise Critics' Winners + Oscar Songs

Michelle Monaghan Trucker: Potential Best Actress contender nearly ignored this awards seasonMichelle Monaghan in Trucker. Tom Cruise's leading lady in the action thriller Mission Impossible III, Michelle Monaghan was initially touted as a likely Best Actress awards season – i.e., Oscar – contender for her performance in writer-director James Mottern's low-budget drama Trucker, in which she plays a sex & booze-loving, long-haul truck driver whose life radically changes after she is forced to discover the joys & woes of motherhood by way of 10-year-old Jimmy Bennett. To date, Michelle Monaghan has been singled out by only one group, the San Diego Film Critics Society.

Michelle Monaghan among San Diego Film Critics' unusual winners

Whether or not one agrees with its choices, the San Diego Film Critics Society, possibly more than any other U.S.-based critics group, association, society, or circle, always comes up with a whole array of unusual winners. For instance, the San Diego Film Critics' Best Actress of 2009? Michelle Monaghan for her portrayal of a carefree long-haul truck driver whose life suddenly undergoes a dramatic change in James Mottern's Trucker.

Their Best Film of 2009? Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this awards season that Tarantino's twisted, violent World War II fantasy about Jews taking bloody revenge against Nazis has been chosen as the year's Best Film by a North American critics group.

Dec. 16 update: Just now, the Toronto Film Critics Association has chosen both Inglourious Basterds and, even more surprisingly, Steve McQueen's independently made British political drama Hunger as the two best films of the year. See the full list of Toronto winners further below.

Quentin Tarantino wins two awards

Back to the San Diego Film Critics: Inglourious Basterds' Quentin Tarantino was voted both Best Director and the writer of the year's Best Original Screenplay. More expectedly, critic's fave Christoph Waltz was the Best Supporting Actor.

All in all, Inglourious Basterds received a total of six mentions. The other two were for Best Production Design (David Wasco) and Best Ensemble Performance. Besides Christoph Waltz, Tarantino's film features the following:

Brad Pitt. Mélanie Laurent. Diane Kruger. Michael Fassbender (who also stars in Hunger).

Daniel Brühl. Til Schweiger. Eli Roth. August Diehl. Mike Myers. Bo Svenson.

Veteran Rod Taylor (The Time Machine, The Birds).

More San Diego Film Critics winners

The San Diego Film Critics' selection of Colin Firth as Best Actor for his gay college professor in Tom Ford's A Single Man, no matter how well-deserved, wasn't really a surprise. More offbeat choices were the following:

  • Best Supporting Actress Samantha Morton for her war widow in Oren Moverman's The Messenger.
  • Best Editing for (500) Days of Summer (Alan Edward Bell), hardly one's idea of “showy” film editing work.
  • Best Cinematography for Javier Aguirresarobe's work on John Hillcoat's bleak futuristic drama The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen, and which has been all but ignored by critics groups elsewhere. (The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globes didn't find any room for The Road either.).
Il Divo Toni Servillo as Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti: Humorously dark politicsIl Divo with Toni Servillo as Giulio Andreotti. One of the very best movies of the year, in the U.S. Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo struck and vanished like lightning (minus the fiery impact). But those who appreciate great filmmaking and great acting, should enjoy Sorrentino's darkly humorous take on the cunning, conniving, scheming Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, magisterially played by Best Actor David di Donatello winner Toni Servillo.

Most interesting choice of all: 'Il Divo'

But the San Diego Film Critics' most interesting choice of all was their Best Foreign Language Film: Paolo Sorrentino's mordant Il Divo, the story of powerful and power-hungry Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (memorably brought to life by Toni Servillo).

All but ignored in the U.S. – where Italian politics seems to be outside the realm of interest of the myopic general populace – Il Divo won seven David di Donatello Awards, including Best Actor for Toni Servillo.

And finally, Woody Harrelson won the year's Body of Work prize for The Messenger, Zombieland, and 2012.

2012!? As mentioned further up, the San Diego Film Critics go for some very unusual stuff. That was no exaggeration.

See below the list of San Diego and Toronto film critics' 2009 winners.

San Diego Film Critics winners

Best Film: Inglourious Basterds.

Best Foreign Language Film: Il Divo.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, A Single Man.

Best Actress: Michelle Monaghan, Trucker.

Best Supporting Actress: Samantha Morton, The Messenger.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Ensemble Performance: Inglourious Basterds.

Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Original Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Adapted Screenplay Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Best Documentary: The Cove, dir.: Louie Psihoyos.

Best Animated Film: Up, dir.: Pete Docter.

Best Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe, The Road.

Best Editing: Alan Edward Bell, (500) Days of Summer.

Best Score: Abel Korzeniowski, A Single Man.

Best Production Design: David Wasco, Inglourious Basterds.

Body of Work Award: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger, Zombieland, and 2012.


Toronto Film Critics winners

Best Picture (tie): Hunger & Inglourious Basterds.

Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon, dir.: Michael Haneke.

Best Documentary The Cove.

Best Actor: Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

Best Actress: Carey MulliganAn Education.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress: Anna KendrickUp in the Air.

Best Director: Kathryn BigelowThe Hurt Locker.

Best Screenplay (tie): Up in the Air, Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner + Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino.

Best Animated Feature: Fantastic Mr. Fox, dir.: Wes Anderson.

Best First Feature: Hunger.

Best Canadian Film nominees: Polytechnique, dir.: Denis Villeneuve.

Update: More on the Toronto Film Critics' Best Canadian Film winner.

Mélanie Laurent Inglourious Basterds. Surprise Best Actress winner in WWII revenge fantasyMélanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds. The one major surprise among the Austin Film Critics' winners was Best Actress Mélanie Laurent for Inglourious Basterds. The film's title – whether you see its misspelling as humorously quirky or an obnoxious affectation – was inspired by Enzo G. Castellari's 1978 B action flick The Inglorious Bastards, a loose remake of Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen. Its original title, Quel maledetto treno blindato (lit., “That Damned Armored Train”), may (or may not) have been a pun on the title of Pietro Germi's Un maledetto imbroglio / The Facts of Murder.

Mélanie Laurent Best Actress surprise as 'The Hurt Locker' tops another film critics awards

The Austin Film Critics Association has chosen the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker as the Best Film of 2009. Kathryn Bigelow was chosen Best Director. In the cast: Jeremy Renner, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, and Brian Geraghty.

Most of the Austin Film Critics' other picks were just as predictable, even though some of them didn't exactly match the choices of the majority of U.S. critics groups thus far, e.g., Anna Kendrick as Best Supporting Actress for Jason Reitman's Up in the Air (same as the 2009 National Board of Review), Colin Firth as Best Actor for A Single Man (also in San Francisco and San Diego).

The one major surprise was the choice of Mélanie Laurent as Best Actress for Inglourious Basterds, in which she plays a Jewish woman running a movie theater in Nazi-occupied Paris. Quentin Tarantino's violent World War II fantasy was also the top choice for Best Original Screenplay (Tarantino) and Best Supporting Actor, critics' fave Christoph Waltz.

Additionally, the Austin Film Critics released their list of Top Ten films of the decade, nearly all of which are big-budget Hollywood productions. See below.

Austin Film Critics winners

Best Film: The Hurt Locker.

Best Foreign Language Film: Sin Nombre, dir.: Cary Fukunaga (as Cary Jôji Fukunaga).

Best Actor: Colin Firth, A Single Man.

Best Actress: Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air, Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner.

Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino.

Best Animated Feature: Up.

Best Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil, dir.: Sacha Gervasi.

Best Cinematography: The Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd.

Best Original Score: Up, Michael Giacchino.

Best First Film: District 9, Neill Blomkamp.

Breakthrough Artist Award: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles.

Austin Film Award: Me and Orson Welles, dir.: Richard Linklater.

Top Ten Films of the Decade:

See also: Roman Polanski & Martin Scorsese thrillers at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: Faust Dr. Lao mix is Best Song Oscar contenderThe Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Directed by former Monty Pythonite Terry Gilliam – and with elements in common with disparate works such as Goethe's Faust and George Pal's 7 Faces of Dr. Lao* – the fantasy The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus would have starred veteran Christopher Plummer as Doctor Parnassus and Heath Ledger as the mysterious stranger Tony. Following Ledger's death, Gilliam ended up using three other actors – alongside Ledger – in the part: Jude Law, Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell. Two songs from the film, “We Love Violence” and “We Are the Children of the World,” are potential Best Original Song Oscar contenders.

Best Song Oscar longlist: 'Love' is not everywhere

In other awards season news, 63 songs are in contention for a Best Original Song Academy Award nomination.

Needless to say, among them are songs from Disney movies – A Christmas Carol, The Princess and the Frog – in addition to songs from Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana The Movie.

Among the curiosities are “AyAyAyAy” from The Maid, “Dove of Peace” from Brüno, “We Love Violence” from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and long-titled “You Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” from An Education.

Only five of the potentially in-contention songs have the word “love” in them, including the aforementioned “We Love Violence” and “The Word Is Love” from Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!.

The songs and their movies are listed below in alphabetical order by song title:

Best Original Song Oscar longlist

  • “All Is Love,” Where the Wild Things Are.
  • “Almost Over You,” My One and Only.
  • “Almost There,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “AyAyAyAy,” The Maid.
  • “Back to Tennessee,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “Being Bad,” Duplicity.
  • “Blanco,” Fast & Furious.
  • “Brothers in Arms,” Brothers at War.
  • “Butterfly Fly Away,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “Cinema Italiano,” Nine.
  • “Colorblind,” Invictus.
  • “Depression Era,” That Evening Sun.
  • “Don't Walk Away,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “Dove of Peace,” Brüno.
  • “Down in New Orleans,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “Fly Farm Blues,” It Might Get Loud.
  • “Forget Me,” I Love You, Beth Cooper.
  • “God Bless Us Everyone,” Disney's A Christmas Carol.
  • “Here,” Shrink.
  • “Hideaway,” Where the Wild Things Are.
  • “Hoedown Throwdown,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “I Bring What I Love,” Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love.
  • “I See You,” Avatar.
  • “(I Want to) Come Home,” Everybody's Fine.
  • “If You're Wondering,” The Lightkeepers.
  • “Impossible Fantasy,” Adventures of Power.
  • “Innocent Child,” Skin.
  • “Invictus 9,000 Days,” Invictus.
  • “Legendary,” Tyson.
  • “Let Freedom Reign,” Skin.
  • “Loin de Paname,” Paris 36.
  • “Ma Belle Evangeline,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “My One and Only,” My One and Only.
  • “Na Na,” Couples Retreat.
  • “Never Knew I Needed,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “New Divide,” Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
  • “New Jersey Nights,” Adventures of Power.
  • “New York Is Where I Live,” Did You Hear About the Morgans?.
  • “No Time for Love,” Simon & Malou.
  • “One Day,” Post Grad.
  • “Only You,” The Young Victoria.
  • “Other Father Song,” Coraline.
  • “Petey's Song,” Fantastic Mr. Fox.
  • “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea,” Ponyo.
  • “Possibility,” The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
  • “Raining Sunshine,” Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
  • “Running Out of Empty (Make Ourselves at Home),” Lymelife.
  • “Smoke without Fire,” An Education.
  • “Somebody Else,” Crazy Heart.
  • “Stu's Song,” The Hangover.
  • “Take It All,” Nine.
  • “Through the Trees,” Jennifer's Body.
  • “Trust Me,” The Informant!.
  • “Un Bouquet des Violettes,” New York, I Love You.
  • “We Are the Children of the World,” The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
  • “We Love Violence,” The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
  • “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart),” Crazy Heart.
  • “When You Find Me,” Adam.
  • “Winter,” Brothers.
  • “The Word Is Love,” Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!.
  • “You Got Me Wrapped around Your Little Finger,” An Education.
  • “You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “You've Been a Friend to Me,” Old Dogs.

Best Original Song category rules

Regarding the Best Original Song category rules, here's what the Academy has to say (via its press release):

“On Tuesday, January 12, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system vote. If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees.

The Academy adds that “a maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film. If more than two songs from a film are in contention, the two songs with the most votes will be the nominees.”

The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Feb. 2. The Oscar ceremony will take place on March 7 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Michelle Monaghan & Chris O'Donnell to announce SAG Award nominations

Michelle Monaghan and Chris O'Donnell will join Screen Actors Guild president Ken Howard to announce the nominees for the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 6 a.m. PT in the SilverScreen Theater at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Monaghan starred opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III and at one point was touted as a potential Best Actress contender for Trucker (the San Diego Film Critics have gone for her).

NCIS: Los Angeles star Chris O'Donnell is perhaps best known for playing Robin opposite George Clooney's Batman in Batman Forever, and as the young man accompanying a blind, tango-dancing Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.

Ten minutes prior to Michelle Monaghan and Chris O'Donnell's announcement of the individual/cast nominees, SAG Awards Committee Chair JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist, The Big Chill) and Vice Chair Daryl Anderson (Lou Grant, Hollywood Wives) will name the film and TV stunt-ensemble nominees.

The 2010 SAG Awards ceremony will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. MT, from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles. The ridiculous three-hour delay for the West Coast – the show will start at 8 p.m. PT – will continue.


San Diego Film Critics Society website.

Screen Actors Guild website.

Michelle Monaghan Trucker image: Plum Pictures / Monterey Media.

Toni Servillo Il Divo image: Lucky Red.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus image: Sony Pictures Classics.

Mélanie Laurent Inglourious Basterds image: The Weinstein Company.

“Michelle Monaghan & Mélanie Laurent + Italian Politics: Surprise Critics' Winners + Oscar Songs” last updated in August 2018.

Michelle Monaghan & Mélanie Laurent + Italian Politics: Surprise Critics' Winners + Oscar Songs © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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17 Comments to Michelle Monaghan & Mélanie Laurent + Italian Politics: Surprise Critics' Winners + Oscar Songs

  1. ianaleah

    “Time For Miracles'- magnificent love song.

  2. saravana

    AR Rahman will win oscar once again for “na na” from couples retreat this year…..All the best..millions of people will pray for you once again..

  3. Casper Anderson

    McCartney should win for “(I Want to) Come Home” from Everybody's Fine

  4. Kalpesh

    “Na Na” from Couples Retreat

    Best of Luck A.R.Rahman bring again OSCAR at INDAI… Lucky ^

  5. babu.v

    Dr A.R.Rahman win once again the song Na Na from ouples retreat. All indians will pray to God win the award of Oscar hero Mr Dr A.R.Rahman.

  6. solin

    na na couples retreat best song oscar 2010..amazing………..

  7. Christoph Graham

    The obvious choice is “Stu's Song”.

  8. michelle howard

    i think nas should win for legendary for the movie tyson

  9. A True Indian

    Na Na from couples retreat… again from the winner of 2 oscars… Dr. A. R Rahman is an amazing music director…. feel the song…. must win again….

  10. MHR

    I see You Should win

  11. Laine

    “Through the Trees” is one of those songs that moves you from the depths of your soul. There's no explaining the power of the song. There's just something so incredible about the way it makes me feel. It pulls me in! It should definitely win the Oscar! I did a little research on it and the singer and songwriter is Ryan Levine. He has other songs out there on myspace etc. and he's very talented.

  12. James

    “Only You” from The Young Victoria; this song should win the Oscar for Best Song!

  13. Nishtan

    “Running Out Of Empty” From Lymelife is just incredible. It deserves special consideration. Definitely worth a listen if you have not yet heard it!

  14. markhagen

    After hearing alot of these songs I expect to see through the trees nominated. In my opinion that song should win the oscar. After I saw the movie and grew attached to the song instantly I had to know who wrote it. Turns out its a singer/songwriter named Ryan Levine. He has a myspace page under ryanlevinemusic. I suggest you music fans take a look at it and see whats on there. Some brilliant music. I am a huge fan.

  15. Liza

    I applaud the SD critics for choosing Michelle Monaghan as the best actress for her incredible work in Trucker. I was completely blown away by her performance and the movie overall. I prefer movies about realistic, flawed characters like hers. I am bored by movies like An Education and glad that a gritty, gut-wrenching film like Trucker is getting so much recognition!

  16. Bill B.

    What is with some of these stupid rules?! If a film has 3, 4 or 5 of the best songs written, what is the purpose of only allowing 2 from one film to be nominated? So they can nominate other songs of lesser quality? The category itself is on the stupid side, but that aside, this makes no sense. Making a little more sense, but even more irritating, is the rule that a performer cannot be nominated against themselves. Why? If someone should happen to give two of the finest performances in the same category in a year, then he or she should be recognized for both. I realize that this rule was to “help” an actor so that they are not splitting their votes and hurting their chances of winning, but that's life and I don't think it's such a terrible thing to be acknowledged for giving 2 of the best performances in a particular year. It's an idiotic rule. Being nominated against one's self sure didn't hurt Steven Soderbergh a few years ago from winning best director with 2 nominations. And certainly many cinematographers, music writers, visual effects people, costume designers, art directors, etc. have received multiple nominations in the same category, so why are actors different? I love the Academy Awards (though I rarely agree with them for best picture) because they are fun, they have a long history, but more importantly, because they help promote film, but they have a few really squirrelly rules like the foreign film (especially) and documentary categories. And please tell me why in this day and age of endless special effects, they only allow 3 nominees? I guess none of this is actually of any importance, but it is the subject at hand.

  17. Anders

    Hey there. I'm one of the SD critics. It's interesting, one of the most hotly debated choices was the Body of Work category. But just so we're clear, that vote wasn't a voice of support for “2012.” A number of people thought, though, that Woody had already had a standout year in a long career, and that his role in that movie was the best-and possibly the only good-thing in it.