‘Moon’ movie mystery tops British Independent Film Awards
Duncan Jones’ sci-fi thriller Moon – not to be confused with New Moon, and which was made for $5 million, or about 1/zillionth of the cost of Star Trek, 2012, or Avatar – won Best Picture and Best Debut Director (Douglas Hickox Award) honors at the 2009 British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), held on Dec. 6 at The Brewery in West London.
Written by Nathan Parker from Jones’ original story (with shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey), Moon tells the story of a man (Sam Rockwell) living with a computer – that’s GERTY – at a manufacturing base on the moon, where one day he wakes up to discover that he isn’t as alone as he thought. Worse yet, things have never actually been as he thought they were.
Jones, by the way, used to go by the moniker Zowie Bowie. Why the…? Simple: He’s David Bowie’s son.
Best Director Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold became the first woman in the British Independent Film Awards’ 12-year history to take home the Best Director award, winning for the family drama Fish Tank, which also earned Katie Jarvis the Best Newcomer award.
Arnold was one of three nominated women directors this year: The other two were Lone Scherfig for An Education and Jane Campion for Bright Star, which ended up winning only one award, for cinematographer Greig Fraser in the generic Best Technical Achievement category.
‘Let the Right One In’ beats ‘The Hurt Locker’
The British Independent Film Awards’ Best Foreign Film was Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 Swedish psychological drama/horror Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in, about a teen vampire (Lina Leandersson) who develops a relationship with a bullied schoolkid (Kåre Hedebrant).
Unlike the Twilight movies featuring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Alfredson’s teen bloodsucker flick was made for adults. A year ago, Let the Right One In won a number of critics awards in the U.S.
As an aside, among the British Independent Film Awards’ foreign-film losers was Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker, winner of this year’s Best Picture and Best Ensemble Gotham Awards.
Carey Mulligan & Tom Hardy top acting categories
Courtesy of the British Independent Film Awards, National Board of Review pick Carey Mulligan had her second Best Actress win this awards season – which has just begun. Had Mulligan been eligible for the Gotham Awards, she would have given The Maid star Catalina Saavedra a run for her Chilean pesos.
In case you’re wondering: The Gotham Awards are supposed to honor American independent films; that’s why Mulligan’s British-made An Education wasn’t eligible. Chile, however, is in South America, which makes its film productions “American” – apparently. Except, that is, when it comes to the Spirit Awards, which are also supposed to honor American independent films, thus having Sebastián Silva’s socially conscious The Maid listed only in their Best Foreign Film category.
Now, back to the British Independent Film Awards: Tom Hardy was chosen Best Actor for having transformed himself into the violently disturbed real-life inmate Michael Gordon Peterson a.k.a. “Charles Bronson” in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson.
The Best Supporting Actor was John Henshaw for Ken Loach’s fantasy Looking for Eric, while Anne-Marie Duff was the Best Supporting Actress for Sam Taylor Wood’s (very young) John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy.
Besides, Taylor Wood collected the Best Short Film award for Love You More, featuring Harry Treadaway and Andrea Riseborough.
Among the losers in this particular category was Sidney Turtlebaum, one of the semifinalists for the Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award. (See further below.)
More British Independent Film Award winners
The Best Screenplay award went to Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, and Tony Roche for the political comedy In the Loop, directed by Iannucci.
The Best Documentary was Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson’s Mugabe and the White African, about a white Zimbabwean farmer who challenged president Robert Mugabe’s racist regime. The film is one of the semifinalists for the 2010 Academy Awards.
Paul King’s Bunny and the Bull, in which a young man (Edward Hogg) takes a memento-induced trip throughout Europe, won the Best Achievement in Production award, while Ben Wheatley’s Down Terrace, a dramatic comedy about a highly dysfunctional family, took home the Raindance Award given to “filmmakers working against the odds.”
And finally, two-time Best Actor Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot, 1989; There Will Be Blood, 2007) was given the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution to British Film, while two-time Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986; The Cider House Rules, 1999) received the Variety Award and Daily Mail entertainment writer Baz Bamigboye the Special Jury Prize.
Odds of Best Picture Oscar match?
Last year, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at the British Independent Film Awards. Does that mean Moon has a chance at Oscar gold?
Well, Moon could theoretically land a Best Picture nomination, but not because of its victory on the eastern side of the Atlantic. After all, British Independent Film Award winners – unfortunately, if I may add – are often ignored on the American side; Slumdog Millionaire was the worldwide sleeper-blockbuster aberration that proves the rule.
In fact, thus far it’s the only Best Picture British Independent Film Award winner to have received a matching Best Picture Academy Award nomination.
But then again, with ten Best Picture nominees this year … who knows?
Passion & death: Andrzej Wajda’s unusual ‘Sweet Rush’ wins the European Film Awards’ FIPRESCI Prize
In other awards season news, the European Film Academy, EFA Productions, and the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) have announced that the 2009 Prix FIPRESCI goes to 83-year-old Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda for Sweet Rush / Tatarak.
Based on a short story by Hungarian writer/journalist Sándor Márai (1900–1989), Sweet Rush – which has a few elements in common with Tod Williams’ The Door in the Floor – chronicles the love affair between a neglected and terminally ill doctor’s wife (Man of Marble and Mephisto veteran Krystyna Janda), who also happens to be the mother of two sons killed in World War II, and a man half her age (U.S.-born actor Pawel Szajda).
Shooting was interrupted following the death of Janda’s husband, Wajda’s frequent cinematographer Edward Klosinski. When production resumed, Wajda rearranged the narrative to focus on the filmmaking process itself, with Janda providing a present-day, first-person monologue at the beginning and at the end of the tale.
Sweet Rush shared with Gigante the Alfred Bauer Award at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival. Curiously, Wajda’s unusual drama is not Poland’s submission for the 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award – the Polish nominating committee selected instead Borys Lankosz’s Reverse.
Regarding Sweet Rush, FIPRESCI’s General Secretary Klaus Eder explained that the director of Generation, Kanal, and Ashes and Diamonds has created “not at all what you would call a later work – [Sweet Rush] is, on the contrary, the film of a young spirit, with which Wajda in a risky and courageous way undertakes to open new and very personal perspectives for the European authors’ cinema of today.”
According to the European Film Academy’s press release, Andrzej Wajda will be present at the 2009 European Film Awards ceremony on Dec. 12 in Bochum, Germany, to accept his award.
Best Live Action Short Film Oscar semifinalists
More awards season news: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 10 semifinalists – out of a pool of 71 eligible entries – for the 2010 Academy Awards’ Best Live Action Short Film category.
They are listed below in alphabetical order:
- The Door, Juanita Wilson, director, and James Flynn, producer.
- The Ground Beneath, Rene Hernandez, director, and Kristina Ceyton, producer.
- Hotel, Tim Conrad, director-producer.
- Instead of Abracadabra, Patrik Eklund, director, and Mathias Fjellstrom, producer.
- Kavi, Gregg Helvey, director-producer.
- Miracle Fish, Luke Doolan, director, and Drew Bailey, producer.
- The New Tenants, Joachim Back, director, and Tivi Magnusson, producer.
- The Response, Adam Rodgers, director, and Sig Libowitz, producer.
- Short Term 12, Destin Daniel Cretton, director-producer, and Michelle Steffes, producer.
- Sidney Turtlebaum, Tristram Shapeero, director, and Daniel Jewel, producer.
Among the talent featured in these shorts are Vincent D’Onofrio, Kate Mulgrew, Kevin Corrigan, Rupert Evans, and Derek Jacobi.
Below are four semifinalists and their highly eclectic topics.
- The Response is a courtroom drama based on actual transcripts from the Guantanamo military tribunals.
- Sidney Turtlebaum is a comedy about a 70-something gay con man with the quirky habit of gatecrashing into Shiva houses of mourning.
- Miracle Fish is a mystery in which an 8-year-old boy discovers that his wish has come true – everyone in the world has disappeared.
- Kavi is a socially conscious drama about an Indian boy who attempts to escape from the brick kiln where he is forced to perform what amounts to slave labor.
Next, the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will select three to five nominees from 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, 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.
Best Animated Feature Golden Globe contenders
And finally: fifteen releases are up for consideration in the 2010 Golden Globes’ Best Animated Feature category, Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk has announced.
The five eventual nominees – instead of three, as in previous years – will be selected from the following group:
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
Battle for Terra.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
A Christmas Carol.
Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
Mary and Max.
The Missing Lynx.
Monsters vs. Aliens.
The Princess and the Frog.
Twenty animated films have been submitted for the 2010 Academy Awards. Those missing from the Golden Globes’ list are: Astro Boy, The Dolphin - Story of a Dreamer, The Secret of Kells, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, and A Town Called Panic.
2010 Golden Globes data
Here’s some more Golden Globes 2010 data: 173 live-action features (105 dramas and 68 comedies or musicals), 133 television series (79 dramas and 54 comedies), 33 miniseries and telefilms, and a record 69 foreign-language films have qualified for 2010 Golden Globes.
Additionally, a record 103 songs are eligible for the Best Original Song in a Motion Picture category.
The 2010 Golden Globe nominations will be announced at 5:00 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Hosted by Ricky Gervais, the 2010 Golden Globes ceremony will be held on Sunday, Jan. 17, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Golden Globes’ Best Foreign Language Film longlist: From Pedro Almodóvar to ‘Algerian’ ‘London River’
A record 69 Best Foreign Language Film entries are eligible for the 2010 Golden Globes, Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk has announced.
Among the movies on the Golden Globes’ longlist are the following:
- Pedro Almodóvar’s Spanish neo-noir Broken Embraces, starring Penélope Cruz and Lluís Homar.
- Costa-Gavras’ socially conscious immigration drama Eden Is West, toplining Riccardo Scamarcio.
- Xavier Dolan’s I Killed My Mother, one of the Toronto Film Festival’s Best Canadian Films of 2009 (see further below).
- Veteran Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere, a historical/psychological drama about Mussolini’s first wife (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and child (Filippo Timi).
- Niels Arden Oplev’s mystery thriller and international blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist.
Award-winning international titles
Some of the titles – e.g., Jacques Audiard’s prison drama A Prophet and Michael Haneke’s black-and-white psychological/political drama The White Ribbon – are also in the running for the 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Some have already won awards elsewhere, both in the U.S. and internationally.
For instance, The White Ribbon was handed the Palme d’Or while A Prophet took home the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s crime drama Ajami won five awards – including Best Film and Best Director – from the Israeli Film Academy, while Lu Chuan’s City of Life and Death was voted Best Film at the 2009 San Sebastian Film Festival.
A couple more: Sebastián Silva’s The Maid recently earned star Catalina Saavedra the Breakthrough Performance award at the Gothams, and Leon Dai’s Cannot Live Without You won Chinese/Taiwanese cinema’s Best Picture Golden Horse.
‘London River’ nationality?
One curiosity: London River, listed as an Algerian production, was directed by a Parisian-born filmmaker (Rachid Bouchareb, of Algerian background), was mostly financed by French companies, and stars a British actress (Brenda Blethyn) and a Malian actor (Sotigui Kouyaté) in a tale set in London.
But unlike the Oscars, the competition for the Golden Globes is between films, not countries. That’s something the Academy should consider.
And here’s wondering why the announcement of the Best Foreign Language Film longlist was made so close to the date when the nominations themselves are announced. It’s not like Hollywood Foreign Press Association members will have time to watch many – or any (depending on the voting deadline) – of these films.
Below is the complete list. Notice that Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre – a well-received, mostly Spanish-language U.S./Mexico co-production – was not included on it.
Golden Globes’ Best Foreign Language Film longlist
The list of movies eligible for the Golden Globes’ Best Foreign Language Film is in alphabetical order by film title.
Unlike at the Academy Awards, multiple entries from the same country/countries are allowed.
- About Elly, Iran.
- Ajami, Israel.
- Baarìa, Italy.
- Backyard, Mexico.
- Broken Embraces, Spain.
- Broken Promise, Slovakia.
- Cannot Live Without You, Taiwan.
- Cell 211, Spain.
- Chameleon, Hungary.
- Chandni Chowk to China, India.
- Chilango Chronicles, Mexico.
- City of Life and Death, China.
- Coco Before Chanel, France.
- The Dancer and the Thief, Spain.
- Dawson, Island 10, Chile.
- A Day at the Museum, France.
- Delhi-6, India.
- Donkey, Croatia.
- Eden Is West, France.
- For a Moment, Freedom, Austria / France.
- I Galantuomini, Italy.
- The Girl on the Train, France.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sweden.
- God’s Offices, France / Belgium.
- Grandpa is Dead, Philippines.
- Grown Ups, France / Sweden.
- Harishchandrachi Factory, India.
- Hello Goodbye, France / Israel / Italy.
- Hipsters, Russia.
- I Killed My Mother, Canada.
- I Saw the Sun, Turkey.
- Il Grande Sogno, Italy.
- John Rabe, Germany.
- Lebanon, Israel.
- Letters to Father Jacob, Finland.
- London River, Algeria.
- Louise-Michel, France / Belgium / Luxembourg.
- Made in Hungaria, Hungary.
- The Maid, Chile.
- Max Manus, Norway.
- Micmacs, France.
- The Misfortunates, Belgium.
- Mother, Korea.
- My Queen Karo, Belgium.
- Nobody to Watch Over Me, Japan.
- Police, Adjective, Romania.
- Prank, Hungary.
- Prince of Tears, Hong Kong / Taiwan.
- A Prophet, France.
- Protektor, Czech Republic.
- Queen to Play, France / Germany.
- Refractaire / Draft Dodgers, Luxembourg.
- Reverse, Poland.
- The Road from Elephant Pass, Sri Lanka.
- Rudo and Cursi, Mexico.
- Samson & Delilah, Australia.
- The Secret of Her Eyes, Argentina.
- Secrets of State, France.
- Someone I Loved, France / Belgium / Italy.
- Southern District, Bolivia.
- Terribly Happy, Denmark.
- Thirst, South Korea.
- Vincere, Italy.
- The Waltz, Italy.
- Ward No. 6, Russia.
- Welcome, France.
- The White Ribbon, Germany.
- Winter in Wartime, The Netherlands.
- With a Little Help from Myself, France.
Nominations for 2010 Golden Globes will be announced at 5:00 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Hosted by Ricky Gervais at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, the 2010 Golden Globes ceremony will be broadcast live in the U.S. on Sunday, Jan. 17, on NBC.
Dancing corpse, erotic hockey & Leon Trotsky reincarnated: Toronto Film Festival’s Top Ten Canadian movies
The Toronto Film Festival has announced the lists of the Top Ten Canadian features and shorts of 2009.
Among the selected features are Denis Côté’s Carcasses, Xavier Dolan’s I Killed My Mother, and Bernard Émond’s The Legacy.
Shorts include Pedro Pires’ Danse Macabre, Jamie Travis’ The Armoire, and Kazik Radwanski’s Out in That Deep Blue Sea.
- Estranged brothers Adam Scott and Joel Bissonnette on a road trip through the streets and freeways of Los Angeles (Passenger Side).
- A young gay man’s problems with his mother (I Killed My Mother).
- The erratic movements of a corpse (Danse Macabre).
- Hockey’s erotic moments to the sound of the Rheostatics (Five Hole: Tales of Hockey Erotica).
- Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig enjoying an adulterous love affair in Egypt (Cairo Time).
- Jay Baruchel believing himself to be Leon Trotsky reincarnated (The Trotsky).
Also in included is Denis Villeneuve’s Polytechnique, about the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, in which 14 young women were killed.
The Top Ten Canadian features was selected by a group of 10 filmmakers, journalists, programmers, and film industry members, among them director Jerry Ciccoritti, author Tom McSorley, filmmaker Ingrid Veninger, and producer Nicole Robert.
Five individuals, including filmmaker Shane Belcourt and Toronto festival CEO Michèle Maheux, chose the Top Ten short films.
Public screenings of the twenty films, featuring Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, will be held between Jan. 14–21, 2010, at the Toronto Film Festival’s Cinematheque.
Also, as found on the festival’s website, “Each film selected as part of Canada’s Top Ten must have either premiered at a major Canadian film festival or had a commercial theatrical release in Canada within the calendar year.”
Top Ten Canadian features & shorts
The films are listed in alphabetical order.
Top Ten Canadian feature films
Cairo Time, Ruba Nadda.
Carcasses, Denis Côté.
Crackie, Sherry White.
Defendor, Peter Stebbings.
The Legacy / La Donation, Bernard Émond.
I Killed My Mother / J’ai tué ma mère, Xavier Dolan.
Passenger Side, Matthew Bissonnette.
Polytechnique, Denis Villeneuve.
The Trotsky, Jacob Tierney.
The Wild Hunt, Alexandre Franchi.
Top Ten Canadian short films
The Armoire, Jamie Travis.
The Cave, Helen Haig-Brown.
Danse Macabre, Pedro Pires.
Five Hole: Tales of Hockey Erotica, Cam Christiansen.
Naissances, Anne Émond.
Out in That Deep Blue Sea, Kazik Radwanski.
Runaway, Cordell Barker.
The Spine, Chris Landreth.
La Vie commence, Émile Proulx-Cloutier.
Vive la Rose, Bruce Alcock.
Miss Golden Globe Mavis Spencer
And in other Golden Globe-related news, Mavis Spencer, the daughter of Golden Globe winner Alfre Woodard (the TV movie Miss Evers’ Boys, 1997) and writer/producer Roderick Spencer, has been selected as Miss Golden Globe 2010, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced.
As per the HFPA’s press release, Mavis Spencer has appeared in Teen Vogue and InStyle, and plans to model and study acting at Columbia University.
Previous Miss Golden Globe honorees include Rumer Willis (daughter of Demi Moore & Bruce Willis), Laura Dern (daughter of Diane Ladd & Bruce Dern), Joely Fisher (daughter of Connie Stevens & Eddie Fisher), and Melanie Griffith (daughter of Tippi Hedren).
Golden Globes website.
Sotigui Kouyaté and Brenda Blethyn London River image: 3B Productions / Tessalit Productions / Arte France.
Danse Macabre image: Pedro Pires / Phi Group.
British Independent Film Awards website.
Image of Sam Rockwell in the British Independent Film Awards’ winner Moon: Sony Pictures Classics.
Krystyna Janda and Pawel Szajda Sweet Rush / Tatarak image: Akson Studio.
Rupert Evans and Derek Jacobi Sidney Turtlebaum image: Third Man Films.
“British Independent Film Awards: Moon Mystery Tops + Andrzej Wajda Passion & Death Tale Is FIPRESCI Winner” last updated in March 2019.