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Oscar Voting ‘Secrets’ Explain Winslet Win + Immigration Drama Tops Marrakech

Kate Winslet The Reader Oscar voting Best Actress surprise. How did it happen?
Kate Winslet in The Reader: Oscar voting explains surprising Best Actress nomination? A potential double nominee for the 2009 Academy Awards, Kate Winslet ended up getting shortlisted for only one movie: Stephen Daldry’s Holocaust-themed drama The Reader. Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that Winslet was nominated in the Best Actress category, even though she had been forcefully pushed as Best Supporting Actress so as not to compete with herself for her lead role as Leonardo DiCaprio’s disaffected wife in Sam MendesRevolutionary Road.

Academy Award voting ‘secrets’: Kate Winslet Best Actress Oscar win explained?

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Here’s a bit of Academy Award voting trivia: In all but one category, voters are supposed to write down the name of the film – not the talent – on the ballot. So, if your Best Director choices for the 2010 Oscars are Pedro Almodóvar for Broken Embraces, Kiyoshi Kurosawa for Tokyo Sonata, and Michael Haneke for The White Ribbon (as if…), you have to write down on your ballot Broken Embraces, Tokyo Sonata, and The White Ribbon.

The information above – minus the specific examples – is found in Steve Pond’s TheWrap column, which adds that the one exception to this rule is the acting category – or rather, categories – in which Actors Branch voters must enter the name of the performers and their corresponding films.

So, if you’re voting for Penélope Cruz in Broken Embraces, you would have to spell out both Cruz’s name and the name of her film.

Acting categories

This rule exists so absent-minded and/or lazy Academy voters will refrain from jotting down, for instance, “Meryl Streep.” For if they were to do so this year, the PricewaterhouseCoopers people wouldn’t know whether they were selecting Streep for Julie & Julia or It’s Complicated.

And if voters are dim-witted enough to just write down Julie & Julia, those doing the tallying may think your choice is Amy Adams.

Either way – only the actor’s or only the film’s name – your vote will be disqualified. The same will happen if you vote for, say, Helen Mirren in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or Sandra Bullock in Avatar.

It’s unclear what they will do if you vote for Tilda Swinton in Julie & Julia or for Meryl Streep/Amy Adams in Julia. See, it’s complicated.

Lead vs. supporting

The most interesting bit of information found in Pond’s piece is when he quotes a letter sent to voters by Actors Branch Governors Annette Bening, Tom Hanks, and Henry Winkler:

“And then there’s this: ‘If you think that a performance occupies a middle ground between leading and supporting, you may list it on your ballot in both categories.’ [italics in the text] If a performance receives enough votes to be nominated in both categories, the letter says, PricewaterhouseCoopers will record a nomination ‘in the category in which it received the most support.’

“(Technically, PwC tallies votes in the leading and supporting categories simultaneously, and the moment an actor receives a nomination in one category, he or she is eliminated from consideration in the other.)”

The second paragraph above raises a few questions, as one would expect PricewaterhouseCoopers to go over every Actors Branch ballot before making a decision as to the category in which to place potential double nominees.

Kate Winslet nomination explained?

Anyhow, the Actors Branch Governors’ letter may help to explain Kate Winslet’s nomination as Best Actress for Stephen Daldry’s The Reader earlier this year, as throughout the campaign The Weinstein Company had been pushing her in the Best Supporting Actress category so she wouldn’t compete against herself for her work in Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road.

This strategy is at least in part the result of an Academy rule that forbids actors from being nominated more than once in the same category.

Chances are that Winslet was shortlisted as Best Actress for The Reader after receiving more votes as a lead than as a supporting actress. Once in, she most likely was competing against herself in Revolutionary Road. After all, she was a Best Actress SAG Award contender for Mendes’ movie; i.e., actors really liked performance.

So what happens then?

Well, having obviously received more votes for The Reader than for Revolutionary Road, the latter performance was disqualified in accordance to Academy rules.

And that’s how earlier this year Penélope Cruz became a Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner for Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, while Kate Winslet became a Best Actress Oscar winner for The Reader.

The Hurt Locker Jeremy Renner: Critics nominee was gay serial murderer + Western outlawThe Hurt Locker with Jeremy Renner. War movies topped the Online Film Critics Society’s nominations, with Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War-set drama The Hurt Locker as the no. 1 pick with seven nods, including Best Picture. In addition, shortlisted in various key categories were three other “war-related” films: Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, and James Cameron’s Avatar. As for Best Actor nominee Jeremy Renner, among his movie roles are a couple of notorious real-life characters: gay serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer in Dahmer (2002) and Old West outlaw Wood Hite in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007).

Online Film Critics nominations: War movies rule

The Online Film Critics Society has announced its list of nominees for Best This or That of 2009.

Avatar may be a huge blockbuster-in-the-making, but Online Film Critics members apparently weren’t that impressed. James Cameron’s sci-fi mix of adventure, interspecies romance, and war earned three nominations: Best Director, Best Cinematography (Mauro Fiore), and Best Editing (Steve R. Moore, John Refoua, and Stephen Rivkin).

Meanwhile, the Iraq War-set The Hurt Locker, with about $12 million in grosses at the domestic box office, received no less than seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow, Cameron’s former wife), Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), Best Supporting Actor (Anthony Mackie), and Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal).

Quentin Tarantino’s World War II revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds, for its part, earned eight nods, among them Best Picture, Best Actress (Mélanie Laurent), Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), Best Supporting Actress (Diane Kruger), Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (also Tarantino).

‘Up in the Air’ & ‘Up’

Another critical favorite, Jason Reitman’s socially conscious romantic comedy-drama Up in the Air, was nominated in four categories (including one double nod): Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Reitman and Sheldon Turner).

Pete Docter’s Up was the fifth Best Picture nominee. In the Best Director category, Reitman and Docter were replaced by Cameron for Avatar and Neill Blomkamp for District 9.

Surprising nominations

Here are a few surprising Online Film Critics inclusions:

  • Silent Light / Stellet Licht, co-winner of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize, has been all but ignored by U.S.-based critics’ groups this awards season even though it opened commercially in the U.S. earlier this year. Yet Carlos Reygadas’ acclaimed drama set in a Mexican Mennonite community has found its way into the Online Film Critics’ Best Foreign Language Film (or Best Film Not in the English Language) category.
  • Sharlto Copley and Joaquin Phoenix in the Best Actor category for, respectively, District 9 and Two Lovers.
  • Tilda Swinton in the Best Actress category for Julia (hers is one of the U.S. critics’ favorite performances this year – except when it comes to naming their Best Actress winners).
  • Jackie Earle Haley as a Best Supporting Actor nominee for Watchmen.
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers) in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Missing in action: Colin Firth for A Single Man, in addition to Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones and Rob Marshall’s Nine, both of which were totally shut out.

The Online Film Critics Society winners will be announced on Jan. 6.

Online Film Critics nominations

Update: Online Film Critics winners.

The Hurt Locker.
Inglourious Basterds.
A Serious Man.
Up in the Air.

Broken Embraces.
Police, Adjective.
Silent Light.
Summer Hours.
The White Ribbon.

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.
Neill Blomkamp, District 9.
James Cameron, Avatar.
Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man.
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds.

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart.
Sharlto Copley, District 9.
George Clooney, Up in the Air.
Joaquin Phoenix, Two Lovers.
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.

Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds.
Carey Mulligan, An Education.
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.
Tilda Swinton, Julia.

Peter Capaldi, In the Loop.
Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen.
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger.
Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker.
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air.
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air.
Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds.
Mo’Nique, Precious.
Julianne Moore, A Single Man.

(500) Days of Summer, Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber.
The Hurt Locker, Mark Boal.
Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino.
A Serious Man, Joel & Ethan Coen.
Up, Bob Peterson.

District 9, Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell.
Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach.
In the Loop, Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche.
Up in the Air, Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner.
Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers.

Anvil!: The True Story of Anvil.
The Beaches of Agnès.
Capitalism: A Love Story.
The Cove.
Food, Inc.

Avatar, Mauro Fiore.
District 9, Trent Opaloch.
The Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd.
Inglourious Basterds, Robert Richardson.
A Serious Man, Roger Deakins.

(500) Days of Summer, Alan Edward Bell.
Avatar, Steve R. Moore, John Refoua & Stephen Rivkin.
District 9, Julian Clarke.
The Hurt Locker, Chris Innis & Bob Murawski.
Inglourious Basterds, Sally Menke.

Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat.
The Informant!, Marvin Hamlisch.
Star Trek, Michael Giacchino.
Up, Michael Giacchino.
Where the Wild Things Are, Carter Burwell & Karen Orzolek.

Fantastic Mr. Fox.
The Princess and the Frog.

Online Film Critics Society website.

Northless / Norteado trailer. Rigoberto Perézcano’s Tijuana-set Mexican immigration drama about a young man (Harold Torres) trying to cross into the United States was the Marrakech Film Festival’s Best Film winner.

Marrakech Film Festival winners

Rigoberto Perézcano’s Northless / Norteado was the top winner at the 2009 Marrakech International Film Festival held earlier in December. Set in a small Mexican town, the socially conscious drama tells the story of a young man (Harold Torres) waiting for the right time to cross the barbed-wire-strewn border that separates Mexico from the United States.

The Jury Prize went to two films: Nabil Ben Yadir’s Belgian coming-of-age drama Les barons and Charlotte Lim Lay Kuen’s Malaysian family drama My Daughter. In the former, three Belgian denizens of Arab descent must make tough decisions about their lives and future; in the latter, a teenager has a love-hate relationship with her love-starved mother, who is always going from one romantic liaison to another.

Among the other Marrakech Film Festival winners were Best Actress Lotte Verbeek for her mysterious young woman who befriends a lonely widower (Stephen Rea) in Urszula Antoniak’s Dutch-Irish drama Nothing Personal, and Best Actor Cyron Melville for his increasingly unbalanced pianist in Morten Giese’s Danish drama Love and Rage.

Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami was this year’s President of the Jury.

Marrakech Film Festival website.

Kate Winslet The Reader image: Melinda Sue Gordon / The Weinstein Company.

Jeremy Renner The Hurt Locker image: Jonathan Olley / Summit Entertainment.

Northless / Norteado trailer: Film Tank.

“Oscar Voting ‘Secrets’ Explain Kate Winslet Best Actress Win? + Immigration Drama Tops Marrakech” last updated in March 2018.

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