'Royal movies' & James Bond + Hollywood fare dominate BAFTA Awards while Spanish-language contingent has strong presence
As to be expected, the two top nominees for the British Academy Awards, a.k.a. the BAFTAs, were (at least part-) British productions:
- Stephen Frears' paean to Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen, with ten nods, including Best Film, Best British Film, Best Actress for Helen Mirren as the titular character, and Best Supporting Actor for Michael Sheen as the (now disgraced) British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
- Martin Campbell's James Bond flick Casino Royale, evidence that these days bigger almost invariably means duller, with nine nominations, including, gasp!, Best British Film, Best Actor for Daniel Craig, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis).
And then there's Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland, which, somewhat surprisingly, was shortlisted in five top categories: Best Film, Best British Film, Best Actor for U.S. performer Forest Whitaker as deranged Uganda dictator Idi Amin Dada, Best Supporting Actor for James McAvoy, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock).
James McAvoy's supporting actor BAFTA nomination was particularly unexpected – and not just because he happens to be the film's de facto lead. After all, the Scottish actor has been just about completely ignored this awards season on the other side of the North Atlantic.
In fact, the same goes for The Queen's Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Sheen: he's as much the film's lead as Helen Mirren and he has been blithely relegated to the sidelines this awards season in North America.
Even if usually more open to non-English-language films than the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts failed to include two internationally acclaimed Spanish-language releases – Pedro Almodóvar's Volver and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth / El Laberinto del fauno – in the Best Film and/or Best Director categories.
Pan's Labyrinth did, however, receive a healthy eight nominations, among them Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay (del Toro). Almodóvar, a one-time awards season favorite, had to settle for a Best Foreign Language Film nod, in addition to Penélope Cruz getting shortlisted for Best Actress.
Bill Condon's Dreamgirls was another would-be awards season front-runner bypassed for Best Film and Best Director. Adding insult to injury, the glitzy American musical earned a mere two nominations: Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Hudson and Best Music (Henry Krieger).
Alfonso Cuarón's dystopian drama Children of Men and Nicholas Hytner's The History Boys are two other titles missing in action from the Best Picture and Best Director roster – not to mention Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. Regarding the latter film, Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour did get shortlisted in, respectively, the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories.
Several other potential Oscar contenders – e.g., Clint Eastwood's World War II drama Letters from Iwo Jima – can't be found on the British Academy's list of nominees because they will not be released in the United Kingdom before Feb. 11, the date of the 2007 BAFTA ceremony and the deadline for qualification for this year's awards.
Taking Oscar influence seriously
Absent from the previously announced 2007 BAFTA longlists, small British films such as Andrea Arnold's Red Road and Paul Andrew Williams' London to Brighton have been both shortlisted in the BAFTAs' “Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in their First Feature Film” category – the British Academy's token recognition of independent British cinema.
Indeed, BAFTA voters take their international – i.e., Oscar/Hollywood – influence quite seriously. That helps to explain the prevalence of American and Anglo-American productions – Pan's Labyrinth notwithstanding – on the longlists and, ultimately, in the nominations themselves.
That also helps to explain both the importance of and the need for the British Independent Film Awards.
American Society of Cinematographers Awards: Another controversial Mel Gibson period drama is in the running
In other awards season news, the feature film nominees for the 2007 American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards are:
- Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men.
- Dick Pope, The Illusionist.
- Robert Richardson, The Good Shepherd.
- Dean Semler, Apocalypto.
- Vilmos Zsigmond, The Black Dahlia.
This marks the eighth ASC nomination for Richardson; the third for Zsigmond, who won for the 1992 telefilm Stalin; the second for Lubezki and Semler; and the first for Pope.
Semler's nod marks the second time ASC members have recognized the cinematography of a violent and controversial Mel Gibson effort. In early 2005, Caleb Deschanel received an ASC Award nomination for Gibson's blood-soaked The Passion of the Christ.
Emmanuel Lubezki & Vilmos Zsigmond
This awards season, Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is the U.S. critics' clear favorite, while Hungarian-born Vilmos Zsigmond's inclusion is notable in that he has been shooting films since the early 1960s. Zsigmond's remarkable credits include:
- James Landis' cult classic The Sadist (1963).
- Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) and The Long Goodbye (1973).
- John Boorman's Deliverance (1972).
- Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express (1974) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, which earned him an Oscar).
- Brian De Palma's Obsession (1976) and Blow Out (1981) – plus last year's The Black Dahlia.
- Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978) and Heaven's Gate (1980).
- Mark Rydell's The River (1984).
- George Miller's The Witches of Eastwick (1987).
- Richard Donner's Maverick (1994).
- Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda (2004).
In 1999, Vilmos Zsigmond was handed the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award.
Where's 'Pan's Labyrinth'?
“Favorable reviews tend to mention beautiful images, but that's a matter of taste,” says ASC President Daryn Okada. “Artful images can be distressing if that's what it takes to properly affect the emotional flow of a film. Our members judge whether the cinematographer helped to create a sense of time and place that pulls the audience into the story. We ask how the visual language affects the emotional content of the film. Great cinematography is something you feel.”
That being the case, the absence of Guillermo Navarro's work on Pan's Labyrinth is a galling oversight. Though hardly “pretty,” Navarro's cinematography was a crucial, disturbing (and beautiful) component of Guillermo del Toro's dark fairy tale for adults.
On a radically different level, the same can be said of José Luis Alcaine's subtle camerawork in Volver, which gives Pedro Almodóvar's comedy-drama just the right amount of colorful hyper-realism.
Also missing in action from the 2007 ASC Award nominations: Clint Eastwood's World War II dramas Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel, Bill Condon's Dreamgirls, Martin Scorsese's The Departed, and Stephen Frears' The Queen.
Dystopian drama is surprising Vancouver & Central Ohio winner
More awards season news: The Vancouver Film Critics Circle and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association have – surprisingly – selected Alfonso Cuarón's dystopian drama Children of Men as the Best Film of 2006. That's a (double) first. (See the full list of Vancouver and Central Ohio winners further below.)
The Queen's Helen Mirren was a more conventional Best Actress winner in both Vancouver and Central Ohio, but Pedro Almodóvar's Volver was an unexpected Best Foreign Language Film choice in Vancouver and so was Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio for The Departed in Ohio.
Also in Ohio, Clive Owen was named Actor of the Year for both Children of Men and Spike Lee's B heist thriller Inside Man, greeted with enthusiastic reviews upon its spring release only to be completely ignored – until now – by year-end award-giving groups.
Hockey's Rocket + Julie Christie returns
In the Vancouver Film Critics' Canadian cinema categories, the Best Picture was Charles Binamé's The Rocket / Maurice Richard, a Quebecois production about the obstacles faced by the titular, mid-20th-century, francophone hockey player (incarnated by Roy Dupuis) in a mostly anglophone hockey world. The Best Director, however, was Reg Harkema for Monkey Warfare, a sociopsychological comedy about two down-and-out, pot-smoking bohemians (Don McKellar, Tracy Wright) who are befriended by a fiery young pot dealer (Nadia Litz).
Veteran Julie Christie (Best Actress Oscar winner for Darling, 1965) was one of the nominees in the Best Actress in a Canadian Film category for her portrayal of a woman losing her mind to Alzheimer's in actress-turned-director Sarah Polley's well-received feature film debut Away from Her. Christie lost to Carrie-Anne Moss, who plays the mother of a boy whose best friend is a human-eating zombie in Andrew Currie's Fido, a comedy thriller that was also named the Best Film Made in British Columbia.
Lonely Iranian wife & swimmer problems top Palm Springs Film Festival
Lastly, the 2007 Palm Springs Film Festival's New Voices New Visions Grand Jury Prize was given to Rafi Pitts' Iranian drama It's Winter / Zemestan, the story of a woman (Mitra Hajjar) left behind in a small Iranian town after her husband (Hashem Abdi) travels abroad in search of work. That's when a good-looking newcomer (Ali Nicksaulat) falls for the lonely wife.
The Special Jury Prize went to Verónica Chen's Agua (“Water”) a.k.a. Aguas Argentinas, a French-Argentinean drama about the problems facing two competitive Argentinean swimmers: one (Rafael Ferro) is now a coach after having his name sullied by doping charges; the other (Nicolás Mateo) is trying to join the national team for financial reasons. A complex professional and personal bond develops between the two men.
Spy drama 'The Lives of Others' wins Audience Award
Also in Palm Springs, writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others / Das Leben der Anderen was the Audience Choice Award winner for Best Narrative Feature. The old-fashioned spy melodrama revolves around a Stasi busybody who undergoes a change of heart after snooping into the lives of a playwright and his girlfriend, with tragic consequences.
Lucy Walker's British documentary Blindsight, about a blind mountain climber who leads a group of blind Tibetans up Mt. Everest, received the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.
And finally, the Best Foreign Language Film FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award went to Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth.
The 2007 Palm Springs Film Festival ran Jan. 4–15.
See below the full list of winners at this year's Palm Springs Film Festival, in addition to the Vancouver and Central Ohio film critics' selections.
Palm Springs Film Festival Awards
FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film: Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico / Spain / U.S.).
New Voices New Visions Grand Jury Prize: Its Winter (Iran).
New Voices New Visions Special Jury Prize: Agua / Aguas Argentinas (Argentina).
Audience Choice Award - Best Narrative Feature: The Lives of Others (Germany).
Audience Choice Award Best - Documentary Feature: Blindsight (U.K.).
Director of the Year: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel.
Ensemble Performance Award: Babel.
Career Achievement Award: Cate Blanchett, Babel, Notes on a Scandal & The Good German.
Desert Palm Achievement Award: Kate Winslet, Little Children.
Rising Star Award, Female: Jessica Biel, The Illusionist.
Rising Star Award, Male: Adam Beach, Flags of Our Fathers.
Breakthrough Performance Award: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.
Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing: Philip Glass, The Illusionist & Notes on a Scandal.
Visionary Award: Todd Field, Little Children.
Chairmans Vanguard Award: Little Miss Sunshine.
SAG Foundation Patron of the Arts Award: Sydney Pollack.
Vancouver Film Critics Awards: Winners & nominations
Best Film: Children of Men.
Best Foreign Language Film: Volver.
Best Canadian Film: The Rocket / Maurice Richard.
Best British Columbian Film: Fido.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Children of Men.
Best Director of a Canadian Film: Reg Harkema, Monkey Warfare.
Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Best Actress in a Canadian Film: Carrie-Anne Moss, Fido.
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.
Best Actor in a Canadian Film: Don McKellar, Monkey Warfare.
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal.
Best Supporting Actress in a Canadian Film: Nadia Litz, Monkey Warfare.
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine.
Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film: J.R. Bourne, Everything's Gone Green.
Honorary Awards: Jay Brazeau, Sandy Wilson, Daryl Duke.
Central Ohio Film Critics winners
Best Film: Children of Men.
Best Foreign Language Film: Pan's Labyrinth.
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed.
Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.
Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls.
Best Ensemble: The Departed.
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed.
Best Adapted Screenplay: William Monahan, The Departed.
Best Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson, Brick.
Best Cinematography: Dean Semler, Apocalypto.
Best Score: Gustavo Santaolalla, Babel.
Best Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth, dir.: Davis Guggenheim.
Best Animated Film: Cars, dir.: John Lasseter & Joe Ranft.
Best Overlooked Film: Brick, dir.: Rian Johnson.
Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work): Clive Owen, Children of Men & Inside Man.
Breakthrough Film Artist: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls, for acting.
British Academy of Film and Television Arts website.
American Society of Cinematographers website.
Image of James McAvoy in one of the BAFTAs two “royal movies,” The Last King of Scotland: Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Vilmos Zsigmond, Brian De Palma, and Nancy Allen Blow Out image: Filmways Pictures.
Nicolás Mateo Agua movie image: Celluloid Dreams.
Vancouver Film Critics list of nominees and winners via Vancouver journalist Ian Caddell.
“BAFTA Awards' Royal Movies + Veteran Vilmos Zsigmond & Swimmer Problems in Palm Springs” last updated in September 2018.
Feb. 11 update: Perhaps there's something I'm missing here, but the Orange British Academy of Film and Television Arts has decided that Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland is the outstanding British film of 2006, coming out ahead of United 93, Notes on a Scandal, Casino Royale, and Stephen Frears' The Queen. Yet that very same Orange Academy has picked The Queen as the best film of the year, defeating Little Miss Sunshine, Babel, The Departed, and … The Last King of Scotland. Go figure.
There were few surprises at the 2007 Bafta ceremony held at London's Royal Opera House this evening, unless one considers a Helen Mirren victory in Britain a surprise. In her home country, Mirren has thus far trailed Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada, at the London Film Critics' Awards*), Kate Dickie (Red Road, at the British Independent Film Awards), and Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal, at the 2007 Evening Standard Film Awards).
Even so, just like at the upcoming Hollywood Academy Awards, Helen Mirren was the odds-on favorite to win the best actress Bafta – so much so, that bookies had stopped taking bets on her. “There's no chance of me winning this evening,” Judi Dench said before the ceremony. “I'm just here for the show. I'm a betting woman, so I'll put money on Helen.” (Apparently, one lone, brave bookie was still taking bets that evening.)
“It's pretty spectacular … I haven't been to the Bafta film awards much because I'm not usually invited,” Mirren remarked. “I've had TV Baftas but I think it's the first time I've been nominated for a film Bafta so it's fantastic to be here.” (Earlier this year, at the 2007 SAG Award ceremony in Los Angeles, Mirren had berated the British Academy for failing to nominate her TV special Elizabeth I.)
In her acceptance speech, Mirren dedicated her trophy to “her mentor” Ian Richardson, who died last week.
Among the other top Bafta winners were best actor Forest Whitaker (who dedicated his award to his recently deceased grandmother) for his performance as deranged Uganda leader Idi Amin Dada (who'd have been right at home in today's world, where some sort of mental illness is a prerequisite for leadership positions); best director Paul Greengrass for United 93, about one of the four hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001; and best foreign-language film Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro's Mexican-Spanish dark fantasy about a young girl (Ivana Baquero) leading two lives – one above ground, in the Fascist Spain of the 1940s; the other underground, in a fantasy world of satyrs, monsters, and melting giant frogs.
Red Road director Andrea Arnold, upon accepting the Carl Foreman Award for a first-time British filmmaker, expressed her hope that “there is some money that comes with this award, which is great as my boiler's packed up.”
Veteran film editor Anne V. Coates, 81, whose illustrious career spans more than half a century, from Noel Langley's version of The Pickwick Papers in 1952 to the Jennifer Garner 2007 vehicle Catch and Release, received the Academy Fellowship, the British Film Academy's top honor. Among Coates' other credits are the Alec Guinness comedy The Horse's Mouth (1958), Ronald Neame's military drama Tunes of Glory (1960), David Lean's Academy Award-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express (1974), David Lynch's The Elephant Man (1980), Richard Attenborough's Chaplin (1992), and the Julia Roberts vehicle Erin Brockovich (2000).
In-between host Jonathan Ross' jokes about Mel Gibson (Ross remarked that several nominees looked “tenser than Mel Gibson in a synagogue”) and Scientology (“a good acceptance speech should be like a Scientologist's birth – no tears and as few words as possible”), other awards were presented to best supporting actor Alan Arkin, for his heroin-addicted but loving gramps in Little Miss Sunshine; to best supporting actress Jennifer Hudson, for playing one of the Supremes-like Dreamgirls; and to Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock, who received best adapted screenplay honors for The Last King of Scotland.
One surprise was the fact that Michael Arndt's cutesy comedy Little Miss Sunshine took the best original screenplay award – instead of Peter Morgan's much-admired script for The Queen, which revolves around a battle of wills between Queen Elizabeth II and prime minister Tony Blair following the death of Princess Diana.
Perhaps that happened because the British Academy was in a share-and-share-alike mood. Morgan, after all, had already co-won the best adapted screenplay award, so Orange Academy-ites may have figured it'd be a generous idea to give the other screenwriting trophy to somebody else.
In fact, no one film dominated the 2007 Baftas. Despite its nine nominations, Casino Royale won only one award (for best sound), in addition to a Rising Star trophy for Eva Green, while The Queen won only two of its ten nods. The two top winners of the evening turned out to be The Last King of Scotland and Pan's Labyrinth, each with a mere 3 wins. (In addition to its best foreign-language film award, Pan's Labyrinth received top honors for costume design and make-up/hair. It fared considerably better at the Spanish Academy's Goya Awards.)
The British Academy's “Everybody Wins!” approach also helps to explain the nonsense of having The Last King of Scotland as best British film and The Queen as best film, while having the best director award go to United 93.
Apparently, no one at the British Academy was bothered by the (contradictory) fact that the British-made “best film of 2006” wasn't the best British film, the best directed film, or the best written film of the year.
Addendum: The best British film is chosen by a jury panel, not by the general BAFTA membership. That helps to explain the best British film vs. best film contradiction.
* Helen Mirren did win as best British actress. She lost the best actress award to Streep.
Note: Three nominated short films, including best animation film Guy 101, are available for viewing through the British Academy's site.
Judi Dench and Helen Mirren quotes: The Scotsman
Jonathan Ross and Andrea Arnold quotes: Variety
Babel - Alejandro González Iñárritu, Jon Kilik, Steve Golin
The Departed - Brad Pitt, Brad Grey, Graham King
The Last King of Scotland - Andrea Calderwood, Lisa Bryer, Charles Steel
Little Miss Sunshine - Albert Berger, David T Friendly, Ron Yerxa
* The Queen - Tracey Seaward, Christine Langan, Andy Harries
THE ALEXANDER KORDA AWARD for the Outstanding British Film of the Year
Casino Royale - Michael G Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Martin Campbell, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
* The Last King of Scotland - Andrea Calderwood, Lisa Bryer, Charles Steel, Kevin Macdonald, Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock
Notes on a Scandal - Scott Rudin, Robert Fox, Richard Eyre, Patrick Marber
The Queen - Tracey Seaward, Christine Langan, Andy Harries, Stephen Frears, Peter Morgan
United 93 - Tim Bevan, Lloyd Levin, Paul Greengrass
BEST FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Apocalypto (U.S.) - Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey
Zwartboek / The Black Book (The Netherlands) - Teun Hilte, San Fu Maltha, Jens Meurer, Paul Verhoeven
* El Laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth (Spain / Mexico / U.S.) - Alfonso Cuarón, Bertha Navarro, Frida Torresblanco, Guillermo del Toro
Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow (India) - Ronnie Screwvala, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Volver (Spain) - Agustín Almodóvar, Pedro Almodóvar
THE DAVID LEAN AWARD for Achievement in Direction
Babel - Alejandro González Iñárritu
The Departed - Martin Scorsese
Little Miss Sunshine - Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
The Queen - Stephen Frears
* United 93 - Paul Greengrass
BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE
Daniel Craig - Casino Royale
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed
Richard Griffiths - The History Boys
Peter O'Toole - Venus
* Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland
BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE
Penélope Cruz - Volver
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
* Helen Mirren - The Queen
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet - Little Children
BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE
* Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
James McAvoy - The Last King of Scotland
Jack Nicholson - The Departed
Leslie Phillips - Venus
Michael Sheen - The Queen
BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE
Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada
Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine
Toni Collette - Little Miss Sunshine
Frances de la Tour - The History Boys
* Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Babel - Guillermo Arriaga
* Little Miss Sunshine - Michael Arndt
Pan's Labyrinth - Guillermo del Toro
The Queen - Peter Morgan
United 93 - Paul Greengrass
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Casino Royale - Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
The Departed - William Monahan
The Devil Wears Prada - Aline Brosh McKenna
* The Last King of Scotland - Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock
Notes on a Scandal - Patrick Marber
THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in their First Feature Film
* Andrea Arnold (Director) - Red Road
Julian Gilbey (Director) - Rollin' with the Nines
Christine Langan (Producer) - Pierrepoint
Gary Tarn (Director) - Black Sun
Paul Andrew Williams (Director) - London to Brighton
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Cars - John Lasseter
Flushed Away - David Bowers and Sam Fell
* Happy Feet - George Miller
Babel - Rodrigo Prieto
Casino Royale - Phil Meheux
* Children of Men - Emmanuel Lubezki
El Laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth - Guillermo Navarro
United 93 - Barry Ackroyd
Babel - Stephen Mirrione, Douglas Crise
Casino Royale - Stuart Baird
The Departed - Thelma Schoonmaker
The Queen - Lucia Zucchetti
* United 93 - Clare Douglas, Christopher Rouse, Richard Pearson
THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD for Achievement in Film Music
* Babel - Gustavo Santaolalla
Casino Royale - David Arnold
Dreamgirls - Henry Krieger
Happy Feet - John Powell
The Queen - Alexandre Desplat
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Casino Royale - Peter Lamont, Simon Wakefield
* Children of Men - Geoffrey Kirkland, Jim Clay, Jennifer Williams
Marie Antoinette - K K Barrett, Véronique Melery
Pan's Labyrinth - Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Rick Heinrichs, Cheryl A Carasik
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Devil Wears Prada - Patricia Field
Marie Antoinette - Milena Canonero
* Pan's Labyrinth - Lala Huete
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Penny Rose
The Queen - Consolata Boyle
Babel - José García, Jon Taylor, Chris Minkler, Martín Hernández
* Casino Royale - Chris Munro, Eddy Joseph, Mike Prestwood Smith, Martin Cantwell, Mark Taylor
Pan's Labyrinth - Martín Hernández, Jamie Bashkt
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Christopher Boyes, George Watters II, Paul Massey, Lee Orloff
United 93 - Chris Munro, Mike Prestwood Smith, Douglas Cooper, Oliver Tarney, Eddy Joseph
ACHIEVEMENT IN SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
Casino Royale - Steve Begg, Chris Corbould
Children of Men - Frazer Churchill, Tim Webber, Michael Eames, Paul Corbould
Pan's Labyrinth - Edward Irastorza, Everett Burrell
* Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson
Superman Returns - Mark Stetson
MAKE UP & HAIR
The Devil Wears Prada - Nicki Ledermann, Angel De Angelis
Marie Antoinette - Jean-Luc Russier, Desiree Corridoni
* Pan's Labyrinth - José Quetglas, Blanca Sànchez
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Ve Neill, Martin Samuel
The Queen - Daniel Phillips
SHORT ANIMATION FILM
Dreams and Desires - Family Ties - Les Mills, Joanna Quinn
* Guy 101 - Ian Gouldstone
Peter and the Wolf - Hugh Welchman, Alan Dewhurst, Suzie Templeton
Care - Rachel Bailey, Corinna Faith
Cubs - Lisa Williams, Tom Harper
* Do Not Erase - Asitha Ameresekere
Hikikomori - Karley Duffy, Paul Wright
Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored - David Smith, Jim McRoberts
THE ORANGE RISING STAR AWARD
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada
* Eva Green, Casino Royale
Naomie Harris, Miami Vice
Cilliam Murphy, The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Ben Whishaw, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
THE ACADEMY FELLOWSHIP
Editor Anne V. Coates
THE MICHAEL BALCON AWARD for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema
Location Manager Nick Daubeny
WGA Awards go to populist & outlandish screenplays
February 2007 update: The populist family comedy-drama Little Miss Sunshine and the outlandish Irish mob drama The Departed were given, respectively, Best Original Screenplay (Michael Arndt) and Best Adapted Screenplay trophies (William Monahan) at the 2007 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, announced on Feb. 11.
Amy Berg's script for Deliver Us from Evil, about a pedophilic priest, was the other big-screen winner, receiving the WGA Award for Best Documentary Screenplay.
Earlier that day, Little Miss Sunshine also won top original screenplay honors at the British Film Academy's BAFTA ceremony. As quoted in the Hollywood Reporter, Little Miss Sunshine screenwriter Michael Arndt thanked his agent and producers for helping him to achieve “the screenwriters' dream of seeing their words up on the screen uncompromised and undiluted.” Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris directed the sentimental 2006 sleeper hit.
Peter Morgan's equally populist and sentimental – but more astute – The Queenscreenplay was a favorite among U.S. film critics, but looks like it has now been demoted to lady-in-waiting. Expect Little Miss Sunshine to take home the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award.
Another 2007 WGA Awards big-screen honoree was veteran Robert Benton, the recipient of this year's Laurel Award. Benton's screenwriting credits, solo or in collaboration, include Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Joseph L. Mankiewicz's There Was a Crooked Man… (1970), Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up Doc? (1971), Richard Donner's Superman (1978), and, more recently, Harold Ramis' The Ice Harvest (2005).
Moreover, Benton was the screenwriter-director of a trio of well-received efforts: The Late Show (1977), Kramers vs. Kramer (1979), and Places in the Heart (1984). The latter two earned him Academy Awards for his screenwriting work, while 1979 Best Picture winner Kramer vs. Kramer also earned him that year's Best Director Oscar statuette.
Upcoming WGA strike?
But the 2007 WGA Awards didn't revolve only around winners and losers and veteran honorees. As per The Hollywood Reporter, WGA West president Patric Verrone “joked that he would not subject the crowd to long speeches about 'the guild's determination to work with our sister unions to preserve health and pension benefits.'”
The WGA's film and television contracts expire in October. A debilitating strike is a possibility — some say a probability — after that.
Prestigious awards season titles not even nominated
Of note, strict WGA rules make it difficult for non-English-language movies to be eligible for the awards. In the Best Original Screenplay category, that may help to explain the absence of screenwriter-director Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy Pan's Labyrinth / El Laberinto del fauno and screenwriter-director Pedro Almodóvar's female-centered comedy Volver.
Notably missing in action from the Best Adapted Screenplay category were Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis for Letters from Iwo Jima, Patrick Marber for Notes on a Scandal, Bill Condon for Dreamgirls, and Alan Bennett for The History Boys.
On the other hand, included on that particular roster was Borat, even though some of the film's most memorable lines and situations are supposed to have come from the minds of unrehearsed non-actors.
See below the list of this year's WGA Award winners and nominees in the Feature Films and Television categories.
WGA Awards: Winners & nominations
Babel, Guillermo Arriaga.
* Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt.
The Queen, Peter Morgan.
Stranger Than Fiction, Zach Helm.
United 93, Paul Greengrass.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines, Todd Phillips.
* The Departed, William Monahan; Based on the motion picture Infernal Affairs, written by Alan Mak & Felix Chong.
The Devil Wears Prada, Aline Brosh McKenna; Based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger.
Little Children, Todd Field, Tom Perrotta; Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta.
Thank You for Smoking, Jason Reitman; Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley.
* Deliver Us from Evil, Amy Berg.
The Heart of the Game, Ward Serrill.
Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos, Story by Mark Monroe & John Dower, Screenplay by Mark Monroe.
Who Killed the Electric Car? Chris Paine.
Why We Fight, Eugene Jarecki.
LONG FORM ORIGINAL
Broken Trail, Alan Geoffrion.
* Flight 93, Nevin Schreiner.
The Ron Clark Story, Max Enscoe & Annie DeYoung.
* The Sopranos.
Arrested Development. Curb Your Enthusiasm.
* The Office.
Friday Night Lights.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
* Ugly Betty.
EPISODIC DRAMA (Any Length, One Airing Time)
“Election Day - Part II” – The West Wing, Eli Attie & John Wells.
“Occupation/Precipice” – Battlestar Galactica, Ronald D. Moore.
“Two for the Road” – Lost, Elizabeth Sarnoff & Christina M. Kim.
“The End of the Whole Mess” – Nightmares, Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, Teleplay by Lawrence D. Cohen, Based on the short story by Stephen King.
Pilot – Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorkin.
* Pilot – Big Love, Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer.
EPISODIC COMEDY (Any Length, One Airing Time)
“It Takes Two” – Desperate Housewives, Kevin Murphy & Jenna Bans.
“Don't Look at Me” – Desperate Housewives, Josh Senter.
“Bomb Shelter” – Malcolm in the Middle, Rob Ulin.
* “Casino Night” – The Office, Steve Carell.
“The Coup” – The Office, Paul Lieberstein.
“Jump for Joy” – My Name is Earl, Vali Chandrasekaran.
LAUREL AWARD FOR SCREEN: Robert Benton.
PADDY CHAYEFSKY LAUREL AWARD FOR TELEVISION: John Wells.
VALENTINE DAVIES AWARD: Larry Gelbart.
Four (at least partly) francophone Quebec productions in contention for Canada's Oscars
January 2007: In other early 2007 awards season news, four of the five Best Film nominees for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television's Genie Awards – the Canadian Oscars – are (at least in part) French-language Quebec productions. Of these, The Rocket /Maurice Richard garnered the most nods – 13 in all.
Directed by Charles Binamé and starring Roy Dupuis, the film traces the career and personal life of the immensely popular (and, in real life, apparently short-tempered) Quebecois hockey player who faced anti-francophone prejudice on the ice.
In addition to its inclusion in the Best Film shortlist, The Rocket is also in the running in several top categories, including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress (Julie LeBreton), and Best Original Screenplay (Ken Scott).
All these Genie nominations, however, feel anti-climactic. Last year, The Rocket was up for 14 Jutra Awards – the Quebecois equivalent to the Oscars – and, hockey hagiography or no, it lost in every single category, most often to Jean-Marc Vallée's C.R.A.Z.Y., the humorous tale of a young gay man growing up in the Montreal of the 1960s and 1970s. (C.R.A.Z.Y. also dominated last year's Genie Awards.)
Cop comedy blockbuster & Rwanda genocide among Best Film competitors
The 2007 Genie Awards' three other Quebecois Best Film nominees are:
- Jean-François Pouliot's The Little Book of Revenge / Guide de la Petite Vengeance, the story of an accountant (Marc Béland) seeking revenge on his mean-spirited boss (Gabriel Gascon).
- Robert Favreau's A Sunday in Kigali / Un dimanche à Kigali, the story of a documentary filmmaker and journalist (Best Actor nominee Luc Picard) who, following the 1994 Tutsi genocide, returns to Rwanda in search of his lover (Best Actress nominee Fatou N'Diaye).
- Erik Canuel's bilingual Bon Cop Bad Cop, about a by-the-book Ontario cop (Colm Feore) and an easy-going, rule-bending Quebecois cop (Patrick Huard) working together to solve a murder. Not taking inflation into account, after collecting $12.6 million Bon Cop Bad Cop became the highest-grossing home-grown movie of all time in Canada. Feore and Huard are competing with each other in the Best Actor category.
Lone English-language Best Film contender + Best Actor & Best Actress nominees
English-language Canadian films are usually eclipsed by the big-budget productions from south of the border, but one such local effort succeeded in landing a Genie nomination: Mike Clattenburg's Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, inspired by a popular TV show, and featuring three buds that come up with a scheme to get rich or die trying: stealing cash from ATM machines.
Joining Roy Dupuis, Colm Feore, Patrick Huard, and Luc Picard in the Best Actor category is Olivier Gourmet for his performance as a quirky Belgian inventor who travels to Quebec in search of his family in Philippe Falardeau's Congorama.
Besides Julie LeBreton and Fatou N'Diaye (Best Actress winner at the 2006 Marrakech Film Festival), the other Best Actress Genie Award nominees are 11-year-old Jodelle Ferland in Terry Gilliam's Tideland, Sigourney Weaver as an autistic woman who befriends a man (Alan Rickman) traumatized after a deadly car accident in Marc Evans' Snow Cake, and Ginette Reno in Ghyslaine Côté's family comedy-drama A Family Secret /Le Secret de ma mère.
The 2007 Genie winners will be announced on Feb. 13.
Coming-of-age drama & sci-fi thriller among Swedish Guldbagge Award nominees
More awards season news: All three Best Film nominees for the Swedish Film Institute's Guldbagge (“Golden Beetle” or “Golden Scarab”) Awards are their respective directors' feature debuts:
- Shot in semi-documentary style, Jesper Ganslandt's coming-of-age comedy-drama Falkenberg Farewell / Farväl Falkenberg follows five childhood friends in the small beach town of Falkenberg, where they do drugs, fool around, and eventually come face to face with death.
- Catti Edfeldt's and Ylva Gustavsson's Kidz in da Hood / Förortsungar tells the story of a young Sierra Leone woman (Beylula Kidane Adgoy) who, while seeking asylum in Sweden, finds a foster parent in the figure of a tattooed, pierced musician. As the surrogate father, Gustaf Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård's son, was shortlisted in the Best Actor category.
- Set in Stockholm, Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein's sci-fi thriller Storm revolves around a young man (Eric Ericson) whose life goes off the rails after he meets a mysterious woman (Eva Röse) with an equally mysterious box in her possession. Before he knows it, the fate of humankind lies in his hands.
Pedro Almodóvar's Spanish family comedy Volver, Alejandro González Iñárritu's multicultural drama Babel, and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's German Stasi drama The Lives of Others / Das Leben der Anderen are the 2007 Guldbagge Awards' three Best Foreign Language Film nominees.
The Guldbagge Awards ceremony will be held on Jan. 22 at the Cirkus arena in Stockholm. The statuette itself, in the form of a beetle/scarab, was designed by Karl Axel Pehrson.
Critics' Choice Awards' mainstream winners
Final awards season news: Martin Scorsese's B-movieish The Departed, in which Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon become enmeshed with the Irish mob, was the Broadcast Film Critics Association's top pick in the Critics' Choice Awards' Best Film and Best Director categories. Also featuring Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen, The Departed is one of the top contenders for this year's Best Picture Oscar.
Matching the choices of most other U.S.-based critics groups, Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker topped the Best Actress and Best Actor categories for, respectively, Stephen Frears' The Queen and Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland.
Other Critics' Choice Award winners include Clint Eastwood's U.S.-made, Japanese-language Letters from Iwo Jima as Best Foreign Language Film; Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson topping the supporting categories for Bill Condon's musical Dreamgirls; and Michael Arndt's WGA Award-winning Little Miss Sunshine screenplay.
The 2007 Critics' Choice Award winners were announced at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles County on Jan. 12.
Critics' Choice Awards: Winners & nominations (partial list)
* The Departed.
Letters from Iwo Jima.
Little Miss Sunshine.
Notes on a Scandal.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Days of Glory.
* Letters from Iwo Jima.
Penélope Cruz - Volver.
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal.
* Helen Mirren - The Queen.
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada.
Kate Winslet - Little Children.
Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond.
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed.
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson.
Peter O'Toole - Venus.
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness.
* Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ben Affleck - Hollywoodland.
Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine.
Adam Beach - Flags of Our Fathers.
Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond.
* Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls.
Jack Nicholson - The Departed.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Adriana Barraza - Babel.
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal.
* Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls.
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel.
Catherine O'Hara - For Your Consideration.
Emma Thompson - Stranger Than Fiction.
BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
* Little Miss Sunshine.
A Prairie Home Companion.
Bill Condon - Dreamgirls.
Clint Eastwood - Letters from Iwo Jima.
Stephen Frears - The Queen.
Paul Greengrass - United 93.
* Martin Scorsese - The Departed.
* Michael Arndt - Little Miss Sunshine.
Guillermo Arriaga - Babel.
Todd Field & Tom Perrotta - Little Children.
Zach Helm - Stranger Than Fiction.
William Monahan - The Departed.
Peter Morgan - The Queen.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
* An Inconvenient Truth.
Shut Up & Sing.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated.
Who Killed the Electric Car?.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Over the Hedge.
* Philip Glass - The Illusionist.
Clint Mansell - The Fountain.
Thomas Newman - The Good German.
Gustavo Santaolalla - Babel.
Howard Shore - The Departed.
Hans Zimmer - The Da Vinci Code.
BEST PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
* Elizabeth I.
Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
The Ron Clark Story.
When the Levees Broke.
Writers Guild of America WGA Awards website.
Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television website.
Swedish Film Institute website.
Robert Benton and Jeff Bridges Nadine image: TriStar Pictures.
Roy Dupuis The Rocket / Maurice Richard image: Universal Pictures.
Eric Ericson Storm image: Breidablick Film.
“WGA Awards: Populist & Outlandish Screenplays Are Winners + Year-Old Maurice Richard Tops Genie Nominations” last updated in August 2018.