Tag Archives: Penelope Cruz

The Oscars (better late than never)


It’s been a busy few weeks but the intention HAD been there to do an Oscars prediction post. Good old Matt had inspired me in his own inimitable way to take in the films and, with the exception of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (and THE READER…. hmmm), I’d managed to see the top contenders for the main awards in good enough time to make a set of, maybe not predictions, but bold claims on who should win.

So here we go, who won and who (I think) should have won…….. I didn’t do incredibly well in terms of agreeing with the academy. I’ll only cover the big 6 or I’ll be here all night….



Now I’m gonna be honest here. I knew SM would get the nod. It’s a very well made, entertaining, beautifully shot, acted and directed work from Danny Boyle. I have to say though, and I can say this with confidence even though I’ve not seen THE READER, FROST / NIXON was the picture from the bunch that had me absolutely transfixed from start to finish. Whether that was purely because of the extremely interesting, non fiction subject matter or not, the fact remains, it moved and consumed me in a way SLUMDOG couldn’t.

Sean Penn: MILK


“This was undoubtedly the shock of the night” said numerous red carpet commentators and I think, as most people probably do, that Mickey Rourke was robbed. That’s not to take anything away from Sean Penn, he’s by far the best thing about the MILK film and you totally forget you’re watching him act. Mickey Rourke however, gives a depth of performance that maybe only comes along once a decade far less once a year. You could tell there was a lot of himself in that role which lent such honest weight to it without it being a case of pitying the guy. We’re with him for the whole picture, when you witness him dragging his battered body into the ring for another pounding you can almost feel the pain he’s going through.


And let’s not forget the Rourke of circa RUMBLEFISH.


Kate Winslett: THE READER


Kate Winslet?? Best Actress???

I had Meryl Streep for this one and my reasons are irrefutable. Firstly: Streep is amazing in this film. Secondly: It was the only movie in this category I saw so who else was there to choose? CHANGELING was the only other picture I would pay to watch from this group. Film critic Mark Kermode thinks that Winslet deserves the award, just not for this film, in his opinion she should have got it for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, another movie I’ve yet to see. Does anyone concur with this take?



It was always going to be the case and I agree with it completely. There’s no way on earth this is purely a sympathy vote. Philip Seymour Hoffman is great, Josh Brolin is good but I think if anyone from MILK got nominated it should have been Emile Hirsch for his utterly convincing and compelling performance as Cleve Jones. Heath Ledger, however, creates this heaving, magnetic, mesmerising character you can’t take your eyes off. When The Joker leaves the screen, you want him back as quickly as possible, you want to see more disapearing pencils, he’s the bad guy you fell good routing for. Ledger completely abandons himself in this role and leaves you with a dark presence long after the credits have ended. Truly amazing and thoroughly deserved.



My initial thought when I heard the results was that Marisa Tomei should have got this for her role as Cassidy in THE WRESTLER. I revisited VCB last night though and now agree with our friends at the Academy. Penelope Cruz is rather good isn’t she? I was going to do a Cruz double by sticking on VOLVER after it but then I would run the risk of starting to like the woman. It’s a compulsion I’m determined to fight for no good reason.



Yep, you’ve gotta hand him this one without any real complaint. There were other movies in the Best Picture category that held my attention more the SM but the sheer audacity, energy and skill with which this film was made should be applauded long and loud. I’m a big fan of Danny Boyle, as a director he’s always pushing the envelope and never takes the easy route. There is a sincerity in his films that clearly reflect the man himself, he’s one of these guys that when you hear them talking about cinema, you know they mean it from the heart and you can’t help but take serious notice. Scorsese is another one. Well done Danny. Here’s hoping the British film industry realises finally that it’s not America’s runt brother.


Tonight’s Viewing



After a week and a bit of gut busting filming in ol’ London town, (God that place takes it out of you) I’m kicking back tonight with a Hawks / Jodorowsky double.

The former is a nice slice of Bogart / Becall flirtation which never fails to please.

The latter is a lesson in cinematic freedom which should be seen by EVERYONE.

I’m off to the cinema tomorrow to start catching the “best picture” oscar nominees, more on that when I can keep my eyes open….. It was, however, very pleasing to see Penelope Cruz winning a “Supporting Actress” BAFTA gong for her performance in VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA…. as much as the woman unsettles me, it was a damn fine performance.

“……… I just don’t know what it is……”

Problem Solved


So Woody Allen seems to have found a way out of the woods. Firstly, he’s not in Britain. I always thought his dialogue spoken in a British accent sounded weird and clunky. He’s now a European filmmaker, but not UK European, real European.

Secondly, he’s not concerned with a “return to form” if the form you’re talking about is ANNIE HALL or MANHATTAN. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my feelings for these films but I have to say I’m delighted with this direction he’s taken. No longer is he looking for the comedic but is happy to let the characters and the situations breathe.

Woody Allen now seems to have let go of what he was as a director, to concentrate on what he is. When the Allen of BANANAS, SLEEPER and LOVE AND DEATH became the Allen of ANNIE HALL, INTERIORS and MANHATTAN he was initially chastised for abandoning his pure comic roots. Of course the negativity subsided when the realisation set in that Allen was evolving and that huge gains as an audience could be had by evolving with him.

The same could be said here.

After MATCH POINT, SCOOP and CASSANDRA’S DREAM (which for my money were on the bland side) Woody’s new evolution would appear to have taken shape. Will this be his final major artistic shift? That remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though, History will look kindly on his body of work.

I saw the film knowing nothing about it, I suggest you do the same.

The film opens on February 6th and probably won’t be in cinemas for long, after all…… there’s no explosions in this picture.