The Brits are off to the Oscars next Sunday, although it’s unlikely many of them will come home full-handed. The highest-profile nominees – Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Christian Bale and Richard E Grant – may dominate the headlines, and, in the case of the first two, the Baftas, but all are outside chances at the Academy Awards, set to be pipped to the post by American actors. Yet in one corner of central London, awards season has, for some years now, been soundtracked by the constant noise of corks popping. Film4, the feature-film production arm of Channel 4, has, over the past few years, established itself as a pint-sized Oscars powerhouse. This year, it has a total of 13 Academy Award nominations, thanks to The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos’s Queen Anne romp starring Colman, Weisz and Emma Stone, and Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski’s follow-up to Ida. By comparison, moneybags outfits Netflix and Fox Searchlight each have 15 – which is the number … [Read more...] about How Film4 became a pint-sized Oscars powerhouse
Parramatta business awards
Channel 4’s feature-film-making arm Film4 Productions has scored an unprecedented 15 Oscar nominations across six movies, including a best picture nod for Room, six nominations for Carol, and a best actress nod for Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years. Carol, the lesbian romance adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, was the best-performing of Film4’s list, earning acting nominations for Blanchett and Mara (as best actress and best supporting actress respectively) as well as costume design, original score, cinematography, and adapted screenplay for Phyllis Nagy. Surprisingly, however, Carol received neither a best picture nomination, nor one for its director Todd Haynes. Room, the kidnap drama inspired by the Fritzl case and adapted from Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel, picked up four nominations: picture, actress for Brie Larson, director for Lenny Abrahamson and adapted screenplay for Donoghue. Both these … [Read more...] about Record Oscar nominations for British outfit Film4
There are two differently mounted yet thematically similar films arriving this awards season that focus on female monarchs and how their relationships with other women led to profound change. In Yorgos Lanthimos’s bawdy, brutal comedy The Favourite, the mental state of Queen Anne is weaponised by two women vying for her affections and, in turn, increased power in both her palace and the country. In Josie Rourke’s far more conventional, yet slickly entertaining Mary Queen of Scots, we see how the titular character clashes with Queen Elizabeth for control with the fates of many hanging in the balance. Tonally and visually, the two couldn’t be more different yet they both contain familiar observations about the swift sadism of life at the very top and how so much of the tension between these women was orchestrated by the men around them. While the life of Queen Anne has historically received minimal screen time, the more obviously cinematic dynamic between Mary and … [Read more...] about Mary Queen of Scots review – Saoirse Ronan rules over political drama
This month, a charity on Teesside offering emergency accommodation for homeless young people will close after a long struggle for funds to keep it afloat. Around Britain it's a similar story as a once-vaunted, yet ill-defined "big society" vision, apparently central to David Cameron's political philosophy, collides with the reality of government spending cuts, biting deeply in town halls. With funding for councils being slashed by a third during this parliament alone – and the prospect of even deeper cuts in the next – charities partly dependent on town hall funding are being hit particularly hard. And Nightstop, in the Teesside steel town of Redcar, might have disappeared without trace but for one significant event days before it began winding down. Last month, a sister Nightstop organisation, based on Tyneside – which hopes to now offer its services on Teesside – was honoured by the prime minister with a big society award. For the Northern Echo, the local … [Read more...] about Is this the end of Cameron’s big society?
There may be no surefire short cut to awards glory, but as strategies go, playing a British monarch has a higher strike rate than most - dating back to 1932, when Charles Laughton scooped the best actor Oscar for The Private Life of Henry VIII. More recently, Judi Dench’s late-blooming film career was rewarded with a slew of awards and an Oscar nomination for her Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown. The next year, she took the gold for an eight-minute turn as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love; that same year, Cate Blanchett narrowly lost the leading prize for playing the same queen in Elizabeth. Voters are so enamoured of the OG Liz, in fact, that Blanchett was even nominated for her shrieky retread of the same role in the turgid Elizabeth: The Golden Age; the role of QE2, meanwhile, landed Helen Mirren every prize going for The Queen in 2006. Not to be outdone by the ladies, Colin Firth was Oscared as Elizabeth II’s dad in The King’s Speech; it’s a family business of … [Read more...] about Killer queens: how The Favourite reigns over Mary Queen of Scots