Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Award season, James Fox in DOWNTON, Dot & Gaga

Winter sets in, and award season begins .... after that summer of under-performing so-called blockbusters - come on, be honest, how many of them did you want to see? - finally good movies are back and the good ones are better than ever. Woody's BLUE JASMINE is still around (see my recent review below), and GRAVITY and PHILOMENA (right) are doing well too - I plan to see them by next week. Some of the main contenders have not opened here in the UK yet, so we await 12 YEARS A SLAVE and THE BUTLER, which should also get lots of nominations. 
Oscar predictions - maybe too early to say, but I would say Cuaron and GRAVITY for best director and film; Best actor has to include Tom Hanks back on a roll again after several years of films one did not want to see with not only CAPTAIN PHILIPS but also his turn as Walt Disney; Jude Law exposing a lot of himself and putting on weight (looking rather like a young Bob Hoskins!) for DOM HEMINGWAY, Chiwetel Ejiofor (who has been consistently brilliant for years) for 12 YEARS A SLAVE - a very likey bet - and Robert Redford alone at sea at 77! 

I thought Cate Blanchett had it in the bag for BLUE JASMINE but she may have peaked too early, I can picture Dame Judi getting the sentimental vote for the popular PHILOMENA and that story of the Catholic church in Ireland is so resonant; then one has to include Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, and of course Sandra Bullock. These last three though are previous Oscar Best Actress winners, Cate and Judi are both Best Supporting wins and the Academy may feel its time they got a main award .... they are both terrific in NOTES ON A SCANDAL (above), on tv again this week .... we will be having another look at that. Its certainly one of Judi's best roles.  
On the TV front, the fourth season of DOWNTON ABBEY finished on a low note, but there is the new Christmas Special to look forward to next month, which sees the return of Shirley McLaine with Paul Giamatti and I am pleased to see our English veteran actor James Fox included too, obviously not playing a servant downstairs! Now if they could include an upstairs role for Sarah Miles too - she would be ideal as a disreputable grande dame acquaintance of Dame Maggie's Dowager ! (I saw James and Sarah with co-star Wendy Craig at that screening of Losey's THE SERVANT back in March, to launch its Blu-ray release - which was fascinating (as I had also seen Bogarde and Losey back in the 70s) - how often do you get the stars of a film present to talk about it, 50 years later! (Fox, Miles, Bogarde, Losey labels). 

For viewers in the UK, an amusing story about the popular BBC series LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX, back for a second series next week. It features those two golden oldies Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as the two old folk who fall in love and decide to get married, to the consternation of their offspring who have their own problems. An interview in "Radio Times" is amusing on how they have both had sex scenes with James Bond - Daniel Craig. Derek in LOVE IS THE DEVIL where he is painter Francis Bacon and Craig his lover (we will be watching and reviewing this soon) and Anne in that 2003 BBC film THE MOTHER where she is the older woman having a fling with the handyman. Derek pointed out that he had slept with Craig twice, whereas Anne had only once - but as she said, she is working on that\!  

Lady Gaga was fabulous and oddly endearing on last week's UK GRAHAM NORTON SHOW, which just gets better and better. After the dull Robert De Niro & Michelle Pfeiffer & Cher last week - this week's sizzled with Lady Gaga wearing that head-dress which kept hitting an amused Jude Law and then veteran English soap actress June Brown came on - and she and Gaga hit it off. June (85 at least) plays the chain-smoking Dot Cotton on UK soap EASTENDERS and is a UK institution. Gaga is lovely with her.

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