The BAFTA Awards for 2011 have just been given out. Once again it proved how biased these awards are towards British Films. The King’s Speech was the big winner of the evening (no surprise there), grabbing all sorts of awards (7 in all). Here’s the list of all the winners and some quick comments from me.

Best Film – The King’s Speech

Like it was predicted. I wonder if in a few years time we’ll be remembering this film, or Inception and Toy Story 3. Oh well, it was so predictable.

Leading Actor – Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

Well deserved I supposed, but my votes would have gone to James Franco, especially since Colin had won it last year.

Leading Actress – Natalie Portman – Black Swan

She was pretty amazing in that film, so totally deserved. And I am so happy that annoying  HAILEE STEINFELD didn’t get it for True Grit

Director – The Social Network – David Fincher

Well, I am happy it wasn’t Tom Hooper.. but it should have gone to Nolan for INCEPTION

Cinematography – True Grit – Roger Deakins

Totally deserved, though it was a hard choice, Matthew Libatique did a great job for BLACK SWAN and INCPETION (Wally Pfister) looked amazing!

Adapted Screenplay – The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin

Well, there was no other choice for this, was there? He should get an Award every year just for his West Wing!!

Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award – Tom Hardy

Well deserved. He stole every scene in Inception and he’s going to be huge with the next Batman movie. Let’s face it ANDREW GARFIELD was Ok on the Social Network, but very transparent on Never Let Me Go

Animated Film – Toy Story 3

Well, of course. What else was there?

Original Screenplay – The King’s Speech – David Seidler

This was to be expected, but it’s a shame Inception couldn’t make it.I can see this might be one of those differences at the Oscars.

Supporting Actor – Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

One of the most controversial win, not because Geoffrey Rush didn’t deserve it, but because we all thought it was going to go to Christian Bale. I guess it was probably a way to punish Bale for his recent behavior. Anyway, his Oscar is coming soon…

Outstanding British Film – The King’s Speech

All pretty predictable of course, however since it got the Best film, this award should have really gone to somebody else. Mike Leigh’s Another Year for example was left empty-handed.

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer – Four Lions – Director/Writer – Chris Morris

This was also pretty predictable, but a lot of people though THE ARBRO  was a better film. My vote would have gone to EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP , a documentary which I really enjoyed, but also I would have loved to see Banksy collecting the award… hehehe.

Supporting Actress – Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech

A bit of a travesty in my view. This performance was a real caricature and pretty one-dimensional. Brits love Helena, so it was all rather predictable. It’s a pity for LESLEY MANVILLE or ANY ADAMS

Special Visual Effects – Inception – Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb

Well deserved.

Production Design – Inception – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat

As Above

Costume Design – Alice in Wonderland – Colleen Atwood

A pretty obvious choice considering the nominees.

Film Not in the English Language – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Søren Stærmose, Niels Arden Oplev

I don’t really get this. I never really understood the success of this film, especially in a year when you have films like THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, and OF GODS AND MEN. However I’m happy BIUTIFUL didn’t get it, since it was the most depressing film of the year!

Make Up & Hair – Alice in Wonderland – Valli O’Reilly, Paul Gooch

Well, the only other choice was HARRY POTTER, but then again, they’re probably waiting for the next one.

Editing – The Social Network – Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

Following the rule that the best editing is the invisible one, then this is probably a deserved award. However it should have gone to Lee Smith for INCEPTION

Sound – Inception – Richard King, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo, Ed Novick

Well deserved, but the sound on 127 HOURS was truly amazing.

Original Music – The King’s Speech – Alexandre Desplat

It was the obvious choice, but INCEPTION‘s music by Hans Zimmer was almost revolutionary and it is still the most memorable.

Short Animation – The Eagleman Stag – Michael Please

Short Film – Until the River Runs Red – Paul Wright, Poss Kondeatis

After writing this list, I wrote to the Evening Standards the following email, an extract of which, once again, got published on the 15th of February. (It’s the second one they publish, the first  one was for Harry Potter)

After 63 years of BAFTA and 82 years of Oscars (and everything else in between), It must be really hard for these poor people to come up with an acceptance speech that is original, succinct, sharp, witty, but most importantly memorable.
Sam Leiht’s hit the nail right on the head: “better embarrassed than forgotten”. Last thing you want to do is to give a lousy speech: and yet there are still those who end up just making long list of boring names nobody knows anything about, or those who read from cue-cards!
For crying out-loud people: you’re actors!! Act! Remember your lines!! And perform for your audience!
I am not necessarily saying you have to do what Roberto Benigni did at the Oscars in ’99 (though that was pretty awesome.. and definitely memorable!), jumping up and down and shouting “I want to make love with all of you”, but I’m sure you could do better than just thanking your mom and your agent or your beautiful husband/wife.
That Bafta show last night was on the whole pretty lame, in my view, and the only real memorable speech was the one from Helena Bonham Carter (mainly because for some reason she was allowed to break the rule and to go on for a lot longer than she was allowed to).
In their defense, it must be said that nowadays there are too many Movie Awards around and, if you are Colin Firth, from the King’s Speech, you know you’re going to have speak more than once: so what do you do in that case? Do you give the same one over and over again, do you give your best earlier on (maybe at the Golden Globes), or do you hold out for the Oscars (because let’s face it, that’s the one that gets remembered).
I really hope Colin Firth opted for the latter as the one from last night was pretty forgettable… in fact I can’t even remember what he said.
It’s all probably part of a bigger discussion on whether we really need all these awards…
Warren Beatty was right on his acceptance speech in ’76 when he said “We want to thank all of you for watching us congratulate ourselves tonight”, because that’s essentially what they all do. C’mon guys, be a bit more creative!

2010 Stats on MovieGeekBlog

This Blog has only been around for 3 months but it seems like it got off with a good start. The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ from WordPress seems to be veering towards the “wow”, whatever that means.

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: part 1 – Review November 2010


Tron: Legacy – Review December 2010


True Grit – Review December 2010


Black Swan – Review October 2010


The Fighter – Review December 2010

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for helping this blog being a success.

Black Swan – Review


USA 2010 . Directed by Darren Aronofsky. With Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder

Black Swan is the 5th feature by director Darren Aronofsky. If you think that his previous works include movies like “Requiem for a dream“, you won’t be too much surprised when I tell you that this latest piece is a pretty strong draining experience. A dark, emotional, nightmarish roller-coaster of a movie, and a real exhausting experience. When I left the preview theatre where I watched this I felt I like I had lost a few kilos.

It is also the most accomplished film by Aronoksky. In a Q&A session after the film, the director revealed how he’d been wanting to make a film about ballet for a very long time, but found it quite hard to get it financed. Finally he managed to combine an old treatment he’d been working on for a long time about understudies and ballet dancer in what can only be defined as a psychological thriller.

It is filmed mostly in very tight handheld close-ups, with muted and colors and a general grainy style reminiscent of his previous film The Wrestler. It is quite unusual to be so close to a ballet dancer while she’s performing. We are so used to watch ballet dancers from an “audience prospective”, that is from enough distance where they all seem so light.and graceful. Their movements effortless. But only when you’re so close to them you can really see and feel their pain: the sound of the heavy breathing, the look of exhaustion on their faces. Aronofsky captures all that and more.

The film is certainly not for everybody’s taste: people may find it too strong or even too slow, but if you are a film lover, I am sure you’ll appreciate its technique.

The music also plays a huge part in the film. Once again the director teams up with Clint Mansel who so successfully had produced the hit soundtrack from requiem for a dream 10 years before. The score builds on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and re-works into a film score, enhancing it, making it sound bigger or more haunting and slowing it down, according to what the mood of the film requires.

It is an amazing achievement, but the real star of the film is Natalie Portman, beautiful as ever,  who gives the best performance of her career so far (Yes, better than in Leon). She manages to capture both that grace and lightness of the white swan and the darker side of the sexy and devilish black counterpart.

The scene where she phones her mother to tell her that she’s got the part in the Swan Lake, all filmed in a tight close ups,  is probably the highlight of the film in terms of acting. You can see every single possible emotion passing though her face: happiness, exhaustion, pride, terror ! She really deserves an Oscar for her performance, though having said that, the film itself is a bit too weird for the Academy and its dark mood that might prevent any other Oscar recognition.

A lot of people have been praising this film calling it a masterpiece, I wouldn’t go that far. It is all fairly predictable if you really want to take it to pieces and, dare I say, slightly over the top with a few moments where it almost falls into a splatter horror without any real need. And of course at the end of the day, it’s all rather ludicrous! Yet it is still closer to “the wrestler” than “Requiem” at least in terms of real emotion and character development, as opposed to “style” over “substance”  (let’s face it, I did loved “requiem for a Dream“, and it was beautiful to watch but it did go on for a bit too long and over-stressed its point) and it did manage to create a palpable atmosphere like very few films have this year.

With this movie Aronofsky confirms himself as one of the most interesting, visionary director working in Hollywood today. I wish him good luck for the forthcoming awards Season (though I wouldn’t want to bet on him, as it’s clear that the King’s Speech and the Social Network will get everything else) and I am looking forward to see what he’ll do next with X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2

(note added after the Oscars 2011). Natalie Portman won the Oscar for her performance in this film, as I had predicted by the way…


The King Speech
The Social Network

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