James Franco - Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
Having established his name in the Spider-Man movies, these days James Franco is clearly making some more personal career choices. He was in three films in 2008, notable for their vastly different styles. His extended cameo as Richard Gere‘s son in the weepy Nights in Rodanthe, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, was followed by two far less forgettable roles; opposite Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and as Sean Penn‘s boyfriend in Milk (for which he has been nominated with the cast for the SAG ensemble award).

He says he signed on for Pineapple because it was a chance to work with Judd Apatow and company, whom he knew from his days on the TV series Freaks and Geeks. “We did a lot of goofing around in a kind of constructed way,” he says of the film. “It’s a lot of improvisation, just letting the camera roll and doing the scene over and over again and seeing what happens. And I loved that!”

When asked to contrast the experiences on the two sets, he stops and thinks. “Milk had its own kind of looseness,” he says. “Gus Van Sant has his own approach, and there was the freedom to try different kinds of things. And Sean really encouraged that too. So it was somewhat improvisational, but what it did was to make the performances more natural. And it may be funny to say, but it was the same with Pineapple. I think that’s one of the things that Judd Apatow brings to comedies: there are wacky situations but it feels more emotionally grounded.”

Clearly this on-screen naturalism is important to him. He’s been studying film at New York University, and chooses five favourites that are all firmly rooted in authenticity…

 

Gimme Shelter (1970, 100% Tomatometer)



Gimme Shelter
It’s just amazing. I’ve been watching all of the Maysles Brothers‘ films and I’m really into their approach, which they called “direct cinema”, and the whole school that came out of DA Pennebaker, Robert Drew and so on. I love the whole idea that life can be as dramatic as fiction. It’s very different than reality television, because that’s very manipulated.

The Maysles’ approach is minimal interaction and being as observational as possible. Gimme Shelter has such drama, and it’s so well-done. As are all of their films.

I also love Salesman, which also proves that their philosophy can really work, because it just has these real Bible salesmen. But to me it has as much drama and tension as Arthur Miller or Eugene O’Neill – it’s like the Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh all rolled together – but it’s real! I just can’t get enough of it.


My Own Private Idaho (1992, 85% Tomatometer)



My Own Private Idaho
Even before I started acting, this was a very important film to me. Obviously I was really drawn to the performances and characters, but the whole film just kept bringing it back.

Gus has changed his style somewhat beginning with Gerry and all this Bela Tarr and Chantal Akerman influence, which I love too. But back then it was really about collage.

Idaho actually started as three different projects – three scripts – through Orson WellesChimes at Midnight, which was a distillation of Shakespeare, and this other story about street kids in Portland, and then something else about a kid finding his parents in Italy. And then this whole narcoleptic thing that was influenced by George Eliot. He’s got all that just in the script, and then there’s the way it’s shot – he had two DPs, plus time-lapse for the cloud sequences and 8mm for the dream sequences.

I love all of Gus’ movies. I think Drugstore Cowboy is a hilarious movie. I love how he can take a situation like that and make it funny. I think Matt Dillon gives one of the best comedic performances in that movie. Gus is taking a very personal approach in the film – from the look of Bob Yeoman‘s cinematography to the way Gus captures Portland on screen.


The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)



The Bicycle Thief
All of my favourite films are approaching realism in a different way. This is Italian neorealism – obviously there’s a script and a story and everything, but it’s shot in the street and it has the feel of Italy, of being in the streets and, like Idaho, a deceivingly, simply constructed narrative. But there’s so much emotion that’s evoked from these very simple stories.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008, 97% Tomatometer)



4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Again, a very simple approach, but there’s so much power in that film. You’re not quite sure what’s happening from the beginning, but you’re just kind of thrown into it. All you know is that these women have this mysterious meeting, and it takes you from there. The film gives you a great sense of what it was really like to live in Romania in the 1980s.

The Wrestler (2008, 98% Tomatometer)



The Wrestler
I loved this film! I really like the films of the Dardenne Brothers, like The Child and The Son, and I’m sure The Wrestler was influenced by the Dardennes, especially in the beginning when the camera is following the back of Mickey Rourke‘s head through the hallways.

I know Darren Aronofsky a little bit, and I remember meeting with him just when The Fountain was coming out, and he told me to look at the Dardenne Brothers because they were doing some really good stuff, so I know he’s a fan.


Milk opens in UK on Friday and in Australia on 29th January. It’s out now in the US.

With critical success for Slumdog Millionaire last week (94%), we have more award-friendly fare in the UK cinemas this Friday in Darren Aronofsky‘s spandex-tastic The Wrestler. Also out this week is Will Smith‘s latest, the emotional drama, Seven Pounds, with kids-flick Beverley Hills Chihauhau yapping at its heel. Plus My Bloody Valentine 3D splatters onto and out of our screens via some nifty technology and ropey looking specs. But what did the UK critics have to say?

Fresh from winning two Golden Globes (Best Actor, Best Original Song), bathed in critical acclaim from the festival season, and surrounded by pre-Oscar hype, The Wrestler finally body-slams into the UK cinema screens, but does it live up to expectations. With seven 5-Star ratings tallied from respected UK sources including Empire, Channel 4, Total Film and The Daily Mail, it seems like The Wrestler is destined for glory at 98% on The Tomatometer. Plaudits have not just been reserved for Mickey Rourke who puts in his best performance for years as past-it pro-wrestler Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, but praise has rightly been heaped on director Darren Aronofsky for his own comeback of sorts after the critical kicking of his last film The Fountain (51%). Chris Hicks of Total Film summed up the critical response to The Wrestler:

“Aronofsky’s most authentic film refuses to ridicule the amateur wrestling circuit, while Rourke’s portrait of a has-been will surely be the comeback of the year.”

Will Smith returns to our screens this week following the decidedly iffy Hancock (39%), reteaming with the director of The Pursuit Of Happyness, Gabriele Muccino, for the emotional drama Seven Pounds. Plot details have been kept tightly under wraps due to a twist ending, but the critics weren’t too impressed despite being kept in the dark. Seven Pounds currently stands at a Rotten 27% on The Tomatometer, with the main criticisms being aimed at the film’s illogical and convoluted plotting, mis-handling of a heavyweight subject, and at Smith himself, with Matthew Turner of View London calling it “a career worst performance”. Don’t waste your £7 on Seven Pounds.

Beverley Hills Chihuahua, from Disney, is as silly as it sounds, and features pampered pooches who talk, naturally. It currently stands at a Rotten 40% on the Tomatometer, with most critics dismissing the film as made-for-kids fodder. The critics agreed that it’s probably suitable for youngsters, with the canines putting in better performances than most of the humans involved. The critics wouldn’t write it off completely though, with the traditionally hard-to-please Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian saying:

“This piece of egregious silliness from Disney – featuring live-action canines with CGI moving mouths – isn’t quite as awful as it sounds.”

My Bloody Valentine 3D is a remake/sequel to the 1981 slasher-film original. Utilising the latest 3D technology and making the most of its 18 certificate, My Bloody Valentine 3D promises horror thrills never seen before on the UK screens. With early reviews counted, the film currently stands at a healthy 71% on the Tomatometer, with Nigel Floyd of Time Out gushing “This is why 3D was invented”. Most of the critics were wowed with the polished and impressive use of 3D technology, despite the film itself never really transcending its clichéd slasher roots. Anton Bitel of Channel 4 said:

“It is a vacuous trawl through horror’s more sensationalist tropes… but that is just another way of saying that this is popcorn cinema at its most unapologetic and unpretentious, guaranteed to delight gorehounds and to bring young lovers closer together.”

Quote Of The Week

“Not that anybody would expect perfection from a film called Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but the chewed bone of a story makes it all mutts ado about nothing.”

Beverley Hills Chihuahua. Elliot Noble, Sky Movies.

This weekend For the first time this decade, a new release seems set to take over the number one spot during the busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend at the North American box office. Studios are cramming a six-pack of new titles into multiplexes nationwide hoping the recent famine in the marketplace will be replaced by a feast. The films lack major stars, but they do however have clearly-defined audiences which will hopefully allow them to survive and expand the overall pie.

Disney leads the way with the fantasy extravaganza Enchanted for young girls while Fox counters with the much more violent action offering Hitman aimed at young men. MGM goes for a scare with the horror film The Mist, Sony targets African American moviegoers with This Christmas, and August Rush from Warner Bros. will try to tap into family audiences. Meanwhile, Miramax goes after older adults and upscale crowds with its acclaimed thriller No Country For Old Men which widens into national release after two weeks of sold out shows in limited play.

Once upon a time, Disney regularly opened a new family film at number one over Thanksgiving weekend. After a long absence, the Mouse House is now poised to take its rightful place on the turkey throne with its fairy tale adventure pic Enchanted which finds an animated princess thrust upon the real world where people do not live happily ever after. The PG-rated film will appeal to the millions of young girls and mothers who have become devotees of Disney’s lucrative army of princesses. Getting in boys may be a bit tough, but the female following should be more than enough to propel this massive release into the top spot at the holiday box office.

Not since 1999’s Toy Story 2 has Disney, or any other studio for that matter, opened a new film at number one over this holiday frame. Holdovers have consistently ruled since 2000, mostly big guns that debuted on the weekend before the holiday to get an early jump on the cash. But from 1994 through 1999, Disney enjoyed an unprecedented streak ruling the Thanksgiving box office every year with an iron fist. Now that magic is back, thanks in part to a surprisingly weak line-up of November titles coming from Hollywood’s magic factories. With the widest release by far of any new film, no holdovers to stand in its way, and a holiday frame that welcomes family entertainment, Enchanted looks to become the queen bee. Opening in an ultrawide 3,632 theaters, the fantasy film may charm its way to about $30M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $43M during the extended Wednesday-to-Sunday span.


Amy Adams in Enchanted

Fox hopes that young men from coast to coast will stamp their necks with barcodes and hit the megaplexes to see its new action thriller Hitman. Based on the popular video game, the R-rated film about a genetically-engineered superassassin has its eyes set squarely on male audiences done with cartoon Vikings and ready for some guns and ammo. The studio’s marketing has been superb with slickly-edited television spots featuring operatic tunes that really sell the picture to the target audience. Unfortunately there are no marquee names in the cast to help bring in business. Direct competition from Beowulf will also curtail grosses a bit. With a strong marketing push exciting the core crowd, look for a solid and respectable opening. Hitman invades 2,401 venues and might capture $13M over the weekend and $19M over five days.


Timothy Olyphant in Hitman

Some folks may be in search of a scare this weekend so MGM is rolling out the fright flick The Mist, a film adaptation of a Stephen King story. The R-rated pic comes from director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) and stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, and Andre Braugher. The actors add little starpower so Mist‘s commercial prospects will instead have to rely on King’s name and the popularity of the horror genre. With the pre-Halloween gorefests now eroding away, competition should not come from fellow thrillers. Instead movies like Hitman and Beowulf will be factors as both will play to older teens and twentysomethings. Historically, horror films have rarely found success over Thanksgiving weekend since audiences tend to flock to happy tales. Attacking 2,423 theaters, The Mist may scare up about $10M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and roughly $14M across the five-day span.


Thomas Jane and co. in The Mist

The true meaning of family is explored once again in the holiday drama This Christmas from Sony. The PG-13 story about different generations of the Whitfield clan reuniting for the holidays stars Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Mekhi Phifer, and pop singer Chris Brown. The studio is aiming primarily for African American adults. With American Gangster going into its fourth frame and most other films neglecting this particular audience, Christmas should have clear sailing as it heads into the multiplexes. But starpower is lacking. Gangster and Why Did I Get Married? both did stellar business thanks in part to A-list drawing power from Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, respectively. This Christmas opens in 1,802 playdates, with a widening to 1,858 on Friday, and could be in for a three-day bow of $8M and a five-day tally of $11M.


This Christmas

Likely to have a tough time finding ticket buyers this weekend is the new PG-rated drama August Rush which brings together an oddly assembled cast including Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, and Robin Williams. The Warner Bros. tale about a young music prodigy in search of his parents will no doubt have its work cut out for it trying to convince parents to not spend their time and money on Disney fairy tales, talking bees, Santa’s siblings, and wonder emporiums. Competition is too strong for this one and overall excitement is quite low. August Rush opens Wednesday in 2,280 theaters and expands to 2,310 on Friday. Look for a three-day debut of $5M and a five-day tally of $7M.


Freddie Highmore and Robin Williams in August Rush

With few options for older adults looking for serious fare over the long weekend, Miramax is rolling out its critical darling No Country For Old Men from the Coen brothers into nationwide release. Expanding from 148 to 860 locations, the R-rated thriller starring Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and Tommy Lee Jones will try to target those folks that have already watched Denzel and Russell go head-to-head and are looking for more shoot-em-up action from veteran filmmakers and actors. Hot buzz has been spreading over its two weeks in limited release so awareness is now high enough to take the pic wider. Last weekend’s scorching $20,782 average will probably get sliced in half and some people will opt for happier films over Thanksgiving. But direct competition is not too fierce and word-of-mouth is on its side. Look for No Country For Old Men to take in about $7M over three days and $10M over five.


Josh Brolin in No Country for Old men

Last weekend’s champ Beowulf would normally see a sizable sophomore drop especially with Hitman stealing away young men. But thanks to the holiday cushion, the decline should not be as bad. A 30% fall may result giving Paramount a Friday-to-Sunday take of around $19M which would push the cume to $60M after ten days. Studio stablemate Bee Movie will join the century club by Friday and should remain a solid option for families. Look for a 20% dip to roughly $11M and a boost in the total to $111M.

A 25% drop might be in the works for American Gangster which may tap into patient adults that have heard the buzz, but just haven’t made a trip to the theaters yet. Universal could take in about $9.5M over three days and raise its sum to $116M. Christmas films routinely see their three-day grosses climb over the turkey frame when compared to the previous weekend thanks to the cheery holiday mood of ticket buyers. That could come as good news to Warner Bros. which might see its Vince Vaughn offering Fred Claus edge up by 10% to around $13M. Cume would hit $54M.

LAST YEAR Despite five new films opening in wide release over the turkey frame, moviegoers continued to spend their money on the same films as the top two spots remained unchanged. Sophomores Happy Feet and Casino Royale led the session with $37M and $30.8M, respectively, over three days. The penguin toon dipped only 11% while the rejuvenated Bond flick dropped by just 25% giving the pair a towering combined gross of $193M after ten days. Denzel Washington won the bronze with his new sci-fi actioner Deja Vu which bowed to $20.6M while the Christmas comedy Deck the Halls followed in fourth with a debut of $12M. Final grosses reached $64M and $35.1M. Borat rounded out the top five with $10.3M in its fourth weekend. Other new releases stumbled. MGM’s political drama Bobby expanded nationally and took in only $4.9M on its way to a weak $11.2M. Warner Bros. debuted its sci-fi drama The Fountain to the tune of $3.8M and New Line saw just $3.2M for its Jack Black pet project Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. The pics ended their runs quickly with a measly $10.1M and $8.3M, respectively.

author: Gitesh Pandya www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Remember when everyone was wondering why Rachel Weisz declined to be in the third "Mummy" movie? Here’s why.

Peter Jackson‘s been planning to turn Alice Sebold’s "The Lovely Bones" into a movie for quite some time now, and it looks like he’s going to start shooting in October. Variety reports that Oscar winner Rachel Weisz has signed on to star in the DreamWorks / Paramount production.

Ms. Weisz is best known for her work in "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns," but she did win that Oscar for "The Constant Gardener." She can also be seen in "Enemy at the Gates," "About a Boy," "Constantine," and "The Fountain."

Source: Variety

If you bought the "Fountain" DVD and you were disappointed at the lack of a commentary track, be patient: Darren Aronofsky is cooking something up.

Aronofsky blogs his displeasure with the DVD process on "The Fountain" by saying "Everything at the studio was a struggle. For instance, they didn’t want to do a commentary track cause they felt it wouldn’t help sales. I didn’t have it in me to fight anymore. Whatever."

But he promises to record a downloadable track that you can play as a traditional commentary track. And he also plans to knock on a few doors at Criterion: "I got a lot of extras in my bag so who know maybe if you all write to criterion they’ll get interested (suggest the fountain as a title: mulvaney@criterion.com). They’ve been into pi and requiem but because the first run of dvd’s had so many extras they didn’t know what else they could add. but the fountain…"

So there you go, Fountain fans. A piece of good news and a (polite) email to write.

Source: Slashfilm

Rachel Weisz has pulled out of "The Mummy 3," reports say; but just as the sequel loses a mother, it looks like it’s gaining a son — and a strapping athletic teen super spy son, at that.

As reported by TMZ.com, Rachel Weisz will not be reprising her role as the stunning Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell in the upcoming second sequel to 1999’s "The Mummy." Sources speculate a handful of reasons for Weisz’ departure from the franchise, including her participation in as many as four other acting gigs, her recent Oscar win, and caring for her nine-month-old son (with "Fountain" director Darren Aronofsky.)

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Fraser, Weisz in "The Mummy Returns"

The initial report was later confirmed by Variety, who also reports that Weisz co-star Brendan Fraser inked his return for an undisclosed "top-of-the-food-chain money deal." Not bad for the guy who made "Monkeybone" only six years ago!

Also figuring into the production may be British teen actor Alex Pettyfer, who made his feature film debut in last year’s "Stormbreaker." Pettyfer — who just turned 17 years old – proved his action-adventure chops in that film as the teenage superspy Alex Rider.

If casting rumors prove true, Pettyfer may take on the role of Alex O’Connell, the son of Rick and Evy who we last saw as a young boy in 2001’s "The Mummy Returns." Per IGN Movies, the character of Alex will be now in his late teens to early twenties and a younger version of his adventurer dad:

"The roguish Alex has been through nine schools in three years, plays poker and has gotten into trouble before with a headmaster’s daughter. He is resourceful and wily, and is essentially Rick 2.0. Alex also mentions at one point that he digs up relics, so it can be assumed he is an archaeologist or treasure hunter of some sort."


Pettyfer in "Stormbreaker"

"Mummy 3" may also focus more on Alex, with Fraser’s Rick serving as a secondary character. New director Rob Cohen ("xXx") is at the helm.

The script is being revised by screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, but it’s already got one bad guy. Jet Li is on board to play a mummy — ostensibly that of the Chinese Qin Emperor, whose tomb is famously guarded by an 8,000 strong terra cotta army.

So when will we see this long-awaited sequel? Production should begin this summer, with Universal eyeing a summer 2008 release.

Sources: TMZ.com, Variety, IGN Movies

Last seen together in Martin Scorsese‘s "The Departed," Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg will reunite for Paramount’s period piece boxing drama "The Fighter," and guess who’ll be directing? Darren Aronofsky.

Here’s how IGN Movies describes the project: "The film follows boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward’s (Wahlberg) rise to the Light Welterweight world championship and his relationship with his drug-addicted half-brother and trainer Dickey Eklund (Damon).

Great. Now we know how it ends. The folks over at The Hollywood Reporter also (wisely) note that this "straight narrative" piece will represent a general departure for Aronofsky. His previous flicks ("Pi," "Requiem for a Dream," and "The Fountain") were a bit more ‘experimental’ in nature. Either way, I wanna see this one. I’m a sucker for a good boxing movie.

Source: IGN Movies, The Hollywood Reporter

IGN Movies reports that director Robert Rodriguez, rumored to be tired of waiting for Angelina Jolie‘s schedule to open up a "Sin City 2"-sized hole, may have begun efforts to secure the services of another actress for Jolie’s role.

Which actress? Well, these are rumors, so the speculation is still suitably wild — names being floated at the moment include Rachel Weisz, recently seen in "The Fountain," and Rodriguez’ "Grindhouse" gun moll Rose McGowan. Seeing as how the sequel doesn’t look to be starting production until next year at the earliest, we may be hearing variations on this one for awhile.

Sound the alarms! Tonight’s telecast (8pm EST) of the 64th Annual Golden Globes Awards signaled the real start of Oscar mania, so check out our list of winners…and weigh in with your own two cents on who won, who should’ve won, and who definitely should not have worn what. RESULTS IN NOW!!

Royal thesps Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker took home Best Actor nods (for "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland," respectively) as expected, and "Dreamgirls" re-cemented its still-potent Oscar power with three wins (Jennifer Hudson for Best Supporting Actress, Eddie Murphy for Best Supporting Actor, and "Dreamgirls" for Best Picture – Comedy/Musical).

"The Departed" director Martin Scorsese capitalized on his recent Awards Season favor by nabbing Best Director, while fellow nominee Clint Eastwood collected a Globe for Best Foreign Film (the Japanese-language "Letters From Iwo Jima").

"The Queen" also won for Best Screenplay, written by Peter Morgan; limited release period flick "The Painted Veil" threw its name into the public eye by winning the award for Best Score.

Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Best Comedy Actor win for "Borat" was one of the night’s highlights, with an acceptance speech that gave new meaning to the term "Golden Globes."

The show’s capper — presented by the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger (he used to be in the movies, right?) — awarded the Best Drama trophy to surprise pick "Babel," instantly renewing that film’s chances come Oscar time.

Find out who else won the hearts of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Monday night [scroll down for full list of winners and nominees]…

And check out Rotten Tomatoes’ Awards Tour for winners and nominees of this season’s other film awards and critics’ group picks (plus our handy-dandy Buzz chart combining Tomatometer, Awards Won, and Box Office numbers into an Oscar guide for you prognosticators)!

And the nominees for the 64th Annual Golden Globes Awards are (Winners in bold):

Best Original Song

44% Bobby
80% Dreamgirls
76% Happy Feet
23% Home of the Brave
66% Pursuit of Happyness

Best Supporting Actress, Drama



Adriana Barraza for Babel
Cate Blanchett for Notes on a Scandal
Emily Blunt for Devil Wears Prada
Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi for Babel

Best Animated Film



76% Cars
76% Happy Feet
74% Monster House



Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy

Annette Bening for Running with Scissors
Toni Collette for Little Miss Sunshine
Beyonce Knowles for Dreamgirls
Meryl Streep for Devil Wears Prada
Renée Zellweger for Miss Potter

Best Supporting Actor, Drama

Ben Affleck for Hollywoodland
Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson for Departed
Brad Pitt for Babel
Mark Wahlberg for Departed



Best Screenplay

Todd Field, and Tom Perrotta for Little Children
Guillermo Arriaga Jordan for Babel
Patrick Marber for Notes on a Scandal
William Monahan for Departed
Peter Morgan for The Queen

Best Foreign Language Film

65% Apocalypto
93% Letters From Iwo Jima
94% Lives of Others
97% Pan’s Labyrinth
90% Volver



Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplat for The Painted Veil
Clint Mansell for The Fountain
Gustavo Santaolalla for Babel
Carlo Siliotto for Nomad
Hans Zimmer for The Da Vinci Code



Best Director

Clint Eastwood for Flags of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood for Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears for Queen
Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel
Martin Scorsese for Departed

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy

Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Johnny Depp for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Aaron Eckhart for Thank You For Smoking
Chjwetel Ejiofor for Kinky Boots
Will Ferrell for Stranger Than Fiction

Best Motion Picture, Musical/Comedy

91% Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
76% Devil Wears Prada
80% Dreamgirls
92% Little Miss Sunshine
86% Thank You For Smoking

Best Actress in a Drama

Penélope Cruz for Volver
Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal
Maggie Gyllenhaal for Sherrybaby
Helen Mirren for The Queen
Kate Winslet for Little Children

Best Actor in a Drama

Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond
Leonardo DiCaprio for Departed
Peter O’Toole for Venus
Will Smith for Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland

Best Motion Picture, Drama

70% Babel
44% Bobby
93% Departed
82% Little Children
98% Queen

Best Television Series – Drama

"24"
"Big Love"
"Grey’s Anatomy"
"Heroes"
"Lost"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

Patricia Arquette for "Medium"
Edie Falco for "The Sopranos"
Evangeline Lilly for "Lost"
Ellen Pompeo for "Grey’s Anatomy"
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Patrick Dempsey for "Grey’s Anatomy"
Michael C. Hall for "Dexter"
Hugh Laurie for "House"
Bill Paxton for "Big Love"
Kiefer Sutherland for "24"

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

"Desperate Housewives"
"Entourage"
"The Office"
"Ugly Betty"
"Weeds"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Marcia Cross for "Desperate Housewives"
America Ferrera for "Ugly Betty"
Felicity Huffman for "Desperate Housewives"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures Of Old Christine"
Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock"
Zach Braff for "Scrubs"
Steve Carell for "The Office"
Jason Lee for "My Name Is Earl"
Tony Shalhoub for "Monk"

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

"Bleak House" (PBS)
"Broken Trail" (AMC)
"Elizabeth I" (HBO)
"Mrs. Harris" (HBO)
"Prime Suspect: The Final Act" (PBS)

Best Performance By An Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Gillian Anderson for "Bleak House"
Annette Bening for "Mrs. Harris"
Helen Mirren for "Elizabeth I"
Helen Mirren for "Prime Suspect: The Final Act"
Sophie Okonedo for "Tsunami, The Aftermath"

Best Performance By An Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

André Braugher for "Thief"
Robert Duvall for "Broken Trail"
Michael Ealy for "Sleeper Cell: American Terror"
Chiwetel Ejiofor for "Tsunami, The Aftermath"
Ben Kingsley for "Mrs. Harris"
Bill Nighy for "Gideon’s Daughter"
Matthew Perry for "The Ron Clark Story"

Best Performance By An Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Emily Blunt for "Gideon’s Daughter"
Toni Collette for "Tsunami, The Aftermath"
Katherine Heigl for "Grey’s Anatomy"
Sarah Paulson for "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip"
Elizabeth Perkins for "Weeds"

Best Performance By An Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Thomas Haden Church for "Broken Trail"
Jeremy Irons for "Elizabeth I"
Justin Kirk for "Weeds"
Masi Oka for "Heroes"
Jeremy Piven for "Entourage"

Hosted right here at the illustrious Rotten Tomatoes is the official website of the Online Film Critics Society, an international group of flick analyzers who put their heads together every December to come up with their favorite films, performances and components of the year. And as a proud member of the OFCS, I’m pretty happy with our picks this year … even if (almost) none of my choices happened to win.

BEST PICTURE: "United 93"

BEST DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese – "The Departed"

BEST ACTOR: Forest Whitaker – "The Last King of Scotland"

BEST ACTRESS: Helen Mirren – "The Queen"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jackie Earle Haley – "Little Children"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Abigail Breslin – "Little Miss Sunshine"

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Guillermo del Toro – "Pan’s Labyrinth"

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby – "Children of Men"

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Emmanuel Lubeski – "Children of Men"

BEST EDITING: Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson and Christopher Rouse – "United 93"

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Clint Mansell – "The Fountain"

BEST DOCUMENTARY: "An Inconvenient Truth"

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "Pan’s Labyrinth" (Mexico)

BEST ANIMATED FILM: "A Scanner Darkly"

BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris – "Little Miss Sunshine"

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER: Sacha Baron Cohen – "Borat"

(So what do you guys think? Good picks or lame?)

It’s that time of year again: Right before the fancy awards are doled out, all the different critics’ groups chime in with their favorite flicks of the year. Here we have the picks from the New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) for your perusal.

NY FILM CRITICS ONLINE AWARDS FOR 2006

New York Film Critics Online is composed of major reviewers in the New York area who work exclusively for online publications or for print/broadcast media with a strong online presence. The twenty-six members (NYFCO.ORG) met at O’Neal’s Restaurant, 49 W 64 Street in Manhattan on December
10th, 2006, and voted for these awards:

Picture — "The Queen"

Director — Stephen Frears – "The Queen"

Screenplay — Peter Morgan – "The Queen"

Cinematography — Dick Pope – "The Illusionist"

Actor — Forest Whitaker – "The Last King of Scotland"

Actress — Helen Mirren – "The Queen"

Supporting Actor — Michael Sheen – "The Queen"

Supporting Actress — Jennifer Hudson – "Dreamgirls" & Catherine O’Hara – "For Your Consideration" (tie)

Ensemble Cast — "Little Miss Sunshine"

Debut as Director — Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris – "Little Miss Sunshine"

Breakthrough Performer — Jennifer Hudson – "Dreamgirls"

Film Score — Philip Glass – "The Illusionist"

Documentary Feature — "An Inconvenient Truth"

Animated Feature — "Happy Feet"

Foreign Language Picture — "Pan’s Labyrinth"

Humanitarian Award — Deepa Mehta ("Water") for taking risks to create films about the difficulties of social change in India especially as it affects women.

Ten Best Pictures (Alphabetical)
"Babel"
"The Fountain"
"Inland Empire"
"Little Children"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Pan’s Labyrinth"
"The Queen"
"Thank You For Smoking"
"Volver"
"Water"

"The Fountain" is a sci-fi tale of time-jumping lovers, Spanish conquistadors, and the complex metaphysical ideas in director Darren Aronofsky‘s mind. So how do Aronofsky and stars Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman explain the intricacies of their challenging Big Question film?

The trio sat down with IGN Movies to discuss the recent mind-twister, so check out these video interviews (along with the eye-popping visuals of Aronofsky’s 15th century Spain and the future) for insight into the year’s most complicated love story.

Weisz calls it a "tragic, beautiful, epic, classic romantic love story." Jackman likens the vulnerability of submitting to Aronofsky’s idea-filled story to bungee jumping. And Aronofsky himself explains how the characters in all three eras are really the same people, and offers his influences while making the film:

"’The Fountain‘ was everything I’ve been thinking about for the last 6 years…I was listening a lot to Space Oddity by David Bowie, which has the whole Major Tom thing in it; I was also reading a lot about conquistadors and Spanish history and Mayans; I had a friend that I was working on the ideas with that had a PhD in neuroscience, and somehow we weaved them altogether and made ‘The Fountain.’"

Click images to check out the full interviews on IGN Movies.

"The Fountain" is in theaters now.

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