(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe / TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)
Meryl Streep landed her first Oscar nomination for just her second on-screen role: 1978’s The Deer Hunter, opposite John Cazale. A few more performances after that and she’d find herself standing before Hollywood’s elite, accepting the gold trophy for her complex “villain” role in 1980’s Kramer vs. Kramer. Stardom came within that decade, as she made her mark across disparate films and genres, becoming versatility personified in the acting game, as featured in a Best Picture winner (Out of Africa), rom-coms (Heartburn), political social thrillers (Silkwood), dramas (Sophie’s Choice), and period pieces (Ironweed).
This canny ability to wedge and dissolve into roles that sparked her attention has been rewarded with a record 21 Oscar nominations over decades, winning three for Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady. Yes, there were noms for so-called Oscar bait like Doubt, The Post, and the actually-Rotten Iron Lady, but Streep pulled nominations out of more unique genres, like musicals (Into the Woods), broad comedies (The Devil Wears Prada, Florence Foster Jenkins), and wherever you want to categorize Adaptation.
Streep’s most recent films have been Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation, and the mostly-ignored The Laundromat. She must’ve enjoyed the Steven Soderbergh experience on Laundromat, because she’s teaming up with him again for comedy Let Them All Talk next. Additionally, she’s got another musical (along with the Mamma Mia! movies, they’ve been a late-career boon) in the works in The Prom, from Ryan Murphy. And now, we’re celebrating with all Meryl Streep movies, ranked by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
(Photo by © Focus Features)
For some, staying home right now can mean curling up with a loved one on the couch for a date-night flick or gathering the whole family together for movie night. For many others, it can mean flying solo – long days and nights of streaming by yourself. We’re here to help with some movie suggestions we think are tailor-made for that latter experience.
Just like going to the movie theater alone can be a singularly joyous “treat yo self” excursion, solo home-viewing can be a great experience too – if you choose the right film. There are movies out there that actually benefit from being watched alone: It might be that they require a level of concentration and focus that distracting friends and loved ones just won’t allow you, or that the maximum scare factor is best felt when you are completely isolated – just like the babysitter being stalked on screen. It might just be that the movie has the kind of awkward/titillating sexy bits that make watching it with a first date – or, let’s say, mom – not exactly ideal. Watch it alone – no judgment, no nervous giggles.
To help those solo-fliers get through the next little while, the RT team pulled together a list of movies perfect for watching alone for all of those reasons – and a bunch that are just guaranteed to put you in an awesome mood the moment they start. Which might be the best reason of all.
What’s your favorite movie to watch by yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Click on each movie’s title to find out more, including where to stream, rent, or buy.
Thumbnail image: Everett Collection, Paramount Pictures, Focus Features
For 15 years, Colin Firth remained best known for emerging from a lake in a white shirt as Mr Darcy in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice miniseries. Since then, he had two girly fights with Hugh Grant in the Bridget Jones movies, flirted with a Portuguese girl in Love Actually and threw himself into 2008’s all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza Mamma Mia. But he’s never really had a chance to show us what he can do. Until now.
His recent Best Actor Oscar nomination for A Single Man was proof that, given the right material, Firth can blow us away. The directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford follows a day in the life of George, a lecturer in 1960s Los Angeles who, devastated at the death of his long-term partner, plans his own suicide. Firth talked to RT about the role of his career, and why he’d consider Mamma Mia 2…
Colin Firth: Great! The Venice Film Festival was the best moment because there were no expectations and nothing riding on it. The film hadn’t even been sold at that point. My wife is Italian so Venice is special anyway. We showed the film for the first time and got so much warmth. I remember thinking, it can’t feel better than this. That was so fantastic that anything else is just gravy.
CF: Some people feel there’s a dichotomy between style and substance, but the look of the film is absolutely critical to the story. The way that George dresses is a sign of his desperation, his neurosis. External appearance is the only thing he can control. I thought there was something wonderful about that. I wish I could open my drawer and see all my shirts starched and prepared. But that’s not me. Incidentally, I’ve been to Tom Ford’s home and it’s a lot like that. Tom is very fastidious, like George.
CF: It definitely had its doubters. Some of the people advising me were very keen for me not to do it. In fact, they were adamant that I shouldn’t do it. They knew that everyone would notice this film and, if it was a catastrophe, it would be a very noticeable one. People told me that this was nothing but a fashion designer’s vanity project, it would just be one big embarrassment and I should steer clear.
Colin Firth in A Single Man
CF: Not about Tom. But there was a problem with the narrative that did concern me. You’re supposed to invest a great deal in George’s grief. But, other than a couple of flashbacks, we don’t know anything about his relationship. Why should we care about this man’s pain when we don’t know his history? The scene with the phone call solved that. Tom was so courageous in letting that take its course.
CF: In the script, that scene is just two pages of dialogue in which George is very polite. It doesn’t say how he reacts at the end of the phone call. It’s just, “thank you for calling,” and that’s the end of the scene. What actually happened was that I put the phone down and Tom didn’t say “cut”. He was in a different room, watching on the monitor, so I stayed there until the magazine ran out. Eventually, I went through to the other room and said “how was that?” And I saw the crew were passing tissues around. Tom said, “could you do that again?” We did three takes, and that was it.
CF: The words are all Tom’s. And shaving off the eyebrow? That actually happened to Tom when he took mescaline. He was a young man at the time! My job is how it’s delivered and Tom is not an interfering director. The suicide rehearsal scene with the sleeping bag is without dialogue, so there’s a lot of my humour in that.
Colin Firth in A Single Man
CF: That wasn’t your film-festival-Oscar-nominations sort of film. But that’s snobbery. Some people thought it was just a big old karaoke, despite the fact that none of the boys can sing — which I quite accept! The segues from the dialogue to the songs are all ridiculous but we’re supposed to be in on that joke. Critics wildly missed the point when they complained that it’s clunky. It’s a joke! French and Saunders satirised it brilliantly, but the problem was that the film already satirises itself almost as much as they did. Comedy — particularly the frothy and frivolous — is notoriously neglected by festivals and awards. But it’s bloody hard to get right.
CF: That did occur to me. I know the Royal Family don’t comment on such things, but I was very aware that she would probably see it. And I’m aware that he’s remembered, not only by members of his family but also by the public, with great affection. I’m not a… well, we’ll leave my political views out of it. But, whatever my feelings about the monarchy, I hope the affection and respect I feel for him comes across. There was something very quietly heroic about him.
CF: Oh he nixed it did he? He’s going to need the work! No, I’m joking. I don’t want to spend my life in sequels and franchises but, having said that, I’d certainly get back with that group of people in a second.
A Single Man is out now.
Every year, the BAFTA film awards present a trophy for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema. Introduced in 1978, the award recognises an organisation or a person’s career and influence on the British Film Industry. This year’s recipient, announced today, is Pinewood/Shepperton, two of the British industry’s most important film studios whose contribution to filmmaking has resulted in some of the greatest movies of all time. Under strict instruction not to let anyone working at the studios know about the award, RT spent a day last week touring Pinewood and Shepperton and learning a little more about these stalwarts of film.
The Orange British Academy Film Awards begin on British TV on BBC Two from 8pm, continuing on BBC One from 9pm on Sunday 8 February. A preview show featuring interviews from the red carpet will be broadcast on BBC Three from 7pm.
Our tour begins at Pinewood, and the first thing that catches your eye as you head through the main gates is 007 stage. All but two of the official Bond films have featured scenes shot at Pinewood, and the franchise is a regular cash cow for the studio.
007 stage was built in 1976 for The Spy Who Loved Me, after the production was unable to find a stage big enough to contain the Liparus Supertanker set. At 59,000 square feet it’s the largest sound stage in Europe, and has burnt to the ground twice — most recently after filming had wrapped on Casino Royale in 2006. It’s been the Louvre for The Da Vinci Code, the Chocolate River Room for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and most recently played host to desert scenes and a Persian fort for videogame adaptation Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
One of the more exciting stages on the Pinewood lot is U-Stage, built in 2005 to provide a safe, permanent and controlled environment in which to shoot underwater. Managed by a permanent team of divers and specialists who assist productions shooting underwater footage on the stage, it holds 1.2 million litres of water which is maintained at a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, 87 Fahrenheit.
Windows provide easy views underwater allowing RT to stay suitably dry for these shots as the team demonstrate their underwater camera. They wouldn’t tell us which production the boat belonged to, but we’ll know when the first of the Ant Pirates trilogy is announced any day now (probably).
From the surface, the team are able to feed into the camera from the video village. Scenes shot since the stage was built include the closing scene from The Bourne Ultimatum, Keira Knightley drowning in Atonement and the armada sequences from Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Pinewood’s city street, which can be dressed to look like just about any urban backdrop, is a familiar sight for RT. We were here just a few weeks ago visiting the set of Kick-Ass and the production had dressed the street as New York. The two storefronts in the middle of the picture here were dressed as Atomic Comics, the comic book shop featured in the movie. The interior set was built here too.
Providing a giant blue-screen backdrop, this outdoor tank (empty in the picture, obviously) is an ideal location for any shooting designed to look like it was filmed at sea. As comedienne Dawn French sank to the bottom at the end of the French and Saunders Titanic spoof she complained of a foul taste. Jennifer Saunders explained why: “It’s the old Bond tank. Three Bonds and George Lazenby have peed in this.”
The walls of Pinewood’s main offices are festooned with production art from the many films that have passed through the studio. Icons include the Carry On series, David Lean‘s Great Expectations, Superman, The Shining, Batman and Mission: Impossible. Over the last couple of years Mamma Mia!, Quantum of Solace, Sweeney Todd, The Bourne Ultimatum and Stardust, to name a few, were shot here.
And so to Shepperton, where we’re quickly informed to keep quiet on the two big projects on the go at the studios. Signs for both litter the lot, but announcements haven’t gone out and the management team are keen to respect their tenants’ privacy. Opened in 1931 as Sound Lighting Studios, Shepperton has changed hands many times, with former owners including Ridley and Tony Scott and The Who.
Slightly smaller than Pinewood, Shepperton has played host to a slew of movies including The African Queen, The Third Man, Dr. Strangelove, the Pink Panther movies and Batman Begins. Sir John Mills worked at the studio on Great Expectations and The Colditz Story. “What has always remained with me about working at Shepperton has been the sheer professionalism of everyone, both in front of and behind the camera,” he said.
Aside from being a former owner of the studios, Ridley Scott has returned to Shepperton many times over the years, having shot Alien, Legend, Thelma and Louise and Gladiator here. “From the moment I entered Shepperton, I knew the place was special,” he says. “Anywhere that had had within its walls Carol Reed directing Orson Welles in The Third Man, was going to mean a great deal to me.”
H-Stage at Shepperton was moved from Isleworth Studios in 1948 and has played host to many of the most ambitious sets built on site. A full-scale reproduction of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ship the Tyger was built on hydraulic rams on this stage for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and just a few years ago H-Stage housed the Batcave from Batman Begins. Built over 9 weeks, the set was 250ft long, 120ft wide and 40ft high and 12,000 gallons of water flowed through it every minute, serving a waterfall, a river and the dripping cave walls.
If you have a spare £300,000 hidden down the back of the sofa, you could spend it on your very own version of the Korda Theatre, a state-of-the-art facility for sound mixing. Named after Hungarian producer/director Alexander Korda, whose contribution to British cinema in the 40s and 50s was vast, features mixed here include Shakespeare in Love, Gosford Park and Troy.
Shepperton’s Littleton Manor, known as the Old House, dates back to the 13th Century and houses production offices and facilities. Its corridors doubled for interior shots of the hospital where Damian was born in The Omen while the grounds served as a backdrop for an encounter between Father Brennan and Damian’s father.
It may look like any other overgrown British stream, but this is a fully-fledged river that runs through Shepperton’s backlot. As hard as it may be to believe, this scene doubled as Africa for the Bogart/Hepburn classic The African Queen. One of the studios’ popular legends goes that there’s an unusually large number of parakeets in the area because they were released during the production of that movie.
Built for The Golden Compass, Shepperton now has its very own Western street on the backlot, which marks the last spot on our tour. We’re not entirely convinced the British weather is going to help to complete the Wild West look, but it seemed to be pretty convincing as part of the His Dark Materials adaptation.
No awards season would be complete without the Golden Raspberry Awards (AKA The Razzies), awarded each year to the very worst movies to hit Hollywood. This year’s winners will be announced on Oscar weekend; could multiple-nominee The Love Guru take home top honors? See the full list of nominees below.
This year, a few standout films and filmmakers nabbed multiple nominations, making for really good odds come February 21, when the Golden Raspberry winners will be announced. Leading the pack is Disaster Movie (2 percent on the Tomatometer), which managed to earn six nominations; The Hottie & the Nottie (5 percent), up for honors in five categories; and Uwe Boll’s In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which also earned the Teutonic Terror a Worst Career Achievement Razzie.
The complete list of nominees:
Worst Picture Nominations
Worst Actor Nominations
Mike Myers, The Love Guru
Worst Actress Nominations
The cast of The Women (Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Meg Ryan)
Paris Hilton, The Hottie & The Nottie
Worst Supporting Actor Nominations
Verne Troyer, The Love Guru & Uwe Boll’s Postal
Worst Supporting Actress Nominations
Carmen Electra, Disaster Movie & Meet the Spartans
Paris Hilton, Repo! The Genetic Opera
Kim Kardashian, Disaster Movie
Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection
Leelee Sobieski, 88 Minutes & In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Worst Screen Couple Nominations
Uwe Boll and any Actor, Camera, or Screenplay
Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, What Happens in Vegas
Larry the Cable Guy and Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection
Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel Nominations
The Day the Earth Blowed Up Real Good
Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans
Worst Director Nominations
Uwe Boll, 1968: Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Uwe Boll’s Postal
Tom Putnam, The Hottie & the Nottie
Marco Schnabel, The Love Guru
M. Night Shyamalan, The Happening
Worst Screenplay Nominations
Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans
The Hottie and the Nottie
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
The Love Guru
Worst Career Achievement
The 35th annual People’s Choice Awards were handed out on January 7, 2009. A complete list of film nominees, with winners in bold, follows below.
Favorite Action Movie:
The Dark Knight
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Source: People’s Choice Awards
This week we’ve got CG spectacles (Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), Meryl Streep letting loose (Mamma Mia!), Joss Whedon’s online superhero musical (Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog), and High Def Grinding (Death Proof and Planet Terror on Blu-ray), so dig in!
Sometimes, the third time is not the charm – even when Jet Lit is juggling magic glowing balls in the air. Critics and audiences learned that this summer when the third film in the popular Mummy franchise — adventures that were vibrant, old-fashioned action romps with tongue firmly in cheek — opened to dismal reviews and an underwhelming North American debut. But despite a 14 percent Tomatometer, The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor raked in the dough worldwide and by all accounts can be notched as a success. (At least in dollars.) And hey, it starred two of our favorite Asian movie stars, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, in a fantastical, mythological, action spectacular, which might just be reason enough to give Mummy 3 a shot — at least, maybe as a rental.
Below, watch a DVD-only exclusive clip featuring stars Luke Ford and Michelle Yeoh from The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
Next: Meryl lets loose in Mamma Mia!
ABBA fans, you’re in for a treat! (ABBA haters, you might want to skip ahead.) The Broadway hit show featuring the songs of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni-Frid came to the big screen this summer and arrives on DVD this week, just in time for the holidays. Meryl Streep, who earned a Golden Globe nomination this week for Mamma Mia, stars as Donna Sheridan, a former pop singer living in Greece with her daughter, Sophie; Sophie, on the eve of her own wedding, issues invitations to three of her mother’s exes in hopes of discovering which man is her father, and hilarity, singing and dancing ensue.
Word of warning: your enjoyment, much like that of the critics, may depend largely on how much you enjoy the music of ABBA (one of my favorites, “Super Trouper,” is performed), how much you enjoy watching erstwhile serious thespian Streep jump on beds and let her hair down, and how horrified you might be at hearing former 007 Pierce Brosnan screech out a tune or two.
The 2-Disc Special Edition includes a digital copy of the film and tons of behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes. Intrigued by newcomer star Amanda Seyfried? Watch an exclusive clip below to hear her in the recording studio and learn how she was cast as Meryl Streep’s daughter.
Next: Joss Whedon + NPH + Writer’s Strike = an Internet musical phenomenon!
It’s the winter of 2007 and the Writer’s Strike has begun; what’s a filmmaker to do? If you’re Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly), you get a few friends together and create an internet-only “supervillain musical” starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion in a superpowered love triangle for the Facebook generation, and call it Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog!
Dr. Horrible (played by NPH) is a mad scientist by profession who makes various kinds of ray guns (Freeze Ray, Death Ray) and aspires to join the ranks of the Evil League of Evil. Terribly shy in public, he’s got a crush on a local gal named Penny — only Penny’s being courted by Horrible’s nemesis, the shallow, ego-centric superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion). Angst, romance, musical numbers, video blogs and evil plots abound in this delightful tragicomedy, which debuted on iTunes and Hulu and come to DVD this week with a host of fun extras for fans; special features include “Commentary! The Musical,” a sing along musical commentary track to the sing along musical feature.
Next: Anna Faris goes centerfold in The House Bunny
Despite the best efforts of star Anna Faris, who’s quickly becoming the Lucille Ball of her generation, the femme-driven comedy The House Bunny garnered middling reviews. Much of that critical ennui came thanks to a confused grrrl power plot in which Playboy bunny Shelley (Faris) finds herself kicked out of Hef’s pad once she turns 27, then becomes house mother to a sorority full of nerdy girls who teach her to embrace her inner intelligence while she teaches them push-up bras and make-up strategy. To which this 27-year-old nerdy girl says, pfft! The answers to life’s struggles aren’t underwires and eye shadows and a soundtrack full of The Pussycat Dolls, Ashlee Simpson and Avril Levigne. The answer, obviously, is Botox. (Duh.)
The House Bunny on DVD includes features entitled “House Bunny Style” and “Getting Ready for a Party,” a bit on the film’s “nice guy,” Colin Hanks, deleted scenes, and the music video for co-star and former American Idol Katharine McPhee’s cover of “I Know What Boys Like.”
Next: Is Don Cheadle a Traitor?
The coolest thing about Traitor isn’t that it features Don Cheadle in a well-deserved starring role, that he plays a sort of Bourne-ish action hero, or that his character, a Sudanese-American Muslim accused of terrorism named Samir, may not, in fact, be a bad guy; the coolest part is that this timely tale of political spy intrigue and post-9/11 paranoia came from the wild and crazy Steve Martin. Yup, that Steve Martin.
Featurettes, behind-the-scenes video, and a commentary track by Cheadle and writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff accompany the film.
Next: The latest from Master Shake, Meatwad and Frylock
If you get delighted at the sight of giant food products living the suburban life in New Jersey, then you probably already watch Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force and own volumes 1-5 on DVD. Get ready to add another set to your ATHF collection with Volume 6, which hits shelves this week.
In Volume 6 (which contains nine episodes from Season 5), Meatwad, Shake and Frylock battle with their landlord, join the Marines, and explore MySpace with the help of special guests like Neko Case, David Cross, T-Pain, and John Kruk; special features include Carl’s sports-related blog rants, a 15-minute “Terrorphone” short, and more.
Next: Embed yourself with HBO’s Generation Kill
If HBO knows one thing, it’s how to craft a great mini-series; pick up the seven-part Generation Kill, which first aired this summer and should find a wider audience on home video. Based on Rolling Stone writer Evan Wright’s own experience as an embedded journalist in the Iraq War, Generation Kill follows Wright (played by Lee Terguson) as he joins the Marines of the First Recon Battalion’s Bravo Company at the start of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, bearing witness to the daily lives of US soldiers whose days waver from actual engagement to Jarhead-like monotony.
The three-disc set includes cast and crew commentaries on six of the episodes, video diaries, making-of featurettes, a guide to military slang, and a video in which the real Evan Wright catches up with some of the actual soldiers portrayed in Generation Kill.
Next: Whose-its and whats-its galore!
Audiences of a certain age may remember Disney’s 1989 film The Little Mermaid as one of the more memorable Disney fairytale flicks of the past few decades; now they can share Ariel’s story (and sequel and prequel) with their kids with The Little Mermaid Trilogy box set!
To catch you up: in The Little Mermaid, rebellious teen mermaid Ariel trades her voice to an evil sea witch in return for a pair of human legs, which help her walk, dance, and nab the man of her dreams…but at what cost? In the 2000 sequel, The Little Mermaid II, Ariel’s human daughter Melody finds herself banned from the sea — cruel irony! — yet gets lured into a trap by another evil witch. Finally, in The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, we find out where she got her lifelong love for whosits and whatsits and that she first met her shellfish buddy Sebastian when he was singing at an underground (underwater?) music club…which actually explains a lot.
Next: Grindhouse comes to Blu-ray!
At long last, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s cinematic one-two punch, Grindhouse (or as they’re individually known and sold, Death Proof and Planet Terror), comes to Blu-ray — which means two things: Vanessa Ferlito’s entire lap dance AND Zoe Bell’s high speed game of Ship’s Mast in glorious HD!
Unfortunately, these twin releases are virtually identical to the Uncut and Unrated standard disc issues that previously debuted. We guess the Death Proof and Planet Terror Uber Editions are in production purgatory along with Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair (which, in fairness to QT, is supposedly in the works.)
Next: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”
Tired of Billy Blanks yelling at you with that drill sergeant smile on his face? Can’t follow N*SYNC choreographer-turned-Stomp the Yarder Darrin Henson’s Dance Grooves? Just grab a partner, turn up The Contours, and pretend your name is Baby and that nobody puts you in a corner.
Until next week, happy renting!
“Benjamin Button,” “Frost/Nixon,” “The Reader,” “Revolutionary Road” and “Slumdog Millionaire” battle it out for Best Drama while “Burn After Reading,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “In Bruges,” “Mamma Mia! and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” fight for Best Comedy or Musical at this year’s Golden Globes — the nominations were announced today.
Best Motion Picture (Drama)
1. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
3. The Reader
4. Revolutionary Road
5. Slumdog Millionaire
Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture (Drama)
1. Anne Hathaway — Rachel Getting Married
2. Angelina Jolie — Changeling
3. Meryl Streep — Doubt
4. Kristin Scott Thomas — I’ve Loved You So Long (Il Y A Longtemps Que Je T’aime)
5. Kate Winslet — Revolutionary Road
Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture (Drama)
1. Leonardo Dicaprio — Revolutionary Road
2. Frank Langella — Frost/Nixon
3. Sean Penn — Milk
4. Brad Pitt — The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
5. Mickey Rourke — The Wrestler
Best Motion Picture (Comedy Or Musical)
1. Burn After Reading
3. In Bruges
4. Mamma Mia!
5. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture (Comedy Or Musical)
1. Rebecca Hall — Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. Sally Hawkins — Happy-Go-Lucky
3. Frances Mcdormand — Burn After Reading
4. Meryl Streep — Mamma Mia!
5. Emma Thompson — Last Chance Harvey
Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture (Comedy Or Musical)
1. Javier Bardem — Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. Colin Farrell — In Bruges
3. James Franco — Pineapple Express
4. Brendan Gleeson — In Bruges
5. Dustin Hoffman — Last Chance Harvey
Best Animated Feature Film
2. Kung Fu Panda
Best Foreign Language Film
1. The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
2. Everlasting Moments (Sweden/Denmark)
3. Gomorrah (Italy)
4. I’ve Loved You So Long (France)
5. Waltz With Bashir (Israel)
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture
1. Amy Adams — Doubt
2. Penelope Cruz — Vicky Cristina Barcelona
3. Viola Davis — Doubt
4. Marisa Tomei — The Wrestler
5. Kate Winslet — The Reader
Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture
1. Tom Cruise — Tropic Thunder
2. Robert Downey Jr. — Tropic Thunder
3. Ralph Fiennes — The Duchess
4. Philip Seymour Hoffman — Doubt
5. Heath Ledger — The Dark Knight
Best Director (Motion Picture)
1. Danny Boyle — Slumdog Millionaire
2. Stephen Daldry — The Reader
3. David Fincher — The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
4. Ron Howard — Frost/Nixon
5. Sam Mendes — Revolutionary Road
Best Screenplay (Motion Picture)
1. Simon Beaufoy — Slumdog Millionaire
2. David Hare — The Reader
3. Peter Morgan — Frost/Nixon
4. Eric Roth — The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
5. John Patrick Shanley — Doubt
Best Original Score — Motion Picture
1. Alexandre Desplat —The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
2. Clint Eastwood — Changeling
3. James Newton Howard — Defiance
4. A. R. Rahman — Slumdog Millionaire
5. Hans Zimmer — Frost/Nixon
Best Original Song — Motion Picture
1. “Down To Earth” – Wall-E
2. “Gran Torino” – Gran Torino
3. “I Thought I Lost You” – Bolt
4. “Once In A Lifetime” – Cadillac Records
5. “The Wrestler” – The Wrestler
Nominations By Motion Picture Studios And Television Networks
Warner Bros. Pictures — 11
Universal Pictures — 9
The Weinstein Company — 8
Fox Searchlight Pictures — 7
Miramax Films — 7
Dreamworks Pictures — 6
Focus Features — 6
Paramount Pictures — 6
Paramount Vantage — 6
BBC Films — 5
Sony Pictures Classics — 4
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures — 4
IFC Films — 2
Overture Films — 2
Sony Pictures Releasing — 2
Studio Canal — 2
Pathe — 1
Summit Entertainment — 1
Village Roadshow — 1
Nominations By Motion Picture
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button — 5
Doubt — 5
Frost/Nixon — 5
The Reader — 4
Revolutionary Road — 4
Slumdog Millionaire — 4
Vicky Cristina Barcelona — 4
In Bruges — 3
The Wrestler — 3
Bolt — 2
Burn After Reading — 2
Changeling — 2
Happy-Go-Lucky — 2
I’ve Loved You So Long (Il Y A Longtemps Que Je T’aime) — 2
Last Chance Harvey — 2
Mamma Mia! — 2
Tropic Thunder — 2
Wall-E — 2
Baader Meinhof Complex (Der Badder Meinhof Komplex) — 1
Cadillac Records — 1
The Dark Knight — 1
Defiance — 1
The Duchess — 1
Everlasting Moments (Maria Larssons Eviga Ögonblick) — 1
Gomorrah (Gomorra) — 1
Gran Torino — 1
Kung Fu Panda — 1
Milk — 1
Pineapple Express — 1
Rachel Getting Married — 1
Waltz With Bashir — 1
Moviegoers found almost nothing worth paying money for at North American multiplexes as the top ten films at the box office slumped to their lowest gross in five years giving the new fall movie season a disastrous start. Nicolas Cage’s latest thriller Bangkok Dangerous suffered one of the worst action openings ever for the Oscar-winning actor, but thanks to a sluggish marketplace it was good enough to claim first place. Summer holdovers performed relatively well with five pics in the top ten dropping by less than 40%, but most wide releases crawled to averages of less than $2,300 as theaters struggled to find ticket buyers.
Bowing to only $7.8M, according to estimates, Bangkok Dangerous enjoyed a less-than-spectacular number one debut with a lackluster $2,943 average from 2,650 locations. The R-rated hitman pic gave Cage his second worst opening for an action film since becoming a major player in that genre with 1996’s The Rock. Over that twelve-year span, only last year’s Next posted a weaker debut for an action film with just $7.1M and a $2,618 average. Reviews were poor and Lionsgate’s marketing push was moderate at best.
The weekend after Labor Day is typically one of the slowest frames of the year. With students back in school and a new football season starting, studios generally avoid opening any strong films at this time which in turns helps the box office slow down. But this year with a major tropical storm hitting the east coast and election hoopla getting bigger after the political conventions, moviegoing just was not a priority for people. The top ten films grossed a dismal $47.6M making it the worst showing since this very same weekend in 2003 when the top ten stumbled to $46.2M. The Top 20 grossed $59.7M that year and is estimated to reach $61M this weekend. Factor in ticket price increases and less stubs were definitely sold this time around. Final grosses to be reported on Monday will show if this entire frame will come in lower than that sluggish session from five years ago when David Spade’s Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star led the chart with only $6.7M in its debut weekend. Bangkok also delivered the smallest gross for a number one film since Dickie.
Following its three-week rule of the box office, the war comedy Tropic Thunder retreated back to a close second place finish with an estimated $7.5M dipping only 35%. After its fourth weekend, the Paramount release has collected a solid $96.8M and should cross the century mark next weekend. Sony’s comedy The House Bunny climbed up one notch to third with an estimated $5.9M in its third session dipping only 29%. Total stands at $37M.
The Dark Knight dropped only 34% to an estimated $5.7M and raised its amazing North American cume to $512.2M. Overseas, the Warner Bros. sensation raked in an estimated $11.8M boosting the international tally to $437.2M which allowed the worldwide gross to soar to a staggering $949.4M. The Christian Bale-Heath Ledger showdown now sits at number six among all-time global blockbusters sandwiched right between last summer’s megahits Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($961M) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ($938M).
Don Cheadle’s political thriller Traitor held up well in its second weekend dropping 41% to an estimated $4.7M to push the 12-day tally to $17.7M. The Overture Films release should finish off in the vicinity of $30M. The Vin Diesel actioner Babylon A.D. fell 58% to an estimated $4M for Fox putting the ten-day total at $17.2M. A $25M final should result.
Another macho action pic Death Race followed with an estimated $3.6M, off 43%, giving Universal $29.8M to date. The spoof comedy Disaster Movie slipped 44% in its sophomore session to an estimated $3.3M. Lionsgate has seen just $10.9M in sales and should conclude its run with a mere $19M or so.
Two successful summer comedy leftovers rounded out the top ten. Mamma Mia! eased 36% to an estimated $2.7M boosting the stellar domestic cume to $136.3M allowing it to enter the top ten list of summer blockbusters. Universal’s singing sensation smashed through the $400M worldwide mark this weekend thanks to a stellar international frame that saw an estimated $15M. That was enough to push the overseas sum to $280.1M and the global gross to an eye-popping $416M. Mamma is now Universal’s top-grossing film of the year both domestically and worldwide beating out the studio’s many action offerings like The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, and The Incredible Hulk which all cost more to produce.
Sony’s stoner comedy Pineapple Express took in an estimated $2.4M, down 32%, and has grossed $84.2M thus far.
The top ten films grossed a pathetic estimate of $47.6M over the weekend which was down 23% from last year when 3:10 to Yuma opened in the top spot with $14M; and off 3% from 2006 when The Covenant debuted at number one with $9M in its opening frame.
Studios dumped out their usual trash over Labor Day weekend and moviegoers responded by avoiding most of them. That allowed Robert Downey Jr. to rock both the opening and closing ceremonies of the summer movie season as Tropic Thunder retained the number one spot for the third consecutive weekend. Five films opened or expanded nationally and were scattered all across the Top 20, most with weak results. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight moved up a notch in its seventh session and broke through the $500M mark over the long holiday weekend putting an end to what turned out to be a better-than-expected summer box office.
Still ahead of the pack for a third time, Tropic Thunder grossed an estimated $14.3M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend and lifted its impressive total to $86.6M after 18 days of release. The Ben Stiller-directed war comedy saw its three-day take of $11.5M drop only 29% from last weekend and joined the Batman juggernaut as this year’s only films to rank number one for three or more weekends. The $90M DreamWorks production is on course to end its run in the vicinity of $110M for Paramount which coincidentally also kicked off the summer blockbuster season at the top in May with Iron Man.
Leading all new releases, but lacking muscle, was Vin Diesel’s return to the action genre with Babylon A.D. which bowed to an estimated $12M over the long holiday weekend. Fox’s latest clunker enjoyed the widest launch by far among debuting titles but generated a lackluster $3,540 average over four days from 3,390 theaters. During the Friday-to-Sunday portion, the R-rated thriller grossed $9.6M for a weak $2,822 average. Babylon A.D. capped off a summer that the studio would like to forget following such misfires as Meet Dave, The Rocker, and The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Some were not costly films and others Fox just distributed for a fee, but the studio still failed to score a $100M+ summer grosser for the first time in eleven years.
The comic book overachiever The Dark Knight smashed through the $500M mark and placed third in its seventh weekend with an estimated $11M. Warner Bros. bumped its stunning cume up to $504.7M and surpassed the quintuple century barrier on Sunday in its 45th day of release. The new Batman epic has now sold approximately 70 million tickets beating out Spider-Man which snapped up roughly 69 million stubs in 2002. Knight is on a trajectory to end its North American run with about $525M translating to around 74 million admissions. Overseas, The Joker’s antics attracted an estimated $19.2M boosting the international total to $417M and the global gross to an eye-popping $921.7M. That was enough for The Dark Knight to break into the all-time top ten list of worldwide blockbusters. Shattering the $1 billion mark is a virtual guarantee.
Sony’s sorority comedy The House Bunny ranked fourth for the weekend with an estimated $10.2M over four days in its second term. The Anna Faris starrer has grossed a solid $29.8M in 11 days and could finish in the neighborhood of $45M. The budget was only $25M.
Overture Films saw a respectable debut for its Don Cheadle political thriller Traitor which bowed to an estimated $10M over the long weekend and $11.5M in the six days since opening on Wednesday. The PG-13 pic landed in 2,054 theaters and averaged a good $4,869 over four days representing the second best average among films in wide release. Reviews were somewhat positive.
Jason Statham’s latest action offering Death Race fell to sixth grossing an estimated $8.2M over the long weekend pushing the 11-day total to $25M. The $45M Universal release should end up with $35-40M.
Moviegoers finally said no to spoof kings Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg as their newest comedy Disaster Movie flopped taking in an estimated $6.9M over four days. Opening in 2,642 locations, the PG-13 pic averaged a weak $2,604 for Lionsgate. Disaster‘s three-day bow of $5.8M was less than one-third of what the filmmakers saw on opening weekend for their most recent hits Meet the Spartans and Epic Movie which both debuted at number one with respective takes of $18.5M and $18.6M.
Two hit comedies followed. Universal’s musical sensation Mamma Mia! sang to the tune of $5.8M, according to estimates, and raised its cume to $132.9M. The studio released a new sing-along version in selected theaters on Friday which helped give sales a boost over the holiday weekend. A final domestic tally of $140-145M could result for the $65M songfest. Sony’s stoner hit Pineapple Express collected an estimated $4.5M and took its sum to $80.9M. The final gross for the $27M production should reach $85-90M.
Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona popped back into the top ten with an estimated $3.5M over four days. The MGM release has now taken in $13.3M which is an impressive number for the veteran filmmaker. The Javier Bardem tale also generated the best average among all movies in wide release. Look for a final take at or slightly north of $20M.
With seven other comedies ahead of them on the charts, two new R-rated laughers stumbled in wide release this weekend grossing less than $3M each over four days. MGM’s teen pic College failed miserably with an estimated $2.6M from 2,123 locations for a dismal $1,241 four-day average. Focus expanded its expensive Sundance acquisition Hamlet 2 from 103 to 1,597 theaters in the second weekend and walked away with just $2.1M, according to estimates, for a pitiful four-day average of just $1,330. Cume for the Steve Coogan pic is an embarrassing $3.1M which will not help the distributor recoup the $10M it paid for the indie comedy. Hamlet 2 is shaping up to be this year’s Happy, Texas which Miramax bought for around $10M at 1999’s Sundance but grossed a measly $1.9M from 146 theaters in commercial release that fall.