Entertainment behind the scenes
So far , the movies with the biggest momentum behind them seem to be “Up in the Air”, with George Clooney, harrowing urban tale “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”, Quentin Tarantino’s summer box office hit war fantasy “Inglourious Basterds”, the much-talked about sci-fi epic “Avatar”, glittering musical “Nine”, Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker” and British coming of age movie “An Education”.
Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Colin Firth, newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, Emily Blunt, Helen Mirren and Jeff Bridges are among the names that keep popping up for acting honors. But which of them are most likely to be in the running for the most coveted honors — the Oscars — when those nominations are announced in February?
Only a few weeks ago, Bullock’s performance in “The Blind Side” looked to be too mainstream for audiences tastes, but after nominations for both Golden Globes and SAG Awards this week, she looks like a lock on a best actress nomination. Blogger Anne Thompson on IndieWire calls her “the big news of the week. … it’s a classic case of a comic actress going serious in a drama.”
Honesty from actors tends to be in short supply around Hollywood’s awards season. Most respond to questions about possible Oscar or Golden Globe nominations with the standard line about “the honor” of simply being nominated.
So it was refreshing when British actor Colin Firth — still perhaps best known as the deliciously wet-shirted Mr Darcy of “Pride and Prejudice” fame – admitted that he used to boycott award ceremonies. Until he did just that and lost out to a rival.
Awarded to "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout (Random House), a collection of 13 short stories set in small-town Maine that packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating. Drama:
Awarded to "Ruined," by Lynn Nottage, a searing drama set in chaotic Congo that compels audiences to face the horror of wartime rape and brutality while still finding affirmation of life and hope amid hopelessness. History:
Awarded to "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family," by Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton & Company), a painstaking exploration of a sprawling multi-generation slave family that casts provocative new light on the relationship between Sally Hemings and her master, Thomas Jefferson. Biography:
Awarded to "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House," by Jon Meacham (Random House), an unflinching portrait of a not always admirable democrat, but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life. Poetry:
Awarded to "The Shadow of Sirius," by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press), a collection of luminous, often tender poems that focus on the profound power of memory. General Nonfiction:
Awarded to "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II," by Douglas A. Blackmon (Doubleday), a precise and eloquent work that examines a deliberate system of racial suppression and that rescues a multitude of atrocities from virtual obscurity. Prize in Music:
Awarded to "Double Sextet" by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes), premiered on March 26, 2008 in Richmond, VA, a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear.