Global recognition for flag-waver Clint
Presenting the tin ear awards
songs from Love Me Tender (1956) and A Hard Day’s Night (1964, when Chim Chim Cher-ee took the Oscar), Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly theme (1972, when the award was won by the dreary The Morning After from The Poseidon Adventure), Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, 1973), and the Bee Gees songs, Night Fever and Staying Alive, from Saturday Night Fever (1978, when the Oscar went to the saccharine title tune from You Light Up My Life).
Payback time for Stone
In a settlement with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Oliver Stone’s production company Ixtlan has agreed to pay more than $6,000 (¤4,500) in fines to resolve allegations that the company violated the US embargo against Cuba when Stone made his Fidel Castro documentary, Commandante, four years ago.
Meanwhile, Stone has completed a third version of Alexander, his 2004 epic starring Colin Farrell, for DVD release in February, even though his “director’s cut” is already available on DVD. The new cut runs to three and a half hours, and according to Stone, “it’s the best, the clearest, and it allows you the time to immerse yourself in that world.”
THIS year’s Golden Globe nominations yielded more than a few surprises and anomalies. Even though Clint Eastwood takes two of the five places on the shortlist for best director, neither of his companion war movies, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, received a nomination for best picture. In fact, the only other nomination achieved by either was for Letters in the best foreign-language film category.
Most unusually, it is one of two US productions, along with Mel Gibson’s Mayan-language Apocalypto, vying for that prize and reducing the number of foreign productions in contention to just three (Volver, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Lives of Others), even though the Golden Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Another surprise was the success of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel, which led the field with the most Golden Globe nominations this year – seven, including best picture, director and supporting actor (Brad Pitt) – even though it failed to collect a single award from the Cannes Film Festival jury this year.
Incidentally, Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley, which took the Palme d’Or at Cannes, is not eligible in the Oscar or Golden Globe nominations for 2006 releases, as it does not open in the US until March 2nd.
Ennio gets his Oscar due
Legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone is finally set to receive recognition at the Academy Awards when he is presented with an honorary Oscar during the prize-giving ceremony on February 25th. Despite composing the scores for more than 300 movies in his 45-year career, Morricone has never won an Oscar, although he has been nominated five times, for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malena.
Morricone, who turned 78 last month, recently completed an international tour as well as the score for Giuseppe Tornatore’s new film, La Sconosciuta. He also began work on Tornatore’s next picture, Leningrad.
Coincidentally, this year’s honorary Oscar was given to Robert Altman, who also was nominated five times without ever winning the award. Altman, who died last month, is considered a contender for a posthumous nomination next month for his swansong, A Prairie Home Companion, which opens here on January 5th. As the awards season kicks into overdrive, Variety has been noting some of the anomalies in the Oscar category of best original song. Among the eligible compositions that failed even to secure a nomination have been the title
A week without movies
There are no new releases at Irish cinemas next Friday, December 29th, but The Ticket will be published as usual with The Irish Times and will feature a comprehensive guide to the movies opening over the first three months of 2007.
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