Variety’s Peter Debruge writes:
“We consider this category very important because it gives us the feeling that we are international journalists,” says Serge Rakhlin, chairman of the Globes’ foreign language category, pointing out the org’s members travel to many festivals over the course of the year.
Whereas the Academy adheres to a decades-old system in which a committee from each country picks one film to compete, the HFPA will consider any overseas pic submitted and screened for the org, provided it opened abroad within the prior 14 months.
“Unlike the Academy, we don’t accept just one per country,” Rakhlin says. “By our rules, they can submit as many as they want. There’s no limit.”
That’s important for countries such has France, Italy and Spain, which produce many quality features each year. The Academy forces them to choose. “Remember, the Oscar goes to the country, not the filmmaker,” says Mark Johnson, chair of the Acad’s foreign-language film exec committee. That is seldom easy for a country like Belgium, uniquely divided between two language factions — French and Flemish.
Belgium’s committee raised eyebrows this year after picking “Bullhead,” the winner of six Flanders Film Awards, over French-language Cannes grand jury winner “The Kid With a Bike,” directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.
“The Dardenne brothers are like icons,” says “Bullhead” helmer Michael R. Roskam, who fully expected the crowd-pleasing “Kid” to get Belgium’s bid over his film, a thriller inspired by murder and corruption perpetrated by the country’s “hormone mafia” in the ’90s.
“It’s an honor, not only to be the representative of your country, but to have such a strong film as your competitor,” says Roskam, whose pic won the audience prize at AFI earlier this month.
Roskam wasn’t the only one surprised by Belgium’s choice. The committee had previously submitted three Dardenne pics — “Rosetta,” “The Son” and “The Child,” none of which was nommed — and many consider “Kid,” which features a genuine movie star in Cecile de France, to be the Dardennes’ most optimistic and Oscar-friendly film yet.
“We believe there are people who really did not want it to be our film,” confides Luc Dardenne. “We could say that our quasi-celebrity status in other countries made certain people jealous, and it can probably be pinned down to that.”
Whereas the HFPA will consider both “Bullhead” and “Kid” for its foreign-language prize, the Academy is at the mercy of such political maneuvers in other countries. Another 2011 scandal involves Russia’s choice of “The Citadel,” Nikita Mikhalkov’s critically panned follow-up to his Oscar-winning 1994 pic “Burnt by the Sun,” for Acad consideration. Passed over were such celebrated alternatives as “Elena” (from “The Return” director Andrei Zvyagintsev) and Aleksandr Sokurov’s “Faust” (which won the Golden Lion at Venice).
“Being from Russia originally, I can tell you there are people who say there are better films to represent the country,” says Rakhlin, pointing out that the only Russian pic up for Globes contention this year is “Elena.” “I’m glad we have this film because it was not submitted for Oscar.”
The HFPA’s approach is also better suited to accommodate international co-productions.
“I sort of refer to it as ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ problem,” Johnson says. “We were taken to task for not having nominated the movie, but it was never submitted. For whatever reason, no country would claim it, probably because it was such an international film.” The film did receive two other noms, original song and adapted screenplay, winning the former.
How is that possible? With the Oscars, foreign language is the only feature category in which films do not need a one-week qualifying run on Los Angeles screens to be eligible, though doing so technically allows them to compete in other categories.
That happened in 2002, when Spain selected “Mondays in the Sun” over Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her,” which went on to win a screenwriting Oscar. Spain has taken criticism this year for choosing Agusti Villaronga’s “Black Bread” instead of Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live in.”
Such decisions are inevitably painful and potentially controversial. Films can slip through the cracks with the Globes as well, though Rakhlin and other members often go out of their way to encourage producers of quality foreign pics to submit — the more the merrier.
“Theoretically, if two masterpieces come from the same country, why not consider them both?” he says.
GOLDEN GLOBES PREVIEW IN DAILY VARIETY
Ricky didn’t lose their number | Peace for a time as org and prodco collaborate | No-limit rule a boon for global pic parade | HFPA denies being starstruck in noms process | Marketing strategies can shift at Globes time | No rest for the bleary-eyed | New kids on the blockContact Peter Debruge at email@example.com
Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog stopped by to meet the Hollywood Foreign Press and talk about their movie comeback after ten years out of the public eye.
They have been resurrected for Disney’s The Muppets, a star-studded PG-rated $40 million musical comedy in which they reunite and join new Muppet Walter to try to save the original Muppet Theater from being demolished by an evil oil baron.
The story calls for Miss Piggy, with blond hair perfectly coiffed and a string of pearls around her neck, to have a climactic showdown with a rival who is trying to take her place.
“There is only one Miss Piggy” declares the porcine movie star.Read More »
At the Belgian Comic Book Center in Brussels the contemporary cartoonist Bart Hofman (photo) introduced the delegation to the history of the cartoon series which lasted from the late Twenties to Hergé’s death in 1983 and sold over 350 million copies until today.
The members attended the premiere of TINTIN in Paris, France, where Steven Spielberg called his film an homage to „one of the great icons of popular culture“.Read More »
The Golden Globe won by John Wayne for his role in the 1969 Western True Grit was sold for $143,000 at an auction of his personal memorabilia in Los Angeles.
The 700 items sold for a total of more than $5 million, with the beret that Wayne wore in The Green Berets selling for $179,000 and the eye patch the actor wore while portraying the iconic Rooster Cogburn fetching $47,000. His last driver’s license earned $89,625.
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The Golden Globe John Wayne won for his performance as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit goes up for auction in Los Angeles.
The Globe, which he won in 1970 for Best Actor, is one of more than 700 items of Wayne memorabilia that include cowboy hats, costumes and saddles.
Among the items in the collection are the iconic black eye-patch Wayne wore in True Grit and the cowboy hat he wore in the1975 sequel, Rooster Cogburn.
The auction will take place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and online, Oct. 6-7, 2011.
“My father’s fans were very important to him. He was open and accessible to them, and making these items accessible to the public is something that feels right,” said Ethan Wayne, President of John Wayne Enterprises. “Museums have large collections of my father’s personal property, and our family has had a chance to select and keep items sentimental to us. There is no need to keep this memorabilia locked away when it can be enjoyed by his fans.”Read More »
Miss Golden Globe of 2003, Andy Garcia‘s daughter Dominik Garcia-Lorido, is one of the stars of the new TV show Magic City whom HFPA members met when they visited the set in Miami.
Dominik, 28, co-stars with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, Danny Huston and Kelly Lynch in the series, which is set in Miami Beach in 1958-59. “We are proud to host the HFPA on our set,” Mitch Glazer, writer and creator and of the upcoming TV show Magic City, greets members, the first journalists to visit the set.
The Starz-produced show is shot entirely in a purpose-built hotel, complete with a fully functional lobby, bar, barber’s shop, offices, a swimming pool, guest rooms and marble bathrooms. Everything has been meticulously designed to convey the look and mood of the ’50’s.
Hundreds of people, worked twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to build the sets. “Magic City’s sets are the largest ever built in the state of Florida,” says Mitch Glazer, writer and producer of Magic City, who showed HFPA members around the set
The show’s plot revolves around Ike Evans, the owner of Miramar Playa Hotel, who has to fight for his family and the hotel when he gets entangled with the mob.
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HFPA members were the guests of Sony Pictures Television on the set of the new Charlie’s Angels television show in Miami, where they were greeted by the director and executive producer, Marcos Siega, who walked them through the set and described the show.
“The mysterious Charlie sets up a mission and then sends the Angels to resolve it,” he says. There is a parallel between the new show and the 1970’s hit TV series but, set in Miami, he says: “The new Charlie’s Angels show is original with a modern twist.”
The HFPA also met with the glamorous Angels: blonde Abby (Rachael Taylor), a Park Avenue princess who became a world class thief; dark Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), a Miami cop who fell from grace losing both her career and her fiancé’; and brunette Eve (Minka Kelly), a street racer with a mysterious past.
The actresses trained with a S.W.A.T team 12 hours a day in martial arts, scuba diving, gun handling and close combat fighting before they began filming.
“Although we have stand-in stuntwomen, we try to do all stunts except risky ones, like being hit by a bus or falling off a ten-story building,” laughs Annie Ilonzeh, who is proud to play the first black Angel in the history of the show.
The new Angels say that they are not trying to fill the shoes of the original stars.
“We are trying to do something fresh and original,” stresses Australian-born Rachael Taylor.
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Visiting the set of the upcoming movie Dolphin Tale in the marine hospital in Clearwater, Florida, HFPA members were introduced to the star and the protagonist of the movie, Winter, the Dolphin whose tail had to be amputated and be replaced with a prosthetic one after sustaining an incurable injury in 2007.
Dolphins swim by fluttering their tails vertically, up and down, but after losing her tail, Winter started to swim by wiggling her body horizontally in order to propel herself forward, which resulted in damaging her spine. To save her from death, her trainers decided to explore the idea of a prosthetic tail, which had not been done or even contemplated before.
“There were many challenges in designing a new tail for Winter,” explains the hospital’s director, David Yates. “The biggest challenge was keeping the tail on without hurting her.”
The tail was designed by Dr. McCarthy (played by Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman), who used his experience in building human prosthetic limbs to create a socket made of soft gel that fits firmly over the base of the amputated tail and then strap the artificial tail around it.
“The other challenge was to make her swim with a tail after she had been swimming sideways in over a year and half,” Yates adds.
Initially, Winter had rejected the new tail, but in a few months she was humming. “She loved it,” Yates beams.
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Foreign Press Association for filmmakers, actors and VIP guests at the Windsor Arms Hotel.
This year the star-studded guest list included Jennifer Garner, Jessica Chastain, Katie Couric. Olivia Wilde, Geoffrey Rush, Kim Cattrall, Jason Reitman, Adam Brody, Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, Annaleigh Tipton, Harvey Weinstein, Piper Perabo and the cast of the television shows Suits and Covert Affairs.
HFPA president Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly (left) presented the chairman of the Toronto Film Festival, Piers Handling, with a plaque to commemorate the occasion as Cyd Wilson of InStyle magazine looks on.
Hollywood Foreign Press members at the Toronto Film Festival chatted with Sam Childers, the real life Machine Gun Preacher who is portrayed by Gerard Butler in the film of the same name.
The former drug addict biker-turned-preacher from Pennsylvania who runs an orphanage in Sudan confessed that when he met Butler he was not sure that the actor was the right man to play him on screen. “He had a strong Scottish accent. Really strong,” he said. “But I have to say he really nailed me. He sounded just like me.”
Butler explained to members: “I watched him preach in church and I taped hours of conversations so I could listen to how he expresses himself. He’s such a fascinating guy and he has a lot of amazing stories.”Read More »