January 29th, 2006

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Ang Lee Named Filmmaker of the Year by DGA.

Knives drawn for Nader in 'Unreasonable Man.'

First pics from Alfonso Cuarón's The Children of Men (specifically, pictures of Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. Yeah, you want to see it now, don't you?).

Boob Job for Gwyneth?

'God Grew Tired of Us' worthy of wide audience: 

More than four years in the making, "God Grew Tired of Us" is a labor of love not only for director Christopher Quinn but also for the three Lost Boys of Sudan who are the subject of the film. An incredibly powerful story of renewal, commitment and the resiliency of the human spirit, this is a movie that should attract a large theatrical audience, and no one will go home disappointed. In 1983, about 25,000 boys from southern Sudan, most of them 5 to 10 years old, fled the advancing Muslim army from the north that was seeking to exterminate the male population of black Christians. The Lost Boys, as they came to be known, trekked barefoot for more than 1,000 miles and eventually settled in a U.N. refuge camp in Kakuma, Kenya, which is where Quinn started filming.
Blogger Gains Following With Iraq Reports: 
After getting himself embedded as a freelance journalist with troops last year, he used his Internet blog to report on the car bombs, firefights and dead soldiers. But he also wrote descriptively about acts of compassion and heroism, small triumphs in the country's crawl toward democracy and the gritty inner workings of the military machine.

Yon's dispatches have been extolled by loyal readers as gutsy and honest reporting by a guy who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. He has been interviewed and his blog quoted by major newspapers and TV news networks, and he has drawn comparisons to Ernie Pyle, the renowned World War II correspondent who shared the trenches with fighting soldiers.

Actor Bruce Willis is a fan and has said he wants to make a movie about the exploits of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment—aka the "Deuce Four"—which Yon followed through battles against insurgents in Mosul.




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Screen Actors Guild Awards

Okay, this is interesting: I've never blogged an awards show that I've already seen once through. So... I kind of know what's going to happen. I also have notes. Interesting.

Ah, the traditional opening, where actors address the camera from their tables: "I'm Whoever... and I'm an Actor." Randy Quaid got a star at the same place he got off the bus when he arrived in Hollywood umpteen hundred years ago. James Denton went from plumbing to... playing a plumber on Desperate Housewives. Seriously, the pause he does here is devastating. When she was a child and her mom was in Evita, Anne Hathaway said--what? "Hi diddly dee"? Whatever, Emmy.

Here's Sandra Bullock in a really cute peach-pink dress with a clip from Crash.

Eva Longoria and Sean Hayes with Best Actress, TV Drama (I refuse to do this "Female Actor" bullshit. Look, we should get rid of "poetess" and "authoress," I agree, but "actress" is perfectly serviceable, people). I'm not even going to dignify the whole "It's so great that you, Eva Longoria, are on a show that's ending after a long run!"/"It's so great that you, Sean Hayes, are on a show just beginning a long run!"/"We so funny!" banter with more description than that. Judging by the clips, this is actually the Most Screaming And/Or Crying category, and fittingly, Sandra Oh wins. I have no idea what she was sobbing in her clip, but it had something to with "MY BAHAHAHAAAABEEEEE!" I think? I'm not even sure. She's breathless, and her hair looks awesome.

Felicity Huffman is all over Ted Danson, who has sort of a white-haired, lantern-jawed egghead-superhero look about him. I can't explain it better than that. "I just wanna flirt with him," she says, poking his glasses down. William H. Macy makes a note to buy more ammo on the way home. Best Actor, TV Drama: Kiefer Sutherland, to big applause. Fellow nominee Patrick Dempsey gazes at the stage with existential ennui. "I am in shock," says Kief, completely deadpan. I wonder if he'll go celebrate?



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Screen Actors Guild Awards

Here's Terrence Howard with a clip from Hustle and Flow; he sounds a little nervous.

Peter Graves and Barbara Bain immediately screw up their lines, probably because, with the "Mission: Impossible" music playing, they're too busy imagining how Tom Cruise is screwing up the movie right now. Cast of Lost wins for Best Drama! Giant scream (presumably from the Lost table). They all troop up there, or at least most of the guys do--Andrews (who jumps right up from the table), Monaghan, Holloway, Dae Kim, Perrineau, Triple A, even little Walt. Terry O'Quinn gives the statuette to him. Quote: "A friend of mine always says if you don't have something nice to say about someone, let's hear it," said "Lost" co-star Terry O'Neil [sic], surrounded by fellow cast members. "This is the saddest collection of climbing, grasping, paranoid, back-stabbing, screen-grabbing schmoozers and losers that you ever saw in your life. [Laughter.] But we love each very much, and we want to thank you for recognizing us as an ensemble." And some Hawaiian, and everyone shouting on the count of three. Also? O'Quinn looks unusually foxy.

Here's Chris Cooper rattling off previous Best Supporting Actresses from the Guild, which reminds us, as the article I just linked up there mentions, that the SAG has an extremely strong track record with individual acting prizes. Best Ensemble doesn't always match Best Picture, for reasons that you may find obvious, but the individual awards are usually pretty good predictors. So who wins? Rachel Weisz, for The Constant Gardener (WOOOOO!). "It's so special to be honored by fellow actors, so thanks very much to the tribe," she says. And thank you to Darren Aronofsky, "her everything," since "babydaddy" is apparently not acceptable in award speeches. Gorgeous dark blue gown, by the way.



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Screen Actors Guild Awards

"Please welcome William Shatner!" Okay, this is a nice, somewhat humorous clip thing about actors in commercials. But I'm frickin' thirsty, and I need to go get some iced tea. brb.

Back. Patricia Arquette and Naveen Andrews. "I'm so pretty!" "We know, Naveen." I don't know what Arquette actually says, but she sounds completely drugged. Andrews is hilariously British, considering that that's not what he sounds like at all as Sayid. Best Actress, TV Comedy: Felicity Huffman, for apparently reenacting scenes from Coyote Ugly. As quoted: "I love actors. I married one. OK, I married a fantastic one," Huffman said, of her husband, William H. Macy. "But even more than acting, I love the community of actors. I love the green room. I love the hair and makeup trailer. ... I'm so happy I can make a living at it, because I was never very good at math." Word, lady. She also thanks writer/producer/creator Marc Cherry, "who never sees the light of day" because he works so hard. I mean, I'm assuming. He may be the Phantom of the Overrated Sitcom for all I know.

Marg Helgenberger and Christopher Meloni. Best Actor, TV Comedy: Sean Hayes. Megan Mullally (whose gown is awesome) is tearing up back at their table. Hayes proceeds to thank "Ang Lee for taking a chance on me." Cut to George Clooney grinning and Ang Lee laughing and clapping. "Everyone in Hollywood knows that it's such a risk to play a gay character... sure, I had some reservations, but..." Then he moves on to it being Will & Grace's last season, thanks the cast and crew--"They are gonna miss meeeee," he says, and Mullally laughs. Joaquin Phoenix looks hungover, or terrified, or both.

Ellen Pompeo and Jeremy Piven. Ellen Pompeo is shiny. Jeremy Piven announces that he can't read. Best Ensemble, TV Comedy (I make up my own category titles, bitches!): Desperate Housewives. We are never, ever going to be free of them. Scaridan looks smug in lime green; Longoria, Cross, and Alfre "Neutral Like Switzerland, You Bitches" Woodard are in various shades of lavender. Unable to decide which actress will get the spotlight and bring down the wrath of all others, the cast lets a young male cast member step into the breach (I forget which character he is at the moment. Andrew?). Well played, Housewives.



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Screen Actors Guild Awards

SAG President Alan Rosenberg steps up to tell us that Acting Is Now, More Than Ever, What the World Needs Now. Also: Diversity. Thank You Very Much.

(Wait, did he just thank "the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild, AFTRA and Yahtzee"?)

Here's Dakota Fanning holding what turns out to be a small Shirley Temple doll belonging to her mother. Dakota is already planning on giving it to her own future daughter rather than, you know, playing with it. She starts talking about when her mother, or Shirley Temple, or someone, "was my age except my actual age, not eleven going on thirty-five."

And here we go with the Life[time] Achievement Award for Shirley Temple Black. Here's a montage that's basically the beginning of the new King Kong: the Depression, everyone out of work, hobbit children starving in the streets, but hey! If you've got two dimes and a nickel to rub together, you can escape to the silver screen for a couple of hours. Little Shirley is so tiny. She apparently got her start in something obliquely skeevy called "Baby Burlesk," aping Marlene Dietrich. And, as Jamie Lee Curtis is going to say in a few minutes, she really does come off as very natural.

Speaking of Jamie Lee Curtis, she just barely recovers from tripping down the steps to the mike. Drinky Awards II: The Drinkening! Also, Jamie Lee Curtis's parents were actors, did you know? DID YOU?

Here's Shirley Temple Black, having a bit of trouble maneuvering the steps herself. (I just realized that this makes her sound drunk. Rather, it's venerable age.) Much cheering and clapping. Only Shirley can stir Patrick Dempsey from his loser's ennui. Only Shirley can make Matt Dillon come close to bursting into tears, and Megan Mullally whoop like a Packers fan, and Morgan Freeman... well, Morgan Freeman pretty much always smiles and claps like that, because he's class. Wow, Hilary Swank looks good. Actress, grandmother, diplomat, virgin drink: Shirley Temple Black, y'all. Her advice to those who want to win the same award? "Start early!"


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Screen Actors Guild Awards

Catherine Keener and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Keener looks frickin' ace. Hoffman kinda looks homeless. And he does clean up nice, usually. I'm just saying. They bust out laughing while trying to read their cues. BOOZE! Here's a clip from Capote. I really, really wanted to see it, particularly since Keener plays Harper Lee (Alabama represent!), but... wow, I'm not sure I can listen to a whole movie of Capote Talk.

"Please welcome Ziyi Zhang!" Except it comes out more like "See Zhun." Hey, if that's how she says it, that's how it is. Best Supporting Actor: big cheer for Clooney. Big cheer for Gyllenhaal. Paul Giamatti wins, which surprises me. Since the SAGs apparently have a good track record predicting the Oscars... yeah, I'm really surprised. I would have put it down to a race between Clooney and Gyllenhaal until now. Giamatti, in a fairly casual dark jacket and blue button-down not very buttoned-down: "Being an actor's a hell of a thing... a hell of a thing... It's up and down... It's great, um... [laughs] but I've found... the best thing about it is hanging around the craft-service table... with other actors and crew people... eating doughnuts. And, uh, I hang around a lot there, so... I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the actors... and crew people... hanging out around the craft-service table... eating doughnuts with me." Yeah, he totally didn't expect to win, either.

Samuel L Jackson! It's the In Memoriam section, and I have to say, Samuel L. Jackson is the absolute best person to present it, because in my dreams he would totally break that shit down. "DO NOT! APPLAUD! UNTIL! THE DEAD PEOPLE ARE OVER! CLAP AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKER! I DARE YOU! CLAP AGAIN!" As it is, I think Shelley Winters wins the Dead March Applause Derby--no, wait, John Spencer. Teresa Wright? Anne Bancroft? Vincent Schiavelli? Even Richard Pryor? All y'all can go screw. "DON'T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE!"

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Screen Actors Guild Awards

"And now, a SAG Awards Memorable Moment!" Presenter Jamie Foxx insists on running his lines three times over because he keeps messing them up, while Kerry Washington just giggles. I can't tell if this is a staged skit or something Foxx cooked up after he sincerely messed up, but oddly, I don't remember it at all, and I've been an awards whore for years.

"Please welcome! David Stra-there-in!" David Strathairn kind of looks upwards and back like, "Seriously?" He looks a little more haggard than usual, which worries me. A clip from Good Night and Good Luck, a big cheer. Clooney's all but doing air guitar back there.

Here's Amy Adams and Benjamin Bratt. Adams is just real frickin' happy to be there. Best Actress in a TV Movie Whatever. Big cheer for S. Epatha Merkerson, who wins: "There's nothing in my bra, there's nothing in my head. It's only in my heart." She calls Bratt her "baby brother" and is totally losing her shit. Again. And then: "I just have to say a public thank-you to... my divorce lawyer!" The entire audience goes batshit and Merkerson herself whoops. That was frickin' awesome.

William H. Macy and Angela Bassett, Best Actor, TV Whatever. Paul Newman wins, as he tends to, for Empire Falls. And he's not there. Again. "Unlike so many of us," says Macy, "Paul Newman is working, so I'm gonna take this home with me and Paul, if you wanna give me a call..."

While we're here: pictures of the Lost cast.



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Screen Actors Guild Awards

Oh my Lord. Here is, bar none, the best moment of the evening: Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, presenting the Brokeback Mountain clip. First of all, Heath weaves across the stage unable to find the microphone, and wanders back over to Jake. Jake is very sincere. Heath is drunk. They're standing there to read the prompts and Heath totally just plops his hand on his hip and starts laughing. He is so incredibly wasted. It's awesome. He reads the prompts like he's never seen them before, or even heard of Brokeback Mountain, although, in his defense, he is forced to say lines like, "Each takes a wife." The audience is just howling. Jake finally gets to take back over, after a smirk at Heath that totally says, "Dude, detox starts tomorrow." He finishes up, "...and tragedy is their fate." Heath bops his head and chuckles inappropriately. It's just--seriously, if someone posts a clip of this tomorrow, download it and thank me later.

Pierce "Bronson" shows up to present Best Actress (you can hear him thinking, "Goddamn amateurs"). Brosnan is saddled with some bullshit about "integrity" being the most-searched word at the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary last year blah blah LAME. Why are we defining shit? He takes his sweet time opening the envelope, and Reese Witherspoon wins. Let me put it this way: I've been typing the Jake-and-Heath bit since he walked on the stage, and Reese is still talking. The AP article summary-quotes her speech as, "Oh, my God, y'all. Sometimes, I can't just shake the feeling that I'm just a little girl from Tennessee," said Witherspoon, who plays Carter during her long, stormy courtship with country legend Johnny Cash. "I want to say my biggest inspiration for this movie obviously was June Carter. She was an incredible woman." She begins giving us a quick bio of June Carter. I crave Reese's earrings. She thanks a ton of people we have and haven't heard of, Joaquin Phoenix (who is quietly, sweatily pining for Reese back at their table), more people we don't know, Ryan Philippe and their children ("Why can't you love meeeeee, Reeeeese?" wails Joaquin to himself) and her grandma. ("I would write songs for youuuu!")

Hilary Swank gives the Best Actor award to Philip Seymour Hoffman. What? We gotta move fast after the Reese speech. Awww, he looked up to Strathairn when he was younger. Big applause. He also thanks Catherine Keener and Chris Cooper (more applause). "It's important to say that actors can't act alone, it's impossible. What we have to do is support each other," Hoffman said. "Actors have to have each others' backs. It's the only way to act well is when you know the other actor has your back, and these actors had my back, and I hope they know I had theirs."

When we--and I--come back Morgan Freeman "reveals the winner for Best Ensemble." Or I can just tell you now. Do you really want to know? Because... it's not what you're expecting.


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Screen Actors Guild Awards

Here's Morgan Freeman, President God! He's wearing his formal earring. Big cheers for all the movies at this point, because we've aaaaall been drinking by now. It goes to... Crash? Holy shit. Big roar from the crowd. I think Brokeback Mountain goes home with NOTHING at this point, which is astonishing. Of course, these awards are only for acting, and not Picture, Screenplay, or Director, so... hmm. Don Cheadle gets his turn at the mike, awesome carved walking stick and all: "I'm hobbling up here... I just have to say to everybody, pay your gambling debts." Cheadle's quip about there being "seventy-four" of them makes me wonder if that had anything to do with the win as well--the most ensemble, as it were. You see it at the SAGs sometimes, since the acting is, after all, what they're awarding, not the filmmaking per se. It's still a pretty big upset.

Freeman shoos them away from the mike with some difficulty (you can hear Ryan Philippe saying to him, "I've always wanted to meet you... my wife..."): "And now, from all of us at the Screen Actors Guild, good night... and good luck." And that's because Freeman is class. Or he reads this blog. Or something.



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