Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 BAFTAs

Earlier this week the 2010 BAFTAs were held in London. Here are the results:

Best Film
WINNER : The Hurt Locker (2008)
Other Nominees: Avatar (2009); An Education (2009); Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009); Up in the Air (2009/I)

Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year

WINNER : Fish Tank (2009)
Other Nominees: An Education (2009); In the Loop (2009); Moon (2009) ; Nowhere Boy (2009

Best Actor
WINNER : Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009)
Other Nominees: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009); George Clooney for Up in the Air (2009); Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker (2008) ; Andy Serkis for Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010)

Best Actress
WINNER : Carey Mulligan for An Education (2009)
Other Nominees: Saoirse Ronan for The Lovely Bones (2009) ; Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009) ; Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia (2009) ; Audrey Tautou for Coco avant Chanel (2009)

Best Supporting Actor
WINNER : Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Other Nominees: Alec Baldwin for It's Complicated (2009) ; Christian McKay for Me and Orson Welles (2008) ; Alfred Molina for An Education (2009) ; Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones (2009)

Best Supporting Actress
WINNER : Mo'Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Other Nominees: Anne-Marie Duff for Nowhere Boy (2009) ; Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air (2009) ; Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air (2009) ; Kristin Scott Thomas for Nowhere Boy (2009)

David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction
WINNER : Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)
Other Nominees: Neill Blomkamp for District 9 (2009) ; James Cameron for Avatar (2009); Lone Scherfig for An Education (2009) ; Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Best Screenplay (Original)
WINNER : The Hurt Locker (2008): Mark Boal
Other Nominees: The Hangover (2009): Jon Lucas, Scott Moore ; Inglourious Basterds (2009): Quentin Tarantino ; A Serious Man (2009): Ethan Coen, Joel Coen ; Up (2009): Bob Peterson, Pete Docter

Best Screenplay (Adapted)
WINNER : Up in the Air (2009): Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
Other Nominees: District 9 (2009): Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell ; An Education (2009): Nick Hornby ; In the Loop (2009): Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche ; Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher

Best Cinematography
WINNER : The Hurt Locker (2008)
Other Nominees: Avatar (2009) ; District 9 (2009) ; Inglourious Basterds (2009); The Road (2009)

Best Editing
WINNER : The Hurt Locker (2008)
Other Nominees: Avatar (2009) ; District 9 (2009) ;Inglourious Basterds (2009) ; Up in the Air (2009)

Best Production Design
WINNER : Avatar (2009)
Other Nominees: District 9 (2009); Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) ;
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) ; Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Best Costume Design
WINNER : The Young Victoria (2009)
Other Nominees: Bright Star (2009) ; Coco avant Chanel (2009) ; An Education (2009) ;
A Single Man (2009)

Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
WINNER : Up (2009): Michael Giacchino
Other Nominees: Avatar (2009): James Horner ; Crazy Heart (2009): T-Bone Burnett, Stephen Bruton ; Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Alexandre Desplat ; Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010): Chaz Jankel

Best Make Up/Hair
WINNER : The Young Victoria (2009)
Other Nominees: Coco avant Chanel (2009) ; An Education (2009) ; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) ; Nine (2009)

Best Sound
WINNER : The Hurt Locker (2008)
Other Nominees: Avatar (2009) ; District 9 (2009) ; Star Trek (2009) ; Up (2009)

Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects
WINNER : Avatar (2009)
Other Nominees: District 9 (2009) ; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) ; The Hurt Locker (2008); Star Trek (2009)

Best Film not in the English Language
WINNER : Un prophète (2009)
Other Nominees: Los abrazos rotos (2009) ; Coco avant Chanel (2009) ; Låt den rätte komma in (2008) ; Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009)

Best Animated Feature Film
WINNER : Up (2009)
Other Nominees: Coraline (2009) ; Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Orange Rising Star Award
WINNER : Kristen Stewart
Other Nominees: Jesse Eisenberg ; Nicholas Hoult ; Carey Mulligan ; Tahar Rahim

Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer
WINNER : Duncan Jones for Moon (2009)(Director)
Other Nominees: Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson, Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock, David Pearson for Mugabe and the White African (2009)(Directors, Producers) ; Eran Creevy for Shifty (2008)(Writer/Director) ; Stuart Hazeldine for Exam (2009)(Writer/Director) ; Sam Taylor Wood for Nowhere Boy (2009)(Director)

Best Short Animation
WINNER : Mother of Many
Other Nominees: The Gruffalo (2009); The Happy Duckling (2008)

Best Short Film
WINNER : I Do Air (2009)
Other Nominees: 14 (2008) ; Jade (2009) ; Mixtape (2009) ; Off Season (2009)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Kingdom by Jennifer McBay Barry

I read this book as part of a book club read. Unfortunately it is not available in Australia (at least through Independent booksellers and the main book chains), whether this is because it was only recently published or because it was a short first print run I'm not sure, but I had to obtain it overseas. It IS stocked by at the moment.

The first thing that struck me about the book is that it is quite a slim volume. In the large paperback format it is a mere 237 pages. In the YA category it's written simply and its size makes it is a nice, quick read!

The story is set in modern day Ireland and is written from the viewpoint of Rioghan, an incredibly handsome young man that we quickly learn has unearthly charms and talents. Toying with people's emotions he is clearly bored yet little things he does shows he really does care - providing it doesn't involve him!

Upon meeting the sharp-tongued, red haired Lily, daughter of a famous opera singer, he feels a niggle of something more. She doesn't fall for his charms and he starts to find her fascinating. The more Lily resists Rioghan, the more he feels and soon she becomes the centre of his universe.

The story is a wonderful blend of mythology and legend, of an immortal/ mortal relationship and of finding what is most important versus what you are expected to do.

The picturesque country of Ireland, described so well, provides a wonderful setting for this modern fairy tale.

Although I wasn't immediately impressed, the characters are interesting, have a depth to them that made me want to know more and I was soon in the can't-put-it-down mode! I couldn't help but think back on the legends and stories of the past and everything became completely plausible. By the end I was disappointed that there weren't a few hundred more pages!

I do have a bit of a problem with a couple of the terms used (eg. 'fairy' seems a bit light for the story and perhaps a more archaic spelling or term, eg 'faerie' or 'fair folk' would raise the level a little) but this is a fairly minor concern.

This is the start of a series and I must say that I am looking forward to reading more about Rioghan and his Kingdom in the future!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

100 Cupboards by N D Wilson

On the recommendation of my local bookstore I bought this for my son earlier last year. My requirements were that he needed a novel - something a boy would like with some adventure, perhaps a little magic and aimed at his age (11/12).

He liked the look of it, started it, loved it and about 2/3 of the way through he stopped. It languished for months on his bedside table being overtaken by shorter novels borrowed from the school library. He finally started it again during the holidays and then put it down a couple of chapters from the end as it was a bit scary to read at night!

He finally finished it (during the daytime) and I finally got a chance to read it (he's quite strict that I CANNOT read his books before he does).

The story starts in a small country town named Henry in the state of Kansas. A young (12 y.o.) boy (also called Henry) who has lived a very sheltered, protected life goes to live with his Aunt and Uncle after his parents have been taken hostage while on a bicycle tour of Colombia. His Aunt Dotty is a friendly, frugal woman, his uncle is tall, thin and appears a little absent minded, however he deals well with the out-of-his-element Henry, and to top it off, his three cousins are all girls! The large front bedroom of the house is mysteriously referred to as "Grandfather's Room" but it has been locked since his death a couple of years previously and no-one can find the key to get in.

Henry is moved into the attic room where on his first night he hears some unusual scratching. He also sees coming out of the bathroom a mysterious short man in a purple robe who promptly becomes a hazy sort of memory.

On his second night, some plaster from the wall falls on his head and when he looks up, two small knobs are protruding from the plaster in the wall. Henry picks at the plaster and ends up uncovering, with his cousin Henrietta's help, a wall with 99 small cupboard doors that all appear locked.

Henry is wary, but Henrietta is excited and so the adventure begins. The mystery of the cupboards is slowly revealed, as Henry and Henrietta receive mysterious letters through them, realise that they are doors to other worlds, and have some quite scary moments before Henry finally starts using them.

The pace doesn't slacken, the momentum if anything keeps building and although there is a happy ending, there are some spine chilling events too!

I really enjoyed it, however I can see how my son got a little scared towards the end. The witch character is definitely not nice and the treatment is a little horror-style, albeit aimed at children. I am looking forward to reading the second instalment - the Dandelion Fire, although this may take months at son's previous reading rate!!

Some bestselling books and award winners from 2009

I picked up a great reading guide from my local bookshop call "the Independent Book Guide" (Summer 2009) put out by a group of Australian independent booksellers.

Here are some interesting lists from the guide.

Bestsellers 2009 (Jan-Oct):


The elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Breath by Tim Winton
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Non Fiction

Dreams From My Father by Barak Obama
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
The Audacity of Hope by Barak Obama
Heaven and Earth by Ian Plimer
Geed Me Now by Bill Granger
The House At Salvation Creek by Susan Duncan
The SMH Food Guide
A Lion Called Christan by Bourke and Rendell

Children's books

Twilight Saga
The Diary of A Whimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
The Henderson Boys by Robert Muchamore
Zac Power by H I Larry
Cherub by Robert Muchamore
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
The Magic Ballerina by Darcey Bussell
The 39 Clues by various authors
Harry Potter by J K Rowling
Grug by Ted Prior
Rainbow Magic by Daisy Meadows

Other children's bestsellers not necessarily part of a series were:

Evernight by Claudia Gray
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Imagine by Alison Lester
Where Is The Green Sheep by Mem Fox
Ten Little Fingers by Mem Fox
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J K Rowling
Possum Magic by Mem Fox
Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awdry
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Hairy Maclary From Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Todd
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

The booklet also mentioned some 2009 award winners:

The Crime Writers Association 2009 Gold Dagger Awards

A Whispered Nam by William Brodrick

When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
In the Dark by Mark Billingham
Hit and Run by Lawrence Block
A Whispered Name by William Brodrick
The Coroner by M R Hall
Dark Times in the City by Gene Kerrigan

The Australian Independent Booksellers Indie Award 2009
(decided by popular vote of independent bookshops Australia wide). Prize: $15,000 AUD

Category Winners:
Non Fiction - The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper
Debut Fiction - The Virtuoso by Sonia Orchard
Children's book - Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy and Heather Potter
Fiction - Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

The overall award went to the Fiction winner, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.

The Miles Franklin Award 2009
(Awarded for the novel of the year which is of "the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases"). Prize: $42,000AUD

Breath by Tim Winton
Ice by Louis Nowra
The Pages by Murray Bail
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Wanting by Richard Flanagan

Winner: Breath by Tim Winton

The Orange Prize for Fiction 2009
(open only to women, established by journalists and publishers). Prize: 30,000 pounds

Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman
The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey
The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt
Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden
Home by Marilynne Robinson
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

Winner: Home by Marilynne Robinson

The Man Booker Award 2009
(awarded to works of literary fiction written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the republic o Ireland). Prize: 50,000 pounds.

The Children's Book by A S Byatt
Summertime by J M Coetzee
The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Winner: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
All Souls by Christine Schutt
Oliver Kitterdige by Elizabeth Strout

Winner: Olive Kitterdige by Elizabeth Strout

Looks like I have some reading to do!