Monday, 8 March 2010

Oscars tribute to John Hughes

This photo is so exciting - some of John Hughes' finest lined up to honour the great man. Anthony Michael Hall is barely recognisable but Molly Ringwald still looks amazing, she rocks.

Check out the John Hughes tribute from last night's Oscars over on Popsugar.

Oscars best dressed

Well, the Oscars were predictable this year! And good job too, I certainly didn't want to see Avatar win against The Hurt Locker, or Christoph Waltz and Jeff Bridges lose out. Sandra Bullock was an obvious choice too - the storyline of The Blind Side is perfect Oscars fodder - and she was gracious enough to accept her Golden Razzie on Saturday night for All About Steve.

But enough about the awards, we all know it's really about the fashion. There was lots of sparkle and no real clangers this year. Sandra Bullock played it safe but classy in Marchesa, while Carey Mulligan looked cute in a sparkly number (not sure about the hemline and hate the shoes, though).

Kristin Stewart scrubbed up nicely in a stunning dress and up do (she gets slated a lot for looking surly but, frankly, standing having your photo taken by burly paps is hardly a laugh a minute is it?). As a friend said, "made of win".

Charlize Theron attended in a pretty dress but what is going on with the top?

Mariah Carey seems to have forgotten half her dress (I'm not a prude but seriously, buy the right size!).

And Zoe Saldana's dress looked a bit like a novelty loo roll holder, totally mismatched with the top half. One of my least favourite dresses of the evening, but not the worst. No, that honour goes to Jennifer Lopez, who looked like she was dressed in bubblewrap. Not a good look.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Don't mess with the Oscars

So the Oscars have finally rolled around. I used to relish it as a highlight of the year until BBC lost the rights to Sky. Highlights just don't cut it - too many musical interludes, a sanitised version with all the controversial - and funny - speeches edited out. You can't beat sitting up all night, popcorn and beer on hand, waiting to see if your predictions come true and if the Academy throws any curveballs.

Anyway, even without that excitement, I'm eager to see who they pick this year (you can see my predictions on the Datablog nominees/winners tracker, if you scroll through the comments at the bottom).

There's an argument (espoused by David Thomson on the Guardian blog this week) that the Oscars are losing favour with the American public - viewing figures seem to get lower every year - but I think that's missing the point. Yes, the nominated films sometimes have little or no audience at the American box office. But the awards should be about quality, not popularity. Some of the biggest films in the US are really poor - Big Momma's House anyone?

Even if the Academy voted along populist lines, they're unlikely to get viewing figures anything like decades ago, when the public revered their film stars, before their every flaw was instantly revealed on gossip websites.

Cut the budget, by all means - scrap the gimmicks, the hugely expensive presenter goody bags, the self-congratularoy love-ins, the horribly unfunny scripted comedy sketches, all those musical interludes - but don't pander to a public - and a network - that doesn't care about quality filmmaking.

Oscars night is about the industry, voted for by the industry, and the people who genuinely care about good filmmaking will keep watching. Everyone else can watch the MTV Movie Awards.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Jon Venables

Most of the papers today are leading with the story that Jon Venables, who along with John Thompson killed toddler James Bulger in 1993 when he was ten, is back in prison. Venables has broken the terms of his parole licence, which was set in place when he was released in 2001.

I understand why this is big news - the James Bulger case was horrific, and the idea that he could have reoffended is a worrying one.

But details of the breach of the licence have not been released, and won't be released at least until the parole board has heard his case (which should happen over the next few weeks). Yes, he may have committed a further violent act. But based on the information we have so far, it is just as likely that Venables has simply missed meetings with his parole officer.

Venables was only ten when he murdered James Bulger. That doesn't excuse what he did, but the law in this country is based on a system of rehabilitation as well as punishment. Once a prisoner has served his time and been paroled, he deserves a second chance. That is how the system works.

Before the press, and the tabloids in particular, turn this into another witch hunt, we must wait for the full details to emerge. Digging away until Venables' new identity is exposed serves no one - he will presumably then be given a further identity, and the process will begin again.

Worse, there is a risk that the press could encourage vigilante attacks. Venables committed a terrible crime, but he has been punished for it. If he has seriously reoffended, then he will remain in prison. If he hasn't, the press risk stoking up violence against a man who has served his time and has done no further wrong. It is irresponsible journalism of the worst kind.