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December 5, 2002 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: National Board's Top Films of 2002; More on Sundance 2003; and Oscar's 54 Foreign Langua

DAILY NEWS: National Board's Top Films of 2002; More on Sundance 2003; and Oscar's 54 Foreign Language Submissions



by Eugene Hernandez, Matthew Ross and Wendy Mitchell/indieWIRE



>> National Board Picks "The Hours" As Best Film of 2002


(indieWIRE: 12.05.02) -- Kicking off the Oscar prediction frenzy, the
National Board of Review announced its 2002 awards. Stephen Daldry's
"The Hours" took the best film honors, with Julianne Moore's "Far From
Heaven
" performance and Campbell Scott's lead in "Roger Dodger" nabbing the acting awards. For supporting actress, Kathy Bates was recognized for
her work in "About Schmidt," and for supporting actor, the Board honored
Chris Cooper for "Adaptation." The award for Best Foreign Film went to
Pedro Almodovar's "Talk to Her."


Philip Noyce had two films in Board's top 10 -- "The Quiet American" and
"Rabbit-Proof Fence" -- and was named director of the year. The cast of
"Nicholas Nickleby" won for best acting by an ensemble, and the breakthrough
performers were Derek Luke for "Antwone Fisher" and Maggie Gyllenhaal for "Secretary." Rob Marshall won best directorial debut for "Chicago," Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine" won for best doc, Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" won for best animated feature, and HBO's "The Laramie Project" won for best film made for cable TV. Charlie Kaufman won screenwriter of the year for his threesome: "Adaptation," "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," and "Human Nature." George Clooney won a special filmmaking achievement award for directing, producing, and acting in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."


The Top 10, in order, are: "The Hours," "Chicago," "Gangs of New York," "The Quiet American," "Adaptation," "Rabbit-Proof Fence," "The Pianist," "Far From
Heaven," "Thirteen Conversations about One Thing," and "Frida." The group's
top five foreign films are "Talk to Her," "Y Tu Mama Tambien," "8 Women," "City of God," and "El Crimen del Padre Amaro." Films recognized for reflecting freedom of expression are "Ararat," "Bloody Sunday," "The Grey Zone," and "Rabbit-Proof Fence." Films earning a special mention for excellence in filmmaking are: "Frailty," "The Good Girl," "The Guys," "Heaven," "Igby Goes Down," "Max," "Personal Velocity," "Real Women Have Curves," "Roger Dodger," "Sunshine State," "Tadpole," and "Tully."


The National Board of Review, founded in 1909, screens more than 300
films each year. [Wendy Mitchell]


>> Maturity Among the Sundance 2003 Lineup; Thoughtful Movies By Older Filmmakers?


(indieWIRE: 12.05.02) -- No doubt insiders will begin to buzz about
Sundance's Class of 2003 soon enough, in fact in some circles the early
prognostications have begun to swirl over what the big "hits" will be.
Before the buzz gets too deafening, it might be worth taking a moment to
step back and consider the thoughts of two of the people who curated
the new crop of Sundance films, Geoff Gilmore and John Cooper.


The 2003 Sundance Film Festival lineup came together at the last minute,
festival director Gilmore told indieWIRE in a conversation on Monday.
"Never before have I had so much work come in (so) late," Gilmore
said, admitting that they were receiving some films as late as mid-November.
"Perhaps it is an indication of how hard it is out there right now, how
hard it is to get something completed."


When asked, during our annual chat about the lineup, to once again
offer a heads up on any trends or themes that dominate the 2003 lineup,
Gilmore explained that this year's crop of films is harder to summarize than
any previous year. "The kinds of work that ultimately caught our attention
are films that are aesthetically all over the map," Gilmore said.


"This is the hardest festival to talk about unity or categorical trends
that we've ever had," Gilmore told indieWIRE, "There is lot of very
distinctive, very idiosyncratic, creative, but very unique work."


If anything, Gilmore said, the 2003 Sundance features are a thoughtful
group of movies. He used the word "cerebral" cautiously. "These are films
that really have a lot of ideas in them," he elaborated. "The fact is that
there is a lot of work here that has ideas and provokes us to think -- (films
that are) assessing and dealing with feelings." Can this be attributed to a
post-September 11 zeitgeist, he wondered, admitting that that is probably
too shallow an interpretation.


Ten years ago, Sundance trumpeted the arrival of the 20-something filmmaker
and in 2003 the festival is showcasing work from more mature directors. Mark
Illsley
is back at Sundance with with his second feature, "Bookies," Shari
Springer
& Robert Pulcini and Fenton Bailey &
Randy Barbato are leaping from doc work to their first narrative films with
"American Splendor" and "Party Monster" respectively, while Todd Graff,
an accomplished writer, actor, and producer offers his debut feature, "Camp."
Accomplished production designer and art director Catherine Hardwicke is making the
leap to writing and directing with "Thirteen." Other Sundance filmmakers are making
the leap from TV, including established television director Neema Barnette, who will
be in Utah with "Civil Brand."


"The general age has gotten a little older," Gilmore concurred. "There
is maturation in the independent community."


And some cases, as with David Gordon Green's "All The Real Girls" and
Joe Maggio's "Milk and Honey," the fest is showing work from directors whose
debut works were rejected by Sundance (Green's "George Washington" and Maggio's "Virgil Bliss").


Director of programming John Cooper, offered a more blunt assessment
about the greater number of films from sophomore or more experienced
filmmakers. "Maybe their stories are much more interesting," Cooper said
directly.


He added that perhaps the programmers were "worn out by the youth."
Concluding, Cooper said with a refreshing amount of cando, "Youth isn't
always interesting. Stories are interesting, good stories." [Eugene
Hernandez]


>> Record-Breaking 54 Foreign Oscar Hopefuls Announced by Academy


(indieWIRE: 12.05.02) -- Roberto Benigni's "Pinocchio" (Italy), Francois
Ozon
's "8 Women" (France), Aki Kaurismaki's "The Man Without A Past" (Finland), and Fernando Meirelles' "City of God" (Brazil) -- but not Pedro Almodovar's "Talk to Her" (Spain) -- will be among the titles in contention for the five best foreign language Oscar nominations in 2003. The complete list of national submissions, a record-breaking 54 entries, which was
released this week by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also
includes high-profile titles from Belgium (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's
"The Son"), China (Zhang Yimou's "Hero"), Germany (Caroline Link's "Nowhere in Africa"), Mexico (Carlos Carerra's "The Crime of Father Amaro"), and Sweden (Lukas Moodysson's "Lilja 4-ever"). All Oscar nominations will be announced on February 11.


This year's 54 entries beat last year's record of 51 films. The Academy said
that Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Chad each had films that qualified this
year for the first time.


The omission of "Talk To Her" in favor of Fernando Leon's "Mondays In The
Sun
" is by far the biggest surprise to emerge from this year's submission
list. "Talk to Her," which has received rave reviews on the festival circuit
this year, will be released tomorrow by Sony Pictures Classics. Almodovar's
last film, "All About My Mother," won the best foreign language Oscar in
2000. "Mondays in the Sun," which stars longtime Almodovar collaborator
Javier Bardem, chronicles the struggles of a group of unemployed dock workers.
[Matthew Ross]


[GET THE COMPLETE LIST @ indieWIRE.com]

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