Friday, September 18, 2009

TFF #36 and the Oscar Clearinghouse #1 for 2009

Will everyone in this picture be nominated for Best Supporting Actress? (the female cast of "Nine")

Continuing what we started in this space last year, we'll devote some time and energy to compiling the best of the Oscar guessperts for the Big Eight categories from now til the ceremony in February...(Helfrich's..we'd love to be there!)...and we'll highlight the films getting the Oscar buzz that showed at the Telluride Film Festival. So lets' get started!

The Early Line on Best Picture...(note, the Academy goes to 10 nominees this year...uh...OK...)

Leaders: (with Telluride films in CAPS AND BOLD):

Invictus (Eastwood directs Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela with Matt Damon...,

Nine (Daniel Day-Lewis and women...many, many women in Rob Marshall's film version of the stage musical based on Fellini's "8 1/2"

Precious (Lee Daniels directs this Sundance favorite...

The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson directs the adaptation of the novel

AN EDUCATION (Lone Scherfig directs Carey Mulligan, Peter Saarsgard and Alfred Molina in this coming of age story set in the 60's in England...a lot of buzz from Telluride! and it was a hit at Sundance too! ).

The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow's consensus critical darling from earlier this summer

Up (can Pixar get a Best Pic nom for this animated film? The expansion to ten slots makes it more likely...and it's a good movie too!

UP IN THE AIR (Jason Reitman's follow-up to Juno getting great traction from both Telluride and Toronto...Clooney also looking good for a nomination...see later

Amelia (Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart...thought this would be in Telluride, I was wrong.

THE ROAD ( John Hillcoat directs Viggo Mortensen in a post apocalyptic America created by Cormac McCarthy

Also in play: Avatar (James Cameron), A Serious Man (the Coen Brothers), BRIGHT STAR (Jane Campion), Capitalism: A Love Story (Michael Moore), and Public Enemies (Michael Mann...really???)

Comment: As hot as "Up in the Air" has been at both Telluride and Toronto, look for significant upward movement for all involved by the next post.

Director: In the lead: Clint Eastwood-Invictus, Rob Marshall-Nine, Lee Daniels-Precious, Peter Jackson-The Lovely Bones, And Kathryn Bigelow-The Hurt Locker. Lurking: LONE SCHERFIG-AN EDUCATION, Mira Nair-Amelia, Terrence Malick-The Tree of Life (, James Cameron-Avatar, and JANE CAMPION-BRIGHT STAR. (no Reitman???)

Actor: Morgan Freeman-Invictus, GEORGE CLOONEY-UP IN THE AIR, Daniel Day-Lewis-Nine, VIGGO MORTENSEN-THE ROAD (, and Matt Damon-The Informant. Lurkers: Johnny Depp-Public Enemies (again...really???), Jeremy Renner-The Hurt Locker, Sean Penn-The Tree of Life, BEN WHISHAW-BRIGHT STAR, Michael Stuhlbarg-A Serious Man.

Actress: Meryl Streep-Julie and Julia (she's really good!, CAREY MULLIGAN-AN EDUCATION, Saroise Ronan-The Lovely Bones, Hilary Swank-Amelia, and ABBIE CORNISH-BRIGHT STAR ( LurkeeLoos: Gabby Sidibe-Precious, AUDREY TAUTOU-COCO BEFORE CHANEL , Michelle Pfeiffer-Cheri, Michelle Monaghan-Trucker, Penelope Cruz-Broken Embraces.

Supporting Actor: Matt Damon-Invictus ( a double nom?), ALFRED MOLINA-AN EDUCATION, Christoph Waltz-Inglourious Basterds ( Stanley Tucci-The Lovely Bones, and Richard Kind-A Serious Man ( On the cusp: Richard Gere-Amelia, KODI SMIT-MC PHEE-THE ROAD, Jeff Bridges-The Men Who Stare at Goats, PAUL SCHNEIDER-BRIGHT STAR, PETER SAARSGARD-AN EDUCATION (ought to be in the lead category).

Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique-Precious, Penelope Cruz-Nine, Judi Dench-Nine, Marion Cotillard-Nine, Susan Sarandon- The Lovely Bones. Also close: ANNA KENDRICK-UP IN THE AIR, Rachel Weisz-The Lovely Bones, Jessica Chastain-The Tree of Life, Sigourney Weaver-Avatar, and VERA FARMIGA-UP IN THE AIR.

Comment: Is it possible that this category could end up with all five nominees from "Nine"? or Mo'Nique plus 4 from "Nine"?

Adapted Screenplay: Kerrine Jenkins-Precious, NICK HORNBY-AN EDUCATION, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson-The Lovely Bones, Anthony Peckham-Invictus, and JOE PENHALL-THE ROAD. Mentions: Michael Tolkin and Anthony Minghella-Nine, JASON REITMAN AND SHELDON TURNER-UP IN THE AIR, James Schamus-Taking Woodstock, Scott Z. Burns-The Informant!

Original Screenplay: Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, JANE CAMPION-BRIGHT STAR, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber-500 Days of Summer (, Mark Boal-The Hurt Locker, and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen-A Serious Man. Other mentions: Terrence Malick-The Tree of Life, Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan, and Tony Gilroy-Duplicity (really???)

Other notes: Most "noms" on the first chart...6 for "Nine" and "The Lovely Bones". "Nine"also leads in the nom/lurk category with 8.

Five Telluride films seem to have at least some heat now: An Education, Up in the Air, The Road, Bright Star and Coco Before Chanel with a combined total of 11 "nominations" predicted in the big eight categories and another 11 "possibles". An Education leads with 4 noms and 2 possibles followed by Up in the Air with 2 and 3, The Road with 3 and 1, Bright Star with 2 and 4 and Coco with 1 possible. noted Nine and The Lovely Bones are out front with significant expectations for Invictus with 5 noms, Precious with 4 and 1, The Hurt Locker with 3 and 1, Amelia with 2 and 3 and A Serious Man with 2 and 2. We'll see what happens when the studios whose strategy has been to hold off from the festival circuit release Nine, Invictus, and The Lovely Bones...

And, of course, there are always the tech awards that will add to nomination totals and the foreign films Telluride films that could make some noise in this category include: A Prophet, Vincere, and Samson and Delilah.
Back in 2-3 weeks with an update!

TF#36 Post Mortem how'd we do in the run up to this year's Telluride Film Festival??? The answer is "so-so". I felt like the reported films that we sniffed out we pretty much got right...even when we waffled. Let me explicate.

I think the blog can justifiably claim we got "Bright Star," "Life During Wartime," "The Road," "The Last Station" (at the last minute), and "Vincere" (also at the last minute). At least to some extent we can claim we got it right on "An Education" (despite the uncertainty because it had been a Sundance film) and also "Up in the Air".

I also feel that we certainly shaded the likelihood of "The White Ribbon," "Coco Before Chanel"and "A Prophet".

But we did whiff big time on "Amelia," "Broken Promises," "Sympathy for Delicious," and "Precious" (like "An Education", this was a Sundance entry). And we were totally wrong on "Lebanon."

But we figured out "Bad Lieutenant" late in the game, and were redeemed by the sneak of "My Son, My Son..." Our mistake was underestimating how much Werner Herzog was going to be a part of TFF #36.

All in all, it seemed like we got better at the "reportage" part this year, but were just about as bad as last year in terms of the "educated" guess work. We were thrown by the absence this year of Fox Searchlight...particularly since they had been well represented in recent festivals (i.e. "Slumdog")...and the demise of Paramount Vantage and Warner Independent also presented challenges to our guess work.

Finally a shout out to the new folks who were kind enough to read/follow the blog this year and drop a comment or two along the way. Made us feel like we were actually doing something worthwhile rather just amusing thanks...Kelly, Gant, Jen, Jarrette, Matt, Rich, Haywood, M. Austin and Reilly.

Later today...Oscar Clearinghouse #1 or 2009...I'll let some of you off the hook from the mandatory email alert for the new posts!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some reviews for TFF #36

The Opening Night Feed
Here are some links to reviews from last week's festival. The list is not complete or exhaustive.

An Education:

Bad Lieutenant:

Coco Before Chanel:

Life During Wartime:

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

Paranormal Activity:

The Last Station:

The Road:

The White Ribbon:

Up in the Air:

Waking Sleeping Beauty:

The first Oscar Clearinghouse for 2009 will be up within a week...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And Home Again...

Telluride's 36th Film Festival is done and the Pattersons are back in the Oklahoma Panhandle. We returned to the "real world" today as we both were back in our classrooms. I turn my attention now to One Act Play competition and the first speech tournament of the year.

This year's fest was amazing, not only for the films we saw, but also for the people we met and got a chance to interact with. And it seems that there is the chance that some of those interactions may lead to continued friendships and relationships. I really do think I will talk to Ken Burns again in the near future and maybe get to be a part (a small part) of his Dust Bowl project in some fashion...who knows what that may be.

Kristy and I met a lovely couple from LA that we really seemed to kind of strike a chord with...and he's really kind of a big deal in the movie biz...

Got to meet and talk with the stunning Laura Linney...beautiful, talented and gracious!

Met Curtis Hanson...writer, director..."LA Confidential" one of the top ten movie of the 90's.

Got pix of Nicolas Cage and Viggo Mortensen...

Talked with Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn.

Sat with directors Jason Reitman (talked to him three times) and Alexander Payne. Sat behind Sid Ganis (Pres. of "The Academy").

Got to ask a question during the first Q & A following the first presentation in the world of "Up in the Air" and make a subsequent joke that most of the room seemed to think was actually funny.

And don't forget the movies...really impressed by "Life During Wartime" (maybe an original screenplay nom for Todd Solondz...although the acting is top notch across the board, it's hard to imagine the Academy embracing any one of the performers for an acting nom. They should, though, because the ensemble is amazing).

"The Road"...Viggo Mortensen may be the Best Actor front runner for this...and I thought it was a stunning film.

Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air"...George Clooney will join Mortensen in the Best Actor race and it will also get a slew of other nominations (my first guess is 8 total noms).

"Farewell" a great French espionage thriller...really well done.

And "The Last Station"...excellent performances by Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren and James McAvoy...although it may suffer from the appearance of "Up in the Air" because UITA sucked so much oxygen up and out of the festival for a lot of the other films and also complicating matters, the presence of "Bright Star" another period costume piece that was getting a lot of attention (Abbie Cornish especially getting some early Oscar mention)...but for my money "Last Station" was the much better film.

And then there is "An Education" which seemed to be a real favorite of fest goers when you'd ask them what they'd seen and liked last weekend...I thought it was a good movie, but certainly not a great movie. Carey Mulligan (who plays the lead in "An Education" is also in many conversations as an Oscar contender.

2009 Film List from Telluride (in order that we saw them):

An Education: 2 1/2 stars

Coco Before Chanel: 2 stars

Life During Wartime: 4 Stars

Farewell: 3 Stars

Up in the Air 3 1/2 Stars

The Last Station: 3 Stars

Room and a Half: 2 Stars

Bright Star: 2 1/2 Stars

London River 2 Stars

The Road: 4 Stars (up from an original 3 1/2)

Bad Lieutenant: 1 1/2 Stars

Things I missed, that I really regret: A Prophet, Vincere, The White Ribbon and The Red Riding Trilogy (which got huge buzz through the weekend).

This summer included a trip to the National Speech Tournament where I got to judge a final round national championship for the first time. The New York trip of a lifetime. And concluded with the Telluride Film Festival...

I've said it before...I can't believe I get to do this...

In the next few days I will try to put together a post that collects reviews/reactions to this year's TFF films and then will begin the transition of this blog into The Oscar Clearinghouse with emphasis on the films of Telluride...and there will be a Telluride influence on this year's Oscar race! Bet on it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day Four...And It's a Wrap!

Me And Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential) at the picnic
Viggo Mortensen between screenings of "The Road"...Oscar Nom??? I'd say yes.

Nicolas Cage and Werner Herzog at the picnic before "Bad Lieutenant"

Ken Burns signs our books and discovers we may be source material for his next project. No, really! See below.

Kelsey, me, Kristy and Merri with our small scale "class photo" for TFF #36

The fourth and final day of the 36th Telluride Film Festival was heavy on festival and light on film...but, personally a very fulfilling day.

Started the day with Ken Burns' book an autographed copy of "National Parks" that coincides with his PBS series in 3 weeks. And...when he asked where we were from, he lit up. Seems his next documentary project is about the Dust Bowl...and when we revealed we were from the bulls eye of the Dust Bowl, Burns was very animated...took our name, numbers and email address. An associate producer is set to contact us in the next couple of weeks. Holy Crap!

Then...on to the Labor Day film fest picnic and a really tasty lunch hosted by Omaha Steaks...good food! And good conversation...a wonderful conversation with a Colorado couple who has two kids in the Yale School of Drama...very nice. Nicolas Cage showed up for a presentation...he's here with "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans"...more later.

Ran across new friends Mark Helfrich and his wife, whom we met the first day, and compared notes of movies we had seen and opinions of them...Mark is a film editor of some renown...he's a serious deal...IMDB him, you'll be impressed. Here's his link to IMDB: We're invited to their home in LA for their Oscar party...cause I'm sure we'll be in LA...but , ain't that cool?

Noticed that Kris had offered our seats as we were ready to leave to film director and writer Curtis Hanson...he directed "LA Confidential" ...only one of my favorite movies ever made...ever! Got a chance to talk to him for a few moments. And a pic!

As we left, got a chance to congratulate Oscar nominated actress Brenda Blethyn on her "London River" performance.

Then to the Palm for "The Road". Viggo Moretensen sighting and picture. Then the movie...Brutal, harrowing, disturbing and a very nearly great film. It's hard to watch...but a really stunning film. Mortensen's performance...YES!..Other standouts are Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron. There's been a lot of buzz for Kodi Smit-McPhee...but I think he's just OK in the role of the boy....also John Hillcoat's direction is eloquent. 3 and 1/2 stars...

Then to The Galaxy for "Bad Lieutenant"...and long story short...It's bad! (in the traditional sense, meaning not good). 1 and 1/2 stars. Worst thing I saw this weekend.

As always...things I wanted to get and didn't: "The White Ribbon," "Vincere" and "A Prophet". Thought they'd be TBAed today and there weren't. Thank God for Netflix!

4 days and 12 films...some great and others less so. Spoke with Laura Linney this weekend and have the picture to prove it and tonight Ken Burns has my contact info in his pocket...oh man....

Top picks: "Life During Wartime," "The Road," "Up in the Air," "Farewell" and "The Last Station".

Lots of people liked "An Education" I thought it was OK. Lots of people loved "Bright Star"...again...OK

Biggest buzz on something I did not see...the "Red Riding" trilogy. It seemed to be a big hit with fest-goers.

Started the weekend with some goals and they all happened. And to a much greater degree that I thought possible. Love this weekend, this festival and this spot on the planet. Start the countdown to Telluride Film Festival #37!
Viggo Mortensen and Nic Cage sighted and pix taken. Talked to Curtis Hanson writer/ director of LA Confidential. One of my all time favorite films. Amazing!
Just talked to Ken Burns about his next project. He took my name and number. No kidding!

Day Three

A shorter day of film today as we give our evening in Telluride over to our hosts who so graciously make it possible for this to occur each year.
And a tough day of film going it was...Started off the day with "Room and a Half" the Russian memoriam to poet Joseph Brodsky (met the director at the Patron Brunch on Friday) ..some clever animation and some arresting images...but , Good Lord, the film was slow. And that turned out to be the theme of the day! SLOOOOOWWW.... 2 Stars out of 4

Second film was the much anticipated Jane Campion entry "Bright Star"...poet John Keats ill-fated romance with Fanny Brawne. Abbie Cornish: Good, Costumes:Good...the rest...SLOOOOOWWW. 2 and 1/2 Stars of 4.

Third film: Oscar Nominee Brenda Blethyn in "London River"...she's good but the film is predictable and SLOOOOWWWW! 2 stars out of 4>

Ultimately, today's films paled in comparison to yesterday's line-up. One hopes that the last day makes up for that.

Tomorrow sees us hoping to get in "The Road" and maybe "A Prophet" and "Vincere"...and a Viggo Mortensen sighting as well as a Nic Cage sighting...and Daryl Hannah would be a bonus! And purportedly Curtis Hanson is in town...writer/director of "LA Confidential" of the best movies in the last fifteen years...would love to meet him too!)

My fave so far...Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime" and Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" (sat next to him during the "Bright Star" presentation this afternoon...can you believe it???)

Can't wait for Monday...but so sad it's here so soon!
And a quick note to Joel, Heather and you may have guessed...Mrs. P and I are "off the clock". Love!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Just spoke to Jason Reitman so hope that repeats the magic that Juno had 2 years ago after our conversation here.

Day Two


Had a tremendous day of film here in the San Juan Mountains...

Started off the day with Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime"...Great film! Incredible performances across the board...just amazing...standouts: Shirley Henderson, Allison Janney, Cirian Hinds, Paul Ruebens, Michael K. Williams, Ally Sheedy and Rich Pecci...but really...the entire ensemble is phenomenal...I'm betting half way thru that this is my favorite film of the festival...and today was a great day for films. 4 stars out of 4...

Next up was "Farewell" a French film that we just sort of added as a filler between "Life" and "Up in the Air"...and...what a great film! A true life story of Cold War intrigue and masterfully done! Super performances from leads Emir Kusturica and Guillaume Canet with great support from veteran Fred Ward as Ronald Reagan and Willem Dafoe...Stunningly good movie! 3 and 1/2 stars out of 4...It's really good.

Then, amazingly, we were in the crowd to see the World Sneak Premiere of Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" starring George Clooney. It gets surreal here. Sat two rows behind Reitman, two seats to the right of TFF 36 Guest Director Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways, Election) and right behind AMPAS (that's the Oscars people) President Sid Ganis. Soooo..the movie is a winner...a worthy follow up to his success with "Juno". It's a more mature film. And it was a hoot to see how nervous Reitman was...not that surprising,though, considering how high the expectations are for this film. But it's a winner! Highlight is that I got to ask a question during the Q & A and then also got in a joke that actually made Ganis, Payne and Reitman himself laugh. Seriously, since I've actually spoken to Laura Linney and made Jason Reitman laugh this weekend...I think I could die happy. Clooney's great, Vera Farmiga..great, Anna Kendrick...really great...Amy Morton (saw her in New York two months ago in August:Osage County) great... Overall 3 and 1/2 stars ...GO SEE IT!

And then we concluded the day with "The Last Station". Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti and James Mc Avoy bring us the realization of writer/director Michael Hoffman's adaptation of a novel about the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life. And it rocked! Plummer...great, Mirren...great and McAvoy better than he's ever been. It's a wonderful performance as Tolstoy's secretary and the audience's representative. 3 stars. The evening topped off with a Q & A with director Hoffman and Oscar winner Dame Helen...and a sighting of Dame Helen's husband as we left the theater, director Taylor Hackford.

An amazing day of film in Telluirde...Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day One

Patron Brunch...Check...good food and good conversation...talked with Laura Linney...see above. Also talked to Russian director Andrey Khrzhanovsky here with his film "A Room and a Half"... engaging fellow. May try to get his film in tomorrow.

Today' s films: "An Education" Good performances from Carey Mulligan and Alfred Molina...the picture 1/2 stars (out of 4)

"Coco Before Chanel" I'm an Audrey Tautou starts well and then about half hour in, the slog begins...2 stars tops.

Tomorrow: Probably "Life During Wartime" and "The Last Station" (dame Helen Mirren is supposed to do a Q &A after). AND FINALLY..."Up in the Air" will sneak preview here tomorrow sources on this are really good...Jason Reitman expected to be here to intro the film...I'll be there for sure.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Patron Brunch starts with a conversation with Laura Linney. How cool.

And now, on to the SHOW

After the ten hour drive we are here.

Ready to grapple with the next four days and very excited about them and the chance to see great film. On tap: A Prophet, Vincere, The Road, Bad Lieutenant, Coco Before Chanel, The Last Station and many others.

Have already spotted documentarian Ken Burns (personal hero) and critic/reporter/bloggers Anne Thompson and Eugene Hernandez.

Girding up for the Patron Brunch in the morning at Skyline Ranch. Purportedly Viggo Mortensen (The Road) and Nicolas Cage (Bad Lieutenant) are already in town and we hope to see them there.

Finally...still pretty sure Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" will "sneak" on Sunday or Monday...and can't wait to see it.

Can't believe I get to do this...

Thanks Larry and Mitzi...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Watching Ken Burns play pool

And Away We Go

Leaving in about an hour. Word is that the official schedule will be released at noon today...but if you're following the chatter on the web you probably already have a pretty good idea of what's likely to show up...

But if is an incomplete list of what to expect...

"Coco Before Chanel" (starring the incandescent Audrey Tautou), "Bright Star" (new from Jane Campion of "The Piano" fame), "Life During Wartime" (Todd Soldonz's newest...with Ally Sheedy and Allison Janney among others), "A Prophet" (Cannes entry), "The Road" (Viggo Mortensen in Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic story...also has Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, and Robert Duvall), "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" (Werner Herzog directs Nicolas Cage in a re-imagining of the Abel Ferrera original), "Up in the Air" (Jason Reitman's post-Juno project starring George Clooney), "An Education" ( a Sundance favorite with Peter Sarrsgard) and "The Last Station" with an incredible cast: Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti and James McAvoy....

Can't wait to hit the road, and hope to see and talk to some of you in Telluride!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One Day

Leaving in less than 24 hours and the rumors and info are flying fast and furious about this year's lineup...

Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells continues to add to the list he says will be there...including today's additions of "A Prophet, " "Vincere'" and "Life During Wartime". See it at:

The net also is pulsing with a rumor that Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" will show up.

The Scott Pilgrim rumor from yesterday has been debunked in a number of quarters...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Two Days

Well, some interesting tidbits here and there tonight...

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere all but confirms: "Up in the Air," "The Road," "Bad Lieutenant," and "An Education" and claims that the "other" Herzog film..."My Son, My Son..." will NOT be playing Telluride.

At this point "Up in the Air" seems to be a lock...we've seen some other pretty compelling evidence that it's a-happenin'.
Additionally, the internet has been burning up the last 24 hours or so with the rumor that Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" with Michael Cera will pop up in Telluride...we think that rumor is more than just a rumor!

As to "Amelia" and "Broken Embraces" nary a maybe I don't know what I'm talking about after all!