selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Emmmy nominations: as a fan of The Americans, I'm pleased that Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright were all three recognized at last. Will root for them accordingly, which is all the easier since frustratingly, Bates Motel' final year went without an Emmy nomination again. Freddy Highmore has been fantastic throughout, and especially in this last installment where the show had to at last enter the same narrative territory as Psycho, and succeeded with flying colours, very much because young Highmore has managed to make an iconic role his own. (Very Farmiglia would have deserved nominations in all preceeding years, but I can understand she didn't get one this year, since she played "only" Mother, not Norma anymore.) My loyalties might be slightly split for best actor because of Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul, and I'd be happy if he wins, too, but if I had to decide and push came to shove, I'd go with Rhys over Odenkirk. Speaking of Better Call Saul, I call fail on the nomination of Jonathan Banks for best supporting actor over Michael McKean (Chuck). Or for that matter Michael Mando (who plays Nacho). Look, I get the Mike cult, and Banks is always solid, but Mike really did not have all that much to do this season. Whereas Nacho got core emotional dilemma stuff, and the actor rose to the task. And McKean may have played the most disliked character on the show, but I don't think the most fervent Chuck hater on the planet would dispute he did so amazingly, and this season, it was a lynchpin performance, with Chicanery and the s3 finale as the two particularly outstanding episodes in this regard. As for the utter lack of nomination for Rhea Seahorn as Kim, don't get me started. Though, again: makes it easier to root wholeheartedly for Keri Russell and for Alison Wright in their respective categories.

_____

Yesterday there was a lengthy interview with Christopher Nolan in one of my regular papers, apropos his upcoming movie Dunkirk. Two issues caught my particular attention: a) he mentions having written the script for a movie about Howard Hughes, only to be foiled by the Scorsese/Di Caprio movie "Aviator", which made it unlikely for a few years studios would finance another movie about Hughes, and now when the time would have been right again, Warren Beatty struck first and made Hughes a non-subject for a few years more. But, quoth Nolan, he hasn't given up and swears this script is the best he ever wrote. To channel some writerly frustration, he added, he put some of his Howard Hughes characterisation into Bruce Wayne in his three Batman movies. And suddenly Bruce's utterly self indulgent hermit phase between movies II and III as well as his bizarre rewriting on why things didn't work out with Rachel in I as voiced by him in II appears in a new light. :) Or maybe Howard Hughes' decades in Las Vegas hotel rooms do - clearly the cover for a secret vigilante identity. Come to think of it, old Hughes sueing unauthorized biographers does resemble the Frank Miller version of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns somewhwat, no?

Anyway: b) the other particularly interesting-to-me Nolan statement was that in preparation for Dunkirk, he watched All Quiet on the Western Front (classic 1930 film version of Erich Maria Remarque's WWI novel, directed by Lewis Milestone) and was amazed such a movie was possible in 1930. But, says Nolan, it probably only was because it was an American movie based on a German novel, because an American director would never have presented American soldiers in this way, and the Germans wouldn't have made the movie to begin with, "so hooray for one culture speaking for another in this case", ends Nolan. Thinking about it, I concluded he was right that the German film industry would not have made All Quiet on the Western Front in the early 1930s - the book had been a big bestseller in Germany, but the movies were utterly dominated by the UFA by then, and the UFA was owned by Alfred Hugenberg, hardcore conservative who'd go on to support Hitler in his 1932 and 1933 election campaigns. As it was Goebbels orchestrated an anti All Quiet on the Western Front campaign when the movie was released in Germany - SA guys loudly protesting in the cinemas, white mice released, I kid you not -with the result that the movie was quickly withdrawn and most Germans saw it only once the Third Reich had come and gone. (My paternal grandparents back in the day did see it in the cinema, but they had to travel to Belgium to do so, which they did because not only did Granddad own the book, but he regarded it as a matter of local pride - he was born and raised just a few streets away from where Remarque, the author, had been born and raised in Osnabrück. And my grandfather, who'd lost his father in WWI when he, Granddad, was still a toddler, always regarded the book as a way to figure out what his father might have been like.)

Last year, when I heard a lecture by Elizabeth Bronfen on war movies in Zurich, she compared the aesthetic and thematic treatment of All Quiet on the Western Front with what WWII movies and news reels quickly established as standard in US movies, and it really is strikingly different. Not being an expert on war movies, my lay woman opinion would be Nolan is right in the American part of his statement as well, that an American movie about US soldiers like All Quiet on the Western Front at the time and for some time to come would never have been made. Probably not until the genre of Vietnam movies started, and that came and went again; more recent US movies, no matter about which war, which present US soldiers being lured into a war by propaganda and then fighting pointless battles and dying with no heroic justification or reward whatsoever (i.e. not even saving a comrade's life or turning a battle, or getting an epilogue declaring that their cause lives on or their sacrifice is remembered or what not), don't come to mind, either. Or am I missing something?
selenak: (Father Issues by Raven_annabella)
Because it's nice to see a four years old essay win win an award and because Connor is still dear to my heart:

Photobucket
selenak: (Claudius by Pixelbee)
In other news, I just heard I won an award:

DreamingAward

It's a bittersweet feeling, because, oh, show, but on the other hand I well remember the love I felt for the characters and the entire universe then, and this one is one of the three Heroes stories I'm proudest of. So I'm very glad it's still read, and that people voted for it.
selenak: (Claire by Jessies Garden)
Something to wake up to:

Photobucket
selenak: (Six by Nyuszi)
Somewhat belatedly, because I'm behind these days (and keep those links coming): so, the Emmy nominations are there. They make me conclude that I might be watching too much tv; as opposed to previous years there are actually categories in which I'm familiar with almost or all candidates. This makes the rooting tricky at times - take the "outstanding lead actor in a drama series". Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan or Hugh Laurie as Gregory House? Despite the fact I have some mixed feels re: season 2 - not loss of quality feelings, I hasten to add, the show remained on top of its game, feelings as to the content - and despite enjoying Hugh L. I must say my vote would go to Michael C. Hall, who is awesome and never over the top in a role that practically invites it. I'm afraid neither of them will win, though, since Mad Men is such a critics' darling and Jon Hamm is also nominated. (He's good as Don Draper, but easily trumped by either Hall or Laurie; imo, of course.)

I'm glad [livejournal.com profile] londonkds recced Damages for me so I can root for Glenn Close as outstanding actress for better reasons than general admiration. Patty is the kind of morally ambiguous (and middle-aged!) role still sadly mostly given to men on tv, and she rocks in it.

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series is torment, because there are two Damages and one Lost guys nominated, all of whom I would be happy to see winning. Still, despite some wavering in the direction of Zeljko Ivanek as Ray Fiske, I can't resist favouring Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus. He was great from the moment he first showed up in later s2, and s4 in many ways has been the season of Ben. He really deserves that Emmy. Again, I'm afraid the fact Damages has two nominations splitting loyalties (Ted Danson as Arthur Frobisher is also nominated) and they'll go for the Mad Men guy instead, John Slattery as Roger Sterling. Which will make me cross. If Emerson doesn't get it, either Ivanek or Danson really should.

Outstanding Drama series has Dexter versus Damages versus Lost versus Mad Men versus House. (Oh, and Boston Legal, but I still haven't watched that.) See my dilemma? I shall surpress my inner fan and my unresolved issues and go with Dexter because all being said and done, it does what Mad Men, Damages and House do and does it better. (Which is to say: the characters are as flawed and a product of their background, the writing as good, but as opposed to Mad Men or Damages I care for the entire ensemble, not just some of them, and as opposed to House those characters do have lives that don't center around the lead.) While Lost has had a wonderful fourth season, it isn't quite on that level.

Lastly: biggest surprise? That Battlestar Galactica made it into one of the not-technical categories. Sadly not in one of the acting ones (or happily, because if Mary McDonnell were nominated I couldn't root for Glen Close, and James Callis would make me waver in my Ben/Emerson loyalities, but it did get nominated in "Outstanding writing for a drama series", where the episode in question runs against two from Mad Men, one from Damages and one from the Wire, so I don't expect BSG to win. (Genre prejudice and all, pluse there are formidable opponents.) Still, one episode got nominated... and it was written by fannish bete noir, Michael Angeli. Six of One, to be precise. Which I recall was very good (as Cylon-centric episodes tend to be, but then I'm biased), but I'm surprised the show's creators didn't supply The Hub.
selenak: (Heroes in Munich by Kathyh)
Things to do while trying to remain unspoiled for a certain season finale:

a) pack suitcases (I'm hitting the road, or rather, the air plane, tomorrow afternoon)

b) read fanfiction from other fandoms, then rec it:

Lost:

A hill to die on: Hard to describe without spoiling - it's a Shannon pov, and yet covers all four seasons; it has Shannon in her acid, ruthlessly honest, vulnerable glory; and interactions with just about everyone are perfect.

Battlestar Galactica:

Our Dried Voices: through several encounters between Felix Gaeta, Adama and Roslin from early s1 to Revelations in s4, the author draws a portrait not just of the characters but the draining emotional journey they took. I'm especially in awe of her Roslin, because Laura in fanfic often ends up either nicer or darker/more all-knowing than the genuine article, and here she's just right.


c) make unexpected discoveries of nominations.

To wit: Heroes Slash fanfiction award for the summer are up - the nominations, I mean, the voting has just started. Now, not only haven't I written Heroes fanfic for a while (I love the show as much as ever, but I've said what I wanted about the characters based on the canon we have so far, and am waiting for new canon so I can say more) but the Heroes stories I did write back when were gen with just a smidgen of subtext now and then. So getting nominated anyway several times for characterisations was a pleasant surprise. (Hell is is up for Best Bennet Characterisation and Trioditis for Best Claire. Also Dreaming for best Molly, but as I won that one last time, I don't expect a reccurence. Whoever nominated any and all of these, thank you! I feel flattered and honored.
selenak: (Hiro by lay of luthien)
Whom to root for, that is the questions. The Hugo nominations have:

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Battlestar Galactica "Razor" Written by Michael Taylor.

Doctor Who "Blink" Written by Stephen Moffat.

Doctor Who "Human Nature" / "Family of Blood" Written by Paul Cornell.

Star Trek New Voyages "World Enough and Time" Written by Michael Reaves & Marc Scott.

Torchwood "Captain Jack Harkness" Written by Catherine Tregenna.

Razor was good for BSG but not extraordinary; it reminded me of Babylon 5's In the Beginning in that you get intriguing character scenes, but if you're not a fan it makes no sense, and if you're a fan and have watched the show so far already, then it doesn't tell you something that you haven't already seen or at least hinted at in the show proper. Seriously, if I had to nominate something from BSG's output last year, I'd go for Exodus I + II every time. Ah well, makes my loyalities less split. However...

Moffat versus Cornell versus Tregenna? Grrr, arggh! Hm. Captain Jack Harkness was undoubtedly one of the few undisputed and truly excellent highlights from season 1 of TW, but put against the two DW entries, sorry, I'd pick either over it. I mean, Captain Jack Harkness has a poignant war time romance as a main plot and a Ianto versus Owen showdown as the subplot, but:

Blink has: Moffat performing his specialty, coming up with new intentive scary, scary monsters. Also has extremely clever use of the non-linearity of time travel (also known ever since as "timey-wimey stuff") and a very engaging one shot character and supporting cast. Best Doctor-and-Companion-lite episode on New Who so far, making a virtue out of necessity. If this one wins, Moffat would be three for three (he won last year for "Girl in the Fireplace" and the year before for "Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances").

Human Nature/ The Family of Blood has: Cornell adopting his novel without falling into any of the traps of novel adaption (to wit: either too much sticking to the page so it feels more like a lifeless illustration, or managing to loose what made a novel interesting to the reader); terrific character showcasing for Martha - who shines in relentlessly dire circumstances for her and among many other things pulls off one of the best turnarounds of a hostage situation ever. Great acting by David Tennant as John Smith, who isn't "The Doctor, only human" but a human being created from parts of the Doctor and his own personality. (Paul Cornell in both audio commentaries - the podcast and the one for the DVDs - points in particular to the scene where the Doctor plays John Smith for the Family of Blood, because as he says Tennant plays this differently than genuine John Smith.) Excellent use of period in terms other than just pretty costumes - you get the racism, classism, and militarism of preWWI England, and as opposed to the cliché in virtually every genre show ever, here not just the evil or ambiguous characters share the prejudices of their time but so do the sympathetic ones. Has the most chilling scene showcasing the Doctor's ruthless side on New Who so far. Lastly: fobwatch!


...I think, all in all, I'm pro-Cornell, though Blink is an awesome little standalone jewel of an episode. But this is where being a series fan comes in - Human Nature/Family of Blood is more layered in what it says about the time it's placed in, about Martha and her resilience, about John Smith and the Doctor. And while you could place Blink in any other season, Human Nature/ The Family of Blood pretty much has to be season 3/29.


Then we have:

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Enchanted Written by Bill Kelly.

The Golden Compass Written by Chris Weitz. Based on the novel by Philip Pullman.

Heroes, Season 1 Created by Tim Kring. Written by Tim Kring, Jeph Loeb, Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, Natalie Chaidez, Jesse Alexander, Adam Armus, Aron Eli Coleite, Joe Pokaski, Christopher Zatta, Chuck Kim.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Written by Michael Goldenberg. Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling.

Stardust Written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn. Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman.


Enchanted is charming fluff. Nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn't vote it to the top.

Stardust is also charming fluff, which on the one hand is based on work of a writer I adore but on the other has some added elements I dislike (the vilification of Victoria complete with "punishment", which isn't in the original novel at all where Victoria is a likeable character who just happens to be not in love with Tristan and says the challenging words as a nice put down because she doesn't believe he'll ever take her up on them; also, in the book Una becomes the regent for Tristan which makes sense because he has no idea of how to govern at all).

As far as the two other novel adaptions are concerned, I liked OotP, and Goldenberg does better than Steve Kloves, but the fannish nitpicker in me thinks by giving us only that brief glimpse of the Snape's memories sequence and cutting out Harry's reaction entirely, they managed to ignore the point of the disillusionment with father figures and ill served continuity for the next films. The Golden Compass felt like the first two HP films, actually: a beautiful illustration which somehow never comes to life. Also, they pulled a Shelob on the ending, and Peter Jackson is the only one allowed to do that.

Which leaves me in good conscience and not at all because I'm biased as hell rooting for the first season of Heroes as the winner. It has its flaws (yes, it has, season 2 enemies, and they are pretty much the same as season 2's flaws), but my, does it also have its strengths. And it really is a sprawling comic book brought to life, using the to be stopped destruction of New York as a red thread loosely tying many different storylines together. I might not have mentioned it recently, due to on-the-air shows and films to review, but I love Heroes. A lot. And if that first season doesn't win the Hugo, Angela Petrelli will have a word with the voters.
selenak: (ParkmanPetrelli by iconnaissances)
Having finished packing my suitcase early and still having time before we take off to the airport, I browse the internet and lo and behold, I find this:


Molly Characterization Winner



Thanks everyone who voted for me, she said, still slightly bewildered (but very grateful) at having won with a gen piece in slash competition. Dreaming was my last story in 2007 and I definitely adored writing it.

Off to the airport, hoping I'll find the car rental agency again....
selenak: (Hiro by lay of luthien)
A curse on all train strikes. Driving hours and hours in the rain on the motorway to an unknown destination and back from same the next day is so much not fun. However, returning I discovered that Campaign Secrets was nominated as Best Humor Fic at the [livejournal.com profile] bestofheroes Fanfiction Awards. This naturally makes me into a shameless vote mongerer, and to quote Nathan: Vote Petrelli [livejournal.com profile] selenak! Early and often!

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