THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #123 – Brief and to the point… plus AFI Awards

 Not much of note happened this week. The regular sports got on with life, no real news beyond Brendan Fevola once again getting into trouble (allegedly he owes $200k and the people concerned want it yesterday, and I emphasise allegedly because it is just a Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper starting this tale). Cricket has a brief international respite. That’s it. Short, sharp and shiny.
            Enjoy the abbreviated View.

What? Oprah’s in Australia and I’m supposed to talk about it? Really? Well, really, according to an email that asked me my thoughts on it. Okay, here goes. She’s giving the country a much needed tourism boost, a campaign that money really can’t buy. She thinks McCafes mean something in this country (they do, but only for expat Americans and wannabe Americans who live in Sydney), she thinks the people of this country should know how many indigenous species of beetle there are, and she screams a lot for no apparent reason. Australian media and politicians are treating her like a head of state; 95% of Australians think that she’s just another loud tourist who brought along a whole bunch of other loud tourists with her. We’ll be polite and helpful if we meet any of them, but they’re just people here on holiday.
            There, Oprah Winfrey in Australia. Can I get on with the important stuff now, like sport? Thank-you.
            The view:

Cricket
News
Australia have made the changes for the third test in Perth. At least one smacks of desperation. And that’s all I’m saying until the match. So let’s see if it’s too little or too late.

Soccer
A-League Round 17 (cont)
Melbourne Heart 0 def by Newcastle Jets 2
A-League Round 18
Adelaide United 2 def North Queensland Fury 0
Melbourne Heart 1 def by Melbourne Victory 3
Gold Coast United 2 def Wellington Phoenix 0
Sydney 0 def by Brisbane Roar 1
Perth Glory 1 drew with Central Coast Mariners 1
W-League Round 6
Adelaide United 1 def by Brisbane Roar 3
Newcastle Jets 0 def by Canberra United 1
Sydney 2 def Perth Glory 0

Basketball
NBL – Round 9
New Zealand 93 def Cairns 79
Wollongong 81 def Adelaide 79
Townsville 91 def Gold Coast 86
Perth 87 def Melbourne 76
Sydney 80 def by Wollongong 95
WNBL – Round 10
Canberra 96 def AIS 56
Bendigo 69 def  West Coast 62
Logan 57 def by Bulleen 73
Sydney 83 def AIS 61
Dandenong 72 def by West Coast 77
Townsville 62 def by Bulleen 86
Adelaide 69 def by Bendigo 76

Baseball
ABL
Adelaide 8 def Brisbane 4
Canberra 0 def by Perth 7
Sydney 4 def by Melbourne 6 (15 innings!)
Adelaide 1 def by Brisbane 3
Canberra 0 slaughtered by Perth 10
Sydney 6 def by Melbourne 7
Canberra 1 def by Perth 2
Sydney 4 def Melbourne 1
Canberra 2 def by Perth 8
Melbourne 12 hammered Sydney 5
Sydney 3 hammered by Melbourne 18 (completed early)

Boxing
Garth Wood, winner of Australia’s version of ‘The Contender’ television series, shocked Australia’s IBO Middleweight champion Anthony Mundine with a fifth round knockout this week.
            ‘The Man’ was beaten cleanly and it is being speculated that his boxing career may be on the wane. But while this is certainly not a good result, to say he is finished is most likely premature.

Australia!
2010 AFI Awards
The Australian Film Institute awards for this year were held this week. They recognise the best in film and television, and in my opinion they rarely make too many mistakes (not like the Oscars… O’Rourke not winning best actor! Hmph!). So here is the full list of winners and some commentary from me on it all.
Best film – ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best direction – David Michod, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best original screenplay – David Michod, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best adapted screenplay – Stuart Beattie, ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’
            Great book, not too bad film. But considering the structure and POV of the book, this was as well done as it was possible to do.
Best lead actor – Ben Mendelsohn, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best lead actress – Jacki Weaver, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best supporting actor – Joel Edgerton, ‘Animal Kingdom’
            Yeah, ‘Animal Kingdom’ is a good film. A crime drama – something which Australians tend to do moderately well only on TV or as comedies – but this is good I think because it looks more at the lives of those involved and not the heists themselves.
Best supporting actress – Deborah Mailman, ‘Bran Nue Dae’
            One of the better films about indigenous Australians because it is upbeat and not depressing. A musical as well.
Best feature length documentary – ‘Contact’, Martin Butler and Bentley Dean (ABC)
            Haven’t seen this, but want to. About the last group of Aborigines to meet white men in Australia, in 1964. Sounds really good.
International award for best actor – Sam Worthington, ‘Avatar’
            Why? That film was only about the special effects, and not the so-called acting of the humans. I think Russell Crowe in the Robin Hood film was better. The best was probably Geoffrey Rush in ‘The King’s Speech’ but I think that was released too late to qualify for this year.
International award for best actress – Mia Wasikowska, ‘Alice in Wonderland’
            Again, why? She was overshadowed by every single actor that appeared on screen with her. The special effects and Johnny Depp were the stars of this film, maybe even director Tim Burton, and she was there to give the titular character some body and to look nice. What about Cate Blanchett in ‘Robin Hood’? (Yes, I liked ‘Robin Hood’, deal with it!)
Young actor award – Harrison Gilbertson, ‘Beneath Hill 60′
            Stunning film, based on a true story, with a very claustrophobic feel, and all the actors in it were very good.
Members’ choice award – ‘Animal Kingdom’
Readers’ choice award – ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best cinematography – Greig Fraser, ‘Bright Star’
            Missed it. Sorry.
Best editing – Luke Doolan, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best sound – Andrew Plain, David Lee, Gethin Creagh and Robert Sullivan, ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’
Best original music score – Antony Partos and Sam Petty, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best production design – Janet Patterson, ‘Bright Star’
Best costume design – Janet Patterson, ‘Bright Star’
Visual effects award – Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig, Rangi Sutton, James Rogers and Randy Vellacott, ‘Daybreakers’
            Missed this one as well.
Best television drama series – ‘Rush’, Season 3 (Ten)
            Overrated.
Best telefeature, mini series or short run series – ‘Hawke’ (Ten)
Best direction in television – Emma Freeman, ‘Hawke’ (Ten)
            This was a superb miniseries that gave an honest look at our former Prime Minister and union leader. Great in all aspects.
Best screenplay in television – Jason Gann, Adam Zwar, ‘Wilfred II’ – Episode 7, Dog Star (SBS)
            Never got the appeal of this series, despite numerous attempts. (It’s about a dog who’s actually a man in a suit and only one person realises this. I think.)
Best lead actor in a television drama – Richard Roxburgh, ‘Hawke’ (Ten)
            Well deserved.
Best lead actress in a television drama – Catherine McClements, ‘Tangle’, Season 2 (showcase)
            Never seen it; it’s on PayTV and why pay for TV?
Best guest or supporting actor in a television drama – Damien Garvey, ‘Underbelly: The Golden Mile’ – Episode 10, Hurt on Duty (Nine)
            Probably the least of the Underbelly franchise, but still riveting television.
Best guest or supporting actress in a television drama – Deborah Mailman, ‘Offspring’ (Ten)
            Never saw it, but this is Deborah Mailman’s second acting award in this AFI Awards. She is a very good actress and why she isn’t a bigger star around the world makes me… Hang on. That’s right. She doesn’t fit in with the standard anorexic bimbo – all teeth, botox and plastic. She only has talent and natural good looks. Poor woman.
Best children’s television drama – ‘My Place’ (ABC)
            Missed it.
Best children’s television animation – ‘dirtgirlworld’ (ABC)
            My kids like this, so I’d say it’s well deserved.
Best television comedy series – ‘Review With Myles Barlow’, Season 2 (ABC)
            One of the most original comedies in Australia in years. Barlow is a critic, but he doesn’t just critique film and music and arts – he critiques aspects of life and to do so he indulges in them. Like stalking a celebrity, going to prison, backpacking Europe, starting a cult… funny stuff.
Best light entertainment television series – ‘The Gruen Transfer’, Series 3 (ABC)
            One of the few shows my wife and I watch together. It’s a critical and funny look at the world of advertising. I even own series 1 and 2 on DVD already. More funny stuff.
Best performance in a television comedy – Phil Lloyd, ‘Review With Myles Barlow’, Season 2 (ABC)
            Not only does he play Miles, he is one of the two writers. It’s about time he got some credit.
Outstanding achievement in television screen craft – Shaun Micallef, ‘Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation’ (Ten)
            While I find the show not to my tastes, Micallef is one of the funniest men in Australia, and if you can get a hold of his book – ‘Smithereens’ – it has some of the best modern Australian comedy writing out there.
Best documentary under one hour – ‘You Only Live Twice, The Incredibly True Story Of The Hughes Family’ (ABC1)
            Didn’t see it.
Best documentary series – ‘Liberal Rule, The Politics That Changed Australia’ (SBS)
            Only lasted one episode; this sort of politics depresses me.
Best direction in a documentary – Jacob Hickey, ‘Inside The Firestorm’ (ABC)
            Missed this as well.
Best cinematography in a documentary – ‘Miracles’ – Episode 1, Miracle in the Storm (ABC)
            Nope.
Best editing in a documentary – Steven Robinson, ‘Inside The Firestorm’ (ABC)
Best sound in a documentary – Jock Healy, Tristan Meredith and AJ Bradford, ‘Inside The Firestorm’ (ABC)
Best short animation – ‘The Lost Thing’ – Sophie Byrne, Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan.
            Sorry.
Best short fiction film – ‘The Kiss’ – Sonya Humphrey and Ashlee Page.
            I feel bad now…
Best screenplay in a short film – ‘Deeper Than Yesterday’ – Ariel Kleiman.
            And worse.
Outstanding achievement in short film screen craft – Nick Matthews – ‘The Kiss’, Cinematography.
Raymond Longford award (“given to a person who has shown an unwavering commitment over many years to excellence in the film and television industries and has, through their body of work to date, contributed substantially to the enrichment of Australian screen culture”; this is the AFI’s highest honour) – Reg Grundy
Byron Kennedy award ( for “outstanding creative enterprise within the film and television industries”) – Animal Logic – presented to Zareh Nalbandian
            So there you have it.

And that’s the View through to December 13, 2010.

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