After Slumdog Year, Britain Largely Snubbed at Oscars

  • At the 2009 Oscars, the UK was flying high, with homegrown epic Slumdog Millionaire sweeping the top categories, winning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

    The Brits had no such luck at last night’s Oscars, nearly getting shut out. An Education‘s Carey Mulligan and A Single Man‘s Colin Firth couldn’t convert their BAFTA wins into Academy Award success. Mulligan lost to Sandra Bullock, and Firth was no match for five-time nominee Jeff Bridges.

    The Guardian notes that there were only two British Oscar winners last night – costume designer Sandy Powell (see photo right), who won for The Young Victoria, and Hurt Locker editor Rob Beckett.

    The Daily Telegraph thinks Powell should receive the acclaim she deserves on her own shores: “As for Sandy Powell, it’s time to underline what a world-class costume designer we have living on these shores. This was her third Oscar – she has won previously for The Aviator and Shakespeare in Love – and she has been nominated on five other occasions. Her success this year is all the more remarkable for her work in a largely overlooked film, The Young Victoria. Powell is good news all round; we should be celebrating her.”

    It’s not as if Powell’s work has been ignored in the UK: she won a BAFTA this year for The Young Victoria, won another back in 1999 for Velvet Goldmine, and has received nine total nominations. Not too shabby.

    BBC NEWS lists all of the British nominees who went home empty-handed last night, and there were quite a few: actors Mulligan, Firth, and Dame Helen Mirren; Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park; Hurt Locker cinematographer Barry Ackroyd; the writers of In the Loop and An Education; and makeup artist Jenny Shircore, who was up for The Young Victoria. Congratulations and a hearty “keep your chin up” to all of the losers!

    In other news:

  • Victoria Beckham and Katie Price attempted to out-pout each other at Sir Elton John‘s Oscar party. (Daily Mail)
  • Christian Bale‘s mother opens up about the incident in a hotel that led her to call the police on her own son: “He has changed his phone numbers, and he ignores the letters, emails and birthday cards I send. As awful as that night was, and although I rack my mind every day about what could have made him behave like that, I’d happily forget it happened if we could go back to being a family. That’s the most important thing. We miss Christian terribly. But it’s been more than 18 months now and it’s hard to see how this will ever end.” (Daily Mail)
  • Actor James McAvoy gave up a “seven-figure sum” to star in the film I’m With Cancer in order to attend the birth of his child with actress wife, Anne-Marie Duff. (Telegraph)
  • Mark Linkous, lead singer of Sparklehorse, committed suicide over the weekend. Radiohead guitarist Colin Greenwood was one of many musicians who paid tribute to the indie hero. “I was very sad to hear the news that Mark Linkous has died. He and his band toured with us in Europe, at the start of OK Computer, and they were great every night.”

    British singer-songwriter PJ Harvey did one of her best collaborations with Sparklehorse, 2001′s “Piano Fire.” You can listen to the song below. This was in heavy rotation for me during much of my college years. R.I.P. Mr. Linkous.

  • Could Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos be the next Andrew Lloyd Webber? I’d be first in line to any musical Alex does.(NME)
  • Lily Allen “burst into tears” and “left the stage” when two audience members got into a fight during her London concert last night.(The Sun)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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