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Banksy Takes the Top Prize at the Cinema Eye Documentary Honors

Banksy Takes the Top Prize at the Cinema Eye Documentary Honors (photo)

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Last night’s fourth annual Cinema Eye Honors, the awards show dedicated entirely to documentary excellence, belonged to street artist Banksy. His film “Exit Through the Gift Shop” took home two awards including the film’s top prize for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking and the man himself delivered the acceptance speech of the night. Well, not quite the man himself, since Banksy was a no show (obviously, since nobody outside of one random seller on eBay). But “Gift Shop” producer Jaimie D’Cruz, accepting the award on Banksy’s behalf, read some words the man himself had prepared. And they were fantastic. After some pleasantries, D’Cruz got down to business. I had my tape recorder rolling. Here was Banksy’s speech:

“Now’s not the time for long, rambling speeches. I’ll leave that for the director of ‘Waiting for Superman.’

I’d like to thank the Cinema Eye awards. It’s great to be recognized by people who are so obsessed with the documentary genre — in other words people who are even more socially retarded than myself.

I guess some of you may be getting a bit suspicious about me. How can you know that this award is real? But I’d like to categorically assure you that this evening’s awards are not being staged by actors for a parody I’m making about film awards.

I’d like to thank anyone who worked on the movie. Almost all of them did a great job. And I’d like to dedicate this award to anyone out there who’s ever looked at the state of this world and though: ‘I can’t just stand idly by and watch this happen. I need to get it on tape.’ Thank you and have a good evening.”

The other big winner of the night was “Last Train Home,” Lixin Fan’s documentary about one Chinese couple traveling to their family home to celebrate the New Year. It won three awards — the most of any film — for best production, cinematography, and international feature (i.e. best foreign documentary). Here’s the full list of Cinema Eye winners. You can find out more about the show at CinemaEyeHonors.com.

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”
Outstanding Achievement in Direction: Laura Poitras, “The Oath”
Outstanding Achievement in Production: Mila Aung-Thwin and Daniel Cross, “Last Train Home”
Outstanding Achievement in Editing: Chris King and Tom Fulford, “Exit Through the Gift Shop”
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Lixin Fan, “Last Train Home”
Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score: Norbert Möslang, “The Sound of Insects: Record of a Mummy”
Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Animation: Juan Cardarelli and Alex Tyson, “Gasland”
Outstanding Achievement in an International Feature: “Last Train Home”
Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film: “Marwencol”
Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking: “The Poodle Trainer”
Audience Choice Prize: “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”
Legacy Award: “Grey Gardens”
Spotlight Award: “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucascu”
Heterodox Award: “Putty Hill”

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

acorn

First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

pointplace

In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

spoils

Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

The 2011 Golden Globe Winners

The 2011 Golden Globe Winners (photo)

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In a night of very few surprises, “The Social Network” continued its dominance of the 2011 awards season, racking up four Golden Globes for Best Picture (Drama), Best Director (David Fincher), Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin), and Best Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). Along with “Social Network,” Fincher, and Sorkin, most of the Oscar frontrunners showed no signs of slipping from their positions in their respective races. Colin Firth won best dramatic actor for “The King’s Speech,” while Natalie Portman took home best dramatic actress for “Black Swan” and my personal award for the Most Endearingly Awkward Moment of the night when she cracked herself up delivering a joke about her meeting her fiance on the set of the film.

The best supporting performances both came from David O. Russell’s boxing movie, “The Fighter” — Christian Bale won on the male side and Melissa Leo won on the female side, besting her co-star Amy Adams — while Annette Bening won best comedic actress for “The Kids Are All Right.” Really, the only true shocker of the night came in the category of best comedic actor, which went to Paul Giamatti in “Barney’s Version” over two Johnny Depps (“The Tourist” and “Alice in Wonderland”), Jake Gyllenhaal, and Kevin Spacey. Giamatti also netted my personal award for Most Uncomfortably Awkward Moment of the night for the sheepish pass he made at presenter Halle Berry during his acceptance speech followed by the cut to a shot of Berry expressing what I would charitably describe as disinterest.

Here’s the full lineup of film winners at the Globes:

Best Motion Picture – Drama: “The Social Network”
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: “The Kids Are All Right”
Best Director: David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”
Best Actor – Drama: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Best Actress – Drama: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Best Actor – Musical or Comedy: Paul Giamatti, “Barney’s Version”
Best Actress – Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Best Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World”
Best Animated Film: “Toy Story 3″
Best Original Score:Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network”
Best Original Song: Diane Warren (“You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me”), “Burlesque”

Since the actual awards yielded so few surprises or memorable speeches, what people will be talking about around the water cooler tomorrow — or Tuesday if they’ve got tomorrow off for Martin Luther King Day — is the hosting job delivered by Ricky Gervais. When he hosted last year, Gervais was so fearless in attacking the stars and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that I was certain he’d never be invited to host any awards show again, much less the Golden Globes. To my shock, the Globes invited him back and he delivered a monologue for the ages, equally brutal and brutally funny. Here it is:

As the night went on, Gervais’ introductions didn’t grow any warmer (he welcomed Bruce Willis to the stage by rattling off a list of credits of his worst movies including “Hudson Hawk” and “Color of Night” and describing him as “Ashton Kutcher’s dad”). After slaughtering one celebrity after another, Gervais vanished completely from the show’s final hour, prompting quite a few viewers to begin wondering aloud on Twitter and Facebook whether the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had kicked him off the show in mid-broadcast. I’m reading descriptions from journalists in the room that the jokes played poorly in Beverly Hills, and that’s not surprising: Gervais’ targets are so pampered they aren’t used to even hearing the word ‘no,’ much less getting teased for the terrible movies they occasionally (or often) make.

I have no idea whether Gervais will be back for a third tour of duty on the Globes, but I admired his effort. While long bubbling claims of impropriety about the HFPA resurfaced in the days leading up to the awards, all any of the winners had to say was “Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for this incredible honor.” Someone had to address the elephant in the room, and it clearly wasn’t going to be Colin Firth.

Awards mean very little; I want to say awards mean nothing but that’s not true. They do mean something, and that something is money. That’s why people bribe lobby so hard for these awards; because they look good on ads that encourage people to go to the theater. And if they get a reluctant viewer to go see “Black Swan,” they’ve served a purpose. But we make too much out of them, and Gervais did a fine job of reminding us of that. I — and I suspect a lot of people — watch the Golden Globes for two reasons: out of obligation and to make fun of them. Gervais is the perfect Globes host because he understands both those impulses.

Lawsuit Alleges Golden Globes Payola

Lawsuit Alleges Golden Globes Payola (photo)

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There’s will definitely be a buzz in the air at the Golden Globes this Sunday, and it won’t just be about someone wearing a crazy dress that looks like a duck. That’s because of a report in TheWrap that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that runs and votes on the Globes, is being sued by their former publicist for, amongst other things, breach of contract and wrongful termination. But the lawsuit from Michael Russell itself is far less newsworthy than the dark secrets about the HFPA it may reveal. That’s because Russell claims that he was fired from his post as the longtime publicist for the Globes after he wrote a letter to HFPA president Philip Berk warning him that the organization’s seedy practices were in violation of its status as “a charitable organization dedicated to recognizing excellence in film.”

Those seedy practices? According to TheWrap, they include:

>> Accepting money, vacations, and gifts from studios in exchange for nominating their films.

>> Selling media credentials and red carpet space for profit.

>> Accepting payment from studios and producers for lobbying other members for awards nominations.

Allegations of the HFPA’s sketchiness are nothing new; they rear their sketchy head almost every year when the Golden Globe nominations are announced. Back in December, I wrote about the outraged reaction to some of the 2011 nominees — including several for the atrocious Johny Depp vehicle “The Tourist” — while recounting a few of the HFPA’s more notorious cases of possible payola (like that one time Pia Zadora won a Best Newcomer Award after — and these things were totally unrelated — the “movie’s producer, who was also her husband, had flown the entire HFPA to Las Vegas for a weekend holiday immediately before they voted” (that according to The Independent).

At this point, I’m over being outraged about the Golden Globes. Whether or not what they do is strictly illegal, whether or not they’re abusing their not-for-profit status, it’s a largely faceless group of 80 unaccountable people whose tastes seem to be easily swayed by their pocketbooks. We have to share some of the blame here. It’s as much our fault for putting so much stock in these people as it is for them abusing a system for their material gain.

But just because this lawsuit isn’t shocking doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to be really juicy. Hollywood’s ultimate nightmare would be if Russell names names. Can you imagine what would happen if it came out that big-time movie stars colluded with the studios to “earn” themselves awards? It would a media feeding frenzy and a PR catastrophe. Don’t forget a publicist is engineering this whole thing — including the timing of the lawsuit just days before the 2011 awards.

Speaking of which, this year’s Golden Globes air this Sunday at 8:00 PM eastern on NBC. Normally, I would expect a controversy like this to go completely unmentioned on the actual show. But the returning host, Ricky Gervais, has no compunction biting the hand that feeds him. Wouldn’t shock me to see him do something funny with this stuff on Sunday.

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