BAFTA Rising Star Nominees 2014

Bafta Rising Star Nominees 2014

This year’s BAFTA Film Awards will be presented on the 16th of February and there is one award in particular that never fails to catch my attention; the Rising Star Award. The unique nature of the award is that the winner is voted for by the public and this is both intriguing and to the awards detriment. The award will sometimes go to the nominee with the biggest fan base or highest profile rather than an up and coming talent that could really do with the encouragement.

Yesterday BAFTA announced the five nominees as selected by a panel of industry experts and I’m here to pass judgement on them and see who I think should win.

Dane Dehaan

Dane Dehaan
Dehaan first grabbed my attention with his Season 3 role in Gabriel Byrne’s dialogue heavy TV epic In Treatment as the troubled teen Jesse D’Amato. Since then he has perfected the role of troubled genius in films such as Chronicle and Kill Your Darlings. Dehaan managed to ground the supernatural Chronicle and make it all the more real by putting in a truly threatening performance. I may not have enjoyed Kill Your Darlings but it certainly wasn’t Dehaan’s fault. His next major appearance is taking over the role of Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (a casting spookily predicted by Stephen on this blog) and I for one am quietly excited. As someone with some solid but low-key performances under his belt and more mainstream fare up ahead I can easily see what makes Dehaan a candidate for the Rising Star Award.

Will Poulter

Will Poulter
Oh Will, where did it all go wrong? Six years ago Poulter debuted in the adorable British film Son of Rambow directed by Garth Jennings in which Will played the role of Lee Carter. Since then he has taken on a few TV roles, appeared as Eustace in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and acted in the critically acclaimed Wild Bill. Most recently he has undone all that good work by helping to make the atrocity that was We’re the Millers. Sorry Will but I really can’t get past that film.

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Nyong’o has a 100% flawless record of five-star films by virtue of the fact that her sole cinematic release to date is the, as yet unreleased in the UK, 12 Years a Slave. In this future Oscar winner (trust me) Lupita plays a young slave woman who is separated from her child and suffers the worst brutality seen in the film. As an attractive young woman she suffers from the amorous advances of her “owner” and the jealous rages of his wife all while grieving for her absent child. Nyong’o’s performance is striking and heartbreaking and I’d say she deserved this award if I didn’t already think she was on her way to the Best Actress Oscar instead.

Léa Seydoux

Léa Seydoux
Léa Seydoux has been working solidly in French cinema since 2006 and made a few appearances in high-profile American fare including Midnight in Paris, Inglourious Basterds, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. What has really brought Seydoux to everyone’s attention is her supporting role in the epic love story (and my favourite film of 2013) that is Blue is the Warmest Colour. Much as I loved her performance in the film I can’t help but think that her co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos is more deserving of a position on this list. Exarchopoulos carried the film on her shoulders and has a much less developed CV than Seydoux. All that said I am very excited to see where Léa’s career goes next particularly with her role in the remake of La belle & la bête coming up later this year.

George Mackay

George Mackay
Sadly, despite his recent role in the Proclaimers musical Sunshine on Leith, I have no idea who George Mackay is. Perhaps this anonymity makes him the perfect nominee for an award aimed at encouraging a burgeoning career or perhaps I just need to widen my cinematic horizons so that an actor’s entire career doesn’t pass me by again. Sorry George!

For me the winner has to be Dane DeHaan. Despite having a good crop of films behind him DeHaan has not yet become a household name and has put in a series of solid performances in smaller films. The others in the list have either risen too much in my opinion or made one bad film with Jennifer Aniston that i can’t get past. Not naming any names obviously. George Mackay prove me wrong, I’ll be sure to watch How I Live Now when it comes out on DVD.

Disagree with me? Of course you do! Have your say by voting over at the Rising Star Award page.

Chronicle – Review

We apologise that our Chronicle review has hit the web so late. Our (Stephen’s) tardiness puts you, the reader, in one of two categories: Now that Chronicle has been in cinemas for a full week you have probably already seen the film and loved it (if not, what’s wrong with you?), or you are still on the fence/in the group of people who think the film looks naff. Well, grumpy face, I also thought Chronicle looked pretty unspectacular too. Sure, it seemed worth the £10 for the ticket but it also looked like another boring found footage film in a genre that is already looking very bloated this year.

But appearances can be deceiving. I just came out of Man On A Ledge hoping that it would be chock full of B-Movie idiocies and unbearable acting – as the trailer suggested; when it was in fact a more than decent film. That trailer deceived me! Cinema is always lying (allegedly); Chronicle, for one, isn’t even a found footage film – more on that later – and its exploration of ‘Superpowers ABC, 123’ is far superior to those seen in the better half of the last two decades’ bazillion superhero films.

The film follows – literally – Andrew (Dane DeHaan), a friendless only child; beaten by his drunk of a father and abused by his high school peers. Andrew begins to film his every move as an experiment (though it’s never exactly clear why) and whilst at a party he is pulled away by his cousin, Matt (Michael Kelly) and the school’s student body president, Steve (Michael B. Jordan) to a hollow in a nearby wood. Exploring the site the trio come across an ominous object which reacts to their presence, causing them to black out. Over the next few weeks the newly formed group of friends realize that they have developed telekinesis (the power to move things using the mind) and before long they begin to abuse their power which inevitably affects the friends’ dynamic and ultimate destiny.

Andrew shows "The Amazing Spider-Man" that "Chronicle" means business— Andrew shows “The Amazing Spider-Man” that “Chronicle” means business —

Debut director Josh Trank and first-major-feature scribe Max Landis (son of John) manage to create an excellent film with the seemingly done-to-death idea of superhero beginnings. The story’s main beats are pretty much standard (as well as being somewhat very similar to Stephen King’s novel, Carrie) but the way that the trio’s relationship becomes staggeringly real is certainly down to excellent film craftsmanship by Trank and Landis. Not to give the creative team all the glory though, the performances and striking chemistry between the leads only aids in making Chronicle a tour de force of genuinely affecting story-telling and an excellent piece of cinema.

What really sets Chronicle apart from other found-footage films is not just the way that the characters begin to have the camera follow them by use of their telekinesis (thereby allowing all three on-screen for full coverage) but also the District 9­­-like use of jumping to other camera footage (security cameras, tourists, other characters with cameras) to branch out from the singular camera narrative, allowing multiple perspectives – which again, reminds one of the storytelling used in Carrie – suspending our disbelief that little bit more for non-stop enjoyment.

Despite the fact that the trailers gave the impression that the film doesn’t add much to the found footage ‘genre’ or superhero/sci-fi lore Chronicle displays some sharp character profiling in an emotional and genuine way. Let’s just say that The Dark Knight Rises has got a bit to live up to.

Out Now – 1st February 2012

Chronicle
Stephen has seen this film and was going to review it but then dropped his laptop. In the meantime you can have me writing a slightly clueless synopsis and then trying to distract you with a trailer. What we have here is a found-footage film about three teenagers who get superpowers and do not use them wisely. Will that do for a synopsis? No? Hey look, a trailer:

A small message from Stephen while we wait for him to get his laptop fixed: “Get on seeing Chronicle by the way – smashing film.”