JACKI WEAVER has emerged as a contender for another Academy Award nomination. After winning acclaim for playing the terrifying crime matriarch "Smurf" Cody in Animal Kingdom, the veteran Australian actress's latest Hollywood movie is David O'Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, a poignant comedy about a depressed teacher (played by Bradley Cooper) who is released from a psychiatric hospital into the care of his parents (Robert de Niro and Weaver). (Watch the trailer here)
Garry Maddox reports that the film has won the top audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, a prize previously picked up by such future Oscar winners as The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and American Beauty. The film industry bible, the Hollywood Reporter, says Silver Linings Playbook is a serious contender for a batch of nominations, including Weaver for best supporting actress.
Another actress being widely tipped to feature during the awards season is Quvenzhane Wallis, who stars as a sparky six-year-old named Hushpuppy in the American swamp fantasy Beasts of the Southern Wild.One of the year's most original movies, it opened modestly in Australia last weekend, taking just $121,000 in 24 cinemas. The biggest splash in cinemas was the animated Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which took almost $4 million.
REVELLING IN THE ERNIES
As well you know, the Ernie Awards are handed out every year for the most sexist comments in Australian public life. (They are named after Ernie Ecob, the former Australian Workers Union secretary, whose comment ''Women aren't welcome in the shearing sheds. They're only after the sex'' is the reason the Gold Ernie has a sheep on it.) Anyway, next week is the awards' 20th anniversary and, as organiser Meredith Burgmann told us, ''it's being marked by the launching of a website, www.ernies.com.au, which charts the history of the winners and provides some amazing old photos from the early years''. Burgmann told us more than 5000 women (and a few odd males) have attended an Ernies dinner at some time, among them Quentin Bryce, a very young Tanya Plibersek, Ann Sherry, Julie McCrossin, Susan Ryan, Noeline Brown, Carmel Tebbutt, Jane Singleton, Judy Nunn, Eva Cox and lots of judges and magistrates. For the run up to the big night, we thought we'd revisit over the next few days some of the doozies to have picked up the Gold Ernie over the past two decades. For a start, we give you the first Gold Ernie, won by Joe de Bruyn, the national secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association: ''All childcare subsidies should be removed and reallocated to women who stayed home to mind their children.'' Textbook. Then, in 1996, there was magistrate Ron Gething, of the Magistrates Court of Western Australia, who found a man not guilty of stalking a woman for seven years: ''I don't think he was intimidating her, he was just being persistent. He was like a little puppy dog wagging its tail.'' If you thought that was bad, then there was this, in 1999, from an unnamed magistrate (in a case reviewed by the Judicial Commission): ''Women cause a lot of problems by nagging, bitching and emotionally hurting men. Men cannot bitch back for hormonal reasons and often have no recourse but violence.'' And to round out the millennium, Nick Bideau, ex-coach and former partner of Cathy Freeman, blitzed the field with ''I never turned away from Cathy … no matter how fat she was in 1997 and even in 1998.'' More tomorrow. (And probably a long time after that.)
URBAN PLANNING PAYS
After months of speculation, Keith Urban has confirmed what Channel Nine feared - his success on their reality singing contest The Voice has been so great he's abandoning it. The country singer has announced he will be joining American Idol as a judge from next year, alongside Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson and fellow newcomer Nicki Minaj. ''SO excited to be joining the team on @AmericanIdol!!!!!!,'' Urban tweeted to his fans, his bosses at Fox happily confirming the news shortly after. ''With an unparalleled star like Mariah, fan-favourite Randy, chart-toppers like Nicki and Keith and our incomparable host Ryan [Seacrest], we've put together one of the most exciting judging panels around,'' said Mike Darnell of Fox. It's a bittersweet moment for Nine, which helped remake Urban's image in Australia and overseas with The Voice, showing he is more than just a singer and husband to ''our Nic''. On The Voice, he came across as a warm, caring and knowledgable mentor genuinely interested in helping the singers improve. Interestingly, online gossip writer Perez Hilton has claimed Urban was so eager to join the show he took the job for just a third of what Minaj will be paid and a quarter of what Carey is getting. Mind you, Hilton said Urban would still be earning $US3 million to $US5 million ($2.8 million to $4.7 million).
NO PIERCING INSIGHT
The NSW government, we learn from an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal fact sheet out this month, has a target of $750 million in reduced ''red tape'' costs for business and the community by June 2015. It's an admirable idea and we applaud their decision to ask IPART to take a look at (for a start) local government compliance and enforcement activities to see how councils in NSW ''identify local government compliance and enforcement practices that are imposing unnecessary costs on councils, business and the community, [then] make recommendations to reduce or eliminate this red tape''. We applaud this because, in traditional government style, the plan not only has the potential to save us some money but it has exposed a particularly lovely example of bureaucratic language along the way. Even better than using ''benchmark'' as a verb is the part under ''public health and safety'' where the tribunal promises to take a closer look at the regulation of ''skin penetration businesses''. That would be what virtually everyone else calls a tattooist or piercing salon.
STAY IN TOUCH ...
WITH MAN OF THE CASH
FOR years, bookies and sports pundits have been using the phrase ''man of the match'' to heap praise on the best player in a game but they may soon have to pay for the privilege, the London Telegraph reports. OFS Group, an intellectual property firm that registered the trademark for the phrase in 2002, is selling the rights. Bookmakers including Ladbrokes and Paddy Power and beer companies such as Budweiser and Carlsberg have already expressed their interest in rights, which include the Man of the Match trademark and the website address, motm.com. Metis Partners is brokering the deal. The trademark is expected to fetch a high six-figure sum, although it could stretch into the millions amid expectations the new owner would effectively be able to penalise companies for using the phrase without consent. ''It's a phrase that is used all the time and the buyer will have the opportunity to charge for that use,'' the chief executive of Metis, Stephen Robertson, said. ''It's not quite about suing them … but they will be able to make some money.'' OFS will not be the first company trying to make money out of a phrase. Last year, Surrey businessman Mark Coop was branded ''greedy'' after he registered the trademark to the wartime slogan ''Keep Calm and Carry On''. In 1992, American boxing and wrestling announcer Michael Buffer took out the trademark to his own slogan, ''Let's Get Ready to Rumble'', and sold it to companies for videos and advertisements. By 2009, he had made more than $400 million from the rights. Offers for the Man of the Match trademark are due on Thursday.
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