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'Otelo Burning' Up with 13 AMAA Nominations...

South African surfing film Otelo Burning scooped the most nominations (13), followed closely by South African film noir How 2 Steal 2 Million (11) and Nigeria’s Benin-set historical epic Adesuwa (10).  Ghana’s civil war film Somewhere in Africa has seven nominations, as does the Nigerian-South African xenophobia-themed co-production Man on Ground, while Kenya’s Rugged Priest has six.

Otelo Burning tells the story of a group of township kids who discover the joy of surfing against a backdrop of brewing conflict between two political groups in 1989. When 16-year-old Otelo Buthelezi takes to the water for the first time, it's clear that he was born to surf. When tragedy strikes, Otelo is forced to choose between surfing success and justice.

Shot in Durban and directed by Sara Blecher (Surfing Soweto), this coming-of-age drama stars Thomas Gumede as New Year with Jafta Mamabolo as the title character, Otelo Buthelezi. The film is described as somewhere between Brazilian crime masterpiece City of God and the teen dream adventures of surfing movie Blue Crush.

The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony for the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) on 22 April 2012, hosted by Heroes star Jimmy Jean-Louis. For the first time, the awards will be held in Lagos rather than Bayelsa in Nigeria. “Our theme this year is Africa Rising,” says founder Peace Anyiam-Osigwe. “Africa’s economies are consistently growing faster than those of almost any other region of the world and our film industries are following suit. With the success of last year’s AMAA winner, Viva Riva!, all of a sudden there’s this great excitement about the potential of the African film industry, which is clearly demonstrated in this year’s diverse nominees.”

Out in Africa - South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2012

Triple Oscar nominee Albert Nobbs will have its African première at the first edition of the 19th Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which runs from Friday, 23 March-Sunday 1 April 2012 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Glenn Close received her sixth Oscar nomination for her titular role as a woman passing as a man in order to work and survive in 19th Century Ireland. Janet McTeer, nominated as Best Supporting Actress, also has a cross-dressing role, and the film is up for Best Makeup. Rising star Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre) is the love interest.

South African Film and Television Awards - Nominees and Winners, SAFTA 2012


Best Director

Oliver Hermanus (Skoonheid)*
Timothy Greene (Skeem)
Jann Turner (Paradise Stop)
Khalo Matabane (State of Violence)

Best Actor

Jeremy Crutchley as "Alan Riley" (Retribution)
Dean Lotz as "Francois van Heerden" (Skoonheid)*
Joe Mafela as "Khumbulani Maphosa" (Retribution)
Fana Mokoena as "Bobedi" (State of Violence)

Best Supporting Actor

Motlatse Mafatshe as "Chappies" (State of Violence)
Neo Ntlatleng as "OJ" (State of Violence)
Patrick Mofokeng as "Willie" (Master Harold and the Boys)*
Andrew Thompson as "Hein" (Roepman)

Best Supporting Actress

Michelle Scott as "Elena van Heerden" (Skoonheid)
Jennifer Steyn as "Betty" (Master Harold and the Boys)
Desire Gardner as "Erika Rademan" (Roepman)*

Best Writing Team

Timothy Greene (Skeem)*
Greg Latter (Black Butterflies)
Mukunda Michael Dewil (Retribution)
Khalo Matabane (State of Violence)

Best Cinematographer

Miroslaw Baszak (The Bang Bang Club)
Trevor Calverley (Night Drive)
Miles Goodall (Retribution)
Giulio Biccariu (Black Butterflies)*

Best Editor in a Feature Film

Adam Broer, Tanja Hagen (Paradise Stop)*
Richard Starkey (Retribution)
Ron Sanders (The Bang Bang Club)
Sander Vos (Black Butterflies)
CA van Aswegen (Roepman)

Best Production Designer

J. Franz Lewis (Skoonheid)
Darryl Hammer (Black Butterflies)*
Waldemar Coetsee (Roepman)

Best Music Composition

Phillip Miller (The Bang Bang Club)
Ben Ludik (Skoonheid)
Phillip Miller (Black Butterflies)*
Barry Donnelly (Master Harold and the Boys)

Best Costume Designer

Ree Donnelly (Black Butterflies)*
Pierre Viennings (Master Harold and the Boys)
Marle Drotsky (Roepman)

Best Make-Up/Stylist in a Feature Film

Marli Kruger (The Bang Bang Club)
Julia Rubinstein (Skeem)
Raine Nicholette Edwards (Black Butterflies)*

Best Sound Designer

Philip Miller (The Bang Bang Club)
Barry Donelly (Black Butterflies)
Simon Ratcliffe (Retribution)*

Best Feature Film

Skoonheid (Moonlighting Films)
Black Butterfies (Spier Films)*
Roepman (The Film Factory)

Best Animation

Jungle Beat: This Little Light of Mine (Sunrise Productions)*
In Sickness (The Animation School)
YOTV Mvubu and Friends (Urban Brew - Yotv)

Best Student Film

Umkhumbi Wethu - Our Ship (AFDA)*
Pushers (Bigfish School Of Digital Filmmaking)
Near Life (City Varsity)
Ordinary Life (City Varsity)

Best Short Film

Dirty Laundry (Stealth Donkey Moving Pictures)*
Bomlambo - Those of the Water (AFDA)
Ubuntu's Wounds (Black Drop Productions)

*Category Winner

Marvel's 'The Avengers' - Over 13.7 Million Views in 24 Hours!

Marvel Studios announced on Friday that its new trailer for this winter’s most highly anticipated movie, Marvel’s The Avengers, was viewed over 13.7 million times in the first 24 hours of its debut, setting a new record for the most viewed trailer on iTunes and the iTunes Trailers app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The new trailer, unveiled Wednesday, February 29, exclusively on iTunes, gives fans an exciting look at Marvel's The Avengers - an action adventure of a lifetime - based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series The Avengers, first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.

In Marvel’s The Avengers the world’s greatest superheroes assemble when Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) join S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to protect the world from the dangerous and powerful villain, Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

An exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects,  Marvel’s The Avengers is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Joss Whedon from a story by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon with the screenplay by Joss Whedon.

The Avengers will be released on April 26, 2012 in cinemas nationwide.

Oscars 2012: Winners and Losers

The Academy Awards have been accused of being boring and predictable. This may be true of the event as a spectacle, but award ceremonies should be more concerned with credibility than accessibility. This year's nominations featured a number of surprises in the wake of The Golden Globes with a number of snubs. Here are this year's winners and losers with a brief commentary on the results.

Best Picture

Winner: The Artist

Nominees: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Hugo, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, The Descendants, The Help, The Tree of Life, War Horse

The Best Picture category was an interesting one. The Artist was the most superior film, an original -rounder and fully deserved the accolades. However, it wasn't a particularly strong year for film and most of the main competition were either not in the running or flawed. Hugo and War Horse lacked the performances, The Help lacked in the technical department, Moneyball was a baseball version of The Social Network, Midnight in Paris was too comedy, The Tree of Life was too experimental and didn't power home, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was a fluke nomination and The Descendants wasn't distinctive enough.

Best Actor

Winner: Jean DuJardin - The Artist

Nominees: Demian Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

While the 2012 Oscars may have been a bit predictable, the awards should be bestowed upon the best and not the most popular or hard-working. This probably explains why actors like Brad Pitt and George Clooney were overlooked. They managed to earn a nomination, but their cumulative work speaks louder than any individual performance. Pitt had a fantastic year with Moneyball and The Tree of Life and if it were based on aggregates, he should have clinched it.

Best Actress

Winner: Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

Nominees: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

While a solid category of nominees and despite several dark horse contenders, this was really between Viola Davis and Meryl Streep. Davis was superb in The Help, but the legendary Streep carried a middling biopic on her performance. Streep's previous Oscars may have given the Academy reason to award Davis, who has turned in a string of solid performances. However, it's been too many nominations and years between Oscar two and three... and with an Oscar-worthy reply to Helen Mirren's The Queen it was time to win again.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)

In possibly the most intriguing acting category, Plummer had the edge over Nolte's comeback in a film that deserved a place in the limelight. Jonah Hill's nomination was a tip of the hat. Max von Sydow's silent performance was acknowledged and Kenneth Branagh is always a safe bet, but didn't have enough screen time to ratchet an award-winning performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Octavia Spencer - The Help

Nominees: Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)

Another set of interesting supporting nominations, this one was a lock from the start with the funny, heart-on-sleeve performance from Octavia Spencer, who probably would've won up against her co-star, Viola Davis in a similar dynamic to Precious. Chastain had the best year on aggregate and as a newcomer, Berenice Bejo was up to the task with a winning film behind her and Melissa McCarthy's comic performance would've been quite an upset.

Best Director

Winner: Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

Nominees: Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Hugo (Martin Scorsese), Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)

The Artist managed a sweep with five big Oscars, including Best Directing, in one of the most heated categories. Payne's deeply human The Descendants wasn't distinctive enough, Scorsese's magical tapestry didn't have the performances, Allen's Midnight in Paris was a bit too light and Malick's The Tree of Life was genius, but a bit too unhinged. The Artist's fresh angle and strength across the board made it the least flawed with a throwback to old Hollywood and silent movies. Ambitious... but it didn't overreach.

Best Animated Feature Film

Winner: Rango

Nominees: A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda 2

The Adventures of Tintin may not have featured in the Best Animated Feature section, opting for a number of solid entries... the most artistic, credible, original, unusual and talent-filled being Rango.

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