Emma Champion’s 2014 Annual Oscar© Report

Aaaaaaaaaand: OSCAR© time!  Another year, another name for the venue… What, in my mind, will always be known as The Kodak Theatre, was last year named the Hollywood and Highland Centre Theater, and this year goes by the title of The Dolby Theater.  Can’t they just pick a corporate conglomerate and stick to it?!  At least The Dolby Theater has a vaguely cinematic ring to it…

2014 sees this, the 86th OSCAR© ceremony kicking off with a very chilled Red Carpet, and, as ever, my arrival footage of choice comes courtesy of E! Channel.  Here are the highlights:

  • Ryan Seacrest wearing the most hideous cream-coloured  suit, reminiscent of the episode of Friends where Ross is getting ready to appear on The Discovery Channel and Rachel asks him, “Are you going to do magic?”
  • Amy Adams in a navy gown wearing Pat Butcher-esque dangly earrings…
  • Pharrell Williams wearing SHORTS with his tux.  No, really…
  • Julie Delphy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater talking about the long shots of dialogue in Before Midnight being ‘hard work’…
  • Lupita Nyong’o wearing a ‘Nairobi Blue’ low-cut floating gown by Prada, talking about how her role in 12 Years A Slave was her ‘first job out of school’…
  • Jared Leto wearing a cream suit the way it was MEANT to be worn, Seacrest…
  • Kevin Spacey dressed in a beautiful blue suit, claiming that the real Captain Phillips was disappointed that he wasn’t being played by Brad Pitt, and using the new TV buzz phrase ‘Binge-Watch’ with regards to his hit online series House of Cards.…
  • A VERY pregnant Kerry Washington in an indigo purple Jason Bloom gown looking stunning…
  • Jennifer Lawrence falling over – AGAIN.  That’s two years in a row, Love.  Next year, wear some Manolo Pumps and leave the heels at home…
  • New bromance buddies Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill grinning like Cheshire Cats and looking very suave – Jonah has his Mum on his arm and talks about how the teeth his character had in The Wolf of Wall Street became a character unto themselves; and Leo in a navy blue tux talking about how he became obsessed with Jordan Beaufort’s novel…
  • Bradley Cooper’s interview getting hijacked by Jonah Hill, who looks up at Cooper and says, “This is my date tonight…”

With the preamble firmly out of the way, it is time to get this party started!  OSCAR© 86 here we go!

Ellen DeGeneres takes to the stage.  “It’s been a tough couple of days here in Hollywood – it’s been raining.  We thank you for your prayers.”  Ellen actually mentions the fact that Jennifer Lawrence fell out of her car on arrival.  “No one needs to know that,” she announces to the audience.  “Here are my predictions for tonight: Possibility number one, 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture.  Possibility number two, you’re all racists…”

Ann Hathaway is here to present Best Actor in a Supporting Role.


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)

Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)

Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)

Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) *WINNER*


Jared Leto’s acceptance speech is phenomenal.

Jim Carrey compares animation to LSD, does a killer impersonation of Bruce Dern, and makes a joke about not being nominated.  He owns the stage.

Kerry Washington introduces a performance of Happy by Pharrell Williams from Despicable Me 2, who has changed out of his ridiculous shorts, thank the Lord Jesus.  He dances with members of the audience, including Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. The whole audience gets on their feet.  Just brilliant.

Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson come to present awards for costume design, make-up and hairstyling.


Best Costume Design

American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)

The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)

The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin) *WINNER*

The Invisible Woman (Michael O’Connor)

12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews) *WINNER*

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Stephen Prouty)

The Lone Ranger (Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny)


Harrison Ford takes to the stage to the theme from Indiana Jones.  He talks about three of the nominated films up for Best Picture.

Channing Tatum is here to present fresh talent. He’s lost weight! Just before the ad break, Ellen sticks her face between Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock seated together in the audience, and says to the camera, “More Oscar surprises after this!” To which Leo cracks up laughing.

Ellen gives Bradley Cooper, seated in the audience, some lottery scratch cards and a quarter, which she says she’s going to need back, and says that if he wins a lot, he has to split the winnings with her.

Matthew McConaughey and Kim Novak take to the stage to present the animated categories.


Best Animated Short Film

Feral (Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden)

Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)

Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares) *WINNER*

Possessions (Shuhei Morita)

Room on the Broom (Max Lang, Jan Lachauer)


Best Animated Feature

The Croods (Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, Kristine Belson)

Despicable Me 2 (Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Chris Meledandri)

Ernest & Celestine (Benjamin Renner, Didier Brunner)

Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho) *WINNER*

The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki)


Sally Field introduces a segment about everyday heroes – a great montage of clips.

Emma Watson and Joseph Gordon Levitt introduce Visual Effects category.


Best Visual Effects

Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould) *WINNER*

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds)

Iron Man 3 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick)

The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier)

Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)


Zach Efron introduces a sweet performance of The Moon Song from Her by Karen O.

Ellen reappears on stage with a guitar, which she does not play.  She introduces Jason Sudeikis and Kate Hudson, who present the short film categories.


Best Live Action Short Film

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (Esteban Crespo)

Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) (Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras)

Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson) *WINNER*

Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari)

The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill, Baldwin Li)


Best Documentary Short

CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff)

Facing Fear (Jason Cohen)

Karama Has No Walls (Sara Ishaq)

The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed) *WINNER*

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens)


Ellen wanders the audience randomly saying hi to celebs such as Martin Scorsese, and offers to order everyone pizza.


Best Documentary Feature

The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)

Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher)

Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)

The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)

20 Feet from Stardom (Morgan Neville et al) *WINNER*


Star of 20 Feet from Freedom, Darlene Love, sings her acceptance speech and receives a standing ovation led by Bill Murray.

Kevin Spacey talks about a separate ceremony which took place in the weeks before.  Angelina Jolie accepted an award for her humanitarian work.  A clip is shown of her emotional acceptance speech, and Brad Pitt kisses her head in the audience of The Dolby Theater as they watch it back.

Ewan McGregor and Viola Davis take to the stage to present the next award.


Best Foreign Language Film

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

The Great Beauty (Italy) *WINNER*

The Hunt (Denmark)

The Missing Picture (Cambodia)

Omar (Palestine)


Tyler Perry introduces three more of the night’s nominees for Best Picture.

It’s a change of outfit for Ellen.  “I put on different clothes,” she says, matter-of-factly.

We see an introduction from Brad Pitt for U2, performing their song Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Ellen instigates a brilliant moment where she tries to break the record for the most retweeted photo on Twitter, by inviting a number of celebrities into a spontaneous group photo, the calibre of which could never again be matched:

Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron introduce the sound categories, and totally fluff their lines on the autocue.


Best Sound Mixing

Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro)

Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro) *WINNER*

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson)

Inside Llewyn Davis (Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland)

Lone Survivor (Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow)


Best Sound Editing

All Is Lost (Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns)

Captain Phillips (Oliver Tarney)

Gravity (Glenn Freemantle) *WINNER*

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)

Lone Survivor (Wylie Stateman)


Ellen comes out on to the stage.  She looks a tiny bit different.  “I added a scarf,” she says, bashfully.

Christophe Waltz is here to present the next one!


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) *WINNER*

Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)

June Squibb (Nebraska)


Ellen actually DID order pizza!  She gives it out to the celebrities (who go nuts for it – Brad Pitt hands out paper plates; Harrison Ford inspects the toppings and selects his slice, etc.), but then says she doesn’t have any money to pay the delivery guy.  “Where’s Harvey Weinstein?” she asks.

A new movie museum to open on 2017 is announced!  It looks awesome!

Amy Adams and Bill Murray come out holding hands.  “Baby, you look like $146,000,000 domestic,” he says to Amy.  “You’re the brains of this operation – tell ‘em who’s up for Best Shooter.”  The nominees are announced, and the Bill adds, “Oh wait, we forgot one – Harold Ramis for Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and Caddyshack.” This gets a cheer from the crowd for the recently passed Ramis.


Best Cinematography

The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)

Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki) *WINNER*

Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)

Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)

Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)


Anna Kendrick and Gabourey Sidibe introduce the editing categories.


Best Film Editing

American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten)

Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)

Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa)

Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger) *WINNER*

12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)


Whoopi Goldberg is here! She talks about The Wizard of Oz.  The children of Judy Garland are in the audience.  She introduces P!nk who sings Somewhere Over The Rainbow in a glittering ruby gown, and absolutely nails it. She gets a well-deserved standing ovation. Outstanding.

Ellen comes out dressed as Glinda the Good Witch after the ad break.  “Is it over?” she asks.  “Not cool, Guys – you were gonna call me…”

Jennifer Garner and Benedict Cumberbatch introduce the production design nominees.


Best Production Design

American Hustle (Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler)

Gravity (Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard)

The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn) *WINNER*

Her (K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena)

12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker)


Chris Evans arrives to introduce a montage about movie heroes.

Glenn Close arrives to present the In Memoriam reel.  Notable honourees are Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Harold Ramis, Paul Walker, Ray Harryhausen, Shirley Temple and James Gandolfini.  Bette Midler sings Wind Beneath My Wings at the end of the reel.  She gets a standing ovation, which makes her cry.

Ellen comes on stage to announce that we all crashed Twitter retweeting the selfie picture, thus making history.

Goldie Hawn arrives to tell us about three more of the nominees for Best Picture.

John Travolta is here to introduce a performance of Let It Go from Frozen by Idina Menzel  (Only he says her name is Adele Dazeem.  May need to go to Specsavers, John…).  She gets a standing ovation, despite her timing being slightly out.

Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel take to the stage to talk about film music.  Foxx does a one-man performance of Chariots of Fire which gets a laugh from the crowd.


Best Original Score

The Book Thief (John Williams)

Gravity (Steven Price) *WINNER*

Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)

Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)

Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)


Best Original Song

Happy – Despicable Me 2

Let It Go – Frozen *WINNER*

The Moon Song – Her

Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom


Ellen borrows Pharrell Williams’ hat, and passes it around collecting money for the pizza she ordered earlier.  Kevin Spacey fronts up the most.  Brad Pitt puts some in.  “Twenty?” Ellen enquires.  “You were in two pictures…”

Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz take to the stage to present the screenplay categories.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)

Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)

Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)

12 Years a Slave (John Ridley) *WINNER*

The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)


Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)

Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)

Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)

Her (Spike Jonze) *WINNER*

Nebraska (Bob Nelson)


Spike Jonze gets a standing ovation as he makes his acceptance speech.

Angelina Jolie and Sidney Poitier take to the stage.  Poitier gets a standing ovation.  They are here to present Best Director.


Best Directing

American Hustle (David O. Russell)

Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) *WINNER*

Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)


Daniel Day Lewis arrives to announce the nominees for Best Actress.


Best Actress in a Leading Role

Amy Adams (American Hustle)

Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) *WINNER*

Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

Judi Dench (Philomena)

Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)


Jennifer Lawrence arrives and doesn’t fall over – a miracle! She’s here to present Best Actor.


Best Actor in a Leading Role

Christian Bale (American Hustle)

Bruce Dern (Nebraska)

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)

Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) *WINNER*


Will Smith is here to deliver the big award of the night.  Here we go – which film has it?


Best Picture

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





12 Years a Slave *WINNER*

The Wolf of Wall Street


So that’s it!  What a great ceremony this year.  Ellen rocks – they need to bring her back – some truly wonderful moments – the best in years.  See you all in 2015!  Happy OSCAR© Night, Everyone!


For a great photo gallery of pictures from the ceremony, visit:


The Story of the OSCARS© Pizza Delivery Guy:


Emma Champion’s 2013 Annual Oscar® Report



Tonight marks my 15th Oscar® Night, so I am celebrating 15 years of staying up all night to witness the live telecast of the Academy Awards® Ceremony.  This is the third Annual Oscar® Report, and its my pleasure as always to bring you the details of the evening.

And so, the great night is upon us once more – the Greatest Awards Show On Earth™: The 85th Academy Awards®!  I have my bottle of Rosé chillin’, the popcorn is poppin’, and Champs is READY to bring you a play-by-play account of everything that’s about to go down at the Dolby Theatre in the Hollywood and Highland Centre (formerly The Kodak Theatre)!

I am spending my Red Carpet time with E! Channel tonight, because, lets face it, no one does Red Carpet better than Ryan Seacrest et al, right?  So here we go…hold tight, Folks!

Eddie Redmayne looking dapper in a bow tie talking to Ryan Seacrest about singing live for Les Miserábles…Rebecca Chastain wearing a structured Armani Prive gown…Amy Adams wearing Oscar deLaurenta announcing that Margot Kidder is her definitive Lois Lane…Channing Tatum and a very pregnant Genna Dewan telling Seacrest that their baby is their ‘greatest production yet’… Quvenzhané Wallis describing her Oscar experience as ‘crazy’, showing off her puppy purse, and getting a personal message from Demi LovatoReese Witherspoon wearing Louis Vuitton dress and jewels…Octavia Spencer wearing Tadashi Shoji…Kerry Washington wearing Miu Miu…Daniel Radcliffe saying he backing Django Unchained and Argo…Chris Tucker talking about his new comedy tour…Amanda Seyfried wearing a lavender Alexander McQueen and saying she feels ‘super lucky’ and reveals that the cast of the Les Miserábles movie will be singing during the show(!)…Jennifer Lawrence wearing Dior Haute Couture and announcing that she is ‘starving’…Joseph Gordon Levitt meeting Dustin Hoffman for the first time, and revealing that Lincoln co-star Sally Field tied his bow tie in the limo…Melissa McCarthy sporting BIG hair which looks awesome, and wearing a David Meister Gown…Jennifer Hudson wearing Roberto Cavalli and revealing that it took three days of fittings…Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas looking well and fabulous, and revealing that she will be singing as well, and that he ‘gave his wife space’ to get ready…Helen Hunt wearing H&M(!) and looking as though she has had some sort of facial surgery…Christoph Waltz talking about how QT wrote the role with him in mind, and that he fell off a horse on set…Anne Hathaway looking amazing in pale pink Prada and a slightly longer hair do…Naomi Watts wearing silver Armani Prive…Charlize Theron wearing white Dior Couture and Harry Winston jewels, colliding with a nobody on the red carpet who then treads on her train…Jennifer Aniston in a red, full-skirted gown by Valentino…Bradley Cooper with his Mum…Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban saying how Keith picked the dress, which makes Nicole look like an Oscar Statue…Hugh Jackman and his wife looking so smart…Robert DeNiro looking bored and tired…Jennifer Garner wearing custom purple Gucci…Adele!! …George Clooney claiming to have sewn the sequins on his girlfriend’s dress…


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Host Seth MacFarlane opens the show with the gag: “…and the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones begins now…” to which Tommy Lee Jones responds with a chuckle.

William Shatner as Captain Kirk appears on a screen to say he has come back in time to stop Seth from ruining the Oscars®.  He shows a tape from the future of the telecast, featuring a song called “We Saw Your Boobs”.  Kirk shows the headlines from tomorrow, which read “Seth Macfarlane: worst Oscar host ever”.

So, in an attempt to smooth things over and change the future, he invites Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum on stage, who perform a beautiful ballroom dance (who knew Tatum had it in him!).  This doesn’t change the future, so he invites Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe onstage for a song and dance performance.  This doesn’t work either, so he finally does a Billy Crystal-esque parody version of “Be Our Guest” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  This does it.

Octavia Spencer is here to present Best Supporting Actor.



Alan Arkin, Argo

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained – WINNER!!!

Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy take to the stage to present Animated Short and Animated Feature.



Adam and Dog, Minkyu Lee

 Fresh Guacamole, PES

 Head over Heels, Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly

 Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare, David Silverman

Paperman, John KahrsWINNER!!!






 The Pirates!

 Band of Misfits

 Wreck-It Ralph


Reese Witherspoon takes to the stage to talk about three of the films nominated for Best Picture: Les Miserábles, Life of Pi, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.


Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo take to the stage to rib one another, and present Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.



 Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey

 Django Unchained, Robert Richardson

 Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

 Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski

 Skyfall, Roger Deakins



 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White

 Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott

Marvel’s The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick


 Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill

 Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson


Visual Effects acceptance speech rudely cut short by the orchestra playing John Williams’ Jaws score louder and louder, until the poor man just gave up mid sentence… uncalled for.


Channing Tatum and Jennifer Aniston present Best Costume Design and Best Make Up.  Tatum makes a joke about George Clooney rolling out of bed camera ready.



Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran

Les Misérables, Paco Delgado

Lincoln, Joanna Johnston

Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka

Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood



Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel

 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane

 Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell – WINNER!!!


Former Bond girl Halle Berry takes to the stage to present a Tribute to 50 Years of Bond, which consists of a VT montage to music, and live performances from Shirley Bassey, which she knocks out of the park and gets a standing ovation for!!


Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx take to the stage to present Best Live Action Short and Best



Asad, Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura

Buzkashi Boys, Sam French and Ariel Nasr

Curfew, Shawn Christensen

Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw), Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele

Henry, Yan England



Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

Kings Point, Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider

Mondays at Racine, Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan

Open Heart, Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern

Redemption, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill


Liam Neeson talks about Best Picture nominees Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty


Ben Affleck is here to present Best Documentary Feature.



5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

How to Survive a Plague

The Invisible War

Searching for Sugar Man – WINNER!!!



MacFarlane says, “Coming up: Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.  Plus – the cast of Prometheus explains: what the hell was going on there… be right back!”


Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain present Best Foreign Film.



Amour, Austria

Kon-Tiki, Norway

No, Chile

A Royal Affair, Denmark

War Witch, Canada


John Travolta is here to present a tribute to Movie Musicals.  So excited!!!  Catherine Zeta Jones is performing All That Jazz from Chicago – wow wow wow!!!  Amazing!  Just as good live as in the movie – Velma Kelly is BACK.

Jennifer Hudson performs a song from Dream Girls…and finally…THE CAST OF LES MIS!!!  The perform One Day More to sheer perfection.

Highlight of the night.


Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana present the Scientific and Technical Awards, which took place a month ago.


Mark Whalberg and an impressive CGI Ted take to the stage!  They’re here to present Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.



Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia

Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin

Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins

Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson



Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman

Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton

Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers

Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson – WINNER!!!


A tie!  The first I have ever witnessed in my 15 years of Oscar©!


MacFarlane stages a tribute gag dedicated to The Sound of Music.  Christopher Plummer takes to the stage to present Best Supporting Actress, and tells MacFarlane to “Pick on someone your own size…”



Amy Adams, The Master

Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook


Harvey Weinstein caught on camera returning from the bathroom!!  Lol.


Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced to be opening in LA!  Sign me up!


Sandra Bullock takes to the stage to present Best Film Editing.



Argo, William Goldenberg

Life of Pi, Tim Squyres

Lincoln, Michael Kahn

Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers

Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg


Jennifer Lawrenceis here to introduce Adele!  She nails it.  So proud of our girl!


Nicole Kidman talks about Best Picture nominees Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained and Amour.


Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart are here to present Best Production Design.  That’s mixing occult franchises, Guys!




Anna Karenina, Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright

Les Misérables, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson

Life of Pi, Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson – WINNER!!!


Selma Hayek is here to talk about the Governor’s Awards.  Zzz…


George Clooney is here to present the ‘In Memoriam’ reel showcasing those who have died this past year, the most striking of which is Director Tony Scott. The reel plays to the score from Out of Africa.  This is topped off with a performance from Barbara Streisand singing The Way We Were.

Genuinely moving.



Richard Gere, Queen Latifa, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger from Chicago – it’s 10 years since Chicago won Best Picture??  Is that right??  That makes CZJ’s performance earlier all the more impressive!!



Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli

Argo, Alexandre Desplat

Life of Pi, Mychael Danna

Lincoln, John Williams

Skyfall, Thomas Newman



“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, Music and Lyric by J. Ralph

“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane

“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri

“Skyfall” from Skyfall, Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

“Suddenly” from Les Misérables, Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil


Charlize Theron and Dustin Hoffman are here to present Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay.  Dustin say to Charlize, “You’re a good dancer,” referring to her performance earlier with Channing Tatum.  Charlize gets bashful, but the audience cheer in agreement.



Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David Magee, Life of Pi

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Chris Terrio, Argo – WINNER!!!



Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

John Gatins, Flight

Michael Haneke, Amour

Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained – WINNER!!!


QT milks his speech by running back on stage to add to what he’s already said!  That little scamp.


Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas take to the stage to present Best Director.



Michael Haneke, Amour

Ang Lee, Life of Pi

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild


Jean Dujardin is here in all his sexiness to present Best Actress.



Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild


Meryl Streep is here! Finally!  As she approaches the mic, she says, “I’m walking ON my dress…” She’s here top present Best Actor.



Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Denzel Washington, Flight


Daniel Day Lewis’s speech is actually quite funny.  He claims he and Meryl Streep and he swapped – that she was to play Lincoln and he was to play Margaret Thatcher.  He also says, “In the 16 years that we’ve been married, my wife had lived with some very strange men…”


Jack Nicholson is here!  He presents Michelle Obama live from the Whitehouse!!





Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty


So there you have it – 15 years after he won his first Oscar, Ben Affleck is going home with Best Picture.  And his speech was amazeballs.


A great way to bookend my 15 years.  Here’s to another 15.


Love you all – see you next year. <3

Article by Emma Champion: Rose Blossoms: Kate Winslet’s Original Titanic Screen Test and the release of Titanic 3D on Blu-Ray

It is a very rare thing to discover something new about something you know so well.  Like when you discover your other half secretly collects stamps four years into your marriage; or that moment you figured out how to open those blasted milk cartons without mullering them to buggary.

Imagine my surprise then, when last week the publication of an extremely rare and never-before-seen piece of footage surfaced unexpectedly on the blessed tinterweb…

To mark the release of Titanic 3D (2012) on Blu-Ray, Twentieth Century Fox have unearthed yet more previously unreleased titbits for the extras package, including a nineteen-year-old Kate Winslet’s original screen test for Rose DuWitt Bukater – the character that would later earn her an Oscar® nomination.

I did not know that it was possible for me to learn anything new about James Cameron’s 15-year-old opus.  Titanic is as much a part of me as the blood in my veins.  Since the first time I saw it when I was 17, it strikes a chord with me every time, marrying a real-life nautical legend with which I had always been fascinated, with the romantic sensibilities of Romeo and Juliet – Baz Luhrmann’s 90’s version of which (William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)) happens to be the other cinematic mistress in my life.

The incestuous relationship between Master Shakespeare’s doomed lovers and Cameron’s Jack and Rose does not end there.  There is the obvious link – the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio was fresh from his turn as Romeo in Luhrmann’s ground-breaking project when he began work as Jack Dawson on the purpose-built Mexico set.  But also that Claire Danes, Luhrmann’s Juliet, was originally offered the chance to play Rose, but turned it down.  Not to mention that when James Cameron first pitched Titanic to Fox executives, he said, “I want to make Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic.”  Needless to say, they were sold, although, at the time, they were unaware that this little gem of an idea would set them back $200,000,000.

When casting for the role of Rose, Cameron was looking for someone who would have the strength of presence to carry this leviathan of a project.  “A nineteen-year-old girl who is going to carry a film of that scale on her shoulders…it’s a huge responsibility,” says Cameron.  “If you don’t bring it off, it’s not going to work.  Anyone else would have imploded under that.  But she didn’t.”

You can see from the screen test (above) what Cameron saw in her; from the moment she enters the shot, she owns the screen.  So much so that Jeremy Sisto, testing for the role of Jack, is utterly (and rather embarrassingly) dwarfed by her talent.

Her aristocratic American accent is flawless, she carries herself in a manner that suggests that she is no stranger to the restraints of period dress (which, indeed, she was not – with roles in Sense and Sensibility (1995), Jude (1996) and Hamlet (1996) firmly under her belt).  She is clearly at home walking in Rose’s embellished and expensive shoes, and Cameron knew the audience would buy it – in terms of belief and ticket sales.

And so, a legend was born.  Winslet’s Rose has since become an iconic and celebrated character.  The only thing missing from this early version of Rose is her signature red hair.  Here, we see what Rose would have looked like as a blonde.  As someone who recently went blonde herself, I was pretty thrilled by this.

Any resemblance between this:

…and this?


Titanic is available now on Blu-Ray, both in 2D and 3D formats, as well as a Collector’s Edition, and a Super-Duper Frenzied Fanatic version (pictured below).  I know which version I’ll be going for…

Titanic Blu Ray

Super Duper Frenzied Fan Edition

Emma Champion


Video sourced at:


Kate Winslet image sourced at:


Titanic Blu-Ray images sourced at:




Emma Champion’s 2012 Annual Oscars® Report


Greetings from Champ Towers!  Preparation for the 84th Academy Awards is well under way.  The popcorn is in the microwave, the wine is chilled, and I have a nasty cold; to use Twitter parlance – hash tag: sad face.  However, I refuse to let it get me down – this is the first time in 14 years that I’ve been unwell on Oscar® night, so I haven’t done too badly up to now, and I’m grateful for that.

This is the third year that I have reported live online throughout the Oscar® Ceremony, publishing the winners as they happen via Facebook and Twitter, plus a full transcript of the night’s events here on EmmaChampion.com.  Can’t stay up all night because you have work tomorrow?  Don’t worry – I’ll do it for you.


This year’s ceremony is being held at LA’s Hollywood and Highland Center (formerly the Kodak Theater) – home to the Oscars® since 2002.  The Red Carpet has been rolled out, and the celebrities are beginning to arrive.  So sit back, relax, and let me do all the work.  I’ll hook you up.


Highlights from the Red Carpet, 11pm-1am

Best Supporting Actress nominee, Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids, looking voluptuous in a bejewelled rose-pink gown – “It’s so bananas to be here,” she says; Best Actor nominee, George Clooney in Armani, and girlfriend Stacy Keibler in a gold Marchesa gown, talk to Ryan Seacrest about his character in The Descendants being “a bit of a Shlub”; Best Actress nominee Viola Davis in dark-green Vera Wang; Best Actress Nominee, Michelle Williams in coral Louis Vuitton arrives with former Dawson’s Creek cast mate, Busy Philipps, and talks about Kate Winslet praising her performance in My Week with Marilyn as being “the best compliment I’ve ever gotten in my life…I’m Kate Winslet’s fan!” Like she only has one, Michelle…; Best Actress Nominee, Rooney Mara, in white, structured Givenchy – a departure from her signature black; Best Supporting Actor Nominee, Jonah Hill, dressed all in black, walks the red carpet with his mum, Sharon; Best Actress Nominee, Octavia Spencer, looking stunning in a shimmering cream and silver Tadashi Shoji gown; Sacha Baron Cohen’s Dictator character declares “death to the West!” and spills “human” ashes all over Ryan Seacrest’s suit; Presenter, Jennifer Lopez, clocks Ryan Seacrest’s dusty suit and asks, “What happened??”  “Sacha Baron Cohen…spilled an urn on me,” he replies.  “On purpose?” she asks.  Well, duh, J-Lo; Tina Fey in black Carolina Herrera; Emma Stone, dressed in a Nicole Kidman-esque, red, Jean Batista Valli gown with an over-stated shoulder bow, talks about rumoured red carpet beverage, Milk Punch – “It’s condensed milk mixed with Bourbon and cinnamon.  You can drink it at 10 in the morning…” We’ll all be trying that one tomorrow, Emma; Presenter, Gwyneth Paltrow, in white Tom Ford with matching cape, demonstrating her knowledge of Cockney Rhyming Slang; Best Actress Nominee, Glen Close, looking stunningly age-appropriate in tailored, dark Zack Posen; Cameron Diaz looking effortless is figure-hugging, beige Gucci; a long-haired, Best Actor Nominee, Brad Pitt, looking as though he hasn’t aged a day since 1992; and Best Actress Nominee, Meryl Streep, wearing a gold, draped gown with over-stated shoulders.

And so, the 84th Annual Academy Awards are ready to get under way!  Cue the music!

Morgan Freeman takes the stage to introduce the 84th Academy Awards.

Billy Crystal has, as is traditional when he hosts, a spoof VT prepared, which incorporates all the night’s nominees for Best Film.  Justin Bieber guest stars, joking that he is there to get Billy the “18-24 demographic”.  Tom Cruise reprises his role in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.  “It’s like Tom Cruise is in the room with me!” Crystal cries, grabbing Cruise’s cheeks.

Crystal takes the stage, announcing that it is his 9th time hosting the awards.  “Nothing can take the sting out of the current economical situation than watching millionaires present each other with gold statues,” he declares.  He breaks into his traditional song and dance routine, which, as always, begins “It’s a wonderful night for Oscar, Oscar-Oscar, who will win?”  I’m getting 1998 déjà vu.

Tom Hanks arrives to present the first two awards.


The Artist

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


The Tree of Life

War Horse


Art Direction

The Artist

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


Midnight in Paris

War Horse

Crystal addresses the Kodak Theater’s name change by saying, “Tonight, here at the Your Name Here theatre…”

A beautiful VT follows, featuring music from Meet Joe Black by Thomas Newman, and clips from Titanic, Avatar, Ghost, The Shawshank Redemption A Few Good Men, Star Wars, E.T., and many more.

Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez present the next 2 awards.  They announce that a costume should be “Tight enough to prove you’re a woman, and loose enough to prove you’re a lady.”

Costume Design


WINNER The Artist


Jane Eyre



Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle, Albert Nobbs

Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

WINNER Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, The Iron Lady

Cue VT of stars talking about the first movie they ever saw.  Featuring Brad Pitt, Hilary Swank, Tom Cruise, Helen Mirren, Barbara Streisand, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller.

Sandra Bullock presents the next award in German-accented Chinese.  Original, if nothing else.

Best Foreign Feature



In Darkness

Monsieur Lazhar

WINNER A Separation


Christian Bale presents the next award.

Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

WINNER Octavia Spencer, The Help

Black and white spoof of a modern-day film focus group, supposedly for Wizard of Oz, starring Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge and Catherine O’Hara.

Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper present the next 3 awards.

Film Editing

Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Kevin Tent, The Descendants

WINNER Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo

Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball

Sound Editing


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

War Horse



Sound Mixing

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo



Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

War Horse


Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy in the Royal Box!  Piggy’s hair is beautiful!  They are here to introduce Cirque du Soleil’s interpretation of what it’s like to go to the movies.  There is some beautiful interpretive dance, which has been notably missing from recent Oscar ceremonies.  Mesmerising.  The dancers receive a standing ovation.  “I pulled a hamstring just WATCHING that!” says Billy Crystal afterwards.  We were all thinking it, Billy.

Iron Man franchise co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr take the stage.  Downey Jr is followed by a film crew.  “I’m filming a documentary called The Presenter,” says Downey Jr.  Paltrow plays along as her autocue is disrupted to comic effect.

Documentary Feature

Hell and Back Again

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

WINNER Undefeated


Chris Rock arrives to present the next award, commenting on how easy it is to do a voice-over for an animated feature.  “I turn up, I say a line, and they give me a MILLION dollars,” he cries.

Best Animated Feature

A Cat in Paris

Chico & Rita

Kung Fu Panda 2

Puss in Boots


Melissa McCarthy visits Billy Crystal backstage.  How about we make this dressing room an undressing room?  She sends up her leg lift from Bridesmaids, this time lifting BOTH legs instead of one.  “Limber,” remarks Crystal.

Ben Stiller and Emma Stone take the stage.  Stone is overly excited, announcing that it is her first time presenting an award.  Ben Stiller says, “You don’t want to be the presenter who to over-do it.”  “You mean like coming on stage in full Avatar make-up?” askes Stone, pointedly.  You go, Girl.

Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


Real Steel

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon


Melissa Leo arrives to present.

Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

WINNER Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


In his acceptance speech, Plummer says, “I would share this award with my co-star, Ewan McGregor if I had any decency, but I don’t.”

Crystal does his classic mind-reading trick, where the camera closes in on certain audience members, and Crystal narrates their thoughts.  For Brad and Angelina, he says, “This better not run too late – I have six parent-teacher conferences in the morning.”

He goes on to talk about movie music.  The orchestra play a beautiful piece, to which Crystal reacts with a “Meh.”

Penelope Cruise and Owen Wilson present next.

Music (Original Score)

John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin

WINNER Ludovic Bource, The Artist

Howard Shore, Hugo

Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

John Williams, War Horse

Winner Ludovic Bource is a first-time nominee with no formal training in musical orchestration.  What an amazing debut.

Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis take the stage, clashing cymbals, claiming to be “serious” musicians.

Music (Original Song)

WINNER Bret McKenzie, “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets

Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett, “Real in Rio” from Rio

Angelina Jolie was too busy showing off her leg to read her autocue properly.  Idiot.

Best Adapted Screenplay

WINNER Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants

John Logan, Hugo George Clooney, Beau Willimon and Grant Heslov, The Ides of March

Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, Moneyball

Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


Best Original Screenplay

Michel Hazanivicius, The Artist

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

Time for another VT containing reflections on film from under-dressed, mega celebs to fill time.

Milla Jojavich arrives to talk about the secondary awards show, honouring film technology, which never gets televised.  She’s crossed the line into completely useless.

The cast of Bridesmaids take the stage to present the next 3 awards.  Lots of sexual innuendo ensues.  “We’re here to break the myth that size doesn’t matter – it kinda does – but not length…”  Of course, they’re talking about short films.  Obviously.

Short Film (Live Action)



WINNER The Shore

Time Freak




Documentary Short Subject

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement

God Is the Bigger Elvis

Incident in New Baghdad

WINNER Saving Face

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Short Film (Animated)


WINNER The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

La Luna

A Morning Stroll

Wild Life

Michael Douglas arrives to present the next award.  He looks much better following his recent battle with cancer.

Best Director

WINNER Michel Hazanivicius, The Artist

Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

The legendary Meryl Streep takes the stage to talk about the Governors Awards.  We learn that James Earl Jones received an Honorary Oscar.  “If I were British, I would say I was ‘Gobsmacked’!” he says.

It’s the In Memoriam segment, where the people whom the film industry has lost over the past year are remembered.  These include Ken Russell, Whitney Houston, Elizabeth Tailor and Peter Falk.

Ugh.  Another VT.  Enough already.  Ooh, Julia RobertsEdward NortonPhillip Seymour Hoffman.  Alright.  We forgive.

Last year’s Best Actress winner, Natalie Portman, is here to present Best Actor.

Best Actor

Demian Bichir, A Better Life

George Clooney, The Descendants

WINNER Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

“I love your country,” says Jean Dujardin in a heavy French accent as he accepts his Oscar.  It gets a laugh from the crowd.

Last year’s Best Actor Colin Firth arrives to present the next award.  He addresses each nominee, including Meryl Streep.  “Meryl.  Momma Mia.  We were in Greece.  I was gay, we danced, and we were happy.”

Best Actress

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Viola Davis, The Help

WINNER Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

“I could hear all of America going, ‘Oh no!  Why her?!  AGAIN!’  But, you know – whatever,” says Meryl in her acceptance speech.

Tom Cruise is here!  He’s come to present Best Picture.

Best Picture

War Horse

WINNER The Artist


The Descendants

The Tree of Life

Midnight in Paris

The Help


Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


For some reason, this year’s ceremony seemed half-baked.  Perhaps the phrase is ‘safe’.  It was quick and painless, with no real controversy.  Either way, The Artist walks away with the biggest award of the evening.  That’s it for another year, folks!  See you all next year.  I’m off to bed.  Zzzz….


Emma Champion


Image sourced at:


EmmaChampion.com presents Emma Champion’s Graduate “Thank You” Address

“Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Marchant, Ladies and Gentleman, it is my great honour to have been asked to speak on behalf of everyone graduating here tonight, to express our sincerest gratitude to all at the University of Hertfordshire for your part in our success.

I’m encouraged to see a writer receive tonight’s honorary award.  Writing is the career I hope to pursue, and I am inspired by Dr Marchant’s achievements.

Dr. Marchant has enjoyed a fantastic career so far, but I’m sure even he has experienced his share of ups and downs on the path to success.  In the six months since finishing a demanding three years, some of us may have already experienced the best and the worst of what graduates can expect on the road ahead.  Life beyond university is often described by students as “the outside world”.  The outside world may prove to be a fairly unforgiving place at first.  We’re all aware of the current financial climate, as are employers, who are being cautious – largely favouring candidates with experience, as apposed to graduates fresh out of uni.  But we mustn’t be disheartened – opportunities are out there, and we must be willing to rise to the challenge – a skill we have surely perfected in the course of our studies.

We may encounter any number of professional, and indeed, personal obstacles on our journeys, but we must remember what brought us to UH to begin with: our belief in ourselves.  Without that, we would not be here tonight. Over the past three years, the tutors and staff of UH have nurtured that belief and guided us to this moment – a moment that seemed so far in the future and almost unattainable to begin with.  And yet, we made it – we’re all here.

If there is one thing this university has taught me, it’s that nothing is impossible.  Some of the fondest memories I’ll be taking with me are from my Thursday morning New Media Publishing classes, for example.  When we were learning Web Design, digital code seemed like a language none of us would ever master; and yet, in a matter of weeks, we were each sat in the library building websites in our own time, without help or supervision. That’s the magic of UH – that transformation that occurs when you realise you had it in you all along.

I can personally say that I arrived at UH a lost and broken soul, and emerged a strong, confident and whole person.  I am very proud to be standing here today, as we all should be; because we are all transformed for the better; our degrees are our tickets to greatness, opening doors previously closed to us.

With patience and perseverance, we will all find our purpose and place in the outside world, and we will all have the University of Hertfordshire to thank.  So, put simply: thank you, to all of you, for what you have done for us, and what you have helped us to do for ourselves.  May we all enjoy every success and the very best of luck going forward.  Vice-Chancellor: thank you for receiving us tonight – the graduates of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities, Law and Education.

Thank you.”

To watch the graduation ceremony, which took place on the evening of the 16th of November 2011 at St Albans Abbey, go to http://clio.herts.ac.uk/ceremonies/20111116eve.cfm – you will require RealPlayer to view the video clip, available to download for free, online at http://uk.real.com/realplayer .

EmmaChampion.com Exclusive: *BREAKING NEWS* 2012 Norwich Film Festival announces Additional Judge

Norwich Film Festival Logo 

November 1997: 

My mother and I go to a preview screening of James Cameron’s Titanic the night before its official release date.  The film has a profound impact on me and my life.  After paying to see it a further seven times, I then get a job as an usher at my local cinema, and get paid to watch it countless times more.  It would go on to become the film I am most associated with amongst my friends and family in my entire career as a movie fanatic.

Ten Years Later: 

My wonderful parents buy me tickets to see the stage version of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins in London’s West End as a Christmas gift (one year it was Coldplay tickets – they seriously are the most amazing parents EVER).  My Mum and I go together the following year, and, arriving in our nation’s capital characteristically early, we decide to have a casual mooch around the shops before the show begins.  On our way back to the theatre we take a detour which leads us down an obscure backstreet filled with quirky, independent shops and quaint little patisseries.  Outside one such bakery, sat at a table reading, trying his best to enjoy some local, jam-filled confection whilst remaining incognito, is none other than Bernard Hill – captain of the titular ship in the Movie of my Life.  Of course, I freak out, and my Mum says I can’t possibly walk past him without saying something.  So, I go back and interrupt the poor man’s respite, apologising profusely and insisting that I do not intend to badger him for a signature, but to thank him for his part in the amount of entertainment and pleasure Titanic has brought me up to that point.  He is uncommonly gracious (if not a little weirded out), and I walk away thrilled that I have met someone from the credits of that film.

Four and a half years after that:

I move to Norwich to live with my partner and embark on my writing career following completion of a BA (Honours) degree in Mass Communications (if you had told me this on the day I met Bernard Hill, I would have laughed in your face; but life can change a LOT in four years).  Amongst the first of my great achievements upon moving to this bright and vibrant city, is my selection as the official blogger for the 2012 Norwich Film Festival.  My first blog post reveals the identities of the judges for the event.


I receive word that another judge is to be added to that list.  And it is none other than:


Bernard Hill – Actor


British-born Hill has enjoyed a career which has spanned over thirty years, after rising to fame as Yosser Hughes in the acclaimed 80’s television drama,  Boys from the Blackstuff (1982).  Since then he has appeared in some rather influential films, including iconic roles as Captain E.J Smith in Titanic (1997)  and King Theoden in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001 – 2003).  Having recently turned his attention to voice-over work – as the Narrator of video game Fable III (2010) and short films The Wraith (2011) and Analogue Love (2011) – Bernard Hill makes for a well-versed and high-profile addition to the 2012 Norwich Film Festival panel.

I’m unsure as to whether Mr. Hill will remember the then-morbidly-obese fool, who disrupted his dessert in the back streets of London one overcast day in April of 2007.  However, I intend to apologise to him regardless for my cringe-worthy behaviour.  It’s incredible how I continue to be perpetually and inextricably linked to Titanic.  All I need now is to meet my idol – the magnificent Kate Winslet – and my life will be complete.  Perhaps I’ll ask my old mate Bernard if he’s still in touch with her…


For all the latest news and gossip on the 2012 Norwich Film Festival as it breaks, follow us on Twitter (@norwichfilmfest) and “Like” our page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/norwichfilmfestival).

Image sourced at: http://www.hobsons-international.com/assets/image/voices/hillb.jpg

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Film Review by Emma Champion: Machine Gun Preacher (15) starring Gerard Butler

Since his iconic, breakout performance as King Leonidas of Sparta in Zack Snyder’s 300 (2006), we, as an audience, have been treated to the many faces of Gerard Butler – and I use the term “treated” in the loosest possible sense, as satisfaction isn’t always guaranteed.  We’ve had “Rom-Com Butler” – The Ugly Truth (2009), The Bounty Hunter (2010); “Tough-Guy Butler” – Rocknrolla (2008), Law Abiding Citizen (2009); and “Heart-Warming Butler” –  P.S. I love You (2007), Nim’s Island (2008).  Butler’s back-catalogue has delivered a mixed bag of movies – some: demonstrably dire disasters; others: firm fan favourites.  As a result, the release of a Gerard Butler star vehicle brings with it a significant amount of uncertainty; raising two principle questions: which face of Butler will we be presented with?  And, will the end result be turkey or triumph?

The interesting thing about Machine Gun Preacher (2011) is that director, Marc Forster, appears to have cast Butler based on the fact that the central character, real-life crusader, Sam Childers, is the physical embodiment of Butler’s acting range to date.  Childers is part-Love Interest, part-Hard Man and part-Loveable Rogue.  As such, Butler was the obvious – nay – genius choice.

The film begins with Childers’ release from prison, his loyal wife Lynne (Michelle Monaghan) waiting to collect him.  He is of the greasy, unhinged category – mullet hair, a black, sleeveless t-shirt and tatty jeans his wardrobe of choice, and the role of sexy stripper rather than respectable till-tart his preference of profession for his missus.  He quickly slips back into habits which appear to be old – drinking, drugs and violence – much to the dismay of Lynne and daughter Paige (Madeline Carroll), who have “found Jesus” in his absence.  When Childers stabs a hobo during a Hooch ‘n’ Heroine binge, he asks his wife for help, who, consequently marches him to church and gets him baptised.  He decides to turn over a new leaf, making an honest living as a construction worker and providing for his family.  Before long, the newly-sober Childers starts his own, successful building company, and happily sings along to hymns on Sundays.

When a preacher comes to speak at their local church about African families and children in desperate need of aid and charitable donations, Childers is hit by a wave of inspiration.  He takes his construction company to Sudan, building houses and rebuilding fallen shelters.  There he strikes up a friendship with freedom fighter Deng (Souleymane Sy Savane), who shows him the extent of the conflict between the Christians and the LRA which has been raging for some time.  Upon discovering that many children are sent out of their villages at night by their parents to find a safe place to sleep, Childers returns to the US a changed man.  He declares that he plans to build a church in his hometown of Pennsylvania, and an orphanage in South Sudan.  He begins to lead something of a double life – Christian Americana-personified at home (where he inadvertently becomes pastor of his newly-built church) and Child-Defending Freedom Fighter abroad (where he inadvertently becomes the local hero).

Consumed by the injustices and the level of child carnage he has witnessed at the hands of the LRA, Childers finds himself brandishing a shotgun and taking on the rebels himself, earning the titular nickname.  Because of the stark contrast and cultural difference between life in the Sudan and in the US, Childers finds it increasingly difficult to operate in civilised society and to deal with petty social etiquette.  His family begin to suspect that he cares more for the Sudanese orphans than he does for them – the consequences of which are none more heartbreaking than the breakdown of his friendship with Donnie (a fantastic Michael Shannon).

Machine Gun Preacher is already a subject of controversy.  This is largely due to the film’s religious and somewhat delicate, political content.  What this film achieves, however, is the deliverance of a thoroughly engaging and true story as well as a message of second chances, whilst raising awareness for a conflict which has largely, as Deng puts it, “been forgotten by the whole world”.  The final moments of the film do feel a little like a manipulative, Angelina Jolie-esque plea, which causes you to suspect that the film has been one long and elaborate charity campaign ad, and that you’ll be expected to donate funds to Oxfam employees making Puss-in-Boots eyes at you upon leaving the multiplex.

However, I’m happy to report this was not the case, and what you take away with you is the satisfaction of Gerard Butler’s first, truly multi-faceted performance; his portrayal of Sam Childers is stirring and effecting, evoking a multitude of emotion.  At times, it is hard to get behind the actions of our anti-hero; he becomes neglectful of his duties to his own family, and ruthless in his fight to protect the orphans, not to mention his twisted past.  Ultimately, however, you end up respecting his will to do what others would not, and his family for supporting him.  “God gave you purpose, Sam Childers,” Lynne tells him on the phone in one scene.  This is true – it is a purpose that the real Sam Childers still serves to this day – and the end credits provide the audience with photographic evidence of this.

No matter your own religious and/or political viewpoint, Machine Gun Preacher is technically brilliant (the contrast between the yellow hues and rippling heat of Sudan compared with the distinctly Wintry colour palette of scenes set in the US is subtle yet effective), and entirely memorable as movies go.  Performances from the supporting cast are all solid and plausible, and the film, as a whole, carries a disturbing level of verisimilitude without resorting to overuse of “shakey-cam” techniques – put simply, it feels real without mimicking the documentary style – by today’s standards, quite a feat.  This is not going to be everyone’s “cup of tea”, with graphic images of drug use and murdered children, as well as its heavily-religious agenda; but there is much to admire here, if you’re willing to see past this film’s crude exterior and through to its well-meaning heart – perhaps an analogy for Childers himself.

Star Rating: * * * *

Machine Gun Preacher is due for UK release on the 2nd of November.


(Image sourced at: http://blog.80millionmoviesfree.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/machine-gun-preacher-movie1.jpg)

Article by Emma Champion: Norwich Film Festival 2012 – Film Submission Deadline Looms

Norwich Film Festival Logo


Happy Bank Holiday, Festivalites!  I hope that you are all enjoying the long weekend.

Just a quick note to say that, with the 2012 Norwich Film Festival fast approaching, it is imperative that those of you with a dream to become the next Spielberg, Nolan, Cameron or Jackson do not miss the chance for your work to shimmer on the silver screen.

There are only TWO DAYS left until the deadline for film submissions.  So, if you have created an entry that you feel is deserving of a platform from which to appear on the horizon of the film industry’s vast ocean, and collect a cash prize to boot, make sure you enter your film post haste.

 There are four FOUR categories:

Short Film – any fiction film 30 minutes or under; any genre, any style (£250 prize)

Animated Film – any animated fiction film 30 minutes or under; any genre (£250 prize)

Documentary Film – any non-fiction film 60 minutes or under (£250 prize)

Student Film – any film, any genre, any style, made by students (£250 prize)

The festival will also be awarding honours to the following:

Best Local Film

Best British Film

Best International Film

And, finally:

Best Overall Film – the winner of which will be presented with the competition’s top prize:


Perhaps you have rustled up a romance; constructed a crime; erected an epic; assembled an adventure, whatever your generic forte, there is a place for you at the 2012 Norwich Film Festival to start you on the way to stardom.  Don’t miss out!

For details of entry fees and late entry deadlines for those of you who may need more time, visit: http://www.norwichfilmfestival.co.uk/submit-your-film  and get familiar with the details…

Meanwhile, get all the news and gossip on the 2012 Norwich Film Festival, by following us on Twitter (@norwichfilmfest) and “Like” our page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/norwichfilmfestival) now!

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Article by Emma Champion: Norwich Film Festival 2012 – Judges Announced

Norwich Film Festival Logo

Now, more than ever, it is incredibly important that the medium of film, a great source of escapism, exploration and fantasy, should be celebrated countrywide, not just in our nation’s capital.  Film should be accessible to people everywhere, extending its reach to all who share an interest in movies.  It is my wish to see the beautiful and historic city of Norwich become a hub for film and the arts, and with the upcoming 2012 Norwich Film Festival, things are certainly moving in the right direction.

I am exceedingly proud to be the official blogger for the 2012 Norwich Film Festival, and I will be bringing you regular news and updates as and when details emerge.  So far, the festival has several, eager volunteers poised and ready to view films submitted for the judging process.  However, in addition to this, organisers of the festival have invited some exciting veterans of the industry along to cast a knowing, critical eye over submissions.

Here are the judges confirmed so far:

Tim McInnerny – Actor

A recognisable face of British film, television and theatre, Tim McInnerny has enjoyed an incredibly successful career with roles in films such as Notting Hill (1999) and 101 Dalmatians (1996), and television shows Spooks (2004 – 2006) and Blackadder (1982 – 1989).  Tim’s extensive experience and range will make him a great asset to the selection process.  Look out for him later this year starring alongside his former Blackadder castmate, Rowan Atkinson, in the fourthcoming movie, Johnny English Reborn (2011).



Jim Field Smith – Writer/Director

Jim Field Smith is a London-based movie director, producer, writer and actor.  Co-Founder of Idiotlamp Productions, he recently wrapped his second feature film, Butter (2011), starring Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Garner.  His debut feature, She’s Out of My League (2010) has grossed over $50m worldwide to date.  Jim is currently has several exciting projects in development with major studios including Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures.  However, Jim began his career directing award-winning television advertisements, and went on to recieve critical acclaim for his film shorts Goodbye to the Normals and Missing Moscow.  With all this experience under his belt, Jim will make an excellent addition to the judges panel.



Steve Furst – Comedian/Actor

Probably most recognised for his recent stint in the long-running Orange spots which have parodied product placement in film and preceded screenings in cinemas for a number of years now, Steve Furst is an authority on British comedy and a welcome addition to the panel.  As well as roles on sketch shows such as Little Britain (BBC) and The Lenny Beige Television Show (BBC), his television credits range from My Dad’s The Prime Minister (BBC) and Armstrong & Miller (C4),  to The Bill (ITV) and Wuthering Heights (ITV).  Steve has also appeared in a number of films, such as How It’s Done (2009), film short The Piano Tuner (2001), St Trinian’s (2007)  and St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold (2009).  In addition, his CV boasts an impressive array of radio and writing credits.


Excited yet?  We’re only just beginning.  With more judges and guest appearances yet to be confirmed, the 2012 Norwich Film Festival looks set to be a high-profile, star-studded, prestigious affair.  Stay tuned to http://www.emmachampion.com for all the latest news and developments.

If you’re a budding young film maker whose got what it takes to make a dynamic short, visit http://www.norwichfilmfestival.co.uk for more information on how to submit your entry.

Hungry for more gossip?  Follow the Norwich Film Festival on Twitter (@norwichfilmfest) and “Like” the page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/norwichfilmfestival).


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