Naomi Watts

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Posted by sonny 03/03/2009 @ 07:07

Tags : naomi watts, actors and actresses, entertainment

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Kevin Bacon Mugged in NYC Subway - Popeater
**FILE** This Oct. 23, 2008 file photo shows actors Naomi Watts and boyfriend Liev Schreiber as they attend a Cinema Society and Dolce Gabbana hosted special screening of 'Filth and Wisdom' in New York. It's another boy for Naomi Watts and Liev...
Naomi Watts with her pooch and her youngest son, Samuel - Custer County Chief
Naomi Watts out for a stroll in New York City with her pet pooch and youngest son, Samuel. When she arrived back home, poor Naomi struggled to keep her front door open and get her young charges safely in the building until a gallant New Yorker stepped...
Naomi Watts hang out with her son, Sasha in Soho - Mid-Day
New York: Naomi Watts and her 21-month-old son, Sasha, hang out in Soho with friend Simon Baker in New York City. According to Wiki, the 40-year-old actress and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman are godparents of Simon's two children. Naomi will be joining...
'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' star Liev Schreiber hates his action figure - Kansas City Star
The actor, who has sired two boys with actress Naomi Watts, does say his eldest (aged 21-months) likes the toy: “He has a bag of toys, that he calls the turtle bag, that he puts his favorite toys in and it took a tense 15 minutes (before he put it in...
Kidman opts out of Woody Allen's next - Screen Weekly
The Oscar winning actress was to star alongside Antonio Banderas, Naomi Watts and Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto. Kidman's replacement, however, is yet to he decided, reports Variety. The Aussie beauty had recently claimed that she did not...
The International on Blu-ray Disc: Review By Peter Suciu -
Perhaps a bigger problem is that the film tries to break a few conventions, such as having the lovely Naomi Watts pop in for part of the ride in a completely non-romantic way. Ultimately the film ends up with so many clichéd archetypal characters and a...
Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber set up house with children - Courier Mail
AFTER respiratory problems landed her young son in hospital last week, Naomi Watts received the best Mother's Day present at the weekend - a pink-cheeked, active, healthy son. Despite being held overnight last Tuesday, The International actress's...
Cinefiles rejoice: Haneke finally wins Palm d'Or for 'The White ... - HitFix
... in the United States for "Caché," which was inexplicably not nominated for the best foreign language Oscar in 2006, and "Funny Games," which the director remade for English speaking audiences in a new version starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth....
Anupam Kher is Freida's father in Woody Allen film - Sify
I've grown up and grown older watching Woody Allen's cinema. And look at my kismet. Do you know the film's cast? The Woody Allen film features the mighty Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Antonio Banderas. To be part of this vast cast is...
King Kong to roar again -
The new set will be modelled on the 2005 King Kong film that had Jack Black and Naomi Watts in the lead. Audrey Eig, Universal Studios publicist, says, "King Kong has been an integral part of the studio tour for years. We are happy to be able to bring...

Academy Award for Best Actress

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Prior to the 49th Academy Awards ceremony (1977), this award was simply known as the Academy Award of Merit for Performance by an Actress. Since its inception, however, the award has commonly been referred to as the Oscar for Best Actress. While actresses are nominated for this award by Academy members who are actors and actresses themselves, winners are selected by the Academy membership as a whole. Katharine Hepburn with 4 Best Actress Oscars, holds the record for most awards won by an actress.

Throughout the past 81 years, accounting for ties and repeat winners, AMPAS has presented a total of 82 Best Actress awards to 68 different people. Winners of this Academy Award of Merit receive the familiar Oscar statuette, depicting a gold-plated knight holding a crusader's sword and standing on a reel of film. The first recipient was Janet Gaynor, who was honored at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony (1929) for her performances in Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise. The most recent recipient was Kate Winslet, who was honored at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony (2009) for her performance in The Reader. In the first three years of the Academy Awards, individuals such as actors and directors were nominated as the best in their categories. Then all of their work during the qualifying period (as many as three films, in some cases) was listed after the award. However, during the 3rd Academy Awards ceremony (1930), only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award, even though each of the acting winners had had two films following their names on the ballots. For the 4th Academy Awards ceremony (1931), this unwieldy and confusing system was replaced by the current system in which an actress is nominated for a specific performance in a single film. Such nominations are limited to five per year. Until the 8th Academy Awards ceremony (1936), nominations for the Best Actress award were intended to include all actresses, whether the performance was in either a leading or supporting role. At the 9th Academy Awards ceremony (1937), however, the Best Supporting Actress category was specifically introduced as a distinct award following complaints that the single Best Actress category necessarily favored leading performers with the most screen time. Nonetheless, May Robson had received a Best Actress nomination (Lady for a Day, 1933) for her performance in a clear supporting role. Currently, Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, and Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role constitute the four Academy Awards of Merit for acting annually presented by AMPAS.

Katharine Hepburn, with four wins, has more Best Actress Awards than any other actress. Eleven women have won two Best Actress Awards; in chronological order, they are Luise Rainer, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Vivien Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, Elizabeth Taylor, Glenda Jackson, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Jodie Foster, and Hilary Swank.

Only two actresses have won this award in consecutive years: Luise Rainer (1937 and 1938) and Katharine Hepburn (1967 and 1968).

Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, and Jessica Lange have each won both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards.

Emma Thompson won a Best Actress Award for Howards End (1992) and a Best Adapted Screenplay Award for Sense and Sensibility (1995).

Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep hold the record of 12 nominations in the Best Actress category. Streep has been nominated 15 times (12 for Best Actress and 3 for Best Supporting Actress), which makes her the overall most-nominated performer in all acting categories.

There has been only one tie in the history of this category. This occurred in 1969 when Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand were both given the award. Unlike the earlier 1932 tie for Best Actor, however, Hepburn and Streisand each received the exact same number of votes. In a rare move the Academy extended an invitation (prior to the nomination process) to Steisand to become a member. Thus, presumably, it was her own vote that the tie is owed to.

Only twice have siblings been nominated for the Best Actress award during the same year: Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine in 1942; and Lynn Redgrave and Vanessa Redgrave in 1967.

Only two pairs of actresses have been nominated for Best Actress for the same role: Jeanne Eagels and Bette Davis as Leslie Crosbie in The Letter (1929 and 1940), and Janet Gaynor and Judy Garland as Vicki Lester in A Star is Born (1937 and 1954). In addition, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet both received nominations (Dench for Best Actress and Winslet for Best Supporting Actress) for their portrayals of Iris Murdoch at different ages in 2001's Iris. Winslet and Gloria Stuart were also both nominated (Winslet for Best Actress and Stuart for Best Supporting Actress) for their portrayals of Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic (1997).

The 71st Academy Awards (1999) presented the unique case of actresses being nominated in the same year for the same character in different films. Cate Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth I of England in Elizabeth, while Judi Dench was nominated for (and won) Best Supporting Actress for playing the same character in Shakespeare in Love.

Cate Blanchett is the only actress to be nominated twice for the same role (Queen Elizabeth I), first for 1998's Elizabeth and then again for 2007's Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Kate Winslet, at age 33, became the youngest actress to be nominated for six Academy Awards.

Halle Berry, who won in 2002 for her role in Monster's Ball, is the only woman of African-American descent to win the Best Actress award. six other black actresses have been nominated: Dorothy Dandridge, Diana Ross, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Whoopi Goldberg, and Angela Bassett.

Charlize Theron is the only South-African actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, for her role in Monster (2003).

The only Asian actress to win is Vivien Leigh, whose mother has both an Irish and Indian background, while Merle Oberon, born to an Anglo-Sri Lankan mother and father of unknown origin, was nominated..

Only five actresses of Hispanic or Latin American descent have been nominated for the Best Actress award but as of 2008 none has yet won: Helena Bonham Carter (1997; her mother is Spanish), Fernanda Montenegro, Brazilian, (1998; the first Latin American actress ever nominated), Salma Hayek, Mexican, (2002), Catalina Sandino Moreno, Columbian, (2004), and Penélope Cruz, Spanish (2006).

Nicole Kidman is the only Australian actress to win the Best Actress award (The Hours, 2003); other Australian nominees include May Robson for "Lady for a Day" (1933), Judy Davis for A Passage to India (1984), Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and Naomi Watts for 21 Grams (2004).

Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard are the only actresses to win this award for a foreign-language performance: Loren for her Italian-language performance in Two Women (1961) and Cotillard for her French-language performance in La Vie en Rose (2007).

Jane Wyman, Marlee Matlin and Holly Hunter are the only actresses in the post-silent era to receive Academy Awards for non-speaking, in Wymans case, and predominently non-speaking, in Matlin and Hunters case, roles. Wyman, playing a deaf-mute rape victim in Johnny Belinda (1948), was the first person in the sound era to win an acting Oscar without speaking a line of dialogue. Matlin, who speaks just once when she argues with Actor William Hurt, won the award for her American sign language performance in Children of a Lesser God (1986), and Hunter, who narrates several scenes and speaks on camera in the last scene, (although her face is covered) for her British sign language role in The Piano (1993). Unlike Matlin, who is almost completely deaf in real life, Hunter and Wyman can hear.

No Best Actress winning or nominated performance is lost, although Sadie Thompson (1928) is incomplete and missing portions have been reconstructed with stills.

There have been no posthumous winners of the award. The only posthumous nomination of a woman for any acting award was Jeanne Eagels, who was nominated for Best Actress in 1929 for The Letter. She was the first woman to be posthumously nominated for an Oscar in any category.

The earliest nominee in this category who is still alive is Luise Rainer (1936 and 1937) followed by Joan Fontaine (1941). The earliest winner in this category who is still alive is Luise Rainer (1936 and 1937) followed by Joan Fontaine (1941).

In 1984, three of the five nominees: Sally Field in Places in the Heart, Jessica Lange in Country and Sissy Spacek in The River were all nominated for playing similar roles, farmers struggling to keep their farms running against the odds, a relatively rare role for female actors. Field took home the Oscar for her performance.

Following the Academy's practice, the films below are listed by year of their Los Angeles qualifying run, which is usually (but not always) the film's year of release. For example, the Oscar for Best Actress of 1999 was announced during the award ceremony held in 2000. Winners are listed first in bold, followed by the other nominees.

As the Academy Awards are based in the United States and are centered on the Hollywood film industry, the majority of Academy Award winners have been Americans. Nonetheless, there is significant international presence at the awards, as evidenced by the following list of winners of the Academy Award for Best Actress.

At the 37th Academy Awards (1965), all four of the top acting honors were awarded to non-Americans for the first time: Rex Harrison (British), Julie Andrews (British), Peter Ustinov (British), and Lila Kedrova (Russian-born French). This occurred for a second time at the 80th Academy Awards (2008), when the awards went to: Daniel Day-Lewis (Irish/British), Marion Cotillard (French), Javier Bardem (Spanish), and Tilda Swinton (British).

Along the Academy Awards history, 37 actresses have been nominated in the Lead Actress category for playing a real life character. Norma Shearer, Greer Garson, Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett have been nominated twice, and Meryl Streep, three times for portraying real life characters. The most played character who has been given a nomination to an actress is Elizabeth I of England, portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), earning her two nominations. This character also gave a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category to Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love (1998). Also, 16 actresses have won the Academy Award for portraying a real life character: Jennifer Jones, Ingrid Bergman, Susan Hayward, Anne Bancroft, Julie Andrews, Katharine Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Sissy Spacek, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Helen Mirren and Marion Cotillard. The year that had most actresses nominated for portraying real life characters, was 1968, when Katharine Hepburn was nominated -and eventually won- for playing Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter, Barbra Streisand nominated and winner for playing the American comedienne, singer, theatre and film actress Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, and Vanessa Redgrave nominated for playing the dancer Isadora Duncan in Isadora. This year also has the only tie in the Academy Award history, and obviously, the only tie between actresses playing a real life character.

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Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman and Robbie Williams in the "Somethin' Stupid" music video

Nicole Mary Kidman, AC (born June 20, 1967) is an Academy Award-winning Hawaiian-born Australian actress, model, singer, UN Citizen of the World award-winning humanitarian, and a UNIFEM and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 2006, Kidman was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia's highest civilian honor. In 2006, she was also the highest-paid actress in the motion picture industry.

Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm. Her performances in films such as Days Of Thunder, To Die For (1995), Moulin Rouge! (2001), and The Hours (2002) won her critical acclaim. In 2003, Kidman received her star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California. She is also known for her marriage to Tom Cruise and her current marriage to country musician Keith Urban. As a result of being born to Australian parents in Hawaii, Kidman has dual citizenship of Australia and the United States.

Kidman was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her father, Dr Antony David Kidman, is a biochemist, clinical psychologist and author, with an office in Lane Cove, Sydney, Australia. Her mother, Janelle Ann (née Glenny), is a nursing instructor who edits her husband's books and was a member of the Women's Electoral Lobby. At the time of Kidman's birth, her father was a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health of the United States. The family returned to Australia when Kidman was four and her parents now live on Sydney's North Shore. Kidman has a younger sister, Antonia Kidman, a journalist. She has known actress Naomi Watts since they were in their teens and the two remain best friends today.

Kidman attended Lane Cove Public School and North Sydney Girls' High School. She studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, at the Phillip Street Theatre in Sydney, with Naomi Watts. This was followed by the Australian Theatre for Young People.

Kidman's first appearance in film came in 1983 at 15, in the Pat Wilson music video for the song "Bop Girl". By the end of the year she had a supporting role in the television series Five Mile Creek and four film roles, including BMX Bandits and Bush Christmas. During the 1980s, she appeared in several Australian productions, including the soap opera A Country Practice, the mini-series Vietnam (1986), Emerald City (1988), and Bangkok Hilton (1989).

In 1989, Kidman starred in Dead Calm as Rae Ingram, the wife of naval officer John Ingram (Sam Neill), held captive on a Pacific yacht trip by the psychotic Hughie Warriner (Billy Zane). The thriller garnered strong reviews; commented: "Throughout the film, Kidman is excellent. She gives the character of Rae real tenacity and energy." Meanwhile, critic Roger Ebert noted the excellent chemistry between the leads, stating, "...Kidman and Zane do generate real, palpable hatred in their scenes together." In 1990, she appeared opposite Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder, a stock car racing movie. Kidman starred with Cruise in Ron Howard's Far and Away (1992). In 1995, Kidman featured in the ensemble cast of Batman Forever. On November 20 1993 she hosted Saturday Night Live.

Kidman's second film in 1995, To Die For was a satirical comedy that earned her praise from critics. She won a Golden Globe Award, and five other best actress awards for her portrayal of the murderous newscaster Suzanne Stone Maretto. In 1998, she appeared in the film Practical Magic along side Sandra Bullock. In 1999 Kidman and Cruise portrayed a married couple in Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick's final film. The film is memorable for featuring extensive nudity from Kidman, including dream sequences in which she appears topless, nude and having sex, and the opening montage of the film where the audience can watch Kidman slip out of her dress at the end of the night as well as watch her put on her bra in the morning. All of these scenes are notable because of Kidman's high profile and the arousing nature of her nudity.

Also in 1998, Kidman starred in the stage play The Blue Room, which opened in London. The play included Kidman's character briefly exposing her flesh to the audience.

In 2002 Kidman received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the 2001 musical film Moulin Rouge!, in which she played the courtesan Satine opposite Ewan McGregor. Consequently, Kidman received her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The same year she also had a well-received starring role in the horror film The Others. While in Australia filming Moulin Rouge!, Kidman injured her ribs; as a result, Jodie Foster replaced her as leading actress in the film Panic Room. In that film, Kidman's voice appears on the phone as the mistress of the husband of the lead character.

In the same year, Kidman starred in three very different films. The first film, Dogville, by Danish director Lars von Trier, was an experimental film set on a bare soundstage. In the second film, she co-starred with Anthony Hopkins in the film adaptation of Philip Roth's novel The Human Stain. The third film, Cold Mountain, a love story of two Southerners separated by the Civil War, garnered her a Golden Globe Award nomination.

In 2004, Kidman appeared in the critically panned remake of The Stepford Wives alongside Glenn Close, Faith Hill and Bette Midler. In September of the same year, Birth, in which the 37-year-old actress' character has an encounter with a 10-year-old boy (played by Cameron Bright) who attempts to convince her that he is a reincarnation of her dead husband, was met with a mixed reception primarily due to a scene where the boy strips and joins Kidman in the bathtub. Despite this, the film was nominated for the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival, and Kidman was nominated for another Golden Globe Award.

Kidman's two movies in 2005 were The Interpreter and Bewitched. The Interpreter, directed by Sydney Pollack, received mixed reviews, while Bewitched, co-starring Will Ferrell and based on the 1960s TV sitcom of the same name, was generally panned by critics. Neither film fared well domestically, their box office sales falling well short of the production costs, but both films fared well internationally.

In conjunction with her success in the film industry, Kidman became the face of the Chanel No. 5 perfume brand. She starred in a campaign of television and print ads with Rodrigo Santoro, directed by Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann to promote the fragrance during the holiday season in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. The three-minute commercial produced for Chanel No. 5 perfume made Kidman the record holder for the most money paid per minute to an actor after she reportedly earned US$12million for the 3 minute advert. During this time, Kidman was also listed as the 45th Most Powerful Celebrity on the 2005 Forbes Celebrity 100 List. She made a reported US$14.5 million in 2004-2005. On People magazine's list of 2005's highest paid actresses, Kidman was second behind Julia Roberts with a US$16 million to US$17 million per-film price tag. She has since passed Roberts as the highest paid actress.

Recently, Kidman appeared in the Diane Arbus bio-pic Fur. She also lent her voice to the animated film Happy Feet, which quickly garnered critical and commercial success; the film grossed over US$384 million dollars worldwide. In 2007, she starred in the science fiction movie The Invasion directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel where it was reported that she received $26 million dollars for her performance; although it was a critical and commercial failure Kidman said that she has no control over the success of her films. She also played opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black in Noah Baumbach's comedy-drama Margot at the Wedding. She also starred in the film adaptation of the first part of the planned His Dark Materials trilogy of films, playing the villainous Marisa Coulter. However, The Golden Compass''s failure to meet expectations at the North American box office has reduced the likelihood of a sequel.

In 2008, she starred Baz Luhrmann's Australian period film titled Australia, which is set in the remote Northern Territory during the Japanese attack on Darwin during World War II. Kidman played opposite Hugh Jackman as an English woman feeling overwhelmed by the continent.

On June 25, 2007, Nintendo announced that Kidman would be the new face of Nintendo's advertising campaign for the Nintendo DS game More Brain Training in its European market.

Kidman was featured in a series of advertisements for Sky in Italy, speaking Italian during the spots.

Kidman was originally set to star in The Reader, a post-war Germany drama, but due to her pregnancy she had to back out of the film. Shortly after the news of Kidman's departure, it was announced that Kate Winslet would take over the role. Winslet went on to win the Oscar for Best Actress for the role - at the ceremony, Kidman was one of the five previous winners who presented her with the award.

On November 10, 2008, TV Guide reported that Kidman will star in the film adaptation of The Danish Girl alongside Charlize Theron. Kidman will play Elinar Wegener, the world's first post-op transsexual.

Not a singer before Moulin Rouge!, Kidman had well-received vocal performances in the film. Her collaboration with Ewan McGregor on "Come What May" peaked at 27 in the UK Singles Chart. Later she collaborated with Robbie Williams on "Somethin' Stupid", a cover of Williams' swing covers album Swing When You're Winning. It peaked at 8 in the Australian ARIAnet Singles Chart, and at 1 for three weeks in the UK. It was UK Christmas number 1 for 2001.

In 2006, she voiced the animated movie Happy Feet, along with vocals for Norma Jean's 'heartsong', a slightly altered version of "Kiss" by Prince. Kidman is to sing in Rob Marshall's next movie, musical Nine, along with Daniel Day-Lewis, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard.

In January 2005, Kidman won interim restraining orders against two Sydney paparazzi.

In the beginning of 2009, Kidman appeared in a series of special edition postage stamps featuring some of Australia's great actors. She, Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe, and Cate Blanchett each appear twice in the series: once as themselves and once as their Academy Award-winning character.

Kidman met Tom Cruise on the set of their 1990 movie, Days of Thunder. Cruise was married to Mimi Rogers and divorced her. Kidman and Cruise were married on Christmas Eve 1990 in Telluride, Colorado. The couple adopted a daughter, Isabella Jane (born 1992), and a son, Connor Anthony (born 1995). They separated just after their 10th wedding anniversary. She was three months pregnant and had a miscarriage. Cruise filed for divorce in February 2001. The marriage was dissolved in 2001, Cruise citing irreconcilable differences. The reasons for dissolution have never been made public. In Marie Claire, Kidman said she had an ectopic pregnancy early in their marriage. In the June 2006 Ladies' Home Journal, she said she still loved Cruise: "He was huge; still is. To me, he was just Tom, but to everybody else, he is huge. But he was lovely to me. And I loved him. I still love him." In addition, she has expressed shock about their divorce.

The 2003 film Cold Mountain brought rumours that an affair between Kidman and co-star Jude Law was responsible for the break-up of his marriage. Both denied the allegations, and Kidman won an undisclosed sum from the British tabloids that published the story. She gave the money to a Romanian orphanage in the town where the movie was filmed. Robbie Williams confirmed they had a short romance on her yacht in summer 2004. Shortly after her Oscar, there were rumours of a relationship between her and Adrien Brody. She met musician Lenny Kravitz in 2003 and dated him into 2004.

Kidman met country singer Keith Urban at G'Day LA, an event honouring Australians in January 2005. Kidman and Urban married on Sunday 25 June 2006, at Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel in the grounds of St Patrick's Estate, Manly in Sydney. They maintain homes in Sydney, Sutton Forest, Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee. In March 2008, they bought mansions in Los Angeles and Nashville within days.

After speculation by the press, it was confirmed on 8 January 2008 that Kidman was three months pregnant. The couple had their first child, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, on 7 July 2008, in Nashville, Tennessee. Kidman's father said the daughter's middle name was after Urban's late grandmother, Rose. On Sunday Rose's birthday of 7 July, the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Kyriaki; "Kyriaki" is Greek for Sunday.

Kidman is a practicing Catholic. She attended Mary Mackillop Chapel in North Sydney. During her marriage to Cruise, she had been an occasional practitioner of Scientology.

Kidman's name was in an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times (17 August 2006) that condemned Hamas and Hezbollah and supported Israel in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. Kidman has donated to U.S. Democratic party candidates and endorsed John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

Kidman has been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF Australia since 1994. She has raised money for and drawn attention to the disadvantaged children around the world. In 2004, she was honored as a "Citizen of the World" by the United Nations.

On 26 January 2006 (Australia Day), Kidman received Australia's highest civilian honor when she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. She was also nominated goodwill ambassador for UNIFEM.

Kidman joined the 'Little Tee Campaign' for breast cancer care to design T-shirts or vests to raise money for breast cancer. Kidman's mother had breast cancer in 1984.

Kidman's movies gross total is more than US$2 billion, with 17 movies making more than US$100 million.

In 2003, Kidman received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition to those accolades, Kidman has received Best Actress awards from the following critics' groups or award-granting organisations: the Hollywood Foreign Press (Golden Globes), the Australian Film Institute, Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Empire Awards, Golden Satellite Awards, Hollywood Film Festival, London Critics Circle, Russian Guild of Film Critics, and the Southeastern Film Critics Association. In 2003, Kidman was given the American Cinematheque Award. She also received recognition from the National Association of Theatre Owners at the ShoWest Convention in 1992 as the Female Star of Tomorrow and in 2002 for a Distinguished Decade of Achievement in Film.

In 2006, Kidman was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia's highest civilian honour, for "service to the performing arts as an acclaimed motion picture performer, to health care through contributions to improve medical treatment for women and children and advocacy for cancer research, to youth as a principal supporter of young performing artists, and to humanitarian causes in Australia and internationally." However, due to film commitments and her wedding to Urban, it was 13 April 2007 that she was presented with the honor., presented by Governor-General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery in a ceremony at Government House, Canberra.

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David Lynch

DAVID LYNCH (CannesPhotocall).jpg

David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American director, screenwriter, producer, painter, cartoonist, composer, video and performance artist. Lynch has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), and Mulholland Drive (2001). Lynch has won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival.

Over a lengthy career, Lynch has employed a distinctive and unorthodox approach to narrative film making (dubbed Lynchian), which has become instantly recognizable to many audiences and critics worldwide. Lynch's films are known for surreal, nightmarish and dreamlike images and meticulously crafted sound design. Lynch's work often explores the seedy underside of "Small Town U.S." (particularly Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks), or sprawling California metropolises (Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and his latest release, Inland Empire). Beginning with his experimental film school feature Eraserhead (1977), he has maintained a strong cult following despite inconsistent commercial success.

Lynch was born in Missoula, Montana on January 20, 1946. His father, Donald, was a U.S. Department of Agriculture research scientist and his mother, Sunny Lynch, was an English language tutor. He was raised throughout the Pacific Northwest and Durham, North Carolina. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and, on his 15th birthday, served as an usher at John F. Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration. Lynch is a Presbyterian. His mother's father, whose last name was Sandholm, moved to the United States from Finland in the 19th century, and Lynch is one of the best-known Finnish Americans.

Intending to become an artist, Lynch attended classes at Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. while finishing high school in Alexandria, Virginia. He enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for one year (where he was a roommate of Peter Wolf) before leaving for Europe with his friend and fellow artist Jack Fisk, planning to study with Austrian expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka. Although he had planned to stay for three years, Lynch returned to the US after only 15 days.

In 1966, Lynch relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and made a series of complex mosaics in geometric shapes which he called Industrial Symphonies. Lynch's receipt for his first camera, purchased in Philadelphia on April 25, 1967 at Fotorama, lists his residency as 2429 Aspen Street. This house is located in Philadelphia's Fairmount neighborhood, also known as the Art Museum neighborhood. The receipt can be viewed on The Short Films of David Lynch. At this time, he also began working in film. His first short film Six Men Getting Sick (1966), which he described as "57 seconds of growth and fire, and three seconds of vomit", was played on a loop at an art exhibit. It won the Academy's annual film contest. This led to a commission from H. Barton Wasserman to do a film installation in his home. After a disastrous first attempt that resulted in a completely blurred, frameless print, Wasserman allowed Lynch to keep the remaining portion of the commission. Using this, he created The Alphabet.

In 1970, Lynch turned his attention away from fine art and focused primarily on film. He won a $5,000 grant from the American Film Institute to produce The Grandmother, about a neglected boy who “grows” a grandmother from a seed. The 30-minute film exhibited many elements that would become Lynch trademarks, including unsettling sound and surrealistic imagery and a focus on unconscious desires instead of traditional narration.

In 1971, Lynch moved to Los Angeles to study for an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) degree at the AFI Conservatory. At the Conservatory, Lynch began working on his first feature-length film, Eraserhead, using a $10,000 grant from the AFI. The grant did not provide enough money to complete the film and, due to lack of a sufficient budget, Eraserhead was filmed intermittently until 1977. Lynch used money from friends and family, including boyhood friend Jack Fisk, a production designer and the husband of actress Sissy Spacek, and even took a paper route to finish it.

A stark and enigmatic film, Eraserhead tells the story of a quiet young man (Jack Nance) living in an industrial wasteland, whose girlfriend gives birth to a constantly crying mutant baby. Lynch has referred to Eraserhead as "my Philadelphia story", meaning it reflects all of the dangerous and fearful elements he encountered while studying and living in Philadelphia. He said "this feeling left its traces deep down inside me. And when it came out again, it became Eraserhead".

The final film was initially judged to be almost unreleasable, but thanks to the efforts of the Elgin Theater distributor Ben Barenholtz, it became an instant cult classic and was a staple of midnight movie showings for the next decade. It was also a critical success, launching Lynch to the forefront of avant-garde filmmaking. Stanley Kubrick said that it was one of his all-time favorite films. It cemented the team of actors and technicians who would continue to define the texture of his work for years to come, including cinematographer Frederick Elmes, sound designer Alan Splet, and actor Jack Nance.

Eraserhead brought Lynch to the attention of producer Mel Brooks, who hired him to direct 1980's The Elephant Man, a biopic of deformed Victorian era figure Joseph Merrick. The film was a huge commercial success, and earned eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay nods for Lynch. It also established his place as a commercially viable, if somewhat dark and unconventional, Hollywood director. George Lucas, a fan of Eraserhead, offered Lynch the opportunity to direct Return of the Jedi, which he refused, feeling that it would be more Lucas's vision than his own.

Afterwards, Lynch agreed to direct a big budget adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune for Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis's De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, on the condition that the company release a second Lynch project, over which the director would have complete creative control. Although De Laurentiis hoped it would be the next Star Wars, Lynch's Dune (1984) was a critical and commercial dud, costing $45 million to make, and grossing a mere $27.4 million domestically. The studio released an "extended cut" of the film for syndicated television in which some footage was reinstated; however, certain shots from elsewhere in the film were repeated throughout the story to give the impression that other footage had been added. Whatever the case, this was not representative of Lynch's intended cut, but rather a cut that the studio felt was more comprehensible than the original theatrical version. Lynch objected to these changes and disowned the extended cut, which has "Alan Smithee" credited as the director. This version has since been released on video worldwide.

Lynch's second De Laurentiis-financed project was 1986's Blue Velvet, the story of a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) who discovers his small, idealistic hometown hides a dark side after investigating a severed ear he found in a field. The film featured memorable performances from Isabella Rossellini as a tormented lounge singer, and Dennis Hopper as a crude, psychopathic criminal, and the leader of a small gang of backwater hoodlums.

Although Lynch had found success previously with The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet's controversy with audiences and critics introduced him into the mainstream, and became a huge critical and moderate commercial success. Thus, the film earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. The content of the film and its artistic merit drew much controversy from audiences and critics alike in 1986 and onwards. Blue Velvet introduced several common elements of his work, including abused women, the dark underbelly of small towns, and unconventional uses of vintage songs. Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet" and Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" are both featured in unconventional ways. It was also the first time Lynch worked with composer Angelo Badalamenti, who would contribute to all of his future full-length films except INLAND EMPIRE.

Woody Allen, whose film Hannah and Her Sisters was nominated for Best Picture, said that Blue Velvet was his favourite film of the year.

After failing to secure funding for several completed scripts in the late 1980s, Lynch collaborated with television producer Mark Frost on the show Twin Peaks, which was about a small Washington town that is the location of several bizarre occurrences. The show centered around the investigation by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the death of popular high school student Laura Palmer, an investigation that unearthed the secrets of many town residents, something that stemmed from Blue Velvet. Lynch directed six episodes of the series, including the feature-length pilot, wrote or co-wrote several more and even acted in some episodes.

The show debuted on the ABC Network on April 8, 1990 and gradually rose from cult hit to cultural phenomenon, and because of its originality and success remains one of the most well-known television series of the decade. Catch phrases from the show entered the culture and parodies of it were seen on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. Lynch appeared on the cover of Time magazine largely because of the success of the series. Lynch, who has seldom acted in his career, also appeared on the show as the partially-deaf FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole, who shouted his every word.

However, Lynch clashed with the ABC Network on several matters, particularly whether or not to reveal Laura Palmer's killer. The network insisted that the revelation be made during the second season but Lynch wanted the mystery to last as long as the series. Lynch soon became disenchanted with the series, and, as a result, many cast members complained of feeling abandoned. Later, in a roundtable discussion with cast members included in the 2007 DVD release of the series, he stated that he and Frost never intended to ever reveal the identity of Laura's killer, that ABC forced him to reveal the culprit prematurely, and that agreeing to do so is one of his biggest professional regrets.

It was at this time that Lynch began to work with editor/producer/domestic partner Mary Sweeney who had been one of his assistant editors on Blue Velvet. This was a collaboration that would last some eleven projects. During this period, Sweeney also gave birth to their son.

Adapted from the novel by Barry Gifford, Wild at Heart was an almost hallucinatory crime/road movie starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern. It won the Palme d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival but was met with a muted response from American critics and viewers. Reportedly, several people walked out of test screenings.

The missing link between Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart, however, is Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted. It was originally presented on-stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City on November 10, 1989 as a part of the New Music America Festival. Industrial Symphony No. 1 is another collaboration between composer Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch. It features five songs by Julee Cruise and stars several members of the Twin Peaks cast as well as Nic Cage, Laura Dern and Julee Cruise. Lynch described this musical spectacle as the "sound effects and music and ... happening on the stage. And, it has something to do with, uh, a relationship ending." David Lynch produced a 50 minute video of the performance in 1990.

Twin Peaks suffered a severe ratings drop and was canceled in 1991. Still, Lynch scripted a prequel to the series about the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer. The resulting film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), flopped at the box office.

As a quick blip during this time period, he and Mark Frost wrote and directed several episodes of the short lived comedy series On the Air for ABC, which followed the zany antics at a 1950s TV studio. In the US, only three episodes were aired, although seven were filmed. In the Netherlands, all seven were aired by VPRO. BBC2 in the UK also aired all seven episodes. Lynch also produced (with Frost) and directed the documentary television series American Chronicles.

His next project was much more low-key: he directed two episodes of a three-episode HBO mini-series called Hotel Room about events that happened in the same hotel room in a span of decades.

Lynch also had a comic strip – The Angriest Dog in the World – which featured unchanging graphics (various panels showing the angular, angry dog chained up in a yard full of bones) and cryptic philosophical references. It ran from 1983 until 1992 in the Village Voice, Creative Loafing and other tabloid and alternative publications.

In 1997, Lynch returned with the non-linear, noir-like film Lost Highway, co-written by Barry Gifford and starring Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette. The film failed commercially and received a mixed response from critics. However, thanks in part to a soundtrack featuring David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins, it helped gain Lynch a new audience of Generation X viewers.

In 1999, Lynch surprised fans and critics with the G-rated, Disney-produced The Straight Story, written and edited by Mary Sweeney, which was, on the surface, a simple and humble movie telling the true story of Iowan Alvin Straight, played by Richard Farnsworth, who rides a lawnmower to Wisconsin to make peace with his ailing brother, played by Harry Dean Stanton. The film garnered positive reviews and reached a new audience for its director.

The same year, Lynch approached ABC once again with an idea for a television drama. The network gave Lynch the go-ahead to shoot a two-hour pilot for the series Mulholland Drive, but disputes over content and running time led to the project being shelved indefinitely.

With seven million dollars from the French production company StudioCanal, Lynch completed the pilot as a film. Mulholland Drive is an enigmatic tale of the dark side of Hollywood and stars Naomi Watts, Laura Harring and Justin Theroux. The film performed relatively well at the box office worldwide and was a critical success earning Lynch a Best Director prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival (shared with Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There) and a Best Director award from the New York Film Critics Association.

Film critic Roger Ebert was notoriously unfavorable towards Lynch, accusing him of misogyny in his reviews of Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. Ebert had an apparent change of heart and subsequently wrote enthusiastic reviews of both The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive.

In 2002, Lynch created a series of online shorts entitled Dumbland. Intentionally crude both in content and execution, the eight-episode series was later released on DVD. The same year, Lynch treated his fans to his own version of a sitcom via his website - Rabbits, eight episodes of surrealism in a rabbit suit. Later, he showed his experiments with Digital Video (DV) in the form of the Japanese style horror short Darkened Room.

At the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Lynch announced that he had spent over a year shooting his new project digitally in Poland. The feature, titled Inland Empire, included Lynch regulars such as Laura Dern, Harry Dean Stanton, and Mulholland Drive star Justin Theroux, with cameos by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring (actors in the rabbit suits), and a performance by Jeremy Irons. Lynch described the piece as "a mystery about a woman in trouble". It was released in December 2006. In an effort to promote the film, Lynch made appearances with a cow and a placard bearing the slogan "Without cheese there would be no Inland Empire".

Despite his almost exclusive focus on America, Lynch has found a large audience in France; Inland Empire, Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Fire Walk With Me were all funded through French production companies.

The most recent work that Lynch has directed is a fragrance short film/commercial for Gucci. It features 3 prominent models, dancing in what appear to be their own luxurious homes, to the soundtrack of Blondie. A video of the commercial plus a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the commercial is available online at the Gucci website.

In May 2008, Lynch announced that he was working on a road documentary "about his dialogues with regular folk on the meaning of life, with the likes of 60’s troubadour Donovan and John Hagelin, the physicist, as traveling companions".

In October, 2008, the OMMA Video Conference, Jen Gregono, chief content officer at On Networks, announced that her company signed Lynch to a webisode series based on his book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity.

David Lynch has twice won France's César Award for Best Foreign Film and served as President of the jury at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, where he had previously won the Palme d'Or in 1990. On September 6. 2006 Lynch received a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. He also premiered his latest work, Inland Empire, at the festival.

Lynch has received four Academy Award nominations: Best Director for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001), as well as Best Adapted Screenplay for The Elephant Man (1980).

He was also honored by the French government with the Legion of Honor, the country's top civilian honor, as Chevalier in 2002 then Officier in 2007, and was named the best director in The Guardian's 'The world's 40 best directors' in 2008. .

Lynch is also widely noted for his collaborations with various production artists and composers on his films and multiple different productions. He frequently works with Angelo Badalamenti to compose music for his productions, former wife Mary Sweeney as a film editor, casting director Johanna Ray, and cast members Harry Dean Stanton, Jack Nance, Kyle MacLachlan, Naomi Watts, Isabella Rossellini, Grace Zabriskie, and Laura Dern.

Although interpretations vary, those who study Lynch's work generally find consistent themes. His narratives are typically set in the United States, either in remote small towns (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet) or in sprawling metropolises (Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, both set in Los Angeles, California). Beaten or abused women are also a common subject, as are intimations or explicit mention of incest and sexual abuse (most of his films).

Most of Lynch's male protagonists harbor some dark secret or have a "dark side" which they actively repress; Eraserhead's Harry impregnates and abandons his girlfriend, Jeffrey in Blue Velvet develops sadomasochistic tendencies which violently manifest themselves in his unfaithful couplings with Dorothy, and Leland Palmer has a latent sexual desire for his own daughter in Twin Peaks.

Lynch also tends to feature his leading female actors in multiple or "split" roles, so that many of his female characters have multiple, fractured identities. This practice begins with his choice to cast Sheryl Lee as both Laura Palmer and her twin cousin Maddy Ferguson in Twin Peaks and continues in his later works. In Lost Highway, Patricia Arquette plays the dual role of Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield. In Mulholland Drive, Naomi Watts plays Diane Selwyn/Betty Elms and Laura Harring plays Camilla Rhodes/Rita. In Inland Empire, Laura Dern plays Nikki Grace/Susan Blue. By contrast, Lynch rarely creates multi-character roles for his male actors.

Lynch has expressed his admiration for filmmakers Jacques Tati, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, writer Franz Kafka (stating "the only artist I felt could be my brother was Kafka"), and artist Francis Bacon. He states that the majority of Kubrick films are in his top ten, that he really loves Kafka, and that Bacon paints images that are both visually stunning, and emotionally touching. He has also cited the Austrian expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka as an inspiration for his works. Lynch has a love for the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz and frequently makes reference to it in his films, most overtly in Wild at Heart.

An early influence on Lynch was the book The Art Spirit by American turn-of-the-century artist and teacher Robert Henri. When he was in high school, Bushnell Keeler, an artist who was the stepfather of one of his friends, introduced Lynch to Henri's book, which became his bible. As Lynch said in Chris Rodley's book Lynch on Lynch, "it helped me decide my course for painting — 100 percent right there." Lynch, like Henri, moved from rural America to an urban environment to pursue an artistic career. Henri was an urban realist painter, legitimizing every day city life as the subject of his work, much in the same way that Lynch first drew street scenes. Henri's work also bridged changing centuries, from America's agricultural 19th century into the industrial 20th century, much in the same fashion as Lynch's films blend the nostalgic happiness of the fifties to the twisted weirdness of the eighties and nineties.

His influences have also included Luis Buñuel, Werner Herzog, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, and Roman Polanski. Some of them have cited Lynch as an influence themselves, most notably Kubrick, who stated that he modeled his vision of The Shining (1980) upon that of Eraserhead and who, according to Lynch's book Catching the Big Fish, once commented while screening Eraserhead for a small group that it was his favorite film.

Ronnie Rocket is an as-yet-unproduced film by David Lynch.

Initially, Lynch and producer Stuart Cornfeld had hoped to get it made with Dean Stockwell, Brad Dourif, Jack Nance, Dennis Hopper and Harry Dean Stanton originally starring in it back in 1987 with it being set in Hoboken, New Jersey. Later on Isabella Rossellini was intended to star in the film.

Various drafts of the script have languished at both Dino De Laurentiis and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios. Lynch had a multi-picture deal with De Laurentiis that began with Dune. After Blue Velvet, Lynch planned to make Ronnie Rocket but then De Laurentiis' company went bankrupt in 1988 and this project ended up in legal limbo.

Lynch has stated that he is still very much interested in making the film, but anticipates that it will not be a commercial picture, but more personal like Eraserhead. He has already considered Michael J. Anderson who was the Man from Another Place in the Twin Peaks TV show and feature film, as the man to play Ronnie Rocket.

Cinematographer/director Caleb Deschanel, who was also at the AFI at the time and wanted to shoot the film, introduced Lynch to a producer at 20th Century Fox. The studio was interested in making a series of low-budget horror films and wanted to expand "Gardenback" into a feature film. The studio was willing to give Lynch $50,000 to make it but wanted the 45-page script to be expanded. This involved writing dialogue -- something Lynch had never tried before. Lynch said in Lynch on Lynch, "What I wrote was pretty much worthless, but something happened inside me about structure, about scenes. And I don't even know what it was, but it sort of percolated down and became part of me. But the script was pretty much worthless. I knew I'd just watered it down." Consequently, Lynch became disenchanted with the project. Some of the elements in "Gardenback" would later surface in Eraserhead, such as its main characters Henry and Mary X.

Lynch tends to keep his personal life private and rarely comments on his films. However, he does attend public events and film festivals when he or his films are nominated/awarded. Despite a belief that a film should be seen in its totality, the DVD release of Inland Empire is divided into chapters, with Lynch explaining why in the "Stories" feature. In addition, on his two DVD collections of short films, Lynch provides short introductions to each film.

In the 1980s, Lynch expressed that he liked Ronald Reagan and at one point he had dinner with the Reagans at the White House, though he sees himself as a Libertarian or Democrat.

In the "Stories" feature on the Eraserhead DVD, Lynch mentions that he ate French fries and grilled cheese almost every day while on the set. Despite his professional accomplishments, Lynch once characterized himself simply as "Eagle Scout, Missoula, Montana".

In 1967, Lynch married Peggy Lentz in Chicago, Illinois. They had one child, Jennifer Chambers Lynch, born in 1968, who currently works as a film director. They filed for divorce in 1974. On June 21, 1977, Lynch married Mary Fisk, and the couple had one child, Austin Jack Lynch, born in 1982. They divorced in 1987, and Lynch began dating Isabella Rossellini, after filming Blue Velvet.

Lynch and Rossellini broke up in 1991, and Lynch developed a relationship with Mary Sweeney, with whom he had one son, Riley Lynch, in 1992. Sweeney also worked as long-time film editor/producer to Lynch and co-wrote and produced The Straight Story. The two married in May 2006, but divorced later in July.

As of November, 2008, Lynch is engaged to actress Emily Stofle, who played in Lynch's 2006 film Inland Empire.

In December 2, 2005, Lynch told the Washington Post that he had been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day, for 20 minutes each time, for 32 years. He was initiated into the Transcendental Meditation technique in 1973 in Los Angeles by a teacher he thought "looked like Doris Day". Lynch advocates the use of this meditation technique in bringing peace to the world. In July 2005, he launched the David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and Peace established to help finance scholarships for students in middle and high schools who are interested in learning the Transcendental Meditation technique, and to fund research on the technique and its effects on learning. He promotes his vision on college campuses with ongoing tours that began in September 2005..

Lynch is working for the building and establishment of seven buildings, in which 8,000, salaried people will practice advanced meditation techniques, "pumping peace for the world." He estimates the cost at $7 billion. As of December 2005, he had spent $400,000 of personal money, and raised $1 million in donations. In December 2006, the New York Times reported that he continued to have that goal.

Lynch's book, Catching the Big Fish (Tarcher/Penguin 2006), discusses the impact of the Transcendental Meditation technique on his creative process. He is donating all author's royalties to the David Lynch Foundation.

Lynch maintains an interest in other art forms. He described the twentieth century artist Francis Bacon as "to me, the main guy, the number one kinda hero painter". He continues to present art installations and stage designs. In his spare time, he also designs and builds furniture. He started building furniture from his own designs as far back as his art school days. He built sheds during the making of Eraserhead, and many of the sets and furniture used in that movie are made by Lynch. He also made some of the furniture for Fred Madison's house in Lost Highway.

Lynch was the subject of a major art retrospective at the Fondation Cartier, Paris from March May 3-27 2007. The show was entitled The Air is on Fire and included numerous paintings, photographs, drawings, alternative films and sound work. New site-specific art installations were created specially for the exhibition. A series of events accompanied the exhibition including live performances and concerts. Some of Lynch's art include photographs of dissected chickens and other animals as a "Build your own Chicken" toy ad.

Between 1983 and 1992, Lynch wrote and drew a weekly comic strip called The Angriest Dog in the World for the L.A. Reader. The drawings in the panels never change — just the captions. The comic strip originated from a time in Lynch's life when he was filled with anger.

Lynch has also been involved in a number of musical projects, many of them related to his films. Most notably he produced and wrote lyrics for Julee Cruise's first two albums, Floating into the Night (1989) and The Voice of Love (1993), in collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti who composed the music and also produced. Lynch has also worked on the 1998 Jocelyn Montgomery album Lux Vivens. He has also composed bits of music for Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Mulholland Drive, and Rabbits. In 2001 he released BlueBob, a rock album performed by Lynch and John Neff. The album is notable for Lynch's unusual guitar playing style: he plays "upside down and backwards, like a lap guitar", and relies heavily on effects pedals. Most recently Lynch has composed several pieces for Inland Empire, including two songs, "Ghost of Love" and "Walkin' on the Sky" in which he makes his public debut as a singer.

Lynch designed his personal website, a site exclusive to paying members, where he posts short videos and his absurdist series Dumbland, plus interviews and other items. The site also features a daily weather report, where Lynch gives a brief description of the weather in Los Angeles, where he resides. As of December, 2008, this weather report (usually no longer than 30 seconds) is also being broadcast on his personal YouTube-channel David Lynch - Daily Weather Report. An absurd ringtone ("I like to kill deer") from the website was a common sound bite on The Howard Stern Show in early 2006.

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King Kong (2005 film)

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King Kong is a 2005 remake of the 1933 film of the same name about a fictional giant ape called Kong. The film was directed by Peter Jackson and stars Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, Jack Black as Carl Denham, Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll and, through performance capture, Andy Serkis as Kong. Serkis also played Lumpy, the galley chef on the SS Venture.

In 1933, Great Depression-era New York City, actress Ann Darrow has just lost her job at the local theatre and is recruited by film director Carl Denham because of the presence of her favourite writer Jack Driscoll. They set sail to a remote Indian Ocean island known as Skull Island, inhabited by prehistoric creatures and the mighty giant gorilla Kong.

The film's budget climbed from an initial US$150 million to a record-breaking $207 million. The film was released on December 14, 2005 and made an opening of $50.1 million. While the film performed lower than expectations, Kong made domestic and worldwide grosses that eventually added up to $550 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal Studios history. Strong DVD sales also added over $100 million to the grosses. It also received positive reviews, with some considering it one of the all-round best movies of 2005, though it has been criticised for its length at three hours and eight minutes (while a three-disc extended DVD edition actually increases this to over three hours and twenty minutes). It won Academy Awards for visual effects, sound mixing, and sound editing.

The film opens in New York City, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. Having lost her job as a vaudeville actress, Ann Darrow is hired by troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to be an actress in his new motion picture against the famous and popular actor Bruce Baxter. With time running out, Ann signs on when she learns her favourite playwright Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter. On the SS Venture, they slowly fall in love. As for Carl, a warrant is out for his arrest and Captain Englehorn begins to have second thoughts, following the fears of his crew over the legend of Skull Island. Despite his attempt to turn around, their ship is sucked up into a fog and crashes into one of the encircling rocks.

Carl and his crew explore the island, with a deserted village against a wall, but they are attacked by the vicious natives. Mike, the sound technician, is speared, one of the sailors has his head crushed, and Jack is knocked out. Ann screams, and a roar beyond the wall responds. The matriarch vows to sacrifice her to "Kong", a 25 ft (8 m) gorilla. Englehorn and his crew break up the attack and return to the damaged ship. They finally lighten the load to steer away, until Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. On the island, Ann is hung from a balcony to the other side of a valley. The crew comes armed, but are too late. Carl sees the gorilla that has taken her. Englehorn gives them 24 hours to find her. In the meantime, Ann discovers the remains of the previous sacrifices, and stabs Kong's hand with her ceremonial necklace to no avail. Kong takes Ann into the jungles of the island.

Captain Englehorn organises a rescue party to find Ann and hunt down the beast. The rescue party is caught up in a Venatosaurus pack's hunt of Brontosaurus, and four of them (including Herb, the cameraman) are killed while Jack and the rest of the crew survive. Ann manages to entertain Kong with juggling and dancing, but he does not kill her when she refuses to continue, leaving her instead. The rest of the rescue party come across a swamp. It is here that Bruce Baxter and two others leave the group. The survivors stumble across a log where Kong attacks, shaking them off the log into a ravine. He returns to rescue Ann from three Vastatosaurus rex (modern Tyrannosaurus), and takes her up to his mountain lair. Englehorn and the rest of the crew rescue whomever is left of the rescue party from the pit of giant insects, and as Jack decides to continue to search for Ann, Carl decides to capture Kong. Jack comes to Kong's lair, and disturbs him from his slumber. As Kong fights a swarm of giant bats, Ann and Jack escape by grabbing the wing of a Terapusmordax and then jumping to a river. They arrive at the village wall with the angry Kong following them, where Ann becomes distraught by what Carl plans to do. Kong bursts through the gate and struggles to get her back, but he is knocked out by chloroform.

Peter Jackson was a nine year old in the New Zealand town of Pukerua Bay when he first saw the 1933 version of King Kong. He was in tears in front of the TV when Kong slipped off the Empire State Building. At age 12 he tried to recreate the film using his parents' super-8 camera and a model of Kong made of wire and rubber with his mother's fur coat for the hair, but eventually gave up on the project. In 1996, he developed a version that was in pre-production for 6-7 months, but the studio cancelled it. This is most likely because of the release of Mighty Joe Young and Godzilla the same year. During this time Jackson had achieved the designs of the Brontosaurus and the Venatosaurus. He then began work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. No casting was ever done, but he had hoped to get either George Clooney or Robert De Niro. With the overwhelming box office and critical success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Universal contacted him during production of the second film, and he was paid $20 million USD to direct this film, the highest salary Hollywood ever paid a director.

Peter Jackson has stated that the script significantly changed between the 1996 and 2005 drafts. In Jackson's original 1996 draft of the script, Ann was the daughter of famed English archaeologist Lord Linwood Darrow exploring ancient ruins in Sumatra. They would come into conflict with Denham during his filming, and they would uncover a hidden Kong statue and the map of Skull Island. This would indicate that the island natives were a cult religion that once thrived on the mainland of Asia, and all trace of the cult was wiped out, except for the few on the island. Instead of a playwright, Jack was the first mate and an ex-First World War fighter pilot still struggling with the loss of his best friend, who is killed in battle during a World War I prologue. Herb the camera-man was the only supporting character in the original draft who made it to the final version. Another difference was that Ann was actually caught in the V. rex's jaws in the Kong/3 V. rex fight. According to the draft, Ann was wedged in the mouth and slashed by the teeth; after the fight, Kong got her out but by some reason Ann got a fever, from which she recovered. (It did not say how Ann got it, but it was almost unmistakably an infection in one of her cuts). Jackson's first rough draft was described as a "tongue-in-cheek comedic film with elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark and other films," according to Jackson himself. Originally, he wanted a comical "monkey-farce" to be released, but he credits Universal for pulling the plug, as he was able to rework things into what ended up on screen.

Other difficulties included the rewriting of the script between 1996 and 2005, adding more character development to the 1933 story and acting as though the 1976 version never existed. The process began with a nine minute animatic created by Peter Jackson and shown to the writing team, causing Philippa Boyens to cry. Jackson, alongside Christian Rivers and his team, created animatics for all the action sequences which wound up becoming the first stage in animation. The Empire State Building animatic in particular, was completely replicated in the final film.

Peter Jackson decided early on that he did not want Kong to act human, and so they studied hours of gorilla footage. Andy Serkis, who modelled his movement, went to the London Zoo to watch the gorillas, but was unsatisfied. He ended up going to Rwanda to observe mountain gorillas in the wild, with a company called Rainbow Tours. The resulting Kong is entirely a special effect, but he acts and moves very much like a real gorilla.

Apart from Kong, Skull Island is also inhabited by dinosaurs and other large fauna. However, though they may look similar, they are not the familiar species. Inspired by the works of Dougal Dixon, the designers have imagined what 65 million years or more of isolated evolution would have done to the dinosaurs. The creatures can said to be presented as more scientifically accurate than those portrayed in the 1933 version. However, it can also be argued that they are less accurate to the palaeontology of 2005 than the dinosaurs from the original were accurate to the palaeontology of 1933. The names of these and hundreds of other beasts are found in the book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island.

The film's budget climbed from an initial US$150 million to a record-breaking $207 million, making it at one point the most-expensive film yet made. Universal Studios only agreed to such an outlay after seeing a screening of the unfinished film, to which executives responded enthusiastically. In addition, it is estimated that marketing and promotion costs were about $60 million. Production had difficulties, such as Peter Jackson's decision to change composers from Howard Shore to James Newton Howard seven weeks before the film opened. Also, the film was originally set to be 135 minutes, but soon grew to 200, prompting Universal executives to fly to New Zealand to view a rough cut, but they liked it so their concerns were addressed.

The marketing campaign for King Kong started in full swing on June 27, 2005, when the teaser trailer made its debut, first online at the official Volkswagen website at 8:45 p.m. EST, then 8:55 p.m. EST across media outlets owned by NBC Universal (the parent of Universal Studios), including NBC, Bravo!, CNBC and MSNBC. That trailer appeared in theatres attached to War of the Worlds, which opened on June 29.

Jackson also regularly published a series of 'Production Diaries', which chronicled the making of the film. The diaries started shortly after the DVD release of The Return of the King as a way to give Jackson's The Lord of the Rings fans a glimpse of his next project. These diaries are edited into broadband-friendly instalments of three or four minutes each. They consist of features that would normally be seen in a making-of documentary: a tour of the set, a roving camera introducing key players behind the scene, a peek inside the sound booth during last-minute dubbing, or Andy Serkis doing his ape movements in a motion capture studio. The production diaries were released on DVD on December 13, 2005, one day before the U.S. release of the film. This was one of the first occasions in which material that would normally be considered supplementary to the DVD release of a film, was not only released separately, but done so in a prestige format; the Production Diaries came packaged in a box with a set of prints and a replica 1930s-era clipboard. It is also the first time such material was published prior to the release of the film.

A novelisation of the movie and a prequel entitled The Island of the Skull was also written. A multi-platform video game entitled Peter Jackson's King Kong was released, which featured an alternate ending. There was a hardback book entitled The World of Kong, featuring artwork from Weta Workshop to describe the fictional bestiary in the film. A number of spin-offs from the remake's franchise include books, novels, comics and video games.

With a take of $9.7 million box office on its opening day, and an opening weekend of $50.1 million, King Kong did not meet expectations of Universal Studios executives. Some media outlets even considered the film to be a flop after its weak opening weekend, as at that point it was not on pace to make back its $207 million budget. Its opening weekend of $50.1 million, while good for most movies, fell short of the inflated expectations caused by the movie's enormous budget and marketing campaign.

However, King Kong was able to hold its audience in the subsequent holiday weeks and ended up becoming a domestic hit, grossing $218.1 million at the North American box office (putting it in the top five grossing films of 2005 domestically). King Kong fared much better in the international market, as it grossed $332.437 million outside North America, leading to a worldwide total of $550.517 million (putting it in the top five grossing films of 2005 worldwide).

Other factors also affect a film's profitability besides box office sales, such as the DVD sales. King Kong, sold over $100 million worth of DVD's in the largest six-day performance in Universal Studios history. As of April 3, 2006, King Kong has sold more than 7.5 million DVD's, accumulating over $140 million worth of sales numbers, domestically alone. As of June 25, 2006 King Kong has generated almost $38 million from DVD rental gross.

Thus, despite the film's inauspicious start at the box office, King Kong turned out to be very profitable. Ticket and DVD sales combined, the film earned well over $700 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal Pictures history.

King Kong received a favourable critical response, garnering an 84% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The most common criticisms of the film were due to excessive length, lack of pace, over-use of slow motion, and some obvious use of CGI effects. Positive critical reviews regarded it as one of the few good epics and all-round best movies of 2005. Roger Ebert gave the movie four stars, and listed it as the 8th best film of 2005. Similarly, King Kong has been included in many critics' Top Ten of 2005 lists. The film received four Academy Award nominations for Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Art Direction, winning all but the last. Entertainment Weekly called the depiction of Kong the most convincing computer generated character in film in 2005. Some criticised the film for retaining racist stereotypes present in the original film, though it was not suggested that Jackson had done this intentionally. King Kong ranks 450th on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.

Peter Jackson has expressed his desire to remaster the film in 3-D at some point in the future. Jackson was also seen shooting with a 3-D camera at times during the shoot of King Kong.

Jamie Bell's character is repeatedly shown reading Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, a novel about a journey into a primitive land and mankind's exploitation of fellow man. Jack Black and critics have noted Carl Denham's similarity to Orson Welles. When Jack Driscoll is searching for a place to sleep in the animal storage hold, a box behind him reads Sumatran Rat Monkey — Beware the bite! - a reference to the creature that causes mayhem in Peter Jackson's film Braindead (1992) (in that film, the rat monkey is described as only being found on Skull Island).

The musical score for King Kong was composed by James Newton Howard. Originally Howard Shore, who worked for Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings, was to compose the score for the film and recorded several completed cues before he was removed from the project by Jackson. James Newton Howard joined the project with literally weeks to score and record more than three hours of music. Shore still makes a cameo appearance as the ill-fated conductor in the theatre from which Kong escapes. The film's record album was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

King Kong was released on DVD on March 28, 2006 in the United States. The three versions that came out were single disc fullscreen, single disc widescreen and a 2-Disc Widescreen Special Edition. The second disc of the Special Edition contains the remainder of almost all the production diaries not contained on the Peter Jackson's Production Diaries DVD set. The only missing episode is "13 Weeks To Go" which contained footage of Howard Shore recording the original score. It is still available on the website.

The 3 disc Deluxe Extended Edition was released on November 14, 2006 in the U.S.A., and on November 1st in Australia. Thirteen minutes were put back into the film, and a further 40 minutes presented alongside the rest of the special features. The film was spread onto the first two discs with commentary by Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens, and some featurettes on Disc 2, whilst the main Special Features are on Disc 3. Another set was released, including a WETA figurine of a bullet-ridden Kong scaling the Empire State Building, roaring at the army with Ann in hand. The extended film amounts to 201 minutes in total.

A special HD DVD version of King Kong was part of a promotional pack for the release of the external HD DVD Drive for the Xbox 360. The pack contained the HD DVD drive, the Universal Media Remote and King Kong on HD DVD. It was also available separately as a standard HD DVD. The film's theatrical and extended cuts were released together on Blu-ray Disc on January 20, 2009.

The extended edition not only has 13 minutes of added footage reincorporated into the film, 40 minutes of deleted scenes on the DVD, but also over 230 new visual effects shots. The first major addition comes after the rescue team enters the jungle, in which they startle a Ceratopsian dinosaur and it goes on the rampage. Hayes shoots it and the scene ends on a reference to the original film as Carl and Herb film its tail in death throes.

The second major addition is a scene in the swamp where the rescue team on two rafts are first surrounded by swarms of Scorpiopede creatures, before an attack from an enormous serpentine Piranhadon fish. Three men are killed and Jack almost drowns. Carl captures the last death on camera (to the disgust of Lumpy) which he takes great pains to retain in the chaos. After exiting the swamp, Lumpy shoots an approaching sound in the thick foliage. Jack believes he has shot Ann, which turns out to be a large bird similar to a giant Moa. The insect pit sequence is extended with footage of the characters climbing out of the pit, notably including a monologue from Carl about the point of death, Jimmy finding Hayes's body and taking his cap to remember him, and Bruce Baxter killing more insects. There is also more film of Kong rampaging the native village. Kong chasing Jack's cab is extended. During the army's attack on King Kong, he tramples a van containing a man who issues the fire command, and also knocks a van, with a commander insulting Kong, out of his way. The rest of the deleted scenes have unfinished effects, and are not incorporated into the film, but remain on the DVD set with individual introductions by Peter Jackson.

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Mulholland Drive (film)

Betty (Naomi Watts) arrives in Los Angeles; pictured with Irene (Jeanne Bates). Betty is bright and optimistic, in contrast with Watts' portrayal of Diane in the latter part of the film.

Mulholland Drive (2001) is a surrealistic, neo-noir psychological thriller directed by David Lynch, and starring Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring and Justin Theroux. The film was highly acclaimed by many critics and earned Lynch the Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director Award) at the Cannes Film Festival as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Mulholland Drive also launched the careers of Watts and Harring and was the last feature film to star veteran Hollywood actress Ann Miller. The film is widely regarded as one of Lynch's finest works, alongside Eraserhead (1977) and Blue Velvet (1986).

Originally conceived as a television pilot, a large portion of the film was shot with Lynch's plan to keep it open-ended for a potential series. After viewing Lynch's version, however, television executives decided to reject it; Lynch then provided an ending to the project, making it a feature film. The half-pilot, half-feature result, along with Lynch's characteristic style, has left the general meaning of the movie's events open to interpretation. Lynch has declined to offer an explanation of his intentions for the narrative, leaving audiences, critics, and cast members to speculate on what transpires.

The story may not be linear and exhibits several instances of temporal disruption. A dark-haired woman (Laura Elena Harring) escapes imminent murder when she is the sole survivor of a car accident on Mulholland Drive. Injured and in shock, she descends into Los Angeles and sneaks into an apartment which an older woman with red hair has recently vacated. An aspiring actress named Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) arrives from Deep River, Ontario, and takes a taxi to the same apartment, where she finds the dark-haired woman confused, not knowing her own name. The dark-haired woman assumes the name "Rita" when she sees a poster for the film Gilda (1946), starring Rita Hayworth. Betty decides to assist her in discovering her identity, and they look in Rita's purse where they find a large amount of money and an unusual blue key.

A man in a diner called Winkies tells his companion about a nightmare in which he dreamt there was a horrible figure behind the diner. When they investigate, the figure appears, causing the man with the nightmare to collapse in fright. Later, a bungling hit man attempts to steal a book full of phone numbers and leaves three people dead. A Hollywood director named Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) has his film commandeered by apparent mobsters, who insist he casts an unknown actress named Camilla Rhodes (Melissa George) as the lead in his film. After he resists, he returns home to find his wife having an affair and is thrown out of his house. He later learns that his bank has closed his line of credit and he is broke. He agrees to meet a mysterious figure called The Cowboy, who urges him to cast Camilla Rhodes for his own good.

Betty and Rita try to learn more about her accident and Rita remembers the name "Diane Selwyn" after they are served by a waitress named Diane in Winkies. They call Diane Selwyn after finding her in the phone book, but she does not answer. Betty goes to an audition, where her performance is highly praised. A casting agent takes her to the set of a film called The Sylvia North Story, directed by Adam, where Camilla Rhodes gives an audition and Adam declares "This is the girl". Saying that she needs to meet a friend, Betty flees before she can meet Adam.

Betty and Rita go to Diane Selwyn's apartment and break in when no one answers the door. In the bedroom they find the body of a woman who has been dead for several days. Terrified, they return to their apartment, where Rita disguises herself with a blond wig. The two women make love that night and awake at 2 a.m., when Rita insists they go to an eerie theater called Club Silencio. A performer explains in several languages that everything is an illusion; a woman performs a song then collapses, although the song continues. Betty finds a blue box in her purse that matches Rita's key. Upon returning to the apartment to open the box, Betty disappears, and Rita unlocks the box, and it falls to the floor with a thump.

The woman with the red hair investigates the sound, but nothing is there. The Cowboy appears in the doorway of Diane Selwyn's bedroom saying, "Hey, pretty girl. Time to wake up." Diane Selwyn (played by Naomi Watts) wakes up in her bed. She looks exactly like Betty, but she is portrayed as a lonely and depressed failed actress, in love with Camilla Rhodes (played now by Laura Elena Harring), who torments and rejects her. On Camilla's invitation, Diane attends a party at Adam's house on Mulholland Drive. Her limousine stops before they reach the house and Camilla escorts her using a shortcut. Adam, who is a successful director, also appears to be in love with Camilla. Over dinner, Diane states that she came to Hollywood when her aunt died, and she met Camilla at an audition for The Sylvia North Story. Another woman (played by Melissa George) kisses Camilla and they turn and smile at Diane. Adam and Camilla attempt to make an important announcement, but dissolve into laughter and kiss while Diane watches, crying.

Diane meets with the bungling hit man at Winkies, where she gives him Camilla's photo and a large amount of money, and they are served by a waitress named Betty. The hit man tells Diane that when the job is done, she will find a blue key. Diane looks up to see the man who had the nightmare standing at the counter. Back at her apartment, in view of the key, she is terrorized by hallucinations. She runs screaming to her bed where she shoots herself.

Lynch described the attractiveness of the idea of a pilot, despite the knowledge that the medium of television would be constricting: "I'm a sucker for a continuing story ... Theoretically, you can get a very deep story and you can go so deep and open the world so beautifully, but it takes time to do that." The story balanced normal and surreal elements, much like Lynch’s earlier series Twin Peaks. Groundwork was laid for story arcs, such as the mystery of Rita's identity, Betty's career, and Adam Kesher's film project.

Lynch cast Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring by their photographs. He called them in separately for half-hour interviews and told them he had not seen either of their previous works in film or television. Harring considered it fateful that she was involved in a minor car accident on the way to the first interview, only to learn her character would also be involved in a car accident in the film. Watts arrived wearing jeans for the first interview, direct from the airplane from New York City. Lynch asked her to return the next day "more glammed up". She was offered the part two weeks later. Lynch explained his selection of Watts, "I saw someone that I felt had a tremendous talent, and I saw someone who had a beautiful soul, an intelligence—possibilities for a lot of different roles, so it was a beautiful full package." Justin Theroux also met Lynch directly from his airplane. After a long flight with little sleep, Theroux arrived dressed all in black, with his hair mussed. Lynch liked the look and decided to cast Adam wearing similar clothes and the same hairstyle.

The script was later rewritten and expanded when Lynch decided to transform it into a feature film. Describing how he transitioned from an open-ended pilot to a feature film with a resolution of sorts, Lynch said, "One night, I sat down, the ideas came in, and it was a most beautiful experience. Everything was seen from a different angle ... Now, looking back, I see that always wanted to be this way. It just took this strange beginning to cause it to be what it is." The result was an extra eighteen pages of material that included the romantic relationship between Rita and Betty and the events that occurred after the blue box was opened. Watts was relieved that the pilot was dropped by ABC. She found Betty too one-dimensional without the darker portion of the film that was put together afterward. Most of the new scenes were filmed in October 2000, funded with $7 million from French production company StudioCanal.

Theroux described approaching filming without entirely understanding what the plot was about: "You get the whole script, but he might as well withhold the scenes you're not in, because the whole turns out to be more mystifying than the parts. David welcomes questions, but he won't answer any of them ... You work kind of half-blindfolded. If he were a first-time director and hadn't demonstrated any command of this method, I'd probably have reservations. But it obviously works for him." Theroux noted the only answer Lynch did provide was that he was certain that Theroux's character, a Hollywood director, was not autobiographical of Lynch. Watts stated that she tried to bluff Lynch by pretending she had the plot figured out, and that he delighted in the cast's frustration.

An early interpretation of the film uses dream analysis to explain that the first part is a dream of the real Diane Selwyn, who has cast her dream-self as the innocent and hopeful "Betty Elms", reconstructing her history and persona into something like an old Hollywood movie. In the dream, Betty is successful, charming, and lives the fantasy life of a soon-to-be-famous actress. The last third of the film presents Diane's bleak real life, in which she has failed both personally and professionally. She arranges for Camilla, a cold ex-lover, to be killed, and unable to cope with the guilt, re-imagines her as the dependent, pliable amnesiac named Rita. Clues to her inevitable demise, however, continue to appear throughout her dream.

The Guardian asked six well-known film critics for their own perceptions of the overall meaning in the Mulholland Drive. Neil Roberts of The Sun and Tom Charity of Time Out subscribed to the theory that Betty is Diane's projection of a happier life. Roger Ebert and Jonathan Ross seemed to accept this interpretation, but both hesitated to overanalyze the movie. Ebert stated, "There is no explanation. There may not even be a mystery." Ross observed that there were storylines that went nowhere: "Perhaps these were leftovers from the pilot it was originally intended to be, or perhaps these things are the non-sequiturs and subconscious of dreams." Philip French from The Observer saw it as an allusion to Hollywood tragedy, while Jane Douglas from the BBC rejected the theory of Betty's life as Diane's dream, but also warned against too much analysis.

Another theory offered is that the narrative is a Möbius strip, a twisted band that has no beginning and no end. Or Betty and Rita, and Diane and Camilla may exist in parallel universes that sometimes interconnect. Or the entire film is a dream, but whose dream is unknown.

Regardless of the proliferation of theories, movie reviewers note that no single explanation satisfies all of the loose ends and questions that arise from the film. Stephen Holden of the The New York Times wrote, "Mulholland Drive has little to do with any single character's love life or professional ambition. The movie is an ever-deepening reflection on the allure of Hollywood and on the multiple role-playing and self-invention that the movie-going experience promises ... What greater power is there than the power to enter and to program the dream life of the culture?" J. Hoberman from The Village Voice echoed this sentiment by calling it a "poisonous valentine to Hollywood".

One critic cautioned viewers against a cynical interpretation of the events in the movie, stating that Lynch presents more than "the façade and that he believes only evil and deceit lie beneath it." As much as Lynch makes a statement about the deceit, manipulation, and false pretenses in Hollywood culture, he also infuses nostalgia throughout the film, and recognizes that real art comes from classic filmmaking, as Lynch cast, thereby paying tribute to, veteran actors Ann Miller, Lee Grant, and Chad Everett. He also portrays Betty as extraordinarily talented and that her abilities are noticed by powerful people in the entertainment industry.

Treatment of the relationships between Betty and Rita, and Diane and Camilla varied between those who were honestly touched by their sincerity and those who were titillated. A review of the film by Premiere stated that the relationship between Betty and Rita is "possibly the healthiest, most positive amorous relationship ever depicted in a Lynch movie." Another pointed out that the pivotal romantic interlude between Betty and Rita is so poignant and tender by Betty's "understanding for the first time, with self-surprise, that all her helpfulness and curiosity about the other woman had a point: desire ... It is a beautiful moment, made all the more miraculous by its earned tenderness, and its distances from anything lurid." Another review stated the scene's "eroticism is so potent it blankets the whole movie, coloring every scene that came before and every one that follows".

An analysis of the film in terms of the lesbian as a tragic figure noted the media response to the film: "(r)eviewers rhapsodized in particular and at length about the film's sex scenes, as if there were a contest to see who could enjoy this representation of female same-sex desire the most." The author Heather Love wrote that the film used a classic theme in literature and film depicting lesbian relationships: Camilla as achingly beautiful and available, rejecting Diane for Adam. Popular reaction to the film suggests the contrasting relationships between Betty and Rita, and Diane and Camilla are "understood as both the hottest thing on earth and, at the same time, as something fundamentally sad and not at all erotic" as "the heterosexual order asserts itself with crushing effects for the abandoned woman".

Betty Elms (Naomi Watts), the bright and talented newcomer to Los Angeles, is described as "wholesome, optimistic, determined to take the town by storm", and "absurdly naïve". Her perkiness and intrepid approach to helping Rita because it is the right thing to do is reminiscent of Nancy Drew for reviewers. Her entire persona at first is an apparent cliché of small-town naïveté. But it is Betty's identity, or loss of it, that appears to be the focus of the film. For one critic, Betty performed the role of the film's consciousness and unconscious. Naomi Watts, who modeled Betty on Doris Day, Tippi Hedren, and Kim Novak, observed that Betty is a thrill-seeker, someone "who finds herself in a world she doesn't belong in and is ready to take on a new identity, even if it's somebody else's". Film critic Amy Taubin suggests that Betty is a reincarnation of Sandy from Lynch's Blue Velvet: Betty's hometown shares the same name as the apartment building of Blue Velvet's femme fatale, Dorothy. Having been freed from her small-town constrictions, Sandy is reborn as Betty, drawn to a dark-haired mystery woman like Dorothy, and falls in love with her and loses herself.

Betty, however difficult to believe as her character is established, shows an astonishing depth of dimension in her audition. Previously rehearsed with Rita in the apartment, where Rita feeds her lines woodenly, the scene is "dreck" and "hollow; every line unworthy of a genuine actress's commitment", and Betty plays it in rehearsal as poorly as it is written. Nervous but plucky as ever at the audition, Betty enters the cramped room, but when pitted inches from her audition partner (Chad Everett), she turns it into a scene of powerful sexual tension that she fully controls and draws in every person in the room. The sexuality erodes immediately as the scene ends and she stands before them shyly waiting for their approval. One film analyst asserts Betty's previously unknown ability steals the show, specifically, taking the dark mystery away from Rita and assigning it to herself, and by Lynch's use of this scene illustrates his use of deception in his characters.

Rita (Laura Elena Harring), the mysterious and helpless apparent victim, is a classic femme fatale with her dark, strikingly beautiful appearance. Roger Ebert was so impressed with Harring that he said of her "all she has to do is stand there and she is the first good argument in 55 years for a Gilda remake". She serves as the object of desire, directly oppositional to Betty's bright self-assuredness. She is also the first character with whom the audience identifies, and as viewers know her only as confused and frightened, not knowing who she is and where she is going, she represents their desire to make sense of the film through her identity. Instead of threatening, she inspires Betty to nurture, console, and help her. Her amnesia makes her a blank persona, that one reviewer noted, is "the vacancy that comes with extraordinary beauty and the onlooker's willingness to project any combination of angelic and devilish onto her". A character analysis of Rita asserts that her actions are the most genuine of the first portion of the film, since she has no memory and nothing to use as a frame of reference for how to behave. Todd McGowan, however, author of a book on themes in Lynch's films, states that the first portion of Mulholland Drive can be construed as Rita's fantasy, until Diane Selwyn is revealed; Betty is the object that overcomes Rita's anxiety about her loss of identity.

After Betty and Rita find the decomposing body, they flee the apartment and their images are split apart and reintegrated. Immediately they return to Betty's aunt's apartment where Rita dons a blonde wig—ostensibly to disguise herself—but making her look remarkably like Betty. It is this transformation that one film analyst suggests is the melding of both identities. This is further illustrated soon after by their sexual intimacy, followed by Rita's personality becoming more dominant as she insists they go to Club Silencio at 2 a.m., that eventually leads to the total domination by Camilla.

Diane Selwyn (Naomi Watts), the palpably frustrated and depressed woman, who seems to have ridden the coattails of Camilla, whom she idolizes and adores, but who does not return her affection. She is considered to be the reality of the too-good-to-be-true Betty, or a later version of Betty after living too long in Hollywood. Diane is the personification of dissatisfaction, painfully illustrated in a scene where she is unable to climax while masturbating, crying tears of frustration. One analysis of Diane suggests her devotion to Camilla is based on a manifestation of narcissism, as Camilla embodies everything Diane wants and wants to be. Although she is portrayed as weak and the ultimate loser, for Jeff Johnson, author of a book about morality in Lynch films, Diane is the only character in the second portion of the film whose moral code remains intact. She is "a decent person corrupted by the miscellaneous miscreants who populate the film industry". Her guilt and regret are evident in her suicide, and in the clues that surface in the first portion of the film. Rita's fear, the dead body, and the illusion at Club Silencio, indicate something is dark and wrong in Betty and Rita's world. In becoming free from Camilla, her moral conditioning kills her.

Camilla Rhodes (Melissa George, Laura Elena Harring) is little more than a face in a photo and a name that has inspired many representatives of some vaguely threatening power to place her in a film against the wishes of Adam. Referred to as a "vapid moll" by one reviewer, she barely makes an impression in the first portion of the film, but after the blue box is opened and she is portrayed by Laura Elena Harring, she becomes a full person who symbolizes "betrayal, humiliation, and abandonment", and is the object of Diane's frustration. Diane is sharp contrast to Camilla, who is more voluptuous than ever, and who appears to have "sucked the life out of Diane". Immediately after telling Diane that she drives her wild, Camilla tells her they must end their affair. On a movie set where Adam is directing Camilla, he orders the set cleared, except for Diane—at Camilla's request—where Adam shows another actor just how to kiss Camilla correctly. Instead of punishing Camilla for such public humiliation, as is suggested by Diane's conversation with the bungling hit man, one critic views Rita as the vulnerable representation of Diane's desire for Camilla.

Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) is established in the first portion of the film as a "vaguely arrogant", but apparently successful director who endures one humiliation after another. Theroux said of his role, "He's sort of the one character in the film who doesn't know what the going on. I think he's the one guy the audience says, 'I'm kind of like you right now. I don't know why you're being subjected to all this pain.'" After being stripped of creative control of his film, he is cuckolded by the pool cleaner (played by Billy Ray Cyrus), and thrown out of his own opulent house above Hollywood. After he checks into a seedy motel and pays with cash, the manager arrives to tell him his credit is no good. Witnessed by Diane, Adam is pompous and self-important. He is the only character whose personality does not seem to change completely from the first part of the film to the second. One analysis of Adam's character contends that because he capitulated and chose Camilla Rhodes for his film, that is the end of Betty's cheerfulness and ability to help Rita, placing the blame for her tragedy on the representatives of studio power.

Minor characters include The Cowboy (Lafayette Montgomery), the Castigliani Brothers (Dan Hedaya, Angelo Badalamenti), and Mr. Roque (Michael J. Anderson), all of whom are somehow involved in pressuring Adam to cast Camilla Rhodes in his film. These characters represent the death of creativity for film scholars, and they portray a "vision of the industry as a closed hierarchical system in which the ultimate source of power remains hidden behind a series of representatives". Ann Miller portrays Coco, the landlady who welcomes Betty to her wonderful new apartment. Coco, in the first part of the film represents the old guard in Hollywood, who welcomes and protects Betty. In the second part of the film, however, she appears as Adam's mother, who impatiently chastises Diane for being late to the party and barely pays attention to Diane's embarrassed tale of how she got into acting.

The first portion of the film that establishes the characters of Betty, Rita, and Adam, presents some of Lynch's most logical filmmaking of his career. The later part of the film that represents reality to many viewers, however, exhibits a marked change in cinematic effect that gives it a quality just as surreal as the first part. Diane's scenes feature choppier editing and dirtier lighting symbolizing her physical and spiritual impoverishment, that contrasts with the first portion of the film where "even the plainest decor seems to sparkle", Betty and Rita glow with light, and transitions between scenes are smooth. Lynch moves between scenes in the first portion of the film using panoramic shots of the mountains, palm trees, and buildings in Los Angeles. In the darker part of the film, sound transitions to the next scene without a visual reference where it is taking place. At Camilla's party, when Diane is most humiliated, the sound of crashing dishes is heard that carries immediately to the scene where dishes have been dropped in the diner, and Diane is speaking with the hit man.

Another recurring element in Lynch's films is his experimentation with sound. He stated in an interview, "you look at the image and the scene silent, it's doing the job it's supposed to do, but the work isn't done. When you start working on the sound, keep working until it feels correct. There's so many wrong sounds and instantly you know it. Sometimes it's really magical." In the opening scene of the film, the dark-haired woman stumbles off Mulholland Drive, silently it suggests she is clumsy. After Lynch added "a hint of the steam and the screaming kids", however, it transformed Laura Elena Harring from clumsy to terrified. Lynch also infused subtle rumblings throughout portions of the film that reviewers noted added unsettling and creepy effects.

The soundtrack of Mulholland Drive was supervised by Angelo Badalamenti, who collaborated with Lynch on previous projects that include Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. Badalamenti, who was nominated for awards from the American Film Institute (AFI) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for his work on the film, also has a cameo as an espresso aficionado and mobster. Reviewers noted Badalamenti's ominous score contributed to the sense of mystery as the film opens on the dark-haired woman's limousine, that contrasted with the bright, hopeful tones of Betty's first arrival in Los Angeles.

Lynch uses two pop songs from the 1960s directly after one another, playing as two actresses are auditioning by lip-synching them. According to an analyst of music used in Lynch films, Lynch's female characters are often unable to communicate through normal channels and are reduced to lip-synching or being otherwise stifled. Connie Stevens' "Sixteen Reasons" is the song being sung while the camera pans backwards to reveal several illusions, and Linda Scott's version of "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star" is the audition for the first Camilla Rhodes, that film scholar Eric Gans considers a song of empowerment for Betty. Originally written by Jerome Kern as a duet, sung by Linda Scott in this rendition by herself, Gans suggests it takes on a homosexual overtone in Mulholland Drive. Unlike "Sixteen Reasons," however, portions of "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star" are distorted to suggest "a sonic split-identity" for Camilla. When the song plays, Betty has just entered the sound stage where Adam is auditioning actresses for his film, and she sees Adam, locks eyes with him and abruptly flees after Adam has declared "This is the girl", about Camilla, thereby avoiding his inevitable rejection.

At the hinge of the film is a scene in an unusual late night theater called Club Silencio where a performer announces "No hay banda," (There is no band) "But yet we hear a band", variated between English, Spanish, and French. Described as "the most original and stunning sequence in an original and stunning film", Rebekah del Rio's Spanish a cappella rendition of "Crying", named "Llorando", is praised as "show-stopping ...except that there's no show to stop" in the sparsely attended Club Silencio. Lynch wanted to use Roy Orbison's version of "Crying" in Blue Velvet, but changed his mind when he heard Orbison's "In Dreams". Del Rio, who popularized the Spanish version and who received her first recording contract on the basis of the song, stated that Lynch flew to Nashville where she was living, and she sang the song for him once and did not know he was recording her. Lynch wrote a part for her in the film and used the version she sang for him in Nashville. In the Club Silencio scene, before the song ends, del Rio collapses onstage although her powerful voice continues to ring throughout the theater. The song tragically serenades the lovers Betty and Rita, who sit spellbound and weeping, moments before their relationship disappears and is replaced by Diane and Camilla's dysfunction. According to one film scholar, the song and the entire theater scene marks the disintegration of Betty's and Rita's personalities, as well as their relationship. With the use of multiple languages and a song to portray such primal emotions, one film analyst states that Lynch exhibits his distrust of intellectual discourse and chooses to make sense through images and sounds.

Mulholland Drive premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2001 to major critical acclaim. Lynch was awarded the Best Director prize at the festival, sharing it with co-winner Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There. It drew positive reviews from many critics and some of the strongest audience reactions of Lynch's career. Universal Pictures released Mulholland Drive theatrically in 66 theaters in the United States on October 12, 2001, grossing $587,591 over its opening weekend. It eventually expanded to its widest release of 247 theaters, ultimately grossing $7,220,243 in U.S. box office. TVA Films released the film theatrically in Canada on October 26, 2001. In other territories outside the United States, the film grossed $12,892,096 for a worldwide total of $20,112,339. Lynch was nominated for a Best Directing Oscar for the film. From the Hollywood Foreign Press, the film received four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Director, and Best Screenplay. It was named Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle and Online Film Critics Society.

Since its release, the film has been ranked #38 on the Channel 4 program 50 Films to See Before You Die, and it appeared in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die. Despite Naomi Watts' experience in twenty film roles prior to Mulholland Drive, she stated that the material she was able to choose from after its release was "elevated by about 1000 per cent ... I'm definitely being showcased out there with a great film and work that I'm proud of." The film was voted as the 11th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience, and only one film per director was allowed on the list".

A DVD version of Mulholland Drive was released in April 2002 in the United States and Canada, with few special features. It was released without chapter stops, a feature that Lynch objects to on the grounds that it "demystifies" the film. In spite of Lynch's concerns, the DVD release included a cover insert that provides "David Lynch's 10 Clues to Unlocking This Thriller", although one DVD reviewer noted, the clues may be "big obnoxious red herrings" and another described them as "vague and cryptic, and frankly a little condescending". Special features included in later versions and overseas versions of the DVD included a Lynch interview at the Cannes Film Festival and highlights of the debut of the film at Cannes.

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Eastern Promises

Eastern promises.jpg

Eastern Promises is a 2007 crime drama film directed by David Cronenberg, from a screenplay written by Steven Knight. The film tells of a British midwife's interactions with the Russian Mafia in London and stars Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel. Principal photography began November 2006, in locations in and around London. The film has been noted for its plot twist and for its violence and realistic depiction of the Russian criminal underworld, including its use of tattoos.

The film premiered September 8, 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 20, 2007 in Europe at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and went on general release in North America on September 21, 2007. The film was released in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2007. As of January 31, 2008, the film has grossed $51,202,291 worldwide and has received a positive critical reception, appearing on several US critics' "top ten films" lists for 2007. Eastern Promises has won several awards, including the Audience Prize for best film at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Best Actor award for Mortensen at the 2007 British Independent Film Awards. The film received twelve Genie Award nominations, three Golden Globe Award nominations, and Mortensen was nominated for Best Actor at the 80th Academy Awards, losing to Daniel Day-Lewis.

The movie opens with a murder in a barber shop. Later, Anna Khitrova (Naomi Watts), a midwife at a London hospital, finds a Russian-language diary on the body of Tatiana, a fourteen-year-old girl who dies in childbirth. She also finds a card for the Trans-Siberian restaurant, which is owned by Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a boss in the Russian Mafia or vory v zakone ("thieves in law"). Anna sets out to track down the girl's family so that she can find a home for the dead mother's baby girl. Anna’s mother Helen (Sinéad Cusack) does not discourage her, but Anna’s Kiev-born uncle Stepan (Jerzy Skolimowski), whom Anna asks for help with translation of the diary, urges caution. Through Semyon and her uncle, Anna comes to learn that Semyon and his bumbling and unstable son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel), had abused Tatiana and forced her into prostitution, and that Semyon had raped the girl.

Kirill's driver is the Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin (Viggo Mortensen), who also serves as the family's "undertaker", dumping dead bodies in the River Thames. Nikolai's star rises within the vory, due in part to Nikolai's protection of Kirill, who had authorized a hit on a rival Chechen vory leader (who had been making suggestions about Kirill's possible homosexuality, which is also suggested by other scenes and incidents in the film). The hit was not approved by Semyon and was ill-advised, with the Chechen's brothers coming to England to seek vengeance. Semyon, afraid for his son's safety, hatches a plan. Semyon arranges to give "Kirill" up to the Chechens, which involves making Nikolai a Lieutenant in the vory, the same rank as Kirill, so he gets the same distinctive tattoos (stars over the left and right side of his chest). A meeting is arranged at Finsbury steam baths, and the Chechens are told that the tattooed Nikolai is actually Kirill. The Chechens attack Nikolai with knives, but Nikolai is able to kill them both. Nikolai is seriously wounded and is admitted to the hospital where Anna works.

Anna asks Nikolai where her missing uncle Stepan is. Nikolai says he sent Stepan to a luxury hotel in Edinburgh to keep him safe after he read Tatiana's diary. Anna discovers that Kirill has kidnapped the baby, to prevent her being evidence in a rape case against Semyon. Anna and Nikolai go to the Thames and find Kirill with the baby, still alive, struggling with his conscience. Nikolai talks Kirill into giving Anna the baby and allying with Nikolai against Semyon.

It is revealed near the end of the film that Nikolai is actually a member of the Russian Security Services (FSB) and a Scotland Yard informer on the Russian mafia in London as part of his undercover duties. Nikolai was able to read Tatiana's diary before Semyon destroyed it, and develops a plan to have Semyon arrested and convicted for Tatiana's rape, making Kirill the most powerful member of the London branch of the mob, but with Nikolai as the power behind the throne. The plan works, with Anna gaining custody of the baby and Nikolai eventually becoming the London vory crime boss.

Shooting began in November 2006, and various scenes were filmed in St John Street, Farringdon, London. Filming also took place in Broadway Market, Hackney.

The "Trans-Siberian Restaurant" is located in The Farmiloe Building , 34 St John Street, next to Smithfield Market. This is the 6th most popular film and TV location in London, having also been used for Spooks, Penelope, and Batman Begins.

The entrance to the "Ankara Social Club" of the film is actually the front door of a residential flat. The Broadway Market hair dresser known as "Broadway Gents Hairstylist" was changed to "Azim's Hair Salon", where in the film one of the Russians is murdered. The owner Mr. Ismail Yesiloglu decided to keep most of the shop front after filming. In the original script, the name was "Ozim's Hair Salon", but it was later changed to "Azim's" as there is no such name as Ozim in Turkish.

The "Trafalgar Hospital" is actually the Middlesex Hospital, a hospital in the Fitzrovia area of London, England which was closed to patients in December 2005. The building in central London, which was knocked down in 2008, had the inscription 'Trafalgar Hospital', matching the style and apparent age of the old Middlesex Hospital, inserted into the legend above the main door.

The film premiered September 8, 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Audience Prize for best film on September 15, 2007. Eastern Promises opened in limited release in Russia on September 13, 2007.

In the United States and Canada, the film opened in limited release in 15 theaters on September 14, 2007 and grossed $547,092 — averaging $36,472 per theater. The film opened in wide release in the United States and Canada on September 21, 2007 (expanding to 1,404 theaters) and ranked #5 at the box office, grossing $5,659,133 — an average of $4,030 per theater. The film has grossed $51,202,291 worldwide as of January 31, 2008 — $17,266,000 in the United States and Canada and $33,936,291 in other territories.

The film took part in competition at the San Sebastian Film Festival September 20, 2007.

The film was shown at the London Film Festival on October 17, 2007 and was released in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2007.

The film received positive reviews from critics. As of June 27, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 88% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 177 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 82/100, based on 35 reviews. Todd McCarthy of Variety, David Elliott of The San Diego Union-Tribune, and film critic Tony Medley noted the twists in the film.

Eastern Promises won the Audience Prize for best film on September 15, 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The film received 3 Golden Globe nominations for the 65th Golden Globe Awards, winning none. Eastern Promises was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Viggo Mortensen was nominated for Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture - Drama. And Howard Shore was nominated for Best Original Score for a Motion Picture.

The film was nominated in five different categories in the British Independent Film Awards for 2007, and won in one category, gaining a Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film award for Mortensen.

Mortensen was also nominated for Best Actor at the 80th Academy Awards, but told the Associated Press, "If there's a strike I will not go." — a reference to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. On February 12, 2008 the strike ended, and he attended the ceremony.

Eastern Promises received 12 nominations for the 28th Genie Awards, tying with the film Shake Hands with the Devil for most nominations, and won 7.

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.

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Source : Wikipedia