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March 24 -- Jim Broadbent won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as 'old' John Bayley! Unfortunately, it wasn't the year of Oscar for Kate and Judi. Follow all the coverage on the Academy Awards section of Admiring Kate.

 

March 15 -- From a Reuters article on abcnews.com:

Will Brits end up Oscar bridesmaids - again?

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Brits bring a touch of class to the Oscars next week -- but many are betting they will return home largely empty-handed from a Hollywood captivated by feel-good movies, epic spectacles and men behaving badly...

In the best supporting actor category, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Ben Kingsley and Jim Broadbent have all been nominated for their respective roles in "Rings", "Sexy Beast" and "Iris" -- the story of novelist Iris Murdoch's descent into Alzheimer's disease.

"Broadbent and McKellen are both neck and neck for supporting actor, In fact, Ian McKellen is probably the front runner now considering his Screen Actors Guild award win at the weekend," said O'Neil, who also hosts the goldderby.com Web site.

Broadbent's "Iris" co-star Dame Judi Dench, nominated for her fourth Oscar in five years, faces stiff competition in the best actress category from golden girl Nicole Kidman and come-back kid Sissy Spacek, while the harrowing nature of "Iris" could also lock out Titanic star Kate Winslet's performance in that film from the supporting actress race.

 

March 11 -- I have posted pics of Kate arriving at the Academy Awards nominees luncheon HERE.

 

March 11 -- From Ananova:

'British Stars Thrilled At Oscar Nominations'

Britain's Oscar hopefuls pride at being nominated for the prestigious awards was revealed at a star-studded party in Los Angeles. Sir Ben Kingsley, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent, Tom Wilkinson and Helen Mirren talked about their nominations as they arrived for a special lunch.

Mirren denied she is the Oscar favourite after winning the best supporting actress SAG award for her performance as housekeeper Mrs Wilson in Gosford Park. She said: "I'm just a tiny blip on that particular radar screen. Personally I don't think I have got a chance in hell."

"It's beyond your wildest dreams," Wilkinson said of being Oscar-nominated for the first time. "But you mean it to happen, you don't play to lose. I'm delighted with the progress so far." The Full Monty star is nominated for best actor for his role as a father whose only son is murdered in the drama, In The Bedroom.

Broadbent says his nomination in the best supporting actor category for his role as Iris Murdoch's husband John Bayley in the movie Iris is "unbelievable." The 52-year-old said: "I don't yet know what it means to be nominated. It was a great shock. I'm just getting used to the idea."

Sir Ben added that he was "delighted" with his nomination especially coming so soon after he discovered he was being made a knight.

Winslet is shortlisted for best supporting actress for Iris. It is the third time she's been nominated for an Oscar and she said: "The nominations always mean a tremendous amount to me. To be nominated with these incredible women this year is amazing."

 

March 10 -- 'Iris' received an award at the Alzheimer's Association L.A. last Wednesday. This item is from a recent Army Archerd column in Variety:

There were plenty of tears - and cheers - at the Beverly Hilton Wednesday as the Alzheimer's Association L.A. honored Leeza Gibbons, Janssen Pharmaceutica, "Iris" (accepted by Jim Broadbent) and Neil Papiano. All had personal experiences with a stricken family member and they tenderly told of their loss.

But the evening shifted into a happy mode with the group's annual Night at Sardi's show toasting a Broadway hit - this year, "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller." Both composers were on hand to take bows and to applaud the pros who stepped out of their usual roles to sing. They were sensaysh.

The evening raised a million-$ for Alzheimer's research. Jason Alexander, who would rather sing than anything else, was a marvelous m.c. and also led the finale in "Stand by Me." David Hyde Pierce, Kelsey Grammer, Peri Gilpin and John Mahoney of "Frasier" on "Jailhouse Rock" - in prison garb - were among the many showstoppers. Others: Megan Mullally, Leah Thompson and her 11-year-old daughter Madelyn, Sharon Lawrence, Lou Diamond Phillips, Wayne Brady, Kelli Fournier, Jason Graae, Dorian Harewood, Meshach Taylor, Yvette Freeman, Hattie Winston.

Harold Wheeler was musical director of the show produced by Susan Dietz. The dinner chair, Laurie Burrows Grad, is the daughter of Abe Burrows, an Alzheimer's sufferer who died in 1985.

 

Excerpt from an article about 'Iris' co-star Jim Broadbent:

He is delighted, however, to bang the drum for Iris, a small British movie - its budget was in the $5.2 million region - that has created a stir on the strength of its acting. Besides Dench and Broadbent, Kate Winslet is up for a supporting-actress Oscar for playing Murdoch as a brilliant young Oxford student.

Broadbent wasn't sure about the project when it was first put to him. "I thought, 'I can't. I'm entirely wrong for it.'" Not only is the six-foot-two, square-shouldered Broadbent physically at odds with the short, squat Bayley, but Bayley was 25 years older.

It was the material that won Broadbent over - the story of a lifelong love affair pushed to the limit and then brutally snuffed out when Murdoch succumbed to Alzheimer's disease and died in 1999.

"I read the script and it got me, and that initial reading is always a good sign," the actor says. His mother, who died six years ago at age 82, had Alzheimer's. "I knew that world, in a way, so I knew how accurate and honest a piece of work (the script) was. I realized after doing the film that I never once had to stop and think, 'How would you behave with an Alzheimer's patient?' I never had to question that all."

Broadbent was chosen over Michael Gambon, from Gosford Park, among other venerated British actors who had gone after the part. The film "didn't want a vocally impressive English actor, although we talked about a lot of them, frankly, in the way that you have to," said co-producer Scott Rudin. "It needed what Alec Guinness had as a movie actor, not what stage actors have."

That is to say, a talent for transformation and self-effacement and an unaffected sweetness.

The result, Rudin says, is "this incredible quality that Judi and Jim have of seeming to be two big babies roaming around this house together," a feeling reinforced by the ailing Iris's newfound fondness for the kids' show Teletubbies.

Dench calls Broadbent "a magical, magical man. He's got a wonderful innocent quality about him - those huge round eyes."

 

A Jacksonville critic touts the 'Iris' performances in his March 8 column, even though the film hasn't yet opened there:

Iris, the film about the life of writer Iris Murdoch, isn't yet scheduled to come to Jacksonville. But I got to see it one morning in a screening set up by Miramax Films, which is justifiably proud of the Oscar-nominated performances of Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent.

It's a passionate, fine movie and will be much appreciated by Jacksonville's diehard Anglophiles if and when does get here.

Still, I liked the opinion of the young theater employee who ran the projector for us during Iris. He offered up, sincerely enough, the judgment that, from what he saw of it, it consisted of "a bunch of old English people sitting around talking."

Fair enough, I suppose.

 

Yet another writer notes the buzz about Kate's performance in 'Iris':

Best Supporting Actress:

Who should win: Connelly, for A Beautiful Mind. She was really ripped off when she didn't get a nomination for her gritty performance in Requiem for a Dream. And she's almost as good in this movie.

Who will win: Connelly. Her momentum seems unstoppable at this point, though there's been some buzz on Kate Winslet in Iris.

Potential upset: Smith, for Gosford Park. She's Hollywood royalty, with six Oscar nominations and two wins, best supporting actress in 1978 for California Suite and best actress in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 1969. This is the kind of role that could net another statuette.

Source: Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic

Mark Caro, movie reporter for the Chicago Tribune, disagrees:

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Connelly has been winning almost everything for "A Beautiful Mind" and should continue the trend here. She's well regarded and could have been nominated in the lead category (as she was in the Screen Actors Guild awards). Figure Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith of "Gosford Park" cancel each other out, Kate Winslet doesn't have the juice for "Iris," and the Academy is not going to give Marisa Tomei ("In the Bedroom") a second Oscar in two tries.

 

More Oscar buzz from Scott Braun of Oscar Watch:

SUPP ACTRESS: Jennifer Connelly seems to be slightly fading in the buzz, even as she continues to be called a lock in the supporting category, one that has had its fair share of surprises. I say look out for Kate Winslet in IRIS, a beloved actress and two-time nominee who simply deserves it more. Last year, the girl who deserved it more got it. It just might happen again. Mirren and Smith will not register, and Tomei can be happy her wonderful performance got nominated.

 

From AP: 

Oscar's Race Scrutinizes True Stories
By Anthony Breznican, AP Entertainment Writer

Oscar chances for movies based on true stories can be damaged if the films stray too far from the truth. Many in Hollywood think that's what derailed Denzel Washington in "The Hurricane" two years ago. So the makers of this year's "A Beautiful Mind," "Iris," "Ali" and "Black Hawk Down" have tried to acknowledge the changes they made to real-life stories and use praise from the people they depict to blunt criticism...

Although "Iris," about the late novelist Iris Murdoch's descent into Alzheimer's disease, takes many liberties with her story, Miramax Films included praise for the movie from her husband, John Bayley, in press notes. "I shed more tears over the film than I did in life, in a way, just because it represented so well what it was like," Bayley said.

Judi Dench has a best-actress nomination for playing Murdoch, and the movie has two supporting performance nominations: Jim Broadbent as Bayley and Kate Winslet as a young Murdoch.

 

March 4 -- 'Iris' did well at the box office this past weekend, after expanding into more theatres:

Miramax expanded Iris Murdoch biopic "Iris" by 79 engagements to a total 120 and grossed an estimated $575,000. Perf repped an average $4,800 per playdate and paged cume to $1.6 million.

 

Marc 2 -- From Variety/Reuters:

Dame Judi backs one Iris co-star, but not the other -- Iris co-star Dame Judi Dench would put money on Jim Broadbent winning the Best Supporting Actor award at the Academy Awards ceremony later this month. She also said she would 'put a bet on Maggie Smith' winning the best supporting actress award. Judi has previously remarked that she was torn about co-star Kate and her dear friend Maggie being up for the same award.

 

March 2 -- Imagine having a job that involves counting the number of swear words and sex scenes in films. From the NY Post's Family Film Guide, March 2:

"IRIS" (R): The story of the devastating mental decline, by Alzheimer's disease, of celebrated author Iris Murdoch (played by Judi Dench and, as a young woman, Kate Winslet) and her devoted husband (Jim Broadbent) who became her sole support and connection with reality. (90 minutes)

Sex/nudity: Bare breasts, nude swimming and a few sexual encounters.

Violence: A disoriented Iris injures herself and appears frustrated and frightened. A woman is shown dead.

Profanity: Three "F-words," two sexual references, one religious exclamation.

Message: Love is the only language that everybody understands.

 

Feb 28 -- 

Hugh Bonneville says he isn't disappointed at not being nominated for an Oscar. He says he's just pleased that Iris has three nominations. Bonneville says he's never won anything of any significance. "The last thing I won was an ashtray at a tombola," he told Ananova.

Bonneville was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Orange British Academy Film Awards for his role as the young John Bailey in Iris. But he says he won't even be going to the Oscars on March 24. "No, I've got better things to do," he said.

 

Feb 28 -- 'The Case For Kate Winslet'

By Rob Barnett

So, Jennifer Connelly looks like a lock for Best Supporting Actress. Hmm... ever heard that before? Lauren Bacall? Winona Ryder? Connelly's win seems so assured that a backlash cannot be out of the question. It's happened before. The truth is that this is a category which delights in handing out surprises; Marisa Tomei, Anna Paquin, Juliette Binoche, and Marcia Gay Harden have all recently benefited from shock victories.

So who is the actress who can sneak in and cause an upset? There is only one: Kate Winslet, and here's why:

1) Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith seem fated to cancel each other out in much the same way as the Almost Famous pairing of Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand did last year. Since neither has a significantly weighty part in Gosford Park, there is no obvious front runner from the two nominees.

2) Marisa Tomei has caused a huge upset before, but voters will be disinclined to let that happen again. (See also Juliette Binoche's second nomination for Chocolat following her surprise win for The English Patient.) Tomei's second nomination has done her a lot of favours in re-establishing her credibility, and this will be regarded as reward enough. Besides, Tomei as a double Academy Award winner? Get real!

Which leaves Kate Winslet.

3) Winslet has been nominated three times and is yet to win.

4) Actors clearly love her, and aside from this year's omission, the Screen Actors Guild seem to reinforce this appreciation - they have already rewarded her for Sense And Sensibility, in addition to a nomination for last year's Quills.

5) Even when Winslet hasn't been nominated, she has still generated Oscar buzz and been 'thereabouts' at nomination time - for Hamlet, Jude, Holy Smoke and Quills.

6) Voters may feel that a vote for Winslet is the best way of rewarding a character that was played consistently and seamlessly by both Winslet AND Dench. Thus a vote for Winslet almost has the added weight of a default vote for Dench.

7) It's an eye-catching role about a liberated woman who refused to compromise her individuality. In other words, Academy-friendly.
8) As previously outlined, Winslet is the most likely non-Connelly vote.

Don't get me wrong, Connelly is still the expected winner, but Supporting Actress upsets have happened before here, and Winslet is the only likely candidate this time. Don't say I didn't warn you!

 

Feb 27 -- 'Winslet Gives Maternity Clothes To Friends'

Generous actress Kate Winslet has given her expensive maternity clothes away - to her Iris co-star Hugh Bonneville and his wife. The gorgeous star has been taking bundles of the clothes to Hugh and his artist wife Lulu in their Sussex, south England home. Hugh, who plays the younger version of Iris' husband John Bayley in the biopic, told friends, "She turned up with a great big sports bag full of stuff. All the London stores gave her designer maternity gear which she never wore and she passed it on to my wife. Lulu thought it was such a kind gesture because she couldn't have afforded most of it. Kate is so kind."

Source: Celebrity News (Thanks to Michael for the tip.)

 

Feb 27 -- Thanks to George for passing along the news that the '01 Film Bitch Awards winners have been announced this week:

Best Supporting Actress:

Gold Medal - Kate Winslet, Iris Murdoch in Iris

For her unceasing vitality. Kate the great makes you believe that everyone would fall in love with Iris.

Silver Medal - Marisa Tomei, Natalie, In The Bedroom

For inhabiting the soul of a sad and damaged woman. Tomei conveys guilt and remorse with aching clarity.

Bronze Medal - Helen Mirren, Mrs. Wilson, Gosford Park

For making restraint and total emotional avoidance deeply emotional. For fascinating from outside the spotlight.

Kate won the silver medal for Best Musical Moment (from a non-musical film) for her vocal in Iris.

Read the results in other categories HERE.

 

Feb 24 -- The Bafta ceremony took place tonight in London. Judi was named Best Actress. Go to Admiring Kate's Bafta section for all the news and pics!

 

Feb 22 -- Nicole would give the Oscar to Kate's Iris co-star Judi. Thanks to George for the tip on this item:

Kidman: Judi Dench Should Win Best Actress
Stunning film star Nicole Kidman remains modest about her prospects for Best Actress at this year's Oscars. The actress has been nominated for the award for her role as the courtesan Satine in hit movie musical Moulin Rouge, which puts her in competition with Judi Dench for her role in Iris. Nicole says, "I am up against Dame Judi Dench for Iris, so who do you think is going to win? If I was going to give it to anyone, I would give it to her."

 

Feb 22 -- Entertainment Weekly's special Oscar issue is on newsstands now. Included is a beautiful full page pic of Kate and nice article about her performance in 'Iris'. Go HERE to view.

 

Feb 20 -- 'Iris' will receive a Christopher Award February 28 at a ceremony at the Time Life Building in New York City. "Established in 1949, Christopher Awards are presented to the producers, directors and writers of books, motion pictures and television specials which affirm the highest values of the human spirit." Special awards will also be presented to Rudolph Guiliani, Jacques D'Amboise and Exxon Mobil Masterpiece Theatre. Christophers.org

 

Feb 20 -- A Variety columnist muses on truth in biopics:

When Richard Eyre co-wrote and directed "Iris," he knew that most viewers would not be familiar with author and philosopher Iris Murdoch, her battle with Alzheimer's disease or the book "Elegy for Iris," which her husband, John Bayley, wrote about their life together. The film depicts Murdoch both young and old, with the help of Kate Winslet and Judi Dench.

"I never saw it as a biographical picture," Eyre contends. "I saw it as a relationship and the story of the young and the old (Murdoch) was a necessary device."

Eyre elucidated Murdoch's views through a series of lectures in the film, but realizes that an emotional truth is often a substitute for a historical event. "I'm not being entirely facetious where I say certain elements of it are not biographically true, in the literal sense," he says. "You know, who knows what goes on in private in a marriage?"

 

Feb 19 -- Reuters has released updated box office figures today:

Miramax's Iris Murdoch biopic "Iris" -- which drew acting nominations for Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet -- returned over the weekend to gross $390,000 from 31 engagements, an impressive $12,580 per playdate. The picture previously saw a small Academy-consideration run.

BBC News reports on UK box office, noting that 'Iris' is #9:

Iris, a BBC film based on the life of writer Iris Murdoch, was up 65% on last week. Three of the movie's stars, Dame Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet, are up for Oscars. It has now taken £2.2m after five weeks.

 

Feb 17 -- Hugh Bonneville was named Best Young Actor at the Berlin Film Festival.

 

Feb 17 -- Several new reviews and feature articles posted this weekend.

 

Feb 12 -- Three Oscar nominations for IRIS:  Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor. Follow the news about IRIS's Academy Award nominations on Admiring Kate's Oscar Page.

 

Feb 11 -- Miramax has issued an updated list of cities/theatres where the film will open Feb 15:

Atlanta: AMC Phipps

Baltimore: Charles

Boston: Kendall, West Newton

Chicago: Esquire

Cleveland: Shaker Sq

Dallas: United Artist 8

Denver: UA Colorado Center

Detroit: Uptown

Hartford & New Haven: Cinema City, Redstone-Orange

Houston: Greenway

Los Angeles: Music Hall, Century City?; Lido (Newport Beach)

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale: Shadowood-Boca Raton, Fox-Sunrise, Aventura-Miami

Minneapolis-St. Paul: Megastar Southdale-Edina

New York: Lincoln Sq, UA Union Sq

Philadelphia: Ritz 5, Ritz 12

Phoenix: Camelview

Pittsburgh: Manor

San Francisco: Embarcadero

Seattle/Tacoma: Guild

St. Louis: Frontenac

Tampa-St. Petersburg: Regal Channelside

Washington, D.C.: Dupont

 

Feb 3 -- Kate was named Best Actress at the Evening Standard British Film Awards ceremony tonight (for 'Iris', 'Enigma' and 'Quills'). Read articles/view pics HERE.

 

Feb 1 -- Miramax has released a list of cities/theatres where Iris will open on Feb 15:

Atlanta - UA or AMC

Baltimore - Charles

Boston - Kendall

Chicago - Esquire

Cleveland - Shaker Sq

Dallas - United Artist 8

Denver - Chez

Detroit - Maple

Hartford & New Haven - Cinema City, Redstone-Orange

Houston - Greenway

Los Angeles - Music Hall? (2)

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale - Shadowood-Boca Raton, Fox-Sunrise, Aventura?

Minneapolis-St. Paul - Megastar Southdale-Edina

New York - Lincoln Sq? UA Union Sq?

Philadelphia - Ritz 5, Ritz 12

Phoenix - Camelview

Pittsburgh - Manor

San Francisco - Syufy or Loews or UA

Seattle-Tacoma - Loews Metreon?

St. Louis - Frontenac

Tampa-St. Petersburg - Regal Channelside

Washington D.C. - Loews

 

Jan 31 -- I have posted the Hello! magazine feature article about the London premiere on THIS PAGE.

 

Jan 29 -- Variety notes that IRIS did $1,430,725 in its first 10 days of release in the UK on just 85 screens! From another report:

Iris Impresses... By Robert Mitchell in London

On the weekend it won Jim Broadbent a Golden Globe award for best actor in a supporting role, Iris opened in the UK with an equally solid performance. Distributed by Buena Vista International, the drama opened at just 84 sites nationwide (it widens to approximately 250 on Feb 15) to take sixth place in the chart with $546,205 (£380,159). This gave Iris the strongest site average amongst this weekís wide openers, of $6,502. Starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet as Iris Murdoch at different times in her life and Broadbent and Hugh Bonneville as her husband John Bayley, the film played particularly well in Londonís west-end where it grossed $216,990 (£151,025) from 19 sites Ė second this week only to The Lord Of The Rings.

 

Jan 29 -- Bafta nominations for all four principal actors, screenplay and film! The ceremony will be held Feb 24. Go to the Official Bafta site for the complete list of nominees.

Empire Online notes that: Iris came in fifth with six nods but, for Awards purists, Richard Eyre's biopic could be considered the highest climber, bagging nominations in all of the major categories, including Actor, Actress, Best British Film and both Supporting categories.

 

Bafta Noms Unveiled

By Adam Dawtrey for Variety

LONDON -- "The Lord of the Rings" and "Moulin Rouge," with 12 nominations apiece, have emerged as the pacesetters in the race for the British Academy Film Awards. But in the most open and the most international contest for years, several other movies still have a chance of winning big when the awards are handed out Feb. 24.

"Amelie" and "Gosford Park" bagged nine nominations, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" took seven, "Shrek" and "Iris" weighed in with six apiece, "A Beautiful Mind" got five, and "Bridget Jones's Diary" is in the frame with four.

The strong showing of "Shrek" was perhaps the biggest surprise, with Dreamworks earning its reward for the year's most aggressive campaign to members of the British Academy of Film & TV Arts. "Shrek" was nominated for best film alongside "Amelie," "A Beautiful Mind," "The Lord of the Rings," and "Moulin Rouge." Eddie Murphy's impersonation of a donkey also reaped a surprise nomination for supporting actor, competing against Hugh Bonneville for "Iris," Robbie Coltrane for "Harry Potter," Colin Firth for "Bridget Jones's Diary" and Jim Broadbent for "Moulin Rouge."

Broadbent is a double nominee, picking up a best actor nod for his role in "Iris." The other contenders in that category are Russell Crowe for "A Beautiful Mind," Ian McKellen for "The Lord of the Rings," Kevin Spacey for "The Shipping News" and Tom Wilkinson for "In The Bedroom."

Judi Dench will be the hometown favorite to win the best actress prize for "Iris," but she faces stiff competition from Sissy Spacek for "In The Bedroom," Audrey Tautou for "Amelie," Nicole Kidman for "The Others" and Renee Zellweger for "Bridget Jones's Diary."

Dench is another double nominee, with a supporting actress nod for "The Shipping News." She's up against Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith from "Gosford Park," Jennifer Connolly for "A Beautiful Mind" and Kate Winslet for "Iris."

The David Lean Award for achievement in direction is a play-off between Jean-Pierre Jeunet ("Amelie"), Ron Howard ("A Beautiful Mind"), Robert Altman ("Gosford Park"), Peter Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings") and Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge").

The fact that "The Lord of the Rings" and "Moulin Rouge" emerged as the most nominated pics overall is largely down to their predictably strong showing in the tech categories, where acting showcases such as "A Beautiful Mind," "Iris" and "Gosford Park" would not be expected to feature.

Films which failed to show as strongly as their distribs might have hoped include Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down," nominated only for cinematography, editing and sound; David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," just two nods for editing and music; "The Royal Tenenbaums," just one for original screenplay; and "The Man Who Wasn't There," one for cinematography.

Links to more articles about the Bafta nominations:

ITV News

BBC News

The Times

Empire Online

This Is London

Yahoo! News

Sky News

 

Jan 28 -- Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent received nominations for Best Actress and Best Actor from the Screen Actors Guild.

 

Jan 27 -- Brazilís Critics have nominated Kate for their award, the 'Glaubber' [they 'analise all the movies not yet released in Brazil with critics and other major awards, making a precise list of nominees']:

Best Supporting Actress:

*Jennifer Connelly, "A Beautiful Mind"

*Frances McDormand, "The Man Who Wasn't There"

*Helen Mirren, "Gosford Park"

*Maggie Smith, "Gosford Park"

*Marisa Tomei, "In the Bedroom"

*Kate Winslet, "Iris"

Jim Broadbent received a supporting nod; Judi Dench was overlooked. [Thanks to George for the news!]

 

Jan 27 -- Will Kate, Judi and Jim 'scoop' up awards for their performances? The writer of this items thinks they are a strong candidate to do just that:

Iris Books Oscar Spot

Start dusting down this year's film acting awards because this brilliant British drama of love and dementia is a strong candidate to scoop the lot.

Judi Dench and Kate Winslet portray the two ages of prolific Oxford novelist and philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch who died tragically of Alzheimer's.

Playing literary critic John Bayley, stammering suitor then later Iris's devoted husband of 40 years, are Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent.

We first meet the pair in the 1950s amid the dreaming spires where Iris is a popular and sexy girl about town. The shy, balding Bayley seems the unlikeliest spouse for this most vivacious creature but their love blossoms.

Co-writer-director Richard Eyre skillfully but sparely interweaves the past with the present as Iris slips inexorably into mental disintegration.

The rarefied world of university intellectuals might seem a bit distant to most of us, but four great performances help turn it into a very human and moving real life story. 90 mins

 

Jan 27 -- Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, who praised Kateís performance in Iris, feels she is a 'possible' for an Oscar nomination:

Supporting Actress:

As usual, a lot of British faces will be visible, led by Maggie Smith, irresistible in 'Gosford Park'. Helen Mirren might also get a nod for that film, although she had a better role in the regrettably little seen 'Last Orders'. Kate Winslet is possible as the younger Murdoch in 'Iris', as is Australian Cate Blanchett, who was hard to miss in 'The Shipping News'. The two likely American contenders are Jennifer Connelly for 'A Beautiful Mind' and Marisa Tomei reinventing herself for 'In The Bedroom'.

Jim Broadbent is viewed as a 'sure bet' for a Best Supporting Actor nomination, and Judi Dench as probable nominee for Best Actress.

Source: Calendar, LA Times, January 27

I'm so glad Turan included Kate's name on the list - and third - as the Sunday Times Calendar section is high-profile here and is no doubt read by many Academy members. (Their ballots are due in by Feb 1.)

 

Jan 26 -- From the current issue of Heat magazine:

Top Ten Films -- #6 - Iris - Judi Dench, Kate Winslet - Prime Oscar bait from the king of awards-friendly classy fare, Miramax. If youíre at all predisposed to a movie about brilliant British writer Iris Murdoch, cutting between her youth and dotage, this one is recommended.

 

Jan 25 -- Special Iris Showing

Film-goers have watched a special screening of the film Iris at a charity premiere. The private screening was at a cinema in Aldeburgh a few miles from the Suffolk town of Southwold where part of the film was shot.

None of the major stars of the film, including Kate Winslet, was able to attend the screening. However, a distant relative of the actress, Derek Winslet, 69, was there. Mr Winslet, of East Harling, Norfolk, said: "I came up to Southwold when she was filming and brought up two presents for her daughter. The Winslets are a normal family, they are not stuck up and we are all proud of her."

The film is a love story of novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley and follows her life until her death in 1999.

The Aldeburgh event was in aid of the Age Concern Suffolk ARC appeal to build a respite and support centre for people with Alzheimer's. Iris Murdoch was diagnosed with the disease in 1997. The screening, at the 288-seat cinema at Aldeburgh, was the first opportunity for the public to see the film before its general release later this week.

The young Iris Murdoch is played in the film by Kate Winslet and by Dame Judi Dench as she gets older. Dame Judi agreed to be patron of the appeal while filming in Southwold last summer.

 

Jan 20 -- Kate and Jim Broadbent attended the Golden Globe awards ceremony in Beverly Hills. Jim was named Best Supporting Actor. Go HERE for screen caps and transcript of Kate's and Jim's special moments.

Poor Return For Brits At Globes

Despite more than a dozen nominations at this year's prestigious Golden Globes, just three of the winners came from the UK. Jim Broadbent was the only UK actor to pick up an award, named best supporting actor for his role in Iris. Rock star Sting was given the prize for best original song for Until..., used in the film Kate and Leopold. And Scottish musician Craig Armstrong, who created the wild music that accompanied Moulin Rouge, won the award for best original score.

UK stars including Ewan McGregor, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet had all been in the running for acting awards, but Broadbent was the only British winner. In Iris, he plays John Bayley, the husband of late British novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch who cares for her while she is in the grip of Alzheimer's disease. "This is amazing, I couldn't be more surprised, and I really haven't got anything worked out," he said by way of an acceptance speech. "I'd just like to thank the producers, the director, the writers, the other actors, particularly Judi Dench, who I had so many scenes with and worked... and she made it so easy. And Kate Winslet, who made the film so wonderful, even though I didn't really act with her."

Before the ceremony, he had joked that he was on the verge of passing out because so many of his heroes were there. But he is now an established star himself after his role in Iris as well as acclaimed supporting parts in Moulin Rouge and Bridget Jones's Diary. Broadbent, 52, beat compatriots Jude Law, for AI, and Ben Kingsley, for Sexy Beast, as well as Steve Buscemi, Hayden Christensen and Jon Voight in the best supporting actor category.

Dench and Winslet were both nominated for their roles in Iris, while Tilda Swinton was also up for the best dramatic actress gong for her role in The Deep End. Ewan McGregor lost out in the best actor in a musical or comedy for his role in Moulin Rouge. Helen Mirren and Dame Maggie Smith were both nominated for their supporting roles in period drama Gosford Park, which has a largely UK cast, and for which US film-maker Robert Altman won best director...

 

Jan 20 -- From Variety:

In its first offshore engagement, Miramax's Kate Winslet/Judi Dench starrer "Iris" posted an encouraging $359,000 Friday-Saturday in its native U.K.

 

Jan 20 -- More on the program 'Iris Murdoch: Strange Love' that will be broadcast on BBC1 Jan 23:

In life, as in her novels, very little was taboo to Iris Murdoch. She was fascinated by monsters, by power and evil. She also knew that she had the power to bewitch and seduce anyone she chose. In John Bayley, she found an anchor, a balance to the turbulence and complexity of her many love affairs. Strange Love features comment from Bayley and many others, including Dame Judi Dench and Kate Winslet (who interpret the old and young Murdoch respectively in the film Iris, see review, page 4). It is a moving tribute to someone who, as Richard Eyre puts it, honoured the extraordinariness of peopleís lives.

 

Jan 20 -- The winners of the Golden Satellite awards were announced last night. Kate, Judi and Jim had been nominated by the International Press Academy; none were named 'best'.

 

Jan 18 -- According to The Sun, book publisher Bloomsbury is publishing the screenplay of Iris.

 

Jan 18 -- BBC News is asking for opinions about IRIS; if you've seen the film, go HERE to post your opinion!

 

Jan 17 -- E! Channel aired a one-hour program on Golden Globe female film nominees, and a segment on Kate's career was included.  I have done a transcript and screen caps - GO HERE!

 

Jan 17 -- Associated Newspapers Ltd. has combined some recent remarks by Kate about IRIS to fashion an article:

Kate Winslet in Iris

By Kate Winslet

I hadn't worked for a year when Iris came along - but when you're asked to play the young Judi Dench, you do not say no. Also, I would have been daft to turn such down a brilliant story, a watertight script, and an amazing female role.

I play Iris Murdoch as a young woman. I knew of her, but I wasn't familiar with her novels. That didn't matter, though - because the film is about her life and things that we only now know because of the books by her husband, John Bayley. I read them over and over again, but the most useful for me was a video of interviews that Iris Murdoch gave when she was about 60. These were great, not because I wanted to mimic her voice and how she moved, but because they gave me a sense of her essence.

I dipped into the novels to get a feel for her as a novelist and see if there were common themes. It confirmed things about Iris that I already felt, which is that she loved people, loved things and had a zest for life - and that she was an open person but at the same time had an instinct to preserve her privacy.

Although I didn't collaborate with Judi Dench, when you see us on screen it does feel like we are the same woman. The first time I watched the film, I remember thinking, 'Thank God we pulled it off.' John Bayley has written that he felt as though he was watching Iris again, while my performance contained definite strains of the young woman he knew. That made me cry when I read it. It was better than any review, any award, any nomination, any anything.

 

Jan 14 -- I bought the IRIS soundtrack this morning and have uploaded a clip of Kate singing. Young Iris is asked to sing during a scene in a pub, and that moment has been included on the soundtrack as part of track #8, 'End Credits - A Lark In The Clear Air'. Go to THIS PAGE and click on the link at the top. Real Player will open and the clip will begin playing (about 45 seconds). Enjoy!

 

Jan 13 -- Kate, Judi, Jim, Hugh, Eyre attended the London premiere. I have posted news, along with several great pics, HERE.

 

Jan 12 -- The Hollywood Reporter's special 'Oscar Watch: Actors' issue contains several items about Kate and IRIS:

1) 'Into the Act' - Every role offers myriad challenges and surprises, according to some of the top Oscar contenders of 2001.

[Six actors are pictured on the top half of the page: Halle Berry, Sissy Spacek, Sir Ian McKellan, Haley Joel Osment, Kate and Jim Carrey. Caption: Testing their range: The many faces of drama this year.]

When the academy unveils its nominees for this year's acting awards, most of us will be focused on the performances on the screen. But for the actors who played these roles, their memories will often be dominated by other thoughts - from the struggles they had to contend with while handling different aspects of the parts to the backstage drama involved in making the roles come together.

...When Kate Winslet conjured the younger version of British novelist Iris Murdoch in "Iris", she not only had to find a way to make her voice resemble that of Judi Dench - who plays the older Iris - but she also had to struggle with conveying Murdoch's razor-sharp intelligence.

"The hardest thing about playing her was that she is a fierce intellectual, and I would never think of myself that way," Winslet says. "I found that intimidating - how am I supposed to dig inside myself to find a level of intelligence that could ever match that of Dame Iris Murdoch? It was just a case of reading up as much about her as I could; and (her husband) John Bayley's books were very informative about what she was like and what motivated her."

Curiously, Winslet says she and Dench spent very little time attempting to get their performances in sync.

"What's interesting, when I watch the film, is that Judi and I feel like the same person, and it feels that [Iris] is the same as a younger and older woman, and yet Judi and I never sat down and said, 'How are we playing this part?' We did have a little discussion with (director) Richard Eyre, and we had a read-through together - but otherwise, our paths didn't cross."

Winslet did, however, cross paths with Bayley, an Oxford academic.

"About halfway through the shoot, we were doing an exterior scene riding bicycles in Oxford, and Richard came over and said, 'Have you seen? He's over there'," Winslet says. "I turned around and saw this slightly odd-looking man in a flat cap, and I just knew it was him. I said, 'What do you think?' And he said, 'You are actually like her, but she had a rather more snubby nose than yours'."

2) Kate is again pictured (in a scene from IRIS) on the 'Oscar Heat' page, which lists awards already announced. Included are Kate's honor from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and her Golden Globe nomination.

3) Kate is pictured in a scene from IRIS at the top of another page:

Caption: They deliver: A few of the performances favored by critical eyes include Russell Crowe in 'A Beautiful Mind', Kate Winslet (with Hugh Bonneville) in 'Iris' and Renee Zellweger in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'.

A High Performance Year -- Exceptional acting sets many of the year's best films apart from the pack.

While the vehicles that featured them may not have always been up to speed, the 2001 motion picture fleet nevertheless contained an embarrassment of riches in the performance categories, including more than a few personal bests...

Best Supporting Actress

Safe Bets

Old pro Maggie Smith demonstrated her scene-stealing ways in Robert Altman's 'Gosford Park' as a snippy upper-class houseguest who spins every line of Julian Fellowes' script into pure comic gold.

No stranger to Oscar, Smith has been nominated five times previously, winning for 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' (1969) and again for 'California Suite' (1978). Her last nomination was for 'A Room With a View' (1986).

She'll likely be joined by a pair of fellow Brits, namely her 'Gosford Park' co-star (and New York Film Critics' selection) Helen Mirren and Winslet (the Los Angeles Film Critics' choice) from 'Iris'.

It would be Winslet's third nomination (following a 1998 Best Actress nod for 'Titanic' and a 1996 Best Supporting Actress nomination in 'Sense and Sensibility'), while Mirren earned a nod for her supporting performance in 'The Madness of King George' (1995).

[Judi Dench, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Jennifer Connelly, Fionnula Flanagan, and Carrie-Anne Moss are considered 'wild cards'.]

The article includes a two-page chart:

Acting Oscar Cheat Sheet -- As this year's Academy Awards race begins to shape up, it's time to look hard at some of the top contenders - not only in regard to their roles but their Oscar histories, the critics' picks and other affecting factors. So how do current leaders in the pack stack up for possible Oscar performance?

Kate is at the top of the Supporting Actress chart!

Kate Winslet - Iris -- The role: feisty young author in early days at Oxford; Casting Coup? Winslet's natural strength makes Iris Murdoch come alive; Oscar Score: (0-2) Academy likes her corseted in period dramas; X-Factor: Will Winslet be overlooked in favor of Judi Dench?

Interestingly, Judi is not listed on the Actress chart. The folks at Variety feel her role in IRIS could be considered either lead or supporting. Keep in mind that Judi does not have any critical awards for IRIS, while Kate and Jim Broadbent do. Still, the Academy loves Judi. We'll see...

I have scanned the Supporting Actress chart -- Go HERE.

4) The issue also contains a full-page 'for your consideration' ad for IRIS.

 

Jan 12 -- The Guardian has an article today containing diary-type items from IRIS director Richard Eyre about the making of the film. Iíll post it on the Features page later; go HERE to read now.

 

Jan 11 -- As we thought, IRIS will play at the Berlin Film Festival:

Crowe Adds 'Beautiful' Touch to Berlin Fest

By Adam Dawtrey

LONDON (Variety) - The star wattage at this year's 52nd Berlin Film Festival has risen several notches with the news that Russell Crowe is flying in to support his latest film, "A Beautiful Mind." Crowe, director Ron Howard and possibly co-star Jennifer Connelly are expected to attend the fest Feb. 12 for an out-of-competition screening of the picture.

Other stars likely to attend include Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet and Judi Dench. High-profile international titles scheduled to unspool include "The Shipping News," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Iris" and "Gosford Park".

The festival opens Feb. 6 with the world premiere of 's Tom Tykwerís "Heaven," starring Cate Blanchett, and closes Feb. 17.

Source: Variety, January 11

 

Jan 8 -- Reminder: The IRIS soundtrack (by James Horner) is officially released today. It can be ordered from amazon.com.

 

Jan 8 -- Kate did an interview with a BBC News correspondent to promote IRIS. I've posted it HERE. Excerpt:

Bayley "definitely saw strains of the Iris that he knew" while watching Winslet's portrayal of the young Iris, she says. "That made me cry. I just thought, that's better than any review, any award, any nomination, any anything. That is fantastic."

 

Jan 7 -- I have posted the transcript and screen captures from "A Talent For Life - Iris" segment of the Miramax program that was broadcast Sunday morning. Several caps from the film, along with caps of Kate, Judi, Hugh and Jim during on set interviews. Thanks again to David for the tip on the show. Go HERE.

 

Jan 6 -- BBC News Entertainment Correspondent Tom Brook feels Kate, Judi and Jim are likely to score Academy Award nominations for their performances in IRIS:

Broadbent is expected to get a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for playing Iris Murdoch's husband John Bayley in the film Iris. Sir Ben Kingsley is another possible British contender in that category for his portrayal of the menacing Don Logan in the crime drama Sexy Beast.

Several British actresses are also thought to be strong Oscar favourites.

Dame Judi Dench, whom the Academy seems to adore, could get recognition for her leading role in Iris. In the supporting actress category Kate Winslet, who played the young Murdoch in Iris, is also thought likely to snag a nomination, as are Dame Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren for their roles in Gosford Park.

 

Jan 6 -- Thanks to Michael for the tip on a review of IRIS in the February issue of Empire magazine (4 out of 5 stars). Itís posted on the Reviews page. Excerpts:

Thereís a lot to admire about Richard Eyreís biopic of renowned author Dame Iris Murdoch, chiefly that it boasts some of the best performances to grace a cinema screen in recent months... All the leads are terrific - Winslet makes a fine feisty foil to Bonnevilleís nervous, stammering Bayley.

 

Jan 6 -- The Feb issue of Empire also includes a brief review of the IRIS soundtrack:

Review by Danny Graydon (3 stars out of 5)

Composer: James Horner

The tragic story of novelist Iris Murdoch finds James Horner favouring sweeping and reflective themes.

The introspective atmosphere is greatly elevated by the haunting violin solos of Joshua Bell, with Hornerís piano and strings an effective backdrop. While undoubtedly elegant and a soothing listen (with the odd stirring high), Iris lacks the oomph of Hornerís action work and, ultimately, it all blends into a cruising 50-minute sequence with melancholy at full-strength.

 

Jan 5 -- Films is holding a competition to win two tickets to the IRIS premiere in London on the 13th:

Rub shoulders with Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent, and many more in our exclusive "Iris" competition. The film isn't released until 18th January but we have two tickets for one lucky winner to the "Iris" premiere in London on Sunday 13th January.

Enter and you could find out before anybody else why Judi Dench is tipped for Oscar glory. To be in with a chance to win, just answer all five questions in our quiz correctly.

The deadline for receiving entries is midnight on Wednesday 9th January, 2002. Results will be announced on Thursday 10th January 2002.

Go HERE to take the quiz. Good luck.

 

Jan 5 -- British hopes for Oscar noms:

The Golden Globe nominations always provide a useful indication of who might figure in Oscar's list, as we await the dozens of critics' awards handed out in the coming months. Otherwise you need to be a cross between Mystic Meg and the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter to predict the outcome...

British hopes rest with Jim Broadbent, boasting a double as the nightclub manager (whose rendition of Madonna's Like A Virgin was a showstopper) in Moulin Rouge and the devoted husband in Iris.

Best Supporting Actress -- Brits Judi Dench and Kate Winslet could find themselves competing against each other after playing the same role. Winslet plays the young Iris Murdoch and Dench, an Oscar-winner for Shakespeare In Love, the older Murdoch in Iris. The Golden Globes have got round this by putting up Dench for best actress and Winslet for best supporting actress. Dench could also be nominated for The Shipping News.

Another previous winner and British dame, Maggie Smith, has a shot at an Oscar for either Gosford Park or Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone.

Source: The Northern Echo

 

Jan 4 -- 'Handicapping The SAG Actor Awards'

By Nicole Kristal

Among the busy viewers this time of year are members of the Screen Actors Guild's nominating committee, a randomly selected group of 4,200 active SAG members who will vote starting this week on who should get their nominations for great performances on big and small screens for SAG's Actor Award, to be presented March 10...

Supporting Actress

Much as in the male supporting category, likely candidates for supporting actress have yet to emerge. Marisa Tomei has received good notices for her performance in In the Bedroom, which would give her another shot at supporting (her one Oscar came for supporting in My Cousin Vinny).

But Tomei doesn't clock much screen time, and she is up against the unstoppable Kate Winslet, who took a nod for her performance as the young, pre-Alzheimer's Iris Murdoch in Iris from the L.A. critics. In turn, Winslet has stiff competition from a fellow Brit, Helen Mirren, who got the supporting nod the New York Film Critics Circle for her work in Gosford Park. Though many sources are relishing Maggie Smith's performance as a snooty dame and Richard E. Grant's as a naughty manservant, Mirren has managed to stand out as awards-worthy from a cast chock-a-block with knights, dames, and other Oscar bait (Emily Watson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Jeremy Northam, Eileen Atkins, Alan Bates, and so on).

Cameron Diaz pulled the same trick, standing out above star turns by Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky, which has garnered mixed reaction. But it's unlikely that will get her an acting nod for this experimental work by writer/director Cameron Crowe, which one wag characterized as an avant-garde film on a big budget: "It's like doing Requiem for a Dream with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt," the source said.

Source: Backstage

 

Jan 4 -- 'Film Portrayals to Stir the Soul'

By Stephen Holden

Here is a checklist of some recent films (with special note made of outstanding performances) along with audience advisories...

'Iris'

John Bayley's memoir of his marriage to the writer Iris Murdoch while she was declining from Alzheimer's disease has been reduced to a tidy 90-minute tearjerker that flashes back and forth between the older Iris (Judi Dench) and her sexually free-spirited younger self (Kate Winslet). Anchoring the film is Jim Broadbent's awesomely self-effacing portrayal of her fussy, stammering husband, desperately reaching out to his wife as the disease erases her identity.

Pluses -- Mr. Broadbent's immersion in his character is the year's most astonishing screen acting feat, and the coordination between his performance and that of Hugh Bonneville as his character's younger self is so perfect that the two actors almost blend into one. Ms. Winslet gives another brave, feisty portrait of an independent woman, and Dame Judi's Iris is calmly and magnificently self-effacing.

Minuses -- The movie's back-and-forth structure quickly becomes a gimmick, and despite its wonderful performances the movie feels cramped, shallow and ultimately incomplete.

Source: The New York Times, January 4

Again, I found the 'back-and-forth structure' quite effective, not 'gimmicky'.

 

Jan 4 -- 'Movie Guide by David Sterritt':

Iris (R) -- 3 stars ('good')

Director: Richard Eyre. With Judi Dench, Kate Winslet. (90 min.)

Winslet and Dench play novelist Iris Murdoch at two periods in her life. Some scenes show her early years as a writer and romantic; others paint a sad portrait of declining mental and physical powers that eventually burdened her. Dench and Winslet give strong performances; Jim Broadbent is brilliant as old Bayley.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

 

Jan 3 -- I read the list of winners of the 2001 5th Las Vegas Film Critics Awards yesterday. George found the list of nominees today -- Kate, Judi and James Horner were nominated:

Awarded January 2, 2002

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett - Charlotte Gray; Judi Dench - Iris; Nicole Kidman - Moulin Rouge; Sissy Spacek - In the Bedroom; Tilda Swinton - The Deep End (winner)

Best Supporting Actor: Jim Broadbent - Moulin Rouge; Steve Buscemi - Ghost World (winner); Ian Holm - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Ben Kingsley - Sexy Beast; Joe Pantoliano - Memento

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Connelly - A Beautiful Mind; Carrie-Anne Moss - Memento; Marisa Tomei - In the Bedroom; Naomi Watts - Mulholland Drive (winner - belongs in the 'lead' category); Kate Winslet - Iris

Best Score: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - John Williams; Iris - James Horner; The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Howard Shore (winner); Moulin Rouge - Craig Armstrong; The Royal Tenenbaums - Mark Mothersbaugh

 

Jan 3 -- I just received (2PM) the following message from my contact at Miramax Films:

I just learned that IRIS opens in the following 20 cities on February 15, 2002. Mark your calendars!
New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Boston; Dallas; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Atlanta; Houston; Seattle; Minneapolis; Cleveland; Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/ Boca; Phoenix; Denver; Pittsburgh; Tampa; St. Louis

 

Jan 3 -- Earlier this afternoon, Ruby confirmed the January 13 date for the London premiere that I have previously posted, and sent this info:

IRIS Sneak Previews in the following select theaters Friday and Saturday, January 4-5 and January 11-12, 2002:

Los Angeles
Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles
The Galleria in Sherman Oaks
The Courtyard in Palm Springs
The Riviera in Santa Barbara
Costa Mesa - Theatre TBD

New York
Angelika Theater in Manhattan
City Cinemas Cinema 3 in Manhattan
National Amusements Greenburgh in Westchester
Fairfield County, CT - Theater TBD

UA in East Hampton

San Francisco/Bay Area
The Metreon in San Francisco
Sequoia in Mill Valley
Landmark Palo Alto Square in Palo Alto

 

Jan 3 -- Thanks to George for sending me the best of 2001 lists by esteemed film critic Andrew Sarris:

Best English-Language Films: 1. A.I.; 2. Gosford Park; 3. Innocence; 4. Mulholland Drive; 5. A Beautiful Mind; 6. Iris; 7. The Man Who Wasn't There; 8. Lantana; 9. The Golden Bowl; 10. Bridget Jones's Diary

Best Lead Actress: 1. Stockard Channing, The Business of Strangers; 2. Julia Blake, Innocence; 3. Judi Dench, Iris; 4. Kerry Armstrong, Lantana; 5. Charlotte Rampling, Under the Sand; 6. Ariane Ascaride, The Town Is Quiet; 7. Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive; 8. Renee Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary; 9. Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde; 10. Cate Blanchett, Bandits

Best Supporting Actress: 1. Frances O'Connor, A.I.; About Adam; 2. Kate Winslet, Iris; 3. Julia Stiles, The Business of Strangers; 4. Cameron Diaz, Vanilla Sky; 5. Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind; 6. Maggie Smith, Gosford Park; 7. Emily Watson, Gosford Park; 8. Helen Mirren, Gosford Park; 9. Eileen Atkins, Gosford Park; 10. Kelly Macdonald, Gosford Park

He put Richard Eyre at #6 on his list of Best Directors; Jim Broadbent at #6 for Best Supporting Actor; Hugh Bonneville #7 for BSA.

 

Jan 2 -- Here's another report that includes IRIS as one of 'The Hottest Movies of 2002':

[The films mentioned in the article include: Monsters, Inc; Star Wars - Attack of the Clones; The Matrix Reloaded; James Bond 20; Oceanís 11; The Shipping News; Possession; Iris; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers.]

...Judi Dench makes a second appearance in Iris opposite Kate Winslet. Both actresses play Iris Murdoch in this story of the late novelist's relationship with her husband John Bayley, played by Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent.

IRIS

Who's in it? Kate Winslet, Dame Judi Dench, Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent.

What's it about? Based upon Murdoch's husband's Bayley's memoir, Elegy For Iris, the film traces their relationship through 40 years from their first meeting as teachers at Oxford. Murdoch, once described as England's most intelligent woman, battled against Alzheimer's in the later years of her life and the disease eventually killed her.

Behind the scenes gossip: Early reports from previews suggest that the film is tremendously poignant.

Release date: Spring

Box office clout: It's Winslet's first film since her much publicised romance with director Sam Mendes which might give it extra weight though some cinema goers might be put off by the serious content.

 

Jan 2 -- BBC News has an article today about Dame Judi Denchís chances for another Oscar for her performance in IRIS. Go HERE to read. Thereís just a brief mention of Kate:

Dame Judi portrays Murdoch in later life while Kate Winslet depicts her earlier years.

Both have been nominated for Golden Globes, Dame Judi for best actress and Winslet for best supporting actress.

 

Dec 30 -- 'Film Studies: Get Your Oscar Nominations And Winners Here':

By David Thomson

Even in America - where there is an understandable, yet perilous, inclination to think that 2001 has been all about US - an inescapable lesson looms in this year's films. Don't start getting jingoistic, but I suspect the Academy Awards for this year (to be handed out in March) may call few Americans to the stage. You can make a case for all the winners coming from Britain, or the other cricket-playing nations. You can even draw up lists of nominations in some categories where no runner is American. Of course, all this is guessing (and education is bad for gambling)...

Sissy Spacek in In the Bedroom could be the sole American contestant for Best Actress. For company give her Judi Dench in Iris, Cate Blanchett in Charlotte Gray (though the film is a big disappointment), Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and/or The Others, and Tilda Swinton in The Deep End. With two dazzling and very different performances, I think this is Kidman's year.

At Best Supporting Actor, the wealth is nearly all British: Hoskins, and maybe some of the others, in Last Orders, Jim Broadbent in Moulin Rouge and/or Iris, Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, Michael Gambon in Charlotte Gray, and Jude Law in A.I. The only American with a chance is Jon Voight as the sports commentator Howard Cosell in Ali.

For Best Supporting Actress, Helen Mirren in Last Orders is beyond even her own best; Kate Winslet is the young Iris; Maggie Smith could get a nod for Gosford Park; I'd reward Cameron Diaz for surviving Vanilla Sky; and I'd nominate Aurore Clement in Apocalypse Now Redux, just to test the rules - yes, it's an old film, but Clement's beautiful cameo was entirely missing from the original version.

Source: Independent

 

Dec 30 -- IRIS is in a league of its own due to the performances:

Listings: Look ahead The top arts events of the coming months

IRIS -- Itís an unlikely premise for a film: a chronicle of the life of the author Iris Murdoch, from bluestocking Oxford undergraduate to her death from Alzheimerís in 1999. But the performances from Judi Dench (Murdoch), Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville are predicted to put this film in a league of its own. Nationwide from Jan 18.

Source: UK Times

 

Dec 29 -- Several film critics have named IRIS one of the most anticipated films of 2002:

A Great Year To Go To The Movies

By Christopher Tookey

Next year looks a good deal more promising...

A better bet may be Richard Eyre's Iris (January 18), with Kate Winslet and Judi Dench both tipped for Oscars even though they are playing the same role, the novelist Iris Murdoch, at different ages.

Source: Daily Mail

2002: A Year In The Arts

By Anthony Quinn

...Dysfunction is, of course, a reliable vehicle for Oscar-grabbing and next year we'll see Russell Crowe playing a Nobel Prize-winning mathematician suffering from schizophrenia in A Beautiful Mind, and Sean Penn as a mentally handicapped man struggling to keep custody of his young daughter in I Am Sam. Another beautiful mind under siege is the subject of Iris, Richard Eyre's screen biography of the novelist, Iris Murdoch, as seen through the eyes of her husband, John Bayley. Kate Winslet plays Iris in her youth and Judi Dench is Iris in her dotage as the writer succumbs to Alzheimer's disease.

Source: The Independent

Dates For Your Film Diary
The Guardian's film critic looks at the year ahead
By Peter Bradshaw
As soon as 2002 arrives, the thoughts of every Hollywood producer must surely be focused tensely on the Academy awards, and next year will roll out some big performance vehicles for the heavyweight contenders. In January Kate Winslet and Judi Dench will star in Iris, directed by British stage veteran Richard Eyre, about the novelist Iris Murdoch and her touchingly devoted husband, Professor John Bayley. Young and old casting for that part - Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent - looks inspired. The film is much admired in the US, and the odds are shortening rapidly on Dame Judi getting another nomination to add to those she got for Chocolat and Mrs Brown - and, of course, the winning nod for Shakespeare in Love.

Source: The Guardian

Biopic Trio Packs Emotional Punch

While flawed, they'll likely grab Oscar attention

By David Sterritt

The year is closing with a strong crop of biographical films - or biopics, as they're known in the trade. Each is more a pic than a bio, twisting the facts of a fascinating life into a viewer-friendly narrative arc. But all have enough historical and emotional interest to lure potentially large audiences...

The equally well-acted Iris is also a bit short on intellectual content, even though its main characters are acclaimed novelist Iris Murdoch and author John Bayley, her husband. They're played by different performers at different phases in their lives: Kate Winslet and Judi Dench as Murdoch, and Hugh Bonneville and the great Jim Broadbent as Bayley.

Instead of taking a chronological approach, director Richard Eyre alternates between scenes of their early and late experiences, putting the spotlight mainly on Murdoch - from her youthful years as a writer, when she flirted with everyone in sight and decided to marry Bayley, to her confrontation with declining mental and physical powers.

Look for all three [Iris, A Beautiful Mind, Ali] of these biopics to surface in the coming Oscar races.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

 

Dec 29 -- 'Location, Location, Location'

By Kieran Falconer

The blockbuster films of 2002 that will inspire holiday choices this summer

The flickering screen has a powerful effect when it comes to influencing the choice of a summer holiday. Location, location, location is a mantra as important to directors as to the holidaymaker, so it is no surprise that films have spawned a thousand trips abroad for those looking to step into the frame of their hero or heroine...

Southwold, Suffolk --

Kate Winslet and Judi Dench star in Iris, Richard Eyreís biopic about the writer Iris Murdoch. Murdoch and her husband John Bayley were regular visitors to this Suffolk resort, renowned for its pebbly beach and pastel-coloured beach huts.

Release: January 18

Getting There: The Swan (01502 722186, www.adnams.co.uk) is Southwoldís most venerable hotel. A double room costs £105 B&B.

Source: The Times

 

Dec 28 -- Washington Post film critic Desson Howe includes IRIS on his list of Top Ten Films of 2001; IRIS ranks #7.

 

Dec 27 -- An interview with Kate was broadcast tonight (Dec 27) on Extra. The interview was done on the day Kate was in LA in November to promote IRIS. Thanks to 'CastOrange' and '3ebfan' for the tip on the show. I taped it and have done a transcript and screen captures. Go HERE!

 

Dec 27 -- Two more film critics have honored Kate for her wonderful performance in IRIS:

Film Critic Boo Allen, Denton Record-Chronicle, Dec 27 --

Best supporting actress: Kate Winslet in Iris shows a rising talent getting better with every movie, and Marisa Tomei does unexpectedly fine work in In the Bedroom.

Film Critic Gerald Peary, The Phoenix.com, Dec 27 --

Best supporting actress: Kate Winslet, Iris. Runners-up: Gwyneth Paltrow, The Royal Tenenbaums; Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive; Brooke Smith, Series 7; AnaÔs Reboux, ņ ma súur/Fat Girl.

 

Dec 27 -- Daniel Kenealy not only predicts Kate will land an Oscar nom, but will win. Thanks to George for the tip on these two items from Oscar Watch:

Best Supporting Actress --
The Golden Globes are usually pretty hot in this category last year predicting four of the five Oscar nominees. In 1999 they managed all five! So this year their shortlist of six seems to provide four solid locks.

The reviews for A Beautiful Mind have been strong and they have all cited Jennifer Connelly's supporting turn as the best performance in the movie (no small feat in a cast which includes Russell Crowe and Ed Harris). She seems on course for her first career Oscar nomination. The other three Globe nominees which look bound for Oscar glory are: Marisa Tomei (a winner in 1992), who returns to the limelight with a sensational (yet subtle) turn in In The Bedroom; Kate Winslet who is regular Oscar-bait has a juicy role this year as the young Iris Murdoch in Iris: A Memoir Of Iris Murdoch (Miramax's support certainly helps); and finally, Helen Mirren is the most likely of the Gosford Park ensemble to win a nomination from the Academy.

So with four places sealed who contends for the all-important fifth slot? Well the other two Globe nominees; Maggie Smith (Gosford Park) and Cameron Diaz (Vanilla Sky) are strong contenders. Whilst Vanilla Sky was negatively received, Diaz's performance has received rave reviews and she has a full house of citations from the AFI, Globes and Broadcast Academy. Despite this, I believe she will be omitted come February as by then the buzz will have died down and other contenders will have strengthened (f they didn't nominate her for Being John Malkovich then they won't nominate her for this!).

Maggie Smith looks much stronger and steals Gosford Park in the minds of many critics (and no doubt Academy voters will feel the same). However, she has some competition from Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive. I am skeptical about Watts' chances as, despite the universal acclaim for her performance, the film is so bleak and dark that Academy members are unlikely to endorse it. Also, confusion exists over whether the performance is lead/supporting (she is being promoted as supporting but was cited by AFI as lead) and this could seriously damage her chances. Also, with Miramax's backing don't completely disregard Judi Dench who does what she does best (plays a crotchety old woman) in The Shipping News (she played a crotchety old woman in Chocolat and Shakespeare In Love remember)! However, I believe Gosford Park has the momentum to pull two nominations in this category and opt for Maggie Smith as my fifth choice.

CURRENT WINNER PREDICTION - Kate Winslet (Iris: A Memoir Of Iris Murdoch)

Oscarwatcher Win620's Predicts

Best Supporting Actress -- Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind); Cameron Diaz (Vanilla Sky); Helen Mirren (Gosford Park); Marisa Tomei (In the Bedroom); Kate Winslet (Iris)
Best Supporting Actor -- Jim Broadbent (Iris); Steve Buscemi (Ghost World); Jamie Foxx (Ali); Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast); Jon Voight (Ali)
Best Actress -- Halle Berry (Monster's Ball); Nicole Kidman (The Others); Sissy Spacek (In the Bedroom); Tilda Swinton (The Deep End); Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive)

 

Dec 27 -- Iíve posted another positive review of IRIS on the Reviews page. Excerpt:

The young Murdoch, played with spirit and intelligence by Kate Winslet (Titanic, Quills) was confident and witty as well as brilliant. She was something of a sexual adventuress, having affairs with both men and women. Yet it was John Bayley (Hugh Bonneville) she chose to marry--a sexually inexperienced, donnish stammerer.

 

Dec 26 -- There is an article about Iris Murdoch in today's New York Times. Go HERE to read. The article also contains links to the first chapters of Elegy For Iris and Iris And Her Friends, and is chiefly about Murdoch and her writing, but also mentions the film:

In recent years her reputation has rested mostly on Mr. Bayley's memoirs, including "Elegy for Iris" (St. Martin's Press). His books have contributed to her myth and revived interest in her. "Iris," a film based on his memoirs, stars Judi Dench as the older Murdoch and Kate Winslet as her younger self. It opened in mid-December in New York and Los Angeles for an Oscar run and is to open nationwide early next year.

This fall the first major biography of her, "Iris Murdoch: A Life," by Peter J. Conradi, an executor of her estate, was published by W. W. Norton. Based on Murdoch's 20 unpublished diaries and thousands of her letters, it contains new insights into her writing and details of her colorful existence.

 

Dec 26 -- Thanks to George for sending me a review of IRIS by Rod Armstrong which contains praise for Kate. Itís posted on the Reviews page. Excerpt:

Though Broadbent and Dench are very good (and remarkable simulacra of the real people they play), it's Winslet and Bonneville who steal the show. If they hadn't conveyed the passion that develops between the shy, bookish fellow and the sensualist aspiring writer, the later scenes wouldn't be nearly as effective. While much newsprint has been spewed about whether or not the star is overweight, the far more important fact is what an astonishing actress she is.

BTW - This particular review sums up my own feelings about the film.

 

Dec 23 -- Miramax took out a nice full-page ad in the December 21-23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, congratulating their Golden Globe nominees. Their new version of the 'for your consideration' ad focuses on the three performances which have been receiving recognition and was placed in the December 17-23 issue of Weekly Variety. Go HERE to view the images.

The December 20 issue of Back Stage West also contains an advertisement for special screenings of Miramax Films:

[Text of ad] Attention SAG nominating Committee members

You are cordially invited to the following screenings

[All Miramax films being promoted for awards consideration are included]

IRIS [poster image]

Los Angeles - December 27, January 2, 7

New York City - January 9, 15

 

Dec 23 -- The Sunday Times contains a nice profile article on IRIS co-star Jim Broadbent. I have posted the portion of the article relating to IRIS on the Features page.

 

Dec 21 -- One of my news search engines turned up today an article and link to a brief video interview with Kate posted yesterday on an Austin, Texas news site:

Kate Winslet in Austin when she learns of Golden Globe nomination

Titanic actress filming with Kevin Spacey

Rob Marroquin, KVUE News

Kate Winslet was in Austin Thursday when she got word that she'd been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her part in the film "Iris." The film tells the true-life story of the author Iris Murdoch, who was later stricken with Alzheimer's. Winslet plays the author in her early years. Judi Dench was also nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe for her role as the elder Murdoch.

Winslet, 26, is in town for the filming of the Kevin Spacey movie, "The Life of David Gale." That film centers on the life of a University of Texas professor turned upside down when he's accused of murder.

Winslet, a two-time Oscar nominee, says it's a joy working in Austin but says she hasn't had a chance to enjoy the city because she spends a lot of her time on the set and the rest of it caring for her young daughter.

Go to the KVUE page to watch 16 second video of Kate (Real Player).

Kate was asked how she likes Austin.

Kate: "Austinís great. I mean, Iíve just been, you know, working. And when Iím not working Iíve been mummy to Mia, my daughter. So, I havenít really had much of a chance to really, you know, see the sights. But, no, you know, itís got a great atmosphere, and Iíve had a lot of fun here."

Source: kvue.com, Dec 20

 

Dec 21 -- Several UK papers have published articles about British actors being honored with Golden Globe nominations. Following are a couple of the items:

Itís The Great British Gold Rush

By Mark Jagasia Showbusiness, Correspondent

A String of British actresses has been nominated for Golden Globe film awards.

Dame Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Dame Maggie Smith, Tilda Swinton and Helen Mirren have all been named as possible winners at the ceremony in January. There are already hopes that they could pick up some Oscars at the more prestigious Academy Awards in February...

The film Iris saw Kate Winslet nominated best supporting actress and Dame Judi Dench best actress as novelist Iris Murdoch.

Source: The Express

Brit Stars On Award Shortlist

British actors Judi Dench, Ewan McGregor, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith and Kate Winslet were nominated yesterday for Hollywood's Golden Globe awards.

Moulin Rouge and A Beautiful Mind, which stars Russell Crowe as a mentally ill genius, led the shortlist, with six nominations each.

Legendary director Robert Altman's Gosford Park received five, while The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring has four.

Nicole Kidman has two chances to win, for Moulin Rouge and The Others.

And British film Bridget Jones's Diary was nominated for best comedy.

The awards, next month, are seen as a guide to the Oscars.

Source: The Mirror

Ewanís Bid For Golden Globe

Ewan McGregor leads British hopes in the Golden Globe awards - often seen as a pointer to Oscars success. But Harry Potter, the blockbuster film of the year, failed to get even a mention as the nominations were unveiled in Los Angeles yesterday. Ewan is the only Brit competing for best actor in a musical or comedy. His film Moulin Rouge and Russell Crowe's A Beautiful Mind jointly top the shortlist with six nominations each.

Dame Judi Dench, up for best actress for her role in Iris, won a Golden Globe in 1998 and another this year. She is up against Tilda Swinton for The Deep End.

Three Brits compete in the supporting actor category.

Jim Broadbent is nominated for Iris, Ben Kingsley for Sexy Beast and Jude Law for AI in the awards which are handed out on January 20.

For best supporting actress, Helen Mirren goes up against Gosford Park co-star Dame Maggie Smith and Kate Winslet for Iris.

British-made Bridget Jones's Diary is nominated for best musical or comedy.

Sir Paul McCartney is in the running for best song with Vanilla Sky from the Tom Cruise movie of the same name, as is Sting with Until from the film Kate & Leopold.

Anne Frank star Ben Kingsley fights Conspiracy's Kenneth Branagh for best TV actor, with Emma Thompson in the female category for Wit.

Source: The Daily Record

 

Dec 21 -- Miramax Films has proudly issued a press release about the success of their films with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association:

NEW YORK, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Miramax Films received fifteen overall Golden Globe nominations, the most for any studio, including the first ever nomination for Dimension Films. Miramax's nominations included three for "In the Bedroom" and "Iris," two for "Bridget Jones's Diary," "Kate & Leopold," and "The Shipping News," and one each for "Amelie," "Behind the Sun," and for Dimension Films' "The Others." The announcement was made today by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in Los Angeles. The nominations include...

"Iris"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture/Drama -- Judi Dench Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture -- Kate Winslet

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture -- Jim Broadbent

"Oh how lovely, what a wonderful Christmas present," said Judi Dench.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be nominated for 'Iris' -- and it's incredible that Judi, Jim and I have all been acknowledged for our work in a movie that is so important to us," said Kate Winslet.

"I'm very, very excited... and looking forward to the party," said Jim Broadbent.

 

Dec 21 -- The Guardian published today an article about IRIS:

Age Will Win -- Iris Murdoch's fall could not have been more marked: perhaps the greatest novelist of her generation, she was reduced to a state of perpetual puzzlement by Alzheimer's. Martin Amis gets the first look at Richard Eyre's tender, raw portrait of her decline.

The article also appeared in Talk magazine; I posted it on the IRIS Features page Nov 28.

 

Dec 20 -- Golden Globe nominations were announced today. Kate was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Judi for Best Actress, Jim Broadbent for Best Supporting Actor.

 

Dec 19 -- Box office update - IRIS was estimated on Sunday to take in $21,000 on two screens during the first three days of release. According to Variety, the actual figure is $23,144. Nice!

 

Dec 19 -- IRIS is mentioned a couple of times in the Dec 17 issue of New York magazine. Thanks to Rebecca for the tip!

The Best of the Rest

As we head down to the wire in what may be one of the fiercest Oscar derbies in years, a scorecard to the remaining contenders (and also-rans)

IRIS

Dame Judi Dench is already a front-runner in the Best Actress Oscar sweepstakes for her performance as British novelist Iris Murdoch, who

succumbed to Alzheimer's Disease in 1999. Kate Winslet plays IRIS as a younger woman and Jim Broadbent is heart-breaking in the role of Oxford literary critic John Bayley, Iris's doting and devoted husband. What could have been a treacly disease-of-the-week TV movie may turn out to be the love story of the year.

Opening

The Camera's Iris

"I was totally conscious from the word go not to make this film sentimental," says Richard Eyre, the former director of Britain's Royal National Theatre and the writer-director or IRIS, the screen biography of famed English author Iris Murdoch that depicts her descent into Alzheimer's disease. "In the end, it's a 90-year love story, with the illness as a metaphor for what love can surmount."

IRIS shows the beginning and end of her marriage to John Bayley, the somewhat straight man to Iris's idiosyncratic lead, and from whose autobiography the screenplay was adapted. Iris is played in her youth by Kate Winslet and in her dotage by Judi Dench. "When John saw the film, he said it was like watching King Lear," says Eyre, whose The Crucible with Liam Neeson and Laura Linney opens on Broadway this February. "But I think what he liked most was Kate."

 

Dec 17 -- Great new reviews; go HERE to read; excerpts:

Les Phillips: Expressionistic and resoundingly involving, Eyre's thought-provoking film is perceptively engaging... Still, the richness of the film remains in the skillful direction of this rousing, charming personal drama, and Winslet is fabulous as the young Iris, who exudes so much energy as the nascent novelist. Overall, Iris is a stylish production that flows with radiance. Roger Pratt's cinematography is vibrantly crisp, and the storyline about a high-spirited woman being restrained by her constant affliction is profoundly unsparing.

Frank Ochieng: The screenplay...cuts between the times constantly. The effect is not flashback or flash-forward; it's composite, or pointillist, and it's very effective here. In fact there really isn't much narrative in Iris. I think the film assumes some knowledge of the subjects and their lives, assumes that we know how it ends, and concentrates on transmitting a sense of what Murdoch was like, what that type of British scholars' existence is like, what the Alzheimer's did to Bayley and Murdoch. And, at that, it succeeds brilliantly.

 

Dec 16 -- Miramax Films has issued a press release, congratulating Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent on their honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Society:

Sissy Spacek for Best Actress, Jim Broadbent for Best Supporting Actor and Kate Winslet for Best Supporting Actress

NEW YORK, Dec. 16 -- Miramax Films is proud to announce that the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has selected "In The Bedroom" as Best Picture of the Year and Sissy Spacek as Best Actress for her performance in "In The Bedroom" as well as Jim Broadbent as Best Supporting Actor for his performances in "Iris" and "Moulin Rouge" and Kate Winslet as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "Iris". The awards will be presented on January 22, 2002 at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica.

Jim Broadbent, who was selected by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as Best Supporting Actor for his performances in "Iris" and "Moulin Rouge," was also recently awarded Best Supporting Actor by the National Board of Review for his performances in "Iris" and "Moulin Rouge." ... "Iris" opened in New York and Los Angeles on December 14, 2001.

Source: PR Newswire, Dec 17

 

Dec 16 -- Estimated box office for the first three days of release is $21,000 - from just two theatres!

 

Dec 16 -- The New York Film Critics Online, consisting of 25 members, have named Judi Dench Best Actress today.

 

Dec 15 -- Kate Winslet was named Best Supporting Actress by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Jim Broadbent was named Best Supporting Actor for his work in both IRIS and Moulin Rouge.

 

Dec 15 -- Film critic Emmanuel Levy has named Kate Winslet Supporting Actress of the year.

 

Dec 14 -- The official site is up. It contains several clips from the film (Quicktime), and video interviews, including a brief one with Kate. Thanks, David A!

 

Dec 14 -- I have posted several new reviews. They're mostly positive about the film, and all contain praise for the performances.

 

Dec 12 -- I posted on the Reviews Page critic Rich Cline's review. He gives the film 4 stars.

 

Dec 9 -- I scanned an advertisement from the LA Times and posted it on the Ads page. Included in the ad is the name of the theatre where IRIS will play in the Los Angeles area during its one-week, award-qualifying run beginning December 14 - AMC Century 14, Century City.

 

Dec 9 -- Two new articles added to the Features Page -- "Art, Life and Love: Seeing Iris in 'Iris'" by John Bayley, and "How Iris Taught Kate The Secret Of True Love".

 

Dec 8 -- Critic Emanuel Levy praises Kate's and Broadbent's performances but feels IRIS is a 'minor, rambling film'.

Ed Gonzalez says Oscar is knocking at Judi's door.  READ

 

Dec 7 -- Nice reviews in Entertainment Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter. READ

 

Dec 6 -- The soundtrack (composed by James Horner) will be available January 8, 2002. Go HERE for the IRIS page on the Sony Classical site. Note that they mention a February 8, 2002 opening date for the film.

 

Dec 6 -- The Dec 3-9 edition of Weekly Variety contains a full-page 'for your consideration' ad on the back cover. The Hollywood Reporter has a similar ad. I scanned it today and posted it on the IRIS Ads page.

 

Dec 5 -- Praise for the performances, particularly Kate's, in a Variety review published today. Read it on the Reviews page.

 

Dec 5 -- The Nat'l Board of Review winners were announced today. Jim Broadbent was named Best Supporting Actor for his performances in IRIS and Moulin Rouge. IRIS is on the Special Mention For Excellence In Filmmaking list ('These motion pictures, crafted by visionary artists, demonstrate the creativity and determination that have always been vital to the film industry.')

 

Dec 4 -- I have been advised by Miramax Films of the following promotion for IRIS:

Rosie O'Donnell Show -- December 10, 2001 - Judi Dench will be guest

Talk Magazine -- December 2001 issue [This article is posted on the Iris Features page]

In Focus Magazine, December 2001 issue

Screen International, December 7, 2001

UK Premiere -- January 13, 2002

 

Dec 4 -- Judi Dench was interviewed about the film today by Katie Couric on the Today show. Transcript and screen captures are posted on the Features Page.

 

Dec 3 -- A clip of Kate has been added to the apple.com site.  (Note: The clip doesn't work for everyone.)

 

Dec 2 -- Kate and Judi attended the world premiere in NYC. Go to the Premiere Page for pics, articles.

 

Dec 2 -- Interview with Kate about the film from NY Daily News is posted on the features page.

 

Nov 30 -- BBC News has an article about the film and its world premiere in NY on Sunday. Read the article on the features page.

 

Nov 28 -- I have added to the features page an article from Talk Magazine. Thanks to 'joliefemme'!

 

Nov 27 -- I have been advised by Ruby at Miramax Films that a clip of Judi Dench is now online. Go HERE to watch (Quicktime 5).

 

Nov 25 -- David Ansen, film critic for Newsweek, feels Judi and Kate are Oscar contenders, although he puts Judi in the supporting category:

Best Supporting Actress
The buzzmeisters have been in overdrive about Jennifer Connellyís performance opposite Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind." There seems to be some debate, however, as to whether itís a lead or a supporting turn. The same question may apply to Dame Judi Dench, who plays the ailing novelist Iris Murdoch in "Iris." Yes, the movieís named after her, but the character is played by Kate Winslet as a younger woman, and Dench only appears in the last part. Never bet against Dame Judi. And throw Winsletís name into the hopper, too.
A few other names are being floated: Cameron Diaz as one of Tom Cruiseís lovers in "Vanilla Sky" and Marisa Tomei (a previous winner) as a grieving girlfriend in "In the Bedroom" seem the most plausible at this point. Maggie Smith in either "Gosford Park" or "Harry Potter"? Fionnula Flanagan, the housekeeper in "The Others"? Either Angelica Huston or Gwyneth Paltrow in "The Royal Tennenbaums"?
One deserving candidate who doesnít have a prayer is Sondra Oh as a stripper/poet in the little-seen "Dancing at the Blue Iguana." Even more obscure, but utterly wonderful, was the former chanteuse Patachou in the charming French road movie "The Adventures of Felix." I would also like to personally nominate Macy Gray for her hair-raising cameo as a junkie in "Training Day." Sheís probably not on view for much more than a minute, but boy does she pop off the screen.
For a clearer picture of all this, talk to me in a month. By then Iíll know everything.

A couple of other filmlovers had this reaction to Ansenís column:

"The only place Ansen really errs in thinking that Judi Dench could be considered supporting in Iris. That's probably because he hasn't seen the film. Iris follows the last year or so in the lfie of Iris Murdoch, with flashbacks to her earlier life. It is not a straight narrative. Kate Winslet is featured in the flashbacks. Word is that the film belongs to Dench, who is one of only two serious contenders for best actress. The other is, of course, Sissy Spacek." ~ ĎBig Magillaí

"As for the article, I agree with Magilla, the oddity is his downgrading Dench to supporting actress, something I'd gleaned from no other source. (It's odd, too, that in the same breath, he says Broadbent could be leading -- aren't their scenes together?) Perhaps Iris resembles Shine, where, in terms of screen-time, Rush had a borderline supporting role -- but took over the film in the last reels and thus left the bigger lasting impression. ~ ĎMister Teeí

 

Nov 22 -- According to Variety, IRIS is a 'hot contender' for a slot at the Berlin Film Festival:

Hot contenders for the fest this year include "The Majestic," helmed by Frank Darabont and starring Jim Carrey, Richard Eyre's "Iris" starring Kate Winslet and Judi Dench, Gillian Armstrong's "Charlotte Gray" starring Cate Blanchett, Lasse Hallstrom's "The Shipping News" starring Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore, and possibly Scott Hicks' "Hearts in Atlantis" starring Anthony Hopkins, which was originally slated for Venice.

The 52nd Berlin Intl. Film Festival takes place February 6-17. Kate Winslet attended last year's festival to promote Quills.

 

Nov 22 -- I have added some lovely screen caps of Kate from the trailer to the Gallery. Special thanks are in order to 'jolie femme' for offering them to Admiring Kate!

 

Nov 21 -- I found a 'teaser' for a review of the film:

Richard Eyre's free-associative Iris cuts back and forth between Iris Murdoch's libertine early years as a budding wordsmith and her later days as an Alzheimer's victim; in effect, the most terrible thing to wilt for a novelist/philosopher becomes memory itself. Kate Winslet, as young Iris, stares off-screen, thus triggering scenes of the stagnating world and mind of the older Iris (Judi Dench). Winslet's Iris swims, fornicates and relishes her relationships with her lesbian friends while Dench's Iris fumbles through television interviews, watches Teletubbies and lets her home go to seed. Stuttering paramour John Bayley (Hugh Bonneville) is the young dolt who falls prey to Iris's witty charms; for her, language is not the only way of understanding as words themselves become the machines for making falsehoods. Yes, that's Oscar knocking on Dench's door.

Full review to be posted December 10, midnight ~~ Ed Gonazalez

 

Nov 20 -- Kate spoke about playing Iris in an interview given this week:

She will be seen on screen as the young Iris Murdoch in Iris, directed by Richard Eyre and to be released in Britain in the New Year. It is the story of the brilliant novelist's relationship with her husband, John Bayley, her numerous affairs and her death from Alzheimer's disease in 1998. Judi Dench plays the role from middle age onwards.

 "It's an enormous responsibility and challenge to play someone who is so extraordinary," Winslet says. "Obviously, I knew how respected she was and also that she died of Alzheimer's, but I had to familiarise myself a little bit with her writing to know where she was coming from.

 "I couldn't sit down and read novel after novel because I was doing so much other research into her life, so I just took little bits from some of her novels."

 One of Murdoch's observations made a deep impression on her. "She once said: 'Nothing matters except loving what is good', and I think that is important. To me, that says a lot about embracing life and getting as much from it as you possible can.

 "I feel very inspired by the way Iris Murdoch lived her life and I've always felt very much the same - you have to make the most of every day, always look forward, have no regrets and learn from the good things and bad things that happen."

 

Nov 19 -- Judi worried about portraying Iris:

Judi Wasnít Sure About This Dame

Dame Judi Dench admits she doubted whether she could capture the spirit of her fellow dame, the late novelist Iris Murdoch, in a film tribute to her.

So uncertain was she of her ability to handle the role she turned down the chance to meet the writer's husband, John Bayley, until she had finished Iris, the film from renowned stage director Sir Richard Eyre.

It is based on Bayley's memoirs of his relationship with his wife, an eminent philosopher, who died of Alzheimer's disease in February 1999.

Dame Judi had read most of her novels and, when the role came her way, she threw herself into research, even though she had never met Dame Iris.

About her chance to talk with Bayley, she says: "I didn't want to meet him beforehand because I felt sensitive about looking into his eyes and seeing that he might think, 'No, this is not anything to do with Iris Murdoch'. I also thought I wouldn't, perhaps, be able to cope with everything I might hear from him about her."

Source: Daily Record

 

Nov 15 -- Critic Roger Friedman feels Kate and Judi will both receive Oscar nominations for their performances:

Dame Judi Headed for Oscar Gold

I had the rare opportunity last night of seeing back-to-back films that are up for Oscar contention. One of them succeeds brilliantly. The other is more problematic.

First the good news. Dame Judi Dench is absolutely remarkable as the title character in Iris.

...As the famed British novelist Iris Murdoch, Dame Judi has the unenviable task of trying to communicate the writer's last year as she coped with Alzheimer's Disease. Already you're thinking, who wants to see that?

But with the help of director Richard Eyre and castmates Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Bonneville, Dench is simply amazing. She conveys all of the sadness of Iris Murdoch's life sentence while investing her with a tremendous amount of vitality. It's an invigorating, inspired performance, so far above the average "disease of the week" grandstanding that it should be shown probably as a lesson for future actresses.

What you like most about Dench's Murdoch is that she doesn't make her suddenly wise. There is no long, drawn out goodbye for Iris Murdoch. Thanks to a clever script, Murdoch's illness takes her down into the rabbit hole of dementia quickly. What Dench does is make the audience accept the inevitable without feeling pity for Murdoch. Instead you feel admiration.

Dame Judi is helped enormously by the three supporting performances, most especially Kate Winslet's as young Iris. Winslet has never been better, and there's no doubt of her getting a nomination as well. Jim Broadbent - the character actor who's stacked up a bunch of great turns recently in Moulin Rouge, Little Voice, Bridget Jonesís Diary and Topsy-Turvy - is marvelous as Dench's seemingly doddering but devoted companion, John Bayley.

Richard Eyre, who's a British theatrical director, makes the most of the script by cutting back and forth between Iris and John in their youth and the couple as they grapple with Iris's demise. It's a neat gimmick but might not have worked in less skillful hands. Everyone involved uses a "less is more" attitude, and it was the way to go. I can't recommend Iris more highly. No gratuitous weeping, and the ironies are kept to a minimum. It's so nice not to be hit on the head with a mallet.

 

Nov 15 -- IRIS will be screened at the Maui Film Festival:

The Maui Film Festival's 2001 FirstLight Academy Screenings will feature 29 films vying for Oscar consideration Dec. 19 to 30 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Hollywood guild members will be admitted free. RSVP by calling (808) 579-9553 or email firstlight@mauifilmfestival.com.

Admission for others is $7 per film with a "3-Film Maui Film Festival FirstLight Passport," $10 for single tickets. Passports are available at the MACC box office. Call (808) 579-9996. For more information, see story in the A section.

Dec 22: 5 p.m. -- "Iris" (NR): Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet star in this true tale of romance between novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch and John Bayley, from meeting as teachers at Oxford, through 40 years of Murdoch's fight with Alzheimer's Disease.
Source: Star-Bulletin

 

 

Nov 13 -- The Nov 16 issue of Entertainment Weekly contains several mentions of the film (Holiday Movie Preview, And The Nominees Could Be). Excerpts from the articles are posted on the Features page. Thanks to Rebecca for the tip.

 

Nov 13 -- Miramax Films has made available today the poster. Take a look!

 

Nov 10 -- The trailer is online! (Quicktime) Enjoy - it's wonderful!  GO!

 

Nov 8 -- I learned today that the trailer will be online in the next couple of days! I'll post the link as soon as it's 'up'.

 

Nov 6 -- Miramax will promote Iris via Kate Winslet's fan sites! I have been talking with a marketing representative from Miramax Films regarding promotion of the film and am pleased to report that they are planning on providing info and goodies so that Kate's fans can stay up-to-date on news about the film and its release. Reminder - the film will be released in Los Angeles and New York December 14. It will be released in other locations after the first of the year; a wide release is hoped for. Promotional materials will be available soon. Stay tuned...

 

Nov 1 -- It looks as though Miramax will distribute the film in the U.K. and Australia, as well as the U.S.:

Miramax Books More Rights To "Iris"

by Stuart Kemp

MILAN - Already holding U.S. domestic rights to director Richard Eyre's "Iris", Miramax Films on Monday added U.K. and Australian rights to its portfolio.

"Iris" is being screened at this week's MIFED market by Intermedia, which produced the film along with BBC Films and Miramax.

The film has been tipped as an Oscar contender and will be released in the United States before year's end for Academy Award consideration.

Starring Kate Winslet and Judi Dench, "Iris" recounts the life-long romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, which ended with Murdoch's death from Alzheimer's disease.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Oct 30-Nov 5 issue

Iris was screened at MIFED on Oct 29.

 

Oct 31 -- The Miramax campaign for acting awards for Kate's and Judi's performances has iristeaser.jpg (74722 bytes)begun.

[Text from ad] Two of the most acclaimed actresses of our time, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet, bring to the screen one of the most extraordinary women of her generation, celebrated author, Iris Murdoch. From her days as a brilliant scholar at Oxford, where she thrilled the world around her with her libertine spirit, through her career as a philosopher and novelist, Iris was truly ahead of her time. And through it all, one man stood beside her every step of the way - John Bayley, her unlikely soulmate, who for better and for worse, would love her all her life.

I obtained the screening schedule for Iris:

Los Angeles -- Nov 19, 24, 27, 28, 30

New York -- Nov 16, 19, 20, 27

San Francisco -- Nov 29

The screenings are open to members of certain professional organizations. Hopefully, these screenings will result in good attendance and more great buzz for Kate's and Judi's performances.

 

Sept 24 -- Iris will indeed be released in the US in December in order to qualify for the Academy Awards:

From Teletext:

Iris and Charlotte up for Oscars?

Two UK movie productions have had their US release dates brought forward to December to ensure they qualify for possible Oscar nominations.

The Richard Eyre-directed Iris, about the late British novelist Iris Murdoch, stars Kate Winslet and Dame Judi Dench.

World War Two drama Charlotte Gray stars Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup. It's a co-production between FilmFour and Warner Bros.

Source: Teletext

From Screen Daily:

Iris, Charlotte Dated For Pre-Oscar US Releases, By Mike Goodridge

Two high-powered British prestige pictures - Iris and Charlotte Gray - have been set for release in the US and Canada in December, meaning that they qualify for and indeed will be pushed for Oscar consideration.
Neither had been certain to open this year. Warner Bros, which has US rights to Charlotte Gray, has an intensely busy release schedule in November and December including Harry Potter And The Sorcererís Stone, Oceanís 11 and The Majestic and had originally scheduled the World War II drama starring Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup for the first quarter of next year. One report even suggested that Universal Pictures, which has multiple foreign rights on the film, was willing to take over domestic distribution in order to qualify the film for awards, but Warner has now set the date for Dec 28. The film is the first fruit of the studioís alliance with the UKís FilmFour. Gillian Armstrong directed.
Meanwhile Iris directed by Richard Eyre was not expected to be released by Miramax Films, which has domestic rights, until next year. The story of Iris Murdoch featuring double Oscar nominee Kate Winslet as the young Iris and winner Judi Dench as the older Iris, it has long been touted as a perfect awards candidate, although again Miramax has a bulging slate of films this Christmas, all primed for Oscar attention. They include Gangs Of New York, The Shipping News, In The Bedroom, Pinero and foreign language favourites Amelie and Behind The Sun. Late last week, however, the company set Iris for a one week qualifing run in Los Angeles and New York City starting Dec 14.

 

Sept 9 -- When I learned that Rachel had tickets to a special ĎIrisí screening last week, I asked her if she would write down her thoughts about the film and allow me to post them on this site. She notified me when she had posted her review on a message board so that I could edit it for use here:

ĎIrisí test screening, September 6:

It was AMAZING!!! Simply the absolute acting brilliance from watching Kate and Judi together was f***ing flooring to say the last! Jim Broadbent and the younger John Bayley (whoís the guy from Notting Hill) were amazing as well -- such strong performances! It was dramatic and funny and sad and scary all in one, an absolute winner!!! Everyone around us was saying nothing but good things as well. (So woohoo, go Kate!)
The film, if anyone didnít know, is the story of author Iris Murdoch, her obscure younger days at Oxford, leading up to her decline from Alzheimer's Disease and the horrible-ness of that taking over the mind of such a brilliant woman who had always been filled with words to no end and now canít even distinguish a spoon from a screwdriver about 50-60 years later. Itís really moving and sad in that way. The beginning scene, if it's kept in until final release, is definitely a shocker!!!

...Itís a very original and artily done movie, although it has such an amazing and all star cast. They donít do the flashbacks (transitions between Kate and Judiís scenes) in a linear fashion, as in itís not the typical Titanic-esque format - modern beginning, looonnggg flashback to tell the whole story, and modern recap at the end. Itís scattered throughout, like it will keep having Judi and sheís thinking and all of a sudden sheís Kate. Itís cool coz it represents how even though to the outside world this woman has been overtaken by her disease and doesn't appear to be able to think, but on the inside sheís the same vibrant, young, thoughtful woman as always and knows her past completely even though she canít express it in words. So in place of her expressing it in words it shows us through Kateís scenes what she is remembering. Itís very cool and quite touching. I donít want to say too many details (coz I know a lot of people don't like spoilers).

There are many very funny parts in Kate's scenes though, young Iris and John are sort of this really dorky couple, and itís so cute. And they have lots of quirky situations that are adorable to see Kate in, so I'll say that much. Sheís a wonderful comic actress, I have to say!
Overall, I have to say it really, really was just brilliant!!! The concept, the acting, the originality, the story, the presentation, its impact on your thoughts for a long time after you leave the theatre, everything.

Thanks, Rachel!

 

August 26 -- I have reported here previously that Miramax held a private screening of Iris last month for various exec's, and they have placed a great one-page feature on the film in the September issue of Vanity Fair. This has led me to believe that Miramax is preparing to release the film by the end of this year in order to qualify for award consideration. Today, there is mention of a December release in an article about director Richard Eyre's six-part television series Changing Stages:

...Co-produced by the BBC and Thirteen/WNET New York, Changing Stages has already aired in Britain. Since completing it, Eyre, who retired from the National Theatre in 1997, has directed a feature film, Iris, based on two books by John Bayley about his late wife, writer Iris Murdoch, who died of Alzheimer's disease. "It's a film about the way that love endures in a relationship and in the face of great odds - a grown-up love story," he says of the movie, which stars Dench and Kate Winslet and is due to be released in December by Miramax.

Special thanks to Ruth of Discover Kate for emailing me the tip on the above item and to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for the link to the article!

 

August 22 -- There is a nice feature on the film (that includes a great photo of Kate and Judi) in the September issue of Vanity Fair magazine. It's posted on a separate page.

 

July 16 -- Apparently, John Bayley approved of Kate playing his wife in her younger years. From an Independent article about the Dartington literary festival:

In the Great Hall, John Bayley took the emotional weather to similar extremes. He began with a hilarious account of going to a film set to watch doppelgangers of himself and Iris Murdoch walk up and down Oxford Street wheeling bicycles - approximately 40 times. He approved of the actress playing his wife when young: "Er... er... young actress... you may have heard of her... er... Kate, something, er, Winslet, that's it. Apparently she was in a film called Titanic." The next minute he was talking about the agonies of caring for his wife in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. His eyes filled with tears, and there was suddenly a lot of nose-blowing in the otherwise silent hall.

 

June 7 -- Kate's agent announced that Kate has just completed work on 'Iris' and is in discussions to join her 'Quills' co-star Geoffrey Rush in 'The Magician's Wife'.

 

May 19 -- More photos taken during the Suffolk location shoot appear in NW Magazine (Australia). They're posted in the 'Iris' Gallery.

 

May 17 -- From the Oxford Student magazine:

"Kiss me Kate"

Our exclusive shots of Kate Winslet filming in Oxford, By Sarah Birke, News Editor

Exclusive -- Oxstu Photographer Gareth Jelley grabbed these exclusive photos of Kate Winslet on the set of her new film last week. [View the photos in the gallery.]

Filming took place in Oxford for "Iris", the biographical film of Iris Murdoch in which Kate Winslet plays the leading role. On Thursday scenes were shot in Merton College, with the Union providing Friday's set. Students were allowed to watch Kate Winslet, who plays the young Iris Murdoch, during rehearsal and filming which took place on a Merton staircase and in the front quad, but were told to 'keep back' to prevent them being showered with simulated rainfall.

During Thursday's filming, which went on until midnight, Kate Winslet's nanny was spotted, although the rest of the film's all-star cast, which includes Dame Judi Dench as the older Iris Murdoch, were nowhere to be seen. Jim Broadbent, still on the screens in Bridget Jones' Diary, plays her husband, John Bayley; Hugh Bonneville plays the younger John Bayley.

Jelley managed to take a selection of photographs, some of which were snapped up by the News of the World for a three-figure sum.

Iris Murdoch had a long history of involvement with Oxford University. A Classics graduate of Somerville College, she later returned to St Anne's to teach Philosophy. In 1956 she married John Bayley, a tutor in English at New College, Oxford, and later Warton Professor of English Literature.

She died in 1999, having had an enormously successful literary career, winning both the Booker and the Whitbread Prizes and having three plays adapted for the West End.

Thanks to Karen T. for the tip on the article!

 

May 14 -- Hello! Magazine May 22 issue is out and includes an article on Kate that contains photos taken on the set (go to Gallery page).

 

May 12 -- I found a brief mention of Iris in an article about a new direction for the BBC:

"BBC aims to woo directors back to their British roots"

The BBC is teaming up with a Hollywood production company to make big-budget films in an attempt to woo British directors back from Hollywood. BBC head of film, David Thompson, has drawn up a wish list of directors including Ridley Scott (Gladiator), John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and Jon Amiel (Entrapment). Other Hollywood-based British directors will also be approached by Mr Thompson. Nearly all the Brits now used by the big Hollywood studios started their careers with the BBC.

The move was made possible by an extraordinary deal engineered by the senior BBC executive, Alan Yentob, with the Beverly Hills production company Cobalt Media. The American company is putting about pounds 90m into the partnership and BBC Films about pounds 3m. Yet the BBC will retain 50 per cent of the profits because it will supply the expertise. This not only means the BBC can make big- budget films, it also means the corporation can make big money...

The BBC has already tried to get American co-producers for its latest slate of films. Iris, the forthcoming film about Iris Murdoch starring Dame Judi Dench, and Kate Winslet as Ms Murdoch when she was young, has an American co-producer.

 

May 11 -- Photos published today of Kate on the set (with daughter and husband) that were taken May 8. I have added them to the gallery.

 

May 8 -- I scanned a photo of Judi Dench in costume on the set, and have started a gallery page. Photo caption:

"Judi Dench Dresses The Part" - Her outfit was decidedly less glamorous than the one she wore at this year's Oscar ceremony, but Dame Judi Dench was in character. The actress, whose husband Michael Williams died of cancer earlier this year, is playing the late British author Iris Murdoch in a film about her life.

 

May 5 -- I found items about Kate filming a scene for Iris - along with an on set pic (see Gallery).

From The Sun:

Dieting Titanic star Kate Winslet struggles to lose another stone - as she films a love scene on a beach for her new movie. A pebble got stuck in her shoe during the shoot for the movie 'Iris' at Southwold, Suffolk.

Kate, 25, who has shed weight gained while having baby Mia, wore a wig and was dowdily dressed to play novelist Iris Murdoch. A witness said: "She was unrecognisable."

From the Scottish Daily Record:

"Kate's Back by the Seaside"

Fans of Titanic beauty Kate Winslet will get a shock at her new film role. She looks like a dowdy librarian and seems to have chopped off her famous curls. But don't panic. Her long locks are safe under a wig as she plays the late novelist Dame Iris Murdoch as a young woman in the 1950s.

Kate, 25, was filming in Southwold in Suffolk yesterday and showed off her new slimline shape in her first role since giving birth to daughter Mia six months ago. A nanny was looking after Mia at a nearby hotel as Kate shot romantic scenes on the beach for the film Iris with her co-star Hugh Bonneville. She said: "In between remembering my lines, I think, 'Did I leave enough food for her?'"

From the UK Telegraph:

"Kissing Kate Thinks Only Of Baby," by David Sapsted

Her arms may have been around another man yesterday but Kate Winslet's thoughts remained firmly on her husband and their seven-month-old daughter. The passionate embrace with Hugh Bonneville on a windswept beach in the Suffolk village of Southwold was part of a location shoot for Iris, her new film with Dame Judi Dench based on the life of Iris Murdoch, the author.

Her husband, Jim Threapleton, is staying with her at a local hotel while baby Mia is being looked after by a nanny. Winslet said: "It's always hard being away from them, especially if filming takes a long time. Even if I'm away for just one day, I really do miss them."

Winslet, 25, who plays the young Iris Murdoch while Dame Judi portrays the author in her declining years when she fell victim to Alzheimer's disease, added: "In between remembering my lines, I think, 'Did I leave enough food for her?'. "But the film gives me inspiration to see how Iris and John (Bayley) worshipped each other. They seemed to have their own magical, untouchable world. It's what I want and intend to have with Jim."

Winslet - cruelly dubbed Titanic Kate after her weight ballooned to more than 11st after her role in the Oscar-winning movie Titanic - admitted she now had a personal fitness instructor to keep her in shape.

She has been seen out jogging and says she adheres to a healthy diet, even though she admitted recently that it was "a bloody bore". One onlooker said: "Whatever she's doing, it has certainly worked. She looks stunning."

From The UK Mirror:

"Kate Windswept - Star has a beach ball"

A smile on her face and the wind ruffling her hair, Kate Winslet looked happy to be back at work yesterday. And no wonder, it was the film star's first role since giving birth to daughter Mia six months ago.

Kate, 25, donned a brown wig to play the part of the late writer Dame Iris Murdoch. She and co-star Hugh Bonneville - who plays Murdoch's husband John Bayley - were filmed kissing tenderly on the beach at Southwold, Suffolk. One onlooker said: "They looked like typical young lovers in the 1950s."

The film, Iris, will tell of how Murdoch and Bayley's life-long love affair changed after she fell victim to Alzheimer's disease.

Dame Judi Dench plays the novelist in her later years.

Winslet, who went on a diet after giving birth, has been jogging every morning to keep in shape. She said: "The film's a true love story."

 

May 2 -- I found two articles about the location shoot in Suffolk:

"Vicar Lands Dream Role With Judi Dench"

A vicar has landed a dream role playing alongside screen legend Dame Judi Dench in her latest movie. Reverend Leonard Payne has also raised £1000 for his church into the bargain. Payne said that he landed the part as vicar in the new film because of his rural church, St Lawrence Church in South Cove, Suffolk. He said the trip from clergy to film star began with a phone call. "Basically they rang me up saying they wanted a church in the area. I showed them a few and they settled on St. Lawrence, which is a very beautiful church."

The film, about the novelist Iris Murdoch, also stars Kate Winslet.

Payne will rather fittingly get the chance to play a vicar for the princely sum of £65, the usual fee to extras. The 52-year-old explained, "The scene I'm in is a funeral of a friend of Iris Murdoch. Judi Dench, who plays the older Iris Murdoch, is in the congregation. I'm just an extra. I play the vicar."

Production company Fox is paying £1000 for the use of the church, which Payne will use to upgrade the heating.

The film, which has not yet got a title, is being shot in the nearby village of Southwold and should be released next year.

Hereís another story about the "Iris" location shoot. Itís from the UK Telegraph:

A Vicar has boosted his parish funds by allowing his churchyard to be used for the making of a film about the late Dame Iris Murdoch. The Rev. Leonard Payne will appear as himself in a scene in which Dame Iris, played by Dame Judi Dench, attends a friend's funeral. The novelist as a younger woman is played by Kate Winslet.

Mr. Payne, 52, the vicar of St Lawrence's, South Cove, Suffolk, said: "I got a call out of the blue from the location manager of Fox Iris Productions, who was looking for a church in the area to use for filming. I agreed to show him around several, and he thought St Lawrence's was perfect because it was so pretty. The scene in the church is the funeral of one of Iris Murdoch's friends. A mock coffin was put in the church and fake snow was sprayed around outside to make it look like a frosty day. I had to wear my normal cassock and surplice and I was filmed outside at the interment beside a grave dug in the churchyard. The money from the film was very welcome, but there was a lot of hard work. It made a difference from the usual coffee mornings and jumble sales."

Mr. Payne, the team vicar of Sole Bay, said the cash would go towards new heating for the thatched church.

 

BBC News Press Release --

Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet star in IRIS
Los Angeles, 26 April 2001 - Principal photography has begun on the BBC Films, Intermedia and Miramax presentation of the Mirage Enterprises/Scott Rudin/Robert Fox production of 'IRIS' starring Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet. Judi Dench and Kate Winslet will each portray the novelist Iris Murdoch in two distinct periods of her life, with Jim Broadbent and Hugh Bonneville playing her husband John Bayley. Filming started on April 1st at Pinewood Studios and on location in London, Oxford and Suffolk.
Directed by Richard Eyre, 'IRIS 'tells the tender and extraordinary story of the enduring love between the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from the romance of their early days at Oxford in the 1950s to her tragic death in 1999.
Produced by Robert Fox and Scott Rudin, 'IRIS' is based on John Bayleyís memoirs Iris and Iris And Her Friends with a screenplay by Richard Eyre and Charles Wood. Executive producers are Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella for Mirage Enterprises, Guy East for Intermedia, David M. Thompson for BBC Films, Harvey Weinstein for Miramax and Tom Hedley. BBC Films, Intermedia Films and Miramax Films presents a Mirage Enterprises/Scott Rudin/Robert Fox Production of a Richard Eyre film.
International distribution for 'IRIS' will be handled by Intermedia with Miramax distributing the film in North America and the BBC retaining all UK rights.
Dame Judi Dench won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Elizabeth I in 'Shakespeare in Love'. This year she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a cantankerous grandmother in 'Chocolat' (a role for which she won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress). She has recently been in Nova Scotia filming 'The Shipping News', Lasse Hallstromís adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel with Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore.
Kate Winslet was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in James Cameronís 'Titanic'. Her other principal credits include 'Heavenly Creatures', 'Sense And Sensibility', 'Jude' and 'Hideous Kinky'. She was recently seen in Philip Kaufmanís 'Quills' and will next be seen in Michael Aptedís 'Enigma'.
Jim Broadbent was acclaimed for his role as W.S. Gilbert in Mike Leighís 'Topsy-Turvy'. He has recently finished playing a tough New York politician in Martin Scorseseís gangster film 'The Gangs of New York', which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day Lewis. He stars in Bridget Jonesís Diary and is shortly to be seen opposite Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Baz Luhrmannís 'Moulin Rouge'.
Hugh Bonneville starred in Patricia Rozemaís 'Mansfield Park '(based on the novel by Jane Austen). His other credits include Paddy Breathnachís 'Blow Dry', as well as the BBCís adaptations of 'Take A Girl Like You' and 'Madame Bovary'.
Supporting cast include Penelope Wilton, Juliet Aubrey, Samuel West, Timothy West, Barbara Leigh-Hunt and Eleanor Bron.
Richard Eyre, former artistic director of the UKís Royal National Theatre, directed 'The Ploughmanís Lunch', starring Jonathan Pryce, which won the Evening Standard Award for Best Film. He collaborated with Charles Wood on the multi-award-winning 'Tumbledown', a controversial film for the BBC about the Falklands War. His television directing credits include 'The Insurance Man '(with Jim Broadbent), 'Suddenly', 'Last Summer', 'Comedians' and 'Country'.

 

April 26 -- From BBC Movie News:

'Iris Stars Shooting'

Principal photography has begun on 'Iris', starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet as the novelist Iris Murdoch in two distinct periods of her life, with Jim Broadbent and Hugh Bonneville playing her husband John Bayley. Filming started on April 1st at Pinewood Studios and on location in London, Oxford and Suffolk.
Directed by Richard Eyre, IRIS tells the tender and extraordinary story of the enduring love between the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from the romance of their early days at Oxford in the 1950s to her tragic death in 1999.
Produced by Robert Fox and Scott Rudin, ĎIrisí is based on John Bayleyís memoirs Iris and Iris And Her Friends with a screenplay by Richard Eyre and Charles Wood. The supporting cast includes Penelope Wilton, Juliet Aubrey, Samuel West, Timothy West, Saira Todd, Barbara Leigh-Hunt and Eleanor Bron.
Richard Eyre, former artistic director of the UKís Royal National Theatre, directed The Ploughmanís Lunch, starring Jonathan Pryce, which won the Evening Standard Award for Best Film. He collaborated with Charles Wood on the multi-award-winning Tumbledown, a controversial film for the BBC about the Falklands War.

 

April 22 -- My friend Josie found this item:

"Suffolk's Starring Role," By Judy Rimmer

Suffolk would-be film stars could soon be up there on the big screen alongside the likes of Kate Winslet and Dame Judi Dench. The two acclaimed actresses head the cast for a major new production, Iris, which will be partly shot in and around Southwold next month, and it is thought that local people could be recruited as extras.

The drama will tell the story of Dame Iris Murdoch, the novelist. Titanic star Kate and Oscar-winner Dame Judi will both take the title role, portraying the celebrated novelist at different ages. "It is fantastic to have two A-list actresses coming into the region," said David Shepheard of Eastern Screen, who helped the production company to find locations in Suffolk. "There is a top Hollywood producer involved and it will be a high-profile movie. It is a boost for the area and it would be great if local people could be extras."

Dame Iris fought a long battle against Alzheimerís Disease and her husband, writer John Bayley, wrote a moving account of her illness. The European and American-backed movie will tell the story of the coupleís enduring love, from their early romance at Oxford in the 1950s through to Dame Irisís death at the age of 79. Jim Broadbent, currently starring on the big screen as Bridgetís father in smash hit movie, Bridget Jonesís Diary, takes the role of John Bayley, with Hugh Bonneville as the same character when younger.

News of the multi-million pound production comes hot on the heels of the announcement that ex-EastEnders star Ross Kemp is set to film in nearby Walberswick during the coming weeks. He will be making a new ITV drama, A Line in the Sand. Forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie, was also partly filmed in Suffolk, at Elveden Hall Ė and there could soon be an announcement on yet another feature film to be made locally.

Iris director Richard Eyreís previous credits include the acclaimed Falklands War film Tumbledown and the comedy Laughterhouse, also partly filmed in Suffolk, which starred Ian Holm as a farmer walking his geese 5,000 miles to market.

A spokesman for the production, which is being based at Pinewood Studios, said the location had been chosen because Dame Iris had a close friend who lived at Southwold and used to visit her there. "This film is very exciting for Southwold," said the townís mayor, Peter Webb. "There are big names involved. We are pleased that they have chosen to film here and we are always delighted to welcome the stars. If they go into the town they will get a warm welcome." Mr. Webb said he felt the filming would have a big impact on the town, helping to create employment and boosting the local economy. He also hoped that once completed, the film would help to attract tourists to the area. Peter Austin, honorary life president of the townís Chamber of Commerce, said: "We are delighted that Southwold has been chosen." Elaine Simpson, spokeswoman for the East of England Tourist Board, also welcomed the news that such a major production was coming to Suffolk. She said: "This region is host to a particularly beautiful landscape and it seems only logical that thereís tremendous interest from television and film companies."

Thanks, Josie, for sharing this item with us!

 

March 27 -- I found this item in Ananova Entertainment News:

A new film starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet is being tipped for Oscar glory next year.

Iris is being directed by Richard Eyre, and tells the story of novelist Iris Murdoch's 40-year love affair with John Bayley and their struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Judi Dench takes the title role with Winslet playing her as a young woman. Jim Broadbent plays Bayley. Variety columnist Army Archerd has already tipped the film as a potential award winner at next year's Oscars. He says with the film's cast, director and producer in the shape of Anthony Minghella, it already has a lot of prestige.

Hereís the Variety item:

While the Oscars (-) are over, it's never too early to begin sizing up next year's possible crop of films. One film that begins production this week in England that certainly has trophy potential is "Iris," the Richard Eyre-directed story of novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch's 40-year love affair with John Bayley and their struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Judi Dench plays Murdoch, with Kate Winslet aboard to play her as a young woman, and Jim Broadbent playing Bayley.

More on this topic from Reuters:

While the Oscars are over, it's never too early to begin sizing up next year's possible crop of films. One film that begins production this week in England that certainly has trophy potential is ''Iris,'' the Richard Eyre-directed story of novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch's 40-year love affair with John Bayley and their struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Judi Dench plays Murdoch, with Kate Winslet aboard to play her as a young woman, and Jim Broadbent playing Bayley. Charles Wood wrote the script with Eyre, and the pic's being produced by Scott Rudin and Robert Fox and exec produced by Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack. That's a lot of prestige for a film costing $5.5 million. The film's a collaboration between Miramax, BBC and Intermedia.

 

March 17 -- The Independent has an article about John Bayley, author of 'Elegy For Iris', the memoir upon which Kate's new film is based:

He is the country's favourite widower, the relict of Iris Murdoch, keeper of her flame and chronicler of their 44-year marriage in two bestselling memoirs Ö Richard Eyre is now making a film of the Murdoch-Bayley marriage, with Judi Dench and Kate Winslet as Iris old and young, and Jim Broadbent as Bayley.

 

March 15 -- Kate spoke about this project during an interview with Terry Gross that was broadcast on the 'Fresh Air' radio program:

''I'm going to be shooting a movie with Judi Dench in about a month's time called 'Iris', which is about the life of Iris Murdoch, who died, sadly, of really chronic Alzheimer's. And I'm playing the young Iris, I'll be the young Judi Dench. And I reallyÖ You know, I'm quite pleased to get back to work, actually, after having had the baby. And I really thought, 'I just want to take, you know, forever off and never go back to work.' But, about a month ago, I just felt a little bit itchy to, you know, to do something. And this is great. You know, 'cause half the movie is set in the present and half of it is in the past. So, it's not as intense as most shoots would be. So, it'll just be nice to kind of, you know, get my teeth into something and just ease me back into it gently because I haven't really done anything for almost a year now, with having the baby. So, it'll be good to get back there.''

 

March 15 -- USA Today item about Kate mentions the film:

''Winslet's not starving for svelte image'' -- Don't look for Kate Winslet to join the pencil-thin crowd any time soon. Despite recent reports that the Titanic actress was going on a diet, she says she is not caving in to the image of what size an actress should be. "I'm not giving in," Winslet said. "It's such a load of absolute rubbish. I was talking to a journalist about how I was going to shed the weight after having the baby, and it was completely twisted." Winslet, who is married to director Jim Threapleton, gained 55 pounds while pregnant with daughter Mia, who was born in October. At Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, she looked as if she had lost every bit of it. Winslet's next project is Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch. Judi Dench stars as the author, who had an amazing career and later struggled against Alzheimer's disease.

 

February 13, 2001 -- From a Screen Daily article about Judi Dench's projects:

Dench is scheduled to star in two further Miramax pictures before the potential actorsí strike - Intermediaís Iris, in which she will play Iris Murdoch for director Richard Eyre (Miramax has domestic rights) and The Importance Of Being Earnest, a film of the Noel Coward play directed by Oliver Parker (An Ideal Husband) in which she will play Lady Bracknell.

 

November 1, 2000 -- BBC News article about Judi Dench give some info about the project:

A film charting the life of late writer Iris Murdoch, and set to star Dame Judi Dench, has jumped film companies after concerns over the picture's budget. 'Elegy for Iris' is moving to Paramount after being offloaded by Sony's Columbia Pictures. The film is an adaptation of John Bayley's memoir about his marriage to the novelist and philosopher. Former National Theatre artistic director Sir Richard Eyre, a long-time collaborator with Dame Judi, is to direct the movie. The movie has been described as a 'pet project' of Sony Pictures chairman John Calley. But studio officials wanted to make the film at $5m (£3.5m) but Sir Richard has put the budget at up to $9m (£6.2m).

Debut feature - The former theatre chief took the project to producer Scott Rudi, responsible for the recent 'Shaft' remake, who may put the picture into production before anticipated strikes from the actors and writers guild next year. The project would be Sir Richard's debut feature film for an American studio.

'Elegy for Iris' charts Bayley and Murdoch's first encounter more than 40 years ago while teaching together at Oxford, their marriage together and the writer's subsequent struggle with Alzheimer's disease.

Sir Richard recently directed Dame Judi in David Hare's Amy's View on Broadway, which earned the actress a coveted Tony award.

Iris Murdoch died in February 1999 after a long battle against Alzheimer's Disease. She published 26 novels and some, such as The Bell, The Sea The Sea and The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, are acknowledged modern classics. The Italian Girl and A Severed Head were adapted for the stage.

 

 

 

 

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