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Rod White introduces the February 2015 brochure

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Thu 22 Jan 2015

Rod White introduces the February 2015 brochure

And the winner should be...

Well, here we go again... it's awards season! The annual round of hopelessly subjective, ruthlessly lobbied, self-congratulatory back-slapping nonsense so many of us find irresistible. (Oh yes we do, for that awards and nominations puts bums on seats is beyond question.) Normally at this point I like to make a few Oscar predictions, you know, just for fun, though if any of you want to take my suggestions and go down the bookies (www.gambleaware.co.uk) my commission rate on your winnings is currently 20%, and I operate a no win/no compensation system too, so don't come crying to me. Usually I'm writing this without the knowledge of who's been nominated, but this year either they are early to nominate or we are late to print (I suspect it's the latter) and as such the nominations are being announced, as it happens, exactly as I write this. I'm going to watch it on the www...

Well, no great surprises there (what, Bradley Cooper? For the third year in succession?), but some disappointment for Timothy Spall, who has inexplicably been left out of the BAFTAs as well. Perhaps voting for three Brits in the category was too much for the Academy members and they could not reasonably leave out either the marvellous Eddie Redmayne or Mr Cumberbatch, unquestionably the Brit Actor du jour. Now, let's have a proper think... I reckon Best Film is a two horse race between Birdman and Boyhood, likewise Best Director; actor is between young Eddie and Michael Keaton; actress is between Reese Witherspoon and Julianne Moore; the other acting prizes are rather less clear... Coming on all decisive, I'm going to plump for Boyhood, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Julianne Moore, Michael Keaton, Patricia Arquette and JK Simmons. There.

Between now and the ceremony (22 February) we're giving you the chance to see a good few of the main contenders (Birdman, Selma, Foxcatcher, Wild and the stonkingly good Whiplash) and fully anticipate bringing you a whole host of others over the coming months, including Inherent Vice (March), brilliant Foreign Language nominees Wild Tales (April) and Timbuktu (May), and Wim Wenders' masterful documentary, Salt of the Earth (July).

Back to February, the month at hand: the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens its doors to Dames Maggie, Judi et al (plus, this time around, American 'silver fox' Richard Gere) on the 27th; the 13th sees the release of Ira Sachs' beautifully crafted, achingly poignant family drama/gay love story (featuring star turns by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina), Love Is Strange; The Duke of Burgundy is the latest from much-praised British director Peter (Berberian Sound Studio) Strickland, and tells the wonderfully bizarre, seductive tale of the sado-masochistic relationship between a wealthy lepidopterist (Borgen's Sidse Babett Knudsen as you've likely never seen her before!) and her housekeeper. Last up, is Hungarian Kornél Mundruczó's astonishing White God, a sort of grittier Lassie Come Home that morphs into a kind of Spartacus... with dogs. No, really, it does. This extraordinary morality tale should not work, but it does, spectacularly, with some of the best 'animal acting' you will ever see. It is assuredly not, however, for the faint-hearted.

Go Eddie!

Rod White, Head of Filmhouse

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