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Boston and New York Online Close Out the Sweep

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment

emmanuelle_riva_nyfco

While the LAFCA has helped spread the wealth in California, Boston and the rest of New York have continued their enduring love for “Zero Dark Thirty.” On behalf of all those on the outside looking in on this supposed gem, I must say that it has a lot to live up to at this point.

One thing that today has definitely told us is that Best Actress is going to me closer and any of us could have imagined. A month ago, people proclaimed it was signed, sealed and delivered for Jennifer Lawrence. Despite pulling out a tie on the west coast, she hasn’t been much of a factor on the critical front. Jessica Chastain has had much of the buzz, and today, Emmanuelle Riva pretty much ran the table for her work in Michael Hanecke’s “Amour” Previously, I wasn’t sure if the aging actress would have enough support to even gain a nomination, but as of this point, there’s certainly no question. If it wasn’t for the tendency of the male side of the Academy to vote from below the waste, she might have had a decent shot at winning.

christoph_waltz_bsfc

A very surprising development that has continued today has been Christoph Waltz gaining momentum for his supporting role for “Django Unchained.” While DiCaprio’s performance is certainly the showier one that will generate much more support in the Academy, this certainly isn’t the course that many expected this category to take.

Now while I must applaud the originality and diversity of some of Boston’s choices, some of them, I’m not sure to take this “Perks of Being a Wallflower” love with a grain of salt. The film has an outside shot at a Best Adapted Screenplay nod. However, many of these young actors just haven’t paid their dues yet in the Academy’s eyes. Emma Watson has a lot of room to grow before she escapes from the “Harry Potter” shadow.

Here’s the full list of winners from both parties:

BOSTON SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS

BEST PICTURE: “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Amour”

BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: Paul Thomas Anderson – “The Master”

BEST LEADING ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
runner-up: Denis Lavant – “Holy Motors”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”
runner-up: Deanie Yip – “A Simple Life”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Ezra Miller – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
runner-up: Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sally Field – “Lincoln”
runner-up: Emma Watson – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST: “Seven Psychopaths”
runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “Lincoln”
runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER: David France – “How to Survive a Plague”
runner-up: Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Frankenweenie”
runner-up: “ParaNorman”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “How to Survive a Plague”
runner-up: “The Queen of Versailles”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Master”
runner-up: “Life of Pi” and “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST EDITING: “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: “Argo”

BEST USE OF MUSIC: “Moonrise Kingdom”
runner-up: “Django Unchained”

NEW YORK FILM CRITICS ONLINE

BEST PICTURE: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE: Quvenzhane Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR: Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “Amour”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Central Park Five”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Life of Pi”

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Announces…

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment

the_master_lafca

Well, after a week of “Zero Dark Thirty” dominating the east coast critics hearts and minds, Los Angeles finally breaks up the party and shakes things up a bit. Without a doubt, the big winner of the night was “The Master.” Despite narrowly missing Best Picture to Cannes winner “Amour,” the Anderson’s controversial drama earned four awards, including a supremely deserving Best Actor prize for Joaquin Phoenix. I’ve still got a lot of performances yet to see this year, but so far, none has topped this actor’s brilliant comeback turn.

Anderson himself garnered Best Director over Kathryn Bigelow, while Amy Adams confirms her candidacy in Best Supporting Actress for her stellar performance. Dwight Henry pulls out a massive underdog victory for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Jennifer Lawrence tightens up the Best Actress race, tying with Emmanualle Riva, who had a hell of a day on the other side of the country.

(Quvenzhane? Wallis), (Dwight Henry)

Here’s the full list of winners, below, and stay tuned for an update from the Boston and New York Film Critics Online who announced simultaneously this afternoon:

2012 LAFCA WINNERS

BEST PICTURE: “Amour”
runner-up: “The Master”

BEST DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson – “The Master”
runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST LEADING ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
runner-up: Denis Lavant – “Holy Motors”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS: (TIE) Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook” and Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Amy Adams – “The Master”
runner-up: Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Dwight Henry – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
runner-up: Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “Argo”
runner-up: “Silver Linings Playbook”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “Holy Motors”
runner-up: “Footnote”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Gatekeepers”
runner-up: “Searching for Sugar Man”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Frankenweenie”
runner-up: “It’s Such a Beautiful Day”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Skyfall”
runner-up: “The Master”

BEST EDITING: “Zero Dark Thirty”
runner-up: “Argo”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “The Master”,
runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
runner-up: “The Master”

NEW GENERATION AWARD: Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Zero Dark Thirty” Takes the National Board of Review

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

bradley_cooper_national_board_of_review

Two for two, and while the excitement is building, the tension is unfortunately fading fast. To be quite honest, I’m not sure if I can take another year of monogamous critical love for a single movie. Yes, it’s true, “The Social Network”‘s unstoppable sweep in 2010 was a memorable time in my life (though not every year does a film move and amaze me to the quite same extent), the same routine every year can make this whole thing we do a bit of a bore.

Nevertheless, it’d be unwise to start closing the book on this year’s Oscars. If you look at films like “Sideways,” “Brokeback Mountain” or “The Social Network,” every critics award in the book could prove useless come the big night. It ain’t over till it’s over.

Aside from the top honor, “Zero Dark Thirty” helmer Kathryn Bigelow grabbed her second Best Director award of the week. Jessica Chastain proved that she is a noticeable force in the film by taking down Best Actress. The rest of the awards actually displayed a nice sense of originality. Bradley Cooper managed to beat out the all-but-coronated Daniel Day Lewis in Best Actor. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio takes what will hopefully be his first of many Best Supporting Actor victories. Despite not yet seeing the film, I’m very much pulling for this to be his year. Rian Johnson took a surprise victory in Best Original Screenplay for “Looper,” while David O’Russell won for his adapted work in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Ann_Dowd_Compliance

Without a doubt, the most interesting and inspired award of the night was Ann Dowd being named Best Supporting Actress for her brilliantly realistic portrayal in “Compliance.” Those that have seen the film (which isn’t many, admittedly) know that Ann absolutely owns the screen. You cannot take your eyes off of her and she’ll make you pay for it with plenty of memorable, yet absolutely cringe-inducing, scenes. I can only hope that awards like this might have chance of carrying her all the way, much like Jackie Weaver for “Animal Kingdom.”

The Top Ten List is much to be expected, with mentions for “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Les Miserables.” Chalk up another unbearably depressing day for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” The film that had supposedly championed critics has yet to win a single award on their behalf and missed out on even reaching the NBR’s top ten, while finding films like “Promised Land” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in its place. It still has a chance to make a stand in Los Angeles this weekend, but if it fails to even show up there, it might be time to count it out of the Best Picture race, entirely. Disappointing, to say the least.

See the full list of winners after the jump and remember to keep checking back for further updates, opinions and analysis:

Read more…

2012 New York Film Critics Circle Awards

December 4, 2012 Leave a comment

zero_dark_thirty_nyfcc

Well, we’ve officially had our first shake-up of the season. While many of the main contenders remain at the top of the field without having to take a mention, several have confirmed their frontrunner status through victory. Moreover, one film that has largely been a mystery this awards season has instantly positioned itself as possibly the film to beat.

I am, of course, speaking of Karthryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” The highly anticipated expose on the search for Osama Bin Laden had a big night at the first official critics awards of the year. With the first reviews coming in from early screenings (a not-too-shabby Metacritic score of 97 after 8 reviews), this may end up being not so much of a surprise. Whether this will turn out becoming the year’s proverbial critical darling is yet to be seen. Personally, I’m hoping for a bit more diversity in opinion coming from this year’s critics awards rather than the usual polarization. Yet, if Bigelow’s film is a as good as it appears, you can’t argue with who knows best.

Here’s the full list of winners:

BEST PICTURE: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis – “Lincoln”

BEST ACTRESS: Rachel Weisz – “The Deep Blue Sea”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike” and “Bernie”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sally Field – “Lincoln”

BEST SCREENPLAY: Tony Kushner – “Lincoln”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Greg Fraser – “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Michael Hanecke – “Amour”

BEST FIRST FILM: David France – “How to Survive a Plague”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon – “Central Park Five”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Frankenweenie”

Now to cite “Zero Dark Thirty” as the only big winner yesterday would be a mistake. Steven Spielberg’s epic biopic “Lincoln” also snagged three awards, including two for acting, confirming the idea, shared by myself, that it truly has one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory. Meanwhile, Rachel Weisz has skyrocketed herself back into contention for a film that has been largely forgotten about. And while some people may still refuse to accept it, Matthew McConaughey has now become a legitimate candidate for an Oscar nomination. Who would have thought, though credit must be paid to the stellar year his career has had.

matthew_mcconaughey_nyfcc

Village Voice critic J. Hoberman gave some insight as to how some of the voting went down. Apparently, the female acting awards were incredibly tight. The decided winners barely beat out frontrunners Jennifer Lawrence from “Silver Linings Playbook” and Anne Hathaway from “Les Miserables” in their respective categories. Tommy Lee Jones’ performance in “Lincoln” came in a very close second for Supporting Actor. Though, as one would expect, Daniel Day Lewis met little resistance in his victory.

Without a doubt, the film that had the worst night was Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest work of genius, “The Master.” With very little box office support and a topic that’s not much of a crowd-pleaser, this film is definitely dependent on its critical success to attempt to revive itself. Despite showing up in late ballots for Picture, Director, Actor (Phoenix) and Cinematography, its failure to claim a single honor is not a good sign. It still has a chance for redemption with the Los Angeles Critics or NYFCO this weekend, but it’s chances of winning any major awards are fading fast.

the_master_nyfcc

Some pundits are already claiming the race down to “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln,” but I am nowhere near sold. Tomorrow brings about the National Board of Review which might just change the landscape all over again. Plus, the potential success that “Argo” and “Les Miserables” will find once guild nominations start rolling out may make all the difference in the world. No doubt about it, though, things are certainly getting interesting.

2013 Oscar Predictions: “Just when I thought I was out…”

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

“…they pull me back in.”  That’s right folks. It has now been nearly nine months since my last official post on The Edge of the Frame and I am severely out of practice. The close of last year’s Oscar season ironically coincided with my being hired into full time employment. Spending nine hours a day composing upwards of seventy-five emails and compiling online data have made coming home and getting behind a computer screen a not-so-welcoming scenario. A couple of hours of  “The X-Files” on Netflix or “The Sopranos” on DVD have become a much more viable way to close out an evening. All of this partnered with a summer of fantasy baseball and my engagement to the woman I love have left comparably little time for my beloved little website.

However, as it turns out, old habits die hard. I’ve been watching the Oscars religiously for fifteen years and been dipping my toe into prognostication for the last seven. There’s no way I can sit this one out. There’s a lot of work to be done. Working full time has more or less hindered my rate of viewing new releases. I’ve got a schedule of about 36 films to see, both on Netflix and in theaters, over the next three months. However, with the first of the critics’ awards just around the corner, things are about to get very busy. Even before everything is seen and done, it’s about time that I offer a bit of perspective on how this year’s race is going to play out.

Some of the year’s biggest contenders have retained their position at the head of the race (“Les Miserables,” “Lincoln,”), practically since they were originally announced. Others have taken a hefty fall from grace (“The Master,” “The Dark Knight Rises”). A few projects have sprung up from out of the blue to become bonafide Best Picture threats (“The Silver Linings Playbook,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,”), while a couple that have barely been seen at all remain a mystery to many (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Django Unchained”).

However, it’s never too early (or too late, in my case) to start putting the pieces together and assembling a picture of how the board will look almost exactly three months to the date. Listed below are my predictions for the 85th Annual Academy Award nominations. They’re ranked by the chances of each film (or individual) getting nominated. Winning does not come into play here. As complicated as it is, sometimes a person could have a lot easier a path getting nominated for an Oscar, then they ever would of winning. Ask Peter O’Toole if you need more info…

Enjoy, and remember that this whole chalkboard might be completely erased and scribbled down again, a month from now:

BEST PICTURE

1. “Argo”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Les Miserables”
4. “Silver Linings Playbook”
5. “Zero Dark Thirty”
6. “The Master”
7. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
8. “Moonrise Kingdom”
9. “Life of Pi”
10. “The Sessions”

Alt 1: “Django Unchained”
Alt 2: “Amour”
Alt 3: “Flight”

Read more…

The 84th Academy Award Winners

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Nothing left to say. Here are the winners as they are announced:

BEST PICTURE: “The Artist”

BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE: Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE: Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Midnight in Paris”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Rango”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Undefeated”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “A Separation”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Hugo”

BEST EDITING: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

BEST ART DIRECTION: “Hugo”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “The Artist”

BEST SOUND MIXING: “Hugo”

BEST SOUND EDITING: “Hugo”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Hugo”

BEST MAKEUP: “The Iron Lady”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The Artist”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM: “Saving Face”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: “The Shore”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

Categories: News, Oscars Tags: , , ,

My FINAL 2012 Oscar Predictions

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s time, folks. The time is come. No more second-guessing. No more procrastinating. This is it. I think I’ve provided enough commentary over the last few months (and I’ve got to start helping my girlfriend get our place ready for our Oscar party), so I’ll just let my predictions speak for themselves.

Here goes nothing:

BEST PICTURE
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST DIRECTOR
WINNER: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist
(runner-up: “Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”)

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE
WINNER: George Clooney – “The Descendants”
(runner-up: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”)

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE
WINNER: Viola Davis – “The Help”
(runner-up: Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”)

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE
WINNER: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
(runner-up: Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”)

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE
WINNER: Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
(runner-up: Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
WINNER: “The Descendants”
(runner-up: “Moneyball”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
WINNER: “Midnight in Paris”
(runner-up: “The Artist”)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
WINNER: “Rango”
(runner-up: “Puss in Boots”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
WINNER: “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
(runner-up: “Undefeated”)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
WINNER: “A Separation”
(runner-up: “In Darkness”)

BEST ART DIRECTION
WINNER: “Hugo”
(runner-up: “The Artist”)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
WINNER: “The Tree of Life”
(runner-up: “The Artist”)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST EDITING
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST SOUND MIXING
WINNER: “Hugo”
(runner-up: “War Horse”)

BEST SOUND EDITING
WINNER: “War Horse”
runner-up: “Hugo”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
WINNER: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST MAKEUP
WINNER: “The Iron Lady”
(runner-up: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
WINNER: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”
(runner-up: “Real in Rio” from “Rio”)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
WINNER: “Tuba Atlantic”
(runner-up: “The Shore”)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
WINNER: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
(runner-up: “A Morning Stroll”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
WINNER: “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”
(runner-up: “Saving Face”)

Well there you have it. I’m gonna go make some dip. I’ll try not to get my hair in it, since pulling it out will be all I do for the next two hours.

Have fun everyone, and remember that there will be live updates on The Edge of the Frame for each win. Also, follow me on Twitter (@edgeoftheframe) for some good old snarkyness.

2012 Independent Spirit Award Winners

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Oscar morning, everyone! It’s obviously a pretty busy day. I’ve got to finalize my predictions, prepare for my night of live-blogging and tweeting, and help my girlfriend get our place ready for our Oscar party. Therefore, I’ll keep this brief. Needless to say, anyone not predicting “The Artist” for a Best Picture win, tonight…you know what, I’m not even going to go there. It may be just another one of the Academy’s heart-warming, middle-of-the-road, de facto winners. However, after a nearly unprecedented sweep of the Indy Sprits, last night, following victories in almost everything else, there’s no reason not to bet everything you have on tonight to follow suit.

Interestingly enough, as much as both last night’s and tonight’s victories have been expected, “The Artist” will break a long-standing curse. In the twenty-six year existence of the Indy Spirits, it’s been twenty-five since the last time their Best Picture choice lined up with Oscar (“Platoon”). The last films to come close were “Pulp Fiction,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” Yet, alas, “The Artist” will be the one to finally bust down that barrier.

The highlights of the night? “Margin Call” picking up two awards for Best First Feature and the Robert Altman Award was a nice touch. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to see Steve James’ “The Interrupters” win Best Documentary. The Academy not even adding that film to its shortlist was a grievous mistake. Thank you to the Spirits for helping to rectify that wrong.

On one more note, following Jean Dujardin’s victory last night, it’s become too difficult to continue predicting George Clooney for the Best Actor win. I’d always hoped that if someone were to upset the longtime frontrunner, it would have been Brad Pitt. But with three straight victories with the SAG, the BAFTA and now the Spirit, Dujardin has ultimately transformed himself into the frontrunner. Granted these were some weird awards, with both Clooney and Michael Shannon failing to pick up nominations, despite their films getting Best Picture noms. Boy, I tell ya, if Clooney still wins after I’ve waited this long to change my mind, I will not be a happy camper. But, as Aaron Sorkin would say, that’s life in the NFL…

Here are the winners of the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards:

BEST PICTURE: “The Artist”

BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”

BEST MALE LEAD: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”

BEST FEMALE LEAD: Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY: “50/50”

BEST FIRST FEATURE: “Margin Call”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Artist”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Interrupters”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD: “Margin Call”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD: “Pariah”

Stay tuned for my last minute Oscar predictions sometime this evening. It should be an interesting night…

Writers Guild and MPSE Announce Winners

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, the weekend has wrapped and all but a few precursors remain. Yesterday’s winners continued to shed a bit of light on how things will go this Sunday, and, in some ways, made things a little more confusing.

The Writers Guild of America announced their 64th annual slate of winners early in the evening. As was overwhelmingly expected, Woody Allen was awarded Best Original Screenplay for his comeback film “Midnight in Paris.” While some believe that this makes him a lock for the Oscar win, he is actually far from it. Due to the WGA’s wacky (and absurd, if you ask me) eligibility guidelines, many films did not even qualify for the nominations. One such film is Best Picture frontrunner “The Artist,” and to be quite honest, said film still has a tremendous chance of stealing that award away. I’d say the money is still on “Paris,” since it has managed to beat out its competition, thus far (except for the BAFTA). Yet, one should never underestimate the power of a film’s sweeping potential. Screenplay might just get caught up in the hurricane.

Adapted Screenplay was a bit of a depressing moment for me, last night. “The Descendants” expectantly won the award for writers Alexander Payne, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. Put together with the Scripter, this easily makes it the leading contender for the Oscar equivalent. Truly sad, if you ask me. “Descendants” is a great script, hurt, mind you, by a uneven and largely expositional voiceover. However, the obvious and true winner of this award has been discarded. Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian, undoubtedly crafted the best screenplay of the year, and as of now, will probably not see their work awarded. I can only hope for a 2009-esque upset, when “Precious” defied all logic to beat “Up in the Air” (ironically also starring George Clooney). Don’t count on it, though.

The second and final awards ceremony of the night was the Motion Picture Sound Editors. Many of Oscar’s Sound Editing nominees had several mentions, here, making these awards a useful barometer. The winners went down as follows:

  • BEST SOUND EFFECTS AND FOLEY IN A FEATURE FILM: “War Horse”
  • BEST MUSIC IN A FEATURE FILM: “Hugo”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING IN AN ANIMATION FEATURE FILM: “The Adventures of Tintin”
  • BEST MUSIC IN A MUSICAL FEATURE FILM: “The Muppets”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING IN A FEATURE FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Flowers of War”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING IN A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: “George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
  • BEST DIALOGUE AND ADR IN A FEATURE FILM: “Super 8″

Of the winners, two films also share an Oscar nomination: “Hugo” and “War Horse,” and we can pretty much bet that this category will go to one or the other. Since “Hugo” will probably take Sound Mixing (given its Cinema Audio Society victory, two nights ago), it is very possible it might take both categories in a sweep. Yet, I believe I’ll have to go with “War Horse” for a multitude of reasons.

First off, it took home the night’s big prize, Sound Effects and Foley, the award that most gravitates to the Oscar equivalent (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” all films that won both the MPSE and Oscar). Also, it is impossible to deny the insane popularity of Gary Rydstrom and Richard Hymns, with a combined ten Oscars between them. The last time they collaborated with Spielberg on a straight-up war film (“Saving Private Ryan”) they definitely do too shabby, either.

Everything else aside, there’s one glaring ideology pointing towards a “War Horse” victory. If “Hugo” were to win Best Sound Editing, it would be the first live action film without any gunfire to do so since “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” in 2002. If you take swordplay out of the equation, it goes back a lot further than that. With all things considered, this award leans towards movie action, and virtually always has. All of these factors, combined, point to not only a possible, but likely “War Horse” victory.

The sand is running out of the hourglass and only a few precursors to go. Tomorrow night is the Costume Designers Guild, where “The Artist,” “Bridesmaids” and “Harry Potter” appear to be likely winners. Then, the season is capped off by the Independent Spirit Awards less than twenty-four hours before the red carpet roles out. I’ll keep you posted.

The ACE, CAS and Scripter…Oh, my!

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Seven days left, folks. It’s the deep breath before the plunge. The last of the ballots are being finalized and pundits are making their final predictions. And while most of the race seems like a done deal, sealed and locked, there’s always the chance of a few upsets around the bend.

Aside from what I already mentioned, another event occurring in this final week is the rush for precursors to get their awards out before last call of the year. This weekend is a hornets nest of accolades being dished out almost faster than I can report them. While the Writers Guild is set to announce tonight, the other major screenplay award declared its winner yesterday evening. The USC Library Scripter, awarded each year to the finest example of adapting a film from another medium, went to Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash and novelist Kaui Hart Hemmings for “The Descendants.” Not at all a surprise, given the quality of the work. Personally I was predicting “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” to take this down. Also, the Scripter has absolutely no affiliation with the Academy or any other guild, so aside from common taste, this win has no impact on the Oscar outcome.

While “The Descendants” winning the Scripter was fairly expected, what was not was it’s simultaneous win with the American Cinema Editors. Forgive me, but this has to be one of the more outrageous and, more or less, absurd victories of the year. Going up against “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Hugo,” “War Horse” and, for god’s sake, “Moneyball,” the actual winner was the least deserving of any of the dramatic nominees. It’s the only film in which the editing really adds no level of complexity or character. I really have no idea what this group was thinking. In the musical/comedy category, “The Artist” very expectantly took home the prize. Originally, this award seemed like a tight race between said frontrunner and either “Hugo” or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Yet, with this turn of events, it seems as though “The Artist” has a huge advantage next weekend. Add it to the pile.

The final award issued last night was the Cinema Audio Society, the guild equivalent of the Best Sound Mixing Oscar. As was largely expected, “Hugo” took this award home. This year presented a fairly odd situation, with the CAS and Oscar nominees only lining up 2/5 (only the second time in the CAS’ existence that their opinions differed so radically). However, going with statistics, NEVER since the formation of the CAS has a film won Best Sound Mixing without even being nominated by the guild. That would leave “Moneyball” and “Hugo.” With the latter winning the support from the guild, it has more than confirmed its frontrunner status. In fact a sweep of both sound categories is becoming more and more likely, but we’ll wait on the Motion Picture Sound Editors to announce, tonight.

With the WGA hours away, weighing extremely on the adapted screenplay field, I’ll make a prediction. However, my choice is definitely a lot more wishful thinking than common sense. If “Moneyball” takes this award down, it will reassert itself at the head of the pack (making me one happy pundit), although “The Descendants” is a steep wall to climb and the odds are definitely in its corner. I’ll stick with my favorite horse, though, but whatever wins here, will likely go on to Oscar gold.

Interestingly, while the adapted field will likely be decided tonight, the WGA’s Best Original Screenplay award will have little to no impact on the Oscar’s equivalent, barring any unforeseen upset. “Midnight in Paris” will likely take this award in a walk, but still move on to a dogfight next Sunday. That’s because the film’s stiffest opposition will not even be competing tonight. “The Artist,” which has basically become either the frontrunner or a threat in all of its categories, fell victim to the WGA’s strict eligibility rules. Therefore, even if Woody the Great is the winner tonight, “The Artist” just might be the odds-on favorite in seven days. It will be one of the night’s closest races for sure.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for updates from tonight’s awards, as well as the announcement of the 2nd Annual Edgy nominations. It’s about to get interesting.