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2012 Academy Award Nominations!

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

And away we go…

BEST PICTURE
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“Moneyball”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

BEST DIRECTOR
Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
Michael Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE
Demien Bechir – “A Better Life”
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE
Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Artist” by Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids” by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
“Margin Call” by J.C. Chandor
“Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen
“A Separation” by Asghar Farhadi

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Hugo” by John Logan
“The Ides of March” by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
“Moneyball” by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“A Cat in Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Bullhead” Belgium
“Footnote” Israel
“In Darkness” Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
“A Separation” Iran

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
“Pina”
“Undefeated”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Artist” – Guillaume Schiffman
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Jeff Cronenweth
“Hugo” – Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse” – Janusz Kaminski

BEST EDITING
“The Artist” – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” – Kevin Tent
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
“Moneyball” – Christopher Tellefsen

BEST ART DIRECTION
“The Artist” – Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo” – Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“Midnight in Paris” – Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
“War Horse” – Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Anonymous” – Lisy Christl
“The Artist” – Mark Bridges
“Hugo” – Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” – Michael O’Connor
“W.E.” – Arianne Phillips

BEST SOUND MIXING
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
“Hugo” – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
“Moneyball” – Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
“War Horse” – Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

BEST SOUND EDITING
“Drive” – Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Ren Klyce
“Hugo” – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
“War Horse” – Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
“Hugo” – Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
“Real Steel” – Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

BEST MAKEUP
“Albert Nobbs” – Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Iron Lady” – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“The Adventures of Tintin” – John Williams
“The Artist” – Ludovic Bource
“Hugo” – Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” – Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse” – John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” – Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” – Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION
“Pentecost” – Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
“Raju” – Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
“The Shore” – Terry George and Oorlagh George
“Time Freak” – Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
“Tuba Atlantic” – Hallvar Witzø

BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION
“Dimanche/Sunday” – Patrick Doyon
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” – William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
“La Luna” – Enrico Casarosa
“A Morning Stroll” – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
“Wild Life” – Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” – Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
“God Is the Bigger Elvis” – Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
“Incident in New Baghdad” – James Spione
“Saving Face” – Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” – Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

There you have it, folks. My fiery reactions to come shortly, after I blow off some steam.

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It Hath Come: My Final 2012 Oscar Nomination Predictions

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The time is here. Unbelievable. I woke up this morning with such a sense of elation, pride and sheer terror. As I believe I had stated at this point, last January, I find this point in the race to be more nerve-racking and exciting than that fateful day in February. This is when, in my mind, the true winners are announced. I know it’s a savage cliche in this industry, but to be real, I truly believe that it is an honor just to be nominated. Especially when people like Harvey Weinstein exist in the world. If you are able to squeeze out a nomination without that “The Weinstein Company” in your opening credits, then I say “Bravo” to you, sir or madam. Besides, when you look at history, ninety percent of the time, it’s the films that don’t win that get remembered so much more. I’d say that those films are far better company to keep.

Well, I’ll take this time, beforehand, to address any sudden change or surge that has occurred since my last batch of nominations. The big one, indeed came after the announcement of the BAFTA nominations and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” suddenly became a legitimate contender. Granted, I do not believe (though some seem to) that it will receive the same level of recognition (11 nominations. Whew.), but I am fully expecting it to pop up in a few categories. In fact, perhaps my biggest “out-on-a-limb” prediction is Gary Oldman snagging his first career mention. I mean in reality, who cares what the Globes say and the SAG nominations are from a random sampling, so who knows how many of them have even heard of Oldman or understand his plight. I believe that, at this point, members of the Academy’s acting branch know that it’s about damn time to give this legendary actor his due. Plus, the British contingent of the Academy may help push him over the edge.

If you had asked any prognosticator two months ago if they believed that, on the day before nominations, “War Horse” would be on the bubble, they’d have said the chances were slim. Yet, here we are. If it hadn’t been for that Producers Guild nomination, which at this point, almost seems strange, this film would be considered completely out of contention. Lacking any kind of mention from the DGA, the SAG, the WGA or the ASC, the film’s chances have dropped through the floor. Many believe that “Bridesmaids” has a better chance, at this point.

Speaking of “Bridesmaids,” I’ll address its status along with a few other “on-the-bubble” films. Many are hoping and believing that this will be the first Judd Apatow production to make the shortlist. Yet, despite all of its guild nominations, I think it will fail to make the cut. The Academy’s balloting procedures, which require a large number of #1 votes, will prevent it. Now it seems that “The Tree of Life” should be able to excel by those standards, due to the fervent passion of its followers, However, I believe that this film has seen its day with the critics, but will not register as well with the industry. The fate of “Drive” will follow along a similar path, despite a push from the BAFTAs. In a world where there was still an assured number of ten nominees, one or all of these might sneak in, but not this year.

Well, on to those nomination predictions. Won’t be able to say that again until, well, the day after this year’s Oscars. Once again, these are ranked by chance of getting nominated. If I put a film or individual at the number one spot, that does not necessarily mean I think it will win. That’s a whole different ballpark.

Here comes the part that’s hardest: double crossing my fingers. For someone in my position who has two loves, predicting the Oscars and loving films, this day is a double-edged sword. As much as I want my own favorites to somehow work their way into the categories, in many cases, I’m predicting against them. Therefore, no matter what happens, I’ll be feeling a twinge of sadness. But as Sasha Stone, one of the best analysts of the Oscar race and my personal idol says, “The trick is not minding.”

Here goes nothing:

BEST PICTURE

1. “The Artist”
2. “Hugo”
3. “The Descendants”
4. “The Help”
5. “Midnight in Paris”
6. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
7. “Moneyball

8. “War Horse” (if there are eight)
9. “Bridesmaids” (if there are nine)
10. “The Tree of Life” (if there are ten)

Alt 1: “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Alt 2: “Drive”

Read more…

“Tinker Tailor” Leads the 2012 BAFTA Nominations

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I suppose it is a little misleading to say that Tomas Alfredson’s film led the nominations with 11 when “The Artist” actually had 12, but then again, does anyone really want to read another headline about the little silent-film-that-could dominating yet another awards body? I didn’t think so. And while it had been expected that the British Academy Awards would give a little push to the waining “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” this is certainly much more than anyone could have expected. It’s quite possible that this kind of support from the British contingent of the AMPAS might be enough to boost the film over the rim in several different categories, including Best Actor for Gary Oldman.

There’s a few other surprises and shakeups amidst the nominees. “Hugo” received a total of nine nominations, including Best Director for Martin Scorsese and yet failed to be mentioned for Best Picture or Adapted Screenplay. Meanwhile, “Drive” picked up four nominations including Picture and a fairly weird mention for Carey Mulligan. Why she was nominated for mediocre work here and not for her show-stopping performance in “Shame” is absolutely beyond me. What’s even stranger about the “Drive” nominations is the lack of Albert Brooks. This is the second highbrow snub of the man who was taking down critics awards left and right. I might not even feel bad about it if it wasn’t for his being replaced by the goofy and almost unnecessary performance by Jim Broadbent in “The Iron Lady.”

I was a bit disappointed to see “Moneyball” miss out on a Best Picture nomination. Though, it’s not exactly something that Europeans would respond to as much as American do. On the other hand, Jonah Hill’s nomination, coupled with his equivalent mentions from the SAG and Golden Globes, puts him among the top contenders for an Oscar nomination. If asked a couple months ago, I never would have expected this as a reality.

Of all these nominations, I don’t think anything has spawned more outrage, and rightfully so, then the disgusting snub of Olivia Colman for Best Actress. It’s true, not many know her name yet (though hopefully that will change soon) and the film itself is tiny enough that you may have had to drive across multiple states just to see it. Therefore, exclusion in the USA is understandable. But for the Brits to deny even a nomination to what might be the best performance of the year, in a place where the film is widespread and thriving, is absolutely appalling and degrading. Without a doubt, the BAFTA has dropped the ball like it never has before.

The official awards ceremony is being held in London on February 12th. I might actually set aside the time to watch the live stream, this year. With that said, here are all of the nominees:

Best Film
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“The Help”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best British Film
“My Week With Marilyn”
“Senna”
“Shame”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Nicolas Winding Refn – “Drive”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”
Tomas Alfredson – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy”
Lynne Ramsay – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Actor
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week With Marilyn”
Jim Broadbent – “The Iron Lady”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Ides of March”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Judi Dench – “My Week With Marilyn”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Carey Mulligan – “Drive”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

Best Original Screenplay
“The Artist”
“Bridesmaids”
“The Guard”
“The Iron Lady”
“Midnight in Paris”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“The Ides of March”
“Moneyball”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Incendies”
“Pina”
“Potiche”
“A Separation”
“The Skin I Live In”

Best Documentary
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
“Project Nim”
“Senna”

Best Animated Feature
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Arthur Christmas”
“Rango”

Best Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Costume Design
“The Artist”
“Hugo”
“Jane Eyre”
“My Week With Marilyn”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Film Editing
“The Artist”
“Drive”
“Hugo”
“Senna”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Makeup & Hair
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“The Iron Lady”
“My Week With Marilyn”

Best Music
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Sound
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Visual Effects
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“War Horse”

Best Debut by a British Director, Writer or Producer
Joe Cornish – “Attack the Block”
Will Sharpe, Tom Kingsley and Sarah Brocklehurst – “Black Pond”
Ralph Fiennes – “Coriolanus”
Richard Ayoade – “Submarine”
Paddy Considine – “Tyrannosaur”

The SAG Nominations: My Thoughts

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not going to lie. While occasionally the Screen Actors Guild throws a curveball or two in the mix when it comes to their nomination day, I have never seen anything like this, before. In every single category (aside from Best Actress, which I managed to score five for five in my predictions), there was at least one major shocker. Not to mention that several films that seemed to be on an absolute roll were left out in the cold.

Let’s start with Best Ensemble Cast. Things here went pretty much as expected. I got four out of five, with my first alternate taking that final spot. Without a doubt this definitely does put the final nail in “The Ides of March'”s coffin. I suppose it might still have a chance with the WGA, especially with the long list of ineligible films, but Best Picture is completely out of its grasp. What these nominees have proven is that “The Help” is going to be a force to be reckoned with. We can now all but stencil it in on Oscar nomination morning, along with “The Descendants” and “The Artist,” but we already knew that. “Midnight in Paris” scored a nice mention, but I’m still not thoroughly convinced it has what it takes to make it all the way to Best Picture. And while “Bridesmaids” certainly had a good morning, after the Globes, it can probably call its awards contention about done. Melissa McCarthy will surely continue her ride to the Kodak, but the rest of the cast and crew will have to sit on the sidelines.

While discussing ensemble, its worth pointing out that it’s exclusion of certain performers in the “Midnight in Paris” cast is really quite appalling. This usually happens every year. When “The Social Network” was nominated in this category, Rooney Mara was disturbingly left out of the finalists, despite being an absolute standout in a small role. This year, some of the most memorable roles from Woody Allen’s film did not make the final cut. Allison Pill and Tom Hiddleston, who played Ella and F. Scott Fitzgerald were left off the list. Perhaps the most disturbing omission of, however, was the lack of Corey Stoll who’s breakout portrayal of Ernest Hemingway was probably the film’s best feature. One has to wonder how the SAG even goes about picking these names and how they could slip up so bad as to miss such brilliant talent.

On to Best Actor, which went pretty much according to plan…aside from one glaringly obvious surprise that was Demien Bechir. Wow. Talk about a wrench thrown into the works. Though, there’s a difference between being flabbergasted and being upset, and its hard to get mad about such an underdog breaking onto the scene in such an enormous fashion. Personally I had no interest in seeing the film, but good for him, nonetheless. Clooney, Dujardin and Pitt earn their expected nods while DiCaprio still holds onto a slim chance for his long overdue gold. At least his chances for a nomination have drastically increased.

I am also not shy at all about predicting the lack of love for “Shame” while nearly everyone else on the web thought Fassbender was a shoo-in at this point. I’m not proud of them for snubbing him, just proud of myself for calling it. He should have a bit heavier chances with the Academy itself, however, who’s selection of voters isn’t at all as random or spontaneous as the Actors Guild is. It really is too bad for Oldman, though. His last hope of resurrecting his chances will be an assured nomination and hopefully a win from the British Academy. It’s certainly helped others in the past.

I don’t have a lot of words to describe the Best Actress race, suffice to say that this could very well be the same lineup we see announced next month. Each of these actresses has overcome what barriers they need and while Close and Swinton are not exactly locks yet, it will still be difficult for them to miss at this point.

On the supporting side of actresses, the biggest shocker was the absence of Shailene Woodley, who, after conquering the National Board of Review was thought to be serious contender for all awards to follow. I feel like a lack of name recognition might have attributed to this miss. It might also just be the overwhelming love for “The Help,” which managed to score two nods in this category. Berenice Bejo proved that “The Artist” is not a one man show and Janet McTeer managed to make it in on Glenn Close’s coattails (actually I have no right to say that without seeing the performance which apparently stands out just as much the lead does). Finally, Melissa McCarthy grabbed the last slot. She is fast becoming my favorite acting contender this year. Probably the funniest performance I’ve seen all year.

Finally, we get to the category that pretty much just threw the entire contest for a loop. First off, the would-be frontrunner and winner of the most awards for any supporting role this year by about two times over, Albert Brooks, failed to even achieve a nomination. Even if he still manages an eventual Oscar nomination, this move has all but ensured Christopher Plummer as the de facto frontrunner. While two other older actors  (Kenneth Branagh and Nick Nolte) made the cut, other veterans like Max von Sydow and Ben Kingsley were beaten out by two performers that I feel actually quite bad for counting down and out. Jonah Hill gets a huge boost for himself and his film with his nomination for “Moneyball” and Armie Hammer, who I spent the last few months predicting but finally gave up when support for “J. Edgar” all but tanked. Now, I’m more than thrilled to see him back in the running.

Well, I gotta wrap this up real quick so I can move on to my globe predictions, which hopefully I’ll have up while some of you are still awake.

Screen Actors Guild Nominations

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Sorry I’m a little late on posting this, but I had a meeting with an old friend this morning which took me away from things. Here’s the full list of nominations. I’ll be back in a bit with my thoughts on these. However, there is one elephant in the room that must be addressed right off the bat:

DEMIEN BECHIR. DEMIEN BECHIR. HOLY SHIT, DEMIEN BECHIR. Biggest most out-of-the-blue shocker in, potentially all of SAG history.

Okay, I think I got that out of my system for now. I’ll have the rest of my thoughts up soon.

MOTION PICTURE

Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture
“Bridesmaids”
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“Midnight in Paris”

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Leading Role
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Demian Bichir – “A Better Life”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Leading Role
Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”
Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Supporting Role
Nick Nolte – “Warrior
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week With Marilyn”
Armie Hammer – “J. Edgar”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Supporting Role
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”

Outstanding Performance By A Stunt Ensemble In A Motion Picture
“The Adjustment Bureau”
“Cowboys & Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deahtly Hallows: Part II”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“X-Men: First Class”

My SAG Predictions

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, I thought it’d be nice to actually do some predicting amidst all of this reporting. After all, the game of Oscar prognostication is all about what’s going to win, not what should win (if only wishing made it so). Therefore, I thought I’d offer up some quick guesses as to what’s going to make the cut tomorrow.

I’ve written a few thoughts down with after each category, as well:

 

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

 

1. George Clooney – “The Descendants”
2. Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”
3. Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
4. Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
5. Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Alt 1: Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Alt 2: Woody Harrelson – “Rampart”

 

The first three are all but locks. It’s true that “J. Edgar” has not raised a lot of popularity (for legitimate reasons), yet the performance has often been singled out and has enough support to have achieved a BFCA nomination, so I’ll stick with it. I know that I’m going out on quite a limb by not putting Fassbender on there, but I’m just not sure “Shame” will have as much industry-support as it does with critics and festivals. Meanwhile, I think that Oldman’s chances are stronger here than anywhere else. He’s getting into his elder years and is more than overdue for recognition, two qualities that SAG usually jumps on. Also, they’re the only major awards body to have nominated him before (Best Supporting Actor, “The Contender”). Plus his popularity and respect among the acting community is pretty indisputable. If he’s going to make a stand in this race, I think it will be here.

 

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

 

1. Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
2. Viola Davis – “The Help”
3. Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”
4. Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
5. Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Alt 1: Charlize Theron – “Young Adult”
Alt 2: Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Once again, I’d say that the first three are pretty much locked in. Glenn Close’s campaign has been heading downhill, yet here, her “due” status will have a much bigger effect. Tilda Swinton should be a sure thing here, but it’s not a perfect world. Though, I think she’s the only other contender with enough clout to make it onto the shortlist. Olsen and Mara are definitely still in the running, but the SAG isn’t as partial to youth and sex appeal as the AMPAS are.

 

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

 

1. Albert Brooks – “Drive”
2. Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
3. Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
4. Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
5. Andy Serkis – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Alt 1: Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Alt 2: Patton Oswalt – “Young Adult”

This category is definitely the biggest question mark of them all. Brooks and Plummer are practically written in ink already, and Branagh (while not yet awarded, this year) fits a good pedigree and is very likely. However, those last two spots are a mystery. All the major candidates have some serious detractors. Von Sydow, in particular, is impossible to read because his performance is so shrouded in mystery to the general public. He’s locked in review embargo hell. I’ll go with Nolte just because he’s got a great “comeback kid” story. Finally, I’m going to foolishly predict Serkis in believing that the campaign and mentality really are working and that his nomination will come as more of a statement than an honor.

 

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

 

1. Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
2. Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”
3. Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
4. Vanessa Redgrave – “Coriolanus”
5. Jessica Chastain – “The Help”

Alt 1: Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”
Alt 2: Carey Mulligan – “Shame”

Pretty much the only lock in this category, as of now, is Octavia Spencer. She’s probably also the only acting candidate who’s close to having her name stenciled onto a golden statue in February, but that’s neither here nor there. Shailene is a good bet for this group loves to usually throw some love to at least one newly risen star. Melissa McCarthy is also riding on more buzz then nearly all these candidates combined, so she’s definitely close to being in. Redgrave’s film is on the opposite side of the buzz scale, but it’s been a while since this goddess of acting has set foot on a red carpet, and more then a few people are excited for that return. Finally, I am hesitantly putting Chastain in that final spot, however, I’m definitely wary about her many, many performances canceling each other out and making way for the silent film star or sex addict’s sister.

 

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

 

1. “The Descendants”
2. “The Help”
3. “The Artist”
4. “Bridesmaids”
5. “The Ides of March”

Alt 1: “Midnight in Paris”
Alt 2: “Hugo”

No matter what happens, tomorrow is going to quite a coup for “The Help.” It’s guaranteed three nominations, with a chance at a fourth. Same goes to “The Descendants” which has a nomination, here, pretty sewn up. “The Artist” isn’t a true ensemble piece, but is so ahead of the pack that it will be difficult to miss a nomination in any major category. While “Bridesmaids” isn’t in big contention for any Best Picture awards, the film has been given more Ensemble Cast citations then practically any other film, so if the SAG has a sense of humor, they’ll probably throw it a bone. And perhaps my ballsiest pick of the night will be “The Ides of March.” True, the film’s steam has all but been extinguished, but it’s hard for anyone to deny the pure talent in this cast. I believe the voters will recognize it as well.

African-American Film Critics Winners

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Yes, it’s true that even more critics groups have laid out their winners today. Not a lot of patience in among my peers, as of late. Once again, the St. Louis and San Diego Film Critics groups have decided to first issue lists of nominations prior to their OFFICIAL announcements. Therefore, I will not be posting their decisions  yet. Their nominees will be posted here along with the winners, but I’m not dedicating two posts for each of their deliberations.

This is getting kind of ridiculous. As much as film critics like myself would love to vote in the Oscars, we don’t get that chance. Some critics groups don’t seem to understand that and so they try to make their own little Oscar ceremony. There is no need for the St. Louis Film Critics (to name one of many) to have nominees, followed by a special announcement of their winners. Forgive me, and I don’t mean to burn bridges here, but you’re really not that special. Groups like LA and NY have it correct. A simple winner and runner-up is fine. It’s classy, it’s efficient and it’s professional; the way it should be.

Anyway, here are the winners of the African American Film Critics Association. Some real originality here, if I do say so. Woody Harrelson for Best Actor is a truly inspired choice. I can’t wait to get a glimpse of his performance, myself.

Official winners:

BEST PICTURE: “The Tree of Life”

TOP TEN:
1. “The Tree of Life”
2. “Drive”
3. “Pariah”
4. “Rampart”
5. “Shame”
6. “Moneyball”
7. “The Descendants”
8. “A Better Life”
9. “My Week With Marilyn”
10. “The Help”

BEST DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen – “Shame”

BEST ACTOR: Woody Harrelson – “Rampart”

BEST ACTRESS: Viola Davis – “The Help”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Albert Brooks – “Drive”

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE: Adepero Oduye – “Pariah”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Black Power Mixtape”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “I Will Follow”

BEST FOREIGN FILM: “Kinyarwanda”

BEST SONG: “The Show” from “Moneyball.”

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM: “Pariah”

LEGACY AWARD: Richard Roundtree

HORIZON AWARD: Hattie Winston

CINEMA VANGUARD AWARD: George Lucas

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Sony Pictures Entertainment