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Washington D.C. Film Critics Announce Nominees

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I had a feeling that these guys were going to stick their heads up this week. They have a tendency of announcing early and without warning. While the results of their voting is apparently still being tallied and the winners will be announced on Monday, we can take a look at the nominees right now.

Well, there’s not much question as far as what film will likely go all the way here, and that is the emerging critical darling “The Artist.” The film received eight nominations, practically in every category that it was eligible. “Hugo” comes in second with six nominations, continuing to baffle me. I’m sure that I’m going to be saying that a lot this awards season.

The overrated, but still exceptionally cool, “Drive” picked up four nominations, including one for it’s phenomenal director Nicholas Wending Refn. “The Descendants” also continued its string of love with five nominations. Octavia Spencer receives her first of what I’m sure will be a long string of nominations for her work in “The Help,” likewise for Viola Davis. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing both of those ladies with gold in their hands come Oscar night.

A surprisingly absent film from these nods is a little title about a war and a horse. Not sure if you’ve heard of it. For a critics group that largely trends towards the Oscars, it’s highly unusual to find Mr. Spielberg’s latest largely vacant from these nominations. True it picked up a few tech nods, yet this film is believed by many to potentially be the nomination leader next month. One can’t say that the group has a beef with the director, either, for they were the first and one of the only to award “Munich” Best Picture back in 2005.

The big story here is Tom McCarthy’s “Win Win” picking up a nomination for Best Picture, beating out the above mentioned “War Horse” and a number of others. Quite a coup for this little delight of a film. Yet, as intriguing as this nomination is, I doubt it will pan out much for the rest of the year, at least in terms of Best Picture. However, a screenplay nomination for McCarthy is becoming more and more likely.

Some underdog victories abound here that are worth mentioning. Michael Shannon asserts himself as a certifiable contender, getting a nod for his fantastic work in “Take Shelter.” It’s also very refreshing to see Andy Serkis get his first and hopefully not last nomination as a motion captured ape in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” His is certainly the most interesting campaign of the season, and if it succeeds, it will make Oscar history. While I despise the precedent that it will set, I admit that I can’t help feeling proud of Andy Serkis. If it’s going to happen, it should happen to him. From Gollum, to Kong, and now Ceasar, the man has truly put his heart and soul into his work and has ultimately changed the face of cinema in a lot of ways.

Hands down, my favorite pick of the evening has got to be Melissa McCarthy for “Bridesmaids.” A good movie that this lady really took to another level with her incredible comedic skills. Her performance, if it continues down this track, could end up being one of the funnest nominations since Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder.” Kudos to the WAFCA for getting the ball rolling, there.

Check out the full list of nominations after the cut:

Best Film
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“Hugo”
“Win Win”

Read more…

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Trailer

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

A half and hour ago, this film was not even close to being on my radar screen. Since 2001, how can anyone look at anything with “Planet of the Apes” in the title and look forward to it? It just doesn’t have a high probability of greatness. However, I took the time to scope out the new teaser at Apple after seeing an effects shot that looked pretty decent.

I wouldn’t say that the trailer looks anything along the lines of incredible. Yet, there seem to be some pretty looking elements at play here. For one, much of the imagery looks incredible. The shot of a chimp standing over a sleeping couple was truly chilling. Also, the slow motion storm of branches and leaves falling from the sky as dozens of apes leap from tree to tree. One would hope that the presence of James Franco might mean something good, since he seems to be choosing his projects with a little more care, lately (with the exception of “Your Highness”). Plus, the added incentive of Andy Serkis reprisin his monkey-movement skills that he perfected in “King Kong” is very promising. I mean the man lived with mountain gorillas for the better part of a year just to make sure that he got their mannerisms correct.

Or maybe this will simply be another version of “Deep Blue Sea” only with apes instead of sharks.

Whatever the outcome, I think we can assuredly expect some dazzling visual effects here. The chimpanzee motion capture work from several shots (including that final one) look even more impressive than “Avatar.” Therefore, I will keep my expectations for this film above the minimum amount. Enjoy the trailer. I definitely recommend taking the extra time to download the Apple version below the embed.

Apple HD Version