Archive

Posts Tagged ‘brad pitt’

2nd Annual Edgy Award Winners

February 25, 2012 2 comments

At last, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. After a lot of work and, actually, a lot more deliberation than I had originally imagined, it’s now time to announce the winners of the 2nd Annual Edgy Awards. If you missed the original nominations, you can find the full list here. These winners encompass what I believe to be the best work put forth in each respective category. Now, I’m sure there’s a few that people are sure to disagree with, so, in addition to posting video clips that showcase the work, I’ll also provide a bit of commentary that will help to defend my decisions.

This year shows a very different distribution than the 1st Edgy Awards. Last year, nearly fifty percent of the awards were collected by only two films (“The Social Network” – 7 and “Inception” – 4). This year has seemed to take on a more “spread the wealth” fashion. For example, last year, there were only six films taking home one award apiece (and that was with an extra category). This year, there are thirteen. This might also be the first time in my history of giving awards that a different film has won each of the eight technical categories (Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, and Makeup). I guess that shows the diversity of filmmaking that this year brought to the table.

It’s time to sit back and enjoy. Here are your Edgy winners:

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Think You Can Wait”

Music and Lyrics by “The National

RUNNER-UP: “Shelter” from “Take Shelter”

Aside from just being a straight-up beautiful and enjoyable song to listen to, over and over, “Think You Can Wait” is a phenomenal companion piece to Thomas McCarthy’s “Win Win.” The longing melody and wistfully fluid lyrics encompass both the woes and lingering hopes of the suburban life experienced by the film’s characters. This winner was never a question in my mind. A fantastic song.

Read more…

The 2nd Annual Edgy Award Nominations

February 21, 2012 2 comments

One of the primary focuses of this site is to analyze and report on each year’s film awards race, and many of you know this to be my true passion in life. However, if there’s one thing I enjoy more than following the Oscars, it’s making my own. Therefore, it has become a tradition of mine to gather up all my favorite aspects of the year’s filmmaking, break them down into nominations and then award what I believe to be the best of the year. And while I’ve been doing this for a long time, The Edge of the Frame gave me a chance to name them. Therefore, I present to you fine readers the 2nd Annual Edgy Award Nominations.

This year has certainly delivered a mixed bag of finalists. A total of 39 films received nominations, although 19 of those only garnered a single nomination apiece. While some categories may have some resemblance to the Academy’s choices (sometimes, they do actually make wise decisions), there are some striking differences. Thank goodness for that, for as a film critic, if my picks matched up with the Oscars, I wouldn’t be able to respect myself in the morning. Many of you have already seen my choices for Best Picture, what with my Top Ten List being released earlier in the week, and you’ll have noticed that only three films also find themselves in Oscar’s top nine ballot. Also, for the first time in my long history of doing this, not a single one of my Best Director nominees overlaps with the Academy’s.

A few notes to cover before we get started. I’ve used a similar format as last year’s nominations, listing out each nominee by name, instead of just the films themselves. Now, some of you will be bound to wonder how, if these are only the 2ND Annual Edgy Nominations, some individuals will have more than 2 mentions under their belts. The answer is because I have a slate of personal awards for each year going back over seven decades. I’ve got endless spreadsheets cataloging my choices for film winners from long before I was even born, I just don’t have the means (yet) to make those available to the public. The annotations refer to the amount of past nominations each individual has had in their respective category, except for performers who’s mentions overlap with all the other acting categories.

Now, for any readers who need more info, don’t understand or just think I’m full of it, I’ve provided a link to a separate document which holds a complete list of every single one of this year’s nominees, coupled with a complete record of their Edgy nominations and wins. Have I gone overboard with these things? Absolutely, but I have an anal retentive need to be comprehensive, not to mention that I have a devotion to all things statistical. Hope at least one person gives it a look.

One other thing to point out is that, this year, I have refrained from creating categories for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Film. To be honest, I just haven’t seen enough foreign fare to make up an accurate barometer of the year’s best. As far as animation goes, I honestly just avoided this year, practically, all together. Just a weak field that I didn’t bother focusing my income towards. I did, however, add a full category for Best Ensemble Cast. I do believe that when a film pulls off an effective ensemble performance, it’s worth taking note of because it help’s define the film and its quality. If only the Oscars shared this opinion.

So, without further ado, here are the 2011 nominations:

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“The Living Proof”
featured in “The Help”
Music and Lyrics by Mary J. Blige (2nd Nom)

“Marcy’s Song”
featured in “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Music and Lyrics by Jackson C. Frank (1st nom)

“Never Be Daunted”
featured in “Happythankyoumoreplease”
Music and Lyrics by Jaymay (1st nom)

“Shelter”
featured in “Take Shelter”
Music and Lyrics by Ben Nichols (1 nom)

“Think You Can Wait”
featured in “Win Win”
Music and Lyrics by The National (1st nom)

Read more…

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.

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…

The 69th Annual Golden Globe Nominations

December 15, 2011 3 comments

Once again, I’ll have a full opinion piece out in a few hours. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the nominees (including a tally of how many I correctly predicted). Also, there’s one jarring thought that’s kind of occupying my mind right now?

WHERE THE HELL IS MELISSA McCARTHY!?!?!?!?!?! HFPA, just what were you thinking?

…and the nominees are…

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA  (4/5 + 1 alternate)
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“The Ides of March”
“Moneyball”
“War Horse”

BEST PICTURE: MUSICAL/COMEDY (5/5!!!)
“The Artist”
“Bridesmaids”
“50/50”
“Midnight in Paris”
“My Week With Marilyn”

BEST DIRECTOR (4/5 + 1 alternate)
Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
George Clooney, “The Ides of March”

BEST ACTOR: DRAMA (4/5 +1 alternate)
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”
Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

BEST ACTOR: MUSICAL/COMEDY (3/5)
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Brendan Gleeson, “The Guard”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50”
Ryan Gosling, “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
Owen Wilson, “Midnight in Paris”

BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA (4/5)
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

BEST ACTRESS: MUSICAL/COMEDY (4/5 + 1 alternate)
Jodie Foster, “Carnage”
Kristen Wiig, “Bridesmaids”
Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
Kate Winslet, “Carnage”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (3/5 + 1 alternate)
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Viggo Mortensen, “A Dangerous Method”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (3/5 + 1 alternate)
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”

BEST SCREENPLAY (4/5)
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM (N/A)
“The Flowers of War”
“In the Land of Blood and Honey”
“The Kid With a Bike”
“A Separation”
“The Skin I Live In”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE (5/5!!!)
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Arthur Christmas”
“Cars 2”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (3/5)
Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”
Trent Reznor and Attivus Ross, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Howard Shore, “Hugo”
John Williams, “War Horse”
Abel Korzeniowski, “W.E.”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG (N/A)
“Lay Your Head Down,” “Albert Nobbs”
“Hello Hello,” “Gnomeo and Juliet”
“The Living Proof,” “The Help”
“The Keeper,” “Machine Gun Preacher”
“Masterpiece,” “W.E.”

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.

And the Wheels Started Turning…

December 3, 2011 2 comments

Okay. Take a second. Deep breath…there we go. It’s been a bit of a big week with a lot to take in. However, this is just the opening salvo, and some much heavier ones are soon to come. However, in the last several days, we’ve had two extremely influential critics groups weigh in along with nominations announced by one of the more prestigious awards bodies in the country. So, while the jigsaw puzzle is far from complete, we’re getting a glimpse of the outline through the forming edges.

Let’s start with the antsiest of the lot, who just couldn’t wait their turn in line. The New York Film Critics Circle, being about as bigheaded as a group of big apple critics could be, pushed their awards announcement up by about two weeks. This was in an attempt to better influence the Oscars and separate themselves from the other critics. In case there was a critical darling such as “The Social Network” of yesteryear, they at least wanted to make it seem as though it were their idea. This has, honestly, put a rotten taste in the mouth of the whole awards season. The circle defied convention and tradition, forced movies to hurry their final touches in order to be screened in time, didn’t care to take a moment’s pause to reflect on their decisions and in the end made some really safe and traditional decisions from a group that usually champions the edgy and bold. I really must say…for shame.

For their high honors, the NYFCC went with “The Artist,” the silent film with a heart of gold. I definitely am looking forward to catching this one, though not quite as much as others. Director Michael Hazanavicius also took home high honors. By the time that Best Picture rolled in, I was hoping that “Moneyball” would pull through, after it had already won Best Actor for Brad Pitt and Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian. “Tree of Life” also had a pretty big day, winning Best Cinematography, sharing in Brad Pitt’s Best Actor award and Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain (who also won for “Take Shelter” and “The Help”).

The other two acting awards were picked up by Albert Brooks for “Drive” and Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady.” I’m straight-up not wild about Brooks who gives a couple of great scenes in only a good performance. Not worthy of any high accolades. As far as Meryl Streep is concerned, I’m on the fence. Whenever La Streep is once again up for her third Oscar, I just can’t decide whether I want it or not. As weird as it sounds, she is more due for an Oscar than practically any other actress, being that she is widely considered to be the greatest living performer and yet hasn’t won gold in nearly thirty years. However, when it comes to critics, Meryl is the safest choice that can be made. It’d be nicer to see some hutzpah with a choice like Tilda Swinton or Olivia Colman.

“The Descendants” turned out to be S.O.L., a surprise considering that Alexander Payne’s previous film, “Sideways,” swept this particular group, taking awards for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress and Screenplay. George Clooney especially had a bad day, even missing out on a Best Actor nomination from the Spirits. However, he and the film lucked out that the National Board of Review voted differently, so much that it would seem they from a different planet (when really they’re centered out of the same city).

Here, Payne’s festival favorite came up big, taking down the awards for Best Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Sadly, the prizes for Picture and Director went to “Hugo.” While it’s nice to see a wrench thrown in the works, this choice baffles me based on merit. Personally, the immensity of critical love for this film, in general, blows my mind. Pretty and heartwarming, but low on entertainment, conflict and drama. Christopher Plummer received Best Supporting Actor for his career-best performance in “Beginners,” hopefully asserting himself as the man to beat. And where NYFCC dropped the ball, the usually straight-as-an-arrow NBR chose the dicey performance of Tilda Swinton in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” for their Best Lead Actress. God, I can’t wait to see that film.

Quite strangely, the three big winners from the NYFCC went home almost completely empty-handed. “The Tree of Life” and “The Artist” only received spots on the NBR’s top ten, while “Moneyball” disturbingly did not even make that cut. However, they weren’t the unluckiest films of the day. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” failed to receive even a single nomination from anyone. If it continues to fly under the radar with critics, it will need a massive push from the guilds to stay alive.

Also, there’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” The big hit at Sundance failed to even make the NBR’s top ten independent films and received only a pair of acting nominations from the Independent Spirits, an organization many would have thought the film would have championed. It has a giant hole to climb out of if it wants to stay in any kind of Oscar contention. Personally, I’m not too bummed. A great concept that failed to achieve an emotional surge and tries so hard for subtlety, but often comes off as light-handed. I do hope that Elizabeth Olsen is able to pick up some steam for her deeply nuanced performance.

So, barring any surprise announcements from critics, we’re being given a bit of a lull for the next eight days. However, starting on Sunday, December 11th, it’s going to be difficult to find a busier week. Kicking off with honors from the Los Angeles and Boston Film Critics, we’ll then be receiving nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, the Broadcast Film Critics and Golden Globes, one day after another. Until then, I’ll be reporting anything I can and probably re-evaluating my current Oscar predictions. Stay tuned.