I feel like there’s not much need to preface this. The format is pretty much the same as last year. These are the Edge of the Frame’s equivalent to the Academy Awards and represent what I believe to be the best achievements of the year in my own selection of categories.
It’s important to remember that while these are the third published set of awards, I have a record of my nominations and winners going back to the forties. Therefore, their total count of former nominations is accurate based on the films that I’ve seen. Also, aside from the performance and music categories, individuals former nominations and victories are listed only for the category that they are currently nominated in.
I don’t mind saying that I’m particularly fond of these choices, but if you disagree, join the conversation in the comments and let me know.
Here are the nominees for the 3rd Annual Edgy Awards:
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
featured in “Django Unchained”
Music and Lyrics by Ennio Morricone (5th nom, 4 wins – “The Mission,” “Once Upon a Time in America,” “Days of Heaven,” and “The Good, the Bad and Ugly”) and Elisa (1st nom)
“Breath of Life“
featured in “Snow White and the Huntsman”
Music and Lyrics by Florence and the Machine (1st nom)
featured in “Skyfall”
Music and Lyrics by Adele (1st nom)
“Song of the Lonely Mountain“
featured in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
Music and Lyrics by Neil Finn (1st nom), David Donaldson (1st nom), David Long (1st nom) and Janet Roddick (1st nom)
featured in “Les Miserables”
Music and Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer (1st nom), Claude-Michel Schonberg (1st nom) and Alain Boublil (1st nom)
It seems ironic and more than a little redeeming that around this same time last year, I ran my mouth off about 2011 being one of the worst quality years for filmmaking in some time. Well, the gods of cinema seem to have answered my prayers, for I don’t think I could have asked for a more diverse and memorable year. Just working on this list is a treat, and I hope so will reading it.
Without further adieu, let’s start with this year’s runners-up:
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
While living up to its predecessor was a bit too much to ask for, Nolan’s final chapter is still a head above any other comic book film in this year, or really any other. The new characters are sharp, the villains are brutal and the epic tale’s message is as poignant as ever.
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.
My favorite time of the year has finally come. It’s the time when I can finally take a break from reporting on other individuals and groups choices for best of the year and actually focus on my own. If any of you missed last year’s, here’s a link to last year’s big list. Over the next week, leading up to the Oscars, I’ll be writing a series of posts that will encompass my feelings on the 2011 year in films. I’ll start things out with my Top Ten List, featured here, followed by two posts chronicling the nominations and winners of the 2nd Annual Edgy Awards. Hopefully, I can maintain concentration and get all of this done before the entire awards season comes to a head.
To be quite honest, this is probably my least favored year of films in terms of quality in at least a decade. I’m not sure what exactly went wrong or rubbed me the wrong way, but there was something lacking in the overall caliber of releases. Disappointing to say the least. Perhaps, it’s not even the overall batch of films, but rather some favorites of the film critic and connoisseur community just did not register in my book. Yet, even with the diminished standard, I still feel compelled to give a shout out of recognition to the films that were more than respectable. The following seven films, listed alphabetically, are some examples of damn fine filmmaking, but had just a few too many flaws that kept them out the final ten.
Here we go. The runners-up are as follows:
Written and Directed by
A delightful and sometimes intriguing romp into the throwback world of silent filmmaking, highlighted by some great design qualities and a stellar lead performance by Jean Dujardin. Yet, the film really suffers from having…well…nothing really important to say or leave us with.
Granted that last year was a phenomenal one for animated features (“Toy Story 3,” “How to Train Your Dragon”), I have to say that I didn’t give animated fare enough of my time through the course of the season. Therefore, I thought I’d get things started early this year. However, while Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” is certainly not a bad film, it doesn’t set the bar very high, in the same way that Lee Unkrich’s masterpiece did almost a year ago.
“Rango” is a simple story of an unlikely hero. The before-nameless chameleon (Johnny Depp) is stranded hopelessly in the desert. He is half-rescued by a local lizard (Isla Fisher) who brings him to her water-deprived township. Through a series of mishaps and good luck, the iguana wins the respect from the townspeople, their job of sheriff and the title-name “Rango.” Yet, when all that’s left of the people’s dwindling water supply is stolen and the town’s most ominous figures are suspect, Rango realizes that he might be out of his league. The chameleon must find the courage that he never thought he had and prove himself to a group of people who have nothing left to hope for.
The story itself certainly isn’t anything in the realm of high art. It’s a standard tale of a seemingly weak individual thrown into extraordinary circumstances and forced to become the person, or chameleon, he only dreamed that he could. That structure isn’t a bad one. It’s worked time and time again in phenomenal films, but only when there’s an added element of creativity, which this film lacks…other than all the character’s being cowboy-animals, which is a little more preposterous than it is creative. However, we’ll get into that later.
The voice cast does great work. One can tell, right off the bat that the title role was directly written for the talent of Johnny Depp. From the soft-spoken quips to random outbursts, it’s really difficult to imagine anyone else reading these lines. Bill Nighy and Ray Winstone use their sinister tones to great extent as a few of the film’s many antagonists. The only actor I could do without is the ever-growing-more-annoying Abigail Breslin. Her entire cute, mousy, adorable relief could be done away with, entirely, in my opinion.
There is one aspect of this film that is a monkey I just can’t get off my back. Some people will call me unimaginative or argumentative, but I’m sorry, this just bugs me. I’m put off by the absence of any effort to have the setting, characters or events make logical sense. This is a world in which desert animals wear Hawaiian shirts and cowboy hats. They drink out of shot glasses, sit under ceiling fans and play mean riffs on the guitar. It just doesn’t compute for me. The film takes whatever liberties it wishes and stretches the boundaries of reality however it pleases. Just because a film is animated does not mean that there are no cinematic guidelines that should be respected.
To further illustrate my point, certain other animated features have a fantastic premise, while keeping their roots firmly planted in reality. “Finding Nemo,” “Happy Feet” and all of the “Toy Story” films create improbable plotlines, but never escape the boundaries of logic. The animals in “Finding Nemo” and “Happy Feet” have a defined society, talk to each other, and in some cases, sing and dance. Yet, they don’t build auditoriums to do their routines. All of the animals basically exist the same way they do in nature. And in the case of “Toy Story,” obviously toys are inanimate objects, and yet in their world, they don’t escape the realm of possibility. They create tools out of accessible household items and their environments are their owners’ bedrooms and toy boxes.
It’s this creative sense of plausible fantasy that not only make the plot and setting of said movies easier to entertain in the mind, but funnier and ultimately more entertaining. And it’s not just the lack of logic, but the unmitigated disregard for it in “Rango” that really knocks it down in my book. It puts up as a nicer-looking version of “Sponge Bob Square Pants,” so, congratulations if you like that kind of thing. It’s that same ode to ridiculousness that ruined Pixar’s “Up” for me. The first act of that film, and especially the opening ten minutes, are absolutely extraordinary and heartbreaking. However, once the talking dogs (that could fly planes, no less) came in, I checked out.
Speaking of nice-looking, one positive note that I must leave this film on is just how incredible its appearance is. An impressive amount of detail was put into all of the visual aspects, from the fur on the chin of the hedgehog to the shine on the drinking glasses. One can definitely tell that Roger Deakins had a hand in this, being credited as a visual consultant (just as he was on “How to Train Your Dragon” and “WALL-E”). Every shot is incredibly predetermined, framed and orchestrated. It’s a real shame, in fact, that the quality of the story could not match the film’s astounding look.