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17th Annual Critics Choice Winners

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ll be posting the awards as they’re announced live. The technical awards and, you know, others that don’t include stars, will be announced prior to the show starting, so they will be showing up first.

Here are the winners:

BEST PICTURE
“The Artist”

BEST DIRECTOR
Michael Hazanavicius – “The Artist”

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney – “The Descendants”

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis – “The Help”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christopher Plummer – “The Beginners”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST
“The Help”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Thomas Horn – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“MONEYBALL”!!!!!!!!!!

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Midnight in Paris”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
(TIE) “War Horse” – Janusz Kaminski and “The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki

BEST EDITING
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

BEST ART DIRECTION
“Hugo”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Artist”

BEST SOUND
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part II”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

BEST MAKEUP
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part II”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“The Artist”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Life is a Happy Song” – “The Muppets”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“George Harrison: Living in a Material World”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“A Separation”

BEST ANIMATED FILM
“Rango”

BEST COMEDY
“Bridesmaids”

BEST ACTION MOVIE
“Drive”

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My BFCA Critics Choice Awards Predictions

January 12, 2012 2 comments

 I’m not going to spend any time discussing these but just let my predictions speak for themselves. But, if I could make one wish to the Awards Gods, please let “Moneyball” win for Best Adapted Screenplay. We all know it deserves it.

For the record, as much as I’d like to, I’m really not trying very hard on these. Feel free to use these as a useful guide, but honestly, who the hell knows what these crazy-ass critics are going to do here? Are they going to follow their hearts? Are they going to vote for what people want them to vote for? Or are they going to do what they love most: predict the Oscars?

Who cares? Don’t put any money on these.

Moving on:

BEST PICTURE
“The Artist”
r/u: “Hugo”

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
r/u: Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

BEST ACTRESS
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
r/u: Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Albert Brooks – “Drive”
r/u: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
r/u: Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”
r/u: Asa Butterfield – “Hugo”

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
“The Help”
r/u: “The Artist”

BEST DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”
r/u: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius
r/u: “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” – Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
r/u: “Moneyball” – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki
r/u: “Hugo” – Robert Richardson

BEST ART DIRECTION
“Hugo” – Production Designer: Dante Ferretti, Set Decorator: Francesca Lo Schiavo
r/u: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” – Production Designer: Stuart Craig, Set Decorator: Stephenie McMillan

BEST EDITING
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
r/u: “The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius and Anne-Sophie Bion

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Artist” – Mark Bridges
r/u: “Hugo” – Sandy Powell

BEST MAKEUP
“The Iron Lady”
r/u: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
r/u: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part II”

BEST SOUND
“Hugo”
r/u: “War Horse”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“A Separation”
r/u: “The Skin I Live In”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Project Nim”
r/u: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”

BEST SONG
“Pictures in My Head” – performed by Kermit and the Muppets/written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman – “The Muppets”
r/u: “The Living Proof” – performed by Mary J. Blige/written by Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman and Harvey Mason, Jr. – “The Help”

BEST SCORE
“War Horse” – John Williams
r/u: “The Artist”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Rango”
r/u: “The Adventures of Tintin”

BEST ACTION MOVIE
“Drive”
r/u: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

BEST COMEDY
“Bridesmaids”
r/u: “Midnight in Paris”

The Visual Effects Society Nominates…

January 9, 2012 Leave a comment

I won’t spend a lot of time on this, being that we already have the Academy’s shortlist down to ten names. In case you missed the news, the following films are still in the running for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

“Captain America: The First Avenger”

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″

“Hugo”

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

“Real Steel”

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

“The Tree of Life”

“X-Men: First Class”

This list of nominees from the VES, doesn’t really change or sway much. The frontrunners all managed to pick up a slew of nominations. “Transformers” and “Harry Potter” led the way with five apiece. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” wasn’t far behind with four and “Hugo” picked up the rear with three. One unusual facet of these noms is the complete exclusion of “The Tree of Life,” which many believed to be that fifth slot with the Oscars. Also snubbed were “X-Men: First Class” and “Real Steel,” while “Captain America” and “Thor,” while already kicked off the Academy’s list, managed multiple nominations.

Perhaps the most notable detail that I can see is the complete snubbage of J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8”. Now I know that the film is not on the Academy’s shortlist for this award, but I can remember back to a time when many thought that this film would clean up in the tech categories. Here it doesn’t even merit a single mention. We’ll have to wait for the MPSE and the CAS, but now I’m wondering if the film might be banned from the Kodak entirely.

See the full list of nominees after the cut:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature
“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Art Directors Guild Announces Nominees

January 4, 2012 1 comment

Following quickly on the heels of the Producers Guild, the first of the technical achievement societies was announced late last night. Every year, for 16 years running, the Art Directors Guild honors films that exemplify excellence in art direction and production design. A few years ago, they had bumped their number of nominees up to 15 features to fill three categories: Period Film, Fantasy Film and Contemporary Film.

The nominees were as follows:

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A PERIOD FILM
“Annonymous”
“The Artist”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A FANTASY FILM
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys and Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part II”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A CONTEMPORARY FILM
“Bridesmaids”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

When looking at the Period nominees, the elephant in the room is undoubtedly the absence of a major Best Picture contender: “War Horse.” The lavish countrysides and muddy trenches were thought to be all but a shoo-in for this nomination. Perhaps the film is not as strong as we all thought. It was replaced by Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare expose, “Annonymous,” which apparently has chops, I’m just not sure how much anyone actually takes it seriously. The winner here is “Hugo” in a landslide. Even a harsh critic of the film such as myself has to admit that the meticulous detail put into recreating early twentieth century Paris is completely awards-worthy. Nearly every shot contains something impressive to gaze at. The potential spoiler is “The Artist,” which, if it does succeed, will prove how unstoppable it really is.

The Fantasy selection is probably one of the weakest I’ve seen in years. “Harry Potter” will take this one down in a walk. Perhaps the only other film with a fighting chance is “Tintin,” which I’m still not entirely sure what it’s doing here. Is seems weird for an animated film to show up in a nomination pretty much designated for live-action work. To be honest, I don’t think anyone in Hollywood has a clue how to classify this film anymore. Regardless, this is “Potter”‘s award, and will likely be the only thing to give “Hugo” a run for its money at the Oscars.

The choices in Contemporary this year were really quite appalling to me. Some fantastic work went completely unmentioned last night. Most notably is that of Coen Brothers collaborator Jess Gonchor’s work in “Moneyball.” The drab detail at play in the clubhouses, locker rooms and residences is completely mention-worthy. Perhaps the most unforgivable snub, however, is “Hanna.” While, the film could arguably be considered a Fantasy film, the sets largely define an imaginative and whimsical kind of contemporary thriller that should have been better-noticed. Anyway, the winner here is really a toss-up and may depend on which film has the most support in general. I am very happy to see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” show up, though. The gathering support of the film may lead to a well-deserved, though unexpected, Best Picture nomination.

15 Visual Effects Finalists

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Much like the award for Best Documentary, the AMPAS Best Visual Effects committee always whittles down the selection of possible nominees to a box-sized fifteen. The Academy just released the list to the public. It is as follows:

“Alice in Wonderland”
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
“Clash of the Titans”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1″
“Hereafter”
“Inception”
“Iron Man 2″
“The Last Airbender”
“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”
“Scott Pilgrim vs the World”
“Shutter Island”
“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
“TRON Legacy”
“Unstoppable”

This doesn’t really change my predictions much at all. From the looks of it, I’m not sure anything will be able to take down “TRON Legacy.” Much like last year’s winner, “Avatar,” it appears to be an absolute visual feast, and added to that, the effects actually look quite stellar and authentic. Perhaps the only thing that might have a fighting chance is “Alice in Wonderland” or “Inception.” However, “Alice”‘s effects are a bit too cartoonish and over-the-top and “Inception,”‘s while incredible and realistic, are short-lived and really kind of secondary to the story (and yet that did not hurt “Gladiator” on winning this particular award).

My predictions for this category remain:

“Alice in Wonderland”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part I”
“Inception”
“Iron Man 2”
“TRON: Legacy”

Perhaps the only thing that bugs me in this category is the quiet snub of…wait for it…”The Social Network.” I know that it’s an award that this film really doesn’t need to sweep and “Social”‘s effects are easy to overlook. And yet, that’s just the point. The impeccable work on creating the Winklevi out of one actor is at least worth some recognition for it’s good enough for some viewers to really believe that the part is played by twin actors, rather than Armie Hammer. However, I’m humble enough to let this one past…..as long as the film still takes all the rest.