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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…

Eric Roth on “The Social Network”

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

In a recent online, slideshow piece, Salon asked some of today’s filmmakers about their favorite films from the last year. A lot of the responses are fascinating and great reads, but this one by four-time Academy Award nominated writer Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Insider,” “Munich”) really got to me. It’s written with such elegance and prose that it raises the overall impact of David Fincher’s “The Social Network” to an even loftier level. A great little read:

“What’s going on here? They don’t let people make movies anymore that have a wit of thought, with great ideas expressed articulately by artists … these are movies of another time and place when giants roamed the Earth, and not Middle-earth either. That was the time of the Bonnies and the Clydes and the mean streets and the godfathers and the Kubricks and Leones and Godards and the names that are part literature, part poetry, all youth. So what is this movie that has something to say about the culture, about the way we think about each other and the ways we don’t? What is a movie doing today where the hero is unlikable and nasty and greedy and incredibly smart and lonely and part of a generation that has to announce who they are when they open a door to make sure they are noticed? What kind of a movie is that? Where does that happen in this landscape where Clashes and Crashes and Smashes are king. Where does it happen that a movie can make you talk about it all night, where it makes you remember why you went to the movies in the first place? Where does it happen that people with golden tongues and vision get to tell stories anymore? Where does it happen that a movie has near unanimous praise of critics afraid of their own shadows, and the public decides to give it a shot and it makes you want to be an awful lot younger and start all over again? Did I mention David Fincher’s “The Social Network?” We all should be so lucky and so good.”

Check out the full slide show with more comments from Scott Rudin, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, David Koechner, Malin Akerman, Andrew Jarecki and many others…