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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…

My Reaction: The Good, the Meh, and the Ugly, Part 3

January 25, 2012 1 comment

And now, the final segment of my three part thought piece on yesterday’s announcement of the 2012 Oscar nominations. After I’ve had a day to contemplate everything that has transpired, there’s still more than a handful of things that just aren’t sitting well with me. Like a bad case of food poisoning, they just aren’t letting me get any sleep.

Expect this segment to be longer than the others…

THE UGLY

 

Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the nomination that was so phenomenally bogus, you could count on one hand the amount of pundits who were predicting it. And if they were, they did it through gritted teeth. Announced at the end of the linup, like Sharek and Lawrence were in on some kind of sick, inside joke, the ninth Best Picture nomination was “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Despite not receiving nominations from the Producers, Directors, Writers or Screen Actors Guild, and being nearly universally panned by critics, the Academy somehow decided that this film was one of the nine best on the year. Granted, I will not be seeing it until sometime this weekend and therefore won’t be able to vent the movie through my own opinion until then. However, a film with a negative score from both Metacritic (46) and Rotten Tomatoes (48) has no business in any collective BEST Picture of the Year lineup.

Now, that we’ve gotten through with what shouldn’t be there, let’s get started on the long and sad list of the nominations that weren’t. Here come the snubs, and of them, one definitely reigns supreme. Steve McQueen’s unnerving and enlightening “Shame,” despite being one of the year’s greatest examples of direction, editing, writing, and all the other things that make up a damn good movie, failed to receive a single nomination. Even worse over was the exclusion of the film’s fine acting. Both Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan both delivered performances that all but topped their respective categories and are nowhere to be seen. While Demien Bechir’s nomination is an inspiring and heartwarming surprise, Fassbender should have shown up here based solely on merit. A fine waste of phenomenal acting.

There were a few other above-the-line snubs that really bothered me. For one, Bennett Miller should not only should have been among the Best Director nominees, but a part of the conversation this whole time. Who do people think directed this phenomenal film? It received some of the best critical reviews of the year and earned itself six Oscar nominations, and yet Miller has not received even a single mention from any awards body or film critics society this year? I suppose that the film’s script is so good that critics and industry-types thought that the film simply ran on autopilot, but I disagree. There’s a very visible sense of style, mood and pacing in the film that only a skilled director’s touch could have brought. I really wish this man made more films, but he picks his battles, very wisely.

Even though I didn’t come close to predicting her, for I knew that this would be in far too good of taste for the Oscars to stomach, Olivia Colman was the most unappreciated individual of the day. Her astounding work in “Tyrannosaur” is good enough to stand by some of the best of Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda. Poor U.S. distribution and a lousy campaign really stinted her chances, but I’d like to believe that, in a perfect world, this is the type of work that could take home the gold. Yet, as yesterday’s nominations showed, we do not live in a perfect world.

While it still managed to earn a Best Picture nomination, I was disappointed by the underwhelming overall showing for “The Help.” Aside from its three acting nominations, the film was overlooked in a lot of areas. I think that Tate Taylor’s lively and entertaining screenplay deserved a mention. Also, the colorful and authentic costume design, which brilliantly accented the setting and vibe of the film, was overlooked. I can only hope that what little support it has is still enough to push Viola Davis through to a well-deserved victory in the Best Actress category.

Another film that was highly unappreciated was Joe Wright’s livewire action-fest, “Hanna.” Despite receiving a nod from the Cinema Audio Society, the film’s outstanding sound mix somehow missed the cut. On top of that, I had hoped that in the wake of honoring a fresh new style of scoring with last year’s “The Social Network,” the Academy would see the fantastic electronic rhythms of The Chemical Brothers score. Instead, the music branch opted to go back to traditional themes, not even giving mention to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ fantastic follow-up work in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Speaking of the music branch, we come to probably the most appalling announcement of the morning. I am, of course, speaking of this year’s slate of nominees (or lack, thereof) for Best Original Song. There was a lot of fine work done by a wide range of artists this year, including “Lay Your Head Down” from Albert Nobbs,” “The Living Proof” in “The Help,” or the fantastic track “Think You Can Wait” from “Win Win.” And yet all they can conjure up is two nominations: “Man or Muppet,” one of the more underwhelming numbers from that title and “Real in Rio,” a song that most people who have actually seen the film cannot even remember.

I am so baffled by this category, I keep trying to search for explanations as to how they could have screwed up so bad. Perhaps it’s due to a flawed balloting system or maybe any sense of good taste really has been exhausted from said music branch. Some people think that the Academy just really wants to do away with the category all together, after emplacing more and more restrictions on it and even nixing last year’s nominated songs from even performing live during the telecast. If they a reserious about ditching the award, then they should just do it. Don’t insult songwriters and viewers of the Oscars by nominating songs that, quite simply, have no business being nominated at all, let alone ousting much more qualified work. This category is one of the biggest jokes in the history of the Academy Awards, plain and simple.

That about does it for my thoughts on the matter. Now starts the final leg of the race. My next order of business will be my first round of winner predictions for this year’s awards. To be quite honest, the image looked a lot clearer before the nominations were even announced. This is going to take a bit of effort. Stay tuned…

“Tinker Tailor” Leads the 2012 BAFTA Nominations

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I suppose it is a little misleading to say that Tomas Alfredson’s film led the nominations with 11 when “The Artist” actually had 12, but then again, does anyone really want to read another headline about the little silent-film-that-could dominating yet another awards body? I didn’t think so. And while it had been expected that the British Academy Awards would give a little push to the waining “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” this is certainly much more than anyone could have expected. It’s quite possible that this kind of support from the British contingent of the AMPAS might be enough to boost the film over the rim in several different categories, including Best Actor for Gary Oldman.

There’s a few other surprises and shakeups amidst the nominees. “Hugo” received a total of nine nominations, including Best Director for Martin Scorsese and yet failed to be mentioned for Best Picture or Adapted Screenplay. Meanwhile, “Drive” picked up four nominations including Picture and a fairly weird mention for Carey Mulligan. Why she was nominated for mediocre work here and not for her show-stopping performance in “Shame” is absolutely beyond me. What’s even stranger about the “Drive” nominations is the lack of Albert Brooks. This is the second highbrow snub of the man who was taking down critics awards left and right. I might not even feel bad about it if it wasn’t for his being replaced by the goofy and almost unnecessary performance by Jim Broadbent in “The Iron Lady.”

I was a bit disappointed to see “Moneyball” miss out on a Best Picture nomination. Though, it’s not exactly something that Europeans would respond to as much as American do. On the other hand, Jonah Hill’s nomination, coupled with his equivalent mentions from the SAG and Golden Globes, puts him among the top contenders for an Oscar nomination. If asked a couple months ago, I never would have expected this as a reality.

Of all these nominations, I don’t think anything has spawned more outrage, and rightfully so, then the disgusting snub of Olivia Colman for Best Actress. It’s true, not many know her name yet (though hopefully that will change soon) and the film itself is tiny enough that you may have had to drive across multiple states just to see it. Therefore, exclusion in the USA is understandable. But for the Brits to deny even a nomination to what might be the best performance of the year, in a place where the film is widespread and thriving, is absolutely appalling and degrading. Without a doubt, the BAFTA has dropped the ball like it never has before.

The official awards ceremony is being held in London on February 12th. I might actually set aside the time to watch the live stream, this year. With that said, here are all of the nominees:

Best Film
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“The Help”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best British Film
“My Week With Marilyn”
“Senna”
“Shame”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Nicolas Winding Refn – “Drive”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”
Tomas Alfredson – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy”
Lynne Ramsay – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Actor
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week With Marilyn”
Jim Broadbent – “The Iron Lady”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Ides of March”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Judi Dench – “My Week With Marilyn”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Carey Mulligan – “Drive”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

Best Original Screenplay
“The Artist”
“Bridesmaids”
“The Guard”
“The Iron Lady”
“Midnight in Paris”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“The Ides of March”
“Moneyball”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Incendies”
“Pina”
“Potiche”
“A Separation”
“The Skin I Live In”

Best Documentary
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
“Project Nim”
“Senna”

Best Animated Feature
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Arthur Christmas”
“Rango”

Best Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Costume Design
“The Artist”
“Hugo”
“Jane Eyre”
“My Week With Marilyn”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Film Editing
“The Artist”
“Drive”
“Hugo”
“Senna”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Makeup & Hair
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“The Iron Lady”
“My Week With Marilyn”

Best Music
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Sound
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“War Horse”

Best Visual Effects
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“War Horse”

Best Debut by a British Director, Writer or Producer
Joe Cornish – “Attack the Block”
Will Sharpe, Tom Kingsley and Sarah Brocklehurst – “Black Pond”
Ralph Fiennes – “Coriolanus”
Richard Ayoade – “Submarine”
Paddy Considine – “Tyrannosaur”

“Tyrannosaur” Trailer

August 25, 2011 1 comment

Let’s clear one thing up, right off of the bat:

No, this movie is not about dinosaurs.

Well, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about this potentially strong film. I had heard it’s title pop up every now and then, over the last year. Most prominently, the Sundance Film Festival issued it acting awards for both of its main stars, Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman, as well as Best Director for first-time helmer Paddy Considine.

It tells the story of a harsh Irish community where a woman seeks to remove herself from an abusive relationship. She ends up looking for comfort in the arms of the least-expected person, a mean-spirited, ill-tempered alcoholic, who happens to be seeking his own redemption for his rotten lifestyle.

Apparently, the film contains two off-the-chart amazing performances by Mullan and Colman. I haven’t seen Olivia in much of anything, but look forward to what kind of honesty she can bring to such a damaged character. Peter Mullan, on the other hand, is a long-time favorite of mine. He is both memorable and fantastic in the small roles he has played in films like “Braveheart,” “Trainspotting” and “Children of Men.” Here, he really gets an unusual chance to flex his dramatic muscle. Much like John Hawkes, last year, I hope Mullan is able to truly deliver in this film and be honored with an underdog Oscar nomination. There’s always hope.

Check out the new trailer, below: