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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…

My 2011 Top Ten List

February 16, 2012 2 comments

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:

“The Artist”

Written and Directed by
Michel Hazanavicius

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.

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…

My Reaction: The Good, the Meh, and the Ugly, Part 2

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

When writing the last post, I had realized that it would be too difficult to boil these nomination down into two categories of “good” and “bad,” because, honestly, so much of this morning’s announcement was just vanilla, to me. I don’t love them, I don’t hate them. They’re just kind of there. I wish they weren’t, but they could be worse. Some may say that this is kind of a useless post, but for me, this post pretty much defines the 2011 movie season. I don’t hate it, I’m just ready to move on.

THE MEH

 

Without a doubt, this year’s best picture line-up was the most mediocre I think I’ve ever seen. I look back at the sorts of ballsy, edgy choices that the AMPAS were putting on the table no more than few years ago, with nominees like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote” and “There Will Be Blood,” and on top of that, winners such as “The Departed,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “The Hurt Locker.”

Then I see this year, and I am BORED. “Hugo?” “War Horse?” And of course everyone’s favorite that’s rife with controversy, “The Artist?” Now, okay, I’m not saying that all of the year’s movies have to piss people off or twist people’s minds. My favorite on the year definitely doesn’t (though it makes up for it with astounding quality). Yet, as artists, filmmakers have a responsibility, to shake things up. To be bold. I don’t see a lot of that, here.

What could have shaken things up, you ask? Plenty. What about “Shame?” Steve McQueen’s quiet, yet somehow epic tale of sex addiction and deprivation is already probably better than anything else in the line-up. Then there’s Nicholas Winding Refn’s hardcore crime study, “Drive,” which isn’t exactly one of my favorites on the year, but it’s a nomination I could certainly respect the Academy for putting up. This should prove that there’s no accounting for taste with what I’m talking about. Hell, some of my least favorite nominations today were those surrounding Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” because at least that decision had some audacity to it. It’s films like that, whether I like them or not, that are going to be talked about and discussed, decades from now.

Then there’s the Christmas turkey. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which received more guild nominations than half of the other nominees (obviously popular within the industry), was left off, and it might be the most important of the bunch. That’s because the viewers can’t get through it’s gritty and uncompromising demeanor and see through to the beautiful and vital message it presents of sexism and the triumph of diversity in a quiet and unoffensive world. This film deserves to be in the conversation and should be on the Best Picture ballot.

When “The King’s Speech” won Best Picture, last year, I believed that that particular nightmare was over. I thought that the Academy had gotten it out of their system. This year, I was proven wrong. The Oscars, it seems, will never fully evolve into a body that respects style, nuance, and, more than anything else, change. The Academy needs to move out of the twentieth century and into a new era. Yet, more than any of these things, it needs to understand that sometimes, feeling bad is feeling good. Sappiness, melodrama and things that warm your heart are not necessarily tools of good filmmaking, at least not good enough to clog the higher ranks of these nominations with them.

Grow up, Oscars. As Billy Beane so eloquently put it, “Adapt or die,” before it’s too late, and nobody gives a crap, anymore.

Wow, look at that. I got all hot and bothered and I haven’t even gotten to “The Ugly” segment of this article, yet. I will try to have that part of the article done by tonight.

Updated Oscar Predictions – 1/6

January 6, 2012 Leave a comment

These might be my final set of predictions before last call on January 23rd. There’s still a mess-load of guilds on their way and a box office that could still declare certain films winners (or losers), but I still feel pretty confident about these choices. Feel free to comment whether you agree or think I’m crazy.

One note: I have spent the entire year not predicting “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” while everyone else was jumping on the bandwagon. Now that the film has all but completely fallen off the radar (thanks to the utter panning of critics), I can’t help but feel a sense of unadulterated joy. Maybe I’ll be eating my words, later on, but for now…huzzah.

One more note: The Academy’s new method of having and indiscriminate amount of Best Picture nominees has made predicting that category nearly impossible. Therefore, I will still guess on the full ten and you can go ahead and judge by the numbers I provide as to what will make it if there are nine or eight, etc…

BEST PICTURE

1. “The Artist”
2. “Hugo”
3. “The Descendants”
4. “The Help”
5. “War Horse”
6. “Midnight in Paris”
7. “Moneyball”
8. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
9. “Bridesmaids”
10. “The Tree of Life”

Alt 1: “Drive”
Alt 2: “My Week with Marilyn”

Read more…

Updated Oscar Predictions – 10/13

October 17, 2011 2 comments

Another month has passed, and many of the biggest potential candidates have yet to be released to the general public (or the people who actually vote on them). However, there have definitely been a few shifts in the state of the race. Several horses have solidified themselves while others have fallen from grace. Meanwhile, most still remain a mystery.

One film has certainly been securely planted into the Best Picture race after a decent showing in the box office and nearly unanimous praise from critics (including this one). That movie is “Moneyball.” Aaron Sorkin looks to make it two nominations in a row with his fantastic script shared with Stephen Zallian. For sure, Brad Pitt, Bennett Miller and even Jonah Hill also have chances for nominations as well. The film is far from a lock in terms of a Best Picture nomination, especially with the potentially smaller field. Yet, it has definitely sky-rocketed into contention.

While certain films are on the rise, others are falling fast. One of the season’s early hopefuls has hit a series of brick walls on the festival trail. David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” had a lot of potential, but is mostly coming across critics and audiences that simply like it or don’t. Rave reviews are an elusive find. While Keira Knightley is definitely getting the majority of the raves, keeping her in the game, the studio is attempting to campaign her in the leading category, which I personally see as a mistake. Maybe “Method” still has a shot at a few nominations, but overall, it seems to be fading fast into limbo.

One major question, awaiting a final judgment, is whether or not “The Adventures of Tin Tin” will be ruled as an animated film or as live action due to its motion capture. This will have a huge impact on at least Best Animated Feature, for if it is ruled a cartoon, expect it to win in a walk. If not, then “Rango” becomes the frontrunner. For now, I will keep it in the category and I hope it stays. God help us when the Academy and people as a whole start to lose track of what is animated and what isn’t. I mean, seriously.

Finally, one movie that was originally poised for a potential victory on the big night was “The Ides of March.” However, now that the film has come and nearly gone, it doesn’t seem to have made as big of a splash that it would have liked. box office was relatively poor and reviews are missing a positive consensus. It seems as though the idea of the film (a political thriller, very much in the moment with George Clooney in nearly every single credit) is keeping it afloat more so than the film itself. Since critics will most likely pass it over when their awards come along, the buzz will have to survive until the guilds for it to have any kind of chance.

As far as “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” I really don’t know what to do with it, yet. As much as everyone else sees it becoming THE frontrunner for pretty much everything, I could just as easily see it missing completely. For now, I’m leaving it out of most categories, but that may change if the buzz increases once critics actually start to see it.

Well, enough talk. I will let the rest of my predictions speak for themselves. Check out the full list after the jump or up in the predictions tab in the corner of the page. Enjoy!

BEST PICTURE

1. War Horse
2. The Descendants
3. J. Edgar
4. The Artist
5. The Ides of March
6. The Help
7. Moneyball
8. Midnight in Paris
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Alt 1: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Alt 2: The Tree of Life

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NEW “Shame” Trailer

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I know that I said I would have my new Oscar predictions up, and I am working on that. However, this is something that any self-respecting movie aficionado should not miss. It’s almost a plain and simple fact that no film has been more talked about on the festival circuits then Steve McQueen’s visceral and provocative “Shame.” Michael Fassbender took home the Volpi Cup for Best Actor and the film had to have come close to taking down the grand prize both at Venice and Toronto. When Fox Searchlight picked up the distributing rights for the film, it was going to be very curious as to how they would go about marketing it. It seems that they have hit the nail on the head.

For those that don’t know, the film tells the story of Brandon (Michael Fassbender) a rising New York City businessman who has an insatiable and unwavering addiction to having sex. Things become more complicated when his needy sister (Carey Mulligan) moves in with him and attempts to help fight his situation. The film has been heralded as a masterpiece, while also cited for its unrelenting sexuality. It will indefinitely receive an NC-17 rating, with little doubt of a fight from its maverick director. Usually, this would potentially injure an independent film quite badly in its fight for viewers. However, if Searchlight continues to pump out incredible trailers like the one below, they should have no problem building up a cult army of box office supporters. All this is making a Best Actor nomination for Michael Fassbender more and more likely.

I will definitely be first in line when it is released. In the mean time, I think I’ll watch this trailer again. Enjoy.