As I watched the telecast of Sunday’s awards, going over the mixture of predictably safe choices, three words kept circling through my head, like scrolling text on the side of a blimp: BUSINESS AS USUAL. It’s been known for a while that the French silent film “The Artist” was scheduled to take home many of the top awards including Best Picture and Best Director. However, what was not expected was that the sweep would be split between it and Martin Scorsese’s family film (I feel like my hatred towards it spawns mostly from having to join those four words together), “Hugo,” which matched “The Artist’s” total of five wins. In simplest terms, I’d describe these wins as safe, mundane and boring, but honestly, what else is new? Read more…
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)
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)
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)
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.
The American Society of Cinematographers held their gala and awards ceremony, celebrating the greatest achievements in cinematography from the 2011 film season. Of all the nominees, this year, one film has singled itself as the frontrunner by taking home nearly every honor for camera and lighting that it’s had the opportunity to. After being endlessly praised and awarded for his work on “The Tree of Life,” some believed that his peers in the ASC would throw Emmanuel Lubezki (and all of us) for a loop and go with something else. Yet, Malick and “El Chivo” fans can rejoice for the ASC’s grand prize did in fact go into said film’s pocket.
As far as my opinion is concerned, “The Tree of Life” may not have been my favorite work of the year, but certainly worth recognition. Working with such little light (and little story, if I want to be snarky), Lubezki took such small and seemingly insignificant events of a person’s life and crafted them into series upon series of gorgeous imagery that will be talked about for decades.
What does this all mean for Oscar? Well after “The Artist” managed to take down the cinematography prize at the British Academy Awards (also yesterday) and considering the potential “sweep” status of the film, I’d say that it is “The Tree of Life”‘s only real competition at this point. However, you have to consider that the Brits were not offered an official chance to screen “The Tree of Life,” so it’s impossible to gauge how that would have played out. Personally, I honestly can’t imagine that voters would not see how stupid they would look snubbing El Chivo again after his egregious loss for “Children of Men.” Yet, then again…Deakins.
Oh well. I stand by what I said two months ago. Next Sunday is going to be Emmanuel’s coronation as one of the finest cinematographers in the game. If not, I’ll have egg on my face, as will many, many more.
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.
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.
The time is here. Unbelievable. I woke up this morning with such a sense of elation, pride and sheer terror. As I believe I had stated at this point, last January, I find this point in the race to be more nerve-racking and exciting than that fateful day in February. This is when, in my mind, the true winners are announced. I know it’s a savage cliche in this industry, but to be real, I truly believe that it is an honor just to be nominated. Especially when people like Harvey Weinstein exist in the world. If you are able to squeeze out a nomination without that “The Weinstein Company” in your opening credits, then I say “Bravo” to you, sir or madam. Besides, when you look at history, ninety percent of the time, it’s the films that don’t win that get remembered so much more. I’d say that those films are far better company to keep.
Well, I’ll take this time, beforehand, to address any sudden change or surge that has occurred since my last batch of nominations. The big one, indeed came after the announcement of the BAFTA nominations and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” suddenly became a legitimate contender. Granted, I do not believe (though some seem to) that it will receive the same level of recognition (11 nominations. Whew.), but I am fully expecting it to pop up in a few categories. In fact, perhaps my biggest “out-on-a-limb” prediction is Gary Oldman snagging his first career mention. I mean in reality, who cares what the Globes say and the SAG nominations are from a random sampling, so who knows how many of them have even heard of Oldman or understand his plight. I believe that, at this point, members of the Academy’s acting branch know that it’s about damn time to give this legendary actor his due. Plus, the British contingent of the Academy may help push him over the edge.
If you had asked any prognosticator two months ago if they believed that, on the day before nominations, “War Horse” would be on the bubble, they’d have said the chances were slim. Yet, here we are. If it hadn’t been for that Producers Guild nomination, which at this point, almost seems strange, this film would be considered completely out of contention. Lacking any kind of mention from the DGA, the SAG, the WGA or the ASC, the film’s chances have dropped through the floor. Many believe that “Bridesmaids” has a better chance, at this point.
Speaking of “Bridesmaids,” I’ll address its status along with a few other “on-the-bubble” films. Many are hoping and believing that this will be the first Judd Apatow production to make the shortlist. Yet, despite all of its guild nominations, I think it will fail to make the cut. The Academy’s balloting procedures, which require a large number of #1 votes, will prevent it. Now it seems that “The Tree of Life” should be able to excel by those standards, due to the fervent passion of its followers, However, I believe that this film has seen its day with the critics, but will not register as well with the industry. The fate of “Drive” will follow along a similar path, despite a push from the BAFTAs. In a world where there was still an assured number of ten nominees, one or all of these might sneak in, but not this year.
Well, on to those nomination predictions. Won’t be able to say that again until, well, the day after this year’s Oscars. Once again, these are ranked by chance of getting nominated. If I put a film or individual at the number one spot, that does not necessarily mean I think it will win. That’s a whole different ballpark.
Here comes the part that’s hardest: double crossing my fingers. For someone in my position who has two loves, predicting the Oscars and loving films, this day is a double-edged sword. As much as I want my own favorites to somehow work their way into the categories, in many cases, I’m predicting against them. Therefore, no matter what happens, I’ll be feeling a twinge of sadness. But as Sasha Stone, one of the best analysts of the Oscar race and my personal idol says, “The trick is not minding.”
Here goes nothing:
1. “The Artist”
3. “The Descendants”
4. “The Help”
5. “Midnight in Paris”
6. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
8. “War Horse” (if there are eight)
9. “Bridesmaids” (if there are nine)
10. “The Tree of Life” (if there are ten)
Alt 1: “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Alt 2: “Drive”
I can’t say I’m as enthralled by the MPSE’s nominations. They just don’t have the same oomph and hutzpah that their younger brother, the Cinema Audio Society, seems to exhibit. It might have to do with their obvious indecisiveness, citing forty-seven nominees split into seven different categories. I do, in fact, understand the difference in editing both music and dialogue, yet, when you can’t narrow it down past eight nominees for ADR editing, you’re just not trying hard enough.
That brings me to the second point which is quality. When you’re nominating films like “Hop,” “Abduction” and “Priest” for actual awards, those films better have sound editing on par with “Saving Private Ryan.” Otherwise, you look just about as stupid as the Academy’s make-up branch when they nominate the latest Eddie Murphy or Adam Sandler flick. Some films just deserve to be forgotten and by nominating them for awards, you’re just not helping anyone. And “Quarantine II: Terminal”? Seriously? I have no words.
As far as what these awards mean for Oscar, one thing’s for sure. Even if the Academy’s visual effects corridor has shunned it, “Super 8” has certainly made its make in regards to its sound. After picking up a CAS nom yesterday, the film dominated the MPSE with three mentions, in other words, every category that it was eligible in. I think it would be safe to put money on Abrams’ film making it in for at least one, if not both of the AMPAS sound categories.
See the full list of nominees after the cut:
BEST SOUND EDITING: SOUND EFFECTS AND FOLEY IN A FEATURE FILM
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”