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NYFCC Changes the Gameplan

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

This is the kind of news that means absolutely nothing to the average person who doesn’t understand the ins-and-outs of the Oscar race. However, for someone like me, and hopefully many of you, this is some exciting and somewhat outrageous news. The New York Film Critics Circle has been bumping up its awards announcement gradually over the last decade. The event used to not occur until late January, around the time the Oscar nominations were announced. Later, as critics began to take a more influential role in the race, they were bumped up to a mid-December date.

This year, however, the Circle is really going to shake things up by announcing their choices on November 29th, far before anyone else. For sure, this news is bound to ruffle the feathers of other organizations who will now be stuck next in line. In particular, the National Board of Review must be fuming out of their ears in response. Not only was the NBR the very first critics organization to come into existence (founded in New York in 1909 and presenting awards since 1930), but is also traditionally the first group to name the best of each year, usually in the first week of December. They wear that badge of honor like New Hampshire flaunts being the first presidential primary and I cannot believe that they’ll give it up that easily.

While not admitted, there is a clear reason for this shift in the NYFCC’s policy and it comes in the form of my (and many others’) choice for Best Picture last year: “The Social Network.” The groundbreaking film was a unanimously named darling by nearly every critics group in the entire country. Despite believing the obvious (that the film really is that good, which it is), some viewers and pundits lashed out at the critics by calling them sheep and questioning their singularity and individual distinction.

It’s because of this that New York has decided to separate itself from the pack. Now, in case there was any confusion, there is nothing that makes the NYFCC more prestigious or knowledgeable than any of the other major critics’ groups in the country such as Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco or Chicago. In the case that another film comes along and gains a monopoly on the cinema press, New York will probably be on board. It will just appear that they came up with the idea first. So there’s a chance that their egos might be a little fatter than the rest of the country’s.

Stay tuned for more news at The Edge of the Frame as the awards race begins to rear its head.

One Year and Counting…

October 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Well folks, I never thought I would be able to hold out this long. I’ve made blogging attempts before that have come and gone. Either the site never caught on or I just lost interest completely. However, this time around, the adverse of both of those scenarios has happened and I’m proud to report that The Edge of the Frame has now been operating for over a year.

It may not be the exact same blog that it was twelve months ago. Certain changes and alterations have been made to the format and content. However, the integrity of the site and its mission statement remain intact and unwavering. The Edge of the Frame is committed to bringing you up to date Hollywood and awards news while also filling your ears with my own opinions and musings on the world of cinema, old and new.

Now, with this milestone, I hope to revitalize the site and bring back some aspects that have waned in recent months. Perhaps the most glaring shortfall has been the lack of reviews for new select films that I see in theaters. I will attempt to reach a certain quota of movie reviews each month. Along with that, I plan to reinstitute the “New Additions” feature, giving short tidbits for all of the movies that I view and add to my Fields List. Hopefully, I can throw in a few more creative lists, as well.

All the while, we are now entering the Oscar season, a time when my reporting-Tourettes for will be in full swing. Therefore, you’ll be sure to find every critics’ award, juicy announcement and game-changing update that you could ever hope to find right here. It’ll be yet to see if a clear frontrunner emerges that will have this site in its cheering section. I don’t think I have to remind anyone of what that film happened to be last year.

Speaking of the awards race, I believe I’ll kick off this new year with my newest round of Oscar predictions. Watch for those to appear later today. Until then, I thank you all for you’re continuing support of the site. From last October till now, my viewership per month has increased ten times over. It’d be nice to see that same escalation one year from now, and that event will only transpire with the help from all of you. Thank you.

Awards Tally: “The King’s Speech” vs. “The Social Network”

I have one more post to make before I call it a tentative wrap on 2010. There aren’t many questions left unanswered when it comes to the results of this year’s Oscars. “The Social Network” deserved the top honors. Tom Hooper shouldn’t have been allowed near the stage. I could preach my opinions about these two films all day long and still only be able to convince myself. Therefore, I find it worthwhile to offer some hard data to support my claims.

I’ve posted tallies cataloging “The Social Network”‘s record-breaking sweep through the awards. However, now that it has lost the big prize to another film, I figure that it’s only fair to put the two movies side by side and see how they stack up against each other. Then, we’ll just let the evidence speak for itself as to which is really the best film of the year.

This is a list of the awards that both “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network” won leading up to Oscar night:

 

BEST PICTURE

 

“THE SOCIAL NETWORK”

African American Film Critics Association
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Boston Society of Film Critics
Broadcast Film Critics Association
Central Ohio Film Critics Association (runner-up)
Chicago Film Critics Association
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association
Denver Film Critics Society
Detroit Film Critics Society
Florida Film Critics Circle
Golden Globes
Houston Film Critics Society
Indiana Film Journalists Association
International Press Academy
Iowa Film Critics
Kansas City Film Critics Circle
Las Vegas Film Critics Society
London Film Critics Society
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
National Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
New York Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Online
Oklahoma City Film Critics Circle
Online Film Critics Society
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Southeastern Film Critics Association
St. Louis Film Critics Association
Toronto Film Critics Association
Utah Film Critics Association
Vancouver Film Critics Circle
Washington D.C. Film Critics Association

 

“THE KING’S SPEECH”

British Academy of Film and Television
British Independent Film Awards
Phoenix Film Critics Society
Producers Guild of America

 

While we’re at it, let’s take a closer look at the Best Director race:

 

BEST DIRECTOR

 

DAVID FINCHER

Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Boston Society of Film Critics
British Academy of Film and Television
Broadcast Film Critics Association
Chicago Film Critics Association
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association
Denver Film Critics Society
Florida Film Critics Circle
Golden Globes
Houston Film Critics Society
Indiana Film Journalists Association
International Press Academy
Iowa Film Critics
Las Vegas Film Critics Society
London Film Critics Society
Los Angeles Film Critics Association (TIE with Carlos Assayas)
National Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
New York Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Online
Oklahoma City Film Critics Circle
Online Film Critics Society
San Francisco Film Critics Circle (TIE with Darren Aronofsky)
Southeastern Film Critics Association
St. Louis Film Critics Association
Toronto Film Critics Association
Utah Film Critics Association
Vancouver Film Critics Circle
Washington D.C. Film Critics Association

 

TOM HOOPER

Director’s Guild of America

 

So, what do we have, here? The score for Best Picture is 32 to 4 in favor of “The Social Network.” If that wasn’t enough for you, take a look at the scores for Best Director: David Fincher = 29 wins / Tom Hooper = 1 win. That kind of data doesn’t really even need my help to interpret it. It lays it out, clear and simple, that “The Social Network” is the best-reviewed film of the year, the most highly-acclaimed film of the year and the most-awarded film of the year. In other words: the best film of the year. Live with that, Academy.

The 83rd Academy Awards – Postgame Coverage

March 2, 2011 1 comment

Well, not that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system, I think it’s fitting to move on to the rest of the awards presented Sunday night. As usual, they included some good, some bad, and some just downright ugly.

As far as the the show, itself, was concerned, I’d rate it about a four out of ten. Even in the face of enormous support for them, I remember stating a long time ago that selecting Hathaway and Franco as a hosting pair was just a bad idea. Finally, my convictions have been exonerated. I’m not sure what exactly was going on here, but it didn’t work. I know that Franco is not an idiot, so he was either bored, stage-frought or stoned out of his mind. Whichever path he took, he just was not there in any form of personality. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway went way over the top in an attempt to overcompensate for Franco’s absence. A few funny lines, but overall, it was a mess.

Yes. On to the awards. I’ve already made my thoughts clear on the results of Best Picture and they are quite strong. However, if there were a race that I would have to object to, equally, if not moreso, it would have to be Best Director. The idea of Tom Hooper winning the award amongst this crop of nominees is more than absurd, it’s hilarious. Hooper’s effort in “The King’s Speech” did not merit him an Oscar and his career is substantially insufficient for such an honor. The Oscar, hands-down, should have gone to David Fincher. The man knew exactly what he wanted and got it to an extent of perfection that you don’t often see in films.

It’s true that David Fincher does not need an Oscar to make it in this industry. He’s widely considered one of the finest directors working in Hollywood and will go on to make extraordinary films. However, there is the notion of awarding in the moment. It’s quite possible that Fincher may never reach the level of perfection that he achieved here. If there’s one thing that history should have taught the Academy, it’s that Martin Scorsese should never have had to wait until “The Departed” to win an Oscar. While being in the company of “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s sad to imagine that no matter what Fincher eventually wins for, it will be considered a “re-ward.” The Oscars should understand a man’s masterpiece when it’s put in front of their faces.

The only other moments of true disgust occurred in the design categories, which were monopolized by the showy monstrosity that was Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” While I predicted Colleen Atwood to take home yet another Oscar for her work on the costumes, I was really kind of hoping that it wouldn’t happen. And seeing the ridiculously gaudy, and really quite ugly, production design conquer some beautiful works of art was a horrible sight. This is an award that I actually would have preferred go to “The King’s Speech,” at least over this. However, it was “Inception”‘s intricately inventive world that was snubbed. Tim Burton’s latest is a film that really shouldn’t be able to hold the title “Academy Award Winner,” especially when none of the design was even built. I mean it’s an entire movie filmed on a green screen.

Most of the great awards of the night, sadly, were the ones that were quite expected. “Toy Story 3” was a lock for the win since the day it opened in theaters. “The Social Network” won for Best Editing because there was really no competition anywhere near in the same ballpark. If a single person didn’t vote for Aaron Sorkin’s absolutely flawless script, I might consider them clinically insane. “Inception”‘s three tech wins were all well-deserved, but it was difficult not to see that sweep occurring, much in the same style as such special-effect wonders as “King Kong,” “The Matrix” and “Jurassic Park.”

It’s hard to argue with the acting wins, even if not a single one of them has differed once, going back from the SAG, to the Golden Globes and the BFCA. The only performer who’s Oscar went hand in hand with an Edgy was Natalie Portman. A truly astonishing performance, the one aspect of “Black Swan” in which recognition is absolutely essential. Firth is definitely not my first choice for Best Actor. However, it’s the type of role that’s difficult not to respect and an actor difficult not to adore. Leo and Bale were both phenomenal and also get props for having the most out-of-control acceptance speeches of the year.

I won’t lie that I have to fly in the face of popular opinion on one issue. I’m very happy that the Academy went back to showing clips for each of the acting nominees rather than just having a bunch of people on stage talking about them. While, it must be nice for the performer to hear their peers praise their work, it’s just another gratuitous way of celebrities patting each other on the back and toasting to their own successes. It’s really kind of grotesque, in a way. Besides, I always looked forward in suspense as to which clip the producers would choose to represent each actor. It’s also a way to present an example of each person’s work for those viewers who haven’t seen all of the performances and in a way that words just can’t substitute.

Perhaps the most bittersweet moment of the night was seeing Wally Pfister receive the award for Best Cinematography. If I was to pick a handful of cinematographers whose work has truly left a mark on the last decade of cinema, Pfister would be at the head of the pack. He is a true master of camera movement and has a perfect eye for lighting a shot. “Inception” is a great exhibition of both these magnificent talents and I couldn’t be happier for him. Yet, one has to wonder, at this point, if the Academy will ever be willing to finally bestow Roger Deakins with his first Oscar. He is one of the most respected directors of photography in the industry, living or dead, and his record with Oscar is now zero for nine. One year, they are really going to have to stop passing him over.

There was one moment of the night that will always live in my memory as a true favorite and that was Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross taking the stage. Even if the Academy isn’t ready to come out of their comfort zone in Best Picture, one really has to give them props for awarding one of the most unorthodox and creative soundtracks ever scored for a substantial film. Reznor and Ross engineered a combination of both traditional rhythms with radical themes of electronic rock tracks. Now that all is said and done, it’s hard to imagine any other type of music narrating “The Social Network.” In a field of fantastic nominees, this year, this is a score that truly stands out. Well done, Academy. One of your better decisions.

Well, that’s my take on the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. While it’s hard to let go of, I believe it’s about time to move on. I believe we have at least a few days time before the race for next year’s Oscars begins, and I’ve got a lot of good stuff in store. Stay tuned.

“The King’s Speech” Wins – Welcome to Reality

March 1, 2011 4 comments

All right, it took some time to process what has happened, but I’m ready to say my piece.

I’d like to preface this article by stating very clearly that I do not dislike “The King’s Speech.” I think that it is at least a solid film and a “good” film. The film at least deserved a few nominations, as even I gave it in the Edgy Awards last week. Try to keep that in mind, even if everything I am about to write flies in the face this statement.

Furthermore, I’d like to state a disclaimer. It is my dream to do this for a living. I want to be a professional film critic and awards pundit and I would very much hope this blog to be a launching point for that goal. However, it is important for all of my readers to remember that this IS a blog. If I was to write for a syndicated newspaper or established professional website, I would do my best to keep my opinions dutifully in check and maintain an even-keeled view on the world of cinema. Yet, on this blog, I reserve the right to tell it like it is, as they say, and let slip my own dogs of war upon the current situation.

I’ll just start things off by just coming out and stating it: “The King’s Speech” winning Best Motion Picture of the Year has got to be one of the worst decisions that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has ever made. I do not say this only because the film is grossly undeserving of such a distinction. I say it because of the audacity in picking what is obviously the safest route among a crop of much edgier and, ultimately, better films.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, and I know you all never get tired of hearing it. “The Social Network” is the best film of the year. In my opinion, this statement is indisputable. It deserved the Oscar perhaps more than any other film in at least the last decade. Last night was a proverbial snub, one of the very worst kind. However, it’s much more than that.

i don’t know about everyone else, but I think that it’s the goal of human civilization to move forward with the times. We should always be advancing as a people. The Academy it seems, does not see it that way. Filmmaking is always a changing medium, constantly progressing and reinventing itself. Many films this year, including “Black Swan,” “Inception,” “Toy Story 3,” “127 Hours,” and above all else, “The Social Network” are indicative of this notion. “The King’s Speech” represents a backwards-moving logic; filmmaking of the most basic, uninventive and insipid quality.

Last night’s events were not only a disappointment for cinema and those who believe that the Oscars should reflect the best that the industry has to offer. They were not just a slap in the face of some of the finest filmmakers at the top of their game producing some of the greatest work of their careers. What it is, however, is the setting of a dangerous precedent. The Academy has made it very clear that the award for Best Picture does not have to be based on what’s the best film, but rather what is the best film for them, so to speak.

“The Social Network” had practically a monopoly on all critics’ awards for Best Picture. This was not a fluke. These are individuals who know about film. They are paid for their opinions because their opinions are intelligent, educated and respected. They are also people who take great pride in their work. They are not influenced by outside parties and they are not in cahoots with each other. With one voice, these critics from dozens of different outlets and cities almost universally declared “The Social Network” as the best film of the year.

So what happened? David Fincher’s film was on a winning streak like has never been seen before up until the awards shifted from the critics to the industry itself. “The King’s Speech” captured awards from the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild and the Screen Actors Guild. So why is that the people who make movies have such a unified opinion against “The Social Network”? It’s because “The King’s Speech” is the epitome of Hollywood’s ideal movie. It’s low-budget. It was a huge box office success. It has an enchanting cast and a heartwarming story. It’s noncontroversial. It’s likeable. Bottom-line: it’s easy. This is the type of movie that Hollywood wants to make: ones that the audience will eat up hook, line and sinker. Not the best, just good enough. That’s the reality we live in.

Well, speaking as one of the hundreds of critics in the country who were just informed that we were flat-out wrong, I consider this a disgrace.

If that’s the present world, then I guess all that’s left is the future. And what will the future tell about the current situation? I personally can’t wait. I can’t wait for the day, maybe twenty years from now, when “The Social Network” is considered a classic; an artful and original masterpiece that is completely indicative of our time and culture. And what will “The King’s Speech” be? It will be forgotten. It will go down as a second-rate “Shakespeare in Love,” remembered only in passing simply as the film that, quite oddly, beat “The Social Network” for Best Picture. Like it or not, only one of these films will truly stand the test of time.

In the meantime, we have to accept reality and just hope that next year will bring better results. Only twelve months to go, and you can bet I’ll still be here writing about it. Hope you all are, too.

And there that is….

February 28, 2011 4 comments

Well folks. The night is over. I could say that there really isn’t anything to say, but I won’t lie. There is a lot to say. And I will be saying it, but you will all have to wait until tomorrow. I’m tired, drunk and, not ashamed to say it, just straight up pissed. I’ve got to go to bed and spend some time sulking in my own astonishment and gloom.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a comprehensive and probably expletive-laden commentary on the travesty that was Oscar Night ’11. In the meantime, I’d like to thank you all for sticking with this blog throughout the course of this Oscar season. I couldn’t have done it without my loyal readers.

In case you weren’t watching (?), here is the full list of winners:

BEST PICTURE: “The King’s Speech”

BEST DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper – “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTOR: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian Bale – “The Fighter”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Social Network”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “In a Better World”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Toy Story 3”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Inside Job”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Inception”

BEST EDITING: “The Social Network”

BEST ART DIRECTION: “Alice in Wonderland”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Alice in Wonderland”

BEST SOUND MIXING: “Inception”

BEST SOUND EDITING: “Inception”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Inception”

BEST MAKEUP: “The Wolfman”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The Social Network”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT: “The Lost Thing”

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT: “God of Love”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: “Strangers No More”

I went 18/24 in my predictions. It would have been 20 for 24 had the Academy……well, you all know. I’ll get into it tomorrow. Good night.

My Final 83rd Oscar Predictions

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, folks, it’s all come to an end. These will be my final predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. It has been a long year and a tough year, one with one of the biggest tide-turnings in the history of film. It’s hard to see the best, as well as my favorite, movie go from being on top of the world to fighting for its life. I still believe that it will come out victorious in the end, but I will be hanging on to that prediction by my fingernails until the first ballot is called.

This year, some of the races are a foregone conclusion. Both lead acting categories were practically finalized months ago, and the supporting awards are pretty close to sewn up, as well. You can probably take both of the screenplay awards to the bank, as well, along with animated feature. I also feel pretty confident calling both sound categories and visual effects for a single film to capture.

Several awards are thoroughly nagging on me and will be to the very end. One will be the very first ballot called, so we won’t have to wait long. Art Direction is in a very close. “The King’s Speech” is definitely the front runner with both “Inception” and “Alice in Wonderland” biting at its heals. It’s interesting to note that in all the times that a Tim Burton film has been nominated for this particular award, it has never lost. That statistic goes hand in hand with another, in that every time one such movie has been nominated for Best Costume Design, it has never won. I plan to go against that logic tonight, even as it faces a very strong contender in “The King’s Speech.”

Along with Design, both of the music categories have been severely nagging at me, as well. In Original Score, there is a showdown between the two Best Picture frontrunners, the stylish and innovative music in “The Social Network” vs. the quiet, beautiful, but really quite boring tones of “The King’s Speech.” Meanwhile, “Inception” and “How to Train Your Dragon” both have potential as spoilers. In Best Original Song, Randy Newman is looking for his second Oscar with the song “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” while A.R. Rahman seeks his third (he won two for “Slumdog Millionaire). Either has potential.

Finally, we come to the big one. It’s funny how after everything else, Best Picture ends up being the closest race of all. In one corner, there’s “The King’s Speech,” the heart-warming, generally-appealing historical epic. In its pocket are the PGA, the DGA and the SAG Ensemble. It’s opposition: “The Social Network,” is the original, stylized, cold-shouldered work of art. Behind it is the Golden Globe, the BFCA, the WGA, the ACE and basically every critics award for Best Picture that exists. It will be a fight to the finish. The one question the Academy has to ask themselves now.

Do they want to be smart or do they want to be saps? I still have faith.

My final predictions:

BEST PICTURE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: Tom Hooper – “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTOR
Winner: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: Jesse Eisenberg – “The Social Network”

BEST ACTRESS
Winner: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
Runner-Up: Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner: Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner: Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Hailee Steinfeld – “True Grit”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “Toy Story 3”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Winner: “In a Better World”
Runner-Up: “Incendies”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Winner: “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “How to Train Your Dragon”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: “Inside Job”
Runner-Up: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Winner: “True Grit”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST EDITING
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ART DIRECTION
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Winner: “Alice in Wonderland”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST SOUND MIXING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “The Social Network”

BEST SOUND EDITING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “TRON: Legacy”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “Alice in Wonderland”

BEST MAKEUP
Winner: “The Wolfman”
Runner-Up: “Barney’s Version”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Winner: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Winner: “The Gruffalo”
Runner-Up: “Day and Night”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Winner: “Strangers No More”
Runner-Up: “Poster Girl”

BEST LIVE-ACTION FILM
Winner: “Na Wewe”
Runner-Up: “The Confession”

Enjoy the Oscars folks!