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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…

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“Tree of Life” Wins the ASC

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

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.

“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”

ASC Announces, Snubs Janusz Kaminski

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

The American Society of Cinematographers had actually scheduled to unveil yesterday, but announced that they needed an extra day. I had hoped that that additional time would have provided a bit of clarity to help them make some intelligent choices. My logic was both rewarded and ignored.

The nominees are:

Guillaume Schiffman – “The Artist”
Jeff Cronenweth – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Robert Richardson – “Hugo”
Hoyte van Hoytema – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Emmanuel Lubezki – “The Tree of Life”

The big story in the awards community, as of late, has been the repeated snubbage of Steven Spielberg’s WWI epic, “War Horse.” A diehard Steven Spielberg fan, like myself, hasn’t really seen this as a problem for a few reasons. For one thing, the film was never really intended for grandiose awards intentions, but to me more of a family-friendly experience. Secondly, it’s quite simply not an example of Spielberg’s best work. I’m ready to sit back and wait for next year’s release of “Lincoln,” which I’ve been waiting six years for.

However, if there was one guild that “War Horse” did not deserve to be left out in the cold from, it was the ASC. This is a true slap in the face to some brilliant labor done by maybe the world’s greatest working cinematographer. I’d argue that Janusz Kaminski deserves to be on this list more than any of these other names. I know that there were some complaints about some of the daylight exteriors looking artificial and obviously lit, but that was kind of the point. Spielberg wanted this film to stand as an ode to 1940’s and 50s epics and westerns. He wanted it to reflect the work of guys like John Ford and Victor Garber. He didn’t want it to look like a documentary, but rather an oil painting, and he succeeded. Not to mention that the moving shots of the horse running displays some of the finest camerawork I’ve ever seen.

Another disappointing, yet a little more expected, snub was Wally Pfister’s low key, yet brilliant, work on Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball.” In this feature, Pfister goes back to his earlier work on film’s like “Memento” to shoot some beautifully drab and dismal environments. He also uses a technique that he has mastered (though first perfected by the above-mentioned Kaminski) of finding a wonderful medium between smooth and handheld camera movements. The baseball-playing scenes, in particular, are gorgeous.

As far as the actual nominees go, one would be crazy not to applaud and, eventually, put their money behind “The Tree of Life.” I certainly have some reservations about this film, but one has to give credit where credit is due. Emmanuel Lubezki’s poetic control over the camera, operating with such minimal available light, is absolutely awe-inspiring. The man is one hell of a cinematographer, having performed awards-worthy work in “Children of Men” and “Sleepy Hollow,” and will finally received his first, long-deserved Oscar in February. Put that in the books.

I certainly can’t complain too much about the nomination of “The Artist.” The blending of 1930s constraints with the imagination of the 21st Century is truly phenomenal at times. And unlike other films, they’re able to utilize the black and white rather than let it be a detriment to them. I was hooked by one of the first shots of Dujardin and his dog looking up at themselves on the big screen. The shot is magnificent and reflects the best kind of Orson Welles-fare.

I don’t really have many comments for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” due to my still having put off seeing it. Meanwhile, I cannot bring myself to hide my disdain for Robert Richardson’s work in “Hugo.” The cinematography is epic, grandiose, and absolutely uninspiring. Obviously, my lackluster response to the film, itself, influences my opinion here, but I felt the camerawork to be boring and impersonal. It really makes me miss the gritty and poetic collaborations between Scorsese and his former DPs, Michael Chapman and Michael Ballhaus. Return to your roots, Marty.

Wow, I nearly forgot to shine my praise down on Jeff Cronenweth’s masterful crafting of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” He and David Fincher are constantly proving why digital cinematography is the way of the future and taking it to new artistic depths. The cold and fierce look that the two collaborators put to use, here, is masterfully befitting the source material. I think it’s worth mentioning that the POV shot during the climax, seen from behind a sheet of plastic, is maybe one of the most terrifying I’ve seen in cinema.

The ASC announces its winners on Sunday, February 12th. Expect nothing short of an unstoppable “Artist” sweep to keep this award out of Lubezki’s hands.

And You Thought We Were Done: San Francisco and Indiana

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

As if yesterday wasn’t quite ridiculously chaotic enough, a handful of cities decided to pile on. Along with these choices, Detroit and Houston also decided to issue their lists of nominees. At this point in time, one has to ask if it’s really necessary for cities such as Detroit or Houston to actually issue nominees. Therefore, I will postpone posting about their decisions until they actually make them.

In the meantime, here are the winners of the always interesting San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the particularly unusual and surprisingly unique decisions of the Indiana Film Critics Association. “Win Win” was certainly the unsung favorite of the hoosier state (despite “The Artist” taking the top prizes). Meanwhile, San Francisco chose to honor “The Tree of Life,” while also being the first critics group to finally bestow some love on “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

Here’s the winners:

 

SAN FRANCISCO FILM CRITICS CIRCLE:

 

BEST PICTURE: “The Tree of Life”

BEST DIRECTOR: Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”

BEST ACTOR: Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

BEST ACTRESS: Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Albert Brooks – “Drive”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Vanessa Redgrave – “Coriolanus”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Margin Call”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Tree of Life”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Rango”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “Certified Copy”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “Tabloid”

SPECIAL CITATION: “The Mill and the Cross”

 

INDIANA  FILM JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION:

 

BEST FILM: “The Artist”

runner-up: “The Descendants”

BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
runner-up: “Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”

BEST ACTOR: Paul Giamatti – “Win Win”
runner-up: Ralph Fiennes – “Coriolanus”

BEST ACTRESS: Elizabeth Olsen – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
runner-up: Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
runner-up: Albert Brooks – “Drive”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Viola Davis – “The Help”
runner-up: Amy Ryan – “Win Win”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”
runner-up: “Moneyball”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Win Win”
runner-up: “Margin Call”

BEST MUSICAL SCORE: “The Artist”
runner-up: “Hugo”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Rango”
runner-up: “Winnie the Pooh”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Skin I Live In”
runner-up: “13 Assassins”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “Project Nim”
runner-up: “Into the Abyss”

ORIGINAL VISION AWARD: “The Tree of Life”
runner-up: “The Artist”

HOOSIER AWARD: Lindsay Goffman, producer – “Dumbstruck”

“2011 Portfolio” Montage

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Oh, how much I love a good montage. They really are the central core of my happiness every once in a while. That’s another reason why I love this time of year, when some young whiz with Final Cut Pro creates a montage of all the films of the past year. I’m not gonna lie, this has got to be one of the best that I’ve ever seen. Credit given to the folks at Awardsdaily for finding this gem. Even though it runs a little long and is a little too action-oriented at times, it honestly makes me wonder why I seem to have such a disdain for this year in film (which has been growing in my mind as of late). In particular, it makes me wish that I hadn’t missed “Like Crazy” when it played only a couple of blocks from where I live.

The montage goes through five rounds of music and never seems to get boring or repetitive. Perhaps the only thing I bemoan is the amount of illegally downloaded content might have been achieved for the success of this. Hopefully, I’m mistaken.

Regardless, enjoy this fantastic montage. It makes even the bad movies look pretty damned fantastic.

Updated Oscar Predictions – 12/5

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Thought I’d throw these up real quick before anything has the chance to further throw things off track. With so much going on, it’s almost impossible to do this without live prediction updates with every new announcement. Yet, it’s important to remember that many of the announcements, while notable, are not intensively significant in terms of the Oscar season. When predicting at this point, you almost have to just stick your finger up and see where the wind is blowing.

There are two films that have certainly positioned themselves at the head of the field, and it’s not like we weren’t already aware. “The Descendants” and “The Artist” have dominated the majority of awards announcements thus far and are not likely to stop.”Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life” have definitely shown their still in the game, while “Hugo” has emerged as a candidate and potential frontrunner.

While the guilds will largely decide its fate, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” has yet to receive any notice at all. Neither, to some extent, has “War Horse,” yet Mr. Spielberg’s film is far from leaving contention. Meanwhile, “The Girl with Dragon Tattoo” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” remain shrouded in a fair amount of mystery.

Remember, that while I hope that these predictions are a bit more relevant than my last, things are going to get blown wide open in about ten days when we have the results of the BFCA, the SAG and the Golden Globe nominations. Therefore, enjoy these while they last. Things are about to get messy.

Check out my full list of predictions after the cut:

BEST PICTURE

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

Alt 1: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Alt 2: “Shame”

Read more…