Well, folks, the 2011 awards season is officially here. Now I can start obsessively writing about the Oscars and everything leading up to them.
Aside from Martha Marcy May Marlene and I guess, The Tree of Life, I have been rather underwhelmed by many 2011 releases so far. But there are still plenty of movies I need to see – Beginners, Melancholia, Shame, that movie about horses that shall remain nameless, and every other movie being released at the end of December.
During this first official week of pre-Oscars awards madness, some big and unexpected stories emerged from the Gotham Independent Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Board of Review.
For starters, The Descendants, Felicity Jones (she’s dominating all the breakthrough performer categories for Like Crazy), Shailene Woodley, Tilda Swinton, and George Clooney, and The Artist are receiving ample praise. But there still aren’t many clear front runners… yet.
Mike Mills’ dramedy Beginners is dominating the indie film circuit while Elizabeth Olsen and Martha Marcy May Marlene have been continually shut out. The National Board of Review didn’t even rank MMMM as one of the top indie films of the year. But somehow the NBR liked J. Edgar, which was one of the most boring movies I have seen recently.
The NBR surprisingly named Hugo and its director, Martin Scorsese as the best film and director of the year, respectively. And with The Artist topping the New York Film Critics Circle, it seems that critics will always praise any movie having do with cinephilia and nostalgia. (Don’t tell Armond White that.)
The Independent Spirit Award nominations were also announced this week. The Descendants, Drive, Margin Call, and The Artist are well-represented. It’s exciting to see Jessica Chastain (also a favorite so far) and Corey Stoll (for Midnight in Paris) also receive nominations. And I completely forgot that I saw 50/50, which was nominated for best feature and best first screenplay. That movie barely left an impact on me.
The round up of this week’s award shows and critics awards is below. Share any of your thoughts on the awards season so far in the comments.
The Gotham Independent Film Awards were held on November 28. Les Winners:
Audience Award: Girlfriend, directed by Justin Lerner
Breakthrough Director: Dee Rees (Pariah)
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You: Scenes of a Crime, Blue Hadaegh & Grover Babcock, directors and producers
Live the Dream grant ($25,000 for a women filmmaker): Lucy Mulloy, director, Una Noche
Breakthrough Actor: Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)
Best Ensemble Performance: Beginners (Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic, Kai Lennox, Mary Page Keller, Keegan Boos)
Best Documentary: Better This World, directed by Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega
Best Feature: Beginners and The Tree of Life (tie)
The New York Film Critics announced their picks on November 29. Les Winners:
Best Feature: The Artist
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, Drive
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, Tree of Life, Take Shelter, and The Help
Best First Feature: Margin Call
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation for
Best Nonfiction Film: Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Best Screenplay: Moneyball
Best Cinematography: The Tree of Life
The National Board of Review announced their picks on December 1. Les Winners:
Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Best Ensemble: The Help
Best Film: Hugo
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime
NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film
Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)
Top 10 Independent Films
(in alphabetical order) 50/50, Another Earth, Beginners, A Better Life, Cedar Rapids, Margin Call, Shame, Take Shelter, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Win Win
Top 5 Documentaries
(in alphabetical order) Born to be Wild, Buck, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Project Nim, Senna
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(in alphabetical order) 13 Assassins, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, Footnote, Le Havre, Point Blank
(in alphabetical order) The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Ides of March, J. Edgar, The Tree of Life, War Horse