Pre-Oscars Round Up: Gotham Awards, NYFCC, NBR

Hugo was named the best film of 2011 by the National Board of Review

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 – BeginnersMelancholia, 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 DescendantsFelicity 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.

I cannot be the only person who didn't love 50/50

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.

Continue reading “Pre-Oscars Round Up: Gotham Awards, NYFCC, NBR”

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The 2011 Spirit Awards Nominations

With the presentation of the Gotham Awards last night and the announcement of Spirit Awards this morning, awards season is officially underway!

Sundance favorite Winter’s Bone continued its dominance of the indie film circuit by receiving seven nominations including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actress. Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right received five nominations. Other likely Oscar nominees – 127 Hours, Black Swan, The King’s Speech – also received Spirit Awards nominations.

An unprecedented six actresses were nominated in the Best Actress category. Noticeably absent, however, is Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right. Her co-stars Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo were nominated.

On a more personal note, I am ecstatic that The Exploding Girl has been nominated for the John Cassavetes Award. My adoration for writer-directors Bradley Rust Gray and So Yong Kim is well-documented.

Joel McHale will host the Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 26.

Here is the complete list of nominees:

Continue reading “The 2011 Spirit Awards Nominations”

2009 Independent Spirit Awards: The Winners

Here are the list of winners from last night’s Independent Spirit Awards:

Best Feature
The Wrestler

Best Director
Tom McCarthy, The Visitor

Best Screenplay
Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best First Screenplay
Dustin Lance Black, Milk

Best Female Lead
Melissa Leo, Frozen River

Best Male Lead
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Best Supporting Female
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Male
James Franco, Milk

Best Foreign Film
The Class

Best Documentary
Man on Wire

Best Cinematography
Maryse Alberti, The Wrestler

The complete list of winners is here.

What do we think about Mickey Rourke’s chances to win the Oscar? I want it to happen, if only for what will undoubtedly be an incredible speech.

2009 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees

The nominees for the 24th annual Independent Spirit Awards were announced yesterday. Rachel Getting Married, Ballast and Frozen River each received six nominations. Other nominees include Sean Penn (Milk), Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and Rosie Perez (The Take)

Film Independent’s Spirit Awards is a “celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo.”Since 1985, the Independent Spirit Awards have become a significant part of the award season hype. Often, the film that wins Best Picture goes onto to be represented in some capacity at the Academy Awards.

The complete list of nominees is here.

Best Feature
Rachel Getting Married
The Wrestler
Wendy and Lucy
Ballast
Frozen River

Best Director
Tom McCarthy – The Visitor
Jonathan Demme – Rachel Getting Married
Courtney Hunt – Frozen River
Ramin Bahrani – Chop Shop
Lance Hammer – Ballast

Best First Feature
Afterschool – Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Josh Mond
Medicine for Melancholy – Barry Jenkins, Justin Barber
Synecdoche, New YorkCharlie Kaufman, Anthony Bregman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel
Sleep Dealer – Alex Rivera, Anthony Bregman
Sangre De Mi Sangre Christopher Zalla, Per Melita, Benjamin Odell

John Cassavetes Award
Prince of BroadwaySean Baker, Darren Deana
Take Out – Sean Baker, Shih-Ching Tsou
The SignalDavid Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry, Alexander Motlagh
Turn the RiverChris Eigeman, Ami Armstrong
In Search of a Midnight KissAlex Holdridge, Seth Caplan, Scoot McNairy

Best Screenplay
Woody Allen –Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck – Sugar
Charlie Kaufman – Synecdoche, New York
Howard A. Rodman – Savage Grace
Christopher Zalla – Sangre De Mi Sangre

Best First Screenplay

Dustin Lance Black – Milk
Lance Hammer – Ballast
Courtney Hunt – Frozen River
Jonathan Levine – The Wackness
Jenny Lumet – Rachel Getting Married
Summer Bishil – Towelhead
Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Melissa Leo – Frozen River
Tarra Riggs – Ballast
Michelle Williams – Wendy and Lucy
Best Male Lead
Javier Bardem – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
Sean Penn – Milk
Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
Best Supporting Female
Penélope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Rosemarie DeWitt – Rachel Getting Married
Rosie Perez – The Take
Misty Upham – Frozen River
Debra Winger – Rachel Getting Married

Best Supporting Male
James Franco – Milk
Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker
Charlie McDermott – Frozen River
JimMyron Ross – Ballast
Haaz Sleiman – The Visitor

Best Foreign Film
The Class
Gomorra
Secret of the Grain
Hunger
Silent Light

Best Documentary
The Order of Myths
Up the Yangtze
Encounters at the End of the World
The Betrayal
Man on Wire

Best Cinematography
Maryse Alberti – The Wrestler
Lol Crawley – Ballast
James Laxton – Medicine for Melancholy
Harris Savides – Milk
Michael Simmonds – Chop Shop

The Winners: 2008 Film Independent Awards

The last big award show before the Academy Awards was today. And apparently Brangelina “announced” that they’re expecting baby number 5.

For some great pictures from the event including this one of Julian Schnabel and Javier Bardem, follow the link.
A beautiful bromance

Here are the winners:

Best Feature
Juno

Best Director

Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Male Lead

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages

Best Female Lead

Ellen Page, Juno

Best Supporting Male

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Talk to Me

Best Supporting Female

Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There

Best Screenplay

Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

Best Cinematography

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Foreign Film

Once (Ireland)

Best Documentary

Crazy Love

Best First Feature

The Lookout

Best First Screenplay

Diablo Cody, ‘Juno’

Robert Altman Award

I’m Not There
Director: Todd Haynes

Casting Director: Laura Rosenthal
Ensemble Cast: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bruce Greenwood, David Cross, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams

John Cassavetes Award

August Evening

IFC Truer Than Fiction Award

Laura Dunn, Director of ‘The Unforeseen

IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award
Ramin Bahrani, Director of Chop Shop

Axium Producers Award
Neil Kopp, Producer of Paranoid Park and Old Joy