Snap Judgments: 18th Annual SAG Award Nominations

The Help received the most SAG Award nominations. I don't know why anyone other than Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were nominated.

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominees were announced this morning. This is the first guild to announce their annual nominations and a predictor of what else may come. (Side note: The Broadcast Film Critics nominations were announced yesterday. The Artist and Hugo received 11 nods each. That’s all you need to know.)

As usual there were surprise nominees and a few snubs. None of these snubs were too egregious (except for Parks and Recreation getting zero nominations on the television side of things, but I digress).

The Help continues to (unexpectedly?) receive accolades, receiving four SAG nominations. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy The Help – Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are fantastic – I just don’t think it deserves all the praise it has received.

Here are the nominees with my snap judgments below. Continue reading “Snap Judgments: 18th Annual SAG Award Nominations”

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Pre-Oscars Round Up: AFI, LAFCA, NYFCO, Boston, SFFCC

The Artist is now the Oscars favorite. Even the American Film Institute gave it an award and it's a European production.

Sunday was a big day in the magical world of pre-Oscar awards. Mulitple critics groups announced their selections for the best films of 2011. Below are the winners picked by five groups, as not to overwhelm anyone. (Especially myself.)

The Artist continues to be the film to beat, picking up awards from the New York Film Circle Online (NYFCO), Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC), and a special award from the American Film Institute. But if critics don’t go with The Artist, they choose The Tree of Life, which was named best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SFFCC). The best picture race is turning into an East Coast-West Coast rivalry not unlike the Biggie-Tupac rivalry. I would pay good money to see film critics battle each other in the name of The Artist and The Tree of Life.

Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) is emerging as a contender for best actor. Brad Pitt received a best award from the BSFC for his performance in Moneyball. I’ve accepted that Brad Pitt will be nominated for an Oscar, even though he doesn’t do much in Moneyball except stare at statistics. (There is one great scene but that is a testament more to Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay than Pitt’s performance.)

Albert Brooks continues to dominate the best supporting actor category. If one thing is a sure bet at this point, it is Brooks’ nomination and that his biggest competition will be sentimental favorite, Christopher Plummer for Beginners. Jessica Chastain picked up a few wins for her many supporting roles this year as did Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids.

The Best Actress category has become a three-way race between Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams and Tilda Swinton. Okay, it is really a two-way race between Streep and Williams. (The Oscar Gods will bend over backwards to give Streep her third Oscar.) But Swinton should be winning all the awards for We Need To Talk About Kevin.

The best sign of things to come from this round of award winners is the rise of Bridesmaids. Can the comedy and Melissa McCarthy score Oscar nominations?  I hope so. Also, one of my favorite 2011 films, Martha Marcy May Marlene is still being slightly shortchanged, winning the New Generation Award from the LAFCA and best new filmmaker award (for director Sean Durkin) from the BSFC.

Speaking of the Boston Society of Film Critics, their support of Kenneth Lonergan’s film Margaret is simply awesome. (Read it here.) I stupidly did not see Margaret when it was briefly playing in NYC, even though it is about exactly what I am interested in: post-9/11 New York. (My undergrad thesis topic was post-9/11 American independent film.) So if anyone wants to help me see Margaret

Unpopular opinion: I'm convinced that I will hate My Week With Marilyn because I am sick of the Marilyn Monroe craze.

The round up of the critics awards winners is below. Share any of your thoughts on the awards season so far in the comments.

Continue reading “Pre-Oscars Round Up: AFI, LAFCA, NYFCO, Boston, SFFCC”

Pre-Oscars Round Up: European Film Awards, BIFA, WAFCA

Lars von Trier's Melancholia was named the best European film at the European Film Awards.

And so we move further along into awards season.

The European Film Awards and the British Independent Film Awards were held this past weekend while the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) announced their nominees and picks for the best films of the year on December 5.

The Artist and Melancholia continue to be named the best films of the year as well as winning ample technical awards. (Sorry Hugo. Though Martin Scorsese did pick up his second best director award from WAFCA and he’ll probably get a few more.)

George Clooney (The Descendants) is still the frontrunner in the lead actor category and Albert Brooks picked up his second award for his supporting turn in Drive. Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) could face some competition for best actress after WAFCA awarded Michelle Williams best actress for My Week in Marilyn. (These critics really do love movies about movies, don’t they?)

Based on the few critics groups that have announced their winners so far, some other trends are emerging. The ensembles for The Help and Bridesmaids as well as Will Reiser’s screenplay for 50/50 are all inching their ways towards an Oscar nod. Or at the very least, a Golden Globes nomination. (That’s not saying a lot because if Bridesmaids doesn’t receive a Globes nod, there is no hope for society.)

There were some surprises at the British Independent Film Awards. Paddy Considine’s directorial debut Tyrannosaur received three awards at the BIFAs: best picture, best first-time director and best actress (Olivia Colman, edging out Swinton).  Michael Fassbender was named best actor for Shame.

Awards season can seem very American-centric at first, especially once all the critics groups start announcing their winners. (Think about last year when The Social Network was the early critical darling.) While this American-centrism is felt less this year because The Artist and Melancholia are two mostly European productions, the BIFAs are a refreshing change of pace from what trends we have seen so far and the trends that will emerge. It’s also worth noting that last year The King’s Speech received five awards at the British Independent Film Awards and it was the first major award the film received.

Remember The King's Speech? That was a great time last year. It also won some awards.

The round up of this week’s award shows and critics awards winners is below. Share any of your thoughts on the awards season so far in the comments.

Continue reading “Pre-Oscars Round Up: European Film Awards, BIFA, WAFCA”

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”

The Social Network Sweeps Yet Another Critics Awards

There is no stopping The Social Network.

David Fincher’s The Social Network swept the National Society of Film Critics’ Awards, the last major critics award announcement before next weekend’s Golden Globes. The Social Network won best picture, best director, best actor (Jesse Eisenberg), and best screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno was named Best Actress for her portrayal of Ida Dalser in Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere. Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) and Olivia Williams (The Ghost Writer) were named the best supporting actor and actress respectively.

The complete list of winners and runner-ups can be found here.

BEST PICTURE
The Social Network

BEST DIRECTOR
David Fincher – The Social Network

BEST ACTOR
Jesse Eisenberg 30 – The Social Network

BEST ACTRESS
Giovanna Mezzogiorno – Vincere

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Olivia Williams – The Ghost Writer

BEST NONFICTION
Inside Job – Charles Ferguson

BEST SCREENPLAY
Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Carlos

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
True Grit – Roger Deakins