A Best of 2011 List You Shouldn’t Take Too Seriously

Look at me (and my cat). You shouldn't take movie recommendations from this person.

I have been commissioned to write some sort of “Best of 2011” list. The problem is I don’t believe in “Best of” lists. I think they are as harmful to society as no-kill shelters. So this is just a list of 15 movies from 2011 I liked, in alphabetical order. (Disclaimer: You can blame Ally (and some other Tweeps) if you don’t enjoy this list.)

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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.

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