Film Review: All The King’s Men (dir by Steven Zaillian)


On September 10th, 1935, a Senator named Huey Long was shot and killed at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rogue.

While it’s generally agreed that Carl Weiss, the son-in-law of a political opponent, approached Long, there’s still some debate as to whether or not Weiss was the one who shot Long. Did Weiss fire one shot at Long or was Long himself accidentally shot by his many bodyguards, all of whom opened fire on Weiss? (Weiss died at the scene, having been wounded at least 60 times.) There’s even some who argue that Weiss didn’t even have a gun on him when he approached Long and that Long’s bodyguards misinterpreted Weiss’s intentions. Or, as some more conspiracy-minded historians have suggested, perhaps Long’s bodyguards were themselves paid off by one of Long’s many enemies. With Huey Long, anything was possible.

Huey Long has been described as being an American dictator, a man who ran for office as a populist and who, as governor and then senator, ruled Louisiana with an iron fist. His slogan was “Every man a king,” and he promoted a platform that mixed Socialism with redneck resentment. (In modern terms, he mixed the vapid but crowd-pleasing rhetroic of AOC with the bombastic but calculated personal style of Donald Trump.) He often played the flamboyant buffoon but he also knew how to reward his friends and punish his enemies. At the time of his death, he was planning to run for President against FDR. It’s said that, in typical Long fashion, he planned to run as a third party candidate and draw away enough votes from Roosevelt to allow Republican Alf Landon to win. Then, in 1940, Long would run for the Democratic nomination and send President Landon back to Kansas.

Huey-Long-radio-3000-3x2gty-5c2934d246e0fb00012da4a1

Whether his plan was feasible or not, they came to an end with his death. However, his legacy continued as members of the Long family dominated Louisiana politics for decades to come. Huey’s brother, Earl, served as governor of Louisiana for several contentious terms. Huey’s son, Russell, spent nearly 40 years in the Senate and, as chairman of the Finance Committee, was one of the most powerful men in the country. As late at 2020, Huey’s third cousin was serving in the Louisiana Senate. In the past few years, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been compared to Huey Long. Of course, if Huey were alive today, he’d probably be very popular online. Political Twitter has never met an authoritarian that it couldn’t make excuses for.

Among those who were fascinated by the life and death of Huey Long was a Southern poet and novelist named Robert Penn Warren. Warren used Long as the basis for Willie Stark, the man at the center of the novel All The King’s Men. In the novel, Stark is a classic and tragic American archetype, the man of the people who loses his way after coming to power. Stark starts the book as an idealist who wants to make life better for the poor but who, as he works his way up the political ladder, loses sight of why he first entered politics in the first place. He goes from fighting for the people to fighting only for himself. The book was controversial but popular and won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize. In later interviews, Warren often said that All The King’s Men was never meant to be a book about politics but instead a book about two men, Willie Stark and reporter Jack Burden, losing their way during the tumult of the Great Depression.  Regardless of Warren’s intentions, most readers and critics have focused on the book as a cynical look at American politics and the authoritarian impulse.

All-the-Kings-Men-1949

Considering the book’s popularity, it’s not surprising that All The King’s Men was turned into a movie just three years after it was published.  Directed by Robert Rossen and starring a perfectly cast Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark, the film won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1949.  Just as with the book, the film was considered to be controversial.  Many claimed that the film’s cynical portrayal of American politics was the equivalent of supporting communism, despite the fact that both the novel and the original film present Stark as being the epitome of the hypocritical Marxist dictator.  Indeed, if any character would have inspired audiences in 1949 to distrust socialism, it would have been a faux populist like Willie Stark.  Still, John Wayne was so offended by the book and the script that he very publicly turned down the role of Willie Stark.  That was all the better for Broderick Crawford, who won an Oscar playing the role.  When seen today, the original All The King’s Men holds up surprisingly well, as does Crawford’s lead performance.  Filmed in harsh black-and-white and featuring a cast of cynical, tough-talking characters, it’s a political noir.

Those who found the 1949 version of All The King’s Men to be dangerously subversive obviously had no idea what was in store for them and the country over the next couple of decades.  There’s a reason why the best-known book about the downfall of Richard Nixon was called All The President’s Men.  By the start of the current century, with all of the political corruption that was happening in the real world, the flaws and crimes of Willie Stark seemed almost quaint by comparison.  In 2006, with George W. Bush serving his second term, America embroiled in two unpopular wars, and the economy looking shaky, it was decided that it was time for a new version of the story of Willie Stark.

This version was directed by Steven Zaillian, the screenwriter whose credits included Schindler’s List, Gangs of New York, Hannibal, and American Gangster.  The role of Willie Stark was played by Sean Penn, who was both an Academy Award winner and an outspoken critic of George Bush.  (And, make no mistake about it, the new version of Willie Stark would be as much based on Bush as he was on Huey Long.)  Jude Law played Jack Burden, the reporter who narrated the story of Stark’s rise and fall.  Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, James Gandolfini, Patricia Clarkson, Mark Ruffalo, Jackie Earle Haley, and Kathy Baker all had supporting roles.  This was a cast full of Oscar nominees and, indeed, the film’s trailer had that portentous, “the movie is very important and award-worthy” feeling to it that studios go with whenever they’re trying to convince audiences that they have an obligation to see a film, regardless of how boring or annoying it may look.  Entertainment Weekly predicted that All The King’s Men would be an Academy Award contender. For nearly two months, one could not see a movie at the Dallas Angelika without also seeing thee trailer for All The King’s Men.  It was a movie that was due to arrive at any minute and it was coming with an awful lot of hype.

And then, the strangest thing happened.  The film itself kind of disappeared.  It arrived and then it promptly got lost.  The reviews were overwhelmingly negative.  Audiences did not turn out to see the film.  It was a box office bomb, one that pretty much ended Steven Zaillian’s career as a director.  The film played for a week in Dallas and then left the city’s movie screens.  Even if I had been planning on seeing the film when it was originally released, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity.  The Gods of cinema, politics, and Southern accents were conspiring to protect me from suffering through a bad movie and I guess I should be thankful.  There’s nothing that makes me cringe more than hearing a bad Southern accent in a movie and the trailer for All The King’s Men was full of them.

Way back in November of last year, I noticed that the 2006 version of All The King’s Men was available on Encore On Demand.  At the time, I had politics on my mind.  The Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections had bee held earlier that week.  Biden’s huge infrastructure bill had passed the House on the very same night that I came across the film.  Hell, I figured, could watching Sean Penn as Willie Stark be any worse than watching Joe Biden try to give a speech from the Oval Office?  So, I decided to give the movie a chance and I quickly discovered that watching Sean Penn’s Willie Stark was a lot worse.

In All The King’s Men, Sean Penn gives the type of bad performance that can only be given by a good actor.  Penn yells and grimaces and barks out order like the villain in a badly dubbed Bollywood movie.  When he watches a dancer, he doesn’t just look at her.  Instead, he stares with all the intensity of a cartoon wolf who has just spotted Little Red Riding Hood.  There’s nothing subtle about Penn’s performance, least of all his overbaked accent.  The only thing wilder than Penn’s accent is his hair, which often seems to be standing up straight as if he’s just removed his fingers from an electrical socket.  It’s a performance that is heavy on technique but empty on substance.  In both the book and the original film, Willie Stark is flamboyant in public but cool and calculating in private.  In the remake, Penn yells and sweats and jumps around and comes across as being so desperate that it’s hard to buy into the idea that anyone would believe a word that he said.  Broderick Crawford’s Willie Stark was believable because Crawford, with his bulky build and his plain-spoken manner, came across as being a real human being.  One could imagine voters looking at Crawford and believing that he was just like them.  Sean Penn, on the other hand, comes across like a rich man’s version of a poor man.  Penn is too obviously condescending to be an effective populist.  Voters will forgive a lot but they’ll never forgive a politician who openly talks down to them.

As for the rest of the cast, they’re a very talented group but not one of them is convincingly cast.  In fact, many of them give career-worst performances.  Anthony Hopkins does his usual eccentric routine but it doesn’t add up too much because the audience never sees him as being anything other than Anthony Hopkins using a rather spotty Southern accent.  When Hopkins’s character dies, it’s not a tragedy because the character himself never feels real.  Instead, you’re juts happy that Hopkins collected a paycheck.  Kate Winslet seems to be bored with the role of Stark’s mistress.  Mark Ruffalo is dazed in the role of Winslet’s brother.  As Jack Burden, Jude Law seems as lost as anyone, which wouldn’t be problem if not for the fact that Jack is the one narrating the film.  When your narrator is lost, you’re in trouble.

There’s really only two members of the cast who escape the film unscathed.  Jackie Earle Haley is properly intimidating as Stark’s devoted bodyguard.  Haley doesn’t get many lines but one look at his disturbed eyes tells you all you need to know about how far he’ll go to protect his boss.  On the other hand, James Gandolfini gets several lines and he does such a good job of delivering them and he plays the role of a corrupt political boss with such a perfect combination of good humor and cold pragmatism that you have to wonder just how much All The King’s Men would have been improved if Gandolfini had played Willie Stark instead of Sean Penn.

Steve Zaillian’s direction involves a lot of soft-focused flashbacks and several visual references to the Nuremberg rallies.  Just as with Penn’s performance, there’s nothing subtle about Zaillian’s direction, despite the fact that the story itself is so melodramatic that it calls for the opposite of a heavy-handed approach.  One wonders what exactly Zaillian was trying to say with his version of All The King’s Men, which presents Willie Stark as being a monster but still as the audacity to end with a clip of him giving a rousing campaign speech.  Again, the problem is that we never buy into the idea that Willie Stark was ever sincere in his desire to help the common man.  Everything about both Penn’s performance and Zaillian’s direction serves to suggest that, from the start, Stark viewed them as just being a means to an end.  Ending the film with a flashback of Willie giving a campaign speech is about as moving as a friend from high school contacting you on Facebook and then trying to get you to take part in a pyramid scheme.  There’s no sincerity to be found in any of it.

In the end, it’s a film of overheated performances and meticulously shot scenes that all add up to very little.  There are a few moments where Sean Penn’s body language and his vocal inflections suggest that he’s trying to channel George W. Bush but there’s nothing particularly shocking or subversive about that.  In 2006, every movie and TV show had to find a way to take a swipe at Bush and Penn’s never been particularly reticent when it comes to broadcasting his politics.  Though All The King’s Men was executive produced by political consultant James Carville, there’s very few moment in the film that feel authentic.  It’s like a high school senior’s view of politics.

All The King’s Men came and went quickly.  Fortunately, everyone was able to move on.  Steven Zaillian has not directed another film but remains an in-demand scriptwriter.  Sean Penn, Anthony Hopkins, and Kate Winslet all won Oscars after appearing in this film (though, it should be noted, none of them won for this film).  Mark Ruffalo and Jude Law went on to join the Marvel Universe.  Jackie Earle Haley continues to be a much-respected character actor.  Tragically, James Gandolfini is no longer with us but his performance as Tony Soprano will never be forgotten.  The second version of All The King’s Men wasted a lot of talent but, fortunately, talent always finds a way to survive.

Here Are The Oscar Winners!


Best Picture — Nomadland

Best Director — Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor — Anthony Hopkins In The Father

Best Actress — Frances McFormand in Nomadland

Best Supporting Actor — Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress — Yuh-jung Youn in Minari

Best Adapted Screenplay — Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for The Father

Best Original Screenplay — Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature — Soul

Best Documentary Feature — My Octopus Teacher

Best International Feature Film — Another Round

Best Live Action Shot Subject — Two Distant Strangers

Best Animated Short Subject — If Anything Happens, I Love You

Best Documentary Short — Collette

Best Original Score — Soul

Best Original Song — “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Cinematography — Mank

Best Costume Design — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Editing — Sound of Metal

Best Makeup and Hair Styling — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Production Design — Mank

Best Sound — Sound of Metal

Best Visual Effects -Tenet

Lisa Marie’s Final 2020-2021 Oscar Predictions


The 2020 Oscar nominations are finally going to be announced on March 15th and then the Oscars themselves are going to be awarded at the end of April.  To be honest, we should call these the 2020-2021 Oscars because I refuse to think of Nomadland, Minari, or The Father as being 2020 films.  Because of the extended eligibility window, they’re all Oscar-eligible but still….

That means that it’s time for me to make my final Oscar predictions for this latest awards cycle.  Last night, The Golden Globes cleared up a few races and suggested that a few others are still in a state of flux.  Of the three big surprise winners from last night (Andra Day, Jodie Foster, and Rosamund Pike) Day seems to be the most likely to benefit from her victory.  I also think that Foster might benefit as well, just because she’s Jodie Foster and she doesn’t appear in a lot of films nowadays.  I’m also willing to say that, based on his getting a GG nom and a SAG nom, I think Jared Leto has a better chance than some might realize of picking up another Oscar nomination.

What about Glenn Close?  On the one hand, Close has never won an Oscar and she gives a very awards baity performance in Hillbilly Elegy.  On the other hand, Hillbilly Elegy was critically-blasted and both the film and Close’s performance were included on the Razzie longlist, which was released earlier today.  (The Razzies suck but that’s a topic for another post.)  I would feel better about Close’s chances if she had won a Golden Globe last night but I’m still inclined to include her in my predictions.

(To be honest, up until Close lost, I still thought there was a chance that Hillbilly Elegy could pick up an Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close-style best picture nomination, the type of nomination that comes as a result of voters watching a critically lambasted film for one performance and saying, “Well, that wasn’t as bad as everyone says!”)

Finally, I’m going to continue to predict a surprise Best Picture nomination for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, just because it’ll be another chance for the same voters who nominated Vice to express their feelings about Donald Trump and Rudy Guiliani.

If you want to see how my thinking has evolved over this long awards season, check out my predictions for January (2020)February (2020), March (2020AprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovember, December, and January (2021)!

Here are my final predictions:

Best Picture

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

One Night In Miami

Promising Young Woman

The Trial of the Chicago 7

(I’m predicting 9 best picture nominees. I’m looking forward to the Academy going back to having a set number of best picture nominees.  It breaks my heart not to include First Cow and Sound of Metal among my predicted nominees.)

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung for Minari

Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman

Regina King for One Night in Miami

Aaron Sorkin for Mank

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Gary Oldman in Mank

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Actress

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holliday

Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah

Jared Leto in The Little Things

Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night In Miami

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Jodie Foster in The Mauritanian

Amanda Seyfried in Mank

Youn Yuh-jung in Minari

We’ll find out how right or wrong I am on March 15th!

The Iowa Film Critics Association Honors Nomadland


Though we may never know who actually won the Iowa Caucus last year, we do know which films won with the Iowa Film Critics Association!  Here are their picks for the best of the year:

BEST FILM: “Nomadland”
Runners up: “Minari” and “Sound of Metal”

BEST DIRECTOR: Chloe Zhao – “Nomadland”
Runners up: Darius Marder – “Sound of Metal” and Florian Zeller – “The Father”

BEST ACTOR: Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Runners up: Anthony Hopkins – “The Father” and Riz Ahmed – “Sound of Metal”

BEST ACTRESS: Frances McDormand – “Nomadland”
Runners up: Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Paul Raci – “Sound of Metal”
Runners up: Bill Murray – “On the Rocks” and Leslie Odom Jr. – “One Night in Miami”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Yuh-jung Youn – “Minari”
Runners up: Olivia Colman – “The Father” and Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”

BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Soul”
Runners up: “Over the Moon” and “Wolfwalkers”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “Dick Johnson is Dead”
Runners up: “Crip Camp” and “The Dissident”

BEST SCORE: Ludovico Einaudi – “Nomadland”
Runners up: James Newton Howard – “News of the World” and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – “Mank”

BEST SONG: “Speak Now” – “One Night in Miami”
Runners up: “Green” – “Sound of Metal” and “Rain Song” – “Minari”

The Nevada Film Critics Society Honors Promising Young Woman


Earlier today, The Nevada Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2020–early 2021 and what’s interesting is that Nomadland didn’t win a thing.  Instead, Promising Young Woman took the awards for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Meanwhile, in the supporting races, Daniel Kaluuya picked up another win for Judas and the Black Messiah while Glenn Close won for Hillbilly Elegy.  Kaluuya has been coming on strong during the latter half of this extended awards season, to the point where he’s now pretty much eclipsed other potential nominees like Paul Raci and Leslie Odom Jr..  Meanwhile, Glenn Close seems more and more likely to pick up her first Oscar with each passing day, regardless of what the overall critical response to Hillbilly Elegy may have been.

Here are the winners from Nevada:

Best Film – Promising Young Woman
Best Actor – Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal & Anthony Hopkins for The Father (TIE)
Best Actress – Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
Best Supporting Actor – Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Best Supporting Actress – Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
Best Director – Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Best Original Screenplay – Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Best Adapted Screenplay – Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton – The Father
Best Documentary – The Dissident
Best Animated Movie – Soul
Best Production Design – Donald Graham Burt – Mank
Best Cinematography – Hoyte van Hoytenna – Tenet
Best Visual Effects – Tenet

Here Are The 2020 Nominees of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle!


The never-ending awards season continues with the Vancouver Film Critics announcing their nominees for the best of 2020!  Apparently, up in Vancouver, they really, really like Mank.  I guess it’s because of the whole drunk socialist thing, I don’t know.

The Vancouver nominations are kind of strange because, in most of the categories, there’s only three nominees.  I mean, that just seems kind of pointless to me.  When other groups are nominating a 100 movies for best picture before selecting Nomadland, why would you only nominate three?  It’s especially strange when you consider that the eligibility period has been extended to such an extent that it seems to be practically begging everyone to give into excess.  The three nominee thing is odd and it’s going to leave me thinking for the next few hours or so.  Of course, as well all know, Vancouver is never less than intriguing.

Anyway, the winners will be announced on February 22nd!  Here are the nominees:

Best Picture
Mank
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman

Best Director
Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
David Fincher – Mank
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

Best Screenplay
Jack Fincher – Mank
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Actor
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Yuh-jung Youn – Minari

Best Documentary
Athlete A
Collective
Totally Under Control

Best Foreign Language Film
Another Round
Dear Comrades
Minari

Nomadland Wins At The Satellite Awards


Here’s what won at the Satellite Awards on the 15th.  I apologize for being a bit late in posting this but the weather conspired to keep me from watching the Satellite Awards.

Actually, did anyone watch the Satellite Awards?  Does anyone even know who is even giving these things out?

Well, regardless, here’s what won in the film categories:

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS

Mary Pickford Award: Tilda Swinton
Tesla Award: Dick Pope
Auteur Award: Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Best First Feature: Channing Godfrey Peoples – Miss Juneteenth
Stunt Performance Award: Gaëlle Cohen
Humanitarian Award: Mark Wahlberg
Ensemble Motion Picture: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Ensemble Television: The Good Lord Bird

Actress in a Motion Picture Drama
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Kate Winslet – Ammonite
Sophia Loren – The Life Ahead

Actor in a Motion Picture Drama 
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Steven Yeun – Minari
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Gary Oldman – Mank

Actress in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical 
Meryl Streep – The Prom
Rashida Jones – On the Rocks
Margot Robbie – Birds of Prey
Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma

Actor in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Andy Samberg – Palm Springs
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton
Dev Patel – The Personal History of David Copperfield
Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Leslie Odom Jr. – Hamilton

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Olivia Colman – The Father
Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari
Ellen Burstyn – Pieces of a Woman
Nicole Kidman – The Prom
Helena Zengel – News of the World

Actor in a Supporting Role
Brian Dennehy – Driveways
David Strathairn – Nomadland
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami
Bill Murray – On the Rocks

Motion Picture, Drama
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7
The Father
Promising Young Woman
Minari
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Tenet
Sound of Metal
One Night in Miami
Miss Juneteenth

Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical 
On the Rocks
Hamilton
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Palm Springs
The Personal History of David Copperfield
The Forty-Year-Old Version

Motion Picture, International
Another Round
Tove
A Sun
Two of Us
Jallikattu
I’m No Longer Here
Atlantis
My Little Sister
La Llorona

Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Over the Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers
Demon Slayer-Kimetsu No Yaiba-The Movie: Mugen Train
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
No. 7 Cherry Lane

Motion Picture, Documentary
Collective
Crip Camp
MLK / FBI
The Dissident
A Most Beautiful Thing
The Truffle Hunters
Acasa, My Home
Coup 53
Gunda
Circus of Books

Director
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
David Fincher – Mank
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Florian Zeller – The Father

Screenplay, Original
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Jack Fincher – Mank
Pete Docter, Mike Jones & Kemp Powers – Soul
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman

Screenplay, Adapted
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller – The Father
Jessica Bruder & Chloe Zhao – Nomadland
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami
Edoardo Ponti – The Life Ahead
Luke Davies & Paul Greengrass – News of the World

Original Score
Ludwig Goransson – Tenet
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Mank
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky
James Newton Howard – News of the World
Emile Mosseri – Minari
Terence Blanchard – One Night in Miami

Original Song
“Io Si” – The Life Ahead
“Hear My Voice” – The Trial of the Chicago 7
“Rocket to the Moon” – Over the Moon
“Speak Now” – One Night in Miami
“Everybody Cries” – The Outpost
“The Other Side” – Trolls World Tour

Cinematography
The Midnight Sky
Nomadland
Mank 
News of the World
One Night in Miami
Tenet

Film Editing
Nomadland
The Father
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Mank
One Night in Miami
Minari

Sound (Editing and Mixing)
Sound of Metal
Tenet
Mank
The Prom
The Midnight Sky
Nomadland

Visual Effects
The Midnight Sky
Mank
Tenet    
Birds of Prey
Greyhound
Mulan

Art Direction and Production Design
The Personal History of David Copperfield
One Night in Miami
Mank
The Midnight Sky
The Prom
Mulan

Costume Design
Mulan
Emma
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
The Personal History of David Copperfield
One Night in Miami

The Washington D.C. Film Critics Honor Wonder Woman 1984!


 

Well, the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics did pick Wonder Woman 1984 as being the best 2020 cinematic depiction of life in Washington D.C.

However, Nomadland won best picture.  Chloe Zhao picked up best director.  Frances McDormand won best actress.  In fact, to be honest, it was pretty much the same films and people who have been winning the majority of the prizes since award season began.  That’s not a complaint, mind you.  It’s just that, when the same film keeps winning over and over again, it makes you appreciate things like Wonder Woman 1984 picking up an award for being the best cinematic depiction of life in Washington D.C.

Here are the winners from our nation’s capital:

Best Film
First Cow
Minari
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
Promising Young Woman

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Regina King – One Night in Miami…
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – Sound Of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces Of A Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial Of The Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas And The Black Messiah
Bill Murray – On The Rocks
Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci – Sound Of Metal

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Olivia Colman – The Father
Dominique Fishback – Judas And The Black Messiah
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari

Best Acting Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
One Night in Miami…
The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Best Youth Performance
Millie Bobby Brown – Enola Holmes
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Alan Kim – Minari
Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Helena Zengel – News Of The World

Best Voice Performance
Tina Fey – Soul
Jamie Foxx – Soul
Tom Holland – Onward
Honor Kneafsey – Wolfwalkers
Octavia Spencer – Onward

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound Of Metal
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jon Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami…

Best Animated Feature
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary
Boys State
Collective
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Dick Johnson Is Dead
Time

Best International/Foreign Language Film
Another Round
Bacurau
La Llorona
Night of the Kings
The Mole Agent

Best Production Design
Emma.
Mank
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
News Of The World
Tenet

Best Cinematography
Newton Thomas Sigel – Da 5 Bloods
Erik Messerschmidt – Mank
Dariusz Wolski – News Of The World
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland
Hoyte van Hoytema – Tenet

Best Editing
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Mikkel E. G. Nielsen – Sound Of Metal
Jennifer Lame – Tenet
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Best Original Score
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Mank
Emile Mosseri – Minari
James Newton Howard – News Of The World
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross & Jon Batiste – Soul
Ludwig Göransson – Tenet

The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
The Fight
Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President
John Lewis: Good Trouble
Wonder Woman 1984

The London Film Critics Circle Honors Nomadland


Even in London, they love Nomadland!

The London Film Critics Circle named their best of the year yesterday.  I imagine that this will have negligible influence on the Oscar race since some of the films honored have yet to be released in the States and some of the biggest Oscar contenders have yet to be released in the UK.  Still, I think it’s always interesting to see what films are being honored outside of the U.S.  Cinema is an international art form.

Here are the nominees and, in bold, the winners from London:

FILM OF THE YEAR
About Endlessness
Collective
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Lovers Rock
The Mauritanian
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Rocks
Saint Maud

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
About Endlessness
Another Round
Collective
Les Misérables
Minari

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Collective
Dick Johnson Is Dead
Time
The Truffle Hunters

BRITISH/IRISH FILM OF THE YEAR
The Father
Lovers Rock
Mangrove
Rocks
Saint Maud

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
David Fincher – Mank
Rose Glass – Saint Maud
Kevin Macdonald – The Mauritanian
Steve McQueen – Small Axe
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR
Jack Fincher – Mank
Rose Glass – Saint Maud
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Morfydd Clark – Saint Maud
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian

SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Ellen Burstyn – Pieces of a Woman
Essie Davis – Babyteeth
Jennifer Ehle – Saint Maud
Amanda Seyfried – Mank

SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Aldis Hodge – Clemency
Ben Mendelsohn – Babyteeth
Shaun Parkes – Mangrove

BRITISH/IRISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (for body of work)
Bukky Bakray – Rocks
Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things & Misbehaviour
Morfydd Clark – Eternal Beauty & Saint Maud
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman & The World to Come
Carey Mulligan – The Dig & Promising Young Woman

BRITISH/IRISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR (for body of work)
Riz Ahmed – Mogul Mowgli & Sound of Metal
Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm & The Trial of the Chicago 7
John Boyega – Red, White and Blue
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Cosmo Jarvis – Calm With Horses & Nocturnal

BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH/IRISH FILMMAKER
Henry Blake – County Lines
Fyzal Boulifa – Lynn + Lucy
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Rose Glass – Saint Maud
Remi Weekes – His House

YOUNG BRITISH/IRISH PERFORMER
Kosar Ali – Rocks
Bukky Bakray – Rocks
Millie Bobby Brown – Enola Holmes
Conrad Khan – County Lines
Molly Windsor – Make Up

BRITISH/IRISH SHORT FILM
Filipiñana – Rafael Manuel, director
Hungry Joe – Paul Holbrook, director
Lizard – Akinola Davies Jr, director
The Long Goodbye – Aneil Karia, director
The Shift – Laura Carreira, director

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Ammonite – Stéphane Fontaine, cinematography
Birds of Prey – Deborah Lamia Denaver & Adruitha Lee, makeup & hair
Lovers Rock – Mica Levi, music
Mank – Donald Graham Burt, production design
Nomadland – Joshua James Richards, cinematography
Rocks – Lucy Pardee, casting
Soul – Pete Docter, animation
Sound of Metal – Nicolas Becker, sound design
Tenet – Jennifer Lame, film editing
Wolfwalkers – Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart, animation

Here Are The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Nominations!


Yesterday, the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association announced their nominees for the best of the year.  After it was snubbed by both the Golden Globes and SAG, it’s nice to see at least one group acknowledging First Cow.  (Actually, a lot of groups have been acknowledging First Cow.  I just worry it’s the type of film that will player better with critics than with Oscar voters.  Which is a shame because it’s a great film!)

The winners will be announced on February 8th …. which is tomorrow!  Here are the nominees:

Best Film
First Cow
Minari
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
Promising Young Woman

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Regina King – One Night in Miami…
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – Sound Of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces Of A Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial Of The Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas And The Black Messiah
Bill Murray – On The Rocks
Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci – Sound Of Metal

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Olivia Colman – The Father
Dominique Fishback – Judas And The Black Messiah
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari

Best Acting Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
One Night in Miami…
The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Best Youth Performance
Millie Bobby Brown – Enola Holmes
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Alan Kim – Minari
Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Helena Zengel – News Of The World

Best Voice Performance
Tina Fey – Soul
Jamie Foxx – Soul
Tom Holland – Onward
Honor Kneafsey – Wolfwalkers
Octavia Spencer – Onward

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound Of Metal
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jon Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami…

Best Animated Feature
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary
Boys State
Collective
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Dick Johnson Is Dead
Time

Best International/Foreign Language Film
Another Round
Bacurau
La Llorona
Night of the Kings
The Mole Agent

Best Production Design
Emma.
Mank
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
News Of The World
Tenet

Best Cinematography
Newton Thomas Sigel – Da 5 Bloods
Erik Messerschmidt – Mank
Dariusz Wolski – News Of The World
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland
Hoyte van Hoytema – Tenet

Best Editing
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Mikkel E. G. Nielsen – Sound Of Metal
Jennifer Lame – Tenet
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Best Original Score
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Mank
Emile Mosseri – Minari
James Newton Howard – News Of The World
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross & Jon Batiste – Soul
Ludwig Göransson – Tenet

The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
The Fight
Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President
John Lewis: Good Trouble
Wonder Woman 1984