The Precursors Continue! Here are the WGA Nominations!


Deadpool

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get back to Oscar season!

The guilds have started to announce their nominees for the best of 2016 and since the guilds, unlike the various critic groups, include people who actually vote for the Oscars, they are usually pretty useful as far as predictive tool.

So, with that in mind, here are the nominations of the Writers Guild of America!

(The big surprise?  Deadpool — which has actually gotten a lot of unexpected attention during Oscar season — landed a nomination.)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Hell or High Water, Written by Taylor Sheridan; CBS Films

La La Land, Written by Damien Chazelle; Lionsgate

Loving, Written by Jeff Nichols; Focus Features

Manchester by the Sea, Written by Kenneth Lonergan; Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions

Moonlight, Written by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell McCraney; A24

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Arrival, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer; Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang; Paramount Pictures

Deadpool, Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick; Based on the X-Men Comic Books; Twentieth Century Fox Film

Fences, Screenplay by August Wilson; Based on his Play; Paramount Pictures

Hidden Figures, Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi; Based on the Book by Margot Lee Shetterly; Twentieth Century Fox Film

Nocturnal Animals, Screenplay by Tom Ford; Based on the Novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright; Focus Features

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Author: The JT LeRoy Story, Written by Jeff Feuerzeig; Amazon Studios

Command and Control, Telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, Story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts; Based on the book Command and Control by Eric Schlosser; American Experience Films

Zero Days, Written by Alex Gibney; Magnolia Pictures

Playing Catch-Up: Fences (dir by Denzel Washington)


Well, 2016 is officially over and soon, it will be time for me to start posting my picks for the best of the year!  I’ve still got a lot of movies that I need to review (and, in some cases, watch) before making out that last so let’s not waste any time!  It’s time to start playing catch up!

fences

In Fences, Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson.  When the film begins, Troy is 51 years old and lives in Philadelphia in the 1950s.  He’s a proud, charming, and often angry man.  He’s the type of man who can tell a wonderful story and who can make you laugh but, at the same time, you’re always aware that he could explode at any minute.  It’s hard not to like Troy Maxson but, at times, it’s hard not to be a little scared of him.

Troy is a garbage man, apparently destined to spend the rest of his working life hanging onto the back of a garbage truck because his union does not allow black to drive the trucks.  Troy has recently complained about the lack of black drivers and, as he tells his best friend, Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson), he’s now expecting to be disciplined.  However, to his great surprise, he is instead reassigned to be a driver, making him the first black man to work as a driver for the Philadelphia Sanitation Department.

And that may not seem like much today but, as the film makes clear, that was a huge deal in the 1950s.

Troy, of course, didn’t grow up wanting to be a garbage man.  As he tells his son, Troy left home when he was just a teenager and made his living as a mugger.  During one robbery, he accidentally killed a man and spent the next decade in prison.  It was in prison that he first met and befriended Bono.  It was also in prison that Troy discovered that he was a pretty good baseball player.  Upon his release, he played for the Negro League.  Though everyone agrees that Troy was a good player (and Troy is always quick to claim that he was the best), he never played for the Major Leagues.  The film suggests that, after the league was integrated, Troy tried out but was rejected.  His wife, Rose (Viola Davis), says that Troy was rejected because, at the age of 40, he was too old.  Troy says it was because of the color of his skin.

As I said, it’s hard not to admire Troy.  He’s a man who stands up for himself and he seems to sincerely love his wife.  When his oldest son, a musician named Lyons (Russell Hornsby), comes by to ask for money, it’s hard not to laugh with and appreciate the style with which Troy shows his irritation.  Troy is so charming that, it’s only after Lyons leaves, that you realize that Lyons practically begged his father to come see him play and Troy pretty much blew him off.

And then there’s Troy’s youngest son, Cory (Jovan Adepo).  Cory is in high school.  He’s a football player and he’s recently been scouted by a college.  Troy tells Cory that he’s wasting his time and that no black man will ever be given a fair chance in the NFL.  He tells Cory that he needs to get a real job, like he did.  And as Troy continues to yell at Cory, you start to understand Troy’s jealousy.  Cory has an opportunity that Troy will never have, not due to any difference in talent as much as to the fact that Troy grew up at a time when segregation was the unquestioned law of the land whereas Cory is coming of age the beginning of the civil rights era.

At one point, Cory asks his father, “Why don’t you like me?”

“I don’t have to like you,” Troy replies and the words sting.

Troy is a character about whom you’ll have mixed feelings.  Beyond his anger at his son, he’s also exploiting his mentally impaired brother, Gabe (Mykelti Williamson).  Gabe has a metal plate in his head, the result of his service in World War II.  Gabe receives a monthly disability check and Troy has been using that money to support his family.

Through it all, Rose remains by his side, listening to him when he’s angry and, whenever she can get a word in, acting as his conscience.  But then, Bono asks Troy about his relationship with Alberta, the new girl at work and Troy confesses what the audience suspected.  Not only is Troy cheating on his wife but Alberta is pregnant….

Troy is a great character and Denzel Washington gives perhaps his best film performance in the role.  (Washington already played the role on stage.)  In many ways, Troy is a monster but, at the same time, it’s impossible not to feel for him.  His anger is real.  His selfishness is all too real.  But his pain and his (legitimate) frustrations are very real, as well.  Troy Maxson is a character who, like everyone, struggles to maintain his balance as he walks the line between right and wrong.  He makes several mistakes but he’s never less than fascinating and Washington’s volcanic performance is never less than enthralling.  Matching Washington every step of the way is Viola Davis, giving a powerful performance as the loyal but outspoken Rose.

In fact, the entire film is a master class of great acting.  (If Mykelti Williamson occasionally goes a bit overboard as Gabe, that has more to do with the character than the performer.)  Though the film is dominated by Washington and Davis, I think special mention has to be made of Stephen McKinley Henderson, who brings a lot of understated wisdom to the role of Bono.

Denzel Washington also directed Fences and, unfortunately, he’s not as good a director as he is an actor.  While he goes get brilliant performances from his cast, Fences never really breaks free from its theatrical origins.  It’s very much a filmed play as opposed to a cinematic work of art and, the few scenes that attempt to “open up” the play feel somewhat awkward.  In the end, Fences is best as a record of incredible acting.

The Black Film Critics Circle Picks Moonlight!


moonlight

The Black Film Critics Circle has named their picks for the best of 2016!

And here they are:

Best Film
Moonlight

Best Director
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actress
Ruth Negga, Loving

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences

Best Original Screenplay
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay
August Wilson, Fences

Best Cinematography
James Laxton, Moonlight

Best Foreign Film
Elle

Best Documentary
13TH

Best Animated Film
Zootopia

Best Ensemble
Fences

The African-American Film Critics Association Honors Moonlight


moonlight

Moonlight picked up yet another precursor victory today when the African-American Film Critics Association named it the best film of 2016!

Check out all of the AAFCA awards below:

BEST PICTURE – MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST DIRECTOR – BARRY JENKINS, MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST ACTOR – DENZEL WASHINGTON, FENCES– (Paramount)

BEST ACTRESS – RUTH NEGGA, LOVING – (Focus Features)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – MAHERSHALA ALI, MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST ENSEMBLE – THE CAST OF HIDDEN FIGURES (20TH Century Fox)

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE 2017 – JANELLE MONAE, MOONLIGHT AND HIDDEN FIGURES

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM – MOONLIGHT (A24)

BEST ANIMATION FILM – ZOOTOPIA (Disney)

BEST SONG – “VICTORY” from HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)

BEST DOCUMENTARY – 13TH (Netflix)

BEST FOREIGN FILM – TANNA (Lightyear Entertainment)

BEST SCREENPLAY – AUGUST WILSON, FENCES – (Paramount)

AAFCA Top 10 Films of 2016 in Order of Distinction

1. “Moonlight”
2. “Fences”
3. “Hidden Figures”
4. “Lion”
5. “La La Land
6. “Birth of a Nation”
7. “Loving”
8. “Manchester by the Sea”
9. “Hell or High Water”
10. “Queen of Katwe”

The San Francisco Film Critics Also Love Moonlight!


moonlight

The San Francisco Film Critics also announced their picks for the best of 2016 earlier today and guess what won?

That’s right — Moonlight!

Here’s a complete list of winners and nominees:

BEST PICTURE

ARRIVAL
HELL OR HIGH WATER
LA LA LAND
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
MOONLIGHT (Winner)

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle  – LA LA LAND
Barry Jenkins   – MOONLIGHT (Winner)
Kenneth Lonergan  – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Jeff Nichols –  LOVING
Denis  Villeneuve  – ARRIVAL

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck  – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Joel Edgerton – LOVING
Ryan Gosling – LA LA LAND
Tom Hanks – SULLY
Denzel Washington  – FENCES (Winner)

BEST ACTRESS

Amy Adams – ARRIVAL
Annette Bening – 20th CENTURY WOMEN
Isabelle Huppert  – ELLE (Winner)
Ruth Negga – LOVING
Natalie Portman – JACKIE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali – MOONLIGHT (Winner)
Jeff Bridges  – HELL OR HIGH  WATER
Ralph Fiennes – A BIGGER SPLASH
Ben Foster  – HELL OR HIGH WATER
Michael Shannon – NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Viola Davis – FENCES (Winner)
Greta Gerwig  – 20th CENTURY WOMEN
Lily Gladstone – CERTAIN WOMEN
Naomie Harris –  MOONLIGHT
Michelle Williams  – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

BEST SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL (tie)

HELL OR HIGH WATER  –  Taylor Sheridan
LA LA LAND  – Damien Chazelle
THE LOBSTER – Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA  – Kenneth Lonergan (Winner)
MOONLIGHT  – Barry Jenkins (Winner)

BEST SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED

ARRIVAL – Eric Heisserer (Winner)
ELLE  –  David Birke
THE HANDMAIDEN  – Park Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-Gyeong
FENCES – August Wilson
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS – Tom Ford

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

ARRIVAL  – Bradford Young
JACKIE   –  Stephane Fontaine
LA LA LAND   – Linus Sandgren
MOONLIGHT  –  James Laxton (Winner)
SILENCE  –  Rodrigo Pietro

PRODUCTION DESIGN

ARRIVAL  – Patrice Vermette
THE HANDMAIDEN  –  Ryu Seong-hee (Winner)
JACKIE   – Jean Rabasse
LA LA LAND –  David Wasco
THE WITCH  –  Craig Lathrop

ORIGINAL SCORE

ARRIVAL  –  Johann Johannsson
HELL OR HIGH WATER  – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
JACKIE   – Mica Levi (Winner)
LA LA LAND –  Justin Hurwitz
MOONLIGHT  – Nicholas Britell

FILM EDITING (tie)

ARRIVAL  –  Joe Walker (Winner)
HELL OR HIGH WATER  – Jake Roberts
LA LA LAND –  Tom Cross
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA  – Jennifer Lame
MOONLIGHT  – Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon (Winner)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

FINDING DORY
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
MOANA
THE RED TURTLE (Winner)
ZOOTOPIA

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE PICTURE

ELLE
THE HANDMAIDEN (Winner)
NERUDA
THE SALESMAN
TONI ERDMANN

BEST DOCUMENTARY

13TH
CAMERAPERSON
FIRE AT SEA
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (Winner)
OJ: MADE IN AMERICA

SPECIAL CITATION

THE FITS (Winner)
KRISHA
PUSHING DEAD

Tommy_Wiseau_in_The_Room

The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Go Crazy For La La Land!


la-la-land

Oscar season continued today as the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics announced their picks for the best of 2016!  What films and performers were honored in America’s capitol?

Here the complete list!

Best Film

Best Director

Best Actor

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams (Arrival)
  • Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
  • Ruth Negga (Loving)
  • Natalie Portman (Jackie) — Winner
  • Emma Stone (La La Land)

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress

  • Viola Davis (Fences) — Winner
  • Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women)
  • Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
  • Molly Shannon (Other People)
  • Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Acting Ensemble

Best Youth Performance:

  • Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) — Winner
  • Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls)
  • Sunny Pawar (Lion)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen)
  • Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch)

Best Voice Performance

  • Jason Bateman (Zootopia)
  • Auli’i Cravalho (Moana)
  • Ellen DeGeneres (Finding Dory)
  • Ginnifer Goodwin (Zootopia)
  • Liam Neeson (A Monster Calls) — Winner

Best Motion Capture Performance

  • Liam Neeson (A Monster Calls)
  • Mark Rylance (The BFG) — Winner

Best Original Screenplay

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Eric Heisserer, Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (Arrival) — Winner
  • August Wilson, Based on his Play (Fences)
  • Luke Davies, Adapted from the Memoir “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley (Lion)
  • Patrick Ness, Based on his Novel (A Monster Calls)
  • Tom Ford, Based on the Novel “Tony and Susan” by Austin Wright (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Animated Feature

Best Documentary

  • Gleason
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • 13th — Winner
  • Weiner

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Elle — Winner
  • Julieta
  • The Handmaiden
  • The Salesman
  • Toni Erdmann

Best Production Design

Best Cinematography

Best Editing

Best Original Score

The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC

Here Are The Nominations For The 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards!


manchester-by-the-sea-sundance-2016

The Broadcast Film Critics Association have announced their nominees for the 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards and here they are!  Once again, in a pattern that will probably see repeated several times of this next month, the nominations were dominated by Moonlight, La La Land, and Manchester By The Sea.

FILM NOMINATIONS FOR THE 22ND ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

BEST PICTURE

BEST ACTOR

BEST ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams – Arrival
  • Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
  • Isabelle Huppert – Elle
  • Ruth Negga – Loving
  • Natalie Portman – Jackie
  • Emma Stone – La La Land

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Viola Davis – Fences
  • Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
  • Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman – Lion
  • Janelle Monáe  – Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

  • Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
  • Alex R. Hibbert – Moonlight
  • Lewis MacDougall – A Monster Calls
  • Madina Nalwanga – Queen of Katwe
  • Sunny Pawar – Lion
  • Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

BEST DIRECTOR

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Damien Chazelle – La La Land
  • Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
  • Yorgos Lanthimos/Efthimis Filippou – The Lobster
  • Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
  • Jeff Nichols – Loving
  • Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Luke Davies – Lion
  • Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
  • Eric Heisserer – Arrival
  • Todd Komarnicki – Sully
  • Allison Schroeder/Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures
  • August Wilson – Fences

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Stéphane Fontaine – Jackie
  • James Laxton – Moonlight
  • Seamus McGarvey – Nocturnal Animals
  • Linus Sandgren – La La Land
  • Bradford Young – Arrival

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Arrival – Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte/André Valade
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Stuart Craig/James Hambidge, Anna Pinnock
  • Jackie – Jean Rabasse, Véronique Melery
  • La La Land – David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
  • Live by Night – Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

BEST EDITING

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Colleen Atwood – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Consolata Boyle – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Madeline Fontaine – Jackie
  • Joanna Johnston – Allied
  • Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh – Love & Friendship
  • Mary Zophres – La La Land

BEST HAIR & MAKEUP

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

BEST ACTION MOVIE

BEST ACTOR IN AN ACTION MOVIE

BEST ACTRESS IN AN ACTION MOVIE

BEST COMEDY

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

  • Ryan Gosling – The Nice Guys
  • Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Dwayne Johnson – Central Intelligence
  • Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
  • Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

  • Kate Beckinsale – Love & Friendship
  • Sally Field – Hello, My Name Is Doris
  • Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters
  • Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
  • Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Elle
  • The Handmaiden
  • Julieta
  • Neruda
  • The Salesman
  • Toni Erdmann

BEST SONG

  • Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – La La Land
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling – Trolls
  • City of Stars – La La Land
  • Drive It Like You Stole It – Sing Street
  • How Far I’ll Go – Moana
  • The Rules Don’t Apply – Rules Don’t Apply

BEST SCORE

  • Nicholas Britell – Moonlight
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson – Arrival
  • Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
  • Micachu – Jackie
  • Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – Lion

Deadpool