Here Are The Hollywood Critics Association’s Nominations For The Best of 2019


The Hollywood Critics Association was, up until a few days ago, known as the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society.  Perhaps realizing that HCA just plans looks better than LAOFCS, they announced yesterday that they were changing their name.

They also announced their nominees for the best of films and performances of 2019!  While the HCA may not be one of the major precursors of awards season, their nominations do give a fairly good picture of which films and performances are currently being touted as possible Oscar nominees.

And here they are:

BEST PICTURE

  • “1917”
  • “Booksmart”
  • “The Farewell”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “Joker”
  • “Jojo Rabbit”
  • “Parasite”
  • “Marriage Story”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Waves

BEST ACTOR

  • Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
  • Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”
  • Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
  • “Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
  • Lupita Nyong’o, “Us”
  • Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
  • Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
  • Shia LaBeouf, “Honey Boy”
  • Sterling K. Brown, “Waves”
  • Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers”
  • Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
  • Margot Robbie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Taylor Russell, “Waves”
  • Zhao Shuzhen, “The Farewell”

BEST MALE DIRECTOR

  • Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
  • Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
  • Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”

BEST FEMALE DIRECTOR

  • Alma Har’el, “Honey Boy”
  • Greta Gerwig, “Little Women”
  • Lorene Scafaria, “Hustlers”
  • Lulu Wang, “The Farewell”
  • Olivia Wilde, “Booksmart”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin-won, “Parasite”
  • Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, & Katie Silberman, “Booksmart”
  • Lulu Wang, “The Farewell”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
  • Rian Johnson, “Knives Out”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Anthony McCarten, “The Two Popes”
  • Lorene Scafaria, “Hustlers”
  • Scott Silver and Todd Phillips, “Joker”
  • Steven Zailian, “The Irishman”
  • Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR OR ACTRESS 23 AND UNDER

  • Kaitlyn Dever, “Booksmart”
  • Julia Butters, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Noah Jupe, “Honey Boy”
  • Roman Griffin Davis, “Jojo Rabbit”
  • Thomasin McKenzie, “Jojo Rabbit”

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE

  • Jessie Buckley, “Wild Rose”
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr., “Waves”
  • Paul Walter Hauser, “Richard Jewell”
  • Taylor Russell, “Waves”
  • Zack Gottsagen, “The Peanut Butter Falcon”

BEST CAST

  • “Avengers: Endgame”
  • “The Irishman”
  • “Knives Out”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Waves”

BEST FIRST FEATURE

  • “Brittany Runs a Marathon”
  • “Booksmart”
  • “Honey Boy”
  • “The Peanut Butter Falcon”
  • “Queen & Slim”

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

  • “Booksmart”
  • “The Farewell”
  • “Honey Boy”
  • “Luce”
  • “Waves”

BEST ACTION/WAR FILM

  • “1917”
  • “Avengers: Endgame”
  • “Captain Marvel”
  • “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
  • “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum”

BEST ANIMATED FILM

  • “Abominable”
  • “Frozen II”
  • “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
  • “Missing Link”
  • “Toy Story 4”

BEST BLOCKBUSTER

  • “Avengers: Endgame”
  • “Captain Marvel”
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • “Shazam!”
  • “Spider-Man: Far from Home”

BEST COMEDY/MUSICAL

  • “Booksmart”
  • “Blinded by the Light”
  • Dolemite Is My Name”
  • “Long Shot”
  • “Rocketman”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • “American Factory”
  • “Apollo 11”
  • “Hail Satan?”
  • “The Kingmaker”
  • “Love, Antosha”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • “The Farewell”
  • “Monos”
  • “Pain & Glory”
  • “Parasite”
  • “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

BEST HORROR FILM

  • “Crawl”
  • “Doctor Sleep”
  • “Midsommar”
  • “Ready or Not”
  • “Us”

BEST ANIMATED OR VFX PERFORMANCE

  • Josh Brolin, “Avengers: Endgame”
  • Robert De Niro, “The Irishman”
  • Rosa Salazar, “Alita: Battle Angel”
  • Ryan Reynolds, “Detective Pikachu”
  • Tom Hanks, “Toy Story 4”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Drew Daniel, “Waves”
  • Jarin Blaschke, “The Lighthouse”
  • Lawrence Sher, “Joker”
  • Robert Richardson, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Roger Deakins, “1917”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Arianne Phillips, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Julian Day, “Rocketman”
  • Jacqueline Durran, “Little Women”
  • Ruth E. Carter, “Dolemite Is My Name”
  • Mark Bridges, “Joker”

BEST EDITING

  • Fred Raskin, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Lee Smith, “1917”
  • Michael McCusker, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Thelma Schoonmaker, ‘The Irishman”
  • Yang Jin-mo, “Parasite”

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

  • “Bombshell”
  • “Joker”
  • “Judy”
  • “Rocketman”
  • “The Irishman”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Catchy Song” from “The Lego Movie: The Second Part”
  • “Glasgow” from “Wild Rose”
  • “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”
  • “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen II”
  • “Speechless” from “Aladdin”

BEST SCORE

  • Alexandre Desplat, “Little Women”
  • Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Joker”
  • Michael Abels, “Us”
  • Thomas Newman, “1917”
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “Waves”

BEST STUNT WORK

  • “1917”
  • “Avengers: Endgame”
  • “Captain Marvel”
  • “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
  • “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • “1917”
  • “Ad Astra”
  • “Avengers: Endgame”
  • “Alita: Battle Angel”
  • “The Irishman”

The winners will announced in December!

Film Review: Crawl (dir by Alexandre Aja)


Crawl is a masterpiece of the pulp imagination.

Kaya Scodelario plays Haley Keller, a swimmer at the University of Florida who has a loving but troubled relationship with her father, Dave (Barry Pepper).  With a Category 5 hurricane on a collision course with the state of Florida,  everyone has been ordered to evacuate the area.  However, Haley is concerned that her father may not have gotten the message or, being the stubborn type that he is, he may have gotten the message and just decided to ignore it.  (I could totally relate to Haley’s frustration.  When Dallas got hit by tornadoes last month, my Dad not only refused to hide in his laundry room but he also called me up to inform me that he was sitting out on his back patio watching for any twisters.)  With the storm raging all around her, Haley searches for her father.  When she finally finds him, he’s in the crawlspace of their vacation home.  He’s unconscious.  He’s wounded.  And he’s surrounded by alligators!  It’s now up to Haley to save the lives of not only her father but also the family dog.  And, of course, she has to do all of this without getting eaten by an alligator herself.  Even worse, even if they do manage to outswim the alligators, Haley and Dave are still going to have to deal with the ever intensifying storm that is raging outside.

Crawl is an intense and exciting film, one that clocks in at a brisk 87 minutes and which has a lot more going on underneath the surface than might be readily apparent.  Yes, this is a film about two people and a dog who are trapped in a flooded crawlspace by a bunch of hungry alligators.  And yes, I’m sure that some people will be totally boring and predictable and make a big deal about the film’s environmental subtext.  (“How many more innocent people have to be eaten by alligators before we pass the Green New Deal!?”)  But, at its heart, this is a film about relationships.  Dave has always been hard on Haley.  Haley has always both loved and resented her father.  The flooding and subsequent alligator attacks may justify the pressure that Dave put on Haley to become the best but, even more importantly, it allows Haley to show that she actually is the best and that she doesn’t always need Dave to tell her what to do.  With Dave spending the majority of the film incapacitated in one way or the other, it’s often up to Haley to keep them both from getting eaten as they try to move from one flooded location to another.  It’s up to Haley to keep fighting and fight she does.  Haley never gives up and never surrenders and, for me, Crawl is a thousand times more empowering than Captain Marvel or any of the other more obviously heavy-handed “girl power” films that have come out this year.

As directed by Alexandra Aja, there’s not a single wasted moment to be found in Crawl.  He plunges straight into the story and the film is pretty much an unrelenting thrill ride from beginning to end.  Even more importantly, Aja is smart enough to trust his audience to be able to read between the lines of this genre film without necessarily beating the audience over the head with its message.  This is a film that can be appreciated as both a thriller and a heartfelt look at a difficult but loving relationship.  This is a grindhouse film with a heart, featuring a strong and committed performance from Kaya Scodelario.  As Haley is, again and again, forced to prove her strength, she becomes a stand-in for all of us.  Crawl is genre filmmaking at its best, along with being one of the most impressive films of 2019.

Song of the Day: Crawl (performed by the Virgin Wolves)


The Virgin Wolves is one of the best bands to come out of the Denton, Texas music scene and, as someone who spent some of the best years of her life in Denton, I’m happy to see them get some recognition.  This is the video for one of their best songs, “Crawl.”  The video was filmed in Denton, as should be obvious to any former student at the University of North Texas who has ever dealt with the pressure of finals by going out at midnight and getting high in a stranger’s living room.

What can I say?

The Virgin Wolves bring back a lot of memories.