Lisa Marie Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Nightmare Alley (dir by Guillermo del Toro)


In March, CODA won the Oscar for Best Picture.

By May, I think most people had forgotten about it.

I point this out not to be snarky about CODA (which, for the most part, I found to be a well-made and sweet-natured movie) but to just point out that occasionally, the Oscar for Best Picture Of The Year does not go to the nominee that’s necessarily going to be remembered and watched by future generations.  CODA’s victory is not a travesty, regardless of what some members of Film Twitter insisted.  This isn’t like when Green Book won.  It’s just that CODA seems to be destined to be remembered in much the same way that we remember Argo and Spotlight, i.e. a well-made and well-acted film that gets the job done but don’t necessarily stick around in your mind for long after you watch it.

In fact, looking back at all of the 2021 Best Picture nominees, the one that has really stuck with me is Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.

Nightmare Alley tells the story of Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), a drifter who, in 1939, gets a job with a carnival.  Stan is running from his past.  He’s haunted by visions and dreams of a dying old man and a burning farm house.  When we first meet him, he avoids alcohol which is perhaps a good thing as getting drunk at the carnival just makes someone easier to exploit and, ultimately, the carnival is all about exploitation.  The carnival’s owner, Clem (Willem DaFoe), specializes in tricking alcoholics into becoming opium-addicted “geeks,” who bite the heads off of chickens for gawking country audiences.

It’s not a glamorous life but it’s one that allows Stan to hide from his past.  He comes under the tutelage of Madame Zeena (Toni Collette) and her husband, Pete (David Straithairn).  They teach him how to give “cold readings,” and Stan proves to be an eager student.  Pete tells Stan to never pretend to be able to speak to the dead and, from the minute that Pete says it, we can tell that Stan is already thinking about how much money he could make by doing just that.  Stan also appears to fall in love with Molly (Rooney Mara), a performer whose act involves a fake electric chair.  When Stan eventually abandons the carnival, Molly goes with him.  When Stan finds success as a fake medium, Molly is his assistant.

Stan becomes quite a success in Buffalo, trading in his shabby clothes and his unshaven appearance for a tuxedo and suave mustache.  With success comes arrogance and Stan soon ignore what Pete told him about pretending to be able to speak to the dead.  When Stan meets a psychologist named Dr. Lillian Rith (Cate Blanchett), he gets involved in a plot to con a judge who is still mourning for his deceased son.  It also leads to Stan meeting a corrupt and murderous businessman (Richard Jenkins).  Ignoring Pete’s lesson sets off a chain of events that leads Stan right back to where he started.

There’s something wonderfully subversive about taking Bradley Cooper, a legitimate movie star who is probably one of the most personable and likable actors working today, and casting him as such a sleazy character.  This isn’t a case, as in American Hustle or even The Hangover movies, where Cooper is playing a goof who gets in over his head.  Instead, Stan is someone who uses his eager manner and his natural charm to cover up the fact that he’s hollow on the inside.  Watching the film, you’re never quite sure as to whether or not Stan truly cares about any of the people who come into his life.  Does he love Molly or is he just using her?  Does he care about his friends from the carnival or is he just manipulating them into acting as a shield to keep out his former life?  When he goes against Pete’s lessons about pretending to speak to the dead, is he motivated by greed or arrogance?  Or does he truly want to believe that he’s somehow become the all-powerful psychic that he pretends to be?  Stan becomes a success because he knows how to con everyone but eventually, he meets someone who is even emptier than he is.  Ultimately, Stan cons himself.  He tricks himself into believing that he’s more clever than he actually is and he ends up facing the fate that he secretly always knew was waiting for him.  Cooper gives an outstanding performance as Stan.  Both he and del Toro cleverly play with what audiences expect when they see Bradley Cooper onscreen.  In the end, the film suggests that not even charm can ward off karma.

Nightmare Alley is work of what Lucio Fulci called “pure cinema,” one in which the imagery and the emotions generated by that imagery is even more important than the story itself.  The sets, whether it’s the carnival or Dr. Ritter’s office or the Buffalo ballroom where Stan cons the wealthy, are large and ornate.  The cinematography is gorgeous.  The supporting performances are arch and witty.  Cate Blanchett’s and Rooney Mara’s costumes are to die for.  Nearly every shot feels as if it could have been lifted from a particularly vivid dream.  Guillermo del Toro’s love of cinema is evident in every frame of Nightmare Alley.  It’s a film that celebrates the grandeur and the power of imagination and also warns about the destructive power of hubris.  Despite the fact that del Toro has gone on the record saying that there’s nothing supernatural about Nightmare Alley, it’s still a wonderful film for the Halloween season.  The costumes are beautiful and the final third of the movie plays like an homage to the classic German expressionistic horror films, with Blanchett playing her role as a mix of Dr. Caligari and a classic noir feeme fatale.  Nightmare Alley is a big, flamboyant, and unforgettable work of pure cinema and, looking back, it’s my favorite film of 2021.

It’s a film that stays with you.

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

Here Are the 2020 Satellite Nominations!


If the Golden Globes are the bastard children of the Oscars than the Satellites are the bastard children of the Golden Globes.  And if there’s anything that will always hold true, it’s that bastard children can eventually be accepted but bastard grandchildren are always going to struggle.  That’s my fancy way of saying that the Satellites have been around for 25 years and still, it doesn’t seem like anyone pays them much attention.  It’s also an excuse to use the word bastard 4 times in one paragraph.

Anyway, the Satellites announced their nominees earlier today.  Their film nominees can be found below!  If you want to see what they nominated in the television categories, check it out for yourself at their site!

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

NOMINEES FOR MOTION PICTURE

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 Denver Film Critics Society Honors The Trial of The Chicago 7


Somehow, I guess I missed the Denver Film Critics Society announcing their nominations.  Oh well, no worries!  We’ve got both their nominations and their winners listed below!  (The winners are in bold.)

The Denver Film Critics Society decided to buck the trend a little bit by giving their best picture award to Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 as opposed to Nomadland.  However, they still gave their best director award to Chloe Zhao.  For some reason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen at the Oscars.  In fact, if The Trial of The Chicago 7 does somehow win best picture, I’m hoping that Zhao or someone other than Sorkin win Best Director.  There’s only so many Aaron Sorkin speeches that one can take during the course of one night.

Among the other winners in Denver: Carey Mulligan won Best Actress of Promising Young Woman, Chadwick Boseman took Best Actor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Ellen Burstyn won Best Supporting Actress for Pieces of a Woman while Sacha Baron Cohen won Best Supporting Actor for The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Here’s the full list:

Best Picture
“Minari”
“Nomadland”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“First Cow”
“Soul”

Best Director
Chloe Zhao – “Nomadland”
David Fincher – “Mank”
Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Pete Docter – “Soul”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”

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

Best Actor
Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Gary Oldman – “Mank”
Delroy Lindo – “Da 5 Bloods”
Riz Ahmed – “Sound of Metal”
Steven Yuen – “Minari”

Best Supporting Actress
Olivia Colman – “The Father”
Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”
Ellen Burstyn – “Pieces of a Woman”
Youn Yuh-jung – “Minari”
Maria Bakalova – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Best Supporting Actor
Bill Murray – “On the Rocks”
Chadwick Boseman – “Da 5 Bloods”
Bo Burnham – “Promising Young Woman”
David Strathairn – “Nomadland”
Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Sci-Fi/Horror
“The Vast of Night”
“Possessor”
“The Invisible Man”
“Tenet”
“Freaky”

Best Animated Feature
“Wolfwalkers”
Soul”
“The Wolf House”
“Onward”
“Over the Moon”

Best Comedy
“The Personal History of David Copperfield”
“The Climb”
“Palm Springs”
“Birds of Prey”
“The Forty-Year-Old Version”

Best Visual Effects
“Tenet”
“The Midnight Sky”
“The Invisible Man”
“Greyhound”
“Birds of Prey”

Best Original Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Radha Blank – “The Forty-Year-Old Version”
Pete Docter, Mike Jones & Kemp Powers – “Soul”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”
Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – “First Cow”
Chloe Zhao – “Nomadland”
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Kemp Powers – “One Night in Miami”
Charlie Kaufman – “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Best Documentary
“Boys State”
“All In: The Fight for Democracy”
“The Social Dilemma”
“The Truffle Hunters”
“Dick Johnson Is Dead”

Best Original Song
“Poverty Porn” – “The Forty-Year-Old Version”
“Speak Now” – “One Night in Miami”
“Wear Your Crown” – “The Prom”
“Rocket to the Moon” – “Over the Moon”
“Hear My Voice” – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Original Score
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – “Soul”
Alexander Desplat – “The Midnight Sky”
Terence Blanchard – “One Night in Miami”
Ludwig Goransson – “Tenet”
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – “Mank”

Best Non-English Language Feature
“The Life Ahead”
“Martin Eden”
“Another Round”
“Minari”
“I’m No Longer Here”

The San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle Honors Nomadland


Just three days after announcing their nominations, the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle have announced their picks for the best of 2020.  Basically, it all adds up to another victory of Nomadland, Chloe Zhao, and Frances McDormand.  Again, there’s nothing wrong with that so don’t mistake my boredom for criticism.  I haven’t watched Nomadland yet but I like Zhao’s The Rider and McDormand is one of the best actresses around.  It’s just that, from an observer’s point of view, it’s hard not to hope for something unexpected to happen, just to keep things interesting.

Also honored, along with the Nomadland trio, were Chadwick Boseman (Best Actor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Paul Raci (Best Supporting Actor for Sound of Metal), and Youn Yuh-jung (Best Supporting Actress for Minari).  Best Aniamted film went to Soul and, not surprisingly given how the awards season is shaping up, Trent Renzor and Atticus Ross won Best Original Score for that same film.

Here are all the winners in San Francisco:

Best Picture
“First Cow”
“Minari”
“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
“Nomadland”
“Promising Young Woman”

Best Director
Chloé Zhao – “Nomadland”
Eliza Hittman – “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”
Kelly Reichardt – “First Cow”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”

Best Original Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Eliza Hittman – “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”
Jack Fincher – “Mank”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”

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

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

Best Actress
Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman”
Elisabeth Moss – “The Invisible Man”
Frances McDormand – “Nomadland”
Sidney Flanigan – “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Best Supporting Actor
Chadwick Boseman – “Da 5 Bloods”
David Strathairn – “Nomadland”
Leslie Odom Jr. – “One Night in Miami”
Paul Raci – “Sound of Metal”
Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Supporting Actress
Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”
Maria Bakalova – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Olivia Colman – “The Father”
Toni Collette – “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Youn Yuh-jung – “Minari”

Best Animated Feature
“Marona’s Fantastic Tale”
“Onward”
“Over the Moon”
“Soul”
“Wolfwalkers”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Another Round”
“Bacurau”
“Collective”
“La Llorona”
“Two of Us”

Best Documentary
“Collective”
“Crip Camp”
“Boys State”
“The Truffle Hunters”
“Time”

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – “First Cow”
Erik Messerschmidt – “Mank”
Hoyte Van Hoytema – “Tenet”
Joshua James Richards – “Nomadland”
Newton Thomas Sigel – “Da 5 Bloods”

Best Production Design
“First Cow”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“Mank”
“One Night in Miami”
“Tenet”

Best Film Editing
Alan Baumgarten – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Chloé Zhao – “Nomadland”
Jennifer Lame – “Tenet”
Kirk Baxter – “Mank”
Yorgos Lamprinos – “The Father”

Best Original Score
Emile Mosseri – “Minari”
Terence Blanchard – “Da 5 Bloods”
Terence Blanchard – “One Night in Miami”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – “Mank”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – “Soul”

Special Citation for Independent Cinema
“La Llorona” (TIE)
“The Last Tree”
“Sh*thouse” (TIE)

Here Are The 2020 Nominations of the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle!


The San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle (SFBACC) have announced their nominations for the best of 2020!  It’s pretty much the usual suspects.  Every critics group that does nominations has nominated Nomadland.  It’s pretty much this year’s sure bet.  Usually, when it comes to the regional critics awards, the only real suspense is to whether or not Minari, First Cow, Trial of the Chicago 7 and I’m Thinking of Ending Things are going to pick up best picture nominations as well.  The SFBACC nominated both Minari and First Cow for best picture but not I’m Thinking of Ending Things and Trial of the Chicago 7 (though both did pick up screenplay nominations).

(Realistically, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is probably going to be judged by the Academy to be too strange.  That’s a shame because the Oscars can always use a little bit of strangness.)

The San Francisco winners will be announced on January 18th …. which is only 2 days away!  I guess they really don’t waste any time in the Bay Area.  Here are the nominees:

Best Picture
“First Cow”
“Minari”
“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
“Nomadland”
“Promising Young Woman”

Best Director
Chloé Zhao – “Nomadland”
Eliza Hittman – “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”
Kelly Reichardt – “First Cow”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”

Best Original Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Eliza Hittman – “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”
Jack Fincher – “Mank”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”

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

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

Best Actress
Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman”
Elisabeth Moss – “The Invisible Man”
Frances McDormand – “Nomadland”
Sidney Flanigan – “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Best Supporting Actor
Chadwick Boseman – “Da 5 Bloods”
David Strathairn – “Nomadland”
Leslie Odom Jr. – “One Night in Miami”
Paul Raci – “Sound of Metal”
Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Supporting Actress
Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”
Maria Bakalova – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Olivia Colman – “The Father”
Toni Collette – “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Youn Yuh-jung – “Minari”

Best Animated Feature
“Marona’s Fantastic Tale”
“Onward”
“Over the Moon”
“Soul”
“Wolfwalkers”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Another Round”
“Bacurau”
“Collective”
“La Llorona”
“Two of Us”

Best Documentary
“Collective”
“Crip Camp”
“Boys State”
“The Truffle Hunters”
“Time”

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – “First Cow”
Erik Messerschmidt – “Mank”
Hoyte Van Hoytema – “Tenet”
Joshua James Richards – “Nomadland”
Newton Thomas Sigel – “Da 5 Bloods”

Best Production Design
“First Cow”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“Mank”
“One Night in Miami”
“Tenet”

Best Film Editing
Alan Baumgarten – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Chloé Zhao – “Nomadland”
Jennifer Lame – “Tenet”
Kirk Baxter – “Mank”
Yorgos Lamprinos – “The Father”

Best Original Score
Emile Mosseri – “Minari”
Terence Blanchard – “Da 5 Bloods”
Terence Blanchard – “One Night in Miami”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – “Mank”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – “Soul”

Special Citation for Independent Cinema
“La Llorona”
“The Last Tree”
“Sh*thouse”

Nomadland Wins In North Dakota


The North Dakota Film Society announced its picks for the best of 2020 earlier today.  All of the usual suspects won.  Nomadland took best picture.  Chloe Zhao took best director.  Frances McDormand picked up yet another best actress awards.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a complaint.  It’s just that, by this point, I’m so used to Nomadland, Zhao, and McDormand winning that I’m struggling to find a new way to announce their victories.

Nomadland is definitely the Oscar front runner right now.  To be honest, though, it’s sometimes better to be the underdog.  A lot of front runners have fallen to the side — The Social Network, La La Land, A Star is Born, Joker, 1917.  In other words — nothing has been determined yet and there’s still a whole month to go before we even know what’s been nominated for the Oscars.  In other words, don’t give up on Money Plane just yet!

Here are the winners from North Dakota:

Best Picture
FIRST COW (RUNNER UP)
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (RUNNER UP)
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
NOMADLAND (WINNER)
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Best Director
Emerald Fennell – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
David Fincher – MANK (RUNNER UP)
Charlie Kaufman – I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
Kelly Reichardt – FIRST COW
Chloé Zhao – NOMADLAND (WINNER)

Best Actress
Viola Davis – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Sophia Loren – THE LIFE AHEAD
Frances McDormand – NOMADLAND (WINNER)
Carey Mulligan – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (RUNNER UP)
Kate Winslet – AMMONITE

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – SOUND OF METAL (WINNER)
Chadwick Boseman – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Delroy Lindo – DA 5 BLOODS (RUNNER UP)
Gary Oldman – MANK
Steven Yeun – MINARI

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM (WINNER)
Ellen Burstyn – PIECES OF A WOMAN (RUNNER UP TIE)
Saoirse Ronan – AMMONITE
Amanda Seyfried – MANK (RUNNER UP TIE)
Yuh-Jung Youn – MINARI (RUNNER UP TIE)

Best Supporting Actor
Bo Burnham – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
Sacha Baron Cohen – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (WINNER)
Orion Lee – FIRST COW (RUNNER UP)
Paul Raci – SOUND OF METAL
David Strathairn – NOMADLAND

Best Screenplay
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (RUNNER UP)
MANK
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (WINNER)
SOUND OF METAL

Best Production Design
EMMA.
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
MANK (WINNER)
NEWS OF THE WORLD
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD (RUNNER UP)

Best Cinematography
EMMA.
FIRST COW
MANK (RUNNER UP)
NOMADLAND (WINNER)
TENET

Best Film Editing
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
MANK
NOMADLAND (WINNER)
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
TENET (RUNNER UP)

Best Original Score
AMMONITE
THE INVISIBLE MAN
MANK (WINNER)
SOUL (RUNNER UP)
TENET

Best Original Song
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM – ”Wuhan Flu” (WINNER)
MISS AMERICANA – ”Only the Young”
ON THE ROCKS – ”Identical”
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – ”Speak Now”
OVER THE MOON – ”Rocket to the Moon” (RUNNER UP)

Best International Feature
AND THEN WE DANCED (WINNER)
ANOTHER ROUND
BEANPOLE (RUNNER UP TIE)
COLLECTIVE (RUNNER UP TIE)
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Best Documentary Feature
ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY (WINNER)
BOYS STATE
COLLECTIVE
DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD (RUNNER UP)
TIME
THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS

Best Animated Feature
THE CROODS: A NEW AGE
ONWARD
OVER THE MOON
SOUL (WINNER)
WOLFWALKERS (RUNNER UP)

Here Are The 2020 Nominations of the North Dakota Film Society!


The North Dakota Film Society has announced their nominations for the best of 2020!  They’ll announce their winners a week from now, on January 15th.

I have to say that I kind of love the fact that we have so many different regional critics groups.  I mean, yes — it can be difficult to keep up with all of them once award seasons kicks into full gear.  (It’s been a little bit easier this year, with so many groups deciding to hold off on announcing their picks so that they can suck up to the Academy.)  But, seriously, why shouldn’t the film critics of North Dakota make their voice heard?  Why should we act like only New York, Los Angles, and the National Board of Review matter?  Personally, I like seeing how different regional groups react to different films.  For instance, the North Dakota Critics showed some love to Ammonite, a film that’s kind of fallen off the radar as far as the Oscar race is concerned.  They also gave a best picture nomination to I’m Thinking of Ending Things, a fascinating film that might be too strange for the Academy but which still deserves some recognition.  Regional groups are important because they remind us that Nomadland and Minari weren’t the only good films released in 2020.

My point is that — despite what Film Twitter might tell you — it’s good to have a lot of voices and opinions out there.  Anything that challenge group think is a good thing, I believe.

Here are the nominations from North Dakota:

Best Picture
FIRST COW
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
NOMADLAND
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Best Director
Emerald Fennell – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
David Fincher – MANK
Charlie Kaufman – I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
Kelly Reichardt – FIRST COW
Chloé Zhao – NOMADLAND

Best Actress
Viola Davis – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Sophia Loren – THE LIFE AHEAD
Frances McDormand – NOMADLAND
Carey Mulligan – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
Kate Winslet – AMMONITE

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – SOUND OF METAL
Chadwick Boseman – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Delroy Lindo – DA 5 BLOODS
Gary Oldman – MANK
Steven Yeun – MINARI

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Ellen Burstyn – PIECES OF A WOMAN
Saoirse Ronan – AMMONITE
Amanda Seyfried – MANK
Yuh-Jung Youn – MINARI

Best Supporting Actor
Bo Burnham – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
Sacha Baron Cohen – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Orion Lee – FIRST COW
Paul Raci – SOUND OF METAL
David Strathairn – NOMADLAND

Best Screenplay
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
MANK
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
SOUND OF METAL

Best Production Design
EMMA.
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
MANK
NEWS OF THE WORLD
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD

Best Cinematography
EMMA.
FIRST COW
MANK
NOMADLAND
TENET

Best Film Editing
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
MANK
NOMADLAND
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
TENET

Best Original Score
AMMONITE
THE INVISIBLE MAN
MANK
SOUL
TENET

Best Original Song
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM – ”Wuhan Flu”
MISS AMERICANA – ”Only the Young”
ON THE ROCKS – ”Identical”
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – ”Speak Now”
OVER THE MOON – ”Rocket to the Moon”

Best International Feature
AND THEN WE DANCED
ANOTHER ROUND
BEANPOLE
COLLECTIVE
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Best Documentary Feature
ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY
BOYS STATE
COLLECTIVE
DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD
TIME
THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS

Best Animated Feature
THE CROODS: A NEW AGE
ONWARD
OVER THE MOON
SOUL
WOLFWALKERS

Here Are The 2020 North Carolina Film Critics Nominations!


The regional film critics continue to chime in with their picks for the best of 2020.  Below, you’ll find the nomination of the North Carolina Film Critics.  The winners will be announced on January 3rd, 2021.  That sounds like a long wait but actually, it’s just means that the winners will be announced on Sunday.

Anyway, here’s the nominations.  You’ll notice that there’s no nominations for Small Axe, so I guess that moment has passed now that Amazon has made it clear that they’re still going for Emmys as opposed to Oscars for Steve McQueen’s five films.  That’s kind of a shame since the whole Small Axe thing was at least providing some suspense as far as these awards go.

BEST NARRATIVE FILM
Da 5 Bloods
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
The Trial Of The Chicago 7

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
All In: The Fight for Democracy
Boys State
David Byrne’s American Utopia
Dick Johnson Is Dead
Time

BEST ANIMATED FILM
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over The Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Another Round
Bacurau
Beanpole
La llorona
Night of Kings

BEST DIRECTOR
Emerald Fennel – Promising Young Woman
David Fincher – Mank
Regina King – One Night In Miami…
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet
Erik Messerschmidt – Mank
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland
Newton Thomas Sigel – Da 5 Bloods
Dariusz Wolski – News of the World

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
Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial Of The Chicago 7
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
David Strathairn – Nomadland

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Toni Colette – I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
Olivia Colman – The Father
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Da 5 Bloods – Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
Mank – Jack Fincher
Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin

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

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS
The Invisible Man
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
Tenet
Wonder Woman 1984

BEST MUSIC
Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
Soul
Tenet

KEN HANKE MEMORIAL TAR HEEL AWARD
This award recognizes a film, artists, or performer with a special connection to North Carolina. In 2017, the Tar Heel Award was dedicated to longtime North Carolina film critic Ken Hanke.

The Dancin’ Bulldogs – Film
Will Patton (Minari) – Performer
Gary Wheeler – Producer/Industry Professional

BEST RESTORATION
To honor the special role that streaming has played in 2020 due to the global pandemic, the NCFCA added a category to this year’s awards: Best Restoration. This intends to acknowledge the cultural significance of the film in addition to the quality of the restoration.

Beau Travail (The Criterion Collection)
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner Bros.)
Mädchen in Uniform (Kino Lorber)
Native Son (Kino Lorber)
Roman Holiday (Paramount Home Entertainment)

The 2020 Chicago Film Critics Association Snubs Capone


Here are the 2020 nominees of the Chicago Film Critics Association!  While they nominated many worthy films and performers, one cannot help but notice that they totally snubbed Capone and Tom Hardy.  That seems a bit ungrateful, considering all that Al Capone did for the city of Chicago.

The winners will be announced on December 21st!

BEST PICTURE
Da 5 Bloods
First Cow
Lovers Rock
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman

BEST DIRECTOR
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods
Steve McQueen – Lovers Rock
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
Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Carrie Coon – The Nest
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
David Strathairn – Nomadland

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Toni Collette – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Letitia Wright – Mangrove
Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Da 5 Bloods – Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
Never Rarely Sometimes Always – Eliza Hittman
Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Soul – Pete Docter, Mike Jones & Kemp Powers
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Father – Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller
First Cow – Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt
I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Charlie Kaufman
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
One Night in Miami – Kemp Powers

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Onward
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
The Wolf House
Wolfwalkers

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Collective
David Byrne’s American Utopia
Dick Johnson is Dead
The Social Dilemma
Time

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
(A tie in the nominations process resulted in six nominees in this category)
Another Round
Bacurau
Beanpole
Collective
La Llorona
Vitalina Varela

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
First Cow – Christopher Blauvelt
Lovers Rock – Shabier Kirchner
Mank – Erik Messerschmidt
Nomadland – Joshua James Richards
The Vast of Night – Miguel Ioann Littin Menz

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Da 5 Bloods – Terence Blanchard
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Branford Marsalis
Mank – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Soul – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
Tenet – Ludwig Goransson

BEST ART DIRECTION
Birds of Prey
Emma.
First Cow
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Mank

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Birds of Prey
Emma.
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank

BEST USE OF VISUAL EFFECTS
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
The Invisible Man
The Midnight Sky
Possessor
Tenet

BEST EDITING
I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Robert Frazen
Lovers Rock – Chris Dickens & Steve McQueen
Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
Tenet – Jennifer Lame
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten

MILOS STEHLIK AWARD FOR PROMISING FILMMAKER
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal
Andrew Patterson – The Vast of Night

MOST PROMISING PERFORMER
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Kelly O’Sullivan – Saint Frances
Helena Zengel – News of the World