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

Holiday Film Review: Collateral Beauty (dir by David Frankel)


Occasionally, you see a film that is so misjudged and so poorly executed that it leaves you wondering whether or not the entire production was meant to be some sort of elaborate practical joke.  Perhaps not surprisingly, these films are usually a mix of comedy and drama and they tend to try to deal with the big issues — life, death, love, and all the rest.  These films are fueled by a mix of ambition, sincerity, and a total inability to understand how people actually think and live.  Invevitably, these films come out at Oscar time and they tend to have surprising twists that are designed to tug at the heart strings but to also make you think.  They’re usually have titles that sound good but don’t make much sense and they often feature the type of talented actors who really should know better.  Audiences should also know better but all of these films have devoted fans who insist that the rest of us are just too cynical or jaded to really appreciate a good story.

2016’s Collateral Beauty is one such film.

Set during the Christmas season, Collateral Beauty tells the story of Howard Inlet (Will Smith).  Howard was an advertising genius but then his daughter died and he sunk into a deep depression.  In this film, being clinically depressed means that you ride your bicycle a lot.  It also means that you spend a lot of time building domino chains.  Because Howard is too depressed to do anything, his advertising firm is on the verge of going bankrupt.  His partners — Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet), and Simon (Michael Pena) — all want to sell the firm but they have to get Howard to sign off on it and Howard refuses to talk to anyone.

However, his three business partners come across letters that Howard wrote to the abstract concepts of Death, Time, and Love.  And, realizing that Howard had some issues with those concepts, they decided to hire three actors to pretend to be those concepts so that they can film Howard talking to them.  The plan is to film Howard talking to the actors and then use digital technology to erase the actors from the footage so that Howard will look like he’s talking to himself, which will make it easier to prove that Howard is not mentally stable enough to run the company and….

What?  Yes, that’s the plot.  Undoubtedly, it seems like there should be an easier way to prove that Howard is not mentally fit to run his company but the three business partners decided to go with the plan that makes absolutely no sense and the film applauds them for doing so.  It does seem like, if they really cared about Howard, they would have instructed the actors to provide some sort of comfort to Howard but apparently, no one in this movie has seen It’s A Wonderful Life or read A Christmas Carol.  The film assures us that making a suicidal man think that he’s gone legitimately insane is definitely the humane way to deal with this situation.

Anyway, the three actors are played by Helen Mirren, Jacob Latimore, and Keira Knightley.  And, in order to study Howard, each spends time with his business partners and we learn about everyone’s life.  For instance, Whit has a daughter that he needs to connect with.  Claire is depressed because she wants a child.  Simon is dying, which means that he spends the entire movie vomiting.  Amazingly, no one but Helen Mirren notices.  Not only does the actors help Howard but they help his partners as well.  Awwwww!

After the actors all visit him, Howard is so upset by the encounters that he goes to a support group that’s run by Madeline (Naomie Harris), who lost a daughter (just like Howard!) and who is divorced (just like Howard!) and who has a note from her ex-husband in which he says that he wishes they could act like strangers again and hey, guess who her ex-husband is!?  (Yes, it’s Howard.)  Anyway, some mysterious woman once told Madeline that, even as her daughter was dying, she should always celebrate the “collateral beauty of it all” and I have no idea what that was supposed to mean but Madeline sure does talk about it a lot.

I like to think that Collateral Beauty shares the same cinematic universe as The Book of Henry and Life Itself.  It’s a universe where simplistic thoughts are held up as being extremely profound and where no one actually does anything that makes sense.  Just as The Book of Henry asks us to be touched by an annoying little brat insisting (from beyond the grave, no less) that his mother to assassinate their neighbor, Collateral Beauty asks us to appreciate all the effort that goes into tormenting an already seriously depressed human being.  Just as Life Itself insists that life being an unreliable narrator is somehow a mind-blowing concept, Collateral Beauty insists that everything will be okay as long as we appreciate the “collateral beauty of it all.”  It may feel like a parody but Collateral Beauty not only takes itself seriously but it also seems to be convinced that you’ll take it seriously as well.  There’s something rather presumptuous about the film’s insistence that it actually has something unique or interesting to say.

Amazingly enough, a truly great cast signed up to appear in this film.  Most of them turn in performances that are either forgettable or regrettable.  Edward Norton gives a performance that is so annoyingly mannered that it’s hard not to be reminded of the rumors that he was basically playing himself in Birdman.  Considering that she’s one of the greatest actresses around, Kate Winslet is shockingly bad.  Helen Mirren appears to be having a laugh.  Will Smith actually gives a good performance but it’s a waste to cast such a great talker as someone who barely speaks.

Collateral Beauty came out in December of 2016.  Before it was released, it had Oscar buzz.  After it was released …. well, let’s just say that it didn’t.  Critics hated the film but it did well at the box office and it has its fans.  I’m not one of them but perhaps someday, I’ll appreciate the collateral beauty of it all.

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for November


Oh, why not?

Here are my Oscar predictions for November!

If want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions of January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October!  You’ll probably notice that the main evolution in my thinking this month is that I’ve dropped Hillbilly Elegy from my predictions and I’ve added Meryl Streep because she gets nominated for everything.

Best Picture

The Father

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

Pieces of a Woman

Soul

Sound of Metal

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung for Minari

David Fincher for Mank

Regina King for One Night in Miami

Florian Zeller for The Father

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Ben Affleck in The Way Back

Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Gary Oldman in Mank

Best Actress

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Meryl Streep in The Prom

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Shia LeBeouf in Pieces of a Woman

Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night in Miami

Best Supporting Actress

Olivia Colman in The Father

Olivia Cooke in Sound of Metal

Saoirse Ronan in Ammmonite

Amanda Seyfried in Mank

Helena Zengel in News of the World

 

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For October


The big news this month is that Respect will no longer be getting released in January.  It’s been moved back so drop it from your Oscar predictions.

Here are my current predictions.  Take them with grain of salt and all the rest.  The more and more I think about it, the more annoyed I am with the Academy extending the eligibility window.  With all of the biggest contenders delaying their opening for a year, that extension seems more and more silly.

To be honest, I’m starting to have my doubts whether the film industry, as we know it, will even exist in another year or so.  I think eventually, we’ll just have a propaganda industry with the government subsidizing Hollywood on the condition that Hollywood only make certain types of films.  It’s going to suck.  The worst part is that most of the people who should speak out against that sort of thing won’t.  So many critics have down the partisan rabbit hole that they’re now more concerned with keeping the politicians happy than with actually writing about movies.

After looking at these, please check out my predictions for JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune, July, August, and September!

Best Picture

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

On the Rocks

The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Director

David Fincher for Mank

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Regina King for One Night in Miami

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

 

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman in Mank

Steven Yeun in Minari

 

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

 

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Bill Murray in On The Rocks

Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night In Miami

David Strathairn in Nomandland

 

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Amanda Seyfried in Mank

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Here’s The Second Trailer For Ammonite!


Yesterday, the second trailer for Ammonite dropped.

Up until a few months ago, Ammonite was getting a lot of buzz as a possible best picture nominee.  That buzz has died down a bit and it seems like, whenever I read anything about the Oscar race, Ammonite is kind of getting overshadowed by the acclaim that’s greeted Nomadland and One Night In Miami.  One thing that I’ve repeatedly seen is people who have seen the film saying that it doesn’t quite work but that’s it’s beautifully acted by Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.  Probably not coincidentally, Winslet and Ronan are both still very much a part of the current Oscar speculation even if Ammonite is no longer the Best Picture favorite that it once was.

Myself, I’m still looking forward to seeing the film.  Winslet is one of the greatest actress of her generation and Ronan is one of the greatest of her’s.  Anything that brings these two together should be worth watching.

Here’s the second trailer for Ammonite:

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for September


As of a few weeks ago, West Side Story is now officially out of this year’s Oscar race.  Steven Spielberg’s musical was one of the many major studio productions to be moved all the way back to late 2021.  So, scratch West Side Story from your lists, everyone.  It’s gone for now.

The more I think about it, the more I think the Academy made a mistake extending the eligibility window.  As you may remember, this year’s eligibility window now extends to February of 2021.  When this was first announced, I felt that it was the Academy’s way of keeping the big studios happy.  “You folks don’t want the Oscars to be dominated by streaming films,” the Academy seemed to be saying, “so we’ll just give you some extra time to get your movies out into the theaters.”  Well, joke’s on the Academy because, even with the extended time period, it still looks like the Oscar race is going to be dominated by streaming titles.

Personally, I wish that the Academy would just admit they made a mistake and go back to the old eligibility window.  Or, at the very least, just answer the question as to whether or not the 2021’s Oscar eligibility period is going to end at the end of December of that year or in February of 2022.  I’m a big believer in having a set schedule so all this uncertainty is annoying the Hell out of me.

Anyway, with all that in mind, here are my updated predictions for September.  After looking at these, feel free to check out my predictions for JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune, July, and August!

Best Picture

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

Respect

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director

David Fincher for Mank

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman in Mank

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Actress

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Bill Murray in On The Rocks

Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night In Miami

David Strathairn in Nomandland

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Debra Winger in Kajillionaire

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for August


As this very strange year enters into the home stretch, it does seem like, almost despite itself, the Oscar picture is becoming a little bit clearer.  The Venice and Toronto film festivals have announced their lineups.  Theaters are tentatively reopening and, assuming that there isn’t a spike in moviegoers contracting the Coronavirus as a result, the majority of them could be reopen by December.  For all the talk about how this year was going to be the Streaming Oscars, it’s totally possible that, with the eligibility window being extended to February and assuming theaters don’t have to close again, the Oscars could, once again, be dominating by traditional theatrical releases.

Anyway, here are my predictions for this month.  Though the picture may have cleared a little, the year is still pretty uncertain so take these with a grain of salt.  I imagine, over the next month, we’ll see a lot of movies scheduled for that January/February window of eligibility.

Be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, and July!

Best Picture

Ammonite

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

Respect

Soul

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman in Mank

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillybilly Elegy

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Natasha Lyonne in The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Meryl Streep in The Prom

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Here’s The Trailer for Ammonite!


Down here at the Texas Branch Office of Through the Shattered Lens, our internet and cable were both out on Monday night and for all of Tuesday.  It was Hell but, fortunately, we’re back up and running today.  Unfortunately, as a result of everything being down, I missed the premiere of the trailer for Ammonite.

Ammonite, which stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, is expected to be a major Oscar contender.  There’s already speculation that this film could win Winslet her second Oscar and Ronan her first.  Winslet plays paleontologist Mary Anning while Ronan is cast as geologist Charlotte Muchison.  The trailer certainly suggests that the film could very well be a contender.  It’s a period piece starring two acclaimed actresses and dealing with not only universal themes but also subject matter that feels very relevant to what’s happening in the world today.

Well, better late than never, here’s the trailer for Ammonite!

Here’s The Trailer For Blackbird!


I had totally forgotten that this film was coming out so I’m glad that this trailer dropped today and reminded me.  This film has got an amazing cast and a story that, if told correctly, should generate a lot of tears.

Here’s the trailer for Blackbird, which is due to be released on September 18th.