If Lisa Marie Determined The Oscar Nominees….


The Oscar nominations are due to be announced on Tuesday morning so I figured now would be a good time to play a little game that I like to call: “What if Lisa had all the power?”  Below, you will find my personal Oscar nominations.  These are the films and the performers that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for selecting the nominees and the winners. 

For those who are interested, you can check out my picks for last year by clicking on this sentence.

Please understand, as you look over this lengthy list of deserving films and performers, that these are not necessarily the films I expect to see nominated on Tuesday morning.  In fact, I would be hard pressed to think of a year in which I have disagreed more with the critical establishment than I have this year.  For whatever reason, the films that truly touched and moved me in 2011 appear to be the films that are totally and completely off the Academy’s radar.  These are not my predictions.  Instead, they are my personal choices and they should not be interpreted as representing the opinion on anyone else affiliated with this site.  So, if you’re angry that David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo didn’t receive a single imaginary nomination, direct your anger at me and me alone. 

Best Picture

The Artist

Bridesmaids

The Guard

Hanna

Higher Ground

Hugo

Shame

Sucker Punch

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Young Adult

Best Actor

Michael Fassbender for Shame

Brendan Gleeson for The Guard

Gary Oldman for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Michael Shannon for Take Shelter

Rainn Wilson for Super

Best Actress

Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia

Vera Farmiga for Higher Ground

Elizabeth Olsen for Martha Marcy May Marlene

Saoirse Ronan for Hanna

Charlize Theron for Young Adult

Best Supporting Actor

Albert Brooks for Drive

Bobby Cannivale for Win Win

Jonah Hill for Moneyball

Patton Oswalt for Young Adult

Andy Serkis for Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best Supporting Actress

Anna Kendrick for 50/50

Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids

Carey Mulligan for Shame

Ellen Page for Super

Amy Ryan for Win Win

Best Director

Vera Farminga for Higher Ground

Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist

Steve McQueen for Shame

Martin Scorsese for Hugo

Joe Wright for Hanna

Best Original Sreenplay

Bridesmaids

The Guard

Hanna

Shame

Young Adult

Best Adapted Screenplay

Higher Ground

Hugo

Incendies

One Day

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Best Animated Feature

Kung Fu Panda 2

Puss in Boots

Rango

Rio

Winnie the Pooh

Best Foreign Language Film

(Please note that I do this category a bit differently than the Academy.  Whereas the Academy asks nations across the world to submit a nominee, I’m simply nominating the best foreign language films that I saw in a theater last year.  Those who follow the Oscars will note that I’ve both nominated and awarded the brilliant Canadian films Incendies, which actually was nominated for a real Oscar in this same category last year.)

The Double Hour

Incendies

Of Gods and Men

The Skin I Live In

13 Assassins

Best Documentary Feature

Bill Cunningham New York

Buck

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Jig

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles

Best Original Score

The Artist

A Better Life

The Guard

Hanna

The Tree Of Life

Best Original Song

“The Star-Spangled Man” from Captain America: The First Avenger

“Mujhe Chod Ke” from DAM999

“The Keeper” from Machine Gun Preacher

“Man or Muppet” from The Muppets

“Pop” from White Irish Drinkers

Best Sound Editing

Drive

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Hugo

Sucker Punch

The Tree of Life

Best Sound Mixing

Drive

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Hugo

Sucker Punch

The Tree of Life

Best Art Direction

Bunraku

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Hugo

Sucker Punch

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Best Cinematography

The Artist

Hugo

Melancholia

Shame

The Tree of Life

Best Makeup

Beastly

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Insidious

Sucker Punch

X-Men: First Class

Best Costume Design

Bunraku

The Help

Hugo

Sucker Punch

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Best Editing

The Artist

The Guard

Hanna

Hugo

Shame

Best Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Hugo

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Sucker Punch

The Tree of Life

List of Films By Number of Nominations:

10 Nominations – Hugo

7 Nominations – Shame, Sucker Punch

6 Nominations – Hanna

5 Nominations – The Artist; The Guard; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2; Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy; The Tree of Life

4 Nominations – Higher Ground, Young Adult

3 Nominations – Bridesmaids, Drive

2 Nominations – Bunraku, Incendies, Melancholia, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Super, Win Win

1 Nomination – Beastly, A Better Life, Bill Cunningham New York, Buck, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, DAM999, The Double Hour, 50/50, The Help, Insidious, Jig, Kung Fu Panda 2, Machine Gun Preacher, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Moneyball, The Muppets, Of Gods and Men, One Day, Puss in Boots, Rango, Ressurect Dead, Rio, The Skin I Live In, Take Shelter, 13 Assassins, X-Men: First Class, White Irish Drinkers, Winnie the Pooh

List of Films By Number of Oscars Won:

3 Oscars – Hanna

2 Oscars – Bunraku, Shame, Sucker Punch

1 Oscar – Beastly, Bridesmaids, The Cave of Forgotten Deams, Dam999, Higher Ground, Hugo Incendies, Melancholia, Puss in Boots, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Super, Young Adult

So, will the Academy agree with my picks?  Well, probably not.  Indeed, it’s probable that they won’t agree at all.  And to that, I say, “Oh well.” 

The Academy Award nominations will be announced Tuesday morning.

Lisa Marie Is Too Annoyed To Show Off Her Golden Globes


I would offer to show you a pair of  golden globes but, quite frankly, looking at this year’s Golden Globe nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has filled me with a soul-crushing sense of ennui.  The other critics groups and the SAG have at least been interesting and unpredictable.  The Golden Globe nominations, however, appear to be the result of the usual combination of Bandwagon hopping and celebrity ass kissing.  Seriously — the Ides of March for best film?  And George Clooney for best director?  I guess they were really anxious for him to show up.  And don’t even get me started on Rooney Mara’s nomination.  (Seriously, I’m sure Rooney Mara is very sweet for a girl who has never had to actually work a day in her life.)

And, for that matter, just who the Hell is actually in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and how did they get to be the big Oscar precursors? 

Anyway, here’s the major nominations with some short, vaguely angry commentary from yours truly:

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA

“The Descendants”

“The Help”

“Hugo”

“The Ides of March”

“Moneyball”

“War Horse”

(I haven’t seen War Horse or the Artist yet so obviously, my big angry complaint here is the nomination of The Ides of March.  Seriously, what total BS.)

BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

“50/50”

“The Artist”

“Bridesmaids”

“Midnight in Paris”

“My Week With Marilyn”

(I’m happier with these nominees, despite the fact that I think Midnight in Paris was way overrated.)

BEST DIRECTOR

Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”)

George Clooney (“The Ides of March”)

Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”)

Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”)

Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”)

(Really?  So, if you’re a celebrity, you can get a best director nomination even if the film you made was a turgid, sexist, condescending mess of a movie.)

BEST ACTOR: DRAMA

George Clooney (“The Descendants”)

Leonardo Dicaprio (“J. Edgar”)

Michael Fassbender (“Shame”)

Ryan Gosling (“The Ides of March”)

Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”)

(Was the HFPA so determined not to show any love for Drive that they had to nominate Ryan Gosling for The Ides of March instead?)

BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA

Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”)

Viola Davis (“The Help”)

Rooney Mara (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”)

Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”)

Tilda Swinton (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”)

(I hate to say it but I’m really starting to resent the fact that I’m going to have to actually sit through The Iron Lady.)

BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Jodie Foster (“Carnage”)

Charlize Theron (“Young Adult”)

Kristen Wiig (“Bridesmaids”)

Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”)

Kate Winslet (“Carnage”)

(I’ve been hearing terrible things about Carnage but I guess if the Ides of March is one of the best of the year, than Carnage must be pretty good.)

BEST ACTOR: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”)

Brendan Gleeson (“The Guard”)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“50/50”)

Ryan Gosling (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”)

Owen Wilson (“Midnight in Paris”)

(At least someone finally showed Brendan Gleeson some love.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”)

Jessica Chastain (“The Help”)

Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”)

Octavia Spencer (“The Help”)

Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”)

(So, I guess it’s official now?  We’ve decided to honor Jessica Chastain for The Help as opposed to her better performance in Take Shelter? Then again, Michael Shannon wasn’t nominated for Take Shelter either.  Well, when you’re dealing with a cinematic masterpiece like The Ides of March, what hope does a little film like Take Shelter or Drive have?  Seriously, good job, HFPA.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kenneth Branagh (“My Week With Marilyn”)

Albert Brooks (“Drive”)

Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”)

Viggo Mortensen (“A Dangerous Method”)

Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”)

(Odd.  The HFPA missed a chance to toss out another nomination to the Ides of March here.  Still, at least they gave some attention to Hill’s performance, which was the only thing that really made Moneyball a memorable film to me.)

BEST ANIMATED FILM

“The Adventures of Tintin”

“Arthur Christmas”

“Cars 2”

“Puss in Boots”

“Rango”

(Good thing that George Clooney didn’t direct a cartoon this year.)

Here’s the full list of nominees from the Toadsuckers themselves.

 

 

 

Lisa Marie Is Kinda Mad At The Screen Actors Guild


The Screen Actors Guild nominations were announced on Wednesday morning and I’m just going to be honest.  I am not happy.  The SAG nominations have a pretty good track record as an Oscar precursor, largely because the Actors’ Branch is the largest branch of the Academy.  The Actors Branch, of course, is totally made up of members of the SAG though not every member of SAG is in the Actors’ Branch.  As such, there’s usually one or two SAG nominations who don’t get an Oscar nomination but, on the whole, SAG is a pretty good precursor of who is ultimately going to receive an Oscar nomination next January.

So, why am I upset?

Well, the SAG nominated some very good and deserving performers this year but somehow, they did not nominate Michael Shannon for Take Shelter.  They did not nominate Carey Mulligan for Shame.  They did not nominate Andy Serkis for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  They did not nominate The Guard’s Brendan Gleeson. And, worst of all, they did not nominate Michael Fassbender for Shame.

My personal theory is that Fassbender’s brave performance left the other members of the SAG feeling small, in more ways than one.

Here’s what did get nominated:

Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture
Bridesmaids
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Leading Role
George Clooney, The Descendants
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Leading Role
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Supporting Role
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Supporting Role
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

On the plus side, the SAG showed absolutely no love for David Fincher’s rip-off of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Also, it’s nice to see Jonah Hill’s performance in Moneyball hasn’t been totally overshadowed by Brad Pitt’s more showy performance.  Also, it’s looking more and more like Bridesmaids is going to be a factor in this year’s Oscar race and the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of that.

 

Here Are The 2012 Critics’ Choice Movie Award Nominees


Earlier today, the Broadcast Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards.  The BFCA is the largest of the so-called “major” critics’ groups (and, interestingly enough, it’s also the newest and the least prestigious) and it has a fairly good track record of predicting the actual Oscar nominations.  The awards themselves will be handed out on January 12th, 2012 in a self-important, kinda seedy ceremony that will be broadcast on VH-1.   

BEST PICTURE
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney – The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Michael Fassbender – Shame
Ryan Gosling – Drive
Brad Pitt – Moneyball

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis – The Help
Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin
Charlize Theron – Young Adult
Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks – Drive
Nick Nolte – Warrior
Patton Oswalt – Young Adult
Christopher Plummer – Beginners
Sir Andrew Serkis – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Jessica Chastain – The Help
Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
Carey Mulligan – Shame
Octavia Spencer – The Help
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Asa Butterfield – Hugo
Elle Fanning – Super 8
Thomas Horn – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Ezra Miller – We Need to Talk About Kevin
Saoirse Ronan – Hanna
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
The Artist
Bridesmaids
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March

BEST DIRECTOR
Stephen Daldry – Extreme Loud & Incredibly Close
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive
Martin Scorsese – Hugo
Steven Spielberg – War Horse

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius
50/50 – Will Reiser
Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen
Win Win – Screenplay by Tom McCarthy, Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni
Young Adult – Diablo Cody

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Descendants – Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Eric Roth
The Help – Tate Taylor
Hugo – John Logan
Moneyball – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Artist – Guillaume Schiffman
Drive – Newton Thomas Sigel
Hugo – Robert Richardson
Tree of Life – Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse – Janusz Kaminski

BEST ART DIRECTION
The Artist – Production Designer: Laurence Bennett, Art Director: Gregory S. Hooper
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Production Designer: Stuart Craig, Set Decorator: Stephenie McMillan
Hugo – Production Designer: Dante Ferretti, Set Decorator: Francesca Lo Schiavo
The Tree of Life – Production Designer: Jack Fisk, Art Director: David Crank
War Horse – Production Designer: Rick Carter, Set Decorator: Lee Sandales

BEST EDITING
The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius and Anne-Sophie Bion
Drive – Matthew Newman
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo – Thelma Schoonmaker
War Horse – Michael Kahn

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Artist – Mark Bridges
The Help – Sharen Davis
Hugo – Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre – Michael O’Connor
My Week With Marilyn – Jill Taylor

BEST MAKEUP
Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Iron Lady
J. Edgar
My Week With Marilyn

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8
The Tree of Life

BEST SOUND
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Super 8
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

BEST ACTION MOVIE
Drive
Fast Five
Hanna
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8

BEST COMEDY
Bridesmaids
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Horrible Bosses
Midnight in Paris
The Muppets

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In Darkness
Le Havre
A Separation
The Skin I Live In
Where Do We Go Now

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Buck
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Page One: Inside the New York Times
Project Nim
Undefeated

BEST SONG
“Hello Hello” – performed by Elton John and Lady Gaga/written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin – Gnomeo & Juliet
“Life’s a Happy Song” – performed by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“The Living Proof” – performed by Mary J. Blige/written by Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman and Harvey Mason, Jr. – The Help
“Man or Muppet” – performed by Jason Segel and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“Pictures in My Head” – performed by Kermit and the Muppets/written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman – The Muppets

BEST SCORE
The Artist – Ludovic Bource
Drive – Cliff Martinez
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Hugo – Howard Shore
War Horse – John Williams

The BFCA has obviously made a lot of nominations and some of them are interesting but I have to be honest: the BFCA as an organization annoys me with how they’re always bragging about how big they are and how they’re so good at celebrating the conventional establishment wisdom.  So, I’ll just say that its nice to see Hanna getting at least some sort of recognition (even if that recognition is kinda minor.)

And Finally The AFI


Finally, to close out a busy day on the awards front, the American Film Institute today announced their picks for the 10 best films and the 10 best television shows of 2011.  As anyone who knows me can tell you, I love lists.  Especially when they end in even numbers like 10.

Here are the AFI’s top 10 films, listed in alphabetical order:

1) Bridesmaids (Yay!  Girl power!)

2) The Descendants (Overrated)

3) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Bleh)

4) The Help (Crowd pleaser)

5) Hugo (Yay!)

6) J. Edgar (Forgettable)

7) Midnight in Paris (Overrated)

8 ) Moneyball (Crowd pleaser)

9) The Tree of Life (Haunting)

10) War Horse (Spielberg)

Here are the top 10 television series:

1) Boardwalk Empire (Yay!)

2) Breaking Bad (I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, but I got the cleanest house on the street!  Yay meth!)

3) Curb Your Enthusiasm (Consider it curbed)

4) Game of Thrones (Yay!)

5) The Good Wife (I’m watching it right now!)

6) Homeland (Yay!)

7) Justified (Olyphant!)

8) Louie (I once lived next door to someone named Fred C. K.  Maybe he was a relative?)

9) Modern Family (Never got into it but all of my gay friends love it so I’ll say yay!)

10) Parks and Recreation (I would love this show if not for Amy Poehler.)

 

Boston Demands To Be Heard


The Los Angeles film critics weren’t the only ones to vote on their favorites of 2011 today.  The Boston Society of Film Critics voted today as well.  Now, as I’ve stated quite a few times on this site, I’m a Southern girl and I have a feeling that if I ever went up to Boston, everyone up there would ignore the fact that I’m an Irish Catholic and would probably just make fun of my accent.  Eventually, the conversation would turn to politics and I would let slip the fact that not only am I not a Democrat but I didn’t even vote for Barack Obama in 2008.  A big fight would follow and I imagine we wouldn’t even get around to talking about our favorite movies…

Sorry, I lost my train of thought there.  Anyway, the BSFC voted and here’s what they came up with:

Best Picture: “The Artist”

     Runners-up: “Hugo” and “Margaret”

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

     Runner-up: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Best Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

     Runners-up: George Clooney, “The Descendants” and Michael Fassbender, “Shame”

Best Actress: Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

     Runner-up: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”

     Runner-up: Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”

     Runner-up: Jeannie Berlin, “Margaret”

Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, “Moneyball”

     Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, “Margaret”

(If I was writing for AwardsDaily.com, I guess this is where I would say, NO MOVIE HAD A BETTER SCREENPLAY THAN THE SOCIAL NETWORK)

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”

     Runner-up: Robert Richardson, “Hugo”

Best Documentary: “Project Nim”

     Runner-up: “Bill Cunningham New York”

Best Foreign-Language Film: “Incendies”

     Runners-up: “A Separation” and “Poetry”

Best Animated Film: “Rango”

Best Film Editing:  Christian Marclay, “The Clock”

     Runner-up: Thelma Schoonmaker, “Hugo”

Best New Filmmaker: Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

     Runner-up: J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”

Best Ensemble Cast: “Carnage”

     Runner-up: “Margaret”

Best Use of Music in a Film: (tie) “Drive” and “The Artist”

     Runner-up: “The Descendants”

Special Commendations:

Ben Fowlie, Sara Archambault and Sean Flynn of DocYard

The Museum of Fine Arts for “The Clock”

The Brattle Film Foundation

Best Rediscoveries:

“The Shooting” at the Harvard Film Achive

“The Makota Sisters” at the Museum of Fine Arts

“Deep End” at the HFA

“Days and Nights in the Forest” at the HFA

“Children of Hiroshima” at the HFA

Obviously, the Boston Film Critics were big fans of Kenneth Lonergan’s film MargaretMargaret was actually filmed in 2007 but, because of various lawsuits between Longergan and the film’s producers, it was not actually released until September of this year.  Unfortunately, it only played down here for about a week and I didn’t get a chance to see it but hopefully, I will in the future.  If nothing else, I want to see it so I can have something other than politics to talk about if I ever go up to Boston.

Belatedly, here are the Satellite Nominations


One thing about Oscar Season is that you have so many different groups of people tossing around so many different awards that occasionally, you’ll miss a few.  The nominations for the Satellite Awards were announced last Friday but I missed them, largely because nobody really seems to care about the Satellite Awards.  Well, almost nobody.  I care about them because — even when they were known as the Golden Satellites — the Satellite Awards are consistently more interesting than the more mainstream awards.  (For instance, last year, the Satellite Awards had the guts to honor the one and only true girl with the dragon tattoo, Noomi Rapace.)

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

Drive

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

Shame

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

War Horse

What?  No love for David Fincher’s rip-off of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?  The AwardsDaily folks must be throwing a fit.  (They’ve been promoting Fincher’s rehash with the same enthusiasm that they attempted to promote Nine two years ago.)

Best Actor

George Clooney in The Descendants

Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar

Michael Fassbender in Shame

Brendan Gleeson in The Guard

Ryan Gosling in Drive

Tom Hardy in The Warrior

Woody Harrelson in Rampart

Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Brad Pitt in Moneyball

Michael Shannon in Take Shelter

It’s nice to see Brendan Gleeson get some love.  It’s also interesting to note that Michael Shannon’s performance in Take Shelter has been getting a lot of recognition.  Count me among those who hopes that Shannon gets, at the very least, a nomination for giving a great performance in a horror film.

Best Actress

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs

Olivia Colman in Tryannasour

Viola Davis for The Help

Vera Farmiga in Higher Ground

Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene

Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady

Charlize Theron in Young Adult

Emily Watson in Oarnges and Sunshine

Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn

Michelle Yeoh in The Lady

Much as the Satellites recognized the work of Noomi Rapace last year, this year they continue to at least nominate some great performances that are being ignored by the mainstream.  In a perfect world, both Verma Farmiga and Higher Ground would be major contenders.

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn

Albert Brooks in Drive

Colin Farrell in Horrible Bosses

Jonah Hill in Moneyball

Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method

Nick Nolte in Warrior

Christopher Plummer in Beginners

Andy Serkis for Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Christoph Waltz in Carnage

Hugo Weaving in Oranges and Sunshine

Wouldn’t it be cool if Andy Serkis actually got an Oscar nomination?  It’s also nice to see Jonah Hill finally getting some recognition for Moneyball.  Brad Pitt has been honored largely for playing Brad Pitt in that film.  Hill actually gave a performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Tree of Life

Elle Fanning in Super 8

Lisa Feret in Mozart’s Sister

Judy Greer in The Descendants

Rachel McAdams in Midnight in Paris

Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs

Carey Mulligan in Shame

Vanessa Redgrave in Coriolanus

Octavia Spencer in The Help

Kate Winslet in Carnage

I haven’t seen Shame yet but Carey Mulligan is one of my favorite actresses and she deserved an Oscar for her performance in An Education.  It’s also nice to see Judy Greer getting some recognition for giving one of the few performances in The Descendants that’s actually going to pass the test of time.

The full list of nominees can be found here.

The WAFCA Has Spoken


I don’t know much about the Washington Area Film Critics Association but, just judging from the films that they chose to nominate for being the best of 2011, they would appear to have better taste than most film critics. 

(Seriously, film critics are the worst.)

They announced their picks for the best of 2011 earlier today and here’s a complete list of their nominees and winners.  If nothing else, this year’s Oscar race is certainly shaping up to be a bit more interesting than last years. 

Best Film:
*The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
Hugo
Win Win

Best Director:
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)
*Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Best Actor:
*George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)

Best Actress:
Viola Davis (The Help)
Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
*Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
*Albert Brooks (Drive)
John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

Best Supporting Actress:
Bérénice Bejo (The Artist)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Carey Mulligan (Shame)
*Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)

Best Acting Ensemble:
*Bridesmaids
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Help
Hugo
Margin Call

Best Adapted Screenplay:
*Alexander Payne and Nate Faxon & Jim Rash (The Descendants)
Tate Taylor (The Help)
John Logan (Hugo)
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball)
Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)

Best Original Screenplay:

Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Tom McCarthy (Win Win)
Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
*Will Reiser (50/50)

Best Animated Feature:
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Puss in Boots
*Rango
Winnie the Pooh

Best Documentary:
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
Buck
*Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life
Project Nim

Best Foreign Language Film:
13 Assassins
Certified Copy
I Saw the Devil
Pina
*The Skin I Live In

Best Art Direction:
Lawrence Bennett, Production Designer, and Gregory S. Hooper, Art Director (The Artist)
Stuart Craig, Production Designer, and Stephenie McMillan, Set Decorator (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
*Dante Ferretti, Production Designer, and Francesca Lo Schiavo, Set Decorator (Hugo)
Jack Fisk, Production Designer, and Jeanette Scott, Set Decorator (The Tree of Life)
Rick Carter, Production Designer, and Lee Sandales, Set Decorator (War Horse)

Best Cinematography:
Guillaume Schiffman (The Artist)
Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Manuel Alberto Claro (Melancholia)
*Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Janusz Kaminski (War Horse)

Best Score:
*Ludovic Bource (The Artist)
Cliff Martinez (Drive)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Howard Shore (Hugo)
John Williams (War Horse)

The New York Film Critics Circle Names “The Artist” Best Picture of 2011


This is my favorite time of year.  It’s Oscar season, the time when films and actors manuever to win nominations and awards.  This is the time of year when anything seems possible, when you think that maybe Exit Through The Gift Shop will get a best picture nomination or perhaps Christopher Nolan will be nominated for best director for Inception.  In short, this is the month and a half before bitter disillusionment sets in.

During Oscar season, several mysterious groups hand out awards of their own.  These groups are made up of critics desperately trying to convince themselves that they matter and the awards that they hand out are often seen as an indicator of what will eventually end up getting nominated.  Last year, just about every single critical group named The Social Network as best picture and David Fincher as best director and we all remember how little that actually meant once it came time for the actual Academy Awards to be handed out. 

Earlier today, the New York Film Critics Circle helped to start things off by announcing their picks for the best of 2011.  Reportedly, they held off a day on selecting their picks so that they could attend a special screening of David Fincher’s remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  And how did that work out?  Well, check out what won:

Best picture: “The Artist”

Best director: Michael Havanavicius, “The Artist”

Best actor: Brad Pitt (“Moneyball,” “Tree of Life”)

Best actress: Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”)

Best supporting actor: Albert Brooks (“Drive”)

Best supporting actress: Jessica Chastain (“The Tree of Life,” “The Help” and “Take Shelter”)

Best screenplay: Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, “Moneyball”

Best cinematography: Emmanuel Lebezki, “Tree of Life”

Best non-fiction film (documentary): “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”

Best foreign language film: “A Separation”

Best first feature: “Margin Call”

Just a few comments on these awards: I have yet to see The Artist but I’m really looking forward to it.  I have a feeling I’m either going to love it or else I’m going to hate it with a passion.  It just appears to be one of those films.  I also haven’t seen Margin Call because its subject matter — Wall Street — makes me go “Bleh!”  But I may have to see it now because it appears to be becoming a bit of an awards dark horse.

I have a feeling that Brad Pitt’s going to win an Oscar for his performance in Moneyball but I really didn’t think it was anything that special.  I thought Pitt was likable but not much else.  Some of that could have had a bit to do with the fact that I couldn’t really follow the film as I’m about as interested in baseball as I am in Wall Street.  Hopefully, I won’t have to sit through another Aaron Sorkin acceptance speech at next year’s Oscar ceremony.  Seriously, there’s only so much time I can spend listening to a pompous millionaire talking about how he thinks the world works.

I haven’t seen The Iron Lady yet but its going to be boring and people are going to feel obligated to pretend like they got something out of it.

Finally, yay to the NYFCC for awarding both Albert Brooks and Werner Herzog’s The Cave of Forgotten Deams

 

Lisa Marie Compromises: Moneyball (dir. by Bennett Miller) and Warrior (dir. by Gavin O’Conner)


Here’s one thing I’ve learned about relationships – sometimes, you have to compromise.  Sometimes, you have to do things for your man that you’d rather not do and you have to pretend like you’re enjoying it and sometimes, you even have to do it several times before you get what it is that you want.  Case in point: I recently went to two sports films with Jeff. 

Now, I have to be honest.  I don’t know much about sports in general and quite frankly, I really have next to no desire to know.  Why am I so indifferent to this thing that most men appear to be incapable of living without?  Well,

1)      I have asthma and therefore, I never got to play any of the games that all the other kids were playing.  This led to me becoming bitter towards those who could actually breathe and have fun at the same time and,

2)      I’m a girl.

My indifference to sports tends to extend even to cinematic sports.  Seriously, most sports-related films either put me to sleep or lead to me making a lot of snarky comments under my breath.  However, I recently forced Jeff to accompany me to see One Day, which is one of the most girly movies ever made.  In fact, it was such a girly movie that I’ve had to see not one but two sports movies with Jeff.  The first was Warrior and the second (which we saw on Saturday) was Moneyball.

I don’t quite feel qualified to review Moneyball because, to be honest, I couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on during most of the film.  Normally, I would just say that this was a sign of failure on the film’s part but the audience around me really seemed to love this film and so did Jeff.  So, I’m going to refrain from judging Moneyball too harshly.  Instead, I’ll simply state that this film was not for me but if you’re a baseball fan (and you really love to get into the nitty gritty details of how a baseball team is put together), chances are that you’ll enjoy this film. 

Fortunately, there are a few things that help make Moneyball a tolerable experience even for a sport illiterate like me.  The film tells the story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s and how he turned the A’s into a winning team by revolutionizing the way that teams are put together.  I’m not really sure what he did that was revolutionary because the film itself really doesn’t spend too much time explaining how his method is different from the previous method.  It spends a lot of time telling us that his approach is different but Aaron Sorkin’s script seems to assume that everyone in the audience already knows how baseball works.  (That’s not necessarily a slam against the film, either.  It’s a baseball movie, after all.)  Luckily, Brad Pitt, who gives such a mature and multi-faceted performance here that you hope that Billy succeeds even if, like me, you’re not really sure what he’s talking about half the time, plays Billy Beane.  Seriously, this was the first time I’ve ever watched Brad Pitt and forgotten that I was watching Brad Pitt.  Pitt is ably supported by Jonah Hill, who plays his assistant and is largely responsible for introducing Pitt to the “new” system.  Hill plays his scenes with all the enthusiasm of a high school nerd who has finally forced the cool kids to acknowledge how much smarter he is than them.  It’s a truly endearing performance and again, you find yourself rooting for Hill even if you can’t quite understand what he’s going on about half the time.

Again, if you’re a sports fan or a fan of statistics (which I am not because seriously, math is just one big bleh to me), you’ll find a lot of to enjoy in Moneyball.  I wish the film had been a bit more accessible for someone like me but obviously, I’m not that target audience and, regardless of whether you’re a sports fan or not, director Bennett Miller keeps the action moving quickly and the performances of Pitt and Hill both hold your attention.

Warrior takes place in the world of “mixed martial arts,” which I assume is the new big sport.  I say assume because I actually know even less about the world of mixed martial arts than I do about baseball. Before going in to see Warrior, all I knew about MMA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship was that Russell – one of the most unlikable Big Brother houseguests ever – was apparently a UFC contender.  Or maybe it was Jesse.  I don’t know.  I have trouble keeping all the Big Brother houseguests straight, to be honest. 

Warrior is the story of two brothers.  One of them is a bitter, pill-popping ex-Marine who fights because he’s angry at the world.  Tom Hardy plays him.  The other is played by Joel Edgerton and is presented as a happily married teacher who is fighting because he’s flat broke and in danger of losing his home.  The two brothers haven’t spoken in years and about the only thing they have in common (beyond the fact that they’re both good at fighting) is a shared hatred for their father (a quite poignant Nick Nolte, doing wonders in a role that seems almost too perfect for him), a recovering alcoholic who sees his sons as his only hope for redemption.  Ultimately, the parallel fighting careers of the two brothers leads to a surprise family reunion in Atlantic City where they find themselves both competing in the same brutal, winner-take-all tournament.

Warrior tells a pretty familiar story and there are a few plot developments (such as Hardy’s AWOL status from the Marines) that feel undeveloped but the film still works about a hundred percent better than it has any right to.  Director Gavin O’Connor wisely takes a low-key approach to the film’s more melodramatic moments and brings a sense of gritty realism to the beginning of the film that provides quite a contrast to the later gaudiness of Atlantic City.  Nolte and Edgerton both give excellent performances and, after years of being best known for his mug shot, it’s nice to see what a strong and multifaceted actor Nick Nolte actually is.  However, the film truly belongs to Tom Hardy.  In this film, Hardy is a true force of nature and gives a performance that is both frightening and sympathetic at the same time.  You want to reach out and give the poor guy a hug even though you know he might end up killing you in response. 

Coming out of Warrior, I still didn’t know much about MMA but I did know that I had just seen a well-made, emotionally satisfying film.