The San Diego Film Critics Society Gives Some Love To Buster Scruggs!


On Firday, the San Diego Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2018 and, to their credit, they showed a lot of love to the Coen Brother’s fascinatingly strange western anthology film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs!

(That’s Buster up at the top of the post.  He’s only in the movie for about 20 minutes but you’ll never forget him.)

Here are the nominations from San Diego!

Best Picture
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
THE FAVOURITE
GREEN BOOK
LEAVE NO TRACE
A QUIET PLACE

Best Director
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE
Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE
John Krasinski, A QUIET PLACE
Peter Farrelly, GREEN BOOK
Yorgos Lanthimos, THE FAVOURITE

Best Actor, Male
Christian Bale, VICE
Ethan Hawke, FIRST REFORMED
Viggo Mortensen, GREEN BOOK
John C. Reilly, THE SISTERS BROTHERS
Lucas Hedges, BOY ERASED

Best Actor, Female
Carey Mulligan, WILDLIFE
Glenn Close, THE WIFE
Lady Gaga, A STAR IS BORN
Melissa McCarthy, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE

Best Supporting Actor, Male
Joel Edgerton, BOY ERASED
Mahershala Ali, GREEN BOOK
Richard E. Grant, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Sam Elliott, A STAR IS BORN
Timothée Chalamet, BEAUTIFUL BOY

Best Supporting Actor, Female
Alia Shawkat, BLAZE
Nicole Kidman, BOY ERASED
Nina Arianda, STAN & OLLIE
Thomasin McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
Zoe Kazan, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

Best Comedic Performance
Awkwafina, CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Hugh Grant, PADDINGTON 2
Jason Bateman, GAME NIGHT
Jesse Plemons, GAME NIGHT
Ryan Reynolds, DEADPOOL 2

Best Original Screenplay
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE
Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski, A QUIET PLACE
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, GREEN BOOK
Wes Anderson, ISLE OF DOGS

Best Adapted Screenplay
Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, Fabien Nury, THE DEATH OF STALIN
David Lowery, THE OLD MAN & THE GUN
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, LEAVE NO TRACE
Joel Edgerton, BOY ERASED
Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Best Documentary
FREE SOLO
LOVE, GILDA
RBG
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

Best Animated Film
HAVE A NICE DAY
INCREDIBLES 2
ISLE OF DOGS
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Best Foreign-language Film
CAPERNAUM
COLD WAR
THE GUILTY
ROMA
SHOPLIFTERS

Best Costume Design
Sandy Powell, THE FAVOURITE
Guy Speranza, STAN & OLLIE
Lindy Hemming, PADDINGTON 2
Mary E. Vogt, CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Mary Zophres, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

Best Editing
Christopher Tellefsen, A QUIET PLACE
Jamie Gross, David Egan, GAME NIGHT
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Patrick J. Don Vito, GREEN BOOK
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, THE FAVOURITE

Best Cinematography
Alexander Dynan, FIRST REFORMED
Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
Bruno Delbonnel, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Joshua James Richards, THE RIDER
Magnus Nordenhof Jønck, LEAN ON PETE

Best Production Design
Adam Stockhausen, READY PLAYER ONE
Fiona Crombie, THE FAVOURITE
Hannah Beachler, BLACK PANTHER
John Paul Kelly, STAN & OLLIE
Tim Galvin, GREEN BOOK

Best Visual Effects
BLACK PANTHER
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
ISLE OF DOGS
PADDINGTON 2
READY PLAYER ONE

Best Use Of Music In A Film
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
BLAZE
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
GREEN BOOK
A STAR IS BORN

Best Ensemble
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
BOY ERASED
THE FAVOURITE
GAME NIGHT
GREEN BOOK

Best Breakout Artist
Thomasin McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE
Rami Malek, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
Charlie Plummer, LEAN ON PETE
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE

Some thoughts on the Golden Globe Nominations


Well, it happens every year.

The precursor season always starts with some unexpected winners and you start to think that maybe some of the year’s best indie films might be able to get some Oscar love.  This season, for instance, I was excited to see the attention being given to Eighth Grade and, to a lesser extent, First Reformed.  I was also excited to see that A Quiet Place and Black Panther were being remembered.

“Oh my God!” I thought, “Even if we already know that either Green Book or A Star is Born are going to win everything this year, the Oscar nominations could still be interesting!”

And then, as they do every year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had to come along and basically fuck everything up.  For some reason, the HFPA have become one of the biggest of the precursor awards.  Getting nominated for a Golden Globe is considered to be a major step for any Oscar contender.  Getting ignored by the Golden Globes is enough to knock a previously strong contender out of the contest.  Why is this?  I’m not sure.  The HFPA is a notorious bunch of star fuckers and it’s pretty much an open secret that almost anyone can buy a Golden Globe nomination if they’ve got enough money.  But, for some reason, the annually mediocre Golden Globe nominations carry a lot of weight in Hollywood.

Anyway, this year’s nominations pretty much ignored all of the cool indie films that have come out this year.  Elsie Fisher was nominated for Best Actress but otherwise, Eighth Grade was ignored.  First Reformed was nominated for nothing.  Hereditary was nominated for nothing.  I am happy to see that Black Panther was nominated.  That’s a step in the right direction in that film’s quest to be the first comic book movie to be nominated for best picture.

I guess what really bugs me is that Vice — a film that I have no desire to see — received the most nominations and is now definitely an Oscar contender.  I’ve been told that Vice is even more smug and shallow than The Big Short.  And now, I guess I have to see it.  AGONY!

Anyway, here are the nominees.  (Below are the film nominees.  For the TV nominees, click here.)

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
If Beale Streat Could Talk
A Star Is Born

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Crazy Rich Asians
The Favourite
Green Book
Mary Poppins Returns
Vice

Best Director
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Adam McKay (Vice)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Nicole Kidman (Destroyer)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Rosamund Pike (A Private War)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Christian Bale (Vice)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Robert Redford (The Old Man & the Gun)
John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
Charlize Theron (Tully)
Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams (Vice)
Claire Foy (First Man)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Best Screenplay
Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Adam McKay (Vice)
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie (Green Book)

Best Score
Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place)
Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)
Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
Marc Shaiman (Mary Poppins Returns)

Best Original Song
“All the Stars” (Black Panther)
“Girl in the Movies” (Dumplin’)
“Requiem For A Private War” (A Private War)
“Revelation’ (Boy Erased)
“Shallow” (A Star Is Born)

Best Motion Picture – Animated
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Girl (Belgium)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

 

The Washington D.C. Film Critics Nominate Coogler, Jordan, and The Favourite


Yesterday, the Washington D.C. Film Critics announced their nominees for the best of 2018.  While the big three contenders — Roma, Star is Born, and Green Book — are all present and accounted for, the D.C. Film Critics did take the time to nominate Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan for their work on Black Panther.  They also nominated The Favourite for Best Picture, which isn’t unexpected but The Favourite, like Black Panther, can use all the support it can get to prevent being overshadowed by the big three contenders.

(Before anyone asks what I’m basing my analysis on, allow me to point out that I’m not the first film blogger to pretend to be an Oscar expert and I’m sure I won’t be the last….)

Best Film:
The Favourite
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
Roma
A Star Is Born

Best Director:
Ryan Coogler (Black Panther)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

Best Actor:
Christian Bale (Vice)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Best Actress:
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Toni Collette (Hereditary)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Best Supporting Actor:
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)

Best Supporting Actress:
Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale)
Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Best Acting Ensemble:
Black Panther
The Favourite
If Beale Street Could Talk
Vice
Widows

Best Youth Performance:
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie (Leave No Trace)
Milly Shapiro (Hereditary)
Millicent Simmonds (A Quiet Place)
Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give)

Best Voice Performance:
Bryan Cranston (Isle of Dogs)
Holly Hunter (Incredibles 2)
Shameik Moore (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Sarah Silverman (Ralph Breaks the Internet)
Ben Whishaw (Paddington 2)

Best Motion Capture Performance:
Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War)
Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

Best Original Screenplay:
Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
Paul Schrader (First Reformed)
Nick Vallelonga & Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther)
Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters (A Star Is Born)

Best Animated Feature:
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Documentary:
Free Solo
RBG
Science Fair
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best Foreign Language Film:
Burning
Capernaum
Cold War
Roma
Shoplifters

Best Production Design:
Production Designer: Hannah Beachler; Set Decorator: Jay Hart (Black Panther)
Production Designer: Fiona Crombie; Set Decorator: Alice Felton (The Favourite)
Production Designer: Nathan Crowley; Set Decorator: Kathy Lucas (First Man)
Production Designer: John Myhre; Set Decorator: Gordon Sim (Mary Poppins Returns)
Production Designer: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decorator: Bárbara Enríquez (Roma)

Best Cinematography:
Robbie Ryan, BSC (The Favourite)
Linus Sandgren, FSF (First Man)
James Laxton (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Matthew Libatique, ASC (A Star Is Born)

Best Editing:
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, ACE (The Favourite)
Tom Cross, ACE (First Man)
Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough (Roma)
Jay Cassidy, ACE (A Star Is Born)
Joe Walker, ACE (Widows)

Best Original Score:
Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)
Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Thom Yorke (Suspiria)
Hans Zimmer (Widows)

The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC:
The Front Runner
RBG
Vice

The Detroit Film Critics Society Nominates Eighth Grade and Jesse Plemons!


The Detroit Film Critics Society announced their nominees for the best of 2018 today and what can I say other than I absolutely love them?

Seriously, Josh Hamilton and Jesse Plemons for Best Supporting Actor?  How can you not love that?  That said, the DFCS is not one of the more influential critical groups so I wouldn’t put down any money on either Plemons or Hamilton picking up an Oscar nomination just yet.  Still, both of them deserve the consideration and I love the fact that the DFCS is willing to go against the conventional wisdom when it comes to who they nominate.  I mean, really, this is what the critics need to be doing during awards season.  I mean, we all know that A Star is Born and Green Book are going to pick up nominations regardless.  We need the critics to remind the Academy that “hey, some of these guys were pretty good too!”

In fact, if there is a theme that can be found this early in the precursor season, it appears to be that the critics would like to make sure that the Academy doesn’t forget about First Reformed and Eighth Grade.

Here are the DFCS nominees.  Winners will be announced on Monday!

BEST PICTURE

  • A Quiet Place”
  • “Eighth Grade”
  • “First Reformed”
  • “Green Book”
  • “Roma”

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Bo Burnham, “Eighth Grade”
  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
  • Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
  • Adam McKay, “Vice”
  • Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”

BEST ACTOR

  • Christian Bale, “Vice”
  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
  • Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”
  • Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Toni Collette, “Hereditary”
  • Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
  • Elsie Fisher, “Eighth Grade”
  • Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
  • Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
  • Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
  • Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
  • Josh Hamilton, “Eighth Grade”
  • Jesse Plemons, “Game Night

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams, “Vice”
  • Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Thomasin McKenzie, “Leave No Trace”
  • Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
  • Rachel Weiss, “The Favourite”

BEST ENSEMBLE

  • “Crazy Rich Asians”
  • “Eighth Grade”
  • “The Favourite”
  • “Roma”
  • “Vice”

BREAKTHROUGH

  • Bo Burnham, Writer/Director (“Eighth Grade”)
  • Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, Writers/Actors (“Blindspotting”)
  • Elsie Fisher, Actress (“Eighth Grade”)
  • Lady Gaga, Actress (“A Star Is Born”)
  • Boots Riley, Writer/Director (“Sorry to Bother You”)

BEST SCREENPLAY

  • Bo Burnham, “Eighth Grade”
  • Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, “The Favourite”
  • Adam McKay, “Vice”
  • Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”
  • Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • “Free Solo”
  • “RBG”
  • “Three Identical Strangers”
  • “Whitney”
  • “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • “The Incredibles 2”
  • “Isle of Dogs”
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet”
  • “Smallfoot”
  • “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

BEST USE OF MUSIC

  • “A Star Is Born”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • “Green Book”
  • “Mandy”
  • “Mary Poppins Returns”

 

Here Are The 2018 Satellite Nominations!


Awards season has just begun, which means that it’s time for the International Press Academy to announce their nominees for the 23rd Satellite Awards.  If you’ve never heard of the Satellite Awards, they’re like the Golden Globes, just with even less credibility.  For instance, the Satellite people are the one who nominated The Wolf of Wall Street for best picture, despite having not seen the film.

That said, the Satellite nominations are good way to gauge which films are currently getting awards buzz.  Let’s put it like this: getting a Satellite nomination is not going to automatically translate into Oscar recognition.  But it doesn’t hurt.

Below are the film nominations.  (In the interest of space, I’m only posting the film nominations.  If you want to see which tv shows picked up nominations, click here.)

Film

Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Major, Independent or International

  • Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
  • Glenn Close, “The Wife”
  • Viola Davis, “Widows”
  • Nicole Kidman, “Destroyer”
  • Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
  • Rosamund Pike, “Private War”

Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Major, Independent or International

  • Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
  • Ben Foster, “ Leave No Trace”
  • Ryan Gosling, “First Man
  • Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”
  • Lucas Hedges, “Boy Erased”
  • Robert Redford, “The Old Man & the Gun”

Actress in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Major, Independent or International

  • Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”
  • Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
  • Trine Dyrholm “Nico, 1988″
  • Elsie Fisher, “Eighth Grade”
  • Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”
  • Constance Wu, “Crazy Rich Asians”

Actor in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Major, Independent or International

  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star is Born”
  • Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Mary Poppins Returns”
  • Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
  • Nick Robinson, “Love, Simon
  • John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Major, Independent, Comedy & Musical or International

  • Claire Foy, “First Man
  • Nicole Kidman, “Boy Erased”
  • Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots”
  • Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
  • Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Major, Independent, Comedy & Musical or International

  • Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
  • Timothée Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”
  • Russell Crowe, “Boy Erased”
  • Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
  • Sam Elliott, “A Star is Born”
  • Richard Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Motion Picture, Drama
Major

  • Black Panther,” Walt Disney
  • First Man,” Universal
  • “Hereditary,” A24
  • “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Annapurna Pictures
  • “Mary Queen of Scots,” Focus Features
  • “Widows,”  Twentieth Century Fox

Motion Picture, Independent

  • “BlacKkKlansman,” Focus Features
  • “Eighth Grade,” A24
  • “First Reformed,” A24
  • “Leave No Trace,” Bleecker Street Media
  • “Private Life,” Netflix
  • “A Private War,” Aviron Pictures

Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Major, Independent or International

  • “Crazy Richard Asians,” Warner Bros.
  • “The Favourite,” Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • “Green Book,” Universal Pictures
  • “Mary Poppins Returns,” Walt Disney
  • “Nico, 1988,” Magnolia Pictures
  • “A Star is Born,” Warner Bros.

Motion Picture, International Film

  • “The Cakemaker,” Israel
  • “Cold War,” Poland
  • “The Guilty,” Denmark
  • “I Am Not A Witch,” United Kingdom
  • “Roma,” Mexico
  • “Shoplifters,” Japan

Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media

  • “Incredibles 2,” Walt Disney
  • “Isle of Dogs,” Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • “Liz and the Blue Bird,” Eleven Arts
  • “Mirai,” GKIDS Films
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Walt Disney
  • “Ruben Brandt, Collector,” Sony Pictures Classics

Motion Picture, Documentary

  • “Crime + Punishment,” Hulu
  • “Free Solo,” National Geographic
  • “Minding the Gap,” Hulu
  • “RBG,” Magnolia Pictures
  • “Three Identical Strangers,”  Focus Features
  • “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” Focus Features

Director

  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star is Born”
  • Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
  • Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”
  • Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
  • Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Screenplay, Original

  • Bo Burnham, “Eighth Grade”
  • Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
  • Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara, “The Favourite”
  • John Krasinski, Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, “A Quiet Place
  • Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”
  • Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie & Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”

Screenplay, Adapted

  • Bradley Cooper, Eric Roth, “A Star is Born”
  • Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, “Leave No Trace”
  • Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
  • Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, “The Death of Stalin”
  • Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Wilmott, Charlie Wachtel, “BlacKkKlansman”

Original Score

  • Thomas Ades, “Colette”
  • Terence Blanchard, “BlacKkKlansman”
  • Nicholas Britell, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Alexandre Desplat, “The Sisters Brothers”
  • Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”
  • Hans Zimmer, “Widows”

Original Song

  • “All The Stars” from “Black Panther”
  • “Can You Imagine That?” from “Mary Poppins Returns”
  • “Requiem for a Private War” from “A Private War”
  • “Revelation” from “Boy Erased”
  • “Shallow” from “A Star is Born”
  • “Strawberries & Cigarettes” from “Love, Simon

Cinematography

  • Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
  • James Laxton, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Matthew Libatique, “A Star is Born”
  • Robbie Ryan, “The Favourite”
  • Rachel Morrison, “Black Panther
  • Lukasz Zal, “Cold War”

Visual Effects

  •   “Avengers: Infinity War,” Walt Disney
  •   “Black Panther,” Walt Disney
  •   “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Warner Bros.
  •   “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Universal
  •   “Rampage,” Warner Bros.
  •   “Ready Player One,” Warner Bros.

Film Editing

  • Barry Alexander Brown, “BlacKkKlansman”
  • Jay Cassidy, “A Star is Born”
  • Tom Cross, “First Man
  • Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
  • Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • Joe Walker, “Widows”

Sound (Editing and Mixing)

  • Black Panther,” Walt Disney
  • First Man,” Universal
  • “Mary Poppins Returns,” Walt Disney
  • A Quiet Place,” Paramount
  • “Roma,”  Netflix
  • “A Star Is Born,” Warner Bros.

Art Direction and Production Design

  • Black Panther,” Walt Disney
  • “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,”  Warner Bros.
  • “The Favourite,” Fox Searchlight
  • First Man,” Universal
  • “Mary Poppins Returns,” Walt Disney
  • “Roma,” Magnolia Pictures

Costume Design

  • Colleen Atwood, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”
  • Erin Benach, “A Star is Born”
  • Alexandra Byrne, “Mary Queen of Scots”
  • Ruth E. Carter, “Black Panther
  • Andrea Flesch, “Colette”
  • Sandy Powell, “The Favourite”

 

 

Shattered Politics #31: The Godfather (dir by Francis Ford Coppola)


Godfather_ver1

“I got something for your mother and Sonny and a tie for Freddy and Tom Hagen got the Reynolds Pen…” — Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) in The Godfather (1972)

It probably seems strange that when talking about The Godfather, a film that it is generally acknowledged as being one of the best and most influential of all time, I would start with an innocuous quote about getting Tom Hagen a pen.

(And it better have been a hell of a pen because, judging from the scene where Sollozzo stops him in the street, it looked like Tom was going all out as far as gifts were concerned…)

After all, The Godfather is a film that is full of memorable quotes.  “Leave the gun.  Take the cannoli.”  “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”  “It’s strictly business.”  “I believe in America….”  “That’s my family, Kay.  That’s not me.”

But I went with the quote about the Reynolds pen because, quite frankly, I find an excuse to repeat it every Christmas.  Every holiday season, whenever I hear friends or family talking about presents, I remind them that Tom Hagen is getting the Reynolds pen.  Doubt me?  Check out these tweets from the past!

[tweet https://twitter.com/LisaMarieBowman/status/411891527837687810  ]

[tweet https://twitter.com/LisaMarieBowman/status/280387983444697088 ]

That’s how much I love The Godfather.  I love it so much that I even find myself quoting the lines that don’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things.  I love the film so much that I once even wrote an entire post about who could have been cast in The Godfather if, for whatever reason, Brando, Pacino, Duvall, et al. had been unavailable.  And I know that I’m not alone in that love.

But all that love also makes The Godfather a difficult film to review.  What do you say about a film that everyone already knows is great?

Do you praise it by saying that Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Marlon Brando, John Cazale, Richard Castellano, Abe Vigoda, Alex Rocco, and Talia Shire all gave excellent performances?  You can do that but everyone already knows that.

Do you talk about how well director Francis Ford Coppola told this operatic, sprawling story of crime, family, and politics?  You can do that but everyone already knows that.

Maybe you can talk about how beautiful Gordon Willis’s dark and shadowy cinematography looks, regardless of whether you’re seeing it in a theater or on TV.  Because it certainly does but everyone knows that.

Maybe you can mention the haunting beauty of Nina Rota’s score but again…

Well, you get the idea.

Now, if you somehow have never seen the film before, allow me to try to tell you what happens in The Godfather.  I say try because The Godfather is a true epic.  Because it’s also an intimate family drama and features such a dominating lead performance from Al Pacino, it’s sometimes to easy to forget just how much is actually going on in The Godfather.

The Godfather tells the story of the Corleone Family.  Patriarch Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) has done very well for himself in America, making himself into a rich and influential man.  Of course, Vito is also known as both Don Corleone and the Godfather and he’s made his fortune through less-than-legal means.  He may be rich and he may be influential but when his daughter gets married, the FBI shows up outside the reception and takes pictures of all the cars in the parking lot.  Vito Corleone knows judges and congressmen but none of them are willing to be seen in public with him.  Vito is the establishment that nobody wants to acknowledge and sometimes, this very powerful man wonders if there will ever be a “Governor Corleone” or a “Senator Corleone.”

Vito is the proud father of three children and the adopted father of one more.  His oldest son, and probable successor, is Sonny (James Caan).  Sonny, however, has a temper and absolutely no impulse control.  While his wife is bragging about him to the other women at the wedding, Sonny is upstairs screwing a bridesmaid.  When the enemies of the Corleone Family declare war, Sonny declares war back and forgets the first rule of organized crime: “It’s not personal.  It’s strictly business.”

After Sonny, there’s Fredo (John Cazale).  Poor, pathetic Fredo.  In many ways, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for Fredo.  He’s the one who ends up getting exiled to Vegas, where he lives under the protection of the crude Moe Greene (Alex Rocco).  One of the film’s best moments is when a bejeweled Fredo shows up at a Vegas hotel with an entourage of prostitutes and other hangers-on.  In these scenes, Fred is trying so hard but when you take one look at his shifty eyes, it’s obvious that he’s still the same guy who we first saw stumbling around drunk at his sister’s wedding.

(And, of course, it’s impossible to watch Fredo in this film without thinking about both what will happen to the character in the Godfather, Part II and how John Cazale, who brought the character to such vibrant life, would die just 6 years later.)

As a female, daughter Connie (Talia Shire) is — for the first film, at least — excluded from the family business.  Instead, she marries Sonny’s friend Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo).  And, to put it gently, it’s not a match made in heaven.

And finally, there’s Michael (Al Pacino).  Michael is the son who, at the start of the film, declares that he wants nothing to do with the family business.  He’s the one who wants to break with family tradition by marrying Kay Adams (Diane Keaton), who is most definitely not Italian.  He’s the one who was decorated in World War II and who comes to his sister’s wedding still dressed in his uniform.  (In the second Godfather film, we learn that Vito thought Michael was foolish to join the army, which makes it all the more clear that, by wearing the uniform to the wedding, Michael is attempting to declare his own identity outside of the family.)  To paraphrase the third Godfather film, Michael is the one who says he wants to get out but who keeps getting dragged back in.

And finally, the adopted son is Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall).  Tom is the Don’s lawyer and one reason why Tom is one of my favorite characters is because, behind his usual stone-faced facade, Tom is actually very snarky.  He just hides it well.

Early on, we get a hint that Tom is more amused than he lets on when he has dinner with the crude Jack Woltz (John Marley), a film producer who doesn’t want to use Johnny Fontane (Al Martino) in a movie  When Woltz shouts insults at him, Tom calmly finishes his dinner and thanks him for a lovely evening.  And he does it with just the hint of a little smirk and you can practically see him thinking, “Somebody’s going to wake up with a horse tomorrow….”

However, my favorite Tom Hagen moment comes when Kay, who is searching for Michael, drops by the family compound.  Tom greets her at the gate.  When Kay spots a car that’s riddled with bullet holes, she asks what happened.  Tom smiles and says, “Oh, that was an accident.  But luckily no one was hurt!”  Duvall delivers the line with just the right attitude of “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”  How can you not kind of love Tom after that?

And, of course, the film is full of other memorable characters, all of whom are scheming and plotting.  There’s Clemenza (Richard S. Catellano) and Tessio (Abe Vigoda), the two Corleone lieutenants who may or may not be plotting to betray the Don.  There’s fearsome Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), who spends an eternity practicing what he wants to say at Connie’s wedding and yet still manages to screw it up.  And, of course, there’s Sollozzo (Al Lettieri, playing a role originally offered to Franco Nero), the drug dealer who reacts angrily to Vito’s refusal to help him out.  Meanwhile, Capt. McCluskey (Sterling Hayden) is busy beating up young punks and Al Neri (Richard Bright) is gunning people down in front of the courthouse.  And, of course, there’s poor, innocent, ill-fated Appollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli)…

The Godfather is a great Italian-American epic, one that works as both a gangster film and a family drama.  Perhaps the genius of the Godfather trilogy is that the Corleone family serves as an ink blot in a cinematic rorschach test.  Audiences can look at them and see whatever they want.  If you want them and their crimes to serve as a metaphor for capitalism, you need only listen to Tom and Michael repeatedly state that it’s only business.  If you want to see them as heroic businessmen, just consider that their enemies essentially want to regulate the Corleones out of existence.  If you want the Corleones to serve as symbols of the patriarchy, you need only watch as the door to Michael’s office is shut in Kay’s face.  If you want to see the Corleones as heroes, you need only consider that they — and they alone — seem to operate with any sort of honorable criminal code.  (This, of course, would change over the course of the two sequels.)

And, if you’re trying to fit a review of The Godfather into a series about political films, you only have to consider that Vito is regularly spoken of as being a man who carries politicians around in his pocket.  We may not see any elected officials in the first Godfather film but their presence is felt.  Above all else, it’s Vito’s political influence that sets in motion all of the events that unfold over the course of the film.

The Godfather, of course, won the Oscar for best picture of 1972.  And while it’s rare that I openly agree with the Academy, I’m proud to say that this one time is a definite exception.