The Hawaii Film Critics Society Honors The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Spike Lee!


The Hawaii Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2020 yesterday and they did not pick Nomadland.  Instead, they named The Trial of the Chicago 7 as the best picture of the year and they named Spike Lee as a best director for Da 5 Bloods.  (It’s interesting that, after years of struggling to get awards recognition, Lee is feeling getting recognized for films that are nowhere close to being as effective or as revolutionary as his best work.)  Nomadland, however, did not go home empty-handed.  Frances McDormand won Best Actress and Chloe Zhao did pick up an award for her screenplay.  (Zhao won adapted screenplay.  Sorkin won original screenplay.  I dread that the same thing is going to happen on Oscar night and we’re going to have to sit through an Aaron Sorkin filibuster about protest, politics, and why women need to learn more about sports.)

(“Let me fix you,” Aaron Sorkin says as he pulls out a DVD boxset of Sports Night.)

The best thing about the Hawaii Film Critics Society is that they also gave out awards for Best Comic Book movie so congratulations, Bloodshot!  (To be honest, Bloodshot probably deserved the award because it’s not like there’s a lot of competition this year and, seriously, have you tried to sit through Birds of Prey more than once?)  Possessor won the award for Best Overlooked Film of the year.  (I agree, by the way.)  And, of course, Wonder Woman 1984 won worst film of the year, despite all of those early reviews that declared it to be “the film that we need right now.”  Then again, with the way things are going, maybe we deserve a bad movie?  Who knows?

All I do know is that I wish I lived in Hawaii and now learning that they have their own Film Critics Society, I’m probably even more likely to look into moving.  Seriously, Hawaii is beautiful and the film critics are apparently quirky.

Here are the winners!

BEST PICTURE
The Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST DIRECTOR
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods

BEST ACTOR
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods

BEST ACTRESS
Frances McDormand – Nomadland

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

BEST ART DIRECTION
Chris Craine and Dan Webster – Mank

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Ann Roth – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

BEST EDITING
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Lupin III: The First

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Beastie Boys Story

BEST MAKE-UP
Mank

BEST SOUND
Sound of Metal

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank

BEST SONG
“Speak Now” – One Night in Miami…

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Tenet

BEST STUNT WORK
Tenet

BEST NEW FILMMAKER
Regina King – One Night in Miami…

BEST FIRST FILM
Florian Zeller – The Father

BEST OVERLOOKED FILM
Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg

BEST VOCAL/MOTION CAPTURE PERFORMANCE
Jamie Foxx – Soul

BEST HORROR FILM
Relic – Natalie Erika James

BEST COMIC BOOK MOVIE
Bloodshot – Dave Wilson

BEST SCI-FI FILM
Tenet – Christopher Nolan

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Life Ahead – Edoardo Ponti (Italy)

BEST HAWAIIAN FILM
Waikiki – Christopher Kahunahana (Oahu)

WORST FILM OF 2020
Wonder Woman 1984

The San Diego Film Critics Society Honors Promising Young Woman


The Nashville critics were not the only ones to honor Promising Young Woman and Carey Mulligan yesterday!  The San Diego critics did so as well.

Here are all of the winners from San Diego:

​Best Picture
BLACK BEAR
FIRST COW
NOMADLAND
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
SOUND OF METAL (RUNNER UP)
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (WINNER)

Best Director
Darius Marder – SOUND OF METAL
Kelly Reichardt – FIRST COW
Aaron Sorkin – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (RUNNER UP)
Florian Zeller – THE FATHER
Chloe Zhao – NOMADLAND (WINNER)

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – SOUND OF METAL (WINNER)
Chadwick Boseman – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Brian Dennehy – DRIVEWAYS
Anthony Hopkins – THE FATHER (RUNNER UP)
Steven Yeun – MINARI

Best Actress
Viola Davis – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Vanessa Kirby – PIECES OF A WOMAN
Frances McDormand – NOMADLAND (RUNNER UP)
Carey Mulligan – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (WINNER)
Aubrey Plaza – BLACK BEAR

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Frank Langella – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Peter Macdissi – UNCLE FRANK (RUNNER UP)
Bill Murray – ON THE ROCKS
Paul Raci – SOUND OF METAL (WINNER)

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Ellen Burstyn – PIECES OF A WOMAN
Olivia Cooke – SOUND OF METAL
Amanda Seyfried – MANK (RUNNER UP)
Yuh-jung Youn – MINARI (WINNER)

Best Comedic Performance
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM (RUNNER UP)
Sacha Baron Cohen – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Radha Blank – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION (WINNER)
Bill Murray – ON THE ROCKS (RUNNER UP)
Andy Samberg – PALM SPRINGS

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – MINARI (WINNER)
Sofia Coppola – ON THE ROCKS
Emerald Fennell – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (RUNNER UP)
Darius Marder, Abraham Marder & Derek Cianfrance – SOUND OF METAL (RUNNER UP)
Aaron Sorkin – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (RUNNER UP)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller – THE FATHER (WINNER)
Charlie Kaufman – I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (RUNNER UP)
Kelly Reichardt & Jonathan Raymond – FIRST COW
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Chloé Zhao – NOMADLAND

Best Documentary
ATHLETE A
MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
REWIND
THE SOCIAL DILEMMA (RUNNER UP)
TIME (WINNER)

Best Animated Film
ONWARD
OVER THE MOON (RUNNER UP)
SOUL
TROLLS: WORLD TOUR
WOLFWALKERS (WINNER)

Best International Film
ANOTHER ROUND
THE LIFE AHEAD (WINNER)
MARTIN EDEN
THE PLATFORM (RUNNER UP)
SPUTNIK

Best Editing
Alan Baumgarten – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (RUNNER UP)
Andy Canny – THE INVISIBLE MAN (WINNER)
Andrew Dickler & Matthew Friedman – PALM SPRINGS
Jennifer Lame – TENET
Matthew L. Weiss – BLACK BEAR

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – FIRST COW
Erik Messerschmidt – MANK (RUNNER UP)
Joshua James Richards – NOMADLAND (WINNER)
Hoyte Van Hoytema – TENET
Dariusz Wolski – NEWS OF THE WORLD

Best Production Design
Donald Graham Burt – MANK (WINNER)
Nathan Crowley – TENET
Molly Hughes – I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (RUNNER UP)
Kave Quinn – EMMA.
Shane Valentino – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (RUNNER UP)

Best Visual Effects
BIRDS OF PREY
GREYHOUND
THE INVISIBLE MAN (RUNNER UP)
THE MIDNIGHT SKY
SPUTNIK
TENET (WINNER)

Best Costumes
Erin Benach – BIRDS OF PREY (RUNNER UP)
Alexandra Byrne – EMMA. (WINNER)
April Napier – FIRST COW
Ann Roth – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Trish Summerville – MANK

Best Use of Music
DA 5 BLOODS
DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA (RUNNER UP)
HAMILTON (WINNER)
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (RUNNER UP)
SOUND OF METAL

Best Ensemble
DA 5 BLOODS
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI (WINNER)
PALM SPRINGS
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (RUNNER UP)
UNCLE FRANK

Breakthrough Artist
Riz Ahmed – SOUND OF METAL (RUNNER UP)
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Radha Blank – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION (WINNER)
Sidney Flanigan – NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
Vanessa Kirby – PIECES OF A WOMAN

Here Are The 2020 Nominations of the San Diego Film Critics Society!


The regional critics have been busy today!

The San Diego Film Critics Society have announced their nominees for the best of 2020!  Perhaps the most interesting tidbit here is that they nominated Black Bear for best picture.  So far, Black Bear hasn’t really been spoken of as an Oscar contender but, with the extended awards season and all, that could all change.  It’ll be interesting to see if the SDFCS nomination is just an outlier or a sign of critics just now discovering the film.  If nothing else, it keeps things interesting.

Here are the nominees!  The winners will be announced on Monday, January 11th.

​Best Picture
BLACK BEAR
FIRST COW
NOMADLAND
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
SOUND OF METAL
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Best Director
Darius Marder – SOUND OF METAL
Kelly Reichardt – FIRST COW
Aaron Sorkin – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Florian Zeller – THE FATHER
Chloe Zhao – NOMADLAND

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – SOUND OF METAL
Chadwick Boseman – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Brian Dennehy – DRIVEWAYS
Anthony Hopkins – THE FATHER
Steven Yeun – MINARI

Best Actress
Viola Davis – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Vanessa Kirby – PIECES OF A WOMAN
Frances McDormand – NOMADLAND
Carey Mulligan – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
Aubrey Plaza – BLACK BEAR

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Frank Langella – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Peter Macdissi – UNCLE FRANK
Bill Murray – ON THE ROCKS
Paul Raci – SOUND OF METAL

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Ellen Burstyn – PIECES OF A WOMAN
Olivia Cooke – SOUND OF METAL
Amanda Seyfried – MANK
Yuh-jung Youn – MINARI

Best Comedic Performance
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Sacha Baron Cohen – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Radha Blank – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
Bill Murray – ON THE ROCKS
Andy Samberg – PALM SPRINGS

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – MINARI
Sofia Coppola – ON THE ROCKS
Emerald Fennell – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
Darius Marder, Abraham Marder & Derek Cianfrance – SOUND OF METAL
Aaron Sorkin – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Best Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller – THE FATHER
Charlie Kaufman – I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
Kelly Reichardt & Jonathan Raymond – FIRST COW
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Chloé Zhao – NOMADLAND

Best Documentary
ATHLETE A
MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
REWIND
THE SOCIAL DILEMMA
TIME

Best Animated Film
ONWARD
OVER THE MOON
SOUL
TROLLS: WORLD TOUR
WOLFWALKERS

Best International Film
ANOTHER ROUND
THE LIFE AHEAD
MARTIN EDEN
THE PLATFORM
SPUTNIK

Best Editing
Alan Baumgarten – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
Andy Canny – THE INVISIBLE MAN
Andrew Dickler & Matthew Friedman – PALM SPRINGS
Jennifer Lame – TENET
Matthew L. Weiss – BLACK BEAR

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – FIRST COW
Erik Messerschmidt – MANK
Joshua James Richards – NOMADLAND
Hoyte Van Hoytema – TENET
Dariusz Wolski – NEWS OF THE WORLD

Best Production Design
Donald Graham Burt – MANK
Nathan Crowley – TENET
Molly Hughes – I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
Kave Quinn – EMMA.
Shane Valentino – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Best Visual Effects
BIRDS OF PREY
GREYHOUND
THE INVISIBLE MAN
THE MIDNIGHT SKY
SPUTNIK
TENET

Best Costumes
Erin Benach – BIRDS OF PREY
Alexandra Byrne – EMMA.
April Napier – FIRST COW
Ann Roth – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Trish Summerville – MANK

Best Use of Music
DA 5 BLOODS
DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA
HAMILTON
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
SOUND OF METAL

Best Ensemble
DA 5 BLOODS
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
PALM SPRINGS
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
UNCLE FRANK

Breakthrough Artist
Riz Ahmed – SOUND OF METAL
Maria Bakalova – BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
Radha Blank – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
Sidney Flanigan – NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
Vanessa Kirby – PIECES OF A WOMAN

The Columbus Film Critics Circle Honors Promising Young Woman and Carey Mulligan!


Yesterday, the Columbus Film Critic Circle announced their picks for the best of 2020 and the end result was a victory for Promising Young Woman and Carey Mulligan!

Check out their winners and nominees below:​

Best Film
1. Promising Young Woman
2. Nomadland
3. Sound of Metal
4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
5. Minari
6. Soul
7. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
8. The Trial of the Chicago 7
9. First Cow
10. Mank

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (RUNNER UP)
David Fincher – Mank
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (WINNER)

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (WINNER)
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (RUNNER UP)
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The Assistant
Frances McDormand – Nomadland (RUNNER UP)
Elisabeth Moss – Shirley
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (WINNER)

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (RUNNER UP TIE)
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (WINNER)
Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (RUNNER UP TIE)

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Movie Film
Olivia Colman – The Father (RUNNER UP)
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari (WINNER)

Best Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (WINNER)
Minari
Promising Young Woman (RUNNER UP)
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Movie Film & The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods & Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) (WINNER)
Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man & Shirley) (RUNNER UP)

Breakthrough Film Artist
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and acting) (RUNNER UP)
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (for producing, directing, and screenwriting) (WINNER)
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for acting)
Kitty Green – The Assistant (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and film editing)
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for directing and screenwriting)
Alan S. Kim – Minari (for acting)
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal (for directing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – First Cow
Eric Messerschmidt – Mank (RUNNER UP)
Lachlan Milne – Minari
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland (WINNER)
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

Best Film Editing
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (WINNER)
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Robert Frazen – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal (RUNNER UP)
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sarah Gubbins – Shirley
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami
Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (RUNNER UP)
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (WINNER)

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (WINNER)
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (RUNNER UP)

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky
Ludovico Einaudi – Nomadland
Emile Mosseri – Minari
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank (RUNNER UP)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soul (WINNER)

Best Documentary
Boys State (RUNNER UP)
Collective
Crip Camp
Dick Johnson is Dead (WINNER)
The Painter and the Thief
Time

Best Foreign Language Film
Bacurau
Beanpole
Martin Eden (RUNNER UP)
Minari (WINNER)
The Whistlers

Best Animated Film
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul (RUNNER UP)
Wolfwalkers (WINNER)

Best Overlooked Film
The Assistant
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Palm Springs (RUNNER UP)
Possessor
The Vast of Night (WINNER)

Here Are The Nominees of the 2020 Columbus Film Critics Association!


The Columbus Film Critics Association has announced their nominees for the best of the year and it’s pretty much all of the usual suspects.  The winners will be announced on January 7th, 2021.  I do like the fact that the CFCA gives out an award for the Overlooked Film of the Year.  Some of my top films of the year — Possessor, The Vast of Night, The Assistant — are nominated in that category.

Here are the nominees!

Best Film
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Minari
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Soul
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
David Fincher – Mank
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

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 Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The Assistant
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Elisabeth Moss – Shirley
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Movie Film
Olivia Colman – The Father
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

Best Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Movie Film & The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods & Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man & Shirley)

Breakthrough Film Artist
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and acting)
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (for producing, directing, and screenwriting)
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for acting)
Kitty Green – The Assistant (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and film editing)
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for directing and screenwriting)
Alan S. Kim – Minari (for acting)
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal (for directing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – First Cow
Erik Messerschmidt – Mank
Lachlan Milne – Minari
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

Best Film Editing
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Robert Frazen – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow

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

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky
Ludovico Einaudi – Nomadland
Emile Mosseri – Minari
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soul

Best Documentary
Boys State
Collective
Crip Camp
Dick Johnson is Dead
The Painter and the Thief
Time

Best Foreign Language Film
Bacurau
Beanpole
Martin Eden
Minari
The Whistlers

Best Animated Film
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Overlooked Film
The Assistant
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Palm Springs
Possessor
The Vast of Night

Here Are The Nominees of the 2020 Indiana Film Journalists Assosciation!


Bad Education

The Indiana Film Journalists Association (IJA) has announced their nominees for the best of 2020!  They’ll be announcing the winners on December 21st!

What I like about these nominations is that there’s a lot of them.  2020 may have been a difficult year for many but there were a lot of good films released and it does seem kind of silly (as it does every year) to limit things to some sort of arbitrary number.  Why only nominate 10 films when you could nominate 20 or 30?  Many of the nominees below will appear on my own personal best lists in January.

The other thing that I like about these nominees is that the include films like Bad Education and Mangrove.  There’s some debate as to whether or not these films should be considered Oscar eligible.  I feel that they should be so it’s nice to see that the folks in Indiana agree with me!

Here are the nominees:

BEST FILM
Da 5 Bloods
Another Round
The Assistant
Athlete A
Bad Education
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Dick Johnson is Dead
Emma.
The Father
First Cow
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
The Nest
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Nomadland
One Night in Miami
Palm Springs
The Personal History of David Copperfield
Possessor
Promising Young Woman
Small Axe: Mangrove
Song Without a Name
Soul
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
The Twentieth Century
The Vast of Night

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Onward
Soul
Wolfwalkers

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
76 Days
Another Round
Bacurau
Beanpole
La Dosis
Song Without a Name

BEST DOCUMENTARY
76 Days
All In: The Fight for Democracy
Athlete A
Boys State
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Desert One
Dick Johnson is Dead
Disclosure
John Lewis: Good Trouble
The Last Out
Miss Americana
MLK/FBI
Time
Totally Under Control
Welcome to Chechnya

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Brandon Cronenberg – Possessor
Pete Docter, Mike Jones and Kemp Powers – Soul
Sean Durkin – The Nest
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Kitty Green – The Assistant
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Tobias Lindholm and Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
James Montague and Craig W. Sanger – The Vast of Night
Matthew Rankin – The Twentieth Century
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Alice Wu – The Half of It

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller – The Father
Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell – The Personal History of David Copperfield
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Mike Makowsky – Bad Education
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami
Jonathan Raymond and Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

BEST DIRECTOR
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Brandon Cronenberg – Possessor
Pete Docter – Soul
Sean Durkin – The Nest
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Kitty Green – The Assistant
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Kirsten Johnson – Dick Johnson is Dead
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Regina King – One Night in Miami
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods
Melina Léon – Song Without a Name
Steve McQueen – Small Axe: Mangrove
Matthew Rankin – The Twentieth Century
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Alice Wu – The Half of It
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

BEST ACTRESS
Haley Bennett – Swallow
Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Carrie Coon – The Nest
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sidney Flanigin – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The Assistant
Han Ye-ri – Minari
Leah Lewis – The Half of It
Rachel McAdams – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Pamela Mendoza – Song Without a Name
Cristin Milioti – Palm Springs
Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
Aubrey Plaza – Black Bear
Margot Robbie – BIrds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jane Adams – She Dies Tomorrow
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Toni Collette – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Olivia Colman – The Father
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
Allison Janney – Bad Education
Margo Martindale – Blow the Man Down
Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

BEST ACTOR
Christopher Abbott – Possessor
Ben Affleck – The Way Back
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami
Paul Bettany – Uncle Frank
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Eli Goree – One Night in Miami
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Hugh Jackman – Bad Education
Jude Law – The Nest
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round
Jesse Plemons – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Eddie Redmayne – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Steven Yeun – Minari

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods
Bo Burnham – Promising Young Woman
Bill Burr – The King of Staten Island
Peter Capaldi – The Personal History of David Copperfield
Colman Domingo – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Aldis Hodge – One Night in Miami
Caleb Landry Jones – The Outpost
Alan Kim – Minari
Frank Langella – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Orion Lee – First Cow
Ewan McGregor – BIrds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
J.K. Simmons – Palm Springs
Dan Stevens – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
David Strathairn – Nomadland
David Thewlis – I’m Thinking of Ending Things

BEST VOCAL / MOTION CAPTURE PERFORMANCE
Sean Bean – Wolfwalkers
Tina Fey – Soul
Jamie Foxx – Soul
Oliver Platt – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Donald Ray Pollock – The Devil All the Time
Ben Schwartz – Sonic the Hedgehog

BEST ENSEMBLE ACTING
Da 5 Bloods
Another Round
The Devil All the Time
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
The King of Staten Island
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
One Night in Miami
The Personal History of David Copperfield
She Dies Tomorrow
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Uncle Frank

BEST MUSICAL SCORE
Erick Alexander and Jared Bulmer – The Vast of Night
Terence Blanchard – One Night in Miami
Ludovico Einaudi – Nomadland
Ludwig Göransson – Tenet
Emile Mosseri – Minari
Richard Reed Parry – The Nest
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soul
William Tyler – First Cow
Jay Wadley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Isobel Waller-Bridge and David Schweitzer – Emma.
Benjamin Wallfisch – The Invisible Man
Jim Williams – Possessor

BREAKOUT OF THE YEAR
Maria Bakalova (actress) – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Max Barbakow (director) – Palm Springs
Emerald Fennell (writer / director) – Promising Young Woman
Sidney Flanigin (actress) – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Alan Kim (actor) – Minari
Orion Lee (actor) – First Cow
Leah Lewis (actress) – The Half of It
Darius Marder (writer / director) – Sound of Metal
Andrew Patterson (director) – The Vast of Night
Tayarisha Poe (writer / director) – Selah and the Spades
Kemp Powers – co-writer / co-director for Soul and writer for One Night in Miami
Matthew Rankin (writer / director) – The Twentieth Century
Andy Siara (writer) – Palm Springs
Autumn de Wilde (director) – Emma.

HOOSIER AWARD
Athlete A
Eliza Hittman, writer / director of Never Rarely Sometimes Always and graduate of Indiana University

ORIGINAL VISION AWARD
After Midnight
Assassin 33 A.D.
Dick Johnson is Dead
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Possessor
Promising Young Woman
She Dies Tomorrow
The Twentieth Century
The Vast of Night
Vivarium

Mangrove

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

 

Film Review: Life Itself (dir by Dan Fogelman)


Watching Life Itself is like getting a Hallmark card from a serial killer.  Even if you appreciate the sentiment, you still don’t feel good about it.

Written and directed by This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman, Life Itself attempts to juggle several different themes, so much so that it can sometimes be difficult to understand just what exactly the film is attempting to say.  That said, I think the main lesson of the film is that you should always look both ways before stepping out into the middle of the street.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a horrific backstory, involving a decapitated father, a pervy uncle, and a gun.  It doesn’t matter if you love Pulp Fiction or if you think Bob Dylan’s more recent work is underrated.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a dog and husband who is so in love with you that he’s practically a stalker.  It doesn’t even matter that your pregnant and looking forward to naming your firstborn after your favorite musician.  If you don’t look both ways before stepping out into the middle of the street, you’re going to get hit by a big damn bus.

That’s the lesson that Abby (Olivia Wilde) does not learn and, as a result, she not only gets run over by a bus but we, the viewers, are subjected to seeing her repeatedly getting run over by that bus.  As temtping as it is to feel bad for Abby, my sympathy was limited by the fact that she and her husband (Oscar Isaac) named their dog Fuckface.  I mean, seriously, who does that?  Not only is it cruel to the dog but it’s also inconsiderate to the people who have to listen to you shouting, “Fuckface!” whenever the dog gets loose.  For whatever reason, the movie doesn’t seem to get how annoying this is.  That’s because Life Itself is another one of those movies that mistakes quirkiness for humanity.

The other annoying thing about Abby is that she’s an English major who somehow thinks that the use of the unreliable narrator is an understudied literary phenonema.  In fact, she’s writing her thesis on unreliable narrators.  Her argument is that life itself is the ultimate unreliable narrator because life is tricky and surprising, which doesn’t make one bit of sense.

Speaking of narrators, Life Itself has three, which is three too many.  Two of the narrators are unreliable but I get the feeling that the third one is meant to be taken literally, which is a shame because the film would have made a lot more sense if it had ended with a Life of Pi-style revelation that none of what we just watched actually happened.

Anyway, Abby getting hit by a bus has repercussions that reverberate across the globe and across time.  Not only does it lead to her husband writing a bad screenplay but it also leads to him committing suicide in a psychiatrist’s office.  Abby’s daughter, Dylan (Olivia Cooke), grows up to be what this film believes to be a punk rocker, which means that she angrily covers Bob Dylan songs and stuffs a peanut butter and jelly sandwich down another girl’s throat.  Meanwhile, in Spain….

What?  Oh yeah, this film jumps from New York to Spain.  In fact, it’s almost like another film suddenly starts after an hour of the first one.  You go from Olivia Cooke sobbing on a park bench to Antonio Banderas talking about his childhood.  Banderas is playing a landowner named Vincent Saccione.  Saccione wants to be best friends with his foreman, Javier (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) but Javier suspects that Saccione just wants to steal away his saintly wife, Isabel (Laia Costa) and maybe Javier’s right!

Javier has a son named Rodrigo (who is played by five different actors over the course of the film before eventually growing up to be Alex Monner).  When Saccione gives Rodrigo a globe, Javier decides to one-up him by taking his wife and child on a vacation to New York City.  Rodrigo has a great time in New York, or at least he does until he distracts a bus driver, which leads to a bus running down a pregnant woman…

…and the movie’s not over yet!  It just keeps on going and believe it or not, there’s stuff that I haven’t even mentioned.  Life Itself has a running time of only two hours.  (For comparison, it’s shorter than almost every comic book film that’s come out over the past few years.)  This is one of the rare cases where the film might have been improved with a longer running time because Fogelman crams so much tragedy and melodrama into that running time that it literally leaves you feeling as if you’re being bludgeoned.  This is one of those films that gets in your face and screams, “You will cry!  You will cry!”  Even if you are inclined to cry at movies (and I certainly am), it’s impossible not to resent just how manipulative the film gets.  You get the feeling that if you spend too much time wondering about the plot holes or the on-the-nose dialogue, the third narrator might start yelling at you for not getting with the program.

Life Itself is full of twists that are designed to leave you considering how everything in life is connected but, for something like this to work, the twists have to be surprising.  They have to catch you off-guard.  They have to make you want to see the movie again so that you can look for clues.  The twists in Life Itself are not surprising.  Anyone who has ever seen a movie before will be able to guess what’s going to happen.  For that matter, anyone who has ever sat through an episode of This is Us should be able to figure it all out.  Life Itself is not as a clever as it thinks it is.

Also, for a film like this work, you have to actually care about the characters.  You have to be invested in who they are.  But nobody in the film ever seems to be real and neither do any of their stories.  (To the film’s credit, it actually does point out that one narrator is idealizing the past but that’s an intriguing idea that’s abandoned.)  Everyone is just a collection of quirks.  We know what type of music they like but we never understand why.  Background info, like Abby being molested by her uncle or Isabel being the fourth prettiest of six sisters, is randomly dropped and then quickly forgotten about.  Almost ever woman has a tragic backstory and, for the most part, a tragic destiny.  (Except, of course, for Rodrigo’s first American girlfriend, who is dismissed as being “loud.”)  Every man is soulful and passionate.  But who are they?  The film’s narrators say a lot but they never get around to answering that question.  This is a film that insists it has something to say about life itself but it never quite comes alive.

Some critics are saying that Life Itself is the worst film of 2018.  Maybe.  I don’t know for sure.  The Happytime Murders left me feeling so icky that I haven’t even been able to bring myself to review it yet.  Life Itself, on the other hand, is such a huge misfire that I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it.  There’s something to be said for that.

Here Are The Confusing San Diego Film Critics Society Nominations!


The San Diego Film Critics Society announced their nominees for the best of 2015 and … well, there’s a little bit of confusion.  As Paddy Mulholland of Screen on Screen points out, the San Diego film critics did not list their nominees alphabetically.  But, at the same time, the SFDC hasn’t acknowledged that the nominees were listed as a ranked slate either.  So, when they list Ex Machina as their first nominee for Best Picture and Brooklyn as their second, were they announcing that Ex Machina was their pick for best picture and Brooklyn was the runner up?  Or did they just decided to randomly list the nominees?

The official winners will be announced on December 14th, at which point we will have clarity!

Anyway, here are the San Diego nominees.  And again, h/t on this goes to Screen on Screen:

Best Picture
1. Ex Machina
2. Brooklyn
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Room
5. Spotlight

Best Director
1. George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
2. John Crowley (Brooklyn)
3. Lenny Abrahamson (Room)
4. Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
5. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)

Best Actor, Male
1. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
2. Jason Segel (The End of the Tour)
3. Matt Damon (The Martian)
4. Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
5. Jacob Tremblay (Room)

Best Actor, Female
1. Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
2. Brie Larson (Room)
3. Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
4. Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
5. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

Best Supporting Actor, Male
1. Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
2. Tom Noonan (Anomalisa)
3. Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
4. Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
5. R. J. Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl)

Best Supporting Actor, Female
1. Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
2. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
3. Helen Mirren (Trumbo)
4. Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria)
5. Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl)

Best Original Screenplay
1. Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig (Mistress America)
2. Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
3. Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows)
4. Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
5. Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Nick Hornby (Brooklyn)
2. Emma Donoghue (Room)
3. Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa)
4. Donald Margulies (The End of the Tour)
5. Drew Goddard and Andy Weir (The Martian)

Best Cinematography
1. Roger Deakins (Sicario)
2. Yves Belanger (Brooklyn)
3. Dariusz Wolski (The Martian)
4. John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road)
5. Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)

Best Editing
1. Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road)
2. Joe Walker (Sicario)
3. Pietro Scalia (The Martian)
4. Michael Kahn (Bridge of Spies)
5. Nathan Nugent (Room)
6. Stephen Mirrione (The Revenant

Best Production Design
1. Colin Gibson (Mad Max: Fury Road)
2. Mark Digby (Ex Machina)
3. Arthur Max (The Martian)
4. Francois Seguin (Brooklyn)
5. Adam Stockhausen (Bridge of Spies)

Best Sound Design
1. The Martian
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Ex Machina
4. Sicario
5. Love & Mercy

Best Visual Effects
1. The Martian
2. Ex Machina
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. The Walk
5. Jurassic World

Best Use of Music in a Film
1. The Hateful Eight
2. Love & Mercy
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Sicario
5. Straight Outta Compton

Best Ensemble
1. Spotlight
2. The Hateful Eight
3. Straight Outta Compton
4. Inside Out
5. The Big Short
6. What We Do in the Shadows

Best Animated Film
1. Inside Out
2. Anomalisa
3. Shaun the Sheep Movie
4. The Good Dinosaur
5. The Peanuts Movie

Best Documentary
1. Amy
2. He Named Me Malala
3. Cartel Land
4. Meru
5. The Wrecking Crew

Best Foreign Language Film
1. Phoenix
2. Taxi
3. White God
4. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
5. Goodnight Mommy

Best Breakthrough Artist
1. Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl / Ex Machina)
2. Jacob Tremblay (Room)
3. Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)
4. Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation)
5. Sean Baker (Tangerine)

 

Late To The Party : “Ouija”


ouija-movie-poster

 

I was thinking of sub-titling this review “What To Expect When You’re Expecting Nothing,” or something equally less-than-clever, but it just seemed too damn obvious — I mean, how many of us were expecting 2014’s Ouija to actually be any good?

Let’s face it — Hasbro inking a deal with Michael Bay’s Plantinum Dunes to make a series of movies based on their various board games is probably a pretty stupid idea for a number of reasons — not the least of which is that Clue probably just plain can’t be topped in the “best-board-game-movie-of-all-time” category — but what can I say? While there was no way in hell I was going to spring to see Ouija when it was out in theaters, I added it to my Netflix DVD queue when it came out simply because I like to punish myself from time to time by sticking my head into the toilet bowl of PG-13 “horror.” I guess I’m just masochistic like that.

All that being said, director Stiles White (who co-wrote the film’s screenplay along with Juliet Snowden) manages to under-perform here even though the bar was set exeptionally low. We’ve all seen the “malignant spirit haunts teenagers” trope done to death, to be sure, but rarely is everyone so clearly and plainly going through the motions as they are in Ouija. It’s like somebody figured out how to put celluloid on Xanax and then sat back to see what the end result would be.

download (1)

Speaking of Xanax,  Olivia Cooke, of sleazy prime-time soap Bates Motel, certainly looks and acts like she’s on it — she absolutely can’t carry a film, as she ably demonstrates in her starring turn here as nominal heroine Laine Morris. She has precisely one facial expression — the “concerned as shit” look — and can’t even manage to get away from it entirely when she’s supposed to be smiling and looking happy. Not that she’s got a whole lot to be happy about, mind you, given that her best friend, Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) apparently just killed herself after playing around with a Ouija board (hint to Hasbro, by the way — if the primary goal of your newfound motion picture enterprise is to move more of your product, as I’m assuming it is, suggesting that said product actually works in terms of conjuring up evil ghosts maybe isn’t the smartest idea). So, like any intrepid young protagonist, the charisma-free zone that is Laine decides that she’ll get her boyfriend, Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), their friend Isabelle (Bianca A, Santos), and dead Debbie’s (now ex-, I suppose) boyfriend,  Pete (Douglas Smith) together to hold a seance at the scene of the crime. When her perpetual-pain-in-the-ass younger sister, Sam (Ana Coto), proves once again that she can’t be left home alone while their dad is out of town, she gets dragged along to the party, as well.

I fucked around with Ouija boards plenty when I was younger, but one thing this flick taught (a term I use very loosely, I assure you) me is that if you look through the plastic-coated hole in the center of the planchette, you’re supposed to be able to see whatever ghost it is you’ve disturbed from their slumber. Laine certainly sees one, and from there on out, our plucky young crew is put through the dullest, most un-involving “living hell” you’re ever likely to see play out before your eyes — suffice to say, the haunted shit they’re all being subjected to ties in to a (yawn!) ghastly crime committed at Debbie’s house many years ago. And in order for the spirits to rest, they’ve gotta (yawn again!) put things right.

ouija-movie-1-720x380

Further details are probably pointless here, but that’s okay — so is the movie itself. I’ve been sitting here scratching my head trying to think of one thing Ouija has to recommend in its favor, but I gotta be honest — I’m drawing a complete blank. The acting’s bad, the story’s stupid and predictable, the “scares” are anything but scary, and the whole thing is a rancid mess.

That may sound harsh, but trust me when I say that, if anything, I’m actually underselling how genuinely lame this thing is. I almost didn’t even bother to review it because it was too easy a target, but I figured that if I could warn off at least one other person from seeing it, then I could chalk it up as my good deed for the day.Sure, the picture and sound quality on the DVD are both fine (I can’t really comment on the extras because the disc I got from Netflix was one of those “bare-bones” rental versions, sorry), but so what? It’s a brand new movie, the technical specs should be flawless.

olivia-cooke-in-ouija-movie-7

So — what do you get when you go into a movie expecting nothing? In the case of Ouija, precisely that.