Some Thoughts On Today’s Oscar Nominations Announcement


cracked rear viewer

I really don’t mean to sound like your cranky old Uncle Elmo, but….

Seriously, Academy, I understand you don’t give two shits about Hollywood history. You prove that year after year with your truncated ‘In Memoriam’ segment, omitting far too many who’ve contributed to your industry. Last year, it was (among others) Don Gordon, Skip Homeier, Tobe Hooper, and Anne Jeffreys; the year before Gloria DeHaven, Madeleine LeBeau, William Schallert, Robert Vaughn… I get it. You’ve got to save time for those great “comedy” bits that Bob Hope wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot ski pole and lame musical production numbers, not to mention giving time for everyone to make their obligatory political statements. That’s why I put so much time and effort into my own yearly ‘In Memoriam’ tributes, so those you give short shrift to won’t be forgotten.

Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind”

But to completely…

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What If Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2018 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 2017201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

Best Picture

Avengers: Infinity War

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Blindspotting

*Eighth Grade

The Favourite

Leave No Trace

The Other Side of the Wind

Roma

A Simple Favor

Support the Girls

 

Best Director

*Bo Burnham for Eighth Grade

The Coen Brothers for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Alfonso Cuaron for Roma

Debra Granik for Leave No Trace

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Orson Welles for The Other Side of the Wind

 

Best Actor

John Cho in Searching

Jason Clarke in Chappaquiddick

Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born

Daveed Diggs in Blindspotting

*Ethan Hawke in First Reformed

Joaquin Phoenix in You Were Never Really Here

 

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio in Roma

Elsie Fisher in Eighth Grade

Lady Gaga in A Star is Born

*Regina Hall in Support the Girls

Anna Kendrick in A Simple Favor

Thomason McKenzie in Leave No Trace

 

Best Supporting Actor

Peter Bogdonavich in The Other Side of the Wind

*Ben Foster in Leave No Trace

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Josh Hamilton in Eighth Grade

Tim Blake Nelson in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Michael Palin in The Death of Stalin

 

Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place

*Olivia Colman in The Favourite

Zoe Kazan in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Blake Lively in A Simple Favor

Emma Stone in The Favourite

Rachel Weisz in The Favourite

 

Best Voice Over or Motion-Capture Performance

*Josh Brolin in Avengers: Infinity War

Jake Johnson in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Holly Hunter in The Incredibles 2

Shamiek Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

John C. Reilly in Ralph Breaks The Internet

Ben Whishaw in Paddington 2

 

Best Original Screenplay

Blindspotting

The Death of Stalin

*Eighth Grade

The Favourite

Game Night

Support the Girls

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Avengers: Infinity War

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

If Beale Street Could Talk

Leave No Trace

*A Simple Favor

A Star is Born

 

Best Animated Feature

Early Man

Have A Nice Day

The Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Ralph Breaks the Internet

*Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

 

Best Documentary Feature

Avicii: True Stories

Recovery Boys

Shirkers

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead

*Three Identical Strangers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

 

Best Foreign Language Film

Battle

Gun City

Happy as Lazzaro

Have A Nice Day

The Most Assassinated Woman In The World

*Roma

 

Best Casting

Blindspotting

Eighth Grade

Mandy

Mid90s

Roma

*Support the Girls

 

Best Cinematography

Aquaman

Avengers: Infinity Wars

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Black Panther

*Mandy

Roma

Best Costume Design

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

*Black Panther

The Favourite

Lizzie

Mary, Queen of Scots

A Simple Favor

 

Best Film Editing

Avengers: Infinity Wars

Eighth Grade

Mission Impossible: Fallout

*The Other Side of the Wind

Roma

Searching

Best Makeup and Hair Styling

*The Favourite

Lizzie

Mandy

Mary, Queen of Scots

A Simple Favor

Support the Girls

Best Original Score

Avengers: Infinity War

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Death of Stalin

If Beale Street Could Talk

*Mandy

The Other Side of the Wind

Best Original Song

*“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

“All the Stars” from Black Panther

“Limitless” from Second Act

“I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star is Born

“Is that Alright” from A Star is Born

“Shallow” from A Star is Born

 

Best Overall Use of Music

Bohemian Rhapsody

Eighth Grade

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

Mid90s

*A Star is Born

Three Identical Strangers

 

Best Production Design

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

The Commuter

*The Favourite

Mary, Queen of Scots

A Quiet Place

Best Sound Editing

Annihilation

*Avengers: Infinity War

Mission Impossible: Fallout

The Other Side of the Wind

Roma

12 Strong

Best Sound Mixing

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Mission Impossible: Fallout

The Other Side of the Wind

Roma

*A Star is Born

Best Stuntwork

Avengers: Infinity War

Beirut

Black Panther

*Mission Impossible: Fallout

12 Strong

Upgrade

Best Visual Effects

Annihilation

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Aquaman

*Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

First Man

Films Listed By Number of Nominations:

11 Nominations – Avengers: Infinity War

9 Nominations – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Favourite, Roma

8 Nominations – Eighth Grade, A Star is Born

7 Nominations – Black Panther, The Other Side of the Wind

6 Nominations – A Simple Favor

5 Nominations – Leave No Trace, Support the Girls

4 Nominations – Blindspotting, Mandy, Mission Impossible: Fallout

3 Nominations – Annihilation, The Death of Stalin, Mary Queen of Scots, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

2 Nominations – Aquaman, Have A Nice Day, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Incredibles 2, Lizzie, Mid90s, A Quiet Place, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Searching, Three Identical Strangers, 12 Strong

1 Nomination – Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avicii: True Stories, Battle, Beirut, Bohemian Rhapsody, Chappaquiddick, The Commuter, Early Man, First Man, First Reformed, Game Night, Gun City, Happy as Lazzaro, Isle of Dogs, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, The Most Assassinated Woman In The World, Paddington 2, Recovery Boys, Second Act, Shirkers, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, Upgrade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, You Were Never Really Here

Films Listed By Number of Oscars Won:

3 Oscars – Eighth Grade, The Favourite

2 Oscars – Mandy, A Star is Born, Support the Girls

1 Oscar – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Black Panther, First Reformed, Leave No Trace, Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Other Side of the Wind, Roma, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Three Identical Strangers

As for the real nominations, they’ll be announced on Tuesday morning!

From 1939, it’s Lionel Barrymore and Orson Welles in A Christmas Carol!


This radio production of A Christmas Carol was originally broadcast on Christmas Eve, 1939.  It’s not really Christmas unless you experience at least one version of Charles Dickens’s classic holiday tale and this version features not only Orson Welles providing the narration but Lionel Barrymore playing the role of Scrooge!

Other members of the cast included such well-known Welles’s associates as  Everett Sloane (Marley’s ghost), Frank Readick (Bob Cratchit), Erskine Sanford (Fezziwig) and George Coulouris (Ghost of Christmas Present).  Two years after this broadcast, Welles, Sloane, Sanford, and Coulouris would all appear in Citizen Kane.

For your listening pleasure, we offer up this journey to the past….

The Boston Society Of Film Critics Honors If Beale Street Could Talk and Lynne Ramsay!


Earlier today, the Boston Society of Film Critics announced their picks for the best of 2018.  Along with selecting If Beale Street Could Talk as best picture, they also gave best director to You Were Never Really Here‘s Lynne Ramsay.

Best Film: If Beale Street Could Talk
Runner-up: Shoplifters

Best Director: Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here)
Runner-up: Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

Best Actor: John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)
Runner-up: Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

Best Actress: Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Runner-up: Sakura Ando (Shoplifters)

Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Runners-up (tie): Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Steven Yeun (Burning)

Best Supporting Actress: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Runner-up: J. Smith-Cameron (Nancy)

Best Ensemble: Shoplifters
Runner-up: The Favourite

Best Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Runner-up: Tamara Jenkins (Private Life)

Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Runner-up: Three Identical Strangers

Best Animated Film: Isle of Dogs
Runner-up: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Best Foreign Language Film: Shoplifters
Runner-up: Cold War

Best New Filmmaker: Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Runner-up: Ari Aster (Hereditary)

Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón (ROMA)
Runner-up: Lukasz Zal (Cold War)

Best Editing: Tom Cross (First Man)
Runner-up: Bob Murawski and Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)

Best Original Score: Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Runner-up: Justin Hurwitz (First Man) and Jonny Greenwood (You Were Never Really Here)

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle Embraces Roma and Orson Welles!


The San Francisco Film Critics Circle announced their pics for the best of 2018 earlier today.  They picked Roma for Best Picture and they also rightfully honored Orson Welles for his work on The Other Side of the Wind.

Check out a list of their nominees here and check out the winners below!

Best Picture: ROMA

Best Director: Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

Best Actor: Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

Best Actress: Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Best Supporting Actor: Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)

Best Supporting Actress: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)

Best Original Screenplay: Paul Schrader (First Reformed)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Charlie Watchel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

Best Film Editing: Bob Murawski and Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)

Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón (ROMA)

Best Production Design: Hannah Bleacher (Black Panther)

Best Foreign Language Film: ROMA

Best Animated Feature: Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse

Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Marlin Riggs Award (for courage & vision in the Bay Area film community): Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You)

Special Citation Award (for and under-appreciated independent film): The Endless – a genre-bending story of emotionally estranged brothers starring and directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

 

The San Francisco Film Critics Have A Favourite


On Friday, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle announced their nominations for the best of 2018!  Leading the way with 9 nominations: The Favourite!

Winner will be announced on Sunday, December 9th.  Here are the nominations:

Best Picture

“BlacKkKlansman”
“The Favourite”
“First Reformed”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Roma”

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”

Best Actor

Christian Bale, “Vice”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Toni Collette, “Hereditary”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”
Regina Hall, “Support the Girls”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther”
Russell Hornsby, “The Hate U Give”

Best Supporting Actress

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

Best Screenplay, Original

Bo Burnham, “Eighth Grade”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, “The Favourite”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”

Best Screenplay, Adapted

Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, “Black Panther”
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, “Leave No Trace”
Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Barry Jenkins, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”

Best Cinematography

Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
James Laxton, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Robbie Ryan, “The Favourite”
Linus Sandgren, “First Man”
Lukasz Zal, “Cold War”

Best Original Score

Terence Blanchard, “BlacKkKlansman”
Nicholas Britell, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Alexandre Desplat, “Isle of Dogs”
Ludwig Göransson, “Black Panther”
Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”

Best Production Design

Hannah Beachler, “Black Panther”
Eugenio Caballero, “Roma”
Fiona Crombie, “The Favourite”
Nathan Crowley, “First Man”
Mark Friedberg, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Paul Harrod, Adam Stockhausen, “Isle of Dogs”

Best Film Editing

Tom Cross, “First Man”
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, “The Favourite”
Eddie Hamilton, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
Bob Murawski, Orson Welles, “The Other Side of the Wind”
Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough, “Roma”

Best Animated Feature

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

Best Foreign Language Film

“Burning”
“Cold War”
“Let the Sunshine In”
“Roma”
“Shoplifters”

Best Documentary

“Free Solo”
“Minding the Gap”
“Shirkers”
“Three Identical Strangers”
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

The Circle also announced the three finalists for their annual Special Citation Award for under appreciated independent films:

  • “Chained for Life,” Aaron Schimberg’s playfully penetrating satire about onscreen representations of disability
  • “The Endless,” a genre-bending story of emotionally estranged brothers starring and directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
  • “Madeline’s Madeline,” Josephine Decker’s fluid collision of dream, reality and performance starring powerhouse newcomer Helena Howard

30 Days of Noir #30: The Stranger (dir by Orson Welles)


“No, you must not miss the newsreels. They make a point this week no man can miss: The war has strewn the world with corpses, none of them very nice to look at. The thought of death is never pretty but the newsreels testify to the fact of quite another sort of death, quite another level of decay. This is a putrefaction of the soul, a perfect spiritual garbage. For some years now we have been calling it Fascism. The stench is unendurable.”

Those words were written in 1945 by director Orson Welles.  He was writing about the footage that had been filmed at the Nazi concentration camps during the final days of World War II.  These films not only revealed the crimes of the Third Reich but they also proved the existence of evil.  With World War II finally ended and Hitler dead, many people were eager to move on and forget about the conflict.  Many even claimed (and some continue to do to this very day) that the reports of the Nazi death camps were exaggerated.  Writing in his syndicated column for the New York Post, Welles told those doubters that the reports of the Nazi death camps were not exaggerated and that, unless people confronted the horrors of the Nazi regime by watching the newsreels and seeing for themselves, history would repeat itself.

A year later, Welles would use that documentary footage in a key scene of his 1946 film, The Stranger.  A government agent named Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) shows the footage to Mary Longstreet Rankin (Loretta Young), the daughter of a Supreme Court justice.  Wilson is hoping that, by showing her the footage, he’ll be able to convince her to help him bring a Nazi war criminal to justice.  Complicating things is that Wilson believe that the Nazi war criminal is Mary’s new husband, Professor Charles Rankin (played by Orson Welles, himself).

In this shot, the horrors of the Holocaust are literally projected onto Edward G. Robinson’s face, a reminder that is on us to prevent it from ever happening again.

Rankin’s real name is Franz Kindler.  One of the architects of the Holocaust, he escaped from Germany at the end of World War II and, after making his way through Latin America, he ended up in a small town in Connecticut.  He got a job at the local prep school, where he instructs impressionable young minds.  He also found the time to work on the town’s 300 year-old clock.

When we first see Kindler/Rankin, he’s walking out of the school and it’s obvious that all of his students love him.  Rankin has a quick smile, which he uses whenever he has to talk to Mary or any of the other townspeople.  However, that smile disappears as soon as he’s approached by another Nazi fugitive, Konrad Meinike (Konstantin Shayne).  Rankin assures Meinike that he’s merely biding his time until he can establish a Fourth Reich.  Meinike, meanwhile, announces that he’s found God and he suggests that Rankin should turn himself in.  Correctly deducing the Meinike is being followed by Wilson, Rankin promptly strangles his former collaborator and spends the rest of the movie trying to cover up his crimes.

Welles was best known for playing characters who had the potential for greatness in them but who were ultimately brought down by their own flaws.  Think about Charles Foster Kane or Harry Lime or the detective in Touch of Evil or even Falstaff in Chimes at Midnight.  The Stranger is unique as one of the few instances in which Welles played an outright villain.  Unlike Kane or Falstaff, there’s no greatness to be found in Rankin/Kindler.  He’s fooled the town into thinking that he’s a good man but, instead, he’s a soulless sociopath who is even willing to murder his wife if that’s what he has to do to protect his secret.  Franz Kindler is the Third Reich and, by having him thrive under a new name in America, Welles argues that the Nazi threat didn’t end just because Hitler killed himself in Berlin.

And that’s an important message.  It was an important message in 1946 and, I would argue, it’s an even more important message today.  Anti-Semitism is on the rise in both America and Europe, with activists on both the Left and the Right embracing the type of bigotry and conspiracy-mongering that previously allowed madmen like Adolf Hitler to come to power.  Just today, I read a story about a Jewish professor at Columbia who arrived at work on Wednesday, just to discover that someone had vandalized her office with anti-Semitic graffiti.  Watching The Stranger today, it’s important to remember that the Franz Kindlers of the world are still out there and many of them are just as good at disguising themselves as Charles Rankin as Kindler was.

The Stranger was Welles’s third completed film as a director.  It was a film that he reportedly agreed to direct in order to prove that he was capable of bring in a film on budget and ahead-of-schedule.  Because Welles was largely acting as a director-for-hire on this film, there’s a tendency to overlook The Stranger when discussing Welles’s films.  While that’s understandable, The Stranger is clearly a Welles film.  From the use of shadow to the skewed camera angles, the film has all of Welles’s visual trademarks.  Thematically, this is another one of Welles’s films about a man who is hiding a secret underneath his ordinary facade.

It’s a good film, with Welles giving an appropriately evil performance as Kindler and Loretta Young providing strong support as Mary.  That said, the film’s soul is to be found in Edward G. Robinson’s performance.  Robinson was born Emmanuel Goldenberg in Romania.  In 1904, his family fled to America after one of his brothers was attacked by an anti-Semitic mob.  As someone who had experienced anti-Semitism firsthand, Robinson brought a righteous fury to the role of Mr. Wilson.  Wilson isn’t just pursuing a fugitive in The Stranger.  Instead, he’s seeking justice for the six million Jews who were murdered by men like Franz Kindler.

The Stranger is an important film and it seems like the right film with which to end my 30 Days of Noir.  Noirvember is ending and so ends our 30-day walk through the shadowy streets of noir cinema.