8 Films That Should Never Have Been Nominated For Best Picture


Sometimes, the Academy gets it wrong.

For instance, these 8 films have two things in common:

  1. They were all nominated for best picture.
  2. They shouldn’t have been.

American_Beauty_poster

  1. American Beauty (1999)

Shallow, pretentious, and more than a little misogynistic, American Beauty was somehow not only nominated but won as well.

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2. Crash (2005)

Oh my God.  How the Hell did this mess of a movie win?

 

3. Avatar (2009)

Yawn.  I’ve written at length about my dislike for this film so I’m not going to waste too much more space on it.  It would be nice if James Cameron was capable of writing dialogue that didn’t sound like something that would get a failing grade in a high school creative writing class.

Kids_are_all_right_poster

4. The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Acclaimed when first released, The Kids Are All Right was forgotten fairly quickly.  When seen today, it comes across like a sitcom version of life among the wealthy and out of touch.  I don’t think any film featuring an organic food restaurant is going to age well.

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5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

In the wake of 9/11, an extremely annoying brat bothers random people in New York.  One of the worst films ever.

The Descendants

6. The Descendants (2011)

Alexander Payne’s comedy of tragedy and infidelity isn’t terrible but it wasn’t that great either.

7. Birdman (2014)

While it’s nice that Michael Keaton made a comeback, this is still one of the most overrated films of all time.  Will anyone care about Birdman in ten more years?

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8. The Big Short (2015)

The worst thing about the economic crash?  It gave us a movie like The Big Short.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards


Last night, I watched the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.  I also got on twitter and made a lot of snarky comments.  People seemed to enjoy it and for that reason, I say, “Yay!”

Why Was I Watching It?

Because I am an awards show junkie!  Seriously, those glue sniffers on Intervention don’t have anything on me when it comes to craving the excess, glamour, and foolishness of a big, silly Hollywood awards show!  Add to that, this is still a fairly wide open Oscar season and the Golden Globes are, as they always say on E!, a “precursor to the Oscars.”  Winning a Golden Globe usually guarantees at least an Oscar nomination.  Plus — Ricky Gervais was back to host and like a lot of people last night, I spent the minutes before the ceremony asking myself, “What ever will he say!?” in feverish anticipation.

What Was It About?

For the past 69 years, the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association have thrown a big banquet in January and given out a lot of awards to various TV and movie stars.  Nobody’s really sure who the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are and, to be honest, the Golden Globes always have a slightly unsavory air to them.  There’s always more than a few nominations that mostly seem to be designed to get famous people to show up at the ceremony,  Last year, they nominated the Tourist, this year they nominated The Ides of March.  Anyway, the Golden Globes are distinguished by the Oscars by the fact that they serve alcohol during the show and, in the past, someone’s always ended up giving a drunken acceptance speech or launching into an incoherent political rant and, for the past few weeks, we’ve been told that with Ricky Gervais returning to host the 69th annual banquet, anything could happen and probably would!  Yay!

What Worked

Last night, I mentioned on twitter that if nothing interesting happened on the Globes or if Ricky somehow failed to deliver the expected amount of snark then I would devote this section of my review to talking about my boobs. 

With that in mind, what can I say except that they’re a little big and heavy and they pretty much ended my dreams of being a ballerina but I like my boobs, or as I call them Pride and Joy.  They go great with every outfit I own and I’m pretty sure that they’re also the reason why I’ve never had to pay a speeding ticket.  Plus, they allowed me to say stuff like, “I should be Ms. Golden Globes!” while I was watching the show last night…

Actually, I’m being a little bit unfair to the Golden Globes (the awards ceremony, not my boobs).  The tribute to Morgan Freeman was well-done and was probably the high point of the ceremony but then again, how can you go wrong with Morgan Freeman?  Seriously, when I’m on the verge of doing something silly (like using a review of the Golden Globes to show off my boobs) , I imagine Morgan Freeman saying, “Now, do you really think that’s a good idea?”

Fashion-wise, I saw a lot of red dresses last night and that made me happy because I look really good in red.

Among the winners, Christopher Plummer (Best Supporting Actor for Beginners), Jean Dujardin (Best Actor In A Comedy Motion Picture for The Artist), Martin Scorsese (Best Director for Hugo), and Claire Danes (Best Actress In A Dramatic TV Show for Homeland) all gave good and classy acceptance speeches that made me feel good to be alive.  And Uggie the dog was so adorable up there on stage when The Artist won Best Motion Picture Comedy.  Actually, speaking of The Artist, it was kinda nice to see so many French people accepting awards last night.  (Oh, stop it!  I love France!)

I enjoyed it when Madonna won for best song because she was so shocked that she forgot to speak in her fake accent. 

On an admittedly petty note, Rooney Mara did not win Best Actress for David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and that amused me greatly because I knew that all the little AwardsDaily Fincherites were torn about how to whine about Mara losing with coming across as if they were criticizing Meryl Streep for winning.

What Did Not Work

So, let’s start with the main problem.  Last night’s Golden Globes ceremony was so respectable and predictable and slow that it might as well have just been the Oscars.  Ricky Gervais started out the ceremony by telling us that he had signed an agreement to not make any offensive or outrageous statements and then he did just that.  What’s especially annoying is that Ricky didn’t seem to be neutering himself as an act of protest or anything of the sort.  Instead, he just came across like he was too smug and sure-of-himself to realize that he was bombing.  It was as if he just expected his reputation to convince us that he was being funny and outrageous without actually being funny and outrageous.  Last year, Ricky Gervais skewered Hollywood phonies.  This year, Ricky Gervais was a Hollywood phony.  I sat there waiting for him to say just one thing that could potentially end his career and he refused to do it.

But Ricky wasn’t alone.  Seriously, where were the drunk winners launching into incoherent politically themed rants.  I mean, it’s an election year for God’s sake.  People on twitter were using the occasion to make all sorts of silly and naive political statements but the actual celebrities — the people who we depend on to act like a bunch of dumbasses — just sat there in this sort of placid anxiety like they were waiting for someone to show up for an intervention.

BLEH!

The majority of the night’s acceptance speeches were neither good nor bad.  They were just boring.  Listen, Meryl Streep is a great actress and I have no problem with her being recognized and awarded for her talent but oh my God, I nearly fell asleep trying to listen to her.  Now, if Meryl (or any other winner) had gotten up on stage and started slurring her words or making dirty jokes or something like that, it would have made for great television.  (Though I do have to give Meryl some credit for being the only winner to get bleeped.) 

The Descendants won Best Motion Picture Drama but seriously, it’s hard for me to accept that this well-made but essentially unchallenging and rather forgettable film is now the Oscar front-runner.  Seriously.  Much as with every other award it has won, The Descendants felt like something of a compromise choice and, considering that Scorsese won best director, it’s hard to gauge just how much momentum the Descendants is going to get from this victory. 

Oh!  And another thing that sucked — how did George Clooney win a Golden Globe for essentially playing the same character he always plays while Michael Fassbender’s brilliant work in Shame was ignored?  What type of game is that?

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

To quote Joan Crawford, “I’ll show you a pair of Golden Globes!”

Lessons Learned

This is shaping up to be one of the worst Oscar seasons in recent history.  Seriously, if just one deserving film or performance wins in February, I will be amazed.

Lisa Marie Is Too Annoyed To Show Off Her Golden Globes


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

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

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

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA

“The Descendants”

“The Help”

“Hugo”

“The Ides of March”

“Moneyball”

“War Horse”

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

BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

“50/50”

“The Artist”

“Bridesmaids”

“Midnight in Paris”

“My Week With Marilyn”

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

BEST DIRECTOR

Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”)

George Clooney (“The Ides of March”)

Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”)

Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”)

Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”)

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

BEST ACTOR: DRAMA

George Clooney (“The Descendants”)

Leonardo Dicaprio (“J. Edgar”)

Michael Fassbender (“Shame”)

Ryan Gosling (“The Ides of March”)

Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”)

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

BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA

Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”)

Viola Davis (“The Help”)

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

Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”)

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

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

BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Jodie Foster (“Carnage”)

Charlize Theron (“Young Adult”)

Kristen Wiig (“Bridesmaids”)

Michelle Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”)

Kate Winslet (“Carnage”)

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

BEST ACTOR: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”)

Brendan Gleeson (“The Guard”)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“50/50”)

Ryan Gosling (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”)

Owen Wilson (“Midnight in Paris”)

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”)

Jessica Chastain (“The Help”)

Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”)

Octavia Spencer (“The Help”)

Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”)

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kenneth Branagh (“My Week With Marilyn”)

Albert Brooks (“Drive”)

Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”)

Viggo Mortensen (“A Dangerous Method”)

Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”)

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

BEST ANIMATED FILM

“The Adventures of Tintin”

“Arthur Christmas”

“Cars 2”

“Puss in Boots”

“Rango”

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

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

 

 

 

Lisa Marie Is Kinda Mad At The Screen Actors Guild


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

So, why am I upset?

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

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

Here’s what did get nominated:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Here Are The 2012 Critics’ Choice Movie Award Nominees


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Dangerous Quickie With Lisa Marie: The Descendants (dir. by Alexander Payne)


One thing that always happens at Oscar season is that certain films will be so embraced by the critical establishment that even daring to challenge their opinion to even the slightest degree will be interpreted as some sort of cinematic heresy.  These are the films that make you feel as if Roger Ebert is standing directly behind you, holding a gun to your head and commanding you to enjoy and be moved by what you’re watching.  Last year, that film was The Social Network.  This year, at least for me, it’s The Descendants.

One reason why The Descendants has been so praised by the critics is because it’s seen as being a film about “real people” and “real life.”  It’s advertised as a film with no easy villains and no easy heroes.  This is the type of film that people tend to praise for not falling into specific genre.  However, those critics are wrong because The Descendants is a pure genre film, make no mistake about it.  It is the latest entry in the Mediocre White Man film genre.  The MWM genre tends to center on middle-aged white guys who are comfortably upper middle class, have quirky relatives, and have been afflicted by ennui.  The protagonist of the MWM film usually narrates the action for us and tends to spend a lot of time explaining how he’s managed to structure his life for maximum efficiency while, at the same time, shutting himself off emotionally from the rest of the world.  Over the course of the MWM film, the protagonist is usually forced to deal with some crisis that makes him realize that 1) he’s getting old, 2) his safe life has become a prison, and 3) there’s not much he can do about it.  The MWM film will feature at least one or more scenes featuring our protaganist either aimlessly running or standing still on an escalator with a blank expression on his face while some old song from the 60s or 70s plays on the soundtrack.  

MWM films tend to do well critically because most critics are mediocre white men themselves.  They also do well with the Academy, probably for the same reason.  And, don’t get me wrong.  There have been some excellent MWW films released over the past decade.  Sideways, Up in the Air, Thank You For Somoking, and even Michael Clayton are all excellent MWM films.  The problem isn’t that The Descendants is a MWM film, the problem is that it doesn’t really bring anything new to genre and even the film’s most effective moments feel awfully familiar.

In The Descendants, George Clooney (a mainstay of MWM genre) plays Matt King, a wealthy attorney living in Hawaii.  Matt’s wife is in a boating accident that leaves her brain-dead.  Matt, who has always been “the backup parent,” finds himself forced to take care of his two daughters (Amara Miller and Shailene Woodley) while going from island to island to inform people of Elizabeth’s impending death.  Along the way, he discovers that Elizabeth has been having an affair with a sleazy real estate agent (Matthew Lillard) and he’s forced to confront the fact that he hasn’t always been the best husband or father.  There’s a lot of quirky and funny moments and there’s a lot of sad moments but they’re never feel quite as genuine as the film seems to believe.  Instead, they often feel more like they were just put there to satisfy the demands of the MWM genre.  The end result is a film that too often seems to mistake ambiguity for insight and which ultimately seems to be more safe than honest.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that The Descendants is a bad film.  Much like The Social Network, it’s a good film that also happens to be very overrated.  Director Alexander Payne keeps the story moving and, as predictable as the film may be, it’s still well-acted and occasionally well-written.  Though I thought a lot of the dialogue was a bit too spot-on perfect (this is a film where even the inarticulate characters sound calculated), the script features enough good one-liners to keep the film entertaining.  Amongst the cast, Robert Forster is poignant as Elizabeth’s grieving father (and his “I’m going to hit you line,” is perfectly delivered) and Judy Greer makes the most of the thankless role of Lillard’s wife.

In the end, I guess the Descendants is a lot like an old middle school crush.  He’s so cute and appealing that it takes a while of digging and soul searching before you can admit that there’s really not much going on there.

And Finally The AFI


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

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

1) Bridesmaids (Yay!  Girl power!)

2) The Descendants (Overrated)

3) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Bleh)

4) The Help (Crowd pleaser)

5) Hugo (Yay!)

6) J. Edgar (Forgettable)

7) Midnight in Paris (Overrated)

8 ) Moneyball (Crowd pleaser)

9) The Tree of Life (Haunting)

10) War Horse (Spielberg)

Here are the top 10 television series:

1) Boardwalk Empire (Yay!)

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

3) Curb Your Enthusiasm (Consider it curbed)

4) Game of Thrones (Yay!)

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

6) Homeland (Yay!)

7) Justified (Olyphant!)

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

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

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

 

Boston Demands To Be Heard


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

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

Best Picture: “The Artist”

     Runners-up: “Hugo” and “Margaret”

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

     Runner-up: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Best Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

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

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

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

Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”

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

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”

     Runner-up: Jeannie Berlin, “Margaret”

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

     Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, “Margaret”

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

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

     Runner-up: Robert Richardson, “Hugo”

Best Documentary: “Project Nim”

     Runner-up: “Bill Cunningham New York”

Best Foreign-Language Film: “Incendies”

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

Best Animated Film: “Rango”

Best Film Editing:  Christian Marclay, “The Clock”

     Runner-up: Thelma Schoonmaker, “Hugo”

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

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

Best Ensemble Cast: “Carnage”

     Runner-up: “Margaret”

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

     Runner-up: “The Descendants”

Special Commendations:

Ben Fowlie, Sara Archambault and Sean Flynn of DocYard

The Museum of Fine Arts for “The Clock”

The Brattle Film Foundation

Best Rediscoveries:

“The Shooting” at the Harvard Film Achive

“The Makota Sisters” at the Museum of Fine Arts

“Deep End” at the HFA

“Days and Nights in the Forest” at the HFA

“Children of Hiroshima” at the HFA

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

The LAFCA Honors Terrence Malick, Michael Fassbender, and …. The Descendants?


For those of you who love to follow the Oscar race, today is a big day.  Several groups announced their picks for the best of 2011 today.  The most important of these groups would be the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.  Though the LAFCA has a pretty iffy record when it comes to predicting the actual Oscar winners, their picks still tend to influence the nominations. 

Here are the LAFCA winners, along with a little commentary from yours truly.

Best Musical Score: Hanna (runner-up: Drive)

There was a lot I liked about the LAFCA awards but this is the one that truly made me go: “Yay!”  Hanna was a great film that deserves a lot more attention than its been given.

Best Cinematography: The Tree of Life (Runner-up: The City of Life and Death)

Best Production Design: Hugo (runner-up: Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy)

Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain for Coriolanus, The Debt, The Help, Take Shelter, Texas Killing Fields, and The Tree of Life (runner-up: Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs)

Considering that she has next to no range as an actress, Jessica Chastain is having a pretty good year.  I have a feeling she’ll win an Oscar in February and then eventually end up joining the cast of Law & Order: SVU.

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer in Beginners (runner-up: Patton Oswalt in Young Adult)

As good as Plummer was in Beginners, think about how much more exciting it would have been if Oswalt had won.

Best Screenplay: A Seperation. (runner-up: The Descendants)

Best Documentary: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams (runner-up: The Arbor)

Again, let us consider that Werner Herzog’s masterpiece wasn’t even a semi-finalist as far as the Academy is concerned.

Best Independent/Experimental Film: Spark of Being

Best Actress: Yun Jung-hee in Poetry (runner-up: Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia)

Yay!  I am so bored with Meryl Streep.

Best Actor: Michael Fassbender for Shame, A Dangerous Method, X-Men: First Class, and Jane Eyre. (runner-up: Michael Shannon in Take Shelter)

Yay!  For both the winner and the runner-up. 

Best Director: Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (runner-up: Martin Scorsese for Hugo)

I was on twitter when this result was announced and Oh. My. God.  My timeline like totally exploded with people getting all excited and hopeful.  And then, quite a few minutes later, all that excitement turned to rage as the next award was announced–

Best Picture: The Descendants (runner-up: The Tree of Life)

That’s right.  After going out on a limb with best actress and (debatably) best director and going out of their way to honor the unfairly neglected, the LAFCA gave best picture to one of the most overrated films of 2011 — The Descendants.  This despite the fact that The Descendants hadn’t won a single other award and was a runner-up in only one category.  That must have really loved that 2nd place screenplay.  This choice reeks of compromise, as if a group of critics decided to all unite and vote for their 2nd or 3rd choice in order to keep a more controversial films like The Tree of Life from winning.

That said, my pick for the best of 2011 remains Hanna.

Best Foreign Language Film: The City of Life and Death (runner-up: A Separation)

So, A Separation has a better screenplay than the best film of 2011, yet it’s not as good a film as The City of Life and Death.

New Generation award: Martha Marcy May Marlene

To recap, the three major critics groups have now spoken and each one has named a different film for best picture.  The National Board of Review went for Hugo, the New Yorkers went for The Artist, and the LAFCA went for The Descendants.

In fact, the Artist was totally ignored by Los Angeles and I’ve noticed that there seems to be a backlash developing against this film.  The Artist won’t be opening here until Dec. 21st so I can’t judge it but I would say that if you’re upset about about a French film like The Artist getting so much attention, don’t worry.  Maybe David Fincher will remake it with American actors next year.

Belatedly, here are the Satellite Nominations


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

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

Drive

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

Shame

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

War Horse

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

Best Actor

George Clooney in The Descendants

Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar

Michael Fassbender in Shame

Brendan Gleeson in The Guard

Ryan Gosling in Drive

Tom Hardy in The Warrior

Woody Harrelson in Rampart

Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Brad Pitt in Moneyball

Michael Shannon in Take Shelter

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

Best Actress

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs

Olivia Colman in Tryannasour

Viola Davis for The Help

Vera Farmiga in Higher Ground

Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene

Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady

Charlize Theron in Young Adult

Emily Watson in Oarnges and Sunshine

Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn

Michelle Yeoh in The Lady

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

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn

Albert Brooks in Drive

Colin Farrell in Horrible Bosses

Jonah Hill in Moneyball

Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method

Nick Nolte in Warrior

Christopher Plummer in Beginners

Andy Serkis for Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Christoph Waltz in Carnage

Hugo Weaving in Oranges and Sunshine

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

Best Supporting Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Tree of Life

Elle Fanning in Super 8

Lisa Feret in Mozart’s Sister

Judy Greer in The Descendants

Rachel McAdams in Midnight in Paris

Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs

Carey Mulligan in Shame

Vanessa Redgrave in Coriolanus

Octavia Spencer in The Help

Kate Winslet in Carnage

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

The full list of nominees can be found here.