'A Separation' breaks into the top races, Paquin and Lonergan score for 'Margaret'
I feel a bit awkward commenting on a set of critics' award nominations that I had a hand in voting for -- any credit or blame for the choices can only bounce back to me and my colleagues in the London Film Critics' Circle. Happily, in this case, it's mostly credit: I realize how absurdly self-congratulatory this sounds, but for my money, this is the strongest of the countless such nominee lists that have been released in the past few weeks.
What can I say? I'm proud that the LFCC is the first group to promote Asghar Farhadi's Iranian Oscar entry "A Separation" from the foreign-language ghetto to the Best Film category. (It scored five nods overall, including a pleasantly surprising Supporting Actress bid for Sareh Bayat.) I'm proud that Kenneth Lonergan was recognized for the screenplay of late-breaking critics' cause "Margaret," while Anna Paquin made it into the Best Actress field. I'm pleased that Kirsten Dunst (look out for my interview with her later this week) cracked the same category for "Melancholia," while more obvious candidates, including Viola Davis, were left out. Critics should be there to mix up the awards race, not handicap it.
Discussing the function of awards and the ecstatic agony of the creative process
Kenneth Branagh embraced what he describes as potentially “dangerously obvious” casting with his portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier in “My Week with Marilyn.” The actor has, of course, quite notably been compared to Olivier throughout the course of his career. He was given the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1983 for Most Promising Newcomer. Both he and Olivier directed themselves as “Hamlet” and “Henry V” and both men often directed the women that they were involved with and/or married to.
Branagh has been nominated for four Academy Awards (Best Actor and Best Director for “Henry V” in 1990, Best Live Action Short for “Swan Song” in 1992 and Best Adapted Screenplay for “Hamlet” in 1996), but has yet to secure a win. Olivier himself was granted an honorary award in 1979 for the full body of his work. It would be somehow poetic if Branagh were to take home the Best Supporting Actor statue for his depiction of the man that paved the road for much of the trajectory of his own career.
Madonna out, 'Our Idiot Brother' in
The Academy has announced via press release the 39 eligible songs eligible for this year's Best Original Song Oscar. As I look over the list, I only noticed two songs on our on-going list of 24 at the Contenders section that didn't make the cut.
The first is "Fake I.D." from the "Footloose" remake, which I guess it was written prior to the film or something. The other is Madonna's Golden Globe-nominated "Masterpiece" from "W.E.," which you'll recall I had a hunch might be in trouble because it's the second cue of the film's closing credits (and the rules stipulate that if it's a closing credits number, it has to be the first cue).
All three tracks submitted by "The Muppets" are on there, and that's really where the story is, because at the end of the day, I expect there to be two of them in the mix. Which two is anyone's guess, but my favorite has always been "Pictures in My Head."
'The Artist' and 'The Descendants' are in a dead heat, and has Michelle Williams become the frontrunner?
In just three weeks we've gone from zero to a hundred on the circuit as the film awards landscape has been sculpted into a bit of a consensus in these waning moments of 2011. And now that I've consolidated all the announcements into an easy-to-navigate post, I can dig in and see what that consensus is.
Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist" is considered far and away the frontrunner for Best Picture at the moment by a number of pundits, having won six Best Film prizes from various groups. But would you be shocked to know that "The Descendants" has just as many? And Terence Malick's "The Tree of Life," meanwhile, isn't going away. It has landed four Best Picture honors and today was crowned the year's best in a survey of critics and pundits at indieWIRE.
As for the directors, it's Martin Scorsese and Michel Hazanavicius currently eking out the edge with six wins each for "Hugo" and "The Artist" respectively. But Malick isn't far behind with four of his own. We can tip the scales back in Scorsese and Hazanavicius's favor a bit, though, as both received BFCA and Golden Globe nominations, while Malick did not.
Is this Nolan's version of 'The Dark Knight Returns?'
- Critic's Rating A-
- Readers' Rating A-
If you made it out to "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" at IMAX venues this weekend, you likely saw the opening prologue for "The Dark Knight Rises." The new trailer for the film was also attached to prints of Brad Bird's actioner, as well as prints of WB's own "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows."
That trailer has now popped up (officially) online, and more and more, it seems obvious this will be Christopher Nolan's version of Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns." We already know the film takes place eight years after the events of "The Dark Knight," but in the new trailer, I'm pretty sure we see Bruce Wayne walking around with a cane, and we definitely see the graying of the hair.
It's time for old man Wayne to come out of retirement and kick some ass, it seems, just like in Frank Miller's industry-changing series.
Michael Fassbender and Michelle Williams win top acting honors
The Florida Film Critics Circle has tossed its hat into the over-stuffed precursor ring this year by picking "The Descendants" as the year's best film. Martin Scorsese picked up the Best Director prize for "Hugo" while Michelle Williams continued a dominating streak by nabbing Best Actress. Check out the full list of winners below.
Rooney Mara wins Best Actress for 'Dragon Tattoo'
After submitting nominees last week, the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association has picked "The Artist" as this year's Best Picture winner. Michel Hazanavicius won Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, while Rooney Mara was singled out for her lead actress performance in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Check out the full list of winners below.
No wins for 'The Artist,' which raises a question
If you somehow haven't noticed, I'm right in the middle of a massive update of film awards announcements. But something stuck out to me when I noted that the Southeastern Film Critics Association didn't give "The Artist" a single award.
Of the five groups announcing today and yesterday (two of which I still have to publish), only one awarded "The Artist" this year's Best Picture prize (the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association). Everyone else relegated it to runner-up consideration or perhaps a bone for Best Original Screenplay.
This is interesting to me. After a wave of groups anointed the film "the one," everyone (okay, not everyone, but almost) apparently feeling safe in going to that place, given the back-up, suddenly we get a chunk who shied away from it. I'm not saying it means anything but I do think it could be representative of something I was getting at in Friday's Oscar Talk podcast.
Terrence Malick's film continues to have presence on the precursor circuit
After Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" led with seven nominations from the Chicago Film Critics Association, it seemed obvious the film was likely to win the group's Best Picture award. But the film ended up walking away with four big wins in total. Check out the full list of winners below.
'The Help' and 'The Tree of Life' also win top awards
After nominating any and everything under the sun, the International Press Academy (Satellite Awards) has tapped "The Descendants" as this year's Best Picture of the year. The group, however, gave "Drive" a field-leading four wins, and overall, it's a unique set of superlatives. Check out the full list below.