Win copies of 'The Descendants,' 'Win Win,' 'The Help' and more
Thanks to everyone who entered the "Rango" contest last week. The winners were ETHAN G. and SHARKMAN. So if you guys are reading, drop me a line so we can get you your prizes. (Additionally, I'm still waiting on you, GRUBI, to do the same following the "Super 8" contest. You were a winner!)
Today we have a set of screenplays to give away. Included are Tom McCarthy's "Win Win," Steve McQueen and Abi Morgan's "Shame," Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene," George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon's "The Ides of March," Tate Taylor's "The Help" and Alexander Payne's "The Descendants."
For this, I think we're going to dust off the ole' limerick contest. If you feel up to the challenge, rifle off a limerick inspired by one of the above-mentioned films. The best one wins.
Surprise acting nods for Brendan Gleeson and Brit Marling
I'm beginning to pick up a pattern to these regional critics' award lists, many of which seemingly feel obliged to lead with nominations: three-quarters of their choices fall within the expected bracket of Oscar favorites, while the remaining slots afford room for a few enterprising critics to flex their personality.
So it is with the San Diego crowd, who lead with the expected big hauls for "The Artist" and "Hugo," the former scoring a field-leading eight bids. Yet they continue the smaller organizations' heartening display of support for "Drive" -- is that the third citation for Nicolas Winding Refn in the last two days? I've lost count -- and venture a few suggestions even further outside the awards conversation.
I have to give them props for being the first US group to pay respect to Brendan Gleeson's wonderful comic work in "The Guard," which I've been championing all year, and this is the first vote of any stripe I've seen for "Another Earth" star Brit Marling in Best Actress. I have yet to see the latter, so you'll have to tell me how pleasant a surprise this is.
The 'Hugo' helmer is the first director to receive the honor
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced that "Hugo" director Martin Scorsese will receive this years American Riviera Award. It's the first time the award -- which went to Annette Bening last year -- has gone to a director.
"Honoring Scorsese has been a dream of SBIFF's for many years," festival director Roger urling says in the press release. "We're thrilled that it's happening during a year when this contemporary master of cinema is breaking new ground with 'Hugo.'"
I figured he was sure to receive something, but I'd have figured him for the Modern Master Award, which is the festival's highest honor. I wonder, then, who'll be tapped for that. Steven Spielberg would be a real coup. Previous announcements have included Viola Davis as Outstanding Performer of the Year and Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo for the Vanguard Award.
But what's up with that Best Song winner?
Wheeeeee! You ready for more? These are a nice change of pace. Seriously.
The African American Film Critics Association have named "The Tree of Life" the best film of the year and Steven McQueen the best director, for his film "Shame." Just yesterday the San Francisco crowd went with Terrence Malick's effort (which clocked in at #2 for me on the year). It would be nice to see more groups going that way. Mostly I'm stoked by their Best Actor choice: Woody Harrelson in "Rampart."
One award on the list really annoys me, though. And that's giving Best Song to "The Show" from "Moneyball." The inclusion of that track in the film already irritates me to no end. It's anachronistic and they don't even make an attempt to NOT pass it off as original to the movie. It could have been anything else. Yes, the words are perfect. But… But… And then to give it an award? Odd.
Anyway, check out the full list of winners below.
The 'Midnight in Paris' star reads from the author's letters at Boston's JFK Library
BOSTON - The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum sits fairly isolated on Boston Harbor. On a cold and clear December day, I.M. Pei’s architecture looks undeniably beautiful, in many ways showing the best of what can be accomplished in America. But the view of the harbor is undeniably stark, leaving one to wonder: What if the man to which it was dedicated had lived longer?
It seems only appropriate that this shrine to the most notable member of the famed yet tragic “essential American family” is also home to the largest collection of letters from the famed yet tragic “essential American author.” Once upon a time, Ernest Hemingway’s widow struck up a friendship with the 35th president and his wife when she needed permission to go to Cuba to retrieve her husband’s belongings. One thing led to another and today, there is more original archived material from and about Hemingway at the JFK Library than anywhere in the world.
In addition to his novels and short stories, Hemingway was also a prolific letter writer (around 2,500 of his letters are at the JFK Library alone). And Hemingway scholar Sandra Spanier has recently edited the first book in a 16-volume collection of them.
They also really dug 'Hanna'
Strap in. It's gonna be a bumpy ride. More critics kudos! (Hey, look on the bright side. At this rate it'll be over sooner rather than later.)
But the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association's list of nominees brings up an interesting question: Should critics groups really be bothering with self-satisfying nominations announcements? I'm one to talk, of course, since I do something similar every year, but that's always covered within three days, whereas some of these guys (the D.C. crowd excepted) will stretch things out between nods and awards to simply get another burst of PR later.
It would be one thing if this allowed for a nice sampling of unique mentions, but that's rarely the case. With this group we get a Best Picture nod for "My Week with Marilyn," some Best Director love for David Fincher, notices for Cate Blanchett and Saoirse Ronan in "Hanna," a tip of the hat to Alan Rickman, etc. So it's okay, I guess. But I don't know. Just give us your winners and be done with it.
Anyway, check out the full list of nominees below.
Viola Davis cited in supporting, 'Into the Abyss' gets some recognition
After yesterday's all-day critics awards onslaught, you might be wondering, "What's left?" Plenty, I can tell you. Everyone seems to have gotten together and formed a critics group these days, and this morning, the onslaught continues with the Indiana Film Journalists Association.
The group picked "The Artist" for Best Picture and Best Director, but were more interesting in their acting selections. Paul Giamatti took Best Actor for "Win Win" while Elizabeth Olsen won Best Actress for "Martha Marcy May Marlene." And though "The Descendants" was clearly the second-favorite of the lot, it was Ralph Fiennes in "Coriolanus" coming in at runner-up for Best Actor, which is interesting.
Other things of note: Viola Davis was spotlighted int he supporting category, not lead, and Werner Herzog's "Into the Abyss" finally gets a shout-out, coming in as a runner-up to "Project Nim" in the documentary category.
Check out the full list of winners below.
And then there were 10
If you listened to Friday's Oscar Talk podcast, then you already know both my feelings on the 2011 film year and the 10 films I thought represented the best that it had to offer. But to elaborate a bit...
It's been an interesting year. I've tried to make sense of things via the weekly Off the Carpet columns, which aim to contextualize the year as it pushes forward. But with each passing week, it became clear to me that I didn't particularly love what 2011 had to offer. Don't misunderstand. The films that landed at the top for me are personal treasures. Nevertheless, it's a distillation of a year in film that I broadly liked, but didn't particularly love in any deep way. It reminds me of my reaction to 2005, but I'm more positive on this lot.
Whittling the list down was strangely difficult as a result. You'd think that the cream would really be evident when there's so little of it to rise, but the truth is, that kind of thing makes you start to really consider those on the outside of the list more than you normally would. At least I found this to be the case.
Also: Trent Reznor and Karen O on Zeppelin and how Christan Bale got 'Flowers'
Darren Franich looks ahead to next year as the year of the dude movie. And this got me thinking. Usually by now I've thought at least SOMEWHAT about what's coming up next year. But other than the barrage of "The Dark Knight Rises" stuff (including a recent peek at the opening footage of the film), I'm not really aware of all that much. I certainly couldn't do a "top 10 films I'm looking forward to in 2012" post now if I wanted to, and usually I have something like that ready to go around the first of the year. Weird. So what's coming around the bend that you're anticipating? Maybe you can help steer me onto the right track. [Entertainment Weekly]
'Descendants,' 'Win Win' also favorites and Andy Serkis gets another mention
Okay, this is just getting silly: if you’re a small regional critics’ group hoping to get some attention for your awards, why announce on the weekend when apparently everyone but the Delaware Christian Youth Film Enthusiasts Society has chosen to do the same? Be that as it may, the Houston critics yesterday announced a list of nominations, and most of the usual suspects rate a mention, with a few pleasing curveball choices.
I can't help but wonder about their intentions when a late release like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" shows up in their Best Picture category without scoring a single other nomination -- are they truly voting for their favorites, or simply predicting the Academy's ballot? Happily, there's evidence of sincere individual thinking in the Best Picture nomination for Thomas McCarthy's "Win Win," while it's interesting to see the film's young star Alex Shaffer show up in the Supporting Actor category. (No love for Paul Giamatti, however.)