Nominations have been announced by the Denver Film Critics Society. "Argo," "Lincoln," "The Master" and "Silver Linings Playbook" led the way with four nominations each, though "Lincoln" and "The Master" were edged out of the Best Picture category by "Django Unchained." Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be announced on January 8. Keep up with the season via The Circuit.
Under-the-radar Oscar hopeful "The Impossible" may be one of the year's most emotionally battering films, but not everyone's feeling it -- as the adjusted true-life tale of surviving the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami continues to take flak for overwhelming focus on the white tourists affected by the tragedy. British historian Alex von Tunzelmann is among the least impressed, acknowledging the film's skilful construction, but writing: "The film seems unaware of its own politics – though it certainly has some ... Both at the beach and in the hospital, almost all the victims of this disaster appear to be white. The Alvárez-Belón family's story is moving, dramatic and true, and there's no reason it shouldn't be told; but it's a shame that that the film excludes any meaningful acknowledgment of the disaster's Asian victims while doing so." [The Guardian]
The Art Directors Guild has announced nominees for excellence in production design for 2012. A wide cross-section of work was selected, though high-profile exclusions include "The Master" and "Moonrise Kingdom."
In the period category, Oscar frontrunners such as "Anna Karenina," "Les Miserables" and "Lincoln" were chalked up alongside "Argo" (which is likely to keep burning it up with industry awards) and "Django Unchained" (more support for Quentin Tarantino's film).
Meanwhile, in the fantasy field (which is likely to offer up one or a few Oscar nominees itself), PGA nominee "Life of Pi" made a showing, as did Ridley Scott's "Alien" prequel "Prometheus." Warner Bros. ought to be happy with the films rounding it out, as "Cloud Atlas," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" all come from their stable.
The Producers' Guild of America caught us unawares this afternoon by announcing their nominees a day ahead of schedule, and while we're currently expecting the Writers' Guild to reveal their picks on Friday, it seems safest to preview them two days in advance. Guild award season is upon us (the Art Directors' Guild also offers its own list tomorrow), so we're trying not to be caught out.
As any practised awards-watcher knows, while the Guilds are generally the most reliable of all precursors when it comes to anticipating Oscars fortunes, the WGA are a notable exception -- not least because, every year, much of the heavyweight competition in the screenplay categories is disqualified.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced that "Django Unchained" star Leonardo DiCaprio will received its American Riviera Award.
It's a nice bit of recognition for one of the film's more dynamic performances. Christoph Waltz has received the bulk of the precursor awards attention, owed plenty to his co-lead status, while DiCaprio and co-star Samuel L. Jackson have been largely ignored. DiCaprio did, however, pick up an early prize from the National Board of Review.
Nominees for the 24th annual PGA Awards have been announced. Expected money-makers such as "Argo" and "Lincoln" which have been mainstays in the season joined blockbuster fare such as "Skyfall" (Sony's first billion-dollar grosser to date and an over-performer overall) as well as indies such as "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Moonrise Kingdom."
In the ranks of major filmmakers never to have received so much as an Oscar nomination, David Cronenberg sits pretty high on the list. Though it has its critical champions, his 2012 effort "Cosmopolis" certainly isn't going to change that -- though in a Movieline interview marking the film's DVD release, the veteran Canadian auteur says it doesn't concern him one bit: "It's not sour grapes... The people who are releasing the movie get excited, they want you to do more, and you understand it because the awards can maybe get more people to see the film. This, on its face, is a good thing. However, it is all bullshit, it is all annoying and it is all very problematical. But it gives people stuff to write about, gives structure, we understand. But I won't be watching any of the awards shows." [Movieline]
"Argo" won top honors with the Phoenix Film Critics Society, which announced nominees two weeks ago. Kathryn Bigelow took the Best Director prize for "Zero Dark Thirty," however. Daniel Day-Lewis and Jessica Chastain took top acting honors, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Anne Hathaway filling out the supporting ranks. Check out the full list of winners below and as always, keep track of it all at The Circuit.
When asked this season what film I think will win Best Picture, I've said "Les Misérables" since about September. Obviously for a stretch that was sight-unseen. Then the film, and others, came along. And I stuck with it. Largely I had to defend the call against those who couldn't see a film that is perceived as "divisive" (and boy are the detractors LOUD) winning the top prize, and they had a fair enough point.
The only thing is, I see passion for the film and the nay-sayers are a bit marginalized. Critics and industry people view this film differently. And those who love the film LOVE it. You can't ignore that kind of embrace. Few films this year really have it. And it's particularly important in a season that seems more up-for-grabs than any in recent history.
But as more and more members have finally caught up with the majority of the season's offerings in the past few weeks, I've made sure I paid attention to one thing in particular in my conversations: consensus. Consensus and general agreement wins you Oscars. But many films have inherent marks against them. There are really only two films, though, that tend to be enjoyed, adored, respected and liked all the way across the board, and one of them has taken shape as the potential taker of the cake. That film is "Argo."
And so it is that I've left it until the last day of the year to add my Top 10 list to the already teetering; I don't think I've ever left it so late before, and it certainly wasn't calculated on my part, though there's something pleasingly tidy about using New Year's Eve as an occasion to post a list that, in some ways, looks forward as much as it looks back. (Speaking of looking forward: in a break from tradition, the list is accompanied by a video countdown this year, so if you want my curious accent guiding you through, just press play.)
This is the space where I'm supposed to say it's been a good/bad/indifferent year for film, though I'm increasingly uncertain of how to answer that question. That's partly because of the way I compile my list: given that I occupy the no-man's-land territory of a European critic on an American site, release calendars are hard to keep up with and even harder to stick to, so I opt instead to include any new film I saw in 2012, whether as a theatrical release, on the festival circuit or somewhere in between.