I've said it several times before, but it's been something of a banner year for dogs in the movies: Uggie, the dancing Jack Russell from "The Artist," may be hogging the red carpet, but the various pooches from "Beginners," "50/50," "Young Adult," "Le Havre" and "The Adventures of Tintin" all have their fans -- "Beginners" star Cosmo even landed a spot on Manohla Dargis's Best Supporting Actor wishlist. Anyway, all except the animated Snowy from "Tintin" have been recognized with nominations for the inaugural Golden Collar Awards -- with Uggie receiving twin mentions for his work in both "The Artist" and "Water for Elephants." It'll be interesting to see if he splits his vote and -- sorry, there's only so far I can go with this. But it's all good fun, and in aid of animal shelters, so cheers all round. [The Odds]
Also: Defending Channing Tatum, and remembering failed Oscar grabs
Black-tie bash brought three prizes apiece for 'The Artist' and 'A Separation'
Writing up an awards ceremony I actually voted in is new territory for me, and slightly awkward to boot. Praising the choices of the London Critics' Circle amounts to patting myself on the back, criticizing them to shooting myself in the foot -- choose your poison, really. Happily, for me at least, I can err on the back-patting side: after assembling a superb set of nominees last month, my Circle colleagues did a pretty bang-up job of choosing the winners, too.
Across 15 categories, eight of the winners were ones I'd voted for myself; of the remaining seven, the majority were for films and individuals I'm more than happy to cheer on anyway. Only one, I'll admit, really left me scratching my head -- though if nothing else, Kenneth Branagh's Best Supporting Actor prize for "My Week With Marilyn" was an unexpected deviation from the Christopher Plummer/Albert Brooks pattern the season has doggedly followed thus far, and his acceptance speech was composed of equal parts genuine gratitude and surprise.
She muses on her small but powerful role in one of the season's hottest films
Wins for both Best Picture and Best Actor at the Golden Globes Sunday, coupled with George Clooney’s victory at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards last week have solidified Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” as an Oscar frontrunner (if consistent critical approval hadn't already). Clooney stars in the film as Matt King, a man who must confront his wife’s infidelity as well as (to the best of his somewhat limited ability) his own inadequacies as a husband and father as she lay dying in a coma.
In addition to the precursor attention the film, director and lead actor have received, 19-year-old Shailene Woodley (who plays Clooney’s hybrid wild-child/precocious teen daughter) has been an intermittent presence in the supporting actress field (as well as a consistent one in the young or up-and-coming star arena). But for many cinema-goers, there is a third performance in the film that resonates long after the lights have come up. Judy Greer’s short-lived but palpable turn as Julie Speer, a woman who has the misfortune to discover that her husband Brian was having an affair with Clooney’s wife Elizabeth, is both grounded and evocative.
Top acting honors go to Brad Pitt and Viola Davis
The Iowa Film Critics have joined and drowned in the on-going chorus of year-end kudos-dishers. Drowned because it's all just a blur now. "The Descendants" came out on top, winning both Best Picture and Best Director. And there's Melissa McCarthy, yet again. Check out the full list of winners below.
Noobing my way through the Park City plunge
PARK CITY - Being at Sundance is weird. Really weird. This time of year I'm home, where it's safe to dive into the guild and other precursor announcements of the season without thinking about the scheduling of a film festival. But here I am, a first-timer amongst many pros (like the HitFix staff, all of them gamely showing me the ropes). Right smack dab in the middle of the Oscar season.
You see, that's what's kept me out of Sundance in the past. I could have come here any time over the last however many years, but the daunting prospect of a) dealing with the press pecking order (which was ultimately not that big a deal at all), and b) pulling double duty with awards coverage, has always kept me away.
Well, I'm happy to be here and soak up the experience a bit, even if it will be just a short taste-maker trip. It's back to the Los Angeles awards grind on Monday, the day before that magic moment: the announcement of this year's Oscar nominees.
Part Two: Original Score, Original Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects
In part one of this feature, we spotlighted the fields of Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Makeup. Now to round out my final predictions in the crafts fields with the remainder.
BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Ludovic Bource’s music for Michel Hazanavicius’s “The Artist” was integral to the film and present in virtually every scene. The BAFTA-nominated and BFCA- and Golden Globe-winning score is firmly in the running, alongside John Williams’s booming BFCA-, Globe- and BAFTA-nominated work in “War Horse.” Any nomination for Williams will move him into first place in the all-time list for music nominees (breaking his current tie with Alfred Newman), behind only Walt Disney on the all-time overall list.
Offer up your burning queries
Sorry to get this up later than usual, but you know the drill. Fire off your need-to-knows and we'll try to address a few in the podcast. Get them in fast, though. We're recording in a few hours.
Nominee hogs 'Drive' and 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' combine for a single win
The London Film Critics Circle (of which I'm a member) handed out its year-end kudos this evening, and "The Artist" was the big winner, taking awards for Film of the Year, Director of the Year and Actor of the Year. I'll be back from this evening's festivities soon enough to offer up extended commentary, but for now, check out the full list of winners below.
Part One: Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing and Makeup
In five days, the nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards will be announced. It seems extraordinary that another season has nearly passed. And with a silent film and a somewhat fantastical (not-so-) children’s film poised to dominate the major categories, one realizes how quickly trends can change in Hollywood. The period nature of these films will result in their showing up across the crafts categories as well, along with many other usual suspects. But at the margins, there is definitely room for excitement.
So with that preface, I now embark on my final analysis of the crafts categories for the cinematic year of 2011. This will be done in two parts, five categories covered in each part. Check back later for part two.
And yes, another 'War Horse' snub
Following on the heels of the Cinema Audio Society today is the Costume Designers Guild, which has selected nominees in its three patented categories.
The first thing you'll notice, naturally, is yet another "War Horse" snub. I haven't been expecting an Oscar nomination for the film's costumes and the period field is particularly stacked this season, but nevertheless, another miss.
There aren't many surprises on the list, though the appearance of "X-Men: First Class" in the fantasy category is a nice inclusion for its blend of period styles with comic book tropes. Once upon a time I thought costumer Sammy Sheldon might be a possibility for an Oscar nod, and maybe that's even still the case. Ditto "Thor," outfitted by four-time nominee Alexandra Byrne.