Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gotham winners, NYFCC & NBR results and Spirit nominations (and my thoughts)...

Gotham Awards

BEST FILM
Beginners*
The Descendants
Meek’s Cutoff
Take Shelter
The Tree of Life*

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Better This World*
Bill Cunningham New York
Hell and Back Again
The Interrupters
The Woodmans

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST
Beginners*
The Descendants
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Take Shelter

BEST BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR
Mike Cahill/Another Earth
Sean Durkin/Martha Marcy May Marlene
Vera Farmiga/Higher Ground
Evan Glodell/Bellflower
Dee Rees/Pariah*

BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
Felicity Jones/Like Crazy*
Elizabeth Olsen/Martha Marcy May Marlene
Harmony Santana/Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley/The Descendants
Jacob Wysocki/Terri

BEST FILM NOT PLAYING AT A THEATER NEAR YOU
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
Green
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
Scenes of a Crime*
Without

The Gotham Awards really don’t mean much in terms of Oscar.  Usually, they help identify which Independent rising star is headed towards their first Oscar nomination, and then again; they aren’t always helpful there either.  Mostly, what I gather from this is that Beginners is going to start off the critical Awards Season nicely, and that Christopher Plummer’s Oscar nomination (and likely win) is assured, or at least VERY likely.  They loved Beginners, handing it two trophies (and pretty big ones).  Elizabeth Olsen’s expected catapult to an Oscar nomination is extremely shaky now.  I’m stunned that she lost this, which I assumed would be an easy win for her.  The critical reception for her film has been tepid, but she is universally praised.  I still think she has a shot for that nomination, but it’s looking less and less likely.  I’m also a tad stunned that The Descendants didn’t win the big prize here.  Maybe it won’t be the Awards Juggernaut that many thought it would be.  I mean, NYFCC didn’t go for it either (we’ll get to that in a minute).

So, Beginners gets a boost while Martha Marcy May Marlene and Descendants get tugged back a bit.

New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC)

FIRST FEATURE: Margin Call
NONFICTION FILM: Cave of Forgotten Dreams
FOREIGN FILM: A Separation
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jessica Chastain/The Tree of Life, Take Shelter & The Help
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Albert Brooks/Drive
ACTRESS: Meryl Streep/The Iron Lady
ACTOR: Brad Pitt/The Tree of Life & Moneyball
DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius/The Artist
SCREENPLAY: Steven Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin/Moneyball
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Emmanuel Lubezki/The Tree of Life
PICTURE: The Artist

So, Margin Call wins Best First Feature (another nail in Martha Marcy May Marlene’s coffin) and rises in the ranks of ‘film you didn’t see coming that may walk away with some random Oscar nod’.  The acting wins are interesting.  Brad Pitt gets a major boost, as does Moneyball in general (thanks to that Screenplay win) and Chastain starts what may be a long list of awards dedicated to her large body of work this year, neither win helping the general public get a real handle on her best shot at that Oscar nomination.  I’m really shocked that Streep won here, but the shock is beginning to wear off as I’m reminded that she won a slew of critic’s awards for her Julia Childs impression as well, so…I should have expected this.

In the end there is a major thumbsup to The Artist (winning top honors and beginning the cementing of its Best Picture Frontrunner status) and another thumbsdown to The Descendants, who went empty handed again.

National Board of Review (NBR)

Best Film: Hugo
Best Director: Martin Scorsese/Hugo
Best Actor: George Clooney/The Descendants
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton/We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer/Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley/The Descendants
Best Original Screenplay: 50/50
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones/Like Crazy
Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara/The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Debut Director: J.C. Chandor/Margin Call
Best Ensemble: The Help
Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)
NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime
NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film

Top Films
(in alphabetical order)

The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
Tree of Life
War Horse

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(In Alphabetical Order)

13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Footnote
Le Havre
Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries
(In Alphabetical Order)

Born to be Wild
Buck
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim
Senna

Top 10 Independent Films
(In Alphabetical Order)

50/50
Another Earth
Beginners
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids
Margin Call
Shame
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Win Win

Clooney wins here, and I guess I should have expected that.  I mean, they love him.  They’ve awarded him three times now.  I personally don’t get it (I mean, he’s not THAT great), but whatever.  They also continue showering Eastwood, giving J. Edgar top ten placement despite the tepid reviews.  The biggest shock here is Hugo.  Who would have thought?  I know that the reviews are good, but it seems so childish in tone.  I need to see it, but I was certainly NOT expecting to see it nab Picture and Director here.  The Tilda Swinton mention is also VERY telling.  She could actually make a play for that 5th Lead Actress Oscar spot after all.  I think that is the big thing to take away from this.  Swinton is actually in this!  Also, I’m shocked that Jones has taken yet another award from Olsen.  Olsen is probably dead at this point, but interesting that Mara tied Jones for that Breakthrough award, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo made it in for the Top Ten.

YAY!

Independent Spirit Awards

BEST FEATURE
50/50
Beginners
Drive
Take Shelter
The Artist
The Descendants

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  The Artist

BEST DIRECTOR
Mike Mills/Beginners
Nicholas Winding Refn/Drive
Jeff Nichols/Take Shelter
Michel Hazavanicius/The Artist
Alexander Payne/The Descendants

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Nicholas Winding Refn

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Another Earth
In the Family
Margin Call
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Natural Selection

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Natural Selection

BEST ACTOR
Demian Bichir/A Better Life
Jean DuJardin/The Artist
Ryan Gosling/Drive
Woody Harrelson/Rampart
Michael Shannon/Take Shelter

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Jean DuJardin

BEST ACTRESS
Lauren Ambrose/Think of Me
Rachel Harris/Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye/Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen/Martha Marcy May Marlene
Michelle Williams/My Week With Marilyn

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Michele Williams

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Albert Brooks/Drive
John Hawkes/Martha Marcy May Marlene
Christopher Plummer/Beginners
John C. Reilly/Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll/Midnight in Paris

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Christopher Plummer

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain/Take Shelter
Angelica Houston/50/50
Janet McTeer/Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana/Gun Hill Road
Shailene Woodley/The Descendants

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Jessica Chastain

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Bellflower
Circumstance
Hello Lonesome
Pariah
The Dynamiter

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Pariah

BEST SCREENPLAY
The Artist
Beginners
The Descendants
Footnote
Win Win

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Beginners

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Another Earth
Margin Call
Terri
Cedar Rapids
50/50

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  50/50

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Bellflower
The Off Hours
Midnight in Paris
The Artist
The Dynamiter

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  The Artist

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
An African Selection
Bill Cunninghman New York
The Interrupters
The Redemption of General Butt naked
We Were Here

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  The Interrupters

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
A Separation
Melancholia
Shame
The Kid With a Bike
Tyrannosaur

PREMATURE PREDICTED WINNER:  Shame

Glenn Close and George Clooney missing here is hilariously outrageous, especially since their supporting players got in.  On the other hand, yay for Beginners and Drive and even Take Shelter for cleaning up with nominations here.  The Artist got love in places I wasn’t expecting (isn’t that film too French for these awards), which further cements its Oscar chances.  Martha Marcy May Marlene was expected to do better here.  I’m really shocked with the gigantic shot in the face this film is getting.  Olsen is here, but can she win?  I doubt it.  She’s up against Williams, and her reviews and overall buzz at this point is far stronger.

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