It's official, the Awards Season is upon us! Seriously, Winter has always been my favorite time of year, but as the years trickle by and I become more and more invested in the Awards Season hoopla, this season truly has SHONE for me. The very idea of Winter makes me smile. Give me a sweater, a coffee and a movie and I'm content!
So, with the season revving it's engines, the early starter Awards Bodies are showing their support for their favorite films of the year. We're still a month away from getting into the barrage of critic's awards, but between the Hollywood Film Awards winners announced over the last few weeks and the Gotham Awards announcing their nominees this morning, all it good in movie town.
What I find really reassuring (and comforting) is that these Awards, which for the longest time seemed rather insignificant, are truly showing a change in the way that AMPAS thinks. It started when The Hurt Locker was embraced here and then swept the Oscars. Since then we've seen films like Winter's Bone and Beasts of the Southern Wild pop up here and go on to achieve not only critical acclaim but a place at Oscar's table. The reign of big studio monsters may not be completely dead, but Independent films are on the rise and getting more respect and attention, and it shows in the films that get mentions here (and at the Spirit Awards) and manage to rack up serious Oscar mentions.
Just look at this batch of nominees:
12 Years a Slave
Ain't Them Bodies Saints
Inside Llewyn Davis
Right now, the only film with as much Oscar buzz and promise as 12 Years a Slave is Gravity. The film is positioned to win itself a fair share of Oscar love, and so I'm pretty sure that it will take this prize as well. I've personally only seen Ain't Them Bodies Saints and Before Midnight and loved them both, with a slight edge given to Ain't Them Bodies Saints (it's just so haunting). I've been procrastinating on seeing Upstream Color for some weird reason. Maybe I'll watch it today.
The Act of Killing
The Crash Reel
First Cousin Once Removed
Let the Fire Burn
Year after year I tell myself I'm going to follow this category better, but honestly I think I've seen like four documentaries in the past five years. I just don't watch them, but the buzz at the moment seems to be all over The Act of Killing, so maybe that will snag this award.
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Ryan Coogler/Fruitvale Station
Adam Leon/Gimme the Loot
Alexandre Moors/Blue Caprice
Amy Seimetz/Sun Don't Shine
I've only seen (or even heard of) Fruitvale Station, and given the film's critical reception and Oscar potential I really think that Coogler will take this rather easily. It could prove to be the boost he needs to land himself back in the Oscar conversation.
Chiwetel Ejiofor/12 Years a Slave
Oscar Isaac/Inside Llewyn Davis
Matthew McConaughey/Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford/All is Lost
Isaiah Washington/Blue Caprice
This is a gamble, because really any of them (outside of Washington) could win this. Ejiofor's film has the most nominations, but Isaac's film is also considered in Best Picture. That being said, McConaughey and Redford are not out of the question, especially Redford, who arguably has the best reviews of anyone this year. I have a feeling that Ejiofor will take this, but if they want to spread the wealth I think Redford can add this win to the many others he'll take this year.
Cate Blanchett/Blue Jasmine
Scarlett Johansson/Don Jon
Brie Larson/Short Term 12
Amy Seimetz/Upstream Color
Shailene Woodley/The Spectacular Now
I know that logic would cause one to believe that Blanchett has this in the bag, since she's the only one here with a shot at actually WINNING an Oscar, but I have a hunch that this is going to go to Brie Larson. Her reviews are exceptional, and she just feels like an Indie Darling, as opposed to Blanchett who may feel too much like a movie star for this award. I also love that Johansson got the nom here. This has been a marvelous year for her.
Dane DeHaan/Kill Your Darlings
Kathryn Hahn/Afternoon Delight
Michael B. Jordan/Fruitvale Station
Lupita Nyong'o/12 Years a Slave
This will probably be between Jordan and Nyong'o, and right now I'm really not sure who will win. I'm leaning towards Jordan, simply because he's a little better known as a whole and he carries the entire film on his back, but maybe the love for 12 Years a Slave will be too overwhelming for him to overcome and Nyong'o will snatch this up.