Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2013 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged By Clicking on Them]

2013.  My daughter uses this phrase that I kind of hate.  She is always saying, "That's beyond, beyond" and what she means by that is that it's extra amazing.  That is how I feel about this year.  So many spectacular films that reach so many themes and genres and pretty much redefine what cinema is supposed to be about.  It is also a year that breaks a rule here at the Fistis (as you have come to see, rules are made to be broken) in that the 'five nominee' rule is thrown out the window in Best Picture, where I have nominated six films.

But I have reason for this.

When compiling my list of the best films of 2013, one thing struck me so profoundly.  My ballot was extremely diverse.  Foreign film, animation, documentary, sci-fi, comedy, drama, gay/lesbian/transgender, musical, quirky indie; you name it, they were represented, and when it came down to knocking one of these films out of the top, I just couldn't.

And so I didn't.

Oscar went with the historical biopic, 12 Years a Slave, and I genuinely like the film, but it is flawed and doesn't come close to my personal top dozen films.  With that in mind, I present to you the Fisti Awards for 2013!

[NOTE: I debated how to approach Michael Polley's contribution to Stories We Tell, for it was one of my favorite things about the film year and, if I were to deem him an 'actor', he would have walked away with this award in a heartbeat.  In the end though, I decided against including him in an 'acting' category, since he was merely being himself]

[EDIT: I was informed that 'So You Know What It's Like' was co-written by Destin Daniel Cretton and so he is now cited as a nominee for the Original Song]

Award's Tally

[4 Wins]

Laurence Anyways

[3 Wins]


[2 Wins]

Blue is the Warmest Color

[1 Win]

Enough Said
The Hunt
Stories We Tell


  1. Very impressive. I love how a lot of wins, and nominations, you have are similar to mine like all the Gravity wins, Let It Go, and even Her for Best Screenplay and Cinematography. I originally had Sally Hawkins on my BSA ballot, but she just missed out. Thankfully, she's still a Film Guy nominee on my 2008 ballot.

    1. Yeah, I remember looking over your noms/wins a while back and thinking we had a lot in common (and I loved that you had Frozen in BP).

  2. LOVE. THIS. YEAR. You're right - the diversity of great cinema is just astounding. My BP Five (in order) are: Gravity, Her, 12 Years a Slave, Frances Ha, and Populaire, followed by American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Man of Steel, Frozen, and 20 Feet From Stardom.

    Your honorees for Best Actor are PERFECTION. I would only swap out Gandolfini (who feels more Supporting to me) for Oscar Isaac. McConnaughey, Hawke, Bale, and Wahlberg are runners-up. Hanks is my winner.

    I love your Best Actress lineup too (although I haven't yet seen Laurence Anyways... or any of Dolan's films). Mine would be Gerwig (WINNER), Delpy, Blanchett, Exarchopoulos, and Louis-Dreyfus, with Adams, Acker, and Ziyi in the runner-up spots.

    Supporting Actor we differ quite a bit on: I have Leto (WINNER), Abdi, Cooper, Franco, and Fassbender, with apologies to Gandolfini, Goode, Hanks, and Edgerton. Extra shout-out to Josh Gad's voicework in Frozen.

    Supporting Actress I would honor Watson (WINNER), Summer, Nyong'o, Johansson, and Seydoux. Lawrence, Banks, Stone, and Hawkins fall just outside.

    Elsewhere, Populaire, Her, Gravity, and The Grandmaster duke it out for the technical honors. 2013 is also a rare year that I can have a pretty full slate of documentary nominees: 20 Feet From Stardom, We Steal Secrets, Cutie and the Boxer, Tim's Vermeer, and Stories We Tell. Very tough to choose between 20 Feet and Stories, but all of these are excellent. And I still haven't seen The Act of Killing, so I feel okay not choosing yet lol.

    1. ERMAHGERD! You haven't seen...a single Dolan?!?!? Um, I've never said "GET ON IT" and meant it to strongly.


      Gandolfini is a gray line for me, but I remembered him so strongly...he has such a sharp arc, and he permeates the film, so for me he was co-Lead. And it's such a beautiful, tender and honest performance. He's not all.

      I love that Gerwig is your winner. She's so believably obnoxious yet oddly charming. Like, you get her, you know where she's coming from and you love her.

      Sumner is my #6 and WAS on my ballot before I rewatched Blue Jasmine and decided to bump Hawkins ahead of her.

      This is also the year where I saw a slew of Docs, and I liked so many. For me though, Stories We Tell was far and away the best of the year. I hated Act of Killing, and would put The Square and Cutie and the Boxer ahead of 20 Feet from Stardom, but you'll hear more about that when we have our 2013 '4 Ways' discussion.

    2. I. KNOW. Heartbeats has been on my Netflix queue forEVER, and Laurence recently showed up there too, and I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Tom at the Farm. There's just SO MUCH CINEMA.

      I actually kind of love that you gave Gandolfini the win, and yeah he is a borderline case. I see the film as the story of JLD's character, so everyone else is Supporting in my view. But he could go either way.

      You are so right on about Gerwig, and Summer was such a great counterpart to her. I like Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, I just don't feel she had enough to do to really justify a nomination above any of my five. She's absolutely terrific in it though.

      Stories We Tell is ASTONISHING. But 20 Feet From Stardom more... satisfying? It's super conventional, but still really really good at what it does. But boy do I get the love for Stories We Tell.

    3. Mommy.

      The End.

      But you know how I feel about that (and you will know in a week or so, when I post my 2014 Fisti Awards).

  3. Love that Gandolfini won. I was such a massive fan of his work on The Sopranos and he was very good in Enough Said. He should have at least a posthumous nomination but for Best Supporting Actor.

    This was one of the few years when I actually agreed with all 5 of the Academy's picks for Best Actor. DiCaprio, Bale, Dern, Ejiofor and McConaughey were my favorite lead performances as well. Particularly, McConaughey, who I thought was amazing.

    1. Enough Said was a magical way for Gandolfini to 'go out'...even if he had The Drop release last year.

      I kind of hated McConaughey. Like, he did nothing he doesn't already do in every other movie he's in. Not a fan.

    2. Fair enough, but I personally thought that it was not only an incredible transformation but McConaughey brought a lot of gravitas and complexity to the role. I do agree though that he can has the tendency to channel the same character in many of his movies but I think True Detective proved that he has great range.

    3. I really, REALLY want to watch True Detective, despite my personal feelings towards McConaughey.

    4. I have a strong feeling that it will change your opinion of him.
      The show is also a showcase for Cary Fukanaga's exceptional directing skills. There is one particular sequence in an episode that is likely to stay with you for a long time, simply because of the way it's directed.

    5. Yeah, I'm a fan of Fukanaga, so I'm excited to see it.

  4. There are some films here -many actually I have not seen like "Her" and Laurence Always". Gravity can go away except in the technical awards otherwise -blechhhh:) I have not seen Frozen but i know that song quite well and I just say..please let it go away. I was also looking forward to seeing "The Great Gatsby"-..I saw it....let's just move on...I can't get into Gandolfini and that is purely my issue because he reminds me of someone I know and who is a real ass so I am too bias. I loved Tom Hanks in Capt. Phillips and was pleasantly surprised how on the mark the story is. 12 years a Slave is meh for me. I am with you there. I did enjoy Jared Leto and glad he did win. I was also underwhelmed by that flick set in the 70's. Geez-I don't seem to care for many of them. Jasmine was ok but I kept being reminded of a Streetcar Named Desire. I did like Nebraska and thought that was quite a good film and loved the cinematography on that film

    1. basically hated the year that was 2013? LOL, I love this year, but for many films that you haven't seen. I HIGHLY recommend all things Dolan, obviously, as well as Her.

      I still haven't seen Nebraska.

  5. I loved Her so much. Great to see you give it some love. On the other hand Gravity totally confused me. I mean, the reaction is got confused me. But I guess that must only be me!

    Great post! I still need to see The Hunt, I have heard a lot of good things

    1. It's not only you. I know a lot of people who were not turned on by Gravity. For me, though, it's a perfectly crafted film, and from a technical level, I have never been that physically effected by a film. It's a marvel of craft, and for that I'm in awe of it.

  6. I have SO much to see from this year, and some of what I did see (Prisoners-yuck! Spectacular Now-painful) I hated. I had trouble coming up with enough nominees in some categories to fill them out. I’ll have to fix that.

    About Time
    Captain Phillips
    Saving Mr. Banks
    12 Years a Slave
    I haven’t seen four of your six but glad to see we agree on Gravity, even if it’s not your winner.

    Alfonso Cuaron-Gravity-Winner
    Richard Curtis-About Time
    Paul Greengrass-Captain Phillips
    John Lee Hancock-Saving Mr. Banks
    Steve McQueen-12 Years a Slave
    Cuaron's achievement is so great that I have to say that I'm surprised the academy actually chose him as the winner since their record of getting it right is inconsistent at best.

    Bruce Dern-Nebraska
    Chiwetel Ejofor-12 Years a Slave
    Domhnall Gleeson-About Time
    Tom Hanks-Captain Phillips-Winner
    Robert Redford-All is Lost
    Just when I thought Hanks was heading into eclipse he delivered what I think is his best performance yet. I’ll be seeing Enough Said soon, your nod for Gandolfini makes me look forward to it even more.

    Juliette Binoche-Words and Pictures
    Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine-Winner
    Sandra Bullock-Gravity
    Judi Dench-Philomena
    Emma Thompson-Saving Mr. Banks
    I’m two for five of your nominees and those are included in mine with Blanchett so great even if the film is a reworking of Streetcar Named Desire. I also love Emma Thompson's work as the prickly P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks

    Supporting Actor:
    Barkhad Abdi-Captain Phillips
    Bradley Cooper-American Hustle
    Joel Edgerton-The Great Gatsby
    Colin Farrell-Saving Mr. Banks-Winner
    Bill Nighy-About Time
    I haven’t seen any of your nominees! I really am behind. This was the hardest category for me but Farrell does amazing things in a brief period of time and I found myself thinking more about his performance afterwards more than any of the others.

    Supporting Actress:
    Sally Hawkins-Blue Jasmine
    Margo Martindale-August: Osage County-Winner
    Lupita Nyong'o-12 Years a Slave
    Rachel Weisz-Oz, the Great and Powerful
    Oprah Winfrey-The Butler
    Oz is a lumbering showpiece with weak performances from all but Weisz who is so good it's like she flew in from another film. The Butler is far too episodic to be gripping but Oprah scores in her smallish role as Whitaker's wife. Blanchett is so expansive in Blue Jasmine it's a wonder that anyone can manage to capture your attention that Hawkins does so easily shows how skillful she is. Nyong'o rightly won her category but I prefer Martindale's subtle work in the mess of Osage, as Weisz does she brushes off the sloppiness that surrounds her to create a powerful portrait of a woman in conflict.

    1. I love your love of About Time and Saving Mr. Banks. I truly adore both of those movies, and so many people balk at them.

      I haven't seen Nebraska, Philomena or August Osage County. I don't really have a desire to. I know I should...but whatever.

      Hanks is marvelous in Captain Phillips...and I'm not usually a fan of his.

    2. August: Osage County blows big hairy chunks! The only worthwhile thing in it is Margo Martindale's performance, she's an under appreciated actress.

    3. I like her, but not enough to deal with that movie :-P

    4. Maybe it's because I went in with LOW expectations, but I found August: Osage County... surprisingly not bad. Granted, the project really needed a Mike Nichols or someone similar who truly understands theater and film and how/why they differ, and I will never stop dreaming of a better cast (Laura Linney IS Barbara, there are no others though Julia may try), but it's still quite entertaining. Streep is good although this is one of her more "actorly" performances (you can SEE her ACTING), Roberts does well, Martindale is of course wonderful... and then there are the true unsung heroes of the piece, Chris Cooper and Julianne Nicholson (forever destined to be the most underrated part of every project she's in), who almost made my shortlist for Supporting Actress. Don't get me wrong, it's FAR from good cinema, and it definitely lost a LOT in the transition from stage to screen, but I enjoyed it.

    5. Maybe one day...when it's on Cable...and I'm bored...and nothing else is on.


  7. The sheer mention of Frances Ha makes me love this list! One of the best of 2013 that went mostly unnoticed...

    1. I loved that Cate Blanchett called out the Indie Spirits for snubbing Gerwig.

  8. That is a great list though I went with premiere dates rather than theatrical release dates for my approach of the best films of that year as Her is #1 and Under the Skin is #2. Of course, you probably know who would win Best Actress if I chose the nominees.

    1. Yeah, I knew that you had Under the Skin here (and you have Laurence in 2012, right?). ScarJo is rather brilliant in the film...although she doesn't make my 2014 ballot :-(

    2. Believe me, narrowing my Top 12 down to 5 reduced me to tears as well.

  9. I still need to see Laurence Anyway and Enough Said. Really want to see Gandolfini's work. Glad to see you give Seydoux the win. That's also who I went with. You actually commented on mine, but if you need a refresher...

    1. Gandolfini, as you can tell, delivers a performance I fell in love with.

      And yup, I remember commenting on the Dellies! Have you posted 2014 yet? I'm about a week away from posting the 2014 Fistis :-D

    2. Not yet. I'm waiting until I see a few more movies before I do. Believe it, or not, a couple of them are BP noms. Hopefully, I'll post it before August is over.

    3. I can't wait to see them!

  10. I still have yet to see Her, saw the mixed reviews and skipped it, may have to give it a go. Let it go deserves the win, but that damn song needs to go away for a while lol its like anyone who says let it go now gets told they are ripping off the song, when they said it long before the song was even made.

    1. Well, whenever I saw "Let it go" now, I do sing there's that.

      And Her got mixed reviews? Like, it was a critics darling of sorts and racked in the Oscar noms...but I guess there are some haters. For the most part though, it was embraced. You should certainly see it. It's a beautiful film!

  11. I really didn't connect with 12 Years so I find it refreshing to see other movies get some love!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, 12 Years was a little to cold for me, and it certainly wasn't near the top of my personal pack.

  12. Love love love all of these! Especially:

    The Bling Ring for editing
    Her for screenplay
    Thomas Bo Larsan for Supporting Actor

    Does Watson make your top ten for Supporting Actress?

    1. Yes she is! Glad that you like these. I have a feeling, considering our shared Mommy love, that you'll like my 2014 Fisti Awards once they drop, hopefully next week :-D

  13. AWESOME to see Goode nominated for Stoker. It's one of the most seductive performances I've ever seen

  14. Love this! Especially the wins for Her and Laurence Anyways! And the love for James Gandolfini in Enough Said.

    1. YAY, thanks! It was a great year for cinema, and this is one of those years where I genuinely adore all of my wins. Glad to see fellow Gandolfini love.

  15. Love these! Though, it's weird that Dolan only gets one Fisti for Laurence Anyways.

    YAY! The Hunt wins a Fisti!!! Bo Larsen is just wonderful.

    Love the new wins for Her, especially Production Design.

    Ugh, I still need to see A Hijacking!

    By the way, Crettin co-wrote "So You Know What It's Like", so he should be a double nominee. ;)

    1. I know! Dolan was initially a 3 time Fisti winner for this, but then the producer snafu and stupid Spike Jonze had to eff that up!


      I love Bo Larson's turn. It continues to haunt me.

      I didn't know that about Crettin. I tried finding the writers info on IMDB and it didn't even have the song listed in their soundtrack section! I wound up finding it listed when it was nominated for an award somewhere and the only writer nominated was Stanfield, so that's who I went with. I'll make the adjustment soon!!!

  16. 2 out of my top ten films of the decade were released this year: Blue Is the Warmest Color and Inside Llewyn Davis. I also loved Upstream Color, Wolf Is Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave and Nebraska.

    Loved that Lea won for Blue. Her and Adele are so good.

    1. Yeah, this was a great year, and Blue is the Warmest Color is truly sensational!

      And Lea and Adele were a FORCE!