Sunday, November 30, 2014
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Of course, Thanksgiving not only signals the beginning of the holiday season but the start of awards season as well. In fact on Wednesday the Spirit Award nominations were announced. Below are the nominees and my brief thoughts on them...
Love is Strange
Birdman leads all films with 6 nominations followed closely by Boyhood and Selma with 5 nominations. Nightcrawler also surprised with 5 nominations but couldn't crack Picture/Director. Love is Strange and Whiplash meanwhile received 4 nominations. A few films like Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Theory of Everything weren't eligible but The Imitation Game, Wild and to a lesser extent The Skeleton Twins were and were surprisingly shut out.
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava DuVernay, Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
David Zellner, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Looks like this is going to be a race between Iñárritu and Linklater, but DuVernay's nomination seems like a game-changer to me. Regardless, it's nice to see Linklater here after this group ignore his Before Midnight masterpiece last year.
BEST FIRST FEATURE
Ana Lily Amirpour, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Justin Simien, Dear White People
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child
Anja Marquardt, She's Lost Control
Unfortunately I've only seen Robespierre's delightful Obvious Child, which I'm glad is getting some year-end awards recognition. Had been meaning to catch Dear White People and Nightcrawler, but haven't yet!
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
Rinko Kikuchi, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive
I know nothing about Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter but getting Director/Actress nominations is a testament to that film. I have seen Slate and Swinton and thrilled both are nominated. The day of the nominations I also checked out Cotillard's turn in The Immigrant and I compared it to Streep's Sophie's Choice turn so that's where I am with THAT performance. Finally, Moore is the prohibitive frontrunner to win here AND at the Oscars though she'd likely have to go up against Reese Witherspoon who was inexplicably snubbed here. Shout out to Kirsten Wiig, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Elisabeth Moss.
BEST MALE LEAD
André Benjamin, Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
John Lithgow, Love is Strange
David Oyelowo, Selma
Benihana Cumberband's non-nomination for The Imitation Game is really quite strange and really supports the theory that the committee just wasn't sure if it was eligible or not. That said, it does give a few men who need support early on like Lithgow, Gyllenhaal, and Oyelowo the boost they need for awards season momentum. Keaton is the likely favorite, but again that's without facing his biggest rivals of the season, the aforementioned Belichick Cumbaya and Theory of Everything's Eddie Redmayne.
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo, Selma
Andrea Suarez Paz, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Emma Stone, Birdman
Arquette! Chastain! Stone! Already with those three this feels like such a fun line-up though how amazing would it have been to see Swinton pop up here for her turn in Snowpiercer, which I'm sure is being largely forgotten in awards campaigning. Arquette seems like the favorite for now, but it's early days and I'm more excited at the prospect that Stone COULD get her first Oscar nomination. Again, still early days.
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Alfred Molina, Love is Strange
Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Molina is supporting while Lithgow is lead? I liked Love is Strange and any award recognition this small film gets is a good one, but category fraud is super annoying. Moving on! I *love* Norton in Birdman and Hawke was pretty good in Boyhood (and I'm seeing his nomination as a make-up for the Before series as well). Simmons is the front-runner right not for this and the Oscars.
Love is Strange
A Most Violent Year
Only Lovers Left Alive
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Dear White People
The One I Love
She's Lost Control
It's a bit weird to see the screenplay categories have little overlap with the feature categories, especially Birdman and Nightcrawler but I'll chalk it up as a positive in that voters are actually thinking about each category. With that said, I've only see three of the ten films cited here so I need to up my game a bit.
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Low Budget Films)
It Felt Like Love
Man From Reno
I've heard good stuff about Land Ho! so I can't wait to check that out and I have seen Test which I liked, but thought it just okay.
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Force Majeure, Sweden
Norte, the End of History, Philippines
Under the Skin, UK
Wow, this feels like a stacked category already that could repeat at the Oscar with only Under the Skin not eligible for the latter award. I've only see Under the Skin on this list, but I've already heard very good stuff about most of these and it's cool to see the Philippines represented.
20,000 Days on Earth
The Salt of the Earth
I'm ashamed to say I haven't ever heard of any of these. Are all worthy to check out?
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
It Felt Like Love
A Most Violent Year
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD
Not much to say about the rest of the categories except to say how ecstatic I am to see Adam Wingard's The Guest nominated for anything. It's one of the pleasant surprises for me this year and if it was up to me I probably would've nominated it for Feature, Directing, and Lead Actor.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Leonardo DiCaprio celebrates his 40th birthday today. And even though he's been a bunch of movies for which he has garnered lots prizes and Academy Award nominations, he will ALWAYS be Jack Dawson to me. He can cover himself up in presidential old-age make-up, make-up a fake identity or two or three, and have a lot of dead wives... but he'll still be that fresh-faced artist from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin who saved a girl in every way a person could've been saved. So basically, happy birthday Leo and oh, draw me like one of your French girls.