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"Holy Motors" Tops The Inaugural Team Experience Awards

Amir here, welcoming you to the first ever Team Experience Awards.

Before going any further, let me assure you that the Film Bitch Awards that we all know and love so much aren’t going anywhere. Nathaniel will be posting them as usual and everything will be intact. But we thought it’d be a good idea to experiment with something new and add to the site’s annual roundup. With so many regional critics’ group adding their opinions to the conversation, there’s no reason our eclectic Team Experience should hold back.

The Holy Motors Experience?

What you see here is the result of compiling the imaginary Oscar ballots of all contributors at the website (except Nathaniel.) Twenty films won citations as winners or runners-up, though an astonishing 163 films were mentioned in one category or another during the voting.

The winner of our best picture prize was… *drum roll* … Leos’ Carax’s Holy Motors. It was a tight race all the way and the runners-up finally tied, both falling short of the French enigma by just a few points. The Master was the biggest favorite across the board, finishing in the top three in almost every category it was eligible for. Another favourite was Benh Zeitlin’s vibrant bayou-set drama, Beasts of the Southern Wild, though it doesn’t show up in any of the main categories here. Consensus titles naturally take over most of the awards, though you’d be surprised to know there was strong support for less expected films like The Kid with a Bike and Take This Waltz.

Full list of our winners and curiously popular vote-getters click to continue

Holy Motors (dir. Carax) Runners-up TIE: Lincoln (dir. Spielberg) and The Master (dir. P.T. Anderson) 

Leos Carax (Holy Motors) Runner-up: Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) 

Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) Runner-up: Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) 

Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) Runner-up: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) 

Amy Adams (The Master) Runner-up: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) 

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) Runner-up: Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained) 

Moonrise Kingdom (Roman Coppola, Wes Anderson) Runner-up: Damsels in Distress (Whit Stilman)

Lincoln (Tony Kushner) Runner-up: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin)

The Master Runner-up: Skyfall 

Beasts of the Southern Wild Runner-up: The Master 

The Master Runner-up: Moonrise Kingdom 

Anna Karenina Runner-up: Moonrise Kingdom 

Life of Pi Runner-up: Looper 

Holy Motors Runner-up: Lincoln 

The Master Runner-up: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Zero Dark Thirty Runner-up: Beasts of the Southern Wild 

Queen of Versailles Runner-up: How to Survive a Plague 

Brave Runner-up: Paranorman

The Kid With a Bike was a pleasant surprise

A Few Notes

• The Kid with a Bike was only a few points short of overcoming our runners-up in the best picture category, which surprised me a great deal. I personally considered the film a 2011 release and didn’t vote for it here but the Dardenne brothers clearly have a lot of fans around these parts. It’s definitely interesting to have voters from all around the globe, but certain films are hurt in the process because of release date discrepancies. Judging by my own ballot, apart from the aforementioned Belgian film, Oslo, August 31st, This Is Not a Film, Tabu, Zero Dark Thirty and The Turin Horse certainly got the short end of that stick.

• In the editing category there was absolutely no consensus. 33 different films had at least one vote – more than any other below-the-line category – ranging all the way from The Raid to Haywire to Barbara. So scattered and equal was the passion for all these films that the eventual winner was only slightly more popular than the film ranked 19th.

"What you've described is a playboy, or operator"•  Our supporting actress winner and runner up are both major Oscar hopefuls. Trailing Hathaway by just one point was Sally Field. But guess who came fourth by a very small margin? Megalyn Echikunwoke from Damsels in Distress. I could have sworn, when I submitted my own ballot, that I’d be alone in my support but I’m glad I was proven wrong.

• If Team Experience voted on the Oscars, Les Misérables, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook would not be the beasts they are now. Anne Hathaway was the sole savior for the musical film and the latter two failed to make any sort of impact. Jennifer Lawrence was fifth in the actress race but there was little sign of Cooper, De Niro, Russell, or the editor and production designers of Argo.

• I’m working on a post about some of the things I’ve learned about my annual gripes with awards season in the process of crunching these numbers. While you wait for that, however, let me show you the problematic nature of using the word “snub” so often with an example. In our best original screenplay category Moonrise Kingdom beat the runner-up Damsels in Distress by a single vote (25/24). In the adapted race, Lincoln beat Beasts of the Southern Wild by a margin of 36 votes (52/16). It just goes to show how wrong I am in labeling every non-nomination a snub. Sure, the word is extremely handy, but it stands to reason that people do miss out on Oscar nominations and wins with very small margins.

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Reader Comments (23)

Great idea to have these collective Awards! Too bad you all will never post here again since you voted Adams as Best Supporting Actress. Whazapwidat?

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Bahaha can't see Nathaniel loving Best Supporting Actress - a one time awards special perhaps? ;)

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermorganisaqt

LOL. Yeah, it was hard breaking the news to him.
But for what it's worth, Holy Motors doesn't even make my top 30, and this was my initiative, so you know, that's kinda the problem with consensus.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Curious: Was I the only one to ace Hathaway for her other performance?

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

Michael - Yes.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

yay Matty McC Best Supporting Actor! :-)

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

How many of you are on the Team? Are you all regular contributors to the site?

Great idea -- fun to read.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

If you guys had a Best Original Song category and "We Who Were" win it, then it'd be another win for "Holy Motors"! =)

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

I really wish someone would explain The Master to me because I still don't get it. Am I supposed to get it?

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Pam, I'm with you. The critical squeeze for The Master is something I'll never understand. What a horrible ordeal watching that film.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

San FranCinema - There were 13 voters and we all contributed in 2012 in one way or another: Nick Davis and Joe Reid for the podcasts, Craig for Take Three, myself for my TIFF coverage, Michael for Burning Questions, etc.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Love the idea of these collective awards, except for my visceral twinge whenever I see "The Master". It is so difficult to see a film that I truly abhorred get all the kudos, but I'll think sweet peaceful thoughts until the urge to pummel pillows departs.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

MASTER deniers Helen Sinclair is here to tell you don't speak, don't speak on what you can't appreciate, savages.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Can someone explain to me the love for Holy Motors? There were sequences that I thought were brilliant on their own, but the film itself never cohered. It's themes range from murky to nonexistent, its visuals are inconsistent from sequence to sequence, its pacing is uneven at best. It seemed like such an unrealized vision as I was watching it (a brilliant vision very often, but unrealized and unfocused all the same) and I'm continually baffled to see critics get behind it so readily and so unanimously. I can 100% dig Denis Lavant for Best Actor, but the film itself is a bit of a mess, no?

Best accordions ever though, it must be said.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

it's funny to see THE MASTER with such love in these awards and such unlove in the comments and me in the middle with such indifference.

January 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

TB, as somebody who has written about HOLY MOTORS for this very website I'd say you just need to read some of the positive reviews and that'll tell you why it's so revered.

Having voted in these awards, I can see that individualism meant only category's winner was one I put at the top of my ballot. That'd be HOLY MOTORS for make-up. In fact, many category winners were people and films that a) i didn't vote for at all, or b) haven't even seen yet (due to Australian release dates). So. Umm. Woo...? I'd love to see a top five for every category though. I suspect we'd see some more interesting citations in that case (such as Megalyn Echikunwoke who was on the very top of my supporting actress list).

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

@Glenn I've read a lot of the reviews of this film, including the two raves that were posted here in the last year. But I remain unconvinced. While the vast majority of critics champion the film as a requiem to cinema as technology guts the medium and its potential power for human expression, there are a multitude of sequences in the film where that assertion would seem to be a stretch, to put it mildly. While the theme of cinematic decline is evident and beautifully articulated in the film's best sequences---the motion capture dance, the accordion sequence, Kylie's song, the makeup transitions in the car---there are other sequences that have no discernible connection to this theme---the monkey scene, the father and daughter.

Even the Eva Mendes sequence, as fun and as interesting as it is, has nothing to do with any of the scenes around it. And while some critics have interpreted that incohesiveness as Carax choice to play around and show all of the possibilities of cinema itself, the idea collapses on itself when you consider that these scenes are by and large the least interesting to watch, the Eva Mendes sequence being the exception. Who remembers the father/daughter sequence or the assassin or the wealthy businessman scenes when they think about this film? These could have easily been cut out of the film, with little detriment to the final product. So why are they there? There is a great movie that could have been made with the same conceit and the same central question, but Carax falls into the auteur trap of lazy editing when it comes to his own material. I still think it's a good movie, but I don't understand how it could be seen as the best of the year. Most ambitious of the year maybe, but certainly not best.

And I know it wasn't his choice, but it really must be said: this thing needed to be shot on film.

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

In the same spirit of Glenn's comment, I think beyond the demystifying of "snub" (a word I have been begging everyone to retire for years), these winners force people on this site to question whether familiar slates of awards-season winners necessarily imply homogeneity or a lack of creativity among the voters involved. It's often assumed when critics' groups or peer societies post the same limited cadre of names week after week that they're voting in a lemming-like fashion or haven't seen enough movies, etc. But either we're guilty of the same thing (possible), or much more likely, it simply goes to show that imaginative, unique ballots also favor a few consensus favorites, since all the hobby-horses and outside-the-box choices tend to cancel each other out. Makes it easier to sympathize with other groups.

I, too, would be interested in seeing the Top 5s in these categories! Let's hear some of that maverick individualism. And thanks, Amir, for compiling all these ballots!

(FYI, four of my #1s won in their categories - McConaughey, the Lincoln script, and Life of Pi for VFX, and Anna Karenina for costumes.) About half these winners were nowhere in my Top 5s for these categories, though I did support Phoenix, Holy Motors, Queen of Versailles, and a few others somewhere in my Top 5s.

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Holy Motors is so bad, bleh. Everything is great, except the story. He goes places and does things, and he does his own make up! And its meaningful because...uhhh...welll....

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbbats

TB, the film is also a film with an independant story about an unseen collective that pay people such as Monsieur Oscar to go out and perform acts amongst the world. The daughter is, I think, clearly just another actor. I also think the monkey scene, Celine with the mask, multiple other scenes are references to other films.

If you didn't like it so be it, but there's plenty out there already explaining why those who do like it feel that way.

bbats, there's more to cinema than the literal. It exists in a world that goes by its own cinematic rules.

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

@Glenn: While I would have loved to see the film address that complex and fascinating idea that you bring up of the audience paying for Oscar's acts, the film never explicitly addresses that issue. It acknowledges that Oscar has appointments and that he is engaged in acts, but it never takes a moment to address who is watching them.

I agree with you in that I have no doubt Carax is referencing other films throughout the film, but to what end? Without some kind of context within the film, those references are empty, just easter eggs for film studies students to smile at knowingly as they pass. And while there is a pleasure in that, it's not exactly the kind of high experimental and intellectual pleasure that has been suggested by critics of this film. I like the movie as is, but it's a B for effort. My question for someone to explain why they liked the movie was not an indication that I haven't read other people's reviews, but rather an expression of my incredulity at the rapturous opinions expressed. I have yet to read a positive critique of the film that explicitly addresses my issues with the finished product.

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Oh, I love the idea of Team Experinece Awards!

and I also thought immediately of Nathaniel when I saw Amy Adam's win. But yay Magic Mike!

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

Nathan, where the cultists see high art in The Master, I see a blank slate--and hear PTA's fingernails dragging across it.

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

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