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Detroit Film Critics Relive "Eighth Grade" and Indulge in "Vice"

by Nathaniel R

We don't cover every film critics organization at TFE now that there are around 40 of them and half of those are now doing nominations to go along with their winners (exhausting!) but given that your host here originally hails from the Motor City we feel a certain amount of affection. This year the 21 Detroit area or Detroit-connected critics went all in for the adorable summer sleeper hit Eighth Grade and the forthcoming political comedy Vice. Their winners were...

Film Eighth Grade
Director Adam McKay, Vice
Actress Toni Collette, Hereditary
Actor Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Thrilled with those but for McKay. Don't get it.

Supporting Actress Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Supporting Actor Josh Hamilton, Eighth Grade

Regina King and Ethan Hawke are definitely digging in as the "critical darling" pet causes of the year. Toni Collette might get there but we'll see. One side note: In another embarrassing case of critics rubber stamping category fraud -- even though they don't benefit from it at all and aren't beholden to studios or publicity tactics -- the DFCS actually have Thomasin McKenzie nominated as supporting for Leave No Trace even though she's the protagonist / inarguable center of the story. It's like nominating Elsie Fisher in Eighth Grade as a "supporting" actress. Tee hee but also groan. If you love her that much just nominate her in Best Actress, you know? This will forever be my pet peeve. If someone is not strong enough to compete in lead, they have no business being shoved into supporting just so you can nominate them. (FTR I think McKenzie is very good in Leave No Trace, but she is NOT a supporting actress by any stretch of the imagination)

Ensemble Vice 

In truth we'd be far more comfortable with Vice winning Ensemble prizes than winning individual acting prizes. The film was wise to release last minute because it's exciting to watch in the moment but has a glib aftertaste and is arguably too scattershot. But when you don't have a lot of time to digest something, exciting-to-watch can really help. 

Three Identical Strangers

Screenplay [TIE] Green Book and Vice
Documentary Film Three Identical Strangers
Animated Film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Breakthrough Writer/Director Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Use of Music A Star is Born

The Detroit Film Critics Society has fairly mainstream tastes as their nominees for Animated Feature, Documentary, and Best Use of Music and whatnot skewed extremely box office/studio friendly. (In fact among their nominees for Best Documentary they chose the #1, #2, #3, #4, and #7 highest grossing documentaries of the year.) Another example of their mainstream slant: they are one of the few critics groups that don't even give out a foreign film award! But of course I used to live in Detroit and it isn't super arthouse friendly.

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Reader Comments (13)

Happy for Toni Collette!

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPoliVamp

Love the Josh Hamilton win! Hope there are many more to follow (and Ethan and Toni are great picks too.)

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

The Thomasin McKenzie category fraud is bananas. To whom is she "supporting" exactly? Ben Foster because her character helps his character gather firewood and set up camp? You'd think film critics would demonstrate a mind of their own and, you know, think critically in these cases.

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Green Book wins for Screenplay? That's the worst thing about it.

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Go Toni!!!!!

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRdf

I like a lot of these results - in particular I'm happy that Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Regina King, and Toni Collette are getting even more love. Hawke & King seem to be on track to Oscar nominations at this point (fingers crossed).

Also want to once again say Hear Hear to Nathaniel's eternal rant: "If someone is not strong enough to compete in lead, they have no business being shoved into supporting just so you can nominate them." The practice is so patently unfair to the actors and actresses who are genuinely supporting players - how many get shoved out of consideration due to this (arguably downright corrupt) practice? Everyone stop this at once!

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Go get some Glenn Close banners!

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Toni Collette!!! If she doesn’t make it to Oscar, she’s at least 6th place.

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

Good stuff Hawke. Is good when the obvious widespread among predictors early choice does well and is deserving. Basic bitches ARE wanted! Lol.

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLano

End Category Fraud! That said, Thomasin McKenzie is wonderful. And "Eight Grade" is a fine choice.

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark F.

Metink at this juncture, Collette actually has a betta shot at a nom than McCarthy, but I guess its still early days.

If she got in at the Golden Globes in a few days time, it'll really boast her chances

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

I'm expecting more than a few of these critics award for Toni. And I'm thrilled about that.

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I have Toni Collette getting of the favorites not getting in.

Also, I won't be critical cuz there's not much space here for me to get into a proper critique, and I don't like disregarding others' favorites, but I don't really get the Josh Hamilton love. He had moments (the speech at the end is stunning), but I thought his performance was awkward. I get that maybe it was the character and the idea he took it where it was meant to go, but I felt the same way when I saw a film some time ago called Intimate Strangers. I just think he was off.

Eight Grade is a decent movie, but I'm a bit surprised with all the love it's gotten. I think it's a little amateurish.

December 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe

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