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"Inside out FTW. 'I loved you in Fairy Dream Adventure Part 7. Okay bye. I love you!'" - Teppo

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Entries in Film Bitch Awards (79)

Saturday
Feb062016

Film Bitch Awards: Diva and Sexpot Nominations

I'm working on the character page portion of the awards. Today write-ups for the Diva and Sexpot of the year with nominees from Magic Mike XXL, Saint Laurent, Spy and more. Hero & Villain categories coming shortly.

Bear in mind that I don't let characters cross over into more than one category lest they dominate too many categories so, for instance, you won't see Lysistrata from Chi-Raq under Best Diva, though she is one because she fits the Sexpot category to a T (and A). She owns it. And she's not giving it away. "No Peace. No Pussy." 

The film doesn't work at all if you don't see how badly Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon), her gang leader boyfriend, wants that "nappy pouch". Teyonah Parris is on in this movie and it's so hard to believe it's the same actress that played quiet confident Dawn in Mad Men, just trying to earn her paycheck in that office with all that crazy white folks drama. (Remember that awkward episode when Peggy tried to confide in her. -so uncomfortable)

Chi-Raq is now streaming on Amazon Prime and on DVD and you should watch it. 


THE AWARDS CHARTS

Sunday
Jan312016

Personal Ballot: Casting, Ensemble, Breakthrough

Ready to start pouring over Nathaniel's annual Film Bitch Awards? The time is now. As longtime readers probably have gleaned, in my secret alternate fantasy life I became a casting director. It's one of the three jobs in movies I always thought I'd be terrific at (the others being editing and screenwriting). This is not bragging. It's fan-fic journaling. All cinephiles are allowed, indeed encouraged (at least here), to harbor such 'in another life' fantasies! The natural pull of casting is probably what keys up the interesting in SAG's Ensemble category so much even though they don't ever seem to absorb the meaning of the word but just pick five pictures they liked. 

Now that SAG has had their say, here are the Film Bitch Nominees in the casting friendly categories:  Casting, Ensemble, and Breakthrough Performers. You'll see major shout outs to Sicario and Brooklyn in particular, both the casts and their casting directors (Francine Maisler and Fiona Weir, respectively). It's still mortifying that they were looked over in terms of communal acting whenever ensemble prizes were handed out anywhere. Diary of a Teenage Girl, which we probably haven't talked about enough, is also honored twice over. 

And a note to remember as you read them: If a performer is nominated in one of our regular Oscar-adjacent acting categories they are not eligible for Breakthrough (so no double dipping) which is why you don't see Jacob Tremblay from Room for example since he was already nominated in Leading Actor

Friday
Jan292016

Best Acting, Female Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

We've reached the end of the Oscar Correlative portion of The Film Bitch Awards... and we're only running like 2 weeks late! Now you can compare nomination stats if you'd so desire. A short take: Mad Max Fury Road is loved in roughly the same dose but The Revenant has only 1 nomination to Carol's 10. You're welcome. That said I do not choose my nominees "in response" to Oscars. The choices are grouped into semi-finalists before the Oscar nominations come out and even when I'm behind schedule I'm still usually only a fifth-slot decision away from my final 5 in each category by that time. 

On to what you've been waiting for... ACTRESSING! 

the best BEST ACTRESS duo since Thelma & Louise? Oh what could have been Academy. What could have been.

BEST ACTRESS
Though we continue to despise The Academy's willingness to embrace Category Fraud and thus deny us the pleasure and spiritual rightness of seeing Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett side-by-side for Carol, the Academy's leading lineup is pretty damn great this year. Though Jennifer Lawrence's nomination was probably pre-ordained and thus lazy voting, she's actually quite good in Joy. Not as good as about ten other leading ladies this year mind you, let's not be crazy -- there were so many that I couldn't squeeze into my personal ballot that I wanted to. We should thank the cinematic gods for years in which we have to make such tough choices about who is "Best".

And yes I feel total guilt about abandoning Lily Tomlin in Grandma at the very end of the film year after championing her for so long but that was what 2015 was like with an abundance of valid and great choices. Some unfortunate soul falls into sixth place each year - damn you, list math. In truth my Best Actress ballot needed nine slots in the worst way this year. 

Cynthia Nixon earning her EGOT... only the people who provide the "O" in that equation weren't paying attentionBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Here Oscar and I are forced to part ways decisively. Not just from their 'f*** character actresses!' habits with creative category placements but because we rarely see eye to eye when it comes to what StinkyLulu calls "actressing at the edges".

The Academy chose Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rachel McAdams, Kate Winslet, Alicia Vikander, and Rooney Mara and though all of those performances are noteworthy in one way or another my personal ballot only includes one of them: Kate Winslet, who returned to electric form in Steve Jobs (welcome back, baby). Vikander and Mara absolutely have no business here since they're the co-leads of their romantic dramas and as attentive as McAdams was to her sources in Spotlight and as forceful as Jennifer Jason Leigh is when diving straight into cackling evil in The Hateful Eight, they didn't even come close to making my top dozen women who amazed from just off to the side of the lead or further out in the periphery.

Despite our dissimilar tastes, Oscar's acting branch definitely would have loved Cynthia Nixon in James White, had they seen her. It's a traditionally juicy part (a dying, angry yet loving mother) but who among the Academy watches indies that make only $101,000 in theatrical release? Not too damn many of them, that's who. Check out my list and the Oscar chart (now with statistics and trivia!) and choose your own beloveds in the comments. And, as a reminder, ICYMI, Alicia Vikander was granted a special gold medal for "Body of Work" here a couple of weeks back. 

Friday
Jan292016

Beauty Break: Costume Design (Personal Ballot & Oscar Shortlist) 

We're about to wrap up the "traditional" portion of the Film Bitch Awards which are essentially Nathaniel's Oscar ballot were he to have one in every category. (There will be more awards each day until we're finished -- before the Oscars, mind you! -- but they're the fun "extras")

Oscar's costume branch and I were fairly sympatico on our shortlists this year differing by only two pictures. Yet citing only 7 pictures (all featured after the jump) feels stingy. Costume heavy period pictures like Macbeth, Crimson Peak, The Assassin and Brooklyn definitely had their moments. Two contemporary pictures worth noting for their clever work were Youth and Chi-Raq. And then there are the pictures that have one costume so special it's what you always think of later on when you're picturing the movie: that lime green slit-to-there dress in M:I - Rogue Nation, the perfect action hero simplicity of Chris Pratt's functional but very tight outfits in Jurassic World, the barely visible sight of Jennifer Jason Leigh under huge furry everything in The Hateful Eight, that stylish pilot jacket in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that traded hands and so on...

In short, if you don't love costumes -- get outta here! Let's celebrate the five Oscar nominees plus two Nathaniel nominated in his own awards after the jump. Crazy gorgeous photos ahead...

OSCAR'S COSTUME DESIGN NOMINEES

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan282016

Personal Ballots Cont'd: Best Cinematography & Production Design

We're almost done with the Oscar Correlative categories in the Film Bitch Awards. Then it's on to the silly & fun but still seriously chosen "extra" categories. Here are my choices for the best men behind the camera (always men. sigh) and the men and women designing and decorating those sets and the film's overall visual palette for your eye-candy pleasure. 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The big Oscar question this year is "Can Emmanuel Lubezki" win a third consecutive Oscar for The Revenant. He's dominated the category the past two years with Gravity (2013) and Birdman (2014). It won't be the longest consecutive winning streak ever -- that belongs to Walt Disney who won consistently in short film categories for seemingly ever in the early days of Oscar -- but it will be the single longest streak in modern history if he pulls it off. But the category already has something for the record books: With his 13th nomination Roger Deakins Sicario moves into a tie for 5th place for All Time Most Celebrated Cinematographer. He's now sharing the honor with George J. Folsey (Meet Me in St. Louis) who also never won an Oscar. Everyone higher on the list won the Oscar once or multiple times, all four of them; It's rarified air they're breathing. 

Deakins makes my own personal ballot this year but Lubezki just barely misses (I was more impressed with his work on The New World which also went all natural light on the frontier) because I had to make room for the emotionally expressive and flexible light of Phoenix (courtesy of Hans Fromm) and the jaw-dropping 'how'd they do that?' camerawork on Germany's Victoria. On the latter film the director was so impressed he gave DP Sturla Brandth Grølven billing above his own! 

Oscar Charts (now with trivia & predictions) & Nathaniel's Ballot  


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
We've already discussed the stupendous achievements in this category by Ethan Tobman on Room and Judy Becker on Carol so no need to rehash other than 'what is with Oscar sometimes. How could they ignore them?' Oscar voters have an anything goes choice in this category, though. If they don't just check off Mad Max Fury Road in most of the craft categories it's easy to imagine any of the films as winners, don'cha think?

Finally I wanted to give a shout out briefly to Thomas E Sanders work on Crimson Peak which the Academy also passed on. The movie has a lot of problems -- Guillermo del Toro can't seem to stay out of his own way with so much gilding of every gothic lily -- but Allerdale Hall is wonderfully decayed and oppressively decorative and all around drafty and decadent. And those vats in the basement! 

Oscar Charts (now with trivia & predictions) & Nathaniel's Ballot  

Wednesday
Jan272016

Personal Ballots Continued: Editing, Makeup, Visual FX

I promised daily Film Bitch Award nominations and I aim to deliver since we were supposed to technically be done by now. The best laid plans. Yesterday I shared male acting choices and jazzed up two Oscar charts. Today half of the visual categories have gone up and I've updated the correlative three Oscar charts, too.

FILM EDITING
I'm so disappointed that Academy voters skipped Sicario's Joe Walker in this category so I've rectified that obvious error. Talk about sustaining the tension masterfully for two hours. He's best known for his work with director Steve McQueen and was Oscar-nominated a couple of years ago for 12 Years a Slave. He had a good year since he also edited Blackhat which people found lacking in the emotion and story department but which was quite fine on a craft level. Two editors we interviewed here Nathan Nugent (Room) and Affonso Gonçalves (Carol) are also honored. 

VISUAL FX
Look I get that people didn't love The Avengers: Age of Ultron but passing on its visual effects strikes me as pettiness for feeling disappointed and getting Marvel fatigue. This is state of the art superheroics. Looking over my nominees now I'm realizing it was a very good year for robots: Ultron, The Vision, Ex Machina's Ava, and even Tomorrowland's Athena 

MAKEUP & HAIR
I mostly adhere to Oscar rules with my traditional categories but not here as I am adamantly opposed to this category being ghettoized the way it is with the Academy. The makeup artists are the ONLY artists with an oscar category that are allowed only 3 nominations. Everyone else gets 5 and that is just messed up since every single film uses a hair and makeup team. With five spots, I have room for both of the high profile Oscar nominees because who can forget Leo's horrific zombie face in The Revenant or smoky eyes reaching their gonzo apotheosis in Mad Max Fury Road. For the other spots I've embraced maximum beauty (Carol), stylish comedy (Spy), and the world's most famous detective (Mr Holmes). Read the writeups here.

*If any makeup artists are reading I'd love a better education on how these departments work on film sets. It's one of the behind the scenes jobs where credits dont feel very consistent from film to film in terms of titles of the players.