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Entries in Film Bitch Awards (93)

Monday
Jan232017

Personal Ballots: Best Actor and Best Actress

And so it's come to this, the finale of the traditional Oscar-like categories in our own annual Film Bitch Awards. All the nominations have been announced in the first round ("special" non-Oscar related categories still to come). It's years like this when I wish YOU wish 5 were a much larger number in so many fields. There were seven leading ladies I really wanted to honor and six leading men but five does not equal six or seven. Alas. It's also strange when films you really love are denied any nominations in your own prizes. Such was the fate of one film from my top ten list (Embrace of the Serpent). Fences and Lion, two Oscar hopefuls I'm quite fond of, also look deceptively unloved with only two nominations each though with both Best Actor and Best Actress citations, Fences can't complain. 

tfw when you realize you're nominated for a Film Bitch Award. (Huppert plays it cool)

In the final nomination tally, 35 movies received at least one nomination, with Arrival and La La Land leading the pack with 8 nominations each (will they also lead the Oscar nods?). The Handmaiden, Moonlight, 20th Century Women, and Jackie trailed not so far behind. The rest of the films weren't as lucky but perhaps they'll rise in the "special" categories to come. 

Page 1 Picture, Director, Screenplay, Animation
Page 2 Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
Page 3 Visual Categories: Cinematography, Costume Design, etcetera...
Page 4 Aural Categories: Song, Score, etcetera

Monday
Jan232017

Personal Ballots Galore!

The Oscar correlative part of the Film Bitch Awards are almost done. Racing to the finish line here. In the updates you'll see the nominees for Best Screenplays and Animated Feature as well as Visual categories like Visual Effects and Makeup.

You never know where a great movie will come from. Who knew that a circular short story by Ted Chiang, an possibly unfilmable novel like "Oh...," or a novella like "Lady Susan" could make great movies like Arrival, Elle, and Love & Friendship? (Okay okay, everyone knows that Jane Austen stories can make great movies. But isn't it insane that Love & Friendship isn't locked up for an Oscar nomination? What was everyone thinking this year?) They're all up for the Film Bitch Award for Adapted Screenplay. The nominees are...

As for the Makeup and Hair ballot, I'll state straightaway that I'll never understand what Oscar's makeup branch wants from their movies (besides old age prosthetics. They love those). Everything that makes my list, save Hail Caesar! and Star Trek Beyond did not make the Oscar finals in that category (or perhaps did not even submit reels to the branch for consideration?). It may seem to on-the-nose to include Neon Demon, but when that nose is a work of art...

Previous Announcements
Picture/Director/Top Ten List
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Costume Design and Production Design
Sound and Music Categories

Three more TBA: Actor, Actress, and Cinematography

Sunday
Jan222017

Personal Ballot: Best Scores, Sounds, Songs...

Though my ears aren't as fine tuned as my eyes when it comes to the cinema, I take pleasure freely from every craft. The best films are the ones that try to engage all senses. (Well, not smell. They tried that with Smell-O-Vision and it didn't work out so well.) 

So here are my choices for Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing and Editing, Best Original Song and a fifth category that's kind of "off-Oscar." The Film Bitch Awards have always had a Best Adapted / Combination / Song Score category for films where the original score is only part of the defining musical sensation and the rest comes from pre-existing material or songs that are woven into the sound mix. Films honored include in these various aural categories include The Handmaiden, Arrival, Moonlight, Lion, Jackie, La La Land, Sully, The Witch, Doctor Strange, Sing Street and more. Which movies did you love listening to this year? 

Friday
Jan202017

Oscar Predix & Personal Ballots: The Moulin Rouge! Categories...

If you've read The Film Experience for any length of time beyond let's say, a week, you'll know that we live for eye candy. Three of the cinematic arts that most regularly provide this are, outside of beautiful movie stars in the acting categories, Production Design and Costume Design i.e. the Moulin Rouge! categories. We love these categories so much we have two weekly series for them, Daniel Walber's "The Furniture" and my own forthcoming costume series "Three Fittings".

Anyway, it's time to make our final predictions for Oscar but it's also time to get those Film Bitch Awards (my own long running awards jamboree) going. So herewith my personal ballot and, putting the pundit hat on, my Oscar predictions. These two modes should not be confused... so apologies for discussing them simultaneously. This is what happens when you procrastinate!

Will Stuart Craig receive his 5th nomination directly from the Potterverse (he had 6 nominations and 3 wins before the Potterverse took over his life)

Production Design - Oscar Predictions
I figure this is a slot for the BAFTA surging Nocturnal Animals and I'm predicting that at the expensive of the haunting minimalistic sci-fi of Arrival (work I really really love. Sigh). That damn outdoor potty and the opening art world light slabs will do it. This is an interesting category, though, and I'm going to predict The Handmaiden both because it is hugely deserving and because of all the critics foreign film prizes and the LAFCA prize in this very category. If Park Chan Wook's brilliant film is going to score anywhere it will be here (with an outside shot at costumes, too). There's plentiful buzz around Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts (they do love the Harry Potter films in this category but come one, how many times do we need to dip in that well with so many richly art directed films of all genres happening each year ?!?). Question: is Doctor Strange really well liked enough to score multiple nods when so many other Marvel Studio films couldn't do it? 

NATHANIEL'S BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN BALLOT
• DANIEL, WHO WRITES "THE FURNITURE," ALSO NAMED HIS 5 FAVORITES 

 

Costume Design
If you really give in to the predictive mania of at home Oscar punditry costume design will surely drive you craziest. What an impossible category to predict this year!  Since the CDG has multiple categories they've covered a ton of possibilities  and the ones they didn't still have buzz for costumes anyway. Just thinking casually about the films won't help. On paper you might think: oh easy, period pieces + a little Colleen Atwood and you're done (Jackie, Florence Foster Jenkins, Hidden Figures, Love & Friendship, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). But not so fast. Silence, Hail Caesar, and Allied also feature period costumes and they're both buzzing for this category which is easily understandable if you've seen them given the gorgeous work. Even stranger, at least in terms of Oscar history, is that people are talking up not one but two contemporary films: Captain Fantastic as a dark horse (yes please) and La La Land as a sure thing. And that's before you even consider outside possibilities like Kubo and the Two Strings (which wants to be the first animated film nominated here, with all those lovingly detailed miniature costumes), less showy period fare like Fences, Cafe Society or Loving, a costuming legend in Albert Wolsky (Rules Don't Apply). Finally there's a foreign possibility in this category, too, via the The Handmaiden. Here's my best guess though I'm prepared to go 1 or 2 for 5 because I've taken quite a chance on two of them that aren't anything like sure things (The Dressmaker and Hidden Figures) but who the hell knows!?!

 

Friday
Jan202017

Actress in a Supporting Role, Personal Ballot

Oscar predictions are already up for Best Supporting Actress.

Will Greta Gerwig read good news or bad next week?

It's looking like the most settled of the acting categories with Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Nicole Kidman, and Octavia Spencer all widely expected to place.

If there's a sudden shift look for either Greta Gerwig or Janelle Monae to spoil... or enliven the party, depending on your preferences. "Spoiler" is such a weird word in this context, no? Regardless, it will be a good year for the Academy in Supporting Actress with all seven of those performances that ranging from quite good to phenomenal; we'll take it!

But it's not my personal ballot and that's not only because I consider Viola Davis a lead in Fences (I realize others feel differently). Three of those names above, however, do make my personal list. The two I'd like to add to the mix are Riley Keough, so mesmerizingly trashy/real as a entrepeneur (of sorts) toying with her underlings in American Honey and Elle Fanning doing the best work of her already lauded teenage career (thus far) in 20th Century Women. Read the writeups here at the Film Bitch Awards.

Thursday
Jan192017

Supporting Actor, Personal Ballot

I'm still debating Oscar's fifth slot free-for-all for Best Supporting Actor, presuming they give two spots to leading men Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins) and Dev Patel (Lion) and another two spots are held by former Oscar winner Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water) and the man I'd argue is still the frontrunner to win despite his Golden Globe loss Mahershara Ali (Moonlight). Unfortunately almost all of my favorites are quite far out of the running this year. But my final predictions will have to wait until tomorrow. For now, it's my turn. Meaning: my ballot! Mine. Mine. Mine. 

...and I do feel possessive each year about movie honors. If you're reading I presume that you, too, care deeply about acting as an artform. It can be frustrating each season to watch dozens of worthy performances winnowed down so swiftly into 5-10 Oscar potentials. So many trickily performed, gorgeously nuanced, and admirable feats of acting get lost along the way... though some happily stand the test of time and become "how did HE/SHE not get nominated?" curiousities. I don't try to be off consensus in my own awards but sometimes it works out that way. For my own shortlist, only one of the presumed Oscar players makes it. Looking over the list I've realized that all of these characters would surely be insufferable to spend actual time with but they were played by five actors so rich, every second spent with them was something to treasure. So here's to Tom Bennett, Ralph Fiennes, Mahershara Ali, Trevante Rhodes, and Alden Ehrenhreich! You can read the write ups here at the Film Bitch Awards.

Friday
Jan132017

Best of Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

We've reached the end of our Year in Review List Making if not the end of the year in review list making -- wait wha?!. Which is to say that we still have our own awards nominations (both Oscar and fun extras) in some 40 categories to come. That's right. It's time for the annual Film Bitch Award Nominations -- our 17th annual prizes (gulp) -- which begin with the age-old tradition of the top ten list.

But first...

HONORABLE MENTION

If The Salesman borrows too liberally from Asghar Farhadi's masterpiece A Separation so be it (let's face it -- all the great auteurs steal from themselves. This is how we recognize their films). It's a riveting drama exposed by destabilizing cracks in the foundations.

Sing Street was the year's most rewarding nostalgia piece causing flashbacks of teenage identity experiments and that usually short lived  'i could be a pop star!' phase. And what a fantastically fresh cast.

Viggo Mortensen's uniquely out of place and time persona (think about it: he could be from any country or era) is a huge boon to the thought-provoking Captain Fantastic. Writer/director Matt Ross harnesses Viggo's energy for a head-first sprint into the woods of non-conformity but those idealogical woods thin out and soon enough we're face-to-face with reality.

The Fits' unique character as something of a mystical movement film had us levitating. Its hard-to-pin-down allegory wasn't so much tentative and amorphous as thrillingly ambiguous...

Click to read more ...