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Entries in Oscars (12) (288)

Tuesday
Dec042012

Top Ten: Greatest Lone Oscar Nods of the Past 20 Years

Glenn here with another look at one of my favourite bi-products of the Oscar season. They’re the nominations that we sometimes forget about (unless it’s Norbit – we all remember that one!), but which forever brand a movie as “Oscar nominated”. Sometimes they’re the result of one aspect of a film sucking up all the energy in the room, and sometimes they’re the result of a prickly film finding an appreciative consensus in one category. Oh sure, all of the films below probably deserve the sort of Oscar haul that will greet Les Mis, Lincoln, or Argo, but receiving just one makes for fun statistics and even more fun list making! Let’s count down the best films of the last 20 years to receive just one nomination* on Oscar morning, and take a look at the films of 2012 that could very well reap a similar fate in 37 days.

*We’re going to exclude films that competed only in the animated/foreign/documentary categories since the Academy assigns them a ghetto for reason.

serial killer films don't usually generate the multiple Oscar wins of Silence of the Lambs

Honourable Mentions: I couldn’t go further without mentioning Tarsem Singh’s The Cell (Best Makeup, 2000) and David Fincher’s Se7en (Best Editing, 1995) since these two audaciously constructed classics of the serial killer subgenre are such bold choices for the Academy in their respective categories. They make a particularly disturbing double feature, too. You’ll be disgusted at the world for weeks!

The Best Single Nominee Films of the Past Twenty Years

10. Monster (Lead Actress, 2003)
I’m most definitely on Team Nick Davis when it comes to this captivating portrayal of an unravelling American life. Told as if through hazy, overly orchestrated memory pieces, Patty Jenkins’ film about Aileen Wuornos arguably deserved more credit than just for Charlize Theron’s pulverising central portrayal. A makeup nomination was the least the Academy could have done.

And in 2012: Now that tsunami disaster drama The Impossible has been nixed from the visual effects category, surely its only strong shot at a nomination is for star Naomi Watts. Will the Academy recognise the desperate plight of a white woman in danger? Probably.

Nine more achievements and their possible mirrors this year are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec032012

Elusive As Ever: Academy's Documentary Shortlist

As if announcing NYFCC's winners and the nominations for the Annies on the same day weren't indicative that awards season is officially upon us, the Academy went ahead and released the 15-film shortlist of documentaries in contention for gold. For all the talk about the new voting system, this list seems to be no different that what we've seen in previous years. It has left off several of the year's most acclaimed titles. That being said, there is a vintage crop of five nominees waiting to happen since the inclusions here are, for the most part, all worthy of their spot. What can I say? It has been an absolutely incredible year for documentaries. But let's get to the most shocking snubs.

The Central Park Five, which won best doc at the NYFCC a few hours earlier, is the biggest exclusion. I reviewed the film at TIFF, where I fell for its exposé of institutionalized racism in the American justice system and I'm genuinely surprised that the voters didn't take to it. Queen of Versailles is another major surprise, though lacking the apparent "importance" factor of The Central Park Five, this one is not quite as inexplicable. When I first watched the film, I described it as "an exquisite treatise on everything that's wrong with our society today, shot through the lens of reality television" and I stand by it as one of the year's best films from any genre and medium. Then there's West of Memphis, one of Nathaniel's predictions, which despite massive thematic and structural differences with the Paradise Lost series, is quite possibly the victim of the previous film's success just last year. Further off the field where Marley and Jiro Dreams of Sushi, both of which I loved but expected not to see on today's list.

On the flip side, I'm ecstatic to see the Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers. It is by far the most important film to be released this year and one that I expect to see among the final nominees.

More worthy inclusions and the full list of nominees after the jump:

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec012012

A Lively Live Action Short Race: Bryce Dallas Howard, Matthias Schoenaerts & More...

Yesterday the finalists list for the Live Action Short film category at the Oscars was announced. Bryce Dallas Howard could be an Oscar nominee in just 39 days time! But Ron Howard's daughter is not the only familiar face in the mix here. 

Matthias Schoenaerts in "Death of a Shadow"

One film about mountain climbers, The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars features popular 80s stars Nastassja Kinski (Tess herself) and Julian Sands. Another, Death of a Shadow, stars the rapidly ascending Belgian god Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead & Rust & Bone). He plays a dead soldier who hopes to win his life back by capturing thousands of shadows of dying men and women.

Father and Daughter will be nominated together if "when you find me" wins the nomination on January 10thThe 11 wide finalist list, which also features multiple films about children in war-torned countries (a frequent subgenre within award-winning short films), goes like so:

  • A Fábrica (The Factory) 
  • Asad 
  • Buzkashi Boys 
  • Curfew 
  • Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) 
  • Henry  
  • Kiruna-Kigali 
  • The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars 
  • 9meter 
  • Salar 
  • when you find me 

More info and trailers on the Animated, Shorts & Documentary Oscar Chart Page

Friday
Nov302012

Nicole & The Noise

Last week, I started prepping the 2012 "film bitch" awards pages and while staring at the rough draft of the acting awards which will be posted the week before the Oscar nominations, I kept thinking "something is wrong here." I slept on it. The next morning I realized with complete horrror that I had left Nicole Kidman off of my rough draft nominee list for The Paperboy. I, a self-described Kidmaniac, had forgotten "Charlotte Bless." If *I*  was able to forget Nicole, how could I rage at the non-adventurous critics and staid Oscar voters a month and a half from now when they presumably forget her in their year-end polling.

The Thanksgiving to Christmas movie season is filled with "Best of" Noise: big glitzy openings, highbrow movies, lists everywhere you look, forum discussions, critics org announcement. They're all reflecting "Oscar Buzz" whether or not they mean to. Oscar buzz is noisy and the noise can, paradoxically, drown out actual conversations and thoughtful consideration of who might qualify for the word "best"... not who is in the best movie or who is most likely to be nominated. It's understandable human error. Fact: it's easier to remember names you hear every day than names you don't. 

This past week while staring hard at the Supporting Actress Chart  (since revived), I kept staring at Nicole Kidman's photo and cursing the world that this amazing actress's about-face work as a trashy convict-loving beautician wasn't more firmly entrenched in the discussion.

Then a miracle occured...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov302012

Awards Calendar: Precursor Madness Begins in 3... 2... 1... 

Which film will lord over NYC film critics this year?You've probably heard by now that the city-by-city / guild-by-guild precursor madness begin next week. Golden Globe ballots went out to members yesterday and The New York Film Critics Circle will be the first to announce winners on Monday, December 3rd. I'm having breakfast with a director during their announcement -- priorities! -- but we'll be sure to discuss that day.

The rush to "first!" means that Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is right on the wire of "will voters see it or not see it before voting?" Apparently it's now locked and screening (my December 1st screening was cancelled and I have not -- as of yet -- been re-invited though our BFCA balloting begins on December 3rd)

IMPORTANT DATES / GROUPS TO WATCH
12/3 -New York Film Critics Circle 
⅓ of the Holy Trinity of critics groups. Founded in 1935!!! Last year's winner: The Artist
12/5 -National Board of Review
In recent years they've finally cried uncle about "first!" and conceded. Last year's winner: Hugo
12/7 -Los Angeles Film Critics Association
⅓ of the Holy Trinity of Critics Prizes founded in 1975. Last year's winner: The Descendants
12/9 -New York Film Critics Online
This upstart group began handing out prizes in 2003. Last year's winner: The Artist
12/9 - Boston Society of Film Critics
Announcing since 1980. They were once among the most iconoclastic of groups but in the past decade have, like nearly all critics groups, begun to merely choose their favorite from the handful of true Oscar hopefuls. Last year's winner: The Artist
12/11 Broadcast Film Critics Association "Critics Choice" Nominations
Announcing since. Full disclosure: I am a voting member.
12/12 Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations
A very big pre-Oscar deal... since 1995. Their unique system of choosing nominees -- a different randomly-selected nominating pool each year from their vast membership --  should technically be capable of delivering bigger surprises now and then. We'll see... Last year's winner: the cast of The Help
12/13 Golden Globe Nominations
Woot!
1/8 Directors Guild Award Nominations (Feature Films)
Before Oscar started monkeying with their Best Picture rules this was the single most predictive award as to which films would be nominated for Best Picture. Voting annually since 1948. Last year's winner: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist.
TBA - Chicago Film Critics
Annoyingly they announce nominees and then wait for the winners, upsetting the traditional critics prize routine. Last year's eventual winner: The Tree of Life
TBA - Online Film Critics Society
Annoyingly they announce nominees and then wait for the winners, upsetting the traditional critics prize routine.  Last year's eventual winner: The Tree of Life
TBA - National Society of Film Critics
⅓ of the Holy Trinity of Critics Prizes, founded in 1966, though they've been losing plentiful media steam over the years... partially due to the explosion of ridiculous critics groups -- does every city really need their own when regional prizes for smaller film markets would make much more cumulative sense ? -- and their late in the game announcement.


THE BIGGIES

1/10 OSCAR NOMINATION MORNING!
aka Nathaniel's Christmas... and it's coming so early this year.
1/10 Critics Choice Awards 
1/13 Golden Globe Awards

1/27 SAG Awards
2/24 OSCAR NIGHT

aka Nathaniel's New Years Eve

Which groups do you care most about? Which film, if any, do you think will dominate this year? Or are you hoping, as I am, that it'll be a free for all. It's been so long since different groups had wildly different opinions! Oh how we long for critics groups to do their jobs in an entertaining thoughtful way and actually challenge each other with "no, this!" lobs.