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Entries in precursor awards (197)


Critics Prizes Dotting The Map

You may have noticed that The Film Experience never publishes the lists of nominees from small critics organizations. The winners we like to cover, yes. But nominees? This is, in my opinion, the last thing the already crowded landscape of movie awards needs is for each tiny critics organization to attempt to share not just their advocacy for Best of the Best but all the other ones they liked too. If winners announcements are good enough for the three most prestigious societies (NYFCC, LAFCA and NSFC) they should be good enough for the smaller groups. It all becomes too much noise. The multiple daily announcements actually bring one of We Need To Talk About Kevin's best scenes to mind. Tilda's weary mom stops near a construction site to allow a jackhammer to drown out the endless crying of her demon baby. Hilariously wrong but you feel for her. 

But now that we have some winners, here we go! 

San Diego Film Critics Society

Film The Artist
Director Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
Actress Brit Marling, Another Earth
Actor Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Supporting Actor Nick Nolte, Warrior
Ensemble Performance Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Animated Film Arthur Christmas
Documentary Project Nim
Foreign Film I Svil
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Editing Oliver Bugge Coutté, Beginners
Production Design Dante Ferretti, Hugo
Original Screenplay Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen
Adapted Screenplay Moneyball by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Score Alexandre Desplat, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Body of Work Jessica Chastain
Kyle Counts Award Lee Ann Kim, San Diego Asian Film Foundation

Houston, Toronto, Indiana, and the African American Film Critics Association after the jump with more cities to come...

Click to read more ...


BEST ENSEMBLE... Except You Corey Stoll in "Midnight in Paris"!

It's become something of a tradition here at The Film Experience to take issue with the Screen Actors Guild and their problematic "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture" prize. Year after year they don't even seek to address an issue that you'd think would matter to the 90,000+ guild members: the preferencing of "names" over character actors, no matter the size or importance of the role. As you may know acting is one of those fields were you're lucky to just be working and those who make millions are few and far between. Yet the guild, which should be protecting their less-famous members often lets them be crushed by fame and its perks (aka getting your own title card or high billing). If you don't have your own title card you usually don't end up in the "ensemble" list. Our interest in this situation was first stirred by The Aviator (2004) when we were horrified to realize that the very famous Gwen Stefani was included as a nominee for essentially walking and sitting onscreen in Jean Harlow drag while Matt Ross, who was excellent in MANY scenes as Howard Hughes's right hand man was excluded. 

So who is nominated and who is excluded this year? Let's take a looksee.

nominees: Bérénice Bejo, James Cromwell, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, and Penelope Ann Miller
who is excluded? Missy Pyle who has a fun cameo and Beth Grant who appears in the movie briefly in its final act ...and Uggie the dog who some people think is best in show. 

nominees: Rose Byrne, Jill Clayburgh, Ellie Kemper, Matt Lucas, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig.
who is excluded? This is fairly representative of the film though Ben Falcone, Air Marshall Jon (and Mr Melissa McCarthy in real life), is excluded. Also missing though understandably given that he went "uncredited" is Jon Hamm.

nominees: Beau Bridges, George Clooney, Robert Forster, Judy Greer (Interviewed), Matthew Lillard, and Shailene Woodley.
who is excluded? Nick Krause as "Sid" who has been given quite a lot of attention in the movie's trailer and appears in several scenes. An even more important character, the youngest King daughter played by Amara Miller is also absent. We'll forgive them for omitting Patricia Hastie as Elizabeth King. (Not that it's not difficult to appear comatose for scene upon scene upon scene; I could never sit still that long, I don't know about you.)

nominees: Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O'Reilly, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel.
who is excluded? With the largest amount of nominees, they do fairly well at covering the movie but there is one key player missing: Aunjane Ellis who plays "Yule Mae" and gets a few really good scenes involving her struggle to send her boy to college. Other exclusions: Tony winner LaChanze who plays "Rachel" in one of the most heartbreaking scenes as her mother is fired from a lifelong job, and the diminutive Leslie Jordan who bosses Emma Stone around frequently at work between meatier scenes is also absent.

nominees: Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, and Owen Wilson (who are all listed alphabetically, as is Woody's generous ensemble-friendly way, on the first title card)
who is excluded? Where to even begin? Each year one of the nominees takes the cake for the year's most bizarre exclusions and this is inarguably that film for 2011.

The nomination does not include the three co-stars who were, arguably, the most fun to watch. Corey Stoll who won the lion's share of "stole the show!" plaudits for his breakthrough work as Ernest Hemingway is missing. Perhaps even more baffling, given their higher degree of fame before this film, is the exclusion of Alison Pill and Tom Hiddleston as the Fitzgeralds. I spoke to Corey Stoll this morning (read the interview) and since I was particularly aggravated by his absence from the list, I asked him how he was feeling about it:

That's a nomination for us whether we go there or not. We are undeniably a part of the ensemble and we brought a lot to the table. But it's strange that it's SAG that does that. I could understand something that's more critic or producer-centric but acting? From my union, I think it's a little strange. 

We wholeheartedly agree!

Other key cast members of Midnight in Paris who appear with "Hemingway" & "the Fitzgeralds" on the second title card and were thus excluded from the honor were: Mimi Kennedy and Kurt Fuller (the future in-laws), Léa Seydoux (the vintage shop worker) and Nina Arianda (Michael Sheen's fiancé).

Wouldn't SAG do better by its own union members if productions were expected to choose the nominees themselves (up to a certain number of people), the way Oscar nominated films must choose who gets the credit fo such efforst as producing and visual effects and what not? 



SAG Nominations: Surprising, Silly, Shame-less 

Regina King and Judy Greer announced the SAG nominees

Before we begin can I get something off my chest. You've possibly noticed that I always list actresses before actors when I do lists or my own awardage. Beyond my own actressexuality there is another reason for this. It galls me that they're listed second everywhere as if they're just slightly less important than actors. Now, you might say that's just a matter of alphabetics since "Actor" comes before "Actress" in correct alphabetization and that's true enough. But it's not only alphabetics, its our lazily sexist society. Please to note that SAG makes a point of calling all acting professionals "actors" without gender division and yet they do this and then STILL list men first even though "female" comes before "male" in correct alphabetization of category titles.

Grrrrr and also "girl!"

So women first when I list it because that's how we like it! 



  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Midnight In Paris

These are strong nominees this year but as usual they left great actors out, even when their films were nominated.  Some comments on that problem in a separate post.

One theory of SAG ensemble voting is that actors vote for the movies that they wish they'd been in and that theory definitely holds up this year. All five of these sets must have been a blast when you think of the actors involved, the costumes, the color, the comedy (all five have comedic spirit even the two that are dramas).




It's also worth noting that this list is 80% identical to the BFCA list for ensemble. The only difference is you need to swap out Midnight in Paris for Ides of March. Still... it's clear that voters don't watch the more under the radar movies. I wish A Separation had opened a few months ago and built up to the acclaim it so deserves.

How fun would a win for Bridesmaids be as a ceremony capper? I demand a Wilson Phillips song be played when they take the stage should it occur.


Click to read more ...


BFCA 'Critics Choice' Nominees: It's Hugo vs. The Artist

As you may or may not know, I am a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. So this weekend, I rushed to turn in my ballot hoping against hope that my tiny voice will save them from their own relentless interest in predicting the Oscars above all else. I hoped, for example, that here is where you'd see a bit of Off Oscar movement for some of the interesting divisive movies such as Melancholia or critical hit only performances like Olivia Colman's in Tyrannosaur or things only critics have seen but that they lovedlovedloved like A Separation (Trust: I'm far from the only one.) While hope springs eternal, this year they held on tight to just what you'd expect: Oscar predictions! There are about 250 members of the BFCA -- you can see a list here --  and remarkably none of us are named Peter Travers though as a group we seem to collectively share his Oscar-hewing choices under the guise of "My opinion - screw Oscar!" (teehee). But what can you do?!

Movieloving duo The Artist and Hugo led the nominations with 11 nods apiece. Let's look at each category. The "Critics Choice" Awards will be held on January 12th, 2012 and broadcast on VH1 as per usual. This year's hosts will be Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer.


  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Drive
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse 

(SOLE) SURPRISE / BAD NEWS FOR: I really thought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 would place her given that so many media types (many of them BFCA members) are obsessed with those massive franchises - especially when/because they're ending. Otherwise this is just what you'd expect for an Oscar prediction + DRIVE which, yes, I voted for. Duh!
THREAT TO WIN: I think you're looking at Hugo vs. The Artist and not just due to the nomination count. 

It's HUGO vs. THE ARTIST, each with 11 nominations


  • Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
  • Steven Spielberg, War Horse

SURPRISE: Refn's genre effort paid off. And Spielberg's schmaltz-a-thon? That's not a surprise but: Yikes. I guess the BFCA really thinks War Horse will score big with Oscar. Perhaps it shall. Otherwise, it's exactly as you'd expect though I'm pleased to see Refn squeeze in to the Oscar predictions.
BAD NEWS FOR: Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris. He hasn't been nominated for Best Director at the Oscars in a very long time. One wonders if they'll want to welcome him back this year given the "comeback" story with his film's surprise hit status. 
THREAT TO WIN: I'm assuming the BFCA members will swerve towards Scorsese with a combo of hero worship and genuine love for his new film. 


  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
  • Charlize Theron, Young Adult
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

SURPRISE: This is good news for Olsen and Swinton who are both still in the fight for an Oscar nod despite films that are more alienating than Oscar goes for. 
BAD NEWS FOR: From an Oscary standpoint this is another nail in Glenn Close's Albert Nobbs coffin. From the needed a boost file, this is a tough blow for Olivia Colman and Kirsten Dunst.

THREAT TO WIN: The BFCA likes to give Meryl Streep best actresses wins and, extraordinarily, they like to do it with ties. It keeps happening (tied with Anne Hathaway in 2008, tied with Sandra Bullock for 2009). so expect her to win her third in 4 years in January... but...





Click to read more ...


Naked Gold Man: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Competitive Season

I wish there were festive holiday songs for Oscar junkies. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Steamroll", "All I Want for Oscars is You", "Let it Snub, Let it Snub, Let it Snub", "God Rest Ye Merry Shortlisters", "Do You Vote How I Vote" etcetera.... The mood is definitely upon us!

This weekend while LA, NY online, and Boston were handing out their prizes and BFCA voters were mailing in their ballots a certain movie that few had yet seen was screening for Oscar voters and it's likely to be a big deal (though whether it will make the BFCA due to the voting deadline today, remains to be seen). Let's just say that I heard sniffling and whispered "wows" during the credits at the guild screening here in NYC.

The AFI's TOP TEN LIST was also released this weekend. It went like so...

  • Bridesmaids
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • J. Edgar
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

It reads like an odd experiment in Oscar predicting from two months back before people had seen all the films (plus Bridesmaids. The AFI always includes at least one populist hit to represent the film year).

But bringing us back to the now, it's time for a chart update to reflect all of this madness.

These past couple of weeks have definitely proven to us that The Tree of Life has not been forgotten, that The Help is in a good place (The actors branch is large and we suspect they like it) that Thanksgiving is a very smart holiday to start your heavy Oscar campaigning (See: Hugo, The Descendants, My Week With Marilyn and The Artist). We're not aloud to talk about the three last films to arrive (War Horse, Dragon Tattoo, Extremely Loud) but let's just say when it comes to Oscar, I'm bearish on the first two and bullish on the last having now seen all three. I'm also pleased to note that Moneyball is well liked. At an Oscar dinner I attended for Rango recently, it was the consensus favorite of my table. 

Strangely the film that hasn't been coming up in conversation that much is Midnight in Paris but I blame this on the emergence of so many new films all at once. Moneyball doesn't always come up organically in conversation but when it does it's, in my experience, usually "oh, I love that." It's the job of the new films arriving to wow voters and erase memories of early favorites. It's the job of the early arrivals to remind voters how much they loved them in the first place; that's the push forward and the pull back.



LAFCA & NYFCO Part Ways Over The Artist

Could Fassbender be eyeing Oscar?Andreas here. Want to see end-of-year craziness in action? Look at today: first, the Boston Society of Film Critics announces their awards, then before they've finished, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Online start tag-teaming it! It all starts to blend together sometimes -- Emmanuel Plummer won for something called Drivemaids? -- but no worries, we've got it straightened out:

First, the LAFCA winners...

PICTURE The Descendants (runner-up: The Tree of Life)
DIRECTOR Terence Malick for The Tree of Life
 (Runner-up: Martin Scorsese for Hugo)
SCREENPLAY Asghar Farhadi for A Separation (For Your Consideration!)
ACTRESS Yun Jung-hee for Poetry
 (Runner-up: Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia)
ACTOR Michael Fassbender for A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, and X-Men: First Class
 (Runner-up: Michael Shannon for Take Shelter)
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Jessica Chastain for everything
(Runner-up: Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs)
SUPPORTING ACTOR Christopher Plummer for Beginners
 (Runner-up: Patton Oswalt for Young Adult)
CINEMATOGRAPHY Emmanuel Lubezki for The Tree of Life
 (Runner-up: Cao Yu for City of Life and Death)
PRODUCTION DESIGN Dante Ferretti for Hugo
 (Runner-up: Maria Djurkovic for Tinker Tailor)
 (Runner-up: The Arbor)
 (Runner-up: The Adventures of Tintin)
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM City of Life and Death
 (Runner-up: A Separation)
NEW GENERATION The creative team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene
BEST MUSIC/SCORE The Chemical Brothers for Hanna
 (Runner-up: Cliff Martinez for Drive)


Commentary and NYFCO awards after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Boston Society of Film Critics. Beantown Loves... 

would you be so good as to participate in the bean lottery? Please submit your bid for the number of beans in the bottleBeantown critics have assembled today to announce their prizes. LAFCA and the NYFCO critics are also announcing later.

Awful lot of bean vote counting going on today. In Boston's case they're being very leisurely about it. We'll see how quickly the other associations move. I only illustrated with Melancholia's wedding bean lottery because I was just watching it last night and here we are this morning and never mind...

The winners!

PICTURE The Artist (Runner up: Hugo and Margaret)
DIRECTOR Martin Scorsese for Hugo (Runner up: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist)
ACTRESS Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn (Runner up: La Streep. Guess Boston liked their biographies above all else this year) 
ACTOR Brad Pitt for Moneyball (Runners up The Clooney & Fassy)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (runner up: Jeannie Berlin for Margaret
SUPPORTING ACTOR Albert Brooks for Drive (runner up: ???) 
SCREENPLAY Moneyball (runner up: Margaret
CINEMATOGRAPHY Emmanuel Lubezki for The Tree of Life (runner up: Robert Richardson for Hugo)

The Supporting Actress Competition. "That's a lot of energy to deal with!"

There's one or almost one for #TeamMargaret. I wish I'd seen it. Alas. But McCarthy picks up her first critics award for Bridesmaids. Will more follow? The BFSC claims it was a "very competitive category" this year. By which perhaps they mean Jessica Chastain vs. Jessica Chastain vs. Jessica Chastain vs. All of the Bridesmaids perhaps?

I'm wondering if Albert Brooks won in a landslide for Drive. Possibly he did as they didn't announce a runner up. 

DOCUMENTARY Project Nim (runner up: Bill Cunningham New York)
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM Incendies (runners up: A Separation and Poetry)
FILM EDITING (in memory of Karen Schmeer) Christian Marclay for The Clock (runner up: Thelma Schoonmaker for Hugo... see previous post)
NEW FILMMAKER (in memory of David Brudnoy) Sean Durkin for Martha Marcy May Marlene (runner up: JC Chandor for Margin Call

At last Durkin beats Chandor to a prize. I knew some group would have to go that way. Both are good films but some have issues with the ambiguity of Durkin's work (see my Fandor contemplation of the problem.)

ENSEMBLE CAST CARNAGE (runner up: Margaret. Poor #TeamMargaret... bridesmaids but never the bride)
USE OF MUSIC IN FILM *tie* DRIVE & THE ARTIST (runner up: The Descendants... which, lol, um... okay. Hawaiian music for Hawaii? Award worthy decision-making right there!)

Boston joins #TeamMargaret. Sort of

They also handed out several local prizes and honors which you can read here. And they made a special plea to Fox Searchlight to start backing Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret. The film kept getting runner up notices. Poor #TeamMargaret ... always the bridesmaids but never the bride. In their words:

The Boston Society of Film Critics expresses its regret that Fox Searchlight refused to distribute screeners of the film "Margaret" and scheduling only a last-minute screening after numerous requests. The film, which received an extremely limited release, was a favorite of many BSFC members and could have won several awards had it been made available for viewing within a reasonable timeframe.  Despite this disadvantage, "Margaret" was a runner up in three of the BSFC’s award categories. We encourage Fox Searchlight not compound this oversight and to make screeners available to the voting body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and so give the film a fair chance in the upcoming awards competition.