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Entries in precursor awards (157)


Burning Questions: Can You Skip the Precursors?

Michael C here to take stock of the performers left in the dust by the recent rush of precursors. 

With the announcement of the Golden Globes and SAG nominations behind us the first round of the elaborate Kabuki dance known as Precursor Season is concluded. A week ago we could let our imaginations run wild with the possibilities of our favorite performances making good. Now if an actor hasn’t heard his or her name called by either group? Well, as George C. Scott once said to Peter Sellers, their chances have been quickly reduced to a very low order of probability.

So how low is low? What are the chances of a performance getting nominated without a Globe or SAG nomination? 

Approximately 1 in 20. That's what my remarkably un-scientific research tells me. For this I took a look at the last 10 years. If you go back too far the stats become less relevant. Plus, 10 is a nice round number and if I wanted to do complicated math I wouldn’t be a movie blogger. So, 10 years = 200 nominated performances. and out of those only 12 failed to receive either a SAG or GG nod first. They are:

Nominated Without Precursor LoveLead Actor

  • Javier Bardem – Biutiful
  • Tommy Lee Jones – In the Valley of Elah
  • Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby 


Lead Actress

  • Laura Linney – The Savages
  • Samantha Morton – In America


Supporting Actor

  • Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road
  • Alan Alda – The Aviator
  • Djimon Hounsou – In America 
  • William Hurt - A History of Violence 

Supporting Actress

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart
  • Marcia Gay Harden – Mystic River
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo – House of Sand and Fog


12 out of 200 is 6% meaning roughly 1 in 20, or about one a year on average. So contenders have their work cut out for them, or at least their publicists do, if they want to get a ninth inning rally going. 

How to best spot those contenders that are flying under the radar? I admit this might be a Beautiful Mind-like exercise in finding patterns where none exist, but here are the lessons I can draw from recent history, plus the 2011 contenders who may benefit:

5 out of 7 of the surprise supporting nominations were for films that also landed nominations in the lead categories, and one of them - Michael Shannon - came close. Only Tommy Lee Jones represented his film’s sole nomination so you need the film to do some of the work for you.
Advantage: Carey Mulligan, Ezra Miller, Judy Greer

Playing Favorites
None of the surprise names in the lead categories were receiving their first nomination. In the big categories don't underestimate the proven vote-getters.
Advantage: Woody Harrelson, Ryan Gosling, Michael Shannon

Category Confusion
A few of these unexpected names were the result of a slot opening up when supporting contenders like Kate Winslet jumped to lead.
Advantage: Nobody. Category placement seems pretty solid this year, no? 

Of the 12 curveball nominations listed above only 3 (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt and Tommy Lee Jones) were from films released prior to Thanksgiving, and none were released prior to September.  Once voters get to the bottom of those screeners currently piling up next to the TV there is bound to be a late-breaking favorite or two.
Advantage: Gary Oldman, Max Von Sydow, Patton Oswalt

Nail It
Of course, when all is said and done it doesn’t hurt to deliver a performance that absolutely tears the house down. I can recall the impact in the theater when Michael Shannon tore through his brief screen time in Revolutionary Road like a wild animal. When that kind of electricity is coming off the screen prognosticators can be forgiven for keeping that person in their predictions no matter what the odds.
Advantage: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliva Colman, Andy Serkis


So if you want to keep rooting for your favorite underdog, there's your sliver of hope. And personally, I think I will keep on clinging to my hopes of a groundswell for Bruce Greenwood's performance in Meek's Cutoff regardless of any logic to the contrary.

Is there an important angle on this I missed? Let me know in the comments. You can follow Michael C. on Twitter at @SeriousFilm or read his blog Serious Film


Golden Globe Nominee Madness

It's the last of the big three precursor nominee announcements this morning. Hot on the heels of the BFCA and the SAG announcement we have the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, more commonly known as the Golden Globes. Film and television stars Gerard Butler, Woody Harrelson, Rashida Jones and Sofia Vergara announced the nominees at 8:30 AM EST which went like so...



  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • The Ides of March
  • Moneyball
  • War Horse 

For a split second when we reached five nominees I thought War Horse would be shut out and for once the Globes wouldn't stump for one of the big movies that was about to open, but nope. The Ides of March is the iffiest film here for an Oscar transfer given lukewarm reception but it's still possible. Especially since it's right in their wheelhouse. 

Ryan Gosling drank the Clooney Koolaid in "Ides of March". So did the HFPA who gave Clooney 3 nominations and Gosling 2


  • 50/50
  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • Midnight in Paris
  • My Week With Marilyn

 People are wondering how Marilyn is a comedy. But, you know, Kenneth Branagh is very funny in it.

It's like teaching Urdu to a badger.

Plus it's got musical numbers so I think it qualifies for their split. The Artist probably has this in the bag but for the Globes willingness to surprise (i.e. far more than other groups) 


  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • George Clooney, The Ides of March
  • Michel Hazanavicus, The Artist
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Sofia Vergara garbled cutely as she does. "Marine Scorsez" is quite the auteur! Expected list here but for Clooney who was an already a guaranteed show at the ceremony due to the Best Actor nom. The HFPA gets a lot of flack for star-fucking but some of their decisions can't really be explained that way. The star doesn't get to show up twice if you nominated them thusly, and you've cut off the opportunity for another star to show.


  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

People are going to love Mara as "Lisbeth Salander" in that movie so this isn't too much of a surprise. Plus there was room with Williams heading to Comedy/Musical. This omission hurts Kirsten Dunst's campaign. Her traction seemed to begin and end with the Cannes prize for Melancholia. Also shut out was Elizabeth Olsen for Martha Marcy May Marlene.


  • Jodie Foster, Carnage
  • Charlize Theron, Young Adult
  • Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
  • Kate Winslet, Carnage

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning, Carnage snagged 40% of the Female Comedy honors though the film didn't garner a comedy film nod and having Foster and Winslet (who was already coming for Mildred Pierce) knocked out their opportunity to invite Cameron Diaz or somesuch. See what I mean about cock-blocking their own star-fucking?

I think they can mail this one to Michelle Williams.

more after the jump

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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...

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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.


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