Sunday, January 25, 2009

They Go Together (Like Rama Lama Lama Ke Ding a De Dinga a Dong)

One of the great falsehoods of movie awards season, eagerly promoted by each year's precursor awards groups, Oscar and most movie fans too, is that if a movie is the Best it is the Best. Period. In every way! This is why you hear the annual gripe "Did this movie direct itself?" when a best picture nominee misses a directorial nod (it didn't happen to any film this year but it generally does) and it's also why a great many adequate to good performances have been Oscar nominated over the years in place of actually great performances that had the misfortune of being in not-so-great films or simply less beloved films.


This 'all or nothing' mode of awardage is especially aggravating when it comes to the annual Screen Actors Guild awards and their "ensemble" prize. They treat it exactly the same as a Best Picture prize... which it shouldn't be. This year they were especially unimaginative nominating their cast members individually in every case as well. It's especially silly in the case of Doubt. The SAG honor actually only includes the four principles -- none of the nuns or the schoolchildren are part of the nomination -- who are then each nominated individually. It's stingy and repetitive. What's more, I don't personally think Doubt is much of an ensemble. It's more like a duet, most of the big scenes involving just two actors, battling it out or letting the other showboat for that particular scene. A fine cast? Yes. A great ensemble? Er...


Give me bigger, messier, more interactive acting any day before I start talking "Best Ensemble". I had so many goodies to choose from this year and only 1 of SAG's nominated films is in my top 12 ensembles. That'd be Milk which I don't think will win. (I'm guessing its a three way race between Doubt if they're thinking about acting or Benjamin Button vs. Slumdog if they're thinking in terms of Best Picture as they sometimes do). In addition to Milk, I wish SAG had stopped to at least consider Burn After Reading, A Christmas Tale, Happy-Go-Lucky, Rachel Getting Married, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Stop-Loss or Synecdoche New York among others...

Click to see new FB Award nominees: Best Ensemble, Breakthrough and Body of Work
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15 comments:

John T said...

Whoa-I don't know I never knew this, but Deneuve and Mastroianni have a child? And she's the one giving that beautiful performance?

J.D. said...

MASTROIANNI IN BODY OF WORK!!!! See, that is why I love you, dude.

Emma said...

YES to Eddie Redmayne. He did some good ol' British made-for-TV shows as well in 2008, so he really did work hard last year. And those freckles, ngh.

Paul said...

Jeez, I didn't see Kross at first and I was like "WTF?"
Have you already seen Pineapple Express?

Katey said...

I'm still not over how much Richard Jenkins cracked me up in Step Brothers with that speech about wanting to be a dinosaur.

You've also got David Kross listed with Lee Pace's credits under breakthroughs...

Dave said...

I'm sure that Cruz is the highlight of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but is it a bad idea to be looking forward to it for Patty? She was fantastic (best in show, maybe?) in Elegy, and I think I'm finally entering the obsessive love stage with her that you've been in for years.

And I do love that pic of Julianne from Savage Grace. Somehow sums in that superb perf. in one expression.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

I think Doubt had a great ensemble, and not just the four actors; but all the schoolchildren and nuns contribute. So I don't quite agree with the SAG nomination and only recognizing those four, but I think all the little actors contribute immensely.

ZiZo said...

I missed Rebecca Hall for Breakthrough.

LOVE The Lee Pace mentions, even if he's not nominated.

Glenn said...

Ugh, Freddie Redmayne is like a freckly reincarnation of Jonathan Rhys Meyers. And that is NOT a good thing.

RJ said...

Totally agree about David Kross. Thought you might like to know that I found information about the movie he's working on right now: http://samesame-themovie.com/

Yoan.Petrov said...

I think you make a big mistake pronouncing Winslet the winner. She won supporting and there was the applause. People applauded. When Meryl won Best LEAD actress, there was a standing ovation, cheers and real love for her. People really loved the fact that she won. Winslet - just some respect. I think Meryl wins the Oscar.(Kate being nominated for LEAD doesn't mean they'll give her an Oscar. It means they loved her more in that than in RR.)

NATHANIEL R said...

rj. -- thanks i'll update the page

zizo -- i wanted to but she's already had lead roles and that Prestige gig so i thought too established.

billybil said...

You are right! Wasn't FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL a blast? I sincerely loved that movie, faults and all, and saw it 3 times in the movie theatre!

Ryan said...

Um, my dear Nathaniel, wee little problem...

Your Body of Work category has a rather sinful omission spelled R-A-L-P-H F-I-E-N-N-E-S who had a stellar year with “The Reader”, “The Hurt Locker”, “In Bruges” and “The Duchess”… not to mention TV’s “Bernard & Doris”…

(insert “Sophie”’s Nathan Landau: “ExplanaTION! PLEASE!”) ☺

On a more positive note, thrilled to see the inclusion of Eddie Redmayne in the Breakthrough group. Every one of his line readings “…mommy…” was chilling gold- to bad it was an otherwise uneven performance. Nice ensemble lineup as well (I’m guessing it’s a death-match between MILK and RACHEL for the gold… or maybe the later will take it easy) Although surly our SEX AND THE CITY gals deserved a semi-finalist mention for re-conjuring those “nostalgic friendships” on the big-screen no?

NATHANIEL R said...

Ryan -- yikes. it is actually just a mistake. It happens in these nominations sometimes despite all the run throughs of my film charts I go through. Yes, he shoulda been on there