Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Detroit, Chicago, Utah, Etcetera

In past years I have sort of enjoyed the slow trickle of critics organization announcements, but this year they all gushed through journalism's infrastructure so quickly I lost track immediately in the deluge. I'm also slightly suspicious that nobody cares this year (or am I projecting?) since it's about the fifth year in a row with a large degree of consensus. Some years consensus makes a great deal of sense. Others, not so much. Since this happens every year now, I think it's a sure sign that all we ever needed was a few big groups. I'm still a bit perplexed why all of these little groups don't merge to become something more awesomely super-sized.

But in case you do care (and because I have a photoshop problem) here's a few more chosen because these are cities or states where I've actually lived or visited frequently.

Chicago Film Critics
Picture & Director The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow) Actress & Most Promising Performer: Carey Mulligan, An Education Actor: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon Animated Feature: Up Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil Cinematography Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker Original Score: Michael Giacchino, Up Most Promising Filmmaker: Neill Blomkamp, District 9

Utah Film Critics
I'm trying to arrange a Sundance trip this year. Yes, Sundance coverage right here if everything pans out. So crazy that we've never covered it considering how many festivals we have covered at this point. (Katey is going too. Woohoo. Fun in the snow. Wintry vidcasts!) Picture & Director Up in the Air (Jason Reitman) Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education Actor: Viggo Mortensen, The Road Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious Supporting Actor: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach Fantastic Mr. Fox Foreign Language Film: Thirst Animated Feature: Fantastic Mr. Fox Documentary: The Cove

For what it's worth, Christian McKay (Utah, San Francisco) and Woody Harrelson (NBR) are the only men who've been able to snag a trophy away from Christoph Waltz in the Supporting Actor category. Waltz has now won 18 prizes for his wicked performance as Col. Hans Landa in Basterds... starting with that summer biggie: Cannes.

Detroit Film Critics
They actually did go their own way in Best Picture (gasp) so I had to make them an illustration, too. I'm not sure how many film critics are left in Detroit though what with the economy the way it is there. Even when I still lived there aeons ago, they were the two big papers were starting to merge. Detroit needs a little burst of color for a pick-me-up, so a house carried by balloons seems appropriately uplifting. Picture & Director: Up (Pete Docter) Actress & Breakthrough Performance: Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, Precious Actor: Colin Firth, A Single Man Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds Ensemble The Hangover

Let's see... how to cover everything else we've missed. Oh forget it. If I followed every group I'd get carpel tunnel merely typing "Christoph Waltz". Movie City News has a chart and a staff that has time for such a chart. Good on them. If you look it over you can quickly see that most every category has one clear consensus pick.

The most contentious of all categories in this year end hoopla is actually foreign film. Summer Hours and Sin Nombre have each won five prizes (neither of them are eligible in that Oscar race) with The White Ribbon trailing with three. What's interesting though is that a grand total of ten films have won this award which is way more honorees than in any other category, wherein the critics were mostly content to nod at each other agreeably. As for me I fall firmly into the Summer Hours camp in this three-way battle (see previous post). It's a quiet beauty, neither as obfuscating as The White Ribbon despite equally complex subject matter nor as reductively familiar as Sin Nombre despite its equally obvious "types". Not that all three films aren't very compelling cinema. See them!


joe burns said...

Nathaniel, do you think that Marion will be voted into the supporting category even though she's campaigning lead? Sort of like Kate Winslet, but the categories switched.


i hope so but i doubt it.

Alex said...

Okay, I just needed someplace to say this: I saw a FYC ad just for Betty White as Best Supporting Actress in THE PROPOSAL and I laughed soooo hard.


Andrew R. said...

To Joe Burns: Even if Cotillard is put in Supporting, Mo'nique will win.

Speaking of Mo'nique, she and Waltz should really start arranging for a security vault to hold their Oscars.

With Nine and Lovely Bones out, Inglourious Basterds making a comeback, and Up in the Air and Avatar rising, I better revamp my picks.

I'm off Team Precious, but not on Up in the Air. Hurt Locker is out just for being Iraq, and the other 7 nominees should just pray for acting/screenplay awards or something.

brandz said...

the Movie City chart is cool. sorta give you perspective. i don't think it's complete though. i don't see Phoenix posted. maybe others?

Bryan said...

I noticed that Meryl's name was conspicuously missing from the three groups' lists... is the Actress trophy more up for grabs than we thought? Or is it just wishful thinking on my part (I so desperately want at least ONE contentious acting race)?

Also, Nat: Would you agree that Actor seems to be the only acting race that isn't too close to being decided?

Lucky said...

Supporting is boring, but apparently both deserve it. Leading is more exciting but unfortunately, it seems like as soon as the big Awards start, there will be a consensus (Bridges and Streep, maybe). Like last year with Actress, we weren't really sure, but then the Bafta, Globe and Sag award went to Winslet... Or like the year Rachel Weisz won, it seemed kinda up in the air (ugh, puns...), but then she started sweeping the big ones.

Lucky said...

oh, yeah, and I wanted to say just how happy I am to see the script of 500 days of Summer doing so well. It pops out a lot in Best Original Screenplay, and as a winner, not just a nominee. I had my doubts, with the early release and the weak box office gross, but now I think it's locked for a nod.

Bryan said...

Oh my God, Lucky! (500) Days of Summer has been making me really happy recently! It's nice to see something NOT from December being recognized.

Ryan T. said...

I've been sort of tracking the critic groups on my blog.

First in this entry:

Then in this entry:

I'll probably put them together in a week after a few more trickle in.

Anonymous said...

"Okay, I just needed someplace to say this: I saw a FYC ad just for Betty White as Best Supporting Actress in THE PROPOSAL and I laughed soooo hard."

Academy Award Nominee Betty White?
That doesn't sound so bad to me...but for THE PROPOSAL? :(

Actually some weeks ago even Bullock's nom seemed a joke and now it's almost a lock, so why not her comic supporter in her other hit? Besides White is a celebrity (a tv celebrity, ok...anyway) and in supporting category there's still an empty spot, so I can imagine why they're campaigning for White


Catherine said...

I thought Betty White was absolutely atrocious in The Proposal. Everytime she appeared on screen, I felt my irritation levels begin to rise; when she faked death near the end, my sister leaned over to me and whispered "Thank God!". No way is she getting nominated.

Janice said...

Nate as a native Detroiter I appreciate the photo - but is there a Critics' group in Detroit? there can't be - it's probably just one guy all by himself in a half-empty office building.

Anonymous said...

I'm not rooting for the former GOLDEN GIRLS star, I'm aware it's not really an award-worthy perf, it's just I'm not surprised they're campaigning for her.

it's true that supporting players in comedies are often pivotal for their movies and more than often are overlooked during awards season. Till some years ago the Satelites used to consider best supporting actor and actress in a comedy (or musical), more or less in a way Golden Globes use to do for the leading field. I think it was a nice thing (maybe the only good things about Satelites, along with technical categories, the traditional ones I mean...), but after a while they stopped making it and that was a pity 'cause there aren't many occasion to watch comic performances rewarded (I know for a while there have been the American Comedy Awards...but now? Mtv Awards, Teen Choice, Kid Choice and People Choice are not a great thing!)

This year we know that Streep is tipped for her third Oscar thanks to a brillant perf, but the supporting categories will be most of all for the drama boys and girls. If it's true that Waltz/Landa has many funny moments in Inglorious Basterds, Tucci will be probably nominated thanks to his chilly serial killer portrait and not for his lovable role in Julie & Julia; I'm not sure we can consider Carla/Cruz (Nine) a comic role and Up in the air is a dramedy...
Some very comic perfs, such as Zach Galifianakis' in The Hangover hasn't never enjoyed a real buzz this year. I think that's a pity! I'm not saying that nominating White for THE PROPOSAL will settle this thing, but still it's a pity!


Peggy Sue said...

About all these film critics groups, I totally agree with Nathaniel: It is time to merge!!!


@MIRKO -i've always thought that it was a real shame that the Globes don't divvy up the other categories for comedy / drama too. Because if you're going to view them as separate but equal as the Globes do... it should be straight down the line.

I'm not normally for MORE categories for big awards shows (the Grammys are ridiculous with their what 120something categories) but i think the Globes should have comedy for supporting, too.

joe burns said...

Yeah, I doubt Marion will be able to win since Monique gave a totally mind blowing performance and Marion won just two years ago.

adam k. said...

I like this year's race, but I guess that's just because I really like the films in contention.

I don't think actor/actress will be clear by globe time, since I think the drama statues will go to Clooney and Bullock. That leaves real races between Bullock/Streep and Clooney/Bridges.

Though I miss the satellite split categorizations, I can see why the globes don't do it (and now the satellites don't either). The thing is, supporting roles sometimes actually go AGAINST the primary tone of the film they're in, for balance.

Like, could we really stomach Renée Zellweger in Cold Mountain winning "best supporting actress in a DRAMA"? Even those championing her were touting her as a comedienne.

Or Helen Mirren (Gosford Park) for best supporting in a comedy?

That's just silly.

Robert said...

More critics awards mean more fuel for the race. But I'm reminded that this really isn't a race. AMPAS can and often does surprise us with nominees that have gotten little traction. I'm thinking Linney in 07 or Daldry in 08. It doesn't matter how much precursor love they'd built up.

And I'm still unconvinced of a few things come Oscar time. Inglorious Basterds just doesn't seem to be of their taste. The part of them that rejected The Dark Knight should also reject one of Tarantino's modern glorified B-movies (even though they loved QT in the past). They can show love to the populist choices with Avatar and Up. What could take it's place? How about A Single Man? It's far closer to their style, and if we anticipate 2 acting nods, we can't very well claim it'll be off their radar.

And Sandra Bullock. An actress they don't respect in a female centric sports weepie just doesn't sound like them. The problem here (or benefit to Bullock) is that there's no serious threat to that fifth spot. Maybe if there was a Dench or a Blanchett or a Linney knocking at the door. Blunt and Cornish just don't do it for them. But I'm still far far from using the word "lock" to describe Sandra.