Hello everybody! Michael B here, writing my first (and hopefully not last) guest post. Let me tell you a few things about myself before I begin. I’m 19 years old, from Los Angeles, but reside in New York City during the fall and spring. I attend NYU and major in Dramatic Writing, or also known as, Film, Play and Television Writing. I’m a huge Oscar buff—I live five blocks away from the Academy Building—and have been an avid reader and “chatty moviegoer” at The Film Experience for over five years. And I do too love the actresses. I’m here to talk about this year’s Independent Spirit Award’s and which nominees will (literally) get my vote.Precious is also my favorite from this crowd as you may have ascertained. But will the Spirit awards do that "it's nominated for an Oscar, so it deserves our win thing... or will they think more independently? But I don't mean to interrupt. Back to Michael
Best Feature: (500) Days of Summer, Amreeka, Precious, Sin Nombre and The Last Station
When these set of nominees came out in early December I had only seen Precious, which I absolutely loved. Now after viewing the other four (very) worthy nominees, my preference hasn’t changed. What I do wish was that Crazy Heart had replaced The Last Station. And for those of you who have not yet seen Amreeka or Sin Nombre, do so immediately.
Best Director: The Coen Brothers-A Serious Man, Lee Daniels -Precious, Cary Fukunaga-Sin Nombre , James Grey-Two Lovers and Michael Hoffman-The Last StationThe continued love for Gabourey Sidibe from so many quarters is essentially why I think Meryl Streep is losing to Sandra Bullock on Sunday night. One potential beloved spoiler can sometimes disrupt the awards momentum of a "favorite". But when two to three of the other nominees have major support, the frontrunner is going to win (see Hilary Swank's Million Dollar Baby triumph. Too many people were pulling votes and siphoning them from each other to put up a real fight against that lady boxer. That's a famous example of the situation). Anyway... Michael was saying...
Daniels. He gets a lot of flack (especially from my fellow dramatic writers) but had Daniel’s not had helmed this it would have been an entirely different movie. There’s a reason why all his actors are in love with him. Yet, I’m saddened that Marc Webb wasn’t nominated in his fabulous directorial debut for (500) Days Of Summer.
Gabby Sidibe, in a sublime performance that should win the Oscar. The other four ladies are remarkable, especially Paltrow and Faour.
Best Male Lead: Jeff Bridges -Crazy Heart, Colin Firth-A Single Man, Joseph Gordon Levitt-(500) Days of Summer, Souleymane SySavane-Goodbye Solo, Adam Scott-The Vicious Kind.But it's so hard NOT to be one of those voters. We're all human. I suppose McKay is my favorite from this bunch but I also sometimes love it when the true tiny indies win something and I thought McKinnon was fantastic in That Evening Sun.
How or why Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Stuhlbarg were snubbed for Two Lovers and A Serious Man, I’ll never know, but what I do know is that Jeff Bridges gives the best male lead performance of the year.
Best Supporting Female: Dina Korzun-Cold Souls, Mo’Nique-Precious, Samantha Morton-The Messenger, Natalie Press-Fifty Dead Men, Mia Wasikowska-That Evening Sun
Mo’Nique. I don’t think it’s even debatable. Wasikowska is the next big thing and should have won an Emmy for In Treatment, but we’ll leave that for another time.
Best Supporting Male: Jemaine Clements -Gentleman Broncos, Woody Harrelson-The Messenger, Christian McKay-Me and Orson Welles, Raymond McKinnon -That Evening Sun, Christopher Plummer-The Last Station
I’ve been going back and forth between Harrelson and Plummer for ages. Then I realized I was putting Plummer on equal footing with Harrelson because it was not only just a good performance but also because he’s been around for ages. I told myself I would not be one of those voters!
Best First Feature:A Single Man, Crazy Heart, Easier With Practice, The Mesenger, Paranormal ActivityYou could sit through it a second time? I kid I kid. I am firmly in the "don't get it" camp in regards to everything outside of Jeff Bridges (and the songs).
This category was a toss-up between A Single Man, Crazy Heart, and The Messenger—all movies that I loved and all movies that I thought were well directed, acted, written and produced. But after viewing Crazy Heart for the second time I had a winner.
Best Screenplay:The Messenger, The Last Station, The Vicious Kind, Adventureland and (500) Days of Summer
Summer was the best written script, refreshing and new. Saddened by it’s Oscar snub.
Best First Screenplay: Cold Souls, Crazy Heart, Precious, Amreeka and A Single Man
Precious. No surprise here. A great screenplay based on a great novel. Sad that it will be Geoffrey Fletcher’s only win of the awards season.
Best Cinematograpy: Roger Deakins-A Serious Man, Adriano Goldman-Sin Nombre, Anne Misawa-Treeless Mountain, Andrij Parekh- Could Souls, Peter Zeitlinger-Bad Lieutenant
Sin Nombre. No question about it.
Best Foreign Film:A Prophet, An Education, Everlasting Moments, Mother and The Maid
The Maid is a must-see. Felt as if I was watching a documentary and Catalina Saavedra’s performance is the best by an actress this year. I do think that lazy voters will check off An Education without having seen any of the other nominees. Sigh.
End Notes: I don’t vote for categories that I haven’t seen the majority of the films or if I haven’t seen any—which is why I didn’t vote for Documentary or The John Cassavetes Award. And finally, my track record with the Spirit Awards hasn’t been the greatest. Last year I voted for Rachel Getting Married in every single category and guess what happened? It went home empty handed. (And for Rachel fans…I voted for DeWitt, not Winger). Yet I suspect I’ll do better this year. How bout you ? Who do you think will and should win at this year’s Spirit Awards?
Awww, I knew I liked Michael B for a reason. Rachel Getting Married fans are always welcome chez moi.
Come back later for that SPIRITed live-blogging.