Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For Your Consideration: 10 Months Out

Glenn here from Stale Popcorn to help fill in during the absense of Nathaniel while is he is in Nashville. I'm here to do what I do best and that's talk about Australian film.

We're ten months away from finding out what films from 2010 the Academy decide are worthy enough to join the lofty ranks of Best Picture nominees - /snark - but by this time last year we had already been advised that Mo'Nique was going to win an Oscar for a movie that co-starred Mariah Carey and that a British unknown was poised to steal thunder and glory from the likes of Meryl Streep. Only one of those things came true, but it bears repeating, so it's never too early to start the For Your Consideration campaign for someone who is completely and utterly deserving.

That someone is Jacki Weaver as "Janine Cody" in Animal Kingdom.

I saw David Michôd's debut feature a couple of weeks ago now and it is very good. So good, in fact, that it has been picked up for American distribution by an actual distributor with cash flow and resources and the ability to market something to more than just a few 60-seat arthouse cinemas in New York City (that would be Sony Pictures Classics)! Animal Kingdom is a Melbourne-set crime drama revolving around a family of armed bank robbers and the young teenager who gets drawn into their dirty deeds.

Jacki Weaver, a sort of acting legend here in Australia, plays the family matriarch who has a creepy need to pash her sons (and grandsons) on the lips to show her unflinching devotion. What makes Weaver's performance so delicious is how she spends much of the first half slowly building her character's persona as the quiet, ever-smiling, loving mother. All that changes as the film's second half brings about a twist and lovely ol' Mrs Cody becomes an embodiment of evil, unleashing her puppet master skills as she tries to blackmail, cover-up, extort and manipulate those around her into dancing to her tune.

I wrote in my review that Weaver's performance is "sure to be remembered as one of the finest displays of acting ever committed to an Australian film", and it reminds me of the recent towering performances of Mo'Nique and Javier Bardem. This lady will give you nightmares.

Nathaniel ranked Ms Weaver as a long shot for Best Supporting Actress honours at the Academy Awards based on, I imagine, the buzz that came out of Sundance and from people such as myself who couldn't shut up about her. I walked out of the cinema wanting to shout "Jacki Weaver just won the Academy Award!" but I didn't because she's old, she's foreign and features in a movie that will probably go way too underseen to really make much of a charge, but boy would it be sweet to see this 62-year-old unknown actress ("unknown" in the grand scheme of Academy things) plow right on through to an Oscar nomination.

"You've done some bad things, Sweetie!"

So I, right here, put forth a year long FYC campaign for Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom. It's released in Australia on the 3rd of June and will hopefully see an American release sometime later in the year. But enough about me and my wishes, I'd love to know if any readers out there have seen anything that they think strongly merits a studio plonking down the cash for a FYC campaign. The Ghost Writer? Shutter Island? Hot Tub Time Machine? A Razzie FYC for the latter, I'm sure.


Goran said...

Glenn, I could swear sometimes that we live in two separate countries. Year in and year out, how do you manage to muster up and maintain all this enthusiasm for the Aussie film industry? I swear, even the industry isn't this enthusiastic about itself.

You're like the anti-me. Every year I try and I try to uncover at least one distinctive or hidden gem from the blob of malnourished mediocrity but I just can't quite come up with anything. There's been maybe three Australian films this decade I've genuinely enjoyed - though I've pretended to enjoy several more, to support the industry.

All the same: Though the prospect of a Melbourne gangster drama is about as compelling to me as a Paul-Haggis-penned biopic of a noble African-American, I will check out Animal Kingdom and try to keep an open mind. I confess, I have no idea who Jackie Weaver is (the name sounds familiar at least..). But her stills look promising and often even in Aussie films that underwhelm me, I tend to be impressed by a striking performance or two (though - just as often - it is by the very non-Australian likes of Laura Linney or John Malkovich).

Volvagia said...

Wrong with Hot Tub Time Machine. It flits that Rotten Tomatoes spot where no one will talk about any consideration, Oscar or Razzie. Razzie is 35% or below, usually much lower. Oscar is 70% or above. Hot Tub is around 60%. The movie will peter out gross-wise and it'll just be forgotten.

Michael C. said...

If I had control of the purse strings Olivia Williams would get a strong campaign for The Ghost Writer, that's for sure.

Volvagia said...

A list of genuine Razzie contenders:

Leap Year
The Spy Next Door
Extrodinary Measures
Tooth Fairy
When in Rome
From Paris with Love
Dear John
Valentine's Day
Cop Out
Our Family Wedding
Remember Me
The Bounty Hunter (winner)
Repo Men
The Last Song
Clash of the Titans
Letters to God

If Hot Tub Time Machine can beat these seventeen pictures to get any Razzie nominations, I'll be blown away.

Paul Martin said...

Goran, I concur with Glenn about Jackie Weaver - it's the performance of her career. And I count Animal Kingdom as one of the best 5 Australian films of the last two decades. As we say, it's a bloody ripper, mate! ;)

Wes said...

The film's Australian? Don't expect much U.S. traction then for any of it.

mrripley said...

I liked leo in shutter island he is currently a good choice for best actor fo me.

Robert Hamer said...

I was not a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island he did way too much emoting and, for my money, it ranks among his fussiest, most self-conscious turns. Hopefully people don't get suckered in by the Scorsese name and throw undeserved nods towards the film.

As for Oscar-worthy work so far...not really. Maybe screenplay for The Ghost Writer and The Square?

BillBill said...

I think that "Shutter Island" is some of the best work Leo's ever done. Right up there with "Gilbert Grape," "The Departed," and "Catch Me If You Can."

cjmovieman said...

I loved the Ghost Writer. Even though it is a real long shot for Best Picture or Best Supporting Actress for Olivia Williams (who was brilliant), I would hope it gets traction in the screenplay category at least.

Glenn said...

Goran, if you can't find more than 3 Aussie films to like from the last 10 years then you're either your judgement is clouded by bias or you just aren't watching enough of them.

I really hated Hot Tub Time Machine. I didn't laugh once.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Glenn, in that case, when I grow up, I wanna be as patriotic and unbiased as you are.

Arkaan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VonCastle said...

What about... Helena BC for the supporting actress Oscar in "Alice in Wonderland"? And Mia Wasikowska for the Razzie?

Derek said...

Just saw the film last night, and had remembered reading this post way back in the day so I wanted to come back and comment... Jacki Weaver truly was extraordinary in a film I seemed to like even more than you, Glenn! I'm not exactly sure how many Australian films I've ever seen, but this certainly ranks up there with the best.

André said...

Too bad Mila Kunis is going to steal her nod!