Sunday, December 16, 2007

AFI & Chicago Film Critics Association

Oops. I'm a couple of days late with the Chicago Film Critics Association. I thought they were doing their traditional bunch of nominees followed by long wait. Better late than never... And if you think we're done now, you're an awards virgin. This goes on forever until Oscar pipes in. Don't worry. I won't cover every tiny city. But the windy one? You bet'cha! (sorry, but there's no Minnesota Film Critics Awards... so close enough)

Picture No Country For Old Men
Director The Coen Bros No Country For Old Men
and the kudos keep on comin'
Actress Ellen Page Juno
Her first win, cooling down the Julie Christie vs. Marion Cotillard war that's been a-simmering. Nothing will boil until we're closer to Oscar. All campaign hell will break loose, then. Could be a three way brawl.
Actor Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood
Supporting Actress Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
I never thought I'd say this but "yay!" FWIW I'm a lot warmer to this performance months after the fact. I still giggle thinking about parts of it. She definitely put on a worthwhile show. But anyway, it wasn't right for Amy Ryan to be sweeping. So good on Cate. Now can we get some Tilda Swinton up in here. Dallas Ft. Worth? OFCS? SEFCA? Anyone?
Supporting Actor Javier Bardem No Country For Old Men
Foreign Language Film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
I can't wait for you all to see this. It's so forcefully fine.
Animated Feature Ratatouille
Cinematography The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford from the Lens of Roger Deakins Every year I expect it's going to be his at the Oscars... and every year the Academy proves me wrong
Documentary Sicko
Most Promising Performer Michael Cera Juno and Superbad Good choice
Most Promising Filmmaker Ben Affleck Gone Baby Gone He has more prizes now than Sarah Polley for Away From Her. And that ain't right. I know he's a bigger star but this is supposed to be about direction. Polley's like a TA already and Affleck is more like a promising student. My take. Mileage may vary.
Screenplay, Original Diably Cody Juno
Screenplay, Adapted The Coen Bros No Country For Old Men

and then we've got the

American Film Institute (AFI) Top Ten of the Year

(in alpha order)
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Diving Bell and Butterfly (what happened to their rule against including foreign language films? I know that's why Crouching Tiger wasn't on their 2000 list. And if you're going to break the rules where the hell is the Romanian Cannes winner?) Into the Wild, Juno, Knocked Up, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men, Ratatouille, The Savages and There Will Be Blood

I used to have this affectionate thang for the AFI since they would include an oddball choice here or there and they nominated Buffy for best television series (something the Emmys were never remotely hip or wise enough to do) and then they let Michelle Pfeiffer present their best picture award at their very first (and only --shut up) broadcast. I like the idea of jurored paneled awards (results get more idiosyncratic) but like every other awards organization, they're mostly just looking at the Oscar race now. I mean, no offense but The Savages? Can't anybody look at the films before October? It's like if you're not a smash hit like Ratatouille or Knocked Up you don't exist. Nobody can be bothered even looking at a calendar anymore. It's not that hard to do. Away From Her, Zodiac, Once, Bug, A Mighty Heart etcetera... all better films than The Savages I think. Not that The Savages is a bad film, mind you. It's not. It's just messy and doesn't know when to stop but is fortunately redeemed by interesting subject matter, really great lines, and fine performances. But putting it on the top ten list is so overkill. It's so... "we screened this last night and it was so fun/sad and Laura Linney is so adorable... And then we voted!!!"


Rob said...

Your comment about "The Savages" at the end made me giggle, but I think you'd be surprised at the amount of love the film's engendered among song. At least three critics I know-- who aren't necessarily "important" but are member of "important" voting bodies-- consider it to be their #1 or #2 favorite of the year. I don't necessarily get it either, but still, the love is there.

Rob said...

Jesus, among SOME, not song.

Anonymous said...

Agree about the Savages. I wish there was more Away From Her and Once love. A Might Heart I still haven't enjoyed. If Angelina gets nominated I'll be mighty shocked.

Anonymous said...

I hear you on Swinton.

Probably my favorite female performance of 2007. Maybe the NSOFC?

VW said...

The calendar, yes, the calendar. If award shows, critics lists' etc (already feeling a bit overwhelmed by them) would look at the blasted calendar - how different things would be - such a curse for films released during the first three seasons of the year. A very good point.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, Away From Her and Once were both ineligible. The former is Canadian, the latter Scottish (failing the American part of the title).

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly likely was eligible because Julian Schnabel is American.


ugh. the AFI just is silly... i love how DIVING BELL is American for their purposes at wanting to reward it but they included all these British films in the american top 100 under the theory that there was american financing.

basically they just do whatever the hell they want. the oscars get a lot of flack for their sometimes bad taste but i respect that there's so totally hardline about the rules and regulations


and by "there's" I meant "they are" .... i should go to bed

Anonymous said...

but you also complain about groupthink and all pre-oscar awards going to the same films/performances e.g. Amy Ryan in an attempt to predict oscar. isn't it unfair for you to think that just b/c the savages isn't as good as away from her, etc. kinda silly since they were at least having an opinion?


true. i hate groupthink. but it's not so much about the savages as it's exhausting to be so continually frustrating with nobody willing to think about any movies that haven't just opened. The Savages was the easiest target is all ;)

Anonymous said...

Whoa, I really liked The Savages!

Also I've seen 4 Months... already and whilst it was a very fine drama at the time - well acted, great pace etc - it hasn't aged as well as I though it would in my head.

gabrieloak said...

Didn't Once get an award from the Chicago Film Critics for music?
I don't see that on your list.