Sunday, December 13, 2009

Los Angeles Critics Spread the Wealth

Last year the LAFCA (one of the twin titans of critics groups, the other being their east coast rivals the NYFCC who announce tomorrow) made some fine choices last year, a best picture win for WALL•E and a smart off-mainstream choice for production design given to the brilliant Mark Friedberg on Synecdoche, New York. Here's what they had to say this year... there's something for everyone.

Picture The Hurt Locker [ru: Up in the Air]
Director Bigelow, The Hurt Locker [ru: Haneke, The White Ribbon]
Actress Yolande Moreau, Séraphine [ru: Carey Mulligan, An Education]
  • Generally there's one acting category wherein the LAFCA will not stick to the status quo. And here it is. She also won the César in France.
Actor Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart [ru: Colin Firth, A Single Man]
Supporting Actress Mo'Nique in Precious [ru: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air]
Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds [ru: Peter Capaldi, In the Loop]
  • Sweepers! Or shaping up to be nearly so.
Screenplay Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air [ru: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche for In the Loop]
Production Design Philip Ivey for District 9 [ru: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Avatar]
Christian Berger for The White Ribbon [ru: Barry Ackroyd for The Hurt Locker]
Foreign Film Summer Hours [ru: The White Ribbon]
Documentary (tie)
The Cove and The Beaches of Agnes
Music/Score T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton for Crazy Heart [ru: Alexandre Desplat for Fantastic Mr. Fox. Strange that this wasn't a multiple film prize since he also scored Coco Avant Chanel and Chéri this year]
Experimental Film C.W. Winter and Anders Edstrom for The Anchorage
Career Achievement Jean-Paul Belmondo

How do you think the LAFCA did this year? Can you also get behind these "best" decisions? Where do you disagree most?

<-- James Cameron & Kathryn Bigelow on the set of her terrific film Strange Days (1995) which he produced. They had divorced four years earlier in 1991 after three years of marriage.

The NYFCO also announced today. That's the New York Film Critics Online... I wish their call letters were less confusing because I've seen people mistake them for the NYFCC in the past and that ain't right. Anyway my girl Katey is part of the NYFCO so I have to respect. The online critics went with James Cameron's Avatar for Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director for The Hurt Locker. This once again underlines my year-long hope for an ex-spouse battle come Oscar time. I've been a fan of Bigelow and Cameron, separately and together for 20+ years now. So it's nice to see them enjoy a good year simultaneously. The big winner, if you're into counting, was Inglourious Basterds which has taken 3 prizes so far (Supporting Actor, Screenplay and Cinematography) You can see rest of their prizes here...


adelutza said...

So the LA critics watch foreign films ... and they still haven't seen Tilda Swinton in Julia. I'm very close to not giving a damn about any lists any more, except myself , as narcissistic as this might sound.

Sean said...

It's nice to see 'In The Loop' is getting some notice (especially Peter Capaldi's honorable mention!)


adelutza -- i think part of the problem is that Julia is one of those weird "straddler" films like The Hurt Locker, where some people recognize them one year, some the next.

at least that's the excuse I'm making for people ;)

it's kinda horrifying that she supposedly came close to winning NYFCO except that so many of them hadn't seen the movie. [sigh]

Hayden said...

I will feel so much better if Julianne Moore managed to nab a big critics award. I don't feel like riding the "will she or won't she" train with her, my heart has been through enough post-2002.

Jim Berg said...

I think Up in the Air is a good movie, but not great. The script is quite good, I'll give it that.

Michael B. said...

I really love the relationship that Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron have had outside their divorce.

But I have a feeling that tabloids and a bunch of other newspapers will have it be CAMERON VS. BIGELOW or battle of the Hollywood exes, when in reality they actually support each other...Cameron was at the LA premiere of THL with his wife over the summer.

Katey said...

For those of you interested in the behind-the-scenes machinations, Peter Capaldi and Woody Harrelson were both strong showers in the Supporting Actor category, and the Screenplay Category was pretty close between A Serious Man, In the Loop and Inglourious Basterds (the winner).

The Meryl vs. Tilda debate was heartbreaking for me and a handful of other Swinton defenders in my corner of the room. I don't know for a fact that the people who voted for Meryl hadn't seen Julia, but it's impossible to imagine voting against Tilda having seen that movie.

Another interesting tidbit: it was basically a dead heat between Oren Moverman, Marc Webb and Neill Blomkamp for Debut Director-- any of the three could have won with a vote or two changed.

And finally: it came down to Cameron vs. Bigelow in a third-round vote for director. Hilarious!

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Thanks for the information, Katey. I admit that I was a little disappointed that the three awards groups today awarded both Christoph Waltz and Mo'Nique.
Nothing against them because Nathaniel is right that if there has to be a sweep, it's nice that they're actually deserving of it, but I guess with three awards coming in right after the other today, the awards just sort of blended together. So it's nice to see that some other names were in the mix too.

Jim T said...

I have to share this: Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards

Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent: Hilary Swank

Loool. As if it was the agent's fault!

RC said...

The Hurt Locker looks like the critical darling ready to give Up In The Air a run for it's money.

Jim T said...

I have given up on hoping Tilda will be recognized by anyone besides us (what is "us" exactly? people who care about movies?)

At least she will be honored by Nathaniel and Nick Davis. For me, that's a lot, if not enough.

Glenn said...

LA are always my favourites and this year is no exception. Always going their own way instead of pandering to Oscar. I guess that makes them "irrelevant" in the eyes of people like Dave Poland.

gabrieloak said...

Desplat also scored New Moon this year and it's actually one of his better scores. Someday the Oscars will align with Desplat and he will win. He really is the heir to Georges Delerue and it's probably no coincidence that the soundtrack to Fantastic Mr. Fox contains two pieces by Delerue from Truffaut films.

I don't know, The Hurt Locker is becoming such an obvious Best Picture choice this year, and it's far from the only "best" this year.

Clement said...

I'm ecstatic that so many critics are getting it right with the Hurt Locker.

I am a HUGE sports fan - don't worry, I'll keep it short - and only BIG NAMES seem to rule the roost.

Even though the Hurt Locker (due in large part to its own production company and distributor) isn't headlining commercials and's the year's finest film and it's getting its due.

I only hope Renner earns a nom, which the film likely needs.

Bigelow in '10.

Babs Johnson said...

I think Tilda has a good shot at nabbing Best Actress from the National Society of Film Critics-- it seems like the kind of thing they'd go for...

Sam Brooks said...

Can we see In The Loop taking all these different awards right through until the Oscars? Can we see a Best Original Screenplay, please?

adam k. said...

I would love to believe Babs about NSFC. That does seem semi-plausible. But I keep going back to the fact that it must just be that no one's seen Julia. So I hope they have by then.

Man, I'm curious to see how many notches Swinton shoots up in the Actress of the Decade list, Nat. Clayton and Julia both? Not to mention Benjamin Button and Burn After Reading.

gabrieloak said...

Well if The Hurt Locker wins the Best Picture Oscar this year, will will be the least seen winner ever to win the award?

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that The Hurt Locker is doing so well in these awards. I really hope it wins best picture. Also, I haven't seen Moreau's film but I am glad that they chose her because at least a performance I have never heard about becomes something I want to see.

FrenchGirl said...

vive yolande moreau!!!
i'm chauvinistic here

BRS said...

Tilda Swinton's JULIA was seen, believe me, adelutza. And heartily noted by many in the group.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only person who has noticed that consensus among awards groups has grown increasingly more common? I feel like in the '70s and even in the '80s and '90s there was more diversity in what actors and which films critics felt were worthy of attention. I also feel like, at least in the '70s, it was possible for more obscure films and films from major international directors to win Best Picture. Is this just in my head? Or have critics just grown lazier or less aware that there's more out there than the December glut and occasional summer hit?

Billy Held An Oscar said...

Since Mo'nique is the preordained winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar ( and nearly everything else ) why is the Academy going to bother nominating four other actresses ?

I feel badly for any actress who gave a halfway decent supporting performance since they most likely will not be acknowledged or rewarded.

Everyone has Mo'nique blinders on ... it bores me.


david s-- that's definitely true. The poison is the need to "predict". I always feel weird about this because I feel like I'm part of the problem even if only accidentally. I've always made it absolutely clear that prediction and preference should never be confused for one another ... but they get blurred a lot these days because i think people are lazy. They get so used to what's considered worthwhile that they don't really stop to think about what IS.

Anonymous said...

Amen. I wish there was more at stake in modern film criticism than whether or not something will make it to the Kodak.

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Am I the only person who has noticed that consensus among awards groups has grown increasingly more common? I feel like in the '70s and even in the '80s and '90s there was more diversity in what actors and which films critics felt were worthy of attention. I also feel like, at least in the '70s, it was possible for more obscure films and films from major international directors to win Best Picture. Is this just in my head? Or have critics just grown lazier or less aware that there's more out there than the December glut and occasional summer hit?

I'm glad that other people have noticed this problem, and that it wasn't just something that I was imagining. It just seems like this decade, it's gotten increasingly worse on sweeps going to one person/film who is the frontrunner for the Oscar.

Again not to take away from the movies or people that do sweep, since they usually did do a fine job, but I think that there's other worthy candidates out there that could also get a mention instead of a single movie/person having to sweep for some reason.

Glendon said...

2007: Javier Bardem
2008: Heath Ledger
2009: Christoph Waltz?

Has the "lock" (and eventual win) for the Best Supporting Actor category always been for the villain? I can't think of any other category in recent memory where people have consistently declared so far in advance the winner, and each time for similar type of role. (Not that the actual characters are similar.)