Thursday, January 21, 2010

"That's (Not) a Bingo!" (Best Director, Supporting Actor)

I'd love to announce that I've completed this year's Oscar'ish 1/2 of the FiLM BiTCH Awards before heading out to Sundance but I can't shout that out triumphantly because it didn't come to pass. However, I did complete a few more categories while packing my bags for the festival. More when I return obviously.

By now the sweepers in awards season would be getting really annoying if most of them weren't such terrific, deserving performances. I'm on consensus this year I guess. I definitely don't wanna quibble with the Christoph Waltz enthusiasm: he's on my list, too. Bu
t it was interesting that on a second viewing of Inglourious Basterds he didn't dominate the film for me as much. This is not to say that the performance is lesser than I at first supposed. It's just different. He's very much part of the ensemble, and my favorite thing about the performance, as I indicated in the write up is all the facetious diplomacy. You see, everyone sharing the scene with him realizes who's in control... and I mean both the actors and their characters. But even though Waltz is holding the reigns, it's this intensely dominating connection to the other actors that makes this less a show-off vanity turn and more of a film-lifting contribution.

Went a little Crazy Heart crazy. Yet I still don't love the film. If this film had only been the musical performances, with the movie just following Bridges who can give you every detail of Bad Blake's life while just hitting these dive bars and singing, I might have loved it. It's the rest of the movie I didn't care for, a story I've heard a hundred times and one that's usually told with a bit less repetition. But I love Bridges up there singing those songs like it's as natural and familiar to him as any bodily function. He's been singing them his whole life... or at least Bad Blake has. Same difference.

I'm still weighing the pros and cons of 2009 but one thing I absolutely loved about the film year was the diversity of voices. Even if "The Year of the Woman Director" was a bit reductive sounding -- does that mean they're not allowed to direct next year? -- it wasn't only the justly lauded Kathryn Bigelow (The Sexy Locker!) who was working wonders. Jane Campion returned to the silver screen with none of her considerable transporting skill and visual sensitivity diminished. I can't wait to see Bright Star again (out on DVD!).

My favorite directorial achievements of the year, all 12 of them, represented a wide swath of voices, nationalities and types. People are calling James Cameron "King of the World" again. And even though Avatar did earn him the title (again), there's room at the cinema for multiple royals. Don't you think?


Anonymous said...


I am waiting your final prediction for Best Actress race, as somehow I couldn't believe what you did predict Sandra Bullock as SAG winner on Gold Derby ;)

Kurtis O said...

I'm definitely down with your Director shorlist. (I also quite enjoy the temporary Actor/Actress placeholders -- Julia, everywhere!) So happy to discover that "Hunger" is likely going to land in your top 5. It certainly landed in mine:


anon -- predictions are predictions.

not preferences.

Kurtis O -- i'll take a look.

Robert Hamer said...

I'm hearing you tout diversity with the directors, and I'm thinking, "Okay, he clearly loves Campion and Bigelow, but was not a fan of the direction of Precious, so is he just talking about women?" Then I look at your nominees and *BAM!* there's Steve McQueen in the final five! Very inspired choice, if I may say so myself.

PLEASE give Bigelow the gold. She towers above every other director out there. Yes, James Cameron made a successful film with revolutionary technology, but imagine how much more amazing his accomplishment would have been had he not used his resources to do an insipid remake of Dances with Wolves against the backdrop of a Roger Dean album cover.

Obviously Christoph Waltz is going to win Best Supporting Actor, and I would agree with that decision for the most part. I just want to let you know that I wanted to give you a BIG hug when I read Anthony Mackie's name on there. Definitely a close silver, for me. I am surprised to see Woody Harrelson not make it, though it looks just barely.

And nice job on Original Song. It would be great to see Karen O become an Academy Award nominee.

pasifauna said...

Nathaniel, please I keep coming back to see more and it feels like it takes ages :)A case of delay of gratification on my side, these nominations of yours!!!

Thanks and thanks a lot for recognizing Stanley Tucci's Paul Child. It is the typical "Jennifer Conelly" part with humor, but I would love to see him receive some honour with this. He has been so good for years and I would hate to see if he gets more kudos with Lovely Bones and start to get typecasted in weirdos.

One note for Dominic Cooper, he shines in small parts, although he is clearly leading man material. We'll see how this will end up.

And the "You've got me..." nomination... I didn't know it was original. It felt classic. And it provides such a delicious feeling for trailer and the movie.Great pick!

Thanks for providing an award show that has a meaning!!!

Dean said...

I'm surprised to not see Director citations for Up or Coraline since you gave them both A- and you've always been a propenent of "animated films don't direct themselves".

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this years nominees. But I'm not fond of the Crazy Heart song love. I wasn't really impressed. Loving the acting line ups and so happy to see you nominated Tucci for J&J. Loved him to death in that film, so awesome. And your director line up is great too.

I'm thinking your Picture nominees will be

Bright Star
The Hurt Locker

Nate Tyson said...

Besides loving the nominees, I was also glad to see you generously add Lewis and Weston to the honorable mentions.

"sozzled sad mama bear" is a perfect description of Weston's character.

Anonymous said...

and here the BAFTA nominees,949,BA.html#jump1

Jack said...

Love the Fassbender (expected) and Fred Melamed (surprising!) shout-outs in Supporting Actor, two of my favorite supporting performances of the year.

Olvin said...

I was also very eager to know the winners.

Glenn said...

For me, supporting actor is such a more interesting category this year and that is the first time that has happened out of the past decade of film. My supporting actor ballot (so far) is so esoteric and strange, which is probably why I love it so much more.

Robert Duvall, The Road
Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank/Inglourious Basterds
Jason Schwartzmann, Fantastic Mr Foxx
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

and with Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) and Benoit Peolvoorde (Coco Avant Chanel) battling it out for the fifth spot.

Andrew K. said...

I thought Molina would show up in the Supporting Actor.

You Got Me Wrapped...was definitely a strong song choice.

And I'm glad Schneider is getting some love. Still haven't seen Bright Star :), but pre-ordered my DVD copy. Campion, Cornish, Whishaw - here I come!

Robert Hamer said...

"I thought Molina would show up in the Supporting Actor."

I'm so glad he didn' least in Nathaniel's list of nominees. A totally overkill, unjustly praised performance.

Anonymous said...

Nat-- Did you neglect to see The Princess and the Frog before doing these awards or did you just not care for it?

eduardo said...

YES! thank you so much for not forgetting Jane Campion!!!!! I'm so sad to see her movie is being horribly snubbed everywhere, especially at BAFTA where i thought it'd get plenty of love =(

jc said...

no wes anderson for the director nod. but why?

adam k. said...

I like your director noms too, but it's weird not to see Daniels, Selick, or Docter even cited in honorable mention.

How funny that Tilda dominated both lead acting categories. When I saw her as a placeholder for the women, I thought "hee" to myself; then, when I saw her there in lead actor, I "lol"ed.

"Julia" does have a last name, though. And a particularly noteworthy one at that: I always thought it was funny that the Bening starred in "Being Julia" and a "Mrs. Harris", but neither of those was Julia Harris.

Also, I have to say, I don't get the Paul Schnieder love. I LOVED Bright Star, but to me, it was totally the Ben & Abbie show. I didn't care about Paul at all. Nothing there particularly impressed me. But maybe I'll change my mind when I see it again.

Ryan said...

Campion! McQueen!
I fu*king LOVE your best director nominees!!!... and man am I ever on pins-and-needles for your top 10/best picture nominees now!

I’m also loving your picks for Supporting Actor; Waltz! Scheider! Tucci in J&J! And while I’m all for Fassbender as a runner-up, if your Actor-In-A-Limited-Role category didn’t exist…. would have included Denis Menochet’s riveting work in the opening of “Inglourious Basterds”? I thought he was just brilliant!