Monday, December 20, 2010

Houston, St. Louis & Florida Name Their Favorites

I'm just going to keep using this one photo I concocted below until people stop with the Hailee Steinfeld is a supporting actress in True Grit meme. I've even seen her so labelled IN REVIEWS that have nothing to do with Oscars. Oscar culture has truly distorted all concepts of narrative in our modern society. I realize that I'm the lone ornery voice of dissent but, so what? I'm demonstrating my own true grit; Hailee would be proud of me... well, except for the part where I wouldn't nominate her.

But, the ageism and sexism of movie awards is really getting to me this year, sorry.

Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), the captain of True Grit's ship.
Fact: No teenage boy who was leading a picture like True Grit (just imagine the gender reversed) would ever win any awards beyond "breakthrough." Remember when Leonardo DiCaprio won all those statues for his wildly acclaimed "supporting" work in This Boy's Life (1993) and Jesse Bradford won all those awards for King of the Hill (1993)  and Christian Bale won those same prizes for his debut "supporting" work in Empire of the Sun (1987) and Max Records won them for supporting all of those Wild Things Whereever They Were last year and remember when...

No, neither do I.

Pretend Hailee was a boy and imagine her chances competing against Bale or Rush. HA! Like that would ever happen. People respect veteran actors too much to take their trophies away from them. But put a young girl up against a veteran actress and the veteran actresses are toast. They get no respect.

Anyway... if you wanna discuss what Texas, Missouri and Florida critics are honoring, keep on readin'.

Best Picture The Social Network
Best Director David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actress Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor  Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Best Supporting Actress
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Best Supporting Actor Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Screenplay Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Documentary Restrepo
Best Foreign Film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Best Animated Film Toy Story 3
Best Cinematography Wally Pfister, Inception
Best Original Score Hans Zimmer, Inception
Best Original Song “We Are Sex Bob-Omb!”, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (music and lyrics by Beck)
Worst Picture Jonah Hex
Humanitarian of the Year George Clooney
Lifetime Achievement Award Sissy Spacek
  • I can't feign more anger at the Hailee Steinfeld True Grit thing but to say that it's the single biggest category fraud since Jamie Foxx as "supporting" in Collateral. Moving on... it's the usual suspects here so... moving on.

    Oh P.S. Sissy Spacek is a Texan but she's definitely a good choice for lifetime achievement. What would be even better than a lifetime achievement prize would be a role worth her time. When is that coming?
Best Picture: The Social Network
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor: Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Inception
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, Inception
Best Visual Effects: Inception
Best Art Direction/Production Design: Guy Dyas, Inception
Best Foreign Language Film: I Am Love
Best Animated: Toy Story 3
Best Documentary: The Tillman Story
Breakout: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Golden Orange: Matthew Curtis, Enzian Theater and the Florida  Film Festival
  • More usual suspects as Natalie Portman begins to take the critical lead (after a slow start where she didn't manage either of the important coastal awards, LAFCA or NYFCC).

    Of note: Inception fared better than usual here. I do think it's still going to have a very high nomination count at the Oscars.
St. Louis

Best Picture The Social Network
Best Director David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actress Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor  Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Best Supporting Actress Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actor Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Adapted Screenplay Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Original Screenplay David Seidler, The King's Speech
Best Documentary The Tillman Story
Best Foreign Film MicMacs
Best Animated Film Toy Story 3
Best Comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Roger Deakins, True Grit
Best Music The Social Network
Visual Effects Inception
Artistic/Creative Film (Arthouse) MicMacs
Moving the Medium Forward Award Inception
Special Merit (Scene) (tie) 127 Hours (zoomout when first trapped) and Inception (zero gravity hallway)
  • Nathaniel R Award For Altruistic Groupthink: To all minor critics organization who make blogging easier by choosing all of the same films and performances to award. For the ease and speed of copying and pasting, my fingers and wrists thank you!

Oh and one more thing before I forget...

Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), the captain of True Grit's ship.


Anonymous said...

Don't know where to put I'll put it here. Saw "Rabbit Hole" this weekend. Nicole is brilliant. Such beautiful, complex yet subtle work. If she were anyone else (or if the movie were "bigger"), I think she'd be in the hunt with Portman and Bening not just for nomination, but prize. Since you are a Nic lover, why no big, sopping love post to her yet? I crave it now.

AnthonyDC said...

In the spirit of true supporting actresses, I was looking back over the years and forgot how surprising it was that Jennifer Tilly got nominated for "Bullets Over Broadway" in 1994. A good performance, but nearly no precursor support. Over the "Gump" steamroller of Sally Field and Robin Wright. Kind of amazing.

I'm not even sure who would fit that bill this year... Dale Dickey? Juliette Lewis?

joe burns said...

Leo's chances are strengthing, I wonder if she'll win..

Portman's odds are also looking great, but Benning is still a strong bet though.

The Pretentious Know it All said...

Like many other years where the category seems empty, it's now the end of December and supporting actress is replete with viable contenders. This is looking to be a strong year for both female acting races (and yet the male acting races are uncharacteristically weak...they're never great in the same year, it seems). That's why the Steinfeld category fraud bothers me more than it would in any other year. I worry about who she's going to kick out. And if they're going to nominate someone in this category who doesn't really belong in supporting, I'd rather it be Lesley Manville.

The ladies of The Fighter look safe (as well they should be), but I worry for Jacki Weaver and Mila Kunis, honestly. I know people are annoyed about the steam of Kunis's Oscar campaign, but it's an interesting, if not terribly deep performance that breathes so much life into an already lively film. If you want to talk about someone artificially latching on to all these lists, let's talk about Helena Bonham Carter. I love Carter. She should have three Oscars by my count (Howards End, Wings of the Dove and Fight Club). But this is not great work and I can't stomach people crapping on Kunis when it's really Carter who's potentially stealing Diane Wiest or Barbara Hershey's spot.

/3rtfu11 said...

I’m prejudice against child or younger than 16 performers becoming Oscar nominees and Oscar winners. Oscar was always a prize design to bring attention to adult performers – primarily movie stars until they invented the Supporting acting categories. Notice that only little girls actually win Supporting Actress – which means the Academy / Hollywood is incredibly sexist – there’s no way a man would be denied a statuette for the sake of appeasing a cute kid. Which is why I’m embittered by the online brigade which includes (Guy Lodge and you) who think child performances are equal – which drives me up a wall – the Oscars are never about what they proclaim to be about which is choosing the best of the best in any given year – it has always been politics.
Take this year’s supporting actress race without the little girl – if Mila takes it (it makes her career), if Amy takes it (it’s the beginning of the end), if Leo takes it (it’s a fair win – but see Marcia Gay Harden, Mercedes Ruehl, and Brenda Fricker).
Back to the main subject and children with Oscars – look at Tatum O Neil and Anna Paquin both won before the age of twelve and neither (even though Paquin is the superior adult actress) have anything to accomplish or look forward to professionally because they’ve already peaked.

Bryan said...

@Pretentious- I couldn't agree with you more. At least the (likely) nomination of Kunis cropped up organically; Carter's nomination was pre-ordered about a year ago along with Firth and Rush.


/3rtfull ... hmmm interesting to read me defined as part of the problem with honoring child performances when I'm usually championing the adults in these matters.

I'm wondering what i said when to give that impression.

I try to only honor child performances when they are exceptional -- which is not that often -- and not because kids are adorable ;)

Bryan & Pretentious -- that may well be true but still... if someone takes Weaver's spot (i'll fume) it's going to be either someone who doesn't belong in the category or someone getting in because they're sexy. Both of which will make-a me crazy.

/3rtfu11 said...

hmmm interesting to read me defined as part of the problem with honoring child performances when I'm usually championing the adults in these matters.

I'm wondering what i said when to give that impression.

I try to only honor child performances when they are exceptional -- which is not that often -- and not because kids are adorable ;)

I’m sorry but you’re making a case for children having a place. I’m from the school of thought it’s taking away from adults when the Oscar can make or break an actor. Winona Ryder goes without because they wanted to see little Anna pant in amazement that she would get one of those shinny and solid statuettes. You even wrote about the women who lost out to Tatum O Neil – Thank God Jennifer Hudson beat the odds – in spite of her front running status Dreamgirls could’ve been another Color Purple.

DaleS. said...

All of this whining about Hailee Steinfeld. Where is the outrage for Geoffrey Rush and Christian Bale committing category fraud in supporting actor? That's right, they don't have vaginas, so they don't matter on this site. It's the Oscar's award to do with as they please. It isn't sexist or anything of the sort to have young actresses competing in supporting actress. If voters are so inclined to stop the category fraud, then they'll put Steinfeld in lead just like they did for Keisha Castle-Hughes. Otherwise, they'll do what they will. You've have to either accept it or not watch and stop whining about what you have absolutely no power to change.


Dale S -- i guess you missed that I have mentioned the Bale & Rush category frauds before too (and they won't be competing in supporting in my awards)

but as far as THIS year goes, they're not as fraudulent as HAILEE's role because in both cases there's an even leadier lead (haha) in their movies. Hailee is THE lead lead in her movie with Bridges doing the co-lead role that Bale & Rush are doing in their movies.

Bridges in supporting would be less fraudulent than putting Hailee in lead is what i'm saying.


Dale S -- one more thing. if it's not sexist that very young actresses are often nominated than tell me this: why aren't very young actors nominated?

Kevin said...

If I might jump in there, Nathaniel--it's because the work of a young actor is never read as having the emotional heft or gravitas as that of an older actor. Not only that, older actors are more abundant, meaning more of them take the spots. Not that I don't think Oscar has an absurd fascination with young girls' cute performances--they most certainly do. But you can't ignore Dale's point: for your argument that they always category fraud these performances, they did correct Keisha Castle-Hughes not so long ago. They're capable of doing it again.

DaleS. said...

Maybe it's b/c they don't deserve to be nominated iin the first place.

Either way, it's not your award, but theirs. They can place anyone anywhere they please. If you don't like it, then don't watch and turn the channel on Oscar night.

Stay pressed and continue on with your whining.

Billy Held An Oscar said...

Category fraud fascinates me - I picture the studio execs sitting behind their desk twirling their mustaches like Snidely Whiplash, and plotting how to convince voters to nominate lead actors/actresses in the supporting category.


Dale S -- um... its kind of statistically impossible for people to never be worthy of awardage just because they have penises. :)

Anyway, it's kind of the role of an online pundit to comment on their awards, so I shall continue to do so. I'm baffled as to why people ever ask pundits/writers NOT TO HAVE OPINIONS.

who would read someone without opinions?


Kevin -- i totally agree that that's why (the gravitas thing) but gravitas is in the eye of the beholder. Why are young girls viewed as being worthy of praise when young men are not?

This is a rhetorical question since we're well aware of the answer.


@anthonydc -- that was shocking outcome and SO exciting and worthy. Tilly is magic in that movie.

The Pretentious Know it All said...

Dale, with all due respect, allow my to plant my flag on the other side of the fence and disagree with you. The stats don't lie. The Academy (whether consciously or unconsciously) favors youth in the female acting categories versus age and experience in the male acting categories. The youngest actress to win was 10. The youngest male acting winner was 20. Not only that, but look at people like Paul Newman, Morgan Freeman, Jeff Bridges, Henry Fonda, Peter Finch, George C. Scott, Alan seems like I'm naming a lot of names because I'm trying to prove a point. That is, they're much more comfortable making a male actor wait until they're older and more seasoned. Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio are two actors who many people assume will win eventually and I'll wager that at least one of them will have to wait until they're in their late fifties to get there.

Now look at the female acting categories, specifically best actress. Geraldine Page and (maybe) Helen Mirren are the only example(s) I can manage of actresses rewarded in relative old age after multiple nominations. And before you bring up Jessica Tandy, that was her first nod. The notion of them making a woman wait until she's more seasoned (like Paul Newman seasoned) is virtually alien in the world of Oscar because women generally don't get to work that long as actresses (the Streeps are few and far between) and even when they do, they generally only have a certain window during which they are Oscar viable. Look at how people were desperately pleading "Please give Winslet an Oscar before it's too late!" And she was 34! With Julianne Moore and Annette Bening, no one's thinking "Oh, we'll give it to them when they're 65." No. If Moore doesn't win in the next five years, I wager she'll never win. I apologize for the length of this comment, but I feel you're just a touch off base.

The Hated One said...

@Dale S.

I think the same thing you are saying could apply to you, don't you think?

If you don't like Nathaniel's opinion then do not visit his blog and go read something else...

aclp said...

The Pretentious,

Judi Dench has had multiple noms after "a certain age". Add her to your- unfortunatly-very short list.

Bia said...

Speaking of King of the Hill, what the hell happened to Jesse Bradford's career? He seemed to be doing well in the early-aughts and then fell off the radar...I'm surprised Soderbergh never gave him one of the young guy roles in the Ocean's movies.


Dale S, pretentious, the hated and everyone -- i would just like to state really quickly that i am totally happy to have readers that don't agree with me too -- and I thank Dale wholeheartedly for using a name (too many people opt for anonymous when they don't like something they've read which kills conversations).

I hope people don't feel that they need to agree with a blogger/writer/critic/journalist/whatever to read their stuff.

i think it's healthy to have differences of opinion.

I understand that strongly stated opinons sometimes piss people off but it's a risk you gotta take when Oscar enters the picture ;)

Bia -- i know! He was adorable.

Billy i love the visual. But i sometimes wonder how involved the actual celebrities are.... whether they're scheming too and laughing maniacally (you know if they get demoted to supporting in campaign they still claim "i was the lead actor in this movie that grosses blah blah blah..." when they need to do for bargaining chip purposes on their next job. :)

JayJ said...

/3rtfull It seems to me that you are saying that since the Oscars hardly ever get it right they should never get it right. That politics should always win over performance because that's just the way it is.
And I could not agree less.
I have not seen True Grit yet, but if Hailee Steinfeld deserves to be nominated in the Best Actress category then she should, if she does not give one of the top 5 (or even top 10) best performances by a lead actress then she should not be shipped off to the Best Supporting Actress category as a consolidation prize.
And if you do support the politics of the Oscars doesn't that mean you would support sending Miss. Steinfeld over to the Best Supporting Actress category.
Oscar was always a prize design to bring attention to adult performers You do realize that the Supporting Actor/Actress category came into fruition only 5-10 after the Oscars began and that less than five actresses under 16 have won Oscars.
Of course not all child actors' performances are equal to that of adults, but the ones that are should be recognized. And they usually are considering how few times those under 18 are nominated.

On a side note, I'm not sure I would've nominated Abigail Breslin for Little Miss Sunshine, but her nomination is akin to nominating Julia Roberts for Pretty Woman so I can't and won't fret. It was a delightful comedic performance in a weak year. And by your logic Ms. Ryder did not deserve the Oscar in 1994 either, since there were other more seasoned actresses who would've needed it.

cinephile said...

Come on. Haley Joel Osment won the Dallas-Fort Worth, Florida, Kansas, Las Vegas, Southeastern and Online Film Critics Awards as BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR for The Sixth Sense. Against veterans like Michael Caine, Jude Law or Tom Cruise.
He was 12. Haley Steinfeld is 14.

Evan said...

Now, now, Nate- Just because boys aren't similarly awarded doesn't mean that talented young female performers shouldn't receive awards... [/Mom]

(In all seriousness, I realize you don't think it's a good enough performance regardless of her age, but I do think that the lack of support for young males shouldn't even be a factor in this discussion.)

Also, I imagine Academy members would point out that from a maturity standpoint, teenage girls do tend to be a little more precocious and thoughtful than teenage boys. Personally, I'd bet there are also a lot more young female actors out there working-- and the few teenage boys that do exist tend to be reduced to Teen Beat magazine, which clearly causes Oscar to immediately disregard them.

/3rtfu11 said...

Jay baby I don’t have the strength. I have a headache from writing what I wrote this morning. Let’s just agree to disagree.


cinephile -- THANKS FOR THE CATCH. The exception that proves the rule? ;)


Evan -- i actually think actresses are better than actors myself (GROSS GENERALIZATION ALERT!) but i don't think it's an invalid criticism just from sheer regularity.

anyway i'll shut up (FOR NOW. cue ominous /annoying music)

Kurtis O said...

Here's the problem I'm currently facing: I loved Steinfeld's performance and really want to include her in this in-a-perfect-world-oscar-nominations piece I'm writing. She's certainly good enough to join my supporting actress contenders, but there's no way she's unseating any of my top five leading ladies. And yet, I totally acknowledge that hers is indeed a leading role. So what do I do? Demote her to supporting or cut her altogether? Is this the same dilemma awards voters are tossing around?

JayJ said...

/3rtfull baby let's just admit that my reasoning and argument is more rational than yours.


Kurtis O -- but see. that's exactly the thing. why even have supporting categories if people just want more room to honor the stars of movies who have such an unfair advantage when stacked up against supporting players (the whole movie caters to their performances and they have 2 hours to build the complexity).

Unknown said...

I'm with Nate. Stop making the supporting acting categories a ghetto for leading performances that:

a. we like but aren't good enough to cut it as part of the top five in the lead races, or
b. are second or third leads that we "demote" to make room for nominees from other films.

The best acting is the best acting -- period. The person believed to have done the best job should be the one rewarded in the proper category. I know sometime a case can be made for either lead or supporting (Javier Bardem and Catherine Zeta-Jones immediately come to mind) but in numerous instances it is quite unambiguous (exactly who or what was Jennifer Hudson supporting?).

DaleS. said...

If you don't like Nathaniel's opinion then do not visit his blog and go read something else...

Well unlike you, I don't agree with everything on this blog like sheep. I think that's perfectly acceptable. I am overly blunt, but that's just me. And don't worry about what I read and don't read in any capacity. This just happens to be one issue that I'm not pressed about and see railroaded on here year after year, so I decided to come out of lurking and say my peace about it. Voters will do what they will. It's completely out of our hands. I don't find it sexist or whatever when young girls are nodded in supporting actress when they're "lead," and I never will. Veteran men are a commonstay in supporting actor I realize, but I do think that if they were worth nominating, we'd see more young boys nominated in the supporting actor field. If Haley Joel Osment can do what he did in his year, then it can happen more in the future. And you could have called him a "lead" as much as Bruce Willis was a "lead." But whatever. I'm clearly just a "hater." I have been an avid reader of this site for years believe it or not.

Fernando Moss said...

I think the case can kinda be proven by the fact that a lot of men (even when they where worthy or worthier than the actual nominees)weren't able to score a nom. I mean Johnny Depp getting his first at 40?! Or some young performers that find some traction or raves in the way but didn't make the cut, like Emile Hirsch. And there have been young actresses nominated that can be labeled as a "WTF nomination".

Kevin said...

Oh, Dale S. Please, please, please do not refer to the commenters and readers on this site as sheep. There is plenty of dissent here, but commenters should know how to phrase their dissent in a mature, communicative manner rather than insulting Nathaniel.

Here's an example: I have to say that it seems like this site on the whole has taken a somewhat odd, reverse-ageist and reverse-sexist position this year. There's always been an undercurrent of "older actresses' performances are underappreciated" mentality, but somehow this year it seems to have been taken to an extreme, something that bothers me a bit. I also feel that the ambivalence towards the Mila Kunis performance is amplifying the problem.

Barbara Hershey does well in her role, but she's certainly no more or less deserving than Kunis in her role. However, this doesn't seem to have translated into an appropriate position on The Film Experience. Instead of the opinion being "none of the supporting actresses in Black Swan are deserving of attention" it has turned into "Kunis is being nominated because she's young and sexy". I simply feel that position is a poor argument considering the trifecta of support from SAG, BFCA and HFPA, and supports that strange reverse-sexist and reverse-ageist position this site has taken this year. Now, I'm still a loyal reader and commenter and I'm not likely to change that, but it is something I do consider somewhat of an issue and I definitely want to bring it up.

Apologies for the length of this comment :)


Kevin & Dale -- again i read all comments and i don't expect everyone to agree with me all the time (god, that'd be dull) but i do enjoy it, as Kevin says, when people are willing to converse without insulting.

I'm not sure if my writing hasn't been clear enough or if this issue just makes people vision foggy with anger but i don't have a strong preference between Bening and Portman this year. I really don't.

I'll be happy with either of them winning because both performances are top notch stuff.

i just think age is an interesting factor in the Oscar race that too many people pretend is NOT a factor (the ladies -- i.e. everyone -- doth protest too much)

it's a personal pet cause of mine and i have no intention of abandoning great older actresses just because everyone else is done with them.

it also just happens to be a year where the supporting actress field was looking (early on) like a potentially "all old lady + amy adams" thing so it just suddenly raised its head as an obvious issue and then suddenly it turned into the Mila & Hailee parade (which I did not see coming exactly) and it's just taken me a week to adjust. that's all.

new topics are coming. we just had a little "theme week" :)

GaryS. said...

Like I said before, I'm blunt to a fault. But I'll try not to be so insulting, Kevin.

I don't think that the Academy, or anyone here, is "done" with older actresses. Preferring Portman over Bening doesn't mean that anyone is done with Older actresses. And I'd nominate Kunis over Hershey too. Am I ageist now for that too? No, I'm not. That's just how the ball bounces sometimes. It's not coincidental.

But yes, on to new topics please, and fast.