Movies - Awards postsTuesday January 31, 2017
Is It Denzel's to Lose Now?
Sunday night while I was at the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle protesting Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants/refugees from seven countries in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen), which anyone with a brain realizes is ...
- potentially unconstitutional
- unthought out
- liable to make us less safe in the long run, and
- an idiotic move by a child-president and his evil babysitter Steve Bannon
... while I was doing that—which, for my money, didn't include enough “Dump Trump” chants—the Screen Actors Guild awards were being given out in Hollywood, Calif.
Do we care at this point? Is it worth talking about?
Probably not. But here I go.
For those for whom #OscarsSoWhite matters, it was a good night. The cast award went to “Hidden Figures,” about African-American women in the Mercury/Apollo space program, while three of the four film acting awards went to African-Americans: Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) and Viola Davis (“Fences”) in supporting, and Denzel for lead (“Fences”). The fourth SAG went to Emma Stone for lead in “La La Land.”
The surprise was Denzel. The early money in this category was on Casey Affleck for “Manchester By the Sea,” which I think is the best movie of the year. Affleck was its likeliest winner, but sexual harassment charges against him from 10 years ago, which were settled out of court, keep resurfacing. From what I've read of the charges, they hardly come across as threatening—pathetic, really—but voices will be heard. Denzel won his first Oscar in 2001 in part because Russell Crowe exhibited bad behavior at the BAFTAs, and maybe this will lead to his second. If it does, he will join rare company: Only Jack Nicholson has ever won two lead actor Oscars and one supporting actor Oscar.
How likely is a Denzel Oscar win? Likelier now. There was a four-year stretch, from 2000 to 2003, in which SAG chose a different lead than Oscar. Otherwise, it's been an exact match in this category:
|2005||Phillip Seymour Hoffman||ditto|
|2003||Johnny Depp||Sean Penn|
|2002||Daniel Day-Lewis||Adrien Brody|
|2001||Russell Crowe||Denzel Washington|
|2000||Benedecio Del Toro*||Russell Crowe|
* Won the Oscar (for “Traffic”) in the supporting category
The cast award has been a more hit-and-miss predictor of best picture, missing nine of the 20 times it's been awarded. I assume “Hidden Figures” will make it an even 10. The others (Stone, Davis, Ali) are almost dead-locks.
Keep fighting Trump.
Oscar Watch: Guilds Have a Threeway
“Revenant” carries home its DGA.
For the first time since 2004, the three major guild awards (Actors, Producers, Directors) have awarded their best picture to three different movies. Back then, actors went “Sideways,” producers “The Aviator,” and the directors chose “Million Dollar Baby,” which wound up winning both best director and picture at the Oscars in March.
This year, the actors chose “Spotlight,” the producers “The Big Short,” and last night the Directors Guild went with Alejandro Inarritu for “The Revenant.” It's the second year in a row Inarritu has won the DGA, which, I believe, has never happened before.
Who saw it coming? Me. Kinda. This was last Sunday:
I could see a 3-way split among the guilds: Spotlight (SAG), Big Short (PGA), Revenant (DGA). So like 2004 but w/better movies— Erik Lundegaard (@ErikLundegaard) January 31, 2016
Inarritu and “The Revenant” had a shot with the DGAs, I thought, because it was the most visually spectacular movie among the nominees. Just gorgeous. It's a real director's movie the way that “Spotlight” is an actors movie.
A secondary reason: In a season of #OscarsSoWhite noise, Inarritu is the only person of color nominated in the major awards categories.
I actually teased Oscar predictor Sasha Stone about this. All month she's been hot with #OscarSoWhite anger because of the lack of noms for people of color, yet she's not a “Revenant” fan. After SAG, we had this exchange:
To be honest, I'd be happy with any of the three winning best picture. They landed exactly 4, 3 and 2 in my top 10 movies of 2015, and the No. 1 slot is a foreign film. I think “Spotlight” is important, “The Big Short” even more important (also more entertaining), but I think “The Revenant” is the most artistic of the three. But again, any of them.
Oh, and if Inarritu wins the Oscar for best director, too? Which he seems likely to do? It'll be the fourth year in a row a non-white person has won the award. #BestDirectorSoNotWhite?
Here's a recent history of the guilds:
|Year||DGA||PGA||SAG - CAST|
|2015||The Revenanat||The Big Short||Spotlight|
|2013||Gravity||Gravity/ 12 Years a Slave||American Hustle|
|2011||The Artist||The Artist||The Help|
|2010||The King's Speech||The King's Speech||The King's Speech|
|2009||The Hurt Locker||The Hurt Locker||Inglourious Bastards|
|2008||Slumdog Millionaire||Slumdog Millionaire||Slumdog Millionaire|
|2007||No Country for Old Men||No Country for Old Men||No Country for Old Men|
|2006||The Departed||Little Miss Sunshine||Little Miss Sunshine|
|2005||Brokeback Mountain||Brokeback Mountain||Crash|
|2004||Million Dollar Baby||The Aviator||Sideways|
|2003||Lord of the Rings||Lord of the Rings||Lord of the Rings|
|2001||A Beautiful Mind||Moulin Rouge!||Gosford Park|
|2000||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon||Gladiator||Traffic|
Final thought: I actually like years like this. I like it when the hardware is divided among good movies, and we're not sure what will happen Oscar night.
Producers Guild Goes Long on 'The Big Short'
Here's a list of movies since 1990 that the Producers Guild of America has chosen best picture that didn't go on to win the Oscar for best picture:
|1992||The Crying Game|
|1998||Saving Private Ryan|
|2006||Little Miss Sunshine|
A short list. Two years ago, too, they split on “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” and the latter won the Oscar for best picture. Otherwise, since 2006, they've nailed it. If you want to call prefiguring the Oscar “nailing it.”
I mention all this because last night the PGAs chose “The Big Short” for best picture.
Good news for “The Big Short” but there are still no clear frontrunners in the field; I can still see “The Revenant” or “Spotlight” having a go. I think it's down to these three. Three of my four favorite films of the year.
An even more accurate predictor, The Directors Guild of America, announces its winner on Feb. 6.
The DGA Nominations: 3 out of 5 Ain't Bad
The Directors Guild of America announced its 2015 nominees for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film:
- Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant” (Yes!)
- Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight” (Yes!)
- Adam McKay, “The Big Short” (Yes!)
- George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road” (No!)
- Ridley Scott, “The Martian” (Whatever)
I'd lose Miller and Scott for Naji Abu Nowar (“Theeb”) and Todd Haynes (“Carol”), but three out of five ain't bad.
One of the above will almost certainly win the Academy Award for best picture. Since 1952, only one movie has ever won the Academy's best picture without its director being nominated for a DGA: “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989; Bruce Beresford. FWIW, the DGA also ignored Spike Lee that year.
Little discussed fact, given how so many film critics on social media are complaining about the lack of diversity in the DGA and AMPAS: It's been almost 10 years since an American male has won the Academy Award for best director. Recently it's been Mexican, Taiwanese, French and British nationals. The last American was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009. The last American male? Or males? The Coens for “No Country for Old Men.”
Rooting interests, anyone?
NYFCC Sings Oh! Carol
The New York Film Critics Circle chose its year-end awards today. The fascinating thing to me is that “Carol,” Todd Haynes' drama about a love affair between two women in the 1950s, starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett—both of whom have been getting great notices—was awarded in the following categories: film, director, screenplay, cinematography ... but not actress or supporting actress. That's actually a good sign. Means those categories are stacked.
Here's NYFCC's awards from last year.
And this year's cherces:
- Best film: Carol
- Best director: Todd Haynes, Carol
- Best actor: Michael Keaton, Spotlight
- Best actress: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
- Best supporting actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
- Best supporting actress: Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
- Best screenplay: Carol, Phyllis Nagy
- Best animated film: Inside Out
- Best cinematography: Carol, Edward Lachman
- Best first film: Son of Saul
- Best foreign film: Timbuktu (Mauritania)
- Best non-fiction film (documentary): In Jackson Heights directed by Frederick Wiseman.
- Special Award:Posthumous award honoring the legacy of William Becker and Janus Films
- Special Award # 2: composer Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight