erik lundegaard

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Wednesday December 05, 2012

National Board of Review Names ZERO DARK THIRTY Best Film of 2012

Monday it was the New York Film Critics Circle with their best of 2012 list. Today it was the National Board of Review. And both orgs chose the same film as best film:

Here's NBR's list:

  • Best Film:  ZERO DARK THIRTY
  • Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, ZERO DARK THIRTY
  • Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
  • Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, ZERO DARK THIRTY
  • Best Supporting Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, DJANGO UNCHAINED
  • Best Supporting Actress: Ann Dowd, COMPLIANCE
  • Best Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson, LOOPER
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
  • Best Animated Feature: WRECK-IT RALPH
  • Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Ben Affleck, ARGO
  • Breakthrough Actor: Tom Holland, THE IMPOSSIBLE
  • Breakthrough Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
  • Best Directorial Debut: Benh Zeitlin, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
  • Best Foreign Language Film:  AMOUR
  • Best Documentary: SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN
  • William K. Everson Film History Award: 50 YEARS OF BOND FILMS
  • Best Ensemble: LES MISÉRABLES
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award: CENTRAL PARK FIVE
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award: PROMISED LAND

(BTW, NBR, that should be “Sugar Man,” not “Sugarman.” FYI.)

The National Board of Review is less prestigious than the New York Film Critics Circle but an even poorer predictor of the Oscar race. Since 2000, they've chosen the same best picture as the Academy only twice: “No Country for Old Men” in 2007 and “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008. For the rest they went “Quills,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “The Hours,” “Mystic River,” “Finding Neverland,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Up in the Air,” “The Social Network,” “Hugo.” Some weak tea there.

As for when the NBR and the NYFCC agree on best picture? They rarely do: four times in the last 20 years. Well, five now. And it means nothing in terms of the Oscar race:

  • 2010: The Social Network (NO)
  • 2007: No Country for Old Men (YES)
  • 1997: L.A. Confidential: (NO)
  • 1993: Schindler's List: (YES)

“Lincoln,” interestingly, was shut out by the NBR. Even Danny Day-Lewis. That makes me smile, it's so absurd.

Among other absurd choices? “Looper” in their top 10, “Hello, I Must Be Going” among their top 10 indie, and “The Kid with a Bike” among their top 5 foreign.


I'm sure he's fine. But he's no Danny Day-Lewis, despite the garbage bag.

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Posted at 07:22 PM on Dec 05, 2012 in category Movies - Awards
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Monday December 03, 2012

Let the Awards Season Begin! NY Film Critics Circle Names ZERO DARK THIRTY Best Picture of 2012

Yes, the awards season has begun ... even though most of us haven't had the chance to see the movies yet. Or even hear of them. “The Deep Blue Sea” anyone?

None of that stopped the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) from, today, naming  its best of the best of 2012. The winners:

  • Picture: “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Director: Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Screenplay: Tony Kushner for “Lincoln”
  • Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln”
  • Actress: Rachel Weisz for “The Deep Blue Sea”
  • Supporting Actress: Sally Field for “Lincoln”
  • Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey for “Bernie” and “Magic Mike”
  • Cinematographer: Greig Fraser for “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Animated Feature: “Frankenweenie”
  • Documentary Feature: “The Central Park Five”
  • Foreign Film: “Amour”
  • First Film: David France, “How to Survive a Plague”

Immediate reaction. I've seen “Lincoln” and that's it. Which is so typical of early December awards. But thus far I certainly agree with the NYFCC's actor and screenplay choices. Field, too, but less obviously. For some reason, apparently, some critics have disparaged her performance. Don't get that.

I'm glad for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow's film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. As I said the other day, it looks fantastic. I have high hopes.

“Frankenweenie”? I think Jordy will object. I think he prefered “ParaNorman” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” I think this award was given to the more famous, more prestigious director, not the better animated movie. (Although I didn't think much of “Wreck-It Ralph.”)

“Amour” has been all over the place this year but I'm not much of a fan of Michael Haneke, either.

If you're curious how the NYFCC prefigures the Oscars, it's about a 50-50 proposition when it comes to best picture: 2011 yes, 2010 no (“Social Network” over “The King's Speech”), 2009 yes, 2008 no (“Milk” over “Slumdog Millionaire”), 2007 yes, 2006 no (“United 93” over “The Departed”). We're in an even year so it look like another disagreement with the Academy. When that happens, as with the aforementioned, I tend to agree with the New York Film Critics Circle.

Zero Dark Thirty horizontal poster

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Posted at 01:44 PM on Dec 03, 2012 in category Movies - Awards
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Tuesday December 15, 2009

Here Come the Critics

“Critics” hardly seems the right word, does it, when they're listing off the best of the year. “Here Come the Praisers.” “Here Come the Complimenters.” More basically: “Here Come the Analyzers.” They've sifted through the year in movies, analyzed what's good and bad, and left us what's good. How nice! They're like Santa Claus. An underappreciated Santa Claus.

This is what the tally looks like thus far:

Critics Group Best Picture Best Actor Best Actress Best Director Best Foreign Language Film
NY Film Critics Circle (1935) “The Hurt Locker” George Clooney, “Up in the Air” Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia” Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker” “L'Heure d'ete”
Los Angeles Film Critics Association (1975) “The Hurt Locker” Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart” Yolanda Moreau, “Seraphine” Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”  “L'Heure d'ete”
The Boston Society of Film Critics (1981) “The Hurt Locker” Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker” Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia” Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker” “L'Heure d'ete”
Washington DC Area Film Critics (2002) “Up in the Air” George Clooney, “Up in the Air” Carey Mulligan, “An Education” Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”

“Sin Nombre”

A sweep thus far for Bigelow, and consensus for “The Hurt Locker” and “L'Heure d'ete” (“Summer Hours”), the latter of which I'm particularly happy about since I thought that movie was flying under the radar. I was lucky enough to see it at the Seattle International Film Festival in May or June and recommend it to anyone and everyone—when it finally comes out on DVD. It's a movie that works on you in subtle ways and stays with you in profound ways.

Most observers list off these types of awards as precursors to the Oscars (what does it mean, who's agreed with the Academy in the past, blah blah blah), but for once I thought it would be nice to just enjoy the movies mentioned, and the critics groups mentioned, on their own. I haven't seen “Sin Nombre” and “Crazy Heart” but everything else is worth seeing. These are all movies, stories, that, while trying to entertain, make us feel what it means to be alive: as an IED specialist in Iraq in 2004; as a working-class girl in England in the 1960s; as a working-class artist in turn-of-the-last-century France; and as a French family in an increasingly international and fragmented world. Also what it means when we go.

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Posted at 07:28 AM on Dec 15, 2009 in category Movies - Awards
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Wednesday January 07, 2009

PGAs: Four of Five

The PGAs, or Producers Guild of America nominees, which honors producers of both motion pictures and television, were announced a few days ago, and in the key category, motion picture of the year, the nominees were:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

First, it's nice the PGAs don't alphabetize the way Comcast does (yeah, I'm not letting go of that one), and, second, the list is the same list of best picture nominees EW predicted for the Oscars a few days earlier — not to mention the same list Jeff Wells (or an industry insider Friend Of Jeff Wells) mentioned in early December.

Which means?

As far as EW and FOJW? Who knows. As far as the PGAs, if recent history has any meaning, it means we're down to four of the five. Since 2004, the PGAs and the Oscars have agreed on every picture but one — with the PGA going for, in order, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” over “Atonement” (2007), “Dreamgirls” over “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006), “Walk the Line” over “Munich” (2005) and “The Incredibles” over “Ray” (2004). Before that, the PGA sometimes picked six nominees and it gets harder to calculate. 

In other words, we're down to Agatha Christie territory. The five nominees should be looking at each other, wondering which one is going to get the axe. If, again, recent history has any meaning.

One thing is for sure: The days of “Doubt” and “Australia” being among the mix are long gone. 

Posted at 08:06 AM on Jan 07, 2009 in category Movies - Awards
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