Movies - Awards postsTuesday 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”||
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.
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
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.
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.