erik lundegaard

Movies - Awards posts

Tuesday January 12, 2016

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?

Posted at 02:23 PM on Jan 12, 2016 in category Movies - Awards
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Wednesday December 02, 2015

NYFCC Sings Oh! Carol

Todd Haynes, Carol

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.

Nice to see Mark Rylance win for “Bridge of Spies”, and Kristen Stewart for “Sils Maria.” I was effusive in my praise for both. Ditto “Inside Out.” Looking forward to seeing “Son of Saul.”

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
Posted at 06:38 PM on Dec 02, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Sunday June 07, 2015

SIFF 2015 Awards

The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival ends this evening, and this morning its awards were announced:

Golden Space Needle Awards (voted by moviegoers)

  • Best Film: “The Dark Horse” (New Zealand)
  • Best Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
  • Best Actor: Cliff Curtis, “The Dark Horse”
  • Best Actress: Nina Hoss, “Phoenix”
  • Best Documentary: “Romeo is Bleeding,” Jason Zeldes 
  • Best Short: “Even the Walls”

Grand Jury

  • New Directors Competition: Károly Ujj-Mészáros, “Liza, The Fox-Fairy”
  • New American Cinema Award: “Chatty Catties”
  • Documentary: “The Great Alone”

Youth Jury

  • Futurewave: “Seoul Searching”
  • Films4Family: “When Marnie Was There”
  • Futurewave shorts: “Minimum Max”

The trailer for the big winner is below. I was aware of “Dark Horse”—my friend Vinny is a big chess guy—but wasn't much interested in seeing it. (Which is why I didn't.) Seemed like one of those Michelle Pfeiffer teacher/pupil movies. The teacher is redeemed by inspiring the students. The audience is supposed to be inspired. We're supposed to want to “stand up and cheer.” 

Anyone see it? Any good? 

Here's a list of past Golden Space Needle awards. Not a bad group: “Boyhood,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Sex and Lucia,” “The Usual Suspects,” “The Wedding Banquet,” “My Life as a Dog.” But some recent head-scratchers, too. I wasn't a “Beasts of the Southern Wild” fan. And “The Whistleblower” seems a particularly weak choice. Feels like a lot of bad politics in these decisions. I also heard not-complimentary things about two of this year's award winners: “Chatty Catties” and “Seoul Searching.”

That said, this was probably my best SIFF ever. Maybe they had better movies this year; maybe I'm just getting better at picking them.

I'll post my SIFF awards tomorrow. 

Posted at 03:09 PM on Jun 07, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Monday May 25, 2015

Cannes Winners, 2015

The fact that the Seattle International Film Festival (or SIFF) happens concurrently with the Cannes Film Festival (or Cannes) assuages some of the disappointment with not being in the south of France at this time of year. Instead I rely on the usual suspects (Jeff Wells, Sasha Stone) for their reports. Not to mention the final awards, which were announced today. They are:

  • Palme d'Or: “Dheepan,” directed by Jacques Audiard, who has twice won “best film” at the Erik International Film Festeival (a.k.a. my annual Top 10 list) so I'm excited by this; I think Audiard is one of the best directors in the world right now. At the same time, the win is being called one of the great upsets in the history of Cannes. Further thoughts here. The movie below was supposed to win ...
  • Grand Prix: “Son of Saul,” directed by Laszlo Nemes. Another Holocaust film that seems particularly resonant. 
  • Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien, “The Assassin.” I've never been a big Hou fan, but ... open mind. At least 3/4 open.
  • Actor: Vincent Lindon, “The Measure of a Man.” I mostly know Lindon from the film adaptation of “The Moustache.”
  • Actress (tie): Emmanuelle Bercot, “Mon Roi”; Rooney Mara, “Carol.” Both Wells and Stone raved about “Carol,” which also stars Cate Blanchett.

The jury presidents were Joel and Ethan Coen, while the jury included actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Sophie Marceau, Sienna Miller and Rossy de Palma; directors Guillermo del Toro and Xavier Dolan; and composer Rolia Traoré.

Do these awards mean anything? Ca depend. Past winners of the Palme d'Or have included great films (“Pulp Fiction,” “The Pianist,” “The Class,” “The Tree of Life,” “Blue is the Warmest Color”) and some awful/arty films (“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”). But I love Audiard so I'm hopeful this year.  

Dheepan, Jacques Audiard

In “Dheepan,” a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior uses his skills to survive as an immigrant in Paris.

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Posted at 12:52 PM on May 25, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Sunday February 22, 2015

GREAT 'Birdman' Spoof to Open Spirit Awards

Saw it via Jeff Wells' “Hollywood Elsewhere” site. Guy doesn't miss a beat. Except for the “Lincoln” debacle, in which he told Daniel Day-Lewis how to act. Plus his odd “42” poster defense, where he gave tips on baserunning to Jackie Robinson. But ... you know.

Here's another “Birdman” spoof, which is less exact but brings a bigger smile: “Big Birdman.”

There will be more of these spoofs. That's how iconic the movie already is. 

Oh, as for Spirit Award winners for best independent films? “Birdman,” Richard Linklater, Michael Keaton, Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons, Patricia Arquette, “Ida,” Dan Gilroy (screenplay). 

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Posted at 12:25 PM on Feb 22, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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