erik lundegaard

Movies - Awards posts

Monday December 11, 2017

The Seattle Film Critics Society's 10 Best of the Year

The nominees are out from the Seattle Film Critics Society, and they are ... 

Wait, nominees? Even the New York and LA film critics don't do they? They just award.

Anyway, despite living in Seattle (First Hill, represent!), and being a film critic (of a kind), I've never been anywhere near this group. Maybe with good reason. These are their nominees for best picture:

Missing? “The Big Sick,” of course, which I watched again with friends last night and liked more than the first time I saw it—as the opening movie of the Seattle International Film Festival last May. And I loved it then. Right now, it's top 3 for me. With many more to see...

...such as “Call Me By Your Name,” which is winning awards up the wazoo but not here. For a second I thought it wasn't listed because it hadn't screened this far west, but the film is mentioned as part of “Best Ensemble Cast.” And that's it. No others. Neither best pic for “The Shape of Water.” Haven't seen yet so shouldn't say. Just ... surprising. 

What's included and probably shouldn't be? “Blade Runner 2049” for starters. Then on to “Dunkirk” and wrap up with “Logan.” I'd put “Spidey” before “Logan.”

I guess I like the head bob toward the popular, but then why ignore “Big Sick”? And why all the sci-fi? Fucking nerds.

At least “Baby Driver” didn't make the cut.  

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Posted at 06:28 PM on Dec 11, 2017 in category Movies - Awards   |   Permalink  
Sunday December 03, 2017

NY and LA Film Critics Weigh In (For a Change)

NY and LA Film Critics weigh in

Armie Hammer (foreground), and Chalamet, in “Call Me By My Name”

In the last few days, on the heels of the National Board of Review, both the NY and the LA Film Critics Associations announced their winners for the year. Both bodies, I believe, get together in person and duke it out. I don't know why they don't film it. Best short feature, yo. 

Anyway, here they are:

Category LA Film Critics NY Film Critics
Picture “Call Me By Your Name” “Lady Bird”
Director Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me By Your Name,” Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water” (tie) Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Actor Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name” Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Actress Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water” Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Supporting Actress Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird” Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”
Supporting Actor  Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project” Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Screenplay Jordan Peele, “Get Out” Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Cinematography Dan Lautsen, “The Shape of Water” Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound”
Editing Lee Smith, “Dunkirk  
Best Documentary ”Faces Places“ ”Faces Places“
Foreign Language ”BPM“ and ”Loveless“ ”BPM“ 
Animated Feature ”The Breadwinner“ ”Coco“

Not tons of agreement. Just on the dudes, the doc and the foreigners. Really looking forward to ”BPM,“ AKA ”120 battements par minute,“ which is about love during the AIDS crisis. French, bien sur. 

Interesting that in NY, where they gave picture and actress to ”Lady Bird,“ the film's surest bet, Laurie Metcalf in supporting, went to Tiffany Haddish in ”Girls Trip.“ I'm all for awarding outright comedies but this doesn't feel like the year. Particularly with Holly Hunter in ”The Big Sick“ hanging in the wings.

”Call Me By Your Name“ and ”The Shape of Water" open in Seattle later this month.  

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Posted at 04:39 PM on Dec 03, 2017 in category Movies - Awards   |   Permalink  
Tuesday November 28, 2017

How is the National Board of Review Like Spinal Tap?

The Post is NBR's best film

Return with us now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear...

The National Board of Review, the first of the never-ending awardists, gave its top prizes to Steven Spielberg's The Postthe film about the Pentagon Papers and the moment when The Washington Post became our other national newspaper—awarding it: 1) Best Film, 2) Best Actress (Meryl Streep) and Best Actor (Tom Hanks).

Which means? Just that. If you're looking for an Oscar predictor, look elsewhere. In the last five years, NBR's best film has been: “Manchester By the Sea,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” (gag), “A Most Violent Year,” “Her” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” none of which won the Oscar. In that time, they match with the Academy once on actor (Casey Affleck, last year), and twice on actress (Brie Larson, “The Room” and Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”). One year, they gave the acting award to Matt Damon for “The Martian.” They're a kooky bunch. 

And never more so than in their Top 10 Movies. Or their “Top 10 Movies Other Than The One We've Just Chosen.” How is NBR like Spinal Tap? They go to 11.

Here is their Top 10 Except for No. 1. With a few mild suggestions:

  • Baby Driver The Big Sick
  • Call Me by Your Name  
  • The Disaster Artist 
  • Downsizing 
  • Dunkirk Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • The Florida Project 
  • Get Out 
  • Lady Bird
  • Logan The Shape of Water, maybe? 
  • Phantom Thread

NBR's entire list of 2017 award winners can be found here.

ADDENDUM: OK, I did a little more digging. This century, NBR and the Academy have agreed on best picture only twice: “No Country for Old Men” in 2007 and “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008. Among NBR's forgotten best films: “Quills” in 2000, “Finding Neverland” in 2004, “Good Night, and Good Luck” in 2005, “Up in the Air” in 2009 and “Hugo” in 2011. 

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Posted at 03:19 PM on Nov 28, 2017 in category Movies - Awards   |   Permalink  
Tuesday 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 ...

  1. un-American
  2. potentially unconstitutional
  3. immoral
  4. unthought out
  5. liable to make us less safe in the long run, and
  6. 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:

2016 Denzel Washington ???
2015 Leonardo DiCaprio ditto
2014 Eddie Redmayne ditto
2013 Matthew McConaughey ditto
2012 Daniel Day-Lewis ditto
2011 Jean Dujardin ditto
2010 Colin Firth ditto
2009 Jeff Bridges ditto
2008 Sean Penn ditto
2007 Daniel Day-Lewis ditto
2006 Forrest Whitaker ditto
2005 Phillip Seymour Hoffman ditto
2004 Jamie Foxx ditto
2003 Johnny Depp Sean Penn
2002 Daniel Day-Lewis Adrien Brody
2001 Russell Crowe Denzel Washington
2000 Benedecio Del Toro* Russell Crowe
1999 Kevin Spacey ditto
1998 Roberto Benigni ditto
1997 Jack Nicholson ditto
1996 Geoffrey Rush ditto
1995 Nicholas Cage ditto
1994 Tom Hanks ditto

* 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.

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Posted at 08:01 AM on Jan 31, 2017 in category Movies - Awards   |   Permalink  
Sunday February 07, 2016

Oscar Watch: Guilds Have a Threeway

The Revenant wins DGA

“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:

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:

2015 The Revenanat The Big Short Spotlight
2014 Birdman Birdman Birdman
2013 Gravity Gravity/ 12 Years a Slave American Hustle
2012 Argo Argo Argo
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
2002 Chicago Chicago Chicago
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. 

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Posted at 09:15 AM on Feb 07, 2016 in category Movies - Awards   |   Permalink  
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