erik lundegaard

Movies - Awards posts

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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Monday February 16, 2015

#OscarsSoWhite Maybe, But #NotAsWhiteAsWGA

After the Screen Actors Guild, I compared and contrasted the SAG awards with the Oscars—mostly to see how accurate SAG was as predictor—and noticed that, in their recent disagreements, SAG tended to choose black actors more often. For what it was worth. 

I did the same for the Writers Guild of America Awards (and for the same reason: Oscar predictor) and noticed the opposite. Here are the only four differences between the WGA and Oscar, in both original and adapted screenplays, during the last 10 years:

Year WGA* Oscar
2013 Captain Phillips 12 Years a Slave
2012 Zero Dark Thirty Django Unchained
2010 Inception The King's Speech
2009 Up in the Air Precious

*The differences in 2013 and 2009 were over adapted screenplay, 2012 and 2010 over original.  

I'm not talking about black and white writers so much, although all of the WGA writers listed are white while the Oscar winners for both “Precious” and “12 Years a Slave” are black. No, I'm talking stories; and whose stories matter. 

2010 is a racial wash. But in 2009, instead of going for the story about the white man who fires people during the global financial meltdown, Oscar went for the story about the almost unbearable sadness of a black girl with an abusive mother in Harlem in the 1980s. In 2012, instead of the story about the search for Osama bin Laden, Oscar went for the revenge flick with the black hero and the white villain set in the Old West. And in 2013, the story with the white hero and the African pirates was thrown overboard in favor of a story about a black hero and his white tormentors in the 1840s. 

Now you could argue that the Academy, which tends toward the aged, simply likes stories set in the past while the WGA prefers more modern stories. And for what it's worth, I prefer most of the movies on the WGA side. I still found it interesting, given the amount of the shit the Academy received earlier this year on racial matters. 

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Posted at 05:08 PM on Feb 16, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Wes Anderson Wins Writers Guild Award for 'Grand Budapest Hotel'

Wes Anderson WGA

Wes is more; Moore is less.

Last night in a crowded field, Wes Anderson won his first WGA (Writers Guild of America) for “The Grand Budapet Hotel.” (Click here to hear his speech.) 

The competion for original screenplay was stacked: Richard Linklater for “Boyhood,” E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman for “Foxcatcher,” Dan Gilroy for “Nightcrawler,” and Damien Chazelle for “Whiplash.” Tough room but a deserved win. One of Anderson's lines made No. 2 on my list of the top 10 movie quotes of 2014

Adapated screenplay was less packed and yet WGA gave it to the least-deserving candidate: Graham Moore for “The Imitation Game.” I’m still stunned by how well-received this movie is. All the things that feel untrue in “Imitation Game” are untrue: the reductive battles among the scientists, the big blow-up with Clark where she calls him a monster, naming the computer after his lost love. Alan Turing wasn’t really closeted and he wasn’t very Sherlockian. To me, Moore took a naturally powerful story—birth of computers and Enigma and gay—and made weak tea out of it. Me, I’d have voted for “Wild”’s Nick Hornby, who helped turn a diary about a woman walking and thinking for a thousand miles into a pretty fascinating movie.

As for what these awards mean for the Oscars next week? WGA and the Oscars have agreed on screenplays about two-thirds of the time since 1990 (16 of 24 for original; 17 of 24 for adapted) and 80% of the time in the last 10 years.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Oscar goes the same way as WGA this year. I’d be happy for Wes Anderson anyway. 

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Posted at 01:47 PM on Feb 16, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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