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Sunday February 18, 2018

‘Three Billboards’ Wins BAFTA for Best Picture; Does this Presage Oscar?

Three Billboards BAFTA win

Still no arrests, but many awards.

If you'd told me that “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” had just won the BAFTA, the British Oscar, for best picture, and that this presaged an Oscar victory for same since previous BAFTA winners “La La Land,” “The Revenant” and “Boyhood” all won the Oscar, too, I would‘ve probably just nodded and continued the conversation. It would’ve taken me a few seconds to go, “Wait ... Did those three win the Oscar?” They didn‘t: “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” and “Birdman” did. But I think the pre-Oscar conversation goes on so long these days that it’s harder to keep track of which movie actually won. Those were all in the running, of course. They were part of the conversation up until the announcement. Hell, “La La Land” actually was announced. It was on stage and in the middle of its acceptance speech. Then: Yoink.

So BAFTA presages not much in the best picture category. Although BAFTA and Oscar agreed every year between 2008 (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and 2013 (“12 Years a Slave”), this was an anomaly. In their history together, they‘ve disagreed more than agreed on best picture: 28 of 71 times. Not even 40 percent. And that’s including the movies that won BAFTA/Oscar in different years. 

I like how they differ, by the way. BAFTA usually goes (shockingly) British, choosing, say, “Atonement” over “No Country for Old Men,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral” over “Forrest Gump,” and (my personal favorite) “Howard's End” over “Unforgiven.” You may say “Howard's End” deserved its BAFTA and I'd be forced to respond, “Deserve's got nothing to do with it, kid.”

BAFTA also goes French more than we do—since we never do. Or we only do if it's Hollywood French (“Gigi”). BAFTA has chosen for its best pic, among others, “Jean de Florette,” “Day for Night,” “Wages of Fear” and “La Ronde.” Not a bad list. 

Finally, BAFTA likes small better than we do. “The Full Monty” won in ‘97 over “Titanic.” Only one Woody Allen movie has won the Oscar for best pic (“Annie Hall,” 1977), but three have claimed BAFTAs: “Annie,” “Manhattan” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo.” Remember “Educating Rita”? That won. “The Commitments” beat “The Silence of the Lambs.” 

Another trivia question: What three Martin Scorsese movies won the BAFTA? I’ll let you mull it over for a second. 

But the BAFTA acting wins do probably presage Oscar victories, since they‘re the same that the Screen Actors Guild chose a few weeks ago: McDormand, Oldman, Janey and Rockwell. Wouldn’t bet against any of these. 

They also awarded a BAFTA to oft-Oscar-nominated/never-won cinematographer Roger Deakins for his work on “Blade Runner 2049.” I thought, “That's nice. Nice to see him get one.” It's actually his fourth BAFTA. He won previously for three Coens: “The Man Who Wasn't There,” “No Country for Old Men” and “True Grit.” Oscar has nominated him 12 times before this year and handed out exactly zero statuettes. Maybe 13 is his lucky number. 

The chart below details all the BAFTA/Oscar wins with agreements highlighted in yellow. You can see the answer to the Scorsese trivia question, too. Ready? The three Scorsese movies that won BAFTAs are: “Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore,” “Goodfellas” and “The Aviator.” If you'd given me 10 guesses, I doubt I would‘ve nailed all three. 

Year BAFTA Oscar
2017 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  
2016 La La Land Moonlight
2015 The Revenant Spotlight
2014 Boyhood Birdman
2013 12 Years a Slave 12 Years a Slave
2012 Argo Argo
2011 The Artist The Artist
2010 The King’s Speech The King's Speech
2009 The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker
2008 Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire
2007 Atonement No Country for Old Men
2006 The Queen The Departed
2005 Brokeback Mountain Crash
2004 The Aviator Million Dollar Baby
2003 The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2002 The Pianist Chicago
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring A Beautiful Mind
2000 Gladiator Gladiator
1999 American Beauty American Beauty
1998 Shakespeare in Love Shakespeare in Love
1997 The Full Monty Titanic
1996 The English Patient The English Patient
1995 Sense and Sensibility Braveheart
1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral Forrest Gump
1993 Schindler's List Schindler's List
1992 Howard's End Unforgiven
1991 The Commitments Silence of the Lambs
1990 Goodfellas Dances with Wolves
1989 Dead Poets Society Driving Miss Daisy
1988 The Last Emperor Rain Man
1987 Jean de Florette The Last Emperor
1986 A Room with a View Platoon
1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo Out of Africa
1984 The Killing Fields Amadeus
1983 Educating Rita Terms of Endearment
1982 Gandhi Gandhi
1981 Chariots of Fire Chariots of Fire
1980 The Elephant Man Ordinary People
1979 Manhattan Kramer vs. Kramer
1978 Julia  The Deer Hunter
1977 Annie Hall Annie Hall
1976 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Rocky
1975 Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
1974 Lacombe Lucien The Godfather Part II
1973 Day for Night The Sting
1972 Cabaret The Godfather
1971 Sunday Bloody Sunday The French Connection 
1970 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Patton
1969 Midnight Cowboy Midnight Cowboy
1968 The Graduate Oliver!
1967 A Man for All Seasons In the Heat of the Night
1966 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A Man for All Seasons
1965 My Fair Lady The Sound of Music
1964 Dr. Strangelove My Fair Lady
1963 Tom Jones Tom Jones
1962 Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence of Arabia
1961 Ballad of a Soldier/The Hustler West Side Story
1960 The Apartment The Apartment
1959 Ben-Hur Ben-Hur
1958 Room at the Top Gigi
1957 The Bridge of the River Kwai The Bridge on the River Kwai
1956 Gervaise Around the World in 80 Days
1955 Richard III Marty
1954 The Wages of Fear On the Waterfront
1953 Forbidden Games From Here to Eternity
1952 The Sound Barrier The Greatest Show on Earth
1951 La Ronde An American in Paris
1950 All About Eve All About Eve
1949 Bicycle Thieves All the King's Men
1948 Hamlet Hamlet
1947 The Best Years of Our Lives Gentleman's Agreement
1946 n/a The Best Years of Our Lives

Two weeks until Oscar.

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Posted at 02:46 PM on Feb 18, 2018 in category Movies - Awards
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Sunday February 04, 2018

Del Toro Wins DGA; Is Oscar a Lock?

Guillermo del Toro wins the DGA for outstanding achievement in feature film

Last night, the Directors Guild of America gave its award in outstanding achievement in feature film to Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water.” This follows on the heels of the Producers Guild of America awarding its feature film prize to “The Shape of Water,” too. 

So how often has a film won the DGA and PGA and not gone on to win the Oscar for best picture? Four and a half times since the PGAs began in 1989:

YEAR DGA PGA OSCAR
2016 La La Land La La Land Moonlight
2013 Gravity Gravity/12 Years a Slave 12 Years a Slave
2005 Brokeback Mountain Brokeback Mountain Crash
1998 Saving Private Ryan Saving Private Ryan Shakespeare in Love
1995 Apollo 13 Apollo 13 Braveheart

Even if “Shape” doesn't win best pic, del Toro seems a lock for best director. Just winning the DGA usually means the Oscar for best director. In the last 10 years, the only break came when Ben Affleck won the DGA for “Argo” but wasn't nominated by the Academy, so its prize went to Ang Lee for “Life of Pi.” Before that, you have to go back to 2002, when the DGA went with Rob Marshall for “Chicago” while the Academy honored Roman Polanski for “The Pianist.” 

If del Toro does win the Oscar, it will also continue the recent diversification of an award that was once staunchly white and male:

  • 2017: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
  • 2016: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
  • 2015: Alejandro Innaritu, “The Revenant”
  • 2014: Alejandro Innaritu, “Birdman”
  • 2013: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
  • 2012: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Six awards, four Mexican directors, one Taiwanese director. Don't tell Donald. Or do. Let's have some fun.

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Posted at 09:19 AM on Feb 04, 2018 in category Movies - Awards
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Monday January 22, 2018

Your 2017 Oscar Picks, Courtesy of SAG

If you're in an Oscar pool, these should probably be your picks in the acting categories this year:

  • Actor: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
  • Actress: Francis McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Supoorting Actress: Allison Janey, “I, Tonya”

They should be your picks because they were the winners at the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild/SAG Awards last night, and because SAG has predicted—or, to be fair, preceded—the Oscar choices in at least three of the four acting categories every year since 2009. Often it was a clean sweep. Here are the SAG choices, with differences with Oscar highlighted:

Year Lead Actor Lead Actress Supporting Actor Supporting Actress
2016 Denzel Washington Emma Stone Mahershala Ali Viola Davis
2015 Leonardo DiCaprio Brie Larson Idris Elba Alicia Vikander
2014 Eddie Redmayne Julianne Moore J.K. Simmons Patricia Arquette
2013 Matthew McConaughey Cate Blanchett Jared Leto Lupita Nyong'o
2012 Daniel Day-Lewis Jennifer Lawrence Tommy Lee Jones Anne Hathaway
2011 Jean Dujardin Viola Davis Christopher Plummer Octavia Spencer
2010 Colin Firth Natalie Portman Christian Bale Melissa Leo
2009 Jeff Bridges Sandra Bullock Christoph Waltz No'Nique

In 2011, the Academy went Meryl Streep for “Iron Lady” rather than Viola Davis for “The Help” (bad choice, Oscar), and in 2012, it opted for Christoph Waltz reprising his cooky Tarantino villainy in “Django Unchained” rather than Tommy Lee Jones' 19th-century gravitas in “Lincoln” (another bad choice). Two years ago, it tapped Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies” over Idris Elba's straight-to-Netflix monstrous commander in “Beasts of No Nation,” which, being straight-to-Netflix, wasn't even nominated by the Academy (I lean Rylance). And last year, it went Casey Affleck in “Manchester By the Sea” over Denzel directing himself in “Fences” (another wash, but, given my preference for “Manchester,” and Denzel's closetful of awards, I lean Affleck). 

So: 28 of 32. Almost a lock. 

It actually feels like more of a lock than that. It doesn't take Ta-Nehesi Coates to see that three of the four differences between SAG and Oscar involved race: SAG chose African-American actors, Oscar didn't. Only in one (Jones/Waltz) was white traded for white. And of course Jones was one of the Men in Black.

So now we're at 31 of 32. Tough to get better odds.  

Oscar nominations announced tomorrow morning. 

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Posted at 07:42 AM on Jan 22, 2018 in category Movies - Awards
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Friday January 05, 2018

PGA and WGA Swipe Right

The Writers and Producers Guilds have announced their nominees for best films of 2017, and they match! Seven times:

PGA WGA
The Big Sick The Big Sick (O)
Call Me By Your Name Call Me By Your Name (A)
Dunkirk The Disaster Artist (A)
Get Out Get Out (O)
I, Tonya I, Tonya (O)
Lady Bird Lady Bird (O)
Molly's Game Logan (A)
The Post Molly's Game (A)
The Shape of Water Mudbound (A)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri* The Shape of Water (O)
Wonder Woman  

* “Three Billboards” was not eligible for the WGA award 

Happy to see both nods for “The Big Sick.” I'm crossing my fingers it gets Oscar noms for pic and screenplay.

Also found it interesting that each guild chose a superhero flick. PGA went with the big, bold and politically correct choice, “Wonder Woman,” while WGA opted for the dystopian, end-of-the-superhero superhero flick in “Logan.” I would've gone neither. My favorite superhero movie of the year was “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” 

And hey, check out the number of woman-led pics from both guilds. That's new.

The PGA Awards will be held Saturday, Jan. 20, while the WGA Awards procrastinate (as writers do) until Sunday, Feb. 11. DGA nominees will be announced Jan. 11, winners Feb. 3.

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Posted at 03:26 PM on Jan 05, 2018 in category Movies - Awards
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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 nominees...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
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