Monday, December 14, 2015

Critics Choice Max out nominations (as usual), plus thoughts on Carol

Mad Max: Fury Road led with 11 nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Movie Awards. We know that the BFCA is prone to merely following the buzz and trying to predict the Oscars based on the most current developments of the season, so I'm still unsure of the chances George Miller's nutso action opus really has with the Academy.
The Revenant, The Martian, and Carol (which I finally saw) were close behind with nine apiece.

Todd Haynes' romantic drama -- elegantly adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt by Phyllis Nagy -- is an exquisite work of art. Haynes is a master sensualist, using image, music and sound to stimulate all our senses (not just the aural/visual ones). Edward Lachman's compositions are gorgeous and narratively astute, while Carter Burwell's score speaks volumes for characters whose true thoughts and feelings are rarely spoken.

Indeed, the emotion of the piece is powerful but never overstated, thanks largely to a quartet of superb performances. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara forge a special chemistry as the two romantic leads, while Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler bring thoughtful, empathetic perspectives to two very different types of jilted lovers.

Much Academy attention is deserved (particularly for director and screenplay, the latter of which it inexplicably missed both with the Critics Choice and the Globes), but unless more people get to set eyes on it, it may lose much needed buzz. Harvey, I know you think you're clever trying to keep this concealed until Oscar nominations before whisking the curtain away (et voila!), but you need to get it on more screens, pronto.
But back to the Critics Choice. Check out the long, unsurprising list of nominees, with some additional comments.

BEST PICTURE
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Sicario
Spotlight
Happy for Sicario, which is slowly growing into the year's most underrated film with every critics group that passes it over. Sad for Inside Out, which seems to be falling by the wayside.

BEST DIRECTOR
Todd Haynes – Carol
Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott – The Martian
Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
Got a feeling Spielberg knocks one of the other five guys out for the Oscar slate. I'm thinking, for all his precursor attention, it might by Miller.

BEST ACTOR
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Johnny Depp – Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
This category is dying for a surprise nominee. So uninteresting this year.

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
Furiosa gets her nomination for the year (also in the superfluous Best Actress in an Action Movie category).

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
Tom Hardy – The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Rylance and Stallone are the only ones who truly feels stable here. Category confusion working against Dano, late release working against Hardy, internal competition working against Ruffalo, underseen movie working against Shannon.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
Helen Mirren – Trumbo
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
Category fraud lives. BAFTA has the final opportunity to clean up this mess before AMPAS passes judgement on just where Mara and Vikander truly belong (Hint: It's not in this category).

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
RJ Cyler – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Shameik Moore – Dope
Milo Parker – Mr. Holmes
Jacob Tremblay – Room
No doubt this goes to Tremblay.

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton
Trumbo
No sixth nominee, BFCA? I'm suprised at you. If only you could be this restrained in all your categories. Also, have fewer categories.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen – Bridge of Spies
Alex Garland – Ex Machina
Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley – Inside Out
Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Garland is a nice addition here. The screenplay didn't feel quite complete to me, but he deserves some recognition for one of the year's most singular films.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
Nick Hornby – Brooklyn
Drew Goddard – The Martian
Emma Donoghue – Room
Aaron Sorkin – Steve Jobs
No Carol? Inexcusable.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Anomalisa has been winning its fair share from regional critics groups so far, but I suspect the buck stops with there.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Assassin
Goodnight Mommy
Mustang
The Second Mother
Son of Saul
Can we just give Son of the Saul the Oscar now and save every other country a bunch of campaing money?

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Amy
Cartel Land
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
He Named Me Malala
The Look of Silence
Where to Invade Next
If Amy gets nominated, it'll win the Oscar, but I still smell a snub.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Carol – Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight – Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road – John Seale
The Martian – Dariusz Wolski
The Revenant – Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario – Roger Deakins
Pretty sure your Oscar five are coming from these six. Trying to pinpoint which one gets the shaft is going to be tough.

BEST EDITING
The Big Short – Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road – Margaret Sixel
The Martian – Pietro Scalia
The Revenant – Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight – Tom McArdle
Just like last year, the Best Picture frontrunner doesn't feel like a threat to actually win this prize, making it a tricky prediction. Maybe this is where the Academy can give Mad Max its due?

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Bridge of Spies – Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo
Brooklyn – François Séguin, Jennifer Oman and Louise Tremblay
Carol – Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
The Danish Girl – Eve Stewart, Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road – Colin Gibson
The Martian – Arthur Max, Celia Bobak
Wish I could believe the Academy's production design branch would be cool enough to nominate Mad Max, but I'd trade up for Crimson Peak in a second.

BEST COSTUME DESIGNBrooklyn – Odile Dicks-Mireaux
Carol – Sandy Powell
Cinderella – Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan
Again, the Mad Max nod is inspired and truly deserved, but I still have doubts that Oscar will follow suit.

BEST SCORE
Carol – Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
The Revenant – Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto
Sicario – Johann Johannsson
Spotlight – Howard Shore
So happy to see Johannsson's unnerving work in Sicario chalked up here, and beseech the music branch to do likewise.

BEST SONG
Fifty Shades of Grey – Love Me Like You Do
Furious 7 – See You Again
The Hunting Ground – Til It Happens To You
Love & Mercy – One Kind of Love
Spectre – Writing’s on the Wall
Youth – Simple Song #3
Identical lineup to the Globes, with the addition of Diane Warren and Lady Gaga's cautionary anthem "Til It Happens To You", a possible stealth Oscar winner in the absence of prestigious competition (save Youth).

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
The Walk
No Star Wars, here or anywhere. Didn't screen in time?

BEST HAIR & MAKEUP Black Mass
Carol
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Twice as many nominees as the Academy will have. I'm all for expanding from three, but six remains overkill.

BEST ACTION MOVIE Furious 7
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Sicario
Sicario is less action movie than a thriller with some tense action scenes, but anything to up its exposure. Mad Max will surely win.

BEST ACTOR IN AN ACTION MOVIE
Daniel Craig – Spectre
Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Tom Hardy – Mad Max: Fury Road
Chris Pratt – Jurassic World
Paul Rudd – Ant-Man
I didn't like a whole lot about Jurassic World, but Pratt gives a true blue action movie performance in it and would be a worthy champion here. Still doesn't make this category's existence right.

BEST ACTRESS IN AN ACTION MOVIE
Emily Blunt – Sicario
Rebecca Ferguson – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Bryce Dallas Howard – Jurassic World
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
Extremely redundant with Theron also up for the top actress gong. That said, swap out Bryce Dallas Howard for any other lady from an action movie this year, and this is a highly respectable lineup. Ferguson is a particularly pleasing inclusion.

BEST COMEDY
The Big Short
Inside Out
Joy
Sisters
Spy
Trainwreck
Clearly The Big Short's to lose. I didn't see this catching on the way it has. But better wait for the guilds to weigh in. It may be all sizzle and no steak.

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Christian Bale – The Big Short
Steve Carell – The Big Short
Robert De Niro – The Intern
Bill Hader – Trainwreck
Jason Statham – Spy
Hader was one of the unsung heroes of Trainwreck, which was wildly inconsistent but he was perpetually appealing and hilarious.

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Tina Fey – Sisters
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Melissa McCarthy – Spy
Amy Schumer – Trainwreck
Lily Tomlin – Grandma
Hmmm... Does it go to the already amply rewarded J-Law, or comedy it-girl Schumer?

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE
Ex Machina
It Follows
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian

They really gonna hand Mad Max two of these needless genre prizes? Or maybe they'll spread it out to The Martain.

8 comments:

  1. In general, I agree with most of what you've analyzed. Picture, Director, and a slew of other strong nominations, and NO screenplay for 'Carol'? Unacceptable.

    The only thing I might disagree with is your opinion on 'Mad Max.' It doesn't feel like an Academy movie, but it did make a lot of money and it was a well liked picture. Meanwhile, big-name Oscar hopefuls like 'The Revenant' and 'Joy' aren't doing THAT well critically. It's a waiting game, for sure, but with all these expectations going to relative waste, I don't think its entirely ridiculous to see 'Mad Max' in the top...whatever...list when the Oscar nominations are announced.

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    1. Never said it would be entirely ridiculous. It just smells to me like a disappointment waiting to happen a la The Dark Knight (the extra nomination slots are no guaranteed safety net).

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    2. True, but TDK didn't contend in as many places for Best Picture as 'Mad Max' either. But I could totally see it falling into the same fate.

      As one of my favorites of the year, I'm hoping not...

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    3. Really? I heard pretty decent things from The Revenant!

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  2. What are your grade ratings for Carol and Brooklyn?

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  3. At this point, I think the Academy would be embarrassed to NOT include "Mad Max: Fury Road" in Best Picture and Best Director. If "Mad Max" doesn't get in, it will lead to them giving up on the expanded Best Picture system.

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  4. So, umm…as of this morning, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has been added as an 11th Best Picture nominee by the BFCA.

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