This is not the new series promised a couple of posts ago.  Instead, this is the stuff that usually goes into my Best Picture post – an ongoing reaction to how things are looking, although I will probably add in more notes related to other awards as well.  I am posting this for a few reasons.  The first is that the death of the hard drive has lead to me being really swamped as I struggle to rewrite 19 reviews for my Best Adapted Screenplay posts and that is making it hard to get things done.  The second is that a lot of the things I notice about the awards as they are handed out during the season aren’t things you read elsewhere because other writers are under deadlines and I am not and they don’t have my spreadsheets; to that end I would like a forum to introduce these connections as they are happening rather than months later.  The third is that it gives a place on the blog for people to leave comments about current awards season news without needing to comment on the latest blog post, no matter the relevance (reminder that on weekdays, I can’t approve comments while at work, so don’t panic if your comment doesn’t show up right away).

This will not replace the Oscar notes and trivia I do the morning of the nominations (23 January), though I will link to it when it happens.  Anytime I add something in this post I will make it “sticky” so that it goes up to the top of the page.  But that won’t make it re-post or put it on V’s Facebook again.  I will continue to do this at least through the first few days after the Oscars on 4 March.  So, any day that awards are handed out by critics groups or guild nominations (or Globes, BAFTA, etc) are announced, there is a good chance I will add to this post.  I will start with the first couple of days worth that I had from working on the eventual Best Picture post, based on the first two critics groups.  Oh, and by the way, I haven’t actually seen Dunkirk yet, but given my love for Nolan’s films, I feel comfortable putting that FYC ad there (actually, I’ve seen it now (6 Dec) and it will take something amazing in The Post, The Shape of Water or Call Me By Your Name to keep Dunkirk from winning the Nighthawk).  But I get no revenue from it or from anything ever on this site.

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The Dark Knight Rises

  • Year:  2012
  • Director:  Christopher Nolan
  • Series Rank:  #3
  • Year Rank:  #9
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Sound, Sound Editing
  • Batman Villains:  Tom Hardy (Bane)
  • Love Interest:  Anne Hathaway (Catwoman), Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate)
  • Batman Allies:  Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake)

Any movie that has a countdown, a race against time as its climax will always beat the clock.  Sometimes you can beat the clock with wit (like Goldfinger, ending on 007 even though Bond himself doesn’t do it) and sometimes it’s just pathetic (like in Octopussy).  But they will always beat the clock, because otherwise what’s the point?  So it’s always a question of how artfully you do it.  To my mind, the best examples of when you’re so caught up in the moment, so pulled in by the editing and the cinematography and especially the music (music is always so important in any kind of race against the clock like this) that you’re ignoring the cliche and just reveling in the race are Star Wars, of course, and The Dark Knight Rises.  But then, the film takes an added step and we really haven’t beaten the countdown, because that bomb is still there and still deteriorating and we’re running out of time. (more…)

The Dark Knight

  • Year:  2008
  • Director:  Christopher Nolan
  • Series Rank:  #1
  • Year Rank:  #2
  • Oscar Nominations:  Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Batman Villains:  Heath Ledger (The Joker), Aaron Eckhart (Two-Face)
  • Love Interest:  Maggie Gyllenhaal  (Rachel Dawes)
  • Batman Allies:  Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox)

“I don’t need help,” Batman growls at a group of copycats.  “Not my diagnosis,” replies Jonathan Crane, still moonlighting as the Scarecrow, though this time what he’s doing is a bit different.  It shows that even in the darkness that Christopher Nolan has descended into with this, the best Batman film (by far), there can still be a bit of sly humor.  Like the moment when Bruce is considering giving up being Batman for the sake of the populace of Gotham and Alfred says “They’ll probably lock me up as an accomplice.”  Bruce replies “Accomplice? I’m going to tell them the whole thing was your idea.”  It’s nice to have a little levity in the midst of all the darkness. (more…)

Batman Begins

  • Year:  2005
  • Director:  Christopher Nolan
  • Series Rank:  #2
  • Year Rank:  #7
  • Oscar Nominations:  Cinematography
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Editing, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Sound Editing
  • Batman Villains:  Liam Neeson (Ducard), Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow), Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone), Ken Watanabe (Ra’s Al Ghul)
  • Love Interest:  Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes)
  • Batman Allies:  Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox)

Non comic book fans always complain that the first movie in a comic book movie series must deal with the dreaded origin story (comic book fans, on the other hand, don’t mind seeing Peter get bitten, Kal-El rocketing away from Krypton or Bruce deciding what will drive fear into the hearts of that cowardly lot).  This film has a double burden because not only is it the origin story, but it’s one we’ve already seen before.  Like The Exorcist, Jaws and Halloween, this film must live with starting an unfortunate trend, but like those three films it does it so well, we try not to lay the blame on this film.  It’s the first reboot of a super-hero film franchise.  While the stretch from 1989 to 1997 had three different Batmans, it had one continuous series.  But now, we’ve dropped all that, gone back to the basics and found out where it all started.  We’ve moved away from the camp that Schumacher and Goldsman had brought to the character and returned to its roots, to the darkness in that alley when his parents are gunned down, to the corruption in Gotham that causes the city to fester and stink, to the dark soul of a man who feels the need to dress up as a bat and bring fear to the people who deserve it.  He is a man, that, like is said about him in this film, clearly has issues and we will find out what those issues are. (more…)

If we kept watching, would it keep spinning? And would it matter?

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Inception  *
  2. The Social Network  **
  3. True Grit  *
  4. The King’s Speech  *
  5. The Ghost Writer
  6. Winter’s Bone  *
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  8. Black Swan  *
  9. Toy Story 3  *
  10. The Town
  11. Biutiful
  12. Another Year
  13. The Kids are All Right  *
  14. Tangled
  15. Shutter Island
  16. Never Let Me Go
  17. Rabbit Hole
  18. Blue Valentine
  19. Green Zone
  20. Somewhere

Analysis:  This is one of those rare years where I have changed my original Best Picture winner.  It’s not that Social Network went down at all, but that Inception went up.  And, really, it’s a pretty close finish between the two.
The Social Network ties LA Confidential for the most Consensus noms ever (11) and no film since (through 2016) has had more wins (8) or points (845) though both are fewer than The Hurt Locker in the year before.
With seven nominees in my Top 10, the Oscar Score is 87.7, by far the highest in any year with more than five nominees (and the third highest ever irregardless of the number of nominees).
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No one knows how to bring you back around better than Danny Boyle.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Slumdog Millionaire  **
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Wall-E  *
  4. Milk  *
  5. Revolutionary Road
  6. Rachel Getting Married
  7. Let the Right One In
  8. I’ve Loved You So Long
  9. Happy-Go-Lucky
  10. The Visitor
  11. In Bruges
  12. Iron Man
  13. Doubt
  14. Burn After Reading
  15. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  16. A Christmas Tale
  17. The Reader
  18. The Wrestler
  19. Changeling
  20. Paranoid Park

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You definitely don’t want to be the other guy.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Departed  **
  2. Pan’s Labyrinth
  3. Children of Men
  4. The Fountain
  5. The Queen  *
  6. The Prestige
  7. Casino Royale
  8. United 93
  9. Army of Shadows
  10. Perfume – The Story of a Murderer
  11. Volver
  12. The Lives of Others
  13. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
  14. Stranger than Fiction
  15. The Painted Veil
  16. Brick
  17. Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
  18. Blood Diamond
  19. Babel  *
  20. Joyeux Noel

Analysis:  The Departed has the lowest Consensus total in five years but that doesn’t mean it’s a competitive race.  It just means that there was a lack of consensus, with a record eight different films winning a Best Picture award (1974 is the only other year with more than six and that was because different eligibility years lead to three films winning the BAFTA).  The Departed wins the Oscar, BFCA, LAFC and CFC while Letters from Iwo Jima wins the LAFC, NBR and the Globe for Best Foreign Film.  The other award winners are The Queen (BAFTA), Little Miss Sunshine (PGA), Babel (Globe – Drama), Dreamgirls (Globe – Comedy / Musical), United 93 (NYFC) and Pan’s Labyrinth (NSFC).  Every Consensus winner after this (through 2016) will score at least 585 points (The Departed has 485) and every year will have at least one film that wins five awards. (more…)