A Century of Film

Supporting Actor

Film has always relied on supporting performances but awards groups haven’t always recognized them right away.  It wasn’t until the 9th Academy Awards that the first supporting awards were given out.  Likewise, the BAFTAs would go through their first 20 awards without the category and no critics group would give such an award until 1957.  But eventually, of course, all the awards groups followed through and today it’s one way of celebrating great character actors although it has also been a chance for big stars to win their Oscar at last.  Supporting performances can be a role that runs through the whole film (like the way the Academy nominated Gene Hackman for I Never Sang for My Father or Al Pacino for The Godfather) or for a performance that dominates the film in spite of only being in a few scenes (like Orson Welles in The Third Man). (more…)

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Richard Taylor has fun with one of his Oscar winning creations.

A Century of Film
Makeup

Makeup has long been a part of film.  It was a key part of films back in the Silent Era with people like Lon Chaney doing their own makeup work.  Yet, somehow, it took until the 37th Academy Awards before they though it was worth rewarding and another 17 years before they decided it should be a permanent competitive award.  Is it a coincidence that the BAFTAs followed suit just a year later?  There is more on the various awards listed below.  But I should note that the Academy of Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (the Saturn Awards) started giving out their own Makeup Award in 1973, long before the other groups, so kudos to them even if I don’t track their awards. (more…)

Congrats to the single best collection of five performances ever nominated for Best Actress.

The record didn’t get tied this year, but it was close.  And for the first time in 13 years, I have actually seen all the Best Picture nominees already, even if I only predicted eight of the nine (see the end here). (more…)

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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Best traffic jam ever.

My Top 20:

  1. La La Land
  2. Arrival
  3. The Handmaiden
  4. Manchester by the Sea
  5. Moonlight
  6. Silence
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  9. Zootopia
  10. Moana
  11. Finding Dory
  12. The Salesman
  13. Nocturnal Animals
  14. Fences
  15. Hell or High Water
  16. Julieta
  17. Kubo and the Two Strings
  18. A Monster Calls
  19. 20th Century Women
  20. Sing Street

note:  All 20 films are ****.  There were several high ***.5 films that I wish could have made the list – Captain America: Civil War, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Hail Caesar! and Passengers were among my considered choices.  There are only a handful of films that earned any award nominations that I haven’t seen yet (I Daniel Blake, Certain Woman, Allied, Your Name, King’s Choice) so I don’t think this list will be changing (depending on Your Name, perhaps), unlike the last several years, when this list was written more closely after the Oscars. (more…)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees but I also wrote more about the year, originally, here.  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. Good Night and Good Luck  *
  2. Munich
  3. Brokeback Mountain  **
  4. King Kong
  5. Kingdom of Heaven
  6. A History of Violence
  7. Batman Begins
  8. The Constant Gardener
  9. Pride and Prejudice
  10. Downfall
  11. Cache
  12. Syriana
  13. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  14. Saraband
  15. Match Point
  16. Twin Sisters
  17. Corpse Bride
  18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  19. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  20. Kung Fu Hustle

Analysis:  A truly fantastic year.  Brokeback ranks among the best ever #3 films, King Kong among the best #4 films and Kingdom among the best #5 films.  A History of Violence would be a nominee in most years.  The Top 5 is tied for 10th all-time.  The Top 10 is second all-time behind only 2002.  Downfall is the third best #10 film ever.  The Top 20 is the best all-time as is the 11-20.  Not only are all 20 of these films **** films, but there are actually a record 26 (the others are Sin City, Capote, Proof, Cinderella Man, Don’t Move, Elizabethtown).
I feel a little weird about this year.  Brokeback is a brilliant film and I have thought so since I saw it in the theater, but except for the stretch from when I saw it to when I first saw Munich, it has never been my #1 film.  It was Munich for years then eventually moved to Good Night and Good Luck.  But all three films are just about a tie and they come one right after the other on my grand list of all Best Picture nominees.  There’s no question, given how the year went, that it should have won Best Picture.  It won three of the six critics awards and the other four awards groups.  Only three films have more Consensus points without winning the Oscar and all three of those (LA Confidential, Social Network, Boyhood) lost the PGA and DGA and the first two also lost the Globe while Brokeback won all of those.  It was the first film ever to sweep the other four awards groups and lose the Oscar (La La Land would later do it but it would lose to a film that won more critics awards and won the Globe – Drama).  It joined The Aviator as only the second film to this point to win both the Globe and the PGA and fail to win the Oscar.  It is the only film to win the PGA, DGA and WGA and fail to win the Oscar.  Yet, it would lose to Crash, the film with the lowest Consensus point total to win the Oscar since 1995 and the first film since 1973 to win the Oscar without a Globe nomination and only the second Oscar winner to fail to be nominated for a Globe.  In fact, ironically, the most comparable year to this one is 1995, when Ang Lee’s film also looked like it should have won but lost to a film that had not done nearly as well with earlier awards groups, though at least that year had been more telegraphed when Lee failed to earn a Best Director nomination at the Oscars.
Crash, at #101, becomes the fourth Oscar winner to fail to make the Top 100 for the year.  It also finishes a period of twelve years when the Oscars awarded the worst of the five nominees a whopping seven times; it has not done so again since (through 2016).  It joins 1989 and 2000 as years where the Picture winner isn’t in my Top 50 but the Director winner is my #2. (more…)

The best film in what is one of the best years in film history.

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. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers  *
  2. Gangs of New York  *
  3. Spirited Away
  4. Talk to Her
  5. The Pianist  **
  6. The Hours  *
  7. Minority Report
  8. Y tu mamá también
  9. Chicago  *
  10. Adaptation
  11. Road to Perdition
  12. Solaris
  13. The Quiet American
  14. Catch Me if You Can
  15. 8 Women
  16. Heaven
  17. Lilo and Stitch
  18. 24 Hour Party People
  19. Spider-Man
  20. Sunshine State

Analysis:  This year is a bit of an oddity.  First, for the first time in five years, the five Oscar nominees are also the five Consensus nominees.  But, much more strangely, for the only time after 1965, the Consensus winner (The Pianist) doesn’t have the highest raw total, but its weighted total turns a 20 point deficit to Chicago into a 10 point advantage.  The Pianist has three wins (BAFTA, NSFC, BSFC) among six total noms (Oscar, Globe, BFCA) while Chicago wins four awards (Oscar, Globe, PGA, BFCA) and earns one other nom (BAFTA).  It will be another decade before the second place film is even within 100 points of the 1st place film.  This is also the first time we have two films that go 0 for 5, earning nominations from all five awards groups (Oscar, PGA, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA) and winning none: Gangs of New York and Two Towers.  There won’t be another year with two such films until 2008. (more…)