Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Not-So-Silent Backlash & NBR Predictions

As the saying goes: ‘silence is golden’, but if many people have their way, the silent film that has so far won over several festival audiences and at least one major critics group, will not be crowned the best of 2011. Monday afternoon saw the announcement of the New York Film Critics Circle winners, as well as this year’s Indie Spirit nominations, both of which gave Michel Haznavicius’ “The Artist” a boost with Picture, Director, Leading Actor, and Cinematography notices. The aftermath of NYFCC’s awardage of the film with its two biggest prizes proved unexpectedly negative, the decision labelled safe, and the film denounced as a novelty by high-profile figures. “The Artist” isn’t terribly original because it’s an homage which lends plot devices from classic cinema, but it’s far more comfortable with what it is and tight in story-structure than most of the other frontrunners. It may not necessarily be a five-star film but it certainly trumps the likes of “The Descendants,” “The Help,” and “Midnight in Paris.”

It remains to be seen whether the film can build upon its New York win to mount a strong showing with the critics, which previously appeared unlikely. With its nose firmly put out-of-joint the National Board of Review votes for their ten best films today, and although “The Artist” seems within the mould of their admittedly old-fashioned preferences, I’m going to hold off on suggesting it can set the ball rolling for a sweep. This year feels like more of a scattered, spoil-sharing prospect after last year’s uniform endorsement of “The Social Network” – especially with voting bodies seemingly at war with one another. All things considered, “Moneyball” remains the best-reviewed film with realistic awards potential, so it makes sense for it to win a prize from a significant voting body (whatever your view on the NBR, their opinion carries weight).

The top ten is a minefield to predict, but you can be assured that they like political dramas, so this could be a handy get for the dwindling “The Ides of March,” and they always include Clint Eastwood’s films so expect “J. Edgar” to pop up here despite the disastrous reviews. From there, it gets tricky. Who knows if they’ll even remember those earlier acclaimed films “Beginners,” “Jane Eyre, “ and “Win Win”? Are “Melancholia,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Take Shelter” a bit too far outside of the box for this group? Your guess is as good as mine.

Picture: “Moneyball”
Alt: “The Artist”

Top Ten:
“The Artist”
“Beginners”
“The Descendants”
“Hugo”
“The Ides of March”
“J. Edgar”
“Midnight in Paris”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
Alt: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”

Leading Actress: Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”
Alt: Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

Leading Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
Alt: George Clooney, “The Descendants”

Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, “The Help,” “Take Shelter,” “The Tree of Life”
Alt: Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”

Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Alt: Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marilyn”

Screenplay: “Moneyball”
Alt: “The Descendants”

Animated Feature: “Rango”
Alt: “Chico & Rita”

Foreign Film: “Certified Copy”
Alt: “A Separation”

Documentary: “Project Nim”
Alt: “The Interrupters”

1 comment:

Too Big said...

The "next blog" button reminds me of the television show "Sliders."

As for predictions:

How many of my 211 pounds will I shed before next November?