Thursday, January 6, 2011

Awards Update: PGA, WGA, Art Directors Guild, and Visual Effects Short-Shortlist,

Its been a while since I've last posted about all of the awards chatter going on, so here's what we've missed. These are just a few of the major nominations groups; so you know, the Online Film Critics gave their awards to the same basic group: The Social Network, David Fincher, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, etc., etc. Maybe one of these groups will think outside of the Oscar-love box?
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
The Town
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Pretty much the same old, same old. The notable snub here is Winter's Bone, which more or less confirms that its one of the more vulnerable films in this race. Still, there's really only about 12 (or maybe even 11) films fighting for 10 Oscar spots, so there's nothing really new here. The question is: will The Social Network steamroll its way through the rest of the season, or will someone else pick it up last-second (I'd say The Fighter, Toy Story 3, and True Grit are probables in that arena)?
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
Toy Story 3
They chose Despicable Me over Tangled and The Illusionist. What does that mean for those two films?
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Earth Made of Glass
Inside Job
Smash His Camera
The Tillman Story
Waiting for "Superman"
A two of these weren't on the Academy's shortlist, so bravo for them picking other films. Still, I imagine this race is mainly between Inside Job and Waiting for "Superman."
127 Hours; written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
I Love You, Phillip Morris; written by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
The Social Network; written by Aaron Sorkin
The Town; written by Peter Craig & Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard
True Grit; written by Joel & Ethan Coen
The WGAs are really something special: there are so many rules about eligibility that they leave out many of the main contenders every year (and probably draw from a very shallow pool). Because of this, they're not very accurate predictors for the writing Oscars, but they're still good fun. Note the nomination for I Love You, Phillip Morris: its interesting that that's the comedy they chose, but its nice to see a film outside the BP12 (Best Picture 12, as in the 12 films that the groupthink has decided are the only good films of 2010).
Black Swan; written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin, story by Andres Heinz
The Fighter; written by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, story by Keith Dorrington and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception; written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right; written by Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko
Please Give; written by Nicole Holofcener
This is probably closer to what the Oscar category will look like than the Adapted nominees, though I doubt Holofcener's rather lovely (but somewhat disappointing) screenplay will make the Oscar cut. It would be an interesting surprise, though.
Enemies of the People; written by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath
Freedom Riders; written by Stanley Nelson
Gasland; written by John Fox
Inside Job; written by Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck and Adam Bolt
The Two Escobars; written by Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist
Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?; written by John Scheinfeld
The Writers' Guild went even more outside the box than the Producers' Guild, picking mostly films that have been outside the conversation. Good for them.
Therese DePrez, Black Swan
Donald Graham Burt, The Social Network
Judy Baker, The Fighter
Sharon Seymour, The Town
Suttairat Larlarb, 127 Hours
I like how these awards distinguish work in three different categories, even if the films in those three categories pretty much align with the BP12 for the most part. When it comes to the Oscars, they tend to ignore "contemporary" work, probably out of a "we can see that kind of decoration anywhere" mentality, ignoring, say, the placement of all those mirrors in Black Swan (which really benefited the film thematically). I'm curious about Larlarb's nomination; the film mostly takes place in one spot, and though that one spot is well-done, is it really nomination worthy?
Jess Gonchor, True Grit
Eve Stewart, The King's Speech
Dante Ferretti, Shutter Island
Arthur Max, Robin Hood
Geoffrey Kirkland, Get Low
This is the kind of stuff Oscar loves, especially when it involves royalty. Interestingly enough, there's nothing really flashy about this year's royal entry, as the most impressive sets in The King's Speech are the more dilapidated places, such as Logue's office. The art direction in that film is really fantastic though, and I'm rooting for it.
Robert Stromberg, Alice in Wonderland
Stuart Craig, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Guy Hendrix Diaz, Inception
Darren Gilford, Tron: Legacy
Barry Robinson, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I really hope Stromberg doesn't take this one for those really ugly Wonderland sets. I'd love to see Diaz win, given the complexity of the sets he had to build (the rotating hallway was an actual rotating set, and not a CGI creation or camera trick.
And then, of course, there's the visual effects shorter-list.
Previously, the Visual Effects branch of AMPAS had released a shortlist of 15 films that were eligible for this year's Oscar in that category, which is expanding to five nominees for the first time (which seems reasonable, given how many special-effects driven films there are nowadays). Now they've released that shortlist down to an even shorter list, as voters will pick which of these seven films will be nominated. That means that two films on this list will be left out, which I have to agree is kind of mean-spirited given the circumstances. Anyway, the seven films are:
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Tron: Legacy
My only hope here is that Scott Pilgrim gets recognized. In all honesty, there are several Oscars that it should be nominated for, but this is the one it most likely has the best chance in. Please voters, don't shun this film for some crappy work such as, oh, Alice in Wonderland. I'm also favor of Hereafter being nominated here as well; yes, the scenes of the afterlife were pretty subpar, but the astonishing tsunami sequence at the beginning was something truly worth mentioning. I'd say it was more noteworthy than Harry Potter's now-standard effects. But that's just my two-cents.


Walter L. Hollmann said...

If Scott Pilgrim can't make it to the Oscars for VFX and Alice in Wonderland can, all hope is lost!

...I mean, except for the Black Swan, Social Network, Fighter and King's Speech love. But come on. Scott Pilgrim for VFX!

Jason H. said...

Exactly! Its not just that Scott Pilgrim's effects looked good, but they were truly integral to the story and the setting rather than just the latter, as in some films. They were less for spectacle and more for establishing the Street Fighter-esque world they live in. That's the sort of thing that should be considered in this category.