Monday, January 10, 2011

Awards, awards, and more awards

I like award shows a great deal. Mainly I find the nomination far more exciting than the actual awards. I also like the pre-award period, but I think that recently it has reached levels that surpass overkill. I remember an era when there were only four major critics organizations--- the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Critics, the New York Film Critics, and the National Society of Film Critics. And that's not a long distant era--- that goes back to 2003.

Since then, it seems that expansion has come to this process, and, just like it did in professional sports, it has diluted the value of any awards. Now I can understand why Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Washington, and Florida have picked up awards, but Oklahoma? Indiana? Frigging Utah? A state which I would have been willing to bet had more electoral votes than it did film critics?

By my last count, and I may miss a few, there are twenty-five critical organizations giving awards before the Critic's Choice, Broadcast Film Critics, Hollywood Foreign Press and all the Guilds start giving their trophies, which are somehow considered more significant. But if this many groups are giving so many awards, how valuable is anything supposed to be considered? Do the writers of The King's Speech think their film will suddenly gain more clout because the Phoenix film critics named it Best Picture? Is that likely to help it at the box office? The Academy Awards is considered a political process, just like everything else in this world, but, just as the extensive primary season may have watered down the quality of political nominees, perhaps all of these minor awards have diminished an already very thin subject.

Does Natalie Portman make time for a trip to Texas because she has been named Best Actress by the Dallas, Houston, and Austin Film Critics? This actually raises a better question? Do all these groups have ceremonies? I know New York and LA did, but how far down the food chain do you have to go, before you're going to the San Diego Film critics awards to pick up a Best Supporting Actor trophy? Imagine how irritating this must be for Christian Bale, whose already won fifteen prizes, and the real awards haven't even begun to be delivered yet.

None of this is, of course, news. All throughout the Internet people have been ranting that this process and how this is a bigger deal for the organizations then any recipients.. But it does beg the question: if the performers don't care and the reviewers are indifferent... no, this is dangerous territory to get into. Soon, I'll be suggested that maybe they should get rid of awards all together, which is the complete opposite of what I actually feel about these awards.

There are website which keep records of these awards, and probably manage to catch some of the ones most people do. There are also ones that do it in a nice little chart with special graphics (I've visited one site, movie city news, btw.) So there's not going to be anything earth-shattering. But I like lists and I like awards, so for the next few days, I'm going to have listings of all the minor associations that have given out critics awards. When we get into the bigger deals (which is coming up pretty fast now) I'll actually list some of my own picks based more on what I've seen.

There appears to be one film the critics really like: The Social Network. Up until now, it's one just about every prize imaginable. Not only New York, The National Board of Review and Los Angeles. So much so that it would be easier to list the ones it hasn't won.

127 Hours, Utah
Black Swan, Austin
North Texas, Central Ohio
The King's Speech, Phoenix
Winter's Bone, San Diego.
We'll see if its luck keeps holding when the major trophies start coming out Friday.

David Fincher, The Social Network NBR, NY, LA, (tie) Utah, Chicago, Southeastern, Boston, Dallas

Darren Arronofsky: Black Swan: Austin, San Diego, San Francisco
Oliver Assayas, Carlos: LA (tie)
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours:Detroit
Christopher Nolan, Inception: Indiana, Kansas City, Utah, Phoenix, North Texas, Central Ohio

Little more variety here
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network: NBR, Boston, Houston, Oklahoma, Toronto, National Society of Film Critics
Colin Farrell, Ondine (San Diego
Colin Firth, The King's Speech: LA, NY, SF, Austin, DC, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Phoenix, Kansas City, North Texas, Online, AWFJ
James Franco, 127 Hours: New York Online Critics, Indiana, Dallas, Las Vegas, Utah, Central Ohio

Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right: New York, Women's Film Critics, AWFJ
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone: NBR (most promising newcomer) LA, DC, San Diego, Toronto, Detroit
Leslie Manville, Another year, (NBR, San Diego
Giovanna Mezzogino, Venice: National Society
Natalie Portman, Black Swan: Austin, Florida, Houston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Boston, Phoenix, Oklahoma, Chicago, Southeastern, Indiana, Las Vegas, Utah, North Texas, Online
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine: SF

Christian Bale, The Fighter: NBR, Boston, Las Vegas, Indiana, Chicago, Florida, Detroit, St. Louis, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Kansas City, Phoenix, Utah, AWFJ
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone: San Francisco. San Diego
Arnie Hammer, The Social Network: Toronto
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right: New York
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech: LA, Southeastern, National Society, Central Ohio

Amy Adams, The Fighter: Detroit, Las Vegas
Mila Kunis, Black Swan: Oklahoma
Melissa Leo, The Fighter: NYCO, NY, Florida, St. Louis, DC, Phoenix, Dallas, North Texas
Juliette Lewis, Conviction: Boston
Hailee Stanfield, True Grit: Southeastern, Kansas City, Austin, Houston, Indiana, Toronto, Chicago, Online, Central Ohio, AWFJ
Jacki Weaver, The Animal Kingdom,
NBR, LA, San Francisco, Utah
Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer, National Society

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