If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!

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My 5th Annual Film Awards: Your Winners, My Winners, and My Rankings for Each Category

It’s time.

I was going to have a survey here, but I’ll save that for Monday.

A quick thanks to all of you who voted and all of you who got the vote out. The turn-out this year was lower than last year’s, but I must attribute some of that to my getting the polls up so late. I’ll see if I can’t do better next year.

Click that button to see our results.

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Golden Globes Results + Analysis

Steve Jobs poster

Not the biggest winner of the night, but perhaps the biggest success story of the night. (Source)

We’ve got a lot to talk about.

There were some real surprises this year.

And by that, I mean that I was proven wrong.

And I’d like to understand why.

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Screen Actors Guild Nominations: 2015

Trumbo poster

A stronger showing than anyone could’ve expected.

SAG announced their nominations today.

Historically, the film that wins Best Ensemble here has to be considered the Best Picture frontrunner. Looking at that category, it seems pretty likely.

But as far as the individual acting categories are concerned…things can get strange. Sometimes SAG nominates actors who seemed primed for an Oscar nod and failed to connect (Oprah in The Butler, for one), and other times they nominate someone seemingly out of the blue (Naomi Watts in St. Vincent, Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy).

I can’t speak about the former, but the latter is surely on display today.

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National Board of Review 2015 Winners!

Mad Max retro poster

I need to sit down for a moment.

The NBR has become one of my very favorite awards groups.

Do you know why?

Hit that jump and let’s dig right the fuck in.

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We all knew this would be a major Oscar contender from the outset. Last year’s winner for Director (and Picture, and Screenplay) teams up with a cinematographer who’s just won back-to-back Oscars, a star who’s widely considered damnably overdue, a co-star who’s very hot at the moment (and has two other major films this year), and a strong up-and-comer (Domhnall Gleeson). They shoot on location in Canada in the dead of winter, and planned to shoot in sequence (apparently, they weren’t able to), and release the film right in the thick of December.

They know what they’re doing.

And, while I really need to see this trailer in a theater to get the maximum effect, I won’t lie; my interest is being maintained. I could see this being overwrought and too self-serious, but I could also see it being surreal and haunting. It’s a little hard to tell just how good a performance DiCaprio is giving, but I doubt he’ll disappoint. Hopefully future trailers will show more of the rest of the cast, but for now we’ve got Lubezki’s incredible cinematography and Iñárritu’s vivid direction to whet our appetites. The mountain of skulls in particular could be one of the year’s defining images.

I’m predicting many nominations, with Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup/Hairstyling, Score, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing being the strongest possibilities.

And here we’ve got the latest from my nemesis…David O. fucking Russell. Read on:

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THE GAMBLER Review – ***

The prestige picture that wasn't. (Source)

The prestige picture that wasn’t. (Source)

That The Gambler was released at Christmastime (after premiering at the AFI Fest) suggests that Paramount expected the Academy to take notice. In return, they got middling reviews (just 47% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing) and unremarkable financial returns. It’s at once fitting and a bit unfortunate.

Unfortunate, because it’s not a bad film. It’s pretty well-directed, the acting is solid, and on the whole, it’s a decent watch. Fitting, because it wastes most of its cast, adds up to little, and ultimately shows no reason for existing (and because it plays into some tiresome stereotypes, but we’ll get back to that). It’s not a bad film. It’s just not that good either.

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My Top 20 and Bottom 20 of 2013

I wasn’t originally going to do this–I figured I’d said enough about these films over the last few weeks–but what the hell? This and my post-Oscar article will round the year off nicely (he said in March).

My Top 10:

1. Spring Breakers

Because this is 2013. This is how we live now. Is it an exaggerated view of our world? Yes, but does anyone think Easy Rider wasn’t a little romanticized itself? I mention Easy Rider because I think of this as a film that captures the 2010s like that film captured the late 60s. So later generations may not quite see what I see in it. And that’s fine. But it’s more than just a generationally significant film. It’s hugely entertaining, thought-provoking (when Alien says “This the fucking American Dream, y’all”, he’s more right than he might have guessed), funny, shocking, and all too true. When Faith (Selena Gomez) tries to encourage her friends to leave Florida and return to their safe, dull hometown rather than associate with Alien, and they opt to stay as though it were an obvious choice…let’s just say that moment resonated with me quite deeply. The performances (and not just James Franco’s mad tour-de-force) are great (Vanessa Hudgens, Gomez, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine make an eminently believable quartet), Harmony Korine’s writing and directing are just about perfect–as are the editing and Benoît Debie’s cinematography. It even uses Skrillex music to good effect. It’s one of those films that’s so good it makes me almost giddy.

Sprang break. Sprang break. Sprang break forevah.

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