National Society of Film Critics winners

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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:07 am

OscarGuy wrote:I don't know if I'd say this is the first important dramatic film directed by a woman. Yes, many of the previous efforts may well be comedic or have their tendencies, but I wouldn't say this is the first important one.

I don't know if you like Sci-Fi, Marco, or not, but I think District 9 stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of America's output at the theater this year. It's unfortunate it's not more well liked or respected. Hell, I even like Up in the Air better than Hurt Locker, but that's just because it was fun to watch, which Hurt Locker is not. I don't buy the comparisons people make between this and Platoon. Platoon was at least gritty and realistic.

This, with some measures of realism, still seems to be set firmly in fantasy territory and I agree that it doesn't deal with the more desperate and difficult issues in Iraq and elsewhere. It isn't an accurate portrayal, but at this point in history, I don't think the U.S. is ready for such a portrayal...after all, we are still embroiled in two wars over there and sometimes it needs to promote some sort of feeling of pride in order to work and be accepted.

I don't think we're going to get a Thin Red Line kind of movie about Iraq, etc, for a very long while because we need the prism of history to look back with a more balanced eye at our own history.

Yes, I think you are right.

This will be a week of many American movies for me. Not Discrict 9 unfortunately, but I will get to see The Blind Side, Precious, The Messenger and maybe others, so I will have a clearer idea of this year's race.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:30 am

I don't know if I'd say this is the first important dramatic film directed by a woman. Yes, many of the previous efforts may well be comedic or have their tendencies, but I wouldn't say this is the first important one.

I don't know if you like Sci-Fi, Marco, or not, but I think District 9 stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of America's output at the theater this year. It's unfortunate it's not more well liked or respected. Hell, I even like Up in the Air better than Hurt Locker, but that's just because it was fun to watch, which Hurt Locker is not. I don't buy the comparisons people make between this and Platoon. Platoon was at least gritty and realistic.

This, with some measures of realism, still seems to be set firmly in fantasy territory and I agree that it doesn't deal with the more desperate and difficult issues in Iraq and elsewhere. It isn't an accurate portrayal, but at this point in history, I don't think the U.S. is ready for such a portrayal...after all, we are still embroiled in two wars over there and sometimes it needs to promote some sort of feeling of pride in order to work and be accepted.

I don't think we're going to get a Thin Red Line kind of movie about Iraq, etc, for a very long while because we need the prism of history to look back with a more balanced eye at our own history.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:09 am

Big Magilla wrote:My take is that it isn't that The Hurt Locker is so great but that everything else this year comes up short.

This is probably one of the reasons, though I really hope there were better movies made in America in 2009.

There are two other reasons.

The film succeeds in something which I though would be impossible; it portrays Iraq as "just another war", not one in which we were the invaders and guilty of massacres. It's not The Green Berets of course, it's too smart to be that; but it still, basically, portrays American soldiers as heros. Troubled heros maybe, but still heros against an inhuman world, which let's face it, it's the way Americans, and not only right wing Americans, stubbornly want to see themselves on the screen. For what it conveniently DOESN'T say, it can be liked by both the conservative and the liberal; and then of course it's admittedly well shot and it has some interesting psychological situations, but the fact that even in the negative reviews nobody seems to care about the larger context confirms to me that this is the war Americans want to believe in (electing Obama probably was to them enough when it comes to admit mistakes).

The other reason is that this is maybe the first really important dramatic movie ever directed by an American woman (yes, there were Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino, but you know what I mean). In Italy, France, Germany and many other countries this happened since the 70s; for some reason in America it didn't, and I guess this plays a role in all the (I think undeserved) trophies this movie is getting.

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:52 pm

My take is that it isn't that The Hurt Locker is so great but that everything else this year comes up short.

When I first saw it I thought, OK, it's a good movie, bottom half of a ten best list maybe, but then one by one everything else failed to live up to expectations while it stayed in the back of my head.

Renner's actions don't make sense a lot of the time, but they're not meant to. This is clearly a guy in his own world. And I love that final scene where he is called upon to do something so mudane, so routine, and he can't.

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Postby Damien » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:49 pm

BJ, could you elaborate on why you think so highly of The Hurt Locker. I've gone back and re-read reviews but there's still nothing I've read that's convinced me this film should be sweeping the critics' awards.

These I the notes I wrote after seeing the picture:

A well-made bore. Bigelow can generally construct individual sequences well, but the film is pretty hopeless with narrative or, even, in fact, being little more than set pieces strung together. And even within those scenes, the handheld camera is such a cliché now. The characters (except for Sayegh’s Beckham and Morse’s cameo as a boisterous colonel) are devoid of interest and are nothing we haven’t seen before. And Renner’s actions often stretch credulity. All in all tedious and dull, although admittedly the suicide bomber incident towards the end is quite gripping.
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Postby The Original BJ » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:52 pm

Mike Kelly wrote:BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
*1. Nelson Lowry 43 (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
3. Henry Selick 12 (Coraline)

So they HAVE been listening to my memos!!!!!!

Can't join in The Hurt Locker apathy -- I think it's the year's clear best and I am just peachy that it's winning all these prizes. As much fun as it is to whine when awards groups don't agree with you, it also can be rewarding to feel like once in a while, YOUR movie is the one being honored. The question now...will The Hurt Locker be another L.A. Confidential, and basically be a non-contender past this point, or can it be in the race to win?

As I said the other day, I think this board's opinion of Tilda Swinton's Julia and the real world's are not remotely similar. Too bad.

I'm a little surprised Colin Firth wasn't able to make more of a showing with any critics group. I'd thought his emotionalism would make him a formidable contender with some critics' support, but now I see him having quite a hard time topping Bridges's career points and Clooney's star power. (Though I A Single Man appears to be one I appreciated a lot more than critics.) Either way, Jeremy Renner continues to do better-than-expected.

In the supporting categories, Christoph Waltz and Mo'Nique -- the year's two baddies -- seem to be WAY ahead of their packs.

This is a relatively minor note, but I do think it bears pointing out that The White Ribbon won ALL three cinematography prizes from the critics' groups. It's doubtful it will land an Oscar nomination -- the Academy has always had much less of a fascination with B&W than critics -- but I saw the film today, and it looks GORGEOUS. It's one of the few films this year I'd say is a must-have on the Cinematography ballot.

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Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:29 pm

Good for Paul Schneider and the Coen Brothers. And Jeremy Renner, I guess.
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Postby Mike Kelly » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:19 pm

Runners-Up and Vote Breakdown per Indiewire:

BEST PICTURE
*1. The Hurt Locker 64 (Kathryn Bigelow)
2. Summer Hours 23 (Olivier Assayas)
3. Inglourious Basterds (17) Quentin Tarantino

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Kathryn Bigelow 85 (The Hurt Locker)
2. Olivier Assayas 23 (Summer Hours)
3. Wes Anderson 18 (Fantastic Mr. Fox)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
*1. Summer Hours 61 (Olivier Assayas)
2. Everlasting Moments 21 (Jan Troell)
3. Police, Adjective 20 (Corneliu Porumboiu)
3. 35 Shots of Rum 20 (Claire Denis)

BEST NONFICTION FILM
*1. The Beaches of Agnes 40 (Agnes Varda)
2. Tyson 30 (James Toback)
3. Anvil! The Story of Anvil 25 (Sacha Gervasi)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. Joel and Ethan Coen 33 (A Serious Man)
2. Olivier Assayas 25 (Summer Hours)
3. Quentin Tarantino 22 (Inglourious Basterds)

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Yolande Moreau 22 (Seraphine)
2. Meryl Streep 21 (Julie & Julia and Fantastic Mr. Fox)
3. Abbie Cornish 19 (Bright Star)

BEST ACTOR
*1. Jeremy Renner 30 (The Hurt Locker)
2. Jeff Bridges 24 (Crazy Heart)
3. Nicolas Cage 15 (Bad Lieutenant)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Mo’Nique 28 (Precious)
2. Anna Kendrick 24 (Up in the Air)
2. Samantha Morton 24 (The Messenger)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. Christoph Waltz 28 (Inglourious Basterds)
*1. Paul Schneider 28 (Bright Star)
3. Christian McKay 27 (Me and Orson Welles)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. The White Ribbon 33 (Christian Berger)
2. The Hurt Locker 32 (Barry Ackroyd)
3. Everlasting Moments - 19 (Jan Troell)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
*1. Nelson Lowry 43 (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
2. Rick Carter 28 (Avatar)
3. Henry Selick 12 (Coraline)

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Postby OscarGuy » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:09 pm

Tee, now you know how I felt about Slumdog last year.
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Postby Mister Tee » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:37 pm

Imagination takes the year off -- except for production design (which I assume will thrill BJ) and the Schneider tie. And I never expected, this late in the season, to be so relieved by A Serious Man finally winning a major screenplay award.

Swinton goes the season without managing a win (almost only counting in horseshoes). A second win for an ineligible actress is vaguely disappointing when they might have boosted someone deserving. (I know, I generally argue we shouldn't ask critics to pimp for Oscar nods; fine -- I contradict myself).

It's astonishing to me so many critics can be so enthusiastic about a film that left me with such a middling response. Even if GoodFellas or LA Confidential weren't my absolute favorites on their years, I understood them winning everything. Here, not so much.

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Postby jack » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:51 pm

From Daily Variety:



Picture: "The Hurt Locker"

Director: Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"

Actor: Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"

Actress: Yolande Moreau, "Seraphine"

Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds," and Paul Schneider, "Bright Star"

Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, "Precious"

Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, "A Serious Man"

Foreign-Language Film: "Summer Hours"

Nonfiction Film: "The Beaches of Agnes"

Cinematography: Christian Berger, "The White Ribbon"

Production design: Nelson Lowry, "Fantastic Mr. Fox"


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