Friday, January 13, 2012

The Critics Choice Movie Awards Pick a Wide Array of Winners with The Artist and The Help standing out Slightly

Last night's award show was interesting, and we could be in for a mirror image of the entire award season, but I honestly hope not.  As far as the show goes I was entertained by the the host Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel.  Hubel ended the show with one of the funniest lines ever, the show is over now tweet how bad we did.  While I had lowered expectation for these two guys, they were pretty damn funny.  The production value on this show needs to improve if they want to be the better than the eighth biggest awards night in Hollywood.  I know critics don't make that much, but come on guys.

On to the award winners.  To be honest, I do not really respect this group, in fact I respect them less than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).  The Broadcast Film Critics unlike the HFPA release a films overall rating and in the end it ranks the films by giving them a numbered score out of 100.  Here is the overall ratings of all of the Best Picture nominees.

Tomboy - 100
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - 93
Martha Marcy May Marlene - 92

The Descendants - 91
The Artist - 91
Drive - 91
The Ides of March - 91
The Guard - 90
Win Win - 90

Within reasonable thought there should have been no mystery about revealing the top ten nominees.  The above listed films had the highest ratings and they should have been the Best Picture nominees, and since Tomboy had the highest score, and a perfect score, shouldn't it have won Best Picture?  This is not the case.  The Broadcast Film Critics have appeared to trade in their personal rating system to become another group that rubber stamps films, performances, and other various crafts on their way to the Kodak theater for the Academy Awards.  Listed below is the actual Best Picture nominees from this group and their ratings. 

The Artist-91
The Descendants-91

The Help - 89
Hugo - 87
Midnight in Paris - 85

War Horse-80
The Tree of Life-78
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close-66

While I disagree with the The Tree of Life's low rating, this list of nominees is baffling to me.  How did Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close get a Best Picture nomination with such a low rating?  I think the Critics expected this to still be an Oscar contender, but they gambled wrong with this film.  This list looks like the Critics trying to guess the top ten contenders for Best Picture and the major players at the Oscars this year.  

With regard to the actual winners they seemed so confused by what they liked and what they did not like.  The list of winners makes it look they were taking a check mark and making sure that each Best Picture nominee received an award, except The Tree of Life.

The Artist was honored with the most prizes, Best Picture, Best Director, Costumes, and Score.  This could be how Oscar night looks, although I do not think this film will take the Best Original Score, especially with Kim Novak bringing about some controversy for the film using a piece of the score from Vertigo.  Right now this film is in the lead for Best Picture. Since this award show has been around 9 of the 16 winners have gone on to win Best Picture.  Last year's winner was The Social Network, which lost at the Oscars to The King's Speech.  Yet in 2006 this award show was one of the few to predict The Departed winning in a competitive Best Picture race.  At the moment I still think this film is vulnerable.

George Clooney won Best Actor for The Descendants, while I am not sure the Oscars will crown him a two time Academy Award winner.  I think Brad Pitt has a real shot taking the Globe and creating a two person race.  The other interesting fact is that Pitt's film Moneyball won the Adapted Screenplay award, beating The Descendants.  The Descendants losing that award proves my point that while people this this is a solid film, no one loves it enough to push it towards a lot of wins.  Clooney does have statistics in his favor, this group has picked 11 of the 16 Oscar winners in this category.  For the last 7 years they have matched up, this may be a sign Clooney may be the only win for this film.

Both Viola Davis (Lead Actress) and Octavia Spencer (Supporting Actress) won for The Help.  The cast also took home the Best Ensemble prize.  The Help did well last night, and boosted its chances to be a major contender.  I think both of these women have a strong chance of winning at the Oscars but their categories are still highly competitive. Davis and Spencer both gave great speeches that could launch them into further wins.

Davis could still face stiff competition from Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams.  Just like with Best Picture only 9 of the last 16 winners have gone on to claim the Oscar in this category.  Last year Natalie Portman won for the Black Swan and won the Oscar.  Meryl Streep has won this award twice this decade and I think either they tired of having her win, or they tried to rubber stamp her before and that back fired.  I would love to see her win her third trophy.  Which is possible.

Octavia Spencer could face competition from her co-star Jessica Chastain.  They have only helped honor 8 of the last 16 Best Supporting Actress winners.  I think if Chastain were to be nominated for a different film she would have a better chance, but I think Spencer is going to be a clear favorite this season.

Christopher Plummer may finally step up to Oscar podium this year.  Plummer has only been nominated for one Academy Award in his long career, and this was only two years ago in 2010 for The Last Station.  Plummer won last night for his role in Beginners as a man who comes out late in life, but also finds out he is dying from cancer.  Like with Spencer in Supporting Actress this group has gone fifty percent in this category, but Plummer will win the Oscar on overdue status alone.

Woody Allen paved his way to win a third Oscar in the Original Screenplay category last night for Midnight in Paris.  I just hope he shows up for future award shows, so this screenplay can be honored, sometimes voters will passover people who do not like to show up.  I am curious to see if he shows up at the Golden Globes on Sunday.

The technical categories were all over the place!  My only negative rant is that War Horse won Best Cinematography over The Tree of Life.  While I have not seen War Horse, I just can't believe it was even better than any of the other four nominees.

Overall this could be an interesting award season, or pretty boring.  I hope the Golden Globes and Screen Actor's Guild mix things up a bit so there can be some excitement come Oscar Sunday.

Best Picture-The Artist
Best Actor-George Clooney-The Descendants
Best Actress-Viola Davis-The Help
Best Supporting Actor-Christopher Plummer-Beginners
Best Supporting Actress-Octavia Spencer-The Help
Best Director-Michel Hazanavicius-The Artist
Best Adapted Screenplay-Moneyball-Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Best Original Screenplay-Midnight in Paris-Woody Allen
Best Animated Film-Rango
Best Foreign Language Film-A Separation (Iran)
Best Younger Actor/Actress-Thomas Horn-Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (annoying voice)
Best Art Direction-Hugo
Best Cinematography-War Horse
Best Costume Design-The Artist
Best Editing-The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo
Best Score-The Artist
Best Make-Up-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Best Sound-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Best Visual Effects-Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Action Film-Drive
Best Comedy-Bridesmaids
Best Song-The Muppets-Life's a Happy Song
Music in Film Award: Martin Scorsese
Joel Siegel Humanitarian Award-Sean Penn

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