Tuesday, November 29, 2011

State of the Race: Post NYFCC and Indie Spirit Nods

Today a lot of information was thrown at us with the NYFCC winners and Indie Spirit Nods. So what did we learn from all this as the Oscar race proceeds?

They just had to jump the gun. Then they had to push back to see Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Then it won nothing. I pretty sure that even if they had done the same for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that it too would have been an exercise in futility. But alas, they did get their opinions in first, and to be honest, there was nothing surprising or shocking about the winners, although there were some nice notices. I think that the NYFCC wanted to get in first, in the hopes that their picks, all big time Oscar contenders this year, will start the slow march towards Oscar. They wanted to be trendsetters. And their choices are so far in the box, that they all could legitimately win. That being said,  I was very happy with the acting/screenplay awards. Meryl winning wasn't too big of a shock, as they love her. But Brad Pitt getting the lead actor over Jean Dujardin and George Clooney shows that he is a force to be reckoned with. Then when Moneyball won the screenplay award, it was proof that despite being quiet since its release, that people have not forgotten about the film, and it could be a dark horse this year. The supporting races put two people who were on the map, really on the map as Albert Brooks and Jessica Chastain took home the prizes. For Chastain, she won for three films, which is going to be her problem all season (She also got an Indie Spirit Nod for Take Shelter). I still think that The Help is her best shot as it has a perfect blend of both drama and comedy. The Tree of Life (which included Chastain and Pitt, as well as cinematography) also had a nice showing, but I still think the Academy will shy away from it. Then The Artist, not surprisingly, won Director and Picture, as it begins what I believe will be a very rewarding journey through the critics circuit. While The Descendants struck out here compeltely, I think that it, and maybe Moneyball will be the big three in terms of critics awards, with The Tree of Life hot on their heels. These awards of course are the first of many, but they prove that some of our suspicions regarding the films and performances on the Oscar track are true.

Indie Spirit Nominations
I personally love these nominations, although the exclusion of Clooney is shocking, but he will still get an Oscar nomination. But I personally love the nods for Drive, 50/50, Rachel Harris, Corey Stoll, Angelica Huston, and Jessica Chastain. Midnight in Paris and Glenn Close were also excluded, which may be surprising to some, but Albert Nobbs is not getting great reception. But the Academy will love the power of Close, where as Indie Spirits are more selective based on the quality of the film. Honestly, the Indie Spirits purposely don't try to influence the Oscars, but the press from them does keep films in the minds of voters. So all the recognition for these films looking for Oscar should appreciate the exposure.

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