Breakthrough for Hawkins and Franco

Posted by · 4:41 pm · September 16th, 2008

As regular readers may know, I’ve been yammering on about a Best Actress nomination for “Happy-Go-Lucky”‘s delightful Sally Hawkins since I reviewed the film back in April. So I’m pleased to see that Hawkins will receive the Breakthrough Actress award at next month’s Hollywood Film Awards.

As I said when they named their crafts honorees earlier this month, I’m a bit mystified by these awards, which appear to honour as-yet-unseen films rather frequently. Still, it’s difficult to argue with this selection: in a crowded field of Best Actress contenders, Hawkins is the freshest face out there. It’s a good omen for her Oscar chances — last year’s honoree was Ellen Page.

“Happy-Go-Lucky” didn’t emerge from the festival circuit with quite the amount of heat I hoped it might, but Hawkins remains a solid contender for awards consideration. As we know now, the performance has a major Marmite factor — people either love or hate Hawkins’ character — but it’s sure to stick in people’s minds.

Elsewhere, the Breakthrough Actor award went to James Franco — another obvious choice, and a move that gives credence to the Best Supporting Actor buzz for his performance in “Milk,” something Kris just discussed.

“Milk” scored twice with the awards, with newbie (not that you’d know it from the marketing) scripter Dustin Lance Black named Breakthrough Screenwriter. Meanwhile, “Doubt” helmer John Patrick Shanley picked up Breakthrough Director. The latter strikes me as something of a safe choice in a year that has given us stellar debuts from such talents as Martin McDonagh and Philippe Claudel, but we only have the trailer to go on.

Finally, pointing to two Oscar inevitabilities, the Animation award will go to Andrew Stanton for “WALL-E” (well, duh), while “Iron Man” will be recognised for its visual effects.




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7 responses so far

  • 1 9-16-2008 at 5:00 pm

    Rob said...

    Yeah, what’s up with putting “written by Dustin Lance Black” in the Milk trailer? You would’ve thought “directed by Gus Van Sant” would be more familiar.

  • 2 9-16-2008 at 5:55 pm

    head_wizard said...

    Yeah for Sally Hawkins I am still hopeful for a best picture nod( I am basing this on the trailer ) But it looks great and it looks like something the Academy could go for and they do like Leigh

  • 3 9-16-2008 at 5:59 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Well, this dovetails nicely with our revelation this week that Franco is the one to watch in Milk, eh?

  • 4 9-17-2008 at 2:50 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, Kris talks and Hollywood listens ;)

    head_wizard: It’s a terrific little film (a bit more complex and melancholy than the trailer suggests) and I had it on my Best Picture and Director predictions for months, but I’m concerned that the likes of “Slumdog” may have stolen its thunder a bit in Telluride and Toronto.

    I’m not writing off the possibility, but the film faces an uphill climb. I think Hawkins, however, is right in the pocket.

  • 5 9-17-2008 at 11:32 am

    head_wizard said...

    Guy
    See thats my hope that with Hawkins getting the notice and Leigh with his supporters(lots of brits in the academy) that it might make it through. I am also glad to hear it is more complex and melancholy, add that with the humor of the trailer it could be even more interesting.

  • 6 10-08-2008 at 1:28 pm

    Dean Treadway said...

    Totally with you on this one: as much of a possible awards catcher as SECRETS AND LIES, VERA DRAKE and TOPSY-TURVY (all of which nabbed nominations for Leigh as screenwriter, and two of which got acting and directing noms). I tthink the Academy members are almost always happy to see a Leigh film, particularly since there are so many actors in the organization (Leigh is definitely an actor favorite).