The Sans weigh in

Posted by · 5:00 am · December 16th, 2008

Francisco and Diego, that is. Anyone else think there are a tad too many critics’ awards floating around out there? Seriously, what do they all mean? New York, Los Angeles, Boston and the National Society are the only ones that really register with me… maybe Chicago, if I’m feeling generous.

The rest really kind of blur into one, particularly when they elect the same winners over and over again. Anyway, you won’t be surprised to hear that the San Franciscans went for “Milk” in a big way, while San Diego continued the lovefest for “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The San Francisco picks:

Best Picture: “Milk”
Best Director: Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Best Actor: Sean Penn, “Milk” & Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Let the Right One In”
Best Documentary Feature: “My Winnipeg”
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, “The Dark Knight”

While the San Diego list looked a little like this:

Best Film: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
Best Original Screenplay: Thomas McCarthy, “The Visitor”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Let the Right One In”
Best Documentary Feature: “Man on Wire”
Best Animated Feature: “WALL-E”
Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Production Design: Donald Graham Burt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Editing: Chris Dickens, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Score: A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Ensemble Performance: “Frost/Nixon”
Body of Work for 2008: Richard Jenkins for “The Visitor,” “Burn After Reading,” “Step Brothers,” and “The Tale of Despereaux”

(Incidentally, their Best Pic runner-up was “The Dark Knight.”)

I’m pleased that Marisa Tomei is finally getting some love (however low-profile) for a very finely wrought performance, and it’s nice to see something other than “Man on Wire” (fine as it is) cropping up in the Best Documentary category. “My Winnipeg” is a stunner.

Other observations: while Sally Hawkins remains the clear critics’ favourite by some margin, it seems that between this and yesterday’s kudos, Kate Winslet is finally making her presence felt. The catch? Well, a lot of it is for “The Reader” … in the lead actress category. Are critics seeing through the category fraud? Will SAG and the Academy do the same? Or will the mixed messages result in some fatal vote-splitting? From where I’m standing, Winslet’s campaign looks a bit of a mess.

Finally, with “Let the Right One In” making such an impressive (and unexpected) run in the critics’ awards, you may be wondering if Sweden made a mistake in not selecting it as their official Best Foreign Language Film submission.

The answer, dear readers, is no. Those aggressively middlebrow voters on the foreign-language committee would never in a million years recognise a youth-oriented vampire film, however acclaimed. Meanwhile, the film they did choose, esteemed veteran Jan Troell’s “Everlasting Moments,” is right up their alley — an old-fashioned, beautifully mounted period biopic, that also happens to be an engaging and rather moving film. I’ve been predicting for some time that it will take the Oscar… more on that later.

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9 responses so far

  • 1 12-16-2008 at 8:06 am

    JAB said...

    well, the frost/nixon ensemble pick is a tad random

  • 2 12-16-2008 at 8:29 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Agreed — any film that gives actors as fine as Rebecca Hall and Sam Rockwell so little to do has no business even being near an ensemble award.

  • 3 12-16-2008 at 1:10 pm

    Henrik said...

    Sweden couldn’t select Let the right one in, because the movie opened in october in Sweden. The cut off date for the academy is the end of september.

  • 4 12-16-2008 at 4:32 pm

    Mike said...

    Guy quick question:

    Why does Boston register with you over Chicago? I think Chicago would do so over Boston…

    Just curious.

  • 5 12-16-2008 at 7:06 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    In short, because Boston’s picks are occasionally so great. (“Trainspotting” and “Three Kings”… yay.)

    It’s all subjective, of course. Frankly,I find the whole nomination rigmarole with the Chicago critics a bit offputting.

    Still, they’re both easily more credible than Phoenix, Detroit, Florida or whatever. What’s up with that?

  • 6 12-17-2008 at 4:45 am

    Mike said...

    Makes sense…