OFF THE CARPET: Giving thanks

Posted by · 9:41 am · November 22nd, 2010

As we move into turkey (or tofurkey, if that happens to be your speed) week 2010, it seems proper, if a tad bit obvious, to take a moment and give thanks. So in lieu of a proper analysis of the season’s progression this week, allow me to express my boundless, breathless appreciation for the following:

The filmmakers.

I’m thankful for Mike Leigh’s consistently maturing perspective on life and how he manages to gift that to film audiences each and every time out, for Peter Weir’s tenacity in the face of an unfortunate shift in cinema investment and for Darren Aronofsky’s well-rewarded (in the form of a two-year studio deal) efforts pushing the envelope.

I’m thankful for Danny Boyle’s energetic perspective on the cinema and his obsession with filling his frame with that passion, as well as for Christopher Nolan’s determination to take studio goodwill and prove that there is an audience and payoff for pricey originality.

I’m thankful for the team at DreamWorks Animation for finding a new creative groove, and at Pixar for maintaining an impeccable record, for Scott Rudin’s consistency and eye for a great story and for the lessons Ben Affleck learns, humbly, as he continues to try his hand at the helm.

I’m thankful for the Coen brothers’ keeping a vital genre alive, for Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington finding a cinematic perspective on war unmatched, and for making it back to share it with us all, as I am for Charles Ferguson’s watchdog mentality and journalistic integrity.

And I’m thankful Martin Scorsese refuses stagnation, fearless and curious as ever.

The actors.

I’m thankful for Mark Wahlberg, Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry taking chances in the producer’s chair to usher their passion to the screen, for Natalie Portman and James Franco’s dedication to unconventional material and for Leonardo DiCaprio George Clooney wielding their star power well.

I’m thankful for Christian Bale, Lesley Manville, Javier Bardem and Ryan Gosling setting a standard all actors should aspire to, for Ed Harris and Robert Duvall still doing their thing as well as ever, for Tahar Rahim and Jennifer Lawrence promising a bright future of the form and for a host of actresses who contributed to an embarrassment of leading performances this year.

And I’m thankful for the Sam Rockwells, Sally Hawkinses, Mark Ruffalos and Paul Giamattis for making it look easy, sometimes at the risk of not receiving their proper due.

The industry.

I’m thankful for the below the line craftsmen and women who continue to be invaluable despite working in the shadows of celebrity, for the moments I or anyone happily shared with Ronni Chasen, the hard-working publicity ranks who find passion in their work and listen to their conscience and for the independent minds who struggle to create outside the system, as well as for the promising future they enlighten with every step of the process.

I’m thankful for the outlets that struggle to maintain integrity in a sect of journalism frequently free of same and for the passion that drives any fan looking to start up a venue to convey his or her own perspective, for my comrades on the film awards beat who keep me on my toes, for the ability to work for myself covering an art form I love, and that there are some who find a modicum of worth in that coverage, as well as for the undying commitment of my colleagues here — Guy Lodge, Gerard Kennedy and Chad Hartigan — whose value is immeasurable.

And I’m thankful for the real friendships I’ve managed to develop out of my work, which help me to keep my eyes on the prize.

The usual.

I’m thankful for my family, which allowed me to become who I was going to become, and for my future family, represented in a fiancee who could probably do better.

I’m thankful for the friendships that make me a better person, for my health hanging in there when I certainly don’t make it easy and for old creative passions rekindled as of late.

Finally, I’m thankful for everything and everyone I invariably forgot to spotlight. Sometimes one is overwhelmed by what one ought to appreciate. And so, with that in mind…

The readers.

I’m thankful to you, for keeping In Contention alive with spirited debate, discussion and passion. This place is nothing without you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(The Contenders section was updated throughout the weekend and the predictions sidebar reflects those changes.)

[Photos: Sony Pictures Classics, Paramount Pictures]

→ 31 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Off the Carpet

31 responses so far

  • 1 11-22-2010 at 10:05 am

    JJ1 said...

    Thank you Kris for that entire post.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it, and good will to all those who don’t.

  • 2 11-22-2010 at 10:14 am

    Robert Hamer said...

    I’m grateful that with everything that has happened in the last few months, things have generally worked out okay. To everyone who supported me during the hard times, thank you (not that any of them read this site, but still…).

    To an industry that, in the midst of growing audience apathy and pressure for dumbed-down aesthetics, still allocates the resources that allow for Todd Haynes and Claire Denis to create. I’m grateful for The Social Network and Toy Story 3 that remind us that a box office success doesn’t have to be a steaming pile.

    To an amazing group of writers – Guy Lodge, Tim Brayton, Nathaniel Rogers and especially Nick Davis – you all have no idea how much you have informed my knowledge of film.

    I’m grateful that a certain someone who’s been a nightmare to deal with for almost three years is finally out of my hair, hopefully to be replaced by someone better.

    Most of all, I’m grateful for the fact that I still *have* comforts and even a promising future, unlike many people in America who are struggling immensely just to survive through the day.

    Corny? Maybe, but those are the first thoughts of gratitude that popped into my head.

  • 3 11-22-2010 at 10:37 am

    Michael said...

    That was extremely touching to read Kris. I know I am thankful for all that you, Guy, Gerard, and Chad do day in and day out. Keep up the great work everyone!

  • 4 11-22-2010 at 10:55 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Thankful for posts like these.

  • 5 11-22-2010 at 11:35 am

    Tye-Grr said...

    What a lovely post! Cheers, Kris, and to all else this season! :)

  • 6 11-22-2010 at 11:39 am

    Joey said...

    I am thankful that you added that awesome picture at the end of a great post.

  • 7 11-22-2010 at 11:42 am

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    Does this mean you’ve seen “Frankie & Alice”? Can we look forward to hearing something about it soon?

  • 8 11-22-2010 at 11:51 am

    Patryk said...

    Thanks to the “Art Film” theaters that provide us with the proper setting to see those great films that are ignored by the “Big Box” chains. The chance to see the “Mesrine,” and “Red Riding” films was especially appreciated.

  • 9 11-22-2010 at 11:57 am

    Everett said...

    Semantics I know, but how come you’ve got The Way Back at number 10 and Peter Weir still in the thick of the Best Director race? Wishful thinking? Or do you think there’s a possibility of lone director nod for Weir? The consensus seemed to be that this would only happen for foreign directors since the move to ten. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the possibility.

  • 10 11-22-2010 at 12:48 pm

    Ligaya said...

    Thanks for the lovely post. I’m thankful for incontention, Kristopher’s & Guy’s great analyses & even greater writing – even when I don’t agree with them, and Chad’s former box office analyses even when I was sometimes exasperated with him.

  • 11 11-22-2010 at 12:54 pm

    Angry Shark said...

    Still think it’s absurd that you have Gosling in actor and not Eisenberg.

  • 12 11-22-2010 at 1:01 pm

    Squirrelman said...

    Wonderful post, Kris!

    Happy Chrismahannagiving!

  • 13 11-22-2010 at 1:32 pm

    caro said...

    it’s the most charming post i read here .
    Good week-end!

  • 14 11-22-2010 at 1:35 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Bitching about the minutiae of one’s Oscar predictions on a Thanksgiving post? Really, guys? Really?

  • 15 11-22-2010 at 1:46 pm

    KB said...

    We are all thankful for your efforts everyday Kris! Cheers…

  • 16 11-22-2010 at 1:53 pm

    Duncan Houst said...

    I’m sorry. Are you not faithful for Colin Firth? Because I am.

  • 17 11-22-2010 at 3:13 pm

    Andrew R. said...

    Kris, you’re a wonderful writer, are in charge of a terrific and sharp site, and really give readers good reason to come to your site several times a day. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • 18 11-22-2010 at 4:02 pm

    Filipe said...

    I don’t know if this has been noted, but it’s interesting to do it..
    The numbers of nods if your predictions are correct should be a little weird, but not that much.
    Just want to say first, that i respect you a lot Kris ^^

    10 nominations: 127 Hours
    9 nominations: Inception, The King’s Speech, True Grit
    5 nominations: The Social Network, Toy Story 3
    4 nominations: Alice in Wonderland, The Fighter

    Dunno, I just think something’s wrong!

  • 19 11-22-2010 at 5:07 pm

    Hero said...

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    And thank you Kris for running the best Oscar site around.

  • 20 11-22-2010 at 5:36 pm

    R.J. said...

    Great post (as always) Kris! Since you mentioned Halle Berry I thought I’d point out that there are two clips from “Frankie & Alice” on YouTube. I don’t know how they got there or why I haven’t seen them anywhere else, but here they are (there’s no “Alice” in either clip though):

  • 21 11-22-2010 at 9:52 pm

    Nick Davis said...

    Big thanks and major kudos to you, Kris. Enjoy your holiday.

  • 22 11-22-2010 at 10:13 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    I’m thankful for posts like these. I’m thankful for people like Kris, Guy, Anne, and Sasha, for being inspirations to all fellow bloggers like myself. I’m thankful for the kinds of extraordinary filmmaking on display this year, especially from the likes of Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, Danny Boyle, David Fincher, and others. I’m thankful for everything that is good and whole in my life, and the lives of others. Enjoy your holiday everyone!

  • 23 11-22-2010 at 11:19 pm

    Carlo said...

    Thank you too Kris! Always a pleasure following your site.

  • 24 11-23-2010 at 4:09 am

    RichardA said...

    It’s more of a wishful thinking but I am thankful for Mark Ruffalo for unknowingly continuining the life story of his character from You Can Count On Me in The Kids Are Alright. Who know that the lost young man would move west and be this man who succeeds as a local food restauranteur? And yet still fail with his children as he did as an uncle.

    I’d like to see this saga to unfold as he ages. And still fail as a grandfather.

  • 25 11-23-2010 at 5:07 am

    Monica said...

    Great post!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it!

  • 26 11-23-2010 at 8:20 am

    cineJAB said...

    original song potential?

  • 27 11-23-2010 at 8:23 am

    cineJAB said...

    just kidding, it’s not written for the film

  • 28 11-23-2010 at 8:53 am

    csm said...

    Beautifully expressed…thanks for being good people!

  • 29 11-23-2010 at 9:38 am

    Cameron said...

    I’m thankful for the artists-writers, directors, and those below the line-who continue to push the envelope and bring us thoughtful and intelligent works of their own creation: Christopher Nolan, The Brothers Coen, Aaron Sorkin & David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky and so on, who make me feel like my passion for the medium has not been in vain.

    I’m especially thankful for my family and friends, who, even though they don’t understand the foreign and arthouse films I watch, respect my interests and encourage them all the same.

  • 30 11-23-2010 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks! said...

    Thanks to the filmmakers for this year’s best films so far:


  • 31 11-27-2010 at 2:52 am

    Leone said...

    And thank you to you Kris and your team for a clean, easily readable site, interesting content and the fresh perspective. Happy Holidays.