Since I didn't get invited to this year's New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner (I didn't know
I'd be in NYC, so didn't bother to beg) I thought I'd offer up some thoughts on the National Society of Film
Critics awards that were announced last night.
While I think the so-called "Awards Season" has passed the point of absurdity, I am still interested in some of these critics groups, and I am guilty of the famous paradox: Awards are a load of shite, but I'd step on your head to get one.
First, a caveat: The last month or so of the year is usually the time I frantically attend screenings in order to catch up on the films I've missed during the rest of the year. This year due to some family problems, I have not been able to do that, so some of the following comments may be made out of ignorance. Feel free to rag on me about them and I'll feel free to ignore you, agree with you or maybe even strike back. I'm feeling a little frisky.
Zhang Yimou as best director over Payne and Eastwood:
Interestingly, out of the four films here (Zhang had 2), the only 2 I've seen so far are his: House of Flying Daggers and Hero. Both are fantastic feats of filmmaking and mark Zhang's first two forays into the action genre. Don't be fooled, however, as they are not the same film done twice, but both do have a highly-watchable mixture of high-flying, acrobatic swordplay and martial arts, along with an emotional content and level of acting usually absent from these films. Visually, they are nothing short of breathtaking. Zhang's use of color, light and locations are unparalleled. I reviewed Daggers here: http://indiefilm.weblogsinc.com/entry/8817147603636772/
The acting awards:
While I haven't seen Vera Drake, Mike Leigh's films are consistently superior to almost anything else out there and I have no doubt that the kudos for the film and Imelda Staunton's performance will prove justified in my mind.
I haven't seen Sideways, but I fear that all the attention being given to Paul Giamatti's performance will raise his name recognition to a level where I will not be able to say: "You know who I mean…Pig Vomit!" to get people to recognize who I am talking about. I am sure he's happy about this, but I do so much enjoy saying Pig Vomit. Pig Vomit Pig Vomit Pig Vomit Pig Vomit Pig Vomit Pig Vomit!
I am happy for Virginia Madsen for her win. Ms. Madsen is not only a fine and until now underrated actress but also has the distinct honor of playing a role with what is possibly my favorite character name of all time: Dixie Lee Boxx. She plays a small-town beauty queen in an HBO baseball film from 1987 called Long Gone which also stars William L. Petersen (C.S.I.), Dermot Mulroney, as well as Henry Gibson and Teller as father and son. It also contains this immortal bit of philosophy uttered by Petersen's Cecil 'Stud' Cantrell: "All women fuck." Brilliant.
Peter Sarsgaard finishing 3rd in the supporting actor category for Kinsey:
I am sure he's fantastic in the film, but since some other nominees get their nods for multiple films, why not mention Sarsgaard's brilliant turn in Zach Braff's sweet and true film Garden State? I mean, how can you ignore lines like:
"Don't tease me about my hobbies, I don't tease you about being an asshole."
"I'm ok with being unimpressive. I sleep better."
All three of the mentioned films are on my short list to see as soon as I can, but honestly, how do you not mention Fahrenheit 9/11? The "everyone knows it, it doesn't need the mention" crap doesn't wash here. Don't be an asshole. That film was one of the most important docs in the history of film and just because it made a lot of money doesn't justify not mentioning it. Of course, if the reason for not mentioning it was other than its popularity, that's even worse.