Monday, December 11, 2017

Further Thoughts On The Golden Globes

Scattered, more detailed thoughts on those Golden Globe nominations, and what they mean for Awards Season overall...

1) A lot of people are stunned and angry about Jordan Peele's absence from the Best Director lineup at the Golden Globes. I will be shocked if he actually winds up nominated at the DGAs or the Oscars. That's nothing to do with the quality of his work; there's a reason why it's sustained its level of hype from February, and not just because it captures The Moment in terms of our current conversations regarding race and whiteness - it's because of the craftsmanship, the originality. Still, while Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay nominations are all but guaranteed, Peele's working in a genre seldom given due at the Oscars. Besides, it's a crowded field in general: Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, Luca Guadagnino, Sean Baker, Martin McDonagh, Paul Thomas Anderson, Greta Gerwig, Ridley Scott, Dee Rees. Peele's a more likely nominee than a good chunk of this group, but with no consensus yet on even the top three frontrunners, he's got hurdles.

Talking 'bout Wonder Woman, Three Billboards, and more, after the jump....

Golden Globe Nominees

It doesn't really feel like Awards Season until the Golden Globes make their announcement, you know? Sure, sure: National Board of Review and critics' groups are important and great time capsules for the year, but they just have winners; the Globes have nominees, suspense, anticipation! And oh, always a surprise...

I concern myself only with the film categories, beginning after the jump....

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mostly Moms and Families

Brief notes on new releases, old releases finally screened, and streaming titles.

dir: Lee Unkrich, co-directed by Adrian Molina
scr: Adrian Molina & Matthew Aldrich, story by Unkrich & Jason Katz & Molina & Aldrich

Exquisitely designed, emotionally resonant portrait of family and legacy. An enlightening experience, too: pardon my ignorance, but I never knew before the meaning of Day of the Dead, nor was I familiar with ofrendas or alebrijes. One especially dark narrative twist feels a little too much and left me with questions about the established rules of the universe, but if that's your takeaway and not the emotional ending or the music, that's on you, buddy.

Mudbound, Call Me By Your Name, and a lot of apes, after the jump....

Friday, December 1, 2017

The 1947 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part Two

We've shared the Top Ten. We've named the nominees. We've given out the first batch of prizes. Now, the final day of the 1947 Retro Hollmann Awards...which means the end of our look back at 1947. Each category is presented in the same order as at the 20th Academy Awards. Yup: we're closing out with Best Actress!

But first....

Best Actor

Nikolay Cherkasov as Tsar Ivan IV
Ivan the Terrible, Part One

2. Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street, 3. Cary Grant in The Bishop's Wife, 3. Ronald Colman in A Double Life, 5. David Niven in The Bishop's Wife

Cherkasov is exhausting and all-in as the first Tsar of All Russia. He is sweating every single moment. The most surprising moments involve his scenes with wife Anastasia - that's real love, baby, real tenderness, real sorrow. His performance is a spectacle without equal. My understanding is that this definition of "terrible" isn't so much "Ivan the Bad" as it is "Ivan the Formidable" and, fuck me, Cherkasov is formidable.

Gwenn is Santa Claus. Grant exudes a gentle, holy warmth. Colman goes nuts, with subtlety. Niven does befuddled frustration without compromising the chemistry with Loretta Young.

Original Song, Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture and more, after the jump....

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The 1947 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part One

At last, the 1947 Retro Hollmann Awards are here! Part One consists of nine categories, including three that were not awarded at the 20th Academy Awards. For a full list of nominees, refer to yesterday's full list of nominees.

Best Ensemble 
Black Narcissus
Adele Raymond, casting

2. Green for Danger, 3. A Matter of Life and Death, 4. Brute Force, 5. Miracle on 34th Street

A sister superior who clings to that second word. A cloister of nuns - loyal, flighty, tempted. A beautiful native girl and the prince who is smitten with her. A capital-m Male advising a distracted royal. A holy man permanently perched. Each embodied vividly in Black Narcissus.

Green for Danger boasts an impressive who's who in British character acting. Everyone in A Matter of Life and Death is game for fantastic realism and impossible romance. Brute Force is full of brooding, guilt-ridden, desperate men. Miracle on 34th Street's cast just looks like they're having a blast.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Ivan the Terrible, Part One
Vasili Goryunov, makeup artist

2. A Matter of Life and Death, 3. Great Expectations, 4. Miracle on 34th Street, 5. Forever Amber

Ivan the Terrible has some of the most beautifully-applied lashes and liner in cinema. Big beards clutter the court, whether round and full, like the tsar's loyalists, or long, white, intricately carved, like the high priest. Ivan's own looks: the greasy beard, matted hair, the sunken-in eyes on his deathbed. And that one idiot boyar's lipsticked, femininely made-up face.

A Matter of Life and Death delivers impossibly rosy cheeks, French foppery, and very clean angels. Great Expectations makes a haggard prisoner, a wild-haired aging beauty, and the curls of Victorian male hair. Miracle on 34th Street delivers a real Santa Claus. Forever Amber is some good-ass 17th-century style.

Best Costume Design

Ivan the Terrible, Part One
Leonid Naumov

2. Black Narcissus, 3. A Matter of Life and Death, 4. Great Expectations, 5. Mother Wore Tights

Ivan the Terrible's costumes are incredibly detailed, as seen on Ivan himself - the ornate coronation robes, the intimidating simplicity of his court attire, his armor on the battlefield. Surrounded by men and women in big fur coats - so many heavy layers!

Black Narcissus' white habits, native garments, and royal finery. A Matter of Life and Death's looks across space and time. Great Expectations' styles spanning the class system. Mother Wore Tights' vaudeville glamor.

From here on, the categories continue in the same order as their counterparts at the 20th Academy Awards. But that's after the jump....

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The 1947 Retro Hollmann Awards Nominees

Can you believe this is the thirteenth iteration of the Retro Hollmanns? Probably you never thought about it!

Following are my picks for what should have been nominated in 1947...but with some not so small differences:

  • Best Costume Design - not an Oscar category until the following year; nevertheless, it is a Hollmann Awards category
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling - not an Oscar category until 1981; nevertheless, it is a Hollmann Awards category
  • Best Ensemble - not an Oscar category; nevertheless, it is a Hollmann Awards category, awarded where possible to the casting director(s)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay - not an Oscar category until 1957; nevertheless, it a Hollmann Awards category
  • Best Original Screenplay - considered separate from Motion Picture Story until 1958; both are combined into this single designation for the Hollmann Awards

For a complete list of the 64 films considered, check out my Top Ten of 1947. Eighteen categories in all. And now, the nominees, in the order that I figured them out...except Best Picture, which comes at the end. I've linked to my review the first time each title appears.


John P. Fulton, special photographic effects
Harry Redmond, Jr., special effects

Ivor Beddoes, special photographic effects
W. Percy Day, process shots / matte painter
Arthur George Day / Thomas Sydney Day, matte painters
E. Hague / Jack Higgins / Sydney Pearson / James Snow, special effects

Fred Sersen, special photographic effects

Stanley Grant, special photographic effects
William C. Andrews / Henry Harris / Douglas Woolsey, special effects

Ub Iwerks, special processes
Brad Case / Blaine Gibson / Joshua Meador / George Rowley, effects animators

18 more films, 17 more categories, all after the jump....

Monday, November 27, 2017

Top Ten of 1947

Many Top Tens are difficult to draft up, but I must confess, this was one of the easiest I've ever made. In alphabetical order....

The Bishop's Wife
dir: Henry Koster
scr: Leonardo Bercovici and Robert E. Sherwood, based on the novel by Robert Nathan
cin: Gregg Toland

Like the angel Dudley, the film possesses a deceptively light touch whose gentle caresses bring forth great depths of feeling. It's funny but not silly, fanciful but not absurd, and it winks at extramarital flirtations without compromising anyone's integrity. Given the subject matter, it is only fitting that it be, from beginning to end, a pure joy.

Black Narcissus
dir/scr: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, based on the novel by Rumer Godden
cin: Jack Cardiff

A triumph of craftsmanship - the awe-inspiring effects and matte work, Jack Cardiff's photography capturing warmth and tempestuousness in eye-popping Technicolor, the detailed decay of a mountaintop convent. A triumph, too, of narrative - the unhappy woman who shuts herself up behind convent walls in the Himalayas, little realizing that only here, high enough to touch the heavens, is she truly exposed. Sexy and sad!

Tsars, circus folk, holy men and more, after the jump....