Thursday, January 15, 2009

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The Brits

The BAFTAs announced today, and that's always interesting. They allow double nominees in acting categories, say "FUCK YOU" to category fraud, and have the tendency to surprise us all. Even if they have the same movies, they nominate them in unfamiliar categories. Let's just look.

BEST FILM
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
REACTION: So, I kind of figured they'd nominate The Reader, but I'm surprised they got Milk. It's a much more American tale than, say, Frost/Nixon. I figured Doubt would be more their style. Live and learn.

DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Clint Eastwood, Changeling
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
REACTION: No Nolan is a bit of a shock, but even more so is the inclusion of Clint Eastwood for Changeling. I guess they love him across the pond more than we do here. Good movie, but I wouldn't nominate Eastwood above Nolan.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Philippe Claudel, I've Loved You So Long
Ethan Coen/Joel Coen, Burn After Reading
Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
J. Michael Straczynski, Changeling
REACTION: All Awesome on the McDonagh Front. I like how DLB is the only nominee getting any Oscar heat as well. The Coens are deserving, Straczynski, less so.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
David Hare, The Reader
Justin Haythe, Revolutionary Road
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
REACTION: No surprises here.

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Gomorrah
I've Loved You So Long
Persepolis
Waltz with Bashir
REACTION: Interesting thing here. First off, BAFTA does not limit one entry per country, as France has both I've Loved You So Long and Persepolis. Also, release dates are wonky, since Persepolis was a 2007 release in most other places. Also, there are two animated films in competition here. BAFTA is odd.

ANIMATED FILM
Persepolis
WALL-E
Waltz with Bashir
REACTION: Persepolis, am I right?

LEADING ACTOR
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
REACTION: See, BAFTA gets it. Dev Patel is the lead, not a supporting player. Otherwise, the usual suspects are there.

LEADING ACTRESS
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
REACTION: This is what I mean. Kate is the lead in two movies, therefore she gets nominated twice in the lead category. No choosing between roles, no category fraud. Just the truth. Although, having seen 3/5 of the films nominated, I gotta say this is disappointing. Angie? What the hell is BAFTA's deal with Changeling? And why is Kate always nominated when Leo isn't, even though he turns in far more believable performances in their films? At least Meryl's here, but I'm shocked at their snubbing of Happy-Go-Lucky and its star, Sally Hawkins.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading
REACTION: Glad they included Pitt and Gleeson in this category. BAFTA has a sense of humor, as proven by 3/5 of this category -- 4, if you include Heath's Joker, but he was never ha-ha funny, more squirmily uncomfortable funny.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Freida Pinto, Slumdog Millionaire
Tilda Swinton, Burn After Reading
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
REACTION: Tilda was much better in Benjamin Button, but I'm glad Burn After Reading is getting so much attention. I'm glad I'm not alone in preferring Adams' turn to Davis's in Doubt. Davis is electric, but Adams does some really subtle work here. The Pinto nom is strange. She's good, but there was far better actressing in far deeper roles this year. Synecdoche, anyone? Was that even eligible?

MUSIC
Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia!
Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
James Newton Howard/Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight
Thomas Newman, WALL-E
A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
REACTION: Ma...Mamma Mia? Really? You...you lost me BAFTA. That's not...oh, never mind.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Deakins/Chris Menges, The Reader
Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight
Tom Stern, Changeling
REACTION: No, seriously, what's with all the Changeling love? It wasn't, like amazing. It was OK.

EDITING
Kirk Baxter/Angus Wall, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Joel Cox/Gary D. Roach, Changeling
Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire
Jon Gregory, In Bruges
Dan Hanley/Mike Hill, Frost/Nixon
Lee Smith, The Dark Knight
REACTION: I really do love the In Bruges party that is the BAFTAs. If only Colin was nominated...

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Donald Graham Burt/Victor J. Zolfo, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Nathan Crowley/Peter Lando, The Dark Knight
Michelle Day/Mark Digby, Slumdog Millionaire
Gary Fettis/James J. Murakami, Changeling
Debra Schutt/Kristi Zea, Revolutionary Road
REACTION: That's fine. That's okay.

COSTUME DESIGN
Lindy Hemming, The Dark Knight
Deborah Hopper, Changeling
Michael O'Connor
Jacqueline West, The Curious case of Benjamin Button
Albert Wolsky, Revolutionary Road
REACTION: You know, if it wasn't for technical awards, I would never have a reason to see The Duchess. I was happier before.

SOUND
Ben Burtt/Tom Myers/Michael Semanick/Matthew Wood, WALL-E
Glenn Freemantle/Resul Pookutty/Richard Pryke/Tom Sayers/Ian Tapp, Slumdog Millionaire
Lora Hirschberg/Richard King/Ed Novick/Gary Rizzo, The Dark Knight
Eddy Joseph/Chris Munro/Mike Prestwood Smith/Mark Taylor, Quantum of Solace
Walt Martin / Alan Robert Murray / John Reitz / Gregg Rudloff, Changeling
REACTION: I've decided BAFTA only saw Changeling, and Christmas-treed the rest. Seriously. What am I missing? WALL-E does have some kick-ass sound work, and I like how BAFTA has just one sound category. Easier.

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
Eric Barba/Craig Barron/Nathan McGuinness/Edson Williams, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Chris Corbould/Nick Davis/Paul Franklin/Tim Webber, The Dark Knight
Chris Corbould/Kevin Tod Haug, Quantum of Solace
Pablo Helman, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Shane Patrick Mahan/John Nelson/Ben Snow, Iron Man
REACTION: This looks fine, although I recently found out that some very impressive Milk cinematography was actually some kick-ass visual effects. So. Anyway, good list, except that everything looks fake in Indiana Jones, and isn't that just antithetical?

MAKE UP & HAIR
Steven E. Anderson / Michael White, Milk
Jan Archibald/Daniel Phillips, The Duchess
Jean Black / Colleen Callaghan, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Edouard Henriques/Kim Santantonio, Frost/Nixon
Peter Robb-King, The Dark Knight
REACTION: Man, does Frost/Nixon ever deserve that hair nom. I mean, Michael Sheen. That hair.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
Hunger
In Bruges
Mamma Mia!
Man on Wire
Slumdog Millionaire
REACTION: Man, only BAFTA would nominate Mamma Mia! over and over. I love how documentaries get on these lists. That's pretty boss.

THE ORANGE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
Michael Cera
Noel Clarke
Michael Fassbender
Rebecca Hall
Toby Kebbell
REACTION: Not to belittle this "public", but why were Cera and Kebbell not nominated last year? Both had relatively high-profile films last year, released in Britain in time for awards consideration, so...? Also, I hate to sound ignorant, but who is Noel Clarke?

2 comments:

vowel-in-thug said...

I like to think the Tilda Swinton nom was a mistake, because I barely remember her in BAR, but I just saw Benjamin Button again yesterday, and she is just TOO BRILLIANT in that movie.

Also, again, having just seen BB again, why the hell is there no talk for Cate? It's as much her movie as it is Brad's!

Walter L. Hollmann said...

i KNOW! maybe they like Tilda better as a bitch?