Friday, January 25, 2019

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The 2018 Hollmann Awards: Part One

The first group of awards for the 2018 Hollmann Awards!

Best Original Screenplay
A Bread Factory
Patrick Wang 

2. First Reformed; 3. Tully; 4. Shoplifters; 5. The Spy Gone North

As funny in Part One's depiction of Janeane Garofalo's visiting director as it is poignant in Part Two's "love-long-lost" monologue delivered by Brian Murray, brilliant in its combination of the two in Part One's climactic council hearings and Part Two's final conversation between Tyne Daly and Elisabeth Henry. Wang has created a fully-realized community populated by a large ensemble of very specific characters - it feels real.

In second, First Reformed's balance of anguish and dark comedy. In third, Tully's
In fourth, Shoplifters' humor in the face of poverty. In fifth, The Spy Gone North's political machinations and genuine love of country.

Eight more, including my picks for Best Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Actress, after the jump...

Best Actress

Elisabeth Henry as Greta
A Bread Factory

2. Rachel Weisz in Disobedience; 3. Rachel McAdams in Disobedience; 4. Tyne Daly in A Bread Factory; 5. Glenn Close in The Wife

Somewhere in the middle of Part Two of A Bread Factory, I realized that I may never see as transcendent a performance as Elisabeth Henry's. If Tyne Daly's Dorothea is the muscle and mind that keeps the Bread Factory going, Henry's Greta is its heart, open and honest ... and on her own wavelength. While prone to comic moments, she slowly reveals the depths underneath this woman. Where does sweet, airy Greta find the rage, the sorrow, the power to play Hecuba so hypnotically, so passionately? Yet Henry has hinted at this side of Greta all along: through her watchful quiet, her canniness when dealing with potential conflict, her frustration at not knowing everything about a character, her youthful energy when with friends. Henry as Greta is already terrific; Henry as Greta as Hecuba is icing on the cake.

In second, McAdams' Orthodox Jewish wife and teacher balances love and faith beautifully, heartbreakingly. In third, Weisz's prodigal daughter gets her bearings in a world both familiar and alien to her. In fourth, Daly's passionate, practical theatre owner is hilarious, even if her jokes are to keep from weeping. In fifth, Close's secure wife is not to be crossed, nor taken for granted.

Best Production Design

Paddington 2
Gary Williamson, production designer
Patrick Rolfe, supervising art director
Cathy Cosgrove, set decorator
2. The Spy Gone North; 3. The Favourite; 4. Bad Times at the El Royale; 5. If Beale Street Could Talk

Like its predecessor, Paddington 2 takes familiar settings, zhuzhes them up with a colorful storybook palette while maintaining the veracity of the characters inhabiting its environs. As integral a part of the film's story as, well, the story.

In second, The Spy Gone North imagines North Korean emptiness and opulence. In third, The Favourite's bookshelves, tapestries, and spare spaces are claustrophobic. In fourth, Bad Times at the El Royale's split personality motel. In fifth, If Beale Street Could Talk's warm homes, both lived-in and in-the-making.

Best Film Editing
Walter Fasano

2. First Man; 3. The Other Side of the Wind; 4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; 5. A Bread Factory

Every gesture in a dance should have meaning - that's taken to the extreme by the coven at the heart of the film, working its magic through the angular, "modern" movements of its choreography. The back-and-forth between dance and horror is vital to the film, the pace of the cuts mirroring the frenetic energy of their black magic. Effective as both musical and horror.

In second, First Man's cacophony cutting to quiet. In third, The Other Side of the Wind's chaotic party and artsy film-within-a-film. In fourth, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse's wild yet navigable action. In fifth, A Bread Factory's comic sensibilities...and occasional lack of cutting.

Best Director
 Patrick Wang
A Bread Factory

2. Damien Chazelle for First Man; 3. Lee Chang-Dong for Burning; Sebastián Lelio for Disobedience; 5. Yim Soonrye for Little Forest

Wang's juggling act is not confined to his scripting of such a wide swathe of characters: somehow, he maintains a clear and consistent tone even when veering between farce, the avant-garde, musicals, Greek tragedy, domestic comedy, and (local) political drama. There is heart in every frame. The most confident, clear-eyed work of the year.

In second, Chazelle's somber yet thrilling take on First Man. In third, Lee's chilly patience for Burning. In fourth, Lelio's breath-taking sexual tension in Disobedience. In fifth, Yim's warmth and affection spills over Little Forest.

Best Score
(in order of preference, with my favorite selections from each film)

1. First Man
Justin Hurwitz

2. If Beale Street Could Talk
Nicholas Britell

3. Suspiria
Thom Yorke

4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Daniel Pemberton

5. The Spy Gone North
Cho Young-Wok

Best Supporting Actor
Alessandro Nivola as Dovit

2. Lee Sung-Min in The Spy Gone North; Norman Foster in The Other Side of the Wind; 4. Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?; 5. Russell Hornsby in The Hate U Give

Aided by a screenplay that won't let him be a Bad Man, Nivola's Dovit is a man who believes strongly in his faith and his community while also feeling conflicted about what the women in his life are going through. He loves them, yes, but he feels betrayed - by their actions, by Ronit's return, by her leaving years ago, by them finding something together that he can not be part of, even as he is inseparable from them. It's a tempest of complex emotions culminating in an emotional final sermon and embrace. Unforgettable.

In second, Lee's cautious, hopeful bureaucrat. In third, Foster's lost man-child. In fourth, Grant's gleeful hedonist. In fifth, Hornsby's loving, loyal, tired father.

Best Ensemble

A Bread Factory
Cindi Rush, casting

2. Shoplifters; 3. Can You Ever Forgive Me?; 4. The Favourite; 5. Suspiria

The veteran actor, the coffee shop owner, the waitress, the child volunteer, the chairwoman of the city council, the journalist, the critic, the intern, the visiting director, the tap-dancing techies, the tourists, the singing realtors, the bizarro performance artists, the parents - every single character perfectly cast, perfectly performed, creating a true sense of community.

In second, the makeshift family at the heart of Shoplifters. In third, the various booksellers, dealers, agents and authors of Can You Ever Forgive Me?. In fourth, the bitches of every gender of The Favourite. In fifth, the community of witches and giggling group of dancers of Suspiria.

Best Costume Design

If Beale Street Could Talk
Caroline Eselin

2. The Favourite; 3. Black Panther; 4. Suspiria; 5. A Simple Favor

Accurate 70s looks - I've seen enough movies, looked at enough family photos from the era to know this - that feel lived-in, a wardrobe instead of a costume, yet tailored to create indelible Movie Moments, from Fonzo and Tish's unbreakable connection spilling into their outfits to Regina King's striking green dress she wears in Puerto Rico.

In second, The Favourite's extravagant fops, plain bedclothes, intimidating sporting wear. In third, Black Panther's African sci-fi. In fourth, Suspiria's quasi-hideous muted '70s Euro threads. In fifth, A Simple Favor's fancy lady tuxes and stay-at-home mom simplicity.

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