Wednesday, February 3, 2021

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The 2020 Hollmann Awards: Part Two

Nine films were honored yesterday in the first day of awardage. Take a look at what I said there, what I said about my Top Ten, at the full slate of nominees...then come back here and see if you saw any of this coming. You probably did! Anyway, day two

Best Original Screenplay
Miss Juneteenth
Channing Godfrey Peoples
2. Ainu Mosir, 3. Promising Young Woman, 4. Driveways, 5. A Sun

Miss Juneteenth really just missed my Best Picture lineup. Peoples' writing is specific and intimate, and while it makes sure we know exactly what Turquoise's situation is, a former beauty queen on trying to make ends meets, unable or unwilling to shake her ex, trying to make a better future for her daughter, it never feels blunt, never underlines unnecessarily. And it doesn't pull punches either, throwing realistic obstacles that aren't always overcome. Things get a little better, maybe; people get stronger, definitely. I can't wait to see what Peoples has in store for us.

The remaining eight, including Best Actor and Best Picture, after the jump...
Best Production Design

We Are Little Zombies
Yukiko Kuribayashi, production design
Rei Mano, art direction
2. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 3. The Man Standing Next, 4. Bacurau, 5. Promising Young Woman

There is no "real" world in We Are Little Zombies, just the world as seen by the video game-obsessed Hikari - which means an emphasis on grid-style locations resembling Pac-Man or Pokémon or The Legend of Zelda, stylized dwellings, and dreamworlds that manage to telegraph their fancied existence despite the details of the "reality" surrounding them. Imaginative, consistent, beautiful.

Best Supporting Actress
Dianne Wiest as Susan
Let Them All Talk
2. Veronica Ngo in Da 5 Bloods, 3. Candice Bergen in Let Them All Talk, 4. Niecy Nash in Uncorked, 5. Youn Yuh-jung in Minari

What a superb character Wiest creates in Susan, a genuinely kind person who helps women imprisoned for killing their abusers, a sexual dynamo whose conquests range from best-selling authors to waiters, a fearsome opponent who gets her Scrabble partners to "bow down, bitch," and, when we first meet her, threatens violence against someone who crosses her people. And my favorite scene of the year, her monologue about's all I can think about. A soft-spoken ferocity.

Best Ensemble
casting by Marcelo Caetano
2. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 3. Hamilton, 4. Mank, 5. A Sun

There are 36 credited characters on Bacurau's IMDb page, and the film lets us know every single one of them. I really didn't know who among them to nominate in my acting categories, so I honor them all here: Sônia Braga's arms-crossed strength, Udo Kier's casual menace, Bárbara Colen's openness, Thomas Aquino's stoicism, Thardelly Lima's oiliness, Karine Teles and Antonio Saboia's twin all-business work ethic, Julia Marie Peterson's American-on-vacation energy, and of course, Silvero Pereira's rage, those eyes that burn bright and intensely. Love them all.

Best Film Editing
Da 5 Bloods
Adam Gough
2. We Are Little Zombies, 3. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 4. Promising Young Woman, 5. The Personal History of David Copperfield

Spike Lee's movies are always incredibly edited, frequently using archival footage to chart the relationship between past and present. In Da 5 Bloods, the 16mm full-frame past and digital widescreen present are already in conversation, their looks toggling back and forth, even before Hanoi Hannah shows up to further the conversation about Black soldiers fighting on behalf of a country that doesn't want them (the above scene, which is also the entirety of Veronica Ngo's performance). There's also an effective final montage, thrilling action sequences, and a groovin' club scene.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Matiki Anoff, makeup head
Sergio Lopez-Rivera / Sian Phillips, personal makeup artists
Larry M. Cherry / Mia Neal, hair heads
Deidra Dixon / Jamika Wilson, personal hair stylists
2. Come to Daddy, 3. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, 4. I'm Thinking of Ending Things, 5. The Man Standing Next

The men's hair styled just right for the times. The bob for Taylour Paige. Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, boldly made up to pop on stage, especially on the eyes and lips, a look she maintains off-stage, too. My favorite detail: the sweat, how it drips, how the heat effects everyone's look. Its subtle, detailed work.

Best Original Song
1. "We Are Little Zombies" from We Are Little Zombies
music and lyrics by Makoto Nagahisa
2. "Rocket to the Moon" from Over the Moon
music and lyrics by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield and Helen Park
3. "Miles and Miles" from Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
music and lyrics by Philip LaWrence, Michael Diskint and Davy Nathan
4. "Húsavík (Hometown)" from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
music and lyrics by Savan Kotecha, Rickard Göransson and Max "Fat Max Gsus" Grahn
5. "Home Thoughts from Abroad" from Military Wives
music and lyrics by Guy Chambers and Robbie Williams

Best Actor
Delroy Lindo as Paul
Da 5 Bloods
2. Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 3. Mads Mikkelsen in Another Round, 4. Clarke Peters in Da 5 Bloods, 5. Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño in I'm No Longer Here

Another tough decision, with both Boseman and Lindo giving their all, each impressing with their range of rage, their expert monologuing, and their dance skills. There's no formula for why Lindo over Boseman, but gee-damn, watch that performance above and tell me that it won't haunt you the rest of the year. 

Best Motion Picture of the Year
We Are Little Zombies
produced by Haruhiko Hasegawa / Shin'ichi Takahashi / Taihei Yamanishi / Haruki Yokoyama
2. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 3. Vitalina Varela, 4. Bacurau, 5. Let Them All Talk
6. Miss Juneteenth, 7. The Man Standing Next, 8. Da 5 Bloods, 9. Promising Young Woman, 10. The Vast of Night

There ya go! Another year down, with We Are Little Zombies taking the top spot plus three other awards; the only other films to win more than one award are Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Miss Juneteenth.

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