Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pretentious Film Awards 2009--Best Motion Picture of the Year

And the 2009 Pretentious Film Award Nominees for Best Motion Picture of the Year are:

Hunger (dir. Steve McQueen)
This is full-tilt, visual storytelling at its finest. The Irish Hunger strikes of 1981 serve as a wonderful canvas for director/artist Steve McQueen to create his masterwork. This is what powerful filmmaking should be. The powerful riots, Bobby Sands haunting conversation with the visiting priest, Sands eventual and heartbreaking decay...these are all images that don't let go.

The Hurt Locker (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)
"Once you're in it, you know..." Amen to that. That its repetitive structure never gives way to monotony is a testament to the great work at hand here. Everything seems as intricate and deliberately placed as Sergeant First Class William James's methods. This is a film that will be studied and debated for years (I'm talking 50+) to come. (Not to get petty, but who will even be thinking about Up in the Air come Oktoberfest?)

Inglourious Basterds (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
"One can't deny [Tarantino's] ability to write craft engaging and arresting scenes. The opening, a showcase for Christoph Waltz, scoops on tension like big mounds of dairy creme (not an arbitrary simile for those of us who have seen the film), until it all but collapses in on a good way (does that make sense?). And that scene in the basement? It read as mildly obnoxious the first go round, yet perfectly paced and beautifully acted the second time...Tarantino sticks to his guns...the result is a highly enjoyable, well-executed film... the film is arguably one big exercise in cinematic excess. But it is a glorious one at that." (Read my full review here)

The Messenger (dir. Oren Moverman)
Does it seem a surprise to have this film appear here? And over other films that I seem to have talked about more on this blog? It may. However, I'm a believer in honesty when it comes to compiling "best" lists. I can't omit a film that moved me so fully and emotionally. Moreover, it never felt cheap or manipulative. It's stark, bare-bones look at two soldiers given the daunting task of delivering life-altering (and often life-ruining) news. You can't imagine, yet the film dares to put you right there in the thick of it as the gut-wrenching emotions bubble to the surface.

Precious (dir. Lee Daniels)
Oprah's insistence that Precious exists in all of us, while a sweet sentiment, is not what one should take away from this film. I think "For Precious girls everywhere," which appears at the end of the film, is a better and more accurate read of what this film is trying to say. We are NOT all Precious. Precious is someone that most of us don't see. She's someone we ignore. She's someone we dismiss and don't think about, possibly because we don't care, possibly because it's too painful to fathom. This is Precious's story, FINALLY. This IS for Precious girls everywhere." (Read my full review here)

Winners will be announced later this week. Here is a comprehensive list of my nominees for this year.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger

Best Achievement in Directing

Jane Campion - Bright Star
Steve McQueen - Hunger
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
John Hillcoat - The Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
Michael Fassbender - Hunger
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - (500) Days of Summer
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker
Sam Rockwell - Moon

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Abbie Cornish - Bright Star
Paulina Gaitan - Sin Nombre
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
Tilda Swinton - Julia

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
Anthony Mackie - The Hurt Locker
Fred Melamed - A Serious Man
Paul Schneider - Bright Star
Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Jennifer Coolidge - Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mo'Nique - Precious
Samantha Morton - The Messenger

Best Original Screenplay

(500) Days of Summer - Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Webb
Hunger - Steve McQueen and Enda Walsh
The Hurt Locker - Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger - Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman

Best Adapted Screenplay

District 9 - Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education - Lynn Barber and Nick Hornby
Precious - Geoffrey Fletcher
The Road - Joe Penhall
Where the Wild Things Are - David Eggers and Spike Jonze

Best Achivement in Costume Design

Bright Star - Janet Patterson
An Education - Odile Dicks-Mireaux
Inglourious Basterds - Anna B. Sheppard
A Serious Man - Mary Zophres
A Single Man - Arianne Phillips

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Bright Star - Greig Fraser
Hunger - Sean Bobbit
The Hurt Locker - Barry Ackroyd
Inglourious Basterds - Robert Richardson
The Road - Javier Aguirresarobe

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Avatar - Nick Bassett
Bright Star - Christian Huband

Inglourious Basterds
- Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (sets), Marco Bittner Rosser, Stephan O. Gessler, Sebastian Krawinkel, David Scheunemann, Steve Summersgill, Bettina von den Steinen

- Matteo De Cosmo
The Road - Gershon Ginsburg

Best Achievement in Editing

(500) Days of Summer - Alan Edward Bell
Avatar - James Cameron, John Refoua and Stephen E. Rivkin
The Hurt Locker - Chris Innis and Bob Murawski
Hunger - Joe Walker
Inglourious Basterds - Sally Menke

Best Visual Effects

District 9
Star Trek

Best Makeup/Hair

Drag Me to Hell - Luisa Abel
Hunger - Alison Rainey and Sian Wilson
The Road - Mandi Crane, Deborah Patino and Sherri Simmons

Best Original Score

Bright Star - Mark Bradshaw
Drag Me to Hell - Christopher Young
The Road - Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Up - Michael Giacchino
Where the Wild Things Are - Carter Burwell and Karen O.

Best Original Song

Crazy Heart - "The Weary Kind"
Nine - "Take It All"
Where the Wild Things Are - "All is Love"

Nominations Tally

Inglourious Basterds - 8
Bright Star - 7
Hunger - 7
The Hurt Locker - 7
The Road - 6
Precious - 5
The Messenger - 4
Avatar - 3
(500) Days of Summer - 3
An Education - 3
Where the Wild Things Are - 3
Crazy Heart - 2
District 9
- 2
A Serious Man
- 2
Up in the Air - 2
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans - 1
Julia - 1
Nine - 1
Sin Nombre - 1
A Single Man - 1
Up - 1

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