Tuesday, January 29, 2008

THE FIRST ANNUAL LALLY’S ALLEY MOVIE AWARDS (NOMINEES)

An opportunity for more lists, otherwise “The Lals”—as friends are already affectionately calling them—are obviously meaningless, except hopefully to turn some friends, old and new, on to movies and/or performances they may have missed.

FOR “BEST” (i.e. my favorite) MOVIE OF 2007, the nominees are:

1. LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
2. THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
3. INTO THE WILD
4. LA VIE EN ROSE
5. THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
6. WAITRESS
7. JUNO
8. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
9. MICHAEL CLAYTON
10. ATONEMENT
(and ONCE, though I’m pretty sure it was made in 2006 it didn’t show here until 2007)

I’m “giving awards” for leading and supporting roles, but I don’t distinguish between them in terms of achievement, because they both have their demands that make them extremely difficult. Starring in a movie is like carrying the entire project on your shoulders, one slip and the whole thing can come tumbling down, an enormous responsibility. But playing a small role in a film is equally challenging—and I’m saying this from personal, and not always successful, experience acting in films from starring roles to one liners—I used to say doing a bit part in a film is like having Van Gogh or Picasso or Jackson Pollack leave a few blank spots in a painting and then ask you to finish it. You have to fit into their vision, their style, their intent, etc. and perfectly, not at all easy, so…

FOR “BEST” (i.e. my favorite) LEAD PERFORMANCE OF 2007 nominees:

MALE:

1. RYAN GOSLING—LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
2. GEORGE CLOONEY—MICHAEL CLAYTON
3. DANIEL-DAY LEWIS—THERE WILL BE BLOOD
4. VIGGO MORTENSEN—EASTERN PROMISES
5. MATHIEU AMAIRIC—THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
6. JOSH BROLIN—NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
8. JAMES MCAVOY—ATONEMENT
9. JIM STURGESS—ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
10. CASEY AFFLECK—GONE BABY GONE (I still haven’t seen the Jesse James flick for which he was nominated for a supporting Oscar)

FEMALE:

1. EVAN RACHEL WOOD—ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
2. KERI RUSSELL—WAITRESS
3. EMILY PAGE—JUNO
4. MARION COTILLARD—LA VIE EN ROSE
5. JULIE DELPY—2 DAYS IN PARIS
6. KIERA KNIGHTLY—ATONEMENT
7. LAUREN AMBROSE—STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING
8. JULIE CHRISTIE—AWAY FROM HER
9. TILDA SWINTON—MICHAEL CLAYTON (I can’t figure why her Oscar nomination is for supporting female role when she’s totally the lead female in this flick the way it ended up)
10. EMILY MORTIMER—LARS AND THE REAL GIRL

“BEST” (i.e. favorite) SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE nominees:

MALE

1. HAL HOLBROOK—INTO THE WILD
2. ELIJAH KELLEY—HAIRSPRAY
3. JOE ANDERSON—ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
4. BEN FOSTER—3:10 TO YUMA
5. JOHN TRAVOLTA—HAIRSPRAY (or should this be in the “female” category?)
6. PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN—(for every movie he was in last year)
7. TOMMY LEE JONES—(ditto, and I know he should be in the leading man list for VALLEY OF ELLAH but he plays every role like it’s a “supporting” one)
8. JAKE GYLLENHAAL—ZODIAC (I’m not always taken with his acting, but in this he was outstanding I thought in a role probably considered the lead)
9. JAVIER BARDEM—NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (although I don’t think what he does in this flick is as impressive as everyone else does—he should have won for previous roles—but he did a great job, despite the hype so…)
10. BILL HODNETT—ONCE (he played the dad)

FEMALE

1. ELIZABETH SHUE—GRACIE
2. AMY RYAN—GONE BABY, GONE
3. VANESSA REDGRAVE—ATONEMENT
4. KELLI GARNER—LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (could be leading but no room)
5. AMY ADAMS—CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR
6. KATE BLANCHETT—(for every movie she was in last year, and ditto what I said for Tommy Lee Jones above re: her leading role in ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE)
7. KRISTEN STEWART—INTO THE WILD (the desert teen)
8. SAOIRSE RONAN—ATONEMENT (for the accent alone, from an Irish girl)
9. KELLY MACDONALD—NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
10. LILI TAYLOR—STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING

BEST ENSEMBLE nominees:

THE CASTS OF:

1. LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
2. WAITRESS
3. JUNO
4. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
5. INTO THE WILD
6. THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
7. LA VIE EN ROSE
8. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
9. THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
10. ONCE


BEST (i.e. my favorite) DIRECTOR nominees:

For this I considered everything from casting to pacing (sometimes that’s more the editor’s choice but not without the consent of the director) to music to performances and cinematography (again, often the cinematographer’s choice, but not without the director’s consent, etc., which makes editing and cinematography more difficult to judge, except for the technical quality of the cutting and the shots (if I was picking editor it would be for ZODIAC, an impressive mix, and better to my mind than the directing; cinematography would go to THERE WILL BE BLOOD)—thus, I’m leaving those categories and assuming they are mostly shared by the directors listed here.

1. JULIAN SCHNABEL—THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
2. SEAN PENN—INTO THE WILD
3. ADRIENNE SHELLY—WAITRESS
4. JULIE DELPY—2 DAYS IN PARIS
5. KEN LOACH—THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
6. JOHN CARNEY—ONCE
7. JULIE TAYMOR—ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
8. CRAIG GILLESPIE—LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
9. OLIVIER DAHAN—LA VIE EN ROSE
10. JOE WRIGHT—ATONEMENT

BEST (i.e. my favorite) SCREENPLAY nominees:

ADAPTED:

1. RONALD HARWOOD—THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
2. SARAH POLLEY—AWAY FROM HER (despite the ambiguous ending)
3. CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON—ATONEMENT (despite the “alternative’ ending)
4. SEAN PENN—INTO THE WILD
5. FRED PARNES—STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING
6. JAMES VANDERBILT—ZODIAC
7. HALSTED WELLES, MICHAEL BRANDT, DEREK HAAS—3:10 TO YUMA
8. RONALD HARWOOD—THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
9. PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON—THERE WILL BE BLOOD (though I didn’t like the ending, and it’s more like a total rewrite than an “adaptaton,” still, some of the dialogue and scenes are incredible)
10. JOEL COEN, ETHAN COEN—NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (ditto for this, only closer to the book)

ORIGINAL:

1. DIABLO CODY—JUNO
2. NANCY OLIVER—LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
3. TONY GILROY—MICHAEL CLAYTON
4. STEVEN KNIGHT—EASTERN PROMISES
5. ADRIENNE SHELLEY—WAITRESS
6. JOHN CARNEY—ONCE
7. PAUL LAVERTY—THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
8. JULIE DELPY—TWO DAYS IN PARIS
9. MIKE BINDER—REIGN OVER ME
10. TAMARA JENKINS—THE SAVAGES (despite the sort of cutesy ending)

BIGGEST SURPRISES OF 2007 nominees:

1. CASEY AFFLECK IN GONE BABY GONE
2. BEN AFFLECK AS A DIRECTOR, ALMOST TOTALLY PULLS IT OFF
3. JULY DELPY AS A WRITER, DIRECTOR, COMPOSER, PRODUCER, STAR
4. JOSH BROLIN IN NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
5. AMY RYAN IN GONE BABY, GONE
6. BONO IN ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, THE ACCENT AND THE ACTING
7. BEN FOSTER IN 3:10 TO YUMA
8. ELLEN PAGE IN JUNO
9. ALMOST EVERY PERFORMANCE BY A CHILD ACTOR IN 2007 FILMS—FROM 3:10 TO YUMA TO SWEENEY TODD—WAS EXTRAORDINARY
10. SO MANY GREAT SOUNDTRACKS (and too many not nominated for Oscars) FROM JUNO AND ZODIAC TO INTO THE WILD AND LET THERE BE BLOOD

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2007 nominees:

1. THE DIRECTING, WRITING, AND RUSSELL CROWE IN AMERICAN GANGSTER (and the fact that this horribly uneven movie was nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast” SAG Award and LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, JUNO, WAITRESS, THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, ET-SEE-ABOVE-CETERA weren’t)
2. THE ENDING AND CONTRIVED (to me) ATTITUDE OF NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
3. THE ENDING AND SOME OF THE “SUPPORTING ACTORS” OF THERE WILL BE BLOOD
4. JACK BLACK IN MARGOT AT THE WEDDING
5. MARGOT AT THE WEDDING
6. RYAN GOSLING NOT BEING NOMINATED FOR A BEST ACTOR OSCAR
7. LARS AND THE REAL GIRL NOT BEING NOMINATED FOR A BEST PICTURE OSCAR
8. SEAN PENN NOT BEING NOMINATED FOR A BEST DIRECTOR OSCAR
9. THE FACT THAT THE MOVIE INSPIRED BY DYLAN, I’M NOT THERE, ONLY PLAYED IN ONE THEATER IN MANHATTAN AND NOWHERE ELSE IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA, AND THE SAME FOR TOO MANY OTHER INDEPENDENT AND “FOREIGN” FILMS
10. THE UNEXPECTED AND WAY TOO YOUNG TRAGIC DEATHS OF BRAD RENFRO AND HEATH LEDGER

6 comments:

Ashley said...

I'm so happy to see that another blogger appreciated the performance of Josh Brolin. I was so disappointed by the "official" award nominations because I honestly thought Brolin fit this film to a tee and though Javier Bardem was great, his role didn't have the same effect on me. Love the lists!

The Kid said...

fun Lal

know it's busy with awards and primaries, but was hoping you'd post on Heath

he was the real thing
very brave to do Br. Mountain at such a young age (watched that film again the other night and wept all over again)

his gift was apparent even in early kid-flick 10 Things I Hate About You

Lally said...

Yeah Ashley, I think Brolin made that movie, and for me the ending ruined it partly because of the way they dealt with his character's outcome (and I know they had to do it because the book did it, but they could have done it in a way that made an audience feel a part of it, not just victims of the author's and movie makers' cynicism, etc.).
And as for Heath Ledger, Kid, he was the real deal as an actor for sure. I was so blown away by his work in Brobeck Mountain, especially and most surprisingly by his work at the end as an older man, much older than he will ever live to be. But I have a theory about time, more or less a human invention, and the arc of each life, and how we sense that arc, maybe even in our genes realize it, and that impacts our outlook and choices and so on, in other words, maybe he could embody that sad old man near the end of his life so well, because somewhere in him, not in his mind, but in his cells, he knew he was near the end of his. If that isn't too maudlin or New Agey. I'm a little too tired to articulate it any better than that. Hope you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

yu r a pretty cool dude, Mr. Lally

RJ Eskow said...

Wrote a long comment & lost it. The gist: "There Will Be Blood" would DEFINITELY top my list, although I'd remove the last 5 minutes if I could. I thought the supporting cast was terrific, meself.

'Juno'? I'd remove the FIRST five minutes, or ten. "That's one diddle that can't be undiddled, lickskillet," or whatever. I kept saying to myself that "People don't TALK like this" and "I'll be dead of 'cute' before this is over."

Then it turned into a terrific film - great script, great performances. Go figure.

Tilda Swinton was scarier in 'Clayton' than she was in that movie where she was a witch with polar bears for carriage horses. The eyes ...

Ditto on Josh Brolin. But I'm apparently in a minority of one who believes that Javier Bardem's characterization of the killer - who was terrifying in the book - was cartoonish and completely missed the mark. He's a great actor, so I chalked it up to bad decisions.

For the rest of the year's movies I'll have to keep thinking.

Peace.

Lally said...

rj, I felt the same way about Bardem's villian, but as you say because he was so good in previous roles—and because friends whose opinion I respect truly believed it was a great performance I ended up putting him on the list, a very "Aacademy" like move I realize. Ah well, still not perfect.