Wednesday, February 18, 2009

SECOND ANNUAL LALLY’S ALLEY MOVIE AWARDS (NOMINEES)

Last year, in my first annual movie awards, I decided to list 10 nominees in each category I chose, because there was a lot of great work I wanted to note. This year in a few categories, I had trouble coming up with 10. For my taste, it hasn’t been the best year for movies (with the caveat that obviously I didn't see every movie that came out in '08). But that said, here’s my nominees:

“BEST” MOVIE (i.e. “best” means ones I dug most)

1. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
2. VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA
3. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
4. FROZEN RIVER
5. THE VISITOR
6. WALL-E
7. BURN AFTER READING
8. MILK
9. DOUBT
10. STOP-LOSS

“BEST” DIRECTOR

1. Danny Boyle (SLUMDOG)
2. Woody Allen (VICKY CHRISTINA)
3. Andrew Stanton (WALL-E)
4. Coen Brothers (BURN AFTER)
5. Mile Leigh (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY)
6. Gus Van Sant (MILK)
7. Courtney Hunt (FROZEN)
8. Thomas McCarthy (THE VISITOR)
9. John Patrick Shanley (DOUBT)
10. Ben Stiller (TROPIC THUNDER)

“BEST” LEAD MALE ACTOR

1. Phillip Seymor Hoffman for DOUBT
2. Dev Patel for SLUMDOG
3. Richard Jenkins for THE VISITOR
4. George Clooney for BURN AFTER READING
5. Sean Penn for MILK
6. Brad Pitt for BENJAMIN BUTTON (I know a lot of this was computerized, but given that challenge, I think he pulled it off beautifully, despite the movie’s flaws)
7. Ryan Phillipe for STOP-LOSS
8. Javier Bardem for VICKY CHIRSTINA
9. Channing Tatum for STOP-LOSS
10. Heath Ledger for DARK KNIGHT (let’s face it, he was the lead and the reason most of us saw it—and as I said last year, I don’t really distinguish between “lead” and “supporting” in every day viewing and acting, every role has its burdens and set of challenges etc.)

“BEST” FEMALE LEAD ACTOR

1. Sally Hawkins for HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
2. Angelina Jolie for THE CHANGELING
3. Tilda Swinton for BURN AFTER READING
4. Frances McDormand for BURN AFTER READING
5. Melissa Leo for FROZEN RIVER
6. Karen Allen for INDIANA JONES AND…CRYSTAL SKULL
7. Penelope Cruz for VICKY CHRISTINA
8. Abbie Cornish for STOP-LOSS
9. Frieda Pinto for SLUMDOG
10. Scarlett Johanson for VICKY CHRISTINA

“BEST” MALE SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Haaz Sleiman for THE VISITOR
2. Michael O’Keefe for FROZEN RIVER
3. Robert Downey Jr. for TROPIC THUNDER
4. Brad Pitt for BURN AFTER READING
5. J. R. Horne for BURN AFTER READING
6. James Franco for MILK
7. Timothy Olyphant for STOP-LOSS
8. Ciaran Hinds for STOP-LOSS
9 & 10. All the child actors who played the two boys in the earlier stages of their lives in SLUMDOG (there should be some kind of collective award)

“BEST” FEMALE SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Hiam Abbass for THE VISITOR
2. Misty Upham for FROZEN RIVER
3. Rebecca Hall for VICKY CHIRSTINA
4. Patricia Clarkson for VICKY CHIRSTINA
5. Linda Emond for STOP-LOSS
6. Marisa Tomei for THE WRESTLER
7. Alexis Zegerman for HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
8. Viola Davis for DOUBT
9. Zoe Kazan for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (the secretary)
10. Kathy Bates for REVOLUTIONARY RD

“BEST” ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. Andrew Stanton for WALL-E
2. Coen brothers for BURN AFTER READING
3. Woody Allen for VICKY CHRISTINA
4. Mike Liegh for HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
5. Courtney Hunt for FROZEN RIVER
6. Mark Richard & Kimberly Pierce for STOP-LOSS
7. Thomas McCarthy for THE VISITOR
8. Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Etan Cohen for TROPIC THUNDER

“BEST” ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. John Patrick Shanley for DOUBT
2. Simon Beufoy for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

“BEST” ENSEMBLE CAST

1. BURN AFTER READING
2. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
3. DOUBT
4. THE VISITOR
5. TROPIC THUNDER
6. VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA
7. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
8. MILK
9. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL


BIGGEST MOVIE SURPRISES OF 2008

1. The existence and success of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (hopefully it’s a harbinger of more internationally relevant combos of old fashioned story telling with contemporary relevance).
2. The “foreign” actors in THE VISITOR, all terrific
3. Misty Upham’s riveting (for me) performance in FROZEN RIVER
4. Sally Hawkins’ amazing performance in HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
5. The return of Karen Allen in the role of Marion Ravenwood in the latest INDIANA JONES flick
6. The rise (well deserved) of Robert Downey Jr. to commercially viable movie star in a comedy (TROPIC THUNDER) and comic book action flick (IRON MAN)
7. Rebecca Hall’s breakthrough performance in VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA
8. The nominations for THE VISITOR and FROZEN RIVER in whatever categories, amazing for such out-of-the-mainstream truly “small” indies
9. Channing Tatum in STOP-LOSS an actor who should be used more, and more wisely to my mind
10. Zoe Kazan in REOLUTIONARY ROAD—everyone’s talking about the supporting actor Michael Shannon, but to my mind (and experience) it’s easier to play a flashy supportive role like that than it is to play the unflashy even unflattering role Kazan pulls of as the “nobody” working girl DiCaprio’s character uses for a fast fling

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2008

1. The attention and praise Micky Rourke’s getting for a performance that was gutsy in that he exposed his messed up facial surgery or whatever caused the way he looks but otherwise it was a plum acting role and he made the best of it which was not to my mind extraordinary or even better than what any working actor I can think of could’ve done for it. So give him an award for the way he looked in it maybe, but for the acting, it was fun at times but nothing to deserve any best actor awards for the year, though I understand the nominations.
2. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, a depressing book made into a depressing movie that could have worked better to my mind with different casting. Brad Pitt as the trophy husband with Kate Winslett would have worked better for instance, or an actress as visually immature as Di Caprio’s character seemed in comparison with Winslet’s.
3. Too many depressing movies this year.
4. Not enough really great movies this year to my mind.
5. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BRITTON, from the miscasting of Cate Blanchett opposite Pitt, not juicy enough, to the waste of so much technological mastery and great cinematography on what could have been an interesting fable really well suited to movie making but instead was a mix of brilliance and almost offensively misdone and boring.
6. STOP-LOSS’s failure to get an audience and the director/co-writer Kimberly Pierce’s few mistakes that lessened the movie’s impact and possible greatness.
7. DARK KNIGHT’S negative message seemingly justifying the tactics of Bush Junior’s administration.
8. BURN AFTER READING not being appreciated for what I took as the best dark comedy in years
9. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY not gaining a wider audience
10. The women in THE VISITOR not getting nominated for any acting awards.

8 comments:

SittingPat said...

I'm surprised you didn't name Stop-Loss in best ensemble cast. I too was disappointed at its poor showing. At least part of the blame can be put on that awful trailer that went viral. It did the film a great disservice. In this film, Abbie Cornish was phenomenal, Channing Tatum showed some real acting chops and Ryan Phillippe was superb. The cinematography was the best of the year to my mind. Chris Menges deserved a nomination.

But my personal favorite film was The Visitor. The script was flawless, the production first rate, and ALL of the actors were perfect. If the Oscar went to the film that was truly a masterpiece, The Visitor would have it, hands down. As it is, it's not even nominated. No surprise.

Lally said...

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the reason I wouldn't give STOP-LOSS best ensemble. He was terrific in some scenes, but weak in others. Everyone else was excellent.

SittingPat said...

OK, I'll give you that...despite the fact that I'm a huge JG-L fan as a rule.

Curtis Faville said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curtis Faville said...

Rourke is one of those actors with star quality, but without much actual acting skill to back it up. He's never shown he's capable of the kind of performance that Hanks gave, for instance, in Private Ryan.

Rouke's a likable character, the camera loves him, you can't take your eyes off him. He talks about the Actors Studio, and wanting to emulate Brando and Clift and so forth, but I've never seen him do anything remotely as well as they routinely did.

It may be, too, now, that with all that pummeling, he no longer has the brains to do it. Which is sad. I really wish him well, but it may be too late. His career may make a little swoosh with this good publicity, but I think he'll quickly come back to earth again, the way Travolta's career did after Get Shorty. I haven't seen Wrestler, maybe I'm avoiding it out of apprehensiveness.

Anonymous said...

What gives, Kate Winslett has won a ton of awards and you don't even mention her...is the reader that bad?

Lally said...

Winslett's great in almost anything she does. But I thought REVOLUTIONARY ROAD was overwrought and unbelievable in many scenes. And THE READER I didn't watch all the way through, my copy from the producers started skipping. But I already felt exploited in a way I wasn't happy with. Maybe if I'd seen the whole film I'd have had a different response. And Winslett certainly was doing her usual great job, but again, in context, it seemed not believable to me at times. I felt the same way about Jolie's movie star glamor in CHANGELING, but I also felt her performance in that was consistent with the story and character's circumstances, if not with her obviously unique beauty. And anyway, the way I hear it Winslett's got the best shot at an Oscar, so she doesn't need my two cent award.

Connie said...

So you loved The Visitor as much as I did. It's a perfect example of how a small story with a perfect and perfectly understated cast can be so emotionally moving. No sentimentality, just sentiment.