Oscar Moment: December 3, 2010 Awards Round-Up

3 12 2010

Welcome to the first ever Awards Round-Up post!  With the Oscar season officially kicked off, there’s just not enough time for me to cover every event and every development in real time, so I’ve devised this Friday post to cover everything that happens until the curtain rises at the Kodak Theater on February 27.  (Take a look at this awards season calendar, conveniently compiled by the folks at Entertainment Weekly.)

I’m attaching a poll to the end of this post, and I ask you to please vote.  My goal is to post the results on next week’s round-up and keep the cycle going.  The poll will relate to the “discussion” at the end of the post.

So … let’s begin.


National Board of Review announces. Yesterday, the historic kick-off of the season took place with the announcement of the year’s best from the National Board of Review, a “selective group of knowledgeable film enthusiasts, academics, film professionals, and students” in New York that reflect a wide range of interests.

In 2010, they clearly liked “The Social Network,” awarding in four major prizes, including Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay, three categories it is considered a frontrunner for at the Oscars.  However, they gave a massive boost to the campaign of Jesse Eisenberg for Best Actor, who has a likely nominee but by no means certain due to his age.  The NBR is usually a good indicator of Academy tastes in this category; their winner went on to be nominated 70% of the past decade and won 40%.

Another big winner was Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” making the group’s top 10 list as well as picking up a Best Actress win for Lesley Manville.  The movie’s support, initially through the roof, has grown tepid over the past few months, and these awards could indicate we are looking at a critical darling.  Leigh’s movies often rack up these critics groups awards, and Manville could gain some thunder in the next month.

More on Sony Pictures Classics’ push to get Jacki Weaver’s performance in “Animal Kingdom” into contention later, but it appears to have paid off with a Best Supporting Actress win here.  This category matched up with the Academy 6 out of the last 10 years, so things look good for Weaver.  The NBR got the ball rolling for Amy Ryan, an unknown who marched into an Oscar nomination on virtually unanimous support; we could be looking at a similar storyline here.

Their top 10 list was nothing too out of left field as long as you know the NBR is obsessed with Clint Eastwood and lavishes excessive awards on his movies, so don’t look much into the inclusion of “Hereafter.”  The list was mostly expected contenders with the encouraging inclusion of “Shutter Island” and “The Town,” two commercial powerhouses which may prove to be a threat to the established order.

As for exclusions, “The Kids Are All Right,” “Black Swan,” “Rabbit Hole,” “Blue Valentine,” and “127 Hours” were nowhere to be found.  The exclusion of the latter is the most shocking since Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” won Best Picture from the NBR back in 2008.  With the exception of Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy, all the other movies were fairly dark and gritty, which is not always well-received by the NBR.

This is a group notorious for high-profile exclusions, some indicative of where the race is going and others completely misguided.  “Precious,” “The Reader,” “There Will Be Blood,” and “The Queen” are some of the recent Best Picture nominees to be overlooked; the last winner to be snubbed was “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”  Then again, they’ve sent some messages by passing up heavily favored front-runners which ultimately fell short like “Nine” and and “Dreamgirls.”

Here is the abridged winners’ list:

Best Film: “The Social Network”

Best Director: David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”

Best Actress: Lesley Manville, “Another Year”

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

Best Original Screenplay: Chris Sparling, “Buried”

Best Foreign Language Film: “Of Gods and Men”

Best Documentary: “Waiting for Superman”

Best Animated Feature: “Toy Story 3″

Best Ensemble Cast: “The Town”

Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”

Ten Best Films
“Another Year”
“The Fighter”
“The King’s Speech”
“Shutter Island”
“The Town”
“Toy Story 3″
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

The Gotham Awards.  A pretty minor awards ceremony with little relevance to the Oscars, the Gotham Awards have never been a very good predictor of Oscar tastes simply because it strictly limits itself to American independent film.  But their awards were more significant than usual.

Their 2010 pick for Best Feature was “Winter’s Bone,” the gritty Sundance favorite.  It’s a significant victory because of the competition that it beat out.  This category included heavyweights like “Black Swan,” “Blue Valentine,” and “The Kids Are All Right,” all of which have been in the thick of Best Picture discussion for quite some time.  This could really mark the rise of “Winter’s Bone” to a strong Best Picture contender; last year’s winner was “The Hurt Locker,” and we all know how that turned out.  (And for the record, it also beat out “The Kids Are All Right” for Best Ensemble Performance.)

Sight and Sound.  “The Social Network” took home Best Picture of 2010 from the British publication Sight and Sound, a very respected film magazine.  This might not be so significant if their past selections weren’t so incredibly artistic that 99% of the American population hasn’t heard of them.  “Brokeback Mountain,” the 2005 indie darling that almost took Best Picture, was the last American movie to top their top 10 list.  I think this victory means that “The Social Network” has incredible crossover appeal between the art-house theater and the multiplex that can’t be underestimated, which is what makes it such an appealing choice for the Academy’s Best Picture.


The Independent Spirit Awards.  Unlike the Gotham Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards are the acceptable awards ceremony to celebrate independent film.  Strangely enough, they are the first major awards ceremony to announce their nominations, and other than the Oscars and Razzies, they are the last to announce their winners.  How indie of them.

The big winner from the nominations was “Winter’s Bone” with a staggering total of 7, including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that it received the most nominations, but unlike the Oscars, this is not an awards ceremony that necessarily awards its highest prizes to the most nominated film.  Close behind was “The Kids Are All Right” with 5 nominations for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actress, and Supporting Actor.

Other movies scoring big in the major categories were “127 Hours” and “Black Swan” with four nominations apiece; “Rabbit Hole” also did very well with the same count yet somehow managed to lose a Best Picture nomination to “Greenberg.”  Noah Baumbach’s comedy teaming with Ben Stiller was (at least for me) a surprising success, scoring four nominations as well.

There were no huge omissions in any category other than Best Actor, which somehow managed to overlook Robert Duvall in “Get Low” and Ryan Gosling in “Blue Valentine” (Michelle Williams did snag a nomination, though).  Dianne Weist also missed out on a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, where only one recognizable name, Naomi Watts, was nominated.

For a full list of nominees, see the official press release from the Independent Spirit Awards.

The Golden Satellite Awards.  No one should look much into the Golden Satellite Awards at all.  Awarded by the International Press Academy, they are like a hyperinflated version of the Golden Globes, not offering any sort of substantial insight into Oscar tastes whatsoever.  Look no further than the Best Actor (Musical/Comedy) category where you can see Steve Carrell managing a nomination for the atrocious “Dinner for Schmucks.”

It ultimately winds up amounting to little more than a giant cluster as most of their categories have eight to ten nominees.  Thus, it’s only really useful to look at the nomination totals since they include virtually every category that the Academy Awards has, but to equalize their expanded fields, subtract about one or two nominations to get a projected Oscars total.  “Inception” led the pack with eleven nominations, with “127 Hours” on its heels at nine and “The Social Network” clocking in with seven.  “The King’s Speech” followed on its coattails with six nominations, and at five, there’s really no need to talk further.

The awards point to the fact that “Inception” could be the most nominated movie of 2010 at the Oscars given how impressive its technical aspects are.  It never hurts to be the most nominated film at the Oscars…

For a full list of nominees, see the official press release from the Golden Satellite Awards.


What does the NBR sweep for  “The Social Network” mean? The NBR Best Picture win could mean one of three things for “The Social Network.”  The NBR gives one of three signals with their award: this is the pre-season favorite that will falter as the season progresses, this is the movie that will dominate the season, or this is a movie we love so much we can’t give it to something else.  “Up in the Air” was an example of the first; “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men,” the second; “Quills,” the third.  We are too early in the game to assess which of these “The Social Network” will be; my inkling is that this will be the powerhouse from day 1 to the end.

But what of “The King’s Speech?”  Presumed to be neck-and-neck with David Fincher’s Facebook movie, it could rise to the occasion later in the season if “The Social Network” runs out of gas.  Most pundits predict Tom Hooper’s King George biopic to be the ultimate victor, yet given what the awards season has dealt us in this first week, it’s looking like second fiddle.

So what do you think?  Is this first week indicative of how the entire season will go – or just signs of the first phase?  Will “The Social Network” ride the success of this week to Best Picture victory, or will “The King’s Speech” usurp the throne?  Better yet, will some other movie dethrone both of them?  Take the poll … and leave a comment if you feel so inclined!



One response

3 12 2010

So happy for Jesse winning Best Actor at the NBR. I believe this would definitely increase his chance of grabbing an Oscar nod.

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