Sunday, December 12, 2010

When your hometown makes you proud...

Unlike the last two years, I've remained relatively low-key when it comes to covering the critics awards. Since the NBR, I've only posted one other set of winners/nominees. Frankly, I got a little sick of posting every single one last year, even though this year the critics are actually showing some *gasp* diversity with their winners. And thus we come to the subject of this post: The Houston Area Film Critics Nominations. Why? Because even though I haven't seen all of the films/performances on these lists, my home city did a generally great job, even without the benefit of having seen Blue Valentine, Another Year, or a good deal of the foreign language contenders. The nominees:

127 Hours, Fox Searchlight (produced by Christian Colson, John Smithson, Danny Boyle)
Black Swan, Fox Searchlight (produced by Mike Medavoy, Scott Franklin, Arnold Messer, Brian Oliver)
Inception, Warner Bros. (produced by Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas)
Kick Ass, Lionsgate (produced by Matthew Vaughn, Brad Pitt, Kris Thykier, Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, David Reid)
The Kids are All Right, Focus Features (produced by Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Philippe Hellmann)
The King’s Speech, The Weinstein Company (produced by Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin)
The Social Network, Columbia Pictures (produced by David Fincher, Scott Rudin, Danna Brunetti, Michael de Luca, Cean Chaffin, Kevin Spacey)
Toy Story 3, Walt Disney Pictures (produced by Darla K. Anderson, John Lasseter, Nicole Paradis)
True Grit, Paramount Pictures (produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin, Steven Spielberg) Winter’s Bone, Roadside Attractions (produced by Anna Rosellini, Alix Madigan)

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
David Fincher, The Social Network
Christopher Nolan, Inception

Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Robert Duvall, Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Christian Bale, The Fighter
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Bill Murray, Get Low
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Julianne Moore, The Kids are All Right
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids are All Right
Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini (based on the novel “Winter’s Bone” by Daniel Woodrell, Winter’s Bone
John Lasseter (story) & Andrew Stanton (story) & Lee Unkrich (story) and Michael Arndt (screenplay), Toy Story 3
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Aaron Sorkin (based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich), The Social Network

Despicable Me, Universal Pictures (directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud, produced by John Cohen, Janet Healy, Chris Meledandri)
How to Train Your Dragon, DreamWorks Animation (directed by Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois, produced by Bonnie Arnold, Doug Davison, Roy Lee, Michael Connolly, Tim Johnson) Megamind, Paramount Pictures (directed by Tom McGrath, produced by Lara Breary, Ben Stiller, Denise Nolan Cascino)
Tangled, Walt Disney Pictures (directed by Nathan Greno & Byron Howard, produced by Roy Conli, John Lasseter, Glen Keane)
Toy Story 3, Walt Disney Pictures (directed by Lee Unkrich, produced by Darla K. Anderson, John Lasseter, Nicole Paradis)

Roger Deakins, BSC, ASC, True Grit
Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Anthony Dod Mantle, BSC & Enrique Chediak, 127 Hours
Wally Pfister, ASC, Inception
Eduardo Serra, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Part One

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Magnolia Pictures (directed by Alex Gibney, produced by Maiken Baird, Robert DeBitetto, Alex Gibney)
Marwencol, The Cinema Guild (directed by Jeff Malmberg, produced by Jeff Malmberg, Tom Putnam, Matt Radecki, Chris Shellen, Kevin W. Walsh)
Restrepo, National Geographic Entertainment (directed and produced by Tim Hetherington & Sebastian Junger)
The Tillman Story, The Weinstein Company (directed by Amir Bar-Lev, produced by John Battsek, Robert DeBitetto)
Waiting for Superman, Paramount Pictures (directed by Davis Guggenheim, produced by Lesley Chilcott)

Biutiful, Mexico (directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, produced by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Fernando Bovaira, Sandra Hermida, Jon Kilik, Ann Ruark)
Carlos, France/Germany (directed by Olivier Assayas, produced by Jens Meurer, Judy Tossell, Daniel Leconte, Raphael Cohen)
Mother, South Korea (directed by Bong Joon-ho, produced by Choi Jae-won, Seo Woo-sik)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sweden (directed by Niels Arden Oplev, produced by Soren Staermose)
The Secret in their Eyes, Argentina (directed by Juan Jose Campanella, produced by Juan Jose Campanella, Gerardo Herrero, Mariela Besuiveski, Vanessa Ragone, Axel Kuschevatsky)

Carter Burwell, True Grit
John Powell, How to Train your Dragon
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Hans Zimmer, Inception

“If I Rise,” from 127 Hours, music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Dido Armstrong & Rollo Armstrong
“Shine,” from Waiting for Superman, music & lyrics by John Legend
“The Clap,” from Get Him to the Greek, music & lyrics by Dan Bern & Mike Viola
“We are Sex Bob-Omb!” from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, music & lyrics by Beck
“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” from Burlesque, music & lyrics by Diane Warren

Furry Vengeance, Summit Entertainment (produced by Robert Simonds, Brendan Fraser, Keith Goldberg, Ira Shuman)
Jonah Hex, Warner Bros. (produced by Akiva Goldsman and Andrew Lazar)
Sex and the City 2, Warner Bros. (produced by Michael Patrick King, Sarah Jessica Parker, Darren Star, John Melfi)
Splice, Warner Bros. (produced by Steve Hoban, Guillermo del Toro)
The Last Airbender, Paramount Pictures (produced by M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, Scott Aversano)

First off, that Best Picture lineup is to die for. Granted, I haven't seen True Grit or The King's Speech, but I've seen the other 9, and at the very least I like all of them. The Kick-Ass nomination is a bit strange - there wasn't something better they could have picked for that slot? - but the inclusion of Black Swan along with the triple-threat of Inception, The Social Network, and Toy Story 3 is great to see. Matching the Picture lineup are the wonderful choices for director; hey, look, Aronofsky finally got nominated for something!

I'm a little surprised at the lack of love for Animal Kingdom, which was well-received in the city, but as long as there's a nomination for Jacki Weaver, I can't complain too much. I'm surprised this film is making even a tiny dent in awards season, so it's great to see the best part of the film gain recognition. To make up for it though are the phenomenal choices in the Original Score category. I haven't listened to any of Burwell's work, but the other four are fantastic.

As for the acting categories, I'm somewhat surprised to see Noomi Rapace there in Best Actress, and I'm not sure I agree with the placement of Julianne Moore in supporting. If anything, her role is more lead than Bening's, seeing as a good deal of the film deals with certain decisions her character makes. Bening is just there to react to them. Still, looking at the line-up, I wouldn't be surprised if all of the Best Actress nominees (save Rapace) were on their way to Oscar nominations. Portman and Bening are still (kind of) the dueling front-runners, while Lawrence has the bare-bones indie slot a la Melissa Leo in Frozen River two years ago. The mystery of the group is Kidman. She's been nominated for almost every critics award group so far, but has yet to win anything for the performance. A few months ago, this was a performance that many were on the fence about, but in recent weeks she's become that odd sort of contender who is always there and is well-liked, but simply never picked to actually win anything. Of course, that could change, but for now, Kidman's third Oscar nomination seems much closer to reality than it did earlier in the year...just don't expect her to ever be rewarded prior to it.

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