Awards: Independent Spirit and Razzies 2015

Posted on February 22, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Tonight’s the big night. The Oscars. And that means that yesterday two of the other most significant movie awards were announced. The Independent Spirit awards are given to the people who make movies outside the studio system. These are passion projects. As Julianne Moore, tonight’s likely Best Actress winner for “Still Alice,” said when she accepted her Independent Spirit award for that same role, the budget for the film was so small that she brought her own food and underwear to the set and they didn’t have equipment to film indoors at night time. Keep in mind that her other film in 2014 was the no-chance-of-any-award-ever “Non-Stop.” Independent films are where stories are told because people want to tell them, not because they will make the most money. And the awards show is a hoot. Where else would you see an award winner take time out of thanking everyone to insult the airline that lost his luggage and also happened to be one of the event’s sponsors?

Here are the winners of this year’s Independent Spirit awards.

Copyright 2014 Fox Searchlight
Copyright 2014 Fox Searchlight

BEST FEATURE
Birdman
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

BEST MALE LEAD
Michael Keaton, Birdman

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Julianne Moore, Still Alice

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

BEST SCREENPLAY
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Citizenfour
Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Ida (Poland), Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Nightcrawler
Director: Dan Gilroy; Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

copyright 2014 Lionsgate
copyright 2014 Lionsgate

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Justin Simien, Dear White People

BEST EDITING
Tom Cross, Whiplash

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens; Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
The Kill Team, Director: Dan Krauss

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Chris Chison

KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
H., Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

And then there are the Razzies, given to each year’s worst movies. Bravo to the Razzies for adding a new “Razzie Redeemer” category to recognize a previous winner who has gone on to do great work.

WORST PICTURE: “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”
WORST ACTOR: Kirk Cameron, “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”
WORST ACTRESS: Cameron Diaz, “The Other Woman”/”Sex Tape”
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Kelsey Grammer, “Expendables 3″/”Legends of Oz”/”Think Like a Man Too”/“Transformers: Age of Extinction”
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Megan Fox, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
WORST DIRECTOR: Michael Bay, “Transformers: Age of Extinctions”
WORST SCREENPLAY: “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”
WORST SCREEN COMBO: Kirk Cameron & his ego, “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”
WORST REMAKE, RIP-OFF, OR SEQUEL: “Annie”
THE RAZZIE REDEEMER AWARD: Ben Affleck — from “Gigli” to “Argo” and “Gone Girl”

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Awards

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and the Very, Very Independent — the Spirit Awards and the Razzies

Posted on February 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

The Spirit Awards for independent film were announced yesterday, as were the Razzie nominations for the worst films and performances of 2011.  Good news for “The Artist,” not such good news for Adam Sandler, who broke the record for the most Razzie nominations, because three of his films were included along with his performances as both actor and actress (in drag) in “Jack and Jill.”

Spirit Awards

BEST FEATURE: “The Artist”
BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
BEST MALE LEAD: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
BEST FEMALE LEAD: Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
BEST SUPPORTING MALE: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”
BEST FIRST FEATURE: “Margin Call”
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Feature Under $500,000): “Pariah”
BEST SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY: “50/50”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Artist”
BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Interrupters”
BEST FOREIGN FILM: “A Separation”
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD: “Margin Call”

 

The Razzies (Golden Rasberry Awards)

WORST PICTURE •  Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star • New Year’s Eve •Transformers: Dark of the Moon •The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1  

WORST ACTOR • Adam SandlerJust Go With It Jack and Jill • Nick Swardson , Bucky Larson •Russell Brand , Arthur • Taylor Lautner , Abduction Breaking Dawn • Nicholas Cage , Drive Angry 3-D, Season of the Witch, Trespass

WORST ACTRESS •  Adam Sandler,  Just Go With It &  Jack and Jill •  Sarah Palin,  Sarah Palin: The Undefeated •  Sarah Jessica Parker,  I Don’t Know How She Does It  New Year’s Eve • Kristen StewartThe Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 • Martin Lawrence,  Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR • Al Pacino, Jack and Jill •  Patrick Dempsey,  Transformers: Dark of the Moon •  James Franco, Your Highness, •  Nick Swardson , Jack and Jill & Just Go With It • Ken Jeong  for four movies—Big Mommas,The Hangover: Part II, Transformers & Zookeeper.

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS • David Spade , Jack and Jill •  Martin Lawrence,  Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son •  Nicole Kidman , Just Go With It • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley , Transformers: Dark of the Moon • Katie Holmes, Jack and Jill

WORST SCREEN ENSEMBLES • The Entire Cast of Bucky Larson • The Entire Cast of Jack and Jill • The Entire Cast of New Year’s Eve • The Entire Cast of Transformers • The Entire Cast of  Breaking Dawn

WORST SCREEN COUPLE •  Nicholas Cage & “anyone sharing the screen with him in any of his three 2011 films” •  Shia LaBeouf & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley,  Transformers • Adam Sandler & Jennifer Aniston or  Brooklyn Decker,  Just Go With It • Adam Sandler & Katie HolmesAl Pacino or himself,  Jack and Jill • Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner or  Robert PattinsonBreaking Dawn.

WORST PREQUEL, SEQUEL, REMAKE OR RIPOFF • Arthur •  Bucky Larson •  The Hangover: Part II • Jack and Jill • Breaking Dawn

WORST DIRECTOR •  Michael Bay,  Transformers •  Tom Brady,  Bucky Larson •  Bill CondonBreaking Dawn • Dennis Dugan,  Jack and Jill  Just Go With It •  Garry Marshall,  New Year’s Eve.

WORST SCREENPLAY • Bucky Larson • Jack and Jill • New Year’s Eve •  Transformers • Breaking Dawn

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Awards

The Appeal and Frustration of Ambiguous Movie Endings

Posted on November 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

I like Ann Hornaday’s piece in the Washington Post about ambiguous endings.

In “The Film Snob’s Dictionary,” writers David Kamp and Lawrence Levi cheekily chart out the differences between Movies and Films (“It’s a Movie if it’s black-and-white because it’s old. It’s a Film if it’s black-and-white because it’s Jarmuschy.”) They might have added another definition: It’s a Movie if it ends. It’s a Film if it stops.

Studio films tend to spell everything out — motivations, backstories — while independent films invite the audience to fill in the blanks or just ponder the unanswerable.  One reason for that is money.  Studio films are expensive and have to appeal to the broadest possible audience.  The more money you spend, the more people weigh in on the film’s artistic choices, and the more people weigh in, generally speaking, the more questions get answered on screen.

Of course, even the most definitive-appearing ending leaves a lot open for discussion.  Does finding out what “Rosebud” means in “Citizen Kane answer a question or raise a dozen more?  What happens after Rhett tells Scarlett he does not give a damn what happens to her?  Does anyone ever open that crate in the government warehouse and find the Lost Ark of the Covenant?  What exactly does “happily ever after” mean?

Hornaday discusses some of this year’s most open-ended movies, including “Take Shelter,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” and “Meek’s Cutoff.”  I love to come out of a movie and talk about what I think happens next, don’t you?  Do you have a favorite theory about an ambiguous ending?

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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Washington Jewish Film Festival 2009

Posted on December 2, 2009 at 8:00 am

This year, the Washington Jewish Film Festival opening here tomorrow looks especially enticing, with a wide range of films from a wide range of sources all with some relationship to the experience of Jewish culture and history. The festival, now in its 20th year, is presenting its visionary award to Michael Verhoeven, the director whose film, “The Nasty Girl,” led off the first festival two decades ago. Audiences will get a chance to see that film, based on the true story of a German student who uncovered that her community had suppressed the history of its involvement in Nazi atrocities, and hear Verhoeven in a conversation at the Goethe-Institut about the role of film in the ongoing denial and revelation of history. His latest film, “Human Failure,” will have its North American premiere at the festival. It is a documentary about the organized theft of assets from German Jews by Nazi tax officials, and it is presented in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Museum, The Generation After, and Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of Greater Washington, and sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Germany and the Goethe-Institute Washington.
Some of the other highlights of the festival include:
Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist,” a documentary about the brilliantly influential comic artists and writer, creator of The Spirit and The Contract with God Trilogy,
“A Matter of Size,” an Israeli feature film about four overweight men who discover a place where being big is truly appreciated: the world of sumo wrestling,
“The Worst Company in the World,” a documentary about the film-maker’s father and his inept efforts to run an insurance business,
“Mary and Max,” a claymation feature, based on the true story of a 22-year correspondene between an Australian girl and a New York Jewish man with Asperger’s, featuring the voices of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette,
“Hello Goodbye,” a French feature about a Parisian couple (Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant) who struggle to adjust when they decide to move to Israel,
“For Making Me a Woman,” a documentary about the search for equality in Orthodox observance and community, and
“The Imported Bridegroom,” a 1989 American feature film set in turn-of-the-20th century America, about a Jewish immigrant family whose daughter does not want to marry the man her father has selected for her.
I’ll be reporting more about the festival, so stay tuned.

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Festivals
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