By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Man, I am letting Twitter eat this blog alive lately. Sorry.
So my take on NY Film Critics Circle… still voting way too early for my taste… is that I love almost every choice they made, though I could make arguments for alternatives in most of them. Just because they went “my” way doesn’t mean I suddenly think them perfect or almighty. What these awards do, almost across the board, is to offer hope… or lack of dismissal.
I believe now as I did 8 days ago that Zero Dark Thirty is unquestionably the only The Movie in the race this year. I stopped taking bets on it winning Best Picture on Friday, conscious that I was betting against an entire field and that I have no tangible control over the fate of this movie. My exposure is either $120 or $130 or $150, not sure. Of course, it was an interesting turn that the last person to insist on betting, when asked for odds, only offered 2:1… loud, but not 100% confident in the lack of gold for this film.
Anyway… I am very happy for Matthew McConaughey, whose amazing year I have been touting since September 2011, when Magic Mike kicked things off at TIFF. But I really wanted the Jason Clarke nomination. It’s a performance that screams, “nomination.” I mean, a walk. No one knows who the guy is… and it’s December 3 already… but as roles go, it’s close to the impact of Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross (not nominated), if not as quotable.
I was rooting for Jessica Chastain as Lead Actress, but I could not be happier for Rachel Weisz, who is a delight, and who gives perhaps her finest performance… an absolute raw nerve, twisting in the wind in The Deep Blue Sea, partnered with Terence Davies, who lets her linger in long, almost-pained shots that just let her exist on camera as she breaks our hearts with her breaking soul. Also, huge props to Rachel’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, who has pushed as hard as any publicist could to get this performance out in front of people, in spite of an excellent, but not very wealthy distributor. This is the kind of role that gets lost, but it gets a new life today, thanks to NYFCC. It will need more support to get to SAG and AMPAS.
Who can fight with Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln? I think there are other great performances this year that may, with a different context, be its equal, but certainly none better. And by his side, Sally Field, who does not sing, but still evokes deep human emotions with a true passion performance that she fought for years to get the chance to deliver.
I don’t know that it’s ever been true of a Spielberg movie for me before, but Tony Kushner is close to being the auteur of Lincoln, in collaboration with Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis. When you think of the tone and pace of that film, it feels more Kushner than Spielberg… which is a great compliment to Spielberg’s ability to put ego aside as well as a tribute to Kushner.
I don’t know that Kathryn Bigelow is so much better than she’s ever been… but she has chosen the most complex, dangerous, genre-less material of her career and once again shows profound skill as well as the sensibility to allow powerful material to breathe.
Cinematographer Greig Fraser has had an amazing year, from Snow White & The Huntsman to Killing Them Softly to Zero Dark Thirty, you would never know it was one DP. I’m sure there are tells, now that we know it’s him… but very different styles (even inside of ZD30) and much as I want to bow at Deakins’ feet for Bond, this was a sensational turn.
If there is a greater film than ZD30 being released to mainstream audiences in America this year, it’s Amour. Or maybe they are just in tandem. But i feel as though Amour is one of the great forever movies that will sit amongst people’s Top 10s and 20s and 30s forever. It is a movie that defies intellect, so deeply does Haneke drill into the psyche of natural loss.
And I haven’t see Frankenweenie yet. My bad. I’ll get on that. Love Burton and August and dead dogs, oh my.