23 November 2014

Temporary post for @cocoapurl

Since Twitter is such a terrible venue for arguments, let me see if I can clarify the nature of our disagreement by expanding beyond 140 characters.

First of all, we apparently agree that publishing that particular piece was "irresponsible and unethical" (your own words). This simplifies matters enormously. Clearly, your objection to my tweet from yesterday is founded entirely in your conviction that The Wrap had the right to publish the piece, as guaranteed by the First Amendment, no matter how objectionable you or I may personally find its content.

What you're failing to grasp, somehow, is that nobody is arguing otherwise. Certainly I am not.

Yes, the piece is protected by free speech. The Wrap had every right to publish it. What I and others found ridiculous was Waxman repeatedly citing "free speech" as if the existence of the First Amendment somehow justifies the editorial decision to publish the piece. It does no such thing. All it does is guarantee that the government can't force The Wrap to take it down. The decision to publish it is subject to criticism, and my point was merely that repeatedly saying "free speech!" like a wind-up doll does not absolve one from such criticism. My analogy was calling you a "fucking idiot"—I absolutely have the right to do that, but having the right doesn't mean it was okay, and if a bunch of people were to justifiably attack me for having been needlessly rude, it would be no ethical defense on my part to say "free speech!" In this context, that's a meaningless phrase, because nobody is threatening to deny me a platform. They're just saying I was being an asshole.

In other words, Waxman's repeated invocation of the First Amendment yesterday was not factually incorrect. It was irrelevant. Nobody was attempting to prevent the piece from being published. They were arguing that The Wrap, which is free to exercise editorial judgment, should have chosen not to publish it. And "free speech" is not a defense against that particular argument.

I hope that's clearer. If you still disagree, please respond by commenting here at whatever length seems appropriate, rather than on Twitter, which is pretty useless for reasoned debate.


02 April 2014

Entertainment Weekly, then and now.

Complete film section, issue dated 10 July 1998.













Complete film section, issue dated 4 April 2014.








02 March 2014

Skandiewrap, or: More Than You Really Wanted To Know

Last year I did a rundown of how well my personal favorite has fared each year in the Best Picture race, by way of demonstrating how rarely I get my way, alleged "D'Angelo Effect" notwithstanding. Along those same lines, here's a list of all the winners, ranked by me in order of preference, with my ratings (or estimated ratings, in the case of two '90s pictures I haven't yet revisited) parenthetically noted:

01. Dogville, 2004 (92)
02. In the Mood for Love, 2001 (90)
03. The Sweet Hereafter, 1997 (~90)
04. 25th Hour, 2002 (89)
05. Holy Motors, 2012 (88)
06. Being John Malkovich, 1999 (85)
07. Irreversible, 2003 (82)
08. Dogtooth, 2010 (82)
09. Out of Sight, 1998 (82)
10. The Departed, 2006 (79)
11. There Will Be Blood, 2007 (78)
12. Breaking the Waves, 1996 (~76)
13. Grizzly Man, 2005 (74)
14. The Tree of Life, 2011 (70)
15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, 2008 (70)
16. A One and a Two..., 2000 (64)
17. Inglourious Basterds, 2009 (63)
18. Inside Llewyn Davis, 2013 (57)
19. Leaving Las Vegas, 1995 (40)

I actually loved Leaving Las Vegas at the time we voted for it (being green enough back then that Cage's performance blinded me to Figgis' ineptitude), so if we disregard my recent reassessment of that film, Inside Llewyn Davis is my least-favorite Skandie winner of all time. Which seems about right for a year in which I diverged from consensus even more than usual, failing for the first time ever to see even one movie I loved without qualification. My #1 film this year would have been my #7 two years ago, so when people talk about 2013 as one for the ages, I can only gape. Nor did I much concur with my peers' assessment of which moderately strong films were the strongest; of the films that made our top ten, I voted for only two: Frances Ha and Upstream Color. Furthermore, many of the actors who fared well—James Franco, Lupita Nyong'o, Sally Hawkins, Jonah Hill—did little or nothing for me. Hence the tardiness of this wrap post. I just haven't been able to work up much enthusiasm, I'm afraid. (Plus I'm busier than I've been for a while.) 

That's just a meaningless anomaly, though. What genuinely troubles me (a little bit) is the increasing trend for the Skandies results to coincide with those of various other groups. I've long been proud of the August Voting Body's willingness to look past a given year's anointed contenders and single out terrific, underappreciated work, especially in the acting categories; with such past winners as Peyman Moadi, Sibel Kekilli, J. Smith-Cameron, and Campbell Scott—plus Gretchen Mol as Bettie Page coming within a couple votes of beating Helen Mirren in the year of The Queen—we've provided a useful alternative to even the critics' surveys, year after year. Not so much this year, though. It's not that I want people to reflexively reject award front-runners and champion underdogs—most of my points in Best Actor went to Robert Redford and Oscar Isaac, for example, who were both legitimate Oscar hopefuls (though neither wound up being nominated). But usually I'm pleasantly surprised by some of the folks who wind up in the top five, and this year only Amy Seimetz really qualifies as unexpected. Seems like voters mostly just chose their favorites of the candidates everyone else was bandying about, many of whom had been aggressively bandied long before their respective films had even been seen by anyone.

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that as the August Voting Body collectively ages—we were mostly in our twenties when I began the survey, and many of us are now in or approaching our forties, with careers and families—voters see fewer movies, sensibly concentrating on the most wildly acclaimed titles. So lots of folks saw Lupita Nyong'o simulate agony in 12 Years a Slave, whereas very few saw, say, Kathryn Hahn doing miraculous work in the otherwise dismal Afternoon Delight. (It does please me that Zoe Kazan managed to crack the Supporting Actress top 20 for the little-seen Some Girl(s) by getting a ton of points from literally every voter who saw the movie—all four of us. Seriously, her scene, which functions as a stand-alone short film, is well worth checking out.) Also, it's entirely possible that I'm overreacting to what I perceive as a lot of inexplicable enthusiasm for meh performances—there are such cases every year (*cough* Amy Adams in The Master *cough*), and maybe just more than usual this year. But the extent to which our top five in most categories lines up with Entertainment Weekly Oscar-prediction articles gives me pause.

Okay, on to the number-crunching. (Many of you will want to check out at this point.) What follows are the stats I used to send out to voters (via snail mail!) back in the '90s, which I still maintain for my own obsessive amusement.



HIGHEST AVERAGE RATING (1996–2013)
(includes only films receiving a minimum of ten votes)

01. 3.65 The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
02. 3.61 Being John Malkovich (1999)
02. 3.61 A Separation (2011)
04. 3.58 Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)
05. 3.57 In the Company of Men (1997)
06. 3.56 Secrets & Lies (1996)
07. 3.53 La Promesse (1997)
08. 3.52 Yi Yi (A One and a Two…) (2000)
09. 3.50 From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1996)
10. 3.48 Irma Vep (1997)
10. 3.48 Lone Star (1996)
10. 3.48 Margaret (2011)

No new additions this year; Before Midnight, with the top rating of 3.33, didn't even come close.



LOWEST AVERAGE RATING (1996–2013)
(includes only films receiving a minimum of five votes)

01. 0.20 Date Movie (2006)
02. 0.58 Miss March (2009)
03. 0.60 Dragonfly (2002)
04. 0.61 The Roommate (2011)
05. 0.67 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
06. 0.70 Beastly (2011)
07. 0.75 The Mod Squad (1999)
08. 0.79 I Melt With You (2011)
09. 0.80 Just One Time (2000)
09. 0.80 13 Ghosts (2001)
09. 0.80 What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2001)

No new additions here either, though if just one more person had seen CBGB...



MOST DIVISIVE FILMS (2013)
(std. deviation >= 0.75; minimum 2 votes 3.5 or higher, 2 votes 1.5 or lower)

  • Spring Breakers (0.92)
  • Post tenebras lux (0.79)
  • The Great Beauty (0.78)
  • The Hunt (0.78)
  • Her (0.75)
  • Upstream Color (0.75)

  • I'd expected Only God Forgives to figure prominently here, but it turns out not enough people liked it.


    BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT
    (lowest-ranked film seen by at least 75% of respondents)

    1996: Twister (1.80)
    1997: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (2.33)
    1998: He Got Game (2.59)
    1999: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (2.18)
    2000: Nurse Betty (2.31)
    2001: Vanilla Sky (2.20)
    2002: Storytelling (2.03)
    2003: The Matrix Reloaded (2.29)
    2004: The Village (2.30)
    2005: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2.49)
    2006: Little Miss Sunshine (2.52)
    2007: Ocean's Thirteen (2.52)
    2008: Milk (2.83)
    2009: The Hangover (2.35)
    2010: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2.71)
    2011: Midnight in Paris (2.47)
    2012: Beasts of the Southern Wild (2.37)
    2013: American Hustle (2.50)



    PASSIONATE MINORITY AWARD
    (lowest average among top 20 films in Picture voting)

    1996: Dead Man (2.94)
    1997: Crash (2.52)
    1998: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (2.68)
    1999: The End of the Affair (2.96)
    2000: Requiem for a Dream (2.73)
    2001: Amélie (2.71)
    2002: 8 Women (2.79)
    2003: The Good Thief (2.81)
    2004: I ♥ Huckabees (2.84)
    2005: Oldboy (2.68)
    2006: Manderlay (2.69)
    2007: Once (2.79)
    2008: Funny Games (2.83)
    2009: A Serious Man (2.83)
    2010: The Exploding Girl (2.75)
    2011: Shame (2.63)
    2012: Damsels in Distress (2.76)
    2013: Spring Breakers (2.72)



    DAMNED WITH FAINT PRAISE
    (highest-ranked film by average rating not to place in Picture voting [10+ voters] )

    1996: Get on the Bus (3.29)
    1997: Forgotten Silver (3.36)
    1998: The Kingdom II (3.14)
    1999: My Name Is Joe (3.18)
    2000: Erin Brockovich (3.14)
    2001: No Man’s Land (3.19)
    2002: Roger Dodger (3.14)
    2003: The Weather Underground (3.18)
    2004: Bright Leaves (3.16)
    2005: Howl's Moving Castle (3.15)
    2006: The Devil and Daniel Johnston (3.18)
    2007: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (3.25)
    2008: The Duchess of Langeais (3.20)
    2009: Night and Day (3.07)
    2010: Another Year (3.21)
    2011: Senna (3.07)
    2012: The Imposter (3.10)
    2013: Drug War (3.17)



    DAMN THE REVIEWS, FULL SPEED AHEAD
    (lowest average among films seen by at least 10 respondents)

    1996: Twister (1.80)
    1997: Batman & Robin (1.28)
    1998: The Avengers | Stepmom [tie] (1.50)
    1999: Jawbreaker (1.14)
    2000: Pay It Forward (1.41)
    2001: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (1.26)
    2002: Scooby-Doo (1.08)
    2003: Bad Boys II (1.60)
    2004: Exorcist: The Beginning (1.21)
    2005: Undead (1.29)
    2006: The Hills Have Eyes (1.65)
    2007: Smokin' Aces (1.64)
    2008: Jumper (1.54)
    2009: Gigantic (1.00)
    2010: The Last Airbender (1.05)
    2011: Vanishing on 7th Street (1.55)
    2012: This Means War (1.50)
    2013: Gangster Squad (1.29)



    SELECTION COMMITTEE ON CRACK
    (lowest average for a film that screened at the New York Film Festival)

    1996: Flirt (2.20)
    1997: Kiss or Kill (1.79)
    1998: Voyage to the Beginning of the World (1.80)
    1999: Dogma (1.89)
    2000: Before Night Falls (2.31)
    2001: La Ciénaga (1.95)
    2002: In Praise of Love (1.95)
    2003: Chi-Hwa-Seon: Painted Fire (2.19)
    2004: Free Radicals (2.08)
    2005: Palindromes (2.15)
    2006: Rolling Family (1.83)
    2007: The Go Master (1.93)
    2008: Married Life (2.25)
    2009: The Windmill Movie (2.13)
    2010: Hereafter (2.05)
    2011: We Are What We Are (1.64)
    2012: Hyde Park on Hudson (1.69)
    2013: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1.92)

    This category is becoming increasingly irrelevant, due to NYFF's regular inclusion of commercial crap in its Opening/Closing/Centerpiece slots. Maybe I should switch over to Cannes Competition—this year's winner would be Only God Forgives (2.14).



    ALONE AGAIN (NATURALLY)
    (suggested by Alex Fung; lowest average for a film that received a 4-star rating

    1996: The Stupids (2.30) | Bryan “Frankenseuss” Theiss (ret.)
    1997: Kissed (2.46) | Alex Fung
    1998: Psycho (2.11) | Erik Gregersen (ret.)
    1999: Twin Falls Idaho (2.28) | Milton Lawson (ret.)
    2000: Beautiful People (2.29) | Keith Collins (ret.)
    2001: The Road Home (1.88) | Erik Gregersen (ret.)
    2002: In Praise of Love (1.95) | Jeremy Heilman
    2003: Gigli (1.92) | Jeremy Heilman
    2004: The Passion of the Christ (2.18) | Victor J. Morton
    2005: The Brothers Grimm (2.29) | Bilge Ebiri
    2006: The Fountain (2.21) | Peter Reiher
    2007: Southland Tales (1.88) | Dave Cowen; Jeremy Heilman
    2008: Jellyfish (2.36) | Daniel Waters
    2009: 12 (2.29) | Bilge Ebiri
    2010: Somewhere (2.41) | Nictate
    2011: A Serbian Film (1.81) | Daniel Waters
    2012: Alps (2.43) | Don Marks
    2013: Maniac (2.50) | Jeremy Heilman

    There was actually a tie this year, as American Hustle, which got 4-star votes from two people, has the same average. But I've chosen to break the tie by going with the film that had just one inexplicable champion.



    MAJOR FESTIVAL PRIZE WINNERS: OUR VERDICT

    Cannes Palme d'Or

    1995: Underground (#15, 1997)
    1996: Secrets & Lies (#2, 1996)
    1997: Taste of Cherry (#15, 1998)
    1997: The Eel (did not place)
    1998: Eternity and a Day (did not place)
    1999: Rosetta (did not place)
    2000: Dancer in the Dark (#10, 2000)
    2001: The Son's Room (did not place)
    2002: The Pianist (did not place)
    2003: Elephant (did not place)
    2004: Fahrenheit 9/11 (did not place)
    2005: L'Enfant (The Child) (#6, 2006)
    2006: The Wind That Shakes the Barley (did not place)
    2007: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (#1, 2008)
    2008: The Class (did not place)
    2009: The White Ribbon (did not place)
    2010: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (#9, 2011)
    2011: The Tree of Life (#1, 2011)
    2012: Amour (#6, 2012)
    2013: Blue Is the Warmest Color (#8, 2013)

    Venice Golden Lion

    1995: Cyclo (#14, 1996)
    1996: Michael Collins (did not place)
    1997: Fireworks (Hana-Bi) (#5, 1998)
    1998: The Way We Laughed (did not place)
    1999: Not One Less (did not place)
    2000: The Circle (did not place)
    2001: Monsoon Wedding (did not place)
    2002: The Magdalene Sisters (did not place)
    2003: The Return (did not place)
    2004: Vera Drake (#6, 2004)
    2005: Brokeback Mountain (#3, 2005)
    2006: Still Life (#18, 2008)
    2007: Lust, Caution (did not place)
    2008: The Wrestler (#13, 2008)
    2009: Lebanon (did not place)
    2010: Somewhere (did not place)
    2011: Faust (did not place)
    2012: Pieta (did not place)
    2013: Sacro GRA (TBD, though I doubt it'll ever get a theatrical release)

    Sundance Grand Jury (Dramatic)

    1995: The Brothers McMullen (did not place)
    1996: Welcome to the Dollhouse (did not place)
    1997: Sunday (did not place)
    1998: Slam (did not place)
    1999: Three Seasons (did not place)
    2000: Girlfight (did not place)
    2000: You Can Count on Me (#3, 2000)
    2001: The Believer (did not place)
    2002: Personal Velocity (did not place)
    2003: American Splendor (#20, 2003)
    2004: Primer (#10, 2004)
    2005: Forty Shades of Blue (did not place)
    2006: Quinceañera (did not place)
    2007: Padre Nuestro (did not place)
    2008: Frozen River (did not place)
    2009: Precious (Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire) (did not place)
    2010: Winter's Bone (#2, 2010)
    2011: Like Crazy (did not place)
    2012: Beasts of the Southern Wild (did not place)
    2013: Fruitvale Station (did not place)



    Most Appearances in Top 20 (Actors)
    (ties for number of appearances broken by average placement)

    01. Philip Seymour Hoffman (14)

    1s. The Master
    3s. Charlie Wilson's War
    5. Capote
    6. Synecdoche, New York
    6s. The Talented Mr. Ripley
    6s. Almost Famous
    10s. Magnolia
    10s. 25th Hour
    11. Doubt
    12. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
    12s. State and Main
    15s. Happiness
    15. Owning Mahowny
    19s. Mission: Impossible III

    02. Isabelle Huppert (11)

    2. The Piano Teacher
    2s. 8 Women
    4. Gabrielle
    8. The School of Flesh
    12. White Material
    13s. I ♥ Huckabees
    13s. Amour
    15. La Cérémonie
    17. Time of the Wolf
    17. In Another Country
    19. Home

    03. Tilda Swinton (10)

    1. Julia
    4s. Michael Clayton
    5. The Deep End
    5. We Need to Talk About Kevin
    9s. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    11. I Am Love
    12s. Burn After Reading
    13s. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    18. Female Perversions
    19s. Thumbsucker

    04. Nicole Kidman (9)

    2. Eyes Wide Shut
    2. Dogville
    2. Margot at the Wedding
    6. Moulin Rouge
    9. The Others
    9. The Hours
    11. Birth
    16. Rabbit Hole
    18. Birthday Girl

    05. Kate Winslet (9)

    3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    8. Titanic
    9. Jude
    10s. Quills
    10. Revolutionary Road
    12. Little Children
    13. Holy Smoke
    16s. Hamlet
    17. Hideous Kinky

    Same as last year. Sadly, it will now be much easier for someone to overtake Philip Seymour Hoffman eventually.



    Most Films Landed in Top 20 (Directors)
    (again, ties broken by average placement)

    01. Joel [& Ethan] Coen (9)

    1. Inside Llewyn Davis
    2. No Country for Old Men
    4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    5. The Man Who Wasn't There
    6. Fargo
    7. A Serious Man
    11. Burn After Reading
    12. The Big Lebowski
    12. True Grit

    02. Martin Scorsese (6)

    1. The Departed
    2. The Wolf of Wall Street
    7. Kundun
    9. Gangs of New York
    14. Shutter Island
    19. Hugo

    03. Lars von Trier (6)

    1. Breaking the Waves
    1. Dogville
    7. Melancholia
    10. Dancer in the Dark
    19. The Five Obstructions
    20. Manderlay

    04. Richard Linklater (6)

    3. Before Sunset
    4. Before Midnight
    9. The School of Rock
    12. A Scanner Darkly
    15. Waking Life
    18. Bernie

    05. Quentin Tarantino (5)

    1. Inglourious Basterds
    2. Kill Bill Vol. 1
    4. Kill Bill Vol. 2
    4. Grindhouse
    9. Django Unchained

    Scorsese and Linklater replace the Andersons, Wes and Paul Thomas.



    And finally. Back when I started the survey, I remember looking forward to the time, a decade or so later (i.e. now), when there'd be tons of accumulated data to wade through. In particular, I was excited about the prospect of being able to compare how various films from major directors had been received over the years. Granted, that process isn't exactly definitive—the AVB has mutated over the years and even the diehards tend to be stingier with their star ratings than they were back in the mid-'90s. But perhaps my favorite task after receiving the averages is updating my Directors' Gallery, plugging this year's films into various post-'94 oeuvres. Here are the entries that saw additions this year—every filmmaker who's ever placed in the Director top 20. 2013 films are in bold. Numbers in parentheses indicate how the film placed in Best Picture that year, if applicable; if the film title is in parentheses that means it received fewer than 10 votes and hence the result is a bit less meaningful. N/A (not applicable) means it was eligible but didn't even get five votes and so didn't make the main list.

    Woody Allen
    Everyone Says I Love You: 3.09
    Vicky Cristina Barcelona (19): 2.98
    Match Point (13): 2.93
    Blue Jasmine (19): 2.82
    Sweet and Lowdown: 2.63
    Deconstructing Harry: 2.61
    Cassandra's Dream: 2.60
    Midnight in Paris: 2.47
    Small Time Crooks: 2.37
    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion: 2.33
    To Rome With Love: 2.29
    Scoop: 2.28
    Whatever Works: 2.24
    Anything Else: 2.13
    Hollywood Ending: 2.13
    Celebrity: 2.04
    Melinda and Melinda: 2.00
    You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: 1.93

    Pedro Almodóvar
    Talk to Her (12): 3.21
    All About My Mother: 3.11
    Volver (14): 3.00
    Live Flesh: 2.88
    Bad Education: 2.87
    The Flower of My Secret: 2.75
    Broken Embraces: 2.65
    The Skin I Live In: 2.62
    I'm So Excited!: 2.21

    Olivier Assayas
    Irma Vep (5): 3.48
    Summer Hours (3): 3.23
    Carlos (6): 3.21
    Late August, Early September: 2.88
    Something in the Air: 2.82
    Les Destinées: 2.79
    Clean: 2.78
    demonlover: 2.45
    Boarding Gate: 2.35
    Paris je t'aime: 2.24

    Clio Barnard
    The Arbor (13) : 3.27
    The Selfish Giant: 2.90

    Noah Baumbach
    Frances Ha (3): 3.32
    The Squid and the Whale (6): 3.21
    Margot at the Wedding: 2.92
    Greenberg: 2.84
    Mr. Jealousy: 2.72

    Danny Boyle
    Trainspotting (11): 3.19
    Millions: 2.93
    28 Days Later: 2.90
    127 Hours: 2.76
    Sunshine: 2.74
    Slumdog Millionaire: 2.42
    (A Life Less Ordinary): 2.22
    The Beach: 2.08
    (Trance): 1.88

    Andrew Bujalski
    Computer Chess (13): 3.10
    Mutual Appreciation (15): 2.93
    Funny Ha Ha: 2.76
    Beeswax: 2.75

    Antonio Campos
    Afterschool (15): 2.87
    Simon Killer: 2.36

    Shane Carruth
    Primer (10): 3.09
    Upstream Color (6): 3.03

    Lucien Castaing-Taylor
    Leviathan (11): 3.14
    Sweetgrass: 2.87

    J.C. Chandor
    All Is Lost (14): 3.22
    Margin Call: 2.74

    Joel (& Ethan) Coen

    No Country for Old Men (2): 3.45
    Fargo (6): 3.31
    The Man Who Wasn't There (5): 3.28
    Inside Llewyn Davis (1): 3.26
    The Big Lebowski (12): 3.03
    Burn After Reading (11): 3.01
    True Grit (12): 2.98
    O Brother, Where Art Thou? (4): 2.94
    A Serious Man (7): 2.83
    Intolerable Cruelty: 2.72
    The Ladykillers: 2.24
    Paris je t'aime: 2.24

    Sofia Coppola
    Lost in Translation (8): 3.04
    The Virgin Suicides (19): 2.84
    Marie Antoinette: 2.65
    Somewhere: 2.41
    The Bling Ring: 2.24

    Alfonso Cuarón

    Y tu mamá también (2): 3.26
    Children of Men (4): 3.11
    Gravity (12): 2.96
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 2.76
    Paris je t'aime: 2.24
    Great Expectations: 2.09

    Jonathan Demme
    Rachel Getting Married (4): 3.28
    Neil Young: Heart of Gold: 2.94
    (Neil Young Journeys): 2.93
    (Storefront Hitchcock): 2.92
    The Manchurian Candidate: 2.70
    (Man From Plains): 2.67
    Beloved: 2.64
    Neil Young Trunk Show: 2.50
    The Truth About Charlie: 2.48
    (The Agronomist): 2.39
    Enzo Avitabile Music Life: N/A
    I'm Carolyn Parker: N/A

    Claire Denis
    Beau travail (6): 3.15
    Friday Night (14): 3.09
    35 Shots of Rum (10): 3.02
    White Material (19): 2.93
    (Nénette et Boni): 2.92
    Trouble Every Day (13): 2.88
    Bastards: 2.84
    The Intruder: 2.23

    Brian De Palma
    Femme Fatale (19): 3.02
    Mission: Impossible: 2.50
    Passion: 2.46
    Snake Eyes: 2.35
    The Black Dahlia: 2.32
    Mission to Mars: 2.17
    Redacted: 2.07

    Guillermo Del Toro
    Pan's Labyrinth (8): 2.95
    The Devil's Backbone: 2.66
    Blade II: 2.63
    Hellboy II: The Golden Army: 2.53
    Hellboy: 2.33
    Pacific Rim: 2.18
    Mimic: 2.06

    Bruno Dumont
    Hadewijch: 3.00
    Flanders: 2.96
    Camille Claudel 1915: 2.79
    Humanité (13): 2.79
    Outside Satan: 2.60
    Twentynine Palms: 2.42
    (Life of Jesus): 2.19

    Asghar Farhadi
    A Separation (2): 3.61
    The Past: 3.00

    Michel Gondry
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2): 3.28
    Dave Chappelle's Block Party (19): 3.02
    (Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?): 2.94
    The We and the I: 2.70
    Be Kind Rewind: 2.59
    The Science of Sleep: 2.53
    Human Nature: 2.40
    Tokyo!: 2.37
    The Green Hornet: 2.00
    The Thorn in the Heart: N/A

    David Gordon Green
    George Washington: 3.05
    All the Real Girls (15): 2.93
    Pineapple Express: 2.71
    Undertow: 2.56
    Snow Angels: 2.56
    Prince Avalanche: 2.50
    (The Sitter): 2.00
    Your Highness: 1.89

    Paul Greengrass
    United 93 (3): 3.34
    The Bourne Ultimatum: 3.05
    Captain Phillips: 2.88
    Bloody Sunday: 2.58
    The Bourne Supremacy: 2.57
    Green Zone: 2.39

    Peter Jackson
    Forgotten Silver: 3.36
    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (7): 3.33
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (5): 3.26
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (11): 2.96
    The Frighteners: 2.93
    King Kong: 2.83
    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 2.50
    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 2.24
    The Lovely Bones: 1.80

    Jia Zhang-ke
    A Touch of Sin: 3.00
    The World: 2.89
    Still Life (18): 2.88
    24 City: 2.50
    Unknown Pleasures: 2.45

    Spike Jonze
    Being John Malkovich (1): 3.61
    Adaptation. (6): 3.16
    Her (5): 3.01
    Where the Wild Things Are: 2.63

    Neil Jordan
    The End of the Affair (20): 2.96
    The Butcher Boy: 2.86
    Michael Collins: 2.85
    The Good Thief (18): 2.81
    Byzantium: 2.78
    Ondine: 2.65
    Breakfast on Pluto: 2.32
    In Dreams: 1.91
    The Brave One: 1.72

    Abdellatif Kechiche
    Blue Is the Warmest Color (8): 3.07
    The Secret of the Grain: 3.00

    Abbas Kiarostami
    Certified Copy (4): 3.43
    Taste of Cherry (15): 3.10
    The Wind Will Carry Us (11): 3.10
    Like Someone in Love (10): 3.07
    10: 2.64
    A.B.C Africa: 2.18
    (10 on Ten): 1.88

    Kim Ki-duk
    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (12): 3.17
    Time: 3.00
    3-iron: 2.94
    The Isle: 2.38
    Pieta: 2.09

    Harmony Korine
    Spring Breakers (18): 2.72
    Trash Humpers: 2.57
    (Mister Lonely): 2.39
    julien donkey-boy: 1.95
    (Gummo): 1.75

    Neil LaBute
    In the Company of Men (2): 3.57
    Possession: 2.78
    Your Friends & Neighbors: 2.62
    (Some Velvet Morning): 2.50
    Lakeview Terrace: 2.43
    Nurse Betty: 2.31
    The Shape of Things: 2.27
    The Wicker Man: 1.79
    Death at a Funeral: N/A

    Spike Lee
    25th Hour (1): 3.42
    Get on the Bus: 3.29
    (4 Little Girls): 3.14
    Inside Man (16): 2.99
    (Passing Strange): 2.94
    The Original Kings of Comedy: 2.73
    (Bad 25): 2.60
    He Got Game: 2.59
    Summer of Sam: 2.57
    Oldboy: 2.46
    Red Hook Summer: 2.42
    (Girl 6): 2.28
    Bamboozled: 2.13
    Miracle at St. Anna: 2.00
    She Hate Me: 1.32
    Jim Brown: All American : N/A

    Richard Linklater
    Before Sunset (3): 3.43
    Before Midnight (4): 3.33
    The School of Rock (9): 3.16
    A Scanner Darkly (12): 2.97
    Waking Life (15): 2.86
    Bernie (18): 2.85
    Tape: 2.77
    The Newton Boys: 2.75
    Me and Orson Welles: 2.70
    subUrbia: 2.63
    Bad News Bears: 2.50
    Fast Food Nation: 2.28

    Baz Luhrmann
    William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet: 2.95
    Moulin Rouge! (9): 2.84
    The Great Gatsby: 2.33
    Australia: 2.17

    Terrence Malick

    The Tree of Life (1): 3.45
    The New World (2): 3.14
    The Thin Red Line (13): 2.95
    To the Wonder (9): 2.83

    James Marsh
    Man on Wire (16): 3.19
    Project Nim: 3.00
    (Shadow Dancer): 2.70
    Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord 1980: 2.58
    The King: N/A
    Wisconsin Death Trip: N/A

    Steve McQueen

    Hunger (6): 3.10
    12 Years a Slave (17): 3.04
    Shame (19): 2.63

    Hayao Miyazaki
    Spirited Away (3): 3.43
    Howl's Moving Castle: 3.15
    Princess Mononoke: 2.90
    Ponyo: 2.83
    The Wind Rises: 2.81

    Cristian Mungiu
    4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (1): 3.39
    Beyond the Hills: 2.84
    (Tales From the Golden Age): 2.69

    Jeff Nichols
    Take Shelter (17): 2.94
    Shotgun Stories: 2.92
    Mud: 2.89

    Park Chan-wook
    Oldboy (17): 2.68
    Stoker: 2.66
    Thirst: 2.58
    Sympathy for Lady Vengeance: 2.52
    Three...Extremes: 2.47

    Alexander Payne
    Election (6): 3.26
    (Citizen Ruth): 3.22
    Sideways (7): 3.05
    About Schmidt (14): 2.97
    Nebraska: 2.81
    The Descendants: 2.68
    Paris je t'aime: 2.24

    Matt Porterfield
    Putty Hill (14): 2.90
    I Used to Be Darker: 2.50
    Hamilton: N/A

    Sam Raimi
    A Simple Plan (10): 3.19
    Spider-Man (17): 3.09
    Drag Me to Hell: 3.05
    Spider-Man 2 (15): 3.04
    Oz the Great and Powerful: 2.58
    Spider-Man 3: 2.46
    For Love of the Game: 2.23

    Alain Resnais
    You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (16): 3.11
    Private Fears in Public Places: 2.95
    Wild Grass (10): 2.92
    Same Old Song: 2.87

    Carlos Reygadas
    Silent Light (3): 3.41
    Post tenebras lux: 2.73
    Battle in Heaven: 2.47
    Japón: 2.35

    Robert Rodriguez
    Grindhouse (4): 2.93
    Frank Miller's Sin City (10): 2.74
    Spy Kids: 2.71
    Machete: 2.61
    The Faculty: 2.60
    Spy Kids 2 The Island of Lost Dreams: 2.50
    Once Upon a Time in Mexico: 2.44
    From Dusk Till Dawn: 2.43
    (Spy Kids 3D: Game Over): 2.06
    Machete Kills: 2.00
    Shorts: N/A
    Spy Kids: All the Time in the World: N/A

    Raoul Ruiz
    Time Regained (14): 3.00
    Mysteries of Lisbon: 2.95
    (Night Across the Street): 2.33
    (Klimt): 2.20
    Shattered Image: 2.20
    (Genealogies of a Crime): 2.17
    Three Lives and Only One Death: N/A

    David O. Russell
    Three Kings (9): 3.18
    Flirting with Disaster: 3.12
    I ♥ Huckabees (14): 2.84
    The Fighter: 2.76
    Silver Linings Playbook: 2.63
    American Hustle: 2.50

    John Sayles
    Lone Star (3): 3.48
    Men With Guns: 2.96
    (Go for Sisters): 2.86
    Limbo: 2.70
    (Honeydripper): 2.60
    Sunshine State: 2.53
    Casa de los Babys: 2.45
    (Amigo): 2.21
    (Silver City): 2.00

    Paul Schrader
    Affliction (17): 2.94
    Auto Focus: 2.32
    (The Walker): 2.19
    (Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist): 1.86
    The Canyons: 1.36
    Adam Resurrected: N/A
    Touch: N/A

    Martin Scorsese
    The Departed (1): 3.42
    The Wolf of Wall Street (2): 3.27
    Kundun (7): 3.22
    Shutter Island (14): 3.05
    Gangs of New York (9): 3.01
    The Aviator: 2.96
    Hugo (19): 2.93
    (Public Speaking): 2.79
    Bringing Out the Dead: 2.52
    Shine a Light: 2.50
    Living in the Material World: N/A

    Ridley Scott
    Gladiator (20): 3.04
    The Counselor: 2.91
    Black Hawk Down (20): 2.78
    Matchstick Men: 2.78
    American Gangster : 2.50
    Body of Lies: 2.50
    G.I. Jane: 2.42
    Kingdom of Heaven: 2.33
    Prometheus: 2.26
    (White Squall): 2.22
    Hannibal: 1.94
    (A Good Year): 1.93
    Robin Hood: 1.91

    Steven Soderbergh
    Out of Sight (1): 3.37
    Traffic (5): 3.24
    Erin Brockovich: 3.14
    The Limey: 2.99
    Contagion: 2.96
    (Gray’s Anatomy): 2.94
    Ocean’s Eleven: 2.93
    The Informant!: 2.92
    Solaris: 2.86
    Haywire: 2.85
    And Everything Is Going Fine: 2.75
    The Girlfriend Experience: 2.72
    Magic Mike: 2.70
    Schizopolis: 2.70
    Bubble: 2.66
    The Good German: 2.66
    Full Frontal: 2.63
    Side Effects: 2.59
    Ocean’s Twelve: 2.52
    Ocean's Thirteen: 2.52
    Che: 2.35
    Eros: 2.15

    Paolo Sorrentino
    The Great Beauty (15): 3.00
    This Must Be the Place: 2.91
    Il Divo: 2.74

    Billy Bob Thornton
    Sling Blade (8): 3.45
    (Jayne Mansfield's Car): 2.71
    All the Pretty Horses: 2.27

    Johnnie To
    Drug War: 3.17
    Exiled (18): 2.97
    Mad Detective: 2.95
    Vengeance: 2.87
    Election: 2.79
    Fulltime Killer: 2.74
    Election 2: 2.73
    (Breaking News): 2.50
    (Throwdown): 2.33

    Thomas Vinterberg
    The Celebration (14): 3.24
    The Hunt: 2.61
    Dear Wendy: 2.14
    It's All About Love: 1.77

    Nicolas Winding Refn
    Drive (6): 3.27
    (Pusher 3): 3.00
    Valhalla Rising: 2.83
    (Pusher II): 2.71
    Bronson: 2.69
    Only God Forgives: 2.14

    Wong Kar-wai
    In the Mood for Love (1): 3.45
    Chung King Express (5): 3.33
    2046 (8): 3.17
    The Grandmaster: 2.93
    Happy Together: 2.81
    (Ashes of Time): 2.70
    My Blueberry Nights: 2.45
    Eros: 2.15

    Edgar Wright
    The World's End (20): 3.00
    Grindhouse (4): 2.93
    Shaun of the Dead: 2.90
    Hot Fuzz: 2.89
    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: 2.71

    Rob Zombie
    Grindhouse (4): 2.93
    The Devil's Rejects: 2.63
    The Lords of Salem: 2.62
    Halloween: 2.15
    (Halloween II): 1.72
    (House of 1000 Corpses): 1.64

    14 February 2014

    Skandies: #1


    Best Picture: Inside Llewyn Davis (274/22)
    This is the first time we've concurred with the National Society of Film Critics since There Will Be Blood in 2007. From 1995–2000 our choices were identical four times (Breaking the Waves, Out of Sight, Being John Malkovich, Yi Yi), but only twice since.





    Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street (268/22)
    Skandie history: #5, Kundun (1997); #3, Gangs of New York (2002); #8, The Aviator (2004); #1, The Departed (2006); #6, Shutter Island (2010); #12, Hugo (2011). He joins Atom Egoyan, Lars von Trier, Quentin Tarantino, and Terrence Malick among the two-time Skandie winners for Best Director.






    Best Actress: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color (433/33)
    Skandie history: None





    Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street (421/27)
    Skandie history: #9, The Aviator (2004); #2, The Departed (2006); #8, Shutter Island (2010); #8s, Django Unchained (2012).





    Best Supporting Actor: James Franco, Spring Breakers (345/22)
    Skandie history: #13s, Pineapple Express (2008); #15s, Milk (2008); #3, 127 Hours (2010).





    Best Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johansson, Her (293/21)
    Skandie history: #5s, The Horse Whisperer (1998); #1s, Ghost World (2001); #2, Lost in Translation (2003); #15, Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003); #6s, Match Point (2005). She becomes only the second actress to twice win the Skandies, along with Julianne Moore. And, of course, the first actor of either gender to win for a performance in which (s)he never actually appears onscreen.





    Best Screenplay: Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight (393/30)
    Skandie history (Linklater only): #9, A Scanner Darkly (2006); #19, Bernie (2012) [with Skip Hollandsworth].
    Skandie history (all three): #2, Before Sunset (2004).





    Best Scene: When life gives you Lemmons, The Wolf of Wall Street (283/26).

    Complete results available here. Thanks to all voters, and especially to Mark Pittillo for programming the automated ballot and maintaining the website. The big post-mortem will be up sometime over the weekend.

    Skandies: #2


    Picture: The Wolf of Wall Street (237/21)
    Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis (220/19)
    Actress: Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha (398/30)
    Actor: Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis (329/25)
    S. Actor: James Gandolfini, Enough Said (240/17)
    S. Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (279/25)
    Screenplay: Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha (340/27)
    Scene: Opening, Post tenebras lux (163/14)

    HISTORY:

    This is the ninth time the Coens have made the top 20, though they've never won—not even this year, when their movie won Best Picture (SPOILER!). In addition to the nominations noted below, they've placed 10th for The Big Lebowski (1998), 13th for Burn After Reading (2008), 9th for A Serious Man (2009), and 15th for True Grit (2010).

    Gerwig has twice finished at #7, for Greenberg (2010) and Damsels in Distress (2012). Gandolfini's sole previous nod was noted in the nominations post below. Isaac and Nyong'o are new.

    Frances Ha is Gerwig's first screenplay, but Baumbach, in addition to his nominations below, placed 10th for The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (written with Wes Anderson) and 7th for Greenberg (2010).

    13 February 2014

    Skandies: #3


    Picture: Frances Ha (236/22)
    Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity (210/18)
    Actress: Julie Delpy, Before Midnight (263/24)
    Actor: Robert Redford, All Is Lost (268/22)
    S. Actor: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave (189/15)
    S. Actress: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine (254/24)
    Screenplay: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis (339/28)
    Scene: Shock, Captain Phillips (118/11)

    HISTORY:

    Cuarón's complete stats are in the "nominees" post below. So far he's either in the top four or (in the case of Great Expectations and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) nowhere to be found.

    In addition to his nominated performances below, Fassbender has previously placed 14th for Inglourious Basterds (2009) and 12th for Fish Tank (2010)—both Supporting. That's five citations in the past five years. Delpy and Hawkins just have the one previously noted earlier nod apiece, and Redford makes his first appearance.

    The sole Coens script to make the list below the top five is The Big Lebowski (#7, 1998). Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers didn't make the cut at all, however.


    12 February 2014

    Skandies: #4


    Picture: Before Midnight (220/21)
    Director: Shane Carruth, Upstream Color (184/15)
    Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (240/22)
    Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave (232/22)
    S. Actor: Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street (172/17)
    S. Actress: Léa Seydoux, Blue Is the Warmest Color (219/19)
    Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her (195/19)
    Scene: "Please, Mr. Kennedy," Inside Llewyn Davis (111/11)

    HISTORY:

    Carruth placed 6th for Primer in 2004.

    In addition to her "nominated" roles (see below), Blanchett placed 16th for Oscar and Lucinda (1997), 11th for Heaven (2002), and 17th in Supporting for Notes on a Scandal (2006). Ejiofor gets his fourth nod, having finished at #14 for Dirty Pretty Things (2003), at #17 in Supporting for Serenity (2005), and at #9 for Redbelt (2008). Hill placed 11th in the same category for Moneyball two years ago. Seydoux is new.

    Jonze's screenplay for Where the Wild Things Are (written with Dave Eggers) didn't make the cut.

    (To save you the trouble of looking, Before Sunset placed 3rd in 2004.)