18 February 2010

Skandies: #3



Picture: Summer Hours (174/14)
Director: Steve McQueen, Hunger (198/15)
Actress: Arta Dobroshi, Lorna's Silence (231/21)
Actor: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker (235/23)
S. Actor: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles (188/14)
S. Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Brothers Bloom (232/20)
Screenplay: Tony Gilroy, Duplicity (279/23)
Scene: "Night Shift," 35 Shots of Rum (148/13)



[This scene doesn't really work out of context in my opinion—you need to know who these people are in relation to one another, and that's frequently tough to decipher even when you see the entire film. (I spent a recent second viewing straining for clues as to whether Jo and Noé are rekindling a relationship that ended some time ago or belatedly starting one that's never begun, to no avail.) But hey, it's a great song.]

HISTORY:

Hunger is McQueen's feature debut.

Of the actors, we've only seen Weisz before; she finished 13th in the same category for The Constant Gardener (2005).

Gilroy placed 7th two years ago for Michael Clayton.

21 comments:

Arkaan said...

Did Weisz get any votes in lead? I've operated under the assumption she was lead this whole season only to see everyone disagree. Great choice, though

Andrew Dignan said...

Oh dear. This is setting up as a clean sweep for Basterds with wins for Film, Director, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Screenplay (over In the Loop? You people wouldn't do that would you?) I think I finally get why Mike was so snippy earlier about the AVB and their choices.

Sky said...

You forgot Scene, Andrew.

Ryan said...

Not only that, it looks like Basterds and Waltz are both gonna approach 600 points. And even Best Scene may be plucked from Basterds as well, since "Chapter 1" is surely one of the two remaining nominees in that category. In this case, I hope cooler heads prevail and provide Up's "Scenes from a Marriage with a deserved victory.

I guess I'm somewhat mystified by the AVB's collective worship of Tarantino's opus. Don't get me wrong, it's a very fine film, and Waltz and Laurent topped their categories on my own ballot, but the results here indicate that Basterds should take the revised decade poll as well. Or is Basterds' dominance just the result of weak competition this year?

In any case, glad to see props for Joaquin Phoenix, my own personal favorite for male lead.

Andrew Dignan said...

Sky:

I'm pretty terrible at predicting the best scene category but I don't think any scene in Inglorious Basterds will be out Carl and Ellie's montage from Up but I'm fully prepared to be proven wrong.

Andrew Dignan said...

Ryan:

I didn't put a stopwatch to it but isn't Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied France roughly the same length as Bobby meets the Priest? Wouldn't it be DQ'ed?

Nictate said...

Oh, could this mean Cage takes #1 for Best Actor? That would be kinda sorta hella awesome.

As much as I loved SUMMER HOURS, it didn't crack my top 10. It feels like merely a pleasant memory to me now vs. a vital piece of cinema, but I need to re-watch it. At the time, I was bowled over by its Big Life Meaning.

As amazing as the dialogue was in In The Loop, I've gotten the impression that most of it was improvised and since the film feels structurally weak, it shouldn't earn a screenplay nod on that account.

As it's been months since I've seen 35 SHOTS, I can't point to any direct evidence, but it felt very clear at the time that the young pair had never explored a romantic relationship. That's what made their tentative connection so moving for me vs. just a happy reunion. The dude was clearly scared shitless about ruining their friendship and seemed to be a free spirit who might not be ready to get serious with "the one." She seemed similarly hesistant to compromise the friendship and risk her heart, not to mention diluting her codependency with her father. One bit of evidence: I don't think their physical gestures would've been so tentative if it was a reunion.

Nictate said...

Weak competition?! Hoooo. That's crazy talk. 2009 was a barnstormer. Just a glance down the Skandies results posted so far proves that.

I tell ya, my first viewing of BASTERDS left me admiring it, but not swooning. Over the next few days, though, Chapter 1 was haunting me with its brilliance and tempting to me go a second round. Second viewing: I was blown away. Third viewing: My PRO went to 72 pts. Fourth viewing: Fuggedaboutit.

What QT pulled off here is a movie miracle, both in its range, depth, cleverness and pure entertainment kicks.

As far as the scene length issue, Andrew, MD'A had already cleared IB's Chapter 1 as being eligible.

md'a said...

Did Weisz get any votes in lead?

Almost half of them. It split 108/10 to 124/10.

Oh dear. This is setting up as a clean sweep for Basterds with wins for Film, Director, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Screenplay

The current record holder in this department is The Sweet Hereafter, which won 5/8 in 1997: Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and S. Actress. Basterds could potentially win six. (Maximum length for Scene is 20 minutes; Chapter 1 runs 19:20. It was the tavern scene that got disqualified.) Which would be thoroughly embarrassing and make us look like retarded fanboys.

I guess I'm somewhat mystified by the AVB's collective worship of Tarantino's opus. Don't get me wrong, it's a very fine film, and Waltz and Laurent topped their categories on my own ballot

Since you're clearly not someone who auto-drools at everything QT does, can you (and you only; definitely not Nictate, I've heard her spiel already) explain to me what's so awesome about Mélanie Laurent in this picture? I literally can't think of a single moment in which she's anything but adequate—not so much because she's a limited actress, but simply because she's not given anything extraordinary to do. It's not an exciting role in any way. She acts snippy and cold when hit on by Brühl; she acts wide-eyed and scared when questioned by Waltz; she puts on war paint to a David Bowie song...am I forgetting anything? Is there any young French actress alive who would have failed to hit those marks? I do not get it.

As amazing as the dialogue was in In The Loop, I've gotten the impression that most of it was improvised

What.

Ryan said...

Weak competition?! Hoooo. That's crazy talk. 2009 was a barnstormer. Just a glance down the Skandies results posted so far proves that.

I'm not making a subjective statement there. I personally think 2009 was quite strong, but clearly the AVB doesn't agree, as no film, besides Basterds, has really aroused intense passion from a broad swath of voters.

My point specifically addresses the following question: given Basterds’ probable dominance of this year’s Skandies (maybe not 600 points but certainly 400+ is likely), including potentially generating 6 category winners, is this result due to the AVB’s judgment that it is an unusually strong film, a leading contender for the decade’s best? Or is the result a product of Basterds being the only consensus picture in a year where no other film generated broad support?

I think it’s more of the latter myself. In top heavy years, two or three films will have a wide support. For example, #5 of the Decade There Will Be Blood had to split points with No Country for Old Men in 2007. I just checked the 2004 results, and the #3 film that year, Before Sunset, boasted a whopping 288 points, compared to 174 for this year’s #3, Summer Hours. The eventual winner, decade topper Dogville, garnered a “mere” 336 points. (I say mere because I expect Basterds to easily blow past this total.) Even in 2002, not an especially strong year from a Skandies perspective, you’ve got 5 pictures that finished over 200 points.

Since I don’t get the sense that many folks outside the QT fanboy contingent really think this is an immortal masterpiece of the cinema, I chalk it up to the lack of a true foil, as I do not believe Fantastic Mr. Fox will scratch out more than 210 points or so. Obviously, if the revised decade ballots somehow catapult Basterds into the decade’s top 5, then I will concede error.

Nictate said...

The IN THE LOOP improvised dialogue remark was based on random Twitter comments I've read, so if it ain't true, I apologize for spreading bloody lies.

I won't spiel on Laurent. In fact, if there had been more strong female lead performances this year, I wouldn't have put her anywhere near my top 10. After Tilda and Weisz, I was scraping to fill my actress roster.

In a podcast interview, I did hear QT's spiel on Laurent that makes a fair point. He thinks her work in IB is underappreciated for its subtlety as she is playing a character who has to hide her emotions from Landa and the Nazi war hero while also letting the audience know what's going on behind her facade.

One dis: Seeing her in the god-awful PARIS this year made me realize her range may be limited, since she was doing many of the same reactive tricks with her facial expressions there.

Ryan said...

Since you're clearly not someone who auto-drools at everything QT does, can you (and you only; definitely not Nictate, I've heard her spiel already) explain to me what's so awesome about Mélanie Laurent in this picture?

You’re right that Laurent wasn’t doing anything extraordinary like Kruger’s showy scene at the tarvern. As matter of personal taste I tend to admire carefully reactive performances like Moore in Far From Heaven or Huppert in a host of movies, and here, what I admired was the coherence of her largely reactive performance. I liked how she mapped the trajectory from angry, bitter, but scared theater owner trying to blend in occupied France to the Face of Jewish Vengeance using mostly physical cues. As an example, in her initial scenes with Bruhl and in the café with the Goring character & Waltz, her body was stiff, almost lifeless in those scenes (and not just because she’s sitting down). That stiffness conveyed fear that her face could not betray, as she ranged from mildly disdainful to impassively polite. She appeared unsure of herself, if determined, in her scenes with her assistant/lover as they plotted out their scheme. By the time the "Nation's Pride" opening comes around, she conveyed a confidence and boldness in her movements, even in such minor gestures as putting on her war paint while her face remained Garbo-esque in its impassivity. The performance has a clear, concise emotionally throughline that was quite subtly conveyed. And yeah, I would be remiss if I didn't admit that she might've received a few extra points from me for being the hottest thing in the movies this year outside of Abbie Cornish in Bright Star. (I don't deliberately give bonus points for sexiness, but it's also true that hotness lingers in the memory a bit longer.)

I also concede that any number of French actresses could have interpreted Shosanna in an interesting way, and I don’t know that Laurent’s perf is really superior to Kiki or Weisz or Cotillard in Public Enemies, who probably would have gotten the most points from me in this category had I given more thought to it.

Ryan said...

Also, sorry to jam this comment thread with more tarditude, but I gotta say this "Night Shift" scene is so freaking awesome. Yes, much of its power derives from the context, as the scene reveals some past connection between Jo and Noe. And the unalloyed romanticism of this scene gives a nice jolt to a movie that had been, up to this point, a rather lugubrious mood piece.

But even taken in isolation, anyone who loves cinema should savor this scene. Check out the 4:18 minute mark, as Denis pans to the waitress going from the kitchen to serve Jo and Noe, where their erotic energy had suddenly dissipated, then pans to another couple, then subtly tracks left again, following the waitress, holding the shot of her gazing longingly at the camera (at Lionel). A couple of quick reverse angle cuts. Then cut to an erotically charged shot of two hands stroking each other gently as Lionel gets up to dance (Denis & Agnes Godard are simply unmatched in the entire history of cinema at lighting and framing the human body and body contact).

In twenty exquisitely directed seconds, all of the erotic energy transfers from the initial focus of the scene, the daughter and her past relationship with Noe, to the father and the present sexual attraction to the waitress.

I can watch this scene again and again.

Victor said...

And the unalloyed romanticism of this scene gives a nice jolt to a movie that had been, up to this point, a rather lugubrious mood piece.

This is why I actually gave that scene points, even though I did not like the film at all and haven't seen it since TIFF 08 (it benefitted from Victor's Skandie Ballot Bad Film Affirmative Action Program). Along with the Tindersticks-train scenes, it sticks in the mind as a few firm moments of perfectly-shot, -timed and -scored reverie in a sea of indistinct meringue.

futurefree said...

Might Laurent's high placement have something to do with the fact that most Skandie voters are hetero males who find Laurent smoking-hot and didn't know she existed prior to this performance, and thus spent most of her screen time gazing raptly upon their new cinematic crush without particularly caring whether she was giving a noteworthy performance?

Or am I just projecting?

Alex said...

I'm a bit dubious that BASTERDS was most voters' first exposure to Laurent, as she'd already done a bunch of stuff in previous years -- she's not exactly a new face. I could be wrong about the overall familiarity with her, though.

(This musing is reminiscent of last year's Ludivine Sagnier comment thread.)

Joshua said...

futurefree: I believe from looking at the individual ballots that if only the female Skandies voters' votes were counted, Melanie Laurent would still have won Best Supporting Actress.

futurefree said...

So maybe I am just projecting.

I just know that in my own Basterds-watching experience the line definitely became blurred between "She's great in this film!" and "She's great! [swoon] And she's in this film!" Figured I couldn't be the only one.

futurefree said...

See also: Carice van Houten.

freemovies said...

What kind of movie it is..Never listened about it. Love to hear something related to this movie..:-)

Watch Summer Hours said...

Though the film is beautifully acted and photographed there is very little development of the various characters, a fact that leaves the viewer with the feeling of simply peeking