04 February 2011

Skandies: #16



Picture: Vincere (70/8)
Director: Jacques Audiard, A Prophet (75/8)
Actress: Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole (92/10)
Actor: Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter (68/7)
S. Actor: Vincent Cassel, Black Swan (65/7)
S. Actress: Bryce Dallas Howard, Hereafter (55/4)
Screenplay: Alain Resnais & Laurent Herbiet, Wild Grass (66/8)
Scene (tie for #15): The book party, The Ghost Writer (42/4)

[Again, blocked in parts of Europe so I can't embed, but watch it here. And this ending really is a spoiler—don't click if you haven't seen the film and plan to.]

HISTORY:

Audiard didn't place for his three previous eligible films (A Self-Made Hero, Read My Lips, The Beat That My Heart Skipped).

Kidman scores her ninth appearance in the top 20 (tied for #2 all-time), including three almost-victories at #2: Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Dogville (2004), and Margot at the Wedding (2007). Also: 6th for Moulin Rouge! (2001), 9th for The Others (also 2001), merely 9th for her Oscar-winning performance in The Hours (2002), 11th for Birth (2004), and 18th for Birthday Girl (2002).

Wahlberg gets his first nod since winning Supporting Actor for The Departed four years ago. He also placed 2nd in that category for I ♥ Huckabees (2004) and 12th as a lead for Boogie Nights (1997).

When Howard placed 10th in the lead category for The Village (2004), I wouldn't have guessed that her next Skandies appearance was six years away, but here it is (and for a controversial performance that many consider Razzie-worthy, though for me it was the sole sign of life in that godawful flick. I am happy to prematurely reveal that we won't be hearing from it again in any category).

Cassel, despite the August Voting Body's general love for both Hate and Irreversible, is new.

Resnais has never before placed in Screenplay, and Herbiet has no previous eligible credits.

22 comments:

Victor Morton said...

Madness. Madness. Never mind that the scene is utterly dramatically, realitywise and logically retarded in every possible way. It looks so KEWL!!!

(sound of vjm rummaging through the knife drawer...)

witherholly said...

I was going to get all belligerent and look for a gun about Rabbit Hole showing up again, but I couldn't remember a reason not to like Kidman's perf; she doesn't whiff on the waffling pathos/humor, the director does right? The play was fine, right? And she can't help her face, ok? Sure.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone cast any kind of vote for the Korean action movie "The Man from Nowhere"? I'm pretty sure no one saw it, but I just wanted to ask since the climactic action scene was easily one of the most thrilling and memorable 2010 movie moments for me. It opened here in October, mostly in some AMC theatres, but there were no reviews.

http://www.mannowhere.com/

thanksbud said...

It is a Hitchcockian thriller V-Mort get over it. How "dramatically, realitywise and logically" sound are NORTHWEST BY NORTH, THE VERTIGO, REAR OF THE WINDOW and etc.

Robert Fuller said...

No, Victor's right. There's a difference between unrealistic and "realitywise retarded," as he so aptly put it.

But in the scene's defense, it does do an excellent job of encapsulating the film's simple-minded treatment of both writing and politics. It's like a synecdoche of the movie as a whole.

thanksbud said...

V-Mort's objection seems to be to characters doing irrational things in order to serve the plot. This happens all the time in Hitchcock pictures but we forgive it on account of their being awesome. I do not see how anyone could possibly disagree with this unless, say, your own reaction to a dude being stabbed in front of you would be to pull the knife out of his back and hold it guiltily.

Victor Morton said...

I love Albert Hotchkiss thrillers in my opinion. But where Polanski effs it up is by larding up the story with real-world parallels (Pierce Brosnan might as well have been played by Michael Sheen, I mean jeezus) and barely-changed names that it would take an idiot wouldn't get (the only thing missing was a secret weapon called Projectile for the New American Centurions). He thus implies a connection to the real world and thus the criticism about stupidity; Hitchcock never did that.

That said, I was willing to groove with the film as a awfully-effective mindless thriller with a few missteps until the last reel, scene and (especially) shot. Sure, Hitchcock's plots ain't DeSica's, but his worlds and characters still behaved consistently with respect to themselves. Sure, it's a dumb thing to pull a knife out a guy's back, but at that point in the film, Grant doesn't really know what he's up against and his look is really more shock and surprise (magnified by 1950s flash photography) than guilt. I dunno about you, but whenever I uncover a secret CIA plot that can pull all the strings and secretly roolz the world (but somehow wasn't capable of assassinating an old defenseless guy on a lonely country road), the first thing I do is go and tell the CIA and then the secon thing I do is run out into the middle of the street holding my only proof in the form of a loose-leaf manuscript that can make a pretty spectacle of blowing all over the place. You bring up NxNW by comparison -- perfect parallel scene. What does Grant do at the auction?

md'a said...

SPOILERS for The Ghost Writer:

I dunno about you, but whenever I uncover a secret CIA plot that can pull all the strings and secretly roolz the world (but somehow wasn't capable of assassinating an old defenseless guy on a lonely country road), the first thing I do is go and tell the CIA and then the secon[d] thing I do is run out into the middle of the street holding my only proof in the form of a loose-leaf manuscript that can make a pretty spectacle of blowing all over the place.

One can certainly argue that it wasn't wise for McGregor to pass that note to Williams. But that's not what got him (presumably) killed. They were planning to kill him outside the event regardless. If you don't see how I got that, watch the scene again. It's subtly handled, but it's there.

More to the point, it seems silly to insist on real-world logic in a thriller like this. If characters in thrillers always avoided foolhardy actions and did whatever maximized self-preservation, thrillers would be boring as ass. Basic dramaturgy demands a confrontation at the finale, and that's what Polanski and Harris sensibly provide. For McGregor to keep the information to himself until such time as he can alert the proper authorities would be more plausible and sensible, but also piss-poor filmmaking.

Finally, given that his only proof is a loose-leaf manuscript, what's McGregor supposed to do instead? He has to take it with him when he leaves. Is your beef just that he doesn't remain on the sidewalk when hailing a cab? As if the bad guys can't mow him down on the sidewalk if need be.

Marya said...

"Proof" here being a few words presumably typed by a dead guy.

Still, it DID look cool. But I'd rather see Olivia Williams word-spit him to death.

witherholly said...

For God's sake, if you figure out the answer, don't post it!

Bilge Ebiri said...

Hey, remember when Albert Hotchkiss made a movie about The Cuba? That was awesome.

mr. pink said...

Kinda surprised Kidman made it this high — I sensed no love coming from the August Body. But it's one of her most deeply felt and least worked-out-in-her-costume performances. Hope Eckhart and especially Miles Teller are up around the bend.

Funny — I'd pick A PROFIT as the least of Audiard's movies I've seen.

Nick Duval said...

Glad the Ghost Writer scene is in there, despite Victor's suicidal claims. The acting categories, though, are weird. Cassel is great, but Bryce Dallas Howard in Hereafter?! Very surprising, and not necessarily in a good way.

Victor Morton said...

And remember how Hotchkiss's I AM CUBA and his previous film, I AM EAST GERMANY are generally considered among the worst of his career? That was awesomer.

Victor Morton said...

More to the point, it seems silly to insist on real-world logic in a thriller like this.

As I've already said, if Polanski hadn't inserted a hundred real-world parallels (some of them biographic-related), it would indeed be silly.

md'a said...

SPOILERS for THE GHOST WRITER

As I've already said, if Polanski hadn't inserted a hundred real-world parallels (some of them biographic-related), it would indeed be silly.

I don't see why "implying a connection to the real world" in a roman à clef kind of way necessitates realism in all other aspects. And The Ghost Writer parts major company with reality even in that regard, unless I missed the news bulletin about Tony Blair being assassinated.

Victor Morton said...

I don't see why "implying a connection to the real world" in a roman à clef kind of way necessitates realism in all other aspects.

All others? No. (GHOST WRITER is very well directed in a stylized vein. Indeed, I shortlisted Polanski.)

In basic dramaturgy? Yes. Otherwise, the film is lying about something in-the-world real.

md'a said...

SPOILERS for THE GHOST WRITER.

I really don't understand how "no real person would be dumb enough to tell the secret CIA agent that he's onto her" constitutes any kind of lie about Tony Blair, Robin Cook, the Iraq war or anything else. The argument that a roman à clef must be more dramaturgically sound than a work of pure fiction makes no sense to me. It's still fiction, and invented characters doing foolish things while surrounded by characters based on real people does not somehow constitute libel. Plus, as I previously noted, The Ghost Writer quite explicitly "lies," e.g. Blair is not dead.

Victor Morton said...

This film's lie is not that specific, rather it is its entire view of how the world works, which is an unacceptable lie. (And one it handles quite clumsily and arbitrarily, worst of all in the last scene.)

If you doubt that GHOST WRITER's worldview is a lie, ask yourself why Julian Assange is still alive. Yes, the greater the resemblance the "paranoid thriller" genre bears to the real world, the more objectively insidious it becomes and the less I tolerance I have for it (no, I don't like THE PARALLAX VIEW, thank you). To make an analogous point, I've been much more forgiving of Michael Moore's or Banksy's truth-fudgings (they're clearly satirists/pranksters) than those of Alex Gibney (whom people can actually mistake for a serious intellectual).

And I don't think I said a roman à clef "must be more dramaturgically sound than a work of pure fiction," rather I said it must be more dramaturgically realistic. Its world must behave like *the* world.

md'a said...

That makes more sense. But your objections to this scene had been phrased in terms of McGregor's actions, not in terms of the government's actions, which is what actually bothers you, it seems. I maintain that whether or not the film makes thinly veiled reference to real people and events should have no bearing on the former, which is simply a thriller convention.

Victor Morton said...

Well, but my finding McGregor's actions unbelievable was (in part sure, but explicitly) based on how the film showed the government to be. Would somehow who uncovered THIS info then act like THAT? But I think both are ridiculous, each on its own terms.

witherholly said...

"Would somehow who uncovered THIS info then act like THAT?"

He's a ghost writer, not a political operative, and oh-so expendable.