02 February 2011

Skandies: #18



Picture: The Ghost Writer (59/8)
Director: Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Amer (68/6)
Actress: Sabine Azéma, Wild Grass (67/10)
Actor: Ronald Bronstein, Daddy Longlegs (51/3)
S. Actor: Barry Pepper, True Grit (54/6)
S. Actress: Milla Jovovich, Stone (52/5)
Screenplay: Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right (57/6)
Scene: I wanna be your teenage lesbian rock 'n' roll dog, The Runaways (40/2)

[This blog template is not so good for the widescreen embeds in my opinion. Click on the title of the video to open an actual YouTube window where you can see it properly.]



HISTORY:

Amer is Cattet and Forzani's first feature.

Pepper previously placed 4th in the same category for 25th Hour (2002). Jovovich previously placed 11th in the lead category for The Fifth Element (1997). Azéma and Bronstein are both new.

Cholodenko's scripts for High Art and Laurel Canyon didn't make the cut. Neither did Blumberg's scripts for Keeping the Faith and The Girl Next Door. How this one did is a mystery to me.

23 comments:

Victor Morton said...

Sabine Azema had NEVER placed before ... wow. In fact my eyes passed over that fragment and I had mentally written a "you forgot Sabine Azema's past appearances" post.

That said, I think people gotta be grading Jovovich on a curve (though she is actually good).

md'a said...

As far I can tell, Azéma's only previous eligible performances over the past 14 years are in two other Resnais films, Same Old Song and Private Fears in Public Places. (Not on the Lips, you'll recall, was never released theatrically in the U.S.) I might have voted for her in the former—no record, sadly—but I'm not shocked she didn't place for either of those.

Private Joker said...

If the devastatingly stupid Ghost Writer made the top 20 and my #1 film didn't, I'm going to be depressed for a week. The accolades for that well-dressed piece of crap is the nadir of auteurism. (I love De Palma, but it's not like Black Dahlia or Redacted made the Skandies).

Alex said...

Re: Azema - also La Bûche.

I'd always felt Jovovich's chops were underestimated. That said, I was rather underwhelmed by her work in what appears to be considered her dramatic breakthrough.

Ryan said...

I'm pretty sure Azema's SAME OLD SONG perf was a top vote-getter on my ballot that year, so she needed only three or four more votes to get in the top 20. Odd that it didn't happen.

She happened to be #11 on my ballot this year, squeezed out by Julie Sokolowski at the very end. Really enjoyed Azema here, but she could do this daft/frazzled thing in her sleep.

Victor Morton said...

Zack:

I doubt this is blind Auteurist Zombieism (I speak as someone decidedly mixed on GHOST WRITER).

This is actually the first Polanski film in Skandies history to make the Top 20 (though he himself sneaked in at #19 or so Director for THE PIANIST)

Ryan said...

Since GHOST WRITER placed in the top 5 in the major critics' surveys, the low finish here, if anything, shows an anti-Zombie streak among the electorate.

md'a said...

Since GHOST WRITER placed in the top 5 in the major critics' surveys, the low finish here, if anything, shows an anti-Zombie streak among the electorate.

Exactly. I don't understand the enthusiasm for Ghost Writer either (though I liked it much more than Zach, who as far as I'm aware is alone in the world in thinking it actively bad), but comparing it to something like Black Dahlia is absurd. Nobody likes that movie. Almost everybody likes this one.

Robert Fuller said...

I don't know if Ghost Writer was actively bad, but it certainly wasn't good. It was well directed and acted, but god the script is dumb.

thanksbud said...

Private Joker's opinions are the Private Joke. (Although I did vote for the family barbecue in VENGEANCE.)

Nick Duval said...

Yes for the Ghost Writer! Hope the final scene is included in the Best Scene countdown.

I guess Azema was the best part of "Wild Grass," and if Dussolier (and his character) had been reined in a bit, that movie would've been okay. But it was awful.

Private Joker said...

"I don't know if Ghost Writer was actively bad, but it certainly wasn't good. It was well directed and acted, but god the script is dumb."

I mean that's basically how I feel about it, though I consider the script "actively bad" enough to make the film a 'con.'

But you guys raise a good point about it rating even higher in the Voice poll than the Skandies.

Victor Morton said...

If the final scene of THE GHOST WRITER is in this list, I will slit my wrists. Up the wrist (not "across"). That scene, all by itself, knocked the film down from (probably) a 7 to the 5 it is.

What in the final 5 minutes is the act of a rational human being. Or to be even more precise, what in the final 5 minutes is the act of a rational human being facing off against The All-Powerful "Them."

md'a said...

I believe people who love the final scene are responding to it cinematically rather than dramaturgically. I don't even remember what McGregor does; I only remember what happens to him and how Polanski shot it. Which was awesome.

Victor Morton said...

Oh, agreed. The framing, direction, use of sound, cutting etc., are all impeccable. But the dramaturgy is so aggressively stupid, especially for the kind of film it is, that I actually resented even more the cinematistical awesomeness -- in an "am I supposed to be distracted by that?" kind of way.

Interloper said...

I adore Ghost for the most part, but it breaks a No Use of Google in the Third Act rule...I mean, he literally looks up that Tom Wilkinson is a villain on the internet...

Michael said...

Hooray for Sabine Azéma. But yes, her performance here is not nearly as good as SAME OLD SONG. Resist! Show the world you exist! in my opinion.

And although there is a great deal to admire about THE GHOST WRITER, count me among the "script trouble" crew. In fact, Kyle Smith, of all people, sums up some of the whoppers. (Basically, is the grand conspiracy all-powerful or utterly inept? Depends on the needs of the plot.)

Jeff said...

I am glad the most American film of the year is getting some recognition, even if it is only for the admittedly awesome scene featured here. Good job Skandie voters.

Jeff said...

Trying that again: I am glad the most *underrated* American film of the year is getting some recognition, even if it is only for the admittedly awesome scene featured here. Good job Skandie voters.

witherholly said...

It's best described as a "montage," Jeff, "scene" is pushing it. I know because in my naivete, I once worked through the night trying to impress by cutting a Playboy channel sex scene only to have my efforts dismissed in the a.m. with "this will be a montage."

md'a said...

Montages are explicitly allowed in my instructions. I just prohibit anything that's too long (I set an arbitrary limit of 20 minutes) and discourage stuff that's too short (e.g. "stunned reaction shot").

witherholly said...

The montage scene has a dubious history. Used here, it's to make the scene feel more real because they're intoxicated, but this montage is quite incompetent. To save the reputation of how great montage can be, has one ever won before? No rush to crack the books on this, though.

mr. pink said...

Something tells me you haven't heard the last of THE RUNAWAYS...

Count me in with the folks who enjoyed THE GHOST WRITER as a lame script expertly acted and directed, but not much more. The beauty of the ending is all in the timing and the offhand delivery of the punchline.

If only critics had greeted De Palma's FEMME FATALE with such open arms. Absolutely the most fun I had in a movie theater the last decade.