Award Season is upon me! This means I’ve gone to the movies twice this week and I have exceeded the hold limit at the Chicago Public Library trying to get the DVDs of the early nominees that I missed the first time around. I’m in pop culture heaven.
For those of you who don’t know, I try to see all the nominees every year. I chose four of the major award shows a couple of years back to focus on: the SAG Awards, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Oscars. I have specific reasons for each, and why I ignore others, but I won’t go into them here (maybe in the intro to future updates).
Those of you that pay even a little bit of attention to these things have probably already figured out that this means that I will be consuming a lot media in the coming couple of months. I try to see every movie and watch at least a couple of episodes of all the TV shows. But I have a very, some may say absurdly, low tolerance for violent imagery, so I give myself three “outs” every year. (So far I can already announce that I will not be watching Breaking Bad or Django Unchained.)
OK enough explanation, so far I’ve seen:
The first award contender I saw this year, this movie had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I’ve never been one of those people who hated on Ben Affleck, but I have so much respect for him based on this movie. He created so much tension and suspense that he had me questioning whether I remember the history of the Iranian hostage crisis correctly. The cast is stacked with some of my personal favorites: Chris Messina, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber, Brian Cranston, Tate Donovan, and Alan Arkin & John Goodman,who feel as if they are in their own movie, in a way that is totally thematically appropriate. I also loved how it was a period movie that was accurate without winking at the audience about silly hair or polyester shirts.
One of my nerdier obsessions is presidential history, my friend Alexis and I want to go to all the presidential libraries at some point in our lives, and so I was totally onboard from the first whispers that this movie was in production. And for the most part I was not disappointed. Daniel Day-Lewis may be an alien sent here to show us what acting is supposed to look like, and he did an amazing job of making me forget that he was a Irish-Britishman rather than the 16th president of the United States. Also Tony Kushner wrote the script, which was excellent if a bit preachy at times, but when we’re talking about the end of slavery, I think we can all handle a little preaching.
And now to prove that I don’t just love all award contenders. This movie had a lot going on, it’s a behind the scenes of Psycho, an emotional look at what it’s like to be the “red carpet widow,” and a strange movie where it is somehow acceptable to have Ed Gein hanging out in the corner talking to Alfred Hitchcock. It never really comes together into anything coherent. That being said, the only nominations that it’s been getting so far are for Helen Mirren’s turn as Mrs. Hitchcock, Alma Reville, and her performance was breathtaking. There’s one scene, where she finally takes her needling, selfish husband to task, Mirren knocks it out of the park and before her monologue was even over I was thinking “oh that’s a nomination right there.” But overall while watching this movie I thought about how much I would rather be watching Psycho, which is insane given my above stated feelings on violence.
(Side note: I CANNOT spell that last name on the first try ever.) I think this movie was definitely gunning for more nominations than it has gotten thus far, but only in marketing. The actual movie is so far from straightforward awards bait, aside from the British talent heavy weight cast, (I mean it is a Working Title production that was expected). Instead it is a surreal, staging (like literally on a constantly shifting stage), of the Tolstoy novel. It’s visually stunning and the acting is wonderful. (I was especially moved by Jude Law as the Alexi Anna is married to.) The only nomination it has so far is for Dario Marianelli’s score, which is appropriate as the first half of this movie is essentially a ballet with dialogue, but I would expect some upcoming ones for costumes and maybe art direction.