Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Film Bitch Awards - Early FYC Ads

Michael C here.

Now that the first Oscar ads of the season are upon us we dedicated Film Experience fans know what that means. Time to start getting excited about The Film Bitch Awards.

I'm guessing I speak for a lot of you when I say I've found myself anticipating them as an essential part of the awards season because A) Nathaniel has taken the time to see the films in question unlike some voting bodies I could name and B) he actually approaches the bestowing of honors with some thoughtfulness and imagination, honoring worthy elements from otherwise average movies and not paying any mind to group think momentum. Also, Oscar doesn't have a category for best sex scene. Just sayin'.

So I thought it would be a bit of fun on a Sunday evening to give a shout out to our own 2010 favorites before the year end films completely dominate the conversation. I'll get the ball rolling...

FYC - The Runaways for Best Poster

I've read a lot of praise for the striking design on posters for The Social Network and For Colored Girls but the stark simplicity of this design for The Runaways is still tops of 2010 for me. In the wake of the play-it-safe banality of The King's Speech's justly derided one sheet it's worth holding this up as an example of what one can accomplish with some daring and confidence. The actual movie didn't hold much interest for me but this image has had my thoughts returning to the film all year.

FYC - Ben Kingsley in Shutter Island for Best Line Reading

"You blew up my car. I loved that car."

The last thing I was expecting when Leo reached the top of that lighthouse was this laugh line from Kingsley. For all the mad scheming of the his character that was one bit of collateral damage he just did not see coming. Kingsley, of course, nails the deadpan delivery and also makes it seem like a bit of sly commentary on the convoluted plot. The story is about to spiral through a half dozen more heated twists, but first things first.

FYC - Hereafter for Best Action Sequence

I was clearly on the side of the underwhelmed when it came to Eastwood's shadowy psychic drama, but there is no denying the impact of the opening Tsunami scene. Who would have guessed that after Emmerich and Bay spent the better part of their careers destroying the planet dozens of times over, Clint would come out of nowhere and show them how it's done. More than any disaster sequence I've scene this communications that queasy pit-of-the-stomach panic accompanying the realization that escape isn't an option.

FYC - Douglas Urbanski in The Social Network for Best Limited Role 

Every cast member gets there share of killer lines in Sorkin's script, but nobody knocked them out of the park with more consistency than Urbanski as Harvard President and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. The confrontation with the "Winklevii" is a sustained comedic high point. His Summers may miss the scope of the issue at hand but he is right on target when it comes to sizing up the two young men across the desk from him and how they managed to claim three minutes of his time. Urbanski nails that mixture of obliviousness and perceptiveness.

FYC - The Ghost Writer for Best Ending

Here's a rare occurrence in modern films - the twist ending that feels completely earned and holds up to the scrutiny of repeated viewings. Over the past decade it felt like story redefining twists were the fashionable thing to tack on to screenplays whether they were supported by the material or not. The ending here not only shifts our perspective on everything that just occurred but brings the whole movie in for a flawless landing with the perfect few grace notes and a final image that sticks in the memory.

FYC - Winter's Bone for Best Individual Scene

A lot of Winter's Bone succeeds as a mood piece. Images and textures stand out as much as sequences - the dismembered squirrel, the sound of Ree screaming to be heard in the slaughterhouse, the trampoline. Yet director Debra Granik does stage a beautifully tense standoff between John Hawkes and the state trooper that deserves mention as a stand alone set piece. All through the film we are trying to get a handle on Teardrop's menacing character. All we know for certain is that he is dangerous and if he is making a threat it would be foolish to assume he's bluffing. Granik squeezes every last drop of suspense out the scene. It's a pleasure to see a potentially violent encounter play out without the characters on action movie autopilot.

I'll turn it over to you guys. What movie moments would you like to see remembered after the end-of-the-year deluge of prestige pictures? Here's a refresher on the categories if you need one.

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