Sunday, November 27, 2011

Once in a Blue Moon

I was actually taken aback for a moment – in a good way - the other day when I somehow ended up looking at the National Society of Film Critics Awards winners for 2001. Even though critics groups (at least the more prestigious ones) usually have better taste than AMPAS, BAFTA etc, it almost never happens that they come up with a list as great as this:

Best Film: Mulholland Dr.
Best Actor: Gene Hackman, The Royal Tenenbaums
Best Actress: Naomi Watts, Mulholland Dr.
Best Supporting Actor: Steve Buscemi, Ghost World
Best Supporting Actress: Helen Mirren, Gosford Park
Best Director: Robert Altman, Gosford Park
Best Screenplay: Julian Fellowes, Gosford Park
Best Cinematography: Christopher Doyle & Ping Bin Lee, In the Mood for Love
Best Foreign Language Film: In the Mood For Love

There’s not a single choice here that I don’t like, and most of them would probably be my own picks for best of the year, too. Though, once I’ll finally get around to choosing my personal winners/nominees, In the Mood for Love will move from 2001 to 2000, since I always go with the IMDb (i.e. world premiere) year instead of the year a film was eligible for awards in the States. I haven’t seen The Royal Tenenbaums in years and don’t remember being that taken with Hackman’s performance, so I’d personally go with their runner-up Tom Wilkinson for In the Bedroom, and I’d give Best Director to Lynch instead of Altman... But these are minor quibbles, considering that AMPAS, in a characteristically stupid move, chose A Beautiful Mind (zzz...), with The Lord of the Rings: Vol. 1 (not my thing) and Moulin Rouge! (has its charms, but often annoying) as the probable runners-up.

Anyway, I decided to embark upon a little five-minute research to find any other equally awesome critics awards since 2000 - I still have too many unseen/un-rewatched films from earlier years. It turns out there aren’t any, though the New York Film Critics Circle, also in 2001, came quite close with a winners list that, except for the Actor/Actress categories, is almost a carbon copy of the NSFC one. I like that New Yorkers chose Wilkinson for Best Actor, but I can’t agree with their choice of his co-star Sissy Spacek as Best Actress. Not that I don’t like her in In the Bedroom – she has some great moments, even if the film ends up being the Tom Wilkinson show - but Naomi Watts owned the Best Actress category in 2001. Therefore, I give the edge to the NSFC. Thanks for proving that it is possible for some group somewhere at some point to vote in a way that I have almost no reason to complain!

Naomi accepting the NSFC Award...
...and finding out she was robbed of an Oscar nomination/win.

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