Denzel Washington will be honored by the HFPA on January 10, 2016 with the Cecil B. DeMille award. He will follow George Clooney, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, etc. Press release after the jump
Some of the films that stand out as the year’s best, which we’ll be digging into soon, might not even get into the Best Picture race. Cary Fukunaga’s uncompromising masterpiece, Beasts of No Nation sits atop that list. Perhaps too “difficult” for a consensus group that really needs to feel good about what it’s voting for, Beasts will perhaps be set adrift in the collective consciousness, destined to appear in film discussions for years to come. All the same, it gets down to the horrors of war without imposing morality or bowing to sentimentality – refusing to ever let up on the viewer. Right up there are other less accessible films. Like Black Mass, which dares to paint the mob as it really is, in all of its ugliness. The Big Short might be too wonky and weird for some Oscar voters but it gets to something about the American psyche that no other film has touched this year.
Before the overall landscape of the race can be assessed, however, there are still three big films by three big directors as year draws to a close, and that’s not even counting the last minute entries Creed and In the Heart of the Sea. Our attention is instead drawn to Alejandro G. Inarritu’s eagerly anticipated wintry survival epic, The Revenant; Quentin Tarantino’s wintry western, The Hateful Eight; and David O. Russell’s first film centered entirely around a woman, Joy. All three films have passionate support heading into their debuts and the heat is on. The heat is not only on, the pressure could not be more intense.
“Even the losers get lucky sometimes.” – Tom Petty
If you watch Adam McKay’s uniquely brilliant film The Big Short and attempt to review it without giving it some time to settle in, you do yourself, the film, film criticism overall and the world of cinema a disservice. This happens too much lately. We need snap judgments. We need a thumbs up or thumbs down. We need to know if it succeeds or fails. But The Big Short is a movie that throws so much at you it requires time and contemplation to settle in. You might walk out saying, “Wow, that was great,” but still have no idea what you just saw. You might walk out – as a Bernie Sanders supporter might – saying, “Yeah, those evil crooks on Wall Street, those 1%ers really stuck it to the poor people! Fix it Bernie!” Or you might walk out saying, “What the fuck was that?” The Big Short flies by like a truck of headless chickens dancing to Uptown Funk. You think you know what you just saw but what did you really just see?
The Governors Awards were like an audition before the audition before the audition on the road to Oscar. It isn’t a bad idea to be seen – to charm – to appear. This is going to really help someone like Carey Mulligan, for instance, who has just had a baby and wasn’t expected to “do the rounds.” Also seen, Love & Mercy’s John Cusack, Mr. Holmes’ Bill Condon, Laura Linney and Ian McKellen. Joy’s David O. Russell with Virginia Madsen and Diane Ladd. Check out our gallery.
Spike Lee in his customized Air Jordans took the state at the Governors Awards to receive his honorary Oscar, presented by Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Wesley Snipes. Lee’s masterpiece Do the Right Thing was overlooked by the Academy. They gave him an Oscar to honor his place in the industry now, but more for being such a brave pioneer way back when. Here are the videos, after the jump:
The State of the Race