After all of their drama about changing their date and forcing the Dragon Tattoo to be screened too early, in the end the awards, for the most part, were fairly predictable. The Artist was my early prediction, I then switched it to Tree of Life and then to Moneyball! All three films figured prominently. Getting the biggest boost, though, is Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life and Bennett Miller’s underdog, Moneyball. Along with the Artist, you’re looking at three of the best reviewed films of the year (not counting Harry Potter, which would be among them). That Moneyball earned an acting award for Pitt and a screenwriting prize for Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zallian puts it into contention where it was only a hopeful contender prior to that. Now people will look at it differently, pay more attention to it, and hopefully understand why it earned such high praise.
My third viewing of Moneyball the other night affirmed what I thought the first time I saw it. It is a tightly written script, an elegantly acted ensemble and Bennett Miller’s best directing to date. It’s too much to hope it actually WINS Best Picture, but to see it nominated would almost be reward enough.
Tree of Life, which I personally felt was down for the count, comes roaring back with the Sight and Sound critics poll, and now, the major awards at the New York Film critics – Supporting Actress, Cinematography and Actor.
But of course, the winner of the day was Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Co. as The Artist showed up on the Spirit Awards list and collected Picture and Director at the New York Film Critics. Imagine that. It is surely to win the Los Angeles Film Critics too and join that list of films that won both — we’re then left to ponder certain scenarios. Does The Artist win big like The Hurt Locker, taking all three, including the Artist? Or does it become the critics darling, like Social Network last year where another film takes the top prize at the Oscars? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Weinstein Co. also got a nice showing for Meryl Streep for the Iron Lady and Michelle Williams, nominated for a Spirit Award.
Here are the films that have won both Director and Picture at the NYFCC:
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
David Fincher, The Social Network —> Tom Hooper, The King Speech
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker —> Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men —> Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Martin Scorsese (The Departed), United 93 —> Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain —-> Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), Crash
Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), ROTK —> Peter Jackson, ROTK
Todd Haynes, Far From Heaven —> Roman Polanski (The Pianist), Chicago
Robert Altman (Gosford Park), Mullholland Drive —>Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind
Steven Soderbergh, Traffic —> Steven Soderbergh (Traffic), Gladiator
Mike Leigh, Topsy Turvy —> Sam Mendes, American Beauty
Terrence Malick (Thin Red Line), Saving Private Ryan —>Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan), Shakespeare in Love
Curtis Hanson, LA Confidential —-> James Cameron, Titanic
Robert Altman, The Player —> Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
Jonathan Demme, Silence of the Lambs —-> Jonathan Demme, Silence of the Lambs
Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas —> Robert Redford, Ordinary People
James L. Brooks, Broadcast News —> Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor
Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters —> Oliver Stone, Platoon
John Huston, Prizzi’s Honor —>Sydney Pollack, Out of Africa
David Lean, A Passage to India —->Milos Foreman, Amadeus
Ingmar Bergman (Fanny and Alexander), Terms of Endearment —>James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment
Sidney Lumet (Prince of the City), Warren Beatty (Reds), Chariots of Fire
Jonathan Demme (Melvin and Howard), Ordinary People —>Robert Redford, Ordinary People
I did not go back farther than 1980. My conclusions: it only happened twice that a film won both Picture and Director from the New York critics and then went on to win the Oscar for Picture and Director — The Hurt Locker and The Silence of the Lambs. Gravitas all over the place. That makes it harder for The Artist, I would think. How about you?