Thursday, December 15, 2016

2009: The Year in Review

Seeing as the Best Picture choice for the Oscars this year, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, was really a film from late 2008, I gave myself free reign to go with another magnificent and more unusual war film as the winner of the top spot in 2009. Upon seeing it that summer, I knew that no other film this year would best Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, an uproariously entertaining reimagination of WWII history anchored by Christoph Waltz's tremendously venal supporting performance as a sly Nazi hunter of Jews (heading the year's best ensemble cast). It was easily, also, 2009's most accomplished film from a craft standpoint as well, though the Academy showed much love for James Cameron's hit 3D abomination Avatar, a movie that I thoroughly despised then, and hate perhaps more now. On the other hand, I had much love for Jacques Audiard's stunning crime drama A Prophet; Jane Campion's Bright Star, an elegant romantic biopic centered around 19th Century poet John Keats and his ardent lover Fanny Brawne; the Coen Brothers surreal morality tale A Serious Man; Wes Anderson's gorgeous, hysterically funny animated adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox; Gaspar Noé's unforgettably trippy Enter the Void; and Michael Haneke's black-and-white masterpiece of pre-Nazi horror The White Ribbon. Though 2009 was a great year for world cinema and animated film, I continued to believe that Hollywood was taking a downturn into the dregs of CGI-driven boredom. But, luckily, we still had the indie world to give us some terrific movies and performances here and there, with Waltz, Mo'Nique (both scary and heartbreaking as the abusive mother in Lee Daniels' Precious), Patton Oswalt (a comedian surprising us with a jolting dramatic turn as an unbalanced sports nut in Robert Siegel's Big Fan), and a superb Charlotte Gainsbourgh as another of Lars von Trier's tortured heroines in Antichrist all emerging as the leads in their categories, in my estimation. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

PICTURE: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (US, Quentin Tarantino) (2nd: A Prophet (France, Jacques Audiard), followed by: Bright Star (Australia, Jane Campion); A Serious Man (US, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen); Fantastic Mr Fox (US, Wes Anderson); Enter the Void (France, Gaspar Noé); The White Ribbon (Germany/France, Michael Haneke); Big Fan (US, Robert Siegel); Antichrist (Denmark, Lars Von Trier); Fish Tank (UK, Andrea Arnold); Collapse (US, Chris Smith); The Father of My Children (France, Mia Hansen-Love); My Dog Tulip (US, Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger); Moon (UK, Duncan Jones); The Cove (US, Louie Psihoyos); Lebanon (Israel, Samuel Moaz); Mary and Max (Australia, Adam Elliot); Mother and Child (US, Rodrigo Garcia); Wild Grass (France, Alain Resnais); The Informant! (US, Steven Soderburgh); White Material (France, Claire Denis); The Maid (Chile/Mexico, Sebastián Silva); Dogtooth (Greece, Giorgos Lanthimos); Mother (South Korea, Bong Joon-ho); In the Loop (UK, Armando Iannucci); Up (US, Pete Docter and Bob Peterson); Precious (US, Lee Daniels); A Single Man (US, Tom Ford); Where The Wild Things Are (US, Spike Jonze); The Yes Men Fix The World (US, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonnano, and Kurt Engfehr); (500) Days of Summer (US, Marc Webb); Ponyo (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Coraline (US, Henry Selick); Up in the Air (US, Jason Reitman); An Education (UK, Lone Scherfig); The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (US,  Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith); A Town Called Panic (Belgium/ Luxembourg/France, Stephanie Aubier and Vincent Patar); Crazy Heart (US, Scott Cooper); Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (US, Werner Herzog); The Messenger (US, Oren Moverman); Away We Go (US, Sam Mendes); That Evening Sun (US, Scott Teems); Zombieland (US, Ruben Fleischer); Gentleman Broncos (US, Jared Hess); The Girl on the Train (France, André Téchiné); The Young Victoria (UK/US, Jean-Marc Vallée); I Am Love (France, Luca Guadagnino); The Art of the Steal (US, Don Argott); Observe and Report (US, Jody Hill); The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, Nils Arden Oplev); Drag Me To Hell (US, Sam Raimi); The Girlfriend Experience (US, Steven Soderburgh); Agora (Spain, Alejandro Aménabar); Outrage (US, Kirby Dick); Star Trek (US, J.J. Abrams); The Secret of the Kells (Ireland, Tomm Moore); Youth in Revolt (US, Miguel Arteta); Sin Nombre (Mexico, Cary Fukunaga); Invictus (US, Clint Eastwood); The House of the Devil (US, Ti West); Adventureland (US Greg Mottola); Whip It! (US, Drew Barrymore); The Last Station (Germany/ Russia/UK, Michael Hoffman); Cairo Time (Canada/ Ireland/Egypt, Ruba Nadda); 9 (US, Shane Acker); Beeswax (US, Andrew Bujalski); The Invention of Lying (US, Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson); Micmacs (France, Jean Pierre Jeunet); The Road (US, John Hillcoat); The Lovely Bones (US/UK/New Zealand, Peter Jackson); Nine (US, Rob Marshall); District 9 (US, Neill Blomkamp); Avatar (US, James Cameron); Public Enemies (US, Michael Mann); Watchmen (US, Zach Snyder))

ACTOR: Patton Oswalt, BIG FAN (2nd: Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, followed by: Colin Firth, A Single Man; Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; Sam Rockwell, Moon; Matt Damon, The Informant!; Morgan Freeman, Invictus)

ACTRESS: Charlotte Gainsbourg, ANTICHRIST (2nd: Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank, followed by: Catalina Saavedra, The Maid, Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; Abbie Cornish, Bright Star; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2nd: Paul Schneider, Bright Star, followed by: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Niels Arestrup, A Prophet; Matt Damon, Invictus; Kevin Corrigan, Big Fan; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo’Nique, PRECIOUS (2nd: Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds, followed by: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart; Julianne Moore, A Single Man; Anne-Marie Duff, Nowhere Boy; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air) 

DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2nd: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man, followed by: Jacques Audiard, A Prophet; Gaspar Noe, Enter the Void; Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox; Jane Campion, Bright Star; Michael Haneke, The White Ribbon)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: A PROPHET (France, Jacques Audilard) (2nd: Enter the Void (France, Gaspar Noe), followed by: The White Ribbon (Germany/Austria, Michael Haneke); The Father of My Children (France, Mia Hansen Love); Lebanon (Israel, Samuel Moaz); Wild Grass (France, Alain Renais); White Material (France/Cameroon, Claire Denis); Dogtooth (Greece, Giorgios Lanthimos); The Maid (Mexico, Sebastian Silva); The Girl on the Train (France, André Téchiné); The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, Nils Arden Oplev))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: COLLAPSE (US, Chris Smith) (2nd: The Cove (US, Louie Psihoyos), followed by: The Yes Men Fix The World (US, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonnano, and Kurt Engfehr); The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (US,  Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith); The Art of the Steal (US, Don Argott); Outrage (US, Kirby Dick))

ANIMATED FEATURE: FANTASTIC MR. FOX (US, Wes Anderson) (2nd: My Dog Tulip (US, Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger), followed by: Mary and Max (Australia, Adam Elliot); Up (US, Pete Docter and Bob Peterson); Coraline (US, Henry Selick); A Town Called Panic (Belgium/Luxembourg/ France, Stephanie Aubier and Vincent Patar); Ponyo (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); 9 (US, Shane Acker); The Secret of the Kells (Ireland, Tomm Moore))

ANIMATED SHORT: LOGORAMA (France, Francois Alaux, Herve de Crecy, and Ludovic Houplain) (2nd: A Matter of Loaf and Death (UK, Nick Park), followed by: French Roast (France, Fabrice Joubert)) 

LIVE ACTION SHORT: I KNEW IT WAS YOU: REDISCOVERING JOHN CAZALE (US, Richard Shepard) (2nd: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant (US,  Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert), followed by: Rabbit a la Berlin (Poland/Germany, Bartosz Konopka))  

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Quentin Tarantino, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2nd: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man, followed by: Michael Haneke, The White Ribbon; Robert D. Siegel, Big Fan; Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer))

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2nd: Thomas Bidegain and Jacques Audilard, A Prophet, followed by: Jane Campion, Bright Star; Scott Z. Burns, The Informant!; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche and Ian Martin, In The Loop)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Christian Berger, THE WHITE RIBBON (2nd: Grieg Fraser, Bright Star, followed by: Benoit Debie, Enter the Void; Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds; Anthony Dod Mantle, Antichrist)

ART DIRECTION: ENTER THE VOID, Inglourious Basterds, Bright Star, Avatar, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

COSTUME DESIGN: BRIGHT STAR, The Young Victoria, Coco Before Chanel, I Am Love, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus


FILM EDITING: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, A Prophet, A Serious Man, Enter the Void, Lebanon

SOUND: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, Up, Avatar, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek

SOUND EFFECTS: UP, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek

ORIGINAL SCORE:  Marvin Hamlisch, THE INFORMANT! (2nd: Michael Giacchino, Up, followed by: Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox; Mark Bradshaw, Bright Star; James Newton Howard, Up in the Air)

ADAPTED OR SONG SCORE: T-Bone Burnett, CRAZY HEART (2nd: Carter Burwell and Karen O, Where the Wild Things Are)

ORIGINAL SONG: “The Weary Kind” from CRAZY HEART (Music and lyrics by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham) (2nd: “You’ve Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” from An Education (Music and lyrics by Beth Rowley and Ben Castle), followed by: “Other Father’s Song” from Coraline (Music and lyrics by John Flansburgh and John Linnell); “All Is Love” from Where The Wild Things Are (Music and lyrics by Karen O and Tom Biller); “Hideaway” from Where The Wild Thing Are (Music and lyrics by Karen O and Imaad Wasif); “Little One” from Mother and Child (Music and lyrics by Lucy Schwartz))


MAKEUP: STAR TREK, Drag Me To Hell, The Young Victoria

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