Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Second Annual McBoner Awards

Every year I watch the Oscars, and every year I come away thinking I'll never watch them again. There is a lot to hate about the Academy Awards, but the main problem I have is that they suck royally. I also might add that it seems rather offensive for rich people to be sashaying around in $5,000 dollar gowns and giving awards to each other when honest working folk are being evicted from their homes left and right. But I digress, and of course I will be glued to the screen tomorrow, as always simultaneously rapt and trying to suppress my gag reflex.

The Academy and I have seen pretty much the same movies, and so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I humbly present to you this year's McBoner Awards:

Wall-E--Best film. Like last year's race, this one was a tough call, and with a more crowded field. Iron Man is an action movie based on a comic book. Of course the Academy lusts solely for drama, but just because Iron Man has style and swagger and a sense of humor doesn't change the fact that it is a superior piece of art. Wall-E, however, happens to be one of the greatest films ever made, a lesson in visual storytelling that blustery, blathering films like Doubt should take a look at. Other nominees are The Visitor and The Wrestler.

Clint Eastwood--Best Actor. There are certain times when an actor and a role are just born for each other. This is one of them. Other worthy nominees are: Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), and it absolutely kills me not to give this award to Robert Downy Jr. for Iron Man. It's just that Clint's swearing, snarling Walt Kowalski is better. And this isn't one of those makeup awards that are given out just because Clint is old now and should have won 5 or 6 Oscars in his life. You know, like the one Martin Scorsese won for the pretty good The Departed? Nope, he deserves this McBoner because McBone will never forget Walk Kowalski.

Kate Winslet--Best Actress, in The Reader. Ugh. I have a feeling I should be giving this award to Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married, but the movie didn't come to any of our god-damned theaters. I wasn't blown away by any lead actress performance this year, and I've liked Kate Winslet in other things much better, but she was pretty damned good in The Reader, corny accent and all. She wins by default.

Heath Ledger--Best supporting actor. Everyone went to see this movie for Heath Ledger, so he really was more like the lead actor, but what are you going to do? What he achieved in his last role on earth was craft one of the finest villains in all moviedom, no small task, and so he wins handily over the excellent Josh Brolin in Milk and the creepy-as-hell Jeff Bridges in Iron Man.

Penelope Cruz--Best supporting actress, in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Penelope is a gifted actress in many languages and many genres. She is also, as my partner blogger points out, extremely hot. Though 'volcanic' is terribly overused to describe an actor's performance, here it applies in every sense of the word. This is one for the time capsule. She beats the superb Gwyneth Paltrow from Iron Man by a decent margin. Also excellent were Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood, both from The Wrestler.

Jon Favreau--Best director, for Iron Man. Favreau gets the award for creating a seamless film with perfect acting from top to bottom. That's that and no apologies.

Nick Schenk and Dave Johannson--Best screenplay, for Gran Torino. Though it wasn't a perfect screenplay, it was the most shocking and memorable. For that, these two win the prize.

Wall-E and Coraline--Best art direction. Forget Benjamin Button. These two animated masterpieces are a tossup visually, and shouldn't have to compete with each other.

Don't agree with me? Maybe the Alex Awards will be more to your taste:

I am sorry to say that these awards are hampered by the fact that we didn't get to see either Rachel Getting Married or Frozen River because they never made it to our town, where the movie theaters are a disgrace to all filmdom.

Best film: I'm going to have to make it a tie between Wall-E and The Reader. Wall-E is a multigenerational, magical and fearless film with a very timely message about overconsumption and the loss of our humanity. It is a disgrace the academy didn't even nominate it. The Reader was the only one of this year's nominees that touched my emotional core and lingered with me for days after seeing it, its wound palpable inside me. For that and its perplexing and multilayered complexities, I tie it with Wall-E. Other excellent films were The Visitor and Iron Man.

Best Actress: For finding the humanity in a woman who breaks a plethora of moral boundaries, I find Kate Winslet in The Reader this year's best actress. I couldn't do this without mentioning my love Keira Knightley in The Duchess as well, though none of the award ceremonies agree.

Best Actor: This may be a political move, but some stories need telling and Sean Penn's performance as Harvey Milk is timely, heartfelt and beautiful. I also found Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) to give fantastic performances this year.

Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Pure sexual, incorrigible and unstoppable magic. Viola Davis made great use of her short screen time on Doubt and so did Evan Rachel Wood in The Wrestler.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger. What else can I say? He made evil fun, attractive and mesmerizing. Haaz Sleiman from The Visitor and Josh Brolin from Milk also gave complex, brilliant performances.

Best Director: Stephen Daldry for finding the emotional yet never maudlin tone in The Reader. Runners-up are Andrew Stanton for Wall-E and Thomas McCarthy for The Visitor.

Best Screenplay: Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter for Wall-E. It's not easy to hypnotize today's audiences with a half-hour scene where no dialogue takes place. Runner up: Pam Brady and Andrew Fleming for Hamlet 2.

Best Art Direction: I couldn't leave my beloved James McAvoy entirely out of this business, so my vote goes to Wanted for one of the coolest looking films ever. Coraline in spite of making little use of its 3D capabilities is also a visual feast, as is Wall-E, of course.

nwb and AHA

1 comment:

Kid Shay said...

I should have mentioned Coraline as well, but I'm saving it for next year. Let Wall-E shine this year. Wall-E and Penelope Cruz, Robert Downey in his Iron Man suit and Heath Ledger with a scar, these are the things I'll remember about cinema from last year.