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By David Poland

BFCA Piles On

I don

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41 Responses to “BFCA Piles On”

  1. Chicago48 says:

    I am amazed that Ruby Dee is totally passed over in these awards…totally amazed. if she didn’t have 5 minutes of riveting acting on screen I don’t know who did.
    I am totally thrilled that at least AG and Viggo got mention.
    Honestly, as a consumer, there’s not much I want to see this end of the year. Maybe Atonement, but the others I can wait for video.
    And sorry, I don’t think Bardem’s Anton is the scariest serial killer on screen.

  2. Stella's Boy says:

    Every nom for American Gangster makes me sad. Right now it’s my pick for the most overrated movie of the year.

  3. Rob says:

    “if she didn’t have 5 minutes of riveting acting on screen I don’t know who did.”
    Vanessa Redgrave

  4. Strangeways says:

    Some lameass nominations here…I love Vanessa Redgrave, but c’mon, it’s a freaking cameo and the other two Briony’s were far more deserving of nominations.
    And I liked “Sweeney Todd”, but the little boy who played Toby, was AWFUL; the kid could sing, but can’t act his way out of paper bag. He had absolutely NO expression on his face and nothing registering in his eyes.
    And I love the way the BFCA spreads the wealth. They’re no better than the Globes or Board of Review.

  5. MarkVH says:

    Stella, agreed 100%. I can’t fathom where all the love for AG comes from. It’s an incredibly average movie that says nothing and goes nowhere.

  6. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah I didn’t hate AG, but I definitely expected more than I got.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    Not to nitpick, but…
    Best Picture Made for Television
    The Company
    Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
    Tin Man
    The War
    At least three of these four are miniseries, not movies.

  8. rpride says:

    That’s nitpicking.

  9. TMJ says:

    I’m amazed that Zodiac can’t muster an ounce of critical love come awards season.
    It currently has 89% Fresh on RT. 81% Cream of the Crop.
    That’s better than:
    American Gangster – 79% / 76%
    Atonement – 84% / 88% (edge)
    Into the Wild – 82% / 74%
    The Kite Runner – 67% (!!) / 88% (edge)
    Michael Clayton, No Country and Juno would top it. Sweeney Todd has seven reviews (all fresh). Blood has 12 reviews (all fresh). But that’s four titles that should fall behind Fincher’s film.
    BFCA had a great chance to recognize the film with direction and ensemble. I’m so disappointed. (And yes, I’m a member, but am one of the few that filled a ballot with Zodiac where applicable).

  10. jesse says:

    Chicago48, I was amazed that anyone was considering Ruby Dee to begin with and I’ll be pleased if this lack of recognition continues throughout the season. Nothing against her; her scenes (all two of them) in AG are fine, but she doesn’t really do anything particularly original or memorable with the part. It’s not really her fault; her character just isn’t very important or interesting. Awarding elderly actors with three minutes of screen time is a bad habit, anyway. I can’t imagine it does much for older actors and actresses in terms of good parts – it just encourages studios to cast them in more three-minute nothing parts, assuming that’ll be enough for some lifetime achievement BS.

  11. lazarus says:

    I brought this up last year and don’t remember anyone else being very offended, but am I the only one that’s bothered by the lack of an Editing or Cinematography category? These people call themselves critics and yet apparently Original Song, Comedy Film, and Family Film are more important? Also, instead of having two separate catgories for Young thespians is more necessary than separating the the writing categories? What the fuck? I understand the Hollywood Foreign Press not giving a shit about this stuff, but these are supposed to be people who analyze and discuss films for a living?
    This pisses me off to no end, and for those of you that are members, perhaps you should consider trying to petition the membership at large on this point. Because you look like a bunch of philistines with this category list.

  12. movieman says:

    TMJ- I totally agree about the lack of “Zodiac” love. It made my BFCA ballot (for picture, director, screenplay and ensemble).
    Even more personally disheartening was the lack of a doc nod for “Lake of Fire,” particularly when you consider that “Sharkwater” (blah) and “King of Kong” (ok, but nothing special) both made the cut.
    And I think the TV category is “made-for-TV movie OR mini-series.” Not a whole lot to vote on there, so I just picked 3 HBO movies, only one of which (“Wounded Knee”) made the final cut.
    Now if it had been “best television series,” we’d be talking a whole different game!

  13. THX5334 says:

    After the love fest for Enchanted on this blog, my girl and I went to see it last night at Century City.
    Other than Amy Adams giving a very fine performance as a living breathing animated character; I just want to say…
    My girl and I both HATED this movie. Why?
    The message this movie gives about relationships is so fucking wrong.
    I am sure my mother, who is a child psychologist, will be booked for years after this one.

  14. Hopscotch says:

    I disagree about King of Kong, movieman. Probably one of the funniest documentaries I’ve ever seen, I loved it. Though, No End in Sight will probably take it this year. And I have no problems with that.
    Dish all you want about Ruby Dee, but what the hell is Catherine Keener doing on that list. She’s fine and all but come on! Gives the kid advice before he’s on his way, I didn’t think it was anything special.

  15. Hopscotch says:

    I’m not surprised by Gosling…
    But VIGGO!!! shit man, he just have done that naked-fight stunt years ago.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    I want to agree with the ‘American Gangster is mediocre’ folks.
    I’ve always considered a miniseries to be closer to a long TV movie than to anything else.

  17. LexG says:

    “I want to agree with the ‘American Gangster is mediocre’ folks.”
    Please don’t make me use profanity this early in the day. I’m in a good mood for once.
    That said, yeah, Ruby Dee slapping Denzel and giving him the look o’ disappointment? Effective in the moment but hardly a nominatable performance. Shit, SCARFACE’S mom had more of a story arc and bigger “moments.”

  18. David Poland says:

    The irony of Enchanted, THX, is that both that film and Dan In Real Life, two Disney films –

    … turn on “the good guy/girl” breaking up an established relationship in order to have their happiness.

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    David: But isn’t that almost always the case in romantic comedies, as far as His Girl Friday (Grant sabotages the Russell/Bellamy relationship to reclaim his star reporter) to Serendipity and beyond? It’s the sort of set-up I always warn scriptwriting students about. OK, if A is already with B when C comes along — if you make B too nice, then A looks like a real bitch/bastard for running off with C. But if you make B a monster, there is no suspense — and the audience wonders what the hell A saw in B in the first place.

  20. lazarus says:

    I read past that spoiler warning on purpose so I wouldn’t have to sit through either of those films.
    Thanks, DP.
    And I’m mystified how, once again, no one else seems to care about the BFCA’s disregard for the cinematographers, editors, and the writers.
    But hey, as long as Dakota Blue Richards gets some acclaim, everything’s cool, right?

  21. David Poland says:

    With due respect to those with whom I share the group… we are pretty light on people who take criticism in any way seriously.
    And as for the categories, they tend to be narrowed by the TV deal and the length of the show. Make of that what you will.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    The next time someone asks me for a definition of the word tact, I will direct them to David’s last posting. Seriously.

  23. lazarus says:

    I think that’s exactly what you said last year, David. And that’s fine, I understand that, I know the economic realities of the show. And I’m not expecting the members of the organization to come out and start trashing their red-headed stepbrethren. I’m just surprised that among the people here who are interested in discussing the superlative efforts of the tech people, no one else wants to point the finger at the group for their pandering.
    You’d think with the writer’s strike going on they would have at least divided that category to show some respect for the adaptors and the original wordsmiths. But does the average viewer know or give a shit about all the young breakthrough actors so that there need to be two gender categories? There are barely enough noteworthy child perfs in a year to warrant one runoff, let alone two. Give a special award to Freddie Highmore or whoever and be done with it.

  24. samguy says:

    I think the reason many of us are rooting for Ruby Dee is because she was the only real emotion we feel in AG. Enjoyable flick, but great? No and no real chemsitry between Washington and Crowe. DeNiro and Pacino in “Heat” it ain’t.
    I think that with the strong showing of “Sweeney Todd” New Line can cease spending any more money on “Hairspray” over its initial committment. I’m hoping that “Sweeney” gets the Academy’s musical Best Picture slot, but “Hairspray”, a probable non-nominee wins the SAG Ensemble Award thereby fucking up that dopey prognisticator! (“Crash” anyone?)
    Oh and the last time that there were two musicals nominated for Best Picture was in 1968. “Funny Girl” and the winner “Oliver!”

  25. THX5334 says:

    What did you think of that part of it Joe and Dave?
    Enchanted SPOILER:
    They even went as far as to say, the guy that is technically more the asshole, is the more valuable catch!
    Patrick Dempsey’s lawyer character: pushes for divorce on his clients to line his own pockets; doesn’t let his girl play or imagine, and at every tries to ram the “There is no magic, only reality” while the birds are magically folding his laundry.
    Meanwhile, the Prince, who is only one note because that is how the universe he comes from is defined in the narrative (the animated one) risks life and limb and honestly FEELS true love, for the heroine, yet he gets the shaft for following his heart?
    I’m supposed to feel sympathetic to Dempsy’s characters values because his daughters mother left?
    And even worse, Dempsey’s girlfriend, is totally likeable! There’s nothing wrong with her! So, the narrative is conveying to kids that it’s cool to throw away a five year relationship over some chick we’ve only known a few days?
    Even though thats exactly what the Dempsey character is doing, while his character is criticizing the princess for following true love and wanting to marry the Prince in one day..
    (again, this is not illogical as defined by the rules established in the animated universe)
    Maybe this irony was planned, but it just makes the character seem stupid.
    David, I’m not working right now. If you need content, I will write a FREE column entitled:
    when narratively challenged films like this still get made, so we can let them know where they douched it.
    Especially when it relays the concept to kids that
    narcissism is more of a value than trying to maintain or strengthen an already healthy relationship.
    My armchair development:
    Now, if the narrative kept to where the Princess tried to fix the damage to Dempsy’s establised relationship like they did; elevate it so Dempsy’s character arc is learning to see magic again in the real world, and in effect his relationship, like the Princess does..
    The Princess’ arc is to spend more time with the Prince to learn how to make a foundation for everlasting love..all while being chased by the Queen, vying to kill the Princess to keep the throne. Split the narrative to a dual one, having the Princess rescue the Prince from the Queen/Dragon, while Dempsy’s character has to rescue his girlfriend and daughter from the henchman or some other danger.
    Then you would’ve had a story that doesn’t convey such destructive relationship principles, and maybe be worthy of all this Oscar talk.
    I’m okay with a nomination for Adams. But that’s it.

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    I think one of the few movies in which this sort of thing was directly addressed is, believe it or not, Sleepless in Seattle. Specifically, in the scene where Bill Pullman’s character tells Meg Ryan’s character that, dammit, he’s been treated very shabbily by her while she’s fallen for someone else — and Nora Ephron doesn’t even try to present anything to dispute this. It’s almost as though the movie is openly stating what most other movies of its kind merely imply: Every time somebody finds happiness, somebody else has to give up happiness.
    BTW: For similar reasons, I think Forces of Nature is a very under-rated movie. But I can’t be more specific than that without giving away an ending that, in the context of romatic comedies, is downright subversive.

  27. movieman says:

    Hopscotch- I liked “King of Kong” OK, but my top doc pics for ’07 are “Lake of Fire,” “Sicko,” “No End in Sight” and “My Kid Could Paint That” (in that order).
    And I agree with the poster who complained about the BFCA’s lack of cinematography and editing categories.
    I absolutely loathe having to come up with nominations for Family Film (Live-Action), Under 21-Year-Old Actor/Actress and (usually) Song every year, but would welcome the chance to single out outstanding cinematography and editing.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    A group could give out awards without having to make them part of the TV show. The Oscars does.

  29. lazarus says:

    “…and in a private ceremony last week, David Poland handed out some technical awards over lunch. Here are some highlights…”

  30. abraham says:

    BFCA is like the NBR, a racket: How can anybody believe that their membership saw all the movies, so that they can know which ones to select. Also, how can you respect an organization when the president makes money (executive producer) from the telecast of the show. The organization is run by a small group of tyrants.
    It is very troublesome that a small group of opportunists are trying to pass themselves off has a great organization that broadcasts this show based on the merits and not on their self interests.
    P.S. BFCA is not interest in the crafts (below the line talent). All they are interested in is to mix with the “stars” and sell those event tables to the studios.

  31. movieman says:

    The BFCA should probably eliminate “charter” members who are no longer working film critics from the voting ranks.
    That might be a way to weed out some of the freeloaders.

  32. David Poland says:

    Actually, BFCA has been pretty good about that. They give members a few years to find new outlets before dumping them, but a number of people have been weeded out in recent years, I gather.
    And Abraham, I think you are overstating it a bit. BFCA’s membership are mostly junket people and junket people see a LOT of movies, surely a lot more on average than Academy members. Unlike NBR, nominations are legitimately made by the entire membership. In addition, we do get DVDs from studios, like so many other groups, including LAFCA and NYFCC.
    That said, the television show does at time overwhelm the better efforts of the association.
    But please enlighten me as to what group isn’t self-interested?
    I could agree with an argument than no groups should be having dinners or doing TV shows… but you’re going to judge and tell me which group of professionaly employed working professionals giving out awards is ok and whch on isn’t? Iffy.

  33. scooterzz says:

    actually, dp, while members are often given time to relocate they are placed in a non-voting position while doing so….and the membership is constantly being vetted……there’s a lot less featherbedding than movieman might think….

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    Before we get too carried away with all of this: I know this will sound snarky to the Nth degree, but… Even when it was aired on the old WB, what was the highest rating ever posted by the BFCA awards show? I mean, with all due respect: outside of people like, well, us — how many people out there know the organization exists? How many civilians, when they hear “Critics Choice” awards, think of NY or LA groups? Seriously. I don’t mean to dis anyone or anything, but aren’t we presuming an importance that may be more apparent than real? Do the BFCA awards have any measurable influence on Oscars voters? Or any more influence than, say, the LA, Boston, NY or Hot Coffee, Miss. groups? I pose these questions not to express disdain, but out of genuine curiosity. I mean, OK, if a group can “predict” Oscar winners with its own awards, that’s very nice, I suppose. But what essentially does that mean? That the membership of that group has the same mindset as Oscar voters? Or what?

  35. scooterzz says:

    leydon — ‘with all due respect’ (and, i ‘don’t mean to dis’ your question) i ask out ‘of genuine curiosity’, is it really necessary to explain to someone who has been in the business as long as you why the bfca exists?…or, for that matter, why any of the critics orgs exist?….
    the oscars were invented by the studios to promote films….the critics orgs were invented by the critics to promote (and give leverage to) the critics….
    to even posit your question is a bit insulting….

  36. Joe Leydon says:

    Er, Scoot — Please go back and read my post. I’m not asking why the BFCA exists. Hell, I know why it exists — probably for roughly the same reason why, this past year, someone (not me) organized the Houston Film Critics Association (of which I am a member). I was raising the question of why (or even whether) anyone in the real world cares that it (or any other critics’ group) exists. Once again: How many folks in the real world know anything about the group? And if this question is insulting — who is being insulted?

  37. abraham says:

    Does anybody know how much JOEY BERLINER makes as the “executive producer” of the BFCA awards show? I bet it’s a pretty penny!

  38. scooterzz says:

    leydon — no one in the real world cares…and you know it…so why ask the question?….that was my point…. again, you know the answer but you ask the question….begging for attention…. that’s kinda what it’s all about…. and, berlin makes about 60 grand as producer of cca show (and more fore other duties)…

  39. Jesus Christ, how much do I hate the BFCA? I’m fairly sure Ratatouille, Hairspray and Zodiac got better reviews than at least American Gangster and The Kite Runner. But because they have no chance of being nominated for Oscar they are conveniently forgotten about. Am I right?
    And, seriously, Bridge of Terabithia not nominated for Best Family Film? That is, for me, the most startling disrespectful snub. And why aren’t animated films eligible for this family film category? If movies like Hairspray are eligible for multiple categories, then why not Ratatouille?
    Aagh. Still, no Bridge to Terabithia? I generally don’t think my opinion is the be all and end all, but that is really a pathetic and absurd move. Not only one the best family films, but one of the best films of the year period.
    I’d hazard a guess that anyone who actually saw the film would agree.

  40. Joe Leydon says:

    Scoot, I really don’t understand your level of hostility, sport. I mean, in the same posting, you’re dismissive of BFCA (“no one in the real world cares”) and me. And how is raising the questions I’ve raised “begging for attention” any more than other, far more hostile questions that have been raised here? Take a chill pill, man.

  41. David Poland says:

    Well, Joe… I take no offense. But I do think you are overstating the irrelevance a little.
    As you know, my position is that none of the “precursors” have all that much power. We all – bloggers, Traditional Media, awards, critics groups – narrow the field. But when it comes to Oscar, voters have access and they vote what they feel. What all the hooplah does do is to help people decide what to watch… which tends to leave some very good films out of contention.
    As for BFCA being known… do you really want to argue that ratings equals value? If BFCA ends up on CBS in 3 years and competes closely with HFPA in the ratings, will it be any better?
    Obviously, there is more impact than the Indianapolis Film Critics Circle. You have more than 200 journalists with pulpits talking up the awards and nominees. The show will get more play in the heartland of America than anything but Oscar and The Globes. And the televised show is also a place where a speech can be made and played over and over… unlike the untelevised critics awards… and when it comes to The Finals, the great speech makers often win.
    Again… as angry as it gets people… all of these awards are anticipatory of Oscar. If they weren’t, then every award other than Oscar and NSFC would not be given before Dec 15 each year.
    And Abe, babe, why so angry at Joey?

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon