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David Poland

By David Poland

NY Film Critics Circle

The meeting started at 6a, Los Angeles time, and continues on.
The group posts their winners to their website as they as selected, which is a pretty gracious way of not making it about who can Blackberry whom with info first. You know as much as I do when I know it.
So far (last update 9 minutes ago)…
Best Actress Sally Hawkins Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Screenplay Jenny Lumet Rachel Getting Married
Best Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle Slumdog Millionaire
Best Supporting Actor Josh Brolin Milk
Best Animated Film WALL-E
Best Director Mike Leigh Happy-Go-Lucky
With the exception of Wall-E, it seems like a “Don’t Overlook” list as much as anything.
Mike Leigh and Sally Hawkins has been seen as endangered lately. (Leigh was runner-up at LAFCA and Hawkins is now a bi-coastal 2-for-2… suddenly making Kristin Scott Thomas the endangered species in Actress, especially if Kate Winslet The Reader gets voted in as a lead role, as it really should.) Anthony Dod Mantle is seen as fighting for a slot because he is not one of the American regulars… Brolin in Milk… Leigh as Best Director.
Spent a while with Brolin yesterday for a DP/30 that will post over the weekend… couldn’t be happier for him. A great, understated performance that, like W., was a tightwire walk.
Anyway… ongoing…
Best Supporting Actress Penelope Cruz Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best First Film Courtney Hunt Frozen River
Best Foreign Film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Best Actor Sean Penn Milk
Best Documentary Man on Wire
Best Picture Milk

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4 Responses to “NY Film Critics Circle”

  1. jesse says:

    OK, time for me to complain about Rachel Getting Married. It’s a pretty decent movie, but I find it so odd that it’s getting praised for its script, when so much of what’s good about it is in the performance and the direction, not the actual story, dialogue, or construction. In fact, the script of the movie was, to me, the weakest major element of the movie (well, maybe along with Demme’s NPR-ready music wanking, but that sort of goes hand-in-hand with the wandering verite element, which I enjoyed). Strip away the direction and the emotional honesty of the performances, and you have what seems like a pretty stagy, melodramatic, on-the-nose script. I mean, I can’t say for sure, not having read it, but that’s how it came off to me.
    This has become almost a tradition of sorts, singling out the screenplay of a not-particularly-well-written “little” movie just because the stereotype is “little” movies = better writing. Little Miss Sunshine is a recent example; good movie, but it’s a cliche-ridden and sometimes sitcommy script held up by a lot of excellent acting and directing.
    Also, several bits of recognition for Brolin in Milk just feel odd to me. It’s a good performance, to be sure, and Brolin has been on a real roll for the past couple years. I guess this is mostly acknowledgement of that. But his performance in W. was so much more impressive to me. I know there’s less room in the leading category, but I can’t get too excited about giving him an award for his work in Milk, solid as it is.

  2. movieman says:

    Am I missing something?
    I don’t quite get all this love for Sally Hawkins’ wildly overrated performance in “Happy Go Lucky.” She grated like hell on my nerves, and was probably the major reason this was my least favorite Leigh film since 1997’s “Career Girls.”
    And giving Leigh their Best Director nod this year was downright perverse.
    (P.S.= Didn’t NYFF give “Four Months” their Best Foreign Film prize last year, too? I know that one major crix group did, which is probably where the “What year was this released anyway?” confusion started.)

  3. jeffmcm says:

    I agree re: Little Miss Sunshine, it’s a movie with a pedestrian script elevated by the directors and actors.

  4. Movieman, while I tend to find people in real like life Hawkins’ Poppy infuriating, I found that she wore me down in the film. Not just because she’s happy all the time, but because she’s a geniunely nice person who I actually wanted to see nice things happen to. Sometimes that’s all I want in a movie (of course, Happy-Go-Lucky, I think, has more going on than just that). Good things happening to good people are just as worthy of films as depressing wrist-slashing bad stuff happening to deathly boring unsympathetic whingeing mopers like so many acclaimed “arthouse” movies who are heaped with praise with words like “anguished” and “downtrodden” and “hopelessness”. etc. I like those movies sometimes, but I think – especially at a time like this – some people have really responded to the film as a sort of modern day “don’t worry / be happy” message.
    or whatever.

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