Globes and Laurels

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice (2018)

What an odd annual ritual the Golden Globes are. For three quarters of a century, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, made up this year of around ninety journalists most Americans have never heard of, has selected rosters of nominees and winners that have little impact on either critics’ year-end lists or the main event of every awards season, the Academy Awards. But the ceremony is looser, boozier, and just generally a whole lot more fun than the Oscars, so millions tune in each year. “If the Globes have become a beloved television institution, the HFPA is viewed as something of a benign embarrassment,” writes Variety’s Brent Lang, pointing out that many industry insiders have argued that its members are “more easily influenced by catered lunches, parties, and access to movie stars” than the over 8,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg will host the presentation of the seventy-sixth Golden Globe Awards on January 6, and the nominations in over two dozen categories were announced in Los Angeles this morning. Globes will go out to makers of both films and television shows, and among the movies, Adam McKay’s Vice, with Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, leads with six nominations. Following with five each are Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born, Peter Farrelly’s Green Book, and Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite. The New York TimesKyle Buchanan, Vulture’s Nate Jones and Kathryn VanArendonk, Deadline’s Dominic Patten, and Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh and Danielle Turchiano are already sorting through the snubs and surprises.

More Nominations and Awards

Brad Bird’s Incredibles 2, this year’s animated wonder from Pixar, and Phil Johnston and Rich Moore’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, which turns Disney’s 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph into a franchise, lead the nominations for the forty-sixth Annie Awards presented by the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood. “All told, the Walt Disney Company, which owns Pixar, snapped up a total of forty-two nominations among a wide array of film and TV projects,” notes Variety’s Terry Flores.

And at a glance:

  • The American Film Institute has selected ten films and ten television shows as the winners of its AFI Awards and announced that Roma, Alfonso Cuarón’s ode to the women who raised him in Mexico City in the 1980s, is to be recognized with an AFI Special Award, “designated for a work of excellence outside the Institute’s criteria for American film.”
  • The Detroit Film Critics Society favors Eighth Grade, awarding Bo Burnham’s debut feature eight nominations and three wins, including best film, breakthrough director, and supporting actor (Josh Hamilton).
  • The Asia Pacific Screen Awards were presented last week, with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters winning best film and Lee Chang-dong taking a grand jury prize for Burning.
  • TIFF has selected Canada’s Top Ten of 2018 and will be screening the winners throughout 2019.

Latest Lists

Awards and list-making season is, for most critics, also a time for reflection on the state of cinema, both as an art and as a business. “The gap between what’s good and what’s widely available in theatres—between the cinema of resistance and the cinema of consensus—is wider than ever,” writes the New Yorker’s Richard Brody at the top of his list of forty favorite films of the year. “But there are also signs of progress. The increasing diversity and originality of artistic ideas in movies is a result of the increasing (though not sufficiently rapidly increasing) diversity in the range of filmmakers, actors, and other collaborators working today.”

Manohla Dargis is a little less optimistic. She finds that the “mainstream” industry “feels both creatively and ethically bankrupt.” Meantime, Roma, the film she called a “masterpiece” in her review last month, tops her list of ten. Her fellow New York Times critic, A. O. Scott, squeezes four “lyrical, visionary” documentaries into his #1 slot, arguing that, taken together, they “add up to an indelible composite portrait of America right now.” The four are Robert Greene’s Bisbee ’17, Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening, and Frederick Wiseman’s Monrovia, Indiana.

Back to Roma for a moment to note that it tops lists from Vulture’s David Edelstein and Emily Yoshida, author Tom Shone, and Richard Lawson, who calls it “an opera of the human condition.” For his fellow critic at Vanity Fair, K. Austin Collins, 2018’s #1 is Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, “the most intellectually enriching film of the year.” ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer goes for The Favourite, which he’s found “both legitimately funny and deeply depressing about the mechanisms of government and the greedy, self-centered people who so often wield its power.” And at the Film Stage, Jordan Raup notes that Cahiers du cinéma’s top ten is out, and leading it is Bertrand Mandico’s “gloriously trippy, gender fluid fantasy,” The Wild Boys.

Australian critic and programmer Geoffrey Gardner runs a series each year called “Defending Cinephilia,” for which he invites contributors to write about five items of any sort that might “cheer up the hearts and minds of the worldwide cinephile community.” Adrian Martin has opened this year’s edition with thoughts on Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind, the “very-low-budget realm of innovative filmmaking in Australia,” A. S. Hamrah’s new book The Earth Dies Streaming, Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire (1987), and Park Chan-wook’s six-episode series The Little Drummer Girl. IndieWire has asked a slew of critics for a few words each in answer to the question “What’s a criminally under-appreciated 2018 movie that people should be sure to watch before the end of the year?” And finally for now, an essay, not a list at all, from Bilge Ebiri for Vulture, arguing that “a number of this year’s biggest, most important films have turned on taking familiar, less ‘elevated’ genres and finding ways to infuse them with both artistry and resonance.”

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