Monday, April 5, 2010

The 1st Annual Golden Schmoo Awards

Well, it's finally here. I've been working on my nominations for months now and this weekend I finally finished off my Must-See list for 2009. The Golden Schmoo is something incredibly minuscule in the grand scheme of things, but I'm hoping, as the years go on, it will mean something to somebody. My selections are not whims of fancy; I'm not just picking out my favorite movies of the year, I'm trying to determine the best films for their respective categories.

The Golden Schmoo is an alternative to the politics and exclusion of major awards like The Oscars or Golden Globes. I'm focused on quality and that alone. You won't see any films sweeping the entire awards because there were so many strong films this year with so many different strengths. My awards will appreciate many films that weren't featured in the big awards ceremonies. Just because a film is independent or foreign does not exclude it from Best Picture consideration. The Schmoo has no interest in advertising Hollywood's dominance, he's just interested in giving credit where credit is due.

Let's begin.

The Nominations for Best Achievement in Sound (Overall, combining both editing and design) are:
1. Avatar
2. Star Trek
3. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
4. District 9
5. Up

And the winner is - UP

Against all of these big-budget action films would appear to be an uphill battle for an animated film, but it actually makes it the most likely candidate. No doubt most of the sound in the four other films were created by sound designers, but UP, being an animated film, had to be entirely from scratch. The whole sound component to the film had to be built from the ground up. The end product is something fantastic, especially when taken to the wilds of South America.

The Nominations for Best Score are:

1. Star Trek - Michael Giacchino
2. Up - Michael Giacchino
3. Sherlock Holmes - Hans Zimmer
4. The Fantastic Mr. Fox - Alexandre Desplat
5. A Single Man - Abel Korzeniowski

The Schmoo goes to - Michael Giacchino for STAR TREK.

The odds were with Giacchino, having received two of the five nominations. Not that I follow composers all that much, but before 2009 I'd never heard of Giacchino. Needless to say, I'll be following him for the foreseeable future. UP had such an enchanting and original score and STAR TREK's music really helped push it over the edge from being your standard action film to something truly epic. STAR TREK's score is something with which I will forever be linked like I am with the music from JURASSIC PARK or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

The Nomination for Best Makeup are:

1. Star Trek
2. Watchmen

The winner is - STAR TREK.

Vulcans and Romulans. That is all.

The Nominations for Best Achievement in Visual Effects are:

1. Star Trek
2. Avatar
3. District 9
4. Watchmen
5. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

The Golden Schmoo goes to - DISTRICT 9

On paper, AVATAR winning in this category is a no-brainer. However, the award isn't for "Most Mind-Blowing Technology Created for the Visual Effects Industry". Sure Cameron created something very pricey and interesting, but I still contend that the use of effects in DISTRICT 9 was better. The prawns look more realistic than the Na'Vi, just as the prawns' ship looks more realistic and in-tune with reality than any flying craft in AVATAR. What really seals it for me is the robot that Wikus ends up in near the conclusion of the film; there are similar machines in AVATAR, but DISTRICT 9's is way cooler.

The Nominations for Best Costumes are:

1. Star Trek
2. Watchmen
3. Sherlock Holmes
4. Inglourious Basterds

The Golden Schmoo goes to - SHERLOCK HOLMES.

One of the best parts about SHERLOCK HOLMES is its utter commitment to Holmes' era. The costumes are a major part of that. Apart from being proper in terms of the film's aesthetic, the clothes look sleek, stylish and like a whole lot of fun to wear.

The Nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role are as follows:

1. Michael Fassbender - Fish Tank
2. Richard Kind - A Serious Man
3. Tobey Maguire - Brothers
4. Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
5. Peter Sarsgaard - An Education

The award goes to - Christoph Waltz.

This is a pretty obvious one. I don't think I need to say much as he's been the consensus winner in this category. Plucked from relative obscurity to be in this film, Waltz really capitalized on the opportunity in a big way. A fantastic career is ahead for this man.

I've decided to forgo the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category for the time being. One film that I have regretfully neglected to see is PRECIOUS, which features the award-winning supporting performance by Monique. From what I can tell from clips, it is quite the performance and I can only assume she deserves this award, but I can't give it to her before I see the film. PRECIOUS is on my Netflix queue, but there is a long wait, so I don't know when I'll get the chance to view it. Rest assured that when I do, I'll address this category.

The Nomination for Best Animated Film are:

1. Up
2. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. Coraline
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
5. (I did not get a chance to see The Princess and the Frog, but from all the buzz I hear, I can only imagine it would've completed the category)

The Golden Schmoo goes to - THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX.

This was a good year for animated films. UP was the banner Pixar film for the year, but there was room for more than that style of animation in 2009. THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX and CORALINE both utilized stop-motion animation to beautiful effect and with THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, Disney returned to the standard cell animation that made them what they are. Out of this unique grouping of films, Wes Anderson's tale about a fox is the best. It's based off the lovely children's book by Roald Dahl, but bears little resemblance to it. Anderson forces his own aesthetic and mode of storytelling on the tale with great success. It's funny, poignant and visually dazzling. "You truly are a quote-unquote Fantastic Fox".

The Nominations for Best Achievement in Art Direction are:
1. Watchmen
2. Sherlock Holmes
3. Star Trek
4. A Single Man
5. Moon

The winner is - A SINGLE MAN.

This film looks like a million bucks, deftly capturing the early 60's through every outfit, setting and element of mise-en-scene. There's also a still sadness over everything within the film that helps the viewer better appreciate the slow, lonely hell of the protagonist.

The Nominations for Best Achievement in Cinematography are:

1. Star Trek
2. The White Ribbon
3. A Single Man
4. Antichrist
5. Moon

The Golden Schmoo goes to THE WHITE RIBBON.

The small village in Germany is eerily captured through this film's camerawork. The viewer is told so little throughout THE WHITE RIBBON that they must rely on the images to evoke an emotional response, which they do with great skill.

The Nominations for Best Achievement in Editing are:
1. Inglourious Basterds
2. Star Trek
3. Sherlock Holmes
4. The Hurt Locker
5. The Hangover

The award goes to - INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Sally Menke).

There is a great deal of tension in this film that requires expert editing to maintain, which it always does (see: the opening scene, or the bar scene). There's also a lot of characters here with a lot of interweaving story arcs that are brought together at an appropriate pace so that nobody loses any of their worth within the entirety of the film.

The Nomination for Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay are:
1. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Star Trek
3. Up In the Air
4. A Single Man
5. Coraline

The Golden Schmoo goes to - Star Trek (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman)

STAR TREK doesn't get enough credit for its story. There is something disastrous about a "Star Trek" remake or reimagining because it would require the conclusion of timeline that has yet to conclude. These writers took a risk instead and inserted this new saga into the old one. It's a continuation of everything Star Trek, just on a new path in a parallel universe. This is new world where anything is possible, but it's also supported and influenced by the Star Trek that everyone already knows. They've breathed new life into the series without trampling on it's legacy, which must have been no easy feat.

The Nominations for Best Writing - Original Screenplay are:

1. Inglourious Basterds
2. Moon
3. A Prophet
4. Fish Tank
5. The White Ribbon

The award goes to - MOON (Duncan Jones and Nathan Parker).

MOON wins because it had such a strong effect on me. The ideas present in the story had my mind boggled and reeling. There are such existential dilemmas present within that it can cause physical discomfort. There's a scene where Sam Rockwell's character, Sam Bell, manages to call his home on Earth that caused a twinge of panic in me and made me want to cry without my immediately knowing why.

After a break I will return with the awards for Best Ensemble Cast, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Film.

But before I do that I will give out a couple more awards that didn't really have any competition.

Best Original Song: This goes to "The Weary Kind" by Ryan Bingham, the second best thing to come out of CRAZY HEART behind Bridges performance.

Best Documentary: The Cove - I didn't see many documentaries this year and I haven't been able to get my hands on many of the Oscar nominees, though I'd like to. The Cove, however, was a fantastic film and I feel comfortable giving it this award. It elicited such a strong feeling of anger and sadness in me that I still feel it months later. Apart from being emotional, the film is also exciting and smart, like the animals it features. Apart from this award, it is also one of the years best films.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your awards and nominations, although with editing and screenplay, I think you have it mixed up. Best screenplay should have gone to Inglorious Basterds, because the dialogue is so intense and interesting and unique - it borrows little references to other cultures and is a movie that is so different than any other. Moon, on the other hand, should have been awarded best editing. Although Inglorious Basterds did indeed have fantastic editing that contributed to the intensity of each scene, the director of Moon had to make Sam Rockwell appear as two different people, and had a pace of its own that made it a little creepy and disturbing. Even the scene where he calls home has many pauses and edits that make it even more dramatic.