We’re only a short week away from the 85th Academy Awards, and with the close of Oscar season approaching, we’d thought this would be a nice opportunity to take a look back at how some of the races have played out, chronicling the ebbs and flows of the past 12 months or so that got us to where we are today. We’re kicking things off with one of the more open categories: Best Supporting Actor.
One important thing to keep in mind when looking at the Oscars is that the race is incredibly fluid. A film could be the clear frontrunner in a category one week, then might stumble to second or even third place in the ensuing weeks. With this series of articles, we’ll be looking at exactly how much each race has changed, starting with Best Supporting Actor. Hit the jump to read on.
If Disney ever made a film about the post-apocalypse, it might look something like the first twenty minutes of Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film so gorgeously designed, soulfully acted and inventively produced that I feel kind of bad for not liking it more than I did.
Hushpuppy, an adorable maternal orphan who speaks to animals lives with her drunk, terminally ill, possibly abusive father in The Bathtub (a sort of micro-Saint Bernard Parish; poor, ramshackle homes balanced on the edge of a grey sea and a massive levee protecting the “civilized” folks above). When the ice caps melt, the bathtub is submerged and big-ass prehistoric pig monsters (called Aurochs, though in real life those were more like neolithic cows) emerge from the polar ice, she embarks on a quest to find her place in the universe. Hit the jump for my review of the Blu-ray.
Director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama Zero Dark Thirty continues its dominant critics awards path, as it has picked up two more Best Picture wins from the New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics groups, adding to its previous wins from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review. Bigelow also won Best Director from both organizations, while Daniel Day-Lewis took home Best Actor for Lincoln. Emmanuelle Riva won Best Actress from New York and Boston, while she shared the award in a tie with Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Los Angeles broke from the mold a bit by naming director Michael Haneke‘s devastating French-language film Amour the Best Film of the year. They also awarded Paul Thomas Anderson Best Director for The Master and Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Dwight Henry the Best Supporting Actor honor in a couple of pleasant surprises. Hit the jump for the full list of winners from all three critics groups.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a spellbinding adventure set just past the known edges of the American Bayou, in a forgotten but defiant community known as The Bathtub. The film follows a girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) as she takes on rising waters, a sinking village, changing times, an army of prehistoric creatures and an unraveling universe that she bravely tries to stitch back together through the sheer force of spirit and resilience in order to save her ailing father, Wink (Dwight Henry). Shot on location in the coastal parishes of Louisiana with local non-actors in the lead roles, Beasts of the Southern Wild came to the Sundance Film Festival a hand-made, fiercely imaginative underdog and left a runaway hit and winner of the coveted Grand Jury Prize.
At the press day, we sat down with Wallis, Henry and director Benh Zeitlin to talk about what inspired the heartfelt story about a fantastical bayou neverland and its tenacious characters. Wallis and Henry discussed what it was like acting in their first movie, how they prepared for their roles, and the special bond they formed on and off screen. Zeitlin told us about the collaborative writing process, how he set about creating a mystical Mississippi Delta community, and why he has always been interested in people that never abandon the places and people they care about even when it’s dangerous.
The first trailer and poster have gone online for the 2012 Sundance darling Beasts of the Southern Wild. Directed by Benh Zeitlin, the film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to a rapturous response, with our own Matt Goldberg calling it “a must-see movie…unlike anything you’ve seen in years” in his review (he gets a shout-out in the trailer as well). The film is “a lyrical, poetic odyssey through the flooded land outside the New Orleans’ levy, and the story is narrated by a young girl as she takes in her terrifying and magical surroundings.” I’ve been dying to see this ever since the film’s Sundance response, and this trailer has ramped up my anticipation even more. Quvenzhané Wallis is at once strong and adorable in the lead role, and this certainly does look to be a wholly unique piece of filmmaking.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film will screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this month and opens in theaters on June 27th.
Movies have the power to transport us to different worlds. Benh Zeitlin‘s Beasts of the Southern Wild transports us to a world we never dreamt before and beyond our imagination. It is a world wrapped in poetry, wonder, and magic. It is a work of breathtaking scope, vision, and confidence. It is a story bursting with life and death, rage and tranquility, fear and bravery, and all of it delivered through a magnificent score, thoughtful cinematography, and on the shoulders of its child star. It is an intellectual feast even though it sometimes leaves the emotional moments malnourished. But it is a movie unlike anything you’ve seen in recent years and it is a movie you must see.