I am not sure if, for me, the start of the awards season (officially) has been this exciting. I mean, we talk about the movies, we watch the movies (or some of them in my current late-starter case), we write about the movies, we Tweet about the movies. And so on and so forth. I can’t speak for anyone else, but as soon as the New York Film Critics Circle started announcing the results of their votes for the best in film of the year my excitement levels went up a notch. I am not saying I got goosebumps, but there was a buzz about waiting for my #NYFCC Twitter feed to refresh.
When Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons, Ida and The Lego Movie took early prizes, it looked like the votes were following what we expected. And what we wanted perhaps. It was the Screenplay and Lead acting announcements that really cranked up the excitement, when The Grand Budapest Hotel, Timothy Spall (Mr Turner), and Marion Cotillard (for both The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night) were winners. And then the little movie that could, did. Boyhood was honoured with Picture and Director for Richard Linklater to close a magnificent start to the awards season.
I am pretty sure the corner of the internet that rooted for those smaller movies exploded at some point. These were movies that have been around for some time now. They were early out of the traps, like from Cannes way back in May. That’s a long time ago in the movie world. These were movies that we hoped would not be forgotten. I hold my hands up and say, with Boyhood, as much as it seems to be the one that has stuck around in people’s minds, hearts, top ten lists, projections, there was that awful doubt that it might get blown away by newer, bigger movies. Gladly, this looks to not be the case.
When the Gotham Awards gave Birdman their feature film prize later it looked like the two ‘B’ movies at the top of most lists had some further evidence of a head-to-head (Boyhood too took the Audience Award). Julianne Moore and Michael Keaton won their first acting awards of the season, and we all know they won’t be their last. And just when I thought Foxcatcher might confirm a lot of our fears that it too would be forgotten Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum were awarded with the Gotham Jury Award for their ensemble work.
Let’s not get carried away though just yet. The awards season is two days old, and although we instinctively feel each announcement confirms or curve-balls what we thought we knew or hoped would happen, it could be that the awards season is not telling us anything yet.
Today’s National Board of Review news was like a balloon that had been floating away and popped when we thought it was out of reach. A Most Violent Year, a movie many were not quite sure of where it would fit in the awards race, came out smiling, with wins for Film, Actor Oscar Isaac (a tie with Keaton), and the fabulous Jessica Chastain in Supporting Actress. Chastain’s is probably the sweetest victory , following that whole Interstellar-only campaigning clause.
I am not sure what Screenplay wins for The Lego Movie and Inherent Vice tell us either, especially as How to Train Your Dragon 2 took the animated film prize. And after reading some ordinary reviews for American Sniper, I was not sure how I felt when Clint Eastwood was named Best Director (and the movie itself made the top ten list) – it was not the joy I felt with most other winners so far. But I have not seen it yet, so I hold my judgement. In fact I need to get a move on too with the movies this year, the awards season has well and truly started, and I don’t want to get left behind.