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1st Annual Filmiest Awards – Winners (Part 2)

Welcome back to the 1st Annual Filmiest Awards.  I now present the winners for the final eight categories for the year 2012:
The nominees for Best Sound are:
The Avengers
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
And the award goes to…
Sound Editing/Mixing by Paul N.J. Ottosson
The film begins with a black screen for a full minute while we hear the sadly familiar sounds of 9/11, and immediately we are transported back. This and the scene above are just two examples of the expert sound editing and mixing of Zero Dark Thirty.  Bombs explode naturally, the score is present but not overbearing, and silence is profoundly powerful.

The nominees for Best Makeup are:
Cloud Atlas
Les Miserables
And the award goes to…
Makeup by too many people to count
It’s hard to ignore the makeup for a movie that gives its actors five or six different characters to play in five or six different time periods.  The sheer level of detail involved in the makeup of Cloud Atlas is staggering. Especially of note are Halle Berry as an Asian man, Doona Bae as a Mexican woman and Hugh Grant as a tribal chief.
The nominees for Best Visual Effects are:
The Avengers
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
Life of Pi
And the award goes to…
Visual Effects by Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
I cannot give enough attention to the look of Life of Pi; the visual effects are yet another stunning contribution to the film.  The effects of the whale are incredible, as are the flying fishes, the meerkats, and the various skies.  But most impressively, the effects of Richard Parker, the tiger, are so scarily real that it seems almost impossible that it could be entirely CGI. And yet it is.
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty
Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon for The Cabin in the Woods
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
And the award goes to…
Sometimes, the best screenplays aren’t about clever dialogue or long-winded speeches.  Sometimes, screenplays are about telling a story with realistic dialogue and an equally-compelling beginning, middle, and end.  More than any other film this year, Zero Dark Thirty has just that.  Mark Boal used high-level contacts and interviewed military leaders to tell an accurate story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  And when you have the American government launching an investigation into the film, you know you’ve created something powerful.
Just four awards left.  The nominees for Best Lead Actor are:
Bradley Cooper as Pat Solitano, Jr. in Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln
Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix as Freddy Quell in The Master
Jean-Louis Trintignant as Georges in Amour
And the award goes to…
When Daniel Day-Lewis was cast as Abraham Lincoln, the Oscar was practically engraved with his name on it.  Day-Lewis, who only takes a project every three or four years devoured numerous biographies about Lincoln to accurate depict his quirky yet firm personality and it really shows on the screen.  He completely disappears into Lincoln without devolving into caricature, a master-class in acting.  There is no trace of Bill the Butcher, or Daniel Plainview.  This is Abraham Lincoln.  There’s a reason the man has become a modern acting legend.
The nominees for Best Lead Actress are:
Jessica Chastain as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook
Aubrey Plaza as Darius Britt in Safety Not Guaranteed
Emmanuelle Riva as Anne in Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild
And the award goes to…
Utterly devastating.  That isn’t just a description of Amour, but of Emmanuelle Riva’s performance as Anne, an old woman whose health rapidly deteriorates over the course of the film.  The wrinkled expressions in her face, the increasing weariness of her attitude and the eventually acceptance of her fate are heartbreakingly real.  I had never heard of Riva before this performance so this did not feel like acting.  This felt like I was watching a documentary about a real woman’s dying days.  No performance was more powerful this year, male or female.
The nominees for Best Director are:
Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom
Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Haneke for Amour
Ang Lee for Life of Pi
Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained
And the award goes to…
Kathryn Bigelow is a director that knows war. She may not have actively been a member of the U.S. military but with both The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, it’s hard to find any other filmmaker that accurately matches the paranoia as well as the implications of our War on Terror. Each of her directorial choices, including the haunting opening minutes, the inclusion of separating title cards, the casting of Jessica Chastain and the suspenseful real-time feel of the final raid led to a powerful film that is meant to be discussed. The fearlessness of even taking on this project is a feat in and of itself, and the near flawless execution puts her among the best directors working today.
AND FINALLY, I present the award for BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR:
And the nominees are:
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty
And the award for Best Picture of the Year goes to…
An except from my review of the film:
“Most of the film is spent on the gathering of intel and the process of deductive reasoning, not torture and Call of Duty-esque action sequences, which certainly could have been the case in lesser hands. It is because of this strangely compelling grunt work that the final sequence is so rewarding, for us and for Maya. Maya’s emotional struggle and ultimate desire for justice to be served in a cynical post-9/11 world is not unlike our own, and Bigelow manages to accurately capture these moral ambiguities. The film provides no answers to the question, “Was it all worth it?” and this decision is precisely what elevates the film to the status of a modern-day classic.”
Thank you, everyone, for reading.  This was an excellent year in film and though I gave some more attention than others, all of the movies I nominated this year were deserving in their own ways.  Stay tuned for my TV Award Nominations in June.
Zero Dark Thirty – 5 wins 
(Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Sound)
Life of Pi – 3 wins
(Art Direction, Cinematography, Visual Effects)
Cloud Atlas – 2 wins
(Makeup, Original Score)
Les Miserables 2 wins 
(Supporting Actress, Costume Design)
Amour – 1 win 
Lincoln – 1 win 
The Master – 1 win 
(Supporting Actor)
Safety Not Guaranteed – 1 win
(Original Song)

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