Wednesday, February 24, 2010


When we last met, FLOBY was crowning the Dark Knight as the best film of 2008. Since then, we were both wowed and disappointed by the best and worst cinema had to offer in 2009; and at long last, the FLOBYs have returned to us. Here's some quick analysis as to who should and, more importantly, WILL win the 2009 FLOBY awards (and let's not forget, I went 3/3 on my predictions last year).

2009 FLOBY Best Actress Nominees

Amy Adams - Sunshine Cleaning
Marion Cotillard - Public Enemies
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mélanie Laurent - Inglourious Basterds
Zoe Saldana - Avatar

WHO SHOULD WIN: Anna Kendrick hands down. I'll admit that I was floored by Zoe Saldana's motion capture work, but she's really the only competition this year, in my opinion. Kendrick's supporting role as Natalie Keener in Up in the Air had the most nuanced character arc of any of the nominees. She started as an unlikeable, overconfident, and naive new-hire, a rival of Smug Clooney's old school charm. But as the movie progresses, she is humbled, relaxed, and humanized. At 24, you don't see many young actresses with the stones to take on veterans like Clooney and Vera Farmiga, but Kendrick owns the movie and should get the FLOBY.

WHO WILL WIN: The Amy Adams nomination reeks of Dave still being bitter for her not winning the FLOBY for Enchanted, but hopefully not enough people saw that movie, so she won't get the necessary support. Marion Cotillard is cruising on her Oscar win, but Public Enemies was mostly panned by critics, and MVP awards normally go to players on the best teams (in this case, films). So who does that leave? Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna Dreyfus, the movie theater owner plotting revenge against the Nazis... and the real competition, Zoe Saldana. Avatar was probably seen by 90% of the Academy, and most were blown away by her mo-cap acting ability. Also, she was shut out from all major awards because her character was computer-animated, so maybe the voters have a chip on their shoulder and want to see her win one. Never underestimate the underdog, and I haven't. That's why Saldana walks away with FLOBY gold.

2009 FLOBY Best Actor Nominees

George Clooney - Up in the Air
Sharlto Copley - District 9
Liam Neeson - Taken
Brad Pitt - Inglourious Basterds
Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

WHO SHOULD WIN: Like the Best Actress race, this one has a winner who is clearly most deserving. SHARLTO COPLEY anchored a low-budget, politically charged science fiction film that went on to receive an Oscar nomination for BEST PICTURE (interesting that FLOBY felt differently...). I've seen all of these performances, and Copley is simply a juggernaut on screen. He starts as an innocent, happy government worker in charge of evicting the Prawns. As he goes from being the oppressor to the oppressed, he lays on the frustration, desperation, and genuine heartbreak that only acting heavyweights like De Niro, Gibson, and Ford are capable of. Bear in mind that every single documentary scene (pretty much the first half of the movie) is improvised by Copley. Also bear in mind that HE IS NOT EVEN AN ACTOR. THIS IS HIS FIRST MOVIE. Checkmate... Wikus Van De Merwe.

WHO WILL WIN: There is some great depth in this year's race. I enjoyed Smug Clooney's work in Up in the Air, Liam Neeson dominated Taken, and Brad Pitt's (*another two-time nominee*) goofy face/accent was worth rooting for in Inglourious Basterds, but this is a two-horse race, gentlemen. It comes down to Copley and Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa. For a Tarantino movie, we naturally expect gruesome violence, so color me surprised when the famous Jew Hunter interrogates his suspects not with torture, but charm and grace. He already knows the answers to the questions he asks, and he mentally wears down his opponents as if he was playing chess with them. Now, if the occasion calls for him to be violent, he's certainly not against it (which is an awesome scene), but the first scene of that movie sticks out as one of my favorite scenes of the year. Since District 9 didn't get a Best Picture nod and Basterds earned a record 4 FLOBY nominations, expect Waltz to wrap this one up.

2009 FLOBY Best Movie Nominees

Inglourious Basterds
The Hangover
Up in the Air

WHO SHOULD WIN: Epic fantasy vs. Gruesome War Spaghetti Western vs. Raucous Comedy vs. Animated Family Film vs. Low Key Drama. This race couldn't be more wide open, as all of these movies are fantastic. On my year end ballot, these are 5 of my top 6 movies of the year (District 9 was my second favorite... whatever). But of these nominees, only one film combines clever laughs with an emotionally moving story, and that film was Up. First senior citizen protagonist in a CG film? Check. First big role for an Asian in a Pixar film? Check. Taking the "talking dog" staple in cartoons and turning it on it's head? Check! No other movie this year left the audience in tears after the first ten minutes WITHOUT SAYING A WORD. Basterds was too spread out over several storylines, and not in a good way like Pulp Fiction. Avatar's story was the least original story of the year. The Hangover was hilarious, but there's nothing else there. And Up in the Air is probably only appealing to white collar workers who enjoy Indie movies. Up may have had dogs steering airplanes with a chew toy, but it's got phenomenal visuals, the best score of the year (Golden Globes agree), characters you can invest in, and the all-around best story of the year.

WHO WILL WIN: As much as it pains me to say this, I believe Avatar has the best shot of winning Best Picture. A big chunk of this game is just getting you to see the movie, and no movie was seen more than Avatar. Voters who didn't see Up and Up in the Air will leave them at the bottom of the list. Most everyone probably saw the Hangover, Avatar, and Inglourious Basterds. Avatar will edge out the Hangover because of it's jaw-dropping scope and scale, and it will edge out IB because IB is such a genre or niche film. Avatar's technological prowess is impressive, but they've rehashed the same story we've seen a dozen times and don't realize it. In the end, its mass appeal, mainstream story, and fancy 3D effects will carry Jay's favorite film of 09 to victory.

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