Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Fifties for 2012: Editing and Sound

Look, Ma, twice in two days!

Best Film Editing
Crockett Doob and Affonso Gonçalves for Beasts of the Southern Wild, for making Hushpuppy's world such a revolving, crystalline dream, but also allowing its mess, its detours, its slow patches and hesitations;

John Gilroy for The Bourne Legacy, for the precision cutting and rhythmic control over each scene, in the holding patterns and discourses as well as the chases and shoot-outs;

"Mary Ann Bernard" for Magic Mike, not just for squeezing the comedy, the drama, the musical, the sex show, and the essay into one film but for weaving them so subtly together;

Gerardo Naranjo for Miss Bala, for the impeccable construction of believably ground-level suspense, privileging Laura's POV but adding tension by nudging us just beyond it; and

Veronika Jenet for The Snowtown Murders, for clarity and economy, condensing complex sequences, slipping characters into and out of the film, dilating horror or paralysis as needed.

Honorable mentions in alphabetical order by film title to Joel Negron for 21 Jump Street, Andrew Hafitz for Damsels in Distress, Leslie Jones and Peter McNulty for The Master, Wolfgang Widerhofer for Michael, Andrew Weisblum for Moonrise Kingdom, and Olivier Bugge Coutté and Gisle Tveito for Oslo, August 31st.

Best Sound (Mixing and Editing)
Steve Boeddeker, Bob Edwards, John D. Matthews, et al., for Beasts of the Southern Wild, for keeping up with and blending the range of tones in Hushpuppy's life and in bayou life, working across exaggerated and realist registers;

Christopher Eakins, Robert Jackson, et al., for Lawless, for conjuring a sense of place as much through musical idioms as through foley work, giving the world depth and making the violence resonate;

Salvador Félix, Pablo Lach, et al., for Miss Bala, since every year yields its own champion for sheer ballistic impact, erupting through the quiets, excitements, and low-level dins of Mexico; 

Frank Lipson, et al., for The Snowtown Murders, for again proving Australia a world champ in this craft, blurring lines between music and other elements, putting odd noises to indelible use; and

Gábor ifj. Erhélyi, et al., for The Turin Horse, for unforgettably synthesizing the constant wind, the quotidian noises, the rural and nocturnal quiets, and that warped-wood Mihály Vig score.

Honorable mentions aren't so numerous at this point in the year, but they start with Tim Barker, Gernot Fuhrmann, et al., who weave strands of memory, radio fragments, pub music, period textures, and wartime flashbacks so sinuously in The Deep Blue Sea. Craig Henighan, et al., gave Moonrise Kingdom some memorable sonic moments and motifs, and Ann Scibelli, Simon Hayes, Victor Ray Ennis, Mark P. Stoeckinger, et al., built a textured and evolving envelope of audio around Prometheus. Way off the grid of "Best Sound" types of movies, Jafar Panahi uses sound ingeniously to convey what he cannot or should not show in This Is Not a Film.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Fifties for 2012: Best Actor

Regular readers—the ones who remember when I was a semi-regular writer—know that every September I publish lists of my favorite movie-making achievements from the first 50 U.S. commercial releases I've seen in the calendar year.  I somehow always hit this milestone in late August or early September, as was true this year, though the ongoing Big Year at work means I'm a few weeks late actually posting my lists.  In many ways, this hasn't mattered: of the next seven U.S. releases I've seen since hitting the big "50" mark, only the hilariously and charismatically acted Think Like a Man would have made a dent in these rosters. As for the others, Alps, Bachelorette, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Cabin in the Woods, The Five-Year Engagement, and Snow White and the Huntsman, whatever their relative strengths (and they all have some), would have whiffed even if I had seen them in time. You can see the 50 movies eligible for consideration here, with Bullhead as the cutoff point.

So, before the bread goes totally stale, and before it gets too awkward to exclude early-autumn highlights like the beautifully played Hello I Must Be Going, the richly conceived Looper, and the impeccably constructed How to Survive a Plague, here begins this year's midway honor roll...

Best Actor
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum for 21 Jump Street, for impeccable and uproarious chemistry even while carving out distinctive personas, winking at the past while wholly delivering in the now;

Tommy Lee Jones for Hope Springs, for his 101 variations on ornery reticence, many flavored with humor, desire, or embarrassment, and just barely signaling a will to improve;

Clarke Peters for Red Hook Summer, for conveying Enoch's decency and his indecency with fresh approaches, across Spike Lee's vertiginous range of heightened and quiet styles;

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master, for hewing to a wormy, clammy core of inarticulate longing and self-reviling discomfort even when he showboats, and for the first processing; and

Channing Tatum for Magic Mike, for emanating a total ease in his body and his relationships but a gnawing unease in his circumstances, all in a relaxed, Soderberghian key.

Honorable mentions are led by Michael Fuith in Michael and then rounded out by Adam Scott in Friends with Kids, Anders Danielsen Lie in Oslo, August 31st, Lucas Pittaway in The Snowtown Murders, and Liam Neeson in The Grey.

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