Thursday, February 3, 2011

Genie Nominations

Yesterday, with very little fanfare, the Genie Nominees were announced for outstanding achievement in Canadian film for 2010. To the surprise of no one, Richard J. Lewis’ film version of Mordecai Richler’s beloved novel Barney’s Version, and Denis Villeneuve’s recent Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film Incendies, lead the nominees with 11 and 10 nominations respectively. I expect one of them to win the award, and will give the edge of Barney’s Version because of its pedigree, the presence of actual, non-Canadian movie stars and the fact that Villeneuve’s excellent Polytechnique swept these awards last year. I think Villeneuve wins Best Director though. Giamatti has actor sewn up, and I suspect his co-stars Dustin Hoffman and Minnie Driver will take the supporting prizes – whether any of them show up or not to receive them remain to be seen. Best Actress is interesting – if they want to go with an acting sweep for Barney’s Version, they can give it to Rosamund Pike, but I doubt they will. More likely is Lubna Azabal, so great in Incendies. But it could go to the late Tracy Wright, who died unexpectedly after finishing her work on Trigger – a very well liked film. It’s a toss up. I may do a more in depth prediction piece before the March 10 ceremony – but it depends on how many films I can see between now and then.

I was delighted to see Vincenzo Natali’s Splice among the best picture line-up – continuing the Genie tradition of not being creeped out by weird sex – and Splice has sex scenes that would make David Cronenberg cringe. I would have liked to see more supporting nominations for it though – no acting nods, no screenplay nod and fewer technical nods than I would have expected for a film with this level of production values (in total it got 4 nominations). I have to admit that I have never heard of 10 ½, or its director (Podz? Really?), but it picked up 8 nominations including Best Picture, and is apparently out on DVD next week, so I will definitely check it out. Rounding out the Best Picture lineup is Xaiver Dolan’s Heartbeats – which I have rented and will watched this weekend. I guess the nominating committee listened to the outcry that greeted last year’s nominees when they overlooked Dolan’s highly acclaimed, much talked about debut I Killed My Mother, giving it only the Claude Jutra award for best debut film – and not even nominating it in any competitive categories. Given the fact that Dolan has become one of the most talked about Canadian directors outside of Canada, it was probably smart to nominate him this year – although his acting and writing were still overlooked.

Looking outside the Best Picture nominees, I highly enjoyed the crime comedy High Life, and think its nominations for actors Timothy Olyphant and Rossif Sutherland, alongside its screenplay, were worthy. I enjoyed The Trotsky, mainly for Jay Baruchel, so again, I like his nomination. I hated Year of the Carnivore, and was hoping it would overlooked completely, but it picked up a couple of music nods. I was a little surprised that Defendor didn’t get more love – a few nominations for a film I had problems with, but quite liked the acting. And Last Train Home, one of the Best Documentary nominees, should have been a contender in many other categories – including Best Picture.

I did miss a lot of the nominees, and will try and catch up. I already mentioned I’ll be watching Heartbeats this weekend, and with try to see 10 ½ next weekend. I would love to see Bruce McDonald’s Trigger, but I think I may have missed my chance until the DVD comes out – which will be after the ceremony. Outside of those, I will try and see 7 Days, which is on DVD now, and guess I should catch up with Resident Evil: Afterlife, even though I never know how this series qualifies as Canadian. The rest of the nominees that I have not seen, I will try and catch between now and the ceremony as well.

The consensus seems to be that there were few out and out snubs this year. Yes, it was a head scratcher as to why Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley didn’t get nominated for Splice, but they weren’t snubbed per se. Neither was Xavier Dolan, even if his film didn’t get as many nominations as people expected. Looking at this list and Canada’s Top 10 Films, selected by TIFF, we see a high crossover – Barney’s Version, Incendies, Splice, Heartbeats, Last Train Home and Trigger all received nominations. The ones that didn’t – Curling, The High Cost of Living, Modra and Trois Temps Apres la mort d’Anna, I’d have to check to see if they were actually eligible – none opened in Toronto this year, but perhaps they did in Quebec. I suspect we could see them next year.

The one film shut out I will mention is Atom Egoyan’s Chloe – which is the first film he has made that was nominated for zero Genies. Between 1984 and 2002 Egoyan made 9 films – three won the Genie for Best Picture (Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter and Ararat) three were nominated for Best Picture (Family Viewing, Speaking Parts, Felica’s Journey) and three, although they failed to get best picture nominations, did get Egoyan director nominations (Next of Kin, The Adjuster, Calendar). Since then, Egoyan has made three films – Where the Truth Lies, Adoration and now Chloe, and none have been nominated for Picture or Director, and Where the Truth Lies and Adoration (two very underrated films in my mind that deserved much more than they got) only received minor nominations. But now Chloe, which I agree was disappointing, received nothing. I didn’t much care for Chloe, but I am surprised they didn’t nominate it for anything – there were two excellent performances by Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore – the cinematography, art direction and score were also quite good. The message the Genie awards is sending to Egoyan is clear – make better movies, because they are not going to just nominate his work simply because at one point he was their favorite.

Barney’s Version
10 ½

Xavier Dolan, Heartbeats
Richard J. Lewis, Barney’s Version
Vincenzo Natali, Splice
Podz, 10 ½
Denis Villeneuve, Incendies

Jay Baruechel, The Trotsky
Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version
Robert Naylor, 10 ½
Timothy Olyphant, High Life
Francois Papineau, Route 132

Lubna Azabal, Incendies
Tatiana Maslany, Grown Up Movie Star
Molly Parker, Trigger
Rosamund Pike, Barney’s Version
Tracy Wright, Trigger

Martin Dubreuil, 10 ½
Dustin Hoffman, Barney’s Version
Alexis Martin, Route 132
Callum Keith Rennie, Gunless
Rossif Sutherland, High Life

Sonja Bennett, Cole
Anne-Elizabeth Bosse, Heartbeats
Minnie Driver, Barney’s Version
Terra Hazelton, Fubar II
Mary Walsh, Crackie

Barney’s Version – Michael Konyves
High Life – Lee MacDougall
Incendies – Denis Villeneuve
7 Days – Patrick Senecal
A Shine of Rainbows – Vic Sarin & Dennis Foon & Catherine Spear

Defendor – Peter Stebbings
Grown Up Movie Star – Adriana Maggs
Route – 132 – Louis Belanger & Alexis Martin
10 ½ - Claude Lalonde
The Trotsky – Jacob Tierney

Journey’s End
In the Name of the Family
Last Train Home
Leave Them Laughing
You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantanamo

Heartbeats – Stepheanie Weber-Biron
Incendies – Andre Turpin
Piche: The Landing of a Man – Ronald Plante
10 ½ - Bernard Couture
The Wild Hunt – Claudine Sauve

Barney’s Version
Resident Evil: Afterlife
The Trotsky
The Wild Hunt

Piché: The Landing of a Man
10 ½

Barney’s Version
Fubar II
Resident Evil: Afterlife
10 ½

Barney’s Version
Resident Evil: Afterlife
7 Days
The Wild Hunt

Trigger – Brendan Canning
Barney’s Version – Pasquale Catalano
High Life – Jonathan Goldsmith
At Home, By Myself, With You – Keegan Jessamy & Bryce Mitchell
Year of the Carnivore – Sooki-Yin Lee & Buck 65 & Adam Litovitz

Crackie – Tender Steps
Fubar II – There’s No Place Like Christmas
Grown Up Movie Star – West End Sky
The Trotsky – Already Gone
Year of the Carnivore – What’s Wrong With That?

High Life
Resident Evil: Afterlife
7 Days

Resident Evil: Afterlife
7 Days

CLAUDE JUTRA AWARD: Jephte Bastien – Sortie 67
Honourable mention: Peter Stebbings – Defendor

GOLDEN REEL AWARD: Resident Evil: Afterlife

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