Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2015 Hugo nominees for movies and television

While I mailed in my Sunday entertainment entry by posting 'Mad Men' drinks from Tipsy Bartender,* something more worthy of my readers' attention was happening, the announcement of the nominees for the Hugo Awards.  Much like the Grammy Awards, the categories I care about are the ones for movies and television.  Here are this year's nominees for movies (Dramatic Presentation, Long Form) and television (Dramatic Presentation, Short Form).
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo ((Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
  • Edge of Tomorrow screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
  • Interstellar screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, as Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy)
  • The Lego Movie written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO System A/S, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group))
  • Doctor Who: “Listen” written by Steven Moffat directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
  • The Flash: “Pilot” teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW; Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves ((HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
  • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods” written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC; GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV)
  • Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
Follow over the jump for my opinions of the nominees along with the controversy around this year's nominees.

I've watched three of the nominees for movies, "Edge of Tomorrow," "Guardians of the Galaxy," and "Interstellar," and agree with their nominations.   All three succeed as science fiction, art, and entertainment, although to different degrees in each category.  The most entertaining movie was "Guardians of the Galaxy," which I expect will be the most popular of the nominees.  That doesn't mean that I think it should win.  It has no artistic pretensions (nor should it) and has nearly the maximum amount of science fiction that I'd expect from a superhero movie.  "Man of Steel" is at the limit for the amount of science fiction in a conventional comic book movie.  In contrast, "Interstellar" is not a movie for popcorn eaters.  It's the heir to "2001: A Space Odyssey," so it's self-consciously a work of art; it's also great science fiction.  If I were a WorldCon voter, it would be my choice from among the nominees.  As for "Edge of Tomorrow," I found it equally solid as art, entertainment, and science fiction.  I don't think it will or should win, but I wouldn't be upset if it did.

On the other hand, I see at least two movies that I would have nominated.  I mentioned both "Snowpiercer" and "Under The Skin" in 2014 in movies for nerds and geeks and both of them were probably better than "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which I haven't seen and definitely better than "The Lego Movie", which I have.  The former was probably great entertainment and well-crafted, and the latter certainly was, but "The Lego Movie" didn't even get nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.  That means there were five better films as judged by the professionals.  In addition, both "Snowpiercer" and "Under The Skin" were better as science fiction and works of art.

That brings me to the controversy.  Neither snubbed movie was on the slate put forth by Sad Puppies, which is loosely affiliated with GamerGate, but three of the five nominees were.  In fact, a lot of the nominees for other categories were on that slate, which led to a lot of gnashing of teeth among fans.  I might return to this later, but I have to cut this entry short to go to work.  Until then, read A.V. Club's This year’s Hugo Award nominees are a messy political controversy for an explanation.

As for the television nominees, the episodes from "Doctor Who," "Game of Thrones," and "Orphan Black" all look like they belong.  I'm surprised by "The Flash" and "Grimm," although as a "Grimm" fan, it's a pleasant surprise.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more in future entertainment entries.

*The readership for that entry showed it, too.  Normally, an entry receives 30 page views in less than 24 hours.  For a good entry, it takes 12.  This entry had 24 entries in 24 hours and took 36 hours to get 30.  Obviously, "Mad Men" is not what the readers of my blog want to see, not unless I turn it into a commentary on decline and collapse.

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