Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Action, Thriller, Independent, and International Films at the Saturn Awards

Today, I finished writing about the Saturn Awards movie nominees with the "entry about the Action, Thriller, Independent, and International Film nominees" I promised yesterday. Without any further ado, here are the nominees in all four categories from File 770 along with my comments.
Best Action / Adventure Film Release:

"Baby Driver" (TriStar / Sony Pictures)
"Dunkirk" (Warner Bros.)
"The Fate of the Furious" (Universal)
"The Greatest Showman" (20th Century Fox)
"Hostiles" (Entertainment Studios)
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" (20th Century Fox)
I haven't decided yet which of these movies to vote for. The Oscar winner for Editing and Best Picture nominee is "Dunkirk."  The three-time Oscar nominee is "Baby Driver."  The surprise, but still with an Oscar nomination for Original Song, is "The Greatest Showman."  In order, those are the entertainment establishment's nominees and mine as well.  That doesn't mean that I think any of them will win, even if one of them should.  Instead, I suspect "The Fate of the Furious" is likely to walk away with the Saturn statuette.  I watched that movie on a flight this summer and it was pure dumb escapist fun.  As I think I've mentioned in almost every entry of this series so far, "the Saturn Awards are about entertainment not art, they don't care for subtle, and they love to stick it to the experts."  Voting for "The Fate of the Furious" would fit all three criteria.

As I have for the past two entries, I'm pointing out a snub in this category, "Atomic Blonde."  That could have been here instead of "The Greatest Showman" or "Hostiles," but may have deserved not being nominated.  I wrote as much in the comments to Midweek Cafe and Lounge, Vol. 58 at Booman Tribune.
"Atomic Blonde" had a great star, a great soundtrack, and an interesting premise, but it ended up being kind of a dud.  I was expecting it to earn a nomination for Best Action / Adventure Film Release at the Saturn Awards, but it got beat out by the obscure film "Hostiles" and the musical "The Greatest Showman" in addition to all the films I expected to be nominated, "Baby Driver," "Dunkirk," "The Fate of the Furious" (in which Charlize Theron also starred), and "Kingsman: The Golden Circle."  "Atomic Blonde" couldn't get any respect from the people who honor films the Hollywood professionals don't respect!
Oh, well, at least it has a nomination at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards for Best Fight.

Best Thriller Film Release:

"Brawl in Cell Block 99" (RLJE Films)
"Murder on the Orient Express" (20th Century Fox)
"The Post" (20th Century Fox)
"Suburbicon" (Paramount)
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (Fox Searchlight)
"Wind River" (TWC)
I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote in Three thrillers for the Saturn Awards at my Dreamwidth journal.
During the past week, my wife and I watched three movies nominated for Best Thriller Film Release at the Saturn Awards. While we both watched it for the entertainment, I was also evaluating which one of the three would get my vote, as I am a Saturn Awards member.

"Murder on the Orient Express" was a remake of a movie I watched with my parents in the 1970s, so I wasn't surprised at the twist; it was the same. I did enjoy the all-star cast, the settings, and the lavish production values. I was surprised it was not nominated for an Academy Award. It was obvious Oscar bait, probably too obvious.

"The Post" won Best Film about Politics and Government at the first Coffee Party Entertainment Awards for movies. It deserved it. It was indeed a thriller, although a low-key one. It also had the best ending.

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" had great acting, a decent amount of action, and great performances [ETA: camera work and editing]. Unfortunately, my wife and I found its ending disappointing. I'm not voting for it, although I'm still considering voting for Frances McDormand for Best Actress in a Movie. Instead, I think I'm casting my vote in this category for "The Post."
The only other nominee I'd consider to be serious would be "Wind River."  "Suburbicon" was a high-concept flop and "Brawl in Cell Block 99" deservedly earned a nomination for Best Overlooked Film from the Hawaii Film Critics Society (it lost to "Wind River" and "T2 Trainspotting").  I would have suggested "Molly's Game" instead.

Best Independent Film Release:

"I, Tonya" (Neon)
"LBJ" (Electric Entertainment)
"Lucky" (Magnolia)
"Professor Marston and the Wonder Women" (Annapurna Pictures)
"Super Dark Times" (The Orchard)
"Wonder" (Lionsgate)
"Wonderstruck" (Amazon / Roadside Attractions)
Only one film in the field is both an Oscar winner (Supporting Actress for Allison Janney) and a nominee (Best Female Lead for Margot Robbie) and winner (Best Editing) at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, "I, Tonya."  That makes it my likely choice.  That doesn't make it the favorite, as this is its only nomination at the Saturn Awards.  Instead, I think one of "Wonder" or "Wonderstruck," each of which has three nominations here, will likely be the winner.  Of the two, "Wonder" was nominated for an Oscar for Best Hair and Make-Up, but didn't win.  It was also nominated for three awards at the Makeup and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, but was shut out.  I was not impressed, but the bulk of the Saturn Awards electorate might care.  On the other hand, the Saturn Awards are the only awards show to have nominated "Wonderstruck" for any awards.  Voting for it might be a good way to "stick it to the experts."  Speaking of which, the dark horse would be "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women," which could win if all the comic book fans voted for it.  I don't think that will happen, especially since I think most of them are voting for "Black Panther," not "Wonder Woman."

Given the almost complete disjunction between this field and the movies nominated at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, there are too many potential snubs to name.  That written, "Call Me by Your Name," "Lady Bird," "The Big Sick," and "The Florida Project" would have been a high-quality independent field in addion to the three movies I mentioned above.

Best International Film Release:

"Baahubali 2: The Conclusion" (Arka Media Works)
"Brimstone" (Momentum Pictures)
"The Lodgers" (Epic Pictures Group)
"The Man Who Invented Christmas" (Bleecker Street)
"The Square" (Magnolia)
"Wolf Warrior 2" (Well Go USA)
"The Square" is far and away the establishment choice in this field, as it not only earned an Oscar nomination, but also nominations for Best Foreign Language Film at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards and Golden Globe Awards.  In fact, it's the only nominee from any of these awards in this field, which means I'm likely to vote for it.  On the other hand, "The Man Who Invented Christmas," which I thought might be nominated for Best Fantasy Film, was.  Remember, this is an International Film category, not a Foreign Language one, as "The Man Who Invented Christmas" is in English.  I suspect that will give it a leg up with the Saturn Awards electorate.  As for snubs, both "Thelma" and "Body and Soul" were both foreign language speculative fiction movies nominated at the Critics' Choice Awards and Academy Awards, respectively, but they weren't nominated here.

Follow over the jump for the other categories with nominees from these films.

Here are the nominees and my thoughts about them, which I've recycled from 'The Last Jedi' and 'Star Wars Rebels' at the Saturn Awards for Star Wars Day and 'Black Panther' vs. 'Wonder Woman' at the Saturn Awards for a late Free Comic Book Day.  Only if I did not mention any of the nominees above the jump will I add a comment; otherwise, I'll just quote and move on.
Best Actor in a Film:

Chadwick Boseman "Black Panther" (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Ryan Gosling "Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.)
Mark Hamill "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Lucasfilm Ltd./Walt Disney Studios)
Hugh Jackman "Logan" (20th Century Fox)
Daniel Kaluuya "Get Out" (Universal)
Andy Serkis "War for the Planet of the Apes" (20th Century Fox)
Vince Vaughn "Brawl in Cell Block 99" (RLJE)
Only Daniel Kaluuya has been nominated for an Oscar for this role.  In addition, Ryan Gosling has been nominated for two Oscars and won a Golden Globe over the years, while Hugh Jackman was nominated for an Oscar once.  Also, Andy Serkis was nominated for a Golden Globe.  If the entertainment professionals were voting, one of them, most likely Kaluuya, would won.  The professionals are not; the fans are and they'll likely vote for either Mark Hamill or Chadwick Boseman.
When I read "Vince Vaughn 'Brawl in Cell Block 99,'" I thought "another obscure film nominated by the Saturn Awards committee," which is longer and nicer than "Who?  What?"  As for who I'd have in his place, it would be Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in "Murder on the Orient Express."  I would probably still vote for Kaluuya.
Best Actress in a Film:

Gal Gadot “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.)
Sally Hawkins “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight)
Frances McDormand “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight)
Lupita Nyong’o “Black Panther” (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Rosamund Pike “Hostiles” (Entertainment Studios)
Daisy Ridley “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Lucasfilm Ltd./Walt Disney Studios)
Emma Watson “Beauty and the Beast” (Walt Disney Studios)
Finally, the Oscar winner, Frances McDormand, is among the nominees, along with another nominee, Sally Hawkins, along with a past winner, Lupita Nyong’o, and a former nominee, Rosamund Pike.  I will probably vote for either McDormand or Hawkins.  I don't expect the plurality of the Saturn electorate will.  Instead, I think they will vote for Gal Gadot, who I correctly predicted would be nominated in this category.

Speaking of nominees, both "I, Tonya" and "The Post" were nominated in other categories.  If the Saturn Awards were consistent and honored the opinions of entertainment insiders and other professionals, the nominating committee would have nominated their leading ladies Margot Robbie and Meryl Streep in this category.  They didn't.  I'm not surprised.  As I wrote in Speculative fiction nominees at the 2018 SAG Awards, "Remember, the Saturn Awards are about entertainment not art, they don't care for subtle, and they love to stick it to the experts."  That's O.K.; this is a good field.
Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Film:

Tom Holland “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Sony / Marvel)
Dafne Keen “Logan” (20th Century Fox)
Sophia Lillis “It” (Warner Bros.)
Millicent Simmons “Wonderstruck” (Amazon / Roadside Attractions)
Jacob Tremblay “Wonder” (Lionsgate)
Letitia Wright “Black Panther” (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Zendaya “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Sony / Marvel)
This field contains the defending winner, Tom Holland, who won for playing Spider-Man in "Captain America: Civil War," a role that also won him the EE Rising Star Award at the BAFTAs.  He's the same character this time around, too, in a movie that stars him, so I think he's the favorite.  He has impressive competition for the award.  Like Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen has nominations for this role from the Critics' Choice Awards and 2017 Teen Choice Awards along with a win at the MTV Awards.  Sophia Lillis was the standout of an excellent ensemble of young actors in "It."  Both Millicent Simmons and Jacob Tremblay have nomination for these same roles from the Critics' Choice Awards and Tremblay is a previous nominee at the Saturn Awards, while I expect Simmons will have one next year for "A Quiet Place."  Letitia Wright might be the beneficiary of a sweep for "Black Panther," which would be bad news for Zendaya, whose wins have come from youth awards and more prestigious nominations from BET and the NAACP (Image Awards).  The vote that would go to her would probably go to Wright instead.  "Wonder Woman" isn't the only casualty of the Academy allowing "Black Panther" to compete in these awards.  It also doesn't help that the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” vote will likely go to Holland.  That written, she's a worthy nominee in a good field.  As for my vote, it will probably go to Keen.
Best Film Editing:

Michael P. Shawver, Claudia Castello “Black Panther” (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Paul Rubell, Christian Wagner “The Fate of the Furious” (Universal)
Gregory Plotkin “Get Out” (Universal)
Michael McCusker, Dirk Westervelt “Logan” (20th Century Fox)
Sidney Wolinsky “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight)
Bob Ducsay “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Lucasfilm Ltd./Walt Disney Studios)
All of the five films nominated for Film Editing at the Academy Awards were nominated at the Saturn Awards in their genre categories, but only one, “The Shape of Water,” was nominated in this category.  Both "Baby Driver" and "Dunkirk" were nominated in the Action category and were snubbed in favor of "The Fate of the Furious."  Really?  "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" was nominated in the Thriller category and "I, Tonya" was nominated in the Independent Film category.  I wouldn't have minded picking among them myself with the Satellite Award winner, "War for the Planet of the Apes," or Gold Derby nominee, "Get Out," as the sixth choice.  If I had, I'd have voted for "Baby Driver" or "I, Tonya."  That's not happening.  As it is, I'm voting for either "The Shape of Water" or "Get Out."  I don't know who might win other than those two.
Best Film Make-Up:

Joel Harlow, Ken Diaz “Black Panther” (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Donald Mowat “Blade Runner 2049” (Warner Bros.)
John Blake, Brian Sipe “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Alec Gillis, Sean Sansom, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Shane Zander “It” (Warner Bros.)
Mike Hill, Shane Mahan “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight)
Peter Swords King, Neal Scanlan “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Lucasfilm Ltd./Walt Disney Studios)
Arjen Tuiten “Wonder” (Lionsgate)
Only "Wonder" from the three Oscar nominees appears here.  I don't know if that makes it the favorite.  Instead, I'd look among the speculative fiction nominees galore at the Makeup and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, “Blade Runner 2049,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”  I am somewhat surprised that "Beauty and the Beast" was not nominated, but this category is make-up, not hair.  Out of all four, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" won.  On that alone, it has my vote.
Looks like I already did a good job of commenting on the chances of the nominees from the four categories of films I'm focusing on in this entry.  Now for a couple of categories that required more elaboration from 'The Shape of Water' vs. 'Beauty and the Beast' at the Saturn Awards.
Best Film Music:

Ludwig Goransson “Black Panther” (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Michael Giacchino “Coco” (Walt Disney Studios)
John Debney, Joseph Trapanese “The Greatest Showman” (20th Century Fox)
Alexandre Desplat “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight)
John Williams “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Lucasfilm Ltd./Walt Disney Studios)
Carter Burwell “Wonderstruck” (Amazon / Roadside Attractions)
Four of the Oscar nominees for Original Score and two of the Oscar nominees for Original Song were eligible, as the films their music accompanied were nominated for at least one Saturn Award.  Only four of the six earned a nomination in this category, "Coco," "The Greatest Showman," "The Shape of Water," and "The Last Jedi."  "Dunkirk" and "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" did not earn nominations.  However, I wouldn't say they were snubbed; I was not impressed with their soundtracks.  On the other hand, "Black Panther" is probably a good choice.  As for my vote, it's split among "Coco," "The Greatest Showman," and "The Shape of Water."  I doubt any of them will win, even (or especially) since "The Shape of Water" won the Oscar.  Instead, I expect "The Last Jedi" to be the favorite.
I made another comment about "The Shape of Water" in Drink to 'Coco' at the Saturn Awards for Cinco De Mayo.
The one bit of hope is that last year's Oscar winner for both Best Original Score and Best Original Song, "La La Land," won Best Music last year, so both "Coco" and "The Shape of Water," another film I could celebrate today, still have a fair chance, although it doesn't happen often that the Oscar winner becomes the Saturn Award winner, even when nominated.
As I have for all the rest of the nominees for Best Film Music, I'll embed a video at the end of the entry.
Best Film Costume Designer:

Jacqueline Durran “Beauty and the Beast” (Walt Disney Studios)
Ruth E. Carter “Black Panther” (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Ellen Mirojnick “The Greatest Showman” (20th Century Fox)
Michael Kaplan “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Warner Bros.)
Olivier Beriot “Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets” (STX Films / EuroCorp)
Lindy Hemming “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.)
In the absence of "Phantom Thread," the Oscar winner, this is a wide-open, high-quality field with two Oscar nominees, "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Shape of Water," and two additional nominees from the Costume Designers Guild, "Wonder Woman" and "The Greatest Showman."  Of the four, "The Shape of Water" and "Wonder Woman" won their respective categories.  "Black Panther" makes for a worthy addition -- I would not be surprised if it is nominated for an Oscar in this category next year -- making up for "Thor: Ragnarok" not being nominated.  I am surprised that “Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets” beat "The Last Jedi," but that's all; as I've written before, its nomination is not undeserved.  As for me, I might vote for "Wonder Woman."
I screwed this one up badly, especially about "The Shape of Water."  It was not nominated for this category at all, even though it earned one at the Academy Awards.  That's a snub!  So my remark about "Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets” beating "The Last Jedi" becomes one about it beating "The Shape of Water."  Once again, my comment about the Saturn Awards being about entertainment, not art, finds more support.
While there are period costumes in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Wonder Woman,” there is a strong fantasy element.  On the other hand, “The Greatest Showman” is all period with a dash of show business.  It probably won't win.

Now for the videos of music from nominated films.  First, This Is Me (from The Greatest Showman Soundtrack) [Official Audio], which I used in a comment to Midweek Cafe and Lounge, Vol. 49.

Next, Wonderstruck - Carter Burwell - Soundtrack Preview (Official Video).

With that, I'm done with the nominated music and done with the movies.  Tomorrow, I will post the entry I promised in How did my Saturn Awards television submissions fare? O.K., I guess.
I'm almost as displeased at Tatiana Maslany getting snubbed as I was at Eva Green and "Penny Dreadful" being ignored for three consecutive years.  Humph.  I'll plan on writing a post about how these awards would look if the entertainment professionals were in charge of them instead of two people on the Television Committee.  I'll critique the acting nominations there.
After that, I'll start examining the television nominees.  Stay tuned.

Previous entries about the 2018 Saturn Awards:

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