Tuesday, July 23, 2019

'Us' vs. 'A Quiet Place' at the 2019 Saturn Awards

"I plan on writing about another Emily Blunt movie tomorrow, when I cover the horror nominees.  Stay tuned."  That's how I ended 'Aladdin' vs. 'Mary Poppins Returns' at the 2019 Saturn Awards and that's how I begin today's entry.  Time to be a good environmentalist and recycle my comments about the Best Horror Film Release in How did my predictions for the Saturn Awards movie nominees compare to reality?
The extended deadline made the nominees for Best Horror Film Release look very different from my picks.
  • The Dead Don’t Die (Focus Features)
  • Halloween (Universal Pictures)
  • Hereditary (A24)
  • Overlord (Paramount)
  • Pet Sematary (Paramount)
  • A Quiet Place (Paramount)
  • Us (Universal Pictures)
I did get three, but the selection committee surprised me by selecting "Overlord" instead of "Suspiria" from last year's horror films.  However, "Suspiria" did not go away empty-handed, as it earned a nomination for Best Film Make-Up.  As for the three films from the expanded eligibility period, I think "The Dead Don’t Die" and "Us" are excellent choices, but I'm not sure "Pet Sematary" is better than "The Meg" or "The Nun."

I think the choice is between "A Quiet Place" and "Us."  I'm voting for "A Quiet Place," both on its merits and to protest the added three months of eligibility.
"Us" leads horror movie nominees with eight nominations.  "A Quiet Place" has five, "Pet Sematary" has three, "Halloween," "Hereditary," "Overlord," and "The Dead Don't Die" have two, and "Suspiria" has one.

Follow over the jump for the list of nominees and my commentary from 'Avengers: Endgame' vs. 'Aquaman' at the 2019 Saturn Awards plus any additional remarks about the horror nominees.

Best Actress in a Film

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween
Nicole Kidman, Destroyer
Brie Larson, Captain Marvel
Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Octavia Spencer, Ma
While I'm pretty confident Brie Larson will win this award, she's not getting my vote.  Instead, I'm voting for Emily Blunt, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.  The same could be said about Nicole Kidman for her role in "Destroyer," but Emily Blunt won the SAG Award for her supporting role in "A Quiet Place," so that breaks any possible tie for me.
If I weren't generally withholding my vote for the films that were made eligible by the extended deadline, I'd be very tempted to vote for Lupita Nyong’o, who is an Oscar winner.

Best Supporting Actor in a Film

Josh Brolin, Avengers: Infinity War
John Lithgow, Pet Sematary
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns
Lewis Pullman, Bad Times at The El Royale
Jeremy Renner, Avengers: Endgame
Will Smith, Aladdin
Steven Yeun, Burning
My guess is that Josh Brolin will win as Thanos, giving "Avengers: Infinity War" its only trophy of the night.  I might vote for him, but I'm inclined to vote for Lin-Manuel Miranda, who, like his co-star, earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.
Lithgow is an outstanding actor, but I don't think "Pet Sematary" is his best work, let alone the best supporting performance in a speculative film this year.

Best Performance by a Younger Actor

Evan Alex, Us
Asher Angel, Shazam!
Millie Bobby Brown, Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Jack Dylan Grazer, Shazam!
Tom Holland, Spider-Man: Far From Home
Shahadi Wright Joseph, Us
Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place
I expect that Tom Holland will win this again, but my vote is going to Millicent Simmonds, who I predicted last year would earn a nomination in this category.
"Us" has two nominees in this category, Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph.  I hope the voters for "Us" split their ballots so that Simmonds has a chance.

Now, two categories in which I have nothing new to say.

Best Film Director

Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel
Karyn Kusama, Destroyer
Jordan Peele, Us
Guy Ritchie, Aladdin
Anthony Russo & Joe Russo, Avengers: Endgame
Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One
James Wan, Aquaman
Zhang Yimou, Shadow
I'm not convinced the voters have a clear favorite, as the Russo Brothers, Boden and Fleck, and Wan all have a shot.  I'm not voting for any of them.  Instead, my choice is between Spielberg and Peele with Peele first.  I know, I generally boycotting voting for films that got in because of the extended deadline, but I think Spielberg is past his prime (and his attempts to squash streaming films from qualifying for the Oscars annoyed me), while I think Peele's best days in film are ahead of him.  Also, he's that good.
Best Film Screenplay

Drew Goddard, Bad Times at The El Royale (20th Century Fox)
Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Avengers: Endgame (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount)
Oh Jung-mi, Lee Chang-Dong, Burning (Well Go USA)
Jordan Peele, Us (Universal Pictures)
Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski, A Quiet Place (Paramount)
S. Craig Zahler, Dragged Across Concrete (Lionsgate / Summit)
Here, it's between Peele and the writing team for "A Quiet Place" for my vote.  I might just vote for Woods, Beck, and Krasinski for a script that says a lot with very few words.  As for the Saturn electorate, they might vote for Markus and McFeely for "Avengers: Endgame."
Best Film Production Design

Bill Brzeski, Aquaman
Ruth De Jong, Us
Rick Heinrichs, Dumbo
Gemma Jackson, Aladdin
Horace Ma Gwong-Wing, Shadow
John Myhre, Mary Poppins Returns
Charles Wood, Avengers: Endgame
"Aquaman" was gorgeous, but it wasn't even nominated for the Oscar in this category.  "Mary Poppins Returns" was, so it has my vote.
"Us" is the sole horror nominee.  I think it should just be happy to be nominated.
Best Film Editing

Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt Avengers: Endgame (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
James Herbert, Aladdin (Walt Disney Studios)
Nicholas Monsour, Us (Universal Pictures)
Kirk Morri, Aquaman (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Evan Schiff, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (Lionsgate / Summit)
Christopher Tellefsen, A Quiet Place (Paramount)
"A Quiet Place" earned an Oscar nomination for Sound Editing, not film editing, but that's good enough for me.  I have no idea which film everyone else will vote for and I'm not sure I care.
"Us" is the other horror nominee.  After a few days to think, I don't think either will win.  I think it will come down to "Avengers: Endgame" or "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum."
Best Film Make-Up

John Blake, Brian Sipe, Avengers: Endgame (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Judy Chin, Mike Marino, The Dead Don’t Die (Focus Features)
Bill Corso, Destroyer, (Mirror / Annapurna Pictures)
Lisa Love, Tate Steinsiek, Dragged Across Concrete (Lionsgate / Summit)
Tristan Versluis, Naomi Dunne, Duncan Jarman, Overlord (Paramount)
Annick Chartier, Adrien Morot, Pet Sematary (Paramount)
Mark Coulier, Fernanda Perez, Suspiria (Amazon)
I seem to be unable to write one of these posts go without questioning at least one of the nomimations and this is the category in which I'll do so.  "Border" was one of the Oscar nominees in the equivalent category and it earned a nomination for Best International Film — I think I'll even vote for it — but it didn't get a nomination here.  Also, "Aquaman" and "Mary Poppins Returns" earned nominations at the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards but not here.  Hmph.  That makes my job harder.  My intuition says to vote for "Suspiria" and my research supports my intuition, as it has four nominations and two wins for makeup.  As for the other voters, I don't care what they think right now.  Maybe later, when I'm not so annoyed that the selection committee made my decision annoyingly difficult.
There are four horror nominees in this category, the most in any category here, so I think one of them is favored.  Which one?  I suspect it will be between "The Dead Don't Die" or "Pet Sematary."
Best Film Special/Visual Effects

A Quiet Place
Avengers: Endgame
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Ready Player One
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Based on my general boycott of films nominated during the extended period, my choice is easy, "Ready Player One."  It earned an Oscar nomination in this category and that's good enough for me.
The monsters in "A Quiet Place" were scary and well-realized, but the ones in "Godzilla: King of Monsters" were more spectacular.  That's why I expect it or "Avengers: Endgame" will win this award.

That's it for the horror nominees.  Expect more original content and less recycling tomorrow when I tackle the Action, Thriller, Independent, and International Films at the Saturn Awards.

Previous entries in this series:


  1. Hey Eddie/ PS! I was surprised about "Quiet Place", I guess though, I shouldn't be, but I don't get to see many movies. A friend could not wait to see that movie, and wanted to go when it first came out ... I didn't really care about going myself. So we went to it, about 20 minutes into the she fell asleep, she looked so comfy, I didn't want to disturb her, she woke in the end though ... I told her she missed it, she just smiled, asked why I didn't wake her?, I told her she looked so relaxed, felt not to disturb her. I watched the whole thing ... the title of the movie "Quiet Place" was appropriate ... it had to be the most quiet movie I ever seen, though. Like the whole theatre was literally "quiet" {:-)

    1. That's the first story of someone who fell asleep in a horror movie I can recall someone telling me, and I'm almost 60! If she had stayed awake, she might have been good and scared, so I don't know if it would have been better for her. And, yes, it is the quietest movie that says so much with so few words I've ever watched.