I’ve contemplated the suggestions for HE’s Best of 2013 At The Six-Month Mark, and I just can’t blow off the top-notch films I saw at the Cannes Film Festival (Inside Llewyn Davis, All Is Lost, The Past, Blue Is The Warmest Color, et. al.). If I were to ignore them because they haven’t been released I’d give HE’s Halftime Award for Best Picture to Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight, but I can’t ignore Cannes — it happened, hundreds saw and wrote about these films, they’re part of the conversation, they’re too accomplished and important, etc.
So here’s the breakdown so far on 2013’s Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress…right? Little thought is given to likely Oscar/Academy recognition given my lack of respect for mainstream Academy attitudes, although any/most of these faves will probably be Oscar-nominated. This is just me talking right now. The Academy bullshit can wait.
Best Halftime Picture Award of 2013: Tie between Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis and J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost. I’m sorry but Davis is one of those less-is-profoundly-more films that not only works and coheres perfectly when you first see it, but also gets better and better the more you think about it weeks down the road. And All Is Lost is just fucking brilliant — easily the most novel and gripping survivalist suspense drama ever made, and particularly striking for the zero-dialogue element. Leagues and light years beyond Life Is Pi.
Other Best Halftime Picture Nominees: 3. The Past, d: Asghar Farhadi (Cannes 2013); 4. Blue Is The Warmest Color, d: Abdellatif Kechiche (Cannes 2013); 5. Before Midnight, d: Richard Linklater; 6. Ryan Coogler‘s Fruitvale Station (Sundance, Cannes); 7. 20 Feet From Stardom, d: Morgan Neville; 8. Frances Ha, d: Noah Baumbach; 9. Behind The Candelabra, d: Steven Soderbergh; 10. Mud, d: Jeff Nichols, 11. Upstream Color, d: Shane Carruth; 12. Shadow Dancer, d: James Marsh; 13. The Attack, d: Ziad Doueiri.
Best Halftime Director Award of 2013: Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis. Other Best Halftime Director Nominees: J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost, Asghar Farhadi, The Past, Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station; Richard Linklater, Before Midnight.
Best Halftime Actor Award of 2013: Robert Redford, All Is Lost. No other performance so far has come close to conveying as much gravitas, alone-ness, sadness, decency, humanity. And no other performance so far has elicited such flat-out admiration and exhilaration on my part. There’s nothing to do but celebrate Redford’s luck in scoring perhaps the best role of his career and delivering bis best performance since he played…you tell me. Jeremiah Johnson in Jeremiah Johnson, Bob Woodward in All The President’s Men, David Chappelet in Downhill Racer, the goodbye scene in front of the Plaza in The Way We Were, etc.
Best Halftime Actor Nominees besides Redford: Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis (there’s often a new guy/outlier nominee among Academy’s Best Actor contenders), Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra (I don’t care if Candelabara debuted on HBO — it opened theatrically in Europe); Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station; Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight. Wells Exception: If Michael Shannon hadn’t played General Zod in Man of Steel his Iceman performance might have some Best Actor traction at this stage, but he has to pay the penalty for being in Steel, which was and is an act of mercenary paycheck-ism.
Best Halftime Actress Award of 2013: Tie between Berenice Bejo in The Past and Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue Is The Warmest Color (although the latter’s unpronounceable, unspellable last name probably puts her behind Bejo at this point). Best 2013 Halftime Actress Nominees besides Bejo & Exarchopoulos: Julie Delpy, Before Midnight; Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha; Andrea Riseborough, Shadow Dancer; Rooney Mara, Ain’t them Bodies Saints.
Best 2013 Halftime Best Supporting Actor Award of 2013: Bruce Dern, Nebraska. (Wells to Paramount: Dern having won the Best Actor award at Cannes is great advertising, but there’s no way his Nebraska performance will get any traction as a Best Actor contender with the Academy — it’s a supporting performance through and through. Runner-up: Ali Mosaffa, The Past.
Best 2013 Halftime Best Supporting Actress Award of 2013: Pauline Burlet, The Past. Runner-Up: June Squibb, Nebraska. HE Exception: Kristin Scott Thomas is striking and, yes, memorable in Only God Forgives, but the movie is so Godless and Godawful that nobody having anything to do with it can be nominated. There may even be a penalty carrying over into 2014 and 2015. I haven’t finally decided — let me think it over.
Other Highly Commendable 2013 Films: 14. House of Cards (Netflix series that began streaming on 2.1.13, d: David Fincher (first 2 episodes), p: Fincher; 15. No (d: Pablo Larrain); 16. Mama (d: Andres Muchietti, producer: Guillermo del Toro); 17. Room 237 (d: Rodney Ascher); 18. Side Effects (d: Steven Soderbergh); 19. The East, d: Zal “Batman” Batmanglij; 20. Disconnect (d: Henry-Alex Rubin); 21. The Gatekeepers (d: Dror Moreh); 22. The Sapphires (d: Wayne Blair); 23. Phil Spector (HBO, d: David Mamet); 24. Like Someone In Love (d: Abbas Kiorastami); 25. Starbuck (d: Ken Scott); 26. Nebraska (d: Alexander Payne); 27. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (Sundance, Cannes). (d: David Lowery)
Decent, Respectable, Approvable As Far As They Go: The Iceman, What Maisie Knew, The Company You Keep, Trance, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, Oblivion, The Great Gatsby, Kon Tiki, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, The Bling Ring, Spring Breakers. (11) 6.23 Note: Several 2013 films are unseen at this stage so apologies for temporary incompleteness.
Worst of 2013 (in no particular order): Only God Forgives, Man of Steel (because of the deplorable final 80 minutes — the first hour isn’t half-bad), After Earth, To The Wonder, Now You See Me, Hangover Part 3, Simon Killer, Iron Man 3, Arthur Newman, The Big Wedding, Post Tenebras Lux, At Any Price, Movie 43, Olympus Has Fallen; InAPPropriate Comedy; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Identity Thief, A Glimpse Inside The Mind of Charles Swan III, Stoker, A Good Day To Die Hard, Gangster Squad, Stand-Up Guys, The Last Stand. (24)