“Mr. Oscar” Meier – ‘The Artist’ Enters

First, a quick non-Oscar-affiliated reminder (or I guess “announcement” if you’re not following GTTM on Facebook or Twitter… You should really do that).

The November edition of MCT Live (hosted by @MEIER_in_a_CT on Twitter) starts on the 30th (TODAY) at 8:00 PM EST. This month’s selection is the inspiration for the hit television program of the same name 1970’s M*A*S*H – directed by the legendary Robert Altman and starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, and Robert Duvall. Unfortunately, I don’t think the film can be found via Netflix Instant, so if you want to follow my live tweets while simultaneously watching M*A*S*H (which is recommended but not absolutely necessary), I highly advise browsing your local video rental store (my source: Family Video).

We now return to your oncoming Oscars updates.

With November all but over, a slew of award announcements have been made in the past two days (with more to come in the first days of December). The Gotham Independent Film Awards announced their winners Monday night, and the day after held two more revelations – the New York Film Critics Circle’s choices (postponed for one day) and the nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The Gotham Awards presented a rare outcome when the result for Best Picture was revealed to be a tie. The prize was shared by Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Mike Mills’ Beginners, beating out The Descendants, Meek’s Cutoff, and Take Shelter. The latter of the tie also won Best Ensemble Performance earlier in the night, receiving the most Gotham Awards of any other movie that night. Christopher Plummer – a veteran actor with only one Oscar nomination under his belt – is already speculated as a heavy contender for this year’s Best Supporting Actor race with his performance in Beginners as a dying father who comes out of the closet to his son. I can only imagine that these two new wins (and some recent Spirit Award love – more on that further down) are improving the summer indie’s chances.

Seemingly all too eager to steal the thunder on Tuesday was The Artist – the critical darling of the independent circuit about silent film actors that is largely favored for Best Picture consideration come the Oscars. The film directed by Michel Hazanavicius (who already holds my favorite name to repeatedly type) started its run of triumph by earning Best Picture and Best Director from the Critics Circle, meanwhile also nabbing nominations from the Spirit Awards for the same categories as well as Best Actor for newcomer Jean Dujardin, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.

Take Shelter – a film that is currently still in theaters – impressively tied The Artist for the most Spirit Award nominations with five. The movie about a construction worker who envisions horrid weather when others around him do not received nods for Best Feature, Best Actor for Michael Shannon, Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain, Best Direction for Jeff Nichols, and the Piaget Producers Award. Artist and Shelter will compete with 50/50, Beginners, The Descendants, and Drive for the top prize of Best Feature on February 25th, 2012.

Speaking of Jessica Chastain, the recently raved-about actress was one of many people who found more than one reason to celebrate yesterday. On top of her Spirit nomination, Chastain was deemed Best Supporting Actress by the Critics Circle for her work in The Help, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life. Her Tree co-star Brad Pitt was named Best Actor for the same film and Moneyball – a film that also won Best Screenplay. Others given appreciation from both of Tuesday’s announcements include Albert Brooks for his supporting work in Drive, A Separation for Best Foreign Film, and Margin Call which won Best First Feature from the Critics Circle and will be honored with the Robert Altman Award for the film’s ensemble cast at the Spirit Awards ceremony. Margin Call – a drama with an ensemble cast about a day in the beginning of financial tumult for an investment bank – also earned Spirit nods for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay.

As for the rest of the Critics Circle’s choices, Best Actress went to the incomparable Meryl Streep for her much-anticipated portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. The honor of Best Non-Fiction Film (which I suppose sometimes differs from being Best Documentary) was given to Werner Herzog’s 3D doc Cave of Forgotten Dreams – just returning from licking its wounds after being snubbed by the Academy.

As I see it, the following ten films (listed alphabetically) are currently the most worth keeping an eye on before the Oscars. You will find presented with the titles their updated stats of awards and nominations. If you run into trouble understanding the stats, please refer to the key here (scroll down to the middle).


The Artist

– Best Picture: ISA, NYC

– Best Actor (Jean Dujardin): ISA

– Best Direction (Michel Hazanavicius): ISA, NYC

– Best (Original) Screenplay: ISA



– Best Picture: GA*, ISA

– Best Ensemble Performance a-k-a Best Cast: GA**

– Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Plummer): ISA

– Best Direction (Mike Mills): ISA

– Best (Original) Screenplay: ISA


The Descendants

– Best Picture: GA, ISA

– Best Ensemble Performance a-k-a Best Cast: GA

– Best Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley): ISA

– Breakthrough Performance (Shailene Woodley): GA

– Best Direction (Alexander Payne): ISA

– Best (Adapted) Screenplay: ISA



– Best Picture: ISA

– Best Foreign Film: BIFA

– Best Actor (Ryan Gosling): ISA

– Best Supporting Actor (Albert Brooks): ISA, NYC

– Best Direction (Nicolas Winding Refn): ISA


Martha Marcy May Marlene

– Best First Feature: ISA

– Best Ensemble Performance a-k-a Best Cast: GA

– Best Actress (Elizabeth Olsen): ISA

– Best Supporting Actor (John Hawkes): ISA

– Breakthrough Performance (Elizabeth Olsen): GA

– Breakthrough Direction (Sean Derkin): GA

– Piaget Producers Award: ISA



– Best Actor (Brad Pitt): NYC

– Best (Adapted) Screenplay: NYC



– Best Picture: BIFA

– Best Foreign Film: ISA

– Best Actor (Michael Fassbender): BIFA

– Best Supporting Actress (Carey Mulligan): BIFA

– Best Direction (Steve McQueen): BIFA

– Best (Original) Screenplay: BIFA


Take Shelter

– Best Picture: GA, ISA

– Best Ensemble Performance a-k-a Best Cast: GA

– Best Actor (Michael Shannon): ISA

– Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain): ISA, NYC

– Best Direction (Jeff Nichols): ISA

– Piaget Producers Award: ISA


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

– Best Picture: BIFA

– Best Actor (Gary Oldman): BIFA

– Best Supporting Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch): BIFA

– Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hardy): BIFA

– Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Burke): BIFA

– Best Direction (Tomas Alfredson): BIFA


The Tree of Life

– Best Picture: GA*

– Best Actor (Brad Pitt): NYC

– Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain): NYC

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