This year, to start awarding the people that we most see on the screen whenever we see a film: the actors and the style of the director. Compacting will make this an easier experience for all of us. We’ll start with the five acting categories and finish it off with the main prize: Best Director. Let’s start.
Best Performance, Acting, Ensemble
Last year the ensemble awarded with the Frank Award was the funny and exciting bunch of ‘The World’s End’ (2013), which gave gravity and entertaining personas to an amazing group of actors from Britain. Exciting group of people, all good performers, well awarded. Since I think that this is a category not usually well regarded, I came here to expand it, so this year (and from now on) there’ll be 10 nominated acting ensembles. Will you travel with me through these films?
The nominated ensembles are:
- Aimer, boire et chanter
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Inherent Vice
- Monty Python Live (Mostly)
- P’tit Quinquin
- Relatos salvajes
And the film with the best ensemble is…
This is, like many of the other movies nominated in this category, an “actor’s film”, but this is superior when the actors themselves are going through a cathartic charge through their experience acting these movies out. ‘Birdman’ is not a complex film when it comes down to its discussion regarding What We Do, or How Important We Are As Artists, which is debatable on many fronts, but in the end, it’s a movie that manages to get the best out of their actors: Keaton, Stone and many many others. This is their film.
Best Performance Acting, Female, Lead
The winner last year was the splendid Cate Blanchett for her amazing role as Jasmine in the movie ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013), that at times felt both like the most accurate depiction of depression and at the same time a departure of the style and filmmaking themes of Woody Allen. In 2014 she acted in two films, ‘The Monuments Men’ (where I think was the best thing about it, but still no cigar) and ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’, where she demonstrated the real power that Galadriel has for the first time in the entire six films around the works of Tolkien, but her role is too small for it to be considered for more than a cameo. On the other hand, she voiced the animated film ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ with her always splendid and dry voice. What are the nominees this year?
The nominees are:
- Marion Cotillard as Sandra in ‘Deux jours, une nuit’
- Essie Davis as Amelia in ‘The Babadook’
- Li Gong as Feng Wanuy in ‘Gui lai’
- Anita Reeves as Raquel in ‘Desastres Naturales’
- Hilary Swank as Mary Bee Cuddy in ‘The Homesman’
Out of all these great performances, Marion Cotillard is the only repeated nominee (and winner), but in another category. She won for her role as Mal in ‘Inception’ (2010) in the supporting role for a female actor, while she was also previously nominated for her performance dancing, a category that because of its sexism was batched a few years ago. Out of the rest maybe the least known is Anita Reeves, Chilean actress, who made her debut in a lead role at her advanced age, acing her role as a retired teacher that comes back once again for a final class. But will Marion win again or will another woman take the lead?
The best actress is…
Marion Cotillard wins again. Her role in ‘Deux jours, une nuit’ is maybe the strongest work she has done so far. The way in which her quiet suffering combines with her suffering, her present, her future and her past, and how her face reflects all that, one can wonder how much time she worked to get this naturalistic approach, she manages to simplify her own figure, her own mask as one of the most impressive actresses in the world. Here she disappears but at the same time shines.
Best Performance, Acting, Female, Supporting
Last year those who knew what they were doing knew that the best acting of the year was in the hands of Ziyi Zhang in her sad and energetic performance as Gong Er in the wonderful WKW film ‘Yi dai zong shi’ (2013). In 2014 she worked with Chinese director John Woo to make his new film, still unreleased beyond festivals, ‘The Crossing’, I haven’t heard of this film until now researching what she had done in 2014. I wonder. Who will the nominees be this year?
The nominees are:
- Patricia Arquette as Mom in ‘Boyhood’
- Takako Matsu as Tokiko Hirai in ‘Chiisai ouchi’
- Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne in ‘Gone Girl’
- Rene Russo as Nina Romina in ‘Nightcrawler’
- Emma Stone as Sam in ‘Birdman’
An entirely new batch of actresses comes to grace us with their presence in this amazing prize that is the Frank Awards. We hope that everyone has the chance to appear once again if they won’t win today. Perhaps the least known right now is Takako Matsu, who plays a wonderful supporting role as an aching cheating wife in the Japanese film ‘Chiisai ouchi’, one of the most hurting performances of the year.
So, the best actress is…
This was a tough decision between Patricia Arquette and Rosamund Pike, and I must wish for a tie, but in the end one thing pushed me to choose for the later actress in this race: the surprise factor in the existence of her performance. I’m sure most people have already seen ‘Gone Girl’, but I think that I don’t need to spoil it, I think that those who have seen it can’t deny the power in the performance of Rosamund Pike which, in itself, is a commentary on the performance that we do in our daily lives.
Best Performance, Acting, Male, Lead
Last year the award for best lead actor was no surprise when the magnificent Bruce Dern was on the race, his face, eyes and body mixed up together to give us a too realistic portrayal of old age in ‘Nebraska’ (2013). In 2014 he only acted in the film ‘Cut Bank’, which hasn’t been widely released yet.
The nominees this year are:
- Willem Dafoe as Pier Paolo Pasolini in ‘Pasolini’
- Gérard Depardieu as Devereaux in ‘Welcome to New York’
- Michael Keaton as Riggan in ‘Birdman’
- Joaquin Phoenix as Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello in ‘Inherent Vice’
- Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Günther Bachmann in ‘A Most Wanted Man’
Being one of my favorite actors of all time, I’m surprised by the absence of PSH in previous years of the Frank Awards, and maybe it’s because the films were either seen too late, like in ‘The Master’ or weren’t too good, like in the case of The Huger Games sequel in which he acted. The only repeat this year is Joaquin Phoenix, who was nominated last year in this category for his role in ‘Her’ (2013). Who will win?
And the best actor is…
Willem Dafoe surprised me here with his role on ‘Pasolini’, mainly because I didn’t think much of the film besides that it was a powerful portrayal and a good tribute of the life and the last hours of the life of Pasolini. His performance finally grew on me because of its nuances, his voice, his mannerisms, the way in which he managed to direct your view, as if he was directing the movie himself, as if he couldn’t help directing a movie inside a movie made by another director. Powerful stuff here and a harrowing ending.
Best Performance, Acting, Male, Supporting
The winner last year for his role as Andy Knightley was Nick Frost in the wonderful film ‘The World’s End’, mainly because it managed to portray an evolution of sorts in his own character, from an against type role to a classic Frost character. During 2014 he kept busy with the film ‘Cuban Fury’, while also voicing a role in the animated film ‘The Boxtrolls’.
So, the nominees this year are:
- Steve Carell as “John du Pont” in “Foxcatcher”
- Ethan Hawke as “Dad” in “Boyhood”
- Edward Norton as “Mike” in “Birdman”
- Bernard Pruvost as “Commandant Van der Weyden” in “P’tit Quinquin”
- J.K. Simmons as “Fletcher” in “Whiplash”
Entirely new slate here! Though Ethan Hawke has been nominated for a Frank Award, though not in an acting one, only in adapted screenplay for his contributions to the one of ‘Before Midnight’ (2013). Let’s see who wins!
And the best actor is…
Maybe the least known and the least “performance” one can think of, as its own existence is an act of bringing attention on itself. Bernard Pruvost is not an actor, he is a gardener, and his own performance in the miniseries ‘P’tit Quinquin’ is result of his uncomfortable presence in front of the camera and his inexperience in terms of acting, how he looked around looking for clues on what to say, what to do, what actions to make, his own uncomfortable position in terms of how the movie/tv-series works is fundamental to understand the mastery of something like this in the works of Dumont.
Spike Jonze was the winner last year for his great work in ‘Her’ (2013), my favorite movie of last year. In 2014 he didn’t direct anything, but I surely can’t wait for the next thing he does.
The nominated directors are:
- Jean-Luc Godard for ‘Adieu au langage’
- Peter Jackson for ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’
- Richard Linklater for ‘Boyhood’
- Christopher Nolan for ‘Interstellar’
- Sion Sono for ‘Tokyo Tribe’
Mostly comebacks here, as well as some masters that really haven’t been nominated before. Peter Jackson has his third nomination here for the third Hobbit film, will he nail it this time? On the other hand, Christopher Nolan has his third nomination here as well, being in the past one for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012) and another for ‘Inception’ (2010), which he managed to win that time. On the other side of the spectrum we can see Sion Sono, who was nominated in 2011 for ‘Koi no tsumi’ (2011), a wonderful film and a wonderful direction, just like his work in this year’s ‘Tokyo Tribe’. But who will win?
And the best director is…
Christopher Nolan crafts his images like no one else, and while the fiercest competition this time was with Jean-Luc Godard, and even if he’s won before this award, I can’t help but go with my mind and the way that the emotion flows in something like ‘Interstellar’. A masterwork from a master filmmaker.
MORE! SOON! IT COMES TO AN END!