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DAILY BULLETIN: Fruitvale takes top prizes at Sundance, awards blather

fruitvaleHey everyone. Sorry about last week. I just didn’t set aside the time to do much in the way of blogging.

On the last podcast, I mentioned potentially switching to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule for updates, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. To be honest, I like having the freedom to update this thing whenever. So maybe some weeks will only have a couple of updates, while others will have something every weekday. My goal is going to stay at five updates a week, but realistically I’m going to fall short of that sometimes (or probably even most of the time).

With that out of the way, I’m going to stop prefacing these updates with apologies for missed dates or whatever. From this point on, I’ll just be updating as often as possible on weekdays when I have the time. Enough said on that.

So, news…

Sundance film festival wraps up, Fruitvale takes two awards
The media circus in Park City, Utah is over for another year. I talked earlier about some of the stuff I was anticipating based on buzz from this year’s festival, and now there’s at least one more title to add to the list. The film I’m talking about is Fruitvale. Written and directed by first-timer Ryan Coogler, it’s based on the story of Oscar Grant, a man who was shot and killed by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer after allegedly resisting arrest. The officer responsible, Johannes Mehserle, was charged with murder but ended up convicted of involuntary manslaughter (he’s since been paroled). Mehserle said the shooting was a mistake, and that he’d intended to use his Taser on Grant because he saw him reaching into his waistband.  Grant turned out to be unarmed.

Fruitvale (the name of the film comes from the stop on the transit line where the shooting occurred) won both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance this year. A Grand Jury Prize win isn’t always a guarantee I’ll enjoy a film, but this is the same award that Winter’s Bone took home in 2010, and I loved that. So I’m hoping for something just as good this time.

Much like with Winter’s Bone, the success of Fruitvale lies mostly in the hands of a promising young talent. In 2010 it was Jennifer Lawrence. For Fruitvale, keep an eye out for Michael B. Jordan in the lead role. You probably know him as Wallace from The Wire, or Vince from Friday Night Lights. Or maybe even Steve from Chronicle. I haven’t seen Friday Night Lights, but I enjoyed Jordan on The Wire, and I thought he did a lot with what could’ve been a pretty generic role in Chronicle. So yeah, I’m excited to see more of him. This guy appears to be a star in the making, and this could be his big break.

Fruitvale was bought by The Weinstein Company, so I’m already expecting to see it get a big push during the next awards season.

Awards blather
I’ll be brief here, since as I explained in an earlier post I only really get interested in awards shows when it finally comes ’round to Oscar time. But, long story short, Argo now appears to be the frontrunner for Best Picture, thanks to wins at the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Producer’s Guild Awards, and the Golden Globes. There are some interesting wrinkles though. For example, only three films in history have won Best Picture at the Oscars without having a Best Director nomination. And as you probably know, Ben Affleck was not nominated for his direction in Argo. (Useless trivia: the three films in question are 1927’s Wings, 1931’s Grand Hotel, and 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy).

Personally, I’d really prefer Lincoln to come out on top. I don’t have super strong feelings about it being better than Argo, but it was definitely way more up my alley. With Affleck out of the running for the directing prize, Spielberg looks to be a pretty sure thing.

As for the acting awards, Daniel Day-Lewis is more or less a lock. Jennifer Lawrence is also looking good. Among the supporting actresses, Anne Hathaway is on top at the moment. Best supporting actor is still wide open.

Of course, none of these predictions are official for now. Just noting a few trends and charting momentum and whatnot. Because I have nothing better to talk about.

Seeya next time!

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