O Canada Blogathon: Brendan Meyer, Part Three (In Search of Other Dimensions)

Another thing that seems to be happening with younger actors these days is increased career longevity. This is not just due to changes in training and surplus of media, but also the myriad approaches that exist to extending a career, and transitioning to more mature roles.

Some actors who go through dramatic growth spurts go on hiatus due to it, others take their time to pursue educational opportunities. For a fortunate few they can work continuously, toe the line while playing teenage characters with a high degree of believability, finding increasingly complex parts all while being of age and not constraining the production with the need to adhere to child labor laws.

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Brendan has found a good balance in this regard as of late. Typically the subject matter and the depths he’s asked to plunge are vaster and more varied than he was previously allowed.

That chronological flexibility he possesses and geography are two things he’s used to great advantage.

 

Garage Sale Mystery (2013)Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters (2014) and Garage Sale Mystery: The Secret Room (2015)

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A lot of fare on either Hallmark or Lifetime is produced in Canada. Brendan has frequently been the “leading Canadian” in a number of these project, which I’ll go through more. So, if you’re ever watching something and say to yourself “Hey, they’re good, who are they?” that’s likely one of the Canadians in the cast.

Lori Loughlin (Full HouseSummerland) decided to bring the Garage Sale Mystery books to the screen as the lead and Executive producer. Brendan played her son in the first three installments, he was usually an unwilling but tech-savvy assistant to mom’s research. His scenes were few and had but one he could really sink his teeth into, and naturally he delivered. The series continues but his part has been recast.

The Christmas Ornament (2013)

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Naturally, Hallmark’s Christmas fare finds itself in Canada quite a bit. In this one Brendan plays an enthusiastic and knowledgable tree salesman whose facts on disparate species of trees helped me sort my own preferences in trees (science comes back again). The good thing about the holiday movies for actors is that they re-air and go into production yearly, so it’s a bit like a mini-addition to pilot season.

The Virginian (2014)

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Lest you think Canada’s utility as a filming location only shows itself in the metropolitan malleability of Vancouver and Toronto, here is Brendan Meyer (facing Ron Perlman) in a 2014 straight-to-video remake of The Virginian. This image being all I could find is indicative of the size of his role in this film.

Starving in Suburbia (2014)

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Perhaps most impressive in terms of his performance and the film itself is Starving in Suburbia. He seems secondary to the tale but his involvement grows as things progress. In examining the mental illness that anorexia is it plays the story like psychological horror and features quite a few moments for Brendan, but is actually worth watching as a whole for sure.

Offering glimmers in smaller parts is great but there have been some recent roles where Brendan has gotten a chance to shine front and center. The depth and complexity of these parts leads to this question…

The Movie Rat: How do you approach a role?

Brendan Meyer: I read the script to learn what my character’s motivations are and how other people react to my character. Then I try to get an overall sense of the character and then take it day by day on set.

Two parts of that statement are huge. Firstly, considering how other characters react to one’s character is not something I’d consciously considered, but it is very important, so I learned something there. Even if an actor is working inside-out the perceptions others have of you can influence self-perception and it’s an important factor to consider for a character. This allows him to consider both motives and ulterior motives. Secondly, “then take it day by day on set” implies openness to collaboration and an innate understanding of the nature of physical production wherein things are bound to change.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Fallen (2014) and Motive: Fallen (2015)

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I watched both the episode of CSI and Motive close together, and if you’re willing to be put through the ringer for 86 minutes I’d suggest you watch them back-to-back. You certainly can as they share much in common, even the titles of the episodes are similar. Should you do so you’d witness Meyer deliver tour-de-force performances where he is angry, confused, vulnerable, seemingly malicious, at other times innocent, fractured, and hurt.

Both these episodes are award-nominated. He won a Joey Award for both and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Motive, which is just cited to show that others recognized his work in these episodes as well.

It is in these shows that you see best exemplified his process as not only does he make the characters identifiable and interesting but how he feels he is perceived factors into to decisions he makes.

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A still from Motive (USA) 

The Guest (2014)

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The Movie Rat: In 2014, I nominated you for Best Supporting Actor in the BAM Awards (my year-end bests) for The Guest. What was that production like?
Brendan Meyer: It was a great production. The entire cast and crew was terrific and I loved filming in New Mexico.

Here is what I wrote about The Guest at the end of 2014 with regard to Meyer’s nomination…

With the young actor categories there was parity not only in the categories but I did not single out any fields for the six-nominee maximum. With the open categories I only went with one. In terms of the nominations threshold there was an unbreakable flatfooted tie. Ultimately, I couldn’t penalize any actor for the size of their supporting turn. Similarly, Brendan Meyer who was playing quite a few years younger than his actual age is so spot-on in The Guest that that fact could not be used against him.

The Guest is a film that plays with many action and thriller tropes with tongue planted firmly in cheek. As such most of the characters need to play their parts with a high degree of straightness even as things get odd. Brendan’s second only to Dan Stevens in how close to the vest he has to be with regard to his thoughts and intentions. Furthermore, his character Luke in many ways plays our eyes into the world of this story. He sees and learns things about the guest as we do, but his thoughts on him are a bit different.

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(L-R) BRENDAN MEYER and MAIKA MONROE star in the action thriller THE GUEST, opening in September.

He also plays a tremendous amount of subtext in this film such that his opinions and decisions may catch us off-guard but they always make sense, and they do because of the way Brendan is able to convey thoughts an emotions visually, he only later confirms his thoughts in a sincere confessional scene that still leaves some things unsaid but says enough.

His arc is deft and he is pivotal to bringing the emotion to the audience at the start.

Another theme of some of his recent works have been post-apocalyptic titles. We will look at a few of those now.

Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462 and Fear the Walking Dead (2015-2016)

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If you’re like me then you watch The Walking Dead and gave Fear the Walking Dead a chance. If you did that and didn’t scan past this interstitial series embedded in commercial breaks you caught a treat. This series of webisodes is tantamount to a short film, and a reminder that fractional storytelling as Ridley Scott discusses regarding his commercial work, is a great stepping stone.

Brendan here plays a lead in perhaps the most straightest horror work he’s done and it’s a great set-up that ties into the main series later on.

It may not give you the answer you awaited, that comes in the episode of the main show pictured below, which streams on Netflix and Hulu.

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Prior to that he featured in two episodes of the first season of The 100. Here he played the eager to tag along guy who is looking to make friends and tell his story but not necessarily cut out for this world.

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The 100 (The CW)

He also had a guest appearance one a show, which by chance I had just binged-to-get-current-on…

Falling Skies: Respite (2015)

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In this episode again was a thwarted promise of his finishing the final season as a recurring player, however, there was good material for him to work with in terms of being sheltered, and scared, yet knowledgeable, angry about being in the dark and wanting to fight the alien invaders when he learned about them. Really good character stuff aside from the affectations of underage (the character is 15) drinking and smoking.

The Movie Rat: Can you briefly describe the experience of writing and directing your short film A Job?

Brendan Meyer: It was tremendously fun and educational. A lot of the professional crew from Mr. Young helped out so it really felt like I had a ton of support. They were amazing and made sure we had a great finished product. Also, my actor friends all worked in the show and they are super talented so that helped.

A Job (2015)

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Note: Should either A Job or Wolff’s Law become readily available online, I’ll feature them here.

The Movie Rat: Do you feel that directing and writing have had an affect on your acting work. How so?

Brendan Meyer: Definitely. I feel I’m better able to understand character development and even blocking by having to think those things out for the projects I create.

Wolff’s Law (2015)

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I can’t be 100% that the short film Wolff’s Law was Brendan’s first project after writing an directing his own short film, but it is the performance that most stands up as having occurred following his writing and directing a film. In this film Brendan has to work physically, usually within tight frames with facial expressions and with subtext far more frequently than through text. Very little is said and he is typically the only character on screen. The film gets its protagonist alone, and silent and yet there is nothing that feels as if it is left unsaid. It communicates volumes due to clarity of the films vision and the singular sincerity Meyer brings to the role.

Before discussing his two most recent dramtic turns here are his two latest comedic participations that have allowed him to broaden his horizons some…

iZombie: Zombie Bro (2015) and iZombie: Reflections on the Way Liv Used to Be (2016)

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In a two disconnected episodes of the CW’s iZombie Brendan plays a frat brother. Aside from the refreshing nature of playing a college student for a change, he does get to do some varied work here like dropping his voice an octave, getting emotional saying the word “chug,” and flailing through a beer pong mime. These episodes are good to have in his repertoire as he seeks to demonstrate expansive range.

This potent comedic punch was also on display in an episode of the short-lived Fox show Backstrom, which stars Rainn Wilson. In that Meyer is back in his teen persona but his comedic timing is as impeccable as ever and got the biggest laugh out of me in the whole episode.

T@gged (2016)

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This was the first new-to-me work I watched for this blogathon. I was intrigued by its being on a new media platform (Go90 a streaming app developed by Verizon), the variable running times of the episodes, the incorporation of technology, and the mystery/thriller plot.

Typically Brendan had one scene an episode when he appeared before being heavily involved in the finale. Without giving too much away he really makes his presence known there, and despite the fact that I figured where it was going, despite some second guessing, the journey is still worth it. A little bit more on this a little later…

The OA (2016)

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The Movie Rat: The OA was written entirely by Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, and directed by the former. Do auteur cinema and television hold a special appeal for you?

Brendan Meyer: Yes, I do enjoy working with writers and directors who have a lot of control over the overall direction of the show because then the vision of the show is often more clear and focussed.

I raced to finish T@gged before The OA came out, which was good because the former frequently left me drained and/or in tears and I needed recovery time. In a similar vein to T@gged this show saw Brendan part of an ensemble, and like everyone in the cast, he has his moments and an episode wherein he appears more than in others where we learn more of him and his life, but its piecemeal scenework which puts an onus on ability to absorb and interpret material and access previous moments to maintain the dramatic unity of the piece.

It’s clear that Meyer and everyone in the cast responded to the limits this show was testing and it’s exciting to see him involved in something like this. This is the kind of project you just want to be involved with regardless of the extent of your involvement.

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Most of his participation in this show hinges on physicality, especially in the multiplied mirror routines as the characters work on their “moves” (watch the show to know what that means), and that acting is reacting as his listening to Marling’s dialogue in a scene is likely his best moment of the series. Below you can view a similar scene where he and Betty (Phyllis Smith) bond.

Ones that Got Away and Ones to Come

As with any actor, or any artist for that matter, there are those projects that got away. I knew he’d been cast in Ender’s Gameand was going to be one of the recruits who gave Ender a hard time, but had to dropout because of scheduling conflicts. However, I didn’t know that he’d done some promotional appearances with his would-be castmates.

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There’s also a 2014 pilot for Fox that didn’t air and wasn’t picked up.

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The cast of Here’s Your Damn Family

But it was a project that never happened that lead to Mr. Young, so that’s an example of a proverbial door closing and window opening.

Don’t be surprised if one of those future endeavors is Shakespeare related. On his page both in his theatre experience and on the home page the Shakespeare titles are evident, including the fact that he’s written some adaptations for the stage.

The Movie Rat: How did your Shakespeare fandom begin?

Brendan Meyer: My parents took me to Shakespeare plays when I was young. Our local Shakespeare festival, the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, had an amazing group of actors and they did awesome plays.

The Movie Rat: What’s your dream role, Shakespeare or otherwise?

Brendan Meyer: Richard III definitely. There are a ton of other roles in many other plays, Shakespeare and non, too numerous to mention. I’d love to do more theatre.

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This fandom has manifested itself on Mr. Young on the episode “Mr. Shakespeare” where he plays a few variations of the of the death scene in Romeo and Juliet. Due to the awkwardness of that scenario his most Shakespearean moment on the show was probably on “Mr. Poet” when his sudden burst of inspiration gets him past his writer’s block and he improvises a poem about Echo. However, in a pleasant surprised there is a Shakespearean element in T@gged also that fits in well with its themes.

Conclusion

If you didn’t know of his work before I should hope you have a desire to see some of it now both dramatic and comedic. What I had not yet seen and discovered was illuminating and I hope there is plenty more to come.

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The Cast of The OA relaxing on set. 

Postscript

In the tradition of my exhaustive but incomplete Bergman list here are Meyer’s titles that I’ve not yet seen: For the Love of a Child (TV Movie, 2006), A Pickle (Short Film, 2009), The Assistants (TV Guest Appearance, 2009), Everyday Kid (2010, TV Movie), Closures (Short Film, 2011), Birthday Boy (Short, 2015), Code Blue: A Love Story (Short, 2015), Camp (TV Movie, 2016)

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O Canada Blogathon: Brendan Meyer, Part Two (Who You Calling Kid?)

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In yesterday’s installment I introduced Brendan Meyer through his earliest roles in near complete chronological order. Now comes his breakout and what that brought.

Mr. Young (2011-13)

The Movie Rat: How did your role on Mr. Young come about?

Brendan Meyer: I was attached to a Nickelodeon pilot that didn’t go at the last minute, and so I was pulled in to audition for Mr. Young late in the process and I was lucky enough to get it.

Any artistic endeavor ends up relying a bit on luck, but with regard to the decision the producers of Mr. Young had to make, it became abundantly clear over the course of 80 episodes that they made the correct one and were fortunate the other project fell through and that he could audition.

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Mr. Young is about a young prodigy, Adam Young (Meyer), who graduates college at 14 and decides both to give back and try to capture his missed high school experience by teaching science at Finnegan High School. Creator Dan Signer started to perfect such wild notions in shifting Disney’s Suite Life franchise onto a boat, then on A.N.T. Farm simultaneous to Mr. Young, but the outlandishness to the point of absurdity necessitates a strong central figure both believable as a science whiz and also at times a goofy, shy, lovestruck teen, blending just well enough into the surrounding insanity to not stand out; in short, the actor playing Mr. Young has to sell the world being created and Brendan does.

Disney has shown a willingness to get a bit more creative and daring on its sister Disney X.D. network, but I was not surprised only the first two seasons aired here after the full three-season run was on YTV. One of the joys of this blogathon for me was not just re-watching those first two seasons, but finding season three on iTunes and watching it for the first time. When this show aired on Disney XD I watched it weekly and usually shared my favorite line on Twitter (there was much competition as the cast and writing was usually firing on all cylinders).

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At worst a sitcom becomes rote repetition; at best, especially for a young actor, it’s a laboratory for trying out new techniques an motifs, and the premise of Mr. Young gave the writers and actors the freedom to experiment allowing Meyer much growth.

On Inside the Actors Studio Mike Myers said:

“Silly is a natural state – serious is something you are forced to do till you can be silly again.”

Not only do I find that an apropos insight, but I think silly is a word I reach for to describe a comedy at times, but it is rarely fitting. Mr. Young is serious until it can find a way to be silly again, which it frequently does.

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One thing I wanted to create, in part to learn something, was a running list of scientific concepts mentioned on the show. Sometimes they were just mentioned in passing to lend credibility to Adam’s character, at other times it was the springboard to a plot like when they employed an exaggerated interpretation of pheromones in “Mr. Moth.”

The second way in which the show makes itself credible enough to be silly is adhering to the comedic precept whose importance was underscored to be in my working with actress and instructor Angela Pietropinto who said, and I paraphrase, the basis of all comedy is obsession on the character’s part. These characters, Mr. Young especially in his pursuit of Echo (Matreya Fedor), have that to ground them, and it allowed Brendan much freedom.

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Here are just some of the things the 80 episodes of Mr. Young allowed Brendan to do and work on.

Work with Dialogue and Dialect:

  • Large amounts of dialogue at disparate rates.
  • Picking up cues
  • Delivery
  • Working against CG
  • Voice modulation
  • Intonation
  • Emphasis
  • Over-emphasis
  • Overly-descriptive dialogue
  • Wise Guy accent
  • Hypnotic regression (“listen to the sound of my voice…”)
  • Golly-gee bellhop voice
  • Quasi-Bostonian greasemonkey
  • Wizard voice
  • French accent
  • Eureka line
  • Obtuse line
  • Woozy line
  • Monologue
  • Corny joke voice, etc.

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Physicality:

  • Mirror exercise
  • Dance
  • Mime
  • Pantomime
  • Slap fighting
  • Stuntwork
  • Falls
  • Pie gags
  • Depth Perception Gag, etc. 323mrinterview

Acting Styles:

  • Soap Acting lite
  • Exaggerated commercial kid acting
  • switching characters, playing Dang

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Different Characters and Costumes:

  • Alan Young
  • Alan Small
  • Mr. Marvelous
  • Bald Cap to look like Principal Tater
  • Leprechaun
  • Cross-dressing (several instances: lunch lady, Leia gold bikini, Daisy Dukes)
  • Old man
  • Billy Bonkers (Willy Wonka parody)
  • Dark Demon
  • Bulletin board
  • Audio Speaker
  • Water fountain (these last few will make sense if you see the episodes)
  • Romeo (More on that tomorrow)
  • Beat poet
  • Jack-in-the-Box,
  • Farmer
  • Masks
  • Statue, etc.

 

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If this were a Wikia or an episode guide I’d go further in-depth, but clearly the rapport existed with the cast such that the series was a not just a hit but one I find genuinely hilarious and silly. I’m a loud ,but not usually physically expressive laugher, and some parts of this show had me stomping my feet, and the only two tiers I have above that are my face being in pain and crying and those are rare indeed.

More evidence of the great ensemble work here, which is a skill in and of itself, is an episode wherein everyone switched personas became easy enough to pull off, and when Brendan wrote and directed a short film (more on that tomorrow) he asked Raugi Yu to be involved.

The foundation of the world of Mr. Young is so well-established that the show even gets very meta in season three and is perhaps funnier for it, in part because it shows a design to the three season run as opposed to a show just trying to run out the clock. The teased romance between Adam and Echo is not as much of an obstruction to the show as it is on other sitcoms. Recurring characters reach their final moment and there is a closure for all. Everyone grows character- and performance-wise.02x05

Even before Mr. Young ended though, Brendan was getting other opportunities and he took them. Being the lead on a YTV/Disney show lead to cross-promotional appearances, which were taken advantage of by Meyer. The first of these being…

Girl vs. Monster (2012)

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Here’s some of what I wrote about this film just after its initial release:

The story does seem like it’ll take the typical routes through Disney tropes but it does throw a wrench in enough to keep it interesting and less predictable than most. The casting is also better than most recent films. Granted Disney Channel will spin-off a star from a show into most of, if not all, these films, but the choice to not only choose Olivia Holt (Kickin’ It) who is of lower-profile than most of the current Disney stable helps this film and the viewers because she’s more quickly her character in this film, and it’s less like a star vehicle. Especially when you consider she’s flanked by a great supporting cast, only some of which are frequently seen on the networks, featuring Brendan Meyer and Kurt Ostland (Mr. Young); Katherine McNamara, Adam Chambers, Jennifer Aspen and Brian Palermo.

In this film Brendan plays the male friend whom is not the love interest for the female protagonist, which is an under-written niche. I’m glad to see in this film and evidence of Disney consciously attempting to stray from its stories with Anglo-Saxon patriarchal roots. He’s the kind of guy there to help his friend (gives her a literal boost when the wants to jump, and awkwardly claps in support though thinking she’s a bit wacky) but he is frozen by fear and cowardice. His arc is well established and intersects with the overarching plot nicely.

In a found footage film he’d be nothing but the guy with the helmet cam, thankfully this has loftier designs than that. Once he snaps out of literal paralysis he makes decisions, gets more involved and less secondary, stares down the manifestation of his fear, and the star-moment of his performance is not dialogue but a look of determination in his eyes – a testament to growth as a screen actor that visuals frequently become his most memorable moments.

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The arc concludes with a moment fitting his characters journey but also allows for a comedic moment with an awkward comeback that he delivers on (fittingly with Mr. Young co-star Kurt Ostlund), Meyer here brings a lot to a rather straightforward affair.

That’s as a significant supporting player, he contributes to the betterment of a project even in a very minor role such as…

Spooky Buddies  (2011)

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This is an example of  level of dedication. Brendan is in this film to deliver one line, step on a few jack-o-lanterns, and then get shocked by a runaway specter; in short, a one day shoot, but it still required having to apply make up as such and doing this to his hair.

Life with Boys: Girl-Entines Day with Boys (2013)

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Life with Boys was another YTV show that came south, this time to Nickelodeon. It didn’t thrive down here, so this episode was one I saw on Amazon and not on the airwaves.

The  plot offers only a slight variation on the two-dates-simultaneously premise but in a handful of scenes Meyer injects quite a bit of life to it with a cry-yell, a well-told story, an awesome delivery on what ended up being the best line on the show (though the laugh track didn’t know it), the ability to convincingly be unable to get a word in edgewise, and a reaction best described as a “What the-?” face.

And he’s still gone back to Disney despite Mr. Young being over…

Best Friends Whenever: A Time to Rob and Slam (2015)

BRENDAN MEYER, LAUREN TAYLOR

I saw this episode when it aired on Disney and I was glad revisit it on Netflix. It’s one thing to ask (or allow) an actor to go over-the-top or to see them just “have fun with” a part, but what they do with it is another. Brendan plays a guy who refers to himself as “The Rob” and is the lab partner from Hell. The margin for error on this character is miniscule, slight slips can take The Rob from impossibly hilarious to just impossible.

It’s a treacherous enough part excluding the fact that Rob was a seemingly normal, unassuming guy in middle school. So the ability to change persona is needed but also to make this insane amounts of narcissism and ridiculous mannerisms work.

At different points he seemingly channels W.C. Fields and Mark McKinney’s Mississippi Gary, puts a new spin on nom-nom-nom, and adds “Rob” at the front of nearly every word and makes it work.

But here are some clips so you get a better sense of it.

The Movie Rat: You have quite an extensive resume at a young age, do you feel that diversifying the media you work in (TV, Film, Shorts, Web series, theatre, etc.) is the key to working more consistently?

Brendan Meyer: I think being open to projects that can challenge you and give you the chance to work with great people helps.

Three of Brendan’s recent projects were first released on new media platforms (YouTube, Go90 and Netflix respectively). The one on YouTube (below) is his latest Disney project, a  Free Period short-form film released in the summer of 2016.

Parker and the Crew (2016)

While playing one of many overgrown scouts in the above film, Brendan’s comedy stylings have been allowed to mature some since, but while that’s a jump it’s nothing compared to the quantum leap he’s earned in terms of showcasing his dramatic chops.

To Be Continued…

Tomorrow’s Post: In Search of Other Dimensions

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O Canada Blogathon: Brendan Meyer, Part One (Early Roles)

Introduction

I had participated in both prior editions of the O Canada Blogathon, however, after I read the parameters anew and I was glad I did. I already wanted to profile a person but the freedom to make my focus a modern figure including TV and film made the decision easy.

Picking a performer allowed me to slip into an old viewing habit anew, watching things based on an actor involved; it also gave me the chance to feature someone whose work I am quite familiar with, and who should be more well-known. And I love trying to bring films and performers to a larger audience.

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The OA (Netflix)

If you’re addicted to Netflix it’s possible you know Brendan from The OA, which just came out in November. However, I’ve been familiar with his work since Disney X.D. picked up Mr. Young from YTV. Since then he’s evolved from the lead in a sitcom aimed at young audiences, to someone whose involvement leads to a project’s ascent to automatic betterment, to a BAM Award nominee for his performance in The Guest; to a consummate performer who is ever deepening his ease, skill-set and mastery of the craft of acting. Potential is quickly becoming potency, as at the age of 22, he can still play far younger  with the commensurate ability of someone with both extensive training and experience.

As such, it seems likely we’re only witness to the tip of the iceberg and his talents will shine forth even brighter as his characters become even deeper, richer, and more complex.

Brendan was gracious enough to grant me an interview, which I’ll incorporate throughout as appropriate. As I was deciding how to tackle his precociously expansive filmography, I figured the best way to approach things would be with a pseudo-Inside the Actors Studio look at his works to date. If the first eleven-plus years of his work are any indicator he will get to be on the real deal at some point in the future. As there are already a great many credits to discuss, I will split this post into three parts.

Here goes…

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The Movie Rat: How did you get started in acting?

Brendan Meyer: I was always interested in being an actor. So, when I was young my parents took me to the theatre and let me do acting classes during my free time. It started out as a hobby, and then grew into a full time job.

The evolution from hobby to job is evident as you look at credits closely, many of his earliest screen credits were filmed in Alberta near enough to his native Edmonton making participation in those projects more convenient for he and his family. Brendan’s natural talents landed him the roles and he started amassing experience.

Waking Up Wally: The Walter Gretzky Story (2005)

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When I saw that Brendan played “Goalie” in this film, I thought perhaps all he was but a pee wee goalie who flopped about as Young Wayne Gretzky scored a goal. However, I was pleasantly surprised, that even in his first film role, he was one of the featured youth players.

Wayne Gretzky’s father, Walter (Tom McCamus), on the mend from an aneurysm, is coaching a pee wee teaming having an episode, barely hearing the chatter as he’s asked by many players, Brendan included, “What’s the starting line-up?” the players debate and Brendan the goalie says “It’s Wally’s call! Right, Wally?”

In the game he has a huge moment making a spectacular edit-assisted save on a breakaway chance. Upon arriving at the bench he celebrates with a huge smile stating “That was the best save I ever made!” and punctuates an all-around feel good moment quite well.

The Secret of the Nutcracker (2007)

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If you’ve seen my Battle of the Nutcrackers post, you know I don’t tire of new versions of The Nutcracker. Learning that he’d been in a unique film version that the Alberta Ballet and Alberta Symphony Orchestra were involved in and got Brian Cox to be in, it’d have to be one of my first viewings.

It is definitely more film than ballet, however, as opposed to the ballet where Frank’s analogue (Fritz) drops out after the first act, he has to carry much of the action as part of a brother-sister team and does so effectively.

Blood Ties (2007)

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This appearance as a guest star on a TV episode aside from leaving a cliffhanger that was never fulfilled by his character recurring, but it serves as an exercise in single-camera film acting technique. He doesn’t have much in the way of dialogue but has to rely on his glances, context, and expression to convey emotions and does so.

DinoSapien (2007)

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One theme that came up based on Brendan’s works was science, and based on the anti-science climate propped up by some, I could not be happier.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I saw myself in the likes of the dinosaur-knowledgeable kids in Jurassic World and Jurassic Park, and that’s Brendan in this series with a boisterous enthusiasm for the subject matter and a natural ability. His performance plays second fiddle only to the concept of intelligent, evolved dinosaurs. It’s an idea that could’ve been further developed and explored with more seasons and budget.

Freezer Burn: The Invasion of Laxdale (2008)

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The stock phrase goes that there are no small parts only small actors. However, when a role is small and your few moments are memorable that does help. One example of that is this film wherein Brendan’s first line of three is “My dad says you’re a loser!” immediately followed by punching the protagonist (Tom Green) in the genitals.

Christmas in Canaan (2009)

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One thing that has to be acknowledged is that there is a sort of enlightenment going on both with young actors, who are persistently improving and directors and dialect coaches are more willing to work with them. Kodi Smit-McPhee mentioned how he learned the American dialect at a young age from a coach and never really forgot. Many other Australian and British actors are in the same boat. So, it really shouldn’t really have surprised me that Brendan showed up in this film with a slow Southern drawl that blends seamlessly. It certainly added impact to another brief appearance.

The Tooth Fairy (2010)

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One dichotomy of type that’s difficult play is both bully and bullied. Brendan has been able to do both successfully. His first turn at either was in The Tooth Fairy. He was bigger and more imposing than the lead, Chase Ellison, at the time but also plays the part well aside from suiting it.

R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: The Dead Body (2010)

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I wrote of The Haunting Hour before in one of my rare to-date cinematic episode pieces. Here is something of what I said regarding this episode:

It uses a cinematic settling-in-of-fact to take the journey of discovery along with its protagonist (Brendan Meyer) and, though the audience may jump ahead of the conclusion, the impact is heightened because of the fact that for the last few minutes you’re allowed to feel the enormity of the reversal of fortune sink in for the characters involved as well as for yourself.

This is an example of a story wherein his character is typically bullied and gets a taste of bullying. Not only can he do both, but he can do both in the same work, which comes up again later.

Following up on the above quote though the end was one of the standout moment for Brendan as his moment of realization is compounded and chilling.

Note: There was a sequel to this episode in 2013.  Sadly, it has not been released on digital or physical media yet, so I couldn’t include it here. 

R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: Creature Feature, Part 1 and Creature Feature, Part 2 (2011)

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Brendan’s second tour of duty on The Haunting Hour was in a two-part spectacular that kicked off season two. Perhaps the most interesting part about it structurally is that Brendan’s character,  Nathan, goes from supporting player to protagonist. This is even more fitting because his character is an average kid striving for the cool girl while also trying to appease his geeky friend (Joel Courtney).

While in the first episode his best moment is a dramatized topping exercise with Courtney, in the second episode he is properly and naturally cut-off mid-sentence (a feat more difficult than it sounds), uses effective non-verbal responses, and exceptionally conveys the bittersweetness of the closing phone call.

Segue

The Haunting Hour episodes were the first things I saw Brendan in. I am not sure I recognized him from one season to the next. At most, it would’ve been as one of those actors who came back to the show a few times over.

Soon, however, he’d be a name I knew well.

To Be Continued… 

Tomorrow’s Post: Part Two, Who You Calling Kid?

MR YOUNG

 

…And the 2018 BAM Award goes to…

Best Picture

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A Quiet Place

All These Small Moments

Alpha

Annihilation

Black Panther

Eighth Grade

Hereditary

Insect

Paddington 2

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I don’t tally nominations until I finish each category and then release the nominees. Similarly, I try to pick each category individually regardless of what won prior categories. Sometimes this leads to diverse winners, sometimes not. My 2017 viewings were more than double my 2018 but last year’s Best Picture It won eight awards, yet this year’s choice will have won five.

Even trying to isolate categories if there is to be disparity between Best Editing, Best Director, and/or Best Picture it needs to be conscious and there was no separating it here.

Most Overlooked Picture

all_these_small_moments_xlg

All These Small Moments

Every Day

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Insect

Mowgli

In more recent years I had nearly all the films on the same level in terms of their being overlooked, either undistributed in the US or seeking one. The only film in that category until quite late in the year was All These Small Moments. Orion Classics picked it up and I believe it receives its limited release next weekend. Check it out.

Best Director

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Bo Burnham Eighth Grade

Ryan Coogler Black Panther

Melissa Miller Costanzo All These Small Moments

Alex Garland Annihilation

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

What I wrote about Bo’s screenplay (below) as opposed to other things he’s written applies exponentially here. Shepherding a film to completion is not the same as directing a comedy show,  especially when you’re not one of the performers. Feature film debut? Hard to believe.

Best Actress

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Emily Blunt Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt A Quiet Place

Toni Collette Hereditary

Jemima Kirke All These Small Moments

Natalie Portman Annihilation

I don’t try and subscribe to conventional wisdom like nominees from the same film, or the same actor in a category twice, canceling out. I’m a committee of one. It came down in deliberations to two performances in the horror genre Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place and Toni Collette in Hereditary. In the end, I kept coming back to the fact that this was Toni Collette’s best work to date, which says so much, too much for anyone else to overcome.

Best Actor

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Jason Bateman Game Night

Chadwick Boseman Black Panther

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Brendan Meyer All These Small Moments

Kodi Smit-McPhee Alpha

This category took me the longest to decide and was the last one I finalized. I will not hesitate to nominate a great comedic performance, so Jason Bateman, was in. Everyone in A Quiet Place was working with minimal dialogue, so in each category other actors had “come from behind” to get the pick, so John Krasinski was a serious contender. Chadwick Boseman had to carry himself with regality, do accent work, intense dialogue scenes and action. And despite the fact that I doubled the acting field and divided the awards by age, I will not bar an actor in their early-twenties from nomination, even if they’re playing a teenager as Meyer and Smit-McPhee are. Smit-McPhee also had many dialogue-free scenes, when he spoke he did so in a pastiche of indigenous North American tongues, did much of his scene work alone, against an animal or CG. In the end the only thing that might’ve precluded his winning was my not wanting to set precedent as he would be the first to “graduate” from winning Young Actor awards to later win adult ones, but I avoid “message” winners at all costs.

Best Supporting Actress

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Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween

Jennifer Jason Leigh Annihilation

Blake Lively A Simple Favor

Molly Ringwald All These Moments

Anya Taylor-Joy Thoroughbreds

Sometimes when you see a familiar face on screen that you don’t see as much as you used to it can bring a smile to your face, but it doesn’t surpass mere nostalgia. Here it does, Ringwald’s work here blew me away and as as I stated on my Letterboxd review she  “has some of the most beautifully acted moments of restrained pain and meaningful subtext in the film.”

Best Supporting Actor

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Thomas Brodie-Sangster Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Hugh Grant Paddington 2

Michael B. Jordan Black Panther

Dennis Quaid I Can Only Imagine

Alex Wolff Hereditary

Truisms abound on villainous characters, the best are relatable and multidimensional and at their best identifiable. Having a great villain doesn’t guarantee a great performance, but a great performance and a great villain is something rare and special. Michael B. Jordan has that here.

Best Cast

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Molly Ringwald, Jemima Kirke, Harley Quinn Smith, Brian d’Arcy James, Brendan Meyer, Roscoe Orman, Salena Qureshi, and Sam McCarthy All These Small Moments

Natalie Portman, Benedict Wong, Sonoya Mizuno, David Gyasi, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh,  Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Tessa Thompson, Sammy Hayman and Josh Danford Annihilation

Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward, and Leon Rossum A Quiet Place

Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Leatitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Basset, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, David S. Lee, Nabiyah Be, et al. Black Panther

Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, et al. Hereditary

Large ensembles are some times at a disadvantage inasmuch as there isn’t always enough screen-time to go around and with more people there are mathematically more possible weakest links. Sometimes everyone in a large cast does rise to the occasion and the experience is richer than it otherwise would’ve been as it was in Black Panther.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Eighth Grade - Still 1

Pixie Davies Mary Poppins Returns

Elsie Fisher Eighth Grade

Isabela Moner Instant Family

Storm Reid A Wrinkle in Time

Millicent Simmonds A Quiet Place

Ultimately, this became a showdown of verisimilitude. Not only that but actresses representing realities we don’t often see on screen. Elsie Fisher edges slightly ahead because she conveys some of the most believable and searing adolescent awkwardness I’ve seen and also conveys a unique yet universal character, she too does great work without dialogue, which is the crux of film acting.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

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Rohan Chand Mowgli

Joel Dawson Mary Poppins Returns

Noah Jupe A Quiet Place

Deric McCabe A Wrinkle in Time

Owen Vaccaro The House with a Clock in its Walls

Working with minimal dialogue does not by default lead to a brilliant performance, in this film everyone is, but after a breakout year Jupe brings his talent into another stratosphere.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

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Bronte Carmichael Christopher Robin

Julianna Gamiz Instant Family

Abby Ryder Fortson Ant-Man and the Wasp

McKenna Roberts Skyscraper

Isabella Sermon Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Not only was this a question of screen-time but also of the complexity of the role, with those considerations Isabella Sermon was the clear choice.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

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Ian Alexander Every Day

Sam McCarthy All These Small Moments

Orton O’Brien Christopher Robin

Gustavo Quiroz Instant Family

Nathanael Saleh Mary Poppins Returns

This was a particularly difficult one because the screen-time for all actors was varied. Every Day with a multitude of people playing A gave most actors working that role one very good scene. Ian Alexander was the best of the best. Orton O’Brien played small but poignant flashbacks. Gustavo Quiroz and Nathanael Saleh probably had the most screen-time but in terms of quantity and quality it had to be Sam McCarthy.

Best Youth Ensemble

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Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, and Rowan Blanchard A Wrinkle in Time

Elsie Fisher, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zolghardi, Fred Hechinger, Luke Prael, Shacha Temirov, Thomas John O’Reilly, Tiffany Grossfeld and William Alexander Wunsch Eighth Grade

Angourie Rice, Lucas Jade Zumann, Ian Alexander, Charles Vandervaart, et al.  Every Day

Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Billy Barratt, Felix Collar, and Kate Atwell  Mary Poppins Returns

Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz, Julianna Gamiz and Carson Holmes Instant Family

Cast awards can either be seen as a numbers game or a depth game. With group efforts, no matter how large or small a group, you are only as strong as your weakest link. None of these nominated casts have a weak link, but all of the actors in this quartet are on part with one another.

Best Orignal Screenplay

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Brian Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Melissa Miller Costanzo All These Small Moments

Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt and Albert Hughes Alpha

Bo Burnham Eighth Grade

Ari Aster Hereditary

Bo Burnham has written and performed standup. He’s written and performed music and poetry. It is another thing entirely to write in another medium such as film for myriad characters. He has done so here expertly.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Alex Garland and Jeff VanderMeer Annihilation

Christopher Markus and Joe Russo, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen, Jim Starlin, Larry Lieber Avengers: Infinity War

Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole; Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Black Panther

Jan Švankmajer and Karel Čapek and Josef Čapek Insect

Paul King and Simon Farnaby, Michael Bond, and Jon Croker Paddington 2

A classic piece of absurdist satire theatre plus Švankmajer fully committed to simulacrum is a match made in heaven.

Best Score

john-carpenter

John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies Halloween

Marco Beltrami A Quiet Place

Joseph S. DeBeasi and Michael Stearns Alpha

Dario Marianelli Paddington 2

Anna Meredith Eighth Grade

The score for this Halloween being composed by three men, only one of whom is John Carpenter, might lead one to believe there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Quite the opposite is true, it is brilliant. And while building on a legendary theme might seem an easy task, it also adds expectation. This score delivers in spades, especially with the end track “Halloween Triumphant.” It’s a marvel. There’s a Spotify link above. Enjoy!

Best Editing

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Christopher Tellefsen A Quiet Place

Russell Costanzo and Matt Garner All These Small Moments

Sandra Granovsky Alpha

Andrew Wehde Eighth Grade

Jan Danhel Insect

It came down to flow, decisions on cut-points and the expert use underutilized techniques such as superimpositions.

Sound Editing/Mixing

A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Director/Writer/Actor John Krasinski talks about many aspects of the film in this Notes on a Scene segment, but he discusses sound often, and his thoughts permeate the film and communicate to the audience, which is why it is the honored film in this category.

Best Cinematography

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Dion Beebe Mary Poppins Returns

Charlotte Bruus Christensen A Quiet Place

Martin Gslacht Alpha

Matthias Königsweiser Christopher Robin

Pawel Pogorzelski Hereditary

There are more motifs to this film than you’d imagine and they are all tremendously well-lit and composed. Brilliant work.

Best Costume Design

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Jenny Beavan Christopher Robin

Ruth E. Carter Black Panther

Veronika Hrubá Insect

Judianna Makovsky Avengers: Infinity War

Sandy Powell Mary Poppins Returns

Of all the departments in this film this was the most persistently excellent, and in the animated sequence Powell’s clothes actually stole the show from a modern take on a classical Disney approach.

Best Art Direction

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A Quiet Place

Insect

Mary Poppins Returns

Paddington 2

Hereditary

I’m trying to economize words this year, but while it should go without saying that all nominees did wonderful work and all decisions were fraught with difficulty. These films  were rather different in approach and goal, in the end it ended up being about how many sets were created and how great they all were.

Best Makeup

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A Wrinkle in Time

Alpha

Black Panther

Halloween

The Predator

Sometimes beauty makeups that highlight the fantastical can and should win as it does here.

Best Visual Effects

shimmie

A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

There are visual effects that act as spectacle and those that serve story, the best work symbiotically accomplishes both.

Best Soundtrack

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A Simple Favor

Black Panther

Game Night

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Tag

Best Original Song

“Goodbye, Farewell” Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Mohammed, and Sarah Sheen Christopher Robin

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” Emily Blunt Mary Poppins Returns

“A Conversation” Ben WhishawMary Poppins Returns

“Love Thy Neighbour” Tobago and d’LimePaddington 2

“Rub and Scrub” Tobago and d’ Lime Paddington 2

This is not only the song of the year, relevant to the plot, but it was also worthy of being a  Mary Poppins song.

Best Documentary

Not awarded.

Best Foreign Film

Not awarded.

Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award

Emily Blunt

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Being nominated twice in the same year does not guarantee you the award as the transcendent performer of the year by default. Being as magnetic, wonderful, and bookending the year with A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns made it a cinch.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

Jan Švankmajer

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Picking Švankmajer for this award was the first decision I made for these awards. I have featured his work on the site several times, including his cracking one of my film discoveries lists and a feature in one of my earliest posts, when I backed a crowdfunding campaign for his final film, in Bermanesque fashion, it did not disappoint and earned several nominations.

Neutron Star Award

Ingmar Bergman

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While my viewings overall were down, the handful of new-to-me Bergman films I saw thanks to Criterion’s amazing new box set spurred yet another renaissance of my awe for his genius.

Special Jury Award(s)

Nominations

A Quiet Place – 13 (2 wins)

Black Panther – 11 (2 wins)

Mary Poppins Returns – 10 (3 wins)

All These Small Moments – 8 (3 wins)

Alpha– 8 (2 wins)

Annihilation – 8 (1 win)

Hereditary – 7 (1 win)

Paddington 2 – 7

Eighth Grade – 6 (5 wins)

Christopher Robin – 5

Insect – 5 (1 win)

Instant Family – 4 

A Wrinkle in Time – 4 (2 wins)

Avengers: Infinity War – 4

Every Day – 3

Halloween – 3 (1 win)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – 2

The House with a Clock in its Walls – 2

Mowgli – 2

Game Night – 2

A Simple Favor – 2 (1 Win)

Ant-Man and the Wasp – 1

Skyscraper – 1

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – 1

Maze Runner: The Death Cure – 1

I Can Only Imagine – 1

Tag – 1

2018 BAM Nominations

Introduction

There were not monthly considerations posts or shortlists this year. However, I have been tracking eligible titles I’ve seen on Letterboxd. There you’d see that my viewings of eligible titles (and films in general) dipped. It went down to about the level it was when I started making these as a high school student. 

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That quote is true in many ways and sometimes life happens and the releases viewed slow down by choice, circumstance or both. This year was a lot of both. Many things I prioritized highly I didn’t get to see, but as I realized a few years ago when posting these awards on my blog these awards are kind of like a yearbook. They may include many films or few, all the awards contenders or none, some I wrote on extensively and many I did not; these awards are my attempt to encapsulate what impressed me and why. 

Whom I select and why will be announced on January 10th. So without further ado, here are this year’s nominees…

Best Picture

A Quiet Place

All These Small Moments

Alpha

Annihilation

Black Panther 

Eighth Grade

Hereditary

Insect

Paddington 2

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

 

Most Overlooked Picture

All These Small Moments

Every Day

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Insect

Mowgli

Best Director

Bo Burnham Eighth Grade

Ryan Coogler Black Panther

Melissa Miller Costanzo All These Small Moments

Alex Garland Annihilation

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Best Actress 

Emily Blunt Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt A Quiet Place

Toni Collette Hereditary 

Jemima Kirke All These Small Moments

Natalie Portman Annihilation

Best Actor

Jason Bateman Game Night

Chadwick Boseman Black Panther

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Brendan Meyer All These Small Moments

Kodi Smit-McPhee Alpha

Best Supporting Actress 

Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween

Jennifer Jason Leigh Annihilation

Blake Lively A Simple Favor

Molly Ringwald All These Moments

Anya Taylor-Joy Thoroughbreds

Best Supporting Actor

Thomas Brodie-Sangster Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Hugh Grant Paddington 2

Michael B. Jordan Black Panther

Dennis Quaid I Can Only Imagine

Alex Wolff Hereditary

Best Cast

Molly Ringwald, Jemima Kirke, Harley Quinn Smith, Brian d’Arcy James, Brendan Meyer, Roscoe Orman, Salena Qureshi, and Sam McCarthy All These Small Moments

Natalie Portman, Benedict Wong, Sonoya Mizuno, David Gyasi, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh,  Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Tessa Thompson, Sammy Hayman and Josh Danford Annihilation

Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward, and Leon Rossum A Quiet Place

Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Leatitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Basset, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, David S. Lee, Nabiyah Be, et al. Black Panther

Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, et al. Hereditary

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Pixie Davies Mary Poppins Returns

Elsie Fisher Eighth Grade

Isabela Moner Instant Family

Storm Reid A Wrinkle in Time

Millicent Simmonds A Quiet Place

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Rohan Chand Mowgli

Joel Dawson Mary Poppins Returns

Noah Jupe A Quiet Place

Deric McCabe A Wrinkle in Time

Owen Vaccaro The House with a Clock in its Walls

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Bronte Carmichael Christopher Robin

Julianna Gamiz Instant Family

Abby Ryder Fortson Ant-Man and the Wasp

McKenna Roberts Skyscraper

Isabella Sermon Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role 

Ian Alexander Every Day

Sam McCarthy All These Small Moments

Orton O’Brien Christopher Robin 

Gustavo Quiroz Instant Family

Nathanael Saleh Mary Poppins Returns 

Best Youth Ensemble

Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, and Rowan Blanchard A Wrinkle in Time

Elsie Fisher, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zolghardi, Fred Hechinger, Luke Prael, Shacha Temirov, Thomas John O’Reilly, Tiffany Grossfeld and William Alexander Wunsch Eighth Grade

Angourie Rice, Lucas Jade Zumann, Ian Alexander, Charles Vandervaart, et al.  Every Day

Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Billy Barratt, Felix Collar, and Kate Atwell  Mary Poppins Returns

Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz, Julianna Gamiz and Carson Holmes Instant Family

Best Original Screenplay

Brian Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Melissa Miller Costanzo All These Small Moments

Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt and Albert Hughes Alpha

Bo Burnham Eighth Grade

Ari Aster Hereditary

Best Adapted Screenplay

Alex Garland and Jeff VanderMeer Annihilation

Christopher Markus and Joe Russo, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen, Jim Starlin, Larry Lieber Avengers: Infinity War

Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole; Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Black Panther

Jan Svankmajer and Karel Capek and Josef Capek Insect

Paul King and Simon Farnaby, Michael Bond, and Jon Croker Paddington 2

Best Score

John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies Halloween

Marco Beltrami A Quiet Place

Joseph S. DeBeasi and Michael Stearns Alpha

Dario Marianelli Paddington 2

Anna Meredith Eighth Grade

Best Editing

Christopher Tellefsen A Quiet Place

Russell Costanzo and Matt Garner All These Small Moments

Sandra Granovsky Alpha

Andrew Wehde Eighth Grade

Jan Danhel Insect

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Best Cinematography

Dion Beebe Mary Poppins Returns

Charlotte Bruus Christensen A Quiet Place

Martin Gslacht Alpha

Matthias Königsweiser Christopher Robin

Pawel Pogorzelski Hereditary

Best Costume Design

Jenny Beavan Christopher Robin

Ruth E. Carter Black Panther

Veronika Hrubá Insect

Judianna Makovsky Avengers: Infinity War

Sandy Powell Mary Poppins Returns

Best Art Direction

A Quiet Place

Insect 

Mary Poppins Returns

Paddington 2

Hereditary 

Best Makeup

A Wrinkle in Time

Alpha

Black Panther

Halloween

The Predator

Best Visual Effects

A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Best Soundtrack

A Simple Favor 

Black Panther

Game Night

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Tag

Best Original Song

“Goodbye, Farewell” Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Mohammed, and Sarah Sheen Christopher Robin

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” Emily Blunt Mary Poppins Returns

“A Conversation” Ben Whishaw Mary Poppins Returns

“Love Thy Neighbour” Tobago and d’Lime Paddington 2

“Rub and Scrub” Tobago and d’ Lime Paddington 2

Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer(s) of the Year Award(s)

To be announced January 10th.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award(s)

To be announced January 10th.

Neutron Star Award(s)

To be announced January 10th.

Special Jury Award(s)

To be announced January 10th. 

 

Updates: Recent Posts and Upcoming Blogathons

The 2016 BAM Awards have been announced. Find the nominees here and the honorees here and here.

16-the-oa-4-w529-h352

The OA (Netflix)

Next there are blogathon announcements!

Typically, I’ve had the best results in limiting myself to one blogathon a month. First, for the O Canada Blogathon  (2/3) I will be profiling the work of Brendan Meyer, whom you may have seen on The OA. His credits are myriad and varied and I’ll take a look at most (if not all of them), plus Brendan has been gracious enough to grant me a brief interview, which will be included.

You Can't Do That on Television (CTV)

Next up on (3/24) I will stick with a Canadian theme and write about the infamous “Adoption” episode of You Can’t Do That on Television for the Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon.

Come back as I’m trying to keep things varied and interesting here, y’all!

2014 BAM Award Honorees

Here in a live blog format you will see this year’s honorees in the BAM Awards (Bernardo Villela’s personal selections) be posted.

When the list is complete it will be indicated. It will work its way up from the bottom of the nominations list to the top.

-Post Complete-

Best Picture

A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Calvary
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Finn
Into the Woods
The Judge
St. Vincent
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

And the award goes to…

The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks (2014, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

Picking up where I left off in the Best Foreign Film discussion significance and greatness are not always things that go hand in hand. There are films that are narrative or technological leaps forward that just do not connect with me. What The Way He Looks has in its favor is that it boasts all these qualities that make it an important work but is also warm, sensitive, human, impeccably acted and expertly directed such that it connects without trying to hard such that it almost seems as if it’s not trying at all. There’s a deft slight-of-hand at play that’s enviable indeed.

The way he looks takes characters and situations that are by no means simple but renders them simply, visually in a heartfelt way that can surely endear itself to almost anyone.

The other Best Picture candidates will be discussed on the site in the Best Films of the Year: 10-1 post which is forthcoming.

Best Director

Richard Linklater Boyhood
John Michael McDonagh Calvary
Rob Meyer A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Daniel Ribeiro The Way He Looks
Frans Weisz Finn

And the award goes to…

Daniel Ribeiro The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks (2014, Strand Releasing)

I rarely feel compelled anymore to split between Best Picture and Best Director in nominations anymore. The only instance of it happening this year was Richard Linklater making the cut whereas Boyhood did not. In that case I did feel the achievements in directing there outweighed those of the film itself. However, in terms of picking a Best Director that is different than the Best Picture winner that happens far more rarely and I cannot justify it here. Daniel Ribeiro wrote and directed this movie based on a short film he himself created and there is no doubt that it is his confident and unseen hand that is the author of this film’s triumph.

Best Foreign Film

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Custody
Finn
Ilo Ilo
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Misunderstood
The Mystery of Happiness
Stations of the Cross
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
The Way He Looks

And the award goes to…

The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks (2014, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

The good thing about having multiple foreign films in your top ten is that it’s not a dead giveaway as to which film will be named the Best that just happens to be foreign. Clearly, all the films nominated are highly recommended. I highly hope Stations of the Cross finds someone who will be willing to bring it to the US. Finn, has North American distribution but just needs more eyes that will be able to find it. All of the above are worth looking into.

What is it that makes The Way He Looks walk away with the prize is a few factors. The largest one that cannot be ignored is that by having Leonardo be blind it instantly without having to soapbox does away with a lot of the encumbrances of gay coming-of-age stories. The fact that he is blind and wants his parents to give him a little room to breathe instantly puts elements into play that are bigger than his sexual orientation which is not something there’s ever been evidence he struggled with. Also, by having Leo be blind it becomes clear it’s the person and the way they make him feel that attracts Leo at first. In downplaying the physical element in this way it is a further humanizing step. A while back I discussed how positive stories needed to exist in the world of gay cinema. Ultimately though I think it’s of even greater importance that truthful and universal films that connect with people that are not necessarily the intended audience matter quite a bit as well. That’s just a little of the significance of the film on and off-screen.

Most Overlooked Picture

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Boxtrolls
The Famous Five 3
Finn
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Labyrinthus
Mission: Sputnik
Misunderstood
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

And the award goes to…

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross (2014, Beta Cinema)

Explanation

Earlier this year I wrote a post where I chronicled how in one way or another Hollywood was fighting a losing battle in its attempt to provide faith-based entertainment. Whether it be the fault of the film, or the faithful there has usually been a disconnect. While on the indie circuit films like Calvary have proven that just because a film deals ostensibly with ecclesiastical concerns doesn’t mean it needs to pander or be bereft of intelligence as far too many faith-based films feel they need to be. In following a pattern where I have factored in the US distribution status of a film into choosing the recipient of this prize Stations of the Cross takes the cake here. The transparency with which this film transcribes the fourteen stations of the cross make it accessible and the debate or interpretation and non-judgmental character study make it a film that can be relatable to an audience whether they agree with the application of Catholicism practiced in this film or not. It bears noting that Misunderstood, 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg and The Famous Five 3 all need and deserve North American distribution as well.

Other films in this and further categories can be found in my year-end posts.

Best Actress

Amrita Acharia I Am Yours
Juliette Binoche 1,000 Times Good Night
Essie Davis The Babadook
Charlotte Gainsbourg Nymphomaniac: Volume II
Shailene Woodley The Fault in Our Stars

And the award goes to…

Charlotte Gainsbourg Nymphomaniac: Volume II

Nymphomaniac: Volume II (2014, IFC Films)

Explanation

The genre where a performance finds itself should not be held against an actress as the inclusion of Essie Davis and last year’s win for Imelda Staunton can testify to. Age should not be an encumbrance as the inclusion of Shailene Woodley is a testament to. Nor should performing in a language that is not your birth tongue shouldn’t be an encumbrance as is exemplified by Amrita Acharia and Juliette Binoche, who also have the distinction of bilingual turns. Acharia, Binoche and Gainsbourg all turn in superlative performances due in large part to cinematic nature of their performances, meaning it’s not just about their dialogue scenes. What takes Gainsbourg over the top is not just that fact, but the fact there is an exploratory nature and a nearly incomparable lever of bravura in her interpretation of a character who is less-than desirable.

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage Joe
Brendan Gleeson Calvary
Tom Hardy The Drop
Tom Hardy Locke
Robert Downey, Jr. The Judge

And the award goes to…

Brendan Gleeson Calvary

Calvary (2014, Fox Searchlight)

Explanation

I do not believe in either combining performances by the same actor, which accounts for Tom Hardy being nominated twice. Nor do I really believe in performances by the same actor canceling each other out which explains how Hardy ends up 3rd and 4th on the list this year were I to rank the acting performances individually. A locked-in, good Nicolas Cage is always a great thing and too rare a sight, which is part of why his turn in Joe is up here. Robert Downey, Jr. is probably equally as capable as a serious and comedic actor. His sensitive portrayal of an estranged, jaded lawyer earns him a nomination anew. However, the seriocomic balance being a factor as well as how much of a load a lead had to factor is ultimately what leads to Brendan Gleeson to the top of the heap. In a tale of a good priest in a world that openly questions the role of religion in the secular lives of parishioners the easy temptation is to write and portray that character simplistically; this priest is anything but the same goes for Gleeson’s nuanced detailed performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Ximena Ayala The Amazing Catfish
Ellen Burstyn Flowers in the Attic
Jessica Lange In Secret
Melissa McCarthy St. Vincent
Meryl Streep Into the Woods

And the award goes to…

Jessica Lange In Secret

In Secret (2014, Roadside Attractions)

Explanation

As one can expect there was no easy answer to be found here. Melissa McCarthy in  St. Vincent has more of a layered character to play than in any of her films that were strictly comedies. Having better material makes her an easy selection. Ximena Ayala has a complicated task of a woman with a past she seeks to distance herself from but it not 100% forthcoming in  addressing. Then there’s Ellen Burstyn who dominates this film and leaves you scratching your head as to why you don’t see nearly enough of her. Yes, Flowers in the Attic is a made-for-TV film but I’ve never discriminated against them and the line between the two blurs on an yearly basis. As delicious as that role was there was not as much variation between that role and the others, which leaves two legendary figures to choose from Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep.

Streep provides comedy, her usual dramatic flair and sings her character’s big song wonderfully. I was very tempted again to select a devious character, Lange’s interpretation contains her usual sensitivity, litheness and intensity. It’s not a wholly black character which makes it a bit more harrowing to watch, and is ultimately what pulls her through. In creating sympathy for the devil an old-hat melodramatic Gallic tale has new life thanks to Miss Lange.

Best Supporting Actor

Jan Decleir Finn
Robert Duvall The Judge
Gabriel Garko Misunderstood
Logan Lerman Fury
Brendan Meyer The Guest
Mark Ram 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

And the award goes to…

Robert Duvall The Judge

The Judge (2014, Warner Bros.)

Explanation

With the young actor categories there was parity not only in the categories but I did not single out any fields for the six-nominee maximum. With the open categories I only went with one. In terms of the nominations threshold there was an unbreakable flatfooted tie. Ultimately, I couldn’t penalize any actor for the size of their supporting turn. Similarly, Brendan Meyer who was playing quite a few years younger than his actual age is so spot-on in The Guest that that fact could not be used against him. Gabriel Garko plays a character so absurdly broad that his more serious, human moments should but it is his talents and openness as an actor that allows those to translate as the flipside of his overly-emotional and superstitious self. Logan Lerman plays the conscience of his narrative which can be a thankless task, but his expressiveness and readable doubts and fear allow us to take the journey with him. The cast of 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg is strong all around such that the players were in the running throughout all the categories. With Ram it was his dealing with newly-resurfacing secrets and the contradictory traits of human nature that propel him. Jan Decleir in Finn has to be a presence even bigger than his screentime, he needs to be an ideal and a wish-fulfillment of a young child and he accomplishes that in spades. What takes Robert Duvall over the top is not just the exacting version of a crusty persona, not just the battle-weary fatigue of a life that’s fought back hard, but also the quiet truths that moments elicit from him. There is a universal individuality to character that he drives home, a kindness that exudes from beneath his gruffness and a sensitivity that circumstances and age bring forth from him.

Best Cast

Nils Verkooijen, Mark Ram, Marcel Musters, Anneke Blok and Marieke Heebink 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep, Mackenzie Mauzy, Chris Pine, Billy Rasmussen etc. Into the Woods
Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Dexter Darder, Kayla Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, etc. The Maze Runner
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gabriel Garko, Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Asia Argento, Olimpia Carlisi, Alice Pea, Carolina Poccioni, etc. Misunderstood
Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Dax Shepherd, Emma Tremblay, etc. The Judge

And the award goes to…

James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep, Mackenzie Mauzy, Chris Pine, Billy Rasmussen etc. Into the Woods

Into the Woods (2014, Disney)

Explanation

When judging the merits of a cast as a whole it can get complicated. All the consideration of course is about how the cast acquits itself within the work in question. The two biggest factors are usually the depth of the cast and how high the bar is set that the players are clearing. However, it must be acknowledged that when you think you know an actor and you see them surprise you that’s a great joy. That happens on a few occasions in this film. One of those instances is Chris Pine. Yes, having just seen Horrible Bosses 2 I knew he could be funny but his seemingly Shatner-inspired take on Prince Charming along with a good voice make his turn a joy. Meryl Streep is seemingly always in search of the next thing to show that she can also do and knocking one of the showstopping numbers out of the park is quite a boon. The portrayal of the Wolf in Into the Woods can be one of the most problematic, but Johnny Depp is in very good form here. Daniel Huttlestone follows through on one-upping his breakout in Les Mis. Tracey Ullman brings her usual persona and vocal chops the table. Christine Baranski is a very welcome addition to the cast. Lilla Crawford breaks out and is the stage-to-screen transition in this cast. James Corden may get the breakout performer from this cast showing great comic timing, and affable persona and vocals. Emily Blunt now adds leading lady in a musical to the list of things she can handle easily along with action star in the same year. All the cast get kudos for helping to make a traditionally produced (music recorded in studio and played back on set) musical watchable anew.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Annalise Basso Oculus
Lauren Canny 1,000 Times Good Night
Joey King Wish I Was Here
Giulia Salerno Misunderstood
Flora Thiemann Mission: Sputnik
Lea van Acken Stations of the Cross

And the award goes to…

Giulia Salerno Misunderstood

Misunderstood (2014, Good Films)

Explanation

This is likely the one I went back and forth on the longest. Annalise Basso is flawless in Oculus but what happens there is what happens in many films that split time. There’s less of a load to shoulder so it works against that performer some. Lauren Canny is really much of what drives 1,000 Times Good Night and holds her own against Juliette Binoche. Joey King is likely known to many now for a great performance in Wish I Was Here. Flora Thiemann is the heart and soul of Mission: Sputnik.

It was a flip-flopping tug-of-war between two performances: van Acken in Stations of the Cross and Salerno in Misunderstood. Both should be seen, both are special, but the deciding factors are that Salerno did have more notes that she needed to play in hers, and while working in single takes is difficult, it can be even more unnerving to work in close-ups and Salerno does that a lot. The world of the story is Aria’s and Aria needs to be wholly owned by the actress playing her to be driven home, and she most certainly is.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Spencer Bogaert Labyrinthus
Antoine L’Écuyer The Custody
Antoine L’Écuyer It’s Not Me, I Swear
Kodi Smit-McPhee A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Garrett Ryan Oculus
Nils Verkooijen 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

And the award goes to…

Antoine L’Écuyer The Custody

The Custody (2014, Attraction Media)

Explanation

On the rare occasion when it’s been applicable I’ve acknowledged that some selections (like Alan Rickman’s win) were influenced by a body of work. To not mention a body of work when it comes to Antoine L’Écuyer there is a quirk of film distribution that allowed two performances by the young actor, one four-to-five years old and another two-to-three years old to debut in the same year. When viewing his first performance it was one of the most impressive first viewings of a young actor I had seen in some time. Then he came along and blew that one out of the water in The Custody.

This all is not meant to detract from another sparkling turn by Kodi Smit-McPhee that made A Birder’s Guide to Everything one of the best films of the year, or Spencer Bogaert’s wonderful debut or Garrett Ryan’s shouldering of a significant workload in a horror film after being a strong supporting cog a few times, or Nils Verkooijen’s layered contribution to 20 Lies… What happens is ultimately great timing for L’Écuyer and unfortunate timing for all others.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Anna Lou Castoldi Misunderstood
Adrianna Cramer Curtis 1,000 Times Good Night
Lilla Crawford Into the Woods
Catherine Faucher It’s Not Me, I Swear
Lorelei Linklater Boyhood
Emma Verlinden Labyrinthus

And the award goes to…

Emma Verlinden Labyrinthus

Labyrinthus (2014, Attraction Media)

Explanation

All the young actor categories were hard to pick this year, and it seems that will remain the norm for quite some time. Here you have the loud, brash evolution of Lorelei Linklater in Boyhood; the enigmatically harsh realism of Catherine Faucher in It’s Not Me, I Swear; the sensitive bried dreamer in Adrianna Cramer Curtis in 1,000 Times Good Night; Lilla Crawford’s innocent thief-turned-tough Little Red Riding Hood and Anna Lou Costoldi’s implicative nature in Misunderstood. The only thing that can trump all of that is Emma Verlinden’s turn in Labyrinthus for she in it is not only a smart, independent thinker but she well-embodies being one a lead can enamor themselves with and can also play a hero very well.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Peter DaCunha Tormented
Reese Hartwig Earth to Echo
Daniel Huttlestone Into the Woods
Felix Maesschalck Labyrinthus
Art Parkinson Dracula Untold
Tye Sheridan Joe

And the award goes to…

Tye Sheridan Joe

Joe (2014, Roadside Attractions)

Explanation

This year this category is as strong if not stronger than the leading category: Reese Hartwig brings humor and emotion to Earth to Echo, Daniel Huttlestone solidifies his stardom in more standalone musical moments that will hopefully beget another song-and-dance turn from him, Art Parkinson on the big screen shows that House Stark on Game of Thrones may be the finest corps of young actors in the world at present with his riveting emotional turn in Dracula Untold, Peter DaCunha again helps to drives home the scares with visceral humanity in Tormented and Felix Maesschalck has a well-rounded turn as a humorous, romantically-minded best friend. Any could be a very worthy winner, but one young actor brought more out of every frame they were on screen and that was Tye Sheridan.

One way in which the Academy Awards, or any other award shows, can be knocked is that they will rarely reward someone’s out of the box breakout. I’ve not been afraid to do that in the past per se, but I also do not allow previous performances to dictate current results. I was an outlier with Tye Sheridan not winning for Mud, but what happens more and more with young actors now is that they tend to build more impressive resumes sooner. Kodi Smit-McPhee, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and many others have racked up many Young Actor nominations. I had a feeling Tye’s turn in this film was going to be special anew, what I didn’t know was that his character would take such a backseat to Nicolas Cage’s that I’d think he’d make more sense being in the Supporting Actor category. While his emotional scenes are great again, he also adds some humor, anger, subjugation and wide-eyed ingenue scenes to his repertoire.

Best Youth Ensemble

Kodi Smit-McPhee, Katie Chang, Alex Wolff and Michael Chen in A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Valeria Eisenbart, Quirin Oettl, Justus Schlingensliepen, Neele-Marie Nickel and Davina Weber The Famous Five 3
Spencer Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck, Emma Verlinden, Nell Cattrysse and Pommelien Tijs Labyrinthus
Flora Thiemann, Finn Fienbig, Luca Johanssen, and Emil von Schönfels Mission: Sputnik
Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Carolina Poccioni, Andrea Pittorino Misunderstood
Raúl Rivas, Daniel Cerezo, Claudia Vega, Fran García, Marcos Ruiz, Christian Mulas, Aníbal Tártalo, Alberto López, Javier Cifrián and Álex Angulo Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

And the award goes to…

Spencer Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck, Emma Verlinden, Nell Cattrysse and Pommelien Tijs Labyrinthus

Labyrinthus (2014, Attraction Media)

Explanation

If this year is any indication then the Youth categories will only continue to get more intolerably difficult to decipher. This was likely the 2nd most challenging category to make a decision in and one I went back and forth on quite a bit. As I often say the nomination process is a truly hard and one I give a great deal more importance too. However, once the nominees are figured out then you have to figure out how to split hairs.

All these ensembles are, of course, fantastic and when deciding among nominees its more about who is the absolute strongest and not about “weak links.” Zip and Zap’s cast gets the humor and  conveys the adventure of the tale well, the cast of Birder’s bring a lot of honesty, humor and heartfelt emotion to their roles, The Famous Five are a great adventurous bunch, The young cast of Misunderstood had many notes to hit.

It came down to Labyrinthus and Mission: Sputnik. Both films are very highly recommended. Ultimately, the success of Labyrinthus had more to do with its cast than the former film. That one has a lot else going for it that buoys it. Here the cast, the young cast especially is what makes it work. With this being the most globalized category it was hard to remove national considerations, but it ultimately had to be about the film and the actors, which is why Labyrinthus takes home the honor.

Best Original Screenplay

Anna Brüggemann and Dietrich Brüggemann Stations of the Cross
Bruno Forzani, Hélène Cattet The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Steven Knight Locke
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman The Lego Movie
Janneke van der Pal Finn

And the award goes to…

Stephen Knight Locke

Locke (2013, A24 Films)

Explanation

There are, as per usual, fairly disparate things happening in each of the screenplays nominated here. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears pays homage to and also updates the giallo formula, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller bring much intelligence, humor, heart and creativity to what could be too easily a solely commercial project, Stations of the Cross examines religion under a harsh light while still respecting the religious characters who are under that light, Finn tells a heartfelt holiday tale that is wonderful for the whole family to watch.

What takes Locke above and beyond is the sheer audacity of it aside from its brilliance. Its a tale that’s what I called a mobile chamber drama. Life-changing events occur for our protagonist as he drives to a hospital. He has to manage a job, bosses, his home life and the woman he’s going to see; he battles himself, ghosts and traffic. The dialogue works, is evocative and is always fitting. It takes a concept that should only work on radio really (even stage would take some doing) and makes it work not just well but brilliantly, which is what makes it so noteworthy.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn X-Men: Days of Future Past
Gary Hawkins and Larry Brown Joe
James Lapine Into the Woods
Dennis Lehane The Drop
Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle and Paul Briggs and Joseph Mateo Big Hero 6

And the award goes to…

Dennis Lehane The Drop

The Drop (2014, Fox Searchlight)

Explanation

There were some very interesting balancing acts done by the screenplay adapters nominated. Two of them were transforming a story of theirs to a new medium, another had to blend superhero and Disney sensibilities, Joe had to capture a character-driven tale, externalize it and visualize it and the X-Men had to bring one of their biggest stories to the big screen in a compact form. What takes it over the top for The Drop is the tense build, the balance of character and plot intrigue and the little moments elucidated, touched upon and inferred that build to a pretty big, satisfying conclusion.

Best Cinematography

Eric Adkins and Pat Sweeney The Boxtrolls
Dion Beebe Into the Woods
Manuel Dacosse The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Florian Hoffmeister In Secret
Nicola Pecorini Misunderstood

And the award goes to…

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2014, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

The nominees in this category boast strong usage of sunlight and neutral tones in In Secret, combinations of creative lighting techniques and CG while bringing wondrous settings to life frame-by-frame in The Boxtrolls, the gorgeously expressive use of film to capture the 1980s in Rome in Misunderstood, the use of myriad storybook motifs and stage inspirations in Into the Woods and lastly the usage of movement, creative framing, harshly vibrant gelled lights; deep, penetrating backgrounds and precision movements in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears.

Quite frankly the only word to adequately describe the images carved out in this film is astonishing. There’s a lushness that far exceed the prowess of gialli that inspired it and brand themselves on the eyes and minds of those who see it. Sure, it’s excessive but it is so with definite intentions and planning and is all the more breathtaking because of it.

Best Editing

Sandra Adair Boyhood
Bernard Beets The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
James Herbert and Laura Jennings Edge of Tomorrow
Wyatt Smith Into the Woods
Marie-Hélène Dozo Stop the Pounding Heart

And the award goes to…

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

In this category you have the preeminent sculptors in time from the past year. In Stop the Pounding Heart a unique language is created, In Into the Woods dynamic cut-points match with moving shots on the the other end and bounce our attention around the interweaving narratives, Edge of Tomorrow plays perhaps more cleverly with the Groundhog Day concept than any other film and boyhood turns over a decade of a life into just under three smooth, free-flowing hours. Then there is The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, which does cut frequently but with purpose. It is almost nearly living in someone’s psyche and attempting to replicate that with it also moving through time, creating frames and meaning visually it is clearly the most outstanding work of the year.

Best Visual Effects

The Boxtrolls
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Into the Woods
Interstellar

And the award goes to…

The Boxtrolls

Boxtrolls (2014, Laika)

Explanation

Essentially the winners in this category have to be selected for those who best aided their story through the use of VFX, and cannot always be based on advancing the state of the art or the handling of a motif or technique. Therefore, even though Interstellar handles space better than Gravity in graphic terms, Captain America continues to keep the bar elevated for Marvel films and Into the Woods fairly naturally incorporates most of its magic in rendering a fantasy world they cannot come away with the prize. And while the creation of futuristic battles and lithe robotic suits is admirable there’s a combination of old and new, of computerized work and craftsmanship in The Boxtrolls that just cannot be equaled.

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edge of Tomorrow
The Lego Movie
Locke
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

And the award goes to…

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

First what must be said is that for some categories such as this one the teams are a bit larger than the key artists and engineers usually cited therefore it is why I single out the film and not key members. There were quite a few different aural tapestries created this year: Locke told most of its story through bypassing traffic, phone calls and inner-monologue, The Lego Movie needed a mix as varied and as imaginative as its land, Edge of Tomorrow and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes needed to create very different futures with different kinds of warfare. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears assaults the senses throughout its duration and the ears are not exempt. Many of the jolts, much of the impact is through the mixing of effects, dialogue and score and helps contribute to its dreamy flow greatly.

Best Makeup

Gone Girl
Into the Woods
Maleficent
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken

And the award goes to…

Unbroken

Unbroken (2014, Warner Bros.)

Explanation

The ultimate tiebreaker among even matched competition is not just the amount of work but how vital the work is to the telling of a story. Unbroken in many ways is a story told through it’s make-up effects. Louie Zamperini is a physically changed man, of course, we examine his mental state as he struggles to persevere but we also need to see it on his face and on his body throughout. It clearly the most exceptional work of the year.

Best Art Direction

Curt Enderle The Boxtrolls
Alan Spalding, Said El Kounti and Hauke Richter Son of God
Dennis Gassner, Andrew Bennett, Ben Collins, Chris Lowe, and Mary Mackenzie Into the Woods
Julia Irribarria The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Juan Pedro De Gaspar and Géza Kerti Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

And the award does to…

Dennis Gassner, Andrew Bennett, Ben Collins, Chris Lowe, and Mary Mackenzie Into the Woods

Explanation

There were a number of different ways I could have gone with this choice. Zip and Zap features not only Old World architecture of a sprawling school, but also hidden worlds,  The Boxtrolls creates a world entirely from scratch, Son of God recreates many Biblical lands, The Strange Colors… creates a myopic metropolis in Europe as haunting as it is dazzling. What Into the Woods does is not merely create a storybook world, but finds room for many wondrous (and some of my favorite visual motifs) it also transforms a stage play into a newly realized world, one where none of these stories feel out of place but rather feel like they always should’ve lived together.

Best Costume Design

Colleen Atwood Into the Woods
Deborah Cook The Boxtrolls
Nicoletta Ercole Misunderstood
Louise Mingenbach X-Men: Days of Future Past
Pedro Moreno Cannibal

And the award goes to…

Colleen Atwood Into the Woods

Into the Woods (2014, Disney)

Explanation

When it comes to Best Costume Design I do like to think outside the box whenever possible in terms of selecting a crop of nominees. Two of the films include period work: X-Men: Days of Future Past and Misunderstood. Both of those films have additional styles: X-Men deals in superhero attire and there are subcultural uniforms invoked. In Cannibal clothing are very much a manifestation of character as the antagonist is a tailor. Many will overlook the production aspects of The Boxtrolls and I have come close to nominating other departments on Laika films before, but this film is a new peak in their powers and I can only hope they continue to reach new heights. With something like Into the Woods there is period influence, and also a fantastical element, but it is not just craftsmanship but creativity that takes it over the top. The epitome of this in the Wolf’s Zoot Suit which is one of the wisest uses of anthropomorphic costuming I’ve yet seen.

Best Score

Ramin Djawadi Dracula Untold
Pino Donaggio Patrick
Michael Giacchino Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Fons Merkies Finn
A.R. Rahman The Hundred-Foot Journey

And the award goes to…

Finn

Finn (2013, Attraction Distribution)

Explanation

This was perhaps the most difficult category to set the nominations. I made a Spotify playlist and played a bunch of albums. Yet, even having listened to most of if not all of them I still needed quite a bit of deliberation. Alexandre Desplat Monuments Men, Christophe Beck Edge of Tomorrow, Jeff McLlwain and David Wingo Joe, Mark Mothersbaugh The Lego Movie
Henry Jackman Big Hero 6, Michael Montes Ping Pong Summer; could’ve easily been nominated as well. The nominees featured great and varied musical stylings to fit their films A.R. Rahman fused Indian and classical styles to create the score of The Hundred-Foot Journey, Michael Giacchino drove home the emotion of the Dawn of the planet of the Apes, Rahmin Djawadi added the necessary gravitas to Dracula Untold and Pino Donaggio composed a staggeringly beautiful classically-inspired horror score for Patrick.

Then there is Finn. In Finn the violin and its music are of such paramount importance it is virtually a character and the music is so soaringly beautiful it threatens to dominate the film but the symbiosis they create is what makes the film so special and the score so memorable.

Best (Original) Song

“Everything is Awesome” Jo Li The Lego Movie
“The Boxtrolls Song” Mark Orton, Loch Lomond and Sean Patrick Doyle The Boxtrolls
“Quattro Sabatino” Dario Marianello, Peter Harris, Alex Tsilogiannis, Thomas Kennedy and Edmund Saddington The Boxtrolls
“The Bald Guy” (“Skallamann”) from Baldguy Cast in Fun in Boys Shorts
“Prologue: Into the Woods” James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep and Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods

And the award goes to…

Into the Woods

Into the Woods (2014, Disney)

Explanation

There has been a bit of evolution for me with this category throughout the years. In essence, the function of the song within the narrative aside from how much I like the song matters. The word original appears in parenthesis because it is optional as to whether it is limited to songs that were crafted for a specific film. The relevance to the plot question is what drops “Quattro Sabbatino,” while it does humorously use solely the names of cheeses to underscore the obsession with them in The Boxtrolls, but “The Boxtrolls Song” is about the fear and motivation to capture them in the story. While “Everything is Awesome” has an anthem-like invocation and does offer commentary that “No everything is not that great,” for these figures. It is not as pivotal as the top two songs are. While one is a short and another is a feature both are musical numbers from films constructed as musicals. What takes the song from Into the Woods over-the-top is not just the virtuosity of the entire cast’s performance, but also the fact that it sets the table for all strands of narrative in the film and incorporates a a theatrically conceived company number in cinematic trappings beautifully.

Neutron Star Award

The honoree can be found here.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

The honoree can be found here.

Robert Downey, Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year

The honoree can be found here.

Special Jury Awards

The honorees of this year’s special jury awards can be found here.

Nominations

Into the Woods – 12 (4 Wins)
Misunderstood – 9 (1 Win)
The Boxtrolls, Finn – 7 (1 Win Each)
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears – 6 (3 Wins)
Labyrinthus (2 Wins), Stations of the Cross (1 Win); 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg – 5
A Birder’s Guide to Everything, The Way He Looks (3 Wins) – 4
Edge of Tomorrow, The Lego Movie, Locke; 1,000 Times Good Night; It’s Not Me, I Swear; Mission: Sputnik, Joe (2 Wins) , Boyhood, Calvary (1 win), The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Judge – 3
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang, Dracula Untold, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Oculus, In Secret (1 Win), The Drop (1 Win), The Famous Five 3, The Custody (1 Win), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, St. Vincent -2
Fun in Boys Shorts, Dracula Untold, Patrick, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Cannibal, Son of God, Unbroken (1 win), The Theory of Everything, Maleficent, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Stop the Pounding Heart, Big Hero 6, Earth to Echo, Tormented, Wish I Was Here, The Maze Runner, The Amazing Catfish, Flowers in the Attic, I Am Yours, The Babadook, Nymphomaniac: Volume 2 (1 Win), The Fault in Our Stars, The Mystery of Happiness, Ilo Ilo, Fury, The Guest– 1

-Post Complete-

2014 BAM Award Nominations

Here in a live blog format you will see this year’s nominees in the BAM Awards (Bernardo Villela’s personal selections) be posted.

The honorees will be announced on January 9th. When the list is complete it will be indicated. Please note that the parenthesis around the word in Original indicates that at times songs not written specifically for a film are considered.

Best Picture

A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Calvary
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Finn
Into the Woods
The Judge
St. Vincent
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

Best Director

Richard Linklater Boyhood
John Michael McDonagh Calvary
Rob Meyer A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Daniel Ribeiro The Way He Looks
Frans Weisz Finn

Best Foreign Film

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Custody
Finn
Ilo Ilo
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Misunderstood
The Mystery of Happiness
Stations of the Cross
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
The Way He Looks

Most Overlooked Picture

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Boxtrolls
The Famous Five 3
Finn
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Labyrinthus
Mission: Sputnik
Misunderstood
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

Best Actress

Amrita Acharia I Am Yours
Juliette Binoche 1,000 Times Good Night
Essie Davis The Babadook
Charlotte Gainsbourg Nymphomaniac: Volume 2
Shailene Woodley The Fault in Our Stars

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage Joe
Brendan Gleeson Calvary
Tom Hardy The Drop
Tom Hardy Locke
Robert Downey, Jr. The Judge

Best Supporting Actress

Ximena Ayala The Amazing Catfish
Ellen Burstyn Flowers in the Attic
Jessica Lange In Secret
Melissa McCarthy St. Vincent
Meryl Streep Into the Woods

Best Supporting Actor

Jan Decleir Finn
Robert Duvall The Judge
Gabriel Garko Misunderstood
Logan Lerman Fury
Brendan Meyer The Guest
Mark Ram 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

Best Cast

Nils Verkooijen, Mark Ram, Marcel Musters, Anneke Blok and Marieke Heebink 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep, Mackenzie Mauzy, Chris Pine, Billy Rasmussen etc. Into the Woods
Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Dexter Darder, Kayla Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, etc. The Maze Runner
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gabriel Garko, Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Asia Argento, Olimpia Carlisi, Alice Pea, Carolina Poccioni, etc. Misunderstood
Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Dax Shepherd, Emma Tremblay, etc. The Judge

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Annalise Basso Oculus
Lauren Canny 1,000 Times Good Night
Joey King Wish I Was Here
Giulia Salerno Misunderstood
Flora Thiemann Mission: Sputnik
Lea van Acken Stations of the Cross

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Spencer Bogaert Labyrinthus
Antoine L’Écuyer The Custody
Antoine L’Écuyer It’s Not Me, I Swear
Kodi Smit-McPhee A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Garrett Ryan Oculus
Nils Verkooijen 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Anna Lou Castoldi Misunderstood
Adrianna Cramer Curtis 1,000 Times Good Night
Lilla Crawford Into the Woods
Catherine Faucher It’s Not Me, I Swear
Lorelei Linklater Boyhood
Emma Verlinden Labyrinthus

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Peter DaCunha Tormented
Reese Hartwig Earth to Echo
Daniel Huttlestone Into the Woods
Felix Maesschalck Labyrinthus
Art Parkinson Dracula Untold
Tye Sheridan Joe

Best Youth Ensemble

Kodi Smit-McPhee, Katie Chang, Alex Wolff and Michael Chen in A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Valeria Eisenbart, Quirin Oettl, Justus Schlingensliepen, Neele-Marie Nickel and Davina Weber The Famous Five 3
Spence Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck, Emma Verlinden, Nell Cattrysse and Pommelien Tijs Labyrinthus
Flora Thiemann, Finn Fienbig, Luca Johanssen, and Emil von SchönfelsMission: Sputnik
Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Carolina Poccioni, Andrea Pittorino Misunderstood
Raúl Rivas, Daniel Cerezo, Claudia Vega, Fran García, Marcos Ruiz, Christian Mulas, Aníbal Tártalo, Alberto López, Javier Cifrián and Álex Angulo Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

Best Original Screenplay

Anna Brüggemann and Dietrich Brüggemann Stations of the Cross
Bruno Forzani, Hélène Cattet The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Steven Knight Locke
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman The Lego Movie
Janneke van der Pal Finn

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn X-Men: Days of Future Past
Gary Hawkins and Larry Brown Joe
James Lapine Into the Woods
Dennis Lehane The Drop
Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle and Paul Briggs and Joseph Mateo Big Hero 6

Best Cinematography

Eric Adkins and Pat Sweeney The Boxtrolls
Dion Beebe Into the Woods
Manuel Dacosse The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Florian Hoffmesiter In Secret
Nicola Pecorini Misunderstood

Best Editing

Sandra Adair Boyhood
Bernard Beets The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
James Herbert and Laura Jennings Edge of Tomorrow
Wyatt Smith Into the Woods
Marie-Hélène Dozo Stop the Pounding Heart

Best Visual Effects

The Boxtrolls
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Into the Woods
Interstellar

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edge of Tomorrow
The Lego Movie
Locke
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

Best Makeup

Gone Girl
Into the Woods
Maleficent
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken

Best Art Direction

Curt Enderle The Boxtrolls
Alan Spalding, Said El Kounti and Hauke Richter Son of God
Dennis Gassner, Andrew Bennett, Ben Collins, Chris Lowe, and Mary Mackenzie Into the Woods
Julia Irribarria The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Juan Pedro De Gaspar and Géza Kerti Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

Best Costume Design

Colleen Atwood Into the Woods
Deborah Cook The Boxtrolls
Nicoletta Ercole Misunderstood
Louise Mingenbach X-Men: Days of Future Past
Pedro Moreno Cannibal

Best Score

Ramin Djawadi Dracula Untold
Pino Donaggio Patrick
Michael Giacchino Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Fons Merkies Finn
A.R. Rahman The Hundred-Foot Journey

Best (Original) Song

“Everything is Awesome” Jo Li The Lego Movie
“The Boxtrolls Song” Mark Orton, Loch Lomond and Sean Patrick Doyle The Boxtrolls
“Quattro Sabatino” Dario Marianello, Peter Harris, Alex Tsilogiannis, Thomas Kennedy and Edmund Saddington The Boxtrolls
“The Bald Guy” (“Skallamann”) from Baldguy Cast in Fun in Boys Shorts
“Prologue: Into the Woods” James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep and Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods

Neutron Star Award

TBA 1/9

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

TBA 1/9

Robert Downey, Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year

TBA 1/9

Special Jury Prizes

TBA 1/9

Nominations

Into the Woods – 12
Misunderstood – 9
The Boxtrolls, Finn – 7
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears – 6
Labyrinthus, Stations of the Cross – 5
A Birder’s Guide to Everything, 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg – 4
Edge of Tomorrow, The Lego Movie, Locke; 1,000 Times Good Night, Finn; It’s Not Me, I Swear; Mission: Sputnik, Stations of the Cross, , The Way He Looks, Boyhood, Calvary, The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Judge – 3
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang, Joe, Dracula Untold, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Labyrinthus, Oculus, In Secret, The Drop, The Famous Five 3, The Custody, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, St. Vincent -2
Fun in Boys Shorts, Dracula Untold, Patrick, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Cannibal, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Son of God, Unbroken, The Theory of Everything, Maleficent, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Stop the Pounding Heart, Big Hero 6, Earth to Echo, Tormented; 1,000 Times Good Night; It’s Not Me, I Swear, Wish I Was Here, The Maze Runner, The Amazing Catfish, Flowers in the Attic, I Am Yours, The Babadook, Nymphomaniac: Volume 2, The Fault in Our Stars,The Mystery of Happiness, Ilo Ilo, Fury, The Guest– 1

2013 BAM Award Considerations – November

Last year I had one massive running list and it became very cumbersome to add to, and to read I’m sure. By creating a new post monthly, and creating massive combo files offline, it should make the process easier for me and more user-friendly for you, the esteemed reader. Enjoy.

Eligible Titles

Blind Spot
In Bloom
Ender’s Game
The Notebook
Watchtower
Class Enemy
La Playa DC
It’s All So Quiet
Once Upon a Time Veronica
About Time
The Green Wave
Schooled: The Price of College Sports
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
Thor: The Dark World
Pete’s Christmas
In the Fog
You and the Night
Bernie & Ernie
The Fifth Season
The Christmas Ornament
The Color of the Chameleon
Hannah Arendt
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Contest
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
Philomena
The Book Thief
Frozen
The World’s End

Best Picture

Ender’s Game
Class Enemy
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Frozen
Philomena

Best Foreign Film

Blind Spot
The Notebook
Watchtower
Class Enemy
La Playa DC
It’s All So Quiet
Once Upon a Time Veronica
The Green Wave
Two Lives
The Old Man
In the Fog
You and the Night
The Fifth Season
The Color of the Chameleon
Hannah Arendt
La Jaula de Oro

Best Documentary

Last year this was an omitted category, due mostly to the fact that too few total candidates existed to make the slate feel legitimate. I will hope to be able to rectify that this year.

The Green Wave
Schooled: The Price of College Sports
Bernie & Ernie

Most Overlooked Film

As intimated in my Most Underrated announcement this year, I’ve decided to make a change here. Rather than get caught up in me vs. the world nonsense and what a film’s rating is on an aggregate site, the IMDb or anywhere else, I want to champion smaller, lesser-known films. In 2011 with the selection of Toast this move was really in the offing. The nominees from this past year echo that fact. So here, regardless of how well-received something is by those who’ve seen it, I’ll be championing indies and foreign films, and the occasional financial flop from a bigger entity.

Blind Spot
The Notebook
Class Enemy
It’s All So Quiet
The Old Man
Great Expectations
The Fifth Season
The Color of the Chameleon
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
Philomena

Best Director

Blind Spot
Ender’s Game
The Notebook
Class Enemy
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
Philomena

Best Actress

Nilay Erdonmez Watchtower
Hermila Guedes Once Upon a Time Veronica
Rachel McAdams About Time
Julian Köhler Two Lives
Natalie Portman Thor: The Dark World
Kate Moran You and the Night
Barbara Sukowa Hannah Arendt
Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Judi Dench Philomena

Best Actor

Jules Werner Blind Spot
Asa Butterfield Ender’s Game
Olgun Simsek Watchtower
Igor Samobor Class Enemy
Jereon Willems It’s All So Quiet
Domhall Gleeson About Time
Yerobla Toguzakov The Old Man
Jeremy Irvine Great Expectations
Chris Hemsworth Thor: The Dark World
Vladimir Svriskiy In the Fog
Niels Schneider You and the Night
Ruscen Vindinliev The Color of the Chameleon
Josh Hutcherson The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Sam Louwyck The Fifth Season
Steve Coogan Philomena
Geoffrey Rush The Book Thief
Simon Pegg The World’s End

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis Ender’s Game
Doroteja Nadrah Class Enemy
Piroska Molnár The Notebook
Liv Ullmann Two Lives
Helena Bonham Carter Great Expectations
Aurélia Poirier The Fifth Season
Janet McTeer Hannah Arendt
Elizabeth Banks The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Emily Watson The Book Thief

Best Supporting Actor

André Jung Blind Spot
Harrison Ford Ender’s Game
Voranc Boh Class Enemy
Jan Zupancic Class Enemy
Martijn Lakemeier It’s All So Quiet
Bill Nighy About Time
Sven Nordin Two Lives
Robbie Coltrane Great Expectations
Anthony Hopkins Thor: The Dark World
Vladislav Abashin In the Fog
Alain-Fabien Delon You and the Night
Django Schrevens The Fifth Season
Brendan Meyer The Christmas Ornament
Ulrich Noethen Hannah Arendt
Stanley Tucci The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Josh Gad Frozen
Nick Frost The World’s End

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Lika Babulani In Bloom
Hailee Steinfeld Ender’s Game
Karen Martinez La Jaula de Oro
Mackenzie Munro I Declare War
Sophie Nélisse The Book Thief

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Asa Butterfield Ender’s Game
András Gyémánt The Notebook
László Gyémánt The Notebook
Zachary Gordon Pete’s Christmas
Toby Irvine Great Expectations
Brandon Lopez La Jaula de Oro
Gage Munroe I Declare War
Michael Friend I Declare War
Daniel Flaherty Contest

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Mariam Bokeria In Bloom
Abigail Breslin Ender’s Game
Bebe Cave Great Expectations
Bailee Madison Pete’s Christmas
Katherine McNamara Contest

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Aramis Knight Ender’s Game
Andrés Murillo La Playa DC
Orynbek Moldakhan The Old Man
Peter DaCunha Pete’s Christmas
Toby Irvine Great Expectations
Dennis Andreev The Color of the Chameleon
Rodolfo Dominguez La Jaula de Oro
Siam Yu I Declare War
Alex Cardillo I Declare War
Kenton Duty Contest
Gill Vancompernolle The Fifth Season
Django Schrevens The Fifth Season
Nico Liersch The Book Thief

Best Cast

Blind Spot
Ender’s Game
The Notebook
Watchtower
Class Enemy
It’s All So Quiet
About Time
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
In the Fog
You and the Night
The Color of the Chameleon
The Fifth Season
The Color of the Chameleon
Hannah Arendt
Philomena
The Book Thief
The World’s End

Best Youth Ensemble

In Bloom
Ender’s Game
Pete’s Christmas
The Fifth Season
Contest
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
The Book Thief

Best Original Screenplay

Watchtower
Class Enemy
You and the Night
The Fifth Season
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
The World’s End

Best Adapted Screenplay

Blind Spot
Ender’s Game
The Notebook
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
In the Fog
The Color of the Chameleon
Philomena
Frozen

Best Score

Ender’s Game
The Notebook
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Thor: The Dark World
You and the Night
The Fifth Season
The Color of the Chameleon
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
The Book Thief
Frozen

Best Editing

Blind Spot
The Notebook
Class Enemy
It’s All So Quiet
The Green Wave
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
The Color of the Chameleon
The Fifth Season
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
Philomena
Frozen
The World’s End

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Blind Spot
Ender’s Game
La Playa DC
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Thor: The Dark World
In the Fog
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
The World’s End

Best Cinematography

Blind Spot
Ender’s Game
The Notebook
Watchtower
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
In the Fog
You and the Night
The Color of the Chameleon
The Fifth Season
La Jaula de Oro
The Book Thief
Frozen

Best Art Direction

Ender’s Game
The Notebook
Watchtower
La Playa DC
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
Thor: The Dark World
In the Fog
You and the Night
The Color of the Chameleon
The Fifth Season
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
La Jaula de Oro
I Declare War
The Book Thief
The World’s End

Best Costume Design

Ender’s Game
The Notebook
It’s All So Quiet
Two Lives
The Old Man
Great Expectations
Thor: The Dark World
The Color of the Chameleon
Hannah Arendt
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I Declare War
The Book Thief

Best Makeup

Ender’s Game
The Notebook
Two Lives
The Old Man
Thor: The Dark World
You and the Night
The Color of the Chameleon
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I Declare War
The Book Thief

Best Visual Effects

Ender’s Game
The Notebook
The Green Wave
The Old Man
Thor: The Dark World
You and the Night
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I Declare War
Frozen
The World’s End

Best (Original) Song

Ender’s Game
The Notebook
La Playa DC
About Time
Schooled: The Price of College Sports
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Contest
La Jaula de Oro
Frozen