2015 BAM Award Considerations – March

I know that awards season on this blog just ended,  however, assembling those nominees is a year-long process. So the cycle begins anew with posts at the end of the month and master lists offline in preparation for the big dates of the award’s calendar year. All titles viewed, new and old, can be seen on my Letterboxd.

Eligible Titles

Metalhead
Traitors
Love Me
The Lazarus Effect
Unfinished Business
Cinderella
McFarland USA
Salvation Army
If You Don’t, I Will

Best Picture

Metalhead
Cinderella

Best Foreign Film

Metalhead
Traitors
Love Me

Best Documentary

Most Overlooked Picture

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.

Metalhead
Traitors

Best Director

Metalhead
Traitors
Love Me
Cinderella

Best Actress

Thora Bjorg Helga Metalhead
Chaimae Ben Acha Traitors
Viktoria Spesvitseva Love Me
Lily James Cinderella
Emmanuelle Devos If You Don’t, I Will

Best Actor

Ushan Çakir Love Me
Richard Madden Cinderella
Kevin Costner McFarland USA
Mathieu Almaric If You Don’t, I Will

Best Supporting Actress

Soufia Issami Traitors
Cate Blanchett Cinderella

Best Supporting Actor

Hillmar Wollan III Metalhead
Dave Franco Unfinished Business
Nonso Anozie Cinderella

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Diljá Valsdóttir Metalhead
Ella Anderson Unfinished Business
Eloise Webb Cinderella

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Britton Sear Unfinished Business

Best Cast

Metalhead
Traitors
Unfinished Business
Cinderella
McFarland USA

Best Youth Ensemble

McFarland USA
Salvation Army

Best Original Screenplay

Metalhead
Traitors
Unfinished Business

Best Adapted Screenplay

Cinderella

Best Score

Metalhead
Cinderella

Best Editing

Metalhead
Cinderella

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Metalhead
Traitors
Cinderella

Best Cinematography

Metalhead
Cinderella

Best Art Direction

Metalhead
Traitors
Cinderella
McFarland USA

Best Costume Design

Metalhead
Cinderella
McFarland USA

Best Makeup

Metalhead
Traitors
Love Me
Cinderella

Best Visual Effects

Cinderella

Best (Original) Song

Metalhead
Traitors
Cinderella
McFarland USA

I commented last year that there was a film that had me reconsidering the soundtrack as a potential category. It’s happened again so I will be tracking it and seeing if it’s worth re-including this year.

Best Soundtrack

Metalhead

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March to Disney: From Snow White to Cinderella

This is a series of posts this month wherein I will focus on Disney films. For more on my background with Disney films and about the timing of this focus please read the introductory post here.

It’s interesting to note that Cinderella was released in 1950. If you count the hybrid films (Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart) and the package films (Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Saludos Amigos and Three Caballeros) it was the 12th animated feature that Disney had released. In a way it was like the circle closing after having started with a princess tale and embedded Silly Symphonies, Disney’s name for their early musically-inclined shorts.

In both the case of Cinderella and Snow White the anthropomorphism of the animals manifests itself by their interaction and communication, non-verbal in the former and verbal in the latter, that the protagonist shares with them. What Snow White possesses is much of what would become staples of Disney fare such as the great heightened moments. The innovation of technique in Snow White to an extent masquerades the embedding of familiar, albeit more defenestrated, tropes of earlier shorts. If you compare the narrative movement of Snow White to the films that follow, the progenitor of the Disney films ends up feeling like a cozy, quaint dream that, aside from the inherent value of the story and its bolder moments, isn’t tremendously riveting on a purely narrative level.

Cinderella is not entirely dissimilar with its asides to the mouse subplots, but is differentiated by having more parallel action. The ball is introduced early on and the Stepmother is a terrifying, yet very real, and down-to-earth villainess. The witch’s transformation and magic mirror are bold, tremendous images that stand out more than does anything in Cinderella. Cinderella’s coach, and, of course, the iconic castle are the standout visuals there.

This isn’t really to knock either of the two films. Of course, I still enjoy them both. Between the films I think Cinderella may work better and definitely has a slightly more forward pre-feminist-movement Disney princess.

The experiments that Disney went on after Snow White and before Cinderella, were highly interesting and for the most part wildly successful. In 1940 there was both Pinocchio and Fantasia. In narrative terms on opposite ends of the spectrum, but both really push the frontiers of what they could do with visuals.

While the Silly Symphony aspect of these films stands out, the musicality of Dumbo is well-embeded. Not only that but in terms of narrative it can’t move fast enough, the tempo of the music pushes the pace of the edits and allows the story to flow perfectly. There are many beats, and much emotion wrenched out of just barely an hour in Dumbo, which makes it even more staggering.

Bambi created a world devoid of humans, allowed real fears and traumas to sneak in still managed to tell a charming uplifting story with very little dialogue and not a lot of fat either.

The last untouched upon films pre-1950 that are all-animated would be the aforementioned package films, which are a pastiche of shorts so it by definition they have a more storybook, anthology feel to them. The sensibility is overgrown, related shorts.

So between 1937 and 1950 Disney about ran the gamut of what could be done at the time, and with Cinderella seemed to be consciously setting down a milestone with a similar tale. As if to say, “Thirteen years ago we were there, now we’re here and moving upward and onward.”