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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Mini-Review: Traitors

Traitors is a film that in a way uses an underground music scene to hook us into its story. However, the synopsis succinctly makes the connection between the disparate scene that draws you in and the dilemma that forms the crux of the conflict:

Malika is the leader of the all-female punk rock band Traitors, with a strong vision of the world, her hometown of Tangier, and her place in it. When she needs money to save her family from eviction, and to realize her dreams for the band, Malika agrees to a fast cash proposition: a smuggling run over the mountains for a dangerous drug dealer. But her companion on the road is Amal, a burnt-out young drug mule, who Malika decides to free from her enslavement to the dangerous drug dealers. The challenge will put Malika’s rebel ethos to the test, and to survive she will have to call on all her instincts and nerve.

Clearly, Malika (Chaimae Ben Acha) has ample motivation for her gamble. However, what’s refreshing even though she’s willingly getting into a dangerous situation she doesn’t do so naively, nor does she make silly mistakes once she gets into it. In fact, her intelligence and ability to read people is persistently on display throughout.

The simplicity of the through-line the story has allows us to become immersed in this world and invest in the characters’ quest. It’s also highly refreshing the way the film absolutely refuses to over-elaborate the situation. Even though a story is about drug-smuggling, which one would assume hinges on a good amount of discretion too many films, even dramas would over-escalate and raise the stakes to ridiculous extents. They are up, there is tension and suspense but priorities for protagonists and antagonists alike are kept in check.

There is a big scene in this film where Traitors transforms from a film one can like to a film one can love and that is where Amal (Soufia Issami) is telling Malika her story. They are both riveting to watch in the scene. The information make Amal a major player, changes the dynamic between the two characters, and informs decisions made from that point forward.

Traitors is a quickly-paced, engaging watch that establishes a character’s philosophy and puts her in a situation to have the courage of her convictions . It’s highly recommended.