The awards season is now in full flow with the ultimate finale, The Oscars, bringing everything to a crescendo on Sunday night. The ceremony will pitch all of the major academy award players against each other with The Artist still the favourite. Some films, however, may be deemed too mainstream by the academy, who are sometimes quite set in their ways about what constitutes an award winning performance or movie and so my compilation of awards seek to remedy those overlooked. So please join me as I filter through the dross that the last year has delivered and celebrate those great performances and films:
Best Film: Because of the types of films that the Academy usually picks when deliberating for best film we are always presented with some of the same old rather formulaic dramas such as The Ides of March and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close whereas many innovative, interesting movies are ignored. It is also very rare for a documentary to find its way into this category. That is why my award for best film goes to the moving, innovative Senna. A documentary has a much richer and emotive story than so much fiction that has found its way onto the big screen. The set up, unfolding of the narrative and execution are flawless and captivating and it is a crime that it has not been more seriously considered in this awards season.
Best Actor: In this race the Oscar is looking to either go to Jean Dujardin for his role as silent movie star George Valentin in The Artist or George Clooney’s powerful performance in The Descendents. I have decided to award my best actor to, no not Adam Sandler for his powerhouse performance in Jack and Jill, but Gary Oldman for his role in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He is nominated for an Oscar, therefore has received some recognition for his portrayal of George Smiley, however, he seems very unlikely to win and should be honoured for such a strong performance.
Best Actress: Meryl Streep and Olivia Coleman have been dominating the main and independent awards with performances in The Iron Lady and Tyrannosaur respectively. Someone who has been slightly overlooked in the Oscar’s, although she did get a nod in the Golden Globes, is Kristen Wiig for her role in Bridesmaids. Also co-writing it, Wiig really shows her comedy acting chops and it pays off. A truly hilarious performance.
Best Supporting Actor: Although you don’t even see his face on screen throughout the entirety of the film my choice for best supporting actor is Andy Serkis for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Not only does he bring a strong performance through a range of emotions to Caeser the ape, he completely acts James Franco off the screen despite being a motion captured creation. It is a huge achievement for an actor to act through the computer generation to deliver a heartfelt performance of that magnitude, allowing for the apes to have entire lengths of film dedicated to themselves without it being made to look contrived or silly. The Academy has still not come round to the idea of awarding the prize to actors using motion capture, but they may have missed a trick in not nominating Serkis.
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer looks almost a certainty with her role in The Help. Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are both also increasingly on the rise and could have nabbed it. However, my choice goes to British actress Jodie Whittaker in Attack the Block, a truly great achievement of a film in which Whittaker is the anchor amidst the anarchy. Not only was she fantastic in this but also in Perrier’s Bounty in back in 2009 and more recently in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror episode ‘The Entire History of You’. We can expect big things from her in the future.
Best Director: A tough category to decide upon because of the sheer amount of heavyweights who have directed this year. However, my decision is for debut filmmaker Richard Ayoade and his work on the wonderful Submarine. Although the film was released in 2010 it did not appear in mainstream cinemas until March 2011 thereby making it eligible in my eyes. I’m sure it won’t be too long before Ayoade is in the running for more awards in the future.
Best Original Screenplay: You could scour Hollywood all day long and you will never find a script as pitch perfect, funny and more true to life as The Inbetweeners Movie. The dialogue is as sharp and erudite as the series with a story that grips despite the fact that it really shouldn’t with the fail record of so many TV show transitions before it. There aren’t many other scripts that can boast so many quotable and genuinely thoughtful lines while combining with thoughtful and evocative moments.
Best Adapted Screenplay: This award is more an achievement award as opposed to anything and it goes to Steve Kloves and his work on the Harry Potter series that finally came to an end last year with the second instalment of The Deathly Hallows. To adapt a book that is so well loved and add a different dimension to make it suitable for the big screen is a huge achievement and Kloves has managed this, arguably improving with every film. His contribution has been a big factor in the success in the franchise and I believe he deserves some recognition.
So there’s my alternative Oscars. I have only touched upon the major acting and film categories as opposed to the technical as the movies excelling in these are nominated already and are most likely to win. Nothing could really beat the score for The Artist or Hugo for sound design, could it? I’ll be very much looking forward to finding out on Sunday night.