The Feinberg Scorecard

Richard Foreman Jr.

Awards blogger Scott Feinberg weighs in on what's up and what's down in the aftermath of the first flurry of noms and wins during the week of Nov. 28.

ADAPTED

The Descendants
Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, Jim Rash

Payne, who won this category seven years ago, appears to be the front-runner again. Last week, he and his co-adapters of Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel won the National Board of Review's adapted screenplay prize and were nominated by the Indie Spirits.

Drive
Hossein Amini

It turns out this neo-noir actioner has more than just a cult following -- the New York Film Critics Circle awarded it best supporting actor; the Indie Spirits nominated it for best feature, best director, best actor and best supporting actor; and the NBR named it one of the year's top 10 films.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Eric Roth

Roth, who won this category's Oscar 17 years ago for Forrest Gump and has been nominated for it three other times since then, is back with another film set against a historical backdrop.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Steven Zaillian

The New York Film Critics Circle delayed their vote to screen this second adaptation of Stieg Larsson's hit book and then elected not to recognize it in any category. The NBR, on the other hand, named Rooney Mara breakthrough actor and the film one of the year's 10 best, and the impatient New Yorker (see story, p. 7) called it mesmerizing.

The Help
Tate Taylor

The strongest element of the film is its performances, not its script (which has yet to be recognized by any awards-dispensing group), but I expect that enough voters will want to champion the film and its message to propel it into the field.

Hugo
John Logan

This adaptation of Brian Selznick's popular kids book is red-hot, making Logan -- previously nominated for original screenplay for Gladiator and The Aviator -- an increasingly good bet.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Bridget O'Connor,Peter Straughan

Talk about a bad week: This adaptation of John le Carre's novel, which many have struggled to follow, was shut out by the Gothams, Indie Spirits, NBR and New York Film Critics Circle. Not even the British Independent Film Awards could find room for it.

War Horse
Richard Curtis, Lee Hall

Penned by two previous original screenplay nominees, this adaptation of the Broadway play based on Michael Morpurgo's novel is only just beginning to screen, so the jury is still out on its prospects.

ORIGINAL

The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius

Just because it's silent doesn't mean it didn't have a great script, as Indie Spirit voters acknowledged by nominating it for best screenplay. It also was named the year's best film by the New York Film Critics Circle and one of the top 10 films of the year by the NBR.

Beginners
Mike Mills

Somewhat unexpectedly, no film had a better week than this one, which won best feature and best ensemble at the Gothams; earned a supporting actor nod and a spot on the list of the year's top 10 indie films by the NBR; and received feature, director, supporting actor and screenplay nominations from the Indie Spirits.

J. Edgar
Dustin Lance Black

The film hasn't clicked critically (it has a dismal 41 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes) or commercially (it still hasn't recouped its $35 million budget), and the basis of several of its claims have been called into serious question, which may explain why it has been a nonfactor on the awards circuit thus far.

Margin Call
J.C. Chandor

Chandor's first script was strong and timely enough to attract a horde of A-list actors, and the resulting film is now a runaway hit on VOD. He received Indie Spirit nods for first film and first screenplay, was named debut director by the NBR (which also listed the film as one of its top 10 indies) and won best first feature from the New York Film Critics Circle.

Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen

Though there are passionate supporters of this May release, they haven't been able to propel it to any awards attention thus far: It was denied noms for picture, director and screenplay by the Indie Spirits and shut out by the Gotham Awards and the NBR.

Rango
James Ward Byrkit,John Logan, Gore Verbinski

An animated film has scored a best original screenplay nod in five out of the past eight years -- but every one of them came from Pixar. This one does not. Still, with such industry stalwarts as Logan and Verbinski involved, maybe that trend will be broken.

The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick

Malick's film is, like The Artist, largely silent, but the strange and stirring scenarios that make Life are unmistakably his own. People remain divided over the film itself, but it had enough supporters to win best feature at the Gothams and actor and cinematography honors from the NYFCC.

comments powered by Disqus