Wednesday, October 29, 2008

AFI Award Nominations Announced: Three Blind Mice Snubbed Harder Than George W Bush at MENSA

This just in: Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger is a three-time AFI Award-nominee and Three Blind Mice is not. The at times mindbogglingly awful film that features a montage dedicated to making fairy bread got nominations and Matthew Newton's sincere, honest, funny and touching portrayal of men lost in the urban wilderness did not. No, really! I am being entirely serious here. I know it sounds like a brutal practical joke that the best Aussie film of the year (well, at least, the best within the eligibility period, ahem) received nada, along with the also excellent Men's Group, when some of the worst - I'm looking at you too The Tender Hook - got given spots on at least three categories each. Oy... let's look closer.

The Black Balloon
The Jammed
The Square
Unfinished Sky

The nominations for Balloon, Jammed and Unfinished Sky aren't surprising considering they're the only three Aussie films in the past year to gain a considerably box office following, but give a little clap for The Square. After brutally dying an instantaneous death at the box office and not even managing much of anything at the IF Awards, it bounces back here. Well done to the Edgerton boys for finally getting a bit of luck.

Elissa Down, The Black Balloon
Dee McLachlan, The Jammed
Nash Edgerton, The Square
Peter Duncan, Unfinished Sky

4/4 with Best Film.

Rhys Wakefield, The Black Balloon
Guy Pearce, Death Defying Acts
David Roberts, The Square
William McInnes, Unfinished Sky

This is surely McInnes' to lose, but I'd like to mention that Guy Pearce is terrible in Death Defying Acts. His awkward fluctuating accent being the worst of his misdeeds. Surely Matthew Newton (Three Blind Mice), Clarence John Ryan (September) or even Jason Gann (Rats and Cats) would have been better choices. No "surely" about it, actually, they flat out would have been better choices. Yikes.

Noni Hazlehurst, Bitter & Twisted
Emma Lung, The Jammed
Veronica Sywak, The Jammed
Monic Hendrickx, Unfinished Sky

I really expected the luminous Gemma Ward to get nominated for The Black Balloon. Especially instead of Emma Lung, of who I am a big fan but this year was very strong for the Aussie ladies. The other big miss was, of course, the stunning Gracie Otto, the best performance I saw in any of the AFI contenders

Luke Ford, The Black Balloon
Erik Thomson, The Black Balloon
Joel Edgerton, The Square
Anthony Hayes, The Square

If Anthony Hayes is the supporting actor in anything it appears the AFI will nominate him. Christ, give it a break! Where are the actors of Men's Group (particularly Steve Le Marquand)? I'm genuinely quite surprised none of them got nominated.

Leeanna Walsman, Bitter & Twisted
Toni Collette, The Black Balloon
Meave Dermody, Black Water
Saskia Burmeister, The Jammed

The only major complaint I have about his category (again, the women were very fine this year) is that Maeve Dermody is obviously the lead in the ace killer croc flick Black Water. Nevertheless, if it takes category fraud to get her noticed then so be it, I suppose. She truly was great.

Elissa Down & Jimmy The Exploder, The Black Balloon
Cathy Randall, Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger
Dee McLachlan, The Jammed
Joel Edgerton & Matthew Dabner, The Square

No, seriously! Esther Blueburger over:
Three Blind Mice
Men's Group
Bitter & Twisted
The Independent
Rats and Cats
Hell, even Cactus!
The film should've been ruled eneligible due to that torturous Lue-Burger-B (or whatever the fuck it was) scene being included TWICE! Ugh. Rancid. If Cathy Randall is reading this (and considering the amount of times her name has come up here is a good bet it'll show up on google) I hope she's keenly aware that her screenplay was a big ol' load of tosh.

Stephen Vagg, All My Friends are Leaving Brisbane
Peter Duncan, Unfinished Sky

Aww. What a poor slightly pathetic category. It's like when Frida and The freakin' Time Machine were the only movies nominated for the Best Make-Up category at the Oscars in 2003.

Denson Baker ACS, The Black Balloon
Haris Zambarloukos BSC, Death Defying Acts
Geoffrey Simpson ACS, The Tender Hook
Robert Humphreys ACS, Unfinished Sky

Did they not watch September?

Veronika Jenet ASE, The Black Balloon
Rodrigo Balart, Black Water
Dee McLachlan & Annne Carter, The Jammed
Suresh Ayyar ASE, Unfinished Sky

I'm surprised the AFI professional voters actually gave Black Water one nomination, let alone two. This editing citation for Balart is very good news indeed.

Ben Osmo & Paul Pirola, The Black Balloon
Liam Egan, Tony Murtagh, Phil Judd MPSE & Des Kenneally, Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger
Liam Egan, Tony Murtagh, Phil Judd MPSE & Gary Wilkins, The Tender Hook
Andrew Plain, Annie Breslin & Will Ward, Unfinished Sky

I can only imagine that these Egan, Murtagh and Judd people have friends in the voting field considering their work was so completely unspectacular on one (that'd be Blueburger) and completely woeful on another (The Tender Hook, which couldn't even make a boxing match sound atmospheric).

Michael Yezerski, The Black Balloon
François Tétaz & Ben Lee, The Square
Chris Abrahams, The Tender Hook
Antony Partos, Unfinished Sky

If I'm remembering correctly, the music in The Tender Hook was by far one of the film's only good (and not merely half-arsed or outright terrible - boy, have my opinions on that film swung incredibly toward the negative) aspects so I won't quibble, but Roger Mason's work on September was stunning so WHERE IS IT?!

Steven Jones-Evans, Children of the Silk Road
Gemma Jackson, Death Defying Acts
Peter Baxter, The Tender Hook
Laurie Faen, Unfinished Sky

I guess all you need to earn a nomination here is to be set in the past because that is surely the only reason The Tender Hook got a nomination here for it's wildly inventive (that was sarcasm) use of empty factories and the wonderfully original (read: not at all) way they just didn't use lighting because, well, there was nothing to light up. I actually though Jones-Evans' work was that film's finest achievement.

Wenyan Gao & Kym Barrett, Children of the Silk Road
Susannah Buxton, Death Defying Acts
Shareen Beringer, Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger
Cappi Ireland, The Tender Hook

I was surprised they didn't give Gabriel (a movie defined by the words "complete and utter shite") a token nod here for it's sci-fi-horror-fantasy garb over the school uniforms and mutton-dressed-as-lamb outfits of Esther Blueburger.

Eric Bana, The Other Boleyn Girl
Russell Crowe, American Gangster
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Jack Thompson, Leatherheads

If Heath Ledger loses this I will EAT A HAT! This category (and it's female equivalent, below) is a strange one, no? Surely there were more impressive turns than Eric Bana and Jack Thompson?

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Judy Davis, The Starter Wife
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Nicole Kidman, The Golden Compass

I love that they nominated Kidman for The Golden Compass, although I thought she was astounding in Margot at the Wedding. I'd also like to know why they nominated Blanchett for her tired Elizabeth sequel and not for I'm Not There.

Danielle Catanzariti, Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger
Tom Green, The Ground Beneath
Saoirse Ronan, Death Defying Acts
Clarence John Ryan, September

The only nomination for September comes here. How sad. And, really, once you've gotten an Academy Award nominations (such as Ronan) I think you should, perhaps, not be eligible for what are essentially "breakthrough" awards, no?

Death Defying Acts
Double the Fist (TV)
H20: Just Add Water (TV)

And here are a selection of the TV awards:

City Homicide

Well, this is going to Underbelly, right? Even if all Victorian voters haven't seen it... right? :P

Chandon Pictures
The Librarians
Summer Heights High

Normally I'd say anything by Working Dog is the winner by default (Hollowmen) but, well, it's up against Summer Heights High and how can they ignore the genius that is Chris Lilley again? It deserves to win for, if nothing else, the moment when Lilley's Mr G character states in a classroom roleplaying game "Thank god you're here, Grandma's been raped!"

Rob Carlton, Chandon Pictures
Rob Sitch, Hollowmen
Robyn Butler, The Librarians
Chris Lilley, Summer Heights High

Again, I'd normally be trumpeting the work of Robyn Butler here, but Chris Lilley folks. That was a performance for the ages.

The rest of the TV nominations can be found at the official AFI website.

My internet is playing up so I can't upload pictures at the moment


syms said...

Very disappointed about Men's Group and Mice and it really makes me wonder about the reasons people vote; are there underground campaigns to voters or are people here voting for faux prestige colleagues ie Death Defying Acts should not be nominated for anything ever...but it's a prestige flick, not any of this dirty genre stuff ooh deary me. Same goes for The Tender Hook: if I ever decide to have a David Koresh party I know the double bill I'll be playing first.

Anonymous said...

Don't the films need to have been released theatrically to be eligible so that may be why Three Blind Mice and Men's Group missed out? I bet they are nominated next year like Jammed was this year even though it missed out last year. Makes sense? Good!

Kamikaze Camel said...

Anon, they were submitted for eligibility and received a limited release in Sydney to allow them to compete. All the eligible films are shown at the AFI festival where members get to watch all the films and Three Blind Mice and Men's Group were definitely shown (I saw them) and from people I've spoken to they were both very well liked. Especially the former so I'm not sure what happened to it.

The AFI voters must REALLY hate Matthew Newton after big misses two years in a row (there's also his work on Stupid Stupid Man).

Syms, I'd say Death Defying Acts deserved it's nominations for Costume and Art Direction, but that's about it.

Syms Covington said...

I reckon this years votes were influenced by females. It could be a long shot and I have almost nothing to back this up but check out the Black Water IMDB, all the highest rankings are from females.

Also, films like Death Defying and Tender Hook scored better among women (based on what I read and anecdotal evidence). And women still hate Matt Newton, there's no way around that, it's true. Men's Group has resonated VERY STRONGLY with men, but I spoke to a few women that saw it that didn't know any men that were like the characters in the film and they didn't connect with it.

It's a pretty loose theory, but I would love to know the demos of the AFI voters, more men? more women? more technicians? more older people?

Glenn said...

Well, at most of the Melbourne screenings that I attended I'd say for the larger audiences it was about 60/40 favouring women, but I noticed that in a lot of the sessions that attracted small crowds (Hamlet for instance) it was incredibly weighted towards men. Not sure why exactly. I noticed a lot of the women who attended the AFI sessions attended with a friend or a group, which makes me think you're right Syms. Like, they joined the AFI as a sort of group outing type of thing, whereas most of the men who were there seemingly by themselves, with a partner or in groups with couples (so, again, with women).

I'm obviously not being too scientific with the numbers, I'm just generalising, but you may indeed be right.

Of course then, how do you explain The Square considering it's not at all the type of movie women go to see* and like*.

*that opinion brought to you by the people who think women only go to see movies like Sex and the City and Mamma Mia! and only men go see action movies and thrillers. Naturally.

Syms Covington said...

A lot of the women I spoke to liked The Square - it was more a matter of getting them into the cinemas in the first place. Women are more prone to like intelligent cinema which The Square leant towards, while men would just watch a brainless action film.

It's an interesting theory if you think about it. And hypothesise a bit.

Female empowerment/escape from maltreatment in The Jammed and Unfinished Sky, with the latter getting the WIlliam McInness tick from the 40 something crowd.

Blueberger was written and directed and produced by an all female team, so there's props for that maybe.

Glenn said...

I kinda wish Matthew Newton could just go to England or something and make movies there. Clearly the "people that matter" (lol) don't give a rats arse about him here.

Paul Martin said...

I can't watch the actual awards nights, and have pretty much boycotted them for about 15 years. I get so aggravated, when truly good films get overlooked (and I'm talking about Three Blind Mice here) and mediocrity is rewarded. I think it was The English Patient winning all those Oscars that was the final straw for me. Unless it's industry/peer awards, generally it's mediocrity that is rewarded.

Dale said...

I was pretty meh on Ester Blueburger, but I'm glad the lead got some attention, she was great. However, I don't like that the script got a nom, because that was the problem with the movie, really. The entire third act was horribly written.