RECAP: 1st TFO Awards (2009)

The first year of this blog’s awards, the TFO Awards, honoured the excellence in film for the year 2009. The awards were posted in February to March 2011.

Quentin Tarantino’s war film Inglourious Basterds led the pack with 13 nominations, subsequently winning six including Best Motion Picture and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz).

Its closest competitor, Kathryn Bigelow’s war thriller The Hurt Locker, was nominated for 11 awards and won two for Best Directing (Bigelow) and Best Film Editing.

The rest of the Best Picture nominees were Nine (8 nominations), A Single Man (8), (500) Days of Summer (6), An Education (6), Up (6), Up in the Air (6), Dictrict 9 (5), and Fantastic Mr. Fox (4).

Scroll down below to see the complete list of winners and nominees.

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Best Motion Picture

  • (500) Days of Summer – Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe
  • District 9 – Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson
  • An Education – Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – Allison Abbate, Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Scott Rudin
  • The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro
  • *WINNER* Inglourious Basterds – Lawrence Bender
  • Nine – John De Luca, Rob Marshall, Marc Platt, Harvey Weinstein
  • A Single Man – Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert Salerno, Chris Weitz
  • Up – Jonas Rivera
  • Up in the Air – Jeffrey Clifford, Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman

Best Achievement in Directing

  • Marc Webb – (500) Days of Summer
  • *WINNER* Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
  • Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
  • Tom Ford – A Single Man
  • Jason Reitman – Up in the Air

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

  • George Clooney – Up in the Air
  • *WINNER* Colin Firth – A Single Man
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer
  • Viggo Mortensen – The Road
  • Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

  • Melanie Laurent – Inglourious Basterds
  • Carey Mulligan – An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • Meryl Streep – Julie and Julia
  • *WINNER* Tilda Swinton – Julia

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Peter Capaldi – In the Loop
  • Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
  • Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker
  • Peter Sarsgaard – An Education
  • *WINNER* Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Marion Cotillard – Nine
  • Penelope Cruz – Nine
  • *WINNER* Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air
  • Mimi Kennedy – In the Loop
  • Diane Kruger – Inglourious Basterds

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Best Performance by an Ensemble

  • An Education – Carey Mulligan, Olivia Williams, Alfred Molina, Cara Seymour, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson, Sally Hawkins, Matthew Beard
  • The Hurt Locker – Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, Christian Camargo
  • In the Loop – Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Zach Woods, Mimi Kennedy, Anna Chlumsky, James Gandolfini, David Rasche, Paul Higgins, Alex MacQueen, James Smith, Olivia Poulet, Joanna Scanlan, Samantha Harrington, Eve Matheson, Steve Coogan
  • *WINNER* Inglourious Basterds – Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Gedeon Burkhard, Jacky Ido, BJ Novak, Omar Doom, August Diehl, Denis Menochet, Sylvester Groth, Martin Wuttke, Mike Myers, Julie Dreyfus
  • Nine – Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Fergie, Sophia Loren, Ricky Tognazzi, Giuseppe Spitaleri

Best Original Screenplay

  • *WINNER* (500) Days of Summer – Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
  • The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal
  • Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
  • A Serious Man – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Up – (Screenplay) Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, (Story) Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Thomas McCarthy

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • An Education – Nick Hornby
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach
  • In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
  • Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Geoffrey S. Fletcher
  • *WINNER* Up in the Air – Sheldon Turner, Jason Reitman

Best Animated Feature

  • Coraline – Henry Selick
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson
  • The Princess and the Frog – John Musker & Ron Clements
  • The Secret of Kells – Tomm Moore
  • *WINNER* Up – Pete Docter

Best Achievement in Cinematography

  • Bright Star – Greig Fraser
  • Broken Embraces – Alberto Iglesias
  • The Hurt Locker – Barry Ackroyd
  • Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson
  • *WINNER* A Single Man – Eduard Grau

Best Achievement in Film Editing

  • (500) Days of Summer – Alan Edward Bell
  • District 9 – Julian Clarke
  • *WINNER* The Hurt Locker – Chris Innis, Bob Murawski
  • Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke
  • A Single Man – Joan Sobel

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

  • The Hurt Locker – Paul N. J. Ottosson, Ray Beckett
  • *WINNER* Inglourious Basterds – Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Mark Ulano
  • The Road – Todd Beckett, Chris David, Edward Tise
  • Star Trek – Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson, Peter J. Devlin
  • Up – Michael Semanick, Tom Myers

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

  • Avatar – Christopher Boyes, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
  • District 9 – Brent Burge, Chris Ward
  • The Hurt Locker – Paul N. J. Ottosson
  • Star Trek – Mark Stoeckinger, Alan Rankin
  • *WINNER* Up – Michael Silvers, Tom Myers

Best Achievement in Original Score

  • Broken Embraces – Alberto Iglesias
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat
  • The Hurt Locker – Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders
  • A Single Man – Abel Korzeniowski
  • *WINNER* Up – Michael Giacchino

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

  • Avatar – Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, and Andrew R. Jones
  • *WINNER* District 9 – Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, and Matt Aitken
  • The Road – Mark O. Forker
  • Star Trek – Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, and Burt Dalton
  • Where the Wild Things Are – Peter Brooke, Michael Eames, Sonny Gerasimowicz, Daniel Jeannette, Peter Stubbs

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

  • *WINNER* District 9 – Richard Taylor, Sarah Rubano, Frances Richardson, Joe Dunckley, David Meng, Leon Von Solms
  • Hunger – Jacqueline Fowler
  • Inglourious Basterds – Heba Thorisdottir, Gregory Nicotero
  • Julia – Roz Music, Pamela Neal
  • The Road – Toni G

Best Achievement in Production Design

  • *WINNER* Inglourious Basterds – (PD) David Wasco, (SD) Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
  • Nine – (PD) John Myhre , (SD) Gordon Sim
  • The Road – (PD) Chris Kennedy, (SD) Robert Greenfield
  • Sherlock Holmes – (PD) Sarah Greenwood, (SD) Katie Spencer
  • A Single Man – (PD) Dan Bishop, (SD) Amy Wells

Best Achievement in Costume Design – Contemporary

  • *WINNER* (500) Days of Summer – Hope Hanafin
  • In the Loop – Ross Little
  • Julia – April Napier
  • The Ugly Truth – Betsy Heimann
  • Up in the Air – Danny Glicker

Best Achievement in Costume Design – Period

  • Cheri – Consolata Boyle
  • *WINNER* Inglourious Basterds – Anna B. Sheppard
  • Nine – Colleen Atwood
  • A Single Man – Arianne Phillips
  • The Young Victoria – Sandy Powell

Best Achievement in Original Song

  • “All is Love” from Where the Wild Things Are
    Music and Lyric by Karen O and Nick Zinner
  • *WINNER* “Cinema Italiano” from Nine
    Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
  • “Take It All” from Nine
    Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
  • “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart
    Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett
  • “You Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” from An Education
    Music and Lyric by Beth Rowley and Ben Castle

NOTE: Best Documentary Feature and Best Achievement in Adapted or Song Score were not existing categories during this awards. In addition, there was only one category for Best Achievement in Production Design (categorization between contemporary and period started only the following awards).

Click here to see the actual posts on the 1st TFO Awards.

 

Best Picture Profile: An Education

Directed by: Lone Scherfig

Company: Sony Pictures Classics / BBC Films

Runtime: 100 minutes

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The movie is about Jenny Mellor, a young British lady whose does so well in her school. It’s already a usual thing for her to be praised by her teachers for excellent in class. She has friends, and suitors, and of course, a family. Her family consists of Jack, her father, a very outspoken and opinionated man, and Marjorie , her mother, the complete opposite of Jack, a quiet and gentle woman.

Everything does fine in her life. She even manages to do her hobby which is cello playing. She plans on going to Oxford to read English, but it all changes when she meets David Goldman, a financially stable gentleman who is much older than her. He takes interest in her, and started dating her as a friend.

As her frequent meeting with him ensues, her  grades start to go downhill, much to the dismay of her father. Her relationship with David deepens, turning their relationship into something romantic. She goes with him to the continent, and she lives the best of live with him. This alarms the headmistress who cares so much for her school girls. Thinking that she has already found the right man for her, she fights for it, even if it means general disapproval from the faculty.

However, she finds out that David is already married, shocking her. He simply vanishes, leaving her heartbroken. With nowhere else to go, she goes to her teacher to ask for help.

In a very simple look at it, you won’t find any extraordinary about it. And I know that it is not extraordinary. But it does something more than that.

The direction is as smart as it is understanding. In the given runtime it has, the direction makes the most out of it to give us this drive at the life of the lead character. What’s so great about this film is that it never wasted any moment in the film. Every minute, there is a development. Some, or most, films take some time to relax or to loosen up, often dragging us. But the direction in this film is so swift and full of intellect that it knows how to make things as tight as possible.

Of course, there are relaxing moments, like the scenes in Paris, but it always adds up to something. The film achieves the pinnacle of subtle direction by doing just that. And there aren’t any false moments in its entire length because the director knows how to tun and manipulate things in a way that we can follow Jenny’s life throughout the turbulent 100 minutes and we thoroughly understand it. The direction’s not of epic proportions, but it’s somewhat a feat.

The screenplay couldn’t get anymore smarter than this. It totally focuses on Jenny’s character but at the same time, it never makes the supporting characters useless. Each character around Jenny signifies the continuous development that the main character undergoes, and it’s all wonderfully placed. Even then, the film never neglects Jenny.

Jenny is the most important character, of course. Here, with the focus it has on her, the screenplay should never let the whole thing down. It should be believable in every way it would be looked at. And it succeeds in capturing the maturity that Jenny experiences that turns out to be immaturity in disguise. But of course, it’s not obvious, so it needs to plant details at the movie before it’s finally exposed. Thankfully, the screenwriter is skillful to do that. It doesn’t deceive us to believe in something false because the dimensions of Jenny and the story are clear to us. It’s a screenplay that is very worthy of the accolades that it got.

The cinematography is simple but charming at times. The editing is simple and well-thought. The sound is perfectly fine. The musical score is tender. The songs used are definitely of equal importance. The production design is well-made. The costumes area thrill to watch.

And now, we have the acting. This film features one of the best ensemble performances of 2009.

Peter Sarsgaard is very good as David Goldman. He evokes a sense of adulthood to Jenny and to us in a very gentle way that we understand why Jenny is comfortable being with this man. He seems to be all-knowing, smart, and knowledgeable to what he is doing in his life that we trust him as Jenny trusts him too. He gives an assurance in his character that I am genuinely shocked when Jenny finds out that he is already married. He’s not a bad guy, he just needs Jenny because he thinks they’re meant for each other, but he cannot escape the truth that he has a family by himself. What we felt for him after the incident was not hatred because he betrayed her but disappointment because we trusted him but in the end, the relationship just won’t work anymore.

Alfred Molina is also very good as the father. His character Jack has a very defensive and perfectionist nature. He wants Jenny to prosper in anything that she does. He doesn’t want French singing in his house. He is alarmed when Jenny goes to the continent because people there don’t really like them. He is very sensitive in the topic of antisemitism. He is disappointed when someone who courts Jenny wants to travel around, as he sees it as being a “teddy boy.” But he does all of this not because he is hostile but because is afraid. He is afraid of what might happen to his daughter because he was afraid himself. He is scared that something wrong may happen to her just because he loves her so much. He gives very strong remarks but he does all of it for Jenny. It’s a commendable turn from Molina in a wonderfully written character.

Rosamund Pike is cool as Helen, a socialite who turns Jenny into a socialite herself. She is very calm and joyful when she talks to everybody and seems carefree, but underneath those fur coats is a woman very cautious of what’s happening. She’s not just there to wear make-up or her nighties, she knows what’s happening.

Olivia Williams is effective as Miss Stubbs. She always praises Jenny for her good job in her class. That’s why she is very disappointed when her academic performance starts to go downhill. Her dismay of Jenny is not a sign of irritation, but it’s a sign of her care for her because she believes in her capability to do anything that she wants because she is smart. And to see her go head over heels for this man with a very bad effect on her studies just hurts her. So, it was a consoling thing for her when Jenny approached her to help her correct her mistakes.

Cara Seymour is delightful as the mother Marjorie. Although she is, I think, the most passive of all the characters, she provides a sturdy foundation for Jenny’s character as you see this woman as a mirror of what will happen to her in the future. It’s the dedicated mother stereotype, but Seymour, being a talented, but questionably underrated, actress, was able to do something to make it not all used up. She is contented with her life, but it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want anything anymore. She supports Jenny in her life because she has dreams too. It’s a very humble performance, but it’s a very three-dimensional performance from Seymour. Thoroughly textured, it’s a very good performance.

Emma Thompson is startling as the Headmistress. She’s the person with the least screentime in the whole cast, but if you’re going to ask me, she has a bigger impact than some of the other actors. Her character has three big movements in the movie – warning, confronting, amending – and in these three short pieces, she was able to make a character that we understand. She wants the best for the women in the school and she doesn’t want anyone to do foolish things, but as she sees Jenny would do what she wants, she reminds her that education is valuable. The only thing that she could do is to remind her of the reason of educating them. The last beat of her performance is her reminding Jenny of the mistakes, as a student and as a woman. She all does it in a very clam way. But Thompson uses her experience to create a woman of authority. She is a woman to look up tom. In her two-and-a-half minutes, she creates a strong woman who lives in the tradition of education. But she doesn’t preach us in what we should do. She is there to give intellectual opinions to Jenny. And, of course, we believe her.

Matthew Bear and Dominic Cooper also provide good if not really noteworthy performances.

Carey Mulligan is simply fantastic as Jenny. I won’t say really much about it other than it’s great, it ‘s a performance that ultimately grows on you, it’s a performance that is acted by a gifted actress and an actress who used her acting skills to give us a character so believable and so humane that its power makes it a credible core for this very fine motion picture.  It’s a very natural performance that almost seems to come out of her naturally. It’s an entirely rich performance that will be remembered for the years to come.

Now, we arrive at this question – is this film extraordinary? Well, it doesn’t have any topical issues (Up in the Air), grandiose production (Avatar), or racial discussions (Precious), it shines a s a very fine motion picture. Now, what makes it special from the other period films? It’s so smart and polished and intelligent. It moves in a very speedy pace, and it never brings any boredom in the table. It’s fantastic.

For this, the movie gets:

4

What are your thoughts, dear reader?

INTRODUCTION – Best Motion Picture: 2009

After watching the last two films that I need to for me to have this year, I decided to do this since I know everyone can share their opinions on the movies since it’s very recent. So, the nominees are:

Avatar

The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

A Serious Man

Up

Up in the Air

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Which one will be my pick?

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Would it be the sci-fi epic? Or the underdog sports drama? Or the mockumentary sci-fi? Or the coming-of-age British drama? Or the war thriller? Or the historical epic thriller-comedy? Or the grim drama? Or the Jewish black comedy? Or the animated fantasy? Or the bleak drama-dark comedy?

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I have already decided on this months ago, but who could say? It’s a fierce year.

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The system will be by lottery, and the last would be the Best Picture Winner, The Hurt Locker.

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So, dear reader, would I go with the Academy? Or would I go with an another nominee?