2004 Selesfan1 Film Awards (For Films viewed in a cinema or private screening during 2004)
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
The Motorcycle Diaries
The Passion of the Christ
Let’s just say I got out to more films during 2004 than I usually do. I went out to a total of 11 films presented in a cinema or a special private screening. Next year if given the opportunity I wish to attend a film festival and a movie in a foreign country from that country. I saw wonderful films ( Bridget Jones, The Motorcycle Diaries, The Passion of the Christ) some films that were awful ( The Grudge) and some that could have been great if they would have had some work done to them ( Mean Girls, The Gatekeeper, Birth). Overall I had a good experience with my film going during the year, met a director/ actor, a critically acclaimed actress, and an actress that is in one of my favorite films. I learned that when a film goes against personal feelings people aren’t as open minded and receptive as they say and that the best films are the ones you least expect you’ll like. So, without further ado I give you Selesfan1’s awards for the 2004 year for films that I saw in a theater during 2004. Which I feel have some validity since my film choices are varied and above average.
1st The Motorcycle Diaries
- Filled with subtle moments of Glory this is perhaps the most solid biopic of 2004.
2nd The Passion of the Christ
- Excellent Cinematography, Excellent Music, Excellent Make-up , solid action and a Tour de Force performance from Maia Morgenstern make this picture one of the best viewed in 2004.
3rd Love Actually
- With reflections of true life, comedic moments, dramatic moments, realistic and not always so happy resolutions, Love Actually reflected the struggles for love at all angles .
1st Gael Garcia Bernal - ( The Motorcycle Diaries)
With subtle moments of Glory and letting his face do much of the work Garcia Bernal was able to remove any hint of the Rugged Communist leader many have come to associate with Che Guevara.
2nd Jude Law - ( Cold Mountain)
His struggles to return to his loved one and the way he conveyed Inman’s willingness to return to her made Jude Law’s performance enjoyable in a far less than perfect film.
3rd Cameron Bright- (Birth)
How an actor of his young age is able to act so maturely in a dark film astounds me. However, Mr. Bright was able to hold his own in a beautiful way.
1st Emma Thompson -(Love Actually)
The occasions when an actress plays a woman in a situation of infidelity with such dignity, conviction and commitment to her marriage that you almost would do the same are few and far in between and Emma Thompson does just that.
2nd Nicole Kidman - ( Birth)
When putting such a woman known for her looks and style in the role of a grieving widow and when you see a transformation of a character from Grieving, to accepting a marriage, leaving her marriage, and grieving once again for her husband at the end the day of her wedding day to the point where you believe all of those feelings are genuine merits her praise.
3rd Renee Zellweger - ( Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason)
Ok, so the sequel wasn’t original. However it was the same Bridget from the first film and Renee carried the film with dignity with a weaker script and strange plot.
Best Supporting Actor
1st Rodrigo de la Serna - (The Motorcycle Diaries)
He delivered the comedy, and a lot of the dialogue with the story not being about his character but at the same time giving his character the importance it deserved. Also, making a movie about your real life relative must not be easy at all.
2nd Bill Nighy - ( Love Actually)
To have such an over the top nasty character credible and likeable at the same time is hard but Mr. Nighy did it.
3rd Hugh Grant - ( Love Actually)
For someone to play a prime minister, stick up to the President of the United States, long for love and make it all credible merits Mr. Grant praise.
Best Supporting Actress
1st Maia Morgenstern - (The Passion of the Christ)
While most people said the violence in this film is what made them cry. What did it for me was Maia’s acting. For her face to be able to express grief, desperation, hope, satisfaction, sadness, and resolve in such a convincing manner and bring someone to feel the same things her character does is such an accomplishment and something that only Maia Morgenstern and one other actress have been able to do in all the films I‘ve seen.
2nd Lauren Bacall -(Birth)
Her comedic timing is a highlight in this film with many but separate high points.
3rd Anne Betancourt -( The Gatekeeper)
To have a viewer believe the effect a character has for others playing a matron without being a mother is a great feat.
1st Walter Salles - ( The Motorcycle Diaries)
For a Director to say to the people who want him to make a film Look: This man’s life was in Spanish and I want the film to be in Spanish. I’ll do your movie under that condition and for him to get his way is an accomplishment, aside from the fact he did a beautiful job with two actors and a story that could have easily gone down the drain with another director.
2nd Mel Gibson -(The Passion of the Christ)
For a Director to go against what everyone was saying, endure personal scrutiny, criticism, and do an excellent job with one of the most done stories in film and have broken box office records( slipping out of the no.1 box office spot and returning to no.1 a few weeks later) is a testament that something about this film touched people.
3rd John Carlos Frey - ( The Gatekeeper)
Having a story that no one, not even the “open minds” of independent cinema would finance or wanted to hear, literally put his life at risk, and make the most of the $200,000 he had. John Carlos Frey does an excellent job of what he has and brought the problem of illegal immigration to light person by person through his film the gatekeeper.
The Willing to go there award for films that weren’t afraid to shock or tell the truth
1st The Gatekeeper -
Taking one of the largest but most ignored issues in the United States ( Illegal immigration) and adding a different view point to along with the death threats and dealing with lack of funds makes “The Gatekeeper” not afraid to go there.
2nd Mean Girls -
Taking what has been one of the most realistic mainstream looks at girls in High school and telling how things are in a lot of American High schools stereotypes and all Mean Girls was not afraid to touch that subject.
3rd Birth -
Has this plot been used before? Yes. However, the eeriness with which it was told and the controversy surrounding some scenes proved that “Birth” was not afraid to go there.
The Making the most of what you’ve got award ( For a film that was made with hardship, few resources, or terrible obstacles)
The Gatekeeper -
When practically everyone in the filmmaking industry tells you no! the best you can do is say well I’ll just make this film anyway and that is what writer/Director/Actor John Carlos Frey did with this film. After receiving death threats, no distributor, and on a truly shoestring Budget John Carlos Frey made the most of what he had and created a film that impressed critics and viewers alike.
Best Music in Film
1st The Motorcycle Diaries -
I’ve never seen a film where the music of so many cultures and people is represented. From the Tangos of Argentina, the Indigenous Music of Peru , or the dance hall sounds of small Latin American towns The Motorcycle Diaries soundtrack is a voyage in itself.
2nd The Passion of the Christ -
If this film were not to have had music the performances would have not seemed as good. However, the fine acting and excellent music fuse in such a way that the emotions from acting almost become one with the sounds of the music.
3rd Love Actually -
While many of the songs had been around for many years each song chosen seemed to fit perfectly with each situation presented in the film.
1st The Passion of the Christ -
Many of the scenes seemed reminiscent from paintings. The style similar to Julie Taymore seemed to make each scene into a story of its own and taking the viewer into that story.
2nd Birth -
Aided by the Northeast in Winter Birth used close-ups to reflect the characters emotions almost to the point you felt the characters were expressing their emotions to you. The long distance shots also made the viewer feel as if you were being taken to the story.
3rd The Motorcycle Diaries -
Eric Gautier found a way to make nature seem a part of the story but also very visually pleasing even if it is a mine.
The Could have been so much better if…( the script had been reworked, different actors etc.) These film were good for what they were but could have been all that.
1st Mean Girls -
My goodness, such a good topic and such an opportunity to be more Bitchy and use the vocabulary that real high schoolers use if the script would have been reworked and some situations more drawn out this could have been the other half or counterpart of “Thirteen”
Jonathan Glazer had everything working for him, Two A list stars, a good child actor, and a solid supporting cast. However, the ending of this film just let the viewer down everyone got worked up and ended with Nicole Kidman in a wedding dress in the Ocean ( Which I loved BTW) but didn’t do much for the quality of the film.
3rd The Gatekeeper -
Had the Director been given more money he could have perhaps hired a writer for the screenplay, hired a better actor for the lead, and a more solid supporting cast thus letting him focus more on the direction of the film. This film could have become an Indie popular hit instead of an Indie underground hit. But Mr. Frey did his best with what he had.
Special Recognition :Lupe Ontiveros
(The Goonies, Selena, As Good as it Gets, Chuck and Buck, Real Women Have Curves) When you meet this lady you wish that all actors could be like her. Although originally a social worker and stumbled across acting as an accident she took the situation she was in and has fought for better representation of Latinos in Hollywood. She doesn’t do a bad job at her second work ( National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress, Independent Film Spirit Awards nominations)
Now for the not so good things about my Cinematic experiences in 2004.
Worst Film : The Grudge
- When a film that involves actors from failed WB television shows ( Jason Behr, Sarah Michelle Gellar) a strange plot because people not only get killed in the “Haunted House” but also outside of it makes you think why people would suffer if they’ve never been in the house or pissed anyone off in it. Huge plot holes make this film a terrible one. However, the miscasting of Sarah Michelle Gellar is the worst mistake as the whole time you’re telling yourself Come on Buffy, kick her ass now ! But alas she’s not Buffy in this film. Note to Directors: Don’t cast someone who is known for fighting demons and monsters as a damsel in distress against a badly generated computer monster who screams people to death.
Worst Lead Acting Performance
- Sarah Michelle Gellar - “ The Grudge”
: Are we supposed to believe that she’s so pretty she didn’t get killed immediately or that she‘s trying to save everyone. Her facial expressions are expressionless and her delivery of lines are plain. I can’t believe she would take this role.
Worst Supporting Performance - Antonio Banderas - “ Shrek 2” -
Oh, he brought life to the cute as a button Puss in Boots but did he really do anything different. You cold have had the cat say nothing and be as memorable. Banderas used his accented English to bring attractiveness to this character. The same thing he did in “Evita” “The Mask of Zorro”, Original Sin in other words any movie he’s had to speak English in. As well as for thinking that his accent will simply bring people to be interested in Mexican History “ Pancho Villa”
Most Over hyped performance: Renée Zellweger - “Cold Mountain”
I can’t decide which southern accent has been worse Bernadette Peters in “Annie Get Your Gun”( Adoin what comes natralay) or this one. Although Renee did a solid job this was by no means Oscar worthy work. I liked the movie and was glad Renee got her Oscar but we all know she got it for Bridget Jones, Chicago, Jerry Maguire, and Nurse Betty but not for her portrayal of Ruby Thewes.
Being that I live in Oklahoma, I may not see A Very Long Engagement, The Sea Inside, or Bad Education until next year or even until it comes out on DVD
Well, what can we look forward to in 2005?
Jennifer Lopez finally becoming an actress in “An Unfinished Life”
Nicole Kidman in “Bewitched” and “The Interpreter” and hopefully having better films.
STAR WARS , STAR WARS, STAR WARS
Serena Williams in “Beauty shop”
What will surprise? What will disappoint let’s wait and see
Happy movie going !