Jim Emerson 2008

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Jim Emerson is a hyphenate who lives in Seattle.  He has been a daily newspaper critic (The Seattle Times, the Orange County Register), an art house exhibitor, a film festival programmer, a screenwriter, a playwright, a dogsitter and a bunch of other things that make him hyphenated.  He was the editor of the Microsoft Cinemania CD-ROM movie encyclopedia and is the founding editor-in-chief of RogerEbert.com and the blog Scanners.  His dogs are Edith Olive Eggplant Dog and Dolores Madeleine Haze Dog.  If he had a tumor he would name it Marla.

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Best Feature-Length Film

1. In Bruges

2. The Edge of Heaven

3. A Christmas Tale

4. Pineapple Express

5. Wendy and Lucy

6. Let the Right One In

7. Still Life

8. Chop Shop

9. Shotgun Stories

10. The Fall

 

Best Lead Performance, Male

1. James Franco, Pineapple Express

2. Colin Farrell, In Bruges

3. Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges

4. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

5. Michael Shannon, Shotgun Stories

 

Best Lead Performance, Female

1. Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy

2. Catherine Deneuve, A Christmas Tale

3. Meryl Streep, Doubt

4. Catinca Untaru, The Fall

5.  (Slot reserved for Sally Hawkins -- but I got snowed in during December and haven't been able to see Happy-Go-Lucky since it disappeared from Seattle!)

 

Best Supporting Performance, Male - NOT RANKED

Jordan Prentice, In Bruges

Emile Hirsch, Milk

J.K. Simmons, Burn After Reading

Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading

Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

 

Best Supporting Performance, Female - NOT RANKED

Thekla Reuten, In Bruges

Hannah Schygulla, The Edge of Heaven

Clémence Poésy, In Bruges

Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Lucy, Wendy and Lucy

 

Best Direction - NOT RANKED

Fatih Akin, The Edge of Heaven

Arnaud Desplechin, A Christmas Story

Martin McDonagh, In Bruges

Kelly Reichardt, Wendy and Lucy

Ramin Bahrani, Chop Shop

 

Best Screenplay - NOT RANKED

(original or adapted)

Arnaud Desplechin & Emmanuel Bourdieu, A Christmas Tale

Martin McDonagh, In Bruges

Peter Buchman and Benjamin A. van der Veen, Che

Kelly Reichardt & Jonathan Raymond, Wendy and Lucy

Jeff Nichols, Shotgun Stories

 

Best Cinematography

(film or video)

1. Hoyte Van Hoytema, Let the Right One In

2. Rainer Klausmann, The Edge of Heaven    

3. Lik Wai Yu, Still Life

4. Michael Simmonds, Chop Shop

5. Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li, Paranoid Park

 

Best Music

(original, adapted, or compiled)

1. Carter Burwell, In Bruges

2. Shantel, The Edge of Heaven

3. Alberto Iglesias, Che

4. Johan Söderqvist, Let the Right One In

5. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, The Visitor

 

Best Cinematic Moment - NOT RANKED

A grieving mother (Hannah Schygulla, goddess of Fassbinder) awakens into a close-up and looks directly at us.  What does she see?  -- The Edge of Heaven

A ferry heads down the river and an object lights up the sky. Switching storylines in Still Life

A flutter of pigeons.  -- Chop Shop

Alone, stoned, laughing too loud at 227 on TV (connected to: later in the same scene, the throwaway repetition of the "hurricane" laugh line, seen through the frame of the bedroom doorway, where cowboys-and-Indians toys are set up on the unused bed)-- Saul (James Franco), Pineapple Express

A bare breast, two feather beds, and the space between them -- The Romance of Astrea and Celadon

"Hey, Lu..."  With a smile, Wendy (Michelle Williams) approaches

her hungry dog Lucy, seen leashed and waiting through the automatically opening glass doors of a convenience mart, when (in reverse angle) she is detained by the appearance of an aproned figure from outside the frame -- a single, stubborn act of unkindness that will have terrible human (and canine) ramifications in Wendy and Lucy

"... which I did already say about before" -- the arrested development of Ray (Colin Farrell), a five-year-old in a young man's body, In Bruges

A man (Mathieu Amalric) falls flat on his face into the street.  Did I just see that? -- A Christmas Tale

Scarred lesions on a man's back.  What stories do they tell?  -- the

opening glimpse of Michael Shannon in Shotgun Stories

A plummeting body, seen from above, hits an obstacle on the way down to a snowy landing -- Let the Right One In

 

*  I intentionally omitted moments I used in my year-end clips at Scanners, because I haven't published those descriptions (or finished writing them) yet!

 

Best Cinematic Breakthrough - NOT RANKED

Martin McDonagh, writer-director of In Bruges (feature debut)

Colin Farrell, In Bruges

James Franco, Pineapple Express (you knew only if you'd seen Freaks & Geeks)

Jason Segal, Forgetting Sarah Marshall (another comic genius from Freaks & Geeks -- he wrote AND starred in FSM!)

Mila Kunis, Forgetting Sarah Marshall (this gorgeous, funny woman was Ashton Kutcher's girlfriend on That '70s Show?  Didn't even recognize her all grown up...)

 

Best Body of Work - NOT RANKED

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor, Burn After Reading

David Gordon Green, Pineapple Express and Snow Angels

Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man and Tropic Thunder

Michael Shannon, Shotgun Stories and Revolutionary Road

Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading and Benjamin Button

 

Best Ensemble Performance

1. In Bruges

2. A Christmas Tale

3. Pineapple Express

4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

5. The Edge of Heaven

 

Best Movie-Related Web Site - NOT RANKED

On Film and Film Art (David Bordwell)

girish

Welcome to LA

Cinema Styles

CineBeats

 

10th Anniversary Award, Best Feature Film 1998 - NOT RANKED

An Autumn Tale

The Big Lebowski

Happiness

Out of Sight

Saving Private Ryan

 

25th Anniversary Award, Best Feature Film 1983

1. Tender Mercies

2. The King of Comedy

3. The Right Stuff

4. Local Hero

5. Videodrome

 

50th Anniversary Award, Best Feature Film 1958

1. Vertigo

2. Touch of Evil

3. Nazarin

4. Some Came Running

5. Man of the West

Miscellaneous commentary:
 
On Meryl Streep: [Chosen] for broad female comedic performance -- and I mean that as a compliment. She knows it even if the movie doesn't.
 
On Catherine Deneuve: It doesn't matter how much screen time she has -- this is the Lead in this family!

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