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They're here. This is it, the moment you've all been waiting for. The ultimate awards show…The Mickeys™®!! All awards show roads lead here…the final word, and final show of awards season. Winning a Mickey™® is such a noble honor and such a great achievement, that few even dare dream of such an accomplishment. But tonight…11 awards will be given to the those few artists who will smell the sweet air that only blows atop the Olympus of cinematic excellence.
Winning an Oscar is great. Winning an Emmy is…ok…I guess. Winning a Golden Globe is…embarrassing..like an awards show herpes. But winning a Mickey™® is the equivalent of winning every Oscar, the Presidency, the Papacy, the Super Bowl and the lottery all rolled into one.
The Mickey™® conclave from which these awards were debated and selected, was as passionate as I've ever seen it. The #MickeySoWhite controversy from last year led to charges of racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Xenaphobia (fear of Xena the Warrior Princess) and phobiaphobia (fear of phobias). The College of Mickey Cardinals have put all that unpleasantness behind us now…the white smoke is emanating from the chimney…the selections are in. Nerves are frayed, limbs are a-tingle, hearts a-flutter.
A quick rundown of the rules and regulations of The Mickeys™®…The Mickeys™® are selected by me. I am judge, jury and executioner. The only films eligible are films I have actually seen, be it in the theatre, via screener or VOD. I do not see every film because as we all know, the overwhelming majority of films are God-awful, and I am a working man so I must be pretty selective. So that means that just getting me to actually watch your movie is a tremendous accomplishment in and of itself…never mind being nominated or winning!
The Prizes!! The winners of The Mickey™® award will receive one acting coaching session with me FOR FREE!!! Yes…you read that right…FOR FREE!! Non-acting category winners receive a free lunch* with me at Fatburger (*lunch is considered one 'sandwich' item, one order of small fries, you aren't actors so I know you can eat carbs, and one beverage….yes, your beverage can be a shake, you fat bastards). Actors who win and don't want an acting coaching session but would prefer the lunch…can still go straight to hell…but I am legally obligated to inform you that, yes, there WILL BE SUBSTITUTIONS allowed with The Mickey™® Awards prizes. If you want to go to lunch I will gladly pay for your meal…and the sterling conversation will be entirely free of charge.
Enough with the formalities…let's start the festivities!!
Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin...
Ladies and gentlemen…welcome to the third annual Mickey™® Awards!!!
And the nominees are….
Knight of Cups - Emmanuel Lubezki is the premier cinematographer of the last few years. Prior to this year he won three consecutive Academy Awards for his work. Lubezki's fluid and dynamic camera are integral to Malick's storytelling in Knight of Cups. Another bravura performance from a unquestioned master.
Silence - Rodrigo Prieto takes full advantage of the Asian setting to paint a lush and also stark, backdrop that corresponds to the inner spiritual struggle of the film's main character. An absolutely gorgeous piece of work.
Jackie - Stephan Fontaine brings us back to 1963 by mixing and matching film stock and old television footage. Fonaine perfectly captures the glamour and gloom of Camelot and makes the viewer feel they have a backstage pass to history being made.
Moonlight - James Laxton lights Moonlight with a mesmerizing soft night blue to contrast the hard sun of the Miami day. Laxton's use of color elevates the film with a hauntingly luminous glow that is a joy to behold.
La La Land - Linus Sandgren uses a vibrant palette or red, blue, green and yellow, to paint Los Angeles into a magnificent dreamscape. His masterful camera maneuvers make the viewer a partner in all of the dance numbers. A phenomenally difficult task made to look easy.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO….Emmanuel Lubezki - Knight of Cups : Lubezki's work with Malick over the years has been stunning, and Knight of Cups is no exception. Lubezki's camera work is magnificent and tells the story of spiritual vertigo all on its own. Lubezki's three Oscars pale in comparison to his one Mickey™® Award!!
And the nominees are...
The Lobster - Yorgos Lanthimos writes as original a story as I've seen in years with The Lobster. Bizarre and compelling, The Lobster never fails to surprise and illuminate.
Hell or High Water - Taylor Sheridan is a writer at the top of his game. Last year he was nominated for a Mickey™® with his stellar script, Sicario. This year with Hell or High Water, he is back and is just as forceful. A terrific piece of writing.
Silence - Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese do masterful work in giving flesh and bones to a spiritual story. Never falling into the trap of the trite and easy faux spirituality of our time, Scorsese creates a rigorously Catholic story that challenges instead of consoles. A masterwork.
Jackie - Noah Oppenheim's script avoids the pitfalls of so many Kennedy films that went before it, he never allows Jackie to become anything less than a human story, a great accomplishment considering the subject matter.
La La Land - Damien Chazelle's script is much deeper and more complex than many believe it to be. A substantially layered and serious film dressed in the guise of an ode to Hollywood musicals. An impressive achievement by an extraordinary writer.
Knight of Cups - Malick tells the sordid tale of a man adrift in the excesses of Hollywood's indulgent lifestyle. Part Dante's Divine Comedy, part the Gospel of Thomas, Knight of Cups is a wonder to behold.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…Taylor Sheridan - Hell or High Water : Sheridan reinvents the western and tells the tale of our dark time with a powerful confidence. Genuine, compelling and exhilarating, Taylor's writing is masculine without braggadocio, and melancholy without being saccharine. Taylor Sheridan is a remarkable writing talent….and now a Mickey™® Award winner.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
And the nominees are...
Cate Blanchett - Knight of Cups : Blanchett has minimal screen time in Knight of Cups, but she is so good that it should be mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to act on camera. Blanchett tells a story with the slightest of gestures and her mastery of craft is astounding. A really stunning display of acting skill.
Naomie Harris - Moonlight : Harris has an undeniable magnetism that is impossible to ignore. Her work on Moonlight is a powerful testament to her extraordinary talent and bodes well for even greater success in the future.
Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea : Williams is so immersed in her character in Manchester by the Sea that she disappears into her. This is a real person, not a portrayal of a what a real person is supposed to be like. Subtle, layered and devastatingly effective, Williams is unrelenting in her embrace of a fragile humanity.
Lea Seydoux - The Lobster : Seydoux is a joy to behold in The Lobster. She is an intriguing and captivating actress who never fails to surprise or impress. Her powerful performance as a cold-hearted leader of a band of misfit rebels, is staggeringly good.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea : Williams is a stunning acting talent, like a raw nerve exposed to the cold sea air of New England. She pulsates with a delicate ferocity that is incomparable. This Mickey™® Award solidifies Michelle Williams standing as among of the best actresses of our time.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
And the nominees are...
Ben Foster - Hell or High Water : Foster is a tremendous talent who brings an unpredictable menace to every role he plays. In Hell or High Water he is a wild card with good intentions, but bad impulses. A phenomenal piece of work.
Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water : Bridges is one of the all-time great actors. His work on Hell or High Water is as good as he has ever been. A man searching for meaning and a purpose, Bridges' character is desperate to feel connected to anyone or anything, but only finds himself alone and hunting for answers.
Tadanobu Asano (interpretor) - Silence: Asano plays a tortured soul searching for redemption in Silence. His yearning to be good is only surpassed by his frail human heart. Asano gives life and layers to what could have been a frivolous character, and Silence shines because of it.
Gil Birmingham - Hell or High Water : Birmingham gives a subtle and compelling performance as Bridges Texas Ranger partner in Hell or High Water. Respectful yet resentful, Birmingham is the relentlessly teased younger brother who can only keep his guard up for so long. A really impressive piece of work from Birmingham.
Tom Bennett - Love and Friendship : Bennett is absolutely stunning in Love And Friendship as the dimwitted and socially awkward man desperate for love. Bennet steals the show and is laugh out loud funny as he tries to navigate the perils of love amongst society wolves.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water : Bridges is Hollywood royalty, but his stellar career has been incomplete until now. With his first Mickey™® Award victory, Bridges can now go forward with the knowledge that he really is the best of the best.
And the nominees are...
Joseph-Gordon Levitt - Snowden : Levitt does stunning work as Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's flawed bio-pic, Snowden. Levitt never strikes a false note or fails to create and fully inhabit a genuine and real human being. An exceptional acting achievement.
Christian Bale - Knight of Cups : Bale brings all of his considerable talent and skill to bear in Knight of Cups, and the results are striking. Without Bale at the center of this film, the entire story would crumble. A testament to Bale's remarkable ability.
Colin Farrell - The Lobster : Colin Farrell finally lives up to the potential that has swirled around him for years in The Lobster. A deft and complex piece of work that took great courage and craft to create. Farrell has had a roller coaster of a career, but this Mickey™® Award nomination is well earned.
Andrew Garfield - Silence : Garfield's work in Silence is absolutely staggering. Garfield never falls into the trap of needing to show his internal struggle, he just animates it with a specificity and detail that is captivating. A truly impressive piece of work from an, at times, uneven actor.
Ryan Gosling - La La Land : Gosling owns La La Land from the opening scenes and never relinquishes his charismatic hold over the story or the audience. A charming, yet layered, performance that is much more difficult that Gosling makes it appear.
Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea : Affleck is an often times overlooked actor, his work in The Assassination of Jesse James is a masterpiece, and in Manchester by the Sea he brings all of his formidable talent to the screen. Affleck's use of silence and stillness are exquisite and draw the viewer into the tormented world of his character. A terrific actor giving a powerful performance.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…Colin Farrell - The Lobster : Farrell is deliciously wondrous in The Lobster, showing a deft touch and a firm grasp of his craft. After years of rather lazy and insipid work, Farrell reaches the mountain top with his first Mickey™® Award!!
And the nominees are...
Natalie Portman - Jackie : Portman's portrayal of Jackie is a testament to her remarkable talent and skill. Never once does she slip into caricature or fall out of a genuine humanity. A stunning piece of work from an impressive actress.
Emma Stone - La La Land : Stone has a Best Supporting Actress Mickey™® under her belt (Birdman) and a court victory against the award as well (fuck you Scalia!!). So the Mickeys™® could be forgiven if they overlooked her this year…but they simply couldn't. Stone's work in La La Land is as charming and endearing as anything she has ever done. An exquisite performance that never veers away from truth…a true testament to Ms. Stone's abundant skill and talent.
Rachel Weisz - The Lobster : Weisz is an outstanding actress and her performance in The Lobster is a complex and powerful ode to her monumental ability. She never fails to be a luminous screen presence whose captivating power is impossible to ignore.
Amy Adams - Arrival : Adams work in Arrival is imbued with a melancholy that seeps through her every pore. A compelling piece of remarkable work that proves Ms. Adams' mastery of craft and undeniable artistic charisma.
Kate Beckinsale - Love and Friendship : Beckinsale dives into Love and Friendship head first and plunges the depths of her talent to create a captivating character. Wickedly funny, and persistently charming, Beckinsale gives a tour de force as the beauty looking for love…and friendship.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…Natalie Portman - Jackie : Portman is an impressive human being, but it wasn't until now, with her first Mickey™® Award, that she has reached the pinnacle of extra-impressivity-ness!! She is eating Fatburger for two now…but I am only paying for one meal, goddammit!!
And the nominees are...
Moonlight - Moonlight's cast all do tremendous work that never fails to propel the story forward. A great group of talented actors who never push for their own glory, only the film's.
Hell or High Water - A phenomenal cast up and down, even the bit players do impressive work that give an heir of the genuine to the story about regular folks.
The Lobster - Across the board the cast of The Lobster do staggeringly impressive work. Not a false step or sour note in the entire bunch.
Silence - The Japanese actors in Silence are particularly good in Scorsese's ode to Kurosawa. The large cast keep the film vibrant and drive the narrative straight through to the end.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…MOONLIGHT : From top to bottom, from the kids to the adults, an impressive display of acting talent and skill that never misses a beat. What impressed the Mickeys™® the most was that no one tried to steal the show, they just did their jobs exceedingly well and dedicated themselves to the story…a rare occurrence in cinema. Moonlight won Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year, but that pales in comparison to wining the Best Ensemble Mickey™® Award!!
And the nominees are...
13th - Ava DuVernay's film about structural racism in America is a rich and fascinating piece of work. Eye-opening to say the least, 13th should be required viewing for every citizen.
O.J.: Made in America - A magnificent and monumental piece of work that examines the life and times of O.J. A truly fascinating, frustrating and heart breaking masterpiece.
Weiner - Weiner tells the sordid, and unbelievable tale of New York congressman and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. The film is actually a monument to Weiner's insatiable narcissism and vapid soul. A stunning and damning piece of work.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…O.J.: Made in America - This film is an indictment not only of OJ, but of Los Angeles, its police department, its district attorneys, its citizens and of the entire United States and its people and culture. As in-depth and thorough a piece of work as you'll ever find on any subject. It is remarkable that the filmmakers were able to shed new light on a story that reached market saturation decades ago. O.J. may have won the Heisman trophy, a national championship at USC and been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, and gotten away with double homicide…but winning a Mickey™® Award tops all of those wonderful accomplishments!!
And the nominees are...
Martin Scorsese - Silence : Scorsese brings all of his formidable talents to bear with Silence. A masterful piece of filmmaking that never compromises it religiosity in favor of an easy answer. Easily the best film of the second half of Scorsese's stunning career.
Terence Malick - Knight of Cups : The enigmatic Terrence Malick closes out his personal trilogy with a look at the spiritual chaos and vertigo that comes with a life in Hollywood. Malick is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and his bio-trilogy (Tree of Life, To the Wonder and Knight of Cups) are a monument to his visionary talent.
Damien Chazelle - La La Land : Chazelle's debut, Whiplash, was as impressive a first film as I can remember in recent times, so impressive it won the young auteur two Mickey's (Best Director and Best Picture). La La Land is an audacious and ambitious project that succeeds because of Chazelle's exquisite direction and deft touch.
David Mackenzie - Hell or High Water : Mackenzie jumps on the back of Hell or High Water and holds on for dear life. To his credit he never lets the film get out of his control or buck him from the helm. A remarkably solid job by a very skilled filmmaker.
Pablo Larrain - Jackie : Only an uncompromising and confident talent like Larrain could make a film like Jackie. Intimate, exquisite and powerful…Larrain succeeds where all others would most assuredly fail.
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO…Terence Malick - Knight of Cups : Malick is an acquired taste, but his Knight of Cups is a masterpiece that whispers in your ear and while reaching into your chest. An exceptional and striking piece of cinematic art. Malick's cinematic mastery speaks to the Mickey™® Awards like few artists. Now that he has been awarded the coveted prize, his career is complete!!
AND THE MICKEY GOES TO….MOONLIGHT!!…OH…WAIT…NO…NO IT DOESN'T…FUCK YOU MOONLIGHT.
THE MICKEY GOES TO...
1. Knight of Cups - Malick's journey through the heart of darkness that is Hollywood, and into Dante's Inferno, is a cinematic piece of art that is second to none. Visually stunning, Knight of Cups perfectly captures the intimate spiritual life of a man lost amidst the lascivious chaos of a modern day Babylon.
2. Silence - Scorsese taps into his Catholicism for a remarkable story about the spiritual gauntlet one man must endure in order to claim, and reclaim, his faith. Beautifully shot, and powerfully acted, Silence, much like the film it lost out to this year, Knight of Cups, finds God in the in-between places…in the quiet and the still.
3. Hell or High Water - This film is the film of our time and of our country. This film reveals the dark underbelly and the wound that is festering at the heart of America. From the eradication of the Comanche to the emasculation of the White man, Hell or High Water tackles America's past, present and future. The film asks for no quarter…and none is given. A superb and outstanding work of art that should resonate with, or illuminate, all Americans.
4. The Lobster - The exceedingly well done, absurdist, dystopian nightmare, is the shadow of the romantic comedy. It is funny, and oddly romantic, but unnervingly dark and unrelentingly in its revealing of the foibles of human nature. As original a film as has come along in years.
5. La La Land - The musical that reinvents the genre for the millennial age, La La Land is more than the fluff it appears to be. A social commentary and indictment of the magical thinking that has infected all of America. An exquisite piece of filmmaking.
6. Jackie - As honest a portrayal of the Kennedy "Camelot" myth that has ever been told. Extraordinary acting from Natalie Portman, and a visual style that brings the story to life in as vivid a way as imaginable, elevate Jackie from the mundane to the sublime.
7. Moonlight - A truly stirring piece of work that reveals the struggle of life in an uber-masculine world from the perspective of a young, gay, Black child in Liberty City. Moonlight pulls back the curtain and shares worlds which otherwise would go unseen by most. A stunningly good film.
8. Arrival - Amy Adams stars in this sci-fi story of a woman trying to make contact with visiting aliens. Arrival is the thinking mans type of sic-fi film, smart, insightful and patient. Arrival isn't perfect, but it is compelling and packs an insightful punch.
9. Love and Friendship - Whit Stillman's adaptation of Jane Austen is a very funny and delightful bit of cinematic joy. Stellar acting and confident direction make Love and Friendship more than just another bit of Austenian romantic intrigue.
10. Manchester by the Sea - A flawed, but gorgeous looking, film which is buoyed by two stellar performances from Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. Not as good as it thinks it is, but better than it could have been.
The top ten list can be broken down into 4 tiers. The top tier films were Knight of Cups, Silence, Hell or High Water and then The Lobster, which are far and away the best films of the year. Then there is a big drop off to tier 2 and the films La La Land, Jackie and Moonlight. Arrival and Love and Friendship make up tier 3, with Manchester but the Sea rounding out the top ten by the skin of its teeth in tier 4.
MOST IMPORTANT FILM OF THE YEAR
Snowden - Oliver Stone is no stranger to controversy, so when he made Snowden I expected it to be a rip-roaring indictment of the national security state and American paranoia and arrogance post 9-11. Stone makes a solid, if unspectacular film with Snowden, which is a shame as it is an important film, in fact, the most important film of the year.
Americans in general don't give a shit about much, and if you tell them it is meant to keep them safe, they will let you do just about anything. This cowardice is at the heart of this country. This cowardice is how Trump got elected, how our civil liberties and the Constitution were raped and pillaged after 9-11 and how we got into Iraq and Afghanistan…and how we will probably get into it with Russia if the Dems and neo-cons get their way.
Snowden puts a human face and name to the NSA spying that every American needs to understand. Flag waving idiots flocked to see the dreadful propaganda piece, American Sniper, the story of Navy SEAL and compulsive liar Chris Kyle. Audiences avoided Snowden like the plague. Kyle is a part of the problem, Snowden is the remedy to the problem. Once people realize that the enemy is not some desert-dwelling dipshit half a world away plotting against us, but rather the people in Washington and Wall street plotting against us, then we will be on the right path. Chris Kyle was a witting or unwitting dupe who fought for tyrants, not against them. Edward Snowden is a true hero, a man who risked life and limb to tell the truth and to stand up to tyranny.
Snowden did not make tons of money or win lots of awards…but nonetheless, it is a vital story that needed to be told, even when no one wanted to hear it or see it. Morons who tell you that you shouldn't worry about NSA spying if you aren't doing anything wrong, are the assholes that Ben Franklin aptly spoke of when he said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety".
America needs to tie its courage to the sticking post. We need more Snowdens and less Chris Kyles. We need men, real men, who will stand up for true liberty and freedom, not the flag waving, patriotic bullshit they sell at football games and on bumper stickers.
America is dying…and Snowden…and Hell or High Water…reveal the diseases eating away at the soul of America. We have become an emasculated, cowardly nation that would rather live on our knees then die on our feet.
We have given up our liberty for the illusion of safety…in reality we are left with neither.
Thus concludes the third annual Mickey™® awards!! Congratulations to the winners and all the nominees!! And to my gentle readers I say...thank you for indulging me…and see you next year at The Mickeys™®…Now onto the after party at Fatburger!!!