Don’t Miss This! BFCA suggestions on what to watch this busy awards season

November 20, 2012 in bfca

A big thank you to BFCA member Paul Hall, who suggested we open a thread for discussion on what we encourage our colleagues to not miss this hectic Critics’ Choice Movie Awards season.

So, tell us … what do we absolutely need to watch, BFCA members? Which movies? Which performances? Weigh in below!

81 responses to Don’t Miss This! BFCA suggestions on what to watch this busy awards season

  1. I really hope Richard Linklater and Jack Black’s work in “Bernie” doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s not a big studio campaigned picture but still one of my favorite actor, adapted screenplay and ensemble performances out there.

    • I missed it theatrically but was absolutely knocked out viewing the screener. Jack Black is a phenomenon and deserves notice for this bold performance. Cheers for screeners.

  2. Javier Bardem and Salma Hayek are crazy good in (respectively) “Skyfall” and “Savages.”
    Rachel Weisz turns in a career-high performance in “The Deep Blue Sea.”
    And I hope there’s some love bestowed upon Wes Anderson and the wondrous “Moonrise Kingdom.” It remains my favorite 2012 movie.

    • I agree Salma Hayek in SAVAGES is worthy of all sorts of attention. As is Alan Cumming in ANY DAY NOW — just a phenomenal singing/acting turn as a Hollywood drag queen fighting discrimination to help a special needs kid. To get awards attention does a straight actor have to play gay — and die? Or can an out actor be recognized just as easily??

  3. “Holy Motors,” which Indomina has not yet sent screeners for, is a knockout Foreign Language Film, and Denis Lavant’s lead performance is amazing (talk about a man of 1,000 faces!). Sean Penn in “This Must Be the Place,” which Weinstein doesn’t seem to be promoting, is also great, as are the original screenplay and cinematography. Consider Liev Schrieber for Best Supporting Actor in Goon. And although I didn’t care for “Compliance,” Ann Dowd’s performance in it was terrific.

  4. Perhaps it underperformed at the box office, but that doesn’t take away how brilliant “Frankenweenie” is!

  5. For best docu, I recommend that everyone take a close look at DETROPIA. Brilliantly realized profile of a decaying American city that was once an icon of prosperity and now fights for survival. Gorgeous cinematography. Compelling characters. Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (JESUS CAMP) are extraordinary storytellers.

  6. I’m dying to see “Holy Motors,” “This Must be the Place,” “Any Day Now” and “Detropia.”
    But none of them have played (or, sadly, will ever play) anywhere near me.
    At times like these, screeners are pretty much my only viewing option.

    • Re DETROPIA: The filmmakers are self-distributing with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. I doubt that screeners will be available. But they might have an online screener that BFCA members could access. Just a suggestion…hoepfully helpful.
      They’re at Loki Films, in case anyone wants to contact them…

  7. “The Intouchables.”

  8. I definitely love the docs and a couple special ones from this year…

    Mea Maxima Culpa by Alex Gibney (one of my favorites, no campaign that I know of yet).
    Head Games – watched last night and really fascinating look at a very current problem of head injuries.
    The Invisible War – Kirby Dick telling a story that will just break your heart.

    • Don’t know why, but they’re being very tight about MEA CULPA — making it very difficult to see it. More accessible: HEAD GAMES and INVISIBLE WAR are fine films, for sure. Also: SURVIVING PROGRESS, GIVE UP TOMORROW, and RAFEA SOLAR MAMAS. Lotsa great docs this year….

  9. Take the time to watch the Magnolia documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.

  10. Ezra Miller deserves a nod (if not a win) in either the Supporting or Best Young actor category for his work in ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’. Try to check it out if you can.

  11. I know this is supposed to be about what not to miss but I am pleased to see that we don’t have a long list of praise for Lincoln. Now Flight on the other hand will get nom votes from me across the board!

  12. I really liked “Sleepwalk with Me” from IFC. It’s only available on their Awards website but it’s worth a look, especially at only 80 minutes. I will happily board the bandwagon for Jack Black in Bernie and Ezra Miller in Perks of Being a Wallflower. If enough of us get behind these performances our show could be a real breakout moment for both of these performances in this awards season.

    If you somehow haven’t seen Moonrise Kingdom yet then you must watch it ASAP. I saw it months ago and it’s still my favorite film of the year.

  13. “Sparkle” comes-out on DVD on Fri 11/30. Whitney Houston’s final performance is remarkable, and I hope she does get some buzz for a Best Supporting Actress nomination

  14. West of Memphis and Searching for Sugar Man not only in Documentary but Best Picture too.

    Richard Gere and Nate Parker in Arbitrage
    Naomi Watts in The Impossible
    Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild!!!!!
    Doona Bae in Cloud Atlas!!!!!!

  15. Please note the categories we will be voting for this year. The new ones are acting awards in Comedy and Action, and we’ve added Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie:

    Best Picture
    Best Actor
    Best Actress
    Best Supporting Actor
    Best Supporting Actress
    Best Acting Ensemble
    Best Young Actor/Actress
    Best Director
    Best Original Screenplay
    Best Adapted Screenplay
    Best Cinematography
    Best Art Direction
    Best Editing
    Best Costume Design
    Best Makeup
    Best Visual Effects
    Best Comedy
    Best Actor in a Comedy
    Best Actress in a Comedy
    Best Action Movie
    Best Actor in an Action Movie
    Best Actress in an Action Movie
    Best Animated Feature
    Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie
    Best Documentary Feature
    Best Foreign Language Film
    Best Song
    Best Score

  16. I would propose End of Watch for serious consideration as best action film. Amour in the foreign language category.

  17. Emmanelle Riva for Best Actress or Supporting Actress in Amour. Iffran Khan for Best Supporting Actor in Life of Pi. Michael Pena for Best Supporting Actor for End of Watch.

  18. An online screener link to the movie The Trouble With The Truth has been made available below by the filmmaker. The film was released earlier this year, and may have been missed by many of you. The director has included the message below as well:

    THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH is uploaded to Vimeo. Here is the link:


    Password: trouble

    Please share this with all of your fellow critics and journalists for their consideration for year-end awards. The movie also will be playing theatrically again in Southern California starting Friday, December 14 and I would love to get more reviews for that run, so if anyone needs press notes or stills or anything like that they can go to our website, which is on the Vimeo page.
    Thank you so, so much for spreading the word! This movie was a real labor of love.

    Jim Hemphill

  19. Absolutely stunned, in the best way, by the big laughs delivered by “Butter,” starring Jennifer Garner. After doing interviews for it in Fall ’11 at AFZi Fest, Weinstein finally dropped it in cinemas earlier in the year and just let it flounder, which is a shame. Think “Election” meeting “Best in Show” … Funny, funny, funny.

  20. If somehow you’ve missed Moonrise Kingdom be sure to watch your screener. Bruce Willis deserves some Best Supporting Actor love. Don’t forget 21 Jumpstreet for Best Comedy.

  21. For best young actor, Tom Holland in “The Impossible”
    He reminded me a bit of the “Empire of the Sun”-era Christian Bale.
    And the film itself is nearly as good as vintage Spielberg.

  22. Lincoln goes without saying – masterful perfornances by DDL, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader and direction by Steven Speilberg

  23. WEST OF MEMPHIS for Best Docu. BARBARA and SISTER for Best Foreign language. They’re all brilliant.

  24. Jennifer- Were screeners of “Barbara” and “Sister” sent out?

    • I think screeners for BARBARA and SISTER were not sent…but they’re both distributed by Adopt Films (that’s Jeff Lipsky’s company, and I think we can/should request screeners. By the way, SISTER just won the AWFJ EDA Award at St. Louis Internation Film Festival. They’re both brilliant films. Gripping stories. Fab cinematography. Compelling performances.

  25. For Horror film, I highly recommend Kill List from IFC – you can request it w/info I left on screener thread.

  26. Nobody has mentioned Melanie Lynskey for Best Actress in ‘Hello I Must Be Going’ yet. Rare combination of humor, depth, and soul. Don’t let that film (in the Oscilloscope package) go unwatched!!!!

  27. Don’t forget “Looper” in either Sci-Fi/Horror or action. I doubt they’ll send out screeners, but it really was a brilliant film.

  28. Now that we’ve seen it, anyone wanna talk about “Les Miz”? Anne Hathaway has Supporting Actress in the bag, if you ask me. Hugh Jackman could give Daniel Day-Lewis a run for the Best Actor money. And there’s no doubt, the film is neck and neck with “Argo” and “Lincoln” for Best Picture.
    But …
    (Remember to keep convo strictly awards related, as Uni has embargoed reviews.)

  29. Yes — Anne Hathaway’s performance was so amazing the very sophisticated audience at the screening I attended broke into applause after her big number. Agreed on Hugh Jackman–I thought he was better than DDL in Lincoln. And then there’s Richard Parker in Life of Pi…that film is still at the top of my list, with Les Mis right up there.

  30. “Lawless.” Tom Hardy is great in it!

  31. Gee, I wish I could agree on “Les Miserables,” but exhausted is how I felt afterward, not exhilarated. Emotional, yes, but I couldn’t help feeling some of the parts were miscast and (cue the lightning bolt) some of the songs could have been omitted.
    OTOH, “Zero Dark Thirty” had me riveted for its entire length (about the same length as “Les Mis,” BTW). Stellar writing, stunning realism and genuine suspense (even though we know the outcome).
    And I thought Christopher Walken was subtle and superb in “A Late Quartet,” if you haven’t already checked it out.

    • Glad to hear that I am not the only one that feels that way about Les Miz. The third act nearly kills the momentum of the story, a complaint I have had since I first saw it on stage. The story of the young lovers simply isn’t as compelling as the ValJean/Javert plot and the production suffers from it. Yes, it is exhausting but there’s no question it is still a stunning achievement (how about that opening scene!) with solid performances across the board. Who’d a thunk it – Russell Crowe can sing.

    • Not a fan either on many fronts, although Hathaway and Barks were terrific.

  32. Just saw QUARTET. Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly and ensemble brilliant. Hoffman direction inventive and impeccable. Sublime music. One of year’s best. Highly recommend for multiple categories.

  33. Lincoln for Best Acting Ensemble

  34. Gere making interview rounds tomorrow in LA in an unusual late push for “Arbitrage.” (BWR: Jacki Weaver also in town for “Silver Linings.”) After finally having seen “Arbitrage,” now I know why. Movie shouldn’t be overlooked, and, most significantly, Gere is simply fab in it.

  35. FYI, the Academy has shortlisted the 10 following films for Best Visual Effects – The films are listed below in alphabetical order:
    “The Amazing Spider-Man”
    “Cloud Atlas”
    “The Dark Knight Rises”
    “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
    “John Carter”
    “Life of Pi”
    “Marvel’s The Avengers”
    “Snow White and the Huntsman”

  36. The screeners are flowing in and at this point, Quartet would be a stunner in the Best Ensemble Category and I am incredibly overwhelmed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams for Best Supporting categories for The Master. One out of the ballpark is “This Must be the Place,” and Sean Penn’s amazing performance. I hope it is under consideration as I just saw the film in Chicago. Frances McDormand should also be considered for a Best Supporting Nod for both “This Must be the Place,” and for “Moonrise Kingdom.” Thanks for listening! 🙂

  37. It would be so great if we could include some Best Song nominees which weren’t just among the CDs sent out, most of which are generic. Safety Not Guaranteed includes a terrific little number which is actually woven into the plot (Everybody’s Talking in Their Sleep). The animation The Secret of Arrietty earlier this year had two notable songs, ‘Arrietty’s Song’ and ‘Summertime.’ Mumford & Sons’ ‘The Enemy’ from Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights.” And of course there’s Adele’s ‘Skyfall.’

  38. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, The Waiting Room, The House I Live In and Side by Side for best documentary…

  39. …and in the thinking outside the box mode, Christopher Young for his truly innovative and effective score for Sinister

  40. Wow. I did not expect “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” to be so good.

  41. Glad to see that End of Watch is going to re-released this Friday. A great surprise for me this year and a film that should be remembered.

  42. I for one think ‘The Master’ is one of the best pictures of the year, and deserves nominations for Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and director Paul Thomas Anderson.

    And let’s please not overlook ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and ‘Looper’ in the Best Original Screenplay and Best Sci-Fi/Horror categories!

    And, for me, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ was a wonderful end to an unbelievable trilogy. Christopher Nolan deserves some love, as does Gary Oldman who steals the movie from Batman.

  43. And some more titles I thoroughly enjoyed, but didn’t get the attention they deserved:

    ‘Hello I Must be Going’
    ‘Sleepwalk with Me’
    ‘Sound of my Voice’
    ‘The Good Doctor’
    ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’
    ‘Your Sister’s Sister’
    ‘Won’t Back Down’
    ‘Perfect Sense’

    Can I get an amen on any of these?

  44. I loved Celeste and Jesse Forever and specifically the performance of Rashida Jones. It’s really disappointing that there has been no studio support for that film.

    I am firmly in the pro-Les Mis camp. I loved every second of Les Mis. I am going Hugh Jackman for Best Actor, Anne Hathaway for Supporting Actress. I loved Eddie Redmayne and Russell Crowe as Best Supporting Actor candidates and don’t forget Samantha Barks for Best Supporting Actress, she was heartbreaking as Eponine.

  45. “Celeste and Jesse” is as much this generation’s “Modern Romance” as “SLP” is the current generation’s “Moonstruck.”
    Romantic comedies don’t get much better than these two.
    Someone already mentioned Melanie Lynskey’s wonderful performance in “Hello I Must be Going,” but Blythe Danner’s equally terrific supporting turn in that film deserves recognition, too.

  46. Two of my favorite docs of the year are The Imposter & Indie Game: The Movie.

  47. Roger Tennis raised an interesting point on the screeners thread: Would you nominate an Original Song from a movie you have not seen? My answer is no. I think the song has to be somehow essential to the movie or it’s simply just another song. Unless I see the movie I won’t nominate the song.

  48. This weekend we took a long road trip, and used the time in the car to listen to all the scores/songs we’ve received so far. My husband has a professional musician/composition background and has worked with James Newton Howard, so I always like to get his “expert” opinion. Our three faves so far?
    The Dark Knight Rises, for its complex moodiness
    Wreck It Ralph, for its ingenuity and creativity
    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, for its listenability and its ingenious mix of East and West (this is my personal favorite)
    Argo and Beasts of the Southern Wild were also strong.
    But we’re looking forward to listening to Lincoln and Rise of the Guardians when it comes in the next day or two. I remember a very strong score from the latter.
    As for song, two are head and shoulders above the rest:
    Adele’s “Sky Fall”
    and Florence and the Machine’s “Breath of Life.”
    Unfortunately, I don’t think anything from Les Miz will qualify, since it’s not exactly an original score, and none of the songs are original. But our categories are “Best Song” and “Best Score.” Does anyone know if they have to be original?

    I’ll post again when I listen to the rest. Just wanted to weigh in on a couple of categories that don’t get much chatter.

    • I posted earlier about this, but it’s also nice to keep scores in mind for films that we don’t get CDs for, like Sinister, which was really original as was Jon Brion’s for ParaNorman. Jonny Greenwood for The Master and Carter Burwell for Twilight! Moonlight Kingdom and Looper also had interesting scores. Like this thread….

  49. Stop the presses! I’m just back from a screening of “The Hobbit” and I found it astounding, astonishing, amazing filmmaking. Peter Jackson & co. have rewritten the book on using vis efx as a storytelling tool. The cinematography is breathtaking and the scope of it is beyond grand. And the vivid clarity of the 48 frame rate must be seen to be appreciated. It doesn’t look like film. It doesn’t look like video. To me it looks …real. Even if you’ve already made up your mind about nominees, see this one just to get a glimpse into the future. Maybe we should invent a new category, because I think it definitely deserves acknowledgment.

  50. Have you folks received screeners for Zero Dark Thirty? If so, could someone supply a contact name? Mine must be missing in action.

  51. Im missing it as well. A Toronto contact for Sony says they were mailed out early this week, so I think we’re in luck

  52. Remember to keep in mind some of the exceptional films that have not sent screeners or links — things like the exceptionally done Looper that has a number of categories it could fit in…would be wonderful to acknowledge that film. As I mentioned earlier for those who saw Mea Maxima Culpa…it’s a wonderful doc that was just academy shortlisted. I’m even surprised I’ve got nothing on the early season blockbuster The Hunger Games — probably fits our action cat at least — and was talked about early this year for even bigger possibilities.

  53. And if you get a chance to see Zero Dark Thirty — see it on the big screen of course — it plays better there than any screener could do for it.

  54. Do check out “Rust And Bone” which I thought was a master class in directing (Jacques Audiard) and acting (Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenearts). Also won over by “The Intouchables” and would love to see better showings for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “Hitchcock.” “ParaNorman” is has probably the most adult theme among the animated features.

  55. I would like to recommend everyone consider Killing Them Softly for Best Picture, Pitt for Actor, Scoot McNairy and Gandolfini for Supporting, Greig Fraser for Cinematography. If you haven’t seen the film, please do, it may be a bit too much on the obvious metaphor, but overall I think it’s a film that needs more attention, especially after that ridiculous F CinemaScore.

  56. I’m so “in the trenches” with the screeners that when it comes to animation, I am now less about the bells and whistles and more about the story. With that said, “Frankenweenie,” is my first choice. “Central Park Five,” is a stunning documentary. Let us not forget Robert De Niro for Best Supporting Actor in “Silver Lining’s Playbook,” or Catherine Keener in “A Late Quartet,” for Best Supporting Actress.

  57. Avengers needs some love, please don’t forget them!

  58. Don’t forget 100 Black Coffins from Django Unchained for Best Original Song


  60. Can I drum up a little love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt? He seems to be on the Hollywood equivalent of a hunger strike — strange as it might sound, he appears to be boycotting bad material, and doing only scripts that have at least the possibility of turning out well. (If it ever caught on, you can imagine what a destabilizing effect similar choosiness might have on the entire industry.) This year he’s done diverse, robust work in Lincoln, The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, and Looper. Not a bad year, no?
    Plus, not that it really matters, but I’d say he’s already been stiffed for 50/50 and 500 Days of Summer. Don’t you think he deserves at least a look-in?

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