Thursday, February 6, 2014


By Emmanuel Delfin
VON ORMY—If you haven’t noticed, this year’s entertainment awards season has seemed a little off schedule. We had barely caught our breath from the busy holiday season before The Golden Globes were handed out. The big wigs of Hollywood normally enjoy having center stage to themselves. That is why they plan the award shows when football is over, and before the premieres of new TV series. However, this year the Winter Olympics blew in like the “Arctic Wind”, and shook things up. If you were going to hand out a figurine in 2014, whether you are the Academy, Globe, SAG, Critic, etc, your show had to be either before or after the gold medals are handed out.
     With that being said, this past year was very strong for the cinema. The box office hailed another billion dollar year with successes from “Iron Man 3”, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Despicable Me 2”. Overall, if you enjoyed being entertained in a theatre, you had no real complaints. The winner of genres in 2013, in my opinion, was Horror. “The Conjuring”, “Insidious 2”, and “The Purge” surprised many by grossing more than ten times what they cost to make. The contrast is even more significant when you shine a spotlight on the million dollar bombs that cost more and made less than expected. Some box office blunders that really hurt studios include: “The Lone Ranger” and “RIPD”, both struggled to find an audience despite their over inflated budgets.
     Now that we’ve overviewed this year, it’s time for us at the Von Ormy Star to give out our awards to the best performances in cinema.
     BEST CAST goes to the David O. Russel masterpiece that is “American Hustle”. It is an offbeat cast of characters that deliver line after line of unforgettable dialogue, but what really gives this movie the edge, is the tension and awkward situations that make you realize that the people on screen really work well together.
     BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - In line with the cast awards, Jennifer Lawrence really does offer a lot from a character who really stands out above the others. In terms of screen time, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper interact more often, but Lawrence’s performance reminds us how much crazy can be in someone so beautiful.
     BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” works so hard to become his character that no one else really comes close.
     BEST VISUAL EFFECTS - It is hard to be awed by anything in this age of special effects. In fact, most everything we see now in cutting edge CGI can be accomplished on any Mac computer at home. One movie this year stood out and actually drove moviegoers to theatres, primarily on aesthetics alone. “Gravity” took a decade to make, and it certainly looks like time and money well spent. The barriers of camera movement and shot composition were challenged and exceeded all expectations. There was a marriage of shot and story that no other film this year could even come close to.
    BEST EDITING - This award is voted for so many different reasons. Which film had the fewest continuity problems, which movie had complicated scenes. For me, it is more about which editor had the best instinct in choosing what shot follows the next. That being said, the director of a movie should definitely get a small piece of the award, but this year I was impressed with the way “The World’s End” was put together. It wasn’t the biggest or best movie of the year, but the quick cuts and dialogue left the audience wanting more of Edgar Wright’s style of comedy.
     BEST SCREENPLAY - This category is usually divided between best “original” screenplay and adapted, but the best script of the year trumps both categories. “Her” written and directed by Spike Jonze is one of the most honest scripts I have ever read. The premise was difficult for most audiences, a lonely man in the not so distant future falling in love with his OS system. It sounds sad, if not depressing, but somehow Jonze keeps the film entertaining and uplifting. It calls into question what a relationship actually is and the role that physicality has in an ever involved future. Truly an awesome script that can have any reader lost in a smooth dialogue.
     BEST FIRST FILM - “This is the End”, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan surprised many. Considering that this type of comedy has never really been tried, most studios are now trying to duplicate it. The entire cast seemed to genuinely having a good time making this film, and we reaped the rewards in terms of unforgettable improv and hilarious group dynamic. I’m hoping that this isn’t the last film they do together.
     BEST DIRECTOR - Alfonso Cuaron worked for eight years trying to get the film “Gravity” made. He wrote the script with his son and was shuffled between studios who wanted to make the movie, but couldn’t understand the marketability. The cast changed regularly, from Natalie Portman to Robert Downey Jr, it took time for the decisions on actors could be made. Probably the most arduous development was the creation of long zero gravity shots. Every second of the film had to be conceptualized and planned before even shooting. This meant that the entire crew and Cuaron spent months making the movie on paper. For this level of dedication and hard work, Alfonso Cuaron has shown why he is one of the most talented filmmakers alive today.
     BEST FILM - As aforementioned, “Gravity” defied expectations and went on to gross over $650 million to date. Audiences were drawn in by the promise of great special effects, and left with an appreciation of life and relationship. The theme of “re-birth through adversity” culminated and several scenarios in which we held our breath with Sandra Bullock as she dealt with worsening circumstances. Considering how little there was to entice movie goers, ie: no superheroes, only two actors, just space, “Gravity” was the purest embodiment of cinema this year. This year we saw films that excited us, made us believe, and ultimately escape for a couple hours from reality, and so this has been of the greatest years for film, of all time.

Emmanuel Delfin is Filmmaker with the Von Ormy Film Commission and Editor of the Von Ormy Star.

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