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More critics groups go for “The Artist”

More critics groups go for “The Artist” (photo)

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In film nerds circles, yesterday is what’s known as “Super Sunday,” when a whole bunch of critics groups all announce their award winners on the same day. Do a couple of press releases qualify the day for an adjective reserved for presidential elections and internationally televised football games? If your movie wins something, absolutely.

Yesterday, the big winner once again with the silent film pastiche “The Artist” which earned Best Picture honors from The New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics. It also got a “special award” from the American Film Institute, a particularly impressive (or suspicious) honor considering the AFI only considers “incontrovertibly American” films and “The Artist” was made by a French cast and crew.

The other major critics groups who announced their winners on Sunday went for two other awards season favorites. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted for Alexander Payne‘s “The Descendants” while the San Francisco Film Critics Circle went for the full highbrow and picked Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree of Life.” All three films are Oscar frontrunners at this point; I’d be surprised if any of them don’t receive nominations next year.

At this point, the race is tightening, the actual end of the year is drawing closer, and the number of movies that can realistically shove their way into the conversation is shrinking. Still, it is nice to see the occasional surprise amongst the parade of wins for “A Separation” for Best Foreign Language Film and Emmanuel Lubezki for Best Cinematography for “The Tree of Life” (both admittedly deserving awards). Instead of giving Meryl Streep yet another accolade for “The Iron Lady,” LAFCA chose to honor the wonderful Yun Jung-hee from the South Korean film “Poetry.” Instead of giving Brad Pitt another slap on the back for “Moneyball” — where, let’s face it, he basically looked handsome and ate junk food for 100 minutes — the New York Film Critics Online showed some love to Michael Shannon for his unforgettable and far more impressive work in “Take Shelter.” And both the NYFCO and BSFC gave Best Supporting Actress honors to Melissa McCarthy for her scene stealing performance in “Bridesmaids.” Comic actors are so rarely recognized for the good work that they do. A supporting actress nomination at the Oscars still seems like a longshot for McCarthy, but it would be a delightful change of pace if it happened. Plus then we can all make jokes about taking craps in the Kodak Theatre bathroom sink.

The full list of Super Sunday winners is below.

AFI’s Top Ten Films of 2011
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
“The Help”
“J. Edgar”
“Midnight In Paris”
“The Tree Of Life”
“War Horse”
AFI Special Awards: “The Artist” and “The Harry Potter Series”

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Picture: “The Artist”
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
Best Actress: Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, “Moneyball”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Best Documentary: “Project Nim”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Incendies”
Best Animated Film: “Rango”
Best Film Editing: Christian Marclay, “The Clock”
Best New Filmmaker: Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Best Ensemble Cast: “Carnage”
Best Use of Music in a Film: Tie: “Drive” and “The Artist”

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
Best Picture: “The Descdendants”
Best Director: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Best Actor: Michael Fassbender, “A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Shame,” “X-Men: First Class”
Best Actress: Yun Jung-hee, “Poetry”
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Coriolanus,” “The Debt,” “The Help,” “Take Shelter,” “Texas Killing Fields,” “Tree of Life”
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Best Score: The Chemical Brothers, “Hanna”
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti, “Hugo”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Best Foreign Language:“City of Life and Death”
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
Best Animation: “Rango”

New York Film Critics Online Awards
Best Picture: “The Artist”
Best Actor: Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter”
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Best Breakthrough Performer: Jessica Chastain, half the movies of 2011
Best Debut Director: Joe Cornish, “Attack the Block”
Best Ensemble Cast: “Bridesmaids”
Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
Best Foreign Language: “A Separation”
Best Animated: “The Adventures of Tintin”
Best Cinematography: “The Tree of Life”
Best Use of Music: Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”

NYFCO’s Top Ten of 2011
1. “The Artist”
2. “The Descendants”
3. “Drive”
4. “The Help”
5. “Hugo”
6. “Melancholia”
7. “Midnight in Paris”
8. “Take Shelter”
9. “The Tree of Life”
10. “War Horse”

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Picture: “The Tree of Life”
Best Director: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Best Original Screenplay: J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”
Best Animated Feature: “Rango”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Certified Copy”
Best Documentary: “Tabloid”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”

What’s your favorite movie of 2011? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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