The year in television and film

Posted: December 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

The 2015 Golden Globe® Awards nominations were announced the other day.  I was pondering how many of the television and film production “contestants” I saw over the course of 2014. Sadly, I viewed a fraction of those productions and I suspect many others around this nation saw even fewer. Indeed the

There is still time, but I doubt I could get around to them all before the 72nd Annual Golden Globe® Awards air on January 11, 2015. I hope to see actor Steve Carell’s turn in Foxcatcher, in which Carell plays the eccentric American multimillionaire John du Pont. I caught the 60 Minutes segment on Carell and the film which has been inspiring me to see the movie.

Other films including Selma, Pride,  Still Alice, Into the Woods and Whiplash have not been on my radar, but all sound intriguing. In addition those films and Foxcatcher, I still need to see Gone Girl. I enjoyed the riveting Gillian Flynn novel which inspired the David Fincher film. Fincher is up against Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who directed the latest Michael Keaton “vehicle,” Birdman. Birdman is another “must-see” film that I need to get around too as soon as possible. I confess that I’m pulling for Wes Anderson in this category. Anderson directed The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is a visual marvel.

Thus, Michael Keaton from Birdman is up against Bill Murray who appears in St. Vincent. While I highly recommend St. Vincent, I don’t believe it’s Murray’s best performance when put up against his earlier work in Lost in Translation and Rushmore. On a side note, I more than recommend viewing Mr. Murray in 2005’s Broken Flowers. This little-known “Jim Jarmusch gem” showcases Murray at his best, but many could beg to differ with me on this film. I’m a tad biased since I love quirky films including Jarmusch’s own 1984 feature Stranger than Paradise. Murray also appears in Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel along with Ralph Fiennes. Ironically Mr. Fiennes is up against Mr. Murray in the “Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy” category at the Golden Globe® Awards.

While I’m hoping Steve Carell wins for Foxcatcher, I’m certain that the Hollywood Foreign Press feels that Mr. Carell has yet to “pay his dues.” Perhaps Jake Gyllenhaal will take the prize for Nightcrawler, but the somewhat surprising Golden Globe® Awards might give Mr. Carell the notice that he’s seeking that evening.

Some of my favorite actors are nominated this year, so I’ll be pulling for some even if I haven’t seen their nominated role at the moment or by the time I watch the ‘Golden Globes.’  I do hope that  Julianne Moore in Still Alice or Helen Mirren in The Hundred Foot Journey receive accolades at the ceremony.  Another breakout star who I thoroughly enjoy is Jessica Chastain, who gives remarkable performances in The Tree of Life and Zero Dark Thirty. This time around Ms. Chastain is up for “Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” for A Most Violent Year.

On television, I have been impressed with Fargo. For me, Martin Freeman is the breakout actor this year. Mr. Freeman will have a tough time in the “Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie” category. Both actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson from the HBO mini-series True Detective are nominated in this category as well as fellow actor from Fargo, Billy Bob Thornton, who is equally amazing in that mini-series. Mark Ruffalo is good in The Normal Heart, but I am rooting for Mr. Freeman in this category.

“Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie” is filled with some of my favorite actors including Alan Cumming in The Good Wife, but I feel that actor Jon Voight deserved the nod for his superb role in Showtime’s Ray Donovan. This veteran actor, along with an incredible cast featuring Liev Schreiber, Eddie Masan and Paula Malcomson. Mr. Schreiber himself is up for “Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama.” I’m certain that Kevin Spacey from House of Cards will most likely beat out Liev Schreiber for the prize.

While I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is excellent in HBO’s Veep, I have been enjoying Taylor Schilling in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Still, this year, the Hollywood Foreign Press ought to award Lena Dunham for her intense work in HBO’s Girls.

For “Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy,” I have been excited for HBO’s Silicon Valley which goes up against Orange is the New Black, Girls, Transparent and Jane the Virgin. Silicon Valley is a breath of fresh air to me.

I’m barely scratching the surface here when it comes to how much I loved the film and TV productions I saw this past year. Beyond Bill Murray, St. Vincent has a cast that delivers great performances including stand-outs from Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts. If you didn’t catch the first season of True Detective, you must find a way to view these incredible episodes. I cannot wait to see where True Detective will go in the future. I’m a tad disappointed I’m not seeing any nods for Netflix’s Lilyhammer or for the FX series Louie, although Louie C.K. himself is nominated for “Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy.”

Mainstream network programs are not getting much attention this year excluding the nods for Alan Cumming in CBS’ The Good Wife and James Spader in NBC’s The Blacklist. The Golden Globe® Awards proves that there is a segment of the population that craves challenging works of art instead of contrived material that seems to be get recycled on our television boxes and at the cinema. Seriously, how many more ‘Jump Street vehicles,’ or ‘Batman reincarnations’ can one nation take over the years? Well, I should not speak too soon because those mainstream films earned millions of dollars at the box office. Who am I to argue with such “success?”

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