It’s funny. We spend so much time honoring the triumphs of 2012, and the big game won’t even roll around until February. The Academy Awards aren’t a paragon of perfection for some, and they aren’t the final word, but they are (like it or not) the closest thing we have to a standard for celebrating creative film talent.
There job is to hand out the general cheers for performances, make-up, songs and the like, and since they’ve got those covered, it falls to us to hoist filmmakers and films on high for unique reasons. Reasons that might make the average Academy voter spit out their tea.
From the far corners, here are the 2nd Annual Reject Awards.
Best Bilbo of the Year (tie)
Martin Freeman probably thought he had this highly coveted award in the bag, but he’ll have to share the honors this year with James Spader. While Bilbo Baggins went on a reluctant journey and had to solve riddles, W.N. Bilbo had to face the sheer terror of solving slavery while fuzzknuckled. That’s to say nothing of the hangovers.
Still, even though Spader got to give a Fuck in a Spielberg movie about Abraham Lincoln, Freeman was a glowing blue light in Peter Jackson’s massive fantasy return. We hate ties, but unless we can get the two Bilbos together for a fight to the death, this one will have to stand. Fortunately for Freeman, he’s running unopposed in 2013.
Best Reverse Product Placement
Skyfall came inches away from winning this award. Considering the project earned some scorn from fans by having James Bond sip a lowbrow beer (as he’d never, ever, ever had before!), it was on the fast track to hurting the very product it was hired to promote.
But there’s no denying the catastrophic power that Flight had on Budweiser.
The film showed Denzel Washington using their lightly flavored water in some inappropriate ways, including while he was driving. The link between his beer and drunk driving (one that no one had previously made), made Budweiser Vice President Robert McCarthy write a strongly worded letter to Image Movers and Paramount. A strongly worded letter! That’ll show ’em.
Congratulations to Robert Zemeckis and his team for proving that not all product placement is good for the manufacturer. Of course it could have been worse. They could have shown Washington sipping Budweiser before spitting it out violently and reaching for a better beer.
Best Achievement of the Impossible
Did you know that “Cloud Atlas” is an unfilmable book? Did you know that you can’t get a budget in the hundreds of millions for a bizarre book that’s difficult to understand? Were you aware that it’s impossible to get a bunch of famous movie actors together for an experimental project with three directors? It’s true.
Yet somehow The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer pulled it off. This is a movie that exists despite reality’s strong objection to the contrary. Never mind the financial repercussions. Cloud Atlas was never supposed to even go to camera, let alone become a finished film, so let’s enjoy that feat for the intrinsic fist it shakes against everything we think we know about how moving pictures are created.
Best Actor Playing Another Actor Playing a Role
With honorable mentions going to Scarlett Johansson for playing Janet Leigh playing Marion Crane in Psycho in Hitchcock, and James D’Arcy for playing Anthony Perkins playing Norman Bates in Psycho in Hitchcock, we’re giving this one to Josh Brolin for playing Tommy Lee Jones playing Agent K in Men in Black III. After playing Tommy Lee Jones in No Country For Old Men, it wasn’t surprising that he turned in another great Jonesian performance here. (That joke lovingly stolen from Adam Charles).
Best Trick Involving a Viral Video, One Girl and One Cup