Awards Preview and Weekend at Barney’s

January 15, 2011

Besides being one of the great women of the world, my sister Susan Granger is a  film critic in Connecticut. She is also a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critic’s Association (BFCA), the largest such group in the country. Susie has always told me that the BFCA is the best predictor of the Academy Awards. Last night, the BFCA named The Social Network best picture of the year and gave the top acting awards to Colin Firth for The King’s Speech and Natalie Portman for Black Swan.

Although I’m rooting for King’s Speech, I loved Social Network and Colin Firth as well. Who are your favorites?

Also,  The Golden Globes are on tomorrow night and we always seem to have a lot fun watching them, particularly since the zany Ricky Gervais took over as host. The fact that The Globes have become such a big deal is pretty odd when you consider that they are awarded by the  Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) which, last time I checked, consisted of less than 100 members (as opposed to 6000 in the Academy). Some of the HFPA press credentials and judging criteria could also be considered a bit “offbeat”, to say the least. Let’s just say that Pia Zadora once won a Golden Globe and leave it at that.

Speaking of “offbeat” (delicate segue, yes?), if you’re looking for an unusual and compelling film to see this weekend, I highly recommend Barney’s Version , starring Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman. Giamatti is the actor I most enjoy watching nowadays. I  loved him in Sideways (one of my favorite films), The Illusionist, the John Adams miniseries, and just about everything he’s ever done.

In Barney’s Version, Giamatti plays a highly conflicted (translation: extremely human and flawed) television producer who has the misfortune of meeting the love of his life (a brilliant and luminous Rosamund Pike) while attending his wedding to someone else (an hysterically funny performance by Minnie Driver). Hoffman plays Giamatti’s loving, protective, and quirky father.

The film takes several unexpected twists and turns, including a murder mystery, as it delves into the actions of a driven, self-doubting, and sometimes not terribly nice man who seems to have an uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The ending also takes a surprising, emotional, and very touching left turn.

Barney’s Version is a very unique and engrossing film, perfect for a cold, rainy, or snowy January day.

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