Tag Archives: Martin Scorsese

Hugo Awards 2012: Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

The Best Dramatic Presentation category was added in 1958. It was split into Long Form (over 90 minutes) and Short Form (under 90 minutes) beginning in 2003. Although some traditionalists decry the addition of media-based works (and to be sure, some questionable movies and TV shows have been nominated and even won), this is usually one of the top vote-getting categories, showing it is popular with the Hugo voters.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Nominations (603 ballots cast [compared to 510 ballots cast in 2011])
(The titles in bold are the ones I nominated.)

171 Game of Thrones (Season 1), created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss; written by David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, and George R. R. Martin; directed by Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan, Tim van Patten, and Alan Taylor (28.35%)
148 Hugo, screenplay by John Logan; directed by Martin Scorsese (24.54%)
113 Captain America: The First Avenger, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephan McFeely, directed by Joe Johnston (18.74%)
112 Source Code, screenplay by Ben Ripley; directed by Duncan Jones (18.57%)
105 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, screenplay by Steve Kloves; directed by David Yates (17.41%)
———————————————————-
94 X-Men: First Class (15.59%)
78 Attack the Block (12.94%)
78 Super 8 (12.94%)
78 Thor (12.94%)
78 Misfits Series 1 (12.77%)
77 Kick-Ass (12.10%)
73 Rise of the Planet of the Apes (12.10%)
48 The Adjustment Bureau (7.96%)
36 Contagion (5.97%)
27 Cowboys and Aliens (4.48%)
24 Paul (3.98%)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Final Ballot Results (1613 ballots [compared to 1755 ballots cast in 2011])

My Ranking Title Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
2 Game of Thrones (Season 1) (WINNER) 710 711 756 808
6 Hugo 293 295 326 392
4 Captain America: The First Avenger 198 199 247 297
1 Source Code 192 192 208
3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 175 176
5 No Award 45

No Award Tests:
• 1181 ballots ranked Game of Thrones (Season 1) higher than No Award; 115 ballots ranked No Award higher than Game of Thrones (Season 1) – PASS
• ((1613-45)/1922)*100 = 82% – PASS

The remaining places were then calculated to be:
2nd Place – Hugo
3rd Place – Captain America: The First Avenger
4th Place – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
5th Place – Source Code

Analysis

Fourteen items passed the 5% cutoff in what I thought was a lackluster year for movies. Unsurprisingly, the juggernaut Game of Thrones completely dominated the voting. I suspect this trend will continue for as long as the series is in production. Attack the Block and Misfits were not widely distributed in the U.S., or else they probably would have done better. My biggest surprise was that Rise of the Planet of the Apes wasn’t higher in the nominations, although I’m not surprised it didn’t make the top five. Contagion should also have ranked higher than it did—did people not think it was science fiction?

Mini-Reviews

Captain America: The First Avenger, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephan McFeely, directed by Joe Johnston (Marvel)

In a year loaded with super hero movies, Captain America stood out as one of the best, both in terms of the emotional arc of the title character and in the use of set design and special effects to convey a sense of reality lacking in many super-hero movies. It’s hard to convert the intrinsically unbelievability of comic books into something that looks good on screen. Although I liked X-Men: First Class more, I can’t argue that Captain America didn’t deserve recognition. See my full review here.

Game of Thrones (Season 1), created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss; written by David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson, and George R. R. Martin; directed by Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan, Tim van Patten, and Alan Taylor (HBO)

This faithful and lavish production of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy was the clear favorite in a relatively weak field. It’s hard to compete with a 10-hour production that can include character and plot details that 2-hour movies cannot. My only knock against Game of Thrones is the same one I have about the books: it’s an unresolved chapter in a longer narrative. Nevertheless, as long as HBO can keep the quality at this level, Game of Thrones will be a favorite to win for several years to come.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, screenplay by Steve Kloves; directed by David Yates (Warner Bros.)

Despite being the second half of the adaptation of the final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was pretty well self-contained, and was certainly a monumental conclusion to the film series. Unlike some of the entries that felt more like Cliff’s Notes versions of the books, this installment managed to retain most of the content from the book. The three primary actors, especially Daniel Radcliff, have grown into accomplished thespians who can carry off a story of this magnitude.

Hugo, screenplay by John Logan; directed by Martin Scorsese (Paramount)

Hugo was my favorite film of 2011. Period. But it is neither science fiction nor fantasy, despite having a brief plot point about a mechanical automaton. Hugo also boasted the best use of 3-D since Avatar. Nevertheless, it never should have been on the final ballot. See my full review here.

Source Code, screenplay by Ben Ripley; directed by Duncan Jones (Vendome Pictures)

Although not quite as good as his Hugo-winning film Moon, Jones was able to use his higher budget to craft an entertaining story with big ideas. This tale of time travel and identity manipulation was very much in the tradition of Philip K. Dick. It’s hard to produce a time travel story without paradoxes, and this was no exception. The ending was satisfying on an emotional level, but didn’t hold up to careful scrutiny. Jones has become a top director, and I look forward to whatever he makes next, science fiction or otherwise.

Hugo

Hugo (2011)
Screenplay by John Logan, based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; directed by Martin Scorsese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Snapshot: A well-acted, thoroughly engaging movie for grownups with some astounding 3D cinematography.

The following is as spoiler free as I can manage, but for pure enjoyment, I advise you to see the movie without preconceptions—make your experience as magical and surprising as you can—you won’t be disappointed.

Going in, I didn’t know what to expect from this PG-rated film from Martin Scorsese. I was unfamiliar with the source material, and from the trailer it could have been almost anything; all I knew there was some boy clambering through the insides of giant mechanical clocks. Would it be a children’s story? A fantasy? It turns out to be an enchanting family drama that pays tribute to the pioneers of cinema—not surprising, considering Scorsese’s love of film history.

Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a tough and resourceful 12-year-old boy living by himself in the nooks and crannies of the massive Paris train station in the early 1930s. His widowed father (Jude Law) was a clockmaker and tinkerer who died in a fire, leaving the boy in the care of his neglectful, alcoholic uncle (Ray Winstone), the station’s maintenance man. Hugo’s only tie to his father is a strange mechanical man they had been restoring. Hugo haunts the hidden recesses of the station, keeping its clocks running on time while searching for components to bring his automaton to life.

Hugo becomes a stealthy thief of not only tools and clock parts, but also of food, always wary of the vigilant eyes (and comic relief) of the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his Doberman. Hugo tries to steal some food and trinkets from the crotchety old man (Ben Kingsley) who runs a toy store. The man confiscates Hugo’s notebook, which has, among other things, sketches of the mechanical man. Desperate to retrieve the notebook, Hugo follows the man home. There, Hugo meets the man’s ward, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who promises to help him get the book back.

Over the next few days, Hugo and Isabelle’s friendship begins to flourish. Isabelle is the ideal companion for Hugo, providing him spirited support and a large vocabulary, while he provides her with adventure outside of her precious books and a chance to clandestinely see Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last (whose signature scene Scorsese lovingly emulates later). Isabelle goads Hugo into standing up to her “Papa Georges” who eventually gives Hugo some odd jobs to do when he realizes how gifted Hugo is at repairing small toys. Hugo becomes determined to discover the secret of Georges’ mysterious past.

Beyond the masterful performances by Kingsley, Butterfield, and Moretz (along with a small but significant role for Christopher Lee), the film’s cinematography and set design are jaw dropping. This is the best 3D since Avatar, perhaps even better than Avatar. Scorsese’s camera thrillingly sweeps through the train station and the dizzying heights of the clock tower—no kidding, take your Dramamine if you’re subject to motion sickness. The panoramic shots of the Paris skyline are simply beautiful.

The third act turns into a loving tribute to the founders of movies, complete with a remarkable recreation of a 19th-Century movie studio in a flashback sequence. Scorsese has crafted an ode to the groundbreaking filmmakers he cherishes, and does it within an engaging, thrilling, and uplifting story for grownups. It’s a film that children will also love.