' ' Cinema Romantico: 2020 Random Awards

Friday, April 23, 2021

2020 Random Awards

As always, her eminence Nicole Kidman is here to present Cinema Romantico’s annual awards of cinematic randomness.

Line of the Year: “Could you box that for me?” - John David Washington, Tenet.” Like Anthony LaPaglia’s detective feeling such joy at finally being chewed out by his Captain (Alan Arkin) in “So I Married An Axe Murderer”, my heart swelled when Christopher Nolan (!) finally created an honest-to-goodness funny in sending up British stuffiness that made me laugh out loud.

Line of the Year runner-up: “Woah, look out. That was good. That’s how you got to be when we’re recording. That was queen of Cayuga. You’re Five Hundred Watt Fay.” - Jake Horowitz, “The Vast of Night.” It’s the way Horowitz says it, yes, in that Beatnik dialect, but it’s also the words themselves, as written by Andrew Patterson and Craig W. Sanger, the rhythm of them, how I swear they named the fictional New Mexico town Cayuga and the co-main character Fay just for the mellifluousness of this line. This line is just so much fun to say!

Line Reading of the Year: “No, I’m not homeless. I’m just houseless.” - Frances McDormand, “Nomadland.” The whole movie is in that line reading.

Monologue of the Year: Ethan Hawke, “Cut Throat City.” Set in New Orleans, “Cut Throat City” is haunted by the ghosts of Hurricane Katrina and in this scene Hawke, as a good ol’ boy councilman sort of seeing the error of his ways, is literally talking to ghosts. It’s more Hawke’s Hamlet moment than his actual Hamlet moment.

Best Shot in a Movie: tie between, respectively,  “The August Virgin” and “Dick Johnson Is Dead”, though you really need to see the first one onscreen, the motion of the light being key, making it seem as if she is floating underwater.

The Annual Isn’t This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain) Award (presented to the best dance in a movie): “Palm Springs.” Here I quote myself from my own review: It’s like if rather than Schwarzenegger’s Model 101 Terminator from “Terminator 2” getting into a rumble in the biker bar to get some duds he suddenly found himself in an 80s New Wave MTV video instead.   

The Annual Tenzing Norgay Award (presented to the best reference in a movie): Edwin Moses, “Da 5 Bloods.” “Fly like Moses.” Long live The Streak.

The Annual Ruby Slippers Award (presented to the best prop in a movie): No Doubt show poster, “The Little Things.” How do you know “The Little Things” is set in 1990? Because Gwen Stefani is a brunette! 

The Annual Scarlett O’Hara Curtain Dress Award (presented to the best piece of clothing in a movie): Katy Perry Tour T-Shirt in “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets.” As if the closing night of the bar at the center of this pseudo-documentary is akin to some big blow out Katy Perry show at The Hollywood Bowl.

The Annual Ruffalo Award (presented to the best unnoticed performance in a movie): Merrin Dungey, “Greenland.” More than the leads, frankly, Dungey’s one scene walk-off embodies the surprising wit of Ric Roman Waugh’s disaster flick. As an Army Major coordinating evacuation for select a few in advance of a planet killing comet, Dungey’s curt exhaustion reminds us that even the apocalypse has overworked middle managers.

The Annual “Now We Can Eat” Award (presented to the best meal in a movie): Noodles, “The Wild Goose Lake.” The way Hu Ge shoves and slurps up those noodles in the moments before his character’s house of cards finally collapses refashions the last meal not as some sacred rite but the desperate sustenance of the damned. 

The Annual “Then He Kissed Me” Award (presented to the best use of pop music in a movie): Kunta Kinte by The Revolutionaries in “Lovers Rock.” Like the second of Steve McQueen’s five-film anthology contrasts joy and release with more sinister forces lurking, when the D.J. cues this up for the movie’s virtually endless dance party, it feels like catharsis tipped at the edge of something utterly unbound. 

The Annual “Nowhere Fast” Award (presented to the best original song in a movie): Volcano Man in “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” The ballad Husavik is the song from the same movie that got nominated for an Oscar, but it was the opening “Volcano Man” that stole my heart, like if Petra Marklund and Erik Hassle did a duet. Listen here.

The Annual Norma Desmond Award (presented to the best close-up in a movie): Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods.” In his climactic monologue (Monologue of the Year runner-up), he breaks the fourth wall, looking right at us, before the camera gradually drifts in, closer and closer, demanding us to look him right in the eyes as he decrees that he will live and die on his terms, that this Black veteran will not be forgotten. 

The Annual Bacall Award (presented to the best female performance in a movie): Kate Winslet, “Ammonite.” There was no Best Facial Expression Award this year because all the winning expressions were rendered by Winslet as real-life paleontologist Mary Anning. Expressions of frustration, fear, curiosity, everything in a glance, over and over. I mean, could anyone other than Winslet so effortlessly harmonize with the climate and terrain of the stark beach where her character hunts for fossils? I liked much of Winslet’s work in the Twenty-Tens more than many critics, but still. After a decade of semi-wandering in the wilderness, Kate the Great is back. It’s a pity more people didn’t seem to notice. 

The Annual Bogey Award (presented to the best male performance in a movie): Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods.” He’ll win the Oscar for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, surely, and respect; I don’t want to rain on the parade. But. Boseman’s supporting work in Da 5 Bloods was a true blue, full-blooded movie performance, a complete, incredible understanding how to subtly harness the camera to truly render a character larger than life. God, the things the man who gave this performance could have done...

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