Sunday, February 3, 2008

'No Country' Wins Top Honors at PGA Awards

On the heels of last week's Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Coen Brothers' Texas crime thriller No Country for Old Men claimed the top award at last night's Producers Guild of America Awards. Read MSN's story here.

Those who track movie award wins will know that last year's recipient of the PGA award, Little Miss Sunshine, lost the Oscar to The Departed. This year, I am confident that No Country will take home the little gold bald guy. For one, the Coen Brothers and producer Scott Rudin have earned it. Secondly, though I have not seen all of the five films nominated for Best Picture of 2007 (at present, only Atonement and Michael Clayton remain MIA on this moviegoer's viewing list), I can say without any reservation that No Country for Old Men is my favorite film of 2007. None of the other films stand a chance at upsetting No Country for Best Picture. It has all of the ingredients of a Best Picture winner: it's a serious drama, it's set in the past and above all, it represents the collective best of all the disciplines of moviemaking rolled into one terrific picture.

Next up on the awards show docket is the Writers Guild of America ceremony -- er, make that announcement. According to the WGA's official website, the Guild will announce the winners of the 2008 awards this Saturday, February 9th. There will be no awards show until the strike is over. There's a lot I could say about that decision, but all I'm going to say is this: if they want to cancel their own ceremony, that's perfectly all right with me. If they think they're going to derail the Oscars, however, I am going to be one upset customer. All grumbling aside, I predict that Diablo Cody will win the original screenplay award for Juno, and the Coen Brothers will win the adapted screenplay award for No Country for Old Men, at both the WGA's and the Oscars.

One final comment before I close. Scrolling through the list of nominees on the WGA's website, I see a category for Best Documentary Screenplay. Uhh...color me obtuse, but since when do documentaries have screenplays? It seems to me that the whole idea behind a documentary is to capture a given area of life as it unfolds, without the preconceived sequence of scenes forming a cohesive blueprint of a story that most folks would consider a screenplay. What does a documentary screenplay look like? "INT. CHARLTON HESTON'S HOUSE - DAY A fat, narcissistic liar approaches Ben-Hur himself and berates him"? Are documentary directors actually giving their subjects dialogue and direction? If so, then they're not making documentaries. They're making features with non-professional actors. From my perspective, the only material that belongs in a documentary screenplay is location details and camera directions.

Stay tuned for the WGA winners this Saturday.

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