Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners are labeled in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.)

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REVIEW: Leave No Trace [2018]

We can still think our own thoughts. It’s easy to depict PTSD-suffering war veterans as unstable, dangerous, and beyond help from inevitable tragedy. This depiction has sadly become the Hollywood norm to conjure volatile dramatics devoid of the empathy those struggling to combat their demons deserve. If anyone could supply the necessary humanity to portray that plight, writer/director Debra Granik is she. Never afraid to take exploitation-free narratives into the desperate yet manageable rural squalor (relatively speaking) of mid-west locales—blind spots to the narrow vantage of urban dwellers (see Winter’s…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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INTERVIEW: Debra Granik, writer/director of Winter’s Bone

While attending the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival in Rochester, I was struck by the selection of festival winners screening for its Upstate New York audience. With so many award-winners, I went in blindly to whatever fit into my schedule, experiencing work I wouldn’t have a chance to see in theatres for months, if at all, here in Buffalo. After three straight days of movies, Winter’s Bone, the winner of the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Drama, ended up being the final film of my tenure there. I…

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360|365 GEH Film Festival Recap … Where eggs come to perform

Only Sid Rosenzweig, 360|365 Programming Committee member, could introduce himself before more than one screening as an “all-around good guy” and not have it get old. Complete with a smile spanning ear to ear, Sid’s jovial demeanor never let you see the statement as anything other than a good-natured ice-breaker, leading him into the description of whatever film he was presenting next. This attitude was prevalent amongst all involved, making it a joy to attend the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival‘s inaugural season, knowing that the organizers, presenters, and…

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360|365FF10 REVIEW: Winter’s Bone [2010]

“Never ask for what ought to be offered” If you are going to adapt a novel by author Daniel Woodrell—the self-coined writer of “country noir”—you better make sure you get the look and feel of the Missouri Ozarks correct, no matter how dark, dirty, or devastating its hellish journey. I haven’t seen Ang Lee’s attempt to do just that with Ride with the Devil, but after catching Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone at the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival as well as listening to co-writer and producer Anne Rosellini afterwards,…

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