Brokeback Mountain. The Constant Gardener. Capote. Good Night, and Good Luck. Just a few films that are deserving of official kudos in this artificial yearly segment we call “Awards Season.” Fall is the time for the studios, mini-majors and indies to trot out their most notable of notables for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood Foreign Press, Independent Spirit Awards, various guilds and unions, the public and of course for the critics. The New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association as well as groups from cities all over the world have awards announcements and dinners, while publications correlate the information in charts, graphs and columns in the vain attempt to look smarter than the other guy.
Written by Dan Futterman; directed by Bennett Miller
Bennett Miller‘s Capote may well be the most assured sophomore film since American Graffiti. Then again, I’ve done absolutely no research into this and I am sure I am missing several dozen amazing second efforts (there was a little film called Jaws that wasn’t so bad, really). Oh yeah. Good Night, And Good Luck, too…oops. No matter. My blog, my rules, my shoddy research. At any rate, Capote is unquestionably one of the best American films in recent years and come awards season it is sure to rack up the kudos.
Transporting viewers to the mid-1950’s while at the same time returning Truman Capote to life in the form of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the film tells the story of the six and a half years in which Truman Capote was researching and writing his ground-breaking true crime thriller, In Cold Blood. Before the 1966 publication of Capote’s in-depth page turner recounting the bizarre murders of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas in 1959, there was no “True Crime” genre. Fiction was the star and everything else was either a text book, a history or a hack journalistic exposé. After In Cold Blood, it all changed and a new, very popular, form of literature was born.
In Good Night, And Good Luck, writer-director-co-star George Clooney and writer-producer Grant Heslov, along with a stellar cast and financiers not averse to risk-taking, have combined to create one of the most original and important American films in recent memory. Overtly political without being preachy, Good Night, And Good Luck is arguably the most important American film since Warren Beatty‘s Bullworth.
The black tie opening night screening and party of the New York Film Festival brings out some of the glitterati and glamerati of the NYC film world, along with a sizable contingent of the NYC indie film crowd. It’s a fun time for all, although for something like the 8th year in 10 I missed out on the seared tuna at the after party held at New York’s Tavern on the Green. Note to the Film Society of Lincoln Center: Next year, more tuna!
The NYFF opening night is a rare chance for those of us in the independent film community to really dress up to the nines. As far as “black tie” goes, Oscar night, Cannes and this event are the big three for the tux. That said, in terms of sartorial display, this year was the worst that I have ever seen. On display at the screening of George Clooney’s Good Night, And Good Luck were jackets over t-shirts, jeans and (gasp!) sneakers! A brief instruction…when the invite reads: Black Tie, Wear a fuckin’ tux and if you’re not going to do that, a suit and tie are mandatory!
Mo’ pix after the jump:
According to several published reports, George Clooney’s sophomore directing effort Good Night. And, Good Luck is set to open this fall’s 43rd New York Film Festival (NYFF) on Friday, September 23rd. The film is a historical drama that details CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow‘s battles with red-baiting lunatic (my characterization, natch!) senator Joseph McCarthy. The film will be released by Warner Independent Pictures in October.