It’s Indies vs. Blockbusters in Film Critics’ Awards


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Michael B. Jordan won a round from the Boston Online Film Critics Association for his role in “Creed.”

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Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures

We’re in Week 2 of the Oscar race and things are heating up accordingly, not just because of Matt Drudge’s inane false claim that Leonardo DiCaprio was raped by a mama bear in “The Revenant.”

This week, more tea-leaf fodder will be served up when the nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globes arrive early Wednesday and Thursday. Last year, five winners in the SAG movie categories went on to Oscar wins.

The Golden Globes split the baby by awarding films and actors for dramas and musicals or comedies. Last year’s Golden Globe winners in the drama acting categories all nabbed Oscars, though neither of the best film winners, “Boyhood” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” went on win best picture. This year, the Globes eligibility committee has put “The Martian” in its comedy category because, you know, the story of an astronaut marooned on Mars is a real laugh riot. (In all fairness, the film is largely light-hearted. Also: Kristen Wiig).

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Matt Damon in “The Martian.”

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Aidan Monaghan/20th Century Fox

While it’s early in the race, right now we’re broadly looking at a face-off between indie darlings and smart blockbusters, which is pretty cool: the tentpole films, or some of them, are finally smartening up. Last week the Gothams’ top award went to “Spotlight,” the New York Film Critics Circle crowned “Carol” and the National Board of Review chose the megahit “Mad Max: Fury Road,” as did the Boston Online Film Critics Association, which unveiled its winners Saturday and gave best actor to Michael B. Jordan and best supporting actor to Sylvester Stallone, both for “Creed.” Best actress wins stayed firmly rooted in small films (where, “Mad Max: Fury Road” notwithstanding, the strongest parts for actresses tend to live): Boston gave best actress to Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) and best supporting to Kristen Stewart (“Clouds of Sils Maria”).

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Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn.”

Credit
Kerry Brown

On Sunday, momentum built for the investigative journalism drama “Spotlight,” which was named best picture by both the New York Film Critics Online and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. From there the East and West Coast groups parted, with New York naming Tom McCarthy best director for “Spotlight,” Brie Larson (“Room”) best actress, and Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy”) best actor, and Los Angeles giving best director to George Miller (“Mad Max”), actor to Michael Fassbender (for poor ol’ “Steve Jobs,” the biggish film that didn’t), and actress to Charlotte Rampling for “45 Years.”

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A scene from “Spotlight,” with Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo.

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Kerry Hayes

So we’ve got a year that’s all over the map, but that’s par for the course so early in the race.

Before signing off, the Bagger would be remiss not to note that while “Carol” was small budget and “Mad Max: Fury Road” mega, both story lines felt bracingly new because they hinged on two mighty female characters, each played by an Oscar winner. More please.



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