Annual Career Achievement/Honorary Awards:
-The primary cast & crew of Game of Thrones receive honorary Biggies for wrapping up the biggest (and one of the very best) television series of all time. Awarded to: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss (showrunners), Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis, Lisa McAtackney, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss, Christopher Newman, Greg Spence (producers), George R.R. Martin, Dave Hill, Bryan Cogman (writers), David Nutter, Miguel Sapochnik, Alan Taylor, Jeremy Podeswa, Alex Graves, Daniel Minahan, Mark Mylod (directors w/5 or more episodes), Ramin Djawadi (composer), Anette Haellmigk, Jonathan Freeman, Robert McLachlan, Fabian Wagner, David Franco, Gregory Middleton (cinematographers), Katie Weiland, Frances Parker, Crispin Green, Tim Porter (editors), Deborah Riley & Gemma Jackson (production designers), Nina Gold & Robert Sterne (casting directors), and all of the lead cast.
And don’t come at me with your Game of Thrones: season 8 bitching and moaning. I fought that battle for 2 months and I’m done with it. I don’t care and you’re wrong. I already addressed my thoughts on the finale in a previous post HERE.
-The following members of the primary cast & crew of HBO’s masterpiece miniseries Chernobyl receive honorary Biggies: writer/executive producer Craig Mazin, director Johan Renck, executive producers Jane Featherstone, Anne Mensah, Gabriel Silver, Carolyn Strauss, producer Gary Tuck, cinematographer Jakob Ihre, editors Jinx Godfrey and Simon Smith, composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, cast members Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, Emily Watson, Jessie Buckley, Adam Nagaitis, Paul Ritter. Chernobyl was the best piece of entertainment I watched all year, in movies or TV.
-In recognition of excellent work directing television, directors Miguel Sapochnik and Stephen Williams receive honorary Biggies. Sapochnik directed Game of Thrones 8.3 “The Long Night” and 8.5 “The Bells”, and Williams directed Watchmen episode 6, “This Extraordinary Being”, which was a visual feast.
THE STUDIO OF THE YEAR
2019 Recipient: NETFLIX (releases included Triple Frontier, El Camino, The Irishman, The King, The Two Popes, Marriage Story, Dolemite is My Name, 6 Underground, American Factory, I Lost My Body) – The Big Red N takes its first Studio of the Year prize in their most prolific year yet. Make no mistake, Netflix makes A LOT of crap, way more crap than gold. But their output is now so prolific that they also make a lot of good stuff, too. Above all that, they (and other streaming platforms) now specialize in making many of the kinds of movies the major studios now refuse to. The thing that makes me nervous is I saw zero of these films on the big screen, and I don’t want that to be the new standard. I want the best movies playing in theaters. I’m standing on the wall with Christopher Nolan and other filmmakers in protecting the theatrical experience. However, the simple fact remains Netflix made more good movies than Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, Universal or anybody else. I hope this isn’t the start of them dominating this award, but they make so much stuff with so many good filmmakers now that they may not relinquish this title for years to come. Only time will tell.
I don’t usually do an In Memoriam section, but someone whose work was very important to me left us while I was writing this post. Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton has died at age 93. I had watched Inside the Actors Studio since probably the late 90s when it was on the iteration of Bravo that cared about art (before it became yet another reality TV dumpster fire). I think I learned more from Lipton’s brilliant interviews over the years about filmmaking and how actors work than I have from every other source combined. For that I can’t thank him (and his guests) enough. I don’t know how the man did it, but he’s looked exactly the same for the past 20 years. If you’d told me he was eternal, I’d have believed you. I hope you got the answers you were looking for when you arrived at the pearly gates, sir.
The Hollywood Reporter did a nice writeup of his career HERE.
While we’re here, other noteworthy people we lost in 2019 whose work I admired include Rutger Hauer, Albert Finney, Robert Forster, Seymour Cassel, and Peter Mayhew (the man in the Chewbacca costume). But perhaps most notably, we lost writer/director/producer John Singleton far too young at age 51. We don’t have enough prominent black directors as is, and now one of our pioneers is gone. He died after complications following a stroke. He was the first black director ever nominated at the Oscars (for Boyz n the Hood in 1992), and at age 24 at the time (!!!) was also the youngest Best Director nominee ever. That’s a record that still stands.
Also RIP to an entire studio’s existence. Farewell to 20th Century Fox, whose sale to Disney was officially completed. This really pissed me off. I hate media consolidation, and Fox had been one of Hollywood’s most iconic studios since the 1930s. It appears Disney will still use Fox as its brand to release more adult-driven films (perhaps replacing Touchstone Pictures), but the word ‘Fox’ is gone, so we’ve got 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. Disney’s world domination is nearly complete.
Continue to the next page for this year’s statistics and nomination leaders…