Tuesday, April 16, 2019

THEATER: QUESTIONING "SOCRATES"

SOCRATES ** out of ****
PUBLIC THEATER

I felt nervous at the start of the new play by actor Tim Blake Nelson. Not because it's a three hour drama about the philosopher  Socrates. Heck, plays tackling big ideas -- plays like Arcadia and Copenhagen and New Jerusalem and Isaac's Eye -- are my idea of a feast. I wasn't nervous  even though, for some reason, the outfits of ancient Greece and Rome distract me as "costumes" in ways that clothes from other eras simply don't.

No, I was nervous because after an awkward and unnecessary framing device, the play begins with a raucous party. Everyone is laughing uproariously and quite drunk and you desperately want to catch up and share their mirth. But it just isn't happening, even as Socrates is lovingly roasted at length by the handsomest and most popular figure in all of Athens. Pair that with Plato's bland assurance that we're about to visit "a world more full of wit, passion and above all ideas than anything you ever imagined possible" and your heart sinks.

That framing device is a hoary one. The great Socrates (Michael Stuhlbarg) has been executed for corrupting the youth of Athens and more to the point offending its high and mighty. Nonetheless, a Boy (Niall Cunningham) has shown up on the doorstep of Plato (Teagle F. Bougere) and in a rather sullen mood demands to be educated. Plato tells the Boy what everyone wants to know. How could this happen? How could the greatest mind of his age be murdered by the proudest democracy in the world, a society that values the free exchange of ideas? And how could the friends of Socrates -- Plato very much among them -- allow it to happen? 

What follows is precisely what one would expect. In this static and un-involving drama, Socrates wanders the city of Athens, probing and asking questions of one and all. He has a devoted band of followers like the quiet and observant Plato, along with an entourage of young men who love learning how to question authority...and thus drive their parents nuts. Socrates begins gently and playfully, but most arguments end with him piercing the intellectual armor of one and all.

That's fine when dealing with friends eager to debate weighty ideas. It's not so fine when Socrates mocks a well-connected poet or questions the very pillars of democracy in a way that the powerful see as traitorous. Socrates makes so many enemies -- notably by opposing the wholesale execution of military generals who failed in combat -- that he himself goes on trial. The charges are voluminous and contradictory. Socrates is condemned both for atheism and for worshipping false gods, for example. Yet, his self-absorbed code of ethics is so stringent that Socrates is unwilling to save himself or simply leave. Death seems inevitable.



Well, of course death is inevitable since -- spoiler alert! -- Socrates drinks the hemlock and dies. That knowledge is no barrier to a good play. But Tim Blake Nelson hasn't begun to dramatize the action. Director Doug Hughes and the fine cast do their best, led nobly by the always intelligent Stuhlbarg, but it never comes close to catching fire.

The biggest problem is that Socrates has no one to challenge him, emotionally or intellectually. His enemies are cardboard villains spitting out their hatred or so vain they don't even realize they're fools. One never doubts for a second his rightness. On the other hand, Socrates clearly allows himself to be executed. A better play might have taken him to task for possible vanity, for wanting a death to raise him to martyrdom. It's not ethics that doom this Socrates; it's ego.

Plato is the most devoted of disciples, but it's a silent form of worship, leaving a black hole of emotion where our narrator should be. And he's talking to a cipher when it comes to his pupil. At one point Plato says the Boy reminds him of Socrates. Really? That character has said virtually nothing, so how in god's name could the kid remind him of the greatest philosopher alive? Worse, the Boy responds that he thought the same thing.

In an attempt to create some drama at the last moment, when execution looms the wife and a son of Socrates show up. They beg him to leave Athens and save his life. Their sense of abandonment might actually matter if they were characters throughout the play, rather than popping in at the end. (The wife also appears earlier for a brief scene.) How can we be upset about the son feeling his father doesn't love him when their goodbye is the first time we see the lad?

Bougere has a thankless role in Plato, but Robert Joy has the livelier, more human part of Crito. The rest fade into the background or have one-note parts they can do little with. That leaves Stuhlbarg, who brings his formidable talent to the part of Socrates and does what he can. While the story is inert emotionally, Stuhlbarg provides the necessary intellect and wit to this shambling questioner. Still, one feels him pushing for drama that simply isn't there when a handful of debates end with Socrates suddenly barking in rage.

Yet one scene works very well indeed. Socrates questions everyone and one day that practice takes him to a smithy who makes armor and weapons. Socrates peers intently as the man works a forge, asking questions. This leads to the idea of war and whether "right" wins or whether the victor simply decides they were right. The smithy (a good Lee Wilkof)  is a bit out of his element and doesn't like it one bit. Is Socrates questioning the greatness of Athens, the shining light of democracy?

His rising temper doesn't deter Socrates, who probes and prods the man some more. Then the man says his own son died in battle. Even that can't stop Socrates. "But does that mean the Assembly is always right? Including sending your only son into battle? And am I right to take it therefore that it was right and just and good that your son was killed?" The man knocks Socrates down and starts beating him savagely and if Socrates felt  he deserved  it, we wouldn't be surprised. 

For a  moment, we see a man in search of truth, a man who will question anything and everything and put himself into grave danger, fully aware of what he's doing, choosing to do it and yet perhaps also  incapable of not choosing to do it. For a moment, Socrates and Socrates both come alive.


THEATER OF 2019

Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2
White Noise ** 1/2
Kiss Me, Kate ***
Ain't No Mo' *** 1/2
Ain't Too Proud **
The Cradle Will Rock * 1/2
Mrs. Murray's Menagerie *** 1/2
Oklahoma! (on Broadway) ** 1/2
Socrates **

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Movies, Books, Theater, Concerts, CDs I've Seen/Read/Heard So Far In 2019

Updated APRIL 12, 2019

KEY: star rating is on the four star scale
          meaning of "/" or "\"
          *** is three stars out of four
          ***/ is three stars leaning towards  3 1/2
          ***\ is three stars leaning towards 2 1/2


BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS
(Increasingly, I am sampling books, reading 10%, 20% even 40 or 50% before deciding to move on. The books below are only the ones I've read completely. That also explains what looks like generous grading -- more and more, if I sense a book is not going to be among my favorites, I stop reading. Too many books; too little time!)


1. Love To Everyone by Hilary McKay (ya WW II) *** 1/2
2. The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926) *** 1/2
3. The Winter Of The Witch by Katherine Arden *** 1/2
4. The Music Of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg **
5. DogMan: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey ** 1/2
6. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923) ** 1/2
7. Underground: A Human History Of The World Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt *** /
8. Unknown Man #89 by Elmore Leonard (1977) *** 1/2
9. The Falconer by Dana Czapnik (NYC coming of age basketballer) *** 1/2
10. Midnight In Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham *** 1/2
11. The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (2005) ****
12. Pogo: Bona Fide Balderdash -- The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol 2 1951-1952 by Walt Kelly ****
13. Pogo: Evidence To The Contrary -- The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol 3 1953-1954 by Walt Kelly ****
14. The Complete Terry and the Pirates (1937-1938) by Milt Caniff *** 1/2
15. The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown (1941) *** 1/2
16. The Last Samurai by  Helen De Witt (2000) ****
17. There Is No Planet B: A Handbook For The Make Or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee **
18. Cherokee America by Margaret Verble *** 1/2
19. A Taste For Honey by H.F. Heard (1941) ** 1/2
20. Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions And What They Tell Us About Ourselves by Frans De Waal ***
21. The New Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan **
22. The Players Ball by David Kushner ***
23. What Blest Genius: The Jubilee That Made Shakespeare by Andrew McConnell Stott ***
24. The Binding By Bridget Collins ** 1/2
25. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (1865) *** 1/2
26. Falter by Bill McKibben ** 1/2
27.





CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS (A strong emphasis on the ones I like, so don't think I love everything I listen to -- I just don't bother really listening to the ones I don't )

1. The Beach Boys -- Smiley Smile (1967) *** (esp side two)
2. The Beach Boys -- Wild Honey (1967) **
3. The Beach Boys -- Friends (1968) ***/
4. The Band -- Stage Fright (1970) ** 1/2
5. The English Beat -- Public Confidential ***
6. The Band -- Cahoots (1971) *** 1/2
7. The Band -- Northern Lights Southern Cross (1975) ***
8. Van Morrison -- The Prophet Speaks *** \
9. Dee White -- Southern Gentleman **
10. Ken Nordine -- Speak With Your Ears (1979) *** 1/2
11. David Gray -- Gold In A Brass Age ** 1/2
12. Van Morrison -- The Healing Game (1997) ***/
13. Various Artists -- Joni 75: A Celebration ** 1/2 /
14. Maren Morris -- Girls ***
15. Elton John -- Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy (1975) **
16. Joe Jackson -- Fool *** /
17. Trevor Horn -- Reimagines The 80s **
18. India Arie -- Worthy ** 1/2
19. The Everly Brothers -- Roots (1968) ***
20. John Pizzarelli -- For Centennial Reasons: A Salute To Nat King Cole ** 1/2
21. Julio Gutierrez -- Cuban Jam Session Vol 1 (1956) *** 1/2
22. Lone Justice -- This Is Lone Justice: The Vaughn Tapes 1983 ***
23. Nancy Wilson -- Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (1962) *** 1/2 /
24. Nancy Wilson -- Something Wonderful (1962) *** 1/2
25. Nancy Wilson -- Tender Loving Care (1966) ***\
26. Ella Fitzgerald -- The Complete Decca Singles Vol. 1 *** \
27. Nancy Wilson -- The Swingin's Mutual w George Shearing (1961) ***
28. Antonio Carlos and Jocafi -- 20 Super Succesos ** 1/2
29. Idles -- Joy As An Act Of Resistance (2018) **
30. Mercury Rev -- Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited ** 1/2
31. Bobby Long -- Sultans **
32. Ramsey Lewis Trio -- Sound Of Christmas (side one solid, side two w strings awful) 1961 **
33. Hozier -- Wasteland, Baby! **
34. Better Oblivion Community Center -- Better Oblivion Community Center (Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers) ***\
35. Chet Baker and Art Pepper -- Playboys aka Pictures of Heath (1956) ***
36. Gilbert O'Sullivan -- Himself (1971) ** 1/2
37. Gilbert O'Sullivan -- Back To Front (1972) ** 1/2
38. Solange -- When I Get Home *** 1/2
39.



MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES 

(Not TV movies, of course, but movies and TV -- and TV movies if it comes to that. Mostly I only list TV shows when I've tackled an entire season at once or reappraising an entire series after it's over This doesn't really capture my ongoing watching of current TV.)

1. Sweepstakes Winner (1939) no stars
2. Captain Marvel **
3. Giant Little Ones *** (gay swimmers)
4. Leave No Trace (2018) *** 1/2
5. Minding The Gap (2018) *** 1/2
6. Wildlife (2018) *** 1/2
7. Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle (2018) **\
8. Us (w Luis) **\
9. Border (2018) ***/
10. Sweet Country (2018) *** 1/2
11. The Tale (HBO, 2018) * 1/2
12. Woman's World (at MOMA w Noam) **
13. Running On Empty (1988) ***
14. Shazam (2018) w Zoe * 1/2
15. The Good Fairy (1935 at MOMA w Noam) ***
16. Apollo 11 (doc) ***/



THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS
(The names after the shows are the people who joined me at the performance.)

1. Frankenstein (at Public) ** 1/2 
2. Minor Character (at Public) ***/ 
3. Ink (at Met) w Noam ** 1/2 
4. Choir Boy (at MTC) ** 1/2 
5. Chambre Noire (at Public) (w Noam) ** 1/2 
6. Weightless (at BRIC) (w Diego) (left early feeling ill, but quite promising)
7. Be More Chill (on Broadway) (w Noam) * 
8. Grease (at UN International School)  w Noam
9. Das Rheingold (at the Met w Noam) ** 1/2 
10.  White Noise (at the Public) ** 1/2 
11. Kiss Me, Kate! (alone) ***
12. Ain't No Mo (at Public w Zoe) *** 1/2 
13. Ain't Too Proud (w Cohen) ** 
14. Die Walkyrie at the Met (w the Machine and Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde and Stuart Skelton as Siegmund) *** 1/2 
15. The Cradle Will Rock (at CSC w Noam) * 1/2 
16. Mrs. Murray's Menagerie (at Ars Nova w Noam) *** 1/2 
17. Socrates (at Public w Noam) 
18. Siegfried (Ring Cycle at Met w Noam) 
19. Oklahoma! (at Circle In The Square w Evans) ** 1/2 
20. 


KEY: star rating is on the four star scale
          meaning of "/" or "\"
          *** is three stars out of four
          ***/ is three stars leaning towards  3 1/2
          ***\ is three stars leaning towards 2 1/2

Updated April 12, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

THEATER: "OKLAHOMA!" IS OK THE SECOND TIME AROUND!

OKLAHOMA! ** 1/2 out of ****
CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE

Few things are as wonderfully indulgent as the chance to go see a new Broadway show...twice! Whether you're comparing casts, looking to deepen your appreciation or giving a show you weren't thrilled with a second chance, returning to a work of theater before it's gone forever (and most theater disappears all too soon, Phantom excepted, of course) is a marvelous luxury.

I saw the dark, daring revival of Oklahoma! at St. Ann's Warehouse last fall and it confounded and confused me. Now I've seen it again on Broadway and pretty much everything I said then holds true now. Since most critics raved, that's a compliment to a show that has moved into a new space but lost none of its edge. Indeed, I think the heady success of that first mounting has allowed everyone involved to breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy themselves a little more. This production will go dark, but it's less afraid now to have fun along the way. My opinion hasn't changed on this take (if anything, it's been cemented) but it's a pleasure to savor the parts that go into director Daniel Fish's vision. Some thoughts:

HELLO TO THE TONY WINNER FOR BEST REVIVAL -- In a rather thin season, only two musical revivals have hit Broadway: Oklahoma! and Kiss Me, Kate! I enjoyed Kate more but there's not a soul on the planet who is excited by it. Everyone has an opinion about Oklahoma! and many of them are passionate in support. It's a riskier project based on a superior show; indeed, few shows are the equal of Oklahoma! much less its superior. Plus, Oklahoma! offers a lot more talent to cheer on in both supporting roles and technical contributions. Passion will always triumph over professionalism so I'll bet Oklahoma! clutches the big prize of Best Musical  Revival. (This assumes they'll keep this category separate from Play Revival and let these two duke it out.)

WHAT A GORGEOUS REIMAGINING OF THE SCORE -- Since we're talking about Tonys, the most deserved one should go to Daniel Kluger for his orchestrations, arrangements and music supervision. The seven member orchestra (along with star Damon Daunno on guitar) has a bluegrass vibe and the orchestrations reveal what a wondrous work the music of Richard Rodgers truly is -- not that we needed reminding. The smaller ensemble would work a treat for community theaters and regional productions around the country, if R&H would allow a classic presentation to include this more intimate approach to the music. The Tony for orchestration hasn't gone to a revival since Sweeney Todd in 2006 but I'll bet Oklahoma! pulls it off.

AND SPEAKING OF TONYS, THEY CAIN'T SAY NO TO ALI STROKER -- Stroker caught my eye in the lovely, 2015 revival of Spring Awakening by Deaf West Theatre. Now she's a ball on fire as the man-loving Ado Annie. By far this show's best element is the love triangle between Ado, her slightly dim but lovable cowpoke Will (James Davis) and the peddler Ali Hakim (Will Brill, picking up right where Mallory Portnoy left off). For all my complaints about the show, what a treat they pull off here. Will becomes more than a joke, the ugly ethnic stereotype that can be Ali is erased entirely and Stroker breaks down barriers because she was the best damn person for the role...and might just deserve a Tony for choreography, given the marvelous way she reveals character just be the way Ado swoops and dips and glides around the stage in her wheelchair. All three should be competing in the supporting actor categories. Here's Stroker and the cast performing her comic highlight "I Cain't Say No" on The Tonight Show.




BLONDE ON BLONDE -- It's not all good news. As is often true at Circle in the Square, there's not a bad seat in the house, though surely the folk seated on stage by the crockpots cooking up some chili had extra fun. This time my seat was right by the ramp where the actors usually entered and exited. It was terrific...but it also gave me a new perspective on the set. The expanse of unvarnished wood melting into a brown backdrop depicting farmland proved especially monotonous. Setting the show in a barn of sorts and serving chili and cornbread during intermission? Perfect! Still, did the overall look of the set have to prove so bland to the eye?

KEEP MESSING WITH IT -- I may not agree with director Daniel Fish's vision here, but I'll defend to the death his right to vision it. As my guest said, mess with it all you want --  Oklahoma! will survive. This production mildly hints at a gay angle by having Curly and Jud talk so close to one another in one scene they seem ready to kiss, yet that idea isn't taken seriously. But why not an Oklahoma! where the tension between the two men arises from attraction? (The nominal love interest Laurey would have all the more reason to be annoyed with both of them.) Or why not the idea I considered at length in my original review: cast Jud as black or Native American and suddenly the outcast nature of that character makes perfect sense.

This is Oklahoma! after allone of the seminal works of musical theater. It deserves to be done in a reverent, classic style; it also deserves to have the darker shadows explored (as they were in the tremendous 1998 West End revival that turned Hugh Jackman into a star); and it deserves to be torn down and reimagined completely as it is here. (And stop saying they didn't change a word of the dialogue, as if staging and action and orchestration and everything else don't matter too. The words may be the same but the action at the climax is dramatically, substantially new.) No matter what you do to it, Oklahoma! will be perfectly OK, so boring old purists can just shush. I can't wait to see the next revival.


THEATER OF 2019

Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2
White Noise ** 1/2
Kiss Me, Kate ***
Ain't No Mo' *** 1/2
Ain't Too Proud **
The Cradle Will Rock * 1/2
Mrs. Murray's Menagerie *** 1/2
Oklahoma (on Broadway) ** 1/2

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Monday, April 08, 2019

THEATER: LESS IS MORE AT "MRS. MURRAY'S MENAGERIE"

MRS. MURRAY'S MENAGERIE *** 1/2 out of ****
ARS NOVA 

I love the epic. The Inheritance just won the Olivier for Best Play and I can't wait for this six hour AIDS drama to come to New York. I admire the manic. A stream of new shows are as influenced by In Living Color and Monty Python as Oscar Wilde, with Ain't No Mo' at the Public as the latest, thrilling example. But let's hear it for restraint, for not going overboard, for stopping far short of the kitchen sink and being all the more powerful for it.

That's my reaction to the subtle, very funny, absorbing and spot-on new play Mrs. Murray's Menagerie. Directed and acted to quiet perfection, it's a pitch perfect execution of a simple idea. The setting is the 1970s and we watch as six varied adults take part in a test group. They're all parents and all fans of the children's TV show, Mrs. Murray's Menagerie. That beloved series combines live actors with puppets a la Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and after a long run, it's coming to an end.

The adults sit around a table and are led in a discussion of the show they love and two potential spin-offs. Mrs. Murray is played by a black woman and the focus group is notably diverse, featuring three men and three women that amount to a nifty microcosm of society. Race, needless to say, rears its head. So does gender and class and child rearing and a dozen other ideas, all of them embedded in the story so simply and naturally that you never really feel they're being raised at all. They're just...there, as in life.

Created by The Mad Ones and the ensemble with Ars Nova, the show is directed by Lila Neugebauer so invisibly that you half believe the audience is sitting behind a one-way mirror  and watching an actual focus group. Without histrionics, without a big explosion, without tossed-back chairs or collapsing walls, Mrs. Murray's Menagerie creates a tension and believability and empathy far noisier shows will never know.



Photo copyright by Ben Arons

Like writing a play set in a jury or hospital waiting room or stalled elevator, throwing a disparate group of people together to see what happens is a time-proven dramatic device. Nonetheless, watching these particular people debate the finer points of a kid's show and the behavior of various puppets is fascinating. We come to know them without anyone revealing much of anything about themselves.

Typically, I'd go down the cast list and describe the actors and characters. While it seems silly to discuss spoilers in a show where very little happens, much of the pleasure comes from discovering who these people are and making up your own mind about them, rather than me tipping you off that this person is kind of a jerk or that person has low self-esteem. (Mind you, I do have very strong opinions now on Mrs. Murray's Menagerie. Why the heck isn't the spin-off being built around the human librarian everyone loves?) 

Just trust me that this is an ensemble in every sense of the word and each actor is doing exceptional work. Director Neugebauer works with them and a terrific creative team to create one of the most finely tuned productions I've seen in ages. My guest referenced Clybourne Park and I thought of the Bobby Steggert drama Boy -- not because they have so much in common, but simply because they are all shows that succeeded so well on every level.

Of course, we're trained to expect High Drama. Even though I admired the restraint, I instinctively wondered if -- as good as it is -- the plot might have pushed itself just a little bit further, increased the confrontation that little bit more? No, they hit it right. A hand on a knee creates an uncomfortable moment...but not the #MeToo calling out you want, but which you know almost never happens. Answers to questions from the moderator become passive aggressive taunts, but other than a sidelong glance, no one says anything. At the end, the adults go  their own way and each goodbye feels weighted with meaning. One departure is hilarious, another just as jerk-ish as you'd expect, and a few are heartfelt -- the goodbyes of people who sort of made a connection but know they'll never see each other again. Just like life.

This is miles away in tone from Underground Railroad Game, the Ars Nova hit which returns to NYC for about two weeks from May 30-June 15. But just like that success, this will surely be remembered as one of the best plays of the year. 


THEATER OF 2019

Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2
White Noise ** 1/2
Kiss Me, Kate ***
Ain't No Mo' *** 1/2
Ain't Too Proud **
The Cradle Will Rock * 1/2
Mrs. Murray's Menagerie *** 1/2

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

THEATER: "THE CRADLE WILL ROCK" PUTS YOU TO SLEEP

THE CRADLE WILL ROCK * 1/2 out of ****
CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY

Our New Gilded Age is surely the perfect time to resurrect Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock. But time is not kind to agitprop in general or this pamphlet of a show in particular.  Like me, you may long to be roused, ready to look for the union label, mount the barricades and get fired up over injustice. But a lack of drama, character or story leaves nothing here but long speeches and short sketches. Worse, the fatal lack of melodies for the handful of songs on hand won't even let you walk out humming a catchy tune. Is harmony too bourgeois?

It's a landmark show, of course, whose premiere (directed by Orson Welles!)  proved electrifying for how it was performed (rather than the show itself). That story is so famous it inspired a so-so film about it by Tim Robbins. This "play in music" (a musical ain't serious enough, I guess) was the first in Broadway history to garner an original cast recording. And now I know why -- despite all this laudable backstory-- the show itself is rarely performed.

We begin with a desperate woman on the streets, ready to sell herself for half a buck. But the man Mol solicits says that's too much. What's a human's body worth? Not much more than a human's dignity, apparently. A cop breaks up this sad affair, only to pressure Moll (Lara Pulver, who played the woman from Sherlock) into having sex with him. She refuses, he tosses her into the clink and a passel of local dignitaries are  bundled into jail as well. They're anonymous members of the Liberty Committee, middle-class  toadies who do the bidding of Mr. Mister in "Steeltown, U.S.A." This already sounds like more plot than we're given: everyone is a type, a cardboard cutout  for damning or praising and no one is better at both than Larry Foreman (Tony Yazbeck), the man urging workers to unite  so they can stand up for decent wages and safe working conditions.


Foreground Lara Pulver, Tony Yazbeck
Photo by Joan Marcus

A mock trial ensues, with little vignettes depicting doctors, educators, religious leaders, artists and anyone else you can name  knuckling under to Mr. Mister (David Garrison) out of avarice or fear. That manipulator showers the stage with so much cash, you feel half the show is spent with people on their knees scooping up piles of dough. Frankly, times are so hard and the bills on display so realistic looking, I was half tempted to join them.

Speeches can be entertaining and informative. Not The Cradle Will Rock, which states the obvious in as obvious a fashion as possible and then restates it again for good measure. Director John Doyle does exactly what one would expect -- he directs fluidly and simply, with oil drums stacked up or slapped down to serve as seats, while the cast moves about and enacts their various fables. Seemingly everyone can play the piano located near  the back of the stage, so thank god there are no union rules insisting they can't each pitch in when needed.

The actors are mostly capable and do what they can. Rema Webb garners the only applause of the night for a song, thanks to her strong voice; Garrison's icy exterior matches the icy heart of Mister and Eddie Cooper offers about ten shades of conflicted in each scene he inhabits.

Pulver and Yazbeck get the bulk of attention. She proves very appealing, even though her would-be sex worker  is quickly reduced to the sidelines, watching others act out their falls from grace while she looks hopefully towards  the future. Yazbeck however is quite stirring as first a broken man and then the rabble-rousing union organizer  Foreman. Blitzstein gives him nothing but speechifying but that speechifying can be damn persuasive in the right hands. Yazbeck is fiery, funny, moving and shakes up the evening as much as he can. He lights the fuse; unfortunately there's not enough explosive material on hand to make any noise.

THEATER OF 2019

Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2
White Noise ** 1/2
Kiss Me, Kate ***
Ain't No Mo' *** 1/2
Ain't Too Proud **
The Cradle Will Rock * 1/2

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The 44th Annual IRA Awards -- "Capernaum" Triumphs

The 44st Annual IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS -- 2018 Releases

The IRAs are a mysterious but august film society launched in 1976 when it proudly named Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon the best film of the previous year. Officially known as the New York Independent Film Critics Awards -- but lovingly nicknamed the IRAs -- they are more international and indie focused than the Oscars, more mercurial than the LA Film Critics and more loyal to their favorites than the Golden Globes. The IRAs are proud to announce their picks for the best movies released commercially in New York City in 2018.

The IRAs are also proud to announce a change in its rule to determine eligibility. Rolling with the times and acknowledging how IRA members and the world are accessing more movies in more ways than ever before (streaming, VOD, DVD, theatrical and so on), the IRAs adopted a new standard. Eligibility for 2020 voting: If a movie becomes available to IRA members in any way on any platform (theatrical distribution, DVD, on demand, streaming, etc.) in the previous calendar year, a member may vote for it. Festival play alone, however, does not qualify. Steven Spielberg may be freaked out over Netflix, but we've seen the future and it's actually the present. Rest assured, IRA members love nothing more than heading to their local multiplex, art house or drive-in, sit in a darkened space with a crowd of strangers and watch a new or classic film. Access on your TV is great, but the silver screen is greater.

Without further ado, the IRA goes to...

Best Picture: Capernaum
Best Director: Nadine Labaki for Capernaum
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix for Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot; Mary Magdalene; The Sisters Brothers; You Were Never Really Here
Best Actress: Sakura Andô for Shoplifters
Best Supporting Actor: Brian Tyree Henry for Hotel ArtemisIf Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, White Boy Rick, Widows 
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Nonfiction Film: Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Best Screenplay:  Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuaron for Roma
Best Production Design: Eugenio Caballero for Roma
Best Score/Use Of Music: Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Editing: Nick Fenton, Chris Gill and Julian Hart for American Animals
Best Costumes: Caroline Eselin for If Beale Street Could Talk
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): On The Basis Of Sex
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): The Favourite
Mechanical Actress: Tilda Swinton for Suspiria 
Mechanical Actor: Rami Malek and his dentures for Bohemian Rhapsody


In 2018, the IRAs  had a flood of new members, perhaps the most ever in one year. Illness and life prevented all four members from returning again, but happily two braved this querulous, quarrelsome group a second time. In all, twelve members were present physically or virtually (IRA member Greg beamed in by satellite, a la Max Headroom), with the titular IRA member Ira maintaining his non-voting status on the current year but weighing in boldly with support for the rule change on eligibility while offering gnomic, pointed and hard to argue with comments when moved to do so. (His favorite film of all-time? Vertigo!) In short, eleven members weighed in on the films of 2018. The atmosphere -- to this observer -- was a tad more collegial than usual, which certainly isn't in the IRA tradition. Are the new members too nice? Will they become more embittered and venomous as life crushes their hopes and aspirations or the repeated asinine voting of others weighs more heavily on their cinematic conscience? We shall see.

And now a blow-by-blow description of the night, in order of voting. We begin, as always, with th4e category of Best Costumes and the first voter of the night, Ira. He was dressed nattily in suspenders but passed on voting in this category. The IRA goes to...


BEST COSTUME

1. Caroline Eselin for If Beale Street Could Talk -- 34 pts. (out of a possible 55 pts.)
2. Mary E. Vogt for Crazy Rich Asians -- 21 pts.
3. Sandy Powell for The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns -- 20 pts.
4. Mitchell Travers for Eighth Grade, The Strange Ones --17 pts.
5. Jenny Eagan for American Animals, Hostiles, Widows-- 10 pts.

POINT OF ORDER: This year eleven ballots were in play. With a top score for each nominee of 5 pts, the maximum any one nominee could achieve in any category was 55 pts.


NOTE: Half the fun of the IRAs is trying to figure out in advance which films might be contending, politic for your favorite (or favourite) and block the one you like least by talking it down or simply ignoring the offending flick altogether. (That film? Hardly worth discussing, you sniff.) This year, I imagined the widely admired If Beale Street Could Talk and the contentious drama The Favourite might battle it out all the way to Best Picture. How wrong I was. Beale Street easily took the first prize of the night. The great Sandy Powell was most definitely honored for her work on The Favourite. (The IRAs are suckers for historical costume dramas, esp in tech awards, just like anyone else.) Mary Poppins Returns was not liked even on a tech level by most (those anachronistic bathing suits!), with one notable admirer. Similarly, Mitchell Travers earned votes for Eighth Grade (that bathing suit!) not the little seen sci-fi flick The Strange Ones, which also had one admiring viewer. Finally, Jenny Eagan was lauded essentially for American Animals, though her work on the period western Hostiles and the crime drama Widows certainly demonstrates her versatility. In general, a nominee is lauded for all their work in a calendar year unless voters specifically exclude work on one or more films -- this, but not that! -- when voting.


BEST EDITING

1. Nick Fenton, Chris Gill and Julian Hart for American Animals  -- 26 pts.
2. Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders for If Beale Street Could Talk -- 24 pts.
3. Bob Murawski and Orson Welles for The Other Side Of The Wind -- 15 pts.
4. Hirokazu Kore-eda for Shoplifters, The Third Murder -- 11 pts.
5. Da-won Kim and Hyun Kim for Burning -- 9 pts.


NOTE: When editing was added to the list of categories that the IRAs vote on, some concern arose it might be dominated by nonfiction films. Even though many docs have a script, by nature they are often discovered after filming has ended. Well, for the second year in a row no nonfiction film made the editing list. But arguments continue about this addition, for change comes slowly and contentiously to the IRAs. Isn't it really the screenplay of American Animals that's being honored here, wondered some? And how could the strongly liked doc Minding The Gap (which was shot over many years and clearly didn't even exist until its brilliant editing took place) not appear here at all? No one disputed the lure of casting another vote for all-time great Orson Welles: surely the task of pulling together The Other Side Of The Wind after decades of post-production hell was a daunting task. Too bad the film they cobbled together was such a mess, harrumphed others.


BEST SCORE/USE OF MUSIC

1. Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk  -- 25 pts.
2. Marcin Masecki for Cold War -- 19 pts.
3. Anne Nikitin for American Animals -- 16 pts.
4. (tie) Aretha Franklin for Amazing Grace --10 pts.
    (tie) Michel Legrand for The Other Side Of The Wind -- 10 pts.


NOTE: The category of Best Score was recently renamed Best Score/Use Of Music to accommodate the endless ways in which films make use of music. This year is a good example why the renaming is appropriate. If Beale Street has a classic film score that boldly dominates the audio mix. (It was my favorite aspect of a film I didn't care for as much as others.) But it also made significant and effective use of period jazz and pop tunes. Cold War has no original score. But it revolves entirely around music, drawing on jazz standards and Polish folk tunes, re-arranging them for state-approved festivals and then re-imagining them again for a jazz trio fronted by a female singer and so on. The credited winner is Marcin Masecki, responsible for the arrangements used in the film. Yet clearly writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski embedded music in this film's DNA. Ignoring it just because it had no composer for a traditional score would be foolish. The just-deceased legend Michel Legrand grabbed his last IRA nod just in time with the Orson Welles project. Finally, Aretha Franklin? Well, no one was more responsible for how music was used in the documentary/concert film Amazing Grace than the late queen of soul herself.


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1. Eugenio Caballero for Roma -- 26 pts.
2. Justin Thompson for Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse -- 20 pts.
3. Benoît Barouh, Marcel Slawinski and Katarzyna Sobanska-Strzalkowska for Cold War -- 19 pts.
4. (tie) Keiko Mitsumatsu for Shoplifters -- 10 pts.
    (tie) Gary Williamson for Paddington 2 -- 10 pts.


NOTE: Ah, Roma! Admired so much by certain IRA members, they discussed how its overall structure was repeated in individual scenes -- heck, they could teach it to their film students, if only it were shorter. (A practical consideration.) Its evocation of director Alfonso Cuaron's childhood won it the top prize for production design. (That garage! So narrow! The dog poop! So...voluminous!) Many were wowed by the animated groundbreaker Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse. The look of that film (which combined multiple styles of animation along with a comic book aesthetic) might well be its best bet at an IRA yet it fell short here. And Paddington 2 is not just a whimsical choice: its adherents spoke strongly for the look, the vocal performance of Ben Whishaw as the lovable bear (not to mention his fine work on Mary Poppins Returns  and the film in general. Aaron boldly declared Paddington 2 the best  film of the year and anyone who disagreed risked finding themselves in an abandoned train station somewhere far far away without even a name-tag to help them find their way home


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. Alfonso Cuaron for Roma -- 25 pts.
2. Joshua James Richards for The Rider -- 23 pts.
3. Lukasz Zal for Cold War -- 21 pts.
4. Kyung-pyo Hong for Burning -- 19 pts.
5. Jimmy Chin for Free Solo -- 17 pts.


NOTE: Another win for Roma! Might it take on If Beale Street at the end of the night, alongside the rising buzz for American Animals? I assumed if The Rider won anything it would be this award. But this won't be the last time we hear from that genuinely independent film. Attention here bode well for both Burning (very well shot, but this was not a one-and-done for some great camerawork) and Free Solo, climbing its way towards contention in Nonfiction Film. Cinematography proves a rich, world-spanning category indicative of the wide net cast by the IRAs when it chooses to honor films. Finally, I can't help noticing the gorgeously shot If Beale Street doesn't win, place OR show in this category. A sign of weakness? Finally?

FOOD ALERT: Pizza is ordered.


BEST SCREENPLAY

1. Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk  -- 22 pts.
2. Hirokazu Kore-eda for Shoplifters, The Third Murder -- 15 pts.
3. (tie) Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me? -- 13 pts.
    (tie) Chloé Zhao for The Rider --13 pts.
5. Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman for Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse -- 12 pts.


NOTE: My faint hope that If Beale Street was beginning to fade (no points for cinematography?) are immediately dashed. It triumphs for Best Screenplay, despite my quickly pointing out to potential voters that author James Baldwin would not be showing up to accept the award on Mr. Jenkins' behalf. More worrisome, when Beale Street wins tonight it's usually been winning big, as it does here. Kore-eda had a banner year with not one but two widely liked movies released commercially in New York City. Those who saw both insist The Third Murder is better, but most IRAnians only saw Shoplifters, which snagged the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May and proved a smash hit in his home country of Japan. Nonetheless, writing the screenplays for two excellent films couldn't sway enough voters to leave Beale Street. Bubbling under throughout the night was solid appreciation for the New York-centric Can You Ever Forgive Me? while The Rider proved it wasn't just a one-trick pony by garnering points here as well. And yes! The clever screenplay for Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse got much deserved attention. Maybe it's not done yet?


BEST NONFICTION FILM 
1. Won't You Be My Neighbor? -- 27 pts.
2. Three Identical Strangers -- 24 pts.
3. Free Solo -- 20 pts.
4.  Minding The Gap -- 19 pts.
5.  RBG -- 13 pts.


NOTE: The Best Nonfiction Film is a recent add to the IRAs and not without controversy (of course), since creating a category like this almost ensures a nonfiction film won't win the much-desired top prize for Best Film.  Unlike the Oscars, the IRAs wasn't about to ignore nice. The big winner in a tightly fought category is the heart-warming Won't You Be My Neighbor?, about the career and impact of children's television pioneer Mr. Rogers. Heart-warming is normally not a strong suit of the IRAs (which more often relishes the bitter and angry, thank you very much). But the balm of this film was too strong in the age of Trump. Will such appreciation carry over to the performance of Tom Hanks as the sweater-clad TV host when A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is released November 21, 2019? Three Identical Strangers came seemingly out of nowhere to place a close second, with Free Solo farther back at third, even though everyone involved risked their lives to make it! Sheesh! Minding The Gap was a real puzzle. It's quietly political in its observation of Rockford, Illinois (the hometown of Andy!) and its economic collapse. It was shot over many years by one of the participants and clearly came to life in the editing room, with a great deal to say about class,  gender, passion and the depressingly common passing down of addiction and abuse and abusive behavior. And yet, it wasn't even a player, ranking fourth. Ditto RBG, though the IRAnians certainly send their best wishes to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and expect she will serve on the Supreme Court (and catch up on the best new films that aren't about her) for years to come.


FOOD BREAK

Pizza is eaten. Career highlights and lowlights are dissected, looming marriages are announced (Mazel tov!), career advancements are planned (tenure, here we come), various medical aches and pains are probed and so on and so forth. And then action resumes!


BALLOT MEASURES

Change comes slowly to the IRAs but it does happen...after endless, exhausting debate. Two ballot measures were on deck for consideration.

1. THE VOTE TO RESCIND -- a tentative move to consider voting to rescind the Vote To Rescind option is considered and then dropped by Andy once he senses little support for the measure. The Vote To Rescind is offered after every single category is voted on. Once the totals are in, members may feel the actual winner doesn't reflect the best choice. Or perhaps they prefer the runner-up. After the winner is announced, members are asked to consider a Vote To Rescind. If a majority of the members actively voting support it, the winner is rescinded and the runner-up is made the official champion. This is followed by another vote to rescind until the victor is confirmed. It's a somewhat controversial tactic. But it rarely comes into play more than once a year. During the 44th Annual IRAs, not a single victor is rescinded.

2. CHANGING ELIGIBILITY RULES -- Since the beginning, the IRAs have had one rule for eligibility. To qualify for the IRAs, a movie must have a minimum one-week commercial run in New York City. This began in 1976, along with the delightful task of keeping track of all the films that opened in the city at any and every venue. The List was an essential feature of the IRAs, especially in the pre-Internet era when keeping track of what movies actually played was difficult. Now of course, one can go right to IMDB and get a rough sense of when and where any movie has opened in countries or film festivals all over the world. More dauntingly, the number of movies opening commercially in NYC has exploded to some 1000+ titles a year. Further complicating things, most IRA members don't even live in New York City anymore. And while members of the IRAs love to go to the movies anywhere and anytime (to see the latest art house flick or a revival of a classic or really damn near anything), the truth is that for many years now they have made full use of DVDs and BluRay and cable and on demand and now streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime and even shared Vimeo links, all in a desire to see as many of the best films as possible. And the result of the original rule was that certain films invariably fell through the cracks or were rejected as ineligible for unimportant commercial reasons nothing to do with artistry: play Sundance and get picked up by Amazon and you would usually get a nominal theatrical release; play Sundance and get picked up by Netflix and you might not. Why should we care who picks up a movie and how they release it? A good film is a good film! The issue was debated passionately online and ultimately festival play was strongly rejected as qualifying. The following ballot measure was adopted.

ON ELIGIBILITY: If a movie becomes available to us in any way on any platform (theatrical distribution, DVD, on demand, cable, streaming, etc.) in the previous calendar year, a member may vote for it. Festival play alone does not qualify a film for eligibility.

On a 7-5 vote, the ballot measure passed. For the 45th Annual IRAs, this new standard will determine eligibility.



BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk  -- 24 pts.
2. Awkwafina for Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean's 8 -- 22 pts.
3. Kayli Carter for Private Life -- 13 pts.
4. Amy Adams for Vice --12 pts.
5. Nina Arianda for Stan (ampersand) Ollie -- 10 pts.


NOTE: And Beale Street demonstrates again it's one of the most popular films of the year among IRA voters. Regina King's widely lauded performance in the film gets recognized here, despite a spirited campaign for Awkwafina, the best thing in two disparate comedies. The admiration of Tamara Jenkins and Private Life was solid if modest, making its biggest mark here with a nod for Carter. And while Vice was much discussed in the free-for-all known as the IRA email threads, it came to little except this recognition of Adams as Lynne Cheney. Because the bio-pic Stan and Ollie fell through the cracks in terms of availability, few saw it despite some admiring comments and the allure of a bio about classic Hollywood stars. The film didn't come out on DVD until the week of the IRAs and wasn't available on any major streaming service either (except as a rental). Even with the new rule change about availability, some movies will get lost in the shuffle. Technically, its wide availability on DVD and streaming will make Stan and Ollie eligible again in 2020, but with a solid, extended commercial release in theaters at the end of 2018 and into 2019 (in February, it was playing on 754 screens in North America), it's almost certain the film's chances have come and gone. By the way, Blogger can't handle the ampersand symbol and turns it into gobbledygook when one types it. Hence my insertion of (ampersand) in titles and writing credits when necessary.)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Brian Tyree Henry for Hotel ArtemisIf Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, White Boy Rick, Widows -- 24 pts.
2. Jonah Hill for Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot -- 19 pts.
3. (tie) Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? -- 13 pts.
    (tie) Jake Gyllenhaal for The Sisters Brothers, Wildlife --13 pts.
5. Steven Yeun for Burning, Sorry To Bother You -- 10 pts.

NOTE: The Beale Street juggernaut keeps on a rollin'. Brian Tyree Henry wins for his body of work in 2018. In films good (If Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse), ok films (Widows) and bad films (Hotel Artemis and White Boy Rick), Henry was the proverbial best thing in it. Fans of the animated Spider-Man were thrilled in particular for his recognition. But Henry probably would have won this for Beale Street alone, thanks to his powerful performance of the monologue that serves as the film's beating heart. Multiple movies that appeared on many best-of lists by IRA voters enjoyed a moment in the spotlight here: The Sisters Brothers, Wildlife, Sorry To Bother You, Burning, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and so on. The IRAs provide a great checklist of movies to watch from the year in question, especially when you dive deeper than just the winners.

                                            
BEST ACTRESS

1. Sakura Andô for Shoplifters -- 26 pts.
2. Elsie Fisher for Eighth Grade-- 22 pts.
3. Thomasin McKenzie for Leave No Trace -- 20 pts.
4. Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? --16 pts.
5. Julianne Nicholson for Who We Are Now -- 13 pts.

NOTE: Sakura Andô wins the first award for director Horokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters, one of two very good films he released in North America this year. (She played the would-be mother figure for the gang of thieves.) My hopes for the terrific debut of Elsie Fisher in Bo Burnham's marvelous Eighth Grade were dashed, but just barely. Still, it gave me some slim hope Burnham and the film might be one of the contenders to take down the seemingly unstoppable If Beale Street Could Talk. Though come to think of it, that film's female lead wasn't even mentioned in this round. Hmm. Like Eighth Grade (which really should have won here if it was going to fight for Best Picture), the movie Leave No Trace finally got some love with points for its young star Thomasin McKenzie. Ditto the more established Julianne Nicholson and her very independent film Who We Are Now.



BEST ACTOR

1. Joaquin Phoenix for Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot; Mary Magdalene; The Sisters Brothers; You Were Never Really Here -- 26 pts.
2. Zain Al Rafeea for Capernaum -- 22 pts.
3. Robert Redford for The Old Man And The Gun -- 16 pts.
4. Brady Jandreau for The Rider --15 pts.
5. (tie) Ah-in Yoo for Burning -- 12 pts.
    (tie) Christian Bale for Vice -- 12 pts.


NOTE: Some award-givers love to recognize actors in a bunch of films -- it's an easy way to celebrate a lot of different movies and bring more attention to your awards. (Hey, we liked that cool commercial film, even if to be honest we're really celebrating this actor's work on that obscure art film none of you saw. Still!) That's not the IRAs. Nevertheless, we've got two major acting awards going to two actors who displayed range and versatility in a clutch of films. Henry won Best Supporting Actor, though it should be pointed out he appeared in two films (If Beale Street and Spider-Man) that enjoyed strong support overall from voters. This is not about quantity over quality. The same is true for Joaquin Phoenix, who starred in The Sister Brothers (mentioned a lot if not a big player), You Were Never Really Here and Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot. For good measure, he also played Jesus in Mary Magdalene.  Phoenix wins Best Actor for the second time (he won in 2013 for his work on Her) and is honored 27 years after his older brother River won for heartbreakingly good work on both Dogfight and My Own Private Idaho. George boldly declared Joaquin Phoenix the best actor working today. Phoenix's impressive year held off strong competition from child actor/refugee Zain Al Rafeea of Capernaum. An intense, Dardenne-like drama that follows the journey of a desperate boy in bombed-out Lebanon, Capernaum depends entirely on the work of Al Rafeea. If this film was going to triumph anywhere, it was probably here, but the sheer number of strong performances by Phoenix in multiple good films triumphed on a technical knockout. At the other end of a career compared to Zain is Robert Redford, giving a twinkly, this-is-what-a-movie-star-looks-like turn in the charming flick The Old Man And The Gun. Not enough IRA members saw it, sadly. But many saw and admired The Rider, giving rodeo rider Brady Jandreau serious attention for his autobiographical work in that drama. Christian Bale's showy work in Vice and Ah-In Yoo's internalized despair in Burning both brought up the rear for their deserving turns.

SIDE NOTE: Handling the accounting means I sometimes blow a chance to make a joke. In my excitement over echoing a vote for Zain, I forgot to say, "For giving the most enigmatic performance of the year, where I thought he was the hero but then maybe he was the villain...Jussie Smollet!" Oh well.


BEST DIRECTOR

1. Nadine Labaki for Capernaum -- 23 pts.
2. Chloé Zhao for The Rider -- 18 pts.
3. Hirokazu Kore-eda for Shoplifters, The Third Murder -- 17 pts.
4. Spike Lee for BlacKKKlansman -- 14 pts.
5. (tie) Debra Granik for Leave No Trace -- 11 pts.
    (tie) Adam McKay for Vice -- 11 pts.

NOTE: Ok, so the love for Capernaum wasn't limited to the remarkable debut of Zain Al Rafeea! Director Nadine Labaki became the first woman to win Best Director since Nancy Savoca won the 1991 prize for Household Saints. (So far, they're the only two to do so for a particular year, though director Chantal Ackerman is #21 on our all-time best list with Jeanne Dielman.) Labaki's victory wasn't by a massive margin but a five point advantage over the runner-up and the shocking fact that Barry Jenkins didn't even make the list of honorees despite already winning five IRAs on the night means this: we've got ourselves a horse race! And If Beale Street may not even make it out of the starting gate. As mentioned, Labaki is only the second woman to win Best Director. Even better, she's one of three women on our list this year...including runner-up Chloé Zhao for The Rider! (Debra Granik brought up the rear.) Toss in Japanese director Kore-eda and Spike Lee and we're looking at a list with only white dude on it -- Adam McKay. And he did it with a take-down of other white dudes, I might add. For one brief shining moment, the IRAs is woke. But "woke" is an on-going process not a state of being, so we'll have to do just as well in every category for years to come to indicate real progress in the industry. Happily, the films released in 2018 let us show we can celebrate diversity with the best of 'em and for the best of reasons: they are the best.


BEST PICTURE

1. Capernaum -- 22 pts.
2. (tie) The Rider -- 17 pts.
    (tie) Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse -- 17 pts.
4. If Beale Street Could Talk -- 14 pts.
5. Shoplifters -- 13 pts.

It's the grand finale and for the first time in history, the best film of the year is directed by a woman. (The year Nancy Savoca won director for Household Saints, that movie was beaten out by Six Degrees Of Separation for Best Picture. Bad call.) The IRAs are pretty stalwart auteurists, but it was a wild and wooly vote with some shockers at the end. Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse didn't score a single point for Best Director. That said more about the nature of this particular film, since animated movies are a group effort like nothing since musicals in the heyday of MGM. Spidey almost made history as the first animated film to win Best Picture, a long-overdue barrier that needs to fall. It was tied for second, alongside the acclaimed indie effort The Rider. That one didn't seem a contender for a while, but the points it did score were in key categories like Cinematography, Screenplay and Actor while the areas it didn't get points in (Production Design, Use Of Music) had more to do with the type of film it was tha with the quality of work. Add in Zhao's strong showing in Best Director and the five point gap separating it from the winner suddenly seems quite small indeed. Beale Street fell way back to fourth place, but hey, it's an honor just to be nominated, right? Jenkins can take comfort in five IRAs and the dominating sweep Moonlight enjoyed just two years ago when it won four awards including Picture and Director. Kore-eda might have suffered from having two movies in contention, but even if he had just competed with one or the other, it's doubtful his support would have doubled so he could snag a victory. In short, Capernaum won and so did the IRAs, with a woman standing on top clutching the IRA for Best Film. For the first time but not, we venture to say, for the last.



SOMINEX (The movie that put you to sleep)


1. On The Basis of Sex -- 14 pts.
2. (tie) Let The Sunshine In -- 10 pts.
    (tie) Mary Poppins Returns -- 10 pts.
4. (tie) Cold War -- 8 pts.
    (tie A Wrinkle In Time -- 8 pts.
             

DRAMAMINE (The film that made you sick)

1    1. The Favourite -- 25 pts.
2. Bohemian Rhapsody -- 19 pts.
3. Green Book -- 17 pts.
4. Roma -- 9 pts.
5. BlacKKKlansman -- 7 pts.

NOTE: The Favourite was my favorite film of the year. Not only didn't it win anything, it was the most mocked movie of the year to boot! (Welcome to my world, says Andy.) Apparently, the fish eye lens is unforgivable. Someone tell Stanley Kubrick, who won the first Best Picture award for Barry Lyndon. Fishy, indeed. Fun fact: all five films here were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.


MECHANICAL ACTRESS

1. Tilda Swinton for Suspiria -- 20 pts.
2. Jennifer Lawrence for Red Sparrow -- 18 pts.
3. Meryl Streep for Mary Poppins Returns -- 17 pts.
4. Dakota Johnson for Suspiria -- 14 pts.
5. Glenn Close for The Wife -- 12 pts.

NOTE: Actors often win a top award only to be tagged with a Mechanical  award once IRA voters decide those artists are using the same tics and mannerisms for role after role. They're an unforgiving lot, to say the least. That delightful creature Swinton (cooler than all the IRAnians put together times a thousand) won Best Actress for the 2010 film I Am Love. Deservingly so. In contrast, the great Meryl Streep (who has indeed done a poor job in recent years picking roles) has been snapping up Mechanicals since the 1980s. She was singled out for 1986's Heartburn, 2007's Lions for Lambs and the film Rendition, 2008's Doubt, 2011's The Iron Lady and 2013's August: Osage County. Streep has never won a proper IRA but can take some comfort in 21 Oscar nominations and three wins, along with two BAFTAs and three Emmys. She's also an EGOT in nominations.  

MECHANICAL ACTOR

1. Rami Malek and his dentures for Bohemian Rhapsody -- 18 pts.
2. Lin-Manuel Miranda for Mary Poppins Returns -- 13 pts.
3. (tie) Chadwick Boseman for Black Panther -- 8 pts.
    (tie) Steve Carell for Beautiful Boy, Welcome To Marwen -- 8 pts.
    (tie) Cillian Murphy for The Party -- 8 pts.
    (tie) John Travolta for Gotti -- 8 pts. 


THE 2018 FILMS HONORED BY THE IRAS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

Amazing Grace 
American Animals 
BlacKKKlansman 
Burning 
Can You Ever Forgive Me? 
Capernaum 
Cold War 
Crazy Rich Asians 
Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot 
Eighth Grade 
The Favourite 
Free Solo 
If Beale Street Could Talk 
Leave No Trace 
Minding The Gap 
Ocean's 8 
The Old Man And The Gun 
The Other Side Of The Wind 
Paddington 2 
Private Life 
RBG 
The Rider 
Roma
Shoplifters 
The Sisters Brothers 
Sorry To Bother You 
Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse 
Stan (ampersand) Ollie 
The Third Murder 
Three Identical Strangers 
Vice 
Who We Are Now 
Wildlife 
Won't You Be My Neighbor? 
You Were Never Really Here 



WHO OR WHAT ARE THE IRAS? A HISTORY

The IRAs are a mysterious but august film society that has voted on the best films of the year since 1976. Officially known as the New York Independent Film Critics Awards -- but lovingly nicknamed the IRAs -- they are more international and indie focused than the Oscars, more mercurial than the LA Film Critics, more loyal to their favorites than the Golden Globes. 

The IRAs began when passionate film students and friends complained about the parade of annual awards shows, declaring, "We could do better!" What followed was an all-night, knock-down, drag-out fight to establish the very first winners of the IRAs. (One of the members is named Ira, but how his name became the name of the award is a story lost in the mist of time, alcohol and since it was the 1970s perhaps cannabis.) The IRAs group has been profiled in The New Yorker, so it is officially a New York institution, though no one has ever heard of it. Over the years, its rotating cast of voting members have included Oscar-winning writers, major directors, top studio execs, best-selling and critically acclaimed authors of books on movies, critics, screenwriters, budding playwrights, film scholars, plain old movie buffs and so on. 

Every year, the IRAs shine a light on some of the best movies of the year. The secret reason the IRAs flourish is that its members are passionate film lovers. Many have careers involving the arts, but it's not always easy to stay in the swim of things, to keep on top of the flood of new releases every year, especially when the movies favored by IRA members are not always playing at your local multiplex for weeks at a time. The movies they appreciate tend to be harder to catch, playing in theaters only briefly before popping up (hopefully) eventually on some streaming service or DVD. Quite simply, the IRAs force them to stay committed to seeing new movies with the same fervor they felt in their college days when going to see a film was the only purpose in life, before jobs and family made frivolous claims on their time. So if you want to stay on top of great cinema every year or explore its history, there's no better place to start than the award winners of the IRAs. 

True, the IRAs have no more claim to pronounce the best films of the year than anyone else. But they've been doing it for decades so hey, it's tradition! 


PAST IRA WINNERS

THE COMPLETE IRA MOVIE AWARD WINNERS

1975 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Barry Lyndon
Best Director: Claude Chabrol for La Rupture and Just Before Nightfall
Best Actor: Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Best Actress: Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Best Supporting Actor: François Perrier in Just Before Nightfall
Best Supporting Actress: Blythe Danner in Hearts Of The West
Best Screenplay: Tom Stoppard and Thomas Wiseman for The Romantic Englishwoman
Best Cinematography: John Alcott for Barry Lyndon


1976 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: (tie) Lipstick and The Marquise Of O
Best Director: Eric Rohmer for The Marquise Of O
Best Actor: Sean Connery in Robin And Marian
Best Actress: Sissy Spacek in Carrie
Best Supporting Actor: Jason Robards in All The President’s Men
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Bancroft in Lipstick
Best Screenplay: Alain Tanner and John Berger for Jonah Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000
Best Cinematography: Nestor Almendros for The Marquise Of O


1977 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Annie Hall
Best Director: Wim Wenders for The American Friend
Best Actor: John Gielgud in Providence
Best Actress: Dianne Keaton in Annie Hall and Looking For Mr. Goodbar
Best Supporting Actor: G. D. Spradlin in One On One
Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave in Julia
Best Screenplay: Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman for Annie Hall
Best Cinematography: Robby Müller for The American Friend


1978 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Days Of Heaven
Best Director: Terence Malick for Days Of Heaven
Best Actor: Jon Voight in Coming Home
Best Actress: Jane Fonda in Coming Home
Best Supporting Actor: Dom DeLuise in The End
Best Supporting Actress: Stephane Audran in Violette
Best Screenplay: Eric Rohmer for Perceval
Best Cinematography: Nestor Almendros for Days Of Heaven


1979 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Fedora
Best Director: Blake Edwards for 10
Best Actor: Clint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz
Best Actress: Hanna Schygulla in The Marriage Of Maria Braun
Best Supporting Actor: Denholm Elliott in Cuba and Saint Jack
Best Supporting Actress: Frances Sternhagen in Fedora and Starting Over
Best Screenplay: Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond for Fedora
Best Cinematography: Tak Fujimoto for Last Embrace and Remember My Name
Best Music: Miklos Rozsa for Fedora and Last Embrace
Best Production Design: Dean Edward Mitzner for 1941


1980 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: The Big Red One
Best Director: Sam Fuller for The Big Red One
Best Actor: Lee Marvin for The Big Red One
Best Actress: Jodie Foster for Carny and Foxes
Best Supporting Actor: (tie) Joe Pesci in Raging Bull and Harry Dean Stanton in The Black Marble, The Long Riders, Private Benjamin and Wise Blood
Best Supporting Actress: Pamela Reed in The Long Riders and Melvin And Howard
Best Screenplay: Sam Fuller for The Big Red One
Best Cinematography: Jordan Cronenweth for Altered States
Best Music: Dana Kaproff for The Big Red One
Best Production Design: Tambi Larsen for Heaven’s Gate


1981 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Cutter’s Way
Best Director: Ivan Passer for Cutter’s Way
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges in Cutter’s Way
Best Actress: Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest
Best Supporting Actor: Jack Nicholson in Reds
Best Supporting Actress: Mona Washbouurne in Stevie
Best Screenplay: John Guare for Atlantic City
Best Cinematography: Jordan Cronenweth for Cutter’s Way
Best Music: Georges DeLerue for The Last Metro, Rich and Famous, True Confessions and The Woman Next Door
Best Production Design: Ken Adam for Pennies From Heaven
Best Costume Design: Shirley Russell for Reds


1982 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Victor/Victoria
Best Director: Blake Edwards for Victor/Victoria
Best Actor: Jack Lemmon in Missing
Best Actress: (tie) Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria and Jessica Lange in Frances
Best Supporting Actor: Robert Preston in Victor/Victoria
Best Supporting Actress: Lesley Ann Warren in Victor/Victoria
Best Screenplay: Blake Edwards for Victor/Victoria
Best Cinematography: Xaver Schwartzenberger for Lola and Veronika Voss
Best Music: Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse for Victor/Victoria
Best Production Design: Rodger Maus for Victor/Victoria
Best Costume Design: Patricia Norris for Victor/Victoria


1983 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Berlin Alexanderplatz
Best Director: Andrzej Wajda for Danton
Best Actor: Eric Roberts for Star ’80
Best Actress: Shirley MacLaine for Terms Of Endearment
Best Supporting Actor: Jerry Lewis for The King Of Comedy
Best Supporting Actress: Jamie Lee Curtis for Trading Places
Best Screenplay: Bill Forsyth for Local Hero
Best Cinematography: Sven Nykvist for Star ’80
Best Music: Peer Raben for Berlin Alexanderplatz
Best Production Design: Fernando Scarfiotti for Scarface
Best Costume Design: Yvonne Sassinot DeNestle for Danton
Sominex Award: The Dresser
Dramamine Award: The Big Chill
Mechanical Actor: Matt Dillon for The Outsiders and Rumble Fish 
Mechanical Actress: Nastassja Kinski for The Moon In The Gutter and Exposed


1984 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: (tie) L’Argent and Once Upon A Time In America
Best Director: Sergio Leone for Once Upon A Time In America
Best Actor: Clint Eastwood in Tightrope
Best Actress: Helen Mirren in Cal
Best Supporting Actor: Jean-Luc Godard in First Name: Carmen
Best Supporting Actress: Christine Lahti in Swing Shift
Best Screenplay: Franco Arcalli, Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Franco Ferrini, Sergio Leone, Enrico Medioli for Once Upon A Time In America
Best Cinematography: Robby Müller for Paris Texas and Repo Man
Best Music: Ennio Morricone for Once Upon A Time In America
Best Production Design: James Singelis for Once Upon A Time In America
Best Costume Design: Mic Cheminal for Entre Nous
Sominex Award: 
Dramamine Award: 
Mechanical Actor:  
Mechanical Actress: 


1985 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Prizzi’s Honor
Best Director: Martin Scorsese for After Hours
Best Actor: Jack Nicholson in Prizzi’s Honor
Best Actress: Mia Farrow in The Purple Rose Of Cairo
Best Supporting Actor: William Hickey in Prizzi’s Honor
Best Supporting Actress: Anjelica Huston in Prizzi’s Honor
Best Screenplay: Joseph Minion for After Hours
Best Cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak for Prizzi’s Honor
Best Music: Brian Gascoigne and Junior Hamrich for The Emerald Forest
Best Production Design: Jeffrey Townsend for After Hours
Best Costume Design: Ann Roth for The Jagged Edge and Sweet Dreams
Sominex Award: 
Dramamine Award: 
Mechanical Actor:  
Mechanical Actress: 


1986 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Eyes On The Prize
Best Director: David Lynch for Blue Velvet
Best Actor: (tie) Daniel Day-Lewis in My Beautiful Laundrette and Jeff Goldblum in The Fly
Best Actress: Laura Dern in Smooth Talk
Best Supporting Actor: Steve Buscemi in Parting Glances
Best Supporting Actress: Mary Stuart Masterson in At Close Range
Best Screenplay: Hanif Kureishi for My Beautiful Laundrette
Best Cinematography: Frederick Elmes for Blue Velvet
Best Music: (tie) George Delerue for Platoon and Herbie Hancock for Round Midnight
Best Production Design: Patricia Norris for Blue Velvet
Best Costume Design: Jenny Beaven and John Bright for A Room With A View
Sominex Award: Brighton Beach Memoirs
Dramamine Award: Crocodile Dundee
Mechanical Actor: Jon Cryer for Pretty In Pink 
Mechanical Actress: Meryl Streep for Heartburn


1987 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Housekeeping
Best Director: Bill Forsyth for Housekeeping
Best Actor: Gary Oldman in Prick Up Your Ears
Best Actress: Christine Lahti in Housekeeping
Best Supporting Actor: John Mahoney in Moonstruck and Tin Men
Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave in Prick Up Your Ears
Best Screenplay: Bill Forsyth for Housekeeping
Best Cinematography: Phillippe Rousselot for Hope And Glory
Best Music: David Byrne, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su for The Last Emperor
Best Production Design: Santo Loquasto for Radio Days
Best Costume Design: Mary-Jane Reyner for Housekeeping
Sominex Award: Dark Eyes
Dramamine Award: Fatal Attraction
Mechanical Actor: Eddie Murphy for Beverly Hills Cop II 
Mechanical Actress: Sean Young for No Way Out and Wall Street


1988 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Dead Ringers
Best Director: David Cronenberg for Dead Ringers
Best Actor: Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers
Best Actress: Jodie Foster in The Accused
Best Supporting Actor: Divine in Hairspray
Best Supporting Actress: Claudia Karvan in High Tide
Best Screenplay: Christopher Hampton for Dangerous Liaisons
Best Cinematography: Vittorio Storaro for Tucker: The Man And His Dream
Best Music: George Fenton for Dangerous Liaisons
Best Production Design: Dean Tavoularis for Tucker: The Man And His Dream
Best Costume Design: Van Smith for Hairspray
Sominex Award: Wings Of Desire
Dramamine Award: Mississippi Burning (by acclamation!)
Mechanical Actor: William Hurt for Broadcast News 
Mechanical Actress: Maria Conchita Alonso for Extreme Prejudice and The Running Man


1989 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Story Of Women
Best Director: Claude Chabrol for Story
Of Women

Best Actor: John Hurt in Scandal
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert in Story Of Women
Best Supporting Actor: Ethan Hawke in Dad and Dead Poets Society
Best Supporting Actress: Anjelica Huston in Enemies: A Love Story
Best Screenplay: Blake Edwards for Skin Deep
Best Cinematography: Jeff Preiss for Let’s Get Lost
Best Music: Michael Kamen for The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti for The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
Best Costume Design: Jane Robinson for Scandal
Sominex Award: Batman
Dramamine Award: Steel Magnolias
Mechanical Actor: Spike Lee for Do The Right Thing 
Mechanical Actress: Roseanne Barr for She-Devil


1990 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: GoodFellas
Best Director: Martin Scorsese for GoodFellas
Best Actor: Michel Blanc in Monsieur Hire
Best Actress: Anjelica Huston in The Grifters
Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci in GoodFellas
Best Supporting Actress: Lorraine Bracco in GoodFellas
Best Screenplay: Craig Lucas for Longtime Companion
Best Cinematography: Oliver Stapleton for The Grifters
Best Music: Elmer Bernstein for The Grifters
Best Production Design: Dennis Gassner for The Grifters
Best Costume Design: Richard Bruno for The Grifters
Sominex Award: 
Dramamine Award: 
Mechanical Actor:  
Mechanical Actress: 


1991 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: The Man In The Moon
Best Director: Robert Mulligan for The Man In The Moon
Best Actor: River Phoenix in Dogfight and My Own Private Idaho
Best Actress: Judy Davis in Barton Fink, Impromptu, and Naked Lunch
Best Supporting Actor: Harvey Keitel in Bugsy, Mortal Thoughts, and Thelma (ampersand) Louise
Best Supporting Actress: Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear
Best Screenplay: Michael Tolkin for The Rapture
Best Cinematography: Freddie Francis for Cape Fear and The Man In The Moon
Best Music: Ennio Morricone for Bugsy
Best Production Design: Dennis Gassner for Barton Fink and Bugsy
Best Costume Design: Albert Wolsky for Bugsy
Sominex Award: 
Dramamine Award: 
Mechanical Actor:  
Mechanical Actress: 


1992 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Raise The Red Lantern
Best Director: Robert Altman for The Player
Best Actor: Tim Robbins in Bob Roberts and The Player
Best Actress: Emma Thompson in Howards End
Best Supporting Actor: Jaye Davidson in The Crying Game
Best Supporting Actress: Judy Davis in Husbands And Wives
Best Screenplay: Michael Tolkin for The Player
Best Cinematography: Zhao Fei and Lun Yang for Raise The Red Lantern
Best Music: Lenny Niehaus for Unforgiven
Best Production Design: Marc Caro for Delicatessen
Best Costume Design: Alexander Julien for The Player
Sominex Award: A Few Good Men
Dramamine Award: Basic Instinct
Mechanical Actor: Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct
Mechanical Actress: ****


1993 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Six Degrees Of Separation
Best Director: Nancy Savoca for Household Saints
Best Actor: Dennis Quaid in Flesh And Bone
Best Actress: Stockard Channing in Six Degrees Of Separation
Best Supporting Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio in A Boy’s Life and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
Best Supporting Actress: Regina Tourney in Like Water For Chocolate
Best Screenplay: Mike Leigh for Naked
Best Cinematography: Michael Balhaus for The Age Of Innocence
Best Music: Elmer Bernstein for The Age Of Innocence and The Cemetery Club
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti for The Age Of Innocence
Best Costume Design: Gabriella Pescucci for The Age Of Innocence
Sominex Award: Heaven And Earth
Dramamine Award: Falling Down
Mechanical Actor: Richard Gere in Sommersby
Mechanical Actress: Madonna in Body Of Evidence


1994 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Red
Best Director: Krzyzstof Kieslowski for Red and White
Best Actor: Terence Stamp in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Best Actress: Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale in Little Women
Best Supporting Actress: Kristin Scott Thomas in Four Weddings and a Funeral
Best Screenplay: Steve Baranczek for The Last Seduction
Best Cinematography: Stephen Czapsky for Ed Wood
Best Music: Zbigniew Preissner for Red and White
Best Production Design: Dennis Gastner for The Hudsucker Proxy
Best Costume Design: Lizzie Gardiner and Tim Chappel for Priscilla, Queen of The Desert
Sominex Award: Wyatt Earp


1995 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Exotica
Best Director: Terry Zwigoff for Crumb
Best Actor: John Travolta in Get Shorty
Best Actress: (A three-way tie) Mia Kershner in Exotica; Alicia Silverstone in Clueless; Nicole Kidman in To Die For
Best Supporting Actor: Tim Roth in Rob Roy
Best Supporting Actress: Mare Winningham in Georgia
Best Screenplay: (tie) Atom Egoyan for Exotica and Buck Henry for To Die For
Best Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel for The Usual Suspects
Best Music: John Ottman for The Usual Suspects
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti for Casino
Best Costumes: Mona May for Clueless
Sominex Award: The Brothers McMullen
Dramamine Award: Braveheart
Mechanical Actor: Dennis Miller in The Net and the cast of The Brothers McMullen
Mechanical Actress: Annette Bening in The American President


1996 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: La Ceremonie
Best Director: Claude Chabrol for La Ceremonie
Best Actor: Ewen McGregor in Trainspotting
Best Actress: (tie) Kristin Scott Thomas in The English Patient and Emily Watson in Breaking The Waves
Best Supporting Actor: Ian Holm in Big Night
Best Supporting Actress: Mary Kay Place in Citizen Ruth and Manny and Lo
Best Screenplay: John Sayles for Lone Star
Best Cinematography: (tie) Darius Khondji for Stealing Beauty and Oliver Stapleton for Kansas City
Best Music: Tiffany Anders, Burt Bacharach, David Baerwald, Carole Bayer Sager, Ed Berghoff, Elvis Costello, Gerry Goffin, Louise Goffin, Tonio K, Larry Klein, J. Mascis, Joni Mitchell, Boyd Rice, David A. Stewart, and J. Mayo Williams for Grace Of My Heart
Best Production Design: Harley Jessup for James And The Giant Peach
Best Costume Design: Dona Granata for Kansas City
Sominex Award: The English Patient
Dramamine Award: A Time To Kill
Mechanical Actor: All the men in She’s The One
Mechanical Actress: Maxine Bahns in She’s The One


1997 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: (tie) Crash and Grosse Pointe Blank
Best Director: David Cronenberg for Crash
Best Actor: John Cusack for Grosse Pointe Blank
Best Actress: Julie Christie in Afterglow
Best Supporting Actor: Kevin Spacey in L. A. Confidential
Best Supporting Actress: Christina Ricci in The Ice Storm
Best Screenplay: Neil LaBute for In The Company Of Men
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins for Kundun
Best Music: (tie) Eleni Karaindrou for Ulysses’ Gaze and Michael Nyman for Gattaca
Best Production Design: (tie) Dan Weil for The Fifth Element and Jan Roelfs for Gattaca
Best Costume Design: Denise Cronenberg for Crash
Sominex Award: The Pillow Book
Dramamine Award: Con Air
Mechanical Actor: Billy Zane in Titanic
Mechanical Actress: Elisabeth Shue in Deconstructing Harry and The Saint


1998 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Gods And Monsters
Best Director: (tie) Bill Condon for Gods And Monsters and Todd Solondz for Happiness
Best Actor: Ian McKellen in Gods And Monsters
Best Actress: Christina Ricci in The Opposite Of Sex
Best Supporting Actor: Dylan Baker in Happiness
Best Supporting Actress: Lisa Kudrow in The Opposite Of Sex
Best Screenplay: Bill Condon for Gods And Monsters
Best Cinematography: Maryse Alberti for Happiness and Velvet Goldmine
Best Music: Carter Burwell for Gods And Monsters
Best Production Design: Thérèse DePrez for Happiness
Best Costume Design: Bruce Finlayson for Gods And Monsters
Sominex Award: Dangerous Beauty
Dramamine Award: Stepmom
Mechanical Actor: Bruce Willis in Armageddon, The Siege and Mercury Rising
Mechanical Actress: Jena Malone in Stepmom


1999 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Fight Club
Best Director: (tie) David Fincher for Fight Club and Spike Jonze for Being John Malkovich
Best Actor: Terence Stamp in The Limey
Best Actress: (tie) Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut and Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry
Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman in Magnolia and The Talented Mr. Ripley
Best Supporting Actress: Catherine Keener in Being John Malkovich
Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for Election
Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson for Bringing Out The Dead and Snow Falling On Cedars
Best Music: Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman for South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Best Production Design: Owen Paterson for The Matrix
Best Costume Design: Michael Kaplan for Fight Club
Sominex Award: The World Is Not Enough
Dramamine Award: The Green Mile
Mechanical Actor: Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
Mechanical Actress: Annette Bening in American Beauty


2000 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: L’ Humanite
Best Director: (tie) Terence Davies for The House Of Mirth and Jim Jarmusch for Ghost Dog: Way Of The Samurai
Best Actor: Forrest Whitaker in Ghost Dog: Way Of The Samurai
Best Actress: (tie) Severine Caneele in L’ Humanite and Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Best Supporting Actor: Jack Black in High Fidelity and Jesus’s Son
Best Supporting Actress: Lupe Ontiveros in Chuck And Buck
Best Screenplay: Kenneth Lonnergan for You Can Count On Me
Best Cinematography: Remi Adefarasin for The House Of Mirth
Best Music: RZA for Ghost Dog: Way Of The Samurai
Best Production Design: Gideon Ponte for American Psycho and Hamlet
Best Costume Design: Monica Howe for The House Of Mirth
Sominex Award: Mission Impossible 2
Dramamine Award: The Replacements (aka The Scabs)
Mechanical Actor: Ian Holm in Joe Gould’s Secret
Mechanical Actress: Charlize Theron in Reindeer Games


2001 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: The Werckmeister Harmonies
Best Director: Bela Tarr for The Werckmeister Harmonies
Best Actor: John Cameron Mitchell for Hedwig And The Angry Inch
Best Actress: Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive
Best Supporting Actor: Steve Buscemi in Ghost World
Best Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johansson in Ghost World and The Man Who Wasn’t There
Best Screenplay: Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff for Ghost World
Best Cinematography: (tie) Peter Deming for From Hell and Mulholland Drive and Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin for In The Mood For Love
Best Music: Mihály Vig for The Werckmeister Harmonies
Best Production Design: Edward T. McAvoy for Ghost World
Best Costume Design: Mary Zophres for Ghost World
Sominex Award:
Dramamine Award:
Mechanical Actor:
Mechanical Actress:


2002 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: (tie) Far From Heaven and The Son’s Room
Best Director: (tie) Todd Haynes for Far From Heaven and Aleksandr Sokurov for Russian Ark
Best Actor: Greg Kinnear in Auto Focus
Best Actress: (tie) Emmanuelle Devos in Read My Lips and Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven and Samantha Morton in Minority Report and Morvern Callar
Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Izzard in The Cat’s Meow
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Clarkson in Far From Heaven
Best Screenplay: Bill Condon for Chicago
Best Cinematography: Tilman Büttner for Russian Ark
Best Music: Elmer Bernstein for Far From Heaven
Best Production Design: Mark Friedberg for Far From Heaven
Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell for Far From Heaven and Gangs Of New York
Sominex Award: Naqoyqatsi
Dramamine Award: Bowling For Dollars
Mechanical Actor: Anthony Hopkins in Red Dragon
Mechanical Actress: Catherine Keener in Lovely And Amazing


2003 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Decasia
Best Director: Bill Morrison for Decasia
Best Actor: Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean
Best Actress: Hope Davis in American Splendor and The Secret Lives Of Dentists
Best Supporting Actor: Max Pirkis in Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World
Best Supporting Actress: Ludivine Sagnier in Swimming Pool
Best Screenplay: Shari Springer Bergman and Robert Pulcini for American Splendor
Best Cinematography: Peter Suschitzky for Spider
Best Music: Michael Gordon for Decasia
Best Production Design: Andrew Laws for Down With Love
Best Costume Design: Daniel Orlandi for Down With Love
Sominex Award:
Dramamine Award: In My Skin
Mechanical Actor: Anthony Hopkins in The Human Stain
Mechanical Actress: Nicole Kidman in The Human Stain


2004 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Kinsey
Best Director: Bill Condon for Kinsey
Best Actor: Ethan Hawke in Before Sunset
Best Actress: Laura Linney in Kinsey and P.S.
Best Supporting Actor: Peter Sarsgaard in Kinsey
Best Supporting Actress: Kirsten Dunst in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Best Screenplay: Bill Condon for Kinsey
Best Cinematography: Christopher Doyle for Hero, Last Life In The Universe and Days Of Being Wild
Best Music: Alberto Iglesias for Bad Education
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti for The Aviator
Best Costume Design: Emi Wada for Hero and House Of The Flying Daggers
Sominex Award: The Village
Dramamine Award: The Passion Of The Christ
Mechanical Actor: Cate Blanchett in The Aviator
Mechanical Actress: Anthony Hopkins in Alexander


2005 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Mysterious Skin
Best Director: Gregg Araki for Mysterious Skin
Best Actor: Joseph Gordon-Leavitt in Mysterious Skin
Best Actress: Maria Bello in A History Of Violence
Best Supporting Actor: Paddy Constantine in My Summer Of Love
Best Supporting Actress: Catherine Keener in Capote
Best Screenplay: Gregg Araki for Mysterious Skin
Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit for Good Night And Good Luck and Syriana
Best Music: Howard Shore for A History Of Violence
Best Production Design: William Chang Suk Ping for 2046
Best Costume Design: William Chang Suk Ping for 2046
Sominex Award: Saraband
Dramamine Award: Crash
Mechanical Actor: Tom Cruise for War Of The Worlds
Mechanical Actress: Dakota Fanning for War Of The Worlds 
Complete coverage of the 2005 IRAs here.


2006 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: L’Enfant
Best Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne for L’Enfant
Best Actor: Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson
Best Actress: Maggie Cheung in Clean
Best Supporting Actor: Anthony Mackie in Half Nelson
Best Supporting Actress: Carmen Maura in Volver
Best Screenplay: (tie) Guillermo Del Toro for Pan’s Labyrinth and Jean- Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne for L’Enfant
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki for Children Of Men
Best Production Design: Eugenio Caballero for Pan’s Labyrinth
Best Music: Philip Glass for Notes On A Scandal and The Illusionist
Best Costume Design: Sharon Davis for Dreamgirls
Sominex Award: The Da Vinci Code
Dramamine Award: Babel
Mechanical Actor: Robert Downey, Jr. in Fur and A Scanner Darkly
Mechanical Actress: Julianne Moore in Children Of Men 
Complete coverage of the 2006 IRAs here.


2007 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Best Director: Andrew Dominik for The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Best Actor: Casey Affleck in The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford and Gone Baby Gone
Best Actress: Marina Hands in Lady Chatterley
Best Supporting Actor: Paul Schneider in The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford and Lars And The Real Girl
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone
Best Screenplay: Corneliu Porumboiu for 12:08 East Of Bucharest
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins for The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, In The Valley Of Elah and No Country For Old Men
Best Production Design: Patricia Norris for The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Best Music: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis for The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Best Costume Design: Patricia Norris for The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Sominex Award: Youth Without Youth
Dramamine Award: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Mechanical Actor: John Travolta in Hairspray
Mechanical Actress: Meryl Streep in Lions For Lambs and Rendition 
Complete coverage of the 2007 IRAs here.


2008 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: The Edge Of Heaven
Best Director: Fatih Akin - The Edge Of Heaven
Best Actor: Michael Shannon - Shotgun Stories
Best Actress: Anamaria Marinca - 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Best Supporting Actor: Emile Hirsch - Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Hanna Schygulla - The Edge Of Heaven
Best Screenplay: Fatih Akin - The Edge Of Heaven
Best Cinematography: Jody Shapiro - My Winnipeg
Best Production Design: Rejean Labrie - My Winnipeg
Best Music: Carter Burwell for In Bruges and Burn After Reading
Best Costumes: Danny Glicker - Milk
Sominex: The Happening
Dramamine: The Reader
Mechanical Actor: Mark Wahlberg for The Happening
Mechanical Actress: Meryl Streep for Doubt 
Complete coverage of the 2008 IRAs here.


2009 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: Hunger
Best Director: Olivier Assayas - Summer Hours
Best Actor: Sharlto Copley - District 9
Best Actress: Catalina Saavedra - The Maid
Best Supporting Actor: Liam Cunningham - Hunger
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Faris - Observe And Report
Best Screenplay: Olivier Assayas - Summer Hours
Best Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt - Hunger
Best Production Design: Philip Ivey - District 9
Best Music: Marvin Hamlisch - The Informant!
Best Costumes: Janet Patterson - Bright Star
Sominex: Public Enemies
Dramamine: Anti-Christ
Mechanical Actor: Peter Sarsgaard for An Education
Mechanical Actress: Hilary Swank for Amelia


2010 IRA Film Award Winners
Best Picture: A Prophet/Un Prophete
Best Director: Jacques Audiard - A Prophet/Un Prophete
Best Actor: Edgar Ramirez - Carlos
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton - I Am Love
Best Supporting Actor: Niels Arestrup - A Prophet/Un Prophete
Best Supporting Actress: Dale Dickey - Winter's Bone
Best Screenplay: Thomas Bidegain and Jacques Audiard - A Prophet/Un Prophete
Best Cinematography: Yorick Le Saux - I Am Love
Best Production Design: Francesca Balestra Di Mottola - I Am Love
Best Music: John Adams - I Am Love
Best Costumes: Antonella Cannarozzi - I Am Love
Sominex: Cairo Time
Dramamine: Black Swan
Mechanical Actor: Vincent Cassel for Black Swan
Mechanical Actress: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
The Governor Scott Walker Award For Achievement In Political Thuggery: Waiting For "Superman" 
Complete coverage of the 2010 IRAs here.


2011 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS
Best Picture: The Tree Of Life
Best Director: Terrence Malick - The Tree Of Life
Best Actor: Peyman Moadi - A Separation
Best Actress: Leila Hatami - A Separation
Best Supporting Actor: Hunter McCracken - The Tree Of Life
Best Supporting Actress: Sareh Bayet - A Separation
Best Screenplay: Ashgar Farhadi - A Separation
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki - The Tree Of Life
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti - Hugo
Best Score: Alberto Iglesias - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Skin I Live In
Best Editing: Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber, Mark Yoshikawa - The Tree Of Life
Best Costumes: Jacqueline Durran - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): Midnight In Paris
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): The Help
Mechanical Actress: Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Mechanical Actor: Owen Wilson - Midnight In Paris 
Complete coverage of the 2011 IRAs here.


2012 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS
Best Picture: Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Best Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan - Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Best Actor: Jean-Louis Trintignant - Amour
Best Actress: Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea
Best Supporting Actor: Taner Birsel - Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Best Supporting Actress: Cecile De France - The Kid With A Bike
Best Screenplay: Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Ercan Kesal - Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Best Cinematography: Gokhan Tiryaki - Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Best Production Design: Arvinder Grewal - Cosmopolis
Best Score: Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin - Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Best Editing: Todd Woody Richman and Tyler H. Walk - How To Survive A Plague
Best Costumes: Kari Perkins - Bernie
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): (tie) Les Miserables and Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): The Intouchables
Mechanical Actress: Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Mechanical Actor: Russell Crowe - Les Miserables 
Complete coverage of the 2012 IRAs here.


2013 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS
Best Picture: Laurence Anyways
Best Director: Xavier Dolan for Laurence Anyways and I Killed My Mother
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix for Her
Best Actress: Hadas Yaron for Fill The Void
Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Bruhl for The Fifth Estate and Rush
Best Supporting Actress: Nathalie Baye for Laurence Anyways
Best Screenplay: Sarah Polley for Stories We Tell
Best Cinematography: Asaf Sudri for Fill The Void
Best Production Design: K.K. Barrett for Her
Best Score: (tie) Alex Ebert for All Is Lost and Arcade Fire for Her
Best Editing: Mike Munn for Stories We Tell
Best Costumes: Francois Barbeau, Xavier Dolan for Laurence Anyways
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): Faust
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): The Great Gatsby
Mechanical Actress: Meryl Streep for August: Osage County
Mechanical Actor: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club  
Complete coverage of the 2013 IRAs here. 


2014 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS
Best Picture: Nightcrawler
Best Director: Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler
Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler
Best Actress: Essie Davis for The Babadook
Best Supporting Actor: Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Best Supporting Actress: Agata Kulesza for Ida
Best Screenplay:  Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler
Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit for Nightcrawler and Inherent Vice
Best Production Design: Suzie Davies for Mr. Turner
Best Score: Mica Levi for Under The Skin
Best Editing: (tie) Simon Njoo for The Babadook; Jay Cassidy, Stuart Levy and Conor O'Neill for Foxcatcher
Best Costumes: (tie) Kasia Walicka-Maimone for Foxcatcher and A Most Violent Year (but not St. Vincent);       Jacqueline Durran for Mr. Turner
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): The Monuments Men
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): The Imitation Game
Mechanical Actress: Lilla Crawford for Into The Woods
Mechanical Actor: The Entire Cast of The Monuments Men  
Complete coverage of the 2014 IRAs here. 


2015 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS
Best Picture: Tangerine
Best Director: Miroslav Slaboshpytski for The Tribe
Best Actor: Jason Segel for The End Of The Tour 
Best Actress: (tie) Anne Dorval for Mommy
                   (tie) Kitana Kiki Rodriguez for Tangerine
Best Supporting Actor: Alexander Skarsgård for The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
Best Supporting Actress: Mya Taylor for Tangerine by acclamation
Best Nonfiction Film: In Jackson Heights 
Best Screenplay:  Donald Margulies for The End Of The Tour
Best Cinematography: Sean Baker and Radium Cheung for Tangerine
Best Production Design: (tie) Judy Becker for Carol
                                    (tie) Colin Gibson for Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Score: (tie) Junkie XL for Mad Max: Fury Road
                 (tie) Atticus Ross and Brian Wilson for Love And Mercy 
Best Editing: Sean Baker for Tangerine
Best Costumes: Shih-Ching Tsou for Tangerine
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): The Assassin
       Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): Chi-Raq
Mechanical Actress: Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl
Mechanical Actor: John Cusack for Chi-Raq and Love And Mercy 
Complete coverage of the 2015 IRAs here.


2016 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS

Best Picture: Moonlight
Best Director: Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Best Actor: Antonythasan Jesuthasan for Dheepan
Best Actress: Annette Bening for 20th Century Women
Best Supporting Actor: Ralph Fiennes for A Bigger Splash and Hail, Caesar!
Best Supporting Actress: Linda Emond for Indignation
Best Nonfiction Film: O.J.: Made In America
Best Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan for Hell Or High Water
Best Cinematography: James Laxton for Moonlight
Best Production Design: (tie) Craig Lathrop for The Witch
                                            (tie) Ryan Warren Smith for Green Room
Best Score: Nicholas Britell for Moonlight
Best Editing: Andrey Paperniy for Under The Sun
Best Costumes: Madeline Fontaine for Jackie
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): Girl On A Train
       Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): Nocturnal Animals
Mechanical Actress: Nicole Kidman for Lion
Mechanical Actor: Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals 
Complete coverage of the 2016 IRAs here.


2017 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS

Best Picture: BPM
Best Director: Robin Campillo for BPM
Best Actor: Michael Keaton for The Founder
Best Actress: Daniela Vega for A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica)
Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project
Best Supporting Actress: Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread
Best Nonfiction Film: Dawson City: Frozen Time
Best Screenplay:  Robert Siegel for The Founder
Best Cinematography: Alexis Zabe for The Florida Project
Best Production Design: Stephonik Youth for The Florida Project
Best Score: Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never for Good Time
Best Editing: Robin Campillo, Stéphanie Léger and Anita Roth for BPM
Best Costumes: Pascaline Chavanne for Frantz
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): The Post
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): mother!
Mechanical Actress: Emma Watson for Beauty and the Beast and The Circle
Mechanical Actor: James Franco for The Disaster Artist, et. al 
Complete coverage of the 2017 IRAs here.


2018 IRA FILM AWARD WINNERS 

Best Picture: Capernaum
Best Director: Nadine Labaki for Capernaum
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix for Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot; Mary Magdalene; The Sisters Brothers; You Were Never Really Here
Best Actress: Sakura Andô for Shoplifters
Best Supporting Actor: Brian Tyree Henry for Hotel ArtemisIf Beale Street Could Talk, Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse, White Boy Rick, Widows 
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Nonfiction Film: Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Best Screenplay:  Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuaron for Roma
Best Production Design: Eugenio Caballero for Roma
Best Score/Use Of Music: Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Editing: Nick Fenton, Chris Gill and Julian Hart for American Animals
Best Costumes: Caroline Eselin for If Beale Street Could Talk
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): On The Basis Of Sex
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): The Favourite
Mechanical Actress: Tilda Swinton for Suspiria 
Mechanical Actor: Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody 
Complete coverage of the 2018 IRAs here. 



IRA BEST PICTURE WINNERS

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Lipstick and The Marquise Of O (tie) (1976)
Annie Hall (1977)
Days Of Heaven (1978)
Fedora (1979)

The Big Red One (1980)
Cutter’s Way (1981)
Victor/Victoria (1982)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1983)
L’Argent and Once Upon A Time In America (tie) (1984)
Prizzi’s Honor (1985)
Eyes On The Prize (1986)
Housekeeping (1987)
Dead Ringers (1988)
Story Of Women (1989)

GoodFellas (1990)
The Man In The Moon (1991)
Raise The Red Lantern (1992)
Six Degrees Of Separation (1993)
Red (1994)
Exotica (1995)
La Ceremonie (1996)
Crash (the David Cronenberg film) and Grosse Pointe Blank (tie) (1997)
Gods And Monsters (1998)
Fight Club (1999)

L’ Humanite (2000)
The Werckmeister Harmonies (2001)
Far From Heaven and The Son’s Room (tie) (2002)
Decasia (2003)
Kinsey (2004)
Mysterious Skin (2005)
L’Enfant (2006)
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007)
The Edge Of Heaven (2008)
Hunger (2009)

A Prophet/Un Prophete (2010) 
The Tree Of Life (2011)
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2012)
Laurence Anyways (2013)
Nightcrawler (2014)
Tangerine (2015)
Moonlight (2016)
BPM (2017)
Capernaum (2018)



THE IRA AWARDS: THE TOP 100 FILMS OF THE 1940S

1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
2. Letter From An Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)
3. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
4. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
5. The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)
6. Shadow Of A Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)
7. Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)
8. It's A Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
9. To Have And Have Not (Howard Hawks, 1944)
10. The Palm Beach Story (Preston Sturges, 1942)

See the complete list of the Top 100 Films Of The 1940s here.


THE IRA AWARDS: THE TOP 100 FILMS OF THE 1950s

1. The Earrings of Madame de… (Max Ophüls, 1953)
2. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
4. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) 
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) 
6. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950) 
7. Anatomy of a Murder (Otto Preminger, 1959) 
8. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) 
9. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959) 
10. Pickpocket (Robert Bresson, 1959) 

See the complete list of the Top 100 Films Of The 1950s here. 


THE IRA AWARDS: THE TOP 100 FILMS OF THE 1960s

1. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
2. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
3. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
5. Chimes At Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)
6. Once Upon A Time In The West (Sergio Leone, 1968) 
7. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963) 
8. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964) 
9. When A Woman Ascends The Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960)
10. Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)....

See the complete list here.


THE IRA AWARDS: THE TOP 100 FILMS OF THE 1980s

Coming soon! Watch this space!


THE IRA AWARDS: THE BEST FILMS OF THE 2000s (voted in 2012)

1. The Son/Le Fils (Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, 2002)
2. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
3. Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)
4. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
5. The Edge Of Heaven (Fatih Akin, 2007) (tie)
    In The Mood For Love 
(Kar Wai Wong, 2000) (tie)
7. The Heart Of The World 
(Guy Maddin, 2001)
8. Mysterious Skin 
(Gregg Araki, 2004) (tie)
    Bus 174 
(José Padilha and Felipe Lacerda, 2002) (tie)
10. The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005) (tie)
      Head-On (Fatih Akin, 2004) (tie)
      Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) (tie)


THE IRA AWARDS: THE TOP 100 FILMS OF ALL TIME

1. The Rules Of The Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)
2. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
3. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
4. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
6. Letter From An Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)
7. The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
9. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)
10. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

See the complete list of the Top 100 Films Of All Time here.