The 30th Annual Nicky Awards

"Drive" Premiere - 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival

FAMOUS CANADIAN ACTOR/DIRECTOR RYAN GOSLING: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and hey girl, and welcome to the 30th Annual Nicky Awards. [Holds for thunderous applause from Hollywood’s biggest stars]

oscars-audience-2013FAMOUS CANADIAN ACTOR/DIRECTOR RYAN GOSLING: I’m very happy to be here tonight at entertainment’s preeminent event, the greatest and most compelling awards show and the only awards show that is completely correct and justified for sitting in judgement of art, the Nickys! Soon, we’ll hear from our host, the show’s creator, President and sole voting body, Nick Renkoski. [Holds for applause that is so staggering it makes the Kansas City Chief’s record breaking stadium noise of 2014 seem like a library for mutes].

But first, I just have to relay how honored I am to be here tonight. Yes, I’m sure you read about how I wasn’t exactly the Nickys first choice [holds for a knowing and polite chuckling from the audience which has a strong undertone of saying “We don’t need your jokes. Just shut the fuck up, guy, we’re here to see Nick Renkoski, not to watch you flap your gums”]. First they wanted Robert Downey, Jr, a longtime friend of Nick’s. Nick was, in fact, Bob’s best man though it should be mentioned that Bob didn’t get within sniffing distance of Nick’s wedding party. But, unfortunately, RDJ was in a contract he couldn’t get out of. Same deal with Brad Pitt, Nick’s great buddy and school mate at the University of Missouri. Nick was asked to name about half of Brad and Angie’s kids. Then they asked Beyoncé, who learned how to love from Nick Renkoski, but she is hard at work at her new album, which has the working title of The Man Who Taught Me How to Love and is dedicated to Nick. Then they were going to create a hologram of Francois Truffaut and have him host but the technology never worked out. I do want to clear up right now, despite what Mr. Williams has been saying lately, Brian was not asked nor has he ever hosted this show. Then they came to me and, like I said, I’ve never been more honored. Of course,  I’m honored just to be anywhere, really. I’ve not shared this publicly but about a year ago I was diagnosed with a rare and fatal throat disease that comes from a lifetime of not eating your cereal. I was told I had three, maybe four months. The next day, the very next day, I was contacted by the Nickys to host the show, I told them I’d think about it, knowing that I’d be cold in the ground by then. A week later at my check-up, the doctors said that the disease was completely gone from my system. Actually, what they said was, and I quote, “These types of things, these miracles, only occur in Nick Renkoski-related incidents. Have you had any contact with Nick lately?” So, thank you, Nick Renkoski. Thank you.

[holds for a vociferous ovation that shows a genuine appreciation for a worker of true miracles]

In fact, Nick’s healing powers have become so legendary, a number of people have decided that, with Nick around, there is no need to vaccinate their children. Nick Renkoski would like to make it clear that he does not condone that reckless behavior. [Holds for the feeling of a great relief. A relief that, at Nick’s simple request, a nation comes to his senses and knocks that shit off]

While we’re at clearing up controversies that shouldn’t be controversies, Nick would like to remind everyone that dinosaurs were real. [Holds for the state of kansas to fall off the map]

Ok, let’s get on with the show. brendan-fraserFAMOUS CANADIAN ACTOR/DIRECTOR RYAN GOSLING: Before Nick comes out and we have our awards, we need to take a solemn moment to remember those we’ve lost. [Holds as a screen descends from the ceiling. The video plays as cellist Zoe Keating, pianist Mitsuko Uchida and soloist Diana Damrau tastefully perform Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14. On the screen are the images of Joe Cocker, Mike Nichols, Jimmy Ruffin, Sir Richard Attenborough, Jan Hooks, Lauren Bacall, Don Pardo, Carlo Bergonzi, Robin Williams, James Garner, Elaine Stritch, Tommy Ramone, Paul Mazursky, Bobby Womack, Gerry Goffin, Horace Silver, Eli Wallach, Ruby Dee, Gordon Willis, Harold Ramis, Bob Hoskins, Sid Caesar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Phil Everly and others. The entire theater becomes poignantly sad]bluevalentine-ryangosling-portable

FAMOUS CANADIAN ACTOR/DIRECTOR RYAN GOSLING: [Wiping a tear from his eye] That was beautiful.

And now, for the moment we’ve been waiting for, Nicky founder, President and sole voting body, as well as my personal ab mentor–Mr. Nick Renkoski. [Holds for an initially muted applause as the audience still grips with their recent reminder of mortality and puts their phones away after googling Carlo Bergonzi. When Nick Renkoski does appear, however, donning a tuxedo that can reverse climate change and makes Famous Canadian Actor/Director Ryan Gosling look like he’s still auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club, the audience is moved in away that cannot be described in words but only in binary code. The audience’s thunderous reaction can only be described as 01010111 01100101 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00101110 00100000 01010111 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110011 01101111 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110000 01110000 01111001 00101110. Andrea Bocelli, seated in the back for being a talentless snake oil salesmen for lonely, middle-aged women can be heard screaming, “I can see! I can see!” (a fact that Nick Renkoski has always believed to be true, you shameless liar). Helen Mirren begins speaking in tongues. Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry see a flash of light and promise never to trade in cultural appropriation ever again. The three women, despite being seated in disparate parts of the auditorium, bond over the fact that, just by being in the same room with Nick Renkoski, they are irrevocably pregnant. John Travolta’s head explodes. People who never understood why Prince is great suddenly do. The room makes Oprah’s Favorite Things show look like a Soviet Draft Board]

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NICK RENKOSKI: [After an ovation that is as long as The Theory of Everything felt] Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Ryan.

FAMOUS CANADIAN ACTOR/DIRECTOR RYAN GOSLING: No, thank you. Hey, I was hoping we might get dinner sometime…

NICK RENKOSKI: That sounds pretty good but I’m really busy these days and…

FAMOUS CANADIAN ACTOR/DIRECTOR RYAN GOSLING: Well, it’s just that Eva and I would really like to get…

NICK RENKOSKI: Yeah, great, talk to my secretary, we’ll schedule something. Just relax, alright. Ladies and gentleman, thank you all for being here. It’s always such a joy to be joined with colleagues to toast the cinematic year. And what a year it’s been! You know, two years ago I stood on this stage and noted that the year was marked by a number of noble and ambitious failures. Last year, I noticed that many of the best movies had the unthinking consequences of dumb fealty to economic excess as their subject. This year, I look around at the strong roster of very good movies and see no pattern. The year’s best movies were distinguished individually, very few coming together to form a common message. We had big Hollywood blockbusters with original thoughts and ideas, we had small, independent releases telling stories in ways that have never been tried before or never attempted in quite that way, we have movies set in the real past about present day and we have movies set in a past that never existed about present day but none of them repeat each other, reinforce each other, bond with each other.

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NICK RENKOSKI: Friends, this type of diversity is good. It’s good that we don’t have a cinematic year defined by one or two characteristics. It’s good that artists are working independently, both with huge budgets and with shoestrings to produce good work about all subjects. There was nothing in the water this year, we were treated to new idea after new idea and that is a good sign for the health of an industry that has come under increasing cultural attack. True, we were still bludgeoned by noise in the summer and by sanctimonious mush in the winter but the Nickys are only about the best in film for a given year and the best said something new every time we went to the theater. This is good news. I found things to like from the big budget spectacles to the Sundance crowd. Even the Oscars seem to have reflected my taste this year [Holds for derisive boos at the mere mention of an inferior awards show but the boos this year are tinged with a little disquiet as the audience privately worries that Nick’s alignment with the Oscars may mean the old man is losing his edge a little]. Now, let’s get to the awards.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

NICK RENKOSKI: First, the Nicky for Best Supporting Actor goes to Josh Brolin in Inherent Vice!

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NICK RENKOSKI: Brolin’s hilarious turn as the flat-topped ying to Joaquin Phoenix’s longhaired yang was a mess of manic energy shoved into a body and mind that could sense that his time was ending but couldn’t bring himself to accept it. Wonderful work from Josh. Next, the Nicky for Best Supporting Actress goes to Patricia Arquette in Boyhood. 

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NICK RENKOSKI: Arquette gave the performance of the year in Boyhood. In fact, she gave the performance of the last 12 years, amirite? [Holds for sycophantic laughter that is underlined with nearly audible groans of “Yeah, we get it, the movie took 12 years to make. We’ve all heard it.”] She was so sensitive, so wounded and vulnerable and yet so strong and determined, she did the rarest thing of all–turning in a non-flashy, pitch-perfect performance that has won everything under the sun and has deserved every piece of hardware. Let’s add a Nicky to that list. Congratulations, Patricia!

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NICK RENKOSKI: And now for Best Actor. This was a terribly difficult decision this year with fantastic performances from David Oyelowo in Selma and Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler but my vote, which is, as a reminder, the only one that counts, went to Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

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NICK RENKOSKI: Fiennes did all the things he needed to do to win this award. His delightful turn made the movie go, he was spectacularly deft with the material, handling Wes Anderson’s script with aplomb while adding subtle things with what turned out to be a surprisingly physical performance. Best of all, the movie he was in didn’t even hint at insulting President Lyndon Johnson so all the prizes for you! All of them!

Before we get to the top ten movies of the year, our final award is for Best Actress. This year, the Nicky goes to Hilary Swank in The Homesman.

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NICK RENKOSKI: Swank was perfect in Tommy Lee Jones’ underseen Western, her forceful but understated performance made a rich movie that much richer and was a revelation in period acting. Congratulations to Hilary and to all of our winners. Well done.

Ok, pizza time!

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NICK RENKOSKI: And now for the top ten movies of the year. This was a strong year in which some very good movies didn’t make the cut including the flawed but powerful Selma, the ambitious Interstellar, the delightfully zany Big Eyes, the delightfully and excitingly zany Edge of Tomorrow and the delightfully and bafflingly zany Inherent Vice. I also want to shed light on Snowpiercer, the best action movie of the year.

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10. The Immigrant – James Grey
This austere melodrama dripped with opera both in its subject and on a soundtrack that featured a score that dipped heavily into Gounod and Puccini. It was a music-soaked tragedy that had all the power of a great stage drama but had the taste and skill to be handle the realism of film.

Film Review Under the Skin

9. Under the Skin – Jonathan Glazer
I can’t pretend that I understand everything about this baffling creeper but I know that the movie played like a nightmare on acid that had me on the edge of my seat even if I couldn’t exactly tell you why. Haunting and unforgettable.

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8. Foxcatcher – Bennett Miller
This disturbing look at competition and respect was distinguished by its intensity and its towering performances. An unsettling portrait of an unhinged mind and the prestige that money can’t buy.

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7. The Homesman – Tommy Lee Jones
This Western was almost laughably bleak but its refusal to romanticize pioneer living while recognizing the nobility in cold survivalism made it one of the best movies of the year.

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6. Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy
This tense dark comedy about the things that come out at night had a terrific sense of pace and a terrific lead performance by Gyllenhaal, channelling Patrick Bateman as an insidiously cheery, bromide-spewing unpleasantry. The movie was able to build a scenario in which we had characters we despised yet still rooted for creating a multi-layered tension.

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5. A Most Violent Year – J.C. Chandor
Chandor’s spare and lean story about the balance between ambition and compassion managed to make the heating oil business seem interesting while creating a family and personal drama that almost unequaled in 2014.

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4. Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro González Iñárritu
This visual and narrative tour de force gets docked just a little for it’s title (the subtitle is pointless but forgivable, however, the dangling “or” bothers me to no end) but gets many points for creating an 8 1/2 for 2014 while adding a vision all of its own. In a year in which a movie took 12 years to make, Birdman might be the might be the most ambitious picture of the year.

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3. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson
Anderson’s delightful confection was a welcome slice of cake that showed a Europe that never was but perhaps should have been. Adding to Anderson’s usual mix of frenzied and clever quirkiness and impeccable design was a subtle darkness about intolerance and authoritarianism.

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2. Boyhood – Richard Linklater
Forget about the 12 years. First, its not a gimmick, and second, this movie would be every bit the masterpiece it is without that scrap of behind the scenes trivia. Oh, what a sensitive and observant movie this is! Full of warmth and the very things that make up a life. The Up Series has gone down this road, but here is a fiction movie that tells a great story while fully using the unique abilities of the medium.

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1. Ida – Paweł Pawlikowski
No other picture moved me as much as this stunningly beautiful powerhouse. The way it was able to stay so specific and yet feel so universal was absolutely worth celebrating as was its perfect mixture of craft, performance and story. This movie is quiet but if you open your heart to it, it will hit you like a drum.

So that, ladies and gentlemen are the top ten movies of what has been a very good year. Thanks, as always, for coming, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and we’ll see you next year. Don’t forget your gift bags under your seats! [As Nick Renkoski leaves the stage to a cacophonous round of applause which lasts so long that it has to consult a doctor, celebrities and heads of state look under their seats to receive the most thoughtful and wonderful gifts, gifts that change people’s lives and alter the course of history. Some people receive physical objects, others, like in The Wizard of Oz, receive the realization that courage was inside of them all along, Kanye West. Justin Bieber receives a swift punch in the face. The women are presented with a check that has the value of 18 years worth of child support with a note that reads “My sincerest apologies, I wish I could enter a room and not make you pregnant by my sheer presence but alas, I cannot. I have no control over my virility. Please know that I will care for the child as best I can but that I have and ever shall remain faithful to my wonderful wife, Liz. Thank you for understanding and buy that baby some Lincoln Logs!–NR” All of the women, including Dame Judi Dench, for whom a pregnancy is frankly dangerous, tear up their checks in appreciation. When the scene is over and the seats are empty only Terrence Malick remains, muttering “I have seen true beauty in the world. There are no more films to make.”]

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