Welcome to my first annual Tawfik Zone Awards segment, which I am affectionately calling “The Toffees.” I feel that too many categories are left out of your typical award show so I’m hoping to remedy that. I’m covering everything from “Best Voice Over” to “Greatest Subtext” to “Biggest Disappointment.” Just to level the playing field, I’m only taking films into consideration; if we threw TV in this could become a 15 page term paper… Now onward to the awards!
Our first category is actor who got completely snubbed this season and the nominees are…Chris Evans, Captain America Winter Solider … Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel… and Dave Bautista… Guardians of the Galaxy. The winner could be any of these three men because let’s face it, bringing a comic book character to life is no easy feat and the fact that they aren’t taken seriously by the Academy is bullshit.
However in this case the award goes to Ralph Fiennes. M. Gustave is more than just another, run of the mill, precocious Wes Anderson creation. When you sit down and think about it he’s a rather seedy individual but you can’t help but like him and a great part of that is because of Fiennes’ performance.
Naturally following is actress who got completely snubbed this season and the nominees are Emily Blunt, Into the Woods… Oprah Winfrey, Selma… Angelina Jolie, Maleficent. Again another tough call, Amy Adams almost made it into the category as well, but since she won a Golden Globe I figured we owed to the other ladies to give them a chance. This is also a tough category because we simply need more females in major roles. Not just the teen dystopian flicks, but in general, we need more women.
The Toffee goes to, Oprah. Not just because she is a woman of color, she delivers a stellar performance in what could have ended up being another plain old bio-pic. We tip our hats to you. (Also, I’m secretly hoping that she’ll give me a free car).
Greatest achievement in voice acting is an award in a field that is often over-looked. You don’t remember the “Empire Today” number because you studied the yellow pages, but because of a charming voice over that gets that damn jingle stuck in your head. Voice over has also given us a sound to go with of our most iconic and beloved characters, like Mel Blanc who gave life to so many of the Looney Tunes.
Here are this year’s nominees. Will Arnett, The Lego Movie… Allison Brie, The Lego Movie… Jay Baruchel, How to Train your Dragon 2… Bradley Cooper, Guardians of the Galaxy… Vin Diesel, Guardians of the Galaxy… and Sara Takatsuki, When Marnie Was There…
And the Toffee goes to… Vin Diesel for his role as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. Although the character speaks very few words, he conveys various emotions from joy, to displeasure to confusion through three simple words.
While often times we go to films to see a story and maybe learn a few lessons along the way, some films seek to give their audience a deeper sense of enrichment. Sometimes the intentions of a film are right out on the surface in plain view, but often times, even deeper messages are embedded within the context of a film. Here are the nominations for “Greatest Subtext,” in film. Maleficent… Captain America: The Winter Soldier… and 22 Jump Street…
And the winner is… 22 Jump Street, the entire film self parodies in a way that is completely aware that it is a sequel, which more often and not are designed simply to make more money and if you need proof of this watch the end credits where they run through every possible scenario for a sequel that could think of.
Maleficent was nominated for that scene in the woods, you know the one where she spends the night with a man only to have been drugged and wake up the next morning to find her body mutilated… don’t know how they got past the Disney Censors with that one. And Captain America is a giant piece about living in a post 9/11 world, pretty deep for your average super hero fare.
Next we have the Leonardo DiCaprio Award, this honor goes to an actor or actress who has shown a great body of work through their years in acting, but has yet to walk home with an Oscar. This year it goes to Edward Norton who has been nominated three times in films we may not have liked… -cough-Birdman-cough- but who usually delivers an entertaining performance regardless of the role or film.
Now to our version of the Razzies… films that made us feel the exact opposite way a film is supposed to. Whether it’s being hyped up and ultimately ends in failure, does some sort of disservice to whatever it’s aiming to reboot or just makes you wonder why you sat in film school when these schmucks are rolling in it. The nominees for Biggest Disappointment are… The Giver… A Million Ways to Die in the West… … The Amazing Spiderman 2… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… and The Interview.
And the winner is, The Giver because deep down we knew the other nominees could potentially turn out badly. The Giver demonstrated a new kind of bad by trying to squish an award winning book into its cookie cutter mold of the teen dystopian story that now has to have a romantic love triangle. I expected better from Jeff Bridges, The Dude…
On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, we have the Film that Surprised us award. This goes to a film that exceeded all expectation, and we mean that in a good way. The nominees are The Lego Movie… Big Eyes… and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
And the award rightfully, once and for all, goes to The Lego Movie!
And our last Toffee is a very special award, the Meryl Streep award… which goes to none other than Meryl Streep. Now to be honest I liked her in Into the Woods, probably not my favorite thing she’s done. This is going to sound like an oxymoron but I wish the Academy would take comedy more seriously. She was brilliant in Death Becomes Her and I will stand by that.