1917 wins the Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Film

Sam Mendes’ World War I drama beat out tough competitors to gain a major boost in the awards conversation.

After wowing first audiences with its technical mastery and a career performance by George MacKay, Sam Mendes’ Illusion of One Hit, the WWI drama entered awards season with a late twist. Released in theaters last week, the film was propelled into a crowded area that included films like “The Irishman,” “Joker” and “Marriage Story,” which already had weeks (if not months) of screening and time. stop to their credit. .

It doesn’t matter, though, because Mendes ‘latest addition took home the win in arguably the Golden Globes’ most vaunted category: Best Picture, Drama. The film beat a trio of Netflix entries for the big win, including Martin Scorsese’s latest mafia epic “The Irishman,” Noah Baumbach’s two-handed divorce drama “Marriage Story” and the much-loved “ The Two Popes “. The film’s victory also dashed hopes for Todd Phillips’ super-villainous drama “Joker,” which has continued to gain momentum in the awards conversation since it dominated Venice in September.

At this year’s ceremony, filmmaker Mendes took home the award for best director, an honor he had already won in 2000 with his “American Beauty” (he was also nominated for his work on “Revolutionary Road” in 2009, ultimately losing to Danny Boyle for his “Slumdog Millionaire”. ”). “1917” was also nominated for Best Original Score, thanks to contributions from Hollywood mainstay Thomas Newman.

In IndieWire’s first review of the film, the “one-shot” vanity of “1917” was hailed as essential to its power. This writer wrote: “Designed to approximate a one-shot odyssey through the depravity and utter terror of WWI, Mendes’ last is built on a savage bet of a storytelling technique, as it follows Blake and Schofield through the entirety of their mission madness. And while “one-take” vanity isn’t new – movies as different as “Birdman” and “Rope” have used it over the years, and these are just the best-known examples – Mendes “1917” exploits it into something fresh; not just a mechanism to create tension, it plunges viewers into the utter unpredictability of wartime life.

Although the film didn’t arrive in theaters until the December holiday week, the first screenings from critics proved to be the way to increase its visibility. The pre-Thanksgiving screenings elicited a variety of remarkable reactions, ranging from comparisons to other war epics to admiration for his many technical accomplishments.

The single-take illusion serves the story simple (with all the technical wizardry required, “you don’t need any bells and whistles in the script,” co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns said) as we let’s follow the immersive action for two hours of uninterrupted sequences of seven to ten minutes are linked with art. The movie has a handful of smart cuts, including a lengthy blackout scene that pushes it from day to night, just when it’s needed most, but it mostly comes across as a daring single-take epic.

The actors rehearsed and stuck on a London stage with boxes. Once in France, the team precisely timed the pre-planned sequences – at which point production designer Dennis Gassner designed and built on site to match, including miles of winding trenches. For cameramen (and famed cinematographer Roger Deakins), that meant sliding through mud, getting bombed and beaten, as they seamlessly switched from high-tech remote-controlled devices to special SteadiCam platforms according to the needs.

Mendes dedicates the film to his grandfather Alfred, who served in World War I and didn’t talk about it for 50 years, until he shared stories with his grandchildren. One was about a man with a message, which formed the seed for Mendes’ first script (yes, really!). He wrote the movie with Wilson-Cairns (“Penny Dreadful”) at the behest of his longtime CAA agent Beth Swofford, who told him after the back-to-back Bond films “Skyfall” and “Specter”, “Get off. of your ass and write something yourself.

The film’s technical merits are endless, and IndieWire’s Anne Thompson predicts a shower of Oscar nominations in the coming days. After an initial screening, Thompson said the film “will jump at the helm of an overcrowded group of Oscar nominees and land likely nominations for directing, cinematography, picture, score, mixing and editing of the film. sound and production design “. With a Golden Globe victory, there are probably even more accolades to come.

It’s worth pointing out that HFPA voters are not Academy members, which means there is no overlap between the voting bodies that decide Golden Globe winners and Oscar winners. While the Best Picture in Film award will boost its visibility as a serious Oscar contender, films’ greater chances of Oscar winning will be defined by scores of “1917” at this year’s Guild Awards.

Check out the full list of Golden Globe winners here.

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