The 2008 Chizfilm Awards Chizfilm Movie Reviews
February 25, 2009

The 2008 Chizfilm Awards: Oh, the Anticipation Has Been Building!

by Jonathan Chisdes

Okay, okay; stop pestering me. I know the annual Chizfilm Awards are supposed to be out before the Oscars but, well, my girlfriend comes first. I love you, my readers, but I love Debbie more.

So yes, I’m a few days behind, but now they are here. On with the Chizfilm Awards…

For the benefit of my new readers, I give out awards at the beginning of every year to the best filmmakers and actors for their work the previous year. Unlike the Academy Awards, the point is not to foster competition but rather to recognize excellence and encourage all to view the best films of the year, at least in my biased opinion. Now, there’s no monetary award associated with the Chizfilm Awards, however the honor is so prestigious that it may help a filmmaker finance his next independent project or get actors cast in their next major roll.

The rules are simple. To qualify for a Chizfilm Award in one of the fifteen categories, a film must have been shown in a theater or on television in the US during the year 2008, but not in a previous year. Also, the film must have been seen by me. This year I managed to see 48 feature films. They are: “21,” “August Evening,” “The Band’s Visit,” “Be Kind Rewind,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “Burn after Reading,” “Chicago 10,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Dark Knight,” “Defiance,” “Doubt,” “Elegy,” “Flow,” “Hamlet 2,” “Hancock,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Jellyfish,” “Lake City,” “Lakeview Terrace,” “Mamma Mia!” “Man on Wire,” “Milk,” “My Life Inside,” “Prince of Broadway,” “Recount,” “Religulous,” “Reprise,” “Revolutionary Road,” “Seven Pounds,” “Sixty Six,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Smart People,” “Swing Vote,” “Synecdoche, New York,” “To See If I’m Smiling,” “Towelhead,” “Tropic Thunder,” “Valkyrie,” “Vantage Point,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “The Visitor,” “W.” “Waltz with Bashir,” “War, Inc.” “Waterlilies,” “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.”

I know the anticipation is killing everyone, so I’ll just shut up now, instead of going on and on in detail about how and why the awards are chosen, and just get right to the heart of the matter.

The winners of the 2008 Chizfilm Awards are:

Best Effects: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” (Runners up: “The Dark Knight,” “Hancock,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Synecdoche, New York,” “Tropic Thunder,” and “Waltz with Bashir.”)

Best Cinematography: “Slumdog Millionaire.” (Runners up: “The Dark Knight,” “Lakeview Terrace,” “Mamma Mia!” “Revolutionary Road,” and “Vantage Point.”)

Best Ensemble: “The Band’s Visit.” (Runners up: “Tropic Thunder,” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”)

Best Comedy: “Tropic Thunder.” (Runners up: “The Band’s Visit,” “Hamlet 2,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” and “War, Inc.”)

Best Jewish Film: “Sixty Six.” (Runners up: “The Band’s Visit,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “To See If I’m Smiling,” and “Waltz with Bashir.”)

Best Short: “Clean Freak.” (Runners up: “The Beekeeper,” “Make My Day,” “The Response,” and “Teat Beat of Sex.”)

Best Supporting Female Actor: Samantha Morton for “Synecdoche, New York.” (Runners up: Hiam Abbass for “The Visitor,” Penélope Cruz for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” Ronit Elkabetz for “The Band’s Visit,” and Kerry Washington for “Lakeview Terrace.”)

Best Supporting Male Actor: Saleh Bakri for “The Band’s Visit.” (Runners up: Javir Bardem for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” Jason Bateman for “Hancock,” Aaron Eckhart for “Towelhead,” Philip Seymour Hoffman for “Doubt,” Heath Ledger for “The Dark Knight,” Diego Luna for “Milk,” Eddie Marsan for “Happy-Go-Lucky,” and David Thewlis for “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.”)

Best Underage Actor: Asa Butterfield for “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas.” (Runners up: Madeline Carroll for “Swing Vote,” and Gregg Sulkin for “Sixty Six.”)

Best Female Actor: Kate Winslet for “Revolutionary Road.” (Runners up: Summer Bishil for “Towelhead,” Sally Hawkins for “Happy-Go-Lucky,” and Meryl Streep for “Doubt.”)

Best Male Actor: Richard Jenkins for “The Visitor.” (Runners up: Josh Brolin for “W.,” Pedro Casteneda for “August Evening,” Leonardo DiCaprio for “Revolutionary Road,” Philip Seymour Hoffman for “Synecdoche, New York,” Samuel L. Jackson for “Lakeview Terrace,” Ben Kingsley for “Elegy,” Sean Penn for “Milk,” and Brad Pitt for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”)

Best Director: Neil LaBute for “Lakeview Terrace.” (Runners up: Woody Allen for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” David Fincher for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Charlie Kaufman for “Synecdoche, New York,” Oliver Stone for “W.” and Gus Van Sant for “Milk.”)

Best Documentary: “Religulous.” (Runners up: “Flow,” “My Life Inside,” “To See if I’m Smiling,” and “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?”)

Best Foreign Film: “The Band’s Visit.” (Runners up: “My Life Inside,” “To See If I’m Smiling,” and “Waltz with Bashir.”)

Best Feature: “Hamlet 2.” (Runners up: “The Band’s Visit,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “Doubt,” “Milk,” “Synecdoche, New York,” “Tropic Thunder,” and “War, Inc.”)

Congratulations to all the winners and also to all the runners up! In some of the categories, I admit, it was a really tough choice; the difference between the winner and a runner up might have been a small subjective hair. So don’t take the concept of winner over runner up too seriously. If it got so much as a mention here, it’s a performance worth watching. If you haven’t seen anything that was listed above, it’s definitely worth your while to check it out. Most are now out on DVD or will be soon.

And now, on to 2009.

Return to Chizfilm Movie Reviews where you are welcome to leave comments.