It may not be what you think.
By the James Agee Cinema Circle
Los Angeles, Jan. 18, 2012 – The James Agee Cinema Circle announces the 5th annual “Progie” Award nominees for 2012’s Best Progressive Films and Filmmakers. Nominees this year include: George Clooney; Viggo Mortensen; a documentary featuring Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and other Black activists; and the Iranian film A Separation.
The Progies are the “un-Oscar”, the people’s “alternative Academy Awards.” The Progies honor movies and talents of conscience and consciousness in a variety of categories named after artists and films that are pro-people, pro-working class, pro-women, pro-gay, pro-environment, pro-human rights, anti-war, anti-racist, anti-fascist, etc. Voters can nominate up to five films/filmmakers per category (although due to ties there may be more nominees in categories, especially for The Langlois, as JACC hopes to spread awareness of and interest in films that have not had a U.S. theatrical release).
Previous Progie award winners have included Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters, Michael Moore, Che, British director Ken Loach, Waltz With Bashir, James Cameron’s Avatar, Sean Penn and Milk.
The Progies are presented by the James Agee Cinema Circle, an international group of left film critics and historians dedicated to advancing the cause of progressive cinema and filmmakers. JACC members are available for interviews, including Ed Rampell, author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States and co-founder of HollywoodProgressive.com, Bill Meyer, film critic for the People’s World and HollywoodProgressive.com; and Hollywood Reporter film critic Stephen Farber, the host of “Reel Talk.”
2012 PROGIE NOMINATIONS
THE TRUMBO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for “Spartacus” and “Exodus” in 1960.
The Help; Le Havre; The Time That Remains; A Better Life.
THE GARFIELD: The Progie Award for BEST ACTOR in a progressive picture is named after John Garfield, who rose from the proletarian theatre to star in progressive pictures such as “Gentleman's Agreement” and “Force of Evil,” only to run afoul of the Hollywood Blacklist.
Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur ); Demián Bichir (A Better Life); George Clooney (The Descendants); Viggo Mortensen (A Dangerous Method).
KAREN MORLEY AWARD: The Progie Award for BEST ACTRESS in a film portraying women in a progressive picture is named for Karen Morley, co-star of 1932’s “Scarface” and 1934’s “ Our Daily Bread.” Morley was driven out of Hollywood in the 1930s for her leftist views, but maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for New York’s Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.
Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo); Jessica Chastain (The Debt).
THE RENOIR: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-WAR FILM is named after the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who directed the 1937 anti-militarism masterpiece “Grand Illusion.”
In The Land of Blood and Honey ; War Horse.
THE GILLO: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN FILM is named after the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who lensed the 1960s classics “The Battle of Algiers” and “Burn!”
Le Havre (France); The Time That Remains (France); A Separation (Iran).
THE DZIGA: The Progie Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARY is named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed 1920s nonfiction films such as the “Kino Pravda” (“Film Truth”) series and “The Man With the Movie Camera.”
Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975; Project Nim; We Were Here.
OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: The Progie Award for the MOST POSITIVE AND INSPIRING WORKING CLASS SCREEN IMAGE.
Le Havre; Albert Nobbs.
THE ROBESON: The Progie Award for the BEST PORTRAYAL OF PEOPLE OF COLOR that shatters cinema stereotypes, in light of their historically demeaning depictions onscreen. It is named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson, who starred in 1936’s “Song of Freedom” and 1940’s “The Proud Valley,” and narrated 1942’s “Native Land.”
The Help; Le Havre; London River; Mooz-Lum; Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975; Pariah.
THE SERGEI: The Progie Award for LIFETIME PROGRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT ON- OR OFFSCREEN is named after Sergei Eisenstein, the Soviet director of masterpieces such as “Potemkin” and “10 Days That Shook the World.”
Sean Penn; Raul Ruiz; George Clooney.
THE BUNUEL: The Progie Award for the MOST SLYLY SUBVERSIVE SATIRICAL CINEMATIC FILM in terms of form, style and content is named after Luis Bunuel , the Spanish surrealist who directed 1929’s “The Andalusian Dog,” 1967’s “Belle de Jour” and 1972’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”
Potiche; Carnage; Hugo; The Artist.
THE PASOLINI: The Progie Award for BEST PRO-GAY RIGHTS film is named after Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who directed 1964's “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” and “The Decameron” and “The Canterbury Tales” in the 1970s.
THE LAWSON: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILM is named after John Howard Lawson, screenwriter of 1938’s anti-Franco “Blockade” and the 1940s anti-nazi films “Four Sons,” “Action in the North Atlantic,” “Sahara” and “Counter-Attack,” and one of the Hollywood Ten.
The Debt; Sarah’s Key .
THE LANGLOIS: For BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE DESERVING THEATRICAL RELEASE IN THE US and distribution in other countries and platforms is named after film archivist Henri Langlois, co-founder of Paris’ Cinémathèque.
Carre Blanc; Omar Killed Me; Vapor Trail; Land of Opportunity; Jesus Was a Communist (Matthew Modine); Cinema Komunisto; Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up; Vito; Green; She Monkeys; You Hurt My Feelings; Without; Asmaa (Egypt); The Sleeping Voice (Spain); Le Skylab (France); The Loving Story; Ispansi; Boleto a Paraiso (Ticket to Paradise); Granito: How To Nail a Dictator; Escribeme Postales A Copacabana (Write Me Postcards to Copacabana).