The Golden Steves: the good alternative to the Oscars

My nephew Steven, a film buff about to get his master’s in film at Columbia, annually nominates his picks for the “Golden Steve” awards, which he humbly describes thusly:

Far and away the most coveted of motion picture accolades, Golden Steves are frequently described as the Oscars without the politics.Impervious to bribery, unreceptive to ballyhoo, disgusted by sentiment and riddled with integrity, this committee of one might legitimately be termed “fair-mindedness incarnate.” Over 160 of the year’s most acclaimed features were screened prior to the compilation of this ballot. Winners will be announced Saturday, January 28th.

You can find his choices here.

Of his “best picture” awards, I’ve seen but two (my moviegoing has been scant this year): “Certified Copy” and “The Tree of Life”.  As I’ve posted before, I find the first one brilliant and the second execrable.  We’ve of course had huge arguments about “The Tree of Life,” but he’s recalcitrant.


  1. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “We’ve of course had huge arguments about “The Tree of Life,” but he’s recalcitrant.”

    And you’re not? L

    • Dominic
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink


      • Linda Grilli Calhoun
        Posted January 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        I admit it. I laughed out loud when I read that. L

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 26, 2012 at 1:54 am | Permalink


    • Posted January 26, 2012 at 3:51 am | Permalink

      And so he should be. The crude adolescent phase of scepticism.

  2. FTFKDad
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Sir, did you try yet “The Ledge”? (atheist/christian drama with Liv Tyler and Terrence Howard). Can highly recommend it.

    • microraptor
      Posted January 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      That movie was terrible.

  3. Susan Mears
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    This “kid” is spot-on. He knows what he’s talking about!

  4. Scote
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    “The Tree of Life”?

    Uhg. I can’t believe I sat through the whole thing. Two plus hours of execrable experimental babble. Another boring and long winded homage to directorial ego.

    The film is pretty to look at, yet getting through it is a task imposed on the viewer, like a long slide show you are forced to sit through at the house of a relative.

    Even one of the stars, Shawn Penn, said that it needed a traditional narrative structure to make it work–that he saw compelling emotion in the script but none on the screen. I just didn’t care about anybody in the film. No connection with any of the characters. And god as a colored ink blob in a water tank just didn’t do it for me.

    Not Recommended.

    • harrylime
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      If Penn feels that way, I wonder what he (and you) would make of Kubrick’s 2001, both as an abstract narrative and a cosmic meditation. I guess “god as a colored ink blob” is one reading of TOL, but having seen it twice I still find no irrefutable textual evidence of god. For me it’s more about human memory and philosophical dualities. Either way; with apologies to Whitman, it’s large and contains multitudes.

      • Scote
        Posted January 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        “Either way; with apologies to Whitman, it’s large and contains multitudes.”

        So does a swamp. That doesn’t make a swamp a good piece of film making.

        The Tree of Life is an impressive experiment. But taste is subjective. I don’t have to like it just because you do nor do you have to dislike it just because I do.

      • Ichthyic
        Posted January 25, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        recalcitrant, indeed.


  5. Egbert
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I just finished watching The Tree of Life and it is a beautiful film, especially the baby sequence, but I did not feel any love from the movie, it did not speak to me, but rather to the Director’s own fetishisms for 50s America and his religion.

  6. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I am going to be a swede chauvinist as so often. OK, that list had Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but not Max von Sydow as Best Supporting Actor.

    So, no. My vote goes to the Oscars.

    • harrylime
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Fair enough, but you should know that I (the composer of the list) am second to none in my regard for Mr. von Sydow. This performance didn’t make the grade for me, but many prior ones have. Three years ago I nominated two Swedish movies for best foreign film — illegal under Academy rules, and indeed the Oscars haven’t nominated one since 2004.

    • Occam
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Can you name one performance by Max von Sydow, however minor, not worthy of an award?
      I can’t, not since Antonius Block.

      • harrylime
        Posted January 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        As far as late-career work, what about his heartbreaking pair of scenes in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly? There should’ve been a nomination for that one.

        • Occam
          Posted January 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          Agreed, of course.
          I just wish to be assured that the litotes in my rhetorical question has been duly registered.
          Naturally, I mean that every Sydowian performance appears to me award-worthy.

          • Bruce S. Springsteen
            Posted January 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            And he famously said that he played Jesus “as a man” in The Greatest Story Ever Told. Perfect. Max can do no wrong in my book.

  7. Posted January 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I would like to nominate Alan Rickman for the Golden Steve Awards. Such a fine actor just deserves something better than an Oscar. :)LOL

    • harrylime
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! (I’m Steve, by the way.) Here’s hoping he does something award-worthy soon. He was my supporting actor runner-up in ’91 for Close My Eyes – a stunning performance.

  8. zengardener
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I thought “Tree Of Life” was an interesting experiment in POV. The long scenes out of time are, in a way, more realistic than your typical Hollywood story arc.

    I wouldn’t watch it again, but I don’t regret seeing it.

  9. Posted January 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I love your blog, and because I do and because I think you’re deserving, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. You can accept your award here:
    If you’ve already received one, just know I think you deserve another! Thank you for what you do.

    • Scote
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Alas, you must not love it enough to know that this is a “website” and most certainly not a “blog” (in spite of meeting the definition of blog used for the Bloggies ;-> Being a website with entries organized by date).

      Perhaps you have a “Versatile ‘Website'” award you can bestow?

  10. JT
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    What on earth do you do with a Master’s Degree in film? Get coffee for Roger Ebert? Man, and I thought I had a useless degree.

    • Scote
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      You teach other people to get masters degrees in film. And it becomes closed loop (much as theology and philosophy do, leading to jobs for horrible people like Joseph R. Hoffman.) Which is why I decided to skip postgraduate work like that.

      In film making and video production, nobody cares what degrees you have, they only care what your body of work is and who you know. In finance, they may care, but not so much on the production or post production side.

  11. Diane G.
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed my local paper’s review of an Oscar nominated film; the review was headlined, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Cloying.”

  12. BillyJoe
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    I was simply mesmerised by “The Tree of Life”. I couldn’t even go for a coffee break during the whole two and a half hours. At the end my son, who wondered by every now and then (he’d watched it earlier), just shook his head in disbelief. He neither understood nor liked the movie at all. I was able to explain to him the things he did not understand but he still thought it was rubbish.
    (I didn’t see god anywhere, though, but that just might be my bias showing)

  13. ChasCPeterson
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen only “The Artist” and I recommend it highly. So well done.

  14. Insightful Ape
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Faith has been a central theme of human drama. Same can be said of family abuse and sexism. Can’t people come up with anything better? Really?

    • microraptor
      Posted January 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Probably not. It’s like how they can’t seem to find subjects for Inspiring True Stories who aren’t football players.

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