Black-Themed Films Dominate the Annual Progie Nominations for the Best Progressive Films and Filmmakers of 2013

12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave

Riding a wave of Black-themed films, movies about the struggles against slavery, apartheid and police repression dominate this year’s Progie Award nominations for 2013’s best progressive films and filmmakers. The nominees include biopics about Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, Oscar Grant, Muhammad Ali, as well as a documentary about the 1985 aerial bombing of the Philadelphia Black nationalist group MOVE. The legendary Greco-French director Costa-Gavras of “Z” and “Missing” is in contention for a lifetime achievement award. German director Margarethe von Trotta’s biopic about the anti-fascist philosopher HANNAH ARENDT, who dubbed Nazi Adolf Eichmann “the banality of evil,” was nominated for two Progies, as was Jeremy Scahill’s scathing expose about U.S. covert ops, DIRTY WARS. It is competing in the Best Progressive Documentary category with BLACKFISH, about marine life in captivity, among other docs. Due to a tie, six films are nominated in the Best Pro-Gay Rights category, including a feature about poet Allen Ginsberg. A nonfiction film featuring Gore Vidal is also nommed.

Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club

The James Agee Cinema Circle, an international group of left-leaning film critics, historians and scholars, voted for the 7th Annual Progie Award Nominations. The Progies highlight features and documentaries and the artists who made and appear in them, primarily based on their progressive political, social, cultural, ethnic, economic, gender, ecological, immigrant, pro-human rights, pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-labor, etc., content and form. The nominations and awards are given in a variety of categories named after great lefty filmmakers and films of conscience, consciousness and creativity. The Progressive Magazine began publishing the Progie winners in 2007, when the awards premiered.

Up to five nominees can be selected per category — except in case of a tie, when more than five nominees can be entered in a category. Also, any motion picture nominated for the Langlois (the Progie for best progressive picture deserving theatrical release in the U.S.) is listed in order to shine a light on these deserving films, which is the purpose of the JACC and the Progies.

2013 PROGIE NOMINATIONS FOR BEST PROGRESSIVE FILMS & ARTISTS

Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station

1. 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.

  • 12 YEARS A YEARS SLAVE
  • FRUITVALE STATION
  • PHILOMENA
  • ELYSIUM
  • 42
  • ANGEL’S SHARE
  • BLACKFISH
  • DALLAS BUYER CLUB
  • THE ACT OF KILLING
12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

2. 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.

  • CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (12 YEARS A SLAVE)
  • MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY (DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB)
  • MICHAEL B. JORDAN (FRUITVALE STATION)
  • IDRIS ELBA (MANDELA: WALK TO FREEDOM)
  • SHANNON HARPER (WELCOME TO PINE HILL)

3. 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.

  • BARBARA SUKOWA (HANNAH ARENDT)
  • CATE BLANCHETT (BLUE JASMINE)
  • LUPITA NYONG’O (12 YEARS A SLAVE)
  • OCTAVIA SPENCER (FRUITVALE STATION)
  • JUDI DENCH (PHILOMENA)
  • DANAI GURIRA (MOTHER OF GEORGE)
Elysium

Elysium

4. 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.”

  • DIRTY WARS
  • THE ACT OF KILLING

5. 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!”

  • A TOUCH OF SIN
  • BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
  • THE GREAT BEAUTY
  • CLASS ENEMY
  • WADJDA

6. 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.”

  • THE ACT OF KILLING
  • DIRTY WARS
  • BLACKFISH
  • STORIES WE TELL
  • LET THE FIRE BURN
  • THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI
  • THE SQUARE
  • WIKILEAKS: WE STEAL SECRETS
Mother of George

Mother of George

7. OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: The Progie Award for the MOST POSITIVE AND INSPIRING WORKING CLASS SCREEN IMAGE.

  • THIS IS MARTIN BONNER
  • NEBRASKA
  • WELCOME TO PINE HILL
  • ANGEL’S SHARE

8. 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.”

  • FRUITVALE STATION
  • 12 YEARS A SLAVE
  • LET THE FIRE BURN
  • TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI
  • 42

9. 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.”

  • COSTA-GAVRAS
  • ROBERT GUÉDIGUIAN
  • ALEX GIBNEY
  • JOHN SAYLES
  • ROBERT REDFORD
  • GAEL GARCIA BERNAL
  • OLIVIER ASSAYAS

10. 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.”

  • THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
  • SPRING BREAKERS
  • HER

11. 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.

  • BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
  • BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
  • REACHING FOR THE MOON
  • KILL YOUR DARLINGS
  • CONCUSSION
  • SAL

12. 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.

  • ELYSIUM
  • THE ACT OF KILLING
  • NO
  • HANNAH ARENDT

13. THE LANGLOIS: For BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE DESERVING THEATRICAL RELEASE IN THE U.S. and distribution in other countries and platforms is named after film archivist Henri Langlois, co-founder of Paris’ Cinémathèque.

  • GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA
  • STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY
  • HAPPY
  • STRANGER BY THE LAKE
  • A FIELD IN ENGLAND
  • IT FELT LIKE LOVE
  • SWIM LITTLE FISH SWIM
  • LILY
  • FORTY YEARS FROM YESTERDAY
  • BLUEBIRD
  • MEETING LEILA
  • WHEN I SAW YOU
  • THE LIBERATOR: SIMON BOLIVAR
  • MY SWEET PEPPER LAND
  • VALENTINO’S GHOST
  • JODOROWSKY’S DUNE
  • ME AND YOU
  • MACHSOM
  • DRONES
  • WINTER IN THE BLOOD
  • THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

ed rampellThe James Agee Cinema Circle’s participants will select the award winners from the nominees around mid-February, and the results will be announced shortly before the Academy Awards ceremony on March 2. Until then, we’ll see you in the Left Aisle at the movies!

Ed Rampell

About Ed Rampell

Film historian and reviewer Ed Rampell’s interview with legendary Greek director Costa-Gavras is in the September issue of The Progressive Magazine. Rampell is the co-author of The Hawaii Movie and Television Book, to be released by Honolulu’s Mutual Publishing in October 2013.

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