What followed was two weeks of drafting and narrowing down nominations before coming up with winners, all of whom make Mamet what he is: a man of unique vision and razor sharp wit.
Some of these categories are familiar, while others are amusingly Mamet specific. Enjoy!
Glengarry Glen Ross (Alex’s winner)
House of Games
I’m going to hate myself for this. Naming the best means, therefore, that the others aren’t. Can’t I award a five-way tie? No? Well, all right then. The winner is… House of Games. Or maybe it’s The Verdict. But then again, I loved Spartan. State and Main? Awesome movie. The Spanish Prisoner! That was fantastic, too.
Alex: If you’ve been keeping up with The Week of Mamet on his site, you’re aware of how much I love Glengarry Glen Ross. I’d like to say there was a close second, but that’d be lying (which is saying a lot, given how much a enjoy practically every single movie Mamet has been a part of). But Glengarry Glen Ross is in class of its own. Flawless acting, superb, restrained photography, and one of the finest scripts ever produced for a motion picture. A masterpiece.
Best Director (of a film Mamet only wrote)
Brian De Palma – The Untouchables
James Foley – Glengarry Glen Ross
Stuart Gordon – Edmond
Barry Levinson – Wag the Dog
Sidney Lumet – The Verdict (Colin and Alex’s winner)
Alex: While I do love Glengarry, Colin’s right, Mamet’s, more so than Foley’s direction, is what makes that movie what it is. So I’m going with Lumet, for the opening scene of The Verdict alone. Newman, playing pinball, lit in shadow, drinking heavily. The man is acting, with his shoulders. Ingenious.
Gene Hackman – Heist
Nigel Hawthorne – The Winslow Boy (Colin’s winner)
Dustin Hoffman – Wag the Dog
William H. Macy – Edmond
Paul Newman – The Verdict (Alex’s winner)
Colin: In a category that includes a thief and a con-man movie producer, it’s rather funny to think that my winner should be the only virtuous one of the lot. Arthur Winslow spends everything he has in order to clear his son's name. The crime? Stealing a couple of shillings. In this day and age no one would bat an eye. To Hawthorne's Winslow, though, his son's innocence is worth everything he has, including his health. Hawthorne is simply wonderful, although he’s stern, there’s a father's-loving twinkle that is never far from his glassy eyes. He may have only starred in one Mamet movie, but Hawthorne handles not only the cadence of Mamet but also Rattigan's original prose with consummate ease.
Alex: This is tough, because Macy’s Edmond performance is the best thing he’s ever done. But Newman is simply too perfect to ignore.
Colin: Mamet simply doesn't write for women; it's his big failing.
Me: Sadly, I am in complete agreement with Colin here.
Best Supporting Actor
Alec Baldwin – Glengarry Glen Ross
Alan Arkin – Glengarry Glen Ross
Al Pacino – Glengarry Glen Ross
Jack Lemmon – Glengarry Glen Ross
Ed Harris – Glengarry Glen Ross
Kevin Spacey – Glengarry Glen Ross
Alex: Fucking hell. I’m at a loss. Ask me today and I’ll probably offer up a different answer tomorrow; they’re all that flawless. Pacino. Gotta do it. If you pay attention in the scene where Jonathan Pryce walks into the office unannounced, a frenzied Pacino takes gum out his mouth and slams it under his desk. But the gum doesn’t stick. It flies off, noticeably landing near Pacino’s feet. Most actors would say cut and ask for a retake. Pacino? Fuggedaboutit.
Best Supporting Actress
Colin: See Best Actress above.
Alex: There are definitely some to choose from here (Emily Mortimer in Redbelt, for example), but, again, Mamet simply doesn’t write for women.
House of Games (Colin’s winner)
Glengarry Glen Ross (Alex’s winner)
The Winslow Boy
Alex: Glengarry Glen Ross. Period… you fuckin’ child.
Best Performance by a Mamet Wife
Lindsay Crouse – House of Games
Lindsay Crouse – The Verdict
Rebecca Pidgeon – Heist (Alex’s winner)
Rebecca Pidgeon – State and Main (Colin’s winner)
Rebecca Pidgeon – The Spanish Prisoner
|Pidgeon in State and Main|
Alex: Am I the only person who thinks Rebecca Pidgeon is one of the best looking women to ever be featured on a movie screen? Anyway, her cold, determined, ruthless femme fatale in Heist kills it (or me) everytime.
Best Use of Mamet-speak
William H. Macy – (Colin and Alex’s winner)
|Macy in Spartan|
Alex: Yep, it’s gotta be Macy. Baldwin is marvelous in Glengarry, Scott nails Mamet’s cadence in The Spanish Prisoner (why can’t he be in more Mamet?), Mantegna is… Mantegna, and Stiles is perfect in Edmond, but Macy… that man IS Mamet-speak.
Worst Use of Mamet-speak
Debra Eisenstadt (Colin’s winner)
Alex: This is really the only instance in which Colin and I could not disagree more. I honestly cannot think of an actor who has butchered Mamet’s way of speaking, and to say Gregg is bad… huh? Gregg’s performance as a serial rapist of elderly women in The Shield (he starred in an episode Mamet directed) represents some of the finest television acting I’ve ever seen.
Best Ricky Jay Performance in a Mamet Film
Ricky Jay – Heist (Alex’s winner)
Ricky Jay – House of Games (Colin’s winner)
Ricky Jay – Redbelt
Ricky Jay – The Spanish Prisoner
Ricky Jay – State and Main
|Jay in House of Games|
Colin: I have a friend who does card tricks. Good ones, too, not your run-of-the-mill, anyone-could-do-that nonsense. He says that Ricky Jay is one of the top three of card magicians worldwide. It’s easy to see why Mamet, who loves a good con, would enjoy working with someone who’s able to fleece someone professionally. Jay’s characters tend to be charismatic, quotable types (his worried father in State and Main being perhaps the nicest), but again I come back to House of Games and Jay’s part in the whole swindle. Is he the bad guy? One of the good guys? Or both?
Alex: Another very tough category. But I’ll go with his swift, sympathetic turn in Heist. The way he voluntarily jumps in front of a moving car to get the attention of the police is hysterical. Inversely, the look on his face when he realizes his innocent niece is in serious danger – heartbreaking.
House of Games
The Spanish Prisoner
Wag the Dog
Alex: Some of these cons are for monetary purposes, others are to ward off attention, at any rate, you’re crazy if you think Colin and I are going to go into great detail about any of them.
Glengarry Glen Ross – Always. Be. Closing. (Colin’s winner)
House of Games – The poker game
Lakeboat – “Drinking? Don’t talk to me about drinking”
Oleanna – The end
Redbelt – “There is no situation you cannot escape from.” (Alex’s choice)
Colin: I hesitated for a little, simply because I absolutely adore the pure comedy of the Lakeboat scene, but I will go with the flow here and praise the genius of Alec Baldwin’s scene-stealer of a cameo. “PUT THE COFFEE DOWN.” “What’s my name? Fuck You, THAT’S my name.” Special mentions, though, must go to the tension-filled poker game that kicks off House of Games, and the shocking end of Oleanna. Gotta love Mamet.
Alex: As I wrote yesterday, I strongly feel that the best scene of Mamet’s career is the therapeutic sequence in which Chiwetel Ejiofor grabs hold of Emily Mortimer and forces her to deal with her problems. It’s devastating, yet oddly endearing.
Best Use of Profanity
No nominations, no winners. Only priceless lines of dialogue.
“Only, and I am telling you this, Don. Only, and I am not, I don't think, casting anything on anyone: from the mouth of the Southern bulldyke asshole ingrate of a vicious nowhere cunt can this trash come.” – Dustin Hoffman, American Buffalo
(Ed Harris, Glengarry Glen Ross): “What’s your name?”
(Alec Baldwin): “Fuck You. That’s my name.”
“Oh my, oh my. Go sell chocolates you Heidi-motherfuckers, go sell cuckoo clocks, we got your gold!” – Ricky Jay, Heist
“You need to set your motherfucker to receive.” – Val Kilmer, Spartan
(William H. Macy, State and Main): “How are we coming with the dead horse scene?”
(David Paymer): “You can’t actually kill the horse.”
(Macy): “Aw, fuck me.”
“I’m not gonna die, cuz today, I’m a gonna kill the mothafucka.” – Anthony Hopkins, The Edge
“You stupid, fuckin’, cunt.” – Al Pacino, Glengarry Glen Ross
“How the fuck are you?” – Tim Allen, Redbelt
“I can’t find the fucking pharmacy.” – Emily Mortimer, Redbelt