Portside aims to provide varied material of interest to people on the left that will help them to interpret the world, and to change it.
The James Agee Cinema Circle announces the 10th annual “Progie” Award nominees for 2016’s Best Progressive Films and Filmmakers. Nominees this year include: Nate Parker; Viggo Mortensen; a biopic about a Chilean poet; a documentary about James Baldwin and more.
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-LGBTQA, pro-environment, anti-war, anti-racist, anti-fascist, etc. There are up to five nominees per category (except when there are ties). The 2016 Progie Award nominations are:
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.
Moonlight; Christine; Neruda; The Birth of a Nation; I, Daniel Blake.
THE NEWMAN: The Progie Award for BEST ACTOR in a progressive picture is named after philanthropist, actor/activist Paul Newman.
Denzel Washington, Fences; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation; Luis Gnecco, Neruda.
THE MORLEY: 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.
Natalie Portman, Jackie; Kate Winslet, The Dressmaker; Rebecca Hall, Christine; Isabelle Huppert, Elle.
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.
Eye in the Sky; Hacksaw Ridge; Anthropoid; Zero Days; Land of Mine.
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!
Neruda; Cemetery of Splendor; Toni Erdmann; Land of Mine; Fire at Sea.
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.
I Am Not Your Negro; Frank Zappa: In His Own Words; Cameraperson; 13th; The Other Side (Louisiana).
OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: The Progie Award for the MOST POSITIVE AND INSPIRING WORKING CLASS SCREEN IMAGE is named after a 1934 movie about an American commune during the Great Depression produced by Charlie Chaplin.
Paterson; I, Daniel Blake; Moonlight; Christine; Fences.
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.
Moonlight; Loving; The Birth of a Nation; Hidden Figures; Miles Ahead.
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.
Captain Fantastic; The Lobster; Chevalier; High-Rise; Hail, Caesar!; Elle; Paterson; Christine.
THE PASOLINI: The Progie Award for BEST PRO-LGBTQ 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.
Moonlight; Little Men; Other People; The Handmaiden; I Am Not Your Negro.
THE CONFORMIST: The Progie Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILM is named after Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 anti-Mussolini film.
Neruda; Denial; The Lobster; The Innocents; The People vs. Fritz Bauer.
THE MARIANNE & JULIANE: The Progie Award for BEST PRO-FEMINIST DEPICTION OF WOMEN is named after Margarethe von Trotta’s 1981 German film about sisters – one an editor, the other a militant.
Certain Women; Jackie; Christine; Hidden Figures; Things to Come.
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.
Viggo Mortensen; Christine Vachon; Norman Lear; Carrie Fisher; Chantal Akerman; Danny Glover.
The Progies premiered in The Progressive Magazine in 2007 to pay tribute to and highlight films and filmmakers of conscience and consciousness. With an eye on cinema history, the awards in a variety of categories are named after outstanding progressive pictures or artists. By 2008 the James Agee Cinema Circle – an international group of left-leaning movie critics and scholars – was formed to democratically vote for the annual nominees and winners. The Progies serve as a counterpoint to more commercially-oriented motion picture prizes, such as the Academy Awards. Instead of rewarding glitz, glamour, stardom and celebrity The Progies zoom in on substance, focusing on artistic expressions about the human condition. JACC voters pay homage to fiction and nonfiction depictions of human rights.
For the first time in its 10 year history, the Progie Award winners are scheduled to be announced live on Feb. 24 at the Los Angeles Workers Center, 1251 S. St. Andrews Place, L.A., CA 90019. The Progie announcements will kick off a 10 month film series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The revolutionary centennial cinema series, called “10 Films That Shook the World”, will conclude on the exact date of the October Revolution with a screening of Eisenstein’s 10 Days That Shook the World.
[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 rexxleased by Honolulu’s Mutual Publishing in October 2013.]