Sunday, March 05, 2006

They're today, aren't they? 

The Academy Awards

Even as recently as yesterday, I was still forgetting about the Oscars. I was driving on Sunset Blvd, wondering why it was especially congested. Saturdays are always bad, but this was ridiculous. Then I glanced over at Hollywood Blvd and realized, "Oh yeah... Oscars." Memo to myself: People will actually be over later today to watch the Oscars. Try not to forget, you idiot.

Thoughts on the nominees list...

Cheers, cheers, cheers to all Munich nominations and big ups to Terrence Howard's nom for Hustle & Flow.

It kind of sucks that Howard's nomination is such a "victory." I'm super ecstatic that he got nominated, but I think it's being viewed generally as, "You got the nom, be happy with that charity." It's about time that guy got his due.

If anyone is keeping track or following or caring, Crash and Brokeback were the big winners at the WGA. Ang Lee won the DGA.

Palestine is a country, huh? Debatable. If what I read in the press is to be believed, then I have two reactions to Paradise Now. 1) It sounds revolting. 2) I have no interest in seeing it, as it would probably just make me angry.

Also, while we're on foreign films, go Tsotsi! South African pride, bitch!

God bless everything for there only being three nominees for best song rather than the usual five. We all know that the song has pretty much nothing to do with the movie. UNLESS (and this rarely happens!) it is prominently featured as a plot point in the movie. Read: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow. Good for them.

Props to Murderball for getting a documentary nod. Though I haven't seen it, I still sort of dread the moment when March of the Penguins wins best documentary. Why? Because all I've ever heard about that movie is this: "It's so cute." That's it! Nothing else! "Man, those penguins sure are cute. Love that cuteness. What a great cute movie." Can't say I have any interest in it.

I've only seen one of the best actress noms. Charlize Theron is fucking brilliant in North Country. See it just for her if you have to. Good film. Still, not having seen the other four and in spite of some of the problems I had with King Kong, I thought Naomi Watts should've received a nod.

I've only seen three films from the cinematography category, but that grouping is loaded. Shocking, initially, to see Batman Begins in there, but I'm down with it. Duder's name is Wally Pfister. Tee hee. Still, I wish there were room for one more because Munich really did visually capture the feel of a 1970s espionage thriller perferctly.

The sound in War of the Worlds was awesome! No one can deny that, regardless of how they felt coming out of the theater. Glad to see that it wasn't passed over.

I liked Crash enough. It's not one of the best pictures of the year, but I thought, for the most part, it wasn't bad. However, Paul Haggis' best directing nod is very troubling. I think David Cronenberg's work on A History of Violence would've been a far better choice.

Best Supporting Actor, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects are the only categories in which I've seen all the nominees. Weird.

Saw Good Night, And Good Luck a couple weeks back. That's a solid little film, right there. Really efficiently made. David Strathairn is compelling as all get-out. However, if anything, the film suffers from a lack of conflict. Really, if the movie is to be believed, there are little-to-no obstacles in Edward R. Murrow's way. Jeff Daniel's character folds like a house of cards, immediately. Frank Langella's character is not a villain (which I LOVE), but simply a smart businessman who is incredibly supportive. Also, the subplots in the film, to a point, felt like filler. This is a 90+ minute film that can be told in 60. The Robert Downey Jr./Patricia Clarkson b-story delivers one hell of an anti-climactic payoff. All film long, they're building to something really interesting, then bitch out at the end for a "cute" resolve. But maybe it was necessary to have that storyline if only to bring some levity to the earnest subject-matter.

Oh, and while we're talking movies, I saw a documentary released a month ago (note: Not eligible for today's awards) called Why We Fight. This is what Fahrenheit 9/11 should've been. More factual and constructive argument, less witch hunt. And, most importantly, less Michael Moore. I regret that Why We Fight's relevance is minimized by the fact that it's out over a year after the election. The film does an admirable job of casting a dark shadow over groups, while making sure not to demonize individuals associated with those groups. Except for Dick Cheney and Rummy, of course. Good flick. It'll leaving feeling powerless and bitter, but check it out.

Back on the Oscars -- I still have to see Capote, Walk The Line (though my tolerance for biopics is pretty much gone), Transamerica (though it actually sounds kind of boring, Felicity Huffman aside), Junebug, The Constant Gardener.

It's a couple months late, but here are my top ten films for 2005:
10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
9. Good Night, And Good Luck
8. A History of Violence
7. War of the Worlds
6. Batman Begins
5. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
4. Murderball
3. Brokeback Mountain
2. The Aristocrats (though not actually a film)
1. Munich

Predictions for today's big winners:
Best Picture - Brokeback Mountain
Best Director - Ang Lee
Best Actor - Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon
Best Supporting Actor - Matt Dillon
Best Supporting Actress - Michelle Williams
Best Original Screenplay - Good Night, And Good Luck
Best Adapted Screenplay - Brokeback Mountain

I'd probably be more interested if I thought the best movie of the year, Munich, had a chance of winning best picture. But politics and media buzz dictate that it probably won't happen.

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