January 23, 2007

Professional Commentary on the Oscar Nominations

Best Picture
Babel = barf
The Departed = yay
Letters From Iwo Jima = yay
Little Miss Sunshine = whatever
The Queen = fine

Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond = say what?
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson = whatever
Peter O'Toole, Venus = cool beans
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness = LOL
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland = rockin'

Penelope Cruz, Volver = no comment
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal = cool beans
Helen Mirren, The Queen = fine
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada = whatever
Kate Winslet, Little Children = yay

Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine = yawn
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children = fine
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond = give us free
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls = day late, dollar short
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed = interesting...

Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel = fine
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal = fine
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine = yay
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls = yawn
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel = whatever

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Babel = barf
Martin Scorsese, The Departed = yay
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima = yay
Stephen Frears, The Queen = fine
Paul Greengrass, United 93 = yay

Foreign Language Film
After the Wedding, Denmark = fine
Days of Glory (Indigenes), Algeria = N/A
The Lives of Others, Germany = fine
Pan's Labyrinth, Mexico = yay
Water, Canada = whatever
ASIDE: No Blackbook = yay

Adapted Screenplay
Sacha Baron Cohen and Anthony Hines and Peter Baynham and Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips, Borat Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan = whatever
Alfonso Cuaron and Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, Children of Men = yay
William Monahan, The Departed = yay
Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, Little Children = barf
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal = whatever

Original Screenplay
Guillermo Arriaga, Babel = barf
Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis, Letters From Iwo Jima = yay (but I couldn't take a Haggis hat-trick)
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine = yawn
Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth = yay
Peter Morgan, The Queen = fine

HONORARY AWARD (Oscar statuette)
Ennio Morricone = yay

Sherry Lansing = whatever

Read the rest of the nominations here.


Anonymous said...

so far i like children of men more than any movie ive seen this past year... will be seeing letters and pan's labyrinth later this week, and other must see movies this award season?

Jason said...

The only thing that I can say about these nominations is that we avoided a potentially awkward/funny moment: I was hoping The Good Shepherd would be a better movie, so that Robert De Niro could be nominated for a Best Director Oscar as well. Can you imagine just how mad Martin Scorsese would be if he lost the Oscar to his good buddy De Niro, of all people? Oh well... if nothing else, this is finally (finally) looking like Marty's year, since none of the other Director nominees are really too interesting (Clint's got his already, Inarritu doesn't deserve it for Babel, and I don't give a particular damn about the other two at all).

The other nominations are none too appealing, if for no other reason than the Academy is blatantly avoiding Children of Men, for no other reason that I can see but that it requires the audience to do some heavy lifting, and takes a pretty heavy stance against current U.S. policies. It kind of makes the nominations for United 93 seem even more timid and disingenuous than it may have otherwise, considering how much more topical and potent Children is over it. Oh well... at least Ennio Morricone is getting some sort of recognition. That moment is probably the one that I'll be most looking forward to this telecast.

Hey, if nothing else, The Hitcher will probably be a good antidote to the general malaise that this bloated award season is bringing on. Sure, it'll be terrible, but you can get behind hating that movie, if not necessarily these noms. And hopefully Ghost Rider will serve as a good palate cleanser to the Oscars themselves. Get the taste of Hollywood self-congratualtion out of your mouth by witnessing Nicolas Cage's bizarre form of career suicide in a movie destined to be too ridiculous for words.

Alex Jackson said...

I'm really proud of myself. I actually predicted the Best Picture nominees almost exactly in December on my message board.

Wasn't sure about Babel, I said that that slot could have been filled by Borat (not typical "Academy" material, but it was a huge box office and critical success so they would have difficulty ignoring it) or A Prarie home Companion (Academy has tended to throw Altman a bone here and there and it might have been a nostalgic favorite). I haven't seen Babel, but I thought that it bombed pretty hard. Virtually nobody really liked it a whole lot.

Wasn't much of a fan of Little Miss Sunshine, but I loved Arkin in it. Even if it was a role he could have done in his sleep. Anybody know if he's ever won one?

Bill C said...

This is Arkin's third nom; he's never won. Maybe he'll get it this time for the Lifetime Achievement aspect of the nomination.

Anonymous said...

Come on -- Will Smith for Pursuit of Happyness over Hugh Jackman for The Fountain? I didn't much care for the film, but Jackman's heartbreak really made it for me; almost made me forget the awful "future man" third of it. Compare that to Pursuit of Happyness, which, all things considered, isn't about a man's struggle so much as it's about how a man came to write a book about his struggle -- a disingenuousness that deeply affects Smith's performance. (Didn't see Blood Diamond, so I can't comment on that yet.)

Having finally seen it this past weekend, it seems especially egregious that Children of Men is only being thrown a few paltry bones; it carries such sadness and urgency that it trumps Babel's emotional punching bag ethos several times over. Was anyone else reminded of Stroszek when the chickens stumbled down the stairs? Maybe it was just me, but the two films share the same sense of absurdity-within-indignity.

Also, did anyone notice the fact that the Oscars are two weeks after Eddie Murphy's latest example of fat-suit fetishism, Norbit, is released? The fact that Murphy is nominated at all, for such a one-note performance, proves once and for all that the Jim Carrey Eternal Sunshine/Man on the Moon snubs were bullshit.

Apropos of nothing: why isn't INLAND EMPIRE playing anywhere near me? Is it playing anywhere?

Random relief: Forest Whitaker for Last King of Scotland; Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson; Kate Winslet for Little Children; Bobby hilariously strikes out; the idea that Borat got nominated for anything at all; and, of course, Marty's year, only thirty years after it should have happened the first time.

Seeing it next week: Letters from Iwo Jima, Pan's Labyrinth, Notes on a Scandal, Blood Diamond

Stuff that happened in my fantasy world: Kevin Spacey for Superman Returns; Matt Dillon for Factotum; some kind of consolation prize for the old college try that Sofia Coppola gave Marie Antoinette. (And I don't mean that sarcastically.)

Jason: Ghost Rider is no more suicidal than, say, The Wicker Man. Anyone hear that Nic will be playing Fu Manchu in Grindhouse?

Bill: Arkin's first nom since 1969, no less! I'm more interested in his reaction than anyone else's.

Anonymous said...

How about that Penelope Cruz?

Piper said...

Like the commentary.

So how do you really feel about Babel?

Marty for best director = yay

Alex Jackson said...

Jason: Ghost Rider is no more suicidal than, say, The Wicker Man. Anyone hear that Nic will be playing Fu Manchu in Grindhouse?

Ha ha! That's great.

That reminds me, Razzie nods were released:

Little Man, Basic Instinct 2, Bloodrayne, Lady in
the Water
and Wicker Man

O'JohnLandis said...

If anyone wasn't already confused about the importance of great cinematography in (supposedly) great films, none of the Best Picture or Best Director candidates are represented in the Best Cinematography nominees.

Even though I rarely agreed with the Academy, I at least used to understand them. But Babel isn't even a good example of the type of thing that it is. It would also be the first major winner that the country can't pronounce.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they're trying to assimilate Best Cinematography into Best Screenplay's current position as the "runner-up for Best Picture" category.

Anonymous said...

Yay, barf, whatever? That's some bullshit "analysis."

theoldboy said...

Your face is bullshit analysis, anonymous.

Well, I don't like Babel much but I think Inarritu might have deserved that directing nom, though he could have easily been swapped for the other two Mexicans who made better movies this year. The acting noms are almost total bullshit, though I think the Japanese chick deserves it for Babel just for showing me her cooter so many times. I think they don't want to give DiCaprio an Oscar this year so they nominated him for a shitty movie that I didn't see where he appeared to have a shitty accent or at least an accent that seems awkward coming out of DiCaprio INSTEAD of the movie where he was actually really great. I'd have figured more acting noms for The Departed.

And no score nom for The Fountain? Nigga please.

Anonymous said...

Man--this can one classy joint sometimes ; )

The Ryan Gosling and Mark Wahlberg nominiations were both pleasant suprises; in terms of actual quality--this looks like another
Scorsese/Eastwood match-up; though I guess that "Babel" (for some reason) has got the heat; United 93 should definitely be in there--and Greengrass's nom suggests that it was probably close. Eddie Murphy instead of Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Michael Caine...puh-leeze!

Yes--INLAND EMPIRE--where? when? how? I tried to see it at the NYC fest in the fall; no dice.

Rick said...

Yay, barf, whatever? That's some bullshit "analysis."

And with the title being "Professional Commentary on the Oscar Nominations", I think Bill was putting in 100% effort into analysis. Anonymous, you have a great eye for detail my self-serious friend.

I understand that people think Eddie Murphy's performance was overrated, but Djimon Hounsou getting a nomination is ridiculous. For what, yelling alot? I guess that takes talent? Though I wasnt a huge fan of Little Miss Sunshine, I would have rather seen an understated performance from Paul Dano or Steve Carrell get in over the showy Hounsou.

Rick said...

And speaking of the Razzies, does anyone have a video link of Tom Green's 2002 acceptance speech for Freddy Got Fingered? I have never seen it, was the speech even taped?

Kevin said...

inland empire has a peculiar release schedule. i believe lynch is accompanying it around the country like some kind of travelling circus, moving to various cities for a weekend or two. saw it at lacma in december (los angeles). it's got a number of serious issues, imo, not least of which being lynch's growing irony about himself.

Larry&Stan said...

If Scorsese takes his first Best Picture--which I don't believe he will, but were it to happen--it's interesting that it's for something as cold and dead inside as The Departed, rather than for the ostensibly life-affirming prestige pic The Aviator. The Departed by itself is a festering lens on the ass-end of this shitty decade--and rewarding that abyss-stare with a Best Pic is like an analogue to a shrink's couch breakthrough for our whole pop culture.

Anonymous said...

I think this will be another split
year--with Scorsese finally getting his Directing oscar and "Babel" (choke) taking Best Picture. I'd love to see a bitter, ripping gangster yarn take down "Crash 2: The Revenge" but if Dances With Wolves can outplay "GoodFellas" and "Ordinary People" can best "Raging Bull" then I gotta think it won't happen.

theoldboy said...

I caught INLAND EMPIRE Sunday before last. That it managed to push a viewing of Pan's Labyrinth earlier that day out of my mind is a testament to whatever the hell INLAND EMPIRE is. Kind of a penultimate Lynch, it didn't feel three hours long, I guess because of the either nonexistent or completely unconventional and complicated narrative structure of it, but regardless of its greatness, I'd be watching it again to try and get more out of the story than get high off the filmmaking.

Nate said...

No "Children of Men" in any key categories = barf

Why does everyone think "Babel" has it in the bag? I like the movie okay (ridiculousness aside), but I just don't see it winning. Of course, that's what I thought about "Crash."

Walter_Chaw said...

Oldboy's comment = yay

Crash II: The Revenge = yay

use of the word "cooter" in a non-Jim Nabors' mechanic brother way = yay

Did a presentation/lecture on Kazan's Streetcar last night and was reminded of how Brando lost the Oscar that year to Bogie in African Queen.

Oscars = barf

Anonymous said...

To riff on Clint for a minute--
When it comes to the Oscars; like's got nothing to do with it.

Most ridiculous nom? "Click" for makeup; a fatsuit and grey highlights--Bravo!

Bill C said...

The song nod for An Inconvenient Truth is also pretty ridiculous, considering it's a ditty in the didactic vein of educational cartoons--"Brush your teeth/round and round/circles small/gums and all"--and not really a song at all.

jer fairall said...

Some of my fantasy world nominees:

--V For Vendetta for Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Hugo Weaving), Adapted Screenplay and Editing

--A Scanner Darkly replacing Cars in what would have been a perfect category this year for Best Animated Feature (and for Adapted Screenplay as well).

--A Prairie Home Companion for Picture and Director (sho nuff!)

--Marie Antoinette for Director

--Children of Men for, like, fucking everything!

Anonymous said...

"Best Song" has got to be the most inane Oscar category; I'm hard pressed to think of any truly memorable wins in this category--ever. I can't remember if Carradine's "I'm Easy" from Nashville won--but that's the only one that jumps to mind. Best USE of music in a film--now that would be something, and far more reflective of how important good tunes can be to a film.

jer fairall said...

Oh, the Best Song category has been invalid to me ever since Aimee Mann lost to Phil Collins. Some crimes are just irredeemable.

"I'm Easy" did in fact win an Oscar. I think my favorite song ever to win the prize may be Donna Summer's "Last Dance," for what it's worth.

Kevin said...

It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp didn't do it for you?

Anonymous said...

Guess I forgot "Theme From Shaft" too--so, shut my mouth.

Anonymous said...

A quick scan of the Oscar database suggests that the film editing and cinematography categories are the most sane-minded historically--not too many WTF! entries there..although...

"How Green Was My Valley" bests "Citizen Kane" and "Sundown"

"The Towering Inferno" beat "Chinatown"

"Memoirs of a Geisha" trumped "The New World"

And--who knew "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins" was an Oscar-nominated film.

James Allen said...

Heck, there are a bunch of shitty films (and I mean really shitty films) that can call themselves Oscar nominated. I can list a bunch but I'll just say that I think the worst film with a nomination has to be Clan of the Cave Bear (the runner up would be The Sting II.)

Bill C said...

I see your Clan of the Cave Bear and raise you Academy Award nominee Mannequin.

Anybody see last week's "Family Guy"? They spoofed The Ring, but the viral video was actually the trailer for Mannequin. (It killed Peter instantly.)

O'JohnLandis said...

My first thought after noticing Click's Makeup nom was that the people responsible for Date Movie must've thought they were robbed.

Anonymous said...

Mannaequin will always hold a place in my heart as it was the film I purchased tickets for then slid into Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (a first "R" experience which would probably be PG nowadays)

Now I can't get that freaking Starship song out of my head.

Jared said...

Wow, I see the Academy is really stepping out on a limb here doing radical shit they haven't done before like nominating Clint Eastwood for Best Director and Judi Dench for Best Actress. Now that's some out of the box thinking!

Jared said...

The Fountain is one of two film scores I own on compact disc (the other being Air's score for The Virgin Suicides, it's like digital sex). It takes a lot to make me want to buy one of those things and I knew as soon as I heard it that it was something special. At least Alexandre Desplat is pretty much a shoo-in to win that award and he would've been my second choice, he's done some really great work and got snubbed for "Birth" two years ago.

Best Cinematography's only good nomination is Emmanuel Lubezki, he should've won last year for The New World (I think Dion Beebe is kind of a hack and definitely didn't deserve to win over him). I didn't even like Children of Men that much but his work is impossible to deny. No Lance Acord for Marie Antoinette is ridiculous when you're looking at Wally Pfister getting nominated again (seriously, he's so aggressively average and I'd love to see Nolan work with anybody else) and Dick Pope for the mediocre work he did in The Illusionist. Matthew Libatique for The Fountain would've been a way better choice since he used a lot of the same stylistic choices that were made in The Illusionist and did them correctly. Haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth since it's not out here so I can't comment as to whether or not that deserves a nod. Michael Ballhaus for The Departed would've been a damn good choice too.

Whoever nominated Click, The Devil Wears Prada, and Poseidon especially for anything must be borderline retarded and never seen a movie before. Has any other film ruined a good premise as badly as "Click"?

jer fairall said...

I'll allow Mannequin on the grounds that "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" is a *huge* guilty pleasre for me. Fuck it, I'm buying it off iTunes right now.

How 'bout Fatal Attraction for Best Picture? Beverly Hills Cop for Best Original Screenplay? The Swarm for Best Costume Design?

Anonymous said...

I think Starship's entire catalogue could qualify as a guilty pleasure, Jer. I strongly recommend the music video for "We Built This City," which is one of the most horribly shot yet utterly ridiculous items ever conceived.

Bill C said...

Hmmm, the Fatal Attraction and BHC nods don't bother me for some reason, though the seams of the latter are clearly being held together with brio and spit by Eddie Murphy and Martin Brest and it would've made more sense to nominate either of those two.

kevin said...

scent of a woman's '92 best picture nomination (and pacino's win for talking loud) has always seemed particularly egregious.

Alex Jackson said...

Ghost is a much worse film than either Scent of a Woman or Fatal Attraction.

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I saw Ghost but Scent of a Woman is easily a one-star movie for me.


jer fairall said...

Ian: A fantastic defense of "We Built This City".

Rick said...

I am officially changing my name to R dot Strange because I am different and unique

theoldboy said...

Today I got blocked from posting comments on that idiot's videos for using "very nasty nasty" words. If someone's being an egotistical cunt, shouldn't somebody call him on it?

Justin said...

You're right, jer--that was fantastic. (I think the critical animus against Starship is more due to their association with Mannequin that We Built This City.)

Rich said...

theoldboy: Which idiot and what videos?

theoldboy said...

Rich: R dot Strange and his Sundance youtube rants that Alex posted over on his board.

theoldboy said...

Make that M Dot Strange.

Rich said...

Found it. Holy shit, what a douchebag - I've never seen someone so dull trying so hard to be 'weird'. Put your fucking hat on straight, you twat.

theoldboy said...

That is not a hat. That is a green pancake. I will not give in to anyone who suggests that it is a hate, because if I were to do so, M Dot Strange and the terrorists would win.

theoldboy said...

Make that "it is a hat", because while I do hate M Dot Strange, I don't hate him enough that he would begin to wear my hate on his head.

Patrick Pricken said...

I sincerely hope Forrest Whitaker will win. He deserves to be recognized, because he's one of the underused great actors out there.

I also fear Scorcese will lose to Paul Greengrass. United 93 is a terrifically directed movie, and Greengrass would deserve it. And Scorcese has such a bad luck with the Oscars, it'd simply fit. I mean, each time he's nominated, you say to yourself this time they'll award the trophy simply out of sympathy, and each time they don't.

Finally, the Lives of Others is a nice and especially a well-acted movie, but it's not really about the GDR and the Stasi, so I feel an Oscar would be out of line. On the other hand, it's got just the right pretension-fluff ratio that the Academy likes. I'm pullling for Pan's Labyrinth, though (as much as I'm pulling for anything, as I haven't watched the Oscars since 2001, I believe).

Side question: Why don't they nominate foreign films as "best film"? (Aside from, I believe, Life is Wonderful)

Alex Jackson said...

Side question: Why don't they nominate foreign films as "best film"? (Aside from, I believe, Life is Wonderful)

Well, and Z, Il Postino, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Cries and Whispers. Since there is a foreign language film category that effectively kills their chances of winning, but generally speaking foreign films rarely make it over into the mainstream because most audiences don't like to read when they go to the movies. Not in the mainstream, they don't get nominated by the Academy.

theoldboy said...

I just saw The Last King of Scotland, and while telling the story as a fictionalized thriller is a mistake, and the subtext is off the charts horrendous, it's definitely got a somewhat impressive visceral charge to it thanks to the directing and Whitaker. I wouldn't call it good, but it's not a total atrocity, though at times it feels like one.

mdotstrange said...

"theoldboy" and "rick" Why are you typing about me here? I'm like not around... so strange?! Who are you typing to? I don't get it? Hating ghosts? Strange way to live...well anyway...Drive Safe XD

reel2reel said...

When I first started hearing about "M dot strange" I thought people were talking about M. Night Shyamalan and it was kinda funny (because they were usually making fun of him) but now (like most things these days) the reality is so predictable and unexciting.

I think I'll still pretend people are referring to M. Night Shyamalan.

Either way, both M dots will be forgotten before long. The world is becoming too crowded with self-important chowderheads.