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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oscar Nominations 2006

After last night's SAG Awards, you'd think Hollywood would stop right there, right?

Wrong!

It's time for the Academy Award Nominations for 2006.

Academy President Sid Ganis, alongside no doubt an as yet unannounced Hollywood starlet, will be declaring the lucky few at 8:45 AM.

Here's your "so what" fact of the day:

Brokeback Mountain just broke the $50 million dollar threshold this week, after a month of being out in theatres.

Big Momma's House 2 has made $28 million, in its opening WEEKEND.

More later.

UPDATE: It's Mira Sorvino, as the requisite Hollywood B-lister reading from the cue-cards.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Amy Adams for Junebug (2005)
Catherine Keener for Capote (2005)
Frances McDormand for North Country (2005)
Rachel Weisz for The Constant Gardener (2005)
Michelle Williams for Brokeback Mountain (2005)

THOUGHTS: Very much as anticipated, and although I really liked Amy Adams in Junebug, I think it's Rachel Weisz' (who just won it in the SAG Awards last night) for the asking.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


George Clooney for Syriana (2005)
Matt Dillon for Crash (2004)
Paul Giamatti for Cinderella Man (2005)
Jake Gyllenhaal for Brokeback Mountain (2005)
William Hurt for A History of Violence (2005)

THOUGHTS: I am an absolute sucker for character actors and actresses, having cut my teeth on Paul Muni's biopics, so the "Best Supporting" nods always capture my attention. And I'd like to state here and now that there is no better character actor on film, in the US today, than Paul Giamatti. He was brilliant in American Splendour, and woefully ignored last year, in Sideways. Here's hoping his sweet portrayal as that crazed Aussie's sidekick, and manager in Cinderalla Man will get him the gold trinket.


BEST ACTRESS


Judi Dench for Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)
Felicity Huffman for Transamerica (2005)
Keira Knightley for Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Charlize Theron for North Country (2005)
Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line (2005)

THOUGHTS: Come on, Judy Dench again? Is this a sop to the UK audiences who may be staying up to watch this ever-increasing boring farce? I've been told Mrs. Henderson Presents is absolute cack, as well, but not having seen it yet, I will hold my tongue (hah). One great surprise is Keira Knightley for Pride & Prejudice. The camera lingered lovingly on her the whole film, but her acting was a wonderful throwback to the films Hollywood used to herald, with Laurence Olivier and Gene Tierney never far behind. However, and I say this completely ecstaticly, but it's Reese Witherspoon or bupkus here. She was that engaging and fun, and deserves it. Witherspoon has been quite my favourite actress, going on 5 years now.


BEST ACTOR


Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote (2005)
Terrence Howard for Hustle & Flow (2005)
Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Joaquin Phoenix for Walk the Line (2005)
David Strathairn for Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)

THOUGHTS: Too bad for Joaquin Phoenix, as I don't think the Academy will award two musical biopic stars two years in a row (he was fantastic, though, and unlike the otherwise charming Jamie Foxx, he sang his own songs). So let's go with David Strathairn in an upset over Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's due.


BEST DIRECTOR


George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)
Paul Haggis for Crash (2004)
Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Bennett Miller for Capote (2005)
Steven Spielberg for Munich (2005)

THOUGHTS: Ang Lee. Nuff said. Oh, and it's interesting to see that the Academy recognised the ine work of Steven Spielberg, who made a devastatingly engrossing period piece, with a kind of Cold War thriller-John Le Carré pacing that was great to watch again.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


Crash (2004) - Paul Haggis, Robert Moresco
Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) - George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Match Point (2005) - Woody Allen
The Squid and the Whale (2005) - Noah Baumbach
Syriana (2005) - Stephen Gaghan

THOUGHTS: The Squid and the Whale would be my choice by far, but I am going with Paul Haggis in Crash. It just has that kind of buzz which is difficult to ignore.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana
Capote (2005) - Dan Futterman
The Constant Gardener (2005) - Jeffrey Caine
A History of Violence (2005) - Josh Olson
Munich (2005) - Tony Kushner, Eric Roth

THOUGHTS: There's only one film of the ones listed above, which I haven't seen, and that's what I have heard is the superlative, History of Violence. If I were a betting woman, I'd say go with Brokeback Mountain (a big freaking 'duh' here, please), but keep your eye on History of Violence.


BEST FOREIGN FILM


Joyeux Noël (2005) (France)
Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage (2005) (Germany)
Paradise Now (2005) (Palestine)
Tsotsi (2005) (South Africa)
Don't Tell (2005) (Italy)

THOUGHTS: There has to be some kind of ironic God smiling up there, to have posited Sophie Scholl, a heretofore unknown German university student, who played a heroic role in fighting Nazis amongst the White Rose crowd in Munich, against Paradise Now, a film about Palestinian suicide bombers -- whose brief, violent life purpose is killing Jews. I'm going with Tsotsi.


BEST PICTURE


Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Diana Ossana, James Schamus
Capote (2005) - Caroline Baron, William Vince, Michael Ohoven
Crash (2004) - Paul Haggis, Cathy Schulman
Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) - Grant Heslov
Munich (2005) - Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Barry Mendel

THOUGHTS: Brokeback. Of course. It might've dragged in its second hour, but the first hour was brilliant.


Those of you who are scoring at home, you lucky dogs, it's Brokeback with 8 Nominations.

Academy Awards will take place on March 5th, 2006.


OPINION:

This past year was very rewarding for people like me: those of us who like serious dramatic films aimed entirely for adults.

In fact, I would say, after the disastrous past 2 years, 2005 broke (get used to seeing that word again) in like a ray of light, and any weighty film would have made an impact for us.

But 2005 did more than that: good directing, good writing, and good cinematography, alongside good acting is surely more than just a coincidence.

It could mean a resurgence for Hollywood, whose box office carcass is on life support even as I type.

But here is the impertinence of reality upsetting this new state-of-affairs.

The films we see above have not been watched by mainstream America, by and large.

Hollywood used to pat itself on its back for substantive, yet enjoyable films which just happened to have been good enough to warrant a nod from the Academy.

And Brokeback Mountain, TransAmerica, Junebug, Capote, Good Night & Good Luck, et. al. just won't cut it.

It's tricky.

Almost all these films above, which I have seen, are singularly excellent films. Some are groundbreaking films, which is fine.

But few capture the imagination of the American people.

It is very sad to see this, for those of us who love the medium of film, to see this ever-growing disconnect by Hollywood to their target audience, the greater public.

Because when the provider doesn't provide you with what you need, you either become frustrated, and turn elsewhere, or become resentful at the lack of perceived respect for your needs.

Oh, there will always be an Oscars Ceremony. No doubt, I'll live blog that, as I did last year.

But it's not I who Hollywood has to worry about.

It's about Mr. & Mrs. America, with their 2.4 children, SUV, holding down two jobs, and 1 and a half mortgages, who just wants an intriguing, decent yarn to watch at the weekend -- who they can then recognise, and have some kind of vested interest in supporting, come Oscar Time.

And the Brokeback Mountains of this world, just won't cut it. Sorry.

This will, without a doubt, be one of the lowest watched Oscars Ceremonies in memory.

And that's saying something.

15 Comments:

  • Just saw on Fox & Friends the five nominated for best picture. Hollywood liberal, ya think?

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Tue Jan 31, 09:03:00 am GMT-5  

  • Just saw on Fox & Friends the five nominated for best picture. Hollywood liberal, ya think?

    Let's see:

    Brokeback Mountain: The tale of two sheep-herders who cement their love by a tender sodomy scene in the 15 minutes of the film.

    Capote: The tale of an inestimably famous, and unabashedly gay writer who befriends, and cynically uses two murderers to virtually create the book genre known as true crime.

    Crash: When races collide!

    Good Night and Good Luck: ...Hollywood. Since if you keep nominating these types of films which you, and a handful of people saw, you will lose your audience and go "why???" come Nielsen Ratings.

    Munich: The tender story of Israeli hit men who murder their Palestinian opponents in cold blood. However, it is not as pro-Palestianian as you might've heard. There is just one character who tries to inject some morality by showing the other guy's point-of-view, into the picture. Rabbi Hier called this film anti-Jewish, but that's ridiculous. And oh, new James Bond, Daniel Craig, was fantastic in it.

    Most people are not very interested in political yarns, gay films, racial epithets, murderers with a conscience, and writers who exploit killers...those are talking points from the left side of the social and political aisle.

    So it's almost too pat to say, Hollywood is liberal, by now.

    We knew that going in. And that's why people are going out.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Jan 31, 10:00:00 am GMT-5  

  • Keira Knightley! Yes! Great comeback after the dreadful King Arthur. She's my pick. :)

    Amy Adams was great in the first half on Junebug, there's a real innocent quality to her performance.

    The Oscars like rewarding actors who were passed up the previous year so I will go with Paul Giamatti.

    Toss up between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix for best actor. I will go with Vicky's theory but pick PSH.

    A gay cowboy movie at the Oscars? Must be Ang Lee.

    Not to be forgotten, Crash and the Constant Gardener for the screenplay awards.

    Don't Tell because my mom would never forgive me if I voted against an Italian movie!

    I too will second Brokeback for best picture with Crash as the darkhorse. After euthanasia the oscars will tackle homosexuality. I see an abortion based movie next!;)

    By Blogger Renato, at Tue Jan 31, 01:14:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I totally agree with your observations Victoria! These are more adult films, but yet...resonance is lacking. I didn't dislike Crash, but it wasn't the be-all that it was sold to me as...but still, this trend bodes well!

    Now if we can just stay out of sequel-hell!

    Ron, from the schvitz.

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Jan 31, 01:25:00 pm GMT-5  

  • What I want to know is why the ceremony so popular outside the United States, still?

    Most of these films probably won't play in most markets, so why do over a billion people still tune in?

    Plus the stars are becoming less and less stellar. Will the kid from Shanghai or Belem really identify with David Strathairn or Joaquin Phoenix or Felicity Huffman or Frances McDormand or Judi Dench?

    (Though I predict Brokeback to do terrific business in Japan, but that's cause the teen girls there love their Yaoi)

    And Kung Fu Hustle was robbed, that should have been nominated in EVERY category, from effects, to screenplay, to actor, to director, to film.

    Best movie of the decade so far.

    (and I'm not kidding)

    By Blogger XWL, at Tue Jan 31, 01:41:00 pm GMT-5  

  • You forgot the Animated Film...Wallace & Gromit to win!!

    Incidentally...of all the nominations you mentioned, I have seen none of the films mentioned. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    By Blogger MuppetLord, at Tue Jan 31, 05:47:00 pm GMT-5  

  • The most leftist lineup ever. Nice.

    By Blogger JSU, at Tue Jan 31, 10:32:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Keira Knightley! Yes! Great comeback after the dreadful King Arthur. She's my pick. :)

    Is that the film which had the snowflakes going UP?

    Yeah, that sucked. ;)

    Amy Adams was great in the first half on Junebug, there's a real innocent quality to her performance.

    Exactly.

    You know, one of the most difficult tasks an actor has is to portray normality.

    You'd think it would be entering the mind of a killer, etc. but most people don't know what makes those people tick -- we can only imagine it, so any performance by an actor on screen which we think hits closest the mark, is accepted.

    But most of us know awkwardness, perkiness, eagerness, and almost overwhelming jealousy (and admiration).

    All of this, Junebug delivered, and Amy Adams delivered most of all.

    The Oscars like rewarding actors who were passed up the previous year so I will go with Paul Giamatti.?

    Precisely. I thought he was good in Cinderella Man, but he was exceptional in AS, and Sideways.

    It's like Judy Dench. She lost for Mrs. Brown, which Helen Hunt ridiculously got (promptly going into obscurity) for As Good As It Gets.

    So what does the Academy do? Gives it to her for her 5 minute cameo in Shakespeare in Love. What a travesty.

    Toss up between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix for best actor. I will go with Vicky's theory but pick PSH.

    Yeah, I think he'll probably get it, but you never know. Strathairn could be the tie-breaker.

    A gay cowboy movie at the Oscars? Must be Ang Lee.

    I like Ang Lee, regardless.

    He has a fine, deft touch which excels in the "outsider-looking-in" films he has done so well to date.

    Not to be forgotten, Crash and the Constant Gardener for the screenplay awards.

    True.

    Don't Tell because my mom would never forgive me if I voted against an Italian movie!

    That explains why your mother liked Modigliani, which SUCKED. ;)

    I too will second Brokeback for best picture with Crash as the darkhorse. After euthanasia the oscars will tackle homosexuality. I see an abortion based movie next!;)

    By Jove, I think we have a prediction!

    And a mighty good one, at that.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 01, 01:38:00 am GMT-5  

  • I totally agree with your observations Victoria! These are more adult films, but yet...resonance is lacking. I didn't dislike Crash, but it wasn't the be-all that it was sold to me as...but still, this trend bodes well!

    Yes, it does.

    As I noted on Althouse though, Hollywood does one serious year, followed by nominations for the epic popcorn type of flicks, like Braveheart or Running with Wolves. ;)

    Now if we can just stay out of sequel-hell!

    Ron, from the schvitz.


    I'm schvitzing just thinking of Big Momma House 2.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 01, 01:39:00 am GMT-5  

  • What I want to know is why the ceremony so popular outside the United States, still?

    You jest!

    Hollywood is still IT the world over.

    You think people in Chile would see the BAFTAs? Puh-lease! ;)

    Most of these films probably won't play in most markets, so why do over a billion people still tune in?

    That's not true at all!

    Why, once in Indonesia I saw "Batman" (the one with Michelle Pfeiffer), just a few months after it came out in the US.

    In France I saw VI Warshawsky with Kathleen Turner...why why, Lord.

    And in Brazil, I saw Turner & Hootch...

    And you better believe all the lefty films nominated would be watched by the intelligentsia of those countries, however limited the release and all.

    Plus the stars are becoming less and less stellar.

    This is really true.

    I hate Tom Cruise for having been almost one of the first to wear a normal suit and tie to the Oscars, back in 2001.

    Until then, it was black tie all the way.

    Will the kid from Shanghai or Belem really identify with David Strathairn or Joaquin Phoenix or Felicity Huffman or Frances McDormand or Judi Dench?

    Yes.

    Since it's not really about the actors themselves, but when you're abroad looking in, especially from countries in the periphery of world attention (I'm thinking a country like Peru, Romania or S. Korea), you'd be surprised how watching the Oscars makes you feel part of the international community.

    (Though I predict Brokeback to do terrific business in Japan, but that's cause the teen girls there love their Yaoi)

    Ohhhh yes. Yaoi. I know it well.

    Extract from link:

    The term is an acronym derived from the Japanese phrase 「ヤマなし、オチなし、意味なし」 ( yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi ), meaning "no climax, no punch line, no meaning." Its target audience, readership and creators are mostly young to middle-age women, with men of the same age comprising most of the rest. The generally accepted theory as to the cause of its popularity among women is that heterosexual women find male-male relationships erotic, as much as some men consider lesbian relationships appealing, and that while gay and bisexual men do have just as large an interest, there are simply fewer of them in the world than there are women.

    Hah. Well put.

    I used to date a boy whose sister was into Yaoi.

    I happen to think that it might have something to do with the expressive eyes found in manga and anime, which feminises those characters, because otherwise, I have no clue.

    And Kung Fu Hustle was robbed, that should have been nominated in EVERY category, from effects, to screenplay, to actor, to director, to film.

    Best movie of the decade so far.

    (and I'm not kidding)


    Erm. Okay.

    (Now I'm curious. I'll check it out!)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 01, 01:51:00 am GMT-5  

  • You forgot the Animated Film...Wallace & Gromit to win!!

    Cool! Come on Gromit, lad!

    Incidentally...of all the nominations you mentioned, I have seen none of the films mentioned. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    Good thing. And bad.

    Hard to say, ML. It depends on your tastes.

    If you like films made for the 30-50 demographic, with slow-paced dialogue, and challenging often historically weighty matters, then you'll like almost all the ones nominated for Best Picture.

    BTW, my mother and father haven't seen ONE picture nominated in the big 4 categories.

    So they already told me that they won't be watching the Oscars this year.

    Sigh.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 01, 01:54:00 am GMT-5  

  • The most leftist lineup ever. Nice.

    It's hard to know what they're doing.

    But it might be a bit like Good Night and Good Luck.

    If you have seen the film, or even haven't, there is a moment when Ed Murrow has finished his broadcast denouncing Joe McCarthy on air.

    And the camera goes into slo-mo, with people in the booths hugging each other, and smiling a smile of "Finally! Someone said what we feel. Someone did the right thing."

    This is pretty much what I feel they are doing now.

    They feel good about awarding films which shows their world view, and they feel like a weight is off their shoulders, because someone stood up at long last for what they feel.

    It's just that what is their right thing, is not everyone else's right thing.

    They've committed hara-kiri this year.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 01, 01:58:00 am GMT-5  

  • Btw, surely the trick performance (Huffman) will win. Particularly when she's going against three foreigners.

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed Feb 01, 05:00:00 am GMT-5  

  • You think this group of nominees are PC?

    Well for some columnist, these films aren't PC enough.

    I'd be amazed, but really it's impossible to be mazed even, let alone a-mazed.

    And obligatory off topicness, did you notice this bit of news?

    (Good on ya, Harry)

    By Blogger XWL, at Wed Feb 01, 08:01:00 pm GMT-5  

  • They are not an award of achievement, they are an award of behavior.
    I couldn't care less.

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Feb 02, 09:03:00 pm GMT-5  

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