Jan 31, 2006

No Wonder Nobody Watches The Oscars Anymore

Well, they have been announced and they're kinda lame... I'm offended by the fact that they couldn't even get two glamorous past winners to announce the nominations. Yet I suspect it is a weakness of mine, that as much as the Oscars frustrate me, I feel the compulsion to speculate talmudically about them.
It looks like this year is gay year, just like last year was black year.
Who the hell are the voters? Why do I get the feeling they are all 75 years old and look like the old leatherfaced lady in There's Something About Mary?
Male actor:
Goody good for Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Terence Howard. Good for David Strathairn, but instead of Heath Ledger I would have given the nod to Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence or to Tommy Lee Jones for his work in his own movie, The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada. I'm rooting for Joaquin although most likely the prize will and should go to Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Female Actress:
Maria Bello should have been nominated instead of Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice, which is a bullshit nomination; the New Pretty Young Thing Award. I didn't see North Country but Charlize Theron's and Judi Dench's nominations bore me. Enough with Judi Dench. We all know she's fantastic. Let's move on. So it's between Felicity Huffman for Transamerica (the Academy loves physical transformations, retards and/or drunks) but I'd bet it's going to Reese's Pieces, and if so, good for her. Unless it's really gay year and we have a Capote/Transamerica combo in the acting prizes.
Male Supporting:
As much as I have the biggest crush on Jake Gyllenhaal, and he was quite good as the other gay guy, I'm not sure his performance was that great. I'd rather see his brother in law Peter Sarsgaard get it for either Jarhead or The Dying Gaul. Or for Kinsey last year or just for breathing. Matt Dillon was great in Crash and deserves his nomination. I'm very happy that George Clooney got the nod for his worldweary CIA agent in Syriana. I'm rooting for him. I love Paul Giamatti, but I hate consolation prizes. And I thought William Hurt was way over the top in A History of Violence. Jeff Daniels deserved it more for his scary, dead-on portayal of a humongous egomaniac intellectual in the Squid and the Whale.
Female Supporting:
I didn't see Junebug but good luck to Amy Adams. The rest of the bunch is quite solid. Michelle Williams was amazing in Brokeback, but if I was her I'd be afraid to win. Supporting actress prizes tend to be jinxed for newcomers (Mira Sorvino, Louise Fletcher, Marisa Tomei -- you tell me). But then, she's married to Heath Ledger so she can't have it all. Frances McDormand always rules, Catherine Keener was lovely in Capote and Rachel Weisz was quite good in The Constant Gardener, so this is a pretty even field. Rooting for Michelle.
Original screenplay:
The Academy managed to include some of the most obnoxious movies, in my view, of the year: three of them bogus to the core: Crash by Paul Haggis, an interesting premise that quickly turns to ridiculous schmaltz, the dreadful Match Point and the pretentious, incoherent Syriana. The Squid and the Whale is very well written, but too smarmy for my taste. So the bald man should go to the only one that deserves the honor: Good Night and Good Luck.
Screenplay adaptations:
I agree with A History of Violence. Night in Gay Mountain is probably going to win, Capote is very respectable and if it wins, I will be happy for Dan Futterman, on whom I've always had a crush, and Munich is a mishmash of kosher and halal and by no means a better screenplay than King Kong. I didn't like The Constant Gardener. Rooting for Violence, which won't get it.
I'm overjoyed that both Rodrigo Prieto (Gay Marlboro Country) and Emanuel Lubeski (The New World) have been honored. It's not only a matter of sheer nationalistic pride (both are from Mexico) but they both kick major cinematographic ass. I wish them luck.
Song and Dance:
Nobody has listened to us about killing the best song ordeal, but at least we're down to three instead of five. Rooting for Miss Dolly Parton (yeah!).
As per music, two John Williams nominations are two too many. He's the Judi Dench of the music category.
I'm surprised Syriana didn't get one, with taut, cool music by Alexandre Desplat, who is my favorite "new" film composer (loved his music for Birth and The Beat my Heart Skipped). Rooting for Gustavo Santaolalla.
Alien Movies:
Where is Cache, where is La Niña Santa, The Beat my Heart Skipped, Downfall, Look at Me or some of the Korean films I didn't see but got great reviews this year? The foreign film nominations are a joke. The Academy needs to revise the stupid rules for eligibility because the movies considered are officially chosen by bureaucrats, and therefore they are mostly toothless, politically correct choices. So I'm rooting for the Palestinian movie even if I haven't seen it yet.
I'm elated that the voters had the good taste to pick three very strong, unusual contenders instead of the usual pixarish commercial crap. Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, Corpse Bride by Tim Burton and the probable winner, Wallace and Gromit.
The Penguins are going to be the smartest guys in the room.
It goes to show that really, movies weren't great this year. None of these guys have real autorial panache, except for Spielberg (whether he gets on your nerves or not). Meanwhile, two of the directors with a surplus of autorial panache, David Cronenberg and Peter Jackson, were left out. So was Tommy Lee Jones, who did a pretty good job with Melquiades. And so was James Mangold, who did a fine piece of directing the very conventional material of Walk the Line.
The acting in Crash was great but the rest was not. Capote is a fine opera prima, but no great shakes, and Munich is more of the best and a little less of the worst of Steven Spielberg. George Clooney has proven that he is an intelligent, subtle filmmaker and if he wins, goody, but it looks like Ang Lee will be the man for his sensitive touch. Rooting for Clooney.
Is Munich better than King Kong? No. Is it better than a History of Violence? No. Is Gay Cowboys that great? Not really. Are any of the five nominees better than The 40 Year Old Virgin? Um, maybe only Good Night and Good Luck. Is life fair? _______.
Achievement in Sound Mixing:
Just kidding.

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