Oscars!

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I unabashedly love the Academy Awards. Yes, I know they are full of shit and bad movies get recognized and good movies go unnoticed and it's all about who you know and what studio makes your film and all that. Don't care. Love them anyway. With the heat of 1,000 suns. So, of course, I'm stoked about the nominees coming out. And I'm going to tell you, lucky readers, all about it.

These are the nominees in the categories that I know anything about, as well as my (brilliant and insightful, I'm sure) commentary.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Terrence Howard in Hustle & Flow (Paramount Classics, MTV Films and New Deal Entertainment)
  • Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features)
  • Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line (20th Century Fox)
  • David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck. (Warner Independent Pictures)
This is a tough one. I've seen all of the performances except for Terrence Howards, and they are all top-notch. Straithairn, Phoenix, and especially Phillip Seymour Hoffman all deserve amazing props for having played people who could have been caricatures as if they were real people, with the respect they deserved (or, in Capote's case, didn't particularly deserve). However, I'd have to give this to Heath Ledger. What he did in Brokeback Mountain blew my mind. I went in with all the skepticism in the world and I could not have been more surprised. He turned a beautiful, understated performance the likes of which I haven't seen since...I don't even know when.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • George Clooney in Syriana (Warner Bros.)
  • Matt Dillon in Crash (Lions Gate)
  • Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man (Universal and Miramax)
  • Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features)
  • William Hurt in A History of Violence (New Line)
My judgement in this category is a bit shakier, since I haven't seen Crash or Cinderella Man. However, based on the three films I have seen, there's no real contest--Jake Gyllenhaal is leagues ahead of George Clooney (who I really like) and William Hurt (who I mostly don't, and I thought A History of Violence was just a bad movie all around). I can't really imagine Paul Giamatti being all that impressive in Cinderella Man, but you never know (after all, Heath Ledger--who'd have thunk it?). Matt Dillon is probably quite good in Crash. I need to see both of those.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents (The Weinstein Company)
  • Felicity Huffman in Transamerica (The Weinstein Company and IFC Films)
  • Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice (Focus Features)
  • Charlize Theron in North Country (Warner Bros.)
  • Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line (20th Century Fox)
This is another one where I'm really not well-versed enough to make a good choice. I really, really need to see Transamerica, and hope to very soon. I'm also excited about Mrs. Henderson Presents. North Country doesn't much excite me--I plan to see it on DVD--but since Charlize got an Oscar I didn't think she deserved last year, hopefully she'll be out of the running this year. I thought Keira Knightley was good in Pride & Prejudice, but not Oscar worthy. Witherspoon is my best bet for this category, but not because she turned in a better performance than Joaquin Phoenix (far from it)--he just has stiffer competition this year.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Amy Adams in Junebug (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Catherine Keener in Capote (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Frances McDormand in North Country (Warner Bros.)
  • Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener (Focus Features)
  • Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features
I am SO happy to see Amy Adams get recongized for June Bug. She was fantastic and I hope she wins. Don't think she will, but it would be nice. Again, I haven't seen North Country or The Constant Gardener, so I can't be sure who is best here, but between Adams and Caroline Keener (nothing special in Capote, I didn't think) and Michelle Williams (good, but not great in Brokeback Mountain), Adams definitely gets my vote.

Achievement in art direction

  • Good Night, and Good Luck. (Warner Independent Pictures) Art Direction: Jim Bissell Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Stuart Craig Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
  • King Kong (Universal) Art Direction: Grant Major Set Decoration: Dan Hennah and Simon Bright
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (Sony Pictures Releasing) Art Direction: John Myhre Set Decoration: Gretchen Rau
  • Pride & Prejudice (Focus Features) Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
I haven't seen King Kong or Memoirs, so this is probably not a good category for me to weigh in on. However, Good Night, and Good Luck. was an fantastically shot movie, with no dependance on frills or scenery, and I have to admire that.

Achievement in cinematography

  • Batman Begins (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
  • Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features) Rodrigo Prieto
  • Good Night, and Good Luck. (Warner Independent Pictures) Robert Elswit
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (Sony Pictures Releasing) Dion Beebe
  • The New World (New Line) Emmanuel Lubezki
From the films I've seen (saw Batman, didn't see The New World), this is really between Good Night, and Good Luck. and Brokeback Mountain. Slightly begrudingly, I'd give it to Good Night, and Good Luck., again because their task was harder, not having any mountain ranges to depend on.

Achievement in costume design

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Warner Bros.) Gabriella Pescucci
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (Sony Pictures Releasing) Colleen Atwood
  • Mrs. Henderson Presents (The Weinstein Company) Sandy Powell
  • Pride & Prejudice (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
  • Walk the Line (20th Century Fox) Arianne Phillips
Walk the Line had great costumes, but I can't see this going to anything that...normal and recent. Pride & Prejudice's costumes were good as well, but that's been done over and over again in my book. I though the costumes in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were just ridiculous and over the top, so I hope it isn't rewarded. I haven't seen in yet, but Mrs. Henderson Presents looks to be interesting in the costume department...so I dunno.

Achievement in directing

  • Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features) Ang Lee
  • Capote (UA/Sony Pictures Classics) Bennett Miller
  • Crash (Lions Gate) Paul Haggis
  • Good Night, and Good Luck. (Warner Independent Pictures) George Clooney
  • Munich (Universal and DreamWorks) Steven Spielberg
I don't see how this can not go to Ang Lee. Brokeback Mountain was just that good. However, I think George Clooney did an amazing job with not overdoing Good Night, and Good Luck., so it would be OK with me to see that honored. Anybody but Spielberg, really.

Best documentary feature

  • Darwins Nightmare (International Film Circuit) A Mille et Une Production Hubert Sauper
  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Magnolia Pictures) An HDNet Films Production Alex Gibney and Jason Kliot
  • March of the Penguins (Warner Independent Pictures) A Bonne Pioche Production Luc Jacquet and Yves Darondeau
  • Murderball (THINKFilm) An Eat Films Production Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro
  • Street Fight A Marshall Curry Production Marshall Curry
The only one of these I've seen so far is the Enron one, and it was OK, but not great. I at least want to see Murderball soon. If I can avoid that penguin movie forever, that will be fine with me. It will probably win, though.

Achievement in makeup

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Buena Vista) Howard Berger and Tami Lane
  • Cinderella Man (Universal and Miramax) David Leroy Anderson and Lance Anderson
  • Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox) Dave Elsey and Nikki Gooley
The only one of these I've seen is Narnia, and it had some pretty amazing makeup. Tilda Swinton's makeup alone is worth an Oscar.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features) Gustavo Santaolalla
  • The Constant Gardener (Focus Features) Alberto Iglesias
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (Sony Pictures Releasing) John Williams
  • Munich (Universal and DreamWorks) John Williams
  • Pride & Prejudice (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
Again, I have to go with Brokeback Mountain. Great music.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • "In the Deep" from Crash (Lions Gate) Music by Kathleen Bird York and Michael Becker Lyric by Kathleen Bird York
  • "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow (Paramount Classics, MTV Films and New Deal Entertainment) Music and Lyric by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard
  • "Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica (The Weinstein Company and IFC Films) Music and Lyric by Dolly Parton
Haven't heard any of these, to my knowledge, but since Dolly Parton does no wrong...

Best motion picture of the year

  • Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features) A River Road Entertainment Production Diana Ossana and James Schamus, Producers
  • Capote (UA/Sony Pictures Classics) An A-Line Pictures/Cooper's Town/ Infinity Media Production Caroline Baron, William Vince and Michael Ohoven, Producers
  • Crash (Lions Gate) A Bob Yari/DEJ/Blackfriar's Bridge/ Harris Company/ApolloProscreen GmbH & Co./Bull's Eye Entertainment Production Paul Haggis and Cathy Schulman, Producers
  • Good Night, and Good Luck. (Warner Independent Pictures) A Good Night Good Luck LLC Production Grant Heslov, Producer
  • Munich (Universal and DreamWorks) A Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures Production Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg and Barry Mendel, Producers
I'd be OK with Capote orGood Night as well, as they're both wonderful films, but Brokeback Mountain blew me the fuck away.

Adapted Screenplay

  • Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features) Screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
  • Capote (UA/Sony Pictures Classics) Screenplay by Dan Futterman
  • The Constant Gardener (Focus Features) Screenplay by Jeffrey Caine
  • A History of Violence (New Line) Screenplay by Josh Olson
  • Munich (Universal and DreamWorks) Screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth
Gee, guess what I'm gonna say here? Yep.

Original screenplay

  • Crash (Lions Gate) Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco Story by Paul Haggis
  • Good Night, and Good Luck. (Warner Independent Pictures) Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov
  • Match Point (DreamWorks) Written by Woody Allen
  • The Squid and the Whale (Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Releasing) Written by Noah Baumbach
  • Syriana (Warner Bros.) Written by Stephen Gaghan
I'm not totally sure about this one, but I'd be happy to see Syriana or Good Night, and Good Luck. get it.

3 Comments

You should see STREET FIGHT (http://www.marshallcurry.com)!!! Its sooooo amazing! It really embodies the true meaning of independent documentary!

You must see Crash. B and I finally saw it after engaging in a serious debate about racial tensions in Cleveland, and I'm so glad I saw it. We were both awed by it, though I can't say I came out of the movie with any answers--just lots more questions. "March of the Penguins" was a real disappointment. I would only recommend you see it with Mark, just for the humor value of seeing him get all worked up about the rampant anthropomorphization. Thinking about how this became a tool of the right wing also irritated me throughout. They're birds, for dog's sake.

Like Elvis, Michael Jackson is topping the charts in death as in life.

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