nominations and commentary

Now that the Academy Awards are within spitting distance, I think it's time to reconcile with the fact that I will only see fourteen of the fifty-four nominated films. But that's okay. I think I'm ready for Sunday's party. And it will be fun. Heaps o' food. Heaps o' good people. Heaps o' ballots and prizes. (Speaking of, I realize I'm the fat kid on the playground and all, but surely others want to play my reindeer games.)

Anyway, I'm now going to reveal to you my choices for the awards. I'm also indicating which nominees have one previous awards this season. Enjoy the party.

GG -- Golden Globes (Generally considered the strongest predictor in the major categories. The acting awards are divided into Drama recipients and Comedy and Musical recipients)
BAFTA -- British Academy of Film & Television Arts (Basically the British Oscars.)
SAG -- Screen Actors Guild, Drama
EW -- Entertainment Weekly pick
movies I've seen
my pick

  • Brokeback Mountain -- GG, BAFTA, EW
  • Capote
  • Crash
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Munich

Most everyone is predicting Brokeback for a win with this one. For starters, there are the traditions: the film that wins the Golden Globe wins the Oscar (18 of the last 22 years); the film with the most nominations typically walks home with the Best Picture (19 of the last 22 years). Also, according to EW, "no film that has won the Producers, Directors, and Writers Guild awards has ever lost the night's biggest race." And it really is very well done. Good Night was perhaps my favorite film of the lot, and Crash was the one that will remain with me the longest and challenge me, but Brokeback is the one that seemed to give me the whole package--acting, screenplay, cinematography, soundtrack. It feels most like a Best Picture.

  • Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain -- GG, BAFTA, EW
  • Bennett Miller, Capote
  • Paul Haggis, Crash
  • George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Steven Spielberg, Munich

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote -- GG-D, BAFTA, SAG, EW
  • Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
  • Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line -- GG-C&M
  • David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck

  • Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Felicity Huffman, Transamerica -- GG-D
  • Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
  • Charlize Theron, North Country
  • Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line -- GG-C&M, BAFTA, SAG, EW

This is the first major category where I expect I will likely be disappointed in the outcome. Huffman is phenomenal. She creates a character who you truly feel for. I won't be upset when Witherspoon walks home with the prize--she did manage to steal the movie right out from under Phoenix's feet. Still . . .

  • George Clooney, Syriana -- GG, EW
  • Matt Dillon, Crash
  • Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man -- SAG
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain -- BAFTA
  • William Hurt, A History of Violence

Okay, I know I'm not going to get this one, but I'm voting for Dillon anyway. The entire cast of Crash was good, but he gave me more of the facial acting that I like. The critics seem to be torn between Giamatti, who they seem to think deserves the award, and Clooney, who they think will get to take it home as a consolation prize for not winning any of the other awards he's up for.

  • Amy Adams, Junebug
  • Catherine Keener, Capote
  • Frances McDormand, North Country
  • Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener -- GG, SAG, EW
  • Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

I want more than anything for Williams to get this one. I've wanted it since I saw her facial expression in the movie when she sees her husband kissing another man. Facial acting. Oh. My. But she's not going to get it. Everyone says it's going to Weisz, who managed to make her character important even after she died.

  • Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, Crash -- BAFTA, EW
  • George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Woody Allen, Match Point
  • Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
  • Stephen Gaghan, Syriana

Once you see Crash, you wonder how it can't walk away with Original Screenplay. The story is just too tight and compelling.

  • Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain -- GG, BAFTA, EW
  • Dan Futterman, Capote
  • Jeffrey Caine, The Constant Gardener
  • Josh Olsen, A History of Violence
  • Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich

After seeing this movie, I was impressed with what they could do with a short story originally published in a magazine.

  • Don't Tell (Italy)
  • Joyeux Noel (France)
  • Paradise Now (Palestine) -- GG
  • Sophie Scholl (Germany)
  • Tsotsi (South Africa) -- EW

  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit -- BAFTA, EW

  • Gustavo Santaolalla, Brokeback Mountain
  • Alberto Iglesias, The Constant Gardener
  • John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha -- EW
  • John Williams, Munich
  • Dario Marianelli, Pride & Prejudice

The general consensus is that Williams is going to walk away with this one for Memoirs. Personally, I think he should take it for Munich. When I look at a score, I want it to convey emotion and feeling without the picture. But it has to be able to do this without detracting from the film and drawing attention to itself. I have all these soundtracks on my iPod (except Gardener, which isn't available through iTunes), and Munich is the only one that feels something. Of course, I wonder about this category. I think it could also go to Santaolalla just because Williams is up for two awards, and that is traditionally the best way to make sure you don't walk home with an award because your votes get split.

  • "In the Deep" from Crash -- EW
  • "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow
  • "Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica

True, I love my Dolly, and so I'm terribly biased in this category. "In the Deep" is a haunting song, but "Travelin' Through" is more moving, especially if you listen to the lyrics.

  • Jim Bissell and Jan Pascale, Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Grant Major, Dan Hennah and Simon Bright, King Kong
  • John Myhre and Gretchen Rau, Memoirs of a Geisha -- EW
  • Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, Pride & Prejudice

Good Night is a fine-crafted film, but it's black and white, which is why EW says Memoirs will have no trouble trumping it.

  • Wally Pfister, Batman Begins
  • Rodrigo Prieto, Brokeback Mountain -- EW
  • Robert Elswit, Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Dion Beebe, Memoirs of a Geisha -- BAFTA
  • Emmanuel Lubezki, The New World

If you want to see just a beautiful film, see Memoirs. I don't remember much about it now except the exquisite beauty of it.

  • Gabriella Pescucci, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Colleen Atwood, Memoirs of a Geisha -- BAFTA, EW
  • Sandy Powell, Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Jacqueline Durran, Pride & Prejudice
  • Arianne Phillips, Walk the Line

  • Howard Berger and Tami Lane, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- BAFTA, EW
  • David Leroy and Lance Anderson, Cinderella Man
  • Dave Elsey and Annette Miles, Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith

  • Darwin's Nightmare
  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
  • March of the Penguins -- EW
  • Murderball
  • Street Fight

I think this could be an interesting result. Penguins grossed big bucks, but Murderball is supposedly a superior documentary.

  • Terry Porter, Dean A. Zupancic and Tony Johnson, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek, King Kong
  • Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Rick Kline and John Pritchett, Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Paul Massey, D. M. Hemphill and Peter F. Kurland, Walk the Line -- BAFTA, EW
  • Andy Nelson, Anne Behlmer and Ronald Judkins, War of the Worlds

EW chose Walk the Line because Ray, which was also heavy on the songs, walked away with this award last year.

  • Mike Hopkins and Ethan Van der Ryn, King Kong -- EW
  • Wylie Stateman, Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Richard King, War of the Worlds

  • Dean Wright, Bill Westenhofer, Jim Berney and Scott Farrar, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Joe Letteri, Brian Van't Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor, King Kong -- BAFTA, EW
  • Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman, Randy Dutra and Daniel Sudick, War of the Worlds

  • Mike Hill and Dan Hanley, Cinderella Man
  • Claire Simpson, The Constant Gardener -- BAFTA
  • Hughes Winborne, Crash -- EW
  • Michael Kahn, Munich
  • Michael McCusker, Walk the Line

A tight screenplay requires tight editing. So cool how everything fit together.

  • Badgered
  • The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation
  • The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
  • 9 -- EW
  • One Man Band

  • Ausreisser (The Runaway)
  • Cashback
  • The Last Farm
  • Our Time Is Up -- EW
  • Six Shooter

  • The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club -- EW
  • God Sleeps in Rwanda
  • The Mushroom Club
  • A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin


Absent-minded Secretary said...

Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice, is totally going to dark horse it, and you are going to be mad that you didn't take the afternoon off to watch it with me.

Edgy said...

According to EW: "At age 20, Pride & Prejudice's Keira Knightley is one of the youngest Best Actress nominees in history--but even she realizes she doesn't have a chance to become the youngest-ever winner."

Th. said...


After I saw the EW picks, I was tempted to go back and change my answers (because they always do a great job predicting). And the more I read, the more I know I blew the Best Actor race, but I decided to let ny original guesses stand.

I wish I could be with you tomorrow. As it is, this will be one more year I miss the Oscars.

(ps: loved to see you write one for won--I did that a couple days ago and felt incredible dumb-----hope you didn't do it just to make me feel better)

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Pfft, Entertainment Weekly. What do they know? ;)