Monday, December 12, 2005

It begins...

Everytime I wanted to post a new entry about so-and-so organization's awards announcement, another one would come along and add to the pile... therefore, I decided to wait until after all major groups had picked their winners/nominees. Insanity! Awards Season has begun. Let the Oscar predictions begin (as if they haven't already)...

RANDOM NOTES, the good and the bad...

NBR - You know, I rarely toot my own horn, because I don't have that much to boast about in my life. But today is a different story altogether. *toots own horn* I accurately predicted 8 out of the ten spots on NBR's list and also got their Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress (bleurgh!) selections right. I only wished I had listened to myself and predicted Ang Lee for Director, even though I believed that his win ten years ago would pose a problem. As for their other selections, I'm sort of "eeh" on: I would really rather not have another gimmick performance win Best Actress, but Felicity Huffman seems to have convinced everyone again that such work is automatically award-worthy (I know I still have yet to see the acting in question, but honestly...). All I need is for Roger Ebert to call it "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema"!!!!!!$@#$@#!!! And as for Jake Gyllenhaal winning Best Supporting Actor, I'm not buying. He's great in the movie, but his is not a supporting performance at all. Fraud! ...Then again, if it means that he has better chances of an Oscar nomination, I suppose I'd rather he have a nod than none at all (he certainly deserves one by this point; great body of work for an actor this young).

Maria Bello/William Hurt/A History of Violence - How thrilled am I that this masterpiece hasn't been forgotten despite it seeming to fade away in the last few months? First of all, Bello's Best Actress Drama nod from the Golden Globes (even more than hearing about the film's Best Film mention) made me whoop for joy out loud. It's one of those fantastic surprises that you hope will happen with these nominations instead of the same names being read out over and over again. Who would have thought? Unlike others, I don't think this will affect her Oscar chances in the Supporting Actress category. I have a feeling that voters will mark their ballots the way the campaign dictates, allowing this unexpected placement as an anomaly... As for William Hurt, winning the NYFCC and the LAFCA together (yes!) = very good nomination chances. Poor Cronenberg though. Although it's good that the film is still hot, it would have been good for him to get either the N.Y. or the L.A. Director's prize to make filling in that always-surprising 5th spot in the Director category possible (fighting off Malick and Allen). Now we (read: I) pray...

Brokeback Mountain - Although it's too early to call this the frontrunner/lock/lead for the Best Picture Oscar, I'm mighty tempted to just state the obvious. Not only have the critics gone nuts for it (the powerful combo of the LAFCA and the NYFCC is not to be scoffed at), but the Golden Globes sweep (woulda been eight if the HFPA hadn't rejected the campaign and tried to squeeze Gyllenhaal into Lead Drama) is certainly persuasive. Anyways, what could beat it at this point? King Kong? Walk the Line? Good Night, and Good Luck? Earlier, some were saying...

Munich - ...but its poor showing so far has been quite surprising. Although it finally picked up some kudos from the Washington Area Film Critics (Picture/Director), it's become very apparent that this is going to go more the way of Amistad (a few choice nods) than Schindler's List (huge sweep). Add to the fact that Spielberg is being called a traitor to Israel, I therefore can't see the film doing all that well with AMPAS as a whole (it seems like a Passion of the Christ sort of deal - too controversial to be fully embraced). Everyone still has it in their predictions for Picture and Screenplay, and Spielberg still feels like a good bet in the Director category (at least to me), but it's certainly lost a lot of steam (where's the Best Picture Globe nom?). Also suprising is that the film has received absolutely no acting mentions - Eric Bana didn't even get a BFCA mention (!), let alone a Golden Globe nod. Yikes.

The Family Stone - Speaking of "Yikes", what the hell happened here? Diane Keaton, who seemed a sure bet in Supporting Actress, has failed to show up anywhere so far except the Golden Satellites (where practically everyone in contention is nominated). Sarah Jessica Parker is the only representative of the film at the Golden Globes (hmmm), while people who have seen the film are rather cool on both those actors (Rachel McAdams is apparently the bright spot). All that aside, personally I must confess that I am addicted to the trailer for this movie (I've probably seen it upwards of twenty times by now), and I can't wait to watch the final product. It's probably going to be horrible, but I'm excited to see such a great cast at work (and I'll see anything with Claire Danes in it). Plus, I love SJP's line reading of "And You! You're the worst!", and McAdams's shocked reaction. Great.

Cinderella Man - It's (unfortunately) back. At first, I wasn't too convinced (the BFCA/GS love aside), but the strong Golden Globes showing proves that the campaign/re-release has been successful. I don't think I'll mind if Russell Crowe (probably 6th/7th in line for the Best Actor category) or Paul Giamatti (likely nominee) make the final cut because they were solid, but I will not be happy if Ron Howard and Brian Grazer make any shortlists. Please God no.

Crash - The big question mark. Aside from the likely nominations for Dillon and Haggis (Screenplay), is it possible it can garner more? The Best Picture and Director omissions at the Globes are telling; the thunder was stolen by (IMO)...

...The Constant Gardener - I still haven't seen this (on video January 10th - mental note) despite its late summer success, but I'm still taken aback by the resurgence. Still, in terms of Oscar prospects, I think that Rachel Weisz is the only one who should be crossing her fingers for a nomination. Meirelles already had his surprise nod a few years back, and Ralph Fiennes failed to garner a GG nom. As for Best Picture, it still has to contend with the likes of Kong, Crash, Match Point, Henderson, Capote, and Pride and Prejudice for the once-Memoirs of a Geisha occupied 5th spot (after Brokeback, Good Night, Munich and Walk the Line).

Match Point - Whew. After a very bumpy start, the Allen film was saved by a NBR top ten placement and approval from the Globes. Johansson thankfully will get a nod to make up for the one she lost two years ago. Damn, the Globes love her.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - Speaking of Capote, its star is gearing up to be the critics' darling of the year. But unlike Paul Giamatti, he's a definite thing for an Academy Award nomination. I would be tempted to call him a lock for the win, but he still has Heath Ledger to fight off, who is in a definite Best Picture nominee (while Capote is less of a sure thing). Going to be fun to see who walks away with the Golden Globe - despite Brokeback's leading status, I still think Hoffman will win.

The Squid and the Whale - I knew it would do well with the Independent Spirit Awards, but a GG nod for Best Comedy is heartening. Although the continued snubbing of Owen Kline sucks, I'm thrilled that Jeff Daniels is getting so much attention. I will be so elated if he gets an Oscar nomination, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm surprised that Laura Linney continues to be placed in Lead (if any performance were to be called supporting, this is it), but it's nice to see her nonetheless. But where's the GG nom for Baumbach's screenplay? It's dumb to give the film so much attention, but not in this regard (which is the film's greatest of many strengths IMO).

Anthony Hopkins - I was so sure that he'd be a nominee at the GGs (and eventually at the Oscars) for The World's Fastest Indian, especially since he's receiving the Cecil B. DeMille citation at the former ceremony. Pierce Brosnan (ew) seems to have taken his spot. I suppose the film is still too-underseen at this point, but couldn't this be one of those last-minute surprise nominations the Academy always has in store (re: Clint Eastwood)? Middle of December is not the same as end of January - things will be shook up.

Joan Allen/Kevin Costner - One of the not so pleasant surprises of awards season so far is the continued snubbing of Joan Allen. So many of us went in with expectations of her winning one of the three biggies - NBR, NYFCC or the LAFCA, and she won none of them. Worse still is the lack of GG love, which I believe can be blamed on HFPA members splitting votes because they didn't know whether or not she qualified under Comedy or Drama (it's the latter, I believe, which... doesn't make any sense). This is going to make a Best Actress nomination a very, very difficult feat. I blame New Line's pathetic campaign (if you go to their awards website, they would have you believe that the only films with potential are Violence and The New World). I've only seen one ad for both Allen and Costner - that's it. What the fuck? Get on it! At least I took some small happiness in seeing Costner win San Francisco's Best Supporting Actor prize. Hurrah!

The New World - Despite being MIA so far, there is still some hope here, not only in technical potential, but for Actress and Director (I'm not so convinced a Best Picture nod is possible at this point). Kilcher could go the Keisha Castle-Hughes route, and Malick could take that unpredictable 5th spot as I talked about earlier.

Memoirs of a Geisha - *Insert rant here about Zhang Ziyi getting Best Actress nomination for this film instead of for 2046.*

Gong Li - Speaking of that pathetic excuse for a film, this woman seems to be its only chance at a major nom. At least, that's what I was thinking until her GG snub. Still, the NBR citation is rather commanding, and I feel she's still in, at least for now.

Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams - Aside from me being extremely happy with Ledger getting so much love, excuse me while I get sentimental for a sec. Won't it be so lovely if both of them are nominated together (and if one of them wins?) and neither one of them has to play supportive-spouse on the red carpet? Aw. I love it. Hope it happens. I always thought Williams was the most talented out of the Dawson's group (and have always seethed at Katie Holmes getting the attention over her. Hah! Take that Katie. Michelle is going to get a nomination before you [ever] do).

Now the especially bad...

Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, North Country - re: Golden Globe nods; I'd rather not talk about it, thanks.

Johnny Depp, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Worst. Nomination. Ever. He should not even show up to maintain his dignity.

Will Ferrell - I'm scared. Someone hold me.


guile said...

dang, mr mortensen is mesmerizing in a history of violence..

guile said...

dang, mr mortensen is mesmerizing in a history of violence..

JavierAG said...

WOW. Talk about great insight. Let me just say that if Maria Bello and "Violence" manage to get to the Oscars, I'll be a very happy cinephile.

And I'm so with you on the Zhang Ziyi thing (she rocked in "2046"). I would love it if they bowed down to Gong Li, though. It's about time already.

Jesse said...

I love your enthusiasm for awards. :) I was going to ignore them entirely this year, but reading your posts gets me back into the middle of it.

I'm with you on Joan Allen. I was hoping most for either her or Claire Danes... and neither of them got it. Bah.

By the way, how's the VW paper going? Or have you finished it already?

Nick M. said...

Yay for thourough examination of the recent awards!

I share your confusion for the lack of a screenplay nod for The Squid and the Whale. It's completely illogical (and Linney, who was still powerful as always, was the weakest link in the film -- yet she is consistently mentioned while the boys are overlooked).

Cinderella Man is out -- do not worry about anything.

I must also admit how excited I am to see the possibly of double-Oscar nods for the new couple, Ledger and Williams (I'm glad you pointed this out -- being a sap alone just isn't as fun as sharing it). I misread Williams when I saw her in the Wenders' godawful Land of Plenty. I did believe, however, that it was the material that failed her -- not her own performance.

You hate Will Ferrell also? Fantastic.

Ali said...

Guile - Agreed. I didn't mention him because he's pretty much out of the race, but his work easily tops the likes of PSH, Pheonix and Crowe.

Javier - Thanks a lot for the comments. And although Gong Li is saddled with a really, really lame role in Memoirs, she is definitely owed a career nod. Too bad she has to speak in English for everyone to notice. Blah.

Jesse - You know you want to join in on the commentary... you know it! It's a lot of fun, although a big time waster. I thought Allen and Danes were locks; at least vote splitting explains the former's snub, but I totally expected the latter to place. Weird, considering they gave her a Globe for "My So-Called Life". By the way, I handed in the paper on Monday and went to sleep for 20 hours straight. I meant to write you a thank-you email... and I will. You saved my life.

Nick - How do you figure on Cinderella Man? It would make sense considering Seabiscuit's success two years ago and it fits the bill: Depression-era triumph-over-adversity biopic. I don't know about Ron Howard, but it could get a Best Picture nomination if Munich really crashes.

I do indeed hate Will Ferrell. I didn't hate him in his early work, but he's become just as annoying as Ben Stiller. He's been giving the same performance in every single film of his since Elf (the only performance of his I could semi-stand). He ruined Melinda and Melinda, the bastard.

I must see this Land of Plenty, I'm intrigued.

Nick M. said...

Seabiscuit got a Globe nod for Best Picture. That made all the difference.