Saturday, March 04, 2006

Teh Winners

So... they're finally here. After months of deliberation, reviewing and odds-making, it's time to finally kiss 2005 good-bye, setting in stone (hah!) the "Best" (hah!) of the year in terms of film. It's been a lot of fun (ha-- no, it really has actually), but I'm sure even the biggest Oscar enthusiast is shouting "Enough is enough!". I personally love awards season, but I have to admit that I'm exhausted and, moreover, bored. I want it all to end. Not that anyone will have to twist my arm into watching tomorrow, but after sitting through awards ceremony after awards ceremony, I'm not expecting a lot of surprises or changes in the overall voting trends. Every year I desperately hold out for upsets, and I turn away disappointed (see last year, where SAG, DGA and WGA influenced every category - yawn). So I'm trying to get myself excited; not for any last-minute shockers (although they're certainly welcome), but for the following (in roughly this order): Jon Stewart's performance, the dresses (duh), the acting clips (my favorite part), "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" (just to see how they pull off this PG version), and Ang Lee winning the Oscar he deserved back in 2001. I also enjoy the Red Carpet coverage somewhat, minus the stupid, annoying reporters (The Antichrist isn't going to be anywhere near the Kodak Theatre, is she? Please reassure me, someone, anyone...)

Prediction: Brokeback Mountain
Preference: Capote
Upset: Crash
- Although I have Paul Haggis's film second-in-line, it's still not likely. Every year, the media tries to inject some suspense into this race, pitting secure locks against films with no chance (LOTR vs. Mystic River; A Beautiful Mind vs. Moulin Rouge). Bless them writers and their noble efforts, but it's not going to work. I recently caught Crash again a couple of days ago (for the first time in a year-and-a-half), and while I liked it considerably more this time around (seeing it warts and all), it just doesn't feel like a Best Picture winner. The Academy will surely reward it in other categories (Original Screenplay, Song and Editing look likely), not to mention that they usually like the Picture and Director winners to match (Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby most recently).

Prediction: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Preference: Bennet Miller, Capote or Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Upset: George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
- There is no way on earth that Ang Lee loses this. Best Picture is still up in the air, but this category is settled. If he loses this in spite of previously winning the Golden Globe and the DGA prize (again), the universe will rupture.

Prediction: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Preference: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line Upset: Felicity Huffman, Transamerica (Please God no).
- Reese Witherspoon is the saving grace of this horrid category, and I hope the voters feel the same way (obviously not, since they voted for all these lame nominees in the first place!). I'm really quite terrified of the thought that one day I'll have to walk by the "T" shelf at the video store and have to endure the Transamerica DVD cover screaming "Academy Award Winner: Best Actress - Felicity Huffman". I actually had a dream (nightmare) a couple of days ago that she won. Let's hope that my dreams never come true. And considering the precursors, there's a good chance that they won't.

BEST ACTOR Prediction: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Preference: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain (Terrence Howard was great too)
Upset: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
- It's not likely that anyone can upset PSH here. If Brokeback wins an acting trophy, it will be a for a supporting performance.

Prediction: Catherine Keener, Capote
Preference: Amy Adams, Junebug or anyone but Frances McDormand
Upset: Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
- This is one prediction I am likely to regret making come early Monday morning, but I need to throw a wildcard in just to make this all interesting (and to distinguish my list from all the others). Rachel Weisz looks like a sure thing for many reasons, ranging from her prior awards to the "importance" factor of her film (this would be a good way of rewarding The Constant Gardener as a whole). But after taking in Capote for a second time, Catherine Keener's work really impressed me; she does so much with so little, and the performance sneaks up on you. I can see this happening a la Marcia Gay Harden in 2001 (although that was a co-lead while this very much is not). A vote for Keener would represent her body of work from 2005 (along with Jake Gyllenhall, this was very much her year) as well as right the wrong of Angelina Jolie walking away with her trophy back in 2000. I'm feeling this...

Prediction: George Clooney, Syriana Preference: William Hurt, A History of Violence (but since he has no chance, I'd vote for Jake)
Upset: Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
- I really want to predict Gyllenhaal to take this award, because I can see the vote splitting between frontrunners Clooney and Giamatti. But the reality is that other than William Hurt (ironically giving the best performance in this bunch), any of these actors could take it. What pushes George over the others is his three nominations, and guilty-feeling voters will probably throw him a bone in this category. Otherwise, I'd be predicting someone else. At least he'll give a confident, funny speech (unlike Jake, who was painful to watch at the BAFTAs).

Prediction: Paul Haggis, Bobby Moresco, Crash
Preference: Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
Upset: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Good Night, and Good Luck
- Voters give Haggis a consolation prize for losing last year. Thankfully, the lame Match Point has no chance here.

Prediction: Diana Ossana, Larry McMurtry, Brokeback Mountain
Preference: Dan Futterman, Capote
Upset: Dan Futterman, Capote
- Best Picture or not, this category looks wrapped up.

And the rest...
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Prediction: Rodrigo Prieto, Brokeback Mountain Preference: Emmanuel Lubezki, The New World Upset: Robert Elswit, Good Night, and Good Luck

BEST EDITING Prediction: Hughes Winborne, Crash Preference: Claire Simpson, The Constant Gardener Upset: Claire Simpson, The Constant Gardener

BEST ART DIRECTION Prediction: John Myhre, Gretchen Rau, Memoirs of a Geisha Preference: Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer, Pride & Prejudice Upset: Grant Major, Dan Hennah, Simon Bright, King Kong

BEST COSTUME DESIGN Prediction: Colleen Atwood, Memoirs of a Geisha Preference: Arianne Phillips, Walk the Line Upset: Arianne Phillips, Walk the Line

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE Prediction: John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha Preference: Gustavo Santaolalla, Brokeback Mountain Upset: Gustavo Santaolalla, Brokeback Mountain

BEST ORIGINAL SONG Prediction: "In the Deep", Crash Preference: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp", Hustle & Flow Upset: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp", Hustle & Flow

BEST MAKEUP Prediction: Howard Berger, Tami Lane, Chronicles of Narnia Preference: Dave Elsey, Annette Miles, Revenge of the Sith Upset: Dave Elsey, Annette Miles, Revenge of the Sith

BEST SOUND MIXING Prediction: Paul Massey, Doug Hemphil, Peter F. Kurland, Walk the Line Preference: Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Ron Judkins, War of the Worlds Upset: Boyes/Semanick/Hedges/Peek, King Kong

BEST SOUND EDITING Prediction: Mike Hopkins, Ethan Van der Ryn, King Kong Preference: Mike Hopkins, Ethan Van der Ryn, King Kong Upset: Richard King, War of the Worlds

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS Prediction: Letteri/Van't Hul/Rivers/Taylor, King Kong Preference: Letteri/Van't Hul/Rivers/Taylor, King Kong Upset: Helman/Muren/Dutra/Sudick, War of the Worlds

BEST ANIMATED FILM Prediction: Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Preference: Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Upset: The Corpse Bride

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM Prediction: Tsotsi Preference: ? Upset: Paradise Now

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Prediction: March of the Penguins Preference: Haven't seen them all, but I was quite taken with Murderball Upset: Darwin's Nightmare ....

TALLY: Brokeback Mountain - 4 Crash - 3 Capote - 2 Memoirs of a Geisha - 3 King Kong - 2 Walk the Line - 2 Chronicles of Narnia - 1 March of the Penguins - 1 Syriana - 1 Tsotsi - 1 Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - 1

Happy watching, everyone!


JavierAG said...

I'm scared that "Geisha" might actually take more prizes than "Brokeback Mountain".

Catherine Keener could definitely pull a Marcia Gay Harden on us, but I'm staying with Rachel.

Your preference is now "Crash"? Is that a typo???

JavierAG said...

Stupid me. The UPSET is "Crash". I thought I'd lost you for a sec ;)

Nick M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nick M. said...

I really, really do not want to watch "Crash" again. Would you recommend it as a rewatch for me?

There are some sentences in your blurbs that match nearly exactly what I typed up in mine. Eeeeerie (as usual for us).

As for your picks, they are fine (what can one say?) -- and I realize your iconoclastic attitude in choosing Keener, but I really feel as if she has absolutely no chance. Even if I am hardly a fan of the role, I would not mind her winning, I suppose.

The Independent Spirit Awards made me sick tonight -- literally. Hopefully I feel better tomorrow...before the headache and stomachache resurface.

Ali said...

Javier - That scenario is entirely possible now that I think about it. Thanks a lot for traumatizing me even further! ;)

I'm starting to really regret the Keener prediction, but I don't think I'd be happy changing back to Weisz (who I feel will be upset by Adams, if not Keener). Then again, maybe the voters will be predictable after all and have SAG decide every race for them.

Nick - Crash isn't a great (or even good) movie any way you slice it, but this time around I was better able to appreciate what Haggis's intentions (even though practically every scenario is overdone). Some sequences are effective, and a couple of the performances are terrific (Howard primarily). As for you, I don't think a second viewing will do all that much (you don't seem keen on it either). I just did so because it had been so long since my first viewing.

As for Keener, I know I'm "out there", but no chance? I don't think so; voters rarely vote on the performance itself. Many other factors apply, and I think her successful year will get her plenty of votes. Maybe not enough to win, but more than Williams or McDormand.

I was initially upset that the ISAs weren't going to air here, but after hearing the winners, I'm over it. How could they give The Squid and the Whale nothing in spite of it garnering the most nominations? And don't get me started on Huffman's win...

JavierAG said...

I tell you, that woman is *desperate* for an Oscar (pun intended). The Satan in me will rejoice when she loses tonight.

Ali said...

Tell me about it. I haven't seen an actor want it so bad since Halle Berry. Huffman is everywhere this season. At least Witherspoon has maintained her dignity.

Nick M. said...

Ali, I believe you and I were the only ones who sniffed out the bullshit that Huffman's performance reeked of (perhaps, in pseudo-indie spirit, they mistaked it for a piquant perfume). Yeah, she tries her best in the film (and, to her slight credit, the screenplay doomed the project from the start) but you can visibly see her straining her performance and trying to inject nuance into nothingness. Yuck.

If I have to hear Huffman shriek, "I'm going to the Oscars!" one more time, I'm going to explode (again, that is).

In Nate's poll about "what actor/actress will never appear on the ballot again," I clicked Huffman without reading any of the other nominees.

I may sound harsh (and honest), but she is a t-e-l-e-v-i-s-i-o-n actress. I have never so quickly changed my opinion on an actor when they attempted to translate to the medium of film.

Oh, and although I never particularly liked him before (I was a fan of Huffman on 'Sports Night') -- the same goes for Pauly Haggis. Such obvious and ham-fisted execution does not work in cinema, yet enough pandered-to Americans swallowed such crap. There are two things I hate in film: when I am dishonestly manipulated, and when I am pandered to. Most television does that. Good cinema does not. Crash does -- and it FLAUNTS IT.

Ali said...

Oh dear. I'm quite speechless...

I'm going to bed.

JavierAG said...

Would you please shoot me before going to bed?

Nick M. said...

You mean I am not asleep, and in a nightmare, right now?