Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And the reactions are:

What a glorious, glorious morning. When the film leading with the most number of nominations only gets eight (and doesn't receive a Best Picture nod), you know the Academy is doing their homework.

THE "I AM FEELING NEUTRAL ABOUT THIS" STUFFs
- Dreamgirls gets totally bitch smacked out of the main categories, recalling the mixed showing of Cold Mountain a couple of years ago (lots of nods in the Original Song category, two acting nods and a smattering of support in the techies.) Even though practically everyone was predicting Condon's writing and directing to be snubbed, I am really still shocked by the Best Picture omission. I was thinking that the hype would be enough to sustain the film at least for this round, even if a win was totally out of the question.
- Letters from Iwo Jima is this year's Munich, while Clint Eastwood is similarly this year's Steven Spielberg. What lesson are we to take from this? Never count against these two beloved filmmakers in any Oscar year, even if (a) they are over-rewarded by any standard, (b) the buzz seems to have quieted during ballot-filling time, and (c) box-office numbers are not encouraging. I wasn't surprised to see Eastwood on the Director's shortlist (you bet I'm going to be gloating about my 5/5 predix there; thanks Javi), but I thought he would be the only representative of the film. Letters didn't exactly sweep, but the support is definitely there (screener DVDs were certainly spinning during the last few weeks, because it's made less than five million at the box office.) Our Best Picture winner? I don't know. I certainly prefer the film to Dreamgirls, but I by far prefer Marty's The Departed over either. But why do I feel like Little Miss Sunshine is the film everyone loves and will vote for?
- Click for Makeup? Okay, sure. I won't make any judgments because I haven't seen it, but it certainly sticks out like a sore thumb.
- SAG categories are basically 99% copied and pasted for the Academy's roster; what does that mean?

THE GOOD STUFFs
- Nobody knows which film will win Best Picture. And that's pretty damn cool.
- Half-Nelson's Ryan Gosling gets that nod he so well deserves, even if it is several years overdue. Is he going to show up? Meanwhile, it's too bad Anthony Mackie and Shareeka Epps never got any traction.
- Cruz! Lubezki! Cuarón!
- The Black Dahlia's Cinematography nod.
- Jack Nicholson's hit-and-miss Departed work gets passed over in favour of the far more deserving Mark Wahlberg, who is my favourite pick in the Supporting Actor category. I would have preferred the citation for his I Heart Huckabees performance, but I'll take what I can get.
- No mention of the word "Bobby" anywhere in today's shortlists, even in the Song category, which you'd consider an easy get.
- How exciting to see no overlap between Best Picture and the Lead Actor or Cinematography categories. Usually, the latter two are crampacked with several names associated with one of the big five, but this is the first time in decades - possibly ever - that this has happened (I'll let trivia braniacs figure out the stats on that one.) Even in the Editing category, where we usually have the same thing happening (see the year of Gangs/Pianist/Hours/Towers/Chicago in 2002 - total match up; snore), we solely have The Departed and Babel represented, making room for deserving nominees like Children of Men and not-so-deserving ones like Blood Diamond. Yikes.
- The Prestige, a superb-looking film in every respect, shocks everyone with nods for Art Direction and Cinematography. Like I said, the voters were spreading the wealth this year; nice to see.
- Kate Winslet earns a well-deserved sixth nod for her Little Children magic, which saved the film from black hole nothingness for me. It will be hard to watch her lose again though.
- Marie Antoinette gets some love for Costume Design; I want more but, again, I'll take what I can get with this underloved, misunderstood masterpiece.
- The gorgeous Pan's Labyrinth is able to win more nominations (six of them) than Letters (four), The Departed (five) and Little Miss Sunshine (four). Nick D. was certainly onto something with his predictions...
- The Illusionist's D.P. Dick Pope, to whom I gave a shout-out earlier this year, earns a well-deserved nod in the Cinematography category. Contrary to what I said, his work wasn't forgotten.

THE BAD STUFFs
- No Clint Mansell for The Fountain, that film's only chance for a nod. But I guess that was to be expected, since the music is so unconventional, and the Academy branch so rarely takes chances. (Do I have to see The Good German now?)
- Djimon Hounsou keeps getting rewarded in these noble savage/native informant/mystical "other" type roles, which will only type-cast him even more than he already is now (if that's possible.) Sigh.
- Gustavo Santaolalla's hodge-podge score for Babel gets placement.
- Philip Glass's annoying, intrusive score for Notes on a Scandal gets placement.
- Despite The Queen's popularity, the film's most interesting performance (Michael Sheen) is overlooked.
- The Departed *only* secures five nods, which makes me scared for its Best Picture prospects. I feel somewhat confident that it is Marty's year, but the repeat of him versus Clint makes my blood turn cold. Will this be a repeat of the Bening/Swank tragedy? Will Nathaniel live through such a thing happening?
- Cate Blanchett, I adore and worship you, but we both know that the nomination for your bland work in Notes on a Scandal belongs to Emily Blunt.
- Volver's only nod is for the darling Penelope Cruz, although it should have earned boatloads more. But I was correct in thinking that the Academy probably feels Pedro is overloved - then again, why doesn't that extend to Clint Eastwood (and Paul Haggis), both of whom seem to pop up every other year? Hypocrites, you voters are.
- Canada's Water gets a Foreign Film nod, but despite director Deepa Mehta and her team/cast doing some things right, the film will only serve to perpetuate stereotypes into the mainstream even further.

THE DOWNRIGHT PAINFUL STUFFs
- Mel Gibson's disgusting Apocalypto manages three nods, three too many. The film looked good, yes, but in service of what? I can't comment on each filmmaking element separately when all of them add up to such an offensive, simplistic discourse.
- Again, no Emily Blunt despite the fact that her film was widely-seen and even awarded beyond Meryl's assured acknowledgment (see Costume Design.)

... and worst of all:

- Alexandre Desplat gets snubbed for The Painted Veil (perhaps the greatest score of the new milennium tied with his own Birth), but makes it in for The Queen. I suppose it's wonderful at long last to call him an Oscar nominee, but why do they keep ignoring his greatest work?

6 comments:

jesse said...

I agree with most of your comments, both the pros and the cons. It's crazy that Dreamgirls was snubbed (too bad the song category bloated its Oscar count), though I am disappointed with all the Eastwood love (I've given up on his films). It's also a shame Volver didn't fare better (it's an even bigger and more shocking snub than Dreamgirls in BP, I think...), but hey, Penelope got in.

It is a shame about Desplat, though I haven't seen Veil (though my parents have--that's a first!). I've been rooting for him since Girl with a Pearl Earring...

Jose said...

My jaw fell to the floor when they jumped from "The Departed" to "Letters from Iwo Jima", I hate that most of the nominated films haven't been released here though...
Yay for Penelope and Meryl!
Boo for them snubbing "Volver" in every other category though.

Ali said...

Jesse - Which films of Eastwood's have you seen that have turned you off so completely? I'm not a devotee, but I'd certainly take him anyday over an Iñárritu or say, Crowe. I think you'd find a lot to admire in Letters from Iwo Jima, but given that we're usually at odds, I don't know. Give it a chance, you might be surprised.

I forgot about Pearl Earring, Desplat's work was great there too. I actually own the DVD, so I should give it a re-watch soon. Orgasmically beautiful, that film is.

Jose - Yeah, me too. I actually said "What?" to my t.v. screen. It's not an unwelcome snub though - I'm certainly glad Letters made it in, even if it's annoying to see Eastwood up to bat... again. And against Scorsese... again.

RC said...

yea, i couldn't stand despalt's score for the Queen...but what i've heard on the Painted Veil i like it.

Ali said...

It's not that Desplat's work on The Queen is bad by any means; I think he might even win for it. It's just confounding that they went with the lesser effort. I really don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I´m so happy for Little Miss Sunshine. I´m not happier because Volver is out.