So, the Oscars are out, and as usual, the Academy have been smoking crack and/or bought off by expensive studio marketing campaigns and/or bowed to political correctness. Once again, thanks to the uncomfortable mix of all-out greed and West-coast liberal politics, we have a list of nominations littered with earnest yet crappy movies. But before we take a wrecking ball to the nominations, let’s start with what little they got right. Brokeback Mountain leads the way with 8 nominations, including nods in the all-important Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor categories. Capote also scores high with 5 nominations including Best Actor and Actress for Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. Walk the Line also gets 5 nods, and its good to see Bina007 favourites, Hustle and Flow, Junebug, Syriana and Transamerica getting some recognition.
Now on to the sins of omission. I really only have two beefs on this account. First, why only two nods for A History of Violence? This is a superb flick and deserved a nod for Best Film, Best Director for Cronenberg, Best Actor for Viggo Mortensen and Best Actress for Maria Bello. I reckon this is going to be the “Goodfellas” of 2005. Years from now, History will be seen as a classic film. The second sin of omission is in the Best Foreign Film category, which is replete with worthy crap or pretty fromage. Where is the Cannes Palme d’Or winner, and my Best Film of 2005, Hidden/Cache?! Where is the movie that changed the face of cinema, Kung Fu Hustle?! Where is the fascinating French flick, The Beat that My Heart Skipped? Craziness. Pure craziness. Once again, history will prove me right, but in the mean time, I remain unsurprised and pissed off.
Next, the five sins of commission, and I’ll take these in nominations order. The third, fourth and fifth sins involve bad but “worthy” films that got mega-nominations. In each case the director has tried to tackle serious subject matter but has ended up stating the obvious in a really dull and patronsing manner. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you Good Night and Good Luck, Munich and The Constant Gardener. In the case of the former, we get a patronising history lesson; in the case of the latter two, we get narratively confused, bombastic, mediocre thrillers.
The seventh sin, also one of commission, is the inclusion of Pride and Prejudice anywhere near the Oscars. This was a very very mediocre adaptation, which made narrative compromises that undermined both the love story and the satire at the heart of the story. While I can just about forgive the “technical” nods for costume and such, I cannot forgive nominating Keira Knghtley for her role as Elizabeth Bennett when all she did was looked petulant. This hurts even more when you realise that Maria Bello missed out on a nom. for A History of Violence. I can only put Knightley’s nom. down to the fact that she is championed by Jerry Bruckheimer, who clearly wants to create a mega-star. She is destined to be the Judi Dench of her generation – the one English actress everyone recognises, who is nominated for performances regardless of their quality.
The full details of the nominations are below. As usual, I have put the films I think should win in bold type. I have asterisked the ones I think will win:
CAPOTE, CRASH, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, MUNICH. BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee for BROKEBACK*; Bennett Miller for CAPOTE; Paul Haggis for CRASH; George Clooney for GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK; Steven Spielberg for MUNICH. BEST ACTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman for CAPOTE*; David Strathairn for GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK; Joaquin Phoenix for WALK THE LINE; Heath Ledger for BROKEBACK; Terrence Howard for HUSTLE AND FLOW. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: William Hurt for A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE; George Clooney for SYRIANA*; Matt Dillon for CRASH; Paul Giamatti for CINDERELLA MAN; Jake Gyllenhaal for BROKEBACK. BEST ACTRESS: Felicity Huffman for TRANSAMERICA; Judi Dench for MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS; Keira Knightley for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; Charlize Theron for NORTH COUNTRY; Reese Witherspoon for WALK THE LINE*. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Catherine Keener for CAPOTE; Amy Adams for JUNEBUG; Frances McDormand for NORTH COUNTRY; Rachel Weisz for THE CONSTANT GARDENER*; Michelle Williams for BROKEBACK. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: WALLACE AND GROMIT*; HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE; CORPSE BRIDE. BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: MURDERBALL*; DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE; ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM; MARCH OF THE PENGUINS; STREET FIGHT. BEST FOREIGN FILM: SOPHIE SCHOLL*; DON'T TELL; JOYEUX NOEL; PARADISE NOW; TSOTSI BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Emmanuel Lubezki for THE NEW WORLD; Wally Pfister for BATMAN BEGINS;Rodrigo Prieto for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN; Robert Elswit for GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK*; Dion Beebe for MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. BEST EDITING: Hughes Winborne for CRASH; Mike Hill and Dan Hanley for CINDERELLA MAN; Claire Simpson for THE CONSTANT GARDENER; Michael Kahn for MUNICH*; Michael McCusker for WALK THE LINE*. BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana for BROKEBACK*; Dan Futterman for CAPOTE; Jeffrey Caine for THE CONSTANT GARDENER; Josh Olson for A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE; Tony Kushner and Eric Roth for MUNICH. BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Stephen Gaghan for SYRIANA; Paul Haagis and Bobby Moresco for CRASH; Grant Heslov and George Clooney for GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK; Woody Allen for MATCH POINT; Noah Baumbach for THE SQUID AND THE WHALE*. BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Colleen Atwood for MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA*;Gabriella Pescucci for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY; Sandy Powell for MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS; Jacqueline Durran for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; Arianne Phillips for WALK THE LINE. BEST ART/SET DIRECTION: KING KONG; MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA; GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK; HARRY POTTER 4; PRIDE AND PREJUDICE*. BEST MAKE-UP: STAR WARS III; NARNIA; CINDERELLA MAN*. BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN;* THE CONSTANT GARDENER; MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA; MUNICH; PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. BEST SONG: It's hard out here for a pimp from HUSTLE AND FLOW; Travellin' through from TRANSAMERICA; In the Deep from CRASH*.BEST SOUND EDITING: WAR OF THE WORLDS; KING KONG*, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. BEST SOUND MIXING: WAR OF THE WORLDS; NARNIA; KING KONG*; WALK THE LINE; MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: KING KONG*; WAR OF THE WORLDS; NARNIA.
BEST FILM: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN*,
BEST FILM: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN*,
The Oscars are awarded on March 5th 2006.