Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oscar Nominations

This year's Oscar nominations have been announced. You can find the list here.

Here are some fearless predictions of the winners (not who I think should win):

Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain (it's all about the gay cowboys); I haven't seen this movie and have no desire to, but I'll go with the favorite on this one. I have been meaning to see Capote, but the times I've been free to see a movie, I haven't been in the mood to see it.

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote; not having seen the film, I can only rely on what I've heard.

Best Actress: Reeese Witherspoon for Walk the Line; why in Hell is Keira Knightley being nominated for Pride & Prejucide. I liked the film and think she's a good actress, but Elizabeth Bennett is not supposed to giggle in her pillow! She's supposed to be analytical and calculating. I heard that Transamerica is a really good film. I should see that.

Best Supporting Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal for Brokeback Mountain; because he definitely won't win for Jarhead or Proof.

Best Supporting Actress: Frances McDormand for The North Country; I'm picking her as a tribute to her work in Fargo (for which she won Best Actress), you betcha!

Best Director: George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck. (I almost chose Bennet Miller for Capote based on what I've heard, but I'm going with my gut and will just mention that as an honorable mention.)

Best Original Screenplay: Noah Baumbach for The Squid and the Whale.

Best Adopted Screenplay: Dan Futterman for Capote.

Best Cinematography: Dion Beebe for Memoirs of a Geisha. (I'm rooting for Batman Begins on this one.)

Best Editing: Michael McCusker for Walk the Line.

Best Art Direction: Memoirs of a Geisha. I actually saw all the films nominated for this category (the first of these on the list). I was tempted to pick King Kong.

Best Costume Design: Pride and Prejudice. Honorable mention for Memoirs of a Geisha. Walk the Line was nominated, but there were a couple things in there that I actually noticed during the movie of seeming anachronistic. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory got nominated here.

Best Music: Memoirs of a Geisha; this is from John Williams, who has again been nominated more than once this year in this category (maybe he'll win for Munich?).

Best Original Song: It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp from Hustle & Flow just because of the name (note the double entendre). Only three songs were nominated (this must be the "Blame Canada" rule or something, although I actually really like that song).

Best Makeup: The Chronicles of Narnia.

Best Sound: Walk the Line. (I've seen all of these movies too.) I guess I shouldn't predict their award based on the music, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Best Sound Editing: War of the Worlds. I really have no idea. The other choices are King Kong and Memoirs of a Geisha.

Best Visual Effects: King Kong.

Best animated film: Howl's Moving Castle; although if the choice were mine, I would pick Corpse Bride.

Best foreign film: Paradise Now; I've never heard of any of these films, so I'm just going to pick this one because it came out of Palestine.

Best documentary: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. I still haven't seen this and I really need to. The nephews of one of my collaborators once got nominated in this category for their documentary on blind musician Paul Pena and his visit to Tuva (yes, there are Caltech references throughout the film; I especially loved the native who wore the Caltech sweatshirt and the 'say hello to Feynman for me' comment when they were leaving because apparently everybody from the US knows him, especially when he's been dead for 15 years), but they didn't win. Also, shouldn't The Aristocrats been among the nominees? (I'd also add Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, but that isn't really a documentary.)

Best Short Documentary: God Sleeps in Rwanda.

Best Short Animated Cartoon: Badgered. I haven't heard of any of these, so I'm picking on essentially at random.

Best Short Live Action Film: Six Shooter. Again, I'm pulling one out of my ass because I've never heard of any of these movies.

I'll revisit this after the winners are announced. Let's see how I do.


Lemming said...

Not too many of those that I can speak on with any authority, but I'll come out backing (ha, Brokeback joke, get it?) Walk the Line, especially Reese Witherspoon for best actress.

I still haven't seen Corpse Bride, but to be fair, they should really split "Best Animated Film" into two categories: "Latest Miyazaki Flick" and "Best Animated Film not Made by Miyazaki/Ghibli"

Mason said...

The only reason I picked Brokeback was because the critics loved it, and that at least guarantees it a bunch of votes. I've never seen it, so some of the predictions of who will win are relying on what I've heard.

For the animated stuff, Corpse Bride has a style I like better than Howl's Moving Castle. The latter is definitely a good flick (and I'm also pretty confident that it will win in this category), but my personal tastes typically tend to go in other directions when it comes to my rank ordering. Of course, I was disappointed that Danny Elfman resisted the urge to put "Dead Man's Party" somewhere in the film. I really liked Corpse Bride, although I believe that reactions to it were a bit mixed.

Anonymous said...

Brokeback Mountain and Walk the Line are definitely the front-runners. I'd definitely say Brokeback Mountain, though. I'm actually interested in seeing it, but my roomate and I have yet to find the strength to go out of the house when we have cable, video games, and computers here. Nevertheless, I do hear many excellent things about it.

I'm actually predicting that Wallace and Gromit's going to win for animation. Corpse Bride wasn't too well known, and though I heard good things about it, all I could think of when I saw the previews is that Tim Burton got bored on the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, got out his old models for Nightmare before Christmas, and had all his Charlie actors (Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter) whip up a quick movie for him. It didn't interest me enough to see the movie, though I'd be willing to accept that the movie was good nonetheless.

As for Howl's Moving Castle, I did like it a lot, though I found the dubbed Sofie really annoying (though points for a scene where Crispin Freeman was in a scene with Christian Bale and Lauren Bacall). But in all honesty I found the movie entertaining and beautiful, but flat plot-wise. It was more of an atmospheric movie without depth, and it really irked me how Miyazaki pulled out the old and trusty Deus ex Machina and put it into overdrive for the last 10 minutes of the movie.

So why do I choose Wallace and Gromit? Well, I watched it on a plane, and I enjoyed it, but didn't love it. But there seems to be a sort of ongoing love fest that American critics have with these two characters making them a staple of repetitive humor much like Bugs Bunny. Actually, Wallace and Gromit seems to aim for the same goal as Garfield: being too inoffensive to dislike. In that regard I just don't seeing it having to go the extra mile that Howl's or Corpse Bride will in order to earn the Oscar.

Mason said...

I also saw Wallace and Gromit on a plane (there were a lot of movies I wanted to see that came out when it did). I loved a couple references (especially their King Kong moment), but I tend to be a bit morbid and things like Corpse Bride appeal to me so much (even without the Dead Man's Party reference that really ought to have been included).

I wonder if any of the others will argue with you on Howl's Moving Castle? I suspect they disagree with you strongly, but I haven't seen Miyazaki's other stuff (for shame, I know...this needs to be remedied), so I will stay out of the argument unless I find something amusingly snide to write.

Anonymous said...

I might get shot down for a few of my opinions there, I agree. So I'll post-script a couple of points. I liked a lot of Howl's Moving Castle, and I loved half of it. The atmosphere was gorgeous as usual, and the scene with Sophie and the Witch of the Wastes almost had me on the floor, I was laughing so hard. But the ending was too trite and thrown together and I really hated the entire denoument. Plus Miyazaki's "War is bad" message is done in most of his major films, so I think that it's not worthy of being called a significant part of the plot. In fact, I think that the 10 minutes that they spent focusing on the war was really wasted when it was fine remaining as "background noise" to the entire film. In the end, it was a cute, albeit beautifully done, movie, but not much more.

I definitely think I'd like Corpse Bride better than W&G if I saw it, but in my honest opinion I imagine that Wallace and Gromit is just more of a crowd-pleaser, and that's the only reason it'll get the oscar. Of the two I saw, neither of them are worthy of an Oscar nomination. But the fact that animation is getting its own category is a nice thing in my book, and somewhat indicative of progress on the public's view of animated films.