So the Oscar nominations came out today. And I have some thoughts. As a preliminary matter, I am pleased to see the abominable Revenge of the Sith was blackballed out of every category except makeup. Not even a sound editing or visual effects nomination? Take that, Lucas!
Best Picture. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Crash was nominated for Best Picture. But I am. Because while it has much to recommend it as an effort, it failed so spectacularly as a film. Any other surprises there? No. And I suspect, based on nothing more than buzz, that Brokeback will walk away with the statue.
Best Actor. Again, no surprises. Maybe a bit that Ralph Fiennes did not get a nod for Constant Gardener. But not really. Prediction: Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Best Actress. What a worthless category. How is it that, year after year, so many women are nominated for work in films that were unwatched, unwatchable, or both? For the Best Actor category, only one poorly received film is represented, and that is Hustle & Flow. For Best Actress, we have at least two: Mrs. Henderson Presents and North Country. And, arguably, Transamerica and Pride & Prejudice were not exactly golden children overall. Is this a role writing problem? A critical problem? A problem with females’ agents? Or is the Academy simply unable to recognize good work by actresses unless they are surrounded by shit? Anyway, I suspect Ms. Witherspoon will end up walking away with it. Even though, from what I’ve heard, the not-even-nominated Laura Linney ought to be crying on the stage. Or perhaps the also-not-nominated Maria Bello.
Best Supporting Actor. First, where is Mickey Rourke’s nomination? I mean, I know he wouldn’t he wouldn’t win. But to completely avoid Sin City is an injustice. Second, I smell a bait-and-switch here. George Clooney deserves it. And Syriana deserves it. But Paul Giamatti will take it. Because the voters still feel guilty about snubbing him for his brilliant work in Sideways.
Best Supporting Actress. We’re postured a little better here than with Best Actress. For quality of the film, I mean. And because Amy Adams was good in Junebug, because Junebug was otherwise overlooked, and because this category has often been used to tap the underseen films and up-and-coming actresses, I’m predicting the delightful Ms. Adams beat out the better Ms. Weisz here.
Best Director. Ang Lee. Director of the godforsaken mess that was Hulk. Nominated for Best Director. And likely most deserving of it, to boot. How unexpected and unpleasant. Next thing you know, Uwe Boll will win an Oscar for a thoughtful and heartfelt film about racism in modern day Chicago.
Best Original Screenplay. Here we get to a truly worthwhile category. But unfortunately, I have only seen Crash and Syriana of the five. And, naturally, I’m leaning toward Syriana for what I would prefer to see win. But, in all honesty, I suspect Match Point will win, for pretty much the same reason Roman Polanski won the Best Director prize in 2003 for The Pianist. Of course, in that case Polanski deserved it. Whereas I suspect Noah Baumbach really ought to win for The Squid and the Whale over “Has Been” Woody.
Best Adapted Screenplay. Another worthwhile category. And here I’m in a little better position, having only missed Capote and Brokeback thus far. But I must say I’m surprised to see A History of Violence nominated. Whatever History had going for it, it wasn’t the sparse screenplay. Hell, the only person with any good lines was William Hurt, and he was having too much fun playing the ham to lead me to suspect great brilliance in the lines themselves. Prediction: Brokeback. Again.
Best Animated Film. No Pixar release this year. So do we repeat 2002 and give Miyazaki the prize? Or do we honor Nick Park for the lovely Curse of the Were-Rabbit? Or do we give in to hype and mediocrity and honor Mr. Burton? I know what I would do, which is spark some sexy Gromit-Statuette action. But the Academy? Fucking Corpse Bride.
That’s all I care to think about. I don’t understand what goes into cinematography or art direction well enough to comment intelligently. I just don’t care about the Original Song category. And I have yet to hear enough about the Documentary and Foreign Language nominees to formulate an opinion. Yet. Stay tuned?