Wednesday, January 23, 2008

OSCAR COMMENTARY

COMMENTARY

2007 was a great year for movies & male actors – but you couldn’t tell by the Oscar nominated selections – what you can tell is that it wasn’t a very impressive year for actresses. Now, I haven’t seen EVERY nominated performance, but I’ve seen most & there are a couple that I’ll never see simply because the subject matter of the film doesn’t interest me in the least.
The main reason I’m a little outraged by this so-called ‘cream of the crop’ came when I noticed the boring cartoon “Ratatouille” garnered 5 Academy Award nominations while my favorite film of 2007, “3:10 To Yuma” received 2. Sean Penn’s incredible work on ‘Into The Wild” went ignored as that film was also named in only 2 categories. Then it gets worse; “Charlie Wilson’s War”, “Eastern Promises” & “Lars & The Real Girl” each received 1 nomination. “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”, a wonderfully original, well-acted picture that will easily make my Top 10 of the year received 0... & ‘Ratatouille”, a cartoon about a rat who cooks will be up for 5 trophies. Go figure.

3 great films are nominated for Best Picture; 1 mediocre film made it & 1 really bad one got in. I should be glad the ‘musical’ “Sweeney Todd” didn’t make it, but I’d rather see it in the final 5 instead of “Atonement” because I’ll never know how much I dislike ‘Sweeney’ as that is on the list of films I will never watch even when it comes to television. (Strike one – it’s a musical; strike two – I saw the stage play on PBS many, many years ago & hated it)
“Juno” making it in over about 30 better movies is a joke, but I guess I should be grateful that ‘Ratatouille’ didn’t make it in instead of “Michael Clayton”, eh?

I expected Johnny Depp to get in, but Tommy Lee Jones for the disappointing “In The Valley Of Elah”? Sorry, but young Emile Hirsch tortured himself for “Into The Wild” & still gave a better performance than old Mr. Jones (Who was much better in “No Country For Old Men”)
I’m aware that Ryan Gosling’s quirky role as “Lars” wasn’t appreciated by some - I can actually see how not everyone would ‘get’ his odd character’s nuances, but I loved the film & the performance – “Lars” should be getting the accolades that “Juno” is receiving.
& did the Academy voters not see “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”? Cate Blanchett made it in both lead & supporting categories whereas Philip Seymour Hoffman deserved that honor not just for ‘Devil’, but ‘The Savages’ as well. Combine those two with his outstanding work in “Charlie Wilson’s War” & there’s your Actor of the Year winner, hands down.

My only problem in the Best Actress category is Ellen Page; I just don’t get why she has become the media ‘darling’ for that bland, one-note, relatively annoying character. I thought for certain Amy Adams would keep her out of the running, as Adams absolutely lit up the screen in “Enchanted” – one of the year’s biggest surprises in my mind.
I was very pleased to see Laura Linney make it in – one of the few pleasant surprises among the nominees.

As contentious as the Supporting Actor possibilities were, 4 of the 5 were easy to predict – but the 5th slot going to Casey Affleck is beyond comprehension; a somnambulistic performance if I ever saw one. Here’s where I really wanted a nod to go to either Russell Crowe or Christian Bale in “3:10 To Yuma” (Preferably Bale since Crowe has had his share of recognition in the past) Their combo performances in that movie was such a joy to watch, it is disgraceful that the Academy has chosen to ignore them. Instead, the best film of 2007 is up for ‘Sound Mixing’ & ‘Original Score’ (& I understand it’s a long shot in both categories!)

In the Supporting Actress category I’d have a tough time coming up with 5 deserving performances; in fact I would have nominated Tilda Swinton for “Michael Clayton” 5 times & let it go at that. She should win, but she won’t because Cate Blanchett put on a wig & played Bob Dylan. The Academy eats hokum like that up. Never mind Tilda Swinton not only held her own against the fine performances of Tom Wilkenson & George Clooney – she actually outshined them (Well, George more than Tom, who was brilliant as well)

& maybe my biggest complaint of all comes in the Best Director category where I will admit I’m prejudice because Sean Penn is my favorite actor – but look at the performances he got out of the actors in “Into The Wild”; Emile Hirsch will NEVER be better (trust me) & who knew Vince Vaughn could actually portray a non smart-ass?
Throw in snubbed ‘Supporting’ actress Catherine Kenner & the remarkable chemistry he pulled of between Hirsch & Hal Holbrook in just a few minutes of screen time & tell me how a hack like Jason Reitman (“Juno”) deserves a best director nod over Sean?
& since you snubbed him here – then where’s the Adapted Screenplay nomination?
You do realize that ever since working with Clint Eastwood, Sean has become much more ‘Oscar’-friendly? I always thought he was snubbed in the past because he’d make disparaging remarks about the Academy – ‘we don’t act to win trophies’ & ‘if you’re true to the art form, then you shouldn’t put up with someone saying one actor is better than another’. So maybe he’s just as happy not being in the limelight – but I think it’s a travesty of biblical proportions!

A friend of mine & predicted who we thought would be nominated – in the 6 major categories I hit 22 of 30, he nailed 23 (& I still disagree with his Ruby Dee selection!)
But those were predictions, not choices. So ignoring the ‘learned’ Academy, here’s the selections that should have been nominated – it’s a little thing I like to call...

If I Was The Nomination Committee – Here Are Your Oscar Choices...

PICTURE; “3:10 To Yuma” “Charlie Wilson’s War” “Michael Clayton” “No Country For Old Men” “There Will Be Blood”
ACTOR Russell Crowe (or) Christian Bale (3:10 To Yuma) Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) Ryan Gosling (Lars & The Real Girl) Philip Seymour Hoffman (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead & The Savages) Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
ACTRESS Amy Adams (Enchanted) Carice van Houten (The Black Book) Ashley Judd (Bug) Laura Linney (The Savages) Naomi Watts (Eastern Promises)
SUPPORTING ACTOR Christian Bale (or) Russell Crowe (3:10 To Yuma) Javiar Bardem (No Country For Old Men) Hal Holbrook (Into The Wild) Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War) Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Daisy Donovan (Death At A Funeral) Catherine Keener (Into The Wild) Michelle Pfeiffer (Stardust) Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
DIRECTOR Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) Ethan & Joel Coen (No Country For Old Men) Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) Sidney Lumet (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) Sean Penn (Into The Wild)

These are based on the movies I saw – so don’t complain because I Cate Blanchett or Julie Christie aren’t on my list – I didn’t see their performances, so I can’t really rate them, can I?
There are probably a dozen more Supporting Actors that deserve to be recognized, I’m really surprised how Ed Harris has gone ignored for “Gone Baby Gone”, whereas for Supporting Actress nominees I had to search just to come up with a 5th choice (Pfeiffer)

To win, I would take –
3:10 To Yuma
Daniel Day-Lewis
Laura Linney
Javiar Bardem
Tilda Swinton
Sidney Lumet
(In a year this good, no one film should take more than 1 award)

My predicted Oscar winners –
No Country For Old Men
Daniel Day-Lewis
Julie Christie (But I wouldn’t be surprised with a Cotillard upset)
Javiar Berdem
Paul Thomas Anderson

& for Best Animated Feature – The Simpsons Movie – becoming the first ever to take the trophy without being nominated as millions choose it as a write-in selection... “Ratatouille”, my ass...

2 comments:

They call me Bruce said...

Well Terry I believe your disappointment at how many of your films got snubbed lies in the fact that you have poor taste in movies. Case in point is Ratatouille. A well scripted movie with a good message and wonderful acting and scenery. Of course it gets 5 nominations. Compared to the movie 3:10 to Yuma. Please, another boring western movie about waiting for a train. It doesn’t even have Clint Eastwood in it! I hardly think it would qualify for anything.
Then you left out Cate Blanchett and Julie Christie! My god, are you on crack! The leading actresses of our time and you didn’t even include them. Shame, shame, shame……

I’d say more but I have to get back to work at the buss station.

Regards,

Terry said...

Well, Bruce, if that is your real name... Irving, maybe? I didn't see the movies Blanchett & Christie are nominated for so I can't say how great their performances were - other than that they were in films I had no interest in seeing. & I find it odd that someone who thinks the 'acting' & 'scenery' in an animated film was 'wonderful' thinks that I'M on crack... But thank you for the comments-hopefully we'll meet on the buss someday. TR