CineMathematics or CinemaThematics. Your choice

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Oscar Weekend!

I must admit, I'm very confused as to why the Academy failed to nominate Dreamgirls this year. After all, Oscar loves to sing...

But seriously, tomorrow is the day that Hollywood finally stops patting itself on the back. I like the Oscars and all, but my favorites never seem to end up with the right awards. Then again, when my favorite nominated film from last year was Capote, it's easy to be a bit disappointed. I also have a difficult time separating my subjective favorites from those I objectively think are best. In this sense, I very much love the Oscars. They give me a chance to thoroughly examine my thoughts on nominees, winners, et al.

I'll be looking at whatever categories I feel I want to or can give an opinion on. For instance, I'd love to give my thoughts on Best Actor, but I've only seen one of the nominees (Ryan Gosling). And I'm saving Best Picture for last, so if you want to see my thoughts on that, just skip on down. So without further ado . . .

And for the record, when I say Should Win, I mean of the nominees I have seen.

Best Actor

As stated above, I have no comments here, except I think that Forest Whitaker will continue to dominate the field. I just wish Sascha Baron Cohen were there for hilarity's sake.

Will Win: Forest Whitaker

Best Actress

Is it strange that I've seen more Best Actress nominees than Best Picture nominees?I'm not sure, but you can at least credit Babel for that one. Helen Mirren's winning in the surest lock I think the Oscars will ever see. As for my personal thoughts, I'm split. Judi Dench gives a wonderful camp performance in Notes on a Scandal, but she manages to add enough gravity to elevate the performance to the point where people say it's her best performance ever. I'm not inclined to disagree. But then again, I don't think anyone should be allowed to forget Penelope Cruz. She is the rock that holds Volver, and it's just as amazing that she stands out among such a wonderful ensemble. I certainly would have rather seen Blanca Portillo in the Best Supporting Actress category instead of Abigail Breslin, but that's another story.

Will Win: Helen Mirren
Should Win: Judi Dench
Want to Win: Penelope Cruz

Best Supporting Actor

I've only seen two of the nominees, but I wish either of them would win. I know I'm supposed to be unbiased and judge Eddie Murphy on just this performance, but he unleashed Pluto Nash on the world. Then again, I should wait until I see his performance to judge him on it. The two I've seen are Alan Arkin and Mark Wahlberg. Alan Arkin manages to take a sorely underwritten character and make him the heart of Little Miss Sunshine. Once he was gone, the picture fell apart. As for Marky Mark, he gets the Richie Cusack award for most purely entertaining character of the year, and he should feel lucky to be nominated. And yes, I think Norbit has destroyed Eddie's chances of winning.

Will Win: Alan Arkin
Should Win: Alan Arkin
Want to Win: Mark Wahlberg

Best Supporting Actress

Like Supporting Actor, I've only seen two, but my feelings aren't quite as nice for the ladies. My thoughts here are very simple. I really wish someone else from Volver could have snuck in here.

Will Win: Jennifer Hudson
Should Win: Cate Blanchett
Want to Win: Cate Blanchett

Best Animated Movie

I haven't seen Happy Feet, but I want to since I've heard about the dark side of the film not shown in previews. Because, really, I don't want to see tap dancing penguins for the sake of tap dancing penguins. I thought Cars was the worst Pixar movie I've seen since Toy Story 2, and I know I'm gonna get a lot of argument for either of those comments, but neither of them worked for me. And Pixar usually does work for me. But this marks the second first for Pixar in a row. With The Incredibles, Pixar made its first movie centered on human characters. This made a believeable world and more relatable characters. It was the best Pixar movie I've seen yet, so I was hoping for another great one with another first. Cars was the first Pixar film to exist entirely as its own world. What I mean by this is that in the Toy Story movies, there were still humans and a real world that the characters needed to interact with. In Finding Nemo, there were fishermen who could catch the fish. In Cars there weren't drivers to go along with the cars. There wasn't anyone to hide from. There wasn't a hidden world just beyond our sight, and I missed that quality. It didn't play with my imagination the way other Pixar movies or Monster House did. I thought Monster House was a great piece of work, and it's too bad it doesn't stand a chance of winning. A meditation on imagination, puberty, and 80's adventure movies, Monster House brims with energy.

Will Win: Cars
Should Win: Monster House
Want to Win: Monster House

Best Cinematography

I haven't seen the eventual winner, but I would like to see The Prestige get something. It's very technically well done, and I think that of the three I have seen (The Prestige, The Illusionist, and Pan's Labyrinth), it is The Prestige that should win. I still would gladly trade the cinematography nomination for one in Best Editing, where it should be nominated. After all, magic movies are all about the editing.

Will Win: Children of Men
Should Win: The Prestige
Want to Win: The Prestige

Best Directing

I've only seen two nominees, but it's all about Marty, right?

All Three: Martin Scorsese

Best Editing

Look for this award tomorrow, as it will be, I think, the most important indicator of the night. If The Departed wins, it has Best Picture in the bag. If Babel wins, we hava a whole new ballgame, though this could easily be the only award they give it. If neither win, then Best Picture goes to Little Miss Sunshine. This is my prediction, and I will fess up if I'm wrong.

Will Win: Babel
Should Win: The Departed (I haven't seen United 93)
Want to Win: The Departed

Best Foreign Language Film

I'm hoping it's not Pan's Labyrinth, but I know I'm in the minority on this one. Though The Lives of Others wraps itself up a bit too nicely, most of the journey is very well done.

Will Win: Pan's Labyrinth
Should Win: The Lives of Others
Want to Win: The Lives of Others

Best Visual Effects

As much as I am loathe to say it, the special effects in Dead Man's Chest are exquisite, easily the best part of the film. Too bad it didn't have anything else up to that level. Though I prefer Superman Returns on the whole, Davy Jones was just too impressive to deny.

All Three: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Best Adapted Screenplay

If you honestly consider Borat to be a screenplay, then yeah it deserves to win. I would have liked a nomination for Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story in its place, since it's actually a screenplay, and I think it's actually funnier. If it were here, I'd want it to win, which is not to say that The Departed doesn't belong as much to William Monahan as to Scorsese. I'm just looking forward to seeing both take the stage.

All Three: The Departed

Best Original Screenplay

Here's to Peter Morgan. I hope he takes off for the stratosphere with Oscar in hand.

Will Win: Little Miss Sunshine
Should Win: The Queen
Want to Win: The Queen

Best Picture:

I haven't seen Letters From Iwo Jima (I haven't had a lot of time) or Babel (I really don't want to). Of the three I have seen, I liked all of them just fine. I didn't love Little Miss Sunshine, and I think Michael Sheen should get more credit for his role as Tony Blair. But, other than some slight directorial flourishes, The Queen sank into the pit of a nice little British film. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, and I thought the directorial flourishes were unnecessary and distracting, but I don't want the film to win on the basis of one performance. It falls smack in the middle of the three I've seen, and likely when I've seen all five, it will still be in the middle. As for The Departed, I think that it was the perfect combination of wonderful elements. The acting, except Jack being Jack, was top-notch, the writing excellent, the editing amazing, and of course, Scrosese on the streets is never a bad thing. I hope it will go down in history as one of Oscars greatest calls.

All Three: The Departed

It took me a long time to get to The Departed as my choice. I'll readily admit I believed Dreamgirls would win before the nominations were announced, and then switched to Little Miss Sunshine even before the PGA and SAG. But with The Departed taking the WGA, DGA, and tying for the Eddie, I think it's quietly been behind whatever latest trend in "momentum" there is (this week it's Babel). And I think it's only grown stronger as time has gone on.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night. It should be exciting.

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