Friday, February 03, 2006

Oscar Frenzy

Academy Award nominations were announced this week, and my official Oscar quest has begun. As a lover of great stories in all forms, I make a sincere effort every year to watch as many of the nominated films as possible. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

So far I love:

"Capote." Philip Seymour Hoffman should win for best actor. He's a revelation. I highly recommend reading Capote's In Cold Blood before you take in the film. It's a book that literally changed the face of literature, and a total page-turner. Plus it'll help you respect the man before he comes on screen with his simpering lisp and Bergdorf scarves.

"Crash." So many twists and turns, with characters the way they should be: complex, flawed and beyond fascinating. So far Matt Dillon gets my vote for supporting actor. Never before in the same movie have I so completely hated a person, only to find an aspect of redemption I couldn't deny. It's a movie that'll surprise you and truly make you think.

"Junebug." Not nominated for Best Picture, but Amy Adams deserves an Oscar. Crazy family, fish out of water storyline, and nuanced performances all steeped in rich Southern color. It's out on DVD. Bring hankies.

"Pride and Prejudice." Personally, I think it's a matter of both pride and prejudice this outstanding film wasn't nominated for Best Picture. Is it because of the unabashedly romantic storyline? Keira Knightly makes a lovely and rebellious Elizabeth, and I'll go down on record saying I *liked* Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy. Anyone who can emote the passion of an unfulfilled love through the singular movement of a flexed hand deserves kudos.

"Walk the Line." My husband and I have differing opinions on this. As a lifelong Johnny Cash fan, he didn't feel Joaquin could quite measure up to the man in black, but then again, who could? Personally, I found his portrayal mesmerizing, authentic, and raw. Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash could forge a second career as a country singer, and she dazzled in every scene.

"Murderball." Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, this film about quadriplegic Olympians may have been my favorite film of last year. It's visceral, no-holds barred storytelling with a cast full of competitive athletes who not only disdain sympathy and pandering, but look like they'd take on any street fight and win.

On my list to see:

"Brokeback Mountain." I know, I can't believe I haven't seen it yet either. My question: will the film live up to the buzz?

"Memoirs of a Geisha." Loved the book, hope the movie works. Plus I'm a sucker for those flowing red costumes.

"Match Point." Woody Allen and a dark, murderous story? I'm so there.

"Hustle & Flow." The story looks terrific, and I bet the soundtrack rocks.

"The Squid and the Whale." Funky title, family dynamics, an excellent cast.

Okay, your turn. What do you like, what did you hate, and what are you dying to see?


Blogger Kern said...

Nice Blog Baby! How did you do that? Here are my Oscar hopes and predictions.

Best Picture: The only one I've seen is Crash, and it was great. Since Guess Who was forgotten, Crash is my pick.

Best Actor, I can't believe Bernie Mac was passed over. He was outstanding. That leaves me with Joaquin Phoenix since his is the only performance I have seen thus far. He did as good as anyone could possibly expect to in that role.

Best Actress has to go to Reese Witherspoon. She was better that the real thing.

Best Director should go to Clint Eastwood again this year for Million Dollar Baby. I know it doesn't work that way, but it should. Great Movie.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

I'm so sorry about the oversight for Bernie Mac. And I agree on Clint Eastwood. Million Dollar Baby, round two!

9:55 AM  
Blogger ScottM said...

Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher were great together in Guess Who, but my enjoyment of the movie was diminished by my dislike for the girlfriend. I kept wanting Ashton to just tell her off and dump her. Maybe the DVD version will have an alternate ending.

Two movies that I enjoyed this year that aren't getting any mention are The Weather Man and The Lords of Dogtown. Michael Caine and Nicholas Cage were fantastic as father and son. Heath Ledger is just as good at playing a shop owner/surfboard craftsman/failed entrepreneur as he is at pretending he's gay.

Cinderella Man is being nominated for a few peripheral categories, but was left off the best picture list. Kelly says it came out too early in the year. I know that matters, but it shouldn't. That is so ridiculous. It looks like my pick for best picture isn't even on the list for the second year in a row. I would say I'm just a sucker for boxing movies, but I wouldn't have voted for Million Dollar Baby last year. At least Rocky won in 1976. I still have that.

I saved the best for last. Everyone else is so positive all the time. I'd like to take this opportunity to inject a little negativity if I may. I walked out of two movies this year, not because they were offensive (that is likely to keep me glued to my seat) but because they stunk! Kelly and I never saw the end of The Ring II and aren't the least bit curious as to how they wrapped it up. I am still mad over the $14 we wasted on admission for that one. Fortunately, I wasted only $1 when I went by myself to see Four Brothers. I walked out about half way through. I hadn't been out of the house in a while, but I decided I'd rather leave early and go home and help Kelly change diapers.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

Haven't seen Lords of Dogtown or Weather Man. I'll put them on Netflix.

My vote for last year's best director was Clint, but my favorite movie, hands down, was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Jim Carrey was able to restrain his facial muscles through the whole thing, and did an amazing job.

I have Cinderella Man on top of my armoire, ready to watch. Will do, and will post later.

Thanks, Scott, for ushering in the negativity! I'll have to think about disappointing films and get back to you.

Sorry if this posts with a photo again...must figure out how NOT to do that.

12:41 PM  

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