Tuesday, January 31, 2006

OSCAR-esque

What day is it? Oscar announcement day! Did I get up at 5:30 this morning to see the live broadcast? Um, yeah. I’m a geek, remember?

In case you haven’t seen the list yet, here is part of it (reflecting the five categories people usually talk about the most):

Best Picture: "Brokeback Mountain," "Capote," "Crash," "Good Night, and Good Luck," "Munich."

Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"; Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"; Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"; Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line"; David Strathairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck."

Actress: Judi Dench, "Mrs. Henderson Presents"; Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"; Keira Knightley, "Pride & Prejudice"; Charlize Theron, "North Country"; Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line."

Supporting Actor: George Clooney, "Syriana"; Matt Dillon, "Crash"; Paul Giamatti, "Cinderella Man"; Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain"; William Hurt, "A History of Violence."

Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "Junebug"; Catherine Keener, "Capote"; Frances McDormand, "North Country"; Rachel Weisz, "The Constant Gardener"; Michelle Williams, "Brokeback Mountain."

Somehow, even though my movie watching was waaaaayyyy down this year, I managed to catch 3 out of 5 of the Best Picture nominees: BROKEBACK, CRASH, and MUNICH. If you read my previous blog about MUNICH, you know that I’m stoked about this nom, but I’m utterly shocked it happened. I truly believed that the biz would think this film was too controversial; it doesn’t provoke a Hollywood-friendly moral stance. I’m, of course, not surprised to see BROKEBACK on the list—and it’s absolutely well deserving. I just watched it the other day and, while I wasn’t as taken with it as I thought I’d be when I walked out of the theater, I woke up in the middle of the night, pressed on all sides by what I’d seen. I couldn’t get back to sleep. It was a film that slowly worked its way into me and hasn’t left. What I did appreciate right away, though, was that script. Dialogue-wise, Larry McMurtry and his writing partner Diana Ossana know how to turn a phrase and have it resonate. Situation-wise, the film is also an example of the power of silence--the writers, director, and actors weren't afraid to use it. When the main characters are introduced, they don’t say a word; but, somehow, you know so much about them from what they’re not talking about. Then there’s CRASH. I have mixed feelings about this nomination. On one hand, the movie stirs up a strong message and there’s a duality about each character that works to prove a point about racism. What I didn’t love so much were some character motivation issues as well as plot holes. I can live with all the coincidences in the movie because they serve a purpose, but still, when I’m focusing on what’s bugging me about the structure instead of just going with it, that’s not cool. Don’t get me wrong: this is a good, solid movie. It just suffers next to BROKEBACK and MUNICH, IMHO.

As far as the acting races go? Well, kudos to everyone who got nominated. I do think Eric Bana got shafted, but are you surprised by that? I’ve got HUSTLE AND FLOW waiting for me to watch it, and I’m really excited to see Terrence Howard’s performance because he’s always awesome. And Heath Ledger was incredible, with the way his BROKEBACK cowboy hunched into himself, from body to mouth. His body language reflected a tightly coiled man who contains a lot of passion, which unfortunately takes the form of violence when he’s pushed.

I haven’t seen enough movies this year to have any educated favorites, and I can’t make any picks right now. Not that picks matter. Truthfully, we all know that whoever wins is normally the top dog in the popularity contest that is Tinsel Town: if you’ve got an awesome publicist and a great campaign, more power to you. All I know is that on Oscar night, I’ll be there with my Chinese food, snarking on the fashion parade and dishing with my fellow watchers. Viva pageantry!

P.S. My next blog is going to feature the first www.outoftheblogosphere.com book tour. I'll be featuring Robin Owens' current release, so pop on by!

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