Oscar Nominations are in

The list is out.

I haven’t seen any of these films. Should I?

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38 thoughts on “Oscar Nominations are in

  1. Right, GNGL was good. I’m surprised Memoirs of a Geisha isn’t in the best motion picture category. I think Brokeback will win a lot too, as well as GNGL. I hope Syriana wins original screenplay — awesome flick.

  2. Walk the Line is fine, solid film; definitely worth your time, and definitely worth the nominations also. (Lots of nice little touches in the movie raise it above your typical biopic.) I haven’t seen any of the other major nominees; it’s been a bad movie-going year for us. I’m surprised that A History of Violence was basically shut out; all the right people seemed to be saying the right things about that film, and it’s near the top of my “to-see” list. Other than that, check out the Best Animated Features category. For the first time since the category was created, I think, you have a real contest; each film in a very different style, and each are top-notch.

  3. The best part about the animated feature category is that there aren’t any cgi films in them (Not that I don’t adore Pixar, but 2-d hand drawn and stop motion animation are well worth keeping around).

  4. Bryce, how independent of cgi do you think the hand-drawn films are today? I only ask because I think they’re still sneaking in some of the image rendering through the graphics compilers on occasion. At least Disney is. Pixar — is that talking racecar one out yet, the one that looks like an overglorified Chevron commercial?

  5. bryce, i re-read that question, and it sounds rude. i’m not being rude, i’m just asking because frankly i don’t know for sure.

  6. Even the Wallace & Gromit movie used CGI for some of the trickier scenes, included the floating rabbits.

  7. I think A History of Violence was the second-best film that I saw last year. But it never stood a chance with the Academy, which is typically squeamish about depictions of violence that aren’t related to World War II. Especially when the film puts the violence front and center, and in fact is primarily about the morality of the audience’s response to screen killings.

  8. Brokeback Mountain, is the obvious winner for everything this year, Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay from another medium. I think it might win Best Score, as well.

    I don’t know about the actors, who are up against steep competition.

    I also liked, very much, Good Night and Good Luck, but I feel its chances for awards are quite slim.

  9. Do you mean you haven’t seen any of the movies nominated for in any category, or just the Best Picture nominees? I haven’t seen any of the movies in any of the major categories, and the only one I really want to see is Walk the Line. I’m really amazed that Keira Knightly was nominated for Pride and Prejudice (every time I’ve seen her in anything her acting has consisted of cocking her head to one side and smiling in an aren’t-I-adorable sort of way), but not amazed enough to make myself watch it.

    Curse of the Wererabbit was okay. Not nearly as good the other Wallace and Gromit movies, though. I really want to see the other two nominated animated movies.

  10. Russell,
    Is there a way that average Joe moviegoer can see the animated shorts? Oh, nevermind. You were talking about the features. I agree that the features are strong. And I’m tickled to see Burton get a nomination, even if he’s lost a little bit of his touch of late.

    I’ve searched around Netflix and I found a DVD with all of the nominees in animated and live action short films for the 75th awards. It was awesome. But that’s the only year that’s available on Netflix and I couldn’t find any other compilations of short animated films. Seems like the only way to see these films is to attend a film festival or something.

  11. Keira Knightly is terrific in Pride and Prejudice, which is absolutely the most underrated of this movies “art” films. (as opposed to King Kong, Batman Begins, etc.) Good for her, getting a nomination for her best work.

  12. D., I’m glad to know Keira Knightly deserves her nomination, and that this Pride and Prejudice holds its own as an art film. I may have to revise my viewing goals. In your opinion, does it hold up as a Pride and Prejudice film? The previews looked really weird and anachronistic.

  13. I liked that Pride and Prejudice very much, and it holds up well against the other versions. My particular favorite version of the story on film is MGM’s 1940 version, with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier as a peerless Darcy. This version is sublimely great as a movie, but it can hardly tell the entire story from the novel. It presents the spirit of the novel, mostly. The most authentic and complete version is a BBC mini-series from 1980, though this one is very talky (produced on a soundstage). The second BBC series from 1995, is fine, though slow as molasses and it gets many details wrong, making Darcy the sexual object.

    This newest version flies by too fast, and many details are muddied, but it is funny, quite authentic, and it is possibly the most purely romantic of all the versions. One really senses that Elizabeth and Darcy are in love, here. They share a kiss at the end, which isn’t true to the novel, but is so… fulfilling, anyway.

  14. There was a funny article in the NY Times about how the kiss was added in as a nod to American audiences. At least it didn’t end with a sex scene. Whatever.

  15. No, the kissing scene was always in the movie. Originally, it was thought to be too inauthentic for British audiences, so it was removed, but when they heard that American audiences got to see the kiss, they demanded that scene be restored, which it was.

    The scene in question was written by Emma Thompson.

  16. Here’s the Times article:

    IDEAS & TRENDS:
    Critic’s Notebook; Oh, Mr. Darcy Yes, I Said Yes!
    By ALESSANDRA STANLEY (NYT) 896 words
    Published: November 20, 2005

    IT was perhaps a little embarrassing to learn that the British producers of the latest ”Pride and Prejudice” released a different ending for American audiences: a swoony moonlit scene of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in dishabille, kissing and cooing in a post-coital clinch.
    It was as if NASA had prepared an international mission to Mars and felt a need to lace the Russians’ Tang with vodka.

    The loudest protests didn’t come from patriots taking umbrage at the concession to New World prurience. Strict Jane Austen constructionists rose up to lament the sexed-up ending as blasphemy. Elsa Solender, a former head of the Jane Austen Society of North America, said that the boudoir scene ”has nothing at all of Jane Austen in it” and ”insults the audience with its banality.” The current president, Joan Klingel Ray, a professor of English at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, agreed. ”One of Jane Austen’s greatest talents is that she presents sexual tension with such subtlety,” she said in an interview on Friday, as the movie, which had its premiere here a week ago, went into wider release.

    And they have a point. The smooches and sappy, made-up dialogue between Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen are more reminiscent of Barbara Cartland’s work than Jane Austen’s. But there is, after all, an evolutionary — or devolutionary — link between the writers. One of the less vaunted joys of Austen is that she is one of the greatest writers in the English language who also happened to write witty romance novels. Women enjoy the love stories in Austen the same way men read Hemingway for the hunting and fishing: it provides guiltless pleasure.

    The entire romance novel industry was founded by imitators who tried to adapt and adulterate Austen’s work, starting with Georgette Heyer, who is to Regency romance what Patrick O’Brian is to naval action adventure. One reason Austenites are so exacting and prickly about the sanctity of their idol’s work is that it is so easily violated. More than any other writer on the college curriculum Jane Austen can be read for escapist fun.

    ”Middlemarch” and ”War and Peace” may have relatively happy endings, but nobody has yet tried to turn them into romantic comedies à la ”Bridget Jones’s Diary” or ”Clueless.” Dickens and Dostoyevsky are not often named as precursors to ”The Devil Wears Prada.” Jane Austen has a different allure, which leads to things like Jennifer Crusie’s ”Flirting With Pride and Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece,” a book in the Smart Pop series.

    The different endings caused a trans-Atlantic stir, but also a backlash. The film’s director, Joe Wright, chose to cut the final kiss for the domestic market after test audiences in England complained, but kept it for the American market, figuring, not wrongly, that Americans are saps with a lighter allegiance to literary accuracy. Or as he put it, ”I guess, in America, you just like a little more sugar in your champagne.”

    Some critics in the United States and Britain sneered at the ending (in The New Yorker, Anthony Lane, who is British, called the movie’s brooding romanticism a ”Brontëfied” Jane Austen), but most were more indulgent. And Austen fans in England who got wind of the American version were incensed that they had been denied a final kiss.

    Most movie and television adaptations of Austen novels end with an embrace and a country wedding — as did the five-hour, impeccably faithful 1995 BBC version starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. This latest one is just a bit sillier and steamier than most. Yet the English version is disappointingly austere. The lovers are not shown united; instead Mr. Bennet, played by Donald Sutherland, has the last word, taken from the novel: ”If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure.”

    The conversation on fan Web sites like pemberley.com and lobbying worked: Working Title Films, the British company that produced the new movie, announced on its site on Friday that due to popular demand, the extended version will be shown in a limited number of British theaters beginning Nov. 25.

    That could just be a sign that the British have surrendered their native reticence to American cultural imperialism, consuming schmaltz endings along with Starbucks coffee.

    Or it could just mean that nobody really expects movies to adhere too religiously to the original novel or story. Demi Moore gave ”The Scarlet Letter” a happy ending, but that was an exceptionally brazen and bizarre rewrite — akin to 18th-century versions of ”King Lear” that ended with a big happy family reconciliation.

    ”Pride and Prejudice” has been made and remade so many times, from the 1940 movie starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier to last year’s Bollywood adaptation, ”Bride and Prejudice,” set in India, Los Angeles and London, that no version is definitive. The Keira Knightley version is quite faithful to the spirit of the novel, even if the ending was tailored to cheesy teenage tastes. That just leaves room for yet another revision down the road.

    The American ending may be silly, but it is certainly not final.

  17. D – sorry to disagree, but if the kiss scene was released at all then it must have been London only. My mum saw it twice (and live in Birmingham, the second city) – once when newly released (Sept) and again a few months later. It was in neither time she saw it.

  18. I only know what that article states — that it was shown in a limited number of British theaters beginning Nov. 25.

  19. Russell #12, of the films from last year that I’ve managed to see so far (which is fewer than I would have liked, and fewer than in a normal year), Brokeback Mountain was clearly the best in my opinion. Cinematography that you could freeze-frame and make an art gallery out of, a score to die for, a genuinely engaging story told without moralizing, and a director with compassion for basically all of the characters. How much more could we ask?

    Although I should also mention the beautiful 2046, which I think was released in the US this last year.

  20. RT, I want to see 2046 so very, very badly. It’s next on our Netflix queue, but it seems like it’s been parked there for a long time.

  21. Having seen almost all of them, I’ll offer my favorites. I was going to offer my guesses too, but it looks like we have another place to do that.

    Picture – Pride and Prejudice
    (Of those nominated, Crash)

    Director – Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

    Actor – Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Capote

    Actress – Laura Linney, The Squid and the Whale
    (Of those nominated, Reese Witherspoon)

    Supporting Actor – Chris Cooper, Capote/Jarhead/Syrianna
    (Of those nominated, Paul Giamatti)

    Supporting Actress – Amy Adams, Junebug

    Original Screenplay – Me and You and Everyone We Know
    (Of those nominated, Crash)

    Adapted Screenplay – The Constant Gardener

    Foreign Film – Kung Fu Hustle
    (Of those nominated, Paradise Now)

    Animated – Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride

    Documentary – Grizzly Man
    (Of those nominated, March of the Penguins)

  22. If you’re asking me, the only films anywhere on the list that I’ve seen are Cinderella Man, Star Wars: RotS, The Chronicles of Narnia: TLTWaTW, Batman Begins, and War of the Worlds.

    Be sure to watch Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love before getting 2046. They form a trilogy of sorts.

    I demand a movied(r)ome of Far From Heaven and Brokeback Mountain. I really liked Far From Heaven.

  23. Hmmm. No mention of Crash. While I don’t think it necessarily deserves an Oscar (or even a nomination, really) – it’s a great film with some excellent performances from Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, and Thandie Newton. I’d recommend it (although the racial/ethnic stereotypes are a bit worn in places). Don Cheadle was good, too.

    I saw Munich a few weeks ago. Eric Bana was, well, Eric Bana, what can I say?, but I found the movie to be a bit slow – and violent in a very disturbing way. Geoffrey Rush was great, though – and so was the new James Bond (Daniel Craig) – maybe he won’t be so bad after all (but we’ll soon see!).

  24. I really liked Ang Lee’s other gay-themed movie, The Wedding Banquet. I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain, but I’d be shocked if it doesn’t virtually sweep the awards. It seems to have the big momentum and no one wants to be caught saying anything even remotely unfavorable about it.

  25. On Crash: It’s a pretty decent movie, but I found it way to didactic. My favorite scene of the year is in this film, though (with the locksmith and his daughter and…you know the one I’m talking about).

    Don Cheadle is the man. Why can’t we nominate his Super Bowl commercials for an Oscar? Those are great.

  26. I am a huge movie fan, and frankly, I’m gobsmacked.

    I have yet to see even one of the best picture nominations, but I’ve seen THREE of the documentaries.

    And I would highly recommend Murderball. Penguins was good. But Murderball ruled.

  27. Amen to Jennifer’s recommendation of Murderball. Excellent film. I fell asleep during the March of the Penguins, and I LOVE penguins!

  28. Allison, there’s no real continuity between Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love, so you didn’t miss anything. Maggie Cheung’s character has the same name in both films, and Wong Kar Wai has said that In the Mood for Love is an “unofficial” followup to Days of Being Wild. Apparently he had an “official” sequel planned which was never made. You should definitely go back and see it.

    BTW, Supergenius informs me that Rachel Weisz has signed on to Wong’s next film, his first English language project. There is considerable confusion about what this means. Nicole Kidman is slated to work with him on The Lady from Shanghai, which is not a remake of the 1947 Orson Welles film of the name. Is Weisz taking Kidman’s place, working in a supporting role, or on a separate film altogether? No one seems to be sure. One thing is known, that Christopher Doyle, his usual director of photography, will not be working on the project.

  29. Tom: “I’ve searched around Netflix and I found a DVD with all of the nominees in animated and live action short films for the 75th awards. It was awesome. But that’s the only year that’s available on Netflix and I couldn’t find any other compilations of short animated films. Seems like the only way to see these films is to attend a film festival or something.”

    I saw most of last year’s nominees last spring at an arts theater. Apollo Cinema handled the distribution (see here). I hope they do the same thing this spring.

  30. Upin…

    I am Karin, very interesting article that contained the information I was searching for in Google, thanks….

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