Friday, February 23, 2007

Obligatory Oscar Post

Every Oscar season I feel strangely compelled to make predictions about which nominee will win any given prize. It ends up being fairly masochistic since many of the best films don’t even get nominated and the winner usually goes to the best combination of overly earnest and commercially viable. My predictions tend to be most accurate when I put on my cynicism cap (I have one) and pick the nominee that was the least inspired.

That being said, I must applaud the academy for finally coughing up a lifetime achievement Oscar for composer Ennio Morricone. Much has been said already about Morricone’s excellent spaghetti western soundtracks but to my mind his greatest contribution has been to the Italian giallo genre. With more than 300 scores to his credit, it is hardly surprising that Morricone can’t even remember them all.

Anyway, back to my Oscar picks. This year I’m doing something a lot more fun than trying to predict the actual outcome. I’m going to choose my own categories (borrowing the worthwhile ones from the academy) and choose who I think should win regardless of nomination and based only on the films I’ve actually seen.

Best Picture: (1) The Lives of Others, (2) Pan’s Labyrinth, (3) The Prestige
Best Comedy: Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
Best Horror Film: (1) The Descent, (2) Severance, (3) The Host
Best Animated Feature: A Scanner Darkly [baffling that it didn't get even a nod on such a slow year]
Best Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth [although Wordplay was better made]
Best Unnecessary Remake: The Departed
Best Theatrical Re-release: Army of Shadows (1969)

Best Director: (1) Guillermo del Toro Pan’s Labyrinth, (2) Cristi Puiu The Death of Mr Lazarescu, (3) Christopher Nolan The Prestige [Seeing as I’m not the academy I don’t owe Scorsese anything. I would have given him his Oscars back when he made original films.]
Best New Director: (1) Rian Johnson Brick, (2) Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck The Lives of Others [say that three times fast]

Best Performance, Male: (1) Ion Fiscuteanu The Death of Mr Lazarescu, (2) Matt Dillon Factotum [Neither nominated]
Best Performance, Female: (1) Ebru Ceylan Climates, (2) Penelope Cruz Volver [although it’s the ensemble that makes it work], (3) Lee Yeong-ae Lady Vengeance
Best Performance, Child: Ivana Baquero Pan’s Labyrinth [strides ahead of Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine]
Best Performance, Animal: Dogs 4
Best Performance, Inanimate: Meat Lunacy

Best Cinematography: Children of Men [The easiest decision on here]
Best Editing: Children of Men
Best Music/Theme/Song: Brick
Best Art Design: (1) The Science of Sleep, (2) Lunacy [Neither nominated]
Best Visual Effects: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Prestige
Best Original Screenplay: (1) The Lives of Others, (2) Pan’s Labyrinth, (3) Volver
Best Improvised Screenplay: Bubble
Best Premise: (1) Children of Men, (2) The Descent, (3) Tristam Shandy

Best Shot: war-zone finale, Children of Men
Best Action Sequence: (1) foot-chase through construction yard, Casino Royale, (2) four-story climb The Protector
Best Opening: 4
Best Twist: (1) The Prestige, (2) Brick, (3) Lunacy
As I side note, I’m amused that we have a best foreign film category as if a foreign film couldn’t possibly win an award unless the academy gave them their own category.


Patti said...

I think I've said this before, but I really feel like I've missed out on some good films here. I had completely forgotten Oscars were coming up. Are they horrible?

Mad Dog said...

Yeah, the Oscars are pretty horrible. Paprika shut out by OVER THE HEDGE? Anyways, I felt the same way when the Academy made the Best Animated Picture category. It's a ghetto.

jim vacek said...

brian, lots of good stuff in your oscar rant as well as the other postings on strangeness, trip to chicago, etc. you are on a a writing streak!