Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oscar Nominations 2007: Remember I correctly picked "Crash" and Three Six Mafia as winners last year.

Even on a day where I had the ability to sleep in – work’s been cut down to a Monday.Wednesaday/Friday/Sunday deal – but how can I miss Oscar nomination morning?

This season I’ve waited, due to the fact I can’t imagine every single nominated movie not popping up somewhere in DC – a quick scan of District theaters show there’s a lot available – so I’ve waited, since from a non-“I’m committed to watching every film nominated for a top category”, a lot of the films didn’t enthrall me. The Good German, The Good Shepherd and Dreamgirls all disappointed, while films like Pan’s Labyrinth and Children of Men are loved but showed little chance of getting nominated. I’ll start the long march to Notes on a Scandal, Babel, The Queen and every other relevant flick shortly, but early thoughts.

Best Picture

No Dreamgirls means there’s a spot for The Queen, Little Miss Sunshine and some exciting Clint Eastwood action. Babel may or may not be your favorite, with the surprise Golden Globe win and the sort of epic feel that the Academy loves, and you’d have to think this might be the Year of Redemption for Martin Scorsese, with a slightly weakened field and a great film in The Departed. His old rival, Clint Eastwood, shows up with the patriotic Letters From Iwo Jima, and I can’t think The Queen is anything more than the biopic that has a great lead acting performance but doesn’t really have a prayer at Best Picture, your Ray or Capote of recent years. Sunshine made a late run with its PGA win, but I can’t imagine The Little Indie Film That Could, especially one disliked by a lot of people as a mismatch of cardboard cut-out character-types, winning the Best Picture award.

Best Actress

A miserable category last year, this is a strong rebound year, with big names and big quality with the ever-amazing Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep, but how does Helen Mirren lose this category? She’s been the favorite since early autumn when The Queen started screening, and the rule about the biopic not having a chance at Best Picture also means that the lead actor in that film has a fantastic chance of going home with a new friend, as Jamie Foxx and Philip Seymour Hoffman will attest to. Still, do you want to count out Judi Dench? I’d say Streep would have a great chance, but maybe the Academy considers Prada a little too commercial. Will be a pleasure to check out all of these films, and yes, I’m as confused as you are that Volver and Cruz are supposedly fantastic.

Best Actor

Much like its female counterpart, this has been all but sown up by Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland. They’ll be some sentimental love for Peter O’ Toole in Venus, but there’s no way Ryan Gosling or Will Smith comes away with this. Again, if there was a Performer of the Year award – like there should be – Leo would walk away with it, but although I hear only good things about The Blood Diamond, I don’t see it happening.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

Great stuff for Little Miss Sunshine, as both Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin get nominated for their roles as the eldest and youngest of the traveling family. When in doubt, go with Cate Blanchett for Supporting Actress, especially in what’s supposed to be a great Notes on a Scandal, as I don’t think the no-names from Babel have a prayer, especially since they’re competing with one another. Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy score the only top-tier nominations for Dreamgirls, although it did end up with eight overall, and they both have a legitimate chance at winning, although I’d think Murphy’s is a lot higher. Thrilled to see Mark Wahlberg nominated over Jack Nicholson for The Departed, although some Alec Baldwin love would have been nice as well.


  • Where’s the support for Matt Damon, as you’d think he’d be able to score something for one of his two big-name pics?
  • Best Director is going to come down to Eastwood vs. Scorsese again, and I can’t wait to see Sean flip out and try to kill someone if Marty goes down again.
  • On the day of the State of the Union address, Al Gore gets nominated for an Oscar while George W. Bush is forced to try and defend a series of plans that nobody supports. Fun stuff.
  • When you’re filling out your Oscar office pool, the first thing you should check off is Pan’s Labyrinth for Best Foreign Film. Just get that out of the way before moving on to anything more difficult.
  • No Borat for Best Song, although it did get a Screenplay nomination, so that’s nice. I like how they give out Screenplay nominations to sweet movies they don’t to nominate for anything else for one reason or another, like Memento back in the day (it didn’t win) and Children of Men, Borat and Pan’s Labyrinth this time around.
  • If you’d told me six months ago that The Good Shepherd and All The King’s Men would combine for zero – ZERO ­– nominations in categories you’d deem major to slightly-major, I’d have slapped you in the face and called you a liar.
  • So these are the movies I now must see, despite the fact I think your average movie costs about nine bucks a pop around here: The Queen, Last King of Scotland, Babel, Letters From Iwo Jima (not thrilled about this one), Little Children, Children of Men (not to be confused), Pan’s Labyrinth (simply because I want to, I make no commitment to Foreign Film or Screenplay nominees) and Dreamgirls. I can rent The Devil Wears Prada after regrettably missing it in theaters, and the second-tier films I’ll see if I can find them are The Pursuit of Happyness and Half Nelson.

Here’s your full list of nominees.

UPDAAAATE: Just got back from picking up our tickets for tonight's Suns/Wizards game (much more on that later this afternoon, although it's worth mentioning that the cover of the Post makes note of the showdown between Agent Zero and Black Jesus tonight), which explains the brevity of the above post and the fact I completely forgot about one of my favorite movies of the year before Popwatch went and reminded me:

Thank You For Smoking was a great film all the way back over Easter break, and while I realize there was no way it would get a nomination for an acting award, how did it not get one for Best Adapted Screenplay? You know how the books are, as a rule, considered better than their cinematic equivalents? Thank You For Smoking the movie is considerably better than the Buckley novel, which goes all out with the conspiracy theory and doesn't have any of the father/son stuff that give the film version its heart. Sure, the acting is great, but the story is so much crisper, which when combined with a great movie that was received well by nearly all, you'd think would earn you a Best Screenplay nomination.

But so the Academy goes...

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