Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

01 February 2007

The Nominees: Part II of VIII


BLOOD DIAMOND
5 Nominations:


  • Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator, What's Eating Gilbert Grape)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Djimon Hounsou (In America)
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Sound Editing

  • Director: Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai, The Siege, Courage Under Fire, Legends of the Fall, Glory)
    Cast: Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, David Harewood, Kagiso Kuypers, Arnold Vosloo, Michael Sheen

    The popularity of this movie both with critics groups, awards-giving bodies and the Academy has been astounding to every pundit who talks about Oscar. Mostly, I think, because all of us saw this film and said both to ourselves and collectively "what a dreadful piece of junk." This lead to most people predicting that DiCaprio would be nominated as lead actor not for Blood Diamond but for The (far superior) Departed. Nonetheless, this film, a superficial exploration of western colonial influences on Africa and a poorly-directed action movie with a shamelessly sentimental streak, presisted in the minds of the Academy's voters and it wound up one of Oscar's most-nominated films this year. It won't win a thing, of course, unless I am--once again--underestimating this movie.
    Will Win: N/A
    Might Also Win: Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing
    My Rating: #58 out of 68

    LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
    4 Nominations:


  • Best Picture
  • Best Director: Clint Eastwood (who has one nomination—Mystic River—and two trophies—Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven)
  • Best Original Screenplay: Iris Yamashita, Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby and Crash, last year's winner)
  • Best Sound Editing

  • Director: Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers, Space Cowboys, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Bridges of Madison County)
    Cast: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Nae, Yuki Matsuzaki

    This is Eastwood's companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers, which came out earlier in the year. This movie, unlike its predecessor, was met with rave reviews. Its subject matter and language difference—it's filmed almost entirely in Japanese—have caused it to meet with a less-than-warm reception with American audiences, however. The Best Picture nomination may be a boost for the film, but this film is one of the lowest grossing films ever to be nominated for Best Picture, or so I am told. It's a prestigious-looking piece and it's a World War II drama, though, and we all know how well those go over with the Academy. They will all see this movie and it will probably go home with a trophy or two. Let me grudgingly say that we should never underestimate the Eastwood (or Paul Haggis, for that matter).
    Will Win: Best Sound Editing
    Might Also Win: (in an upset) Best Original Screenplay
    My Rating: #34 out of 68

    LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
    4 Nominations:


  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Abigail Breslin
  • Best Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt

  • Director: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
    Cast: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Bryan Cranston

    The little movie that could! This is certainly this year's My Big Fat Greek Wedding, though this film got much further than Wedding ever did with the Academy and is a much, much, much better film. I mention Wedding because both were independent comedies that gained massive public popularity through word-of-mouth, enough to influence the Academy. This happens very rarely and for a picture like this to get a nomination in the giant Best Picture category is almost unheard of (The Full Monty was ages ago). Best Picture is up in the air this year, though, and a Best Ensemble win at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards means that this movie is in the running—as much as any other candidate for the big prize. And it could happen. This film's got legs.
    Will Win: Best Original Screenplay
    Might Also Win: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor
    My Rating: #18 out of 68

    NOTES ON A SCANDAL
    4 Nominations:


  • Best Actress: Judi Dench (Mrs Henderson Presents, Iris, Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love, Mrs. Brown)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Elizabeth)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Patrick Marber
  • Best Original Score: Philip Glass (The Hours, Kundun)

  • Director: Richard Eyre (Stage Beauty, Iris)
    Cast: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson, Juno Temple, Max Lewis

    This film has Oscar written all over it, of course, and it did very well. These actresses are highly respected and they elevate this material (read: camp), to great heights, but don't expect the picture to win anything. British melodramas never do as well as American ones with the Academy.
    Will Win: N/A
    Might Also Win: Best Original Score
    My Rating: #36 out of 68

    PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST
    4 Nominations:


  • Best Art Direction: Rick Heinrichs & Cheryl A. Carasik (The team from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events; he has a trophy for Sleepy Hollow)
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Sound Editing

  • Director: Gore Verbinski (The Weather Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl, The Ring, The Mexican)
    Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightley, Bill Nighy, Stellan Skarsgaård, Naomie Harris, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport, Tom Hollander

    This made a brave showing on Oscar-nomination morning. Of course its effects are stunning and it is handsomely decorated and beautiful to look at, so no one should have been surprised. Four nominations, though, is nothing short of excellent for a film this boring and obviously soulless. I hated this movie, but it is one of the biggest money-makers of 2006, and the Academy likes to make a point of paying homage to those Hollywood blockbusters in its Effects and Sound categories.
    Will Win:Best Visual Effects
    Might Also Win: N/A
    My Rating: #67 out of 68

    To be continued... (just like Dead Man's Chest!)