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

10 February 2007

The Nominees: Part V of VIII


THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND
1 Nomination:

  • Best Actor: Forest Whitaker

  • Director: Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void, One Day in September)
    Cast: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, David Oyelowo, Simon McBurney

    This film is one of my favorites of the year and Whitaker has been the frontrunner in the Best Actor race for at least two months. This is another Jamie Foxx in Ray juggernaut for the Best Actor race. Unfortunately, this excellent film, which was written by The Queen's scribe, Peter Morgan, and boasts another superb lead actor performance (from James McAvoy), has been mostly ignored except for Whitaker's performance (which is, admittedly, a remarkable one). This film is the movie about Africa that should have been recognized by the Academy (have I mentioned how much I hate Blood Diamond?)At any rate, Whitaker will win his Oscar and the film will get seen because of him, so I can't complain too much.
    Will Win: Best Actor
    Might Also Win: N/A
    My Rating: #6 out of 69

    VENUS
    1 Nomination:

  • Best Actor: Peter O'Toole (My Favorite Year, The Stunt Man, The Ruling Class, Goodby, Mr. Chips, The Lion in Winter, Becket, Lawrence of Arabia)

  • Director: Roger Michell (Enduring Love, The Mother, Changing Lanes, Notting Hill, Persuasion)
    Cast: Peter O'Toole, Jodie Whittaker, Leslie Phillips, Vanessa Redgrave

    O'Toole, who, as you can see above, has received his eighth Oscar nomination for Best Actor this year was actually given an honorary Oscar two years ago for his contribution to "cinema history". When the Oscar is awarded to Forest Whitaker on February 25th, O'Toole will be the most frequently-nominated performer in history to never actually win an Oscar. In 1963, when he was first nominated (the performance that seems to stand out in most people's minds) he lost to Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird. This seems a difficult decision with which to argue. His subsequent nominations are easier ones to argue in favor of O'Toole, but not that easy. For example: would you take away Brando's Oscar for The Godfather in order to give O'Toole one? What about De Niro's for Raging Bull? After I've said all of that, O'Toole is definitely Whitaker's fiercest competition for the trophy and though he got off to a late start, he has been campaigning like a champ. I recently heard an interview with him on Fresh Air, and he's also been appearing on Television. I think it would be a shame to rob Whitaker, but maybe O'Toole'll win one after all.
    Will Win: N/A
    Might Also Win: Best Actor
    My Rating: I haven't seen it. (Curse you, Tallahassee!)


    HALF NELSON
    1 Nomination:

  • Best Actor: Ryan Gosling

  • Director: Ryan Fleck
    Cast: Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps, Anthony Mackie, Monique Curnen, Deborah Rush, Jay O. Sanders, Karen Chilton, Tina Holmes

    Another of my favorite films of the year that was all-but-ignored by the Academy. Shareeka Epps performance is an excellent one and the script is one of the smartest of the year. I've lauded the film before (you can get to that through the link down below if you are so inclined) so I won't rehash that, but I would like to celebrate Gosling's nomination, even if it meant that Sacha Baron Cohen was excluded from the category. Gosling's performance is an honest, powerful one that reveals layer upon layer. Everyone should be paying attention to this guy. He's at the top of his game and is doing excellent work.
    Will Win: N/A
    Might Also Win: N/A
    My Rating: #3 out of 69

    THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
    1 Nomination:

  • Best Actor: Will Smith (Ali)

  • Director: Gabriele Muccino (Remember Me, My Love, The Last Kiss)
    Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, Thandie Newton, Brian Howe, James Karen, Dan Castellaneta

    This is a case of a giant movie star in a vehicle that is perfect for him. Smith's performance in the film is quite good for a movie star (in the way, say, Julia Roberts' performance was quite good in Erin Brockovich). The film is ridiculously sappy and at the same time, both relentlessly depressing and wildly triumphant. The Academy, understandably, has ignored everything but Smith's work. Should we even talk about the mis-spelling in the title? It makes sense in the context of the film, but everytime I type the title I want to write [sic] after it.
    Will Win: N/A
    Might Also Win: N/A
    My Rating: #46 out of 69


    VOLVER
    1 Nomination:

  • Best Actress: Penélope Cruz

  • Director: Pedro Almodóvar (Bad Education, Talk to Her, All About My Mother, What Have I Done to Deserve This?, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
    Cast: Penélope Cruz, Lola Dueñas, Carmen Maura, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave, Antonio de la Torre

    How I love this film! and how I love this filmmaker! This film totally got robbed for a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. This hurts even more because frequently Spain has been electing not to submit Almodóvar's films for the category. The big snub is probably due to a male-dominated voting bloc in the category that would, understandably, not really connect with Almodóvar's stories about women and the men they have to overcome. Cruz's nomination is much-deserved, though, so I'll just be glad about that. It would've been really ridiculous if this film had received no nominations at all.
    Will Win: N/A
    Might Also Win: N/A
    My Rating: #5 out of 69