Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My Oscar Nominations - 2005

So, if I was the one choosing the Academy Awards, here's what they would be. Before I begin however, I want to say that Oldboy and 2046 were in last year's awards. If they were around this year, they'd be omnipresent, however, I'm not bringing them back. The time has passed. Also, some of these films weren't even released this year here, so they couldn't be in the real awards. It's just the stuff I saw that was either made in 2005 or released in the States in 2005.

And another side note, I didn't think this was the best year for film. In terms of visual media, by far the best accomplishment was Six Feet Under's last season. If that was eligible, it'd be dominating the acting catergories, and the final run of episodes was more satisfying than any feature I've seen this year.

Anyway, on to my nominations...

Best Actor
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Mysterious Skin
Terence Howard – Hustle and Flow
Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain
Bill Murray – Broken Flowers
Michael Pitt – Last Days


These were all amazing performances because the actors completely inhabited the character. There was no sense of acting, it was like this is who they are. However, I would give the award to Heath Ledger because his character had the biggest emotional arc, and watching him was emotionally devestating.

Best Supporting Actor
Jake Gylenhal – Brokeback Mountain
Ludacris – Crash
Ian McDiarmid – Revenge of the Sith
Nick Nolte – Clean
Keanu Reeves - Thumbsucker


This catergory has a wide variety of actors. Ludacris was the best thing in Crash, really funny, shining above the film's clumsy preaching. McDiarmid went way over the top, leaving teeth marks in the scenery but always remaining true to the character. Reeves finally returned to the stoner character everyone wants to see him as. However, my choice here is Nick Nolte, who's so sympathetic as a grandfather who knows he has no real right to the boy he's raised as a son. He's a calm presence navigating a complex emotional landscape. This performance redeems him for the mug shot.

Best Actress
Maggie Cheung – Clean
Q’Orianka Kilcher – The New World
Ji-Min Kwak – Samaritan Girl
Yeong-ae Lee – Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Naomi Watts – King Kong


Comparing this bunch of actresses to the actors, it's pretty clear that American film isn't offering many good parts to women, and even though they're accused of misogyny, Korea's extreme directors are offering more challenging parts to women than just being "the girlfriend." However, the choice here is easy, Q'Orianka Kilcher creates the emotional anchor for The New World. Watching her over the course of this film is watching the course of America during its first few years of colonization. She goes through much and through it all we see a truth to the character. It's astonishing that she pulled off this performance, carried the entire film, at 14.

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bello – A History of Violence
Maggie Gyllenhal – Happy Endings
Yeo-Reum Han – Samaritan Girl
Tilda Swinton - Thumbsucker
Michelle Williams – Brokeback Mountain


This was the toughest of the acting catergories to fill. There's a bunch of good performances here, but the one that stands out is Tilda Swinton. She gave three great, wildly varied performances this year, but Thumbsucker was her best. She wasn't the main character, but she was fully realized and the character could have easily carried an entire film.

Art Direction
Mirrormask
Revenge of the Sith
Sin City
Sympathy for Lady Vengenace
The New World


These were all great looking movies, but I'm going to give the edge to Revenge of the Sith. There's such a variety of environments in the film, I admire the way they simultaneously contributed a lot of new stuff to the Star Wars world, while at the same time tying stuff together with the previous trilogy. Well done.

Cinematography
Domino
Mysterious Skin
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
The New World
3-Iron


This one's easy, The New World was so well shot, both in terms of what was shown and how it was shown. It was a uniquely cinematic story, like nothing that's come before. Not to get nasty, but if you weren't able to appreciate the cinematography in that film, why are you even watching a movie, maybe you should stick to books.

Costume Design
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Mirrormask
Revenge of the Sith
Sin City
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance


Mixing it up a bit here, I'm going to give the award to Lady Vengeance. It's not the most dramatically inventive work, but in terms of defining character, it's absoultely critical. Her outfit is the character, and that's what good costume design does, sell the world to the audience.

Editing
Clean
Domino
Revenge of the Sith
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
The New World


There were two movies this year that showed me a new way of storytelling through editing, one was The New World, which used its editing to give a hypnotic rhythm to its visuals, however the best editing was in Domino, which was the only film I've seen where the most exciting part of the movie is watching the editing and seeing how far they can push the medium. It pushes the film beyond narrative to the point that it's a near avant garde visual experience.

Foreign Language
Clean
3-Iron
Samaritan Girl
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
The Bow


It's pretty clear here that this was the year for Kim Ki-Duk, dropping three of the five films here. Of these three, the best is 3-Iron, an achingly beautiful story of two people. Kim takes words out of the vocabulary and instead creates a film which uses visuals to maximize the emotional impact of events. It's great work and the final moments of this film are some of the most haunting I've seen.

Makeup
Mirrormask
Revenge of the Sith
The New World


Sith grabs the award, if only for the stunning work on Anakin's scarred body after getting drenched in the volcano. It's disturbing stuff.

Song
“Hard Out Here for a Pimp” – Hustle and Flow
“Whoop that Trick” – Hustle and Flow
“Move Away and Shine” – Thumbsucker
“Down in the Light” – Clean
“Veruca Salt” – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


A catchy bunch of tracks here, it is hard out here for a pimp, but I'm giving the award to Thumbsucker. The Polyphonic Spree are one of my favorite bands, and "Move Away" is one of their best songs. It's also really crucial to the film, providing the emotional conclusion.

Score
Brokeback Mountain
Mirrormask
Revenge of the Sith
The New World
Thumbsucker


These are all fantatsic scores, but I'm giving the award to The New World, a film where the score was absoultely crucial to defining the film. It's not a strictly narrative movie, so the score has to do more than just support, it has to define the rhythm of the film, and it does so admirably. James Horner has done some decent work in the past, but this goes way beyond.

Visual Effects
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
King Kong
Mirrormask
Revenge of the Sith
Sin City


Yoda in Sith was real. I know he's CG, but he feels like a real dude, and that's the best compliment to visual effects, that you could pull of so challenging a character and make it feel seamless and real. So, that earns the award.

Adapted Screenplay
A History of Violence
Brokeback Mountain
Mysterious Skin
Revenge of the Sith
Thumbsucker


Yes, nominating George Lucas for best screenplay is a bit weird, but I'm looking at the overall story construction, not the dialogue there. However, the award here goes to Greg Araki for Mysterious Skin. This was a really well written film, balancing two fully realized characters and a strong process of gradual revelation as it proceeded. Great stuff.

Original Screenplay
Broken Flowers
Clean
Samaritan Girl
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
The New World


I'm giving this one to Chanwook Park for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Park builds a complex, sympathetic, yet disturbing central character, and there's a bunch of great twists throughout. This is a better written film than Oldboy, even though the movie on a whole doesn't quite match.

Director
Olivier Assays – Clean
George Lucas – Revenge of the Sith
Kim Ki-Duk – 3-Iron
Chanwook Park – Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Terence Malick – The New World


These were all films that worked because of very strong direction, unique films that used the medium in incredible ways, however, the best direction was Terence Malick's for The New World. In the film, Malick builds a world that's completely believable as the past, yet has an essential humanity that makes it feel contemporary. It's the rare period piece where you get the sense of real people living these events, and that's largely due to the wonderful performances from everyone in the cast. And beyond that, just visually, the film is astonishing. It's like nothing else I've ever seen.

Picture
Revenge of the Sith
3-Iron
The New World
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Clean


There was one film this year that took me on an incredible emotional journey and at the end left me feeling completely satisfied, even after waiting for the film for virtually my entire life, and that's Revenge of the Sith. It's not perfect, but it achieves so much, and is full of rich thematic development on a scale rarely seen in movies. It's incredible visuals used to create an emotional effect in a way that only film can do, and that's why it's my best picture of the year.

And just to tally everything up, here's the winners:

The New World - 4
Revenge of the Sith - 4
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance - 2
Thumbsucker - 2
3-Iron - 1
Clean - 1
Domino - 1
Brokeback Mountain - 1
Mysterious Skin - 1

3 comments:

David Golding said...

Surely Sith is original, not adapted screenplay? Unless I misunderstand some Academy way in which the term is used.

crossoverman said...

The Adapted Category is subtitled: Based on Material Previously Produced or Published - meaning that all sequels are classed as Adapted. Which is crazy talk.

- Keith

Patrick said...

I originally had Sith in original screenplay, but there wasn't another adapted movie I really liked, so I decided to move it over to where it actually would be in Academy terms. It's the same thing that happened with Before Sunset last year, that's not exactly an adapted screenplay, but it was there nonetheless.