The noms came out this morning and... well, I have less to complain about than any year in recent memory. A few thoughts:
- I can't remember the last time there was a Best Picture race where I didn't despise a single movie. I really liked "Munich," "Brokeback Mountain," and "Good Night, and Good Luck," and didn't see "Capote." And while I don't think "Crash" was even one of the 50 best movies of 2005, I didn't hate it either.
Still, the films undoubtedly have a liberal tilt. As Warren Bell said on the Corner today, "What does it say about Hollywood when the least left-wing movie nominated for Best Picture is about Truman Capote?"
- Newsweek this week ran a panel discussion of five "brave" directors (Clooney, Haggis, Lee, Miller, and Spielberg), discussing the political daring of their films. Then, whaddya know- all five of their films are up for the Best Picture, and the five of them are nominated for Best Director- the first time in memory that the two categories matched completely.
- Best Actor is pretty much between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger. I kind of feel sorry for Ledger, his last ten movies all got bad reviews, and his next ten probably will too- only the reviews will all mention that he was "so much better in the gay movie." Hoffman, who is a considerably better actor and has played gay and/or drag characters numerous times, will have no such problem.
- Best Actress is Reese Witherspoon's, no question. Probably because neither myself nor anyone I know has seen any of the other four films.
- I had no idea William Hurt was even still a working actor, so I'm happy he got his first Oscar nomination in about two decades. It'll be amusing if George Clooney wins for the generally awful "Syriana," where he looked just like Christopher Hitchens.
- "Syriana" and the "Constant Gardener" both had horribly nonsensical screenplays, so I have no idea why either was nominated. And how hard could "Crash" have been to write, when you're imagining a Los Angeles with only two dozen people? And wasn't about half the dialogue in "Good Night, and Good Luck" lifted directly from transcripts of actual broadcasts?
- The nomination of the pro-terrorism "Paradise Now" in the foreign film category is apropos, the week Hamas took power. But I thought Palestinian films weren't eligible for the category, since Palestine isn't a country?
- The song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," from "Hustle & Flow," is up for Best Original Song. And you thought it was weird when Eminem won an Oscar, when Martin Scorsese still hasn't.
- In a great year for documentaries, I was glad to see "Murderball" in there, along with the amazing Newark-set political doc "Street Fight." The crazily overrated "March of the Penguins" will win, of course, and strange to see no Holocaust-related films nominated at all.
- Sorry to see "Chronicles of Narnia" all but shut out, except for in technical categories. It was better than "King Kong" in every way- including at the box office- so hopefully it'll collect some trophies.Posted by Stephen Silver at January 31, 2006 03:41 PM