a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Oscars

Though I recognize that the Oscars are a little silly, in that quantifying movies or performances as the best is inherently impossible (and that mass vote isn't a particularly great determining factor), I still love to watch them. Sexy outfits, the opportunity for Oscar pools, and the fact that it does bring attention to worthy movies. What's not to like?

Plus any awards show that nominates more screenwriters (10 screenplays, 20 different writers nominated) than directors is all right with me :-)

Anyhow, now that the nomination dust has settled, a few thoughts:

-- Entertainment Weekly accurately picked 19 of the 20 acting nominees; the only one they got wrong was Mark Wahlberg, who took Jack Nicholson's slot. Which is interesting; it used to be that over-the-top performances by legends always got a nomination, if not a win (a la Al Pacino's in Scent of a Woman). Could it be that the voters are starting to reward more subtlety? One can only hope.

-- Not only is there a nominee who rose up through American Idol, but Ryan Gosling was a Musketeer with Britney Spears. There's something scary about this, but since Gosling is a good actor that makes it easy to accept.

-- Look for Scorcese to get his Oscar this year. Best picture is pretty wide-open though. I've heard mixed things about Iwo Jima, Babel doesn't seem to have the devout fans that Crash had, voters for Scorcese might go to something other than the Departed for best pic, and The Queen just seems sort of staid and small. Could Little Miss Sunshine sneak in and win it? It's the only one most voters might actually watch twice.

-- Oddly, the only Best Picture nominee that got nominated for a Best Actor or Actress Oscar was The Queen. None of them were nominated for Cinematography (the Cinematography nominees? Black Dahlia, Children of Men, The Illusionist, Pan's Labyrinth, The Prestige) or Art Direction (Dreamgirls, Good Shepherd, Pan's Labyrinth, Dead Man's Chest, The Prestige).

-- The rules for Best Foreign Language Film are a little strange, if Letters From Iwo Jima and Apocalypto weren't even eligible to be nominated. Maybe it's time to rename the category.

-- If the Dreamgirls backlash continues, Abigail Breslin could get Best Supporting Actress. The only younger nominees ever were Tatum O'Neal (who won for Paper Moon), Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Quinn Cumming in The Goodbye Girl. Good company, though none really did much after those roles.

-- The screenwriting rules are a little strange, if Letters From Iwo Jima can be considered an original script even though it was based on a real event, and Borat is considered an adaptation because the character was previously done on TV.

-- If Letters From Iwo Jima wins Best Picture, Paul Haggis will have had a hand in writing three Best Picture winners in a row. And he once wrote for The Facts of Life. When you are coming up through the ranks, no job is too small.

-- The Best Makeup nominees are Pan's Labyrinth, Apocalypto... and Click. Apparently it was a slow year for makeup.

-- Gimmes for the Oscar Pool? Scorcese, Forest Whitaker, Helen Mirren, Pan's Labyrinth as Best Foreign Film and Makeup. Dead Man's Chest for Best Visual Effects, Cars for Animated Feature. Other than that, you're on your own.


At 7:41 AM, Blogger Joshua James said...

One explanation for Nicholson . . . according to actors I know who were on set, Nicholson and Scorsese did NOT get along, in fact, just saying that they did not get along is a vast understatement . . . it seems big Jack is used to being the big dog on set, and so is Marty . . . but Jack is the star and does what he wants, when he wants, and doesn't give a fuck whether anyone likes it or not.

Rubbed Marty quite uncomfortably, or so I was told.

There were many stories I heard and cannot replicate or even remotely verify, but one I remember is that the scene with the two hookers and dildo wasn't in the original script . . . Jack insisted on the scene, and if he didn't have that scene, he wouldn't do the movie. So they shot this whole scene and it gets like ten seconds in the film.

I don't know if it's true or not, Scott, but I heard from many actors (most featured or extras) they there was no love lost between Jack and Marty.

Which could have cost him. We'll see.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

Paul Haggis also wrote for Walker Texas Ranger, so I believe you owe that man an apology for insinuating he has ever written anything less than pure genius.

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Marty doesn't win for best director I will never watch the Oscars again. Not only does he deserve the award for The Departed, but c'mon, they need to give proper respect to the man. Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino, Bringing OUt The Dead, The Aviator...and not one Oscar. Yet, Cuba Gooding Jr. has one. Disgraceful.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Interesting what has happened to Cuba. After making drek like Chill Factor and Boat Trip, now he's doing direct-to-dvd crap.

I feel bad for the dude, I think he's a talented guy but just made some shit choices post-oscar.

Certainly, Scorcese should have an Oscar by now, not sure if the Departed direction is worthy, but I would have given him one for Mean Streets, Raging Bull & Taxi Driver. And Goodfellas.

I picture either the Departed (which might benefit from Scorcese empathy) or Sunshine will nab Best Pic....although Children of Men deserves it more!!!

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to think Cuba was talented. Now I think he just benefitted from a couple of good movies (Boyz in da Hood, and Jerry Maguire).

I love the direction of The Departed. I find it rare to have such an in your face, smart, gritty crime picture these days. And it is never plain and boring by the book direction from Scorcese either. The way he uses music, and cuts, and pacing is amazing to me.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger S. A. Petrich said...

Well, Cuba is also starring in the upcoming Ridley Scott gangster epic, American Gangsters, along with Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe, which might resurrect his career. Maybe. If he's lucky. Very lucky.

Anyway, I am pleasantly surprised by this year's Oscar nominees, the lack of nominations for Children of Men notwithstanding.

And I'm getting sick of Haggis and Eastwood, especially the two together. Let's just hope they don't win this year.

By the way, Scott, I mostly agree with your comments, but the last thing I would call Mark Wahlberg's performance would be "subtle".

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Well, compared to Nicholson's, everything seems subtle.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Aaron Silverman said...

Click absolutely deserves a nomination for best makeup. It has some of the most natural-looking aging and weight-gain facial effects I've ever seen.


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