They do it to us every year. Around this time I always have a mixed heart. Happy for the nominations I rooted for, disappointed in the ones that didn’t happen. Before I unload a lot of negative vomit onto the screen, I will say that overall, the 2006 nominations are fair. There are certainly some nominations that just should not have happened, but that’s another article. I’m going to do my very best to pimp my losers without picking on the lucky bastards that sleazed their way in (just kidding, Lucky Bastards).
Now, so everyone is on the same page, I am going to let you know what criteria I am using to judge these things:
- I’m only picking one snub per category I see fit, just to make it tough on myself
- There has to be at least one other representative in the respective category that I would be willing to say “No way this should have been nominated ahead of…” etc..
- The snub has to be something where after having left the theatre I said to myself, “This has a shot”. I would have liked nothing more than to see a nomination for, say, Mickey Rourke in Sin City. But it’s not a snub if they never had a shot.
Now I am not the Nomination Nazi. Take last year’s potential nominations for Best Actor. We had a lot of good choices. But as far as I was concerned, there were only 3 must-haves there: Paul Giamatti, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. Me, I could have interchanged Jim Caviezel, Clint Eastwood, Don Cheadle, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp or even Tom Cruise in the other 2 slots. Maybe I liked Hank’s Terminal performance more than Depp’s in Finding Neverland, but I’m not about to go nuts over it. Depp was strong, he’s been an underrated actor with the public for a long time, I get it. Not my personal pick, but I get it.
What I didn’t get was snubbing Giamatti. Sideways was nominated Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay. Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen were nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Actress but the film’s best performance isn’t even nominated? Huh? And those are the types of would-be nominations I’m going to be writing about.
So let’s get right to it.
All right, Academy, I’m sorry Crowe threw a telephone at a wall when a bellhop mouthed off to him. I’m sorry Crowe says what’s on his mind, right or wrong and uncaring of what political repercussions he may face in Hollywood. I’m sorry Crowe can be an a-hole sometimes. I’m sorry he has obvious anger-management issues. But really, how do you look at his performance in Cinderella Man and say, “Nah…”?
Crowe pulls off something incredible: he makes me believe in Cinderella Man that he’s a nice guy. Look at the roles he’s played of late: L.A. Confidential, The Insider, A Beautiful Mind and Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World. Most of those were either serious-minded men with no time for niceties or just plain different levels of ass-hole. With Braddock, Crowe creates a performance of a gentle boxer who would prefer to skip his own breakfast so that his hungry daughter may have a second helping. For me the film’s can’t miss moment is the scene where Crowe is resorted to begging for cash from his old boxing friends. It is the film’s most heartbreaking moment, and Crowe’s eyes sell it because they tell the whole story. This was an easy pick for me.
This movie was unjustly buried by some critics but that’s beside the point. Even Memoirs of a Geisha
managed to grab itself a nomination for best cinematography. Where’s the love for Roger Deakin’s beautiful work? Sam Mendes
no longer has the great Conrad Hall to shoot his pictures but Deakin’s work almost makes the loss of Hall seamless. There is a lot of great imagery in Jarhead
but those scenes of the burning oil fields is a thing of terrible beauty.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
No question, Scarlett Johansson was a snub, but the Bello snub was even more shocking to me. Nice work, Academy. You’ve snubbed her twice in three years (she should have been nominated for The Cooler as well). Bello goes through an assortment of dramatic ups and downs. She shares two important sex scenes with Viggo Mortensen (you want to talk sexy? How about Bello’s cheerleader outfit? Bocce-Balls!). This is not a revelatory performance, but it is sharp, it is smart and it contained some tough dramatic weight. Here’s hoping Bello finally gets the recognition she deserves in the near future.
King Kong was my second favorite film of 2005. In my book, it hit all the notes. Emotionally, it touched me. As an adventure film, it got my adrenaline pumping. It had moments of humor. But it was also pretty scary (in a safe way). There were fewer more-intense buildups this year than the one where Naomi Watts is tied up to be sacrificed for the Mighty Kong. I liked that the movie was unabashedly silly in some spots (like Kyle Chandler‘s comb-mustache moment). I liked the sense of mischief in the early Jack Black New York scenes.
But for me, what makes King Kong bigger and badder than any other movie this year was its ability to produce awe. We see action films. We see adventure films. We enjoy those films. But how often does a film generate a Keanu-like “Woa…” from our mouths? This is extremely hard to do in this day and age. Very few scenes in my lifetime wowed me more than the T-Rex scene in King Kong. He deserved a nomination for that very long and complicated and increasingly thrilling scene alone because nobody in a long, long time has managed to come close to the sort of adventure-filmmaking than Jackson pulls off here. Nobody. It is hard to direct action. It is harder to direct exciting action. But it is a whole other thing to blow an audience away with it.
Perhaps more importantly…how about that emotionally epic finale? Very few directors would be capable of pulling off the relationship Ann Darrow has with the big ape without making it laughable. King Kong is tremendous thanks to Peter Jackson. Once again, the snobs have spoken. I know, it’s “only” an adventure film.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Hello, Mr. Lucas, come on in. How’s it going today? Hear that ILM thing has really taken off, huh? Okay, I think you can drop your pants now. Nurse Mira, pass me the lube. So no more Star Wars
eh? Man, that’s going to take some getting used to. Oh really? TV? That should be pretty neat. Why don’t you go ahead and turn around. Hmm? No, no it’s nothing, just turn around. So who you thinking will be the main character on the show? I always liked that Boba-Fett…Wha? No, everything’s fine, Mr. Lucas, just-just you go and turn around now. Come on, we’re your biggest fans here, you can trust us…There you go. No, you won’t feel a thing, I promise. Hey, what were you thinking with that Jar Jar guy anyway? Now, hold still…HOLD STILL! Sorvino, Ganis…pin him down! Call Malden in here, damnit! I don’t care, knock him out if you have to, just quit him from squirming! He’s flipping like a fish! Grab him! THERE! You like that?
…Okay, Mr. Lucas, we’re all done here. See that wasn’t so bad. Heh, heh, okay, see you next time. Buh-bye.
I could have gone in a couple of directions here. One could easily make a case for the Q’Orianka Kilcher
‘s beautiful, soulful performance in The New World
. You couldn’t take your eyes off her in that movie. I could make another Atticus Finch-like case for Naomi Watts in King Kong
. But I can’t pick all three. So for me, the biggest snub in the Best Actress category belongs to Joan Allen for The Upside of Anger
Perhaps for the first time in her career, Allen is sexy in this movie. She’s the mother of four children whose husband has just left her and being a bitch is all she can do from not going crazy. And yet she does go a little crazy. She’s also selfish, never afraid to point out how victimize she feels while forgetting her children are in it just as much as she is. To say she drinks too much would be an understatement. She’s barely sober in the film. She’s completely unreasonable at times and isn’t afraid to shatter one of her daughter’s dreams of becoming a dancer. On paper, this sounds like someone I’d want to strangle. And yet despite all this, Allen remains a likeable figure throughout the film because we never forget she is a wounded soul. Shame on the Academy for forgetting this one.
BEST FOREIGN FILM
I’ve only heard of two of this year’s Best Foreign Film nominees. That can’t be a good thing. This movie is so entertaining and fun it’s ridiculous. Stephen Chow
has found a niche for a new type of film: the martial arts/cartoon movie. I was a fan of his Shaolin Soccer
is even better. I was a little amazed by it. It starts out surprisingly violent and then goes straight into a strange but oddly entertaining musical number. The gags and jokes hit. The action is fun and the characters are likeable. This is an imaginative and funny flick. But the Academy doesn’t like silly unless it’s under the brand name Disney. Screw them.
Cinderella Man isn’t my favorite film that didn’t get nominated Best Picture. But in my mind it’s the biggest snub in this category because it is exactly the type of movie the Academy would nominate. It’s the sort of predictable Best Picture contender anyone can see from a mile away. Hell, upon release Cinderella Man and the word “lock” went together like peanut-butter and jelly or Sambora and Locklear (timing is everything). But here’s the thing: predictable or not, Cinderella Man is a great movie. It’s a movie critics and audiences (those who saw it) loved. This is a big, wagging middle finger to Crowe and company, nothing more and that’s a damn shame.
John Williams, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Okay, let me explain. I understand Williams was nominated twice and that he is one of the most nominated persons ever. I liked his Memoirs of a Geisha
score. I liked his Munich
score even more. To me, this is a snub because Williams was not nominated for any of the Star Wars
prequels. Flawed as those films may be, the scores to every single one of them have been amazing. John Williams work on the prequels was higher than almost anyone else involved in those films and he deserved recognition. Yes, Sith
had one of the very best scores of the year.
I feel like Ed Harris
in Glengarry Glen Ross
, “Anyone who talks this ass-hole is a fucking ass-hole”. The idiots who decided Grizzly Man
could not compete for Best Documentary are a bunch of idiots. Despite the film being completely comprised of real footage, this group’s issue seems to be the approach to the film. Well I think their approach to voting sucks ass. Dirty bear ass. I’m not sure if Grizzly Man
was the best documentary this year but it was certainly better than that freaking penguin movie
. And no, I’m not talking about Mrs. Henderson Presents
. If you ask me which is more captivating: penguins humping each other and then across the ice, or Timothy Treadwell saying the F word about 8 billion times in a span of 2 minutes, give me the Treadwell’s bizarre rampage every time. Give me director Werner Herzog’s trembling plea, “You must burn this…” (referring to the audio recording of Treadwell and his girlfriend’s death by bear). Give me Treadwell talking about the beauty of bear poop, “This was inside her! Isn’t it beautiful?” Herzog managed to capture a life so original and uncompromising that I could not believe what I was witnessing even as I watched. One thing I learned from Grizzly Man
is that Steven Colbert is right, bears must go. They’re on notice.
So that about wraps up the top ten snubs of the year. Next time we will be looking at something that goes hand-in-hand with the snubs: The worst nominations of the year. So put down that remote and stay tuned.