Patterico's Pontifications

2/25/2008

Quick Oscar Thoughts And Observations

Filed under: Movies — Justin Levine @ 11:40 am



[posted by Justin Levine]

Among the movies that were actually nominated, No Country For Old Men was the best and a well deserved winner (as Patterico himself discovered).

But unfortunately, the best film of the year wasn’t even nominated for anything- presumably since it wasn’t released in December (apparently the only month that Academy members are able to remember films that they saw).

The Best Film of the Year? No contest. Not even close.  Zodiac.

My (minority) views on There Will Be Blood have already been articulated here. Daniel Day-Lewis was by no means a bad choice for Best Actor, but I still felt that the performance exhibited a certain quality of ‘showiness’ that the Academy tends to overvalue in its aesthetic taste. If I was Oscar dictator, I’d have given Best Actor to Viggo Mortgensen for Eastern Promises.

Pleased that Marion Cotillard won a much deserved award for Best Actress in La Vie En Rose by upsetting front-runner Julie Christie in Away From Her. With Christie, I think people confused a great performance with a good performance in a great role (and a great film). In contrast, Cotillard gave a great performance in a good film.

Final note, my hero Kevin O’Connell lost his Oscar nomination again for a record 20th time without a win. Admittedly, the winning sound mixing on Bourne Ultimatum was quite good as well. Always next year Kevin. It will happen. I know it will….

20 Responses to “Quick Oscar Thoughts And Observations”

  1. How disapointed were the liberals when LIONS FOR LAMBS and THE GOLDEN COMPASS were not nominated

    krazy kagu (6c49b1)

  2. “With Christie, I think people confused a great performance with a good performance in a great role (and a great film).”

    Ms. Christie epitomized the beautiful sorrow and grace of her character so well that the viewer was fairly given a heartbreaking glimpse of what it is possibly like for one to ‘become ‘invisible’. She had my vote after watching the film months ago, and still after watching the other nominees as well.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  3. How disapointed were the liberals when LIONS FOR LAMBS and THE GOLDEN COMPASS were not nominated

    GOLDEN COMPASS won for best visual effects. It did not deserve to, given that the competition was Pirates 3 and Transformers.

    As for Lions for Lambs, aside from the particular liberals who actually worked on the movie, nobody else cared.

    LYT (b67340)

  4. LYT –

    Glad to see you lurking around here. Haven’t seen you since Luke Ford’s birthday party at his ex-girlfriend’s pad.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  5. Dana – Can you imagine other fine actresses giving the same solid performance that Julie Christie did? I certainly can. (Obvious choices off the top of my head: Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Shirley MacLaine, Karen Black, Judy Dench, Cate Blanchett, Laura Linney.) Again, most talented actress will come across as even more exceptionally great when they are given material and roles that have inherently great qualities to them (as was the case here).

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  6. Actually, Justine, I think they would fall short (perhaps with the exception of Blanchett). They certainly could bring life to the character and give it their own thumbprint but with Christie, her ethereal beauty dovetailed extraordinarily well with the character’s gentle and forgiving spirit (toward her hub’s endless infidelities) that I can’t see the others bringing that extra something.

    Also, imho, I also felt that what made her so perfect in the role was that fact that she had a deft touch, not heavy handed, not dramatic, not anything incongruent with her physicality and sense of presence.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  7. Dana – Well you are certainly right to point out the fact that deft touch without the “heavy-handedness” is what made Away From Her so great. But that was infused throughout the film, not just with Christie. I chalk it up to director Sarah Polley (who obviously took on some of the better traits from Atom Egoyan who influenced her work). Take a look at Gordon Pinset’s overlooked performance as well (who played her husband). Equally great stuff that wasn’t nominated.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  8. Fair point, Justin. The more I thought about I think the fact that Ms. Christie is fairly reclusive these days and not front and center in Hwood, it also played to her advantage. The other actresses come with tremendous amounts of characters (and hence, comparisons)and that for me would have been distracting.

    I totally agree re Gordon Pinsett – he deserved a nod as well. His face alone spoke more than words could.

    Yes, also to Atom Egoyan’s influence in her fine touch and nuances.

    I fear this small movie was not ‘big’ enough or ladened with big enough names to get the attention it deserved. I believe Sarah Polley has a great future ahead of her. Its speaks much of her to take such a small story from a collection and be able to create such a jewel of a film from it.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  9. Dana –

    No doubt about it that Away From Her was a great and devastating film. Christie’s work fit well within it. Difficult to come to terms with the fact that everything you love and remember in life might just be a only construction of your mind which can break down from Alzheimer’s. Like most people, I find it more comforting to try and think that love has an objective and enduring quality that exists outside of us. It’s difficult to watch a work that challenges that notion.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  10. “Like most people, I find it more comforting to try and think that love has an objective and enduring quality that exists outside of us. It’s difficult to watch a work that challenges that notion.”

    Hm. Love does have a distinct purpose outside of us to effect/affect others lives and certainly the good in Gordon’s live was forged by his wife’s devotion and that would leave its imprint always. It was indeed heartbreaking to know that she had no recollection of how deep and strong the current between them had been and for decades and yet, imo, the fact that he had been so unfaithful to her throughout their years and repeatedly forgiven him made her gift of love that much more extraordinary.

    Perhap the consequence for him was knowing she was now bereft of the full knowledge of his love on a conscious level. But perhaps buried within the effects of it were still known….

    Dana (b4a26c)

  11. I also loved Zodiac. I rented it because it got pretty bad reviews. When will I ever learn…

    Patricia (f56a97)

  12. Once is a good film, too, as well as having fine music like Best Song Falling Slowly.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  13. “The Best Film of the Year? No contest. Not even close. Zodiac.”

    YGBFSM! That was a joke, right?

    Zodiac was a steaming pile of crap.

    thebronze (4fb6e6)

  14. thebronze –

    Your taste in film is a steaming pile of crap. So there! 😛

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  15. Each year, I make a vow not to watch the Oscars. The reasons are too numerous to mention. Let’s just say that I find it repulsive to watch these self-consumed phonies prancing around for 4 hours congratulating each other for being so wonderful while half of the actresses try to outdo each other as to who can dress the most like Little Egypt.

    For my wife, however, it’s the TV highlight of the year. So I generally retreat upstairs to read a book or work on the computer. Usually, I have occasion to come down for one reason or another and manage to catch some actor, actress or director making a fool out of himself/herself.

    This year is no exception. After sucessfully dodging the first three hours, I had to come down for dinner-just in time to see something that upset me. First, the show made what I thought was a nice gesture by having five soldiers in Iraq make an Oscar presentation by satellite. So far, so good. No sooner than that was finished, the next presentation was for “Best” documentary. Sure enough, that Oscar went to a documentary called, “Taxi to the Dark Side”, about an Afghan cab driver taken prisoner by the Americans and taken to Baghram Air Base Prison, where he soon died under mysterious conditions. The film clip showed an American soldier (dressed just like the 5 previous presenters), taking a blindfolded Afghan out of a car and into a prison compound. The theme of the movie is an indictment of US Military interrogation techniques. The director, Alex Gibney, then went on to give us a lecture about Baghram, Guantanemo, Abu Ghraib, rendition, and the overall dark side of the War on Terror, in effect spitting in the faces of the five young soldiers previously shown in Baghdad.

    Leave it to Hollywood.

    It is obvious that the gesture of having Iraqi-based soldiers present an Oscar was nothing more than a propaganda ploy designed to convince the American public that Hollywood really is patriotic and “supports the troops”. Sure they do. How many of these people have ever gone to Iraq or Baghdad to visit the troops? There are a few, to be sure, like Gary Senise, but they are few indeed.

    As I write this, I don’t even know what transpired in the first three hours of the show. God only knows since it only took 15 minutes for me to witness the above outrage.

    I heard today that the ratings for the Oscars is declining every year. Apparently, more and more of the public is getting fed up with the antics of these talented, yet idiotic people.

    gary fouse
    fousesquawk

    fouse, gary c (5a08be)

  16. do you know Little Egypt?

    Vermont Neighbor (c6313b)

  17. Having avoided the show, I appreciate your reporting on their GI Joe skit. Shameless.

    Vermont Neighbor (c6313b)

  18. I thought Zodiac was good, and another example of why I like Robert Downey, Jr.

    But the dialogue was marred by inexcusable anachronisms like “creep me out” and “Do the math”. They might as well have shown people driving hybrids. So no soup for them. Are there any scriptwriters who were born before 1985?

    Glen Wishard (b1987d)

  19. i thought julie christie would get it out of the academy’s usual deference toward older, highly regarded actors due to their entire filmography, but when i saw marion cotillard in that dress, i voted her the oscar for best candidate to share a desert island with assistant devil’s advocate after the apocalypse. together, we can repopulate the human race. wait, marion, marion, come back here!

    assistant devil's advocate (840b51)

  20. Glen Wishard –

    The (very) slight dialog anachronisms hardly took me out of the era. But to each their own I suppose. Listen to David Fincher’s commentary on the DVD Director’s Cut. He will cop to a few other anachronisms that he compromised on for dramatic effect (i.e., depicting the building of the TransAmerica building in San Fransisco a full year before it was actually built within the story’s timeline).

    Also, speaking of anachronisms, did you catch the modern day logos of Wells Fargo Bank and Carl’s Jr. in “No Country For Old Men” (a film that supposedly takes place in 1980…).

    Justin Levine (b5c8e2)


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