Well the nominations are out and all over town the overlooked are gnashing their teeth with jealousy and rage. The holiday season has just ended and here in Los Angeles it’s begun again. Of course, this holiday season is far holier and even more materialistic to Angelenos than the one that takes place in December.
It always reminds me that I have yet to see so many films. Some thoughts:
Of the “Best Picture” nominees I’ve seen Lost in Translation and Master and Commander. I
loved liked Lost in Translation even though the movie theater I saw it in was nearly 100 degrees because the air conditioning was broken. One too many languorous shots of Scarlett Johanssen looking out her hotel window. The perspective on the otherness of Eastern culture was dead on.
Master and Commander: I never thought I’d like a period ship movie so much. Swarthy, fresh-faced young men and their shipboard relationships: excellent. The pacing was balanced and exciting. Did anybody notice the inclusion of Russell Crowe’s two second flirtation with the Brazilian beauty when the ship went in to get supplies? Just so people wouldn’t get the wrong idea about his relationship with his naturalist shipmate?
Bill Murray was pure brilliance in Lost in Translation and although I haven’t seen any other of the Best Actor performances I have a hard time believing the Academy wouldn’t reward Murray with a trophy after his long career.
Best Actress physical transformations: Charlize Theron is the Nicole Kidman of 2003. Naomi Watts won’t win, but this nomination and her performance in 21 Grams will catapult her to the upper ranks of wanted actresses. She was amazing in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and she is finally getting the respect she’s entitled to! 21 Grams was perhaps the bleakest film I’ve ever seen in my life. Benicio del Toro was incredible as well.
I’m really glad to see smaller films like thirteen, 21 Grams, Pieces of April, and Whale Rider getting nominations. It puts some faith in the Academy’s process. It’s interesting to see that the addition of the “Animated Feature Film” category has kept big-grossing quality films like Finding Nemo out of the “Best Picture” category, which I think was their intent when they added the category. Keeps everybody happy, but the animated category feels like an afterthought at best. Well-reviewed films like The Triplets of Belleville seems like they don’t have a chance up against box office leviathans like Nemo.
Am I completely out of it or is the “Original Song” category really wanting this year?
American Splendor was a film that seemed fairly average at the time that I saw it, but has stuck with me throughout the year. I think Hope Davis’ performance in that movie was really, really sharp. It’s a quirky, oddly moving film with an incredibly original narrative style.
I’m a bit upset that Gus van Sant’s Elephant, which won the top prize at Cannes, was completely overlooked. I thought it was one of the most original films of the year.