Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cinemafool at the Oscars

The Oscars are a reasonably major event in the world of film, although recently it seems to be more what people wear and how much they cry, than what actually won. I find them quite dubious, mostly due to their insistence on giving Eastwood praise (four nods at directing, two winning) and their sort of naff ‘let’s make up for ignoring’ way of doling out the awards, meaning people like Judi Dench get awarded for a nano-second of time, or Return of the King scores an awards bonanza when the equally good previous two were sort of ignored. It dilutes the impact of the award for me. An ‘Oscar winning’ film is no longer necessarily the best film of the year. Sometimes far from it.

But because Cinemafool likes to have opinions (correct opinions, at that) here is my take on the Oscars 2007:

Best Director: Martin Scorsese
A half-surprise at this one. Marty has been notoriously ignored by Mr Oscar, despite blasting out some of the biggest cult masterpieces (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull) and some meaty offerings (The Aviator, Gangs of New York). Though The Departed fits more into ‘meaty’ than ‘masterpiece’ (reviewed 14th Oct), this award smacks of “here you go, happy now?’ rather than recognising the film on its own merits.

Saying that, if anyone else had won I’d be ranting on here about what a travesty it is that Marty was shunned yet again. Plus at least Eastwood didn’t win.

Best film: The Departed
See previous comments. The Departed was a good film, making it to the CF Top 10 of 2006, but it doesn’t feel like the BEST film. Still, compared to the quaint but slightly too quirky Little Miss Sunshine (reviewed 17th Oct), the pompous overblown Babel (reviewed 7th Feb), and the I-haven’t-seen-them-but-don’t-fancy-them-therefore-they-must-be-a-bit-rubbish-obviously Letters from Iwo Jima (bloody Eastwood again) and The Queen, I’d have to say that The Departed is the best of the bunch. I am pleased it won.

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland)
As I noted in my review (24th Jan), Forest is worthy of this award, and was my preferred winner anyway. His performance is commanding and certainly gives the film a bit of oh-la-la (as only a mass-murdering crazy person can). Well done Forest.

Best Actress: Helen Mirren (The Queen)
I wasn’t particularly fussed by The Queen – I suspect America’s fascination with the Royals was the root cause of this muscling its way into nominations. I can’t really give much comment. I guess she does good Queen.

Best supporting actor: Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Yeah, he was pretty good. Shame Marky Mark didn’t get one for sporting silly hair in the Departed, though.

Best supporting actress: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
I firmly wanted Rinko Kikuchi to nab this one. Her deaf Japanese girl was the best thing in Babel, and I believed firmly deserved a statue. (An Oscar statue, not a literal one. She wasn’t that great).

Best Foreign Language film: Das Leben der Anderen (aka The Lives of Others)
Never heard of it. How can some random German film win when the infinitely better El Laberinto del Fauno (ie Pan’s Labyrinth) was in the same category? I realise saying it’s better when I haven’t seen the other films is a little silly, but come one – Pan was one of the best films of the year and deserves recognition.

Best animated feature film: Happy Feet
I haven’t seen any of the animated entries (the others being Cars and Monster House). The reaction to Happy Feet was positive from those I spoke to, although I had to question their joy. It is dancing penguins after all. Weirdoes.

Best adapted screenplay: The Departed
Fair enough. Children of Men (reviewed 27th Sep) was in this category, but its script was not what made it great.

Best original screenplay: Little Miss Sunshine
Again, Pan’s Labyrinth (reviewed 6th Dec) was popping up in this category. Sunshine was quaint but a little clich├ęd, though the characters (aside from the mother, as I griped in my review) were nicely etched out. Ok, I give my blessing to this one.

Best original score: Babel
I can’t really remember the music from Babel, except the one song that’s used in the superbly brilliant show Deadwood. Hmm… original score you say?

Best original song: I Need to Wake Up - An Inconvenient Truth (performed by Melissa Etheridge)
Best song? Come on, it’s not the Brits.

Best documentary feature: An Inconvenient Truth
Didn’t watch this one. I know it’s about important things but I just don’t want to hear about it. It’s inconvenient. Ho ho ho.

Best documentary short subject: The Blood of Yingzhou District
I have no idea what this is. Sorry.

Best visual effects: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Oh God. They gave this an award? Ok, the effects were pretty good (reviewed, sorry, destroyed 13th July). And it was up against Poseidon and Superman Returns. But Christ – awarding it? You’ll just encourage them.

Best cinematography: Pan's Labyrinth
I am pleased, but Children of Men was also in this category and I think both films should be awarded for cinematography. But well done Pan.

Best art direction:Pan's Labyrinth
Hell yeah.

Best animated short film:The Danish Poet
Hmm…

Best action short film: West Bank Story
Mmm hmm…

Best costume design: Marie Antoinette
Yeah it probably had nice clothes.

Best make-up: Pan's Labyrinth
Come on Pan!

Best sound mixing: Dreamgirls
I don’t really know what these awards are for anymore.

Sound editing: Letters from Iwo Jima
Eastwood? Come on, was that just to give him something?

Best film editing: The Departed
Again, Children of Men was in here. Though the beauty of that was the lack of editing in many shots so not sure how the award would win.

In total the Departed and Pan’s Labyrinth came out glowing, scooping four and three awards respectively. Not a bad effort, and not too many gripes for a change. In all an interesting, if not uneventful (and therefore a little boring), Oscars for 2007. And did you see J-Lo’s dress? Christ it was hideous…

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