Monday, February 20, 2006

Annual Academy Award Predictions


Author’s Note (posted Oscar morning): You may note a few changes. Momentum for a few of the categories has shifted in the past two weeks since I originally posted and I have made a few revisions. Additionally, I was able to take in some more of the lesser nominated films as well as see all of the nominated shorts (live action, documentary and animated) which has influenced some of my original choices. We’ll know more in just a few hours…

I find there are some years in which I am generally satisfied with the nominations made by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. Other years, I think the Academy voters must be composed of a gaggle of lemurs. Then, there are those oh-so-odd years in which the nominations come out and I find myself in nearly utter and complete agreement--from the largest to the smallest category.

This is such a year.

Truthfully, I can't remember a year in which the Academy's nominations were so perfectly tailored to my choices and desires. If I could craft my own perfect nominee list, this just might be it.

And when you throw in
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart as the host, you might as well just give me the statuette for Best Satisfied Fan.

Traditionally, the Academy Awards have struck a successful, if uneasy balance between the big-budget extravaganza it does (or used to do) so well and the smaller, quirkier, riskier works that get made with the money the blockbusters bring in.

But not this year.

This year, small is big. Independent labels and films soundly trumped the big Hollywood behemoths and represent a further example of the Hollywood dream machine's growing irrelevance and a sign of things to come as independent, finely crafted, low-budget, guerrilla filmmaking takes over.

As is my yearly tradition, I try to guess which nominee will walk home with the Oscar this Sunday night. Am I dead on or dead wrong? Let me know.



Best Motion Picture of the Year:
Brokeback Mountain
Capote
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck
Munich


Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Globe and the Producer's Guild award. This should be a great indicator of its chances, but in all honesty, it didn't help The Aviator last year. While Brokeback fatigue is always a factor, Crash alone seems to have the chops to stops this juggernaut's momentum. People are passionate about Crash, while the majority of people I've spoken to merely respect Brokeback. Crash is the "little movie that could" pull an upset—and it just may. It's happened before. Remember a little film called Shakespeare in Love that beat shoe-in Saving Private Ryan?! If Brokeback does lose, it will be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history...and one of the most deserved.

Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: Crash




Best Achievement in Directing:
George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck
Paul Haggis for Crash
Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain
Bennett Miller for Capote
Steven Spielberg for Munich


Who will win for Best Director? Look no further than the Director's Guild of America Award. The director who wins it almost always goes on to win the Oscar. This year it was Ang Lee. Even if Crash wins Best Picture, the venerable Lee, upon whom voters have wanted to bestow an Oscar for years, will still take home the statuette. Spielberg already has several and Crash's Haggis and Capote's Miller are simply too new and otherwise, untested. Clooney is an even bigger long-shot, even though Good Night, and Good Luck has won genuine admiration for its muscular, incisive message and its distinctive black-and-white style.

Will Win: Ang Lee
Should Win: Ang Lee




Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote
Terrence Howard for Hustle and Flow
Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix for Walk the Line
David Strathairn for Good Night, and Good Luck


Forget the fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for his role in Capote. If you want to know why he's going to win an Oscar, just watch the movie. You can't take your eyes off him. Or your ears. No one will be able to touch him on Oscar night—not Heath Ledger and the Brokeback tidal wave, nor David Strathairn and his legitimately brilliant roll in Good Night, and Good Luck, nor Terrence Howard in his extraordinary role as a pimp turned rap star in Hussle and Flow. Hoffman has never won, despite being well-liked and highly admired among his peers. That all changes Sunday night. My only question--where is the perpetually underrated Jeff Daniels for his lacerating performance in The Squid and the Whale?

Will Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman




Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Judi Dench for Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman for Transamerica
Keira Knightley for Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron for North Country
Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line


This category is the closest of them all and perhaps the toughest to call. The only two who have any chance of winning are Huffman and Witherspoon, but it's honestly a huge toss up between them. Both won their respective best actress Golden Globes. Though I wouldn't completely rule out Felicity Huffman, I think Reese Witherspoon's touching, funny and convincing portrayal of June Carter Cash will pull it off for Walk the Line's only win of the night.

Will Win: Reese Witherspoon
Should Win: Reese Witherspoon




Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
George Clooney for Syriana
Matt Dillion for Crash
Paul Giamatti for Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal for Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt for A History of Violence


Originally I thought that Paul Giamatti would finally win for his role in Cinderella Man. Not because that particular performance was phenomenal, but because the superb and oft-spurned Giamatti was going to be rewarded for his thus-far ignored work. However, now I think that the role in Cinderella Man will fall prey to the same fate as his other nominations. Hollywood golden boy and Cary Grant-mantle-wearing George Clooney will take home that honor, a reward not only for his excellent role in Syriana but a nod for his direction of Good Night, and Good Luck.

Will Win: Paul Giamatti
Should Win: Matt Dillon




Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Amy Adams for Junebug
Catherine Keener for Capote
Frances McDormand for North Country
Rachel Weisz for The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams for Brokeback Mountain


Traditionally, the supporting actress category is a wild-card, dark-horse category, which might be just perfect for Amy Adams who was nothing short of wondrous in Junebug. However, have enough voters seen it? Some say Rachel Weisz is a shoe-in and her work was indeed superb. So was Michelle Williams for that matter. While I still hope that Adams will take it in the end because her vibrancy, comic timing, and authenticity will stand out in voters' minds, I sense a slide in Weisz’ only slightly less deserving direction.

Will Win: Rachel Weisz
Should Win: Amy Adams



Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck
Match Point
The Squid and the Whale
Syriana


Stephen Gaghan's Syriana tells a story of nausiating (if intentionally muddled) complexity; Woody Allen's words in Match Point is a ruthless skeleton of language; Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale has a heartfelt yet sooty insight; and George Clooney and Grant Heslov's Good Night, and Good Luck resonates with fire--but I doubt any of them have a chance. Take 20 lead characters, mix them together in a seemingly unrelated series of complex and affecting events, and juggle them all with a deft intelligence and you have Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco's screenplay for Crash. It will win.

Will Win: Crash
Should Win: Crash



Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published:
Brokeback Mountain
Capote
The Constant Gardener
A History of Violence
Munich


For taking Annie Proulx's sparse short story and giving it flesh, muscle, blood and the heart that pumps it--the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain will win.

Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: Brokeback Mountain



Best Achievement in Cinematography:
Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World


This was a superb year for cinematography. While Batman’s surprise nomination is negated by its gloomy tones and Geisha for its over-the-top esthetics, the remaining three are all incredibly worthy. Good Night, and Good Luck, with its sumptuous black and white shot through a cancerous cloud of cigarette smoke is pristine, elegant, luxurious. The New World dwells on nature like a lover consuming his beloved with his eyes. And Brokeback Mountain sweeps over vaulted vistas like God’s own creative hand. I wish I could say that The New World or Good Night would take it, but I have a feeling this one will go to Brokeback. Still, that is hardly reason to complain.

Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: The New World or Good Night, and Good Luck



Best Achievement in Editing:
Cinderella Man
The Constant Gardener
Crash
Munich
Walk the Line


All five nominees are intensely deserving. Cinderella Man cuts some of the best fight scenes since Raging Bull. Munich takes a stomach-turning page from Hitchcock’s knife. Walk the Line is deliberate and lyrical. The Constant Gardener moves like a wild zephyr. But Crash, jugging multiple storylines and interweaving them into a shattering tapestry should take the statuette.

Will Win: Crash
Should Win: Crash



Best Achievement in Art Direction:
Good Night, and Good Luck
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice


Oddly enough, the very thing that will win this category for Memoirs of a Geisha is the very reason it was not a better film (nor an Oscar contender for Best Picture for that matter). Geisha’s art direction has all the subtlety of the Las Vegas strip instead of the intimacy that the book demands. It makes for a lesser film but a delicious plate of eye candy.

Will Win: Memoirs of a Geisha
Should Win: Memoirs of a Geisha



Best Achievement in Costume Design:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
Walk the Line


All of the nominees are strong—some understated like Walk the Line and Pride & Prejudice while others are exuberant like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mrs. Henderson Presents. But Memoirs of a Geisha should walk away with this one, easily. The overwhelming ornate richness of the film’s kimono-clad cast will be too much for any other film to beat.

Will Win: Memoirs of a Geisha
Should Win: Memoirs of a Geisha



Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score:
Brokeback Mountain - Gustavo Santaolalla
The Constant Gardener - Alberto Iglesias
Memoirs of a Geisha - John Williams
Munich - John Williams
Pride & Prejudice - Dario Marianelli

This is easily one of my favorite categories to which my collection of hundreds of film scores attest. There are some beautiful scores this year, though, for me, only one stands out above all the rest. And it won’t win. Pride and Prejudice is a luminescent score, more at home in the classical recital hall than in a modern movie. Yet, for all its beauty, it will not be able to stand up to Brokeback Mountain (a lush and intoxicating theme, but not overall score) or the double-tap of John Williams, here with his 44th and 45th nominations!--Munich is powerful in the same haunting way that Schindler’s List was, but Memoirs of a Geisha is the score to beat. The Constant Gardener is too ethno-centric to seriously compete.

Will Win: Memoirs of a Geisha
Should Win: Pride & Prejudice



Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song:
Hustle & Flow for "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp"
Crash for "In the Deep"
Transamerica for "Travelin' Thru"


I'm not even going to predict this one. It's a silly category. This isn't Broadway, or, like it or not, the musical-rich Hollywood of 60 years ago. Why don't they remove this category and add something relevant like Best Stunts? Ok, ok, I’ll say Transamerica's "Travelin Thru" if you put a gun to my head. That said, I dare you to see Hustle and Flow and not get “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp” stuck in your head for days!


Best Achievement in Makeup:
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Cinderella Man
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith


The fact that George Lucas concluded his sextology (that’s the numeric-designation, not a porno rip off of the sci-fi series) and only gets nominated for Best Makeup says something, I think, about the quality of his most recent films. And he won’t even get this one. Narnia, with its cornucopia of mythical beasts will steal this right out from under Sith’s feet. Russel Crowe with blood pouring out of his nose is KO’ed from the first round.

Will Win: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Should Win: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe



Behold, the most confounding categories at the Academy Awards! What is the difference between sound achievement and sound editing? Sound achievement is the recording and use of specific diagetic sounds within a film while sound editing is how all those individual sounds are merged into a single, unified soundtrack. Understand now? Yeah, I’m not sure if I do either.


Best Achievement in Sound:
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line


This is a tough one. On the one hand, I’m tempted to say Walk the Line because of its brilliant interpretation of Jonny Cash’s music. Ray, a similarly musically-driven film won in this category last year. But this year, the man in black is up against some stiff competition including an ape that smashes his way through New York City, a world of magical creatures and an attack on earth by fearsome aliens. I’m leaning with War of the Worlds. I may not have liked the movie, but it had one hell of a good sound palate. The fog horn-like roar the tri-pods let loose right before they attacked is still enough to stop me in my tracks.

Will Win: War of the Worlds
Should Win:
War of the Worlds


Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds


This one comes down to the ape vs. the aliens. And for overall aural cohesion I think Kong takes it.

Will Win: King Kong
Should Win: King Kong



Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
King Kong
War of the Worlds


The effects certainly aren’t perfect. And boy do they get carried away to the point of agonizing distraction. But when King Kong works they are both magical and invisible. Thanks to WETA and Gollum alum, Andy Serkis, audiences are immersed in pure, dazzling cinemagic. While Narnia makes a good run with impressive, if sporadically decent effects, and War of the Worlds with frightening, if intermittent effects, no one is going to spank this monkey. The question many may be asking, however, is, where’s Star Wars? Good question.

Will Win: King Kong
Should Win: King Kong



Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:
Corpse Bride
Howl's Moving Castle
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit


Hayao Miyazaki is perhaps the most respected living animator, but Howl’s Moving Castle isn’t even as good as his magical 2001 release, Spirited Away. While Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride managed to find comedy and compassion in even the most morose of subjects, Wallace & Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a whimsical and eccentric story made with century old technology is sure to win. After the creative team’s consistent victories in the past animated shorts category, it'd be hard to imagine them losing their first time up for a feature.

Will Win: Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Should Win:
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit


Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:
Bestia nel cuore, La (Italy)
Joyeux Noël (France)
Paradise Now (Palestine)
Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage (Germany)
Tsotsi (South Africa)


I haven’t seen enough of these films to choose my favorite (many are still pending for general release), though I cannot imagine there being a better one than Paradise Now. The film about Palestinian bombers is controversial and eye-opening, the perfect foil for Spielberg’s Munich. The only other film in this category to get anywhere near as much buzz is South Africa’s Tsotsi, a film about the reforming power of love on the criminal heart. It will come down between these two and Tsotsi just might be palatable enough to squeamish voters to win.

Will Win: Tsotsi
Should Win: Paradise Now



Best Documentary, Features:
Darwin's Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
March oof the Peguines
Murderball
Street Fight


Of all the nominees, March of the Penguins is the presumed winner, not only because of its record-breaking box office performance (it made more money than all of the five Best Picture nominees combined!) but because people flocked (pun intended) to see it. Just ten years ago, no one in the general public was able to take in films in this category. Now, documentaries constitute big bucks and big business. This influx may explain why far-and-away favorite, Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, a confounding portrait of a man who was devoured by that which he loved most, was not even included. That or the documentary committee is asleep at the wheel. As far as the nominees go, don't rule out Murderball, the story of full-contact quadriplegic wheelchair rugby players. If enough voters have seen it, Murderball has a good chance.

Will Win: March of the Penguins
Should Win: Haven't seen enough of the nominees to make a decision



Best Documentary, Short Subjects:
God Sleeps in Rwanda
A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin
The Death of Kevin Carter
The Mushroom Club

Of all the short categories, this was the most difficult to judge. The Death of Kevin Carter, the story of a photojournalist so haunted by the world he has seen through the lens of his camera that he commits suicide is powerful and just may take it. God Sleeps in Rwanda is its stiffest competition, the story of the aftermath of that county’s genocide and the resulting 70-30% split between women and men. The Mushroom Club, about modern Hiroshima and those whose lives were forever changed by the bomb, is a dark horse. Here, the slickest produced documentary about the life of early radio personality Norman Corwin, may be “too good” to win.

Will Win: The Death of Kevin Carter
Should Win: The Death of Kevin Carter


Best Short Film, Animated:
Badgered
The Moon and the Son
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
9
One Man Band


I had the chance to check out 9 at the Telluride Film Festival. It's a story that takes place in a nightmarish landscape, where a hunted figure confronts an insect-like creature that is stealing the souls of its brethren. Very creative and evocative. My favorite was The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, the story of an airship navigator, a plague which is ravishing his world and its cure found in the most unlikely and deadly of sources, is breathtaking and wonderfully creative. The Moon and the Son is nowhere near as nicely animated, though its sentimental and gut-wrenchingly serious storyline may give it an edge. The competition is so good that Pixar’s entry, One Man Band, usually the hands-down favorite, will lose this year.

Will Win: 9
Should Win: The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello



Best Short Film, Live Action:
The Runaway
Cashback
The Last Farm
Our Time Is Up
Six Shooter


Our Time is Up, starring the ever-wonderful Kevin Pollak as a dying shrink who finally gets to tell his patients everything he’s always wanted to say, is very funny. Six Shooter with the prolific Brendan Gleeson as a man having one hell of a bad day is the sort of unapologetic black comedy Quentin Tarantino would make if he were Irish. The Runaway is both sweet and creepy in a Sixth Sense sort of way. Cashback is about the absurd, juvenile and erotic ways in which late-night British supermarket clerks pass the time. But my favorite was the Scandinavian, Bergmanesque story of an elderly man’s final days, The Last Farm. Only one other question--where, oh where, is Rain is Falling?

Will Win: Our Time is Up
Should Win: The Last Farm

26 Comments:

Anonymous Nate said...

Independent labels and films soundly trumped the big Hollywood behemoths and represent a further example of the Hollywood dream machine's growing irrelevance and a sign of things to come as independent, finely crafted, low-budget, guerrilla filmmaking takes over.

Well, hold on here happyjack. Over at Slate, Edward Jay Epstein has been writing an incredible series of articles covering every aspect of Hollywood’s economy and the changes taking place there. I admit that far too much of my worldview is probably shaped by the op-eds at Slate – I’m forever linking to them and forwarding them to friends – but this one in particular makes a pretty damning case about the irrelevance of the Oscars, contrary to your opinion that artistic quality is becoming the new benchmark. In this instance I don’t mean “irrelevance” the way we usually yell about it, which is in terms of the Academy picking the wrong movies, (and from the movies I've seen this year, they did pretty much get it right, I guess) – but “irrelevance” in terms of the Academy having zero impact on the direction the industry takes.
Epstein points out this hypocrisy of Hollywood placeing these movies on a pedestal over the product that they really exist to peddle.

I don’t pretend to know which direction the movie business is headed – whether it’s from one extreme of total saturation of sequels, television remakes, and cross-promotional multi-marketed Happy Meal franchises, to the other extreme of total destruction of established systems, where we’re all just a bunch of handheld camera operators making films with Adobe Editor, like that dude with “Tarnation.”
I used to think I knew. Reading Epstein’s (admittedly cynical, but wonderfully clear eyed) articles, though, I know I don’t know nuthin’. It’ll be fun to watch what happens. Even if it does go to all crap all the time, I’ve got a big enough backlog of good movies that I’ve yet to watch, with the occasional episode of Lost, to keep me happy for about 10 years or so.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Here in good ol MO, The Moxie is running all the Oscar nominated shorts together in one feature length show. We are awesome.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Ok, one more thing. I realize now that I just sort of contradicted the main thrust of a post I made for your Best Movies of 2005 post. See what I mean about variables and not knowing?
Guess it just kind of depends on the day.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

...contrary to your opinion that artistic quality is becoming the new benchmark....

No, that really wasn't my point, though it is certainly a strong element of it. I was focused more on the strengths of smaller, independent, outside-the-mainstream filmmaking.

It happened in the 60s. The studio system, which ruled the roost in far more dominant ways than they could ever hope to today (actors contracted to studios for years, etc) eventually went belly up when hit with the New Wave-influenced films of smaller filmmakers like Cassavetes and others. TV was killing them and they pumped out the sort of epic pictures only they could make. Still, independent films became the big thing. Then, a decade or so later, Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas, Copolla all hit the scene--all very much outside studio control and influence. It wasn’t until the late 70s and early 80s that the studios picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and got back into the game. In many ways, they did this by assimilating those aforementioned talents.

We see something very much like that happening now. And I think it is indeed cyclical--the studio system will never truly die nor disappear. It is simply in a falling period at the moment that will give way to a rise at some other point down the road.

But can anyone really argue that Hollywood is not in a creative and artistic slump churning out mindless movies and idiotic sequels because it rarely has an original idea anymore?

…“irrelevance” in terms of the Academy having zero impact on the direction the industry takes.

I think I would agree that the Academy has very little to no influence in the direction filmmaking takes. I wasn't at all arguing for their importance or necessity. They are simply responding to and reflecting the trends. But that in and of itself is important.

...Epstein points out this hypocrisy of Hollywood placing these movies on a pedestal over the product that they really exist to peddle...

True, which is why I addressed,
"the smaller, quirkier, riskier works that get made with the money the blockbusters bring in.”

So, now that that is cleared up, what do you think of the picks?

6:51 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Oh, and God bless the Moxie and all who work there (wink, wink).

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Paula Preston-Engle said...

I agree that Buttback Mountain will probably win, But I hope not. I hope Crash does. So If Buttback doesn't walk away with anything,(didn't see if, I don't want to slap God in the face with that) and if Reese wins I'll be happy. I don't care about any of the other's really. Those are my only strong opinions of the nominee's. But you did a wonderful job Brandon with the lo down.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Hey Paula, welcome back!

Not to single you out or attack you, truly, because your reaction is that of the majority of people I know, at least within my church community, but I have to admit that I find the “slapping God in the face” bit, well, silly.

As I wrote a friend about this film, when was the last time you personally boycotted a film like, well, “Walk the Line” since you brought it up—it was full of drugs, alcohol abuse, language and worst of all, infidelity. I don't hear anyone saying that Christians should avoid that one although infidelity is a pretty big thing to God. Could it be because homosexuality is our culture's pet sin? Could it be because it is so foreign to so many of us that it is easy to hate, easy to malign? Could it be because we are so confident that we will never fall into that particular bondage that we can blast it in relative comfort while ignoring the planks in our own eyes?

Nor do I understand why so many feel they have to degrade and humiliate a thing in order to feel superior to it. Is it not enough to Christians that the authoritative word of God pegs a film such as “Brokeback Mountain” as portraying sin? Is that not final enough? Is that not binding enough? And if so, why do so many people feel the need to “re-name” it—Buttback Mountain, Brokebutt Mounting etc.? Is your position not already high enough or do you truly feel it is not stable enough without the added weight of your mockery. I just don't get it.

Again, I am not attacking you personally, Paula, but the attitude that so many around me seem to have.

Personally, I am choosing “Crash” over “Brokeback” not for ideological reasons, but because I feel it is simply the superior film.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous nate said...

I have been dragging my feet to see Brokeback. People have told me it's great, and I heard some music from it that sounded good, but the thought of Ang Lee doing more of the repression thing under big Wyoming sky does not help me with my procrastination.
If I wanted two hours of quiet, angsty repression I could just hang around my teenage brother.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lyons of Lakewood California said...

Hey Paula,
It's Buttcrack Mountain, LOL...
But Buttback Mountain works too. I think it was a slap in the face to God too go see it. I am not even a church goer either.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Reacher said...

I haven't yet seen Brokeback, so I can't say if it is a slap in God's face. But, come on...really, do you honestly think Ang Lee has the power to slap God's face? I would first argue that God couldn't give a shit, then I would argue that if you are worried about how we bitch-slap God, why don't we quit using the bible as a weapon, stop supporting unjust wars, refuse to give our consumer dollars to Wal-Mart, love our children with all our hearts, etc., etc. ...you know, the stuff that actually affects people and the presence of God's love in the world. But no, we have to get our heterosexual panties in a wad 'cause to cowpokes swap spit. Give me a break.

Oh, by the way Brandon, remember when you asked us if you were that film nerd? You so are, dude. You so are. I for one love it.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Got my Entertainment Weekly in the mail yesterday... It was their annual Oscar prediction issue. While we squabbled about some of the major catergories, almost award for award it was as if they read my blog. Bastards. Get your own blog.

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/commentary/0,6115,1162358_1||1145818_0_,00.html

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Did you read their breakdown of what they thought the secrets to "Lost" are?

Retired NY Yankee jersey numbers.

Damn that's good.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous addicted to lost said...

Hi there,
Just saw your blogs on search for "LOST", and saw this one. Well I have a insider scoop on LOST. The whole concept is they are all LOST souls. The island is purgatory.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

"Insider scoop"--does that mean you're in the biz or that it's simply your theory?

For me, I don't buy into the Purgatory thing, though you're in good company.

For me, it's just too easy, to convenient. Sure it sounds spooky and all on paper, but it betrays all of the show's delicous and complicated nuts and bolts. Nope--don't buy it.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous addicted to lost said...

Well it's true. I know one of the gaphers that worked on the set the first season. And I believe her. In real life in that type of plance crash there wouldn't be one survivor. It makes totla sense to me. Why would the guy who was paralized walk after the plane crash? It makes sense to me and every other person I have spoken to you.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

I believe that was one that Abrams & Co. went on record to discredit.

They've actually publicly discredited (is that the right word? I can't seem to think of anything better) just about every "catch-all" theory one can think of: They are all dead, They are in a time vortex, The island is haunted, It's all a dream while the crash is still ongoing (like Owl Creek Bridge - which a character was recently spotted reading). They even deliberately put red herring clues like that in there.

I, for one, don't understand why they would go on record at all to deny any of these theories, since it narrows the scope of our speculation, but whatever.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Much as I love LOST, doesn't anyone want to talk about the Oscars? Doesn't anyone want to tell me my picks are right on or far out.

I'm feeling spurned. I'm feeling abused. I'm feeling ignored.

Sniff, sniff. Oh, look there, a yummy worm.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Reacher said...

Arguing with you about your Oscar picks would be like arguing with my Klingon-speaking buddy about Star Tre---wait. Same guy.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

No. No Oscars.
Only Lost. All the time.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

We only disagree on 6 categories: Live Action Short (I took "Ausreisser"); Animated Short ("9"); Sound ("King Kong"); Song ("Hustle and Flow"); Supporting Actress (Rachel Weisz); and Supporting Actor (George Clooney).

I hope you're right on the last one. I almost went with Giamatti; it was the hardest category for me to pick.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Finally, someone! Thanks Jeff! :-)

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Validation, thy name is Jeff.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Deletha said...

Now that the Oscars are over, I am excited to read your take on the big event. What do you think about Crash beating out Brokeback Mountain? i know you said it could happen, but do you think the Academy backed off from giving the award to such a controversial film?

9:31 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

This was the year of the little film, the controversial film, the film that pushed the envelope and dared to question authority, taboos, political ideology, etc.

It was, in a word, tremendous.

This was far and away one of Hollywood's most daring years—and almost nobody noticed.

Ticket sales continued to plummet and many of my friends said they found nothing of interest in any of the Best Picture nominees.

Hollywood is out of touch, they say. Hollywood just makes mindless trash, they say. Hollywood is more interested in explosions than explosive material, they say.

Did they bother going into a theater this year!?

"Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it." Amen, Mr. Haggis.

What I saw this year was some of the most intelligent, articulate, literate, emotional, exceptional films I have seen in as long as I can remember.

I've already said that this year's nominees might as well have been hand-picked by me. I can also say that about the lion's share of the winners.

I couldn't be more excited about many of the evening's results. I leapt from my seat when Jack announced Crash as the Best Picture winner. I thought I'd misheard him.

They are calling it one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history and I couldn’t be happier. Not because of Brokeback’s ideology but because Crash was simply the superior film. I truly don't think that Brokeback was too controversial to win, though elements of that surely played into its loss, I'm sure. (Still, Ang Lee did win for Best Director [Best Director and Best Picture almost always go together] which is the Academy's way to nod in Brokeback's deserving direction.) It was a fine, if morally difficult, film.

Some other upset/shocks of the night for me: Brokeback winning Best Score and Geisha winning Best Cinematography. Robs.

Jon Stewart's performance was a wonderful triumph, both funny and intelligent, if reserved. Have we seen the passing of Johnny Carson's emcee mantle?

Overall, it was a joyous evening—for them and for me.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND OSCAR’S BEST SONG WINNER SPEAKS,
IN WHICH HE DESCRIBES EXACTLY JUST HOW HARD IT CAN BE, OUT HERE, FOR HIM

You know, maybe you don’t know this, maybe you have been sheltered from the realities of this world, but let me disillusion you: It can be hard out here. For someone like me, I mean. A purveyor of the ladies, I mean.

First, there’s rent. It ain’t cheap, that’s for shiz. So I gotta get my money for the rent, if you know what I mean.

Then, there’s the car payment on my Cadillac. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Cadillac? Surely I can cut back, maybe drive a Ford Escort hatchback or something. But this Cadillac is not some spring chicken. It’s over 15 years old, and let me tell you, the gas mileage on it is terrible. Which brings me to that other large expense: GAS MONEY.
Man, when you are cruising up and down the strip with three ho’s in the back looking for some johns in a 15 year old Cadillac, you burn through some unleaded right quick.

So, to sum up: Rent. Cadillac. Gas Money.

It’s hard out here…
For, you know, a pimp and all.

12:22 PM  
Blogger gabster said...

Ok...seriously..."It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp"!!! SERIOUSLY!!??

1:54 PM  

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