Recently Rated Movies #40: Failing to Catch Up to the Oscars

Another Oscar ceremony, and I've somehow, barely, seen anything nominated.

This post has been awhile in the making, but only because I was trying to get in as many Oscar-nominated films in before the ceremony tonight as I could. Unfortunately, Jen has been in rehearsals for a show at Disney over the past few weeks, so our time to see movies together has been drastically decreased. Add to that my exhaustion in getting preparations together for my company's convention and putting out our publications, and you might well see why I just stay home once I get home, instead of having to trek out to the theatres, which takes a bit more for me than someone who actually drives. In Alaska, I lived about a mile away from many of our theatres, but here, it is not so. As such, the nominated films I did see on the list below were all when Jen and I could go together, and all within the over-three-weeks-ago or longer range, and some at the beginning of January.

The result is that I really have no interest in picking who will win at the Oscars this year. So many people believe that most of the major acting awards are foregone conclusions anyway, and since I have not seen most of the performances, I don't feel that I have any right to say what I think in this area. I can tell you whom I would like to see win, but that always seems to muddy the pond, so to speak. People generally don't want to know what you would like to win or what should have been nominated, but what you think will win. I could rail on and on about how Pan's Labyrinth should be up for Best Picture instead of just Best Foreign Language Film, and it would generally fall on deaf ears, like I hadn't said it all, and then my "listeners" would ask of me, "Yes, but which one will win?"

Of course, I am ever the one to throw that shit back in their face and reinforce my belief that the Academy is wrong-headed as always. Pan's Labyrinth is the best film that I saw in a theatre this year, and my favorite film overall was Brick, even though it was made in 2004, released only to film festivals in 2005 and got a limited theatrical run midway through 2006. For me, it is a 2006 film, even if I only saw it on DVD. And to reiterate what I have shouted before: Over the Hedge is the Best Animated Film of the year, even if it did not get nominated in a category that has one poor choice and two OK ones. (I'm rooting for Pixar's Cars, though I liked Happy Feet a tad more, in the only category where I have seen all of the nominees... just 'cause...)

Of the nominated films, I have seen four of them, as our attempts to reach Letters from Iwo Jima over the past fortnight were quashed by time and illness. I liked The Departed and Babel, thought The Queen was a bit of alright (quite good, actually), and outright loved the exceedingly quirky and small Little Miss Sunshine. I am rooting for Sunshine, though all of the films I have seen are worthy winners. My main problem is in Pan's Labyrinth and the Foreign Language thing. The last time I checked, Babel was not only mainly not in English, but in about six languages, including sign, overall. And both directors are not only from the same country (Mexico), but also best friends. Oh, yeah... and Pan's was more successfully artistically, too. I say, "Switch 'em"...

I am pulling for Scorcese as Best Director, but would not mind if any of the others won, since Marty should have already won about three of these suckers, and all for better films than The Departed. (For those keeping track, that would be Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas.) I have only seen one of the Best Actor nominees (Whitaker), so I will not call that race, but I will say that Mr. Whitaker was awesome, though I really, really would love to see O'Toole walk to the podium. Best Actress, I have only seen Mirren and Streep, so again, I won't call it, but Mirren was perfection. I have seen only two of the Supporting Actor nods (Arkin and Wahlberg), and I would be lying if I said I was pulling for Arkin in the O'Toole mold. For Supporting Actress, I always root for naked Japanese teenagers (even those played by a woman in her mid-'20s), so I'm pulling for Ms. Kikuchi.

"But who will win?", you ask annoyingly. Just look at the predictions. I have a feeling that this year, the odds-on favorites are just that. I would add "sadly", but I can't. I just haven't seen enough of the nominated performances to have an opinion on these categories.

So, good luck in whatever pool in which you have entered. To the gang: I miss you guys, and we'll get together for this again sometime in the future. And as always, I've got movies to watch.

The List:
Babel (2006) - 7; Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia [Curse of the Golden Flower] (2006) - 5; The Queen (2006) - 8; El Laberinto del Fauno [Pan's Labyrinth] (2006) - 8; Merry Andrew (TCM, 1958) - 6; B. Monkey (1998, DVD) - 6; Bruiser (2001, DVD) - 4; Transamerica (2005, DVD) - 7; The Last King of Scotland (2006) - 7; Be Cool (2005, The Movie Channel) - 5; The Island (2005, DVD) - 5; The Hills Have Eyes (2006, DVD) - 5.

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