Sunday, March 5, 2006

Oscars Central: Wrapping it up for 2005

So I didn't do as well as I expected... but then neither did Brokeback Mountain. How shocked were you? I literally screamed, then groaned, because as much as I loved Crash I really wanted Brokeback to win. And unfortunately I was almost right about Memoirs of a Geisha taking home more Oscars than Brokeback (they tied), but I'm not particularly proud about that. Here's how it all worked out.

Predicted to win: 13 right out of 24, or 54%
Wanted to win (the "should win" category): 9 right out of 18 (I didn't pick "should wins" in 6 of the races), or 50%

I fared slightly better by going with the statistics than with my own personal taste. But it's still an F....

Bottom line: I'm hopeful that Brokeback's success means that gay-themed movies will get bigger budgets and have better production values in the coming years, and that the scripts won't all be about titillation but will have thoughtful characters, interesting storylines and realistic plots. Hopeful, but skeptical.

Maybe I'll be back next year and maybe not. What a letdown. At least the statuettes were distributed among a lot of films... I guess that's a good thing. Here are the details on all of the Oscars categories and a few comments on my choices:

Film -- Crash
I predicted and wanted: Brokeback Mountain
Seems like the Brokeback backlash was there after all, and I was just Cleopatra. (In de-Nile). Look, I liked Crash. I liked all five of the nominees and any other year I would have been happy if even Munich had won. If one of the other awards shows had chosen Crash, at least I wouldn't feel like Brokeback was robbed.

Director -- Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
I predicted and wanted: Lee
Finally, the crime against Lee (when Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon lost the best Director Oscar to Steven Soderberg's Traffic) has been almost rectified. And I fell in love with him again when he thanked Ennis and Jack, the fictional characters, in his acceptance speech.

Leading Actor -- Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
I predicted and wanted: Hoffman
It was cute when Hoffman accepted, wasn't it? His hands were so-o-o-o unsteady; I love it when recipients show their emotions.

Leading Actress -- Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
I predicted and wanted: Witherspoon
Was I the only person shouting at the TV, "Thank your husband!!!" I guess that marriage is on stable ground. I just hope Ryan Phillipe doesn't go all Norman Maine on Reese's ass.

Supporting Actor -- George Clooney, Syriana
I predicted: Clooney; I wanted: Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
But you have to admit, Clooney kicked off the show the right way with his acceptance speech. He's always classy and funny at the podium.

Supporting Actress -- Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
I predicted: Weisz; I wanted: Amy Adams, Junebug
Adams did receive the Independent Spirit Award on Saturday, which is exactly what I figured would happen.

Original Score -- Gustavo Santaolalla, Brokeback Mountain
I predicted: John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha; I wanted: Santaolalla
Never have I been so happy to be so wrong! Except maybe for....

Original Song -- "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," Hustle & Flow
I predicted: "In the Deep," Crash; I wanted: "It's Hard Out Here..."
I never in a million years thought that the more senior of the academy membership would vote for a song with the word "pimp" in its title. I'm glad to be proven wrong, because it was the most memorable of the 3 nominees.

Adapted Screenplay -- Brokeback Mountain
I predicted and wanted: Brokeback
How cute was Larry McMurtry in his jeans and crooked bow tie? He also made me want to pick up a book and read.

Original Screenplay -- Crash
I predicted: Crash; I wanted: The Squid and the Whale
I have almost no comment. Bleh.

Animated Feature -- Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
I predicted: Wallace & Gromit; I wanted: Howl's Moving Castle
Speaking of cute bowties...

Animated Short Film -- The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation
I predicted: 9 (Nine); I wanted: Badgered
Live Action Short Film -- Six Shooter
I predicted: The Last Farm; I wanted: Our Time Is Up
I guess it further illustrates that seeing the films in no way increases your ability to pick the winner. And I was so proud of myself for taking the bus ride to the Varsity!

Documentary Feature -- March of the Penguins
I predicted: Penguins; I wanted: Murderball
Again, those stuffed penguins they dragged onto the stage were adorable. Predictable, but adorable.

Cinematography -- Memoirs of a Geisha
Art Direction -- Memoirs of a Geisha
I predicted: Memoirs of a Geisha; I wanted: Good Night, and Good Luck
Frankly I'm disappointed that academy mistook good costuming for great art direction and cinematography. Double-bleh.

Costume Design -- Memoirs of a Geisha
I predicted and wanted: Memoirs of a Geisha
In my opinion this is all the film deserved. But it takes home only 3 Oscars, which is 2 fewer than I thought it would. Sigh. Small favors.

Makeup -- The Chronicles of Narnia
I predicted: Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; I wanted: Narnia
While I knew beasts would win over bruises (Cinderella Man), I thought for sure the Academy would want to reward the Star Wars franchise one last time.

Foreign Language Film -- Tsotsi
I predicted: Paradise Now
Documentary Short -- A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin
I predicted: The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club
Film Editing -- Crash
I predicted: Walk the Line
Sound Editing -- King Kong
I predicted: Memoirs of a Geisha
Sound Mixing -- King Kong
I predicted: Walk the Line
Visual Effects -- King Kong
I predicted: King Kong

Note: Having either no experience (I didn't see any of the foreign or documentary short nominees) or no knowledge (I don't know anything about the mechanics of editing), I subsequently had no opinions about these last 6 categories so I didn't have a "should win" pick.

Crash still courtesy of Lions Gate Films; photo of Ang Lee courtesy of Focus Features; Capote still courtesy Pictures Classics; Walk the Line still courtesy of 20th Century Fox; Syriana still courtesy of Warner Brothers; The Constant Gardener still courtesy of Focus Features; and Brokeback Mountain still courtesy of Focus Features.

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