Saturday, January 28, 2006

Oscar Nomination Predictions

As a pop culture junkie and lover of fine films, I have been predicting who will be nominated for the Oscars for at least 12 years now. It is kind of funny, I guess, that I do this, seeing as how I have only seen a handful of films in the last six years (part of a religious conflict I may blog about later). I don't care who wins, and I won't be watching the Awards telecast, but I enjoy predicting who will be nominated. The combination of political machinations, precursor mentions, cultural zeitgeist, and past Oscar history make predicting the Oscars a challenge I find fun and interesting. I have a pretty good track record, and though there are always a few surprises among the nominees, I can usually get at least 30 out of 40 in the top 8 categories.

Nominees are announced this coming Tuesday. My predictions for this year:

Best Picture:
It seems to me that there are three films which are pretty sure bets at this point: Brokeback Mountain, Crash, and Good Night And Good Luck. Brokeback has hit a cultural nerve, and has been winning almost every award it has been nominated for; Crash is an "issues" film with large guild (and Oprah!) support, and Good Night takes on Hollywood history (in the form of Joseph McCarthy) and is directed by an actor, two of the Academy's favorite things. For the remaining two slots, eight films have a chance: Capote, Cinderella Man, The Constant Gardener, A History Of Violence, Match Point, Munich, Pride And Prejudice and Walk The Line. Match Point is considered Woody Allen's comeback film, but has not generated much love among those in Hollywood ; Cinderella Man is widely seen as a flop; A History Of Violence may be a bit too violent for the Academy, and its director, David Cronenberg, is pretty outside the mainstream; Pride And Prejudice has to compete with the memory of the superior BBC adaptation and the Jane Austen wave that hit Hollywood a decade ago - a little too much been there done that. We are left, then, with Capote, The Constant Gardener, Munich and Walk The Line - two of the four are certain to be among the best picture nominees. But which two? Capote has received rave reviews and boasts a central performance which some have called the performance of the year. Might be too small a film to gain much notice here, though; The Constant Gardener is more of a genre film than most Academy fare, but it is not unheard of for a genre nominee to be in the mix; Munich is viewed as a cold film and has been met with controversy since its release - the Academy generally likes to avoid such controversy, but they may want to show Spielberg some support; Walk The Line is talked of more for the performances of its leads than for the film itself and it seems to be more liked than loved within the industry. Also against it is that it is a music bio picture only a year after Ray was nominated for best picture. The main point in its favor is that it is a hit with the public and has just passed the $100 million mark at the box office. There is usually one hit film in the mix. I am going to go with Capote and Walk The Line, but look for The Constant Gardener to surprise.

Final picks:
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night And Good Luck
Walk The Line

6th place: Munich
Surprise nominee: The Constant Gardener

Best Actor:
Three men seem to be sure bets here: Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote(the role of his career), Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (the kind of performance that changes careers) and Joaquin Phoenix in Walk The Line (winner of a Golden Globe, does his own singing, Johnny Cash love, strong performance). Competing for the remaining two slots are Eric Bana in Munich, Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man, Jeff Daniels in The Squid And The Whale, Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardener, Terrence Howard in Hustle And Flow, Cillian Murphy in Breakfast On Pluto, and David Straithairn in Good Night And Good Luck. Bana's fortunes fell once the controversy surrounding Munich erupted; Murphy is in a small film with a transgender theme - with Hoffman and Ledger in the mix, he has no chance; Daniels and Straithairn are both veteran character actors giving career best performances. The difference, however, is that Daniels is in a small film in a role that some might consider supporting. Straithairn has the advantage of dominating in a film which is almost certain to be nominated for best picture. The only drawback is that his role is not showy, and as a character actor, he will not be seen as "owed" a slot here. Terrence Howard has had a breakout year, and it is a possibility he will receive more than one nomination (also in supporting actor). It is a strong year for actors, however, and his role as a pimp is not one the Academy traditionally embraces. Ralph Fiennes and Russell Crowe each have the advantage of being former nominees who have not been nominated in a while (Crowe's last came in 2001, for A Beautiful Mind, and Fiennes way back in 1996 for The English Patient). The Academy tends not to fill up catgegories with only newcomers, and of the three locks, only Phoenix has been nominated before, albeit in supporting, for 2000's Gladiator. Crowe has been out of favor with the Academy since several violent outbursts have made headlines, and his film is viewed as a flop; Fiennes has been overshadowed by his co-star, Rachel Weisz, in the awards precursors, and has made some bad career choices in between The English Patient and The Constant Gardener. I am going with Straithairn and Howard, but Fiennes could very well surprise, and knock either of them out.

Final picks:
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Capote
Terrence Howard - Hustle And Flow
Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix - Walk The Line
David Straithairn - Good Night And Good Luck

6th place: Russell Crowe - Cinderella Man
Surprise nominee: Ralph Fiennes - The Constant Gardener

Best Actress:
Another weak year for lead actresses - will Hollywood ever go back to writing strong roles for women again? The locks here are Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line (they have been waiting for years to nominate her. This is her first real serious, adult role), Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents (all she has to do is sneeze and they nominate her) and Felicity Huffman in Transamerica (generally good reviews and deglamorized performances always get the Academy's attention). In contention for the remaining two slots are Joan Allen in The Upside Of Anger, Maria Bello in A History Of Violence, Q'Orianka Kilcher in The New World, Keira Knightley in Pride And Prejudice, Laura Linney in The Squid And The Whale, Charlize Theron in North Country, Naomi Watts in King Kong and Ziyi Zhang in Memoirs Of A Geisha. Watts and Kilcher are pretty much also-rans, the former because her film is a remake and a genre film, and the latter because she is a newcomer in a meditative film with less dialogue than beautiful camera work; Bello and Linney will fall victim to vote splitting due to category confusion - are they leads or supporting players? That leaves Allen, Knightley, Theron and Zhang for the final two slots. Theron stars in a movie which tanked at the box office, but the role is clasic Oscar bait - working class woman takes on big business and wins (a la Norma Rae and Erin Brockovich); Knightley received great reviews for Pride And Prejudice, but she is only 20 and has not yet paid her dues. This is her first role in which she has actually had to act; Allen's film came out at the beginning of the year. Though Oscar has a very short memory, they are kindest to early releases in this category. Plus her film was one of the first screeners sent out to Academy members, she is well-respected, and has the former nominee thing (last nominated in 2000 for The Contender) on her side. Age, however, is against her. The Academy likes to go young in this category. If Allen is nominated along with Dench and Huffman, it will be the first time since 1992 that three actresses over 40 made it into the 5 actress slots; Zhang's film was trashed by critics, and her performance was not among her most memorable. In her favor: the film did decently at the box office and, in a decade when the Academy suddenly realized that not everyone is white, she is an Asian in a category where no Asian has ever been nominated in the entire 76 year history of the awards. I'm thinking they will go with Theron and Zhang, but Allen could very well replace Zhang in a surprise.

Final picks:
Judi Dench - Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman - Transamerica
Charlize Theron - North Country
Reese Witherspoon - Walk The Line
Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs Of A Geisha

6th place: Keira Knightley - Pride And Prejudice
Surprise nominee: Joan Allen - The Upside Of Anger

Best Supporting Actor:
A category which is usually very competitive is surprisingly thin this year. Sure things are George Clooney in Syriana (weight gain for a role, and current Hollywood golden boy - he will likely receive three nominations this year!), Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man (after being snubbed two years running for American Splendor in 2003, and more so for Sideways last year, they will make it up to him with a supporting nod here), and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain(though he is clearly a co-lead in the film, the Academy will get swept up in Brokeback fever and go along with the category fraud). The remaining two slots are pretty wide open. Possibilities include Clifton Collins Jr. in Capote, Bob Hoskins in Mrs. Henderson Presents, William Hurt in A History Of Violence, Frank Langella in Good Night And Good Luck, Donald Sutherland in Pride And Prejudice and three of the men from Crash: Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, and Terrence Howard. Sutherland and Langella are respected veterans who have never been nominated. All of the attention for their films, however, have gone to Keira Knightley and David Straithairn, respectively; Hoskins is in a similar boat (though he was nominated back in 1986 for Mona Lisa) - most of the attention for Mrs. Henderson has gone to Judi Dench. I don't think any of the three have the momentum to make it in; Collins does not have a "name" and is in a small film; That leaves William Hurt and the three guys from Crash for the remaining two slots. Hurt's turn is considered a comeback of sorts for a man who had a three year Academy run back in the 80s, scoring back to back to back nominations for Kiss Of The Spider Woman (for which he won), Children Of A Lesser God, and Broadcast News from 1985-1987. His performance in
Violence is more of a cameo than a supporting role, however, and the film may have a tough time with the Academy in general; Matt Dillon has been on screens for the past 25 years, and this is only the second time he has been in the running for a nomination (he was last talked about for Oscar back in 1989 for Drugstore Cowboy). His is the standout performance in Crash; I think he is in. It's a toss up between Howard and Cheadle, with Cheadle having the familiarity (nominated last year for best actor for Hotel Rwanda), but Howard having the breakout year. Edge to Howard. I am going with Dillon and Howard for the last two slots. If there is a surprise, look for it to be Hurt.

Final picks:
George Clooney - Syriana
Matt Dillon - Crash
Paul Giamatti - Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain
Terrence Howard - Crash

6th place: Don Cheadle - Crash
Surprise nominee:William Hurt - A History Of Violence

Best Supporting Actress:
In a very competitive category, Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain and Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener are the only sure bets, both playing suffering wives, which aside from prostitutes, is the role the Academy goes for more than any other in this category. Fighting it out for the remaining three slots are Amy Adams in Junebug, Maria Bello in A History Of Violence, Li Gong in Memoirs Of A Geisha, Scarlett Johansson in Match Point, Catherine Keener in Capote, Laura Linney in The Squid And The Whale, Shirley MacLaine in In Her Shoes, Frances McDormand in North Country, and Thandie Newton in Crash. A case could be made for any of them to get in, and I would not be especially surprised by any combination of those listed above. That said, I think Linney and Bello will fall victim to category confusion (though Bello has a better shot than Linney, as she was snubbed two years ago for The Cooler); Gong is the preeminent Asian actress of her generation, but her film tanked, and there is too much competition in this category; MacLaine's film did not do well at the box office, and the "let's nominate them for their career" rather than the performance itself type thinking has grown out of favor in the last few years; Johansson was snubbed in a big way in 2003 when she did not receive a nomination for Lost In Translation. Her Match Point role is her most mature to date, but one gets the sense the Academy just doesn't like her much; That leaves Adams, Keener, McDormand and Newton. McDormand starred in a film which tanked at the box office, and her performance was not reviewed as anything special. However, she is a three time nominee (for Mississippi Burning in 1988, Fargo in 1996 (which she won) and Almost Famous in 2000), well-liked and respected, and has figured prominently in many of the precursors; Keener was nominated once before (for Being John Malkovich in 1999) and has had a banner year, with roles in The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Interpreter and The Ballad Of Jack and Rose in addition to Capote; Adams has the advantage of a quirky and loved performance in a small film. This is the category where quirky and small are good things; Newton would not be much of a factor, but I think Crash may have a bigger impact at the Awards than people are expecting. I am going to go with Keener and McDormand for their name recognition and solid performances and Adams for her quirky turn. If there is a whole lot of unexpected Crash love, look for Newton to sneak in instead of Adams or McDormand (which I have a nagging suspicion may happen).

Final picks:
Amy Adams - Junebug
Catherine Keener - Capote
Frances McDormand - North Country
Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain

6th place: Maria Bello - A History Of Violence
Surprise nominee: Thandie Newton - Crash

Best Director:
In one of those odd scenarios it is difficult to explain, best picture and best director never line up exactly. There is always at least one which does not match up. This year, Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain and George Clooney for Good Night And Good Luck will match up with their films. The other three slots are up for grabs. Those in contention are: Woody Allen for Match Point, David Cronenberg for A History Of Violence, Paul Haggis for Crash, Michael Haneke for Cache, Peter Jackson for King Kong, Fernando Meirelles for The Constant Gardener, James Mangold for Walk The Line, Bennett Miller for Capote, and Steven Spielberg for Munich. With his film receiving only lukewarm support, Mangold seems an obvious candidate to leave out; Allen is more likely to make an appearance in the writing category than here (although he has been known to surprise); Haneke has been compared to Hitchcock, but his film did not get much play in the U.S. before ballots were due; I think it's too soon for Jackson to make an appearance here so soon after the Rings films, especially with a popcorn film; any of the remaining five have a legitimate shot. Though he has a distinguished career of interesting films, Cronenberg is outside the mainstream; Miller is an entirely new voice and his film may not have the momentum to push him in here; Crash seems to have a groundswell of support, so I think Haggis gets in; this may be where the Academy shows support for Spielberg - it is a well-directed film, in spite of the controversy surrounding it; Meirelles got a surprise director nomination in 2003 with City Of God. He is quickly becoming a director of note, and his work on The Constant Gardener was widely praised. I am going to go with Haggis, Spielberg and Meirelles for the last 3 slots, though I could see Miller or Cronenberg making it as well. Tough category.

Final picks:
George Clooney -Good Night And Good Luck
Paul Haggis - Crash
Ang Lee - Brokeback Mountain
Fernando Meirelles - The Constant Gardener
Steven Spielberg - Munich

6th place: Bennett Miller - Capote
Surprise nominee: David Cronenberg - A History Of Violence

Best Original Screenplay:
This one seems almost too easy. Crash, Good Night And Good Luck, The Squid And The Whale, and Match Point all look good to go. Crash and Good Night are sure best picture nominees, and well-written, Squid is a writer's film if ever there was one, and Allen is writing royalty with the most nominations for any writer ever at the Awards, with 13 (last nominated in 1997 for Deconstructing Harry). Possibilities for the final slot: Cache, Cinderella Man, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Hustle And Flow, Junebug, The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada, Mrs. Henderson Presents, and Syriana. The Academy often rewards foreign films which are not eligible for the foreign langauge category with a nod in the writing categories, but Cache does not have the impact of an Y Tu Mama Tambien or City Of God; Three Burials was a labour of love for Tommy Lee Jones, but he did not write the film, so there is no feeling of throwing him a bone here; Hustle And Flow is too edgy and Mrs Henderson too frothy and Junebug too small; That leaves Syriana, Cinderella Man and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Syriana is topical, but may suffer from category confusion. Submitted as an adapted screenplay, the Academy ruled that it was original (!); Cinderella Man was a flop, but Akiva Goldsman is an Oscar veteran; The 40 Year Old Virgin is not typical Academy material, but this is the category that saw a nomination for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, so anything is possible. I am going with Syriana, but look for The 40 Year Old Virgin to surprise.

Final Picks:
Woody Allen - Match Point
Noah Baumbach - The Squid And The Whale
George Clooney & Grant Heslov - Good Night And Good Luck
Stephen Gaghan - Syriana
Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco - Crash

6th place: Akiva Goldsman & Cliff Hollingsworth - Cinderella Man
Surprise nominee: Judd Apatow & Steve Carell - The 40 Year Old Virgin

Best Adapted Screenplay:
With the lack of originality in Hollywood, it is unusual to have more contenders for original screenplay than adapted, but such is the case. The sure bets are Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and The Constant Gardener. For the remaining spots, it will be two of the following: A History Of Violence, Memoirs Of A Geisha, Munich, Pride And Prejudice, Shopgirl and Walk The Line. Geisha is not seen as a success. It will do well in the technical categories, but not here; Shopgirl is too slight; neither Pride And Prejudice nor Walk The Line are being talked about for their screenplays; Eric Roth wrote Forrest Gump and Tony Kushner is a Pulitzer prize winning playwright - that is probably enough to get them in for Munich; with stellar reviews, Violence is bound to be shown some love somewhere - Olson has been acknowledged for successfuly turning a graphic comic into an effective drama. I am going with Munich and A History Of Violence for the last two slots.

Final picks:
Jeffrey Caine - The Constant Gardener
Dan Futterman - Capote
Tony Kushner & Eric Roth - Munich
Larry McMurty & Diana Ossana - Brokeback Mountain
Josh Olson - A History Of Violence

6th place: Gill Dennis & James Mangold - Walk The Line
Surprise nominee: Deborah Moggach - Pride And Prejudice

Check back on Tuesday to see how I did! Who do you think will be nominated?


'laizer said...

There must be a newspaper or magazine in this world that is desperate - desperate - for someone to do analysis like this in its pages.

Common folks - help me brainstorm. Let's find MCAryeh a dream job.

Ezzie said...

Woah. I'm not a big movie guy, so I didn't read through all of it - but wow, that's what we call THOROUGH! Impressive.

Kalman Rushdie said...

'laizer, I've been saying the same thing for years. Compare this post with any other pre-Oscar analysis and it is simply obvious someone we know she be making money doing this.

I want to encourage that someone to use his superior web-search skills to find movie-based websites out there and start pitching stories. Or sending submissions. If he does, it would only be a matter of time...

MC Aryeh said...

'laizer - who you callin' common folks?! There are plenty of people who do this kind of thing. I have mixed feelings about all this from a religious perspective, so I am not sure a job doing this would be so good for me, but thanks for the thought! For now, I just have fun with it...

Ezzie - Thanks. I tried to cover all the possibilities. We'll see what happens come Tuesday...

Kalman - I won't say who, but someone is VERY funny. Welcome back! If I had access to messenger right now I would be on it looking for you...Let's see how I do on Tuesday before calling for my gainful employment as an Oscar Prognosticator. I am not sure I want to be so involved in it. As a fun thing to do on my own, I am a step removed from it. I am not sure more than that would be such a good thing. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though...when can we expect a new Turning The Tide post?

Rebecca said...

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not but I couldn't even read through this post because I have been so out of the movie loop since april. I took my little cousins to see robots on chol hamoed pesach, was too uncomfortable in the seats with my big pregnant belly and my sciatica killing me. I haven't seen a movie since. I'm dying to but I don't even know what's out there. Actually, I did see cinderella man on video which you did mention so I guess I'm somewhat in the loop.

Stacey said...

Great post, MC! I will answer more thoroughly later. I LOVE this time of year because I feel that the best movies are out now (I hate the summmer because action movies bore me).

I am so excited for the Screen Actors Guild awards tonight!!!

oishkapipik said...

I agree with Laizer 100%!! I can totally see a Siskel and MC ARyeah 'at the movies' or is it MC Aryeah and Eibert? One of them died a while back.

I have to say I am very excited about Kalman heading out from under the rock!! I didn't think it was going to happen

Kalman Rushdie said...

Oish - Thanks for the support. I'm almost back in business.

MCA - I can understand why you may not want to do this full-time, but the one of culture analysis could still be done for fun AND profit.

Anyway, I have a question: Is the election of Hamas going to have any impact on that suicide bomber film that won the Golden Globe?

houseofjoy said...

MCAryeh -
If you got a job writing movie commentaries, I think you might actually have to SEE the movies :)

I am also waiting for some commentary on Paradise Now. I can't believe I haven't been reading more about this film. Now that I know you have this skill, can we see a post about the movie?

tafka PP said...

First of all, :-O

(Which translates as- You definitely need to listen to your friends and start getting paid to do this.)

Kalman Rushdie raises a very interesting question! Hmm. I need to think about that.

MC Aryeh said...

Rebecca- That sounds painful. They should have a few comfortable seats set aside just for pregnant women in each theater...

Stacey-This was always my favorite time of year for movies, too. I used to go and see all the films that came out that would be up for awards. Saw some great films that way.

Oishkapipik- Well, I don't want to be the one who died...I think many have been eagerly awaiting Kalman's return. David Levy's been spinning on Netanyahu's finger for a long time...

Kalman-I think the effect will be marginal, at least in the states. It has already been out for months here. I know I would not associate the film with Hamas.

Beth-Wouldn't it be more challenging to review them without seeing them, though? I will try and get to a post about the film, but you might want to check out TAFKAPs post on Paradise Now in the meantime...

TAFKAP- As you have seen the film, you would be better qualified to answer Kalman's question. OK, fine, I am willing to be paid to do this...I will send out a few feelers...thanks!

Rebecca said...

they should!! That happened to me in so many places those last few months...driving a car was torture!!

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Last year I thought Million Dollar Baby was the hands down best of everything. This is a weaker year.

Good Night and Good Luck was a really well done movie but it lacked the power of MDB.

Capote was a strong movie, but also didn't blow me away the way MDB did.

The Squid and the Whale is a really powerful movie that in some ways reminded me of Ordinary People. I don't think the Academy will pick it, but I found it to be a stronger movie than the other two.

Match Point is a strong, well done movie that's also got a very dark view of the world. Everything about it was strong.

Sadly all these movies are dark.

Junebug was a great movie (and less dark than these others, though slower). I don't know if the Academy will notice it. If they do it will be for the actress who played the pregnant sister in law. Her acting was amazing.

I haven't seen anything else that I think is in best movie league. (I did see Crash and it just didn't do much for me.)

For best documentary they're talking about 39 Pounds of Love. I saw it at a special screening at the UN last week. The person that it's about has a fascinating story. I don't think the way it was done as a film makes the film best doc material.

Some say that Grizzly Man is up there. While it is a great piece of filmaking I found it too disturbing to think about it winning (though it may deserve it).

I think your predictions are pretty on the mark. It's hard to call. There's a lot of campaigning behind the scenes that leads to surprises. We shall see. Once they're nominated it'll be interesting (and easier) to think about who will win.

Ayelet said...

Rebecca, I'm always looking for a Saturday night date. The hubbie's too religious. On my list to see: Brokeback, Pride and Prejudice, maybe Casanova, maybe Rumor Has It (just for the fun of it), ???...

Stacey said...

MC: Did you catch the SAG awards tonight? They were awesome (as was the Shirley Temple tribute).

But I was stunned.....Brokeback took home not even ONE AWARD!

Reese won again (woohoo)!! I am crossing my fingers she gets the Oscar nod. She deserves it. (Have you seen Walk the Line yet, MC?)

I agree with much of your analysis here. And I think it's ridiculous Jake Gyllenhaal is in the Supporting Actor category.

Have you seen The Constant Gardener? Rachel Weisz picked up both the SAG and the GG. I am a huge Ralph Fiennes fan. I really want to see this.

Oy, so many good little time! Match Point is next on my list.

Before I had children, like you I saw every single nominated movie, even the foreign films. I loved that. I really, really love going to the movies.

And now I need to go to bed!

Jack's Shack said...

I loved MDB

MC Aryeh said...

Rebecca - Astounding to me that they have not come up with ways to address these issues for pregnant women - putting aside comfort for a moment, simply as a money-making proposition, I am astounded no one has found ways to design products and places which are more accomodating...

Neil - I have read many articles about how dark this year's contenders are - tenor of the times I guess. Grizzly Man is not eligible for the Oscars, but 39 Pounds Of Love is. I am not sure it has much of a chance to make it to a nomination. Its competition includes March Of The Penguins, Murderball and Mad Hot Ballroom. Where would you rank Match Point among Woody Allen's other films?

Ayelet - Fascinating that you will see movies and your husband won't. If it is not too intrusive to ask, how did you come to that split? If it is, just pretend I didn't ask it....

Stacey - I did not watch the SAGs, but heard about them from my youngest sister. That is so weird they gave an award to Shirley Temple! She hasn't acted in something like 70 years! I am not so surprised Brokeback did not win anything. Ang Lee won best director at the DGAs though. I don't think the actors in Brokeback will win oscars either, with the possibe exception of Michelle Williams. Heath Ledger will lose to Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Jake Gyllenhaal will be lucky to be nominated! Reese Witherspoon will absolutely be nominated for best actress at the oscars - not even a question! And she is pretty certain to win the Oscar too! Jamie Foxx was nominated in supporting last year for Collateral when he was clearly a co-lead, same will be with Jake Gyllenhaal. The Academy gets to spread the love that way and not have internal category competition from the same film. Have not seen Walk The Line or The Constant Gardener. Would love to hear your thoughts on Match Point when you see it...

Jack - Another film I have not seen, I did read the short story it was based on about 4 years ago and found it very powerful. I never imagined they would make it into a film, though...

tafka PP said...

Beth- if you want to read about Paradise Now from someone who saw it:

(McA- is it Music Menu Monday, or do I have to wait a week??)

Rebecca said...

You'd think that now that all these famous people keep getting pregnant they would try to think of it more now..
I went to a defensive driving class in my 7th month and there were metal folding chairs and I was dying. Halfway through the class we realized that there was a couch all the way on the side so we went to go sit on that. I think I would have had to leave otherwise!

Stacey said...

I was not a huge fan of Million Dollar Baby. I love Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman and their acting was good, but the story itself was lacking. The entire movie was predictable in the first 5 minutes. Kind of cliche, too. Good movie, just not what I would consider Oscar Material.

I think Reese will definitely get the Oscar (and deservedly).

Have you seen Capote? I haven't, but it seems that Phillip Seymour Hoffman will probably get it there, too.

I still think Brokeback will be in the running for best movie. It was fabulous. I haven't seen Capote, so perhpas Hoffman deserves it, but my personal choice after having seen Walk the Line and Brokeback is evenly split between Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger.

I hope to see Match Point and Capote in the next few weeks.

I love this all. So exciting.

Do you not go to the movies for religious reasons, MC?

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Why is Grizzly Man not eligible? Did anyone see any of the other documentaries? Mad Hot Ballroom was ggod (and filmed in part in my neighborhood). But I couldn't stop thinking about how much better, the similar Spellbound was.

I'd place Match Point along Crimes and Misdemeanors, to which is similar but probably better. It's in the league of that and Hannah, and Interiors, and Another Woman. But the style is a bit out of his usual box. But daaaaark.

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

We'll know tomorrow morning...
I just remembered that there was talk about Claire Danes for Shopgirl. It's possible...

Rebecca said...

OKay ayelet my husband hates movies so call and the men can watch the kids. are you a potter fan by any chance?

MC Aryeh said...

TAFKAP- Paradise Now is eleigible for the foreign film category. It will be interesting to see what happens...yes, it is music menu monday! Post should be up in a matter of moments...

Rebecca- I think I would have gone for the couch over metal folding chairs too! But I would have gotten up for a pregnant lady...

Stacey- Brokeback Mountain is definitely favored to win best picture at this point. I do see films on DVD, just haven't in the theater so much in the past number of years. There is a religious element to that, but I want to think about it some more so that I can better articulate my thoughts before responding to your question more fully...thanks for asking. It is a good question!

Neil- Not sure why Grizzly Man did not make the cut, but it does not appear on the 15-film shortlist the Academy will choose its five nominees from. I thought Crimes And Misdemeanors was fantastic, so it sounds like I will like Match Point. What is your favorite and least favorite of his films that you have seen? Claire Danes is out of the running at this point, but funny you should mention Shopgirl, as that is one of the only films I actually have seen this year!

Ayelet said...

Rebecca - I am a Potter fan but mostly I'm a getting-out-of-the-
actually-stay-home-to-babysit (Sat. night) fan. I love movies, I could watch 'em all day. (Scary, no?) Anything but straight up horror or action works for me.

MC - That's a good question. And I'm too flattered that you noticed insignificant little me to think twice about whether or not it's intrusive. Besides, I don't get offended easily. Obviously, I can choose not to answer any question - without anyone's permission! As for the answer: It's not really much of a split. If he were a woman he'd have no problem going with me. Seeing as he's not, he has different limitations on what he can see. In fact, if he were guaranteed that not a single woman would appear on the screen and no conversation about women would be in the script, he'd be happy to join me. He has no problem really with me going, as long it's not flaunted in front of people who would disapprove, which would put him in an uncomfortable position. Does this make sense? I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the topic, especially your "religious conflict [you] may blog about later".

Also, not that you asked me but...I saw Match Point last night. I loved it - pretty intense. Just the way I like it. I thought Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was really good, besides being totally hot. Add in Scarlett and...maybe you shouldn't see it till you've worked out your "religious conflict". ;)

Rebecca said...

MC- unfortunately throughout my pregnancy I learned that you are one in a few and most people wouldn't.
Ayelet- lets do it!

Ayelet said...

Gotta check with hubbie if this week's okay. If so, you're on. I'll call you (I think I have your number saved somewhere).

Elster said...

Extremely impressive, MC, mosstly BECAUSE you hve not seen any of the movies. Your analysis is very strong.

Oh and Jack - I just saw Million Dollar Baby and was just mildly impressed. Strong acting indeed by Swank and Eastwood, but it just was missing something.

Pragmatician said...

What a analysis, you’re quite the movie fan.
I'm looking forward about your post on going tot he movies, as this has been a subject on my mind for years.
Since I rarely watch movies, more of a TV show kind a guy, I didn't see a single one of the ones your nominated. I'm curious to see how close you are to the truth!

MC Aryeh said...

Ayelet- Makes perfect sense, and sounds like it ties in somewhat with my conflict. Match Point seems to be liked by everyone. I may have to cave. It will be a long time before it is out on video..

Rebecca- That is just wrong! Did you really experience people being so unthinking?

Elster- Thanks. Have you seen any of these films? Would be curious to hear your thoughts on them...Like Stacey said, I have heard from a number of people who thought the MDB script was very weak and contrived. Maybe that is what's missing?

Prag- Funny, cause I am almost exactly the opposite. Never much of a TV guy, but love film. Nominations are out in just a few hours....

Stacey said...

The nominations are out and I cannot believe that Walk the Line was shut out of the Best Picture category. No way! (It should have been there instead of Munich)!

You nailed the Best Actor category, MC!

I am over the moon that Keira Knightley got nominated for Best Actress for Pride & Prejudice. It is well-deserved! Ziyi Zhang did not make the cut.

Your call about William Hurt being nominated (as a surprise) for Supporting Actor was correct. Looks like Terence Howard did not make it.

You were 4 for 5 for Best Director. The Constant Garderener's director was shut out.

You were 100% correct about Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted and Original Screenplays!

Your predictions were so accurate, MC. 36/40. 90%. I am so impressed!

I can't wait for March 5th. And Jon Stewart will be an awesome host (if he can go easy on the political stuff). He is soooo funny!

Are you going to guess the winners now?

Elster said...

Of all of the films mentioned, the only one I saw was Crash. I thought it was "ok". The acting was pretty good, especially Ludaris. It's funky, ensemble flow is all the rage these days but I really didn't beleive any of the characters.

Rebecca said...

ayelet- ask him for next week we are spending shabbos in Ct this week. Sorry, I didn't make that clear!
MCA- yes I did. For example I worked with adults with disabilities at the time and I took them to their dr's appts (i was basically their advocate) while in one waiting room, it was standing room only. I literally was standing there with my stomach popping out leaning against a wall and fanning myself with a magazine. People were looking at me from their seats but no one offered.

Sarah said...

Like Stacey, I just checked your predictions against the final results, and I am MIGHTILY impressed. Wow. I kneel at your feet.

Now tell us who will WIN, so we can join those Oscar pools and know what we're doing. I don't know ANYTHING about these films. :-)

MC Aryeh said...

Stacey- I love Jon Stewart and hope he does a good job. I don't think there were any major surprises in the nominations except picture and director matching up exactly for the first time in 25 years! Even the ones I didn't get were my runner up pick or in the case of William Hurt my surprise pick. I was hoping for a few more maverick choices....see below for winner thoughts...

Elster- I think I can cross Crash off my list of must-sees now. You are tough on films. I value that in a recommendation...thanks.

Rebecca- Wow. I don't know why I am so surprised...

Sarah- Thanks. Winners? Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon are all almost certain. The supporting categories: it's between Clooney and Giamatti for supporting actor and between Weisz and Williams for supporting actress. Original screenplay will be either Good Night or Crash and adapted will probably be Brokeback.

Sarah said...

Hahahahahaaaaa! Oscar pools, here I come!

By the way, Anna Quindlen wrote a NYTimes Op-Ed piece about no one giving seats to pregnant women. I have a copy - it's in one of the book-form compilations of her Op-Eds. If you send me your address I'll send you a copy (or one to Rebecca - sounds like she can relate more).

Oh, I still owe you a list of poems I like from that poetry book . . . one of these days I'll get to it . . .

Sarah said...

By the way, 'laizer is right. Next year, a couple of months before Oscar nominations, you should pitch to magazines and newspapers about your uncanny ability. Use the blog as proof. (Do this in 4 months if pitching to a monthly magazine)

Rebecca said...

I can tell you even worse stories! One more and that's it. I was in grad school two nights a week also. The heat in the building was on so high. I would get red in the face and naucious and feel so sick from it. Finally when it got warmer out the heat would be off but the rooms would still be hot. I would ask the custodian to turn the air on in the building and I would feel so much better. The frum girls in my class went and told him to turn it off because they were cold. (one of them just had a baby the month before so you'd think she would be a bit more compassionate) The sad part is a nonjewish person in the class yelled at them"she's pregnant! just put on your jacket!"
I could go on all day. But the good thing is the professor in the class gave me her chair because I was so uncomfortable in the school desks.

Rebecca said...

Sarah, tell me how I can contact you so you can send me that article, thanks!

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Annie Hall is my favorite. All the early ones are great. I really liked Radio Days.

Least favorite? "They" say that Stardust Memories has to be understood right and then you like it. i was very young when my family took me to see it as a special treat during its opening week. We all couldn't stand it. I wonder what I'd think of it now. A bunch of the recent ones are down there (Husbands and Wives, Small Time Crooks, etc.)

MC Aryeh said...

Sarah- Thanks for the poems. I am a little overwhelmed with work right now (a good thing), but hope to respond to e-mails as soon as I get a chance. I think there are many out there who alreday have industry affiliations who can do oscar prognosticating just as well, if not better, than me, but thanks for the pitch ideas. Worth a shot! I am sure Rebecca would appreciate reading that article!

Rebecca- Well at least the professor and the non-jewish person come out looking good in your story! As for the rest of the people, that just makes me mad! How insensitive...

Neil - I also love the early ones. Of the later ones (last 20 years) my favorites are Hannah And Her Sisters, Crimes And Misdemeanors, Bullets Over Broadway and Deconstructing Harry.

Ayelet said...

Oish. What's up with the nomination of a foreign film from a nonexistent place (Palestine)?

Rebecca said...

It made me mad too. Talk about chilul hashem!

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

I didn't like Deconstructing Harry. It was so crude, gritty, dark. And Bullets Over Broadway didn't Do Much For Me. Believe it or not I liked Manhattan Murder Mystery and Jade Scorpion better than those 2. And Broadway Danny Rose (a bit over 20 years ago) was great.

Sarah said...

Write to me through my blog address:
chayyeisarah at yahoo dot com

I also noticed that they used the name "Palestine," which doesn't exist. But the PLACE does exist. They should have said "Palestinian Authority," which would have been accurate.

But personally, I think this fight against using the name "Palestine" is a losing battle. People won't say "Palestinian Authority" if there's a handy, and shorter, alternative.

MC Aryeh said...

Ayelet- It is a weird problem. It is not a country, so should it be eligible to compete? But then, there is the film, and it had to come from somewhere. To say it was an entry from Israel would have been a farce and wrong. But there is a very troubling political element in their saying it came from "Palestine", forcing into being a country that does not yet exist...

Rebecca- Exactly.

Neil- I think I related to Deconstructing Harry as a writer, I am with you on Broadway Danny Rose, but I think I am with the majority on the other two, which are widely considered to be part of his slump period.

Sarah- I think you are right that it is a losing battle, but I wonder what went on behind the scenes to have "Palestine" as the name represented. "Palestinian Authority" is no less a mouthful than Czech Republic or Bosnia and Herzegovina used to be...

'laizer said...

Nu - so how did you far for picking the winners?

I don't even know who won (and don't even know the difference between them all), but I'd like to know your batting average.

And the fact that other people guess Oscar picks is no excuse in the slightest for you not to pitch this to a magazine. No excuse.

MC Aryeh said...

'laizer- In my final predictions, I went 8 for 8 in the top categories, but they were pretty easy to predict this year. That's one of the main reasons why I find predicting the nominations so much more interesting - it's more of a game, less settled...