Saturday, November 26, 2016

2007--The Year in Review

An incredible year for movies, top-heavy with masterpieces to the point where this can assuredly be deemed the last most astounding period for the art form. The top four are all western-US-themed--two set in the old (or nearly old) West, and two in a radically new West, and each are now violent modern classics. It was very difficult to pick the best of the best this year, but I had to go with the one that absolutely would not leave my mind after I saw it, and for years afterwards. The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford was abandoned to a dismal box office showing by uncaring Warner Brothers execs. But when I first saw it on the big screen opening weekend, I was so dazzled by it that I left the theater stumbling in amazement at writer/director Andrew Dominick's complete mastery with words and images, all employed to transport us back to this momentous place in history, and all able to connect with our present fascination with celebrity and public adulation. I love that the film was further adorned with Casey Affleck's sadly empty and desirous Robert Ford (a performance I almost counted as a lead) and Roger Deakins' absolutely incredible widescreen cinematography, which literally makes us feel as we're seeing the past through a new (though old) lens. Still, I can watch it again and again, mining more great things from it. It endlessly feels like poetry.

At about the same time, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood was unleashed, and though I didn't get it the first time around (though I was instantly impressed with Daniel Day Lewis's reprehensible oil tycoon Daniel Plainview), I found myself gravitating to the movie more and more, to the point where I now see it as another invaluable P.T. Anderson masterpiece. Same goes for the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men, a gripping adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Texas-set crime novel, and certainly a worthy choice for Best Picture, as the Academy deemed it. The saddest thing is that the Academy didn't even give one nomination to David Fincher's brilliant (though slightly flawed) look at the Zodiac killings that kept the San Francisco area in fright for more than a decade. Zodiac, with its remarkably invisible visual effects, remains perhaps the most underrated movie of the year, though it has competition in Sidney Lumet's nerve-wracked final film Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's pitch-perfect tribute to '70s B-movie glory Grindhouse (which I'm still waiting to see again on digital media in its original form), Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' completely gorgeous Silent Light, Gus Van Sant's unexpectedly beautiful look at the skateboarding subculture Paranoid Park, Andrzej Wajda's unbelievably devastating war drama Katyn, Danny Boyle's deeply felt yet faulty sci-fi drama Sunshine, and James Gray's tense tale of crime and family called We Own the Night. Though there were two movies that fought against it all (the Marion Cotillard-anchored Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose and Julian Schnabel's inspiring The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), the sureness of death and darkness overtook the movies of 2007, to the point of utter brilliance. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

PICTURE: THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (US, Andrew Dominik) (2nd: There Will Be Blood (US, Paul Thomas Anderson), followed by: No Country for Old Men (US, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen); Zodiac (US, David Fincher); The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (US, Julian Schnabel); No End in Sight (US, Charles Ferguson); Grindhouse (US, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino); Encounters at the End of the World (US, Werner Herzog); Silent Light (Mexico, Carlos Reygadas); 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania, Cristian Mungiu); Paranoid Park (US, Gus Van Sant); Katyn (Poland, Andrzej Wajda); Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (US, Sidney Lumet); My Winnipeg (Canada, Guy Maddin); Gone Baby Gone (US, Ben Affleck); We Own The Night (US, James Gray); [●rec] (Spain, Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza); La Vie En Rose (France, Olivier Dahan); The Edge of Heaven (Turkey, Fatih Akin); The Visitor (US, Thomas McCarthy); Ratatouille (US, Brad Bird); Superbad (US, Greg Mottola); American Gangster (US, Ridley Scott); I’m Not There (US, Todd Haynes); Michael Clayton (US, Tony Gilroy); Charlie Wilson's War (US, Mike Nichols); The Savages (US, Tamara Jenkins); Into the Wild (US, Sean Penn); Once (Ireland, John Carney); La Vie en Rose (France, Olivier Dahan); Waitress (US, Adrienne Shelly); Sicko (US, Michael Moore); Persepolis (France, Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Strapi); Sunshine (UK, Danny Boyle); Smiley Face (US, Gregg Araki); Knocked Up (US, Judd Apatow); Taxi to the Dark Side (US, Alex Gibney); A Girl Cut in Two (France, Claude Chabrol); Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (US, Tim Burton); Hannah Takes The Stairs (US, Joe Swanberg); King of California (US, Mike Cahill); Hot Fuzz (UK, Edgar Wright); Enchanted (US, Kevin Lima); My Blueberry Nights (Hong Hong/US, Wong Kar-Wai); Year of the Dog (US, Mike White); Lars and the Real Girl (US/Canada, Craig Gillespie); Across the Universe (US, Julie Taymor); The Bourne Ultimatum (US, Paul Greengrass); Atonement (UK, Joe Wright); Juno (US, Jason Reitman); Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (US, Jake Kasdan); Death at a Funeral (US/UK/Netherlands, Frank Oz); The Lookout (US, Scott Frank); The Mist (US, Frank Darabont); Paranormal Activity (US, Oren Peli); Redacted (US, Brian De Palma); Helvetica (US, Gary Hustwit); In the Valley of Elah (US, Paul Haggis); Eastern Promises (UK/Canada, David Cronenberg); The King of Kong (US, Seth Gordon); Control (UK, Anton Corbijn); The Darjeeling Limited (US, Wes Anderson); Lust, Caution (Hong Kong/China/US, Ang Lee); Transformers (US, Michael Bay))



ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis, THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2nd: Tommy Lee Jones, No Country For Old Men, followed by: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You‘re Dead; Michael Douglas, King of California; Brad Pitt, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford; Chris Cooper, Breach)



ACTRESS: Marion Cotillard, LA VIE EN ROSE (2nd: Anna Faris, Smiley Face, followed by: Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days; Laura Linney, The Savages; Adrianne Shelley, Waitress; Ellen Page, Juno; Amy Adams, Enchanted)



SUPPORTING ACTOR: Casey Affleck, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2nd: Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men, followed by: Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood; Robert Downey Jr., Zodiac; Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild; Kurt Russell, Grindhouse; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton)



SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, I‘M NOT THERE (2nd: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton, followed by: Saoirse Ronan, Atonement; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Marisa Tomei, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead; Laura Vasiliu, 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days; Kelly MacDonald, No Country for Old Men)



DIRECTOR: Andrew Dominik, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2nd: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood, followed by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men; David Fincher, Zodiac; Julian Schabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Carlos Reygadas, Silent Light; Cristian Mungiu, 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days)



NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (France/US, Julian Schnabel) (2nd: Silent Light (Mexico, Carlos Reygadas), followed by: 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Romania, Cristian Mungiu); Katyn (Poland, Andrej Wadja); [●rec] (Spain, Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza); La Vie En Rose (France, Olivier Dahan); The Edge of Heaven (Germany/Turkey/Italy, Fatih Akin))



DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: NO END IN SIGHT (US, Charles Ferguson) (2nd: Encounters at the End of the World (US, Werner Herzog), followed by: My Winnipeg (Canada, Guy Maddin); Sicko (US, Michael Moore); Taxi to the Dark Side (US, Alex Gibney); Helvetica (US, Gary Hustwit))



ANIMATED FEATURE: RATATOUILLE (US, Brad Bird) (2nd: Persepolis (France/US, Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrepi))



ANIMATED SHORT: I MET THE WALRUS (Canada, Josh Raskin) (2nd: My Love (USSR, Alexander Petrov), followed by: Peter and the Wolf (US, Suzie Templeton); Madame Tutli-Putli (Canada, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski); The Ark (Poland, Grzezorj Jonkajtys))



LIVE ACTION SHORT: DENNIS (Denmark, Mads Matthieson) (2nd: Hotel Chevalier (US, Wes Anderson), followed by: Cutlass (US, Kate Hudson); The Mozart of Pickpockets (France, Philippe Pollet-Villard); Tanghi Argentini (Belgium, Guy Thys))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Kelly Masterson, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD (2nd: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, and Jim Capobianco, Ratatouille, followed by: Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton; Tamara Jenkins, The Savages; Diablo Cody, Juno)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2nd: Andrew Dominick, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, followed by; Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be BloodRonald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Wilson's War)


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roger Deakins, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2nd: Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood, followed by: Roger Deakins, No Country For Old Men; Christopher Doyle and Rain Li, Paranoid Park; Darius Khondji, My Blueberry Nights)

ART DIRECTION: THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, There Will Be Blood, Atonement, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

COSTUME DESIGN: ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Across the Universe, There Will Be Blood



FILM EDITING: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, The Bourne Ultimatum, Zodiac

SOUND: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, There Will Be Blood, The Bourne Ultimatum, Sunshine, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford 

 

SOUND EFFECTS: THERE WILL BE BLOOD, No Country for Old Men, The Bourne Ultimatum



ORIGINAL SCORE: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2nd: Jonny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood, followed by: Dario Marinelli, Atonement; Alberto Iglasias, The Kite Runner; David Shire, Zodiac)

ADAPTED OR SONG SCORE: Glen Hansard, ONCE (2nd: Alan Menken, Enchanted, followed by: Michael Andrews, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Marc Shaiman, Hairspray; Paul Gemignani, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street



ORIGINAL SONG: "Falling Slowly" from ONCE (Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) (2nd: “Happy Working Song” from Enchanted (Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwarz), followed by: “Walk Hard” from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Music and lyrics by Marshall Crenshaw, John C. Reilly, Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan); “Le Festin” from Ratatouille (Music and lyrics by Michael Giacchino); “Way Back Into Love” from Music and Lyrics (Music and lyrics by Adam Schlesinger); “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted (Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwarz))



SPECIAL EFFECTS: ZODIAC, Sunshine, Grindhouse

MAKEUP: LA VIE EN ROSE, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2006--The Year in Review

2006 is dominated by two movies for me: one, a sickeningly tense historical thriller about the new realities in the fight against terrorism, and the other, an utterly transporting epic about the power of imagination (actually, one of two such stories this year, both commandeered by young girls). Tarsem Singh's The Fall--which I didn't see until its summer 2008 US release--and Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth were positively psychotropic in their assured visions, yet The Fall had so much more weight to it because of its tremendous lead performances from Lee Pace (as a depressed silent-era movie stuntman laid up with a broken body and heart) and the astonishing Catinca Untaru, a Romanian girl who at seven years of age delivers the kind of searing, funny, charming performance that actors ten times her age would love to have on their resume; her performance is a miracle, and I'm particularly glad to give this near-toddler my Best Actress nod. In The Fall, she plays a young hospital patient with an awkward arm cast who pays friendly visits to Pace's character and gets drawn into his vividly bold tales of fantasy. The Fall is such a superb film--surprisingly, maybe the greatest superhero movie ever (it gets to the heart of why we find such tales fascinating). It's so gorgeous as it tours us literally all around the world (it was filmed on location in over 20 different countries) and it's so damn moving that it's wholly difficult for me to not award it Best Picture (if I was choosing it as a film from 2008, when I first saw it, it'd win assuredly). But The Fall really had its first showing (probably unfinished) at a film festival in 2006, so I have to consider it a product of that time. Still, if I had one 2006 film to steer people towards, it'd be this one. I love Del Toro's cult hit, but it doesn't move me nearly as much as The Fall, though Pan's Labyrinth greatly impresses my eyes. However, given all this, I'm proud to award the top spot to among the most gut-wrenching movies ever made.

Paul Greengrass' United 93 is, markedly, the earliest narrative commentary on the 9/11 tragedy and, to date, the very last cinematic word on the subject. Will any film director ever in history be able to give us the sense of actually being there, on the earth, above on the flight, in the conference rooms and the towers, at that moment the planes hit the World Trade Center? United 93 sets an impossibly high bar. Greengrass made a daring choice in casting many of the aviation and military officials that were actually working that day (Ben Sliney, the newly-named Federal Aviation Administration's head officer, recreates his nascent hours on the job with such incredible power that I had to nominate him for Best Supporting Actor). This lends a dazzling palpability to what we see. But then we have the superb actors cast as the passengers on the doomed flight, all of them (the ones playing the terrorists included) forming a spectacular ensemble that inseparably mingles with the unimaginably authentic work from the real-life non-actors. The British filmmaker Greengrass gives more aching truth to his work with cinematographer Barry Ackroyd's textbook-correct handheld camerawork, while the obscuring sound design, sharp editing. and nearly invisible special effects are all perfectly utilized to put us right in the seats of some who lost their lives that day. United 93 is a film that succeeds horribly and magnificently even though we know how it has to end. To this day, after watching it over and over, it still gets my blood up. It's that powerful--I can't state it any more starkly. I stand in wonder: how did this filmmaker do it? How was he able?

I really adored many other movies from 2006--Alfonso Cuarón's astoundingly mournful and masterful sci-fi tale Children of Men (the perhaps rightful favorite of many movie lovers); the chilly but moving Cold War yarn The Lives of Others (led by the haunted Ulrich Muhe, who was dying of cancer while the film was being made); Old Joy, Kelly Reichardt's little-seen, low-key yet profoundly revealing story of fading male friendship; Todd Field's almost anthropological dissection of American suburban malaise Little Children (with one-time child star Jackie Earle Haley returning to greatness); Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century, an eerie anecdote cementing this Thai newcomer's work as an alternative to stale Western cinema; the hilariously muscle-spraining Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a perfect translation of Sasha Baron Cohen's humor from the small screen to the big--a rare success in that fashion and one which made him a worldwide star; Shane Meadow's This is England, an exacting '80s-set recount of a British kid's intro into the punk-driven skinhead movement, with young Thomas Turgoose heading a superb cast; Darren Aronofsky's challenging, time-hopping romance The Fountain; and Robert Altman's cinematic wake, a raucously prescient farewell to movies and a worldwide love letter based on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. I, too, adored Martin Scorsese's maze-like crime film The Departed, but as I have already given accolades to this genius for Taxi Driver, The Last Waltz, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, and A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, I'm not in the position of having to sheepishly hand him, as the Academy did, a make-up award for a fine but lesser film. I have no doubts as to the best movie of 2006: it's the one that captures me once I see a single frame of it and lets me go only at its brutally crushing end. There will, I hope, never be another like it. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

PICTURE: UNITED 93 (US, Paul Greengrass) (2nd: The Fall (US/India, Tarsem Singh), followed by: Children of Men (US/UK, Alfonso Cuarón); The Lives of Others (Germany, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck); Old Joy (US, Kelly Reichardt); Little Children (US, Todd Field); Syndromes and a Century (Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul); Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (US, Larry Charles); This is England (UK, Shane Meadows); The Fountain (US, Darren Aronofsky); A Prairie Home Companion (US, Robert Altman); Inside Man (US, Spike Lee); Friends with Money (US, Nicole Holofcener); The Departed (US, Martin Scorsese); Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico, Guillermo Del Toro); Away From Her (Canada, Sarah Polley); Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (US, Adam McKay); Inland Empire (US, David Lynch); Idiocrasy (US, Mike Judge); Casino Royale (US/UK, Martin Campbell); Tell No One (France, Guillaume Canet); Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (UK, Stephen Kijak); Babel (US/Mexico, Alejandro González Iñárritu); Alpha Dog (US, Nick Cassavetes); Paprika (Japan, Satoshi Kon); The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (UK/Austria/Netherlands, Sophie Fiennes); Letters from Iwo Jima (US, Clint Eastwood); The Prestige (US, Christopher Nolan); Half Nelson (US, Ryan Fleck); Longford (UK, Tom Hooper); Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (US, James D. Scurlock); 12:08: East of Bucharest (Romania, Corneliu Porumboiu); The Hoax (US, Lasse Hallstrom); Notes on a Scandal (UK, Richard Eyre); The Prestige (US, Christopher Nolan); Marie Antoinette (US, Sofia Coppola); Apocalypto (US, Mel Gibson); The Wind That Shakes the Barley (UK/Ireland, Ken Loach); The Break-Up (US, Peyton Reed); Sherrybaby (US, Laurie Collyer); Manufactured Landscapes (US, Jennifer Baichwal); Jindabyne (Australia, Ray Lawrence); Black Book (Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven); Iraq in Fragments (US, James Langley); Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Germany/France/Spain/US, Tom Tykwer); The Queen (UK, Stephen Frears); The Bridge (US, Eric Steel); The Namesake (India/US, Mira Nair); The Little Death (US, Morgan Nichols); Rescue Dawn (US, Werner Herzog); The Good Shepherd (US, Robert De Niro); This Film is Not Yet Rated (US, Kirby Dick); Jesus Camp (US, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady); Little Miss Sunshine (US, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris); An Inconvenient Truth (US, Davis Guggenheim); A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (US, Dino Montiel); The TV Set (US, Jake Kasdan); The Illusionist (US, Neil Burger); Thank You For Smoking (US, Jason Reitman); Volver (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar); Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?) (US, John Schienfeld); Rocky Balboa (US, Sylvester Stallone); Infamous (US, Douglas McGrath); Dreamgirls (US, Bill Condon); Flags of Our Fathers (US, Clint Eastwood); Black Snake Moan (US, Craig Brewer); Hollywoodland (US, Allen Coulter); Monster House (US, Gil Kenan); Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (US, Stanley Nelson); Southland Tales (US, Richard Kelly); Happy Feet (US/Australia, George Miller); The Last King of Scotland (UK, Kevin MacDonald); The Host (South Korea, Bong Joon-ho); Shortbus (US, John Cameron Mitchell); The Black Dahlia (US, Brian De Palma))


ACTOR: Ulrich Muhe, THE LIVES OF OTHERS (2nd: Sasha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, followed by: Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson; Thomas Turgoose, This is England; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed; Lee Pace, The Fall; Richard Gere, The Hoax)

ACTRESS: Catinca Untaru, THE FALL (2nd: Laura Dern, Inland Empire, followed by: Kate Winslet, Little Children; Julie Christie, Away From Her; Helen Mirren, The Queen; Judy Dench, Notes on a Scandal; Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jackie Earle Haley, LITTLE CHILDREN (2nd: Mark Wahlberg, The Departed, followed by: Forrest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland (won as Best Actor); Ben Sliney, United 93; Stephen Graham, This is England; John C. Reilly, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby)



SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Hudson, DREAMGIRLS (2nd: Shareeka Epps, Half Nelson, followed by: Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal; Frances McDormand, Friends With Money; Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine; Phyllis Sommerville, Little Children; Adriana Barraza, Babel)



DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass, UNITED 93 (2nd: Tarsem Singh, The Fall, followed by: Alfonso Cuaron, Children of Men; Kelly Reichardt, Old Joy; Florian Henkel von Donnensmark, The Lives of Others; Todd Field, Little Children; Apiachapong Weerasethakul, Syndromes and a Century)



NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: THE LIVES OF OTHERS (Germany, Florian Henkel von Donnensmark) (2nd: Syndromes and a Century (Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul), followed by: Tell No One (France, Guillaume Canet); Paprika (Japan, Satoshi Kon); Letters from Iwo Jima (US, Clint Eastwood); 12:08: East of Bucharest (Romania, Corneliu Porumboiu); Black Book (Netherlands, Paul Verhoeven); Volver (Spain, Pedro Almodóvar); The Host (South Korea, Bong Joon-ho))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN (UK, Stephen Kijack) (2nd: The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (UK/Austria/Netherlands, Sophie Fiennes), followed by: Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (US, James D. Scurlock); Iraq in Fragments (US, James Langley); The Bridge (US, Eric Steel); This Film is Not Yet Rated (US, Kirby Dick); Jesus Camp (US, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady); An Inconvenient Truth (US, Davis Guggenheim); Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?) (US, John Schienfeld); Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (US, Stanley Nelson))

ANIMATED FEATURE: PAPRIKA (Japan, Satoshi Kon) (2nd: Monster House (US, Gil Kenan), followed by: Happy Feet (US/Australia, George Miller))



ANIMATED SHORT: EVERYTHING WILL BE OK (US, Don Hertzfeld) (2nd: The Danish Poet (Norway/Canada, Torill Kove), followed by: The Little Match Girl (US, Roger Allers))



LIVE ACTION SHORT: LA MORTE ROUGE (Spain, Victor Erice) (2nd: West Bank Story (US, Ari Sandel), followed by: Touch (US, David Hamilton))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Florian Henkel von Donnensmark, THE LIVES OF OTHERS (2nd: Paul Greengrass, United 93, followed by: Nicole Holofcener, Friends With Money; Shane Meadows, This is England; Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond, Old Joy)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby, CHILDREN OF MEN (2nd: Sasha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hine, Peter Baynham, Dan Mizer and Todd Phillips, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, followed by: Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, Little Children; William Monahan, The Departed; Dan Gilroy, Nico Soultanakis, and Tarsem Singh, The Fall)


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Colin Watkinson, THE FALL (2nd: Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men, followed by: Wally Pfister, The Prestige; Guillermo Navarro, Pan's Labyrinth; Barry Ackroyd, United 93)

ART DIRECTION: PAN'S LABYRINTH, Marie Antoinette, The Fall, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Fountain


COSTUME DESIGN: THE FALL, Marie Antoinette, The Fountain, The Prestige, Dreamgirls



FILM EDITING: UNITED 93, Children of Men, The Departed, The Fall, Inside Man

SOUND: UNITED 93, Children of Men, World Trade Center, Apocolypto, Casino Royale



SOUND EFFECTS: WORLD TRADE CENTER, Apocolypto, Letters from Iwo Jima



ORIGINAL SCORE: Clint Mansell, THE FOUNTAIN (2nd: Gustavo Santolalla, Babel, followed by: John Powell, United 93; Philip Glass, Notes on a Scandal; Alexandre Desplat, The Painted Veil)



ORIGINAL SONG: “I Need to Wake Up” from AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (Music and lyrics by Melissa Etheridge) (2nd: “O Kazakstan” from Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Music by Erran Baron Cohen; lyrics by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Beter Baynham, Todd Phillips, Dan Greaney, Jeff Poloquin and Patton Oswalt), followed by: “A Father’s Way” from The Pursuit of Happyness (Music and lyrics by Seal))



ADAPTED OR SONG SCORE: Richard A. Dworsky, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2nd: Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger, Dreamgirls)



SPECIAL EFFECTS: CHILDREN OF MEN, United 93, Pan's Labyrinth

MAKEUP: PAN’S LABYRINTH, Apocolypto, The Fall

Friday, November 4, 2016

2005--The Year in Review

A remarkable year for movies, especially for the top ten. But, for me, there is only one choice–my favorite film of the 2000s, Terrence Malick's uplifting retelling of the now-mythic discovery of North America, guided by the delicate yet complex romance between an unruly British ship captain, John Smith (Colin Ferrell) and a young Native American princess Pocahontas, unnamed here and played impeccably by newcomer Q’Orianka Kilcher (whose previous brush with fame had been as the sister of then-popular singer Jewel; this unknown stance unjustly kept her far away from the Best Actress race). The New World is, when seen on the big screen, a tremendously moving account of innocence lost, its gorgeousness first commanded by an uplifting use of Richard Wagner's ever-escalating prelude to Das Rheingold as bookends to Malick's ravishing work (the use of Wagner's spectacular music, alone, moved me to tears, especially when coupled with Emmanuel Lubezski's unbelievable cinematography and Malick's perfect direction; this was as sublime as anything I'd ever seen cinema offer). The New World, throughout, still moves me to copious tears with its overwhelming beauty, but so does Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, the Hollywood movie that everybody thought was destined for Best Picture glory. Both Heath Ledger's and Jake Gyllenhaal's performances as conflicted '50s-era cowboy lovers jolted the collective culture. Yet the Academy decided for Paul Haggis' race-driven, early year hit Crash, in probably the most unfortunately surprising Oscar conclusion ever.

Meanwhile, more moving, foreign-flavored pictures like Michael Haneke's tense tale of family secrets Caché, Belgian brothers Jean-Luc Dardenne and Pierre Dardenne's devastating L’Enfant, and Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog's belated collaboration with animal-loving loner Timothy Treadwell (who deserved a co-director credit); all were worthy of Best Picture consideration, even though each of these movies emerged with not a single nomination between them. I nonetheless loved the remaining Best Picture nominees--Steven Spielberg's continually rewarding and mature Munich, George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck, an elegant black-and-white account of the clash between CBS news scion Edward R. Murrow and scuzzy US senator Joseph McCarthy, and Bennett Miller's Capote, detailing that author's internal struggle to get In Cold Blood down on the page (which resulted in the exquisite Philip Seymour Hoffman winning the Best Actor Oscar, even if it now seems another actor, Toby Jones, later proved himself better suited for the Capote role). As for the Supporting Oscars, Clooney justifiably nabbed the top spot for his tense portrayal of a conflicted CIA operative driving himself insane on behalf of U.S. oil superiority, but I was devastated at Amy Adams being denied the Supporting Actress victory for her lovely, wide-eyed mother-to-be in Junebug; this fine actress has been searching for a make-up award ever since. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.


PICTURE:THE NEW WORLD (US, Terrence Malick) (2nd: Brokeback Mountain (US, Ang Lee), followed by: Caché (France, Michael Haneke); L’Enfant (Belgium/France, Jean-Luc Dardenne and Pierre Dardenne); Munich (US, Steven Spielberg); Grizzly Man (US, Werner Herzog and Timothy Treadwell); Capote (US, Bennett Miller); The Constant Gardener (UK, Fernando Meirelles); Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (UK, Michael Winterbottom); Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (US, Martin Scorsese); The Squid and the Whale (US, Noam Baumbach); Good Night, and Good Luck (US, George Clooney); In Her Shoes (US, Curtis Hanson); Into Great Silence (Germany/France, Philip Gröning); Junebug (US, Phil Morrison); Hustle and Flow (US, Craig Brewer); The 40 Year Old Virgin (US, Judd Apatow); The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (US, Tommy Lee Jones); Syriana (US, Stephen Gaghan); Paradise Now (Palestine, Hany Abu-Assad); Me and You and Everyone We Know (US, Miranda July); A History of Violence (US/Canada, David Cronenberg); Batman Begins (US, Christopher Nolan); Mirrormask (US/UK, Dave McKean); Shopgirl (US, Anand Tucker); Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (US, Shane Black); Forty Shades of Blue (US, Ira Sachs); Joyuex Noel (France/Germany/UK, Christian Carion); Ballets Russes (US, Daniel Keller and Dayna Goldfine); The Matador (US/Ireland, Richard Shepard); Oliver Twist (UK/France/Italy/Czech Republic, Roman Polanski); Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (UK, Nick Park and Steve Box); Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (US, Albert Brooks); Sophie Scholl: The Last Days (Germany, Marc Rothemund); Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (US, Alex Gibney); The Upside of Anger (US, Mike Binder); Stay (US, Marc Forster); Jarhead (US, Sam Mendes); March of the Penguins (France, Luc Jacquet); Match Point (UK/US, Woody Allen); Mad Hot Ballroom (US, Marilyn Agrelo); Duma (US, Carroll Ballard); The Descent (UK, Neil Marshall); Why We Fight (US, Eugene Jareki); Corpse Bride (US, Tim Burton and Mike Johnson); I Am a Sex Addict (US, Caveh Zahedi); Everything is Illuminated (US, Liev Schreiber); Happy Endings (US, Don Roos); Murderball (US, Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro); Walk the Line (US, James Mangold); Lord of War (US, Andrew Niccol); North Country (US, Niki Caro); Down in the Valley (US, David Jacobson); Sin City (US, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino and Frank Miller); Crash (US, Paul Haggis); Transamerica (US, Duncan Tucker); Dark Water (US, Walter Salles); Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (US, Liam Lynch); Cinderella Man (US, Ron Howard); Manderlay (Denmark, Lars Von Trier); Serenity (US, Joss Whedon); The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Romania, Cristi Puiu); The Proposition (Australia, John Hillcoat); V for Vendetta (US, James McTeague); King Kong (US, Peter Jackson); Memoirs of a Geisha (US, Rob Marshall); The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (US, Andrew Adamson); Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (US, Tim Burton); Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (US, George Lucas); Mysterious Skin (US, Gregg Araki))



ACTOR: Heath Ledger, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2nd: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; followed by: Daniel Autiel, Cache; Terrence Howard, Hustle and Flow; Pierce Brosnan, The Matador; Jeremie Renier, L'Enfant; David Straithairn, Good Night, and Good Luck)



ACTRESS: Q’Orianka Kilcher, THE NEW WORLD (2nd: Juliette Binoche, Cache; followed by: Dina Korzun, Forty Shades of Blue; Cameron Diaz, In Her Shoes; Toni Collette, In Her Shoes; Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line; Charlize Theron, North Country)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: George Clooney, SYRIANA (2nd: Matt Dillon, Crash, followed by: Ed Harris, A History of Violence; Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man; Clifton Collins Jr., Capote; Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain; Rob Brydon, Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Adams, JUNEBUG (2nd: Rachel Weitz, The Constant Gardener, followed by: Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain; Taraji P. Henson, Hustle and Flow; Deborah François, L'Enfant; Sheetal Sheth, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World; Catherine Keener, Capote)

DIRECTOR: Terrence Malick, THE NEW WORLD (2nd: Michael Haneke, Cache, followed by: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain; Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant; Steven Spielberg, Munich; Werner Herzog and Timothy Treadwell, Grizzly Man; Bennett Miller, Capote)



NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: CACHE (Belgium/France, Michael Haneke) (2nd: L’Enfant (Belgium, Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne) followed by: Into Great Silence (Germany/France, Philip Gröning); Paradise Now (Palestine, Hany Abu-Assad); Sophie Scholl: The Last Days (Germany, Marc Rothemund); The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Romania, Cristi Puiu))



DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: GRIZZLY MAN (US, Werner Herzog and Timothy Treadwell) (2nd: Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (US, Martin Scorsese), followed by: Into Great Silence (France/Germany.Switzerland, Philip Groning); Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (US, Alex Gibney); March of the Penguins (France, Luc Jacquet); Ballet Russes (US, Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine); Mad Hot Ballroom (US, Marilyn Agrelo); Why We Fight (US, Eugene Jarecki); Murderball (US, Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro))

ANIMATED FEATURE: WALLACE AND GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT (UK, Nick Park and Steve Box) (2nd: Corpse Bride (US, Tim Burton and Mike Johnson))



ANIMATED SHORT: THE MOON AND THE SON: AN IMAGINED CONVERSATION (US, John Canemaker) (2nd: Rabbit (UK, Run Wrake), followed by: 9 (US, Shane Acker); Milch (US, Igor Kovalyov)



LIVE ACTION SHORT: CASHBACK (UK, Sean Ellis) (2nd: Starcrossed (US, James Burkhammer), followed by: Mute (US, Melissa Joan Hart); Boys Grammar (Australia, Dean Francis))



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michael Haneke, CACHE (2nd: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant, followed by: Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale; Guillermo Arriaga, The Three Burials of Meliquiades Estrada; Angus MacLachlan, Junebug)



ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2nd: Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich, followed by: Jeffrey Caine, The Constant Gardener; Frank Cotrell Boyce, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story; Jennifer Weiner, In Her Shoes)



CINEMATOGRAPHY: Emmanuel Lubezki, THE NEW WORLD (2nd: Dion Beebe, Memoirs of a Geisha, followed by: Wally Pfister, Batman Begins; Robert Elswit, Good Night and Good Luck; Philip Groning, Into Great Silence)

ART DIRECTION: MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, Good Night and Good Luck, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New World, Mirrormask

COSTUME DESIGN: MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, Walk The Line, The New World, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oliver Twist



FILM EDITING: MUNICH, Brokeback Mountain, Syriana, The New World, Grizzly Man



SOUND: KING KONG, War of the Worlds, The New World, Brokeback Mountain, Batman Begins



SOUND EFFECTS: WAR OF THE WORLDS, King Kong, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 



ORIGINAL SCORE: Gustavo Santolalla, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2nd: John Williams, Munich, followed by: James Horner, The New World; Dario Marianelli, Pride and Prejudice; Julian Nott, Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit)



ORIGINAL SONG: “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from HUSTLE AND FLOW (Music and lyrics by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard) (2nd: “Travelin’ Thru” from Transamerica (Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton), followed by: "Whoop That Trick" from Hustle and Flow (Music and lyrics by Alphonzo Bailey))


SPECIAL EFFECTS: KING KONG, War of the Worlds, Sin City, Mirrormask, Batman Begins

MAKEUP: THE NEW WORLD, Sin City, Memoirs of a Geisha