Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2001--The Year in Review

In that most of my top ten films are decked with a multitude of challenging roles for women, 2001 begs to be seen as the second consecutive year in which female-driven stories are at the forefront. And it's David Lynch's stubbornly complex reworking of a scuttled TV series, Mulholland Dr., that commanded the imaginations of the most assured movie lovers that year. It's an extremely divisive work that confounds and disgusts many who've seen it. No matter. It's remains a masterpiece--maybe Lynch's best--that treats the eye to a detailed dissection of the dream process while hoodwinking us with a Nancy Drew-like mystery that turns vicious and downtrodden. Its main player is Naomi Watts, the Australian actress (and best friend to competitor Nicole Kidman) who, in her breakthrough role, fooled us into thinking her a cheery dolt when she's actually a full-blown artisan. I've never experienced such a mid-film turnaround on a performance as I did here, and I find more and more to admire about it with each repeat viewing.

There are many 2001 films to which I experienced a powerful emotional response: Richard Kelly's jolting debut Donnie Darko sank me with stinging tears every time I watched it (his subsequent films have been radically disappointing), while Baz Luhrmann's epic musical Moulin Rouge!, Todd Field's small-scoped revenge drama In the Bedroom and John Cameron Mitchell's rocking adaptation of his stage hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch all got my heart racing. Spielberg's adaptation of a once-Kubrick spearheaded sci-fi tale, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also pierced my soul, though I despised its most misguided, Spielberg-indulgent moments. Michael Haneke stunned us with a typically (for him) stormy and blood-dotted character piece featuring a never-better Isabelle Huppert (who, to date, has yet to receive an Oscar nomination--a crime). And the Documentary prize-winner, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's Murder on a Sunday Morning stands as an infuriating retelling of injustices that have become sickeningly common in America. Gosford Park became the Altman movie that everyone adores (with its complexly satiric scripting and Helen Mirren's sternly damaged housekeeper), while Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World emerged as an ageless cult film and arguably the best comic-book-derived cinematic work as it provided the world's abject losers with a dose of tough love (and the treasured Steve Buscemi with his most apt role). With all the other fine movies available here, I still can't figure out why the hell the Academy handed Best Picture to Ron Howard's generally abysmal A Beautiful Mind. I can only surmise they really liked Apollo 13. Still, all in all, a terrific year for movies, if not for the Academy. 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: MULHOLLAND DR. (US, David Lynch) (2nd: Donnie Darko (US, Richard Kelly; note: this is for the original version and not the Director's Cut), followed by: Gosford Park (UK/US, Robert Altman); Moulin Rouge! (Australia/US, Baz Luhrmann); In the Bedroom (US, Todd Field); The Piano Teacher (France, Michael Haneke); Ghost World (US, Terry Zwigoff); Y Tu Mama También (Mexico, Alfonso Cuaron); Hedwig and the Angry Inch (US, John Cameron Mitchell); A.I. Artificial Intelligence (US, Steven Spielberg); Time Out (France, Laurent Cantet); The Royal Tenenbaums (US, Wes Anderson); Lantana (Australia, Ray Lawrence); Spirited Away (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Monsters Inc. (US, Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, and David Silverman); Series 7: The Contenders (US, Daniel Minahan); The Man Who Wasn’t There (US, Joel Coen); Enigma (UK, Michael Apted); Conspiracy (UK, Frank Pierson); Murder on a Sunday Morning (France/US, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade); Domestic Violence (US, Frederick Wiseman); Winged Migration (France/Italy, Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud and Michel Dubats); Lovely and Amazing (US, Nicole Holofcener); The Son’s Room (Italy, Nanni Moretti); No Man’s Land (Bosnia, Danis Tanovic); The Deep End (US, Scott McGeehee and David Siegel); Buffalo Soldiers (US, Gregor Jordan); Waiting for Godot (UK, Michael Lindsay-Hogg); War Photographer (Switzerland, Christian Frei); Amelie (France, Jean-Pierre Jeunet); The Tailor of Panama (US/Ireland, John Boorman); Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (UK, Jan Harlan); Wet Hot American Summer (US, David Wain); The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (US/New Zealand, Peter Jackson); The Cat’s Meow (US, Peter Bogdanovich); The Devil’s Backbone (Spain, Guillermo del Toro); Va Savoir (France, Jacques Rivette); Wit (US, Mike Nichols); Session 9 (US, Brad Anderson); The Lady and the Duke (France, Eric Rohmer); Frailty (US, Bill Paxton); Zoolander (US, Ben Stiller); Intacto (Spain, Juan Carlos Fresnodillo); Lagaan (India, Ashutosh Gowariker); The Believer (US, Henry Bean); The Others (US, Alejandro Amenábar); Ali (US, Michael Mann); Heist (US, David Mamet); The Emperor’s New Clothes (UK, Alan Taylor); Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (US, Jill Sprecher); Hell House (US, George Ratliff); Training Day (US, Antoine Fuqua); Waking Life (US, Richard Linklater); Crazy/Beautiful (US, John Stockwell); The Grey Zone (US, Tim Blake Nelson); Elling (Norway, Petter Næss); Daddy and Them (US, Billy Bob Thornton); Iris (UK, Richard Eyre); Monster’s Ball (US, Marc Forster); Shaolin Soccer (Hong Kong/China, Stephen Chow); L.I.E. (US, Michael Cuesta); A Beautiful Mind (US, Ron Howard); Home Movie (US, Chris Price); Dogtown and Z-Boys (US, Stacy Peralta); How High (US, Jesse Dylan); Sugar and Spice (US, Francine McDougall); From Hell (US, Albert Hughes and Allan Hughes); Legally Blonde (US, Robert Luketic); Last Orders (UK, Fred Schepisi); Spy Kids (US, Robert Rodriguez); The Princess Diaries (US, Garry Marshall); Pootie Tang (US, Louis CK); Bully (US, Larry Clark); Tape (US, Richard Linklater); Bridget Jones' Diary (US/UK, Sharon Maguire); Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (US/UK, Chris Columbus); Shrek (US, Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson); Pearl Harbor (US, Michael Bay))

ACTOR: John Cameron Mitchell, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2nd: Tom Wilkinson, In The Bedroom, followed by: Gene Hackman, The Royal Tenenbaums; Ryan Gosling, The Believer; Denzel Washington, Training Day; Will Smith, Ali; Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge!; Haley Joel Osment, A.I. Artificial Intelligence)

ACTRESS: Naomi Watts, MULHOLLAND DR. (2nd: Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher, followed by: Sissy Spacek, In The Bedroom; Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge!; Thora Birch, Ghost WorldHalle Berry, Monster’s Ball; Maribel Verdu, Y Tu Mama Tambien; Emma Thompson, Wit)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Steve Buscemi, GHOST WORLD (2nd: Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast, followed by: Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Jim Broadbent, Iris; Jude Law, A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Brian Cox, L.I.E.; Paul Rudd, Wet Hot American Summer; Alan Arkin, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helen Mirren, GOSFORD PARK (2nd: Brooke Smith, Series 7: The Contenders, followed by: Marisa Tomei, In The Bedroom; Laura Elena Harring, Mulholland Dr.; Maggie Smith, Gosford Park; Beth Grant, Donnie Darko; Emily Mortimer, Lovely and Amazing; Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind)

DIRECTOR: David Lynch, MULHOLLAND DR. (2nd: Richard Kelly, Donnie Darko, followed by: Michael Haneke, The Piano Teacher; Robert Altman, Gosford Park; Todd Field, In The Bedroom; Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge!; Alfonso Cuaron, Y Tu Mama Tambien; Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: THE PIANO TEACHER (France, Michael Haneke) (2nd: Y Tu Mama También (Mexico, Alfonso Cuaron), followed by: Time Out (France, Laurent Cantet); Spirited Away (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); The Son’s Room (Italy, Nanni Moretti); No Man’s Land (Bosnia, Danis Tanovic); Amelie (France, Jean-Pierre Jeunet); The Devil’s Backbone (Spain, Guillermo del Toro); Va Savoir (France, Jacques Rivette); The Lady and the Duke (France, Eric Rohmer); Intacto (Spain, Juan Carlos Fresnodillo); Shaolin Soccer (Hong Kong/China, Stephen Chow); Elling (Norway, Petter Næss))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: MURDER ON A SUNDAY MORNING (France/US, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade) (2nd: Domestic Violence (US, Frederick Wiseman), followed by: Winged Migration (France/Italy, Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud and Michel Dubats); War Photographer (Switzerland, Christian Frei); Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (UK, Jan Harlan);  Hell House (US, George Ratliff); Home Movie (US, Chris Price); Dogtown and Z-Boys (US, Stacy Peralta))

ANIMATED FEATURE: SPIRITED AWAY (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki) (2nd: Monsters Inc. (US, Pete Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich), followed by: Waking Life (US, Richard Linklater))

ANIMATED SHORT: GIVE UP YER AUL SINS (Ireland, Cathal Gaffney) (2nd: Japanese Myths (US, Eric Forrest), followed by: Lovesong (US, Stan Brakhage); Fifty Percent Gray (Ireland, Ruairi Robinson))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: THANKSGIVING (US, Alex R. Johnson) (2nd: And I Will Not Leave You Until I Die (Poland, Maciaj Ademek); Incidental Park Zones and You (Canada, John Marriott); The Accountant (US, Ray McKinnon); Copy Shop (Austria, Virgil Widrich))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Julian Fellowes, GOSFORD PARK (2nd: Richard Kelly, Donnie Darko, followed by: Loring Mandel, Conspiracy; Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums; David Lynch, Mulholland Dr.)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff, GHOST WORLD (2nd: Todd Field, Robert Festinger and Andre Dubus, In The Bedroom, followed by: Ian Watson and Steven Spielberg, A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Michael Haneke, The Piano Teacher; Andrew Bovell, Lantana)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roger Deakins, THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE (2nd: Donald McAlpine, Moulin Rouge!, followed by: Bruno Delbonnel, Amelie; Slawomir Idziak, Black Hawk Down; Andrew Lesnie, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)

ART DIRECTION: MOULIN ROUGE!, Gosford Park, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Amelie, The Royal Tenenbaums

COSTUME DESIGN: MOULIN ROUGE!, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Gosford Park, The Royal Tenenbaums 

FILM EDITING: BLACK HAWK DOWN, Moulin Rouge!, Mulholland Dr., Donnie Darko, Series 7: The Contenders

SOUND: BLACK HAWK DOWN, Monsters Inc., Moulin Rouge!, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, A.I. Artificial Intelligence 

SOUND EFFECTS: BLACK HAWK DOWN, Monsters Inc., The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 

ORIGINAL SCORE: John Williams, A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2nd: Patrick Doyle, Gosford Park, followed by: Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Angelo Badalamenti, Mulholland Dr.; Michael Andrews, Donnie Darko)


ORIGINAL SONG: "One Day I’ll Fly Away" from MOULIN ROUGE! (Music and lyrics by Will Jennings and Joe Sample) (2nd: “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge! (Music and lyrics by David Baerwald), followed by: “Vanilla Sky” from Vanilla Sky (Music and lyrics by Paul McCartney); “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters Inc. (Music and lyrics by Randy Newman); "Until" from Kate and Leopold (Music and lyrics by Sting))


MAKEUP: PLANET OF THE APES, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Hedwig and The Angry Inch

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