Oscar Picks From A Year Of Films

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - February 01, 2006
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MidWeek at midweek is perfect timing for me this year - my Oscar nominations simultaneous with those of the Academy of Motion Pictures.

But I rate only by originality and talent. I’m not influenced by propaganda ads or business debts.

My analysis of the year that was:

Iraq sucked up 500 billion of our dollars. North Korea and Iran went nuclear. Who needed more scares? Hollywood felt we did. Hide and Seek, a good yarn and socko ending. Boogeyman made me understand why I’d been afraid to go into the basement of my childhood home.

We had George Romero’s Land of the Dead social message that we shouldn’t be so mean to zombies. They get hungry, too, and want better living conditions.

Brokeback Mountain. Not a credible love story, but very nice scenery. Star Wars III had the look of a kids’ cartoon, with icky dialogue (“So, you were blinded by love?”) King Kong was 187 too-long minutes of Indiana Jones in Jurassic Park.

There was a lot of buzz about Sin City, but I agree with critic David Denby, who called it “a technical marvel and a dramatic disaster.”

Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana had themes liberals love but good politics can’t save dull or convoluted scripts.

So what to applaud?

The BBC/FoxSearchlight Millions. Great script by Frank Cottrell Boyce and brilliant direction by Danny Boyle. The Other World, an Algerian movie, and Hungary’s Kontroll, those two only shown at the Doris Duke Theatre, the site of our town’s best no-car-chase flicks. Also, the best ensemble castings ever for Crash and Cinderella Man.

Best Movie: Domino. Yeah, it was violent and vulgar. But what an action masterpiece by director Tony Scott! Great performances from Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Delroy Lindo, Lucy Liu and Christopher Walken.

Best Actor: Bruno Ganz as Hitler in the mesmerizing Downfall, the story of the last days in the Führer’s bunker. If I had to stick with U.S. films I’d say Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote.

Best Actress: Gong Li in her too-short role as the socially-disabled Hatsumomo in Memoirs of a Geisha, a movie too absorbed with the photography.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress: Paul Giamatti as the boxing coach Joe Gould in Cinderella Man. He stole that movie from Russell Crowe. And Frances McDormand, who stomped over Charlize Theron in North Country.

Best Documentary: March of the Penguins.

Worst Big Budget Movie: The $140 million Orlando Bloom dust-and-gore Kingdom of Heaven. The fine actor Liam Neeson required to say lines such as “I once fought for two days with an arrow through my testicle.”

Absolute Worst Movie: Tropical Malady. Reviewer Gabriel Shanks said “It is hard not to run screaming back into the safe, comfortable arms of cheesy American infotainment.”

Worst Promotional Timing: War of the Worlds. As I watched Tom Cruise all I could see was a cuckoo Scientologist believing that mental problems are the “thetan suffering from negative engrams implanted in this life and innumerable past lives.”

Worst Script: Stealth. Why did Jamie Foxx agree to star in such a stinker?

Best Screen Writer: Miranda July for Me and You and Everyone We Know.

Only Movie Worth Seeing Twice: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.

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