1/23/2007

Oscar Nominations 2007

Yes, it's that time of year again, when the whole world waits with baited breath for one of the most important announcements of the year, an annual presentation that will set the stage for the coming year. I'm speaking, of course, about tonight's State of the Union address.

(Cue laughter.)

I kid, I kid. No one is going to pay attention to what that windbag is going to say tonight. But I have to watch anyway, if only to see all the people not applauding during the speech. Think about it. Without all those pesky ovations, this speech could be done in record time.

But I digress.

This post, hence the title, is about this morning's Oscar nominations, and 2006 appears to have been quite a good year for foreign (i.e. not American) films and filmmakers.

A complete list of nominations can be found here. I'm just going to run through a few of my favorites.

My personal favorite movie of 2006, Martin Scorsese's The Departed, received only one acting nomination, for Mark Wahlberg, which I think is slightly unfair to the rest of the amazing ensemble cast (I've always thought the Oscars should have a Best Ensemble catagory), though Marky Mark was quite good in the film.

Of slightly more importance, Marty also received Best Picture and Best Director nods for his Boston crime epic, and Bill Monahan got a well-deserved nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I will be rooting unabashedly for Scorsese to finally take home the Oscar gold this year.

Turning 180 degrees, we have Little Miss Sunshine, the little movie that could, which received supporting nominations for Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin (this film is yet another example of why there needs to be a Best Ensemble catagory), as well as Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture nominations.

If The Departed was my favorite movie of 2006, Sunshine was a close second. It's such a quirky, funny, honest film, and while the characters are put in somewhat bizarre situations, they retain their realism and humanity, something that's very difficult to pull off these days, it seems.

Also receiving multiple nominations are Babel and Letters from Iwo Jima (both for Original Screenplay, Director and Picture, with Babel also garnering two supporting actress nods), neither of which I've seen yet, though I hope to remedy that this coming weekend (if anyone is interested in seeing either one, lemme know).

It's interesting that while Letters from Iwo Jima won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film (beating out Pan's Labyrinth), it's not nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. What I mean is, I suppose I find it interesting that the Golden Globes category refers only to the language spoken in the film (Iwo Jima is in Japanese), while the Academy Awards category refers to country of origin.

Iwo Jima is an American film, directed by Clint Eastwood. American-made with American money, yet performed in Japanese by Japanese actors. Babel, on the other hand, is by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, performed in four languages (the two supporting actress nominations are for women, Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza, who performed in their native languages of Japanese and Spanish, respectively), yet it won the Best Picture - Drama award at the Golden Globes and wasn't nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. And now it's nominated for the Best Picture Oscar rather than the Best Foreign Film award ... it's all so confusing. I have a headache now.

(Also interesting is that Eastwood's other WWII film, Flags of Our Fathers (remember that one?), only received nominations for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I wonder, if they had waited until 2007 to release Iwo Jima, per the original plan, would Flags have received its nominations instead? Or would another film have gotten them?)

The film that should have won the Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe, Pan's Labyrinth, has quite a few Oscar nominations as well, including Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay. Its other nominations are for Art Direction, Cinematography, Makeup and Original Score.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan received only a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, and I can't help but wonder, adapted from what? From the TV show, I guess. I still think Sacha Baron Cohen deserved a nomination for his portrayal of the title character.

Children of Men, unfortunately, didn't earn that many nominations either, its biggest one being for Adapted Screenplay. Its other two are for Editing and Cinematography.

Forest Whitaker received the only nomination for The Last King of Scotland, for Best Actor, which I hope he wins.

And that's about it for now. Maybe closer to awards night I'll make some predictions.

The Oscar awards will be presented February 25 on ABC.

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