Saturday, March 3, 2007

OSCAR Reactions 2007

So I’m writing this in the glow of my annual post-Oscar watching labors, and if this is how I feel year in year out on the big night, the thought of what the nominees go through is mind-boggling.
And speaking of nominees, the opening sequence with the nominee interviews was great, the first of several excellent montages seen throughout the night.
Like all Oscar nights, it was a night of wins and surprises and close-but-no-cigars.
Let’s get to it.

I’ll be doing this by the films I’ve actually seen and was rooting for in one category or another, and since I mentioned Oscar in its review, I’ll start off with:

El Laberinto Del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)
2 out of 6 (for Art Direction and Cinematography). Not exactly an outpouring of love, but hey, they could have gone home with nothing (see below). It stung though, when it was edged out in the Best Foreign Language Film category. (All I have to say is, Herr von Donnersmarck, your film better kick major a$$.)*
That, and a) Guillermo Del Toro was nowhere to be seen in the Best Director category, and b) Little Miss Sunshine ran away with Best Original Screenplay. (This was an instant replay of the BAFTAs; I honestly thought Babel was the stiff competition in that category.)

1 out of 7. Thankfully, it was for one of the elements of the film that really impressed me (in a film that was incredibly impressive as a whole), Gustavo Santaolalla’s score. (Talk about instant replay of the BAFTAs; same ratio, same category win.)

Children of Men
0 out of 3. Like I said, you could go home with nothing.
One of the biggest Oscar crimes this year, sending Cuaron home with nothing, not even a nomination for Best Director. And you’d think that with the jaw dropping shots they got for this film, that it would have gotten Emmanuel Lubezki that statue for Cinematography. (I may love El Laberinto Del Fauno, but Children of Men just doesn’t take any prisoners when it comes to getting and delivering the shot.) At least Lubezki got the BAFTA. (Which at least had the decency to send the film home with 2 out of 3.)

Marie Antoinette
1 out of 1 (Costume Design). At least Milena Canonero went home happy.
It’s a crime though that this film was so underrepresented at the Oscars, and was sent home on BAFTA night with 0 for 3.

An Inconvenient Truth
2 out of 2 (Best Documentary Feature and Best Original Song). Go, Al Gore!!!
And go, Melissa Etheridge!!! (I mean, opening that can of whoop-a$$ on Dreamgirls the way you did is almost criminal…)**

Superman Returns
0 out of 1. Arrgghh!!!
Isn’t it enough that Dead Man’s Chest went home with the boffo box office, they have to steal the award too?!? (Again with the BAFTA instant replay.)
Props though, to Michael Mann, for including a Superman Returns clip in his “America in Film” montage, along with snippets of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, and Sam Mendes’ Jarhead.

Little Miss Sunshine
2 out of 4 (for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin).
I may have had issues with you, but I liked you well enough. Then you had to butt heads with Del Toro and Laberinto, and whup a$$ at the BAFTAs and the Independent Spirits. Little Miss Evil is more like it…

And the big win of the night…

The Departed
4 out of 5.
Finally, Marty gets his statue, and is given it by three of his life-long film school buddies, Coppola, Spielberg, and Lucas. (The second that triumvirate came out on stage, what seemed to be a foregone conclusion of the night became concrete reality, and I was thrilled and relieved.)
With William Monahan taking home the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, the pressure for the Departed sequel, already great, is now massive. Monahan now has a new first name: “Academy Award-winning writer of The Departed.” (A lot rests on Monahan’s shoulders, as final approval depends on Scorsese liking what’s on the page.)
Best Editing was a category I was really conflicted by. I loved Thelma Schoonmaker’s work on it, and after seeing the film, felt certain she deserved the award. But then there we were, with Schoonmaker up against Rodriguez and Cuaron and Children of Men hadn’t gotten Best Cinematography. Ugh. In the end though, Thelma came up the winner, and I’m really happy for her. (Sorry, Alfonso.)
And then of course, Best Picture.
That category worried me. I wasn’t sure they’d give it to a crime drama/thriller. I mean, there was Babel, a better version of Crash (and they gave Crash Best Picture last year). There was Little Miss Sunshine, which would have been the major upset of the evening, and dangerously had the legs for that sort of coup. And there was Letters from Iwo Jima (the Golden Globe Best Foreign Language Film winner) and The Queen (Best Film at the BAFTAs). I mean, bloodbath, right?
But The Departed came out guns blazing, wrapping up another year of brilliant cinema and finally giving Martin Scorsese his well-deserved Best Director Oscar. (Something he shall be forever indebted to Hong Kong cinema for; that was a shoddy screw-up, for the Oscar voice over to say Mou Gaan DouInfernal Affairs—was a Japanese film.)

So there you have it. Another year, another Oscar night.

* Best Foreign Language Film went to Germany’s Das Leben Der Anderen (The Lives of Others), directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

** In the Best Original Song category, three out of the five nominated songs were from Dreamgirls.

Parting shot: It was a year when I hadn’t seen a majority of the nominated performances, thus no mention of the acting categories.

(Originally posted 022607)

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