Tuesday, January 22, 2008


43.1 HEY, IF IT ISN’T OSCAR! 2008
As per my usual Oscar routine, I watched the live announcement of the major nominations (on BBC). I then quickly scuttled over to oscar.com, for the rest of the nominations.
Apparently though, what’s up at the site at the moment may not be a complete complete list (only one of the three Best Animated Feature Films is listed; Best Cinematography has four nominees listed), so if there are any nominations I’m unable to mention below, well, that’s the reason.
At any rate, the nominations I’m excited about are…

Across The Universe:
Best Costume Design (Albert Wolsky)

Eastern Promises:
Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen)

No Country For Old Men:
Best Picture
Best Director (Joel & Ethan Coen)
Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem)
Best Adapted Screenplay (Joel & Ethan Coen)
Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins)
Best Film Editing (Joel &Ethan Coen)
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing

Best Song (“Falling Slowly”)

Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects

Nominations from other films I’ve mentioned here at the Iguana, but have yet to see are…

Away From Her:
Best Actress (Julie Christie)
Best Adapted Screenplay (Sarah Polley)

The Golden Compass:
Best Art Direction

Best Picture
Best Director (Jason Reitman)
Best Actress (Ellen Page)
Best Original Screenplay (Diablo Cody)

Lars and the Real Girl:
Best Original Screenplay (Nancy Oliver)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
Best Actor (Johnny Depp)

As always there are some disappointments.
One of the most glaring is probably that Eastern Promises is severely under-represented. One nomination, and since all indications point to Daniel Day-Lewis stealing the gold for There Will Be Blood
But then again, there are some welcome sights, like “Falling Slowly” getting in there for Best Song. It’s up against three songs from Enchanted though, so we’ll just have to see.

Congratulations, one and all. (You can check out the sorta complete list here.)
Oscar Night is on February 24, 2008. Hopefully, the WGA strike will be over by then…

And since we are talking about awards, the Art Directors Guild also recently announced their nominations for the 12th Annual ADG Awards.
And the nominees for Excellence in Production Design in 2007 that got me all pumped are…

300 (Fantasy Feature Film; PD: James Bissell)
Heroes: Episode 1020 “Five Years Gone” (Single Camera Television Series; PD: Ruth Ammon)
Lost: Episode 322 “Through The Looking Glass” (Single Camera Television Series; PD: Zack Grobler)
No Country For Old Men (Contemporary Feature Film; PD: Jess Gonchor)
Pushing Daisies: Episode 101 “Pie Lette” (Single Camera Television Series; PD: Michael Wylie)

Other Feature Film nominees I’ve mentioned ‘round these parts before but have yet to see are…

The Golden Compass (Fantasy Feature Film; PD: Dennis Gassner)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Period Feature Film; PD: Dante Ferretti)

But the high point for me for this year’s ADG awards will most certainly be stop-motion animation grand master Ray Harryhausen receiving the honourary Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award.
Ray Harryhausen is a hero of mine from my grade school days. This is the man who painstakingly brought to life the mythical beasties that threatened the lives of cinematic heroes like Sinbad and Jason, made dinosaurs battle cowboys, and flying saucers and giant octopi and prehistoric monsters leave great swathes of property damage in their wake.
He brought a kid’s dreams to life on screen, and made that kid a lifelong devotee of cinema.
I will be forever indebted, Mr. Harryhausen. Congratulations.

Another honour for the evening is the awarding of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Stuart Craig, who did the production design for Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie, and won awards for his work on David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient, and Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons.
Craig’s work will best be known to today’s generation of movie-goers though, through the Harry Potter franchise.

Congratulations, one and all. Awards night is on February 16, 2008. (The complete list of nominees can be found here.)

Parting shot: Reviews of 300, Across The Universe, Eastern Promises, No Country For Old Men, Once, and Transformers can be found in the Archive, along with episodic recaps/reactions to Heroes, Lost, and Pushing Daisies.

(Images courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com [Oscar OS], impawards.com [No Country For Old Men OS], and rayharryhausen.com.)


Idadaan Kay Ida said...

That's so weird. How come there are hardly any mainstream movies nominated in the Oscar's? Then again, there aren't any mainstream movies that were really good this year, so maybe that's the reason.

How come Hollywood hasn't come up with a really good movie (that isn't like an art film, and will hit the mainstream) for the last 5 years?

space monkey said...

well, first off, you pretty much answered your own (1st) question: most mainstream hollywood movies aren't much good.
just take a look at something like "i am legend," which is a massive hit worldwide, and yet it's badly flawed with bad special fx...
thus, the only good chance a hollywood mainstream movie can get onto an oscar ballot these days is if it's got excellent special fx (like "transformers") or has some good technical aspects (again, like "transformers," which was nominated for sound).

it's a rare thing when hollywood actually makes a really good movie since the whole industry and system (from development on through to production and beyond, with test screenings and re-shoots) is geared towards making the most amount of money, regardless of vision or art.

with that as the prime motivation, there's a lot that gets compromised for the sake of creating a movie that will appeal to the broadest possible base.
really good scripts get butchered when re-shoots are done, the best choice for a role doesn't always get chosen in favor of a-listers with massive box office appeal; these are just a couple of the scenarios that take place on hollywood movies...

that's why some of the best films out there are usually financed independently, then purchased by studios for distribution.
then these are the films that get nominated at the oscars.

but it's also important to note that some other awards bodies (like the independent spirit awards) in turn, view the oscars as "mainstream," largely because the films that end up getting nominated at the oscars usually have the big studios who distributed them behind the film, with massive amounts of marketing dollars to promote the movie.
thus, some even smaller, but no less important movies, get lost in the oscar shuffle.