The film industry takes a brief break from Sundance obsession to reflect once more, and for the final time, on the previous year. That's right ... awards season officially entered its third trimester this morning with the Academy Award nominations, and now all we can do is sit and wait what comes out when the envelopes finally break their water.
I'll have more thoughts later when I can process more, but my most immediate reaction is one of ... meh. I just heard the people on NBC claiming shock at the lack of Best Picture and Director nominations for Dreamgirls, and I'm personally shocked at their shock. Big deal, it won the Golden Globe. Ever since nomination voting for the Oscars closed before the Globe awards have been announced, they have often been less of a true bellweather.
And I can't say that I'm all that surprised by the nominations that cause a wee bit of personal outrage, such as Adapted Screenplay for Little Children or all the super-love for Babel. I suppose the only thing I wasn't really expecting was the Best Picture nomination for Little Miss Sunshine, and yet, I can't claim total shock by it either. All it does is keep Little Miss Sunshine in the official race for year's most overrated film with Babel.
Some final (for now) quick thoughts as we wait for the bulk of the nominations:
- OK, one other pleasant surprise? Pan's Labyrinth (my top film of the year) receiving a Best Original Screenplay nomination. I would have been incensed had it not received a Best Foreign Film nod, but it's nice to see it receive some added recognition. However, even more than screenplay, it deserved a Best Director nod for Guillermo del Toro.
- I have mixed feelings on the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Borat considering that so much of the film was improved and not actually written, even if I suppose the very nature of the creation still deserves applaud.
- I suppose it's wrong to say that Little Miss Sunshine was my only Best Picture surprise. I wasn't expecting Letters From Iwo Jima, even though it did receive lots of early critics awards. But that's a pleasant surprise. As far as films that seriously had a chance at the nomination, Letters at least deserved it, and ranks number three of the five for me.
- The Best Actress category appears to be by far the strongest and most-competitive cateogry with five tremendous performances that in any other year would be an odds-on favorite to win. With that said, Helen Mirren should be walking home with the award for The Queen this year. Of course, this category also holds a personal disappoint, as I would have loved to see Maggie Gyllenhaal receive notice for Sherrybaby.
- OK, one other big surprise (I guess I did have some) is Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children.
- I was also somewhat excited by Ryan Gosling's nod for Half Nelson. Gosling has quickly become one of the most talented, if still relatively unknown, actors working today, and his performance in this film was as strong as ever.
- I guess the other big surprise (wow, I'm really negating myself, no?) would be no Jack Nicholson but yes Mark Wahlberg for The Departed. Maybe I don't describe that as a shock because that's actually the way it should be, but Oscar getting something right is, often, a surprise.
More TK ....