March 6, 2006

Oscars, The Day After: Was Crash the Best of the Best?

The 2005 edition of the Academy Awards has come and gone. Now is the time for all the armchair quarterbacks, or critics, to start spouting off on what the didn't like, or what they did like. There is talk of how the awards show all that is wrong about Hollywood, how the best nominees didn't win, how good/bad Jon Stewart was, and any other assortment of talk. I'll leave that to other writers. I just want to give some simple reactions, and see how well my picks matched up.

First off, I am pretty happy with how my predictions turned out. You can check out my predictions here, I got them up just under the wire before the awards show proper started. My final tally of Will Win picks is 15 of 24, including all acting/writing categories, and on the should win side of the equation 10 of my choices took the gold.

As far as the broadcast goes, this year was very good, for the most part. I thought that Jon Stewart did an excellent job, stepping in giving his jabs yet never trying to command the show. Although, at times it appeared the audience didn't much care for his brand of satire. Some of the best bits of the night include the campaign commercials which were great, especially the Steve Colbert voice overs, also the opening montage of previous hosts ending with Jon in bed with Halle and George (I half expected him to check under the covers again), and my favorite being the gay cowboy montage, that was sheer brilliance and had me in tears. Some of Stewart's best lines included saying that Good Night and Good Luck was also how George Clooney ended his dates, "Three 6 Mafia=One, Scorsese=0," and "It just got a little easier for a pimp."

The speeches were pretty good for the most part. The worst thing about the speeches was the music playing behind them, wonder whose bright idea that was. There has been some question as to whether the music was live there or if it was just for the TV viewers. Either way, I hope it goes away.

Here is the final tally by movie in the main categories:

  • Crash 3 (Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Editing)
  • Brokeback Mountain 3 (Best Director, Score, Adapted Screenplay)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha 3 (Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction)
  • King Kong 3 (Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing)
  • Capote 1 (Best Actor)
  • Syriana 1 (Best Supporting Actor)
  • Walk the Line 1 (Best Actress)
  • The Constant Gardener 1 (Best Supporting Actress)
  • Hustle & Flow 1 (Original Song)
  • Chronicles of Narnia 1 (Make Up)
  • Wallace & Gromit in Curse of the Were-Rabbit 1 (Animated Feature)
  • March of the Penguins 1 (Documentary Feature)

I just want to take a look at a few of the categories.

  • Best Picture: Some are calling Crash's win the biggest upset in Oscar history. I'm not sure that I agree with that, but it is probably the biggest one in a few years. Brokeback Mountain had so much momentum going, and so many wins at virtually all of the other awards ceremonies that it was just about guaranteed a win here. Then, a few weeks back word started to spread about a Crash upset, I didn't really buy it, I guess I should have. I cannot say I'm disappointed, but all of the nominated films are excellent, although I think Brokeback has had the bigger impact.
  • Best Score: This category I am sorely disappointed in. I cannot stand the music in Brokeback Mountain, as I read in another forum, he won with about 15 minutes of music. It was so repetitious and boring, I cannot believe it won. John Williams and his fantastic work on Memoirs of a Geisha was robbed, plain and simple.
  • Best Original Song: Wow, a rap song won an Oscar. I have no problem at all with this, I just didn't think that the generally conservative Oscar voters would vote for a rap song, much less one about a pimp. This is showing a little forward thinking on the part of the voters. It is also the song most integrated and important to the film, or so I'm told, I have not yet seen Hustle & Flow. The acceptance speech from Three 6 Mafia was possibly the most exuberant of the night, go figure.
  • Best Animated Film: No arguments whatsoever, Wallace and Gromit was a wonderful film. It has wit and charm, it looks great, it has value for all ages and truly was the best of the animated features.
  • Best Documentary Feature: March of the Penguins was a highly entertaining film, and there is no disputing its place among mass appeal documentaries, however, I still think Murderball was the best of the year.
  • Best Original Screenplay: Crash wins, I picked it to win, although I really don't think it was the best. The film was excellent, portraying this microcosm of reality, cramming in as many racial stereotypes as they could. However, because it was so compressed, the dialogue is more a caricature of reality. In reality, based on the nominees, I think Noah Baumbach's screenplay for The Squid and the Whale was the most original work represented. It's take on the dissolution of the modern nuclear family was insightful without being overbearing, existing in its own universe, yet could believably exist within our own. Wrong choice here.

That's about all I have for the show. Looking forward to what films come out this year as potential Oscar hopefuls.

Oh yeah, my favorite film of 2005 did not get any nominations, that being Sin City.

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