Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oscar Picks Revisited

I was pleasantly surprised to wake up this morning and find that I wasn't living in a "Brokeback World". I couldn't have been happier to go 2-for-5 in my Oscar picks.

I both pleased and hugely surprised that "Crash" picked up the Best Picture award. It really is a fine, thought-provoking, well-acted drama.

I don't think Clooney or Rachel Weisz deserved their Best Support Oscars, but those are traditionally the categories where the Academy is allowed to screw up (the Marisa Tomei rule). I think with Clooney was the sense, "Look, the guy is taking his charm and clout and trying to use them to do serious work that will provoke real conversations about topics without being a Sean Penn or a Sarandon/Robbins - polarizing figures - so let's reward him." I thought Syriana was really mediocre, but remember Clooney was nominated three times last night, so I think the sense was he had to win something.

I think the same could be said of Ang Lee and "Brokeback Mountain". "Mountain" was nominated for 8 Oscars but only won three. The Academy has to award it something, otherwise why was it so heavily nominated in the first place?

I thought "The Constant Gardener" was a long, boring mess of a movie and didn't really think anything about it was Oscar-worthy. In it, you take a member of an acceptable modern-day "bad guy" group - drug companies - and pit them against the plucky, "you-can't-tame-me-you-stodgy-British-diplomats" wife/heroine and stir. The story is like "Syriana" but for drug companies. Such characterization and demonization of drug companies is too facile by half.

1 comment:

Dad said...

We watched a bit of "The Constant Gardener" and while recognizing your comments about the villification of pharmaceuticals, I enjoyed seeing parts of Nairobi and Kenya....And I don't take these sorts of movies too seriously...As for Rachel Weisz, I too fail to see an Oscar meriting performance...In the end, "The Constant Gardener" is a brief pastime after a couple of long days at work...Jim Carroll's view of the Ralph Fiennes was quite virulent, because he characterized the character as initially weak and useless...At the point in the film, Fiennes/Quayle is predictably undergoing a metamorphoses....