Tuesday, January 25, 2005

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Who got screwed by the Oscars?

The Academy Award nominations were announced this morning. You can look at the list by clicking here.

The staff here at danieldrezner.com will be hard at work with our annual Oscar predictions. This year, however, we introduce a new interactive feature -- who did work that merited a nomination at the very least but got completely shut out. [You need a catchy name for them, like the Oscars or the Razzies--ed. Hmm.... how about the Rogers?]

Looking over the nominations, the most glaring omission was the absence of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from most of the major categories. Kate Winslet got nominated, and so did the screenplay, but Jim Carrey, director Michel Gondry, and the movie itself deserved way better treatment.

Other omissions:

1) Laura Dern for Best Supporting Actress in We Don't Live Here Anymore;

2) Paul Giamatti for Best Actor in Sideways -- try to imagine any other actor in that role [UPDATE: Washington Post readers agree!!];

3) Uma Thurman for Best Actress in Kill Bill, Vol. II;

4) For that matter, there's no way anyone watches Kill Bill Vol. II without giving the film a nod in the sound categories for the coffin sequence;

5) Anyone, for anything, for Friday Night Lights (This, by the way, is the film that conservatives should talk about when discussing liberal biases in Hollywood, and not The Passion of the Christ, which actually did collect three Oscar nominations);

6) Once again, action movies got hosed in the technical nominations -- even the "arty" action movies. How in the hell does Collateral not get nominated for Best Cinematography? Or The Bourne Supremacy for Best Editing

7) I haven't seen it yet, but I find it hard to believe that Team America: World Police does not have one song superior to "Believe" from The Polar Express

I'd have added Natalie Portman for Garden State, but she got nominated anyway for Closer, so it's no big whoop. I toyed with the idea of adding Zach Braff for Best Original Screenplay, but the guy is getting thousands of comments on his blog and gets to act with Portman, Sarah Chalke and Heather Graham -- so f*** him.

The staff at danieldrezner.com welcomes other glaring omissions!!

UPDATE: Do be sure to check out the Golden Raspberry nominations as well. As an added bonus, they have the a special “Worst of Our First 25 Years” list of nominations if you scroll down.

posted by Dan on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM



I'm pretty sure your "Portman" link actually points to a picture of Keira Knightley. They do look similar: Miss Knightley was fake Queen Amidala in The Phantom Menace. I think, however, that the picture is not actually Natalie Portman. I am not 100% certain, but the filename supports my hypothesis.

posted by: PJB on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

In the case of Collaterial, I have a feeling that any Michael Mann film is guarentee to have interesting to outstanding cinematography (the ONLY Mann film that's not up to his usual standard is one of his early effort, Manhunter, which looks too much like Miami Vice). It might be that the cinematographers got so used to his usual standard that they forgot to nominate it.

As for Paul Giamatti, agree. Is it that Oscar people doesn't want to nominate someone who isn't good looking? Sideways rest squarely on Paul Giamatti's shoulder, and he really makes a flawed human comes alive. The fact that they nominated Thomas Haden Church & Virginia Madsen and not Giamatti is kind of hard to take.

posted by: BigFire on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Whoops -- the Portman link has been updated.

posted by: Dan Drezner on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Ummm... Collateral wasn't deserving...Mann may have intentionally desired the flat, depthless look that the digitally shot film had, but the look itself wasn't the stuff of great cinematography.

They should have nominated Kevin Bacon for The Woodsman, and Nicole Kassell as well.

posted by: flaime on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

And how is Jamie Foxx not the leading actor in "Collateral"?

posted by: Steve on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Jamie Foxx isn't the lead because he was
intentionally put forward as supporting
actor by the studio, so as not to hurt his
chances for Ray (where he's up for
Best Actor).

As far as omissions go, I'd add Liam
Neeson for Kinsey. I think the movie
was overrated (it was ok), but he was

posted by: Matt Newman on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

What a lousy year for movies.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Nothing for Napoleon Dynamite??

posted by: Rick Almeida on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Agreed all around-- Giamatti, Eternal Sunshine, and Garden State all got screwed.

Further to the action movie point: no nominations for Hero, only one for House of Flying Daggers.

posted by: Jacob T. Levy on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

I really, really thought The Incredibles would get a Best Picture nomination -- it's a strong movie in a very weak year. Shows what I know.

posted by: Eric Berlin on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

I am in Paris now watching Canal + and Jean Reno is on; they just gave the news about the Oscar nominations. I am just waiting for them to ask him his reactions, esp Natalie Portman (his co-start in "The Professional"/"Leon"). My take is this: NP wasn't terrible in "Closer" but I think there were far better actresses this year (Meryl Streep, Kyra Sedgwick) in the supporting role. I actually think there is this child-porn-ness quality that middle-aged males (not unlike the Paul Giamatti character in "Sideways", who bought his "Barely Legal" magazine) get off on. It's a pout; she's a siren, not an accomplished performer. Isn't this what brought us the overly enunciating Ashley Judd a few years back? This isn't skill. This is tender, slick lips. I would even push Ashlee Simpson in that category, only now she is apparently being shown for what she is --a truly untalented performer. Then again, 2005 --mediocrity is the name of the game.

posted by: Diego on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

What's it going to take for Peter Sarsgaard to get nominated? He was phenomenal this year in Garden State and Kinsey, he wuz robbed after Shattered Glass last year, and you could make a strong argument for him in Boys Don't Cry. Oh well.

posted by: Ed on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Dan, couldn't agree more on Eternal Sunshine which Pam and I just saw recently on PPV (goodbye Blockbuster). Thought Jim Carrey was fantastic.

As for Best Song / Score, you are absolutely correct on Team America: World Police. The reason for the omission however, is that unlike South Park: The Movie which had "Blame Canada" as its proxy for "Uncle F***ker" (which we all know was the song which was really meant to be nominated), Team America didn't have an easily embraced backup to the theme song of "America, F**k Yeah." Mocking Ben Affleck ("Pearl Harbor Sucked and I Miss You"), Alec Baldwin ("You Are Worthless Alec Baldwin"), the musical Rent ("Everybody Has AIDS") and making fun of Kim Jong-Il's accent ("I'm So Ronery") aren't going to cut it for the Academy (unlike mocking Canadians).

posted by: Jay on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Brief note on Hero - I think it actually came out in 2002/2003 - after all, Quentin Tarantino "presented" it to American audiences well after Asian audiences had seen it and bought in on DVD - whereas House of Flying Daggers truly came out in the past Oscar cycle.

posted by: michael on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Paul Giamatti for Best Actor in Sideways -- try to imagine any other actor in that role;

I don't think that's a good statement to back up your admiration for his acting talents. Maybe the role was tailor-made for him (I think it was), and in that case an actor who had to take more risks would be more deserving.

I was never comfortable with Dr. Haing S. Ngao's Oscar. What could you compare his performance to?

posted by: Cryptic Ned on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Laura Dern didn't get nominated because We Don't Live Here Anymore is a relentless downer of a pretentious WASP angst Sunday movie of the week. And I thought she was very good in it, but I'm not surprised she got overlooked.

posted by: weboy on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

I thought it was kind of interesting that "Old Habits Die Hard" from the "Alfie" soundtrack didn't even get nominated, even though it *won* the Golden Globe.

posted by: Kaity on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

What I would love to see would be a survey and awards for the Best Picture, Best Actor, etc. of 1995, i.e., ten years ago. I have a sense that some movies don't age well, and others are late bloomers.

posted by: Acad Ronin on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Just because the screen goes dark, doesn't make a brilliant sound sequence...in Kill Bill II. It was a bold choice, but nothing brilliant.

Collateral gets overlooked for a slew of nominations - cinematography (bias against digital in the film world), costume (what stands out more than tom cruise dressed like a grey wolf), and for my money, best picture and director. Mann has been steadily mixing the action film genre with techno-opera - creating this world of vast urban landscape pulsating with energy and the alienated male. He's a more serious, post-modern, Howard Hawks.

Friday Night Lights deserves something, as does Shaun of the Dead.

posted by: Greg on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

The coffin scene in KillBill2 was a terrific use of sound, but that was really a directorial decision (or more likely something QT put in the script) rather than a sound editor's decision. The artistic choices actually left to the technical post-porduction crew generally tend to be very subtle, so I disagree that the nominations are somehow obviously wrong.

Vis-a-vis cinematography, I'd say that the general public often has cheap tastes and is taken in by old/cheap tricks. The biggest offender here is color-saturated films (washing whole shots in blue tint, etc.); this is really old stuff (starting about 1993), and not to mention frees the film makers from having to make real aesthetic decisions. There are ways to give a film a 'look', some cheap, some not.

So it puzzles me that Passion of the Christ gets a nod in that category. Aside from the whole film profoundly sucking, it exmplifies that lazy school of photogrphy.

posted by: aPantomimeHorse on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

If anything, Bourne Supremacy deserves a nomination for Worst Editing. The constant two-second cuts turned it into something like a two hour music video - confusing, headache-inducing, and totally unnecessary.

posted by: Al Gore on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Mr. Vice President, I must take issue with your nomination of Bourne Supremacy for Worst Editing. You clearly have yet to see Aliens vs. Predator, which should also win an award for "Most Appropriate Tagline" and cemented my support of the death penalty, but only for directors with multiple movies that are monumentally bad (both Resident Evil movies, killing 2 cool franchises with one swift, nonsensical blow, Mortal Kombat--you die now Mr. Andersen).

posted by: Jim Dandy on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Yeah, on the subject of Braff- you also forget that he's dating songstress/actress Mandy Moore. and to further add to the "f*** him list." Don't forget about Tara Reid, Amy Smart, Elizabeth Bogush (the druggie from the first scrubs season), and on and on. Bastard.

posted by: Steve Hildreth on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

How about Million Dollar Baby as the conservative movie of the year? The most evil character is dependent on welfare and medicare, the hero comes from small beginnings and works hard to get to the top, the religious angle wasn't overblown...if anything the film highlights the gap between conservatives who believe the (spoiler alert!) assisted-suicide angle is unacceptable and those who believe in the power of hard work and the evils of entitlements.

Perhaps the biggest praise for the movie is that it doesn't fit nicely into one point of view, it's just about some strong, caring people.

posted by: jared bailey on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Further, on Hero -- it was in fact nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002.

posted by: Bryant on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Friday Night Lights was a decent rental and nothing more. The football sequences were pitiful and I really was disappointed in Billy Bob's performance.

posted by: Josh on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Dan, I rented Eternal Sunshine and turned it off after twenty minutes. Probably beause I sat through all of Napoleon Dynamite and thought, "Well, there's an hour and a half I'll never get back." I didn't want to repeat my mistake.

Then I came here, and so many of you said it was a great movie I figured I'd give it another shot.

Okay. It was very good, but the ending was too long and a bit confused. But I disagree about Jim Carrey's performance: Just because he spoke in a low, quiet voice doesn't mean he did anything all that great. I thought his role in The Truman Show was a far better performance.

I think Eternal Sunshine was good, and Kate Winslet was superb, but overall, I don't think it was overlooked much.

posted by: Meryl Yourish on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

Glaring omissions?

Here's one: Mel Gibson.

posted by: Bitehad on 01.25.05 at 10:22 AM [permalink]

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