Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Oscar Nominations

Here they are.

First thoughts: as everyone will point out, "Brokeback Mountain" got eight nominations, the most, but its absence in key categories (no "Best Song?") means it is hardly a slam-dunk. No Art Direction, no Costume, no Film Editing -- those are all areas it could and should have been recognized. No Best Song is easily the most striking -- only three nominees (including "Crash's "In The Deep") and not Emmylou Harris for "A Love That Will Never Grow Old?" or Rufus Wainwright for "The Maker Makes?" Bizarre. Best Picture and Best Director match up exactly, so no one got cheated and we can't spot any thin support that way. So everyone will call it a horse race with "Crash" the likeliest spoiler. And then "Brokeback" will triumph in the end.

My favorite suprise: best documentary short "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin." Corwin is a legendary writer for radio who wrote brilliant, brilliant pieces that have faded a bit in memory but are thrillingly good. (You can find them on old-time radio compilations.) "On A Note Of Triumph" was written for VE Day and is stunning in its presience, dignity and sheer beauty. I've been looking for an excuse to write about him for years and now I've got my chance.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Roger Ebert is overrating "Crash"'s chances to be a spoiler - it's hardly been universally acclaimed. The only critics' Best Picture award it won was from the Chicago group, no surprise given what a partisan Ebert is being.

And yeah, it won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards on Sunday night - but I have it on good authority from a SAG member I know that he only voted for it because "Crash" was the only nominee where the studio sent screeners to all 25,000+ SAG members.

Michael in New York said...

DVD is a big player. It's the first time anyone sent DVDs to every members of SAG (actually 100,000 copies). SAG is a poor indicator for the Best Picture Oscar (right 6 out of the last 10 times) so Brokeback losing is no big deal. Besides, I think Crash is a true ensemble whereas Brokeback is smaller scale. I too don't think Crash is the spoiler -- the name I keep hearing is Good Night and Good Luck.

Michael in New York said...

Oh and Felicity Huffman may benefit from DVD because Harvey Weinstein held back on sending out most of the screeners till now, so Transamerica will be one of the last movies voters see before filing out their ballots so she will be fresh in their minds, while Reese is relatively old news now.

Anonymous said...

"A Love That Will Never Grow Old" from Brokeback (actually written by Bernie Taupin and Gustavo Santaolalla) was disqualified for Original Song. Not enough of it was heard in the movie, per Academy regs.

And the Music branch changed the way they decide the nominees. For the first time they screened a three-minute clip of every potential Best Song at the Academy, to demonstrate how the song was used in the film. That could be the reason for just three nominees this year; it's possible songs heard over the end credits were knocked out by the rules change.

Michael in New York said...

Thanks. I had changed my comments when I heard from Inside Oscar author Damien Bona about the rules changes. But you've been even more explicit. They didn't disqualify end credit songs because first, that would make it impossible for most movies with traditional scores to have an eligible song and second, Dolly Parton would have been eliminated since her tune only appears over the credits, I believe. Viewing a clip to see how the song is used in the movie is an intriguing and I think valid change, since a movie that really uses a song as part of the film (as opposed to a snippet heard on a car radio in passing just so it will be counted) deserves more credit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation of the Song rule changes. I came here hoping to see if this was mentioned.
On a side note, I am very glad BBM is being so well received. I believe it is not only an important movie, but so well done in every way. Rarely do movies keep you talking about them days after you have seen them.
Now, hopefully, they don't cheapen it with some asinine dance number at the Oscars with Nathan Lane and a bunch of dancers dressed as shirtless cowboys.
That would be so depressing

Michael in New York said...

Since Jon Stewart is the host -- instead of Billy Crystal -- I think we'll be spared a chorus line of cowboys.

Harry "broadcastellan" Heuser said...

Thanks for spreading the news about the Corwin documentary nomination. How could I have missed that? I've written about his radio plays at some length; now I've got to get my hands on a copy of that documentary. Gosh, the things you learn when you read other people's blogs.

Michael in New York said...

Harry, if you're in NYC, MOMA sponsors a showing of all the Oscar shorts. Call MOMA for details -- it's only five bucks and they're airing I think on Feb 25, but it sells out fast.