Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NBR: Eastwood's "Iwo Jima" Best Film Of The Year

The staid National Board of Review has just thrown a monkey wrench into the Oscars season by naming Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" the best film of the year. Remember, "Flags Of Our Fathers" was supposed to be Eastwood's Oscar ticket this year, with "Letters" cleverly released early next year to reinforce his accomplishment. But "Flags" got polite reviews and disappeared so quickly from the box office that his studio decided to jump on the foreign language "Letters From Iwo Jima" and release it in time to qualify for the Academy Awards. That switch may be the smartest last minute move since ABC moved "Ugly Betty" from Friday to Thursday. Now suddenly Eastwood is in the hunt again and everyone (including me) is eagerly looking forward to his film. (Here's their track record on Best Film picks, in case you're wondering.) Interestingly, no ref to "United 93" or Stone's "World Trade Center," the sort of movies that might have appealed to them. Other fun details: the NBR couldn't resist naming Catherine O'Hara from "For Your Consideration" for Best Supporting Actress, in a nice case of life imitating art. Frontrunners Meryl Streep, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson and Ryan Gosling all got nods. And Scorsese got Best Director for "The Departed." But why is "Letters From Iwo Jima" (in Japanese) Best Film and "Volver" (in Spanish) Best Foreign Film? The top movies of the year, after "Letters From Iwo Jima" in alphabetical order per them:

Blood Diamond
The Departed
The Devil Wears Prada
Flags Of Our Fathers
The History Boys
Little Miss Sunshine
Notes On A Scandal
The Painted Veil


RC said...

i rather enjoy this years "monkey wrench" because it makes this year a little more unpredictable then last year.

Anonymous said...

Is it an upset that Dreamgirls did not make the top 10?

Michael in New York said...

Well, see my posting from Fox News dissecting the awards. The NBR has become a bit of a joke, with five of the top film awards going to Warner Bros. (the head of the NBR is friends with people at WB) and four to Fox and one to Babel. That's wildly illogical -- two studios producing all the best films? -- and shuts out The Queen and Dreamgirls etc. It would be an upset if the NBR wasn't a scam, the way the Globes were for so many years until they realized it was more profitable to be taken seriously. But I wouldn't necessarily expect Dreamgirls to score big from the NY or LA critics -- it's more of an Oscar movie than a critical fave.

Michael in New York said...

And yes, rc, unpredictable is always more fun. I don't think anything is going to be a given this year.