Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Those Oscar nominations

The Oscar nominations went out today. I'd like to write up some of my thoughts on the nominations but due to releasing schedules between the US and Ireland some of the contenders have yet to open here. There Will Be Blood, Juno, Sweeney Todd and In The Valley of Elah have not yet been released. I was actually due to see No Country for Old Men tonight but alas that was not to be. I'll see it tomorrow hopefully. So unfortunately I won't be able to comment as fully as I'd like. Maybe I'll see some more contenders before the actual ceremony (if there is one).

Best Film
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

I've only seen Michael Clayton and I am actually surprised it got as many nominations as it did. It was a good story, well acted and had a superb ending but I felt it was slow and rather dull at times. I expect to see Old Country... and There Will... soon enough. Best director is a similar story as all the directors of the best film nominations got nominated themselves.

Best Actor
George Clooney
Daniel-Day Lewis
Johnny Deep
Tommy Lee Jones
Viggo Mortensen

I've seen two of these performances Clooney and Mortensen. I did like Clooney's turn as Michael Clayton, he is still a likeable character even though he was playing a character who wasn't really all that likeable. Mortensen though deserves to be given the Oscar. He was tremedous as the Russian mob guy. The accent, the presence and the charm. In fact, he should be given it just for the naked bath house scene alone. Talk about acting above and beyond the call of duty.

Unfortunately there really is no point in continuing as I have yet to see any of the films where the best actresses have been nominated. It appears that Ellen Page has come a long way from X-Men III. Best supporting actor / actress is the same again.

In a more technical category I expect Transformers to get the award for special effects. They really deserve recognition for bringing CGI images up to near photo realistic quality. Not to disparage Pirates III as I did leave the cinema thinking, 'wow' they are very impressive effects. Particularly the facial animation on Davy Jones but most of those effects were pioneered last year. I would have liked to have seen some recognition for The Bourne Ultimatum. I know some people will say it is merely an action movie but that is to do it a massive disservice. Not only did it bring a quality franchise to a very satisfying conclusion but it ended it on a high note. I feel that director Paul Greengrass should have been nominated for best director. He certainly put his own distinctive look on the franchise upon taking over from Doug Liman. He carried this look over to the third movie and perfected it. Nobody does shaky-cam like Greengrass. Also his narrative instincts were shown to superb by taking the risk of splitting the chronology of Supremacy and Ultimatum, then trusting the audience to figure it out for themselves. That is enough ranting about that oversight.

Another other film I expected to get some nominations was American Gangster. I really enjoyed the movie but I felt that it didn't quite have the quality to be win best picture but I did expect it to be nominated. I've just realised that Zodiac has also been shown no love by the Academy. It was similar to Michael Clayton in that it has been described as dull but it was the subject matter that really grabs you. The attention to detail in the movie is astounding and the acting was also of the highest quality. Although I had some reservations about Jake Gyllenhaal, not his performance so much but rather his presence in the role. I think the movie should at least have been given some writing nominations.

One thing I would really like to see is our release schedules come more inline with those in the US. We get the big blockbusters the same day but it would be nice to start seeing the smaller more award friendly movies be the same.

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