Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Obligatory Oscar ostinato

Weird. Last year felt like a strong year for movies. But this morning’s Academy Award noms seem like a weak pot of coffee.

I wouldn’t begrudge Martin Scorsese his overdue Oscar, but be real; “The Departed” was an overblown B-movie and a waste of a lot of people’s great talent.

Terrific to see Ryan Gosling nominated for “Half Nelson”; this kid is shaping up to be the next Edward Norton.

Also good to see Forest Whitaker nominated for “The Last King of Scotland”; hope he doesn’t show up wearing that blackface makeup from the movie!

Will Smith? “The Pursuit of Happyness”? No way in hell that was an Oscar-worthy performance. Clive Owen is much more deserving for “Children of Men.”

But hey, with two black head coaches going to the Super Bowl, and two black men up for Best Actor, this could turn out to be the best year for black people since 1984.

Ahhh, 1984… Bill Cosby resurrected the sitcom by playing a doctor married to a lawyer (when NBC wanted him to be blue-collar)… Eddie Murphy showed Hollywood that a black star could single-handedly carry a blockbuster action picture, without having to be a white star’s “buddy”… (Can you imagine if Sylvester Stallone had made “Beverly Hills Cop,” as originally planned?)… Jesse Jackson ran for president, and pulled 3.5 million votes in the Democratic primaries… And who was the toast of Broadway? A sister calling herself “Whoopi Goldberg”… Wynton Marsalis emerged as the “Young Lion” of jazz, while the priapic Prince popped his load on movie screens from sea to shining sea, rewriting pop-culture history with “Purple Rain”…

Yeah, ’84 was the bomb…

Wait, what was I talking about?… Oh, right. Fuck a Will Smith!

As for Best Actress, well, dangit… I haven’t seen any of them flicks. But the first one I intend to is “Notes on a Scandal.” The trailer's great.

Best Supporting Actor… hey, what the… two more Negroes? Has the world gone topsy-turvy? I think Eddie Murphy is being overpraised for his performance in “Dreamgirls.” (His last number had me thinking of “James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party.”) Djimon Hounsou in “Blood Diamond” I didn’t see.

And sorry, Marky Mark… if anybody deserves an acting nomination for “The Departed,” it’s Alec Baldwin.

For Supporting Actress, I’ll be rooting for Jennifer Hudson, because she did rock that showstopper, didn’t she? But Abigail Breslin might cop for “Little Miss Sunshine.” Hollywood lurvs that movie; I kinda like it too.

For Adapted Screenplay, here’s a chance for “Children of Men” to win something (along with Cinematography), though Alfonso Cuaron was straight-up robbed in the Director category.

Original Screenplay? I need to see some more movies, but “Little Miss Sunshine” sounds like a safe bet.

Animated Feature Film? “Happy Feet” all the way, babe… those cute little penguins… they were singin’! Except for that one… remember, the tap-dancing one? Wasn't that a trip when he started tap-dancing?… Boy, I was laughin’ and grinnin'… penguins…

What was I saying?… Oh, right. Mother-FUCK a Marky Mark!!


Anonymous said...

Crash last year, and now Babel this year... uuuuggggghhh!!

why do I even still pay attention? yet here I am.

I feel sorry that you couldn't enjoy The Departed. It would be ironic if he finally won for this movie, but this movie was FUN from begining to end. Well, nearly to the end. I mean the rat on the balcony was kinda ridiculous.

Letters from Iwo Gima was great, IMHO.

I agree that Children of Men could've used a bit more love.

Glad to see Iraq in Fragments get a nom. Of course, it won't win. Although, An Inconvienient Truth is the scariest movie I've ever seen, and obviously important.

Agree again, Marky Mark was great, hilarious, but I give the edge to Baldwin. There was room for both given all the noms.

Little Miss Sunshine was nice. But for whatever reason... I don't know... The little girl did a great job, for a little girl.

Animated Movie. Fuck a Happy Feet! and Mother Fuck a Cars! Monster House was great.

Oh yeah, and Fuck a superbowl! I'm going to the movies.

Undercover Black Man said...

Weird about "The Departed"... I kept waiting for it to kick into gear somehow... and it never quite did for me. Any towards the end, when all the switcheroos and bullets-to-the-brain were piled on top of one another... meh.

"Monster House"... I'm seeing other people rave about this movie NOW. Did it make money? I don't remember much hubbub when it first came out.

Dougfp said...

Sorry, I can't agree with Anonymous. Babel is much better than Crash. Crash loaded up the coincidences like a twenty-car pile-up on the 405. Babel's storylines all flow from a single incident. The Japanese hunter giving his Moroccan guide the rifle. The couple played by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, the Mexican nanny, the girl in Japan all flowed organically from that single exchange. None of the cop-feels-up-a-black-woman-then miraculously-saves-her-from-a- burning-car crap. It'd be a shame if people dismiss Babel (a far better movie) because Crash won last year and shouldn't have.

Anonymous said...

Babel is way better then Crash. It would be hard for anything not to be. That being said, I believe Babel is being taken way too seriously.

fastcharles said...

Mark Wahlberg is fucking harsh! Other than all the head-shots he was the only reason to see The Departed - he needs some love too - his film career is magnificent and no one seems to care. Half Nelson was the best movie of 2006, Ryan Gosling almost made me cry, but there should have been some love for the black actors. And - the docs category is missing Heart of the Game, I don't know how one would see this now (it may be on DVD soon) but it's incredible and was narrated by Luda, so what's not to like?

dez said...

I raved about "Monster House" when it came out; the 3-D version was spectacular! "Happy Feet" blows. And I don't think "Monster House" made nearly the money of "Happy Feet" or "Cars," so on that account, it doesn't stand a chance [grrr].

I loved "The Departed" and thought the rat on the balcony was a great nod to Marty's '70s heyday, even if it was heavy-handed. It may be a retread of themes Marty's handled before, but there was so much skill and enjoyment put into it. If nothing else, Marty deserves a Naked Gold Guy for getting an Oscar-worthy performance out of Mark Wahlberg (something else I raved about when the film came out), but I agree that Alec Baldwin should have been nominated, too.

"Children of Men" was brilliant and I can't believe it didn't get nominated for BP. "Letters from Iwo Jima" seems to have the popular momentum right now (great film, too--very emotional, yet understated).

The one person who was totally robbed, though, was Sasha Baren Cohen. "Borat" is awesome and deserved more noms, especially in the acting and BP categories. Not that I would give it the Oscar over "The Departed," but the recognition is always nice. Er, isn't it?

Undercover Black Man said...

Dez, you wrote: "The one person who was totally robbed, though, was Sasha Baren Cohen. 'Borat' is awesome and deserved more noms, especially in the acting and BP categories."

There was a little controversy over whether such an "improvised" movie should qualify for a screenwriting award. After all, there was no script!

But the Writers Guild nominated it as well, so obviously most professional writers (including myself) realize that the conceptualization and the shaping of the "Borat" narrative was a kind of writing. (Unlike the "Jackass" films.)

But since you bring it up, it does seem that "Borat" was, foremost, a masterpiece of acting. And Cohen is more deserving of an award for that than for "writing."

dez said...

I think there was a script for some of "Borat" (mostly the framing story of his quest to marry Pamela Anderson), but I understand why some people think it should not have been nominated in the writing category. There's been a similar controversy over giving writing credits on reality TV shows. I haven't seen the "Jackass" films, so I don't know how those compare as far as shaping a narrative.

One reason I think Baron Cohen deserves an acting nom is that he never once breaks character in the film (which is really saying something when you think about the wrestling scene, hee). Of course, I am very biased in his favor, having been a fan of his work since the original British "Ali G" series :-) I haven't seen the Ali G film, but I'm looking forward to the Bruno one he's working on (can't imagine he's going to have an easy time getting people to agree to be on camera with him, though).

ubmfan1 said...

"But hey, with two black head coaches going to the Super Bowl, and two black men up for Best Actor, this could turn out to be the best year for black people since 1984."

UBM, you had me rollin' with this blog post. You're not gonna be able to tell black folks nothing in 2007!

I'm rooting for my homegirl Jennifer Hudson, but I actually hope she doesn't win. My concern is about her "peaking" too soon at the tender age of 25 and the pressure she'll face to try to duplicate that success so early in her career. And though I'm a fan, I think she needs to pay her dues. Plus, I hear talk of a Oscar curse.

Undercover Black Man said...

ubmfan1: Thanks so much for dropping a line. As for Jennifer Hudson... I hate to pre-judge a girl, but I wonder whether she's the kind of person who, if she does win the Oscar, will let it totally go to her head.

On one hand, she almost doesn't need to win... "Dreamgirls" has launched her singing and acting careers to the stratosphere already. On the other hand, I think she deserves that trophy. And I'd love to see her walk away with it.