Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2007 Oscar Nominations

Wow, I lasted 19 whole days with my unofficial New Year's Resolution to update daily. 19 days, then a 3-day break. Well, that's better than the "3 days of updates, 19-day break" schedule I lapsed into toward the end of last year.

I'll finish relating my 1 Vs. 100 saga soon, I swear (and by "swear" I mean "maybe"). Hopefully tomorrow. Today, let's take a look at the Oscar nominations!

Several striking items of note, #1 being the Dreamgirls Best Picture snub. Interesting. I still haven't seen it, nor do I want to, frankly, but I always had the feeling that it wasn't going to clean up at the Oscars the way Chicago did, despite it being a similar feel-good musical sensation, despite the early buzz, and, since last week, despite its Best Musical or Comedy win at the Golden Globes. The backlash was strong on this one, and the lack of a Best Picture nod is cutting. Still, it scored eight nominations, more than any other picture, which is also surprising. Made me wonder how many other times that had happened, most noms with no Best Picture. And, thank you for providing the answer, Yahoo: none. None other times. Ouchie.

Another big surprise to me was Leonardo DiCaprio's nomination for Blood Diamond rather than The Departed. Personally, I think he really did give a better performance in Diamond, though I liked Departed much better overall. Which I think is a widely held opinion about the two movies, leading me to believe the Oscars would reward DiCaprio with a nomination for the more beloved film. The Best Actor nominees mirror the Golden Globe Best Actor, Drama nominees, except the lack of a double nomination for DiCaprio means Ryan Gosling slipped in for his work in Half Nelson, which I've heard is an amazing performance, so: nicely done. Sadly, it also means none of the Golden Globe Best Actor, Musical or Comedy nominees made it in, including Globe winner Sacha Baron Cohen, and my dark horse favorite, Will Ferrell for Stranger Than Fiction. Oh well. Also, Forest Whitaker did indeed grab a Best Actor nomination, despite pre-Golden Globes (where he won Best Actor) buzz that he'd be up for Supporting Actor instead. Good for him. I haven't seen The Last King of Scotland yet, but he's so awesome in general I can only assume he richly deserves the nomination and more than likely eventual win.

Okay, I don't really want to go category by category here. I'll just pick out a couple other points of interest, such as the potential record-setting losses that have been set up. Peter O'Toole is currently tied with other actors for most acting nominations with no win, which would be seven. His nomination for Venus could be -- and will be, I'm saying now -- his eighth loss, a record-breaker. It's a shame; he's a brilliant actor, and everyone who didn't vote for him for Lawrence of Arabia deserves a kick in the ass, even if they have to be dug out of their graves for it to be delivered. But this is not his year, once again. And Martin Scorsese can break the tie he's in and set the record for most Directing nominations without a win if he loses for The Departed, his sixth chance. I think he's got a strong shot at it -- in fact, despite Eastwood beating him for the Globe, I think he's a mortal lock. [EDIT: As Noel points out in the comments, I am an idiot and a liar, though he says it more nicely; Eastwood won for Best Foreign Film, while Scorsese in fact did win the Directing award.] This is Scorsese's year, this is the time the Academy finally gives him the award, as much for their past neglect and for his career as a whole than specifically for The Departed. (Though The Departed was pretty kick-ass.)

Not surprising, to me, anyway: once again, the Academy shows its bizarre proclivity for rewarding very young actresses with nominations in the Best Supporting Actress category (Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine). Remember Anna Paquin for The Piano? Remember Tatum O'Neal for Paper Moon? The Oscars love youngsters in this one specific category, year after year. It's weird, but a good way to impress people with the occasional random upset pick. (Not that Breslin is going to win -- Jennifer Hudson is the one to beat here.)

I'll eventually delve into other areas when I do my Oscar picks, but for now, this is enough for a first response. Anyone else have feelings about this one way or the other? What got snubbed? What shouldn't be nominated? Nitpick away!

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