Saturday, March 04, 2006

Culture: And the winner is ...

As usual, I've seen very few of the nominated films but here goes as it is a birthright of bloggers to opine whether or not we know any better! My picks are in bold.

Performance by an actor in a leading role:
    Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Capote”
    Terrence Howard in “Hustle & Flow”
    Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain”
    Joaquin Phoenix in “Walk the Line”
    David Strathairn in “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
Of these films, only saw "Walk the Line." I thought Phoenix was great at Cash but here in LA, all the buzz is with Hoffman.

UPDATE: One of the locks of the evening came through.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
    George Clooney in “Syriana”
    Matt Dillon in “Crash”
    Paul Giamatti in “Cinderella Man”
    Jake Gyllenhaal in “Brokeback Mountain”
    William Hurt in “A History of Violence”
I saw Cinderella Man and Crash. Giamatti was fantastic. The ensemble cast of Crash was extraordinary and it rightly won that SAG award for ensemble cast. I can see why they chose Dillon as his character was complex and Dillon pulled it off well. However, for me, in Crash, the scenes with Michael Pena had the most emotional power from moments of incredible tenderness and moments of violent peril.

UPDATE: A bit of a surprise but Clooney graciously tipped his hat to the others in the catagory.

Performance by an actress in a leading role:
    Judi Dench in “Mrs. Henderson Presents”
    Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica”
    Keira Knightley in “Pride & Prejudice”
    Charlize Theron in “North Country”
    Reese Witherspoon in “Walk the Line”
Only have seen Walk the Line. Loved Witherspoon. She can do romantic comedy and she can do serious stuff too and is adorable in comedy and believable in drama. However, the buzz about Huffman's role is very strong.

UPDATE: SAG had split between Witherspoon and Huffman so no real surprise here. It was a coin toss and I'm happy Reese won it for her super performance as June Carter Cash.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
    Amy Adams in “Junebug”
    Catherine Keener in “Capote”
    Frances McDormand in “North Country”
    Rachel Weisz in “The Constant Gardener”
    Michelle Williams in “Brokeback Mountain”
Have seen NONE of these films. The buzz seems to be with Weisz though I've heard a few people mention Adams.

UPDATE: Weisz won as expected.

Achievement in directing:
    “Brokeback Mountain” - Ang Lee
    “Capote” - Bennett Miller
    “Crash” - Paul Haggis
    “Good Night, and Good Luck" - George Clooney
    “Munich” - Steven Spielberg
The DGA gave their award to Lee which is usually the best indicator of who will win.

UPDATE: The DGA should know!

Best motion picture of the year
    “Brokeback Mountain”
    “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
Have seen Crash and Munich. Munich is a very effective spy thriller-action movie but its explorations of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was uneven. The buzz is obviously with Brokeback Mountain which I haven't seen. Let me go ahead and make my pitch to encourage readers to see Crash. It is at times over the top and it has the most foul language - I heard a radio report that some watchdog group counted the number of expletives used in this year's Oscar films - and its device of having all the characters "crash" together is a bit strained. However, the performances by the ensemble cast are amazing. The visuals, the pacing, the music and the relationships are all riviting. The exploration of the racial attitudes move beyond the usual black-white boilerplate and the characters are much more complicated than they first appear - kind of like real life. Thus, my heart says, CRASH. But my head says Brokeback Mountain has the momentum.

UPDATE: No question about it, a huge upset but clearly if Brokeback wasn't going to win, it would be Crash taking the prize. I wonder how close was the voting?


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