February 10, 2007

I personally know three people who voted for or plan to vote for "Letters from Iwo Jima" for Best Picture. Another is on the fence between "The Departed" and "Iwo Jima," looking like the latter.

Additionally I know someone...who knows two other people...who voted for "Iwo."

On top of this, one of my four claims "Little Miss Sunshine" is the talk of the actors (big branch, that - and we could have guessed as much given the SAG). He/she seems convinced the little yellow bus has it in the bag.

What does all of this mean? Nothing. I'm just bored. But I do think it is important to realize that voters will be taking their vote seriously this year. No one is going to think a vote for the film they REALLY want to win is a throw away, because all five horses are in definitive play. Whatever wins Best Picture will be voted as such from a place of passion.

Column on Monday.


I'm begining to think that actors have some rather poor taste. They seem to love these ensembles filled with one or two dimensional characters, that rely on the writing(often cliched and/or simplistic) more so than any complex or truely interesting character work by the actors themselves. It's rather puzzling.

Both Little Miss Sunshine and Crash feature characters that rely on a general simplicity in their writing. With all this talk about desperately wanting "complex roles" I'm thinking actors are pretty full of it and seem to gravitate towards the complete opposite. Sure LMS and Crash both feature some fine performances. But there is nothing truely astounding or interesting about the actors work in either film. From last years nominees, no acting in Crash comes remotely close to the level of skill and achievment as that of Phillip Seymour Hoffman or Heath Ledger.

This year, it's also striking when you compare it to the wonderful acting and character work you see in the other nominated films. In The Queen both Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen offer wonderful and fascinating performances made even better when you see how well they play off of each other. The Screenplay is of course brilliant, but both actors also manage to add many layers that comes from the brilliance of their performances rather than just what the script tells them to say. Letters from Iwo Jima shows some great work by Kazunari Ninomiya who I think deserved a nomination. And even in another ensemble piece like Babel, Brazza and especially Kikuchi, offer two much more complex and interesting performances than anything you'll find in LMS. Even the smaller players deliver good performances. What Cate Blanchett manages to do in just 30 seconds in that scene with Brad Pitt where they're talking over drinks is far superior to anything in LMS.

I agree with you Hejia. Whie I found LMS darling, it is by no means, a cinematic achievement worthy of the attention it's gotten so far. It's a cute, safe little movie. Although I would say that Alan Arkin was very touching and his performance was indeed worthy of a nomination.

BABEL boasted, in my opinion, the best performances of the year.

Iwo Jima - what can I say? I've put the DVD in three times with the intention of watching it but just couldn't make it happen. It was too tough to watch at home with those subtitles. So I can't really offer an opinion. I wonder if others had the same problem?

The Queen - beautiful performance by Helen Mirren but I still think Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal deserves more accolades than what she's been getting. She is phenomenal. I wasn't as moved by the Queen as others - it felt a little bit stale. But overall a nice movie with great performances.

For me, it boils down to Babel and The Departed as the truest representation of the best pictures of the year. And I feel like it wil boil down to a best picture/best director split with Scorsese rightfully getting his long overdue Oscar and Babel walking away with the big prize.

I just talked to my next door neighbor (academy member, make up branch) and her friend, also make up branch. they voted for BABEL and said they and their friends that they know of send their ballots in the first week. Is the race over? Are there any statistics about when the majority of members send in their ballots?


That's interesting. Just out of curiousity, did your neighbor and her friends ever end up seeing Letters From Iwo Jima? I'm wondering if enough AMPAS members will bother to see the film in order for it to still be in the race.

you know, Kris, I never did figure out how Richard Nixon won reelection, no-one Pauline Kael's knew voted for him.

What's frustrating is that Breslin was nominated (not as bad as if Toni Collette had been nominated) when a truly great supporting performance by a child, Zoe Weizenbaum, in Twelve and Holding was actually delivered this year. Ivana Baquero was also stronger than Breslin, but Breslin was a locked nomination because she's the title character.

The observation that no vote is a throwaway vote is a good one. very little prerace consensus in best picture.

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