Hwww.oocities.org/es/cifra2es/index.htmwww.oocities.org/es/cifra2es/index.htm.delayedxeJxOKtext/htmlp1yTxb.HTue, 26 Dec 2006 12:34:52 GMToMozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, *eJx

  Screener?

Contact Me

 Top 10 Lists

Links:

New!

Top 10 lists compiled by Engin

A must!!!

Oscarwatch

Oscarwatch Forums

Goldderby

Goldderby Forums

Internet Movie Data Base

Ain't it Cool News

Dark Horizons

Box-Office Mojo

The Bubakar Awards

The Film Experience

Everything Oscar

And the Oscar goes to...

Film Jerk

New! Oscar Buzz

New! Only Cinema

November 3rd

Long delayed update?

Actually, the site has moved to a blogspot, easier to update.

Basically, if you wonder, the race this year seems weird. The obvious frontrunner is by the team that won the last 2 years on a row (Flags of our Fathers) and is not achieving enough b.o. to guarantee its frontrunner status anymore. The 2nd pick seems to be hiding from the press (Dreamgirls) and despite the glamorous look of the trailers, that's a bad vibe (Memoirs of a Geisha redux?). If you ask me, the race seems set for a little film's victory. United 93? The Queen? Little Miss Sunshine? Babel? But after last year's Crash (pun intended) it seems time for a bigger movie. Which makes us go full circle to a Studio remake of an asian movie: The Departed.

But it's by Marty. Ouch.

 

 

March 8th

Brokeback's defeat, the ULTIMATE victory.

Even sounding so contradictory, the greatest victory of Brokeback Mountain is its own defeat. It's opened the Pandora's Box in Hollywood and that's always a good thing, to have people openly talk about homophobia in modern society.

The fact that some Academy members rejected to see Brokeback Mountain 'cause it's a movie about a gay romance is pretty significative. Analyzing the Best Picture quintet, Crash was the only movie that could make comfortable the right-extreme right with the Oscars. Good Night and Good Luck attacked the 50's Witch Hunt. Capote, death penalty. Munich, the eye for an eye politics. Brokeback dared to show as "normal" and "mainstream" an homosexual love story.

With Crash, they had a feel-good story with plenty of great moments, easy to swallow and that made a rudimentary comment about racism... it "seemed" antiracist but in the end it was a collection of stereotypes, one right after the other. The fact some of those stereotypes didn't evolve in the movie - specially the oriental ones - actually proves the movie can only be swallowed as a fable, and not a specially good one. As disturbing as its Best Picture victory is its editing win... the edit is sometimes confusion inducing, specially with the "time" factor... much better edited movies of this same year were - look no further - A History of Violence, King Kong and Brokeback Mountain.

What do we have now? Crash is collecting a general consensus of backslash. Not its fault, however, to win. The Academy's.

And they are probably taking note of the uproar. Brokeback's defeat make easier for the next great movie about gays to enter the Red Carpet. Brokeback Mountain in the end NEVER needed to win to become the movie of 2005, it already was. Oscar needed Brokeback Mountain, but Brokeback Mountain never needed Oscar.

It's called art, people.

 

 

March 6th

Crash's victory, the ULTIMATE insult.

It was so easy... Naming what all the precursors said it was the BEST picture of the year... they awarded the Score - which many were predicting -, and the locked Adapted Screenplay and Director... But comes Jack and with a wide smile he says "Crash"...  and hell froze.

Crash's victory is the Ultimate insult. It's above any discussion possible. I'll point out why.

General consensus this year is that Brokeback Mountain IS the picture of the year. It swept most of the precursors in a Sideways or Schindler's List kind of way. It was hailed as a movie that was changing mainstream Hollywood. It was hailed as the most important movie of the year in a year full of important movies. In a year that gay marriage was spreading in the western world and was a really hot issue. They made us think the whole night that it would be a 4 Oscars winner (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Score) but all of the sudden, they name... Crash.

Why does Crash's victory bother me - and many - this much? First, because it's a movie that basically can't resist the comparison to 3 masterpieces about people colliding in L.A.: Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon (only a Original Screenplay nod), Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (only 3 nods, O.Screenplay, Song and Supp. Actor for an outstanding Tom Cruise) and of all movies, Robert Altman's Short Cuts (only a Director and Screenplay nod, if I remember correctly). Naming Crash best Picture the same night Altman was the honorary award can only be described as an insult as any cinephile with a minimum taste. The only way Crash can be considered a good movie is if you buy it as a fable... but that's not the feeling you get through the movie, despite the atmospheric surprise that put some "magic" to that supposedly hiperrealist collage of racism. Too extreme characters coming together at the same time. Is Crash a parable? Maybe, but not a good one.

Having said that, Crash delivers really good and chilling moments but it's sometimes too confusing (in no way deserving the Screenplay or Editing awards). Crash wins the year that other hot runners as The Constant Gardener, King Kong or A History of Violence, were left out of the quintet. That also adds fuel to the fire.

I'm not bothering in doing an awards winner summary... if you came to this site, you probably came from one with that awards listing already done, and I want to have this one as a different, personal blog. Love it or hate it, it's a good option. After 4 years, I've decided to focus more on what I find interesting rather than in superficial aspects of the race.

And Crash's upset certainly gives a lot to think and write about. More to come, this is only the visible part of the iceberg... Crash has opened the Pandora's box.

For me, focusing now on 2006's race. Starting this March with the newes Almodovar offering, Volver. Not that I think it has a chance, but Almodovar is someone that you should always consider in modern oscarwatching.

 

 

February, 19th

After nods, my predictable rumblings...

Nobody sane is predicting anything but a Brokeback Mountain comfortable victory.  Question remains how big will it be?

Are we asisting to the tepid Rain Man-like victory? 4 wins and thanks? Or will the Academy support BBM to make it a sweeper? Given the themes in the Best Picture quintet, I'm betting more for a spread of the wealth. Big 8 predictions are:

Picture: Brokeback Mountain. Totally locked, totally deserved.

Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain. Those naming Spielberg, Clooney or Haggis have to give up pot, seriously. Spielberg has 2 Best Director Oscars already. Clooney can win another 2 Awards that night. Haggis isn't due and actually IS WINNING Original Screenplay. Miller is the "thank God for being nom'd". Lee has been deserving this Award since The Wedding Banquet, and has been snubbed from a nod that time, and also for Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility (the movie got a Best Picture nod, for God's sake!) and The Ice Storm. He - deservingly in my honest opinion - lost for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, so he's the due man of the night. No way he can lose when actually his movie is the predicted winner.

Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line. We can't count out the AMPAS celebrating homosexuality in the movies full circle by awarding Felicity Huffman's performance as a transexual in Transamerica. But Reese has been Oscar worthy many times - specially in Freeway and Election... even in Legally Blonde! She also has the "babe" factor that handed Oscars to Gwyneth, Julia, Hillary (x2)...

Actor: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote. Another due man of the night. Can't count out yet Ledger for Brokeback Mountain - if it becomes a sweeper - or even Joaquin Phoenix - if they want to reward Walk the Line with something else than Reese's. But this is Capote's Oscar. They probably won't let Capote emptyhanded.

Supp. Actress: Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain. Why? 'Cause Best Picture usually has at least one performing award. This is a tricky cathegory but it seems narrowing to Weisz and Williams... and Williams happens to be Mrs. Ledger, so it's an indirect reward to Heath, too. Weisz wouldn't surprise anyone... and this cathegory is (in)famous for its constant shockers, so watch out for Amy Adams.

Supp. Actor: George Clooney, Syriana. There are 4 equally powerful candidates, Clooney, Gyllenhaal (remember, apart from BBM he was the star of Jarhead), Giammatti (snubbed twice in a row from the nod at lead for American Splendor and Sideways) and Matt Dillon (who is a Hollywood legend in the 2nd strongest candidate for Best Picture, Crash). Given that the whole Academy votes for the win, that Clooney is someone Directors, Actors and Writers want to reward - and has little chance against Lee and Crash on the other nominated cathegories - AND the status of man of the year, Clooney probably has it already in the bag. Add to it that from the 5 nominees, he's the only one that deglamed and transformed phisycally for his role... AND that his performance was considered almost lead, which always gives extra points.

Original Screenplay: Crash. So they can give Haggins an Oscar, HIS Oscar, after "snubbing" him last year for Million Dollar Baby and his "outstanding" film debut as director. Only Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck can defeat it... but I doubt it.

Adapted Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain. Pretty obvious if you read till here. No huge competitor.

Extra predictions:

Animated Feature: Locked, locked for Wallace & Gromitt: Curse of the Were-Rabbitt. Great nominees, but W&G is a standout...

Documentary Feature: Murderball. Logic would say that March of the Penguins wins. But it's french, and it's about penguins. Murderball is out there as a possible upset.

 

 

 

January, 19th

Post Golden Globe predictions

So, Brokeback Mountain becomes the lock for the win, isn't it?.  Neither Capote or Good Night and Good Luck seem to have the emotional punch BBM has, and the rest of the contenders seem also leagues under Lee's impact with the only exception of Crash, that is maybe to divisive to defeat the more "open" BBM, so the thing seems to narrow to...

Picture:

 

Brokeback Mountain *: Ang Lee's reinvention of western (or so they say) seems to have it all in the end. Critical and audiences love, award sweeping, guilds support. Looks unbeatable now.

Capote: The last minute surprise of the race. Seemed to small and cold for going beyond performers nods, but guilds have supported it enough to become a lock for the nod... but an unlikely winner. One of the candidates BBM wants to have as fellow nominee, for granted.

Crash: The only alternative, real alternative, to a BBM win is called Crash. Against it, its early release, the fact that Haggis is a newcomer at direction while Lee is a red carpet usual suspect, and that the movie is actually too divisive. Also, don't rule out the possibility that Haggis doesn't make the cut as director.

Good Night & Good Luck: George Clooney is the man of the year in Hollywood. The only question open is if his Oscar will be as Director (unlikely), Supporting Actor (for Syrania, defeating last year snubbee Paul Giamatti) or Screenwriter (for this one). Logic says that he earns Supp. Actor and lets Original Screenplay to Crash, but... I'm betting more on Crash going emptyhanded while Clooney wins as writer, as many other actors before.

Walk the Line: In the fight between this one, Munich and in minor scale, Match Point, King Kong or Cinderella Man, Walk the Line has 2 definitive advantages: it swept the Comedy/Musical Golden Globes and also it's Fox's bet. These guys made the b.o. deception of Master & Commander the 2nd most nominated movie of 2003. They got 8 nods for the wild and divisive Moulin Rouge! Bet on Fox.

 

Alternate: Munich. Steven Spielberg's name could be enough. And DGA rarely misses a BP nominee lately.

 

Director:

George Clooney, Good Night and Good Luck

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

James Mangold, Walk the Line

Bennet Miller, Capote

Steven Spielberg, Munich

 

Alternate: Paul Haggis, Crash. Don't count out, though Woody Allen, David Cronenberg, Fernando Meirelles, Peter Jackson... The fifth nominee, that is, the lone director nod is many times unpredictable. Why do I go for Mangold when noone goes? 'cause of Fox, of course. If they nominated Hackford for Ray last year (Universal's), Fox can get Mangold nominated for the better reviewed Walk the Line.

 

Actress:

Dame Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents

Felicity Huffman, Transamerica

Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice

Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Zhang Ziyi, Memoirs of a Geisha

 

Alternate: Ziyi is iffy, at best, and basically the 5th spot is really open. Watts, Theron, Allen... all they have still a shot at making the cut. I'm going with Zhang mostly 'cause her movie is big and award desperate, and her status as previous snubbee and "being around". From the rest, I'd go with Theron as most likely alternate.

 

Actor:

Ralph Fiennes, The Constant Gardener

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line

David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck

Alternate: again open race for the 5th spot (Fiennes). I'm going with Fiennes 'cause he's also on one of the best surprises of the year (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and because his Oscar pedigree... Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow) and Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale) seem to be in too small movies, and in these cases, usually go with the one acting in the bigger and more marketed movie (The Constant Gardener). Among the alternates, I'd say that Howard has the edge but he can suffer of split voting with his Crash performance in Supporting and lose all chances in both. And of course, Russell Crowe. You can argue that his movie was bigger than Gardener... but he doesn't seem to feel due anymore and actually he probably have so many friends as enemies. So, my final first pick as alternate would be Crowe, then Howard, then Daniels.

 

Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, Junebug

Scarlett Johansson, Match Point

Catherine Keener, Capote

Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener

Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

 

Alternates: I'd go with Maria Bello for A History of Violence, the movie that probably is on the alternate status in many cathegories but might end with only an Adapted Screenplay nod. Along her, Frances MacDormand in North Country, and probably Gong Li for Memoirs of a Geisha.

 

Supp. Actor:

George Clooney, Syrania

Clifton Collins Jr, Capote

Matt Dillon, Crash

Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man

Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain

 

Alternate: Collins Jr is a gut feeling they'll go nuts with Capote, leaving Crash's Don Cheadle and Terrence Howard, Good Night and Good Luck's Frank Langella and A History of Violence's Ed Harris and William Hurt ALL without a nod. The first alternate by me would be Hurt, then Cheadle, then Howard, then Langella and finally Harris.

 

Adapted Screenplay:

A History of Violence

Brokeback Mountain

Capote

The Constant Gardener

Munich

 

Alternate: Walk the Line. Syrania seems to have been labeled Original by the Academy. Anything else would shock me.

 

Original Screenplay:

Crash

Good Night and Good Luck

Match Point

The Squid and the Whale

Syrania

Alternates: only 2 with real chances, in my opinion. Cinderella Man (1st) and The 40 Year Old Virgin (2nd). A third alternate, given this cathegory's history would be a surprise nod for Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbitt, but the movie hasn't made THAT money.

 

So, big question is... can ANYONE defeat Brokeback Mountain? Answer seems to be a clear NO. When the biggest enemy it has is a movie that seems at best winning Picture, Original Screenplay, Supp. Actor and Film Editing and has its director as an iffy chance for the nod... It looks like the only real enemy for a BBM sweep. I may be wrong, though. It wouldn't be the first nor the last time.

 

December, 26th

First official set of predictions... I know they're not much risky, but the race is getting clearer and clearer...

Time to accept that it's Brokeback Mountain's time.  Munich and King Kong aren't sure things for a nod anymore, however I think both will make the cut... Good Night and Good Luck clearly appears as the "prestige" nominee, so that leaves Walk the Line as the fifth in the quintet... here is what I think it's going to happen:

 

Picture

Brokeback Mountain *
Good Night & Good Luck
King Kong
Munich
Walk the Line

Alt: 1) Match Point, 2) Crash, 3) The Constant Gardener



Director

George Clooney, Good Night & Good Luck
David Cronenberg, An History of Violence
Peter Jackson, King Kong
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain *
Steven Spielberg, Munich

Alt: 1) Woody Allen, Match Point, 2) James Mangold, Walk the Line, 3) Paul Hagis, Crash


Actress

Dame Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
Naomi Watts, King Kong
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line *

Alt: 1) Zhang Ziyi, Memoirs of a Geisha, 2) Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger, 3) Charlize Theron, North Country


Actor

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote *
Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night & Good Luck

Alt: 1) Ralph Fiennes, The Constant Gardener, 2) Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale, 3) Eric Bana, Munich


Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Junebug
Maria Bello, An History of Violence
Scarlett Johansson, Match Point *
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Alt: 1) Gong Li, Memoirs of a Geisha, 2) Diane Keaton, The Family Stone, 3) Shirley MacLaine, In her Shoes


Supporting Actor

George Clooney, Syrania
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man *
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
Bob Hoskins, Mrs. Henderson Presents

Alt: 1) William Hurt, An History of Violence, 2) Kevin Costner, The Upside of Anger, 3) Terrence Howard, Crash


Animated Feature

The Corpse Bride
Madagascar
Wallace & Gromitt: Curse of the Were-Rabbitt *

Alt: 1) Howl's Moving Castle, 2) Chicken Little, 3) Robots


Original Screenplay

Crash
Good Night & Good Luck *
Match Point
The Squid and the Whale
Wallace and Gromitt: Curse of the Were-Rabbitt


Alt: 1) Junebug, 2) Mrs. Henderson Presents, 3) Broken Flowers


Adapted Screenplay

Brokeback Mountain *
Capote
The Costant Gardener
Munich
Syrania

Alt: 1) Walk the Line, 2) King Kong, 3) A History of Violence



* denotes my predicted winner

I'm actually divided... Clooney is SO winning an award, but if it's supporting, then Match Point wins Original - and a direct award for Woody's comeback... making it possible to have BBM with a win (supporting actress) in performers, something usual in a BP winner. That would make possible also to have Hoffman defeating Ledger (or not) given that probably people may decide that it's the team Ledger-Gyllenhaal what makes BBM so special, and that it would be unfair to reward one without rewarding the other one. Back in 1991, they didn't award Thelma & Louise but gave BOTH leads to Silence of the Lambs in which is a similar case to BBM.

I went for the Johansson, Hoffman, GN&GL at Screenplay and Giamatti route... which I think is the most usual... the payback route: Johansson, Hoffman and Giamatti have been all recently and some repeatedly snubbed... and having Clooney winning as a writer is the same that happened to Damon, Affleck, Thornton, Thompson... and BBM emptyhanded at performers given that giving one to Williams when Jake and Heath don't win may be too much, either.

And actually at this point of the race, this year ain't much room for surprises... If you ask me, there are some things that are certain:

1) Brokeback Mountain has already achieved the title of "movie of the year"... and that's half the Oscar when a movie is playing the Oscar game. Some of the exceptions of the movie of the year could be both last Michael Moore movies, which one was inelegible and the other won Best Documentary...

2) King Kong ONLY needs to survive the "flop" image that some people want to put on it to earn enough votes from most branches to make the cut for BP. It'll more than probably earn a PGA nod and maybe a DGA too... knowing it appeals to ALL branches and those branches will actually have seen the movie, it's difficult to imagine King Kong not nominated for BP. BD is less certain, but I'm confident that the GG nomination for Jackson pretty much earns him enough attention from his fellow directors (and if you see the movie, which is an extraordinary difficult project to helm, you simply can't resist putting his name in a top 5 of the year).

3) The movie I'm less confident is Walk the Line. It's just the kind of movie that looks pretty safe, that people assume it'll make the cut anyways... so they vote for another.

4) An History of Violence nominated for BP would rock my world, baby. But still, it's just wishful thinking. If Mendes with Road to Perdition (a more similar project than it seems) couldn't, Cronenberg will be happy with his first nod...

5) Munich... controversy is beginning to increase full steam, and so far, it seems that it's benefiting it more than harming. 'Cause controversy in this case isn't big enough to justify the AMPAS "avoiding" bad publicity at Oscar night. No demonstrators so far - for what I know - against the movie in front of the theaters, are they?

6) The BIG surprise at Nomination morning that I'm more expecting to happen, is a Cinderella Man resurrection with nods for Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay and some technicals. I don't think it'll happen, but if there's a conmotion that morning, it'll be CM being nominated against all odds. 'Cause it's good? No. 'Cause it looks Oscar.

 

 

December, 12th

Death of a Geisha, Munich not meeting the hopes, Oscar is Brokeback's to lose?

Brokeback Mountain has became the clear frontrunner for the final victory in everyone's minds...  and actually there aren't many reasons to think otherwise... some things point out that the other movies are in a real distance on this race... Memoirs of a Geisha is critically bombing, Cinderella Man is NOT doing a comeback, Munich is having favorable but mixed reviews, King Kong is still coming too soon for Jackson for a 2nd win, Walk the Line has missed AFI's top ten and Phoenix isn't winning the awards he was expected to... Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) is, and Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) is coming second...

Neither Good Night and Good Luck, Match Point, Syrania, The Constant Gardener... neither of them seem to be capable of upsetting Brokeback Mountain... at this point, unless something unexpected happens, it looks that the only question is how big will BBM's victory be. It seems to have Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay in the bag, and probably it'll have at least one more victory (Ledger? Gyllenhaal? Williams? Film Editing? Score? Cinematography?)... Brokeback Mountain seems to have a lot of what the Academy likes to award: it's poignant, respected, liked by audiences (so far at Festivals, that was the audience reaction, and from heterosexual ones), it seems to set a before and an after in Hollywood, it is a work by a "due" author (Lee), it is a star-making movie for its cast... the only problem is that it is a gay romance. But ain't queer cinema. It's told in a mainstream way.

On Actor, the race has narrowed as mentioned to Hoffman and Ledger with an outside shot for Phoenix... however his co-star Reese Witherspoon looks almost guaranteed a victory in the female cathegory.

Supporting is more tricky. Catherine Keener (Capote), Michelle Williams (BBM), Diane Keaton (The Family Stone)... it looks open yet... as the male cathegory, with Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins (Mrs. Henderson presents), Clooney (Syrania and Good Night and Good Luck) and plenty of other chances... but if the BBM wave keeps growing, watch out for both Ledger and Gyllenhaal climbing up the stairs next Oscar ceremony.

On screenplays, another time an actor will win as writer... Clooney will have his Oscar for Good Night and Good Luck (it's HIS year)... Adapted goes to BBM unless huge surprise...

 

 

 

November, 15th

Back in the bussiness (redux). Oscar race clearing!. A Mountain, a Geisha and Munich. Not many more...

 

After a couple of months in which my life has been some kind of hurricane, tearing me apart from Oscarwatching, I'm finally back - with moderation.

Or not? Mmm... let's say that the official deceases in the Oscar race of "In her Shoes", "Shopgirl", "Jarhead" (in which I never believed, since the trailer looked to me as a not very good attempt of making a new "Full Metal Jacket") and plenty of others, have already clarified some things...

In my opinion, two movies are locked now for a Best Picture nomination, and another one has half the work done... I'm referring to Brokeback Mountain, Memoirs of a Geisha and Munich (as the 1/2 lock). Why? Brokeback Mountain has Oscar pedigree, cult following, source material prestige, Oscar pedigree (Ang Lee) and it's Focus Features (one of the key studios right now in the bussiness) backing it. Against, only the fact that it will be a smaller hit and that it's a GAY love story. Looking back, that shouldn't prevent it actually of scoring the nod.

Memoirs of a Geisha is one of the two obvious Oscar movies of the year. First buzz insists that Marshall delivers and the performers are a delight, so this will have enough branches support to justify it as a clear lock for a Best Picture nomination. Unless huge disaster at box-office and a surprising change of the tide on reviews, this would be the obvious frontrunner for the victory in anyone's mind, using logic.

... 'cause Munich still has to prove that it is not controversial. For me, jury is still out on this one. From the trailer, I can clearly see it nominated or being overlooked. I must admit that Spielberg's War of the Worlds, while an excellent movie, is a movie that pisses me off (specially since it is a movie about xenophobia and its paranoia... they're here! and the seeds of our destruction lied among us!), as Spielberg himself since The Color Purple... his last absolutely great movie (that is, Schindler's List taken as a bit of an exception, but in no way better than The Piano, which it defeated in 1993). Fact is that if we compare Spielberg's post-The Color Purple career to his previous career, there's something lost in him, something he never recovered. Spielberg is a bland director, simply. He sells himself too much in order to "win" a wider audience... so my fear for Munich is clear. The story of Munich actually demands a Costa-Gavras point of view, for example, not being developed by a guy who seems obsessed to win Best Picture again and his 3rd Directing Oscar. I'm really afraid that Munich will be another panflet as Amistad or Saving Private Ryan (which featured excellent filmmaking but was rather ridiculous in many aspects). I think it will be nominated, though. The fact I don't trust a movie doesn't mean it won't even win at all.

But what else? I'm seeing some contenders having a real shot... Good Night and Good Luck is another critical darling, and a decent box-office it may be enough. Walk the Line and Capote can actually become this year's Ray (and particularly P. Seymour Hoffmann, this year Foxx's). King Kong will blast box-office and probably earn enough raves to justify having Jackson back on track... Matchpoint is the obvious Dreamworks best bet, and as Woody Allen seems back to form and hasn't been nominated for Best Picture in 20 years? almost?... The New World has to surprise being a not-too-Mallick movie and a bit more mainstream to sneak in (but actually it's a movie nobody should rule out, as it's with Memoirs of a Geisha the most Best-Picture-winner looking movie of Award season)... and of course the corpses of Crash and Cinderella may resurrect...

... and being realistic, The Constant Gardener and An History of Violence, while still having chances, are not really more than longshots in the big cathegory... however Cronenberg still seems as the best bet for the "cult author" spot at Best Director.

So, making a summary...

Locks: Brokeback Mountain (predicted winner so far) & Memoirs of a Geisha (beware if Marshall ain't nominated as Director, it WON'T win BP unless this repeats Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan).

Semilocked: Munich (unles it's Amistad redux or hate campaigns come from everywhere)

Fillers: Good Night and Good Luck & Matchpoint (both iffy)

Spoilers: (in order of probability) The New World, King Kong, Capote, Walk the Line, Cinderella Man

Longshots: A History of Violence, Crash, The Constant Gardener

 

In this scenario, I'd say that for the win, it's a close race between Brokeback Mountain, Memoirs of a Geisha and Munich (being Munich the most improbable winner using logic). Any other thing would be a huge shock for me.

If you ask me... personal preferences and bias, prior to screening them?

I'd go with Woody, Lee, Cronenberg, Mallick and Clooney.

I'd go against Spielberg & the biopics. Seriously, I wouldn't like any of them being nominated unless they're really good... but they're the project that seems to be contenders by default (out of them, being Capote the only really interesting one, in my honest opinion).

 

September, 22th

Back in the bussiness. Oscar race is heating!.

 

OK, let's do it again:  "In a year"... no, that sounds as a bad trailer... Well, October is closing in and Toronto and Venice left us with a clearer field of what's hot and not on the Oscar race.

Brokeback Mountain basically is becoming THE movie everybody talks about... it won Venice over - some critics say better - George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck, that somehow got David Strathairn a Volpi Cup for Best Actor over the two gay cowboys (split voting? will that happen again at Oscar? will Gylenhaal go Supporting?). Toronto only confirmed this is probably our first lock for a Best Picture nod. That means that The Constant Gardener's chances are slim... Focus won't probably too seriously to push two movies for Best Picture when they have a so obvious "winner" in their hands.

 

Munich is losing steam as people is actually realizing that the movie won't have anyone happy in the end. It will also be competing directly - because of its pretensions - with All the King's Men (which looks superb Oscarbait), Jarhead and Good Night and Good Luck... so that's make it even more difficult to predict if it'll find enough support to be again the frontrunner everyone once predicted.

 

Terrence Malick's The New World, is basically the most Best Picture winning looking movie of the bunch, since putting all together, is visually stunning, it features some "due names" - Bale, Plummer - with a rising star - Farrell - and will appeal to all branches while at the same time it'll be a "prestige" movie... Too bad, Malick is usually not accesible to everybody... This can go the same way that the last 2 Scorsese movies... But it looks as New Line only serious bet, so they'll focus on this one.

Memoirs of a Geisha, is another almost mortal lock for a Best Picture nod... it simply needs to be good, not excellent. Some people insist on All the President's Man as the one movie that Columbia will sneak on the top 5, but actually why not both? They don't appeal to the same voters... The stories and movies are really different, on paper. And Columbia may be underrated in its chances. And there's still Rent, from Ron Howardish Chris Columbus... does Hollywood think they owe him anything for Harry Potter?

 

Fox has trouble, many picks, but nothing seems a sure bet. Walk the Line maybe it's in the lead given that its both stars are frontrunners for a nod - and even a win - at leading performances... But maybe In her shoes with its female comedic dream-team triumvirate Diaz-Colette-MacLaine can be a more clever bet? Specially since it looks as a movie that might catch many off-guard and become a bit of a weeper. And then, there's The Family Stone, which hasn't got any Oscar pedigree on its filmmaker and is a big enigma for me... some are throwing it as a "probable" Best Picture nominee... but if I have to go for any of Fox's bets, I'd go for In her shoes, right now.

 

... and Universal... oh, man, do I see trouble here... they probably aren't really sure which way to go... many possibilities and nothing sure. Jarhead? Munich? Cinderella Man? The Producers? King Kong?

 

And there the obvious picks from other studios... Warner Brothers will push Good Night and Good Luck and North Country, being logichal (and Niki Caro's looks like a new Norma Rae, by the way). Their problem is that WB just won Best Picture. 2 in a row? Unlikely, given their bets so far and this year's competition (however North Country, I can perfectly see it as a crowdpleaser).

Weinsteins are back with Stephen Frears now... Mrs. Henderson Presents could do a  "Gosford Park", but I'm a bit exceptical... Sony Pictures Classics have at least 3 proposals (Breakfast on Pluto, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and Capote) that I find difficult to see sneaking in... The White Countess, in exchange, is somewhat buzzed and it's an Ivory film... but Ivory times at Oscar are far away (last nod in 1993?) so I think it's also an iffy bet right now...

... and there's Crash, of course. It benefits that Lion's Gate will push it to death. It looks as a solid bet given the impact it had. But... there's also Dreamworks with Woody Allen's comeback with Match Point... ugh. Complicated.

 

So, basically, if I was about to say anything right now...

Best Picture:

All the King's Men (Columbia)

Brokeback Mountain (Focus)

Memoirs of a Geisha (Columbia)

Munich (Universal)

The New World (New Line)

 

Alternates (in order of probability): Rent, North Country, Match Point, Crash, Jarhead, Walk the Line, In her shoes, The Producers, King Kong

 

Best Director:

David Cronenberg, for A History of Violence

Ang Lee, for Brokeback Mountain

Terrence Malick, for The New World

Rob Marshall, for Memoirs of a Geisha

Steven Spielberg, for Munich

 

Alternates: Steven Zaillian (All the King's Men), Woody Allen (Match Point), Niki Caro (North Country), Curtis Hanson (In her shoes), Paul Haggis (Crash), Sam Mendes (Jarhead), Chris Columbus (Rent), George Clooney (Good Night and Good Luck)

 

Performers... I'm goint to go only with a top 5 in each cathegory...

 

Lead Actor:

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, in Capote

Heath Ledger, in Brokeback Mountain

Sean Penn, in All the King's Men

Joaquin Phoenix, in Walk the Line

David Strathairn, in Good Night and Good Luck

 

Lead Actress:

Dame Judi Dench, in Mrs. Henderson Presents

Keira Knightley, in Pride and Prejudice

Charlize Theron, in North Country

Reese Witherspoon, in Walk the Line

Zhang Ziyi, in Memoirs of a Geisha

 

Supporting Actor:

Matt Dillon, Crash

Jake Gyllenhaal, in Brokeback Mountain

Jude Law, in All the King's Men

Christopher Plummer, in The New World

Geoffrey Rush, in Munich

 

Supporting Actress:

Toni Colette, in In her Shoes

Gong Li, in Memoirs of a Geisha

Q'Orianka Kilcher, in The New World

Shirley MacLaine, in In her Shoes

Uma Thurman, in The Producers

 

... for the win, it's unclear yet... I think it's an open race mostly between Brokeback Mountain, All the King's Men and The New World, with chances to broaden it more to movies like Memoirs of a Geisha, for example. I say Munich won't win unless a miracle, given its subject matter... OK, time will tell anyways and this isn't something to be taken too serioulsy yet, is it?

 

 

 

 

 

July, 25th

I am not scared. London, I love you.

A few words off-topic:  been doing an European Tour in three weeks... went to Valencia, Zaragoza and Madrid (Spain) and on July 7th, my intention was to travel to London to see some friends... already got the tickets when news arrived that morning of the massacre in the underground and in a bus... I was asked by one of my friends over there if I still was flying that evening, my reply was clear: "of course". When I arrived to London I found out that the british people was actually thinking the same, to continue with normal lives, not letting the terrorists think that they have a chance of actually changing our lives or our intentions with fear. Spent 5 days over there, had fun, went to the city center, enjoyed my time and my friends and in the end, fell in love with London (how couldn't anyone?). After that, went to Ljubljana (Slovenia), but a part of me was still in London and with its citizens. On 21st, more bombs attacked London (this time, without casualties)... hopefully they won't change London's spirit, ever.

Fantastic Four, pure fun, pure pulp, pure comic-book core. A just good adaptation, faithful to the spirit of the series.

In what I feel has been a real reviewer's slaughtering of an OK movie, Fantastic Four (*** / C),  my feelings are a bit mixed. I mean, I am a fan of the comic-book. Been waiting for this movie since I first read the series, and must admit that I wasn't really hopeful about the results given the "talents" involved. However, that actually makes me a harder reviewer, in my opinion... I was in fear of another "Daredevil" (another of my faves, totally raped for the big screen) and what I got in exchange it was a just good pop corn pulp fun movie, that totally captures the spirit of the comic book. You can see in this first chapter of the series (that's it, don't get wrong) how a family starts...  The changes - some of them unnecesary, but forgivable - are obvious... Sue Storm happens to be Victor von Doom's girlfriend and Reed Richards' ex (which also adds fuel to the Doom-Richards rivalry). Doom gets powers - he is a genius but a normal human being in the series, aided with an armor and gadgets - that actually increase his potential as a villain. Actually, the movie's biggest problem is that never manages to really fly or get to be what it could have been... it's, as "X-Men" just a set up to what it seems to be already coming to us in "F4-2" and "F 4-3"... there should be wedding bells in "2" and a son being born in "3"... as villains... God, they have plenty of villains to choose from, but Doom will come back in "2" or "3", for sure. And of course this is no "X-2" nor "Spider-man 2" nor "Batman Begins", but in no way "Fantastic Four" is another "Daredevil" or "Hulk", either... it stands in the middle point between them, and actually, doesn't need to go much further than that, never needed to (however, I would like to see its full potential blowing us away).

July, 5th

Been so out lately... Batman Begins, a praise-deserving effort. 2005, a much complicated year. War of the Worlds, among Spielberg's best in spite of having a too conservative message.

Experiencing problems with some parts of the web (specially photo and short films section)... will fix it up as soon as possible. My apologies.

Even thought after watching Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (***** / A-),  it seems pretty clear that it has a snowball in hell's chances of scoring a Best Picture nod, it actually delivers as a movie that will be a good threat to score in many 2005's top ten lists. Nolan's realistic first half of the movie - despite some irritant editing, the biggest flaw of the movie - will probably have some of the best cinematic moments of 2005 (specially that ninja fight) and the confirmation - once more - that a superhero movie can have great acting and three-dimensional, deep characters... It's Bale's talent that brings up both sides of the hero's personality to come together... in what can be described as one of the best superhero screenplays ever (if not the best), Bruce Wayne / Batman finally shines as the star of his own movie, we finally come to understand the inner drama that fuels the hero's thirst for revenge and justice.

The movie features what we only can describe as a dream team of a cast, supporting Bale... Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Rutger Hauer, Tom Wilkinson, Gary Oldman, Liam Neesom... Cillian Murphy - who fought to star as Batman was given the candy role of the Scarecrow - and Ken Watanabe are up there too, even thought Watanabe isn't given much to do in the end but "stand and be serious while speaking in a foreign language"... and Katie Holmes, that's it, which is the only one that just gives an OK performance - not undermining in any ways the movie, but it's probably not her fault as it is extremely difficult to shine among this extraordinary cast.

Nolan's Gotham is a two-sides city, reminiscent of Lang's Metropolis, both grim and bright, dark and joyful, mirroring Bruce Wayne's duality as a playboy and a tortured avenger, not the greatest achievement in art direction in the last years, but a huge and noticeable one... among the few flaws of the movie, one rises above all, the too-fast, too-rough editing in some sequences that required a much soft one... breaking some of the movie's mood... also, the usual "cheating" of the screenplay, making some characters come together in what would be much more than chance... but that's something forgivable in the end... Batman Begins is another case of a great and serious aproachment to the superhero world, in the line - and even better - than the Spider-man and X-Men series... can't wait now for The Fantastic Four (even thought that the talents involved aren't by far comparable to these ones). The superhero world is in good health, thanks.

Add to this, the new team-up of Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise, War of the Worlds (***** / A),  what it will be by the end of the year one of the top films of 2005. A virtually perfect machinery orchestrated by Spielberg and David Koepp (who wrote this adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic), in the end War of the Worlds becomes not the pop-corn flick many expected but a touching drama of survival in middle of war (even if this war is started by aliens - not martians this time, we already know there's no life on mars). Great things in the screenplay are how some things are not explained... in real life you don't get full explanations... where and when did the machines landed? Is it essential, actually? No. What Spielberg is interested in, is the tale of survival, how mercyless is the human being in the hands of destiny. Tom Cruise's character will face some decissions you don't expect to find in a born-to-be-a-blockbuster. The performances are superb, mainly Cruise's and Robbins' but specially Dakota Fanning who seems destined to earn a - much deserved - Oscar nomination.

On the technical side, the digital shooting it's virtually perfect, any technical side of the movie is almost flawless. The best word to describe what it is almost a masterpiece is breathtaking. Hopefully the genre bias won't stop this one of earning recognition.

 

 

2005, a much complicated year.

Once more my mind can't keep on thinking on how much complicated this year is... Memoirs of a Geisha, Cinderella Man, Spielberg's Munich Project, The New World, Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith... they all look like possible Best Picture winners, but at the same time neither of them seems pretty convincing as a "safe" bet.

Take Rob Marshall's "Memoirs of a Geisha"... if 2005 has a pretty looking movie it is undoubtfully this one. Based on one of the most famous bestsellers in recent times, a project Steven Spielberg himself considered to make, but declined in the very last minute, offering it to Isabel - "Things I never told you", "My life without me" - Coixet first and Rob Marshall then... fresh from his Best Picture win with his film debut, "Chicago"... which is undoubtfully one of the best looking Best Picture winners of the last decade (if not the best looking). However, what could look as one of the safest bets, has tremendous handicaps in its road to Oscar night. The most important one, the race bias of the Academy. Can you name a Best Picture winner that was starred by oriental actors and characters? "The Last Emperor" instantly comes to mind, but it was directed by living legend Bernardo Bertolucci, and actually didn't have real competition at Oscar Night... this is, once more, Rob Marshall's second movie and he already won Best Picture with his first, so no "owe" sense at all in its favour.

Or "SW3", for example... if it were not by the great success of "Batman Begins" and "War of the Worlds", it would be instantly labelled as another "Return of the King" possibility. However, it needed both movies to not score great reviews... and basically they're all in the same scope of reviews (and being considered a "geek" territory, which doesn't help). SW3 chances are lowering (however, let's wait to Xmas season and see how hurt are its chances).

More on the rest, in next updates.

 

 

May, 28th

Star Wars' buzz cooling? One or two summer spots this year? The Academy ratings may decide.

Reviews, while still good to great have lowered under 90%,  but does that mean we can already count this one out? The infamous "summer spot" is SW's biggest enemy... as the film itself is the underdog nobody expected to count in this year's race... and we already had at least two "summer" movies predicted as the key players on 2005... "Kingdom of Heaven" (Fox) and "Cinderella Man" (Universal).

The case for KoH is already closed... as I previously pointed out, this flawed mess has made SW3 as Fox's best bet for earning a Best Picture nod this year (one month ago that would have meant not having a chance in hell of scoring)... But Universal's Cinderella Man is a much different story... it's basically all the Academy loves to death... it looks corny, bland, technically perfect, with engaging stars, by the AMPA's probably dreamt team (Ron Howard, Russell Crowe and Rene Zellwegger)... similar bets by Universal (A Beautiful Mind, Seabiscuit) didn't find much problems to obtain the nod (and ABM undeservingly - in my opinion - won!) thanks to great publicity campaigns that focused on make the movies look "important"... however, there are obvious dangers for CM this year... for starters, the team has been recently awarded (Rene, Russell and Ron all are still fresh from their Oscars, and probably only Crowe would stand a chance of winning again so soon) making Paul Giamatti the only probable winner at the top prizes (save Best Picture, of course). Then, there's the point that it is a boxing movie... the year right after "Million $ Baby" won. The Academy will probably shift their attention to a different kind of film, so almost forget about winning...

But is there room for two summer movies? My guess is that yes... we may find in the end something like this... "Cinderella Man", "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith", "Memoirs of a Geisha", "The New World" and a fifth independent film (just an example, of course). Remember also a point... given the attention that LotR gave to Oscars (and how the ratings of the ceremony increased), the AMPAS would love to have at least SW3 nominated and with chances of winning... if the AMPAS think with their pockets, SW3 is a safe bet (add to this the XMas release on DVD, a strategy that did wonders for Gladiator and Moulin Rouge! for example). However, still a long way to go baby...

 

 

May, 25th

Added photo work section. Short notes on "Omagh".

Not another terrorist attack, but a key bombing in Ulster history,  the Omagh bombing on Summer 1998 deserved to become a movie some day, and it has happened... co-written and produced by Paul Greengrass, in the end, there's the sensation that "Omagh" (*** / C) is just another shaky camera well performed TV movie... Far from the pure genius of Ken Loach's "Hidden Agenda", "Omagh" basically bores the audience at the same time that terrorize it with the uncanny truth that 32 inocent deaths won't ever be punished by justice, in order to forgive and forget. The movie basically fails because of two factors: never finding a good pacing and never having real cinematic values... On the line of "Hotel Rwanda", but far, far from its big precedent (Costa Gavras' "Missing" which was a masterpiece) it becomes another movie that deserves to be seen only for what it shows, to learn about what happened on that village and how everyone reacted to it, but it wastes the chance to study about what the situation implies, it simply takes the victims side instead of getting deeper on the authorities behaviour and what it implied in the end. The suggestion, however that - SPOILER - the bombing was permited by the police is not only scary, but the movie's big revelation.

Oh, and don't get fooled by the poster... Academy Award winner Brenda Fricker's performance is just a key 5 minutes cameo at the end of the movie. It's irritant that they suggest she's co-starring in the movie.

 

May, 23th

Changes on Short Films section... check them out.

 

May, 20th

The unexpected frontrunner: SW3... 2003 all over again?

Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith (**** 1/2  / B+) suddenly emerges not only as the best filmmaking of the "first" trilogy, but probably of the whole series (as good as "The Empire Strikes Back, Episode V) and a movie to remember and treasure, the one that makes the whole saga work as a whole, plenty of memorable moments from the tragic (Anakin's fall into the dark side) to the comic timing (C3PO's reaction to Senator Organa's order, hilarious). The action scenes are jawdropping, the political plot has enough depth to make us think that the whole saga actually had a point beyond pure entertainment for the first time (and that's a winning point, as only Episode II hinted that Lucas had a real interest in telling us something with this saga) and the performances are good enough... however I found The Emperor a too over-the-top character that actually downgrades the movie from the top rating, even thought it is something completely forgivable given the serious tone of the rest of the movie (loved how the infamous Jar-Jar Binks character is only a cameo this time). In the end, this is finally Lucas' tour de force, and a force impossible to ignore... this emerges as 2005's movie event of the year, and a serious threat for award season.

The case for and against SW3.

One month ago this would have been considered simply stupid, however the data is out there... over 90% of positive reviews at Rottentomatoes.com, great reviews considering it an achievement, enthusiastic reactions by the audience, the sense that this one is going to have a gigantic box office... and some precedents at the Oscar race. Specially 2003, 2000, 1997 and 1993. I mean, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King(fantasy, movie event, completion of a saga), Gladiator (Fox), Titanic (Fox, movie event) and Schindler's List (movie event, final recognition of Spielberg... this could be Lucas').

The comparison with LotR:RotK is not only compulsory but obvious. As fantasy, RotK broke an Oscar taboo... giving Best Picture to a fantasy movie... so SW3 has a recent precedent... also, LotR scored 3 Best Picture noms in a row, while SW has been only nominated ONCE (Episode IV) and not only not for the best one, but also was defeated by a movie (Annie Hall) that in no way has been as important in the History of filmmaking, so they can play the "due" card. That's SW's biggest card to play... by awarding SW3, the Academy will be finally rewarding one of the most successful franchises ever created (if not the most) and what has been a revolution in the history of filmmaking. Another great card is that Lucas has cleverly highlighted the political side on the plot, both at the movie and in the interviews, giving an unexpected depth to the series... how a democracy falls into a dictatorship: Palpatine's figure can easily be translated to some actual leaders. Another winning card... Fox is distributing the movie, a movie that can be also compared in many points to Fox's latest BP winners (Gladiator and Titanic) which were in the exact middle point between pop-corn and prestige. With Kingdom of Heaven - Fox's big bet for this year at Oscar - flopping, the studio has to go all for SW3, so that probably will make SW3's campaign stronger.

On the "against" side, however there are some points, too. The quality of the series has declined one time too many... Episode I was crap, pure and simple crap. Episode II - among my favorites, however - was good just because it merrily embraced camp (featuring a "dinner" in the galaxy!). Episode VI had the Ewoks (ugh!). And frankly, Episode IV is soooo overrated as a movie... Also, Lucas' reworks on the IV-VI trilogy that have not worked for the best, but clearly irritated any film-lover, and had always confirmed that Lucas was more interested on merchandising than in art (however, something he seems to deny with SW3). And that's a big point... how does the AMPAS see Lucas? As an author or as a marketer? If the latter, he has nothing to do, but if the Academy consider the SW saga as a piece of art, Lucas has two Oscars (Best Picture and Best Director) waiting for him on Winter 2006, unless the Academy decides - a clever move - to give him an extraordinary Oscar for the completion of the Saga (unclear, Lucas can always work on a third trilogy and there's also the announced transformation of the whole series to 3D technology). Another point against is that the acting is not Award worthy at all... it usually takes an acting nod to secure a BP win... however the exception is out there: RotK. The Lord of the Rings saga only got 1 acting nod (Sir Ian McKellen, for Fellowship of the Ring) and SW also did once (Sir Alec Guinness, for Episode IV)... curious how both actors and characters can be easily compared. My view is that the lack of a award-worthy performance won't stop this train, but I see slight chances as supporting for Ewan McGregor, the best of the cast and the most due for a nod.

In the end, it looks like we have a frontrunner that has taken us all by surprise, and probably a really strong one that will take a titanic work to overthrown.

 

May, 17th

Getting back in the bussiness. Kingdom of Heaven (semi) let down. Millions, Queens and a Interpreter.

And the Oscar doesn't go to... Kingdom of Heaven. Ridley Scott's extremely flawed latest effort mainly reminds me of a mixture between "Gladiator" and "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" Helm's Deep battle... Despite of a great cast (save Orlando Bloom who only from time to time finds the acting chops for making his character believable) a huge budget and a more than interesting story to tell, a poor screenplay and what is more, a surprisingly out of control Ridley Scott (in the first half, there're are irritant mistakes at directing that editing simply can't hide) demolish 20th Century Fox's 2005 Oscar hopes. It's not, in the end a disaster on "Alexander" proportions, but almost. And I must add... I saw this failure coming since I saw Orlando Bloom was the lead, to his credit that he sometimes delivers... maybe he's growing as an actor. ** 1/2  / D+

It won't go either to the more praised - overpraised, actually - The Interpreter. Probably it's a back to form for Sidney Pollack, and features an Oscar worthy performance by Nicole Kidman but that won't either make the cut (too early in the year, she won't be remembered in Award season, specially since she's not due anymore). Sean Penn's performance is in his usual line... good to great, but when he shares screen with Kidman, it's she the one that wins the battle... The most interesting thing in the movie - actors apart - is the "translation" of the situation in Zimbabwe with his dictator Robert Mugabe to an imaginary country and an imaginary leader, but regretfully the movie in the end limits itself to be a Hitchcocknian "whodunnit" and wastes a golden chance of becoming a great serious film instead of a good popcorn flick. **** / B

A much better movie, Danny Boyle's Millions, surprises with intelligence and credibility despite its obvious fantasy. Small, modest, poignant, "Millions" avoids sappy sentimentality and features rich characters becoming one of those rare exceptions when a kids' movie developes a second level and becomes an adult-friendly one... I don't remember any other movie since 1995's Best Picture nominee "Babe" and its sequel to reach this kind of goal with such a success. Another movie that Oscar won't remember, most probably, and in this case, also regretfully, I guess it may end in my top 10 of 2005. **** 1/2   / B+

And last but no least, Manuel Gmez Pereira's Reinas (Queens) becomes also a flawed comedy that screams for an American remake (that would be justified, believe me as the idea is simply great and doesn't deliver in this one). With a dream-team of a cast (on the female side) featuring 4 of the greatest spanish actresses of all time (Carmen Maura, Vernica Forqu, Mercedes Sampietro and Marisa Paredes) it tells the story of the first gay multiple wedding in Spain (curiously enough, it'll be possible this year, so the movie was just a bit ahead of its time) and cleverly enough the movie's title is stolen from their sons to their mothers... in a wedding, the mothers are the queens and they won't let anyone forget that, they need to steal the show ("It's like a drug!" said Debbie Reynolds character in "In & Out"). Just imagine the same story with Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Kim Bassinger and Angela Bassett, for example. *** / C

March, 2nd

On works. Changing the site. Stay tuned.

March, 1st

Redesign coming. 2005's race has officially started.

OK. 2004's gone. Get over it. M$B entered the legendary list of Best Picture winners by the easiest way... being a great film that entered the race in the last minute, doesn't giving time to Academy Members to think about it twice. Its supposed warmth - and undeniable mastery - just killed the buzz for a more artistically ambitious movie, a more deserving one, a less safe bet. Expect many 2005 contenders and some 2006's to try to open in the very last minute to repeat the trick. It's going to be war this year.

Official frontrunners? 2 names instantly pop up as Best Picture lookalikes... Terrence Mallick's The New World and Ron Howard's Cinderella Man. Add to this Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha and Steven Spielberg's Vengeance... two titles that can go either way... all of them can look at BP winners, but heck, all of them has serious handicaps to win...

 

The New World: Ugh, is Mallick, not specially mainstream. I would compare him to Scorsese. Plus Collin Farrell's latest Oscar bet was Alexander. Double Ugh.

Cinderella Man: Ron Howard, Russell Crowe and Rene Zellwegger back on track with this. Expect Giamatti to be nominated - and probably win - as Supporting Actor. The summer movie that gets in, unless disaster. Winning is a different matter, they both director and leads won Oscars in the last years.

Memoirs of a Geisha: Rob Marshall, 2nd movie, 2nd Best Picture? No way. Did anyone win BP with his first two movies? Maybe a Best Director win in a split year, nothing else.

Vengeance: Subject matter is extremely dangerous in hands of a jewish director. I would be surprised if the controversy doesn't appear... this is not Schindler's List, and there are many supporters of Palestine around...

So, in a few words... I don't expect any of these early frontrunners to win Best Picture. I'm more inclined to think that a minor contender or last minute surprise will take the gold home.

 

 

February 28th

OSCAR (official rant).

I did HORRIBLY wrong in my predictions... everything looked OK till the big ones appeared.

So, it's Marty losing again. To another actor-director. To a worse movie. To a movie that, this time, was overlooked by guilds, and scored only 2 precursors of importance (DGA and GG director). I guess this is the confirmation how great Scorsese is, in the line of Welles, Chaplin, Kubrick or Hitchcock, all forever snubbed.

The night slowly transformed into a nightmare... it was full of deserving, unforgettable wins (Song, Animated, Original Screenplay, Foreign Film) but when the performing and top Awards went wrong.

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett. In no way my option here, but well she's somewhat "due" and it is the only important Award for The Aviator, so I could live with that.

Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman. One of the best actors in the bussiness finally got his Oscar. However, for a role he's basically repeating with little variation since Driving Miss Daisy. Clive Owen was better this year.

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx. OK, predicted, deserved in opinion of the most. Have to see Ray, though. However, to watch Johnny and Leo losing again...

Best Actress: Hillary Swank. How could they? This pisses me beyond belief. In front of the other ones, Winslet and Bening on their way to become the new Deborah Kerr (6/0 wins). And Swank has now as many Oscars as Meryl Streep or Jodie Foster...

Best Director: Clint. Technically he shot a great movie. However, if we judge the movie comparing to other movies that can be related with it (Raging Bull or The Sea Inside to name a couple), it's clear that Clint took the easy, classic route and no risks. If you compare it to Marty's marvelous achievement which is The Aviator (a movie that I think will be more and more considered with time), the only explanation of why Marty lost is because the AMPAS members despise him, for any reason.

Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby. Ouch, that hurts. A movie that was great till the last 20 minutes and suddenly becomes a very well filmed TV movie. For me, from now on, I will think that the REAL Best Picture Oscar is either the Animated or Foreign one... which were actually among the films 2004 will be remembered for. I say it here and now... Million Dollar Baby is The Sea Inside for dummies.

Best moment of the night, Jorge Drexler winning and singing - finally, despite Gil Cates' wishes - his song as he conceived it, not in the nightmarish and pretentious version Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana played in the ceremony.

Worst moment of the night, Julia Roberts naming the wrong winner. Marty should get out of the Academy, it's clear that they hate him. For me, I just grew more cynical: it's seems now a greater honor to be never awarded.

 

 Past Updates

 

2.005 Race:

Current Frontrunners:

Picture:

Brokeback Mountain, by Ang Lee

With "Munich" permission.

Director:

Ang Lee, for Brokeback Mountain.

If Spielberg faints?.

Actor:

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, in Capote.

This year's Jamie Foxx?.

Actress:

Reese Witherspoon, in Walk the Line

The babe factor?

Supporting Actor:

Paul Giamatti, in Cinderella Man.

Time for Payback.

Supporting Actress:

Scarlett Johansson, in Match Point.

After her big snub in Lost in Translation.

Original Screenplay:

Good Night & Good Luck

Clooney doing what Thompson, Thornton, Affleck and Damon did.

Adapted Screenplay:

Brokeback Mountain.

Best Picture wins this.

Animated Feature:

Wallace and Gromitt: Curse of the Were-Rabbitt

A classic.

Foreign Film:

Merry Christmas (France)

Clear AMPAS territory.

 

Short films

 Cifra2 in the web

Past Reviews: (2003)

(2004)

Classic / Favorites

Oscar's Hall of Shame

Jess Alonso's profile

Photo

 

 

Contador

 

The images posted in this website have been taken without asking previous permission (my fault, obviously). If they owner of the rights of some image doesn't want me to put it here, just e-mail me at cifra2es@yahoo.es and I'll remove it as soon as possible.

The Piano, as designed by JohnE, from Oscarwatch forums