ACTORS AND ACTRESSES
I apologize that I will be unable to make a more evaluative post concerning these categories. We had bad storms for over 24 hours, which cut into my time on the computer the last couple of days. Here are some of my picks. I'll justify them later, if I must. Okay?
For best performance by a lead actress in a motion picture: Helen Mirren for THE QUEEN, winner of a Golden Globe. Period.
For best performance by a lead actor in a motion picture: Forrest Whitaker, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, winner of a Golden Globe. Ditto.
For best supporting actor or actress in a motion picture: This is one I never try to call, and that's especially true this year. The Academy has the habit of picking a newcomer here and all but Cate Blanchett (NOTES ON A SCANDAL) are in that sphere in the supporting actress category. There are two nominations from BABEL, a best motion picture nominee. A win for either Adriana Barraza or Rinko Kikuchi could bode well for BABEL as best motion picture, but not necessarily. Then, there's LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE'S Abigail Breslin, the youngest nominee this year, and that gives her an edge. A win for her could bode well for a best picture win for SUNSHINE. Not to be left behind is DREAMGIRLS' Jennifer Hudson, whom many consider a shoo-in.
In the supporting actor category, look early on to see if either of the veterans Alan Arkin (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) or Mark Wahlberg (THE DEPARTED) win. A win here could bode well for either of these candidates for best motion picture, but not necessarily.
The favorite here is Eddy Murphy from DREAMGIRLS. Yet, it seems to me that he had more screen time performing than acting. We'll see. The two unknowns are Jackie Earle Haley (LITTLE CHILDREN) and Djimon Hounsou (BLOOD DIAMOND).
I have seen BABEL(Alejandro González Iñárritu), THE DEPARTED (Martin Scorsese), and LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. Directors are nominated for the first two, but not for SUNSHINE. Also, the directors for LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (Clint Eastwood), and THE QUEEN (Stephen Frears) are nominated. PAN'S LABYRINTH (Guillermo del Toro) is nominated in the best foreign-language motion picture category.
I've only seen the directing in BABEL and THE DEPARTED. In my opinion, Scorsese's direction is miles above Iñárritu's. Get the bonus disk for THE DEPARTED. The interview "Scorsese on Scorsese" is not to be missed.
THE AVIATOR was not his best work but with THE DEPARTED Scorsese is back doing what he does best. This time, he's walking the Mean Streets of Boston with the Irish Goodfellows. He's my pick to win.
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) named Scorsese the Best Director for THE DEPARTED. Although Scorsese has been nominated by the Guild seven times, this is his first win. He received a lifetime achievement award in 2003. This year marks Scorsese's sixth Oscar nomination for best director, which he has never won. Fifty-one of the last 57 DGA winners have gone on to win best director Oscars, and many of the movies they directed have won best picture awards.
If Scorsese doesn't win? I may never follow the Academy Awards® again.
BEST MOTION PICTURE of 2006
By now you should know the nominees in this category. I have only seen three. Two of those were disappointments.
BABEL is too slow and contemplative for my taste. It's a good premise. A Japanese businessman gives his hunting guide from a Muslim country a high-powered rifle as a gift. The recipient sells it to a goat herder, who turns it over to his two young sons. The younger foolishly shoots at a tour bus, wounding a young American woman. This sets in motion actions that will devastates five families in four countries, including the family of the Japanese man. The moral? We are all connected on Planet Earth. However, overall, the movie doesn't jell.
I also feel that LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE doesn't jell, either. The movie is great in the beginning, but it falls apart when the family reaches its destination at the beauty pageant. The stereotypes at the event, and outlandish action of the family members during the talent competition are both over the top.
As for LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, what the heck is this film in Japanese doing being nominated in this category? Okay, they are throwing flowers at Eastwood, a favorite son. However, it is totally a foreign-language film. Can't judge this movie, or THE QUEEN, as I have seen neither.
That brings me back to THE DEPARTED, which won the DGA award. In light of not having seen all the nominated movies, I can't pick one, but I will be disappointed if either of the other four win. Can't help it. You see, I'm mainly Irish, but I have a wee bit of I-tie blood, too. I get this movie!
This category is a 52-card pickup. Toss the cards and see which one hits the floor first.
Well, it's time to prepare the snacks, chill the wine and get dressed for my party tonight. Hope everyone has a very enjoyable evening!