Monday, 28 September 2009

Encore Awards 2006

 Well here they are. The top six categories of the year and where my votes would have gone. Take a gander...Continued from here...


NOTE: Letters From Iwo Jima - I did not watch this out, so it's not on the list. An Inconvenient Truth...oversight that it's not here. I give a B+, Venus - I did not see this one. A big O'Toole fan...but [gasp] it's not in this country. And yes, it does suck here. The Lives of Others - did not see this either. Hence no inclusion here.  

Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza in Babel
Cate Blanchett in Notes on A Scandal
Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada
Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine
Angelina Jolie in The Good Shepherd
Frances McDormand in Friends With Money
Anika Noni Rose in Dreamgirls
Sharon Stone in Bobby
Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
Emma Thompson in Stranger in Fiction
This was a tough category to break down. So many women gave good performances in middling films, some tried their best to elevate their trite material, but at the end of the day these ten women were at the top. McDormand’s nomination is somewhat representative of her, Joan Cusack and Catherine Keener who did superb work in the horrible Friends With Money. It was such a wasted effort. Three great actors wasted. At the end of the day Adriana Barraza came out on top for her illegal immigrant. Those few solitary moments in the desert and positively haunting, she plays her role well. Cate Blanchett and Sharon Stone come next. Cate’s Sheba is a pathetic woman who is consumed with narcissism but yet she is able to find the [fine] light within, and we don’t end up hating the character. I always feel bad for Sharon Stone. She gives probably my favourite performance of hers, and few saw it and the other just didn’t care. And it wasn’t as if the film was bad. Meryl Streep and Anika Noni Rose both give best in show performances, and both play for comedy albeit in different ways. They round out the top 5.                        
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine
Steve Carrell in Little Miss Sunshine
Paul Dano in Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children
Djimon Honsou in Blood Diamond
Gael Garcia Bernal in Babel
Jack Nicholson in The Departed
Brad Pitt in Babel
Martin Sheen in The Departed
Mark Wahlberg in The Departed

Oddly, this turned out to be the hardest category to compile. In addition to many of the films having a host of supporting actors present, there was also no clear winner. All the men were more or less equal. Finally, I decided on Paul Dano. An unlikely choice, no? Why didn’t anyone take notice of this performance? What is wrong with Hollywood? Those young untalented idiots from Transformers, Twilight, GI Joe get all the attention and Dano gets nothing. Even Michael Cera gets notice, so it’s not like it’s an aesthetic thing. I really can’t stress how much this performance impressed me. That scene where he finally speaks it’s just all really good. This was the best performance in the ensemble. Steve Carrell is close behind him, though. All I can say is genius. Jackie Earle Haley comes third for his haunting paedophile. Scary stuff. On a recent post I wrote that Brad Pitt is underrated. And he is…as an actor. We hear Brad Pitt and we think celebrity…we never think good actor. And he is. There are some scenes in Babel, aided by the aging makeup that are just chilling. And then there’s Gael Garcia in Babel. Pitt or he could have round up this category at the Oscars and I wouldn’t have minded. Are you going WTF at Martin Sheen. The scene leading up to Queenan’s death in The Departed are some of the most tense moments in recent cinema…Martin Sheen doesn’t have any big moments but he completely sells it as Queenan.
Best Actress
Annette Bening in Running With Scissors
Toni Collette in Little Miss Sunshine
Penelope Cruz in Volver
Judi Dench in Notes on A Scandal
Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette
Beyonce Knowles in Dreamgirls
Helen Mirren in The Queen
Julianne Moore in Children of Men
Julianne Moore in Freedomland
Kate Winslet in Little Children

What a good year it was for women…even if all the precursors only noticed five of them. I find it incredibly hard to single out one of them as best...and I try my best to avoid ties. In the end it goes to Judi Dench with Annette Bening nipping at their heels. Both women have tough characters to break into and they do it great alacrity. I bemoan the fact that Annette couldn’t even get a friggin’ nomination. But I’m over that. Really, I am. But we all know it’s because the film was clunky. But yet Streep gets nominated for the equally clunky The Devil Wears Prada in a supporting role. It’s a harsh world. Moving on…Kate Winslet gets the bronze medal for Sarah. She’s always great. So no surprise. Then there’s Ms. Collette who is so wonderful in Little Miss Sunshine. Words cannot describe. Ms. Cruz is fifth, but that doesn’t lessen her performance. I hate Spanish, but she made me want to learn it. The film gets a bit silly sometimes…but she plays it well. You’re probably saying…Where is Helen Mirren!!!! She’s in sixth place. I was glad she won…after that unwarranted snub for Gosford Park. Those bitches. But I just wasn’t as enthralled by The Queen. Kirsten Dunst is somewhere in the pack…I wish someone would give her a proper role – she has so much potential. Beyonce is somewhere towards the bottom of the pack …but I’d just like to note that I thought her performance was fine…and she deserved her Golden Globe nod. And yeah, Freedomland kind of sucked…a lot…but Julianne was not bad.
Best Actor
Matt Damon in The Departed
Matt Damon in The Good Shepherd
Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed
Aaron Eckhart in Thank You For Smoking
Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction
Greg Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine
Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson
James McAvoy in The Last King of Scotland
Forrest Whittaker in The Last King of Scotland 

My race comes down to Leo’s tortured gangster and Kinnear’s bathetic husband and father. Leo wins it fairly easily, but Kinnear wasn’t bad at all. Picking three to round out the top five is harder to do though. I’m going to go with Damon in The Good Shepherd, Eckhart in Thank You For Smoking and Gosling in Half Nelson. It surprises me that of these three only Gosling gained any traction and Damon got virtually no response from the awards. And Eckhart couldn’t even win the Globe. I cringed when Sacha Baron Cohen won that Golden Globe. Kinnear wasn’t nominated…but at least they could give it to Eckhart or even Ferrell. Sigh. I can't fault Whitaker's win though.
Best Director
Del Toro for Pan’s Labyrinth
Condon for Dreamgirls
Innaturu for Babel
Marber Notes on a Scandal
Scorsese for The Departed

Once again The Departed has it. The others are just basically in a tie…okay, maybe Innaturu edges out in front for those scenes in Arabic…but they’re all pretty good. Todd Field was a runner up for Little Children…but I preferred the honesty of the direction in Notes on a Scandal even if it was the weaker of the two. But for some reason I think the two pieces complement each other.
Best Picture – chronological order
The Departed [A+]
Babel [A-]
Dreamgirls [A-]
Little Miss Sunshine [B+]
Little Children [B+]
Bobby [B]
Stranger than Fiction [B]
Thank You For Smoking [B]
Notes On A Scandal [B]
Pan’s Labyrinth [B]
Children of Men [B]
Happy Feet [B]
The Good Shepherd [B]

The winner by a long shot was The Departed. Perfect combination of crime, foul language, tension, murder and even a little sex. I was screaming at my TV as Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson opened that envelope. Good times. It was the clear winner in my book and no other film came close that year. Babel was in second place. For some reason people don’t like this one. But I was a fan. It’s not one that you necessarily want to see again, what’s that phrase…once is enough. And Dreamgirls is third. This has suffered some extreme backlash and it is not a perfect film…but it is enjoyable and Condon’s direction though spasmodic was inspired in quite a few scenes. Little Miss Sunshine is close behind. I never really saw this winning Best Picture…but this was a good ride, and although I would have liked if Dreamgirls had replaced it…it deserved its nomination…and then we have Little Children…it’s an almost tie Bobby and Stranger Than Fiction…but Todd Field edges out. Thank You For Smoking is my favourite Reiteman. It’s a flawed film, but I found it entertaining. The other films in the top thirteen are all good.


joe burns said...

I thought Meryl Streep was clearly a lead and I feel that she deserved her nomination. My list would match 5 out of 5 with oscar's. My ranking: 1. Judi Dench 2. Meryl Streep 3. Kate Winslet 4. Penelope Cruz 5. Helen Mirren. Why the hate on Meryl?

Rae Kasey said...

Pan's Labyrinth was my favorite of the year so I was a little disappointed to see The Lives of Others win Best Foreign Language, but it's a great film. As soon as you can, check it out and let us know what you think. :)

Have you seen Sherrybaby? Maggie Gyllenhaal definitely should have had Meryl's spot this year, and maybe even the win.

Danny King said...

The Departed was also my favorite film from this year. It's funny though because the first time I saw it I wasn't crazy about it, but then I saw it for a second time and I loved it.

The Lives of Others is also fantastic, you should check that one out.

MovieMania said...

I always thought the delightful "Little Miss Sunshine" should have taken home Best Picture. But it didn't even have a shot without a Best Director(s)nomination. Pity.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Thank you for giving Bobby and Stranger Than Fiction their due, especially with your nom for Sharon Stone. Her work in that movie was among the best of the year, second only to Streep's in A Prairie Home Companion.

I do think Blanchett is co-lead with Dench, though. The entire movie is about her, after all. And I read her as not seeing the light so much as she doesn't know where else to go. She craves approval, but more from young, good-looking boys than old Miss Covett.

hungeryjack said...

Nice post - Adriana Barraza ..Keep Posting

Adriana Barraza Pictures

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Thanks for the words, Jack.