this is the first time that i can remember where the front runners for each performance category are absolute locks. with that being said, i'm gonna regurgitate. ready? here you go.
best actor: forest whitaker, last king of scotland
best actress: helen mirren, the queen
best supporting actor: eddie murphy, dreamgirls
best supporting actress: jennifer hudson, dreamgirls
personally, i have seen most of the candidates, but not all. but i have seen those four, and i'm fairly confident they were the best this year. they each were, in a word, striking.
okay, we got those out of the way. color me 4-0. let's hit the ones that aren't so clear.
usually, best director and best picture are one and the same. there have been exceptions, but it's generally the rule. this year, however, the recent tide has been martin scorcese for best director, and "babel" for best picture.
this year, i don't think the exception is the rule.
i haven't seen "united 93". i've actually netflixed it and i've actually bought it on comcast, but each time, i couldn't watch it. i'm just not ready yet - although i hear the film is wonderful and the directing is outstanding. i'm sorry, paul greengrass. i just haven't seen it.
"little miss sunshine" is a wonderful movie and one of the funniest non-slapstick films in years. the performances were spot-on, the directing excellent (if not nominated) and the script was amazing for a first time writer. but dayton-faris were not nominated for best director. methinks that kills its chances for best film.
that leaves us with four. and all four films and directors have been rumored recently as winners.
"the queen" is a film with a good script about a topic that might not seem as interesting as it turned out to be. the directing by the legendary stephen frears, however, added a layer of regalness and detachment that was just pitch perfect with the oscar-winning performance of helen mirren. it's an amazing movie worth watching.
clint eastwood's directing career has been highlighted by one incredible story told after another. and this year, here came yet another. his "letters from iwo jima" is an incredible masterpiece in that it's a complex story told in japanese but directed by an american director. but this ain't no ordinary american, and his eye for detail and authencity impressed not only here in the states but also in japan. hell, watching this emotional film was stunning for someone who didn't speak the language. imagine what it did to those whose history was interwoven. i can't stress how amazing this achievement was.
it's no understatement to say that a nation is firmly behind marty scorcese to win. "the departed" is his latest attempt to win the golden statute to help validate a career that truly needs no validation. but, unlike the horrid "gangs of new york", this selection stands with any in his canon. in fact, he reinvented a category - mob movies - that he reinvented once before. beyond the stunning script and performances, you really become involved with the intricate and gorgeous storytelling of a master.
"babel" is the newest installent in what seems to be an oscar favorite: multiple stories being told under the umbrella of a human truth. and, it seems to be a staple of alejandro gonzales innaratu, who is without question the best of that kind of storytelling. the movie is dour, but the artistry is without question. there's no question why this has so much buzz behind it.
the selection of any of these movies and directors is a marvelous choice. this is the first year in ages that i can actually say that. usually there's just one or two that i'm pulling for. but this year, we've all been treated.
that being said, i'm ready to choose.
the envelope please:
congrats, marty. you've finally won one.
and stay up here for the next one too.