Godard 21's Cinephile journal

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Best films that I have seen this year (in my opinion), Golden Globes, and Oscar predictions

The Golden Globes nominations were recently announced anda have usually been considered as the primary award show by which to predict the Oscars. Although, this year's nominations seem to complicate this once Golden rule as did last year's Golden Globes which did not even nominate Best Picture winner Crash (for good reason, considering it was a mediocre film and will now stand among Around the World in Eighty days as one of the worst films to win Best Picture).

I disagree with a lot of their nominations this year (like every year). Why is Dicaprio nominated twice, but Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson is snubbed (hell, even Will Smith is nominated for the Pursuit of Happyness which looks like a rehash of various other American films in which the protagonist faces adversity in order to succeed and thus achieve the American dream). Why is Bobby, a film that has been mainly getting mixed reviews in Best Picture? Although I liked Babel, I still would not nominate it for Best Picture. Letters of Iowa Jima has been thrown in the foreign language category (despite being a contender for Best Picture). I can understand why it is in this category, but really, even though it is in Japanese, why can't they allow it to compete with other nominees in other awards (for that matter, why are there never "foreign" films nominated in other categories. I can never criticize the Golden Globes and Academy awards enough for their ethnocentrism (even though I know they will never change).

Despite this aside, my criticism does not adequately reflect this year's Golden Globe nominations considering that there are several actors and actresses which are not American or British this year (these include Penelope Cruz in Volver, Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi for Babel). Writer Guillermo Arriaga and director Alejandro González Iñárritu are both nominated for Babel in the Best Screenplay and Best Director (Almodovar is noticably absent in Director even though some had pegged him to be a possible nominee). In addition, Eastwood is nominated for Best Director for Iowa Jima, so the film is nominated in a category besides foreign film (so, my rant was a little premature).

I am happy that Clint Mansell got a best Score nomination for The Fountain. If there was anything The Fountain should be nominated for, it was its great score. Although I expected it, it is interesting to see Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth nominated in Best Foreign Language Film. I am also thoroughly ecstatic that World Trade Center did not get a token nomination (neither did United 93, but Greengrass' film on 9/11 is supposedly very good as opposed to Stone's horrible mess which I had the displeasure of seeing).

Alas, that is all I have to say about the Golden Globes. If you are interested in knowing more about the fall awards season freakshow which continues on until the Academy awards, you can go to OscarWatch.com and they regularly update their website with new critic awards announcements (I have always enjoyed keeping a distance and watching the pre-Oscar season lunacy. It has always been a great source of unintentional hilarity).

Here is a link to the Golden Globe nominations.


Now, as for what I thought were the best films (which I have seen this year and I can not see everything). Here is my random list (not in a numerical order denoting preference).

Pan's Labyrinth (Mexican fantasy tale. Starts off a little formulaic, but eventually becomes one of the most interesting fantasy films to be released in years)

The Proposition (revisionist Australian western)

The Departed (ah Scorsese, thank you once again)

The Queen (Great for Helen Mirren's performance alone)

Babel (Contains flaws and is not as good as Amorres Perros, but still pretty good)

Brick (a revisionist film noir set in a high school. Was made last year, but
released in theatres this year)

An Inconvenient Truth (yes, a film about an Al Gore powerpoint presentation is good.
It's a paradox, but believe me)

Prairie Home Companion (in honour of the late Robert Altman and for genuinely being a good film).

Little Miss Sunshine (drama/black comedy with a satirical take on the American cult of success and its effects on a suburban family. My friend will crucify me for this choice).

Casino Royale (and this is coming from someone who does not like virtually any James
Bond film, but this one was interesting, primarily because it did not entirely feel
like a rehash of past James Bond films and actually had character development)

The Prestige (convoluted, but fun).

The Wind that Shakes the Barley (not perfect, but still a solid historical film)

I will update later with my Oscar Predictions and I will hopefully include more films to make my list (I seem to have forgotten some which should not be left unsaid).

Half Neslon (Gosling delivers one of the better perfomances of this year and it has oddly become one of my favourite films released this year)

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four acts (a documentary about Hurricane Katrina
and the disastrous aftermath. Although excessively long, Spike Lee did good)

Inside Man (entertaining escapist heist film by Spike Lee. Although I usually do not like most Spike Lee films (i.e Summer of Sam), this has been a rather good year for him).


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