Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Oscar nominees

Hey, we're full service here at The Key Monk.

Anyway, the list of Oscar nominees is available at the link in the title to this post. A couple of comments:

(1) I'm very pleased to see Don Cheadle get a nomination. He's one of the best actors in Hollywood but because of his small stature and lack of "leading man" looks, he never gets the "we want a big star who's black" roles that go to Denzel Washington and, occasionally, Laurence Fishburne. Cheadle was far and away the best actor on the CBS drama Picket Fences and he's consistently good so it's nice to see him get recognition, even though he will probably lose . . .
(2) to Jamie Foxx, who is far more than the comic/skit actor that his fellow alums from In Living Color are (the various Wayans brothers, David Alan Grier, etc.). Foxx received deserved plaudits for his work in the otherwise abominable Any Given Sunday. Now he is the frontrunner for Best Lead Actor after his work in Ray. And on top of that, Foxx received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Collateral, and his is the best performance in that group too.
(3) I saw Sideways and quite simply that movie just is what it is. It is not a movie for the ages, and a "movie for the ages" is the type that should win Best Picture (that's why the Oscar for A Beautiful Mind over The Fellowship of the Ring was such a travesty). If no such movie fits the bill, then the best of the bunch should win and Sideways doesn't qualify for that thanks to Million-Dollar Baby. I like Paul Giamatti (son of former baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti -- the man who banned Pete Rose) and his performance was Oscar nod-worthy, but the movie as a whole is best summed up in this piece by NY Times lead movie reviewer A.O. Scott.
(4) When Hilary Swank wins her second Oscar for Million-Dollar Baby (likely, but never assured), she'll be the second-youngest double-Oscar-winning woman after Jodie Foster. Hopefully Swank will be as choosy as Foster and ensure that she has more "Iron-Jawed Angels" and "Million-Dollar Baby" roles in her future (Boys Don't Cry was a one-time role -- she can't do too many strapdownthechest gender identity switch roles or she'll get pigeonholed) than "Affair of the Necklace" fiascoes. But honestly, when it comes to buff leading ladies, I prefer Swank (who still has a feminine figure after killer workouts) to Jennifer Garner (an inferior actress who is boyishly built).
(5) Usually there is ONE movie that is the frontrunner for the big Oscars: Picture/Director/leads/supports/screenplay. This year, Million-Dollar Baby, Sideways and The Aviator are all in the mix for the big awards. Given the subtleties of Million-Dollar Baby, I think Scorsese will lose yet again in the Director race. The true tragedy was his loss for Goodfellas -- a great movie and the best mob-life film outside of The Godfather I.

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