Tomorrow the Oscars are going to be announced. I will still go on record as saying that 2006 was pretty weak, but then again, I missed afew key films. So once all of them come out in February (most of the stuff I missed is due out in the next month!) then I will reevaluate 2006 as a movie year.
So here are what I consider to be the five best in the five major categories and highlighted is who I would choose to win. None of the films I haven't seen will be included in this list. It's not predictions as much as fantasy draft style choices.
Thank You For Smoking
So Children of Men pretty much blew my mind. A lot of people harsh on it's conclusion, but there really was no other way of ending it. Beyond that, it's story was funny, dark, bleak and had some of the most intensely artistic and visually breathtaking camera work in any movie I have ever seen.
Leonardo DiCaprio- The Departed
Matt Damon- The Good Shephard
Clive Owen- Children of Men
Aaron Eckhart- Thank You For Smoking
Joseph Gordon-Levitt- Brick
Yeah, Leo deserves this one. I mean, he was on fucking Growing Pains for Godsake. However much I used to hate him and think he was a terrible overactor, he finally subdued it a bit and gave his character a shattered personality almost virtually unable to feel. His psyche o being undercover for so long unable to connect with society pretty much topped most of all the other performances this year. Owen and Damon are a close second, however, but I don't even think they will get a nomination from the real Academy.
Emily Watson- The Proposition
You know its bad when you can't think of any other leading performances by women this year. Suffice to say I haven't seen Little Children, Notes on a Scandal or The Queen yet. Regardless of that, Penelope will probably not get either the award or the nod for that matter. If she does, she won't win, but she should. I don't think anyone would think of Penelope Cruz as such a great actress (Vanilla Sky and Capt. Corelli's Mandolin come to mind) but thankfully she knows how to act. She's not just a pretty face and a nice pair of cleavage as her American roles lead you to believe. She actually brings a slew of emotions to her character Raimunda in this Almodovar effort. She literally will make you swoon and care for her in the strange situation that she is in.
Martin Scorcese- The Departed
Pedro Almodovar- Volver
John Hillcoat- The Proposition
Robert DeNiro- The Good Shephard
Two things here: 1) Although he deserved to win an Oscar many times, I will be half pissed, half overjoyed if Marty wins and 2)If for some reason the Academy noms DeNiro and he wins in directing BEFORE Marty, I will be half pissed and half mega pissed (although his direction in The Good Shephard is FAR superior than his debut film A Bronx Tale.) Regardless, Alfonso Curon deserves the award. His cinematographer should not only get the Oscar but a blumpkin on stage from Rachel Weisz. His direction of the actors, his structure of 6 minute tracking shots, his idea of realism and his sheer excellent driving suspense is pure cinema magic. Half entertainment, half social ideals. It's uncanny.
Best Script (Adaptation)
Thank You For Smoking
I'm not listing the other films here. I think this script was by far the tightest. Children of Men and The Departed were also excellent scripting, but the work in Thank You For Smoking was just impeccable. I was really impressed by this film (as you probably noticed,) and I was not expecting it at all.
Best Script (Original)
Not only does Almodovar write really unique awesome stories, but he can write womens roles like WHOA! There were literally three male actors in this movie and all the female roles were so taught and great. The dialogue he writes is pure gould.
So that's that. I missed a lot of good films this year, but whatever. I didn't think the Coppolla film looked any good as well as Babel and the Eastwood first flick. Letters from Iwa Jima however is probably awesome. It's somethign different for Clint, esp. since its an all Japanese cast. Pan's is garunteed to be amazing, The Prestive looked awesome and Little Children looked like a damn good drama. Oh well... I'll have to wait. Once I see these on DVD, my list of best films for 2006 will be posted.