Thursday, January 19, 2006

2005 OFCS awards ballot and comments

As promised, I'm posting my Online Film Critics Society awards nomination ballot. I'll make some comments along the way, but as for talking on the OFCS award winners, I really don't feel like I have anything to say.

Things to take into account when looking at these nominees:

-Nominees were ranked and given point values. Rather than list the points, I've put them in my preferred order.

-Nominees appear in categories where the OFCS deemed appropriate. I don't consider Kevin Costner a lead in THE UPSIDE OF ANGER, but it was determined he belonged in that category.

-While I'm generally happy with these nominees, that's not to say I wouldn't make changes if given the opportunity.


1. Kings & Queen (Rois et reine)
2. Murderball
3. Munich
4. Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai)
5. Grizzly Man

I have no idea how the majority voted, but casting four of my five nominations for two foreign films and two documentaries was probably the fastest way to waste them. Regardless, I didn't feel it was necessary to ghettoize these films and nominate them in their specialty categories.

1. Arnaud Desplechin, Kings & Queen (Rois et reine)
2. Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man
3. Steven Spielberg, Munich
4. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai)
5. Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

So MURDERBALL was good enough for the top five films but not directors? Did it direct itself? Of course not. Can I explain myself? Probably not satisfactorily.

1. Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
2. Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale
3. Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
4. Robert Downey Jr., Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
5. Kevin Costner, The Upside of Anger

Poor Joaquin Phoenix. He had one of the hot performances in November and now is an afterthought. Sure, an Oscar nom should be a lock, but his chance of winning is slim. Robert Downey Jr. is probably the most offbeat selection here--no awards talk at all--but he's very funny in the film. The same goes for Costner, although he's generated some awards talk, not that such things matter to me when I'm nominating.

1. Emmanuelle Devos, Kings & Queen (Rois et reine)
2. Gwyneth Paltrow, Proof
3. Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
4. Jennifer Connelly, Dark Water
5. Radha Mitchell, Melinda and Melinda

OK, a lot of you probably think I'm nuts for putting Jennifer Connelly on there for DARK WATER, but if her performance weren't in a disreputable genre--a studio horror film--this wouldn't seem as crazy. Woody Allen films were usually the ticket to awards, but lately no one takes notice. Mitchell balanced two very different takes on the same character and should have received more credit for doing so.

1. Val Kilmer, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
2. Richard Jenkins, North Country
3. John C. Reilly, Dark Water
4. Ed Harris, A History of Violence
5. Heath Ledger, Lords of Dogtown

Comedy doesn't get enough credit. Kilmer is hysterical as Hollywood detective gay Perry. For that matter, Ledger is pretty funny in a Kilmer-like performance in LORDS OF DOGTOWN. William Hurt got most of the supporting actor buzz in Cronenberg's film, but Ed Harris chewed the scenery well too. John C. Reilly provided the necessary comic relief in DARK WATER, but I can bet you're not buying what I'm selling. I could have included Richard Jenkins on the strength of one critical scene in NORTH COUNTRY. Consider him my token dramatic nomination if you like.

1. Amy Adams, Junebug
2. Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
3. Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
4. Maria Bello, A History of Violence
5. Thandie Newton, Crash

No, these aren't my predictions for the Oscar nominations, but I have a feeling that at least four of these will be up.

1. Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
2. Roger Bohbot and Arnaud Desplechin, Kings & Queen (Rois et reine)
3. Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco, Crash
4. Frank Cottrell Boyce, Millions
5. George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, and Good Luck.

1. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
2. Shane Black, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
3. Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich
4. Deborah Moggach, Pride & Prejudice
5. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, Fever Pitch

1. Christopher Doyle, Kwan Pun Leung, and Lai Yiu-Fai, 2046
2. Rodrigo Prieto, Brokeback Mountain
3. Roman Osin, Pride & Prejudice
4. Robert Rodriguez, Sin City
5. Janusz Kaminski, War of the Worlds

1. Paul Tothill, Pride & Prejudice
2. Michael Kahn, Munich
3. Conor O’Neill and Geoffrey Richman, Murderball
4. Hughes Winborne, Crash
5. William Chang, 2046

Talk about a difficult category for making nominations. I remember performances, writing, and visuals of films, but I'm hard pressed to say that the editing sticks with me. These were the ones that stuck out as I racked my brain.

1. Gustavo Santaolallo, Brokeback Mountain
2. Dario Marianelli, Pride & Prejudice
3. Alexandre Desplat, Syriana
4. Yo La Tengo, Junebug
5. John Williams, Munich

1. Murderball
2. Grizzly Man
3. The Aristocrats
4. Up for Grabs
5. Lipstick & Dynamite

Just now I realized that four of the five docs I nominated are sports-themed. It wasn't intentional.

Before making a shortlist I expected to find a lot of good documentaries from 2005. I'd call the top two great, but after that it drops off significantly. I wrote about LIPSTICK & DYNAMITE in my coverage of the Cleveland International Film Festival.

1. Kings & Queen (Rois et reine)
2. Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai)
3. Oldboy
4. The Edukators (Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei)
5. Downfall (Der Untergang)

2005 was a good year for seeing foreign films in the U.S. Things were not so hot at the box office, but there's not much I can do about that. Look at Germany representin' with two films.


1. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
2. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
3. Madagascar

I recommended a couple of other animated films, perhaps at my mistake, but I couldn't nominate any more than three. As it was, MADAGASCAR was pushing it.

1. Joe Wright, Pride & Prejudice
2. Shane Black, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
3. Paul Haggis, Crash
4. Miranda July, Me and You and Everyone We Know
5. Scott Caan, Dallas 362

Shane Black qualified because he didn't have any prior experience as a director. I threw Scott Caan a bone knowing full well that he didn't have a prayer. DALLAS 362 was far from perfect but showed some talent.

1. Michelle Monaghan, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, North Country, and Winter Solstice
2. Tony Jaa, Ong-bak
3. Camilla Belle, The Ballad of Jack and Rose
4. Alex Michaeletos, Duma
5. Miranda July, Me and You and Everyone We Know

For all I know, my top vote for Michelle Monaghan may have been tossed. The fuzzy criteria seemed to me to define the category as those making their first appearances in films. I tried to stick by that but ultimately submitted my nominations with a broader definition. (Terrence Howard was ruled out here, and rightly so. Amy Adams was declared ineligible here as well, a decision I disagree with but can abide by.)

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