Next year I promise myself I will not be surprised by the "best picture" category at the Oscars. I will not throw up my hands and say "WHY?" when the picture I believe in my heart to have been the better film takes away best Art Direction or screenplay as a nod.
I have to remember this is the U.S. The Academy doesn't care if a film was deep, haunting, emotionally intimate and powerfully transformative (Babel) when there's a Scorcese-Dicaprio-Nicholson-and lots of guns-picture on the table. What was I thinking?
Yet I admit that I was surprised when Crash--which rubs its message in your face like easy-cheese sprayed out of a can(and which Annie Proulx herself referred to as "Trash" ha!)--won when Brokeback Mountain handled the subject of discrimination based on something a person can't change with far more finesse and beauty.
I think that's just one of the differences between me and the Academy members (that, and I don't have a penis to call my own)...they tend to go for big, bold and melodramatic over slow, well-developed and cinematographically masterful. Look at the last 7 years.
A Beautiful Mind
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Million Dollar Baby
The only truly quiet film in there is Million Dollar Baby and I did think it was a good film, though I can't remember what it was up against. I thought they were being quite cheeky when they gave it to the musical Chicago--which was a rip-roaring good time of a film, but best picture? C'mon! The only one I unequivocally agree with is Lord of the Rings. Forget the genre, the films were brilliant on all levels (yes, I said films. They should have given the award for the whole trilogy). I think even Tolkein, if you got him high, might have agreed.
So I guess this year I have finally come out of my denial. I rarely agree with the choices. I would have given best supporting actress to Adriana Barazza from Babel, whose acting was so convincing that I actually worried about the time she'd have to spend in jail. Or the amazing performance of Rinko Kikuchi, who plays Chieko--the deaf Japanese girl acting out the pain of her mother's suicide. She was AMAZING. Truly. I think Leo did a better job than Alan Arkin--though I loved Little Miss Sunshine.
Honestly, the best thing about the show for me was Ellen Degeneres--who I don't normally even like. Despite all the stupid criticism floating out there, she was natural, she was funny and she didn't try to steal the show a la Billy Crystal.