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Blogging the (Yawn!) Oscar Nominations
2006-01-31 12:00
by Ryan Wilkins

And so here we are again, the last week of January, with the disorienting stench of the Golden Globes fully behind us, and the uplifting aroma of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 78th annual awards show just one month away. Who will be nominated? And more importantly, who will be shafted, so the writers at Access Hollywood can take their annual month off while each new episode writes itself? Which previously laughable actor will get Queen Latifah'd -- filling out the ballot with a surprising, empty nomination, only to signal the last positive contribution he/she will ever make to society? These are the questions I want answered. And I'm awake at 5:20 a.m. Pacific time for no good reason so I can see them read to me live.

Let's do this.

  • 5:22 a.m.: With roughly 10 minutes until showtime, I've decided to flip from station-to-station to see which morning news programs will be breaking from their normal routine to cover the nominations. Except that I can't find the remote. And it's 5:22 a.m. So ABC it is.

  • 5:25 a.m.: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences web site indicates that this morning's nominations will be announced by "Academy President Sid Ganis and Oscar-winning actress and Academy member Mira Sorvino." Hm. What, was Marisa Tomei not available? Was Mercedes Ruehl too busy? This is akin to MLB pegging Gene Orza and Lamar Hoyt to read off this year's winner of the AL Cy Young award.

  • 5:33 a.m.: With Hollywood running fashionably late, I've taken to finding odds online for potential nominees. Problem is,, my usual go-to source for internet gambling, isn't listing them for whatever reason. Meh.

    What Bodog does have, however, are odds for the Razzies -- the awards for the worst films and performances of the year. The 2006 list is dominated by a host of pretty faces, just like always, with Tom Cruise leading the way with three total nominations, including two in one category ("Most Tiresome Tabloid Target"). Other notable nominees are Tara Reid (for her heart-stopping performance in Alone in the Dark, which is the single worst film I've seen in the theater by a country mile), Jennifer Lopez (Monster-in-Law), and Britney Spears, Kevin Federline, and their shared camcorder (Britney & Kevin: Chaotic).

    Can't they all just win. Please?

  • 5:37 a.m.: As my mug of Peet's (w00t!) begins to drop from lukewarm to arctic, I begin refreshing Google News to see if a press release has managed to escape before the nominations are officially read. Nada. Stupid Hamas.

  • 5:38 a.m.: And out they come, as my local ABC station barely throws their coverage over to Hollywood in time to see the first category read. Mira Sorvino hasn't aged one day since she tripped and fell onto her Best Supporting Actress award 10 years ago as a Hooker with a Heart of Gold™. Sid Ganis, meanwhile, is a tiny, tiny man.

  • 5:38 a.m.: Best Supporting Actress nominees: Amy Adams (Junebug) is the class of the group in terms of singular performance, but she's got no back-story, and the Academy loves to give credit for things completely unrelated to category at hand. Michelle Williams is a fine pick, and frankly I expect more from her going forward. She's got chops. I could do without another Frances McDormand nomination. She's exiting the important phase of her career, and still living off her win for Fargo (but understandably so). I love Catherine Keener, but her turn as Harper Lee in Capote didn't exactly set me ablaze. I see this as something of a body-of-work pick, perhaps trying to make-up for the fact that she got completely jobbed in '99 for her performance in Being John Malkovich. All things considered, she's probably the front-runner here.

    Side note: No Maria Bello? Argh.

  • 5:39 a.m.: Best Supporting Actor nominees: There are three good performances here, with George Clooney (Syriana) leading the pack. He's just got the right mix: 1) Method-actorly decision to put on significant weight/facial hair for the role, 2) Political film that almost everyone can nod their head to in sullen agreement, 3) Eschewing past success to play against type. That wasn't, after all, the wise-cracking Danny Ocean getting his fingernails pulled out over top-secret intelligence. That was a man.

    Jake Gyllenhaal? A really mediocre performance in good film. He was asked to do more than the soon-to-be-nominated Heath Ledger, but he was just in over his head. This is an example of picking the film and not the actor. Matt Dillon was Matt Dillon in Crash, really stretching himself to play a macho prick. He still gives among the worst line-readings in all of Hollywood. This time he gets nominated for them because his character's dad was ill. How sweet. Paul Giamatti is someone I thought the Academy would forget again, in part because Cinderella Man was such a flop. I guess Sideways is still lingering in the back of their collective mind. Bill Hurt? Good call.

  • 5:40 a.m.: A pretty boring group for Best Actor, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as the mortal lock. Johnny Cash fans who didn't take the time to see Capote are already starting to howl; I can hear their cries a-comin'... they're rollin' 'round the bend...

    The pertinent question about Terrence Howard, of course, is "Is this the beginning of the something huge, or just the beginning of the end?" I'll gladly take the former. Morgan Freeman's getting pretty old, after all, and Hollywood's going to need another black actor to take Important roles pretty soon. Welcome to the club, Terry!

  • 5:41 a.m.: More parity in the group for Best Actress, though word on the street is Felicity Huffman is the bees knees in the film no one has seen yet, TransAmerica. It's going to be a dog-fight between her and Reese Witherspoon, who was a shot-in-the-arm to Walk the Line, with the exception of one scene where she's forced to fit the words "walk the line" into a sentence about Johnny's drug addiction so audiences can be impressed with the (gasp!) hidden double-meaning of the title. Still, she was funny, sexy, sung competently, and never lost her accent throughout the film, which is more than you can say for an Academy darling like Nicole Kidman.

    Charlize Theron, meanwhile, enters the Meryl Streep phase of her career, where anytime she tones down her natural beauty she's lauded as being "courageous." For some reason, I'm reminded of a Mr. Show sketch about a similar subject...

  • 5:42 a.m.: Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay? Granted, I come from about as liberal a school as there is concerning the notion of adaptation, but c'mon! Has no one on the board seen Crimes and Misdemeanors before?

    Noah Baumbach for Best Original Screenplay? Nice.

    Which reminds me... where the hell is Laura Linney in that Best Actress group? And Jeff Daniels and Jesse Eisenberg for that matter? I dont expect much from the Academy, but I'm surprised that the members are willing to recognize a performance like Amy Adams' but overlook something like Jeff Daniels' in The Squid and the Whale, which was equally showy as Adams', but at least comes from an actor with a track-record. Just weird.

  • 5:43 a.m.: No Caché in the Best Foreign Language Film category, apparently. Of course, I didn't see France's nominee to the contest, Joyeux Noël, so this could very well be an astute selection, but I do know that Caché is among the best films of 2005 as measured by the folks at as well as my own tastes, to be published very soon (shameless plug!) in an end-of-the-year list at The Juice!

  • 5:43 a.m.: Why do they even bother with putting other films against Wallace & Gromit? Shit was dope.

  • 5:44 a.m.: And now for the big finale: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night, and Good Luck, and Munich, with each director getting a nod as well. Yawn. Remind me why I do this every year again?
So it is written, so it shall be.

Let the pointless yammering and half-baked speculation begin!

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