MARCH 5: In one of the worst years ever, the Oscars yielded a
four-way tie, with four films winning three awards each. Crash caused a
huge surprise upset by winning Best Picture in a year in which all bets
were on Brokeback Mountain. Crash also took Best Original Screenplay and
Best Editing, while Brokeback Mountain won Best Adapted Screenplay, Best
Director (Ang Lee) and Best Score.
King Kong and Memoirs of a Geisha each captured three awards as well.
King Kong was awarded for Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual
Effects, while Memoirs of a Geisha snagged Costume Design,
Cinematography and Art Direction/Set Decoration.
Other unexpected upsets came in the Best Song category in which the
much anticipated "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" (from Hustle & Flow) beat
out favorite Dolly Parton (from Transamerica). And though Paradise Now
and Sophie Scholl dominated the Foreign Language Film category, the
awful Tsotsi surprisingly won.
In the major categories, Philip Seymour Hoffman carried the one lone
stamp of quality by winning Best Actor for the excellent Capote. Reese
Witherspoon won for an outstanding performance in a mediocre film, Walk
the Line. George Clooney and Rachel Weisz won Best Supporting Actor and
Actress, respectively, for two very bad films, Syriana and The Constant
The Best Animated Feature Film category was the best on the ballot,
with three very good films competing for the award. Wallace & Gromit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit won.
In a year when Grizzly Man enchanted every critic, it was
disqualified for the Best Documentary Oscar. The winner, predictably,
was the banal and popular March of the Penguins.
The big hit The Chronicles of Narnia won Best Makeup. In the three
short film categories, A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman
Corwin won Best Documentary Short, Six Shooter won Best Live Action
Short, and The Moon and the Son won Best Animated Short.
2006 looks pretty grim by comparison, but we can still hope...
One high point: Robert Altman getting an honorary Oscar. He enters
the realm populated by Hitchcock, Hawks and other greats with no Oscar
wins. He's a favorite of mine, and he's made quite a few damn good
films, and a few great ones. I was honored to shake his hand once.
JANUARY 31: The nominations yielded no surprises; we have the usual batch of too
few good movies, too many mediocre movies and several glaring
I made my predictions in the heat of the moment on Tuesday morning,
and some of them are subject to change in the coming week. The Oscars
will be broadcast on Sunday, Sunday, March 5, 2006.
Please also see current interviews with the nominees: