Monday, January 23, 2006

My Academy ballot

Nominations ballots were due Saturday. Academy voters rank their choices to round out a category; the top picks are assigned greater weight. This list would be mine.


1. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
2. Yes
3. Syriana
4. Junebug (at right)
5. Millions


1. Stephen Gaghan, Syriana
2. Phil Morrison, Junebug
3. Danny Boyle, Millions
4. Sally Potter, Yes
5. Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins (at right)

Actor in a Leading Role

1. Robert Downey Jr., Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mysterious Skin
3. Damien Lewis, Keane (at right)
4. David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck
5. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

Actress in a Leading Role

1. Joan Allen, Yes
2. Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
3. Charlize Theron, North Country
4. Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
5. Emmanuelle Devos, Kings & Queen (at right)

Actor in a Supporting Role

1. Matt Dillon, Crash
2. Val Kilmer, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (at right)
3. Ben Kingsley, Oliver Twist
4. Richard Jenkins, North Country
5. George Clooney, Syriana

Actress in a Supporting Role

1. Taryn Manning, Hustle & Flow (at right)
2. Amy Adams, Junebug
3. Thandie Newton, Crash
4. Naomi Watts, King Kong
5. Frances McDormand, North Country

Adapted Screenplay

1. Stephen Gaghan, Syriana
2. Josh Olson, A History of Violence
3. Gregg Araki, Mysterious Skin (at right)
4. Diana Ossana & Larry McMurtry, Brokeback Mountain
5. Jeffrey Caine, The Constant Gardener

Original Screenplay

1. Woody Allen, Match Point (at right)
2. Shane Black, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
3. Paul Haggis, Crash
4. Angus MacLachlan, Junebug
5. Sally Potter, Yes

After doing this exercise, I'm again reminded of the absurdity of rating and ranking art. Sure, there's good art and bad art, but it is frustrating and nonsensical to order the best of the best into a list. Why is Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang at the top of my picture list while Shane Black is absent from the directors? Just how much better is Robert Downey Jr.'s performance than Joseph Gordon-Levitt's? Why is Yes ahead of Junebug on the picture list, but behind it on both the director and screenplay lists? There's really no way to judge it, aside from the lingering ephemeral "vibe" of the work in question. So, these are the vibes.

(Disclaimer: I've seen but a fraction of 2005's eligible films.)


cattleworks said...

Pretty interesting list, ya rebel, youse.
Only because it had far fewer of the choices I expected to see, based on what media hype I've heard (overheard?) so far.
I've seen jack of the movies this year (well, pretty darn close to jack), so I can't really comment on the merits of your list, but it would be cool if the voting went that way.
Because everything has a pre-packaged flavor to the Oscars, mostly because of all the hype/campaigning going on. We keep hearing who's supposed to win, we just expect it to happen now, I think.
I hate trying to rate films, but at some point it seems an, if not necessary evil, understandable evil in terms of promotion.
But then everything gets screwy, like in EW articles where, it seems to me, they try to discuss the merits of films and filmmaking, but they're inconsistent with their methods of measuring those merits. It seems they're discussing it in terms of quality (which is of course subjective, but ignore that for now) and then they bring in box office, which seems completely ridiculous because it's a totally different yardstick, a different conversation altogether.
All this bla bla bla to say, you have a really interesting list of film nominations there.
Good luck!

J.J. said...

As an erstwhile employee of EW, I know what you mean. They're very mindful of money in their general film articles, and always publish extensive tallies of yearly box office (see the latest issue for FY2005). I guess it's a fair way to judge public temperament. But AMPAS votes shouldn't let finances hold sway. If they did, the five best pic nominess would be Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Chronicles of Narnia, War of the Worlds and Wedding Crashers. However, it's interesting to note that the highest-grossing probable pic nominee is Walk the Line at No. 18 for the year, with Cinderella Man next at No. 41 and Crash at 47. But watch out for probably winner Brokeback Mountain, which is still widening its release.

Write Or said...

Who makes up the Academy again? And these folks don't actually see every movie, right? Hollywood, like most things, confuses me.

J.J. said...

As per my rude knowledge, the academy is made up of 5,000+ professionals who have worked in the industry for a consistent period of time. Membership is by invitation and is divided into branches: the actors branch, the directors branch, the composers branch, the sound editors branch, etc. Each branch votes for its own nominees, and then the entire membership votes for winners -- a refraction that oftentimes results in undeserving victors in technical categories, since the actors branch is the biggest (therefore most influential) and perhaps least attuned. That's how you get sweeps.

Regarding the membership seeing movies: I'd think it's impossible for them to see all of the 300+ eligibles, so I assume they settle for the must-see crop, as designated by peers and the media. Consequently, the superlative Junebug was certainly less seen (and therefore less likely to be nominated) than, say, Walk the Line or Capote.

And now you're more confused.

is that so wrong? said...

Nice to see Thandie Newton on your list, who I thought was the stand-out of Crash. She certainly had a pair (if not one more) of explosive scenes that I thought raised the bar for everyone else in the movie. Not sure why she hasn't gained any awards-chatter traction, in favor of a handful of her co-stars.

And poor Joan, somehow completely forgotten save for a 2003-Samantha-Morton-out-of-nowhere miracle the morning Oscar nominations are revealed. I too agree that Yes is probably where her accolades belong most this year, but The Upside of Anger is not exactly a paltry consolation prize. Two slam dunks in one year, and instead she gets a door slammed in her face? I know you agree.... Why is she being ignored???

Beedow said...

more importantly, i query whether the DZ oscar pool will be published this year.

J.J. said...

Yes, it will -- it's the eighth frickin' year of the DZ Oscar Pool. Can you believe it?! (I can. About eight years have passed since I started it.) Stay tuned. It'll be available Jan. 31.

Write Or said...

I'd like to reflect on the DZ Oscar Pool. One year I told you the summer before that I was absolutely, without-a-doubt going to win and I did, thanks to Adrien Brody. Another year I sent you my picks from Italy. Last year I boycotted because our friendship was on hiatus. Can't wait to see what this year brings. I'm going to go fondle my Litte Oscar Award Man in anticipation. Bring on Mimi v. Connie '06!

cattleworks said...

Here's something I thought I'd try... which will also never happen... but it's fun to dream.
Thought I'd take up EW on their list of 25 films to see before Oscar night.
Man, would THAT be an indulgence....
Right now, I'll be glad to see KING KONG while it's still on the big screen.
Oh, did catch KUNG FU HUSTLE on DVD. Thought it was great!
Surprised to see it as Best Foreign Film winner in one of the Critics Awards that were cited in EW, only because it's a comedy. So, that was exciting (for me, 'cuz I'm one freakin' dull dude. It's all exciting-- watching a DVD all the way through in one sitting, seeing a comedy picked as a winner for Best Foreign Film...)

Finally, this "fondle my little Oscar Award Man" comment is generating all sorts of... images...