Sunday, February 18, 2007

If Special K Picked the Oscars

Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine

Arkin's gruff performance in Little Miss Sunshine was offset by the tenderness he showed his young granddaughter (Abigale Breslin, who is nominated for an Oscar herself). Honest, brutal and hilarious, I loved his character "with nazi bullets in [his] ass."

Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada

Streep was actually nominated for Best Actress for her role in The Devil Wears Prada, but it was clearly a supporting role. Nevertheless, Streep brought a "leading lady" attitude to the part of this absolutely delish person - a boss that can turn your heart to stone with a withering glance. Streep's performance, an exercise in icy tyranny, is an absolute thrill to watch. By the way, I can't believe The Devil Wears Prada wasn't nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay - they worked miracles transforming one of the worst books ever written into a fun and smart movie.

Will Farrell in Talladega Nights

I truly thought one of the best films of the year was Talladega Nights. Listen, I know from Nascar, those people, they're my people. By which I mean, I cannot escape them. Farrell easily could have relied on the stereotype of the god-fearing, consumer-obsessed, irresponsible, French-hating, red-stater to carry him through the movie. Instead, he (and co-star John C. Reilley) brought a level of commitment to this part that surpasses those too-easy characterizations (I'm looking at you, Eddy Murphy, and you should be ashamed of yourself). The Oscars rarely recognize the talent of comic actors, but the timing and commitment of Farrell cannot be denied (when I choose the Oscars!)

Kirsten Dunst, Marie Antoinette

With it's mixture of pop music and period dress, Marie Antoinette never claims to be a strict recreation of the 18th century court. Dunst's nuanced performance was a very contemporary approach to presenting the character of a bright, bored, filthy rich monarch, and it was glorious.

Martin Campbell for Casino Royale

I hear that the nominated films for the category of Best Director (and, come to mention it, Best Picture) are excellent films - worthy in scope, challenging, and topical - but I didn't watch those films. Gone are the days when K. will run out for any new movie, now careful analysis and market research must be first completed. "Will this movie's themes and images destroy the facade of peacefulness that K. has carefully formed in her fragile psyche?" I ask myself. For example, I have a "No Death Penalty Movies" clause that was enacted several years ago after watching Dancer in the Dark. I could only allow myself to see Marie Antoinette after verifying that she is not, in fact, beheaded in the movie. What I really enjoyed this year was Casino Royale - the latest Bond flick. It was a movie for movie-lovers (and, from what I hear, for Bond-lovers as well); it was topical in that it took advantage of our national interest in Texas Hold-em and it challenged to me to open my eyes to the hotness of British guys, however white and pasty they might be.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

If I Chose the Oscars (TM), I would go with Borat for best pic, with Little Miss Sunshine and Thank You for Smoking as close seconds (Aaron Eckhart, thank you for being HOT!) I was laughing - loud - at Talladega Nights and Little Miss Sunshine, but I was crying, holding my side and hugging strangers at Borat. A smart social satire, Borat at once points out the racism, classism and sexism of American society and at the same time lets us off the hook for it (because Borat himself is the worst offender). It's the sort of movie that sounds terrible when you explain it, but watching it is a nearly transcendental experience.


Kathy said...

Talladaga Nights and Little Miss Sunshine were big favorites for me this year, as well, although I think I'd have picked Steve Carrell as best supporting actor for his performance there.

And you should just see Little Lindsay soliciting "shake and bake" bumps from Rob.

Devin said...

Maybe the most disturbing thing about that Borat pic is where his body ends. Did he shave his butt?

So, Borat, that good?
We'll get to it someday on the 'flix.