A wee bit o' commentary on this year's Oscar nominations.
Atonement - Even my most romantically minded friends have shrugged this off as a watered-down The English Patient. I won't be seeing it. I loved The English Patient, but would have no patience for a dilution of it. Not too mention my issues with Kiera's pretty, but distracting, pout.
Juno - WTF? Don't get me wrong, I dug Juno in a big way and will definitely be putting it on my 2007 top ten list, but "Best Picture"? Go figure. Like the film itself, this nomination is a pleasant surprise.
Michael Clayton - Solid picture, to be sure. One of those glossy, smart numbers where the Hollywood machine is humming at its well-oiled-machine best. But not a hall of famer, by any means.
No Country for Old Men - Hells yeah! Just hand the Coens' the statuette now, please.
There Will Be Blood - I haven't seen it yet, but will shortly. PTA is a master. DDL is a master. But I can't imagine this film having the lingering visceral impact of No Country for Old Men. Sorry.
Cate Blanchett - I'm sure she was great, but been there, done that.
Julie Christie - I'm sure she was great. Did you know she dated Warren Beatty? True story.
Marion Cotillard - OMG. Just give her the statuette now. "Transforming herself for the role" doesn't begin to describe it. She tore my heart out as Edith Piaf.
Laura Linney - She was absolutely great in The Savages, and I had to overcome a pesky Laura Linney issue to admit that. But she's gotta wait her turn for Oscar gold.
Ellen Page - She was decidedly great, but deadpan wryness isn't the toughest thing to pull off—let's be honest.
George Clooney - He was good, but that's what he gets paid for, right?
Daniel Day-Lewis - Just give it to him. He's been gone long enough to play the comeback card and everyone is raving about this performance.
Johnny Depp - Johnny's great, but I doubt a singing cannibal part will earn him a golden boy.
Viggo Mortensen - Viggo who? Nah, just kidding. But he's in Linney's boat. He needs to pay a couple more dues.
Tommy Lee Jones - I didn't see In the Valley of Elah, but I think he deserved to get a "Best Supporting Actor" nod for No Country for Old Men. So did Josh Brolin, for that matter.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, Ruby Dee, Saoirse Ronan, Amy Ryan and Tilda Swinton.
Of this crew, I only saw Tilda's performance. She was terrific in Michael Clayton, especially in one small moment where she lays her clothes out on her bed to prepare for a big day at work. Her fragility in that scene was breathtaking and heartbreaking. So I vote Swinton.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Casey Affleck - Didn't see it, but Casey's good.
Javier Bardem - Just give him the statuette, please. The gas station scene alone earned him this.
Hal Holbrook - A sentimental swing vote might give it up for Hal.
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Didn't see this performance, but he was terrific in The Savages. Still, PSH needs to let someone else have a turn at the thank you podium.
Tom Wilkinson - He played crazy real good, but not Oscar good.
Paul Thomas Anderson - No doubt he should come in second.
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - Hells yeah! The other dudes shouldn't bother getting tuxes.
Julian Schnabel - Too artsy outsider-y to take home this prize, but good for him getting nominated.
Tony Gilroy - Solid job, Tone, but competency don't equal transcendency.
Jason Reitman - A promising fresh eye and smart, funny storyteller. You go, boy. But since you are a boy, resume-wise, gotta wait your turn.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Diablo Cody for Juno - If Diablo don't get it for Juno, I don't know what up. Brilliant + box office is tough to beat.
Nancy Oliver for Lars and the Real Girl - Mixed reviews, baby.
Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton - Again, solid. Just not remarkable.
Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco for Ratatouille - It got a 98 on Metacritic, but still, it's about an animated rat. This is when that "It's an honor just to be nominated" line comes to mind.
Tamara Jenkins for The Savages - If Diablo don't get it, Tamara should. What a lovely, insightful film she scribed (and directed). Bravo.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood - Something tells me PTA might take this one as a consolation prize.
Christopher Hampton for Atonement - Eh. War-torn love story. He probably wrote it in his sleep.
Ronald Harwood for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - This seems like it would've been a challenge, but again, too outsider to win.
Sarah Polley - I'm sure she did a fine job. Good on her.
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men - I'm midway through the book, so can say the Coens' didn't have too much work to do here. Three words: amazing source material.