Monday, December 11, 2006

Best Actor Borat?

I guess there's a reason the awards season is often considered synonymous with the silly season.

In the catetory of Best Actor, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. managed to come up with a tie. Even better, it's between Forest Whitaker's searing performance as Idi Amin and ... Borat?

Yes, Borat. Now, I'm all for comedic performances getting recognition, and "Borat" was certainly one of the funniest movies I've seen this year, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to vote for Sacha Baron Cohen as the best actor of 2006. In the category of comedy, I'd opt for Aaron Eckhart in "Thank You For Smoking" first anyway. What do you think?

Borat at the Oscars, anyway, would be a blast.

In it's other nods, LA critics added to the Eastwood express, annointing "Letters from Iwo Jima" as best picture, with "The Queen" as runner-up. Frears' fine flick took home four awards: Best actress Helen Mirren (huzzah!), best supporting actor Michael Sheen, best screenwriter Peter Morgan and best music for Alexandre Desplat.

AFI's 10 Best

A more prestigious, albeit somewhat odd, list comes from the American Film Institute as it unveils its top 10 films for the AFI Awards 2006.

The winners are: "Borat," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Little Miss Sunshine," "Dreamgirls," "Happy Feet," "Inside Man," "United 93," "Babel," "Half Nelson" and "Letters from Iwo Jima."

I love that "Babel" keeps getting recognition, but what's the most glaring error with this list? Where the hell is "The Departed"? I'd love to get a whiff of the smoke that was filling up that room.

This just in: Boston critics like Boston

Marty can count on one thing, however: If you make a movie about Boston, even one about its dark criminal underbelly, Beantown's critics will reward you.

The Boston Society of Film Critics mobbed up for "The Departed." Along with taking home the best picture crown, it also won for director (Martin Scorsese), screenplay (William Monahan) and supporting actor (Mark Wahlberg).

All this love for "The Departed," however, didn't extend to Leo, Matt or Jack. In the actor and actress categories, the Boston critics went with the heavyweights: Whitaker and Mirren.

Raimi ready for "Shadow"

If ever a superhero needed a big-screen redux, it's definitely "The Shadow."

In a valiant attempt to erase the 1994 misstep starring Alec Baldwin as the mysterious crime-fighter, Sam Raimi will produce a movie about the 1930s pulp hero for Columbia Pictures.

"The Shadow" debuted in 1931 on a CBS radio show and starred the voice of Orson Welles. Walter B. Gibson created the character, writing the adventures of a crime-fighter who skulked in shadows wearing a hat and cape, and who had the power to cloud men's minds.

While I'd love to see Raimi venture beyond the superhero game after "Superman," he's clearly been obsessed with "The Shadow" for a long time, so this could turn out to loads of fun.

Thirst for blood

It's somewhat surprising that Mel Gibson's bloodbath "Apocalypto" beat out "The Holiday" for the box-office crown.

Mel's flick nabbed $14.2 million, while "The Holiday" brought in $13.5 million. The best news: Leo and that ridiculous accent in "Blood Diamond" only managed to finish a paltry fifth with $8.5 million.

I was beginning to worry that we'd have dancing penguins on the top of the chart for the rest of the year, but I guess Mel took care of that. Though I have my reservations about his flick (feel free to read the review below), it's certainly an audacious bit of filmmaking, which I guess should be rewarded.

Mel's reign, however should be short-lived. Brace yourselves this week for a double dose of positivity to wipe "Apocalypto" away: "Charlotte's Web" (why?) and "The Pursit of Happyness." And me? I'll probably opt instead for "Eragon" (I'm just a sucker for dragons), but I might just break down and see Will Smith's attempt to become Jimmy Stewart too. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

I know we disagree on "The Departed"--you feel it is overlooked and I feel it is overstuffed. But, yeah, Sasha Baron-Cohen for best actor? That's such a gift. He's playing a caricature. And Eckhart's Nick Naylor would be a much better choice. You know a character is good when you remember his name and not the actor who played him. And how good do you really think Letters from Iwo Jima will be? And for that matter, how good was Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven?

Reel Fanatic said...

I can fully support Unforgiven, Jeremy, though I know many people don't, but Million Dollar Baby was highly overrated .. given the source material, the great boxing stories of F.X. Toole, it could have been so much more ... I'm not terribly confident that Letters from Iwo Jima will be great, but I'm pretty much resigned to it being awarded either way, simply because Clint is Clint and for the pure audacity of filming the story from both sides

Anonymous said...

Cohen was fine but as Jeremy said, it was just a caricature. For the most part it wasn't all that much different than the Jamie Kennedy Experiment on television.

In my opinion it was a pretty lousy year at the movies. "The Departed" was one of the few bright spots.

Anonymous said...

I do have to wonder about the LA Film Critics. I have to agree that Aaron Eckhart would have been a better choice for Best Actor where comedy is concerned. At any rate, I think a lot of people are right about this year--it is slim pickings when it comes to really good movies.

And I must say that I would really look forward to The Shadow as done by Sam Raimi. As it is, his movie Darkman seemed to me to be pretty obviously influenced by the old pulp magazines.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I think that SBC probably does deserve a nomination for BORAT.

If you look at him in interviews as himself, and his other characters (Ali G, Bruno, the guy in TALLADEGA NIGHTS), Borat is a real character.

I think it is more difficult to do that, than to pretend to cry like Will Smith does in PURSUIT.

Reel Fanatic said...

You're right about that, Mercurie .. Dark Man remains my favorite Raimi flick, and the main reason I think The Shadow would be something to cheer about

Anonymous said...

Where is "The Departed?"
Easy. They had to take it off the list so "The Devil Wears Prada" could be on that list. I could you not include Meryl Streep? Ugh..they always have to prove they got artsy "class."
Oh, I have yet to see Borat...but damn if that guy (SBC) doesn't just disappear into his characters! I was speechless. Character or not, he WAS that character. I definately pulled a "w-w-w-what??!?" when I found out he was in "Taladega Nights."

Of course I actually liked the Alec Baldwin "Shadow", too.
Hey, it was fun.

Reel Fanatic said...

It had its fun merits, still unreal, I'll grant you, but on the whole it just disappointed me ... I noticed that the commercials for the DVD release of Talladega Nights are almost all Sacha, and very little Will Ferrell ... That works for me, but I still won't be buying it

Kelley Lugea said...

So on the AFI top movies of the year, I will say that Little Miss Sunshine was by far my favorite and the first in a long time that I have strongly recommended to anyone. I will also give kudos to Inside Man and Devil Wears Prada for a well spent 10 bucks but nothing I would buy on DVD.

As far as your plea for The Departed to make it on there I have to disagree. I think this movie was disappointing. No doubt it had some of our times greatest actors working together beautifully and Scorsese is usually great. I just don't think there was a strong enough plot here. The turns and twists were not built up. Its not one I think I will likely remember in 10 years. Sorry

Reel Fanatic said...

No need to apologize, Kelley .. Many people had issues with The Departed, but I definitely agree with you on Little Miss Sunshine .. Easily one of my favorite flicks of 2006

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... hadn't thought of Aaron Erchart as a contender for Best Actor (at least at the Golden Globes).

And am I like the one of the only people who didn't like "Happy Feet" all that much? Seriously, "Happy Feet" over "The Departed"? That makes me want to gag.

Marina said...

I don't consider myself very girlie but I have to say that I got a little over emotional when I first saw the trailer for Smith's new movie. I'm much more excited to see "Eragon" but "Pursuit" is on my radar.

Daphnewood said...

I haven't seen Borat yet. Yeah yeah I know, I am probably the last person in America to do so. However, I see him all over the web and from what I hear, the guy never breaks character. So is it really acting? It reminds me of Andy Kaufman. Maybe Borat is a real person and not an actor. So, how many films do you watch per week? Just curious :)

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to admit, Daphne, that I'm more than a bit of a junkie .. I catch one or two new ones a week, but another five to 10 on DVD

Divinity said...

I'll probably see "Eragon" but I'm praying really hard that it's a better movie than it was a book.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to admit I know nothing about the book for Eragon, Divinity, but the cast, mainly Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich, has me hooked anyway

Divinity said...

The cast is the only reason I'm seeing this film. (But keep in mind that Jeremy Irons also starred in "Dungeons and Dragons".) The second book was a much better read (ie. less blatant plagiarism). And I'd just like to note that Irons' character in the book is BLIND. But the book is rubbish so that's a moot point.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm beginning to hear from more sources that the book is indeed cribbed very heavily from Tolkein's works as far as ideas, Divinity, so I'm starting to grow lukewarm .. I just may have to catch up on something old that I've missed out on thus far instead

Divinity said...

I'd suggest it's closer to the Dragonlance novels than Tolkein's epic although it's probably aspiring towards the latter. Wow, I'm really not selling anyone on this, am I? Again, the adaptation might have culled out some of the problematic bits. I'm probably going to catch the local cinema's screencheck screening on Thursday (to avoid screaming children). I'll let you know if you don't go. Cheers!

Reel Fanatic said...

If you definitely do see it before I do, Divinity, I'll be looking for your impressions ... I'm starting to lean toward just going to see Will Smith's feel-good flick instead

Divinity said...

Bring hankies.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the warning ... If I go, it will be with someone who cries at a lot less than what we should get in Happyness, so I'll be prepared

carrie said...

i loved blood diamond and i loved leo's accent!

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