Friday, March 03, 2006

[Movies]

And the Jeffy Goes to...

The Jeffies are a silly thing I invented a few years back to combat my malaise over the horrible choices the Oscars always make (in both nominations and final decisions). It has had an interesting side-effect, though: I start compiling "best-of" lists in my mind throughout the year. It used to be rare that the winner--or even a contender--would come early in the year, but this year two of my contenders came during or before Spring, and only one came during the usual Oscar season in December. I mention this only because it seem important to give you some content before I bomb straight into the awards. Or perhaps also because it seems like further evidence that thing are shifting in Hollywood.

So, without further yammering, here they are (save the Grand Jeffy, which I'll announce in a separate post):

Writing
Stephen Gaghan, Syriana
Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, Crash
Angus MacLachlan, Junebug
Joss Whedon, Firefly
Wong Kar-Wei, 2046

Next to the best picture, this was the toughest category. For different reasons, I could have selected any of these screenplays and defended it as the best. But that is part of the problem--they're so different. Junebug depended on pitch-perfect dialogue; 2046 was a fantastical allegory; Firefly featured Mametesque dialogue and one of the thematically tightest plots I've seen in sci-fi; and Syriana and Crash were both meditations on extremely polarizing political issues.

The Jeffy goes to: Joss Whedon. Unless he writes it, there will never be a better sci-fi script.

Directing
Nimród Antal
, Kontroll
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Paul Haggis, Crash
Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro, Murderball
Phil Morrison, Junebug

Although all of these directors deserve great credit, my final decision was between the directors of Murderball and Ang Lee. No easy choice, because the mediums--documentary and fiction--are hard to compare. Rubin and Shapiro didn't have to elicit performances from actors, but they had to distill from real life a meaningful story. Ang Lee did have to elicit those performances, and his movie depended on it.

The Jeffy goes to: Ang Lee. He got criticized for the slow pace of Brokeback Mountain, but having grown up in the West, I know not only that he nailed it, but how critical it was that he did. He'll get the Oscar, too, but almost in spite of his direction, which was a refutation of the Jim Camerons Hollywood loves.

Male Lead
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Horst Krause, Shultze Gets the Blues
Sándor Csányi, Kontroll
Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow

Male Supporting
Matt Dillon, Crash
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
Don Cheadle, Crash
Benjamin McKenzie, Junebug
Alexander Siddig, Syriana

The Jeffies go to: Ledger and Dillon. (More here.)


Female Lead
I'm going to have to take a punt on this. I managed to miss every performance nominated for best lead. I saw some good performances--Joan Allen in Upside of Anger, Embeth Davidtz in Junebug, Maria Bello in History of Violence, and Naomi Watts in King Kong (seriously--it was the best performance I saw by a lead actress this year), but it's hard to offer a Jeffy without having yet seen Felicity Huffman and Reese Witherspoon.

Female Supporting
Amy Adams, Junebug
Thandie Newton, Crash
Taryn Manning, Hustle and Flow
Taraji Henson, Hustle and Flow
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
And the Jeffy goes to: Taryn Manning. As much (deserving) credit as Terence Howard got for Hustle and Flow, he was surrounded by a fantastic ensemble.


Special Jury Prize
Most Strange and Wonderful Film of the Decade: Kung Fu Hustle

With Hollywood pumping out crap like Big Momma's House 2, it appears that innovation and creativity have left the set. They've gone west (to the East), and set up shop in Hong Kong. The best example is Kung Fu Hustle, which was the film Quentin Tarantino tried to make in the dull, derivative, embarrassing two-part Kill Bill. It's like a combination of Airplane! and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, with a little dada thrown in for good measure. I don't know how to characterize it, or whether even to recommend it, but I will confidently say this: you've never seen anything like it before.

1 comment:

zemeckis said...

dont forget to mention chow's nods in 'kung fu hustle' to both 'the shinning' and 'treasure of the sierra madre' and more? brilliant!