Tomorrow is the Academy Awards, and predictions abound as the night draws near. Who will win the big honors?
I haven’t seen all of the nominated films. After all, I work full-time, and movies are an average of two hours long, sometimes longer, and there is only so much time. But I have seen all of the Best Picture/Best Director nominees (they are one and the same). Looking back at what I saw, I realized that the five nominated films have in common that each illuminate people struggling with moral dilemmas.
It’s tough to pick just one film to win the top honors as Best Picture, but my award would go to Crash. To me, it is the most ambitious of any of the films, showing Los Angeles as the community of diversity it is, and what the challenges are to individuals caught in their divergent as well as interconnecting lives.
Best Director I’d give to George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck. It amazed me how the actors’ scenes could be mingled with live news footage from the era depicted. I think it took a strong vision to make that work, and the director is best given credit for it.
I think Philip Seymour Hoffman should win for Best Actor in Capote. The nuances of his performance as Truman Capote gave substance to a film that could have been just another biopic. We see Capote change as he researches and writes his book, and as he grows to know his subjects and mourn for them.
Best Actress is something I don’t know much about as I only saw one of the actresses in a nominated film, Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line. But let’s give it to her. She won the Golden Globe for her performance, and it was well deserved. Speaking of Walk the Line, Joaquin Phoenix was amazing as Johnny Cash, and it is one of my favorite films of the year.
All that said, Brokeback Mountain is likely to win top honors. It was a groundbreaking film because of its subject matter, but in retrospect, I wanted more from it. It never told me why these two men fell in love, only that they did. Still, it showed the ramifications of their relationship in a society that does not value or accept diversity, and is an important film.
Lastly, don’t miss The Constant Gardener. I was surprised it did not snag a nomination as Best Picture. Whereas Munich left me feeling rather hopeless about the state of the world, surprisingly The Constant Gardener did not. If you only rent one of these movies, make it that one.