Monday, December 11, 2006

Awards Season Begins

by Jackrabbit Slim
"Awards! They do nothing but give out awards here! 'Greatest Fascist Dictator: Adolph Hitler!'", Woody Allen as Alvy Singer in Annie Hall.

The two most prestigious critics' awards have been announced, and, as usual, the bloggers are poring over the results, trying to portend what this means for Oscar. The LA and NY film critics results can be found all over the Web, and this new format isn't allowing me to insert a link, so you'll have to trust me on that. Basically, the highlights are that LA went with Letters From Iwo Jima (as did the almost completely irrelevant National Board of Review), while New York chose United 93. Both went with Forest Whitaker from Last King of Scotland for Best Actor (in LA he tied with Sasha Baron Cohen, aka Borat), and Helen Mirren for The Queen.

So what does this all mean? Well, remember that critics are voting on these awards, and zero critics vote for the Oscars. The only influence is that a critics award could remind Academy voters of certain films, and help build buzz on performances. Clearly, Letters got a big boost, and looks like it could be Million Dollar Baby all over again--a film with a release date moved up, and also directed by Clint Eastwood. In my earlier predictions, I think Letters could easily knock out Babel, which is getting skunked in Critics' Awards. I have trouble imagining it could win, though, because no film that is not primarily in English has ever won the Oscar for Best Picture (Letters from Iwo Jima is, of course, in Japanese).

United 93's win probably means less, although it could have established itself as the choice of this year's "9/11" films, leaving World Trade Center behind in the dust.

For the performances, this certainly revives Whitaker, whose buzz had been previously thought to peak too soon, and solidifies Mirren's march toward the podium at the Kodak Theater. I'd be very surprised to see Baron Cohen get an Oscar nomination--it's difficult to imagine the staid Academy recognizing that kind of work. He should be a cinch for a Golden Globe in the Comedy category. It would be interesting to see if he came to the ceremony in character.


Blogger Nick said...

I really hope Dreamgirls doesn't win.

I know, I know... I haven't seen it yet, not fair to judge etc. But not another musical, please. I have a greater problem focusing on the Awards year by year, and Dreamgirls taking it would be just another nail in the coffin for credibility.

But I'm happy Letters is looking good. Nice to hear. That'll be a fun double-feature to look forward to.

12/11/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

And speaking of loss of respect, here's how the New York Film Critics Circle voting went down.

12/12/2006 06:25:00 AM  

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