I’m cheekily doing the two categories together. This is totally wrong for of course - screenplay is one of, if not the most important aspect of a film, and I’ve been giving individual articles to all of the other “minor” technical categories. But, looking at m calendar, I’ve just realised how little time I have left before the Oscars next Sunday. It’s back to school tomorrow [I’ll blog about how much/little fun I had this “holiday” later if I have time], so I’m just gonna double up a few categories. I should have planned this in advance so that I left the amount of time each of these categories deserve. But I didn’t, so there.
That’s enough for rambling. Here are the nominees for original screenplay:
Letters From Iwo Jiwa
Little Miss Sunshine
How I did: 80% - I predicted Volver in the slot of Letters of Iwo Jiwa. And I personally feel that Volver was snubbed (haven’t actually seen Letters, but hey…)
Many think the winner for this category is, without a doubt, Little Miss Sunshine, but I’m more cautious. I think it could go for a three way thing between Babel, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen. Now. Evaluation. (Note, I haven’t seen Letters.)
01. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)
My favourite film from 2006 (in case you’d missed my incessant reminding for the last 100 times) has come under fire from quite a lot of critics for the fantasy/realism line, but, in my opinion, it only adds to the greatness of the movie. The juxtaposition between fairytale-like fantasy and brutal realism – it’s still painful to think about the torture scenes comes together wonderfully, and the creations of the faun and the rest of the world are detailed and well-crafted. There’s so much range covered here, from mystery, to heartbreak to adventure, and I loved every minute of the cinematic quest. And who can forget the protagonist? Ofelia is such a dazzling, dazzling girl of courage, heart, soul, pluck, candour, and any other positive words you want to throw about. The finale is one in which she is revealed to be a heroine worth rooting for, and there really aren’t enough of those left in cinema nowadays. Quite possibly, my favourite female film character of all time. A.
02. The Queen (Peter Morgan)
Peter Morgan’s follow up to the TV play The Deal, also directed by Frears recounts the week in September 1997, when, in the wake of Princess Diana’s death, the nation turns against the Royal family. I really liked this script, simply for the fact that it was realistic and made the characters likeable and human. Tony Blair was presented as the wide-eyed ingénue of the political world, striving to better the UK, and the eponymous Queen is a drawn as a character of true integrity, and one who truly believes she’s acting for the better. But that isn’t to say the film is a glorification of all that is British, for it remains refreshingly impartial, just presenting the story to us without any judgement. Morgan, who also wrote one of the best British films of 2006 (The Last King of Scotland), writes cannily, keeping the film serious and emotionally fulfilling as well as chucking in the odd bit of satire. Bravo! A-.
03. Babel (Guillermo Arriaga, Alejandro González Iñárritu)
My, my, what scope. This multi-linear storylined film tackles global issues varying from terrorism, prejudice, loneliness, and globalisation to love, and further makes things harder for themselves by setting the film all over the world, in locations from US, to Morroco, to Japan. And do they succeed? Well, that depends on how you look at it. For, whilst I never quite got the “message” of Babel (I think it’s essentially either that humans can do stupid things or that we should listen to others), there are some strands which are compelling and moving (Academy award nominees Rinko and Adrianna grabbed my attention more than Brad & Cate, oddly.) Some of the emotions felt by the characters seem genuine [Adriana’s anguish caused in her dilemma is excellently presented] whereas others just feel overwrought, but there are many moments that shock and impact the viewer. But throughout my viewing of the film, the word “coincidence” was running through my mind constantly. There’s slightly one too many in this grim depiction of a grim world. B.
04. Little Miss Sunshine (Michael Arndt)
Mhm. Nietzsche-loving teenager who “hates everyone.” Cocaine-snorting granddad with a love affair with porn. “Cute” kid who wins the heart of everyone who comes across her. Depressed, sarcastic intellectual. Who came up with this bunch of wonderfully original characters? Oh, and how can I forget the creativity of vision in putting these adorable characters on a road trip? Such originality! E. (I was trying to do the Carrell there, but I kinda failed.)
Who will win: Little Miss Sunshine
Who should win: Pan’s Labyrinth
Who deserved to be nominated: Volver (the second best script of the year. Completely snubbed.)
And now, Adapted Screenplay:
Children of Men
Notes on a Scandal
How I did: 40%. Uh. Firstly, I thought that Letters from Iwo Jiwa had Adapted Screenplay, so I had predicted it here. I also predicted The Devil Wears Prada, partly because I loved the film so much. And, of course, I’d predicted the Best Picture frontrunner of that time, Dreamgirls.
01. Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, et al.)
Borat was a film I enjoyed greatly, but it is not one that I particularly love. After all, it’s pretty hard to love a film that’s anti-Semitic, racist, sexist and makes a joke of paedophilia. But credit where credit is due, it was had a hilarious script. Hilarious might not necessarily equate to quality, but for this weak category, I’m going to give Borat the edge. Because it was funny. (Sorry, but it was.) B+.
--- because it was such a weak category and because I’ve got homework that needs doing, I’m not evaluating the others ---
02. The Departed B.
03. Notes on a Scandal B-.
04. Children of Men B-.
05. Little Children E.
Who will win: The Departed
Who should win: Borat
Who deserved to get nominated: The History Boys, The Last King of Scotland & The Devil Wears Prada