Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Satellites! Try to Contain Yourselves.

Some thoughts on the Golden Satellite nominations (thanks to Oscarwatch for the link):

In terms of Oscar predicting, these don't matter much. Usually I just tend to enjoy the instances where they nominate someone awesome who doesn't have a chance anywhere else. Last year, they nommed Mark Wahlberg for I Heart Huckabees, and that's all I needed. This year, they win my heart over with a Kristen Bell nomination for Veronica Mars. Love!

But, really, these are hardly influential precursors. They're generally the awards you go to after the entire season is over and go "Oh, look, they nominated so-and-so. Glad to see they got something."

The beauty of the Satellites is that they nominate roughly seven hundred thousand actors and actresses – separate drama and comedy designations; six-plus noms per category -- so the law of averages says you can find more than half of your eventual Oscar nominees contained therein, if you're just patient enough to sift through all the names. It's like the $7 DVD bin at Wal-Mart, except way fewer copies of The Italian Job.

So, in the Oscarwatching equivalent of getting blood from a stone, I will try and glean some predictive insights from this year's crop of Satellite noms. First some tendencies: Going by the wholly unscientific data of the past three years, the Satellites average 3/5 (that is, 3 out of the 5 eventual Oscar nominees get a Satellite nom first) in every acting category, except for Best Actress, in which they average close to 5/5 (understandable given the usual dearth of baity actress performances).

So, if the averages were to hold, which names are the most likely to hold up?

Best Actor: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, David Strathairn, Heath Ledger, and Joaquin Phoenix look like the best bets. Viggo Mortenson, Terrence Howard, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jake Gyllenhaal are the dark horses. If we had to pick three, you'd figure: Hoffman, Ledger, and Phoenix. But right now I'll bet Strathairn gets in, too.

Best Actress: Again, this category usually rounds up all five, so: Charlize Theron, Felicity Huffman, Ziyi Zhang, Judi Dench, Joan Allen, Reese Witherspoon, and Kiera Knightley could be called our finalists. To paraphrase Heidi Klum, five will be in, and two are out. (Right now, I'll wager Zhang and Allen are out. As is Daniel Franco … again.)

Best Supporting Actor: Here's where it gets odd, because among the Satellites' twelve nominees, I only see Jake Gyllenhaal, Craig T. Nelson, and Peter Sarsgaard as remotely nominatable. And Nelson and Sarsgaard would be pushing it, I think. This is the weirdest category I've seen in a long time. [Side note: how cool is it that Edward Norton got a nod for Kingdom of Heaven here? He was the best part of the movie, and you never saw his face.]

Best Supporting Actress: This category is looking fuller by the minute: Frances McDormand, Maria Bello, Laura Linney, Gong Li, Amy Adams, Diane Keaton, Rosario Dawson. [Loved the Rosario Dawson nod. I just saw Rent and she was stunning. They also nommed Rachel McAdams for The Family Stone, which I approve of, sight unseen.] Out of those seven, you'd figure Keaton, Bello, McDormand, and Li would be the heavy hitters. But Amy Adams' name keeps popping up, which is very, very good for her. If I have to pick only three: Keaton, Bello, and Li.

I won't get into Best Picture, though suffice it to say that Satellite noms for Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, Capote, Memoirs of a Geisha, and (*sigh*) Cinderella Man all bode well. Also: A History of Violence. Don't give up on that until the critics have had their say.


Yaseen Ali said...

Aaaah chaos. The usual suspects are scattered around... although as one commentator on that page mentioned, the absence of "Munich" and "The New World" makes predicting things a bit more difficult.

I love that "A History of Violence" got a lot of attention, and that Kevin Costner's and Jason Schwartzman's comedic performance was acknowledged. I also approve of the Rachel McAdams nod, who looked great in the trailer. This just makes the wait for "The Family Stone" even more unbearable.

As for WTF's, why is Chris Cooper nominated for "Capote"? He was fine as far as I can remember, but nomination worthy? That spot should have gone to one of the "Squid and the Whale" boys.

NicksFlickPicks said...

In the spirit of the Satellites being exactly what you say they are—delicious wish fulfillment for lost Academy causes, and for those of us who love them—I would also like to trumpet the nod for Mickey Rourke in Sin City, who was so extremely good in a film that was otherwise hopeless at giving breathing room to its performances. How Rourke circumvented that wowzer aesthetic and still made it work for him as an actor was amazing to me.

I also love any group that will give a Sound nomination to something like The White Countess. How many decades would it take AMPAS to do something like this for a costume drama that isn't, as far as we know, anybody's Best Picture bait?

(In the grumble category, Danny Huston for The Constant Gardener and all the stuff for Shopgirl are pretty hard to stomach.... and, since these folks seemed to dig Rent, where oh where is Jesse L. Martin?)

Anonymous said...

Well they always fun picks. KU Hustle gets some love which is cool.........

As for Rachael McAdams I'm betting that the mothership (The Globes) will love to nom here before the oscars do at some point. I think that is want is up with Moving In Her Shoes, Shopgirl, and Upside of Anger into drama races, now they have a wide open spot to play with on the comedy side (Judi, Reese, Knightly are in for sure, and likely Parker now as she won a bunch of times for Sex In The City) that they can even give Rachel the wide card spot for Wedding Crashers, or move Keaton up to lead for The Family Stone and give Rachel her supporting spot...We see.

Joe R. said...

You know, I never even gave a second thought to Cooper's Capote nom. Which is crazy, because they give Capote a supporting nom and it's not for Clifton Collins? I'm both dubious and disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Considering they can include MORE THAN twice as many actors, there were some pretty noticeable snubs. WTF is Michelle Williams?! And WTF is Rachel Weisz?!


Anonymous said...

okay, the presence of corbin bernson's uninteresting five minute appearance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang on this list should render the entire thing irrelevant... right? as someone else said, where the hell is Jesse L Martin? Or Robert Patrick in Walk the Line? or, hell, Luke Wilson in the Family Stone? Anything!?

Glenn Dunks said...

Sometimes the Satellites are as bonkers as the Independent Film Spirit Awards. With those they will nominate the bigger indie movies in placed, yet in some categories where it should've been an easy get, they don't nominate it.

Same here. No Michelle Williams?

But as you said, it IS one of those awards shows where in years to come you can go "oh, cool. So it DID get a nomination".

It's very telling though about the stature of these awards that neither The New World nor Munich nor The Producers cared in the slightest to get the nominaters a copy of their movie. I'm sure they're all deeply upset.


Kris said...

Nelson is not pushing it. I take it you have not seen The Family Stone.

Joe R. said...

Haven't seen it. I just am not seeing Family Stone as more than a one-nod movie, despite how good I think and hope it will be.

Anything is possible this year in Supporting Actor, so I shouldn't rule out anything, but I have a feeling the bulk of the nods will come from Best Picture nominees.

Anonymous said...

How dare they snub Arrested Development!

Nick M. said...

10 comments (well, now 11 comments) all revolving around the Golden Satellite nominations?

Wow, I think this is the most attention they have ever gotten. Didn't they nominate Napoleon Dynamite last year? Yeesh.

These awards are aptly named -- their head is way up in the air, just aimlessly floating around.

Anonymous said...

I have a strong feeling Naomi Watts will be nominated and will win the Best Actress Oscar.

Anonymous said...

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