Friday, June 30, 2006

More Shortlists From Hell

I’m still trying to get in that Oscar mood for the upcoming fall movie season but --Enough intro. You know how this works by now. Let’s wrap up those shortlists from Oscar hell with the supporting field. (previous posts: lead actor & lead actress).

The past six years of supporting actress have pained me most in the following five ways...

Jennifer Connelly A Beautiful Mind (01). A competent performance that for still-inexplicable-reasons-to-me managed to beat everything else all season long @ every awards show, including three other performances that were in most any way I could imagine (level of challenge, amount of nuance, complexity of role) more impressive. I still don't get it.
Judi Dench Chocolat (00). It's clear that the Dame can act. But it's unclear why the Academy feels they need to nominate her for 'I-can-do-this-in-my-sleep' roles.
Kate Hudson Almost Famous You may recall I also nominated her. What was I thinking? It's one of those dangers of awards season. Groupthink hoopla clouding otherwise discerning vision.
Laura Linney Kinsey (04) Laura Linney is a super actress. But this performance bored me.
Renee Zellweger Cold Mountain (03) Embarassing. That is all. Made me hate an actress I once loved. The love has never returned.

The past six years of supporting actor have hurt me most in the following five ways:

Jamie Foxx Collateral (04) and Ethan Hawke Training Day (01) -Two performances I actually love. But in no way, shape or form are these supporting roles. It's laughable. I can forgive the Academy those many gray areas like say, Natalie Portman in Closer or Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense but when the story is ABOUT you and you're in NEARLY EVERY SCENE, you are a lead actor. Period.
Joaquin Phoenix Gladiator (00) a nomination that vexed me. Too much huffing and puffing for my tastes.
Tim Robbins Mystic River (03) Why is it that you have to overact to get an Oscar? Pity because he's been so much better (Player, Shawshank, Bull Durham) before.
Jon Voight Ali (01) Basically if you are an actor who covets a golden boy. Just sign up for any famous person role. The Academy will nominate you. It's, like, a rule or something.

Those are my feelings about the worst/most annoying nominations in those categories from 2000-2005. How about yours?


Anonymous said...

Supporting Actress.
I like that object of desire Kate Hudson performance. Good for a nom, maybe. To tell the truth I like most of them, including the suffering wives. Some of them should not be nodded, but they're not awful. Except for Zellweger. Favourite ones: Madsen and Weisz (lead, lead and lead).

Supporting actor:
I like Tim Robbins' performance very much. Like Penn, he can be accused of overacting, but I can live with overacting when it works this good. Anyway, my favourite one was not nodded: Kevin Bacon, also in Mystic River. From the list, my favourite one is Benicio del Toro, in that terrible movie. Worst: Phoenix

-cal roth

DL said...


1. Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man and 2. Jon Voigt in Ali - My obsession with the Oscars confuses me. I strongly disagree with almost everything they believe in, but I keep on coming back year after year. Case in point: Honoring actors for lesser perfs when they know that they made a mistake not nominating them in previous years.

3. Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator - The whole movie (and especially this performance) irked me.

4. Christopher Walken in Catch Me If You Can - Because the perf wasn't special in the leastest.

5. Jim Broadbent in Iris - Because he was 1000 times better in Moulin Rouge!

And I share Cal's opinions on Tim Robbins, though I still think he shouldn't've won.

The best nominated perfs were Chris Cooper, Clive Owen and Jake Gyllenhaal!


1. Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain - Arguably the worst Oscar-winning performance ever, and the only Supporting Actress-nominated performance I have any problems with from this decade.

The bests of the bunch are Marisa Tomei, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Holly Hunter, Natalie Portman and Amy Adams. (I have sadly never seen House of Sand & Fog, and look forward to seeing Shohreh Agdashloo's much-hyped turn.)

Yaseen Ali said...

More, Nathaniel, more! Now do director, picture, screenplay. And then all the other ones! ;)

Supporting Actress:
Judi Dench, Chocolat: A perfectly decent turn, but even she seemed to realize that this nomination was silly (and Miramax-bought).
Laura Linney, Kinsey: She has been superior in practically everything else she's done (hell, I would have rather she had a nom for Exorcism of Emily Rose). Especially in the year of P.S.... Bah! But I love Linney, and would love to see her appropriately Oscar-ed one day.
Frances McDormand, North Country: Ridiculous choice considering who was left out (Maria Bello was passed over just to give Frannie a nod for this baity, unconvincing role? In such an awful movie?).
Renee Zellwegger, Cold Mountain: Another one that should be included on everyone's list. I'd have much preferred her to win for Chicago - at least there she was on the same page as everyone else. Here, she was in another movie entirely, unappealingly mugging for attention.
Julie Walters, Billy Elliot: Can't remember too much about the film, but recall being quite underwhelmed with her hysterics. Too much.

One nomination I know a lot of people will take issue with is one that I appreciate. Queen Latifah was scene-stealing in Chicago - her "When You're Good to Mama" was the highlight of the entire film. If only one performer from the film were to be nominated, I'd put all my support behind her.

Supporting Actor:
Alan Alda, The Aviator: I'm sorry, what?
George Clooney, Syriana: Everyone in that film was better.
John C. Reilly, Chicago: I realize that this nod was to honor 2002 as a whole, but come ON. Adequate supporting turn, but was it that good?
Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator: A very inconsistent performance. I never knew what he was doing with the character...
Tim Robbins, Mystic River: Admirable if a little hammy, but much more impressive supporting work happening in that film that isn't acknowledged because it isn't as showy.

Anonymous said...

I think that the only one that I kind of agree on you is Renee Zellwegger. I think that she is over rated!

And I hope she comes no where near Oscar for Miss Potter, but Ewan Mcgregor on the other hand, you can give him renee's.

adam k. said...

Only Zellweger really makes me angry. JConn and TimRob just annoy me because they won. I must acknowledge that Jake was also a leading role who was nommed, but you didn't mention him, presumably because you love him too much, but I would contend that it was less fraudulent for other reasons. Still pretty fraudulent, but not as shamelessly so. He was at least one of two leads, and the one who was less the subject of the film, if forced to choose... plus he died and then was absent for a good portion of the end.

Chris Cooper was definitely the best supporting actor oscar winner in a LONG time, and has remained so. It was one of the very few times when that award wasn't used as a career honor (Freeman, Coburn, Robbins, Williams), a "he's had a great year" consolation prize sort of unrelated to the actual perf (Clooney, Broadbent), or just some WTF Miramax bought win (Caine). Yay for Cooper. I wonder who'll win this year.

Anonymous said...


Jeff Bridges: Great actor, but it was nothing special and I thought he phoned it in?
Joaquin Phoenix: So overdone and mannered. Unconvincing.

Jon Voight: A nothing role and a nothing performance. He didn't do A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. One of the most undeserved nominations ever.

Ed Harris: I love Ed Harris, I really do, but he was so over-the-top and used all possible gay clichés at his disposal. I was relieved when he finally jumped off the window.

Djimon Hounsou: Totally cloying and manipulative performance.

Matt Dillon: Totally unremarkable. The recognition for it baffles me to this day.


Judi Dench: I actually like this performance, but an Oscar nod???

Jennifer Connelly: Totally dull, one-dimensional and by-the-books. Yawn.

Renée Zellweger: One of the worst performances to ever win an Oscar. 'Nuff said.

Natalie Portman: Totally miscast, not to mention awkward and unconvincing.

Anonymous said...

Oh and Jamie Foxx and Ethan Hawke were category frauds, but the performances were actually good (great in the case of Hawke).

adam k. said...

Oh, and you really don't get why JConn won everything? Let me spell it out for you:

best pic frontrunner + loveable fantasy wife role + "oh yeah, Requiem for a dream... you've been really good in gritty indies, and we like that you finally sold out, so we don't feel bad voting for you over all these greats" + vote splitting between all four superior competitors = easy win

That last ingredient was key, I think... someone might've had a chance if there was just ONE person people could've rallied behind, but then... "Who to choose? The scene stealer? The critical leader? The real person? The comeback kid? Oh whatever, I guess just JConn, why not." There's your thought process right there.

adam k. said...

It's actually all very similar to why Hilary Swank won. Hahaha.

Anonymous said...

Supporting Actor (inpo):

1-2. Foxx + Hawke, for the aforementioned reasons.

3. Paul Newman - Road To Perdition. A memorable performance, but was it really good enough to get the guy his ninth freakin' acting nomination? Let someone else try.

4. George Clooney - Syriana. I like him, and I like him in the film, but this nomination and Oscar screamed 'we want to give George Clooney something and director is out'. He has done and will do far better work.

5. Matt Dillon - Crash. A sterling effort, but it wasn't enough to convincingly sell Haggis' garbage dialogue. Not really Matt's fault.

Supporting Actress (inpo except #1):

1. RENEE FUCKING ZELLWEGER - COLD FUCKING MOUNTAIN. I liked her better when she was a human being and not a muppet on nitrous oxide doing an impression of Colonel Sanders. BLECHHHHH.

2. Kate Hudson - Almost Famous. The exact same performance she always gives, except in this case she was surrounded by a half-decent movie. Whoopty doo.

3. Maggie Smith - Gosford Park. She was great, but her performance sort of pales next to Mirren's. They didn't both need to be nominated - it would be like Bacon getting in next to Robbins.

4. Laura Linney - Kinsey. I love her but what a boring role.

5. Catherine Keener - Capote. Not an issue of quality but one of quantity. What is her purpose in this movie? Could they have made Harper any more of a wallflower?

Anonymous said...

P.S. I kind of enjoyed Joaquin's hamminess in Gladiator. It momentarily distracted me from the totally humourless rest of the movie.

Anonymous said...

5. Jeff Bridges, The Contender (I don’t remember his performance, but there were 11 others I hadn’t seen.)

4. Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams (Very unlikeable character, granted. But, his work in Traffic was much better, so the recognition seems redundant.)

3. Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby (Doesn’t do anything he hasn’t done before. Million Dollar bandwagon.)

2. Alan Alda, The Aviator (Don’t remember his performance)

Worst: Jamie Foxx, Collateral (I don’t like Jamie Foxx and I don’t see what the big deal is. Five years from now, he’s going to be doing Snow Dogs II with Cuba Gooding, Jr and Whoopi Goldberg)

If I wasn't feeling so vindictive, I'd switch out Foxx for Ethan Hawke or John. C. Reilly.

1. Chris Cooper, Adaptation
2. Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast
3. Clive Owen, Closer
4. Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
5. Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings

That is one kick-ass slate of five.

Anonymous said...

Queen Latifah- Chicago
John C. Riley- Chicago

-I liked Chicago just fine but these nods felt like the work of Miramax hoopla and (to a lesser extent) exuberant industry love for the film. And the performances, while entertaining, where not REMOTELY award worthy. That both actors snagged spots that’s should have gone to White Oleander’s Pfeiffer (her ice cold, shoulder turn to Zellweger warranted an Oscar by itself) and Far From Heaven’s Quaid- although he didn’t deserve to win. RU: Frances McDormand- North Country and Ethan Hawke- Training Day.

Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) & Clive Owen & *Jake Gyllenhaal- It’s tough. I found his performance phenomenally moving, but a supporting nod JUST PISSES me off. It’s a lead- a romantic lead! (I’d have given him a lead nod) I wish the Globes would have sent the ULTIAMTE FU and nodded him in lead- but that may have coast him a BAFTA victory and an Oscar nod so I’ll shut up.

Anonymous said...

5. Michelle Williams, Brokeback (Well, maybe she wouldn’t be here if I had actually seen ten other films. She wasn’t bad, don’t get me wrong. I just thought that part could have been taken to a whole other level. She had some nice moments, though. Maybe I'm using her TV past against her subconsciously.)

4. Kate Hudson, Almost Famous (I don’t see what the fuss was about with her or this film … or Cameron Crowe. It’s been almost a decade since “Jerry Maguire.” That film was truly great. This one was just okay. I guess her part of iconic, maybe, but she didn’t do a whole lot, nothing that I remember.)

3. Catherine Keener, Capote (Small, forgettable role. She did nothing. I love her. I thought the film was good. But, she only got nominated because of the Capote love fest. I can't wait to see was Sandra Bullock does.)

2. Queen Latifah, Chicago (One word: Why? ... sorry Ali)

Worst: Laura Linney, Kinsey (I don't feel she's the worst, but there she is. XX is right though: boring role. She got nominated because she’s Laura Linney. Long-suffering wife parts aren’t usually of interest to me and this one is no exception. Were they looking for seat filler? Hello, I know the Manchurian remake wasn’t good, but Streep was off-the-charts. She deserved an nomination that year.)


1. Meryl Streep, Adaptation (2002 was a great year for this category; I wouldn't say this is Streep’s best performance, but I think she’s so amazing and she’s one of my favorites, that when her talents really shines it blinds me to the point of not being able to look at the other performances in a comparative objectivity)

2. Julianne Moore, The Hours (One of her best performances; I thought she was way better than in Far From Heaven. Her quiet desperation was subtle and beautiful, but so was the film.)

3. Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain (I’ll catch flak for this, but I thought Cold Mountain was a kick-ass film and Renee was on fire. I can see how some may see her as a caricature, but I just don’t. Oscar deserved.)

4. Frances McDormand, Almost Famous (She’s amazing and she was on her game her. I love the scene with folding the bills so the one’s are on the outside.)

5. Holly Hunter, Thirteen (Such an unlikeable push-over, but she did it so well.)

Honorable Mention: Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River, Virginia Madsen, Rachel Weisz

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ryan ... Pfeiffer and Quaid were both overlooked in 2002.

Andy Scott said...

Best Supporting Actor
Jeff Bridges - The Contender
George Clooney - Syriana
Jamie Foxx - Collateral
Djimon Hounsou - In America
Jon Voight - Ali

Voight's nod was bizzare. Bridges & Hounsou both turned in good performances, but nothing worthy of Oscar nominations (especially the latter. WTF?) They really went too far with the Clooney thing (although he is too charming to resist. ugh.) And don't get me started on the whole Jamie Foxx thing. Double ugh.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Connelly - A Beautiful Mind
Judi Dench - Chocolat
Catherine Keener - Capote
Laura Linney - Kinsey
Frances McDormand - North Country

I can understand why they nominated J-Con, but like you, Nate, I don't get how she swept the precursors (and won the Oscar for that matter). She was by far the lest deserving in her category. The other 4 performances listed are just dull work from good actresses.

And Nate. I'm praying for you and Renee to work things out. One bad performance shouldn't destroy a relationship with such a great actress. ;)

par3182 said...

overrated supporting actor:

morgan freeman - million dollar baby
paul giamatti - cinderella man
ed harris - the hours
djimon hounsou - in america
joaquin phoenix - gladiator

overrated supporting actress:
jennifer connelly - a beautiful mind
judi dench - chocolat
queen latifah - chicago

par3182 said...

and renee zellweger - cold mountain

(so obvious i overlooked it)

Anonymous said...

I really only have one to mention right now, and that is Latifah, i'm not surprised at all the Academy nominated her, but her performance was far below the level of Michelle Pfeiffer's brilliant star turn in White Oleander.

It's a shame the Academy repeatedly snubs such a fantastic actress, she is perhaps the most versatile actress working today(well, sort of working). Bebe Neuwirth, Clarkson, Toni Collette and Edie Falco were also far better than Latifah that year

Glenn Dunks said...

Movies with Supporting nods that I haven't seen. North Country, Iris, About Schmidt, Ali, Pollock and Junebug.

Supporting Actress

Jennifer Connolly - A Beautiful Mind
Kate Hudson - Almost Famous
Laura Linney - Kinsey
Sophie Okonedo - Hotel Rwanda
Renee Zellweger - Cold Mountain

Jennifer. I really like her, but this isn't her best and it wasn't anywhere near the best that year. *sigh*

Hudson - I. Hate. Her. I didn't too much like Almost Famous either. I am proud of myself that I was never blinded by her in this movie. I didn't like her perf in 2000 and I still don't. Frances McDormand, on the other hand, is great.

Linney - Yawn. I really didn't like the movie either.

Okonedo - This woman's got something, and I noticed it in Dirty Pretty Things. However, this performance is all screaming. So much so that her Oscar clip was OF HER SCREAMING!

Zellweger - Despicable. Just awful showboating crap. That it beat people like Aghdashloo is a disgrace.

Dis-honourable mentions go to Patricia Clarkson in Pieces of April. THIS was her first (and only) nomination? Say wha... and Marisa Tomei from In the Bedroom. Sorry. I didn't like this performance that much. her accent going in and out was frustrating.

However, good on them for nomination people like Aghdashloo, Hardon, Walters, Hunter, Blanchett, Madsen and Williams and even Queen Latifah who gave as good as someone like William Hurt in A History of Violence. All great stuff.

Glenn Dunks said...

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Alda - The Aviator
George Clooney - Syriana
Jamie Foxx - Collateral
Morgan Freeman - Million Dollar Baby
Paul Giamatti - Cinderella Man

Alda - His performance was like Where's Wally (er, Waldo for you Americans). Spot where he is! It's hard, but he's really there. Honest. You'll win a prize!

Clooney - My favourite perf from this film was Alexander Siddig, but really the whole thing didn't impress me that much and this nom just seemed silly when they had two other opportunities to nominate him (which they did)

Foxx - I would've nominated him for lead for this role instead of Ray. Category fraud to the nth degree.

Freeman - Yawn. Just like Linney's for Kinsey. He got nommed (and won) for being Morgan Freeman (who I love - but not here).

Giamatti - YOU'RE A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING, PAUL! Okay, I got that outta my system (Paul raises the bile levels in my blood something shocking). This role was just so 'whatever'. I would've prefered Crowe or even Zellweger to get noms instead of this. So... nothing.

I don't remember Phoenix's perf in Gladiator that much, so I didn't mention him. I didn't like Hawke's nomination no matter what the category.

Well done to them though for nominating Baldwin, Watanabe, Cooper, McKellen, Kingsley (shoulda won), Dafoe (ditto), Bridges, Owen, Gyllenhaal and Hurt.

Anonymous said...

Jake Gylenhaal - Brokeback mountain

Anonymous said...

I'm going to put aside category fraud wherever I think there's a good (Foxx, Hawke) or great (Gyllenhaal) performance lurking beneath the surface, because - much as category fraud bugs me - their performances didn't. This leaves me with an opportunity to mention 5 actors and actresses whose performances just PLAIN. WEREN'T. GOOD. ENOUGH!

I'll kick off with Supporting Actor:

5 William Hurt (A History of Violence)
Much as Hurt bugs me in general, I must concede that I think he knows what he's doing in this film. But it's on that knife edge between enjoyably deranged and poor. I think he's distractingly bad rather than amusingly bad.

4 Djimon Hounsou (In America)
I like the performance, but it's nothing special, and I felt the role afforded him the opportunity to BE special.

3 John C. Reilly (Chicago)
Stick any decent actor in front of a camera singing Mr Cellophane right now, and I guarantee you they'd be as good. One superfluous song does not an Oscar nomination make. Except it did.

2 Jon Voight (Ali)
Such a jawdropping waste of a nomination slot. He's barely in the film, and when he is, he makes zero impact.

1 Tim Robbins (Mystic River)
And no, I'm not overcompensating because his win annoyed me; his very presence in the category annoyed me. I think he genuinely stinks the joint out in Mystic River. So far past ham, he's bacon.

So, moving on, here are my supporting actress picks:

5 Judi Dench (Chocolat)
Because even I, as the site's resident Dench hag and staunch defender of most things Chocolat, must concede that this enjoyably fluffy turn is an actress treading water. And considering she'd have had a nomination from me for A Room With A View, it's not as though I'm reducing her tally, so I can sleep easy.

4 Renée Zellweger (Cold Mountain)
I was highly entertained by her performance in Cold Mountain. But I shouldn't have been. It's inappropriate, selfish, attention-seeking, and from the same actress who learned to be the complete opposite of that in One True Thing. As with Nat, the initial love has not returned since.

3 Catherine Keener (Capote)
Switch the film to The 40-Year Old Virgin and she's excused from this Top 5. But she didn't make a mark for me in Capote.

2 Queen Latifah (Chicago)
See John C. Reilly. Only more so.

1 Frances McDormand (North Country)
I usually love her, and I enjoyed her presence in North Country. But it represented a chronic lack of imagination on the part of the voters for a pedestrian, baity role like this to get into the mix.


Joe R. said...

I'll take a pass at defending Kate Hudson (that movie does not work without her being as great as she was -- of course, I suppose if you didn't think it worked in the first place, we can't really argue) and I'll simply add to the chorus of boos aimed at Tim Robbins. I'll toss in Marcia Gay Harden for Mystic River as well. They both mis-played their characters pretty badly and took what were fairly complex and interesting characters on the page and made them both just very twitchy and irritating.

Anonymous said...

Supporting Actors:

Voight -- He was in the movie? Oh, I must have overlooked him.

Bridges -- Love him, could have won elsewhere numerous times, but this was nothing special. He gave a rousing speech that any competent actor could have delivered.

Robbins -- He was A-C-T-I-N-G, yes I saw. That does not make a believable character.

Freeman -- He's never bad, but this was nothing special. He could have done this in his sleep.

Newman -- Just didn't see anything here that warranted special attention. Craig and Law were better in the same film.

Supporting Actresses

Dench -- I do love Judi and she brought warmth to the character, but this is nothing special.

Latifah -- Just a cameo, she sold her number but what else was there? This isn't the Tony's.

Keener -- Again, an actress I love, but she was wallpaper in Capote. She should have been cited for her "...Virgn" performance instead.

Portman -- I loved the film but she was a weak link. Her scene in the strip club was painfully bad, she tried hard but no nomination for "effort".

Connelly -- This is beyond my comprehension. She brought nothing to the role, she was a cipher. She is great elsewhere (Requim, HofSF) but not deserving for this.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on Foxx and Hawke (though at least they were good performances). To join them I'd pick John C. Reilly in Chicago, Ed Harris in the Hours, and Clooney in Syriana.

Top 5 would be Clive Owen, Benicio del Toro in Traffic, Chris Cooper, Paul Newman, and Ian McKellen (HM: Albert Finney).

For the ladies, Zellweger is worst by like 100 miles. Joined by Dench, Mirren, Okonedo and Keener.

Top 5 are Zeta-Jones, Aghdashloo, Streep, McDormand and Weisz (HM: Hunter)

Beau said...

you must be punished for such insolence. she exuded such life and vitality that I've basically come to the conclusion that she IS the 70's. She's not only a person, but she's Crowe's entire interpretation of that era... carefree, intoxicating, vivacious and luminous. One of the most beautiful screen introductions I've ever had the pleasure to view.

worst supporting actor:
joaquin phoenix - gladiator
-blah. not impressive.

jon voight - ali
do we have to go over the mimicry bit again?

john c. reilly - chicago
-it was for his body of work that year, not for that one role. he was enjoyable, but by no means did he deserve that nom. hell, if oscar was just about rewarding body of work, kate winslet would have three oscars by now, meryl streep 9, and jude law would've had three noms from 2004 alone.

ken watanabe - the last samurai
-i hated the film passionately, but that was mainly because of tom cruise's presence. every time i felt that i was about to get sucked into the atmosphere of the piece, he shows up and i'm like "oh, look!! what a wonderful little asian village in a period where... what the fuck is tom cruise doing there?" watanabe did fine, but again, there was nothing there that screamed oscar.

dijmon hounsou - in america
-anger. rage. inner peace. good role, good job. not oscar-worthy.

alan alda - the aviator
can someone please explain to me how this piece of shit nom managed to beat out David Carradine's brilliant turn as Bill? Or Mark Wahlberg's side-splitting work in I <3 Huckabees? I felt the same about this perf as I did about the people who were saying Frank Langella should've been nominated for his glorified cameo in Good Night, and Good Luck. They're fine, there's no discounting that. But there's no arc to their character, and there's nothing remotely intriguing about either. At least William Hurt was the devil.

worst supporting actress:
jennifer connelly - a beautiful mind
-spare me the whole distressed wife bit. she did fine, she did very fine work. but it wasn't enough for me to nominate her, (she was much stronger in House of Sand and Fog).

helen mirren - gosford park
-don't kill me. I love this film. to no end. and her character was glorious, just as magnificent as any other character in the film. I just felt that because she had opportunity to bawl in the final scene, voters felt she deserved the award. I don't. This was an ensemble piece, and the only one of the ensemble whose nom could be justified was maggie smith, and that's because her role was... shall we say it? classic.

queen latifah - chicago
-you can sing, you can dance. you can look good when you sway or when you prance.
but your nom was because they wanted to hear "academy award nominated queen latifah". sorry to be harsh, but the truth hurts babe. i still love you.

catherine zeta jones - chicago
-she can do just about anything and do it wonderfully here. but being a one-note bitch of a character does not oscar-worthy make. (apparently, i'm mistaken.)

kathy bates - about schmidt
-yes, you bared your breasts. yes, how courageous of you. yes, i was surprised by their magnificence and splendor and nicholson's perfect gaze. but you don't deserve an oscar for them.
...don't fret. you can still outact a hell of a lot of folk in the acting biz, babe.

renee zelwegger - cold mountain
-great in "chicago". off-putting in this. *shrugs* another oscar folly.

catherine keener - capote
better in "the ballad of jack and rose" and even better than that in "the forty-year-old virgin" (where you ditched the bitch persona and made me grin). you were nominated for your body of work that year, as well as for the fact you were our only key to finding out what went on inside truman's head. (the script never exactly allowed us to VENTURE into that scintellating area, but nonetheless...)

be thankful i didn't put down michelle williams. while everyone raved about her perf, i felt that it was good, very good, up until the confrontation scene. i wanted her to make it hurt, i wanted every bit of pain and anger in her to be unleashed towards Ennis. instead, i felt it to be an anticlimactic scene, and so i left alma feeling her character was unresolved. i hate that.

yeah, i'm harsh. but i speak the truth.
and the truth is, is that julianne moore should've still won for "the hours."
and virginia madsen or natalie portman should've been rewarded with their genius turns.
and clive owen would've been duking it out with david carradine and mark wahlberg.
and so on and so forth...

adam k. said...

Beau, what was actually wrong with Keener's nom, other than that you thought she was better in her other films? That whole bit you wrote about her seemed utterly complementary to me. Being the key into the enigmatic lead character's head is important, man.

Also, why doesn't Helen Mirren not deserve her nom? There are a lot of reasons why she deserved to be singled out (and was the critical leader that year), like, say...



BECAUSE SHE WAS THE MURDERER. In a murder mystery. She is the lynchpin of the entire story. Her character is just inherently inclined to be more layered and complex than the others, because she was the one actually hiding what it's assumed everyone might've been hiding, and what a back story to boot. Plus the whole bit with her son. A brilliant portrait of a tortured, regretful, martyred mother. She was better than Smith (but not by much).

Totally agree on the Latifah bit, though. And, to a lesser extent, on the Kathy Bates bit and the Kate Hudson bit (what suddenly turned you off of that performance, Nat? I thought she was really good... it's not relevant that she later starred in a bunch of bad movies... if it were, you'd have to revoke Moore's BF award for FFH ; )

And I think also appreciate Moore in The Hours more than some people (Nathaniel). I thought she was very very good and was worthy of the nod, mostly for that achingly sad final scene (even though Moore still should've won for FFH, and was even more worthy of a double nom in 1999, which they decided to make up to her in '02).

adam k. said...

Make that FB award. Whatever.

Glenn Dunks said...

How can anyone say Renee was great in Chicago and then say Catherine Zeta-Jones wasn't? Weird.

I have a problem with Keener's nod, but not that much. I don't have so much of a problem with the amount of time she's there (it's called supporting for a reason) but I didn't think there was all that much there outside of the "You're a liar" scene on the train. But I do love the fact that they saw fit to nominate someone who didn't have a big crying scene or something like that.

For similar reasons, I don't have a problem with Queen Latifah. I know Chicago was the big film that year, but they easily could've left Zeta-Jones by herself in that category, but they saw fit to award a great cameo.

Beau said...

Keener's perf was good, but there was no key scene to it. For me, personally, I believe every actor and every character needs at least one moment where they get their opportunity to shine. Keener has two small windows in the entire film, and takes advantage of them. ("Did you fall in love with him?" and "The truth is, you didn't want to.") That was it, for me. Lord knows Keener can act, but for a role to deserve awards consideration in my book, it needs a key, a killer scene or bit where their talent is completely evident. That's what I felt was wrong with her nomination.

Kathy Bates can act, and she did do a decent job in About Schmidt, but we have to be fair and admit that the only reason she received the nom was because of that nude scene. Had it not been included, she would not have been nominated. Another instance where controversy sparked awards talk.

Hudson I will love forever, solely because of that film. She can make all the Raising Helen's and How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days's she wants, but I truly believe that that girl is the real deal. She just needs another bit that will work to her advantage.

Glad you agreed on Latifah, ;). But onto Mirren...


I loved that she turned out to be the murderer. I thought it was a brilliant turn of events, and every moment she was onscreen she did, in fact, sparkle with wit and poise. Her last scene where she explains herself to Mary and her ultimate decision regarding her son's life was exquisite... I think my main problem with her role was that, for me personally, it didn't stand out. Watching it again now, instead of when I was 15, I appreciate her performance (and the film) a great deal more. Her arc is perfection and the role is great. But for me, in all honesty, it was just another great character in a sea of intriguing minds. Every individual got his or her moment, (Scott Thomas, Owen, Watson... hell, even Phillipe got into the act as well) but none just stood out and exclaimed "Oscar". I'm not doubting the woman's brilliance, it's clearly evident... I just feel that there may have been better choices from that year. (Gwyneth for The Royal Tenenbaums, Uma Thurman for Tape, Michelle Pheiffer for I Am Sam, etc.)
But I retract my statement, she's clearly not one of the worst ones to be nominated. I had to think more clearly on her perf, and so now, *sighs*, I must bow and admit that I was wrong.
...happens sometimes, i suppose. you have to rethink your decision and realize "whoops, i fucked up there."

Smith, I still think, gave the showpiece of that film though. Every moment of screentime she crackled with posh, sarcasm, and a magnificent biting wit.

Anonymous said...

I'm also rather protective of Hudson in Almost Famous. "This is Penny Lane, man; show some respect!" Beau hits on the key word, "luminous". That's what she is. And that's what the screenplay wished her to be. I thought she deserved the nom just for the Tiny Dancer sequence; every other moment on screen reinforced it.

As for Gosford Park, my supporting actress picks from the ensemble would be (1) Mirren, (2) Watson, (3) Smith. Watson was way better in Gosford than she was in Hilary & Jackie.


John T said...

Best S. Actor

Joaquin Phoenix-You have expected him to start screaming, "No wire hangers" the scenery was being chewed so much.

Christopher Walken-Actor I like, film I love, but I just don't see anything out of the ordinary here-DiCaprio was the turn.

Jamie Foxx-I'm also ticked about this going supporting, particularly since there were such other terrific turns that year that could have been included.

Alan Alda-Huh? He was onscreen for like ten minutes, and probably the worst ten minutes of the movie.

Matt Dillon-My least favorite performance by a Supporting Actor-overwrought, the performance has no depth, his remorse is totally unbelievable and the story arch makes no sense. A travesty in lieu of great work from Matt Damon and Andy Serkis that year.

Out of those five, Dillon would be the worst-the winner would be Walken (I liked Foxx's perf better, but this isn't lead).

As for the ladies...

Sophie Okonedo-I think pitched the rafters was used by someone else to describe this-seems accurate enough.

Laura Linney-I LOVE Laura Linney-adore in fact. This just didn't cut it for me.

Frances McDormand (North Country)-I was one of the people who thought this was a truly bad performance-not good in a bad movie, but just poorly done. The love is still there for her otherwise, though.

Queen Latifah-Opposite of Foxx here-she was too small a role, too inconsequential.

Hudson-If only because she's annoyed me since (that was great timing for the Academy to come up with an upset, otherwise we'd all be stuck with Oscar-Winner Kate Hudson from now on-instead we have the splendid Marcia Gay Harden).

The winner out of that five would be Linney, because I love her to pieces in everything else.

The five best in each category:
Cate Blanchett
Helen Mirren
Rachel Weisz
Michelle Williams
Catherine Zeta-Jones

Benicio del Toro
Jake Gyllenhaal
Ian McKellen
Paul Newman
Clive Owen

Anonymous said...

For me, Jennifer Connelly is to Best Supporting Actress as Crash is to Best Picture: inexplicable awards for movie cliches. And I won't even get started on the overcoming-mental-illness-through-the-love-of-a-good-woman aspect of A Beautiful Mind. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED Kate Hudson in Almost Famous. The way she said "What KIND of beer?" was like...perfect.


yes. that scene is the best in her performance. love that scene.

adam k. said...

Yeah I am still waiting for why you hate Almost Famous so much, and Kate in particular apparently. I was a little bit obsessed with AF when it first came out (I was kind of a lot like that kid played by Patrick Fugit back then) and it is still kinda dear to my heart. I realize in retrospect that it has its problems and isn't exactly GREAT! but I still think there's enough to love about it to consider it a good movie. I was a little sad when Kate lost after they'd played up the whole "20 years ago she won an oscar thing and now look at her daughter" with Goldie, but Marcia Gay was so freaking good, how could I be mad. I do think Kate deserved the nom.

And yeah I hate to be un-PC but I gotta agree with Marcelo about the affirmative action noms. You bitch about their racism and what do they do? They nominate those barely-there performances and hand Halle an oscar for crying and showing her breasts. You just can't win.

And good on Beau for seeing the light of Mirren ; )
(beau, for the record I agreed with a lot of your other opinions and you seem cool)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, because being black is a surefire way to rack up Oscar noms... wait, what?

Glenn Dunks said...

Personally, I'm not a Cameron Crowe fan. Jerry Maguire was sweet enough and Say Anything is cool in a retro sorta way, but other than that I just don't get it.

He doesm't "speak to me" or whatever people say. Almost Famous was just nothing to me. I had heard such great things and then I was all "that's it? meh" Plus, it's got Kate Hudson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Bijou Phillips! That's not a good combo.

Anonymous said...

The worse to my mind...

Shohreh Aghdashloo - House on sand and fog
Laura Linney - Kinsey
Virginia Madsen - Sideways
Catherine Keener - Capote
Michelle Williams - Brokeback mountain

Jeff Bridges - Contender
Benicio Del Toro - 21 grams
Djimon Hounsou - In America
Ken Watanabe - Last Samurai
Matt Dillon - Crash

I hate it that i had to include Linney and Keener in this list. i love both of these actresses in almost all of their other movies, but in Kinsey and in Capote I just didn't understand the nominations...
The list of supporting actors I would have liked to make a lot longer, because i usually find there are much better ones, than those who Acadamy picks out.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen enough of the relevant movies, or I don't remember them well enough, or I just don't have a strong enough opinion of the perfs, to do a full list of my 10 least favorite noms. But I can say that all the praise Michelle Williams gets for 'Brokeback Mountain' has me scratching my head. What did she do that was so special?

Glenn Dunks said...

Shohreh and Michelle? I can see how someone may not like Michelle actually because she doesn't do that much (I still thought she was brilliant) for Shohreh?

I thought she was the fourth best supporting turn of the decade so far after Kerry Armstrong (Lantana, Ziyi Zhang (2046) and Parker Posey (Best in Show). Oh well, can't please everyone I suppose.

adam k. said...

My favorite five of the decade would probably be:

Amy Adams
Catherine Deneuve
Holly Hunter
Michelle Pfeiffer
Kate Winslet

...with apologies to Blanchett, Bello, Madsen, Mirren, Streep, Tomei, and Harden. So many great ones...

I really fall more in love with Amy Adams' Ashley all the time... I'd give her the 2005 award for sure, and maybe the best of decade so far... tough call between those five, though.

Anonymous said...

Supporting Actress:
Marisa Tomei for In the Bedroom - I'd like to slap her more than Sissy did for what's a dull, reactive performance.
Virginia Madsen for Sideways - You nailed the monologue. That's exciting, I suppose. Guess who's over it?
Frances McDormand for North Country - I realize getting buzz before everybody else works to your benefit. But it shouldn't.
Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago - It's OK to hide in this category if you're a lesser lead actress. It's not OK to beat Meryl while doing it.
Maggie Smith for Gosford Park - Sometimes it's hard to shine in an ensemble cast. If you're Maggie Smith, it shouldn't be that hard.

Supporting Actor:
Ethan Hawke for Training Day - There are two kinds of bad: Denzel Washington bad and Ethan Hawke bad. Training Day brought them together at last.
Christopher Walken for Catch Me If You Can - In the credits it should read, "Christopher Walken as himself."
Ken Wantanabe for The Last Samurai - I fell asleep in the theater during this. And it's all his fault.
Jamie Foxx for Collateral - What did I learn from this movie? Run, Jamie, run! You've got nowhere to hide from your lack of talent.
Alan Alda for The Aviator - Alda having 90 Emmy nominations? I can handle that. 1 Oscar nom? Not at all.
George Clooney for Syriana - You had a good year. An acting nomination was asking more than a bit much.


adam --you can't be serious. watanabe's fault that you fell asleep during the last samurai. don't you mean Zwick's and Cruises' fault? ;)

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Anonymous said...

Suppoting Actor:


1. George Clooney, Syriana: The winner. It's clear that Oscar was an horrible compesation, for a OK but nothing great performance. Gyllenhaal, Giamatti and even Dillon deserves more that Oscar.
2. Joaquin Phoenix, galdiator: I like joaquin and I thin khe's a good actor. But like crowe, overrated performance with overrated character in overrated film.
3. Jon Voight, Ali: I watch and rewatch Ali and I still don't understand why that nomination?
4. Jim Broadbent, Iris: His prformance in Moulin rouge! was 1000 Times better instead that film.
5. Alan Alda, The Aviator: Oscar compensation for a long times of snubbed opportunities. He takes Paul Bettany's place.

Dinhonorable Mentions:
- Jeff Bridges, The Contender: Nothing special in his performance, but Oldman is better. He takes brad pitt spot that year
- Jamie Foxx, Collateral: Nothing great performance, he takes Sarsgaard and De la Serna Spot. Uleast is a good film
- hayden Christensen, "Life as a House": I know, he haven't an Oscar Nomination, but he's near to get it. The most overrated performance without an Oscar Nomination. Ledger is a 1000 times better that him

Best Supporting Actor:

1. Chris Cooper, Adaptation: Onbe of the best deserving Oscars of those years...
2. Jim broadbent, Moulin Roge!: HE deserves that Oscar for that performance...
3. Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass / Kinsey: One of the most underrated actors of the Oscar. I didn't chose wich one is better.
4. Clive Owen, Closer: The Best actor of the group and He should win that Oscar.
5. Ben Kingsley, Sexy beast: Risky but sucessful choice...

Honorable Mentions:
- Heath ledger, Monster's Ball: He should have his first Oscar Nomination for playing Sonny.
- Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback mountain: His best performance to date
- Ethan Hawke, Training Day: Category confussion but he's superb...

Supporting Actress:


1. Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain: The end of the nice Renee and the begining of the fake doll... The worst attempt of Oscar Worthy performance, and the worst part, with the exception of Jude Law, she's better that the rest of the cast...
2. Kate Hudson, Almost Famous: It's not a bad performance per se, and I think she has a deserving Oscar Nomination; but even real Kate Hudson is a parody of Penny Lane, so in fact, her posterior work.
3. Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind: She didn't deserve that Oscar for compensation for her snub for Requiem for a Dream a year ago.
4. Catherine Keener, Capote: The Most Overrated performance of those years. she has three better performances instead Capote.
5. Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda: It's not a bad performance but is inferior with other contenders like Streep and Morgenstern

Dishonorable Mentions:
- Kathy Bates, About Schmidt
- Queen Latifah, Chicago
Those two nominations I'm not mad of her nominations but I think maybe we would changed them for Clarkson, Pfeiffer or even Falco
- Judi Dench, Chocolat: I think she would replaced by Catherine deneuve and Jennifer Connelly, but I like her performance.


1. Rachel Weisz, The Constant gardener: I didn't choose between Blanchett and Weisz, so I choose for the film.
2. cate Blanchett, The Aviator: see Rachel...
3. Maia Morgenstern, The Passion of teh Christ: I HATE the film but she's fantastic like Mary, very subte and never over-the-top
4. Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River: maybe I'm crazy but I think Marcia should have won for this film instead Pollock.
5. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago: she was absolute marvelous and fantastic like Velma Kelly

Honorable Mentions:
- Laura Linney, Kinsey / The squid and the whale: Maybe you don't be agree with me, but I think beside her boring character she did it fine. so the same thing with The squid and the Whale.
- Meryl Streep, Adaptation: Fantastic performance and incredible hilarious
- Julianne Moore, The Hours: Better performance that kidman's but with streep and zeta-Jones is a crowned category