So Martin Scorsese picked up the Directors Guild of America’s Filmmaker of the Year award for The Departed last night, his first win after six previous nominations. Good news for his Academy Award chances, perhaps, since 51 out of the 57 winners since the prize was first handed out in 1949 have gone on to also collect the Oscar for Best Director. Walter Hill, meanwhile, won the award for Best Television Movie courtesy of Broken Trail, with Robert Duvall and Thomas Hayden Church.
I suppose I can understand the Academy Award nomination for the very deserving Borat in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, on the grounds that the character originated on Da Ali G Show. But can someone explain how/why Letters from Iwo Jima is nominated, alongside Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Queen, in the Best Original Screenplay category, even though its credits clearly list the movie as being based upon Picture Letters from Commander in Chief? Is there some deckchair shuffling going on? Or did someone owe Paul Haggis (who receives story credit on the film, and thus would be eligible for an Oscar) a favor?
Receiving the big stiff arm: Dreamgirls, which pulled expected supporting nods for Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson among its eight honors, but no top shelf nominations.
Salma Hayek, meanwhile, let out a little screech of celebration upon BFF Penelope Cruz’s Best Actress nomination for Volver, then went bizarrely ethnic during her follow-up interview live on E! “There are so many Mexicans that are nominated!” she said, no doubt providing fodder for Tom Tancredo’s presidential campaign. “When I was nominated there were 11 people nominated (?), and no one made a mention of it. But now I want to mention it!”
More to follow…
So… Babel, huh? The continent-sprawling picture’s Golden Globe victory last night for Best Motion Picture in the Drama category ran counter to much Internet speculation, certainly, but also probably put the final nail in the coffin with respect to Children of Men‘s chances for sneaking in the back door and snatching some sort of significant Oscar nominations.
Meanwhile, the film critics of Los Angeles — which in the collective L.A. Weekly poll gave director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s movie more votes for Worst Film of the Year than Top 10 consideration, and placed it outside the Top 50, behind both Superman Returns and Jackass Number Two — are likely bitching or shaking their heads today, or both. Me, I’m shrugging. It is what it is — a good movie, about what I expected, wrapped loosely around Iñárritu’s typical “chaos theory” narrative gimmicky. Amongst some fine acting it was Riko Kikuchi who for me stood out as quite good, but at 142 minutes there are large swatches of sluggishness, and not quite enough payoff. I do dig Gustavo Santaolalla’s eerie score, though, even if my girlfriend would arch her brow at that one.
Still, the Best Picture Oscar nominees look to be, what — Babel, The Departed, Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen, right? I’d place Babel squarely in the middle of that pack, so another surprise victory on Oscar night wouldn’t have me reaching for the razorblades or anything…
American Society of Cinematographers has announced the five nominees for its own awards feting, held at an evening gala on February 18 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.