December 22nd, 2005


If it ain't 'Brokeback...'

There's a story here about 'Brokeback Mountain' and the other end-of-the-year Oscar favorites. A lot can happen between now and the Oscar show (I think the first weekend in March), but as far as I'm concerned, 'Brokeback' looks like a lock for Best Picture.

1. With the rolling landscapes and passage of decades, it has the "epic scope" that the Academy likes.
2. Ang Lee and Larry McMurtry have proven popularity with the Academy.
3. It has politically correct/cause celebre value.
4. It appears to be easily the consensus favorite of the critics group.
5. There's no other obvious "favorite." 'Crash,' 'Capote,' 'Good Night' and 'History of Violence' all feel "smaller" than the Academy usually likes. 'Syriana,' 'Munich' and 'The Constant Gardener,' as three literate spy flicks with pointed real-world themes, will split votes between each other. 'Cinderella Man' came out in summer and has the taint of financial disappointment and Crowe phone-throwing backlash. The lush period pieces 'Memoirs of a Geisha' and 'The New World' seem to have mixed reviews. 'King Kong' is lesser than 'Lord of the Rings,' and 'Walk the Line' than 'Ray.' There's not a lotta love for 'Rent' or 'The Producers.'
6. This isn't exactly relevent, but it's a GOOD movie that deserves to win.

The Academy also loves to award movie stars, so George Clooney looks very likely to win the best original screenplay category, and has strong shots at Best Director and Best Supporting Actor as well.

BTW I'm really irritated at the sort of neo-con preemptive attacks on Munich as being Hollywood-liberal or anti-Israel or "peacenik." Since Kushner and Roth's script takes pains to represent a richness of points of view, commentators can cherry-pick scenes and quotes that support their critiques, even as they misrepresent the movie as a whole.