Sunday, September 04, 2005


2005 Films So Far. Will Oscar Nod?

It's the same thing every year. From September to December "Oscar" films are released and like shoppers at some crazy half-priced sale at Macy's, they all run to the same counter hoping to grab the gold. And inevitably, this time each year, I look back at films from the winter, spring and summer that should or might have a chance at a nomination for the top spot. The list this year is short. These are not predictions. They are films that deserve to be noticed for Best Picture nominations as the glut of late-year hopefuls flood in.

Crash: Some have said this film was too pat, but I found it to be a claustrophobic and masterfully woven tale of the cycle of hatred in this country. It brought me to tears and, at times, made it difficult for me to breathe. A brilliant cast, powerful message and compelling story.

Cinderella Man: This is perhaps the most conventional film on the list, the kind of film you'd EXPECT to be nominated, yet, it still grabs you. Russell Crowe is perhaps the greatest actor of a generation. Plus he's Best Picture insurance. Check out how many of his films have been nominated or won Best Picture. Ron Howard is an assured filmmaker. And boxing films work, right? (Rocky-Best Picture of 1976; Million Dollar Baby-Best Picture of 2004; Raging Bull-Best Picture of the 80s?)

Batman Begins: This film has the least likely chance of consideration, but wow should it be!! Christopher Nolan (Memento) has embraced the fourth installment in this series and done the near impossible. He's made it the first! Remember back in the 80s when fans were chattering about whether or not Tim Burton would be able to realize the brooding version of Batman recreated by Frank Miller in his Dark Knight series? (Ultimately, he wasn't able to). Well, it doesn't matter. Forget the other films. They don't count. Forget them all. Not only has Nolan taken a well-worn story and character and made it new, he has improved it in ways that were never dreamed of back when this series began. It all begins here, with a brilliant vision from a great director and a mythic story that has finally been given the respect it deserves.

Sin City: And speaking of Frank Miller, this film, adapted by Robert Rodriguez from the series of Frank Miller graphic novels is by FAR the best film of the year to date. It is nothing short of a cinematic landmark. It's Rodriguez's masterpiece, a work of art that deserves to be lauded with multiple nominations, including one for Best Picture of the year. No film will come close to this film's originality and, as such, it deserves a rightful place among the Academy's list of the best.

What do you think? Post your comments here or email me at Thanks.

I found it rather dull
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