Wednesday, February 21, 2007

POSCARS AND BATTIES: THE RESULTS ARE IN! As I'm sure all of you already know, the Poscar nominations came out during prime time on February 9.

Now that Susan Thea Posnock's final choices are in, I want to stress that I totally respect them. Nevertheless, it's gainsaying time at Blog About Town!

Herewith, a bevy of Battie Awards (drawn from my very spotty viewing of films in 2006).

FAVORITE PICTURE The Poscar winner for Best Picture is the very respectable Volver, yet I'm sorry to see that another movie with a Spanish connection--Pan's Labyrinth--was not even a nominee! For its powerful parallel plotlines and imagery, Pan's Labyrinth earns a Battie for Favorite Picture along with Batties for Unfortunate Title Translation and Justifiable Ickiness.

MOST OVERLOOKED ACTORS The Poscar nods for the Best Actors went to Forest Whitaker and Steve Carell, but Battie wants Michael Caine (Children of Men), Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada), and that Tony Blair guy (okay: Michael Sheen in The Queen) to know their efforts were noticed and admired. In fact, a very democratic MIKE LEIGH BATTIE FOR ENSEMBLE ACTING goes to the cast of The Queen, largely overlooked in the hype over Helen Mirren.

HALFSIES Half of the Battie for the Movie That Falls Apart Midway goes to Little Children; the other half goes to The Last King of Scotland.

NOTEWORTHY SOUND Ah, but the Batties would be remiss in not acknowledging how Forest Whitaker dominated The Last King of Scotland--largely through sound. So here's a Battie for the 14-member Sound Department of The Last King of Scotland for recording and mixing the sound so that Whitaker's voice--justly honored at the Poscars--resonated throughout the movie.

WORST USE OF 3D The intermittent 3D in the IMAX version of Superman Returns was almost perversely used in many scenes when it was negligible anyway.

DUMBEST BEHAVIOR BY A CHARACTER WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER The Poscar nominees in this area were on-target--eating forbidden fruit in Pan's Labyrinth and shtupping the wrong people in The Last King of Scotland and Thank You For Not Smoking were stupid, stupid, stupid--but what about skateboarding in Little Children? For that matter, how about a Special Group Battie for Dumb Behavior in Little Children? (Sorry, Eddie Murphy-- Norbit came out in 2007.)

THROWAWAY CUTAWAY Tobey Maguire's character having "sex" in The Good German. He's supposed to be into violent kink, but the one cutaway that could have illustrated that character point merely shows him bonking away unimaginatively. If it had been omitted (in the censored "style" of movies from the period evoked in The Good German), our own wild imaginations could have done a much better job at filling in the, uh, gap.

GLARING OMISSION Judging by the rules of chick lit, I understood that the original romantic relationship of Anne Hathaway's character in The Devil Wears Prada would wind up on the rocks. Still, I might have liked seeing one or two scenes actually depicting the problem. Instead, the director relied too much on the audience taking the cliché for granted.

MOST SHAMELESS CREDITS Anyone who saw the entirety of Dreamgirls knows that the credits were styled like Oscar ads. Still there's something to be said for paying so much attention to behind-the-scenes people (such as costume, hair, and makeup staff) who labored on the movie.

COSTUME AND MAKEUP Normally, the Oscars favor historical fashion, while the Batties try to recognize the creativity that goes into science fiction and fantasy films. But this year the nod goes to Dreamgirls for using its outfits, wigs, and makeup to communicate loads about the characters as they move from rhythm-and-blues to disco.

SUSPENDED ANIMATION The Battie goes to For Your Consideration for relying heavily on Internet jokes that must have been in comedy's cryogenic deep-freeze for about a decade. (I still liked the movie, by the way.)

REVIVAL All together now: El Topo. Perhaps I'm too ignorant to fully appreciate Army of Shadows.

GENRES Westerns and Mafia Movies, hands down. (Or should it be hands up?)

PROMOTIONAL OVERBOOKING A long line showed up with passes for Woody Allen's Scoop in Chelsea--but virtually no one got in! Not even the consolation prize of a Scoop notebook could take away the hurt. At least the weather was good.

THANKLESS ROLE I'm open to other suggestions, but Emily Blunt comes to mind for her workaholic, ambitious, snotty, pissy, and ultimately frustrated underling in The Devil Wears Prada.

PREDICTABLE PHRASE The reference to Anne Hathaway's character "drinking the Kool-Aid" in The Devil Wears Prada.

MISCAST FOOD ITEM Jarlsberg, presented as a gourmet cheese in The Devil Wears Prada.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING Once again, a startling omission from the Poscars. Susan considered coats tossed by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and the push-up bras worn by Penelope Cruz in Volver before assigning top honors to stretchy pants worn by Jack Black in something called Nacho Libre. I would give the BEST SUPPORTING UNDERGARMENTS to the ones worn by Cruz in Volver...but what about Stanley Tucci's oversized ring in The Devil Wears Prada? Oversized ring, Blog About Town wants you to know you were noticed and admired!

Wait for it!

Source (8:28)

Photo: David Marc Fischer


SusanP said...

David: Love the BATTIES and thanks for the linkage.

Regarding Pan's Labyrinth, Mary and I saw it together and --as you may have seen me comment before--it left me kind of cold. I absolutely appreciated it in terms of "artistic achievement" but I found the ickiness to be less than justifiable, the sound (especially repeated gun shots) jarring, and overall have missed what others seem to admire so deeply. Makes me feel kind of sad, but I will give it another go (in the right mood) when I get a chance.

Good call on Michael Caine in Children of Men -- he was just off my supporting list.

Debbie said...

This was very entertaining and I agree with several of your picks but what about The Departed and Babel? As much as I loved Michael Caine in CoM you have to admit that Mark Wahlberg really stood out in his small role in The Departed and some of the Moroccan actors (as well as Mexican) really stole the show from Brad and Cate.

How many times did you see Devil that you are able to toss out so many lines and ring references??

Now I'm really psyched for the Oscars!

David Marc Fischer said...

Thanks for the upturned thumbs, ladies!

There's a simple reason for the omission of The Departed and Babel: "my very spotty viewing of films in 2006." Plus, in the latter case, I was shut out of two industry screenings. In fact, the overbooking for the Babel screenings almost won it a Battie, but Scoop prevailed in that category.

So, for The Departed and Babel, I gladly defer to the many other awards out there, especially the Poscars. And you can hassle (and applaud) Susan all you want about her picks. And I have no problem with finding those movies recognized in the Debbees or Debitees or whatever you decide to call 'em. (I'm sure the statuettes will be super-stylish.)

As for Devil, I only saw it once, but somehow a whole lot of its elements made an impression on me. Perhaps it was so cliched that I was able to pay attention to its details rather than be swept away in its storyline. But don't get me wrong: I think Devil has a lot going for it. It's just that it's a genre flick that doesn't quite transcend its cliches.

Finally, I note that the Poscars also gave a nod (a nom) to Emily Blunt for her performance in that film.

Beyond finally, I think I also should have doled out a Battie for STUNT CASTING to Superman Returns for including the TV Superman's Noel Neill and Jack Larson as well as squeezing some mileage out of Marlon Brando's very well-compensated movie footage from the 1970s.

Even farther beyond finally, a VERY MUCH MISSED Battie goes to Adrienne Shelly, killed on November 1, 2006. You can see her on DVD in The Unbelievable Truth, but Trust remains officially unavailable in that format in the United States.

Ben said...

That reminds me of a memorable double feature I caught recently: LITTLE CHILDREN OF MEN.

I must say, that Wahlberg is really upping his Marky value . . .


David Marc Fischer said...

Great puns, Ben.

Musto was into The German Shepherd. Good, huh?