Oscar Retrospective 2005

Leading up to the 84th Annual Academy Awards the In The Bagg staff will take a look back at the past ten years of the awards and will give their opinions on whether the movies/winners held up, if they academy completely shat the bed, and how strong that particular year was for movies.  Please note that the date in the title is for the year the movies were released, not the year the actual awards ceremony took place (so the Oscar Retrospective 2001 are for the awards that took place in 2002, or the 74th Academy Awards).

Chris:  Anyone notice a trend here?  Last year’s movies were disappointing, this year’s nominees were simply bad.  Crash is awful, legitimately awful (gotta love racism though right?).  Brokeback Mountain was probably the best movie in this field, but even then after a couple viewings and you’ve had your fill.  Good Night and Good Luck was an absolute snooze fest for me, a movie where every third scene everyone is either incredibly happy and clapping, or incredibly sad and smoking (and usually both of these happen throughout one scene such as when everyone congratulates Edward R. Murrow for being ballsy enough to go through with what he was doing, just so that someone can randomly pop in the middle of the scene and inform everyone that their friend has killed himself).  Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Capote was right on the mark but Heath Ledger probably deserved the award just as much.  I have never seen Walk the Line, nor ever plan to, so good for you Reese (when’s the next Legally Blonde coming out?).  I’ve got to give credit to the academy for rewarding Gustavo Santaolalla with best original score for his often times warm but haunting guitar melodies in Brokeback Mountain that was perfect for the movie.

Will:  Many feel that “Crash” upset “Brokeback Mountain” for the Best Picture nod, however “Good Night, and Good Luck” was the most complete film that was and is still relevant in regards to the power of media and media personas. Philip Seymour Hoffman did a nice impersonation of Truman Capote that carried the film “Capote” and earned him the Oscar whereas Felicity Huffman’s performance in “Transamerica” was much more memorable than Reese Witherspoon’s in “Walk the Line.”

JoeDog: I would have preferred ANY of the other Best Picture nominees to win. Crash is an OK picture that had no special performances, wasn’t technically or aesthetically interesting, and wasn’t as thematically groundbreaking as proffered by the marketing machine. Brokeback Mountain and Capote both had multiple stirring performances. Munich and Good Night, and Good Luck. were thought provoking historical examinations told through well-crafted visuals. All of the performances in Best Actor could have won the award and I’m fine with Hoffman’s embodiment of Capote. Best Cinematography also had four amazing pictures nominated (I haven’t seen Memoirs of a Geisha which WON.. so it must be good too?). On the flipside, the Best Actress field was pretty weak.

Jake:  The dreaded year of the Crash. Of those nominated for best picture Good Night, and Good Luck is a much better choice, however, the noticeably absent Match Point should have been recognized as well. Ang Lee is awarded Best Director for a run of the mill love story substituted with male actors in Brokeback Mountain, which is fine. Phillip Seymour Hoffman wins for disappearing into the role of Truman Capote. George Clooney is awarded Best Supporting for Syriana as an apology for the subsequent upsets of his far superior film Good Night, and Good Luck. 3-6 Mafia wins the Oscar for original song in Hustle & Flow (Jon Stewart jokes, “3-6 Mafia: 1 Oscar — Martin Scorsese: 0”).

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