Sunday, January 29, 2006
The nominations are coming out this week. In stark contrast to last year, I have actually seen some of the films that are likely to be nominated.
Brokeback Mountain. Entertainment Weekly called this "Edith Wharton with Stetsons," and by God, they got it right. This story of a doomed love slowly but surely draws the audience in and strikes a nice balance between romance and accurately depicting how the relationship between these two men destroys their lives and the lives of their wives/(female) lovers. It's just absolutely outstanding. Ang Lee does a wonderful job of directing, and the scenery is amazing. The attention to detail is remarkable, too; I kept thinking, "Oooh, look at the cars! Look at the hairstyles! Is she doing the laundry on a washboard?"
Good Night, and Good Luck. George Clooney did a really, really good job. The power of metaphor drives this film, re-enacting the paranoia of the Communist hunt that poisoned US society in the 1950's. Apparently he filmed this picture on a budget of $8 million using his buddies and the CBS studio in Los Angeles. GN&GL is an object lesson in how to make a movie on a small budget - it uses only one set, more or less, and a small cast. I must confess that I have a thing for men in white dress shirts with their sleeves rolled up; when I saw this film I thought I'd died and gone to Fetish Heaven. On the other hand the good and bad guys are, like the movie, depicted in black and white. I was reminded of the 2004 Rathergate showdown: That, too, pitted the little guys against the big establishment (oh, exquisite irony! CBS had become the big establishment). That story would make a riveting film... but George Clooney will never make it.