decade revisited: 2004, part 1
The Nominees: Things are starting to get a little clearer in this look-back at my decade’s awardage. The reason I say that is above is a top 5 of 2004 that still looks half-ways decent to me five years later. Closer, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind still rank among my all-time favorite movies. I definitely was a proponent of The Aviator back in 2004, and I still am. I think it’s an expertly crafted biopic (a rarity), and thanks to Martin Scorsese’s work he leads his stellar cast to some degree of greatness. And as far as Kill Bill goes, much like most, I definitely prefer Vol. 1 to Vol. 2, but having jumped on the Kill Bill train too late in the game to nominated the first entry, this nod sort of served as a make-up.
Revisions: Well it’s quite clear that the three mentioned above (Closer, HP3, Eternal Sunshine) would stand pat. As for the other two, I’d probably opt for one movie that I came to appreciate late in the game, which features Annette Bening’s career-best performance (among a host of other brilliant period comedy aspects), Being Julia. And for the fifth spot, I’d go for a film that I’ve seen many times since and have found it to age well into a future animated classic, The Incredibles. That winner, though, has got to stay in Eternal Sunshine‘s camp.
The Nominees: So for the lead actors this year, I seemed to have gone with the standard awards line-up (for the most part). Hence, DiCaprio, Depp, and Cheadle landed spots. As far as the other two, Carrey’s performance is easily the best one of his career (comedic or otherwise), and his understated take on the lonesome loser is stuff of magic. As for Collateral, I was one of the few who just didn’t understand the raves for Jamie Foxx’s performance and instead saw the merit in Cruise’s villainous criminal.
Revisions: So stepping out here, I’d keep DiCaprio and Carrey in the mix, but accompany them with a great action performance by Matt Damon in The Bourne Supremacy, the underrated work by Jude Law as the unlucky-in-love Dan in Closer, and a turn as a conniving, faux-drag noir character by Gael Garcia Bernal in Bad Education. The win would probably still be between Carrey and DiCaprio, though, and I’d be awfully inclined to go with Carrey.
The Nominees: All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with this line-up of ladies (I’m fairly certain 2004 had the best crop of performances by actresses of the decade). Sure, Uma was way better in the first Kill Bill, and likewise for Zellweger (and the first Bridget Jones), who was mostly entered here for the fun factor. The other three ladies, though — Winslet, Staunton, and Bening — are clearly deserving nominees.
Revisions: I think the only lady I’d probably take out and replace in this case would be Zellweger, and she would likely be removed in favor of Julia Roberts in Closer. It’s truly too bad that, though obviously wonderful, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen got all the attention for Closer come awards time, because Law and Roberts both delivered out-of-the-norm performances that contributed just as handily to the storyline.