decade revisited: 2006, part 1
The Nominees: I’m under the perception that 2006 was a fun year for movies (perhaps it was a prelude to the phenomenal 2007). I seem to recall having a great time going to all of these movies. Both The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine rank among my favorite films; despite some critical negativity, I thought Dreamgirls was a total blast; Babel was basically a new and far-improved Crash, and it used the “big cast intertwined” method much more effectively; and The Queen has to be one of the least annoying and most visually stunning biopics I’ve seen (plus it features some great performances). So, not a bad group, I’d say.
Revisions: Keeping Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, and The Queen, I’d likely replace the other two (though admirable candidates) with Casino Royale and Children of Men, two criminally unnoticed moves of 2006. As for the winner, it’d be a toughie. It’d probably be a neck-in-neck race between Sunshine and Departed that I simply cannot call.
The Nominees: Thanks to my lack of rules about double-nominating (eat your heart out Academy) I was able to nominate two great performances from DiCaprio in 2006. Along with that, I found room for one of my all-time favorite actors in a great villainous turn (Mr. Nicholson), a great dark comedy role that got ignored save for the Globes (Mr. Eckhart), and a sudsy tearjerker performance that I just couldn’t help but love (Mr. Smith). I still feel relatively good about this line-up, though this category was probably the weakest of the four acting ones in 2006.
Revisions: Much like the Best Picture category, I’d probably make two replacements – leaving DiCaprio (The Departed), Eckhart, and Nicholson – with the other two being the stars of Children of Men and Casino Royale – Clive Owen and Daniel Craig, respectively. Though Oscar nominees DiCaprio (Blood Diamond) and Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) would come in close runners-up positions. The winner? Let’s stick with the star of The Departed.
The Nominees: Say what you will about my five here, but it’s at the very least a talented bunch of ladies. Nearly a carbon copy of the Oscar’s list (nope, haven’t seen Notes on a Scandal). Cruz started to be taken seriously (finally!) as an actress thanks to Volver; Mirren gave a winning performance in an otherwise blah genre in The Queen; Streep was, as always, wickedly fantastic in Devil Wears Prada (I’m a firm believer that her comic timing is highly underused); and Winslet was both disturbing and believable as the misguided suburban mom in Little Children. As for Sedaris, she’s such a great comedic talent, and Strangers With Candy served as an awesome showcase for her unmatched physical comedy abilities.
Revisions: This one’s standing pat, ladies and gents. For all of the reasons mentioned above, I just can’t give up on any of these women. If anyone came close to infiltrating, it’d probably be Ellen Page as the victim who’s full of surprises in Hard Candy. The win would likely stay in Mirren’s court, but this time around Cruz and Streep would create even bigger competition than in 2006.