Wednesday, September 13, 2006

As Summer Fades...

As we are midway through September(shocking isn't it) I feel it's time to do a current list of what I would nominate, had the year ended now. Having only seen a meagre 40 films it's kinda shoddy but I'll work with it. Without further ado... Oh wait. Almost forgot. A bravo for the My Summer of Love girls. I never had any doubts. Ok, lets go:

Best Picture
A Cock and Bull Story
The Devil Wears Prada
Little Miss Sunshine
*The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Runners Up: Hard Candy, V For Vendetta, Poseidon

Ken Loach's piece about the formation of the IRA and the road to Civil War in Ireland is by far the best film I've seen this year. Loach chooses to focus on one or two select characters to chronicle the Irish debate, and thus succeeds in creating an impacting and moving realistic insight into a relatively murky area of history. Prada is an efervescent and effortlessly fun journey about one woman's entrance into an alien world, and her adaptation to it. Sunshine's cute and simple approach to everyday problems within fleshed out and touching characters allows for plenty of hilarity and warmth. Clean handles a familiar plotline with refreshing intricacy, and A Cock and Bull Story is an undeniably dry and clever British comedy that never hits a wrong note.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Maggie Cheung (Clean)
*Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Ellen Page (Hard Candy)
Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee)
Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)

Runners Up: Natalie Portman (V For Vendetta), Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill)

Bynes is a barrel of fun in her dual role, adapting to Shakesperian humour like a duck to water. Palmer's warm and relatable nature elevates the film from its somewhat sentimental familiarity. Page rips into her role like a dog off its leash, getting under your skin with an eager and ruthless unrelinquishing vengeance. Yet Meryl's devil is the essence of ruthlessness, iconic of an idea and theme that she flaunts so gloriously easily, like a model parading around with unfathomable swagger. Majestic and effortless.

As much as I'd like to say that Streep's fashion bitch is the best character work so far this year, I really can't. Helen Mirren takes a figurehead that is essentially cold and unrelatable, and creates empathy with her layered, patient portrayal. An astonishing, titanic achievement.

Best Actor in a Leading Role
*Steve Coogan (A Cock and Bull Story)
Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking)
Josh Hartnett (The Black Dahlia/Lucky Number Slevin)
Cillian Murphy (The Wind That Shakes the Barley)
Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy)

Runners Up: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick), Nathan Fillion (Slither)

For the record, I usually detest Josh Hartnett immeasurably. The fact is: he isn't terrible in Slevin, and in Dahlia is the only real character that you can take seriously. Amongst the carnage he leads the film as best he can. Eckhart, who I maintain you can't take seriously in Dahlia, is excellent in Thank You For Smoking. A gorgeously unapologetic tobacco tycoon he keeps your eyes on the screen and creates a guy with believably dim moral concern. Wilson very much plays the punchbag in his film, but whatever's thrown at him looks and feels like the instant, horrific reaction of a desperate man. Murphy's quiet and engaging role feels fresh and nuanced, even if it doesn't quite compare with previous Loach performances (i.e. Peter Mullan in My Name Is Joe). Still, it's British TV funnyman Steve Coogan that's been the real highlight of my year so far. In the side-splittingly funny A Cock and Bull Story, his arrogant instability is constantly entertaining and immaculately pitched.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
*Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada)
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Vera Farmiga (Running Scared)
Orla Fitzgerald (The Wind That Shakes the Barley)
Naomie Harris (A Cock and Bull Story)

Runners Up: Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), Maria Bello & Maggie Gyllenhaal (World Trade Center), Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Rob Brydon (A Cock and Bull Story)
Steve Carrell (Little Miss Sunshine)
*Padraic Delaney (The Wind That Shakes the Barley)
Nick Nolte (Clean)
Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada)

Runners Up: Ben Sliney (United 93), Laurence Fishburne (Akeelah and the Bee), Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)

Best Director

Olivier Assayas (Clean)
Paul Greengrass (United 93)
*Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley)
Wolfgang Petersen (Poseidon)
Michael Winterbottom (A Cock and Bull Story)

Runners Up: David Slade (Hard Candy), Christophe Gans (Silent Hill), Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes)

1 comment:

Emma said...

Nice to see love for The Wind... I'm seeing The Queen tomorrow, so excited!