May 14, 2007

UMA 2006: Part I



BEST PICTURE


The Top Ten: 1. Jindabyne, 2. Children of Men, 3. United 93, 4. The Devil Wears Prada, 5. Dave Chappelle's Block Party, 6. The Descent, 7. Ten Canoes, 8. Volver, 9. Inside Man, 10. Marie Antoinette


GOLD
Jindabyne
SILVER
Children of Men
BRONZE
United 93


BEST DIRECTOR


Sofia Coppola
Marie Antoinette
Thwarting all preconceptions of genre, Coppola makes the story of Marie Antoinette, most definitely, "A Film By Sofia Coppola". Her eye just gets sharper.



Alfonso Cuarón
Children of Men
Making a mammoth film feel intimate, Cuaron doesn't skimp on the detail but also brushes his canvas as large as he possibly can. This is stellar filmmaking by a man who just keeps getting better.


Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr
Ten Canoes
In working with the indiginous Ramingining people, de Heer has made, and this is about as rare as can be in this day and age, something nobody has ever seen before. It was a long road to get there, but he did it.


Paul Greengrass
United 93
Treating the subject matter with precision, but also at arms length. This isn't a hallmark movie, folks. Greengrass guides United 93 like a pilot with thousands of hours under his belt.


Ray Lawrence
Jindabyne
Like a warm embrace, Lawrence makes films that just feel so right and comfortable. On only his third feature, seeing Lawrence's name in the credits makes me safe. I'm in capable hands.

Honourable Mentions: Neil Marshall handled the frights of The Descent with aplomb, Spike Lee new exactly what he was doing with Inside Man, Pedro Almodóvar doesn't put a foot wrong with Volver, Anthony Minghella impressed me with his restraint on Breaking and Entering, George Miller is still pushing new frontiers with Happy Feet, Darren Aronofsky had a task-and-a-half bringing The Fountain to the screen, Pan's Labyrinth was obviously a labour of love for Guillermo del Toro

GOLD
Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr for Ten Canoes
SILVER
Alfonso Cuarón for Children of Men
BRONZE
Ray Lawrence for Jindabyne


BEST ACTOR

Gabriel Byrne
"Stewart Kane"
Jindabyne
Finally giving me a performance I can sink my teeth into. Shows amazing layers as the man who can't see the wrong of his actions.



Sasha Baron Cohen
"Borat Sagdiyev"
Borat: Cultural Learnings of American for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Utterly convincing performance art with some of the best comic timing I've ever seen.



Leonardo DiCaprio
"Billy Costigan"
The Departed
Continuing to grow into one of the finest actors of his generation, Leo adds "masculine" to his hat of tricks. And how!



Hugh Jackman
"Tomas/Tom/Tommy"
The Fountain
I knew he had it in him, but for many this was a revelatory performance. A career best for his three roles in this time-travelling love story. He's not embarassing at all (hi Brad Pitt).


Jude Law
"Will Francis"
Breaking and Entering
Without the aid of action, or novelty, Law creates a fully-formed man facing the problems of the world. It's simple, but effective and Law is the best he's ever been.


Honourable Mentions: Shane Jacobson created an iconic character with Kenny, Clive Owen proves he can stay afloat when surrounded by Children of Men, Forest Whitaker kept my eyes awake even when The Last King of Scotland was descending into barbaric lunacy, Daniel Craig made a fine James Bond in Casino Royale, Heath Ledger continues his re-emergance as an actor of class as a drug-addict in Candy, Patrick Wilson's duel roles in Hard Candy and Little Children make me wish he was a big star, Aaron Eckhart was at his smarmy best in Thank You For Smoking.


GOLD
Jude Law in Breaking and Entering
SILVER
Gabriel Byrne in Jindabyne
BRONZE
Hugh Jackman in The Fountain


BEST ACTRESS

Emily Barclay
"Katrina Skinner"
Suburban Mayhem
An astonishing display of evil from Barclay, even when the film starts to sink towards the end. She's quickly becoming the best young actress around.


Penélope Cruz
"Raimunda"
Volver
Amazing performance that finally put her money where her mouth was. Single-handedly made me a fan and made want to see if she's on a hot streak. What's next?


Judi Dench
"Barbra Covet"
Notes on a Scandal
Sure, she's stuck with the "evil lesbian" role, but she does so much with it. Feels so lived in and you can see Dench crawling out of her skin to inhabit Barb.


The Lovely Laura Linney
"Claire Kane"
Jindabyne
You can tell Linney's Claire feels out of place and I think that the hiring of an American actress with such a strong accent was wise, just amplifies her outsider status.


Meryl Streep
"Miranda Priestly"
The Devil Wears Prada
Creating a comedy icon, Streep outdoes all her previous comedy work, and a whole lot of her dramatic work, with her witty, biting portrayal of the boss from hell.


Honourble Mentions: **There were so many women that, in weaker years, would have made the final five, I love them all** Maggie Cheung, Yeong-ae Lee, Gong Li and Sook-Yin Lee proved this was a powerful year for Asian performers in Clean, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Curse of the Golden Flower and Shortbus respectively. Cate Blanchett was splendid and her german was ace in The Good German. Kate Winslet continued to prove why she's the contender for Meryl Streep-status in Little Children.

Sienna Miller and Gretchen Mol showed many things we'd never seen from them before in Factory Girl and The Notorious Bettie Page. Jennifer Hudson had a helluva debut in Dreamgirls. Hard Candy was a big splash for Ellen Paige. Helen Mirren made The Queen her own, as did Kirsten Dunst with her wistful Marie Antoinette. Victoria Hill's Lady Macbeth was a hoot, and lastly Abbie Cornish goes from strength-to-strength in Candy. *phew*


GOLD
Penélope Cruz for Volver
SILVER
Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada
BRONZE
Emily Barclay for Suburban Mayhem


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


David Bowie
"Nikola Tesla"
The Prestige
Bringing a calm but magnetic force to this tale of duelling magicians, Bowie's charisma makes Tesla a fascination, while also proving delightfully deadpan.


Steve Carell
"Frank Ginsberg"
Little Miss Sunshine
A perfect fit for the sarcastic Frank, Carell proves to be adept at the mixture of comedy and drama. Someone call his agent and stop these Evan Almightys, he's so much better than that.


Paul Dano
"Dwayne Hoover"
Little Miss Sunshine
Doesn't miss a beat as the mute, angry-at-the-world Dwayne. A fresh face in young Hollywood, he also impressed in Fast Food Nation and The King.


Ben Sliney
"Himself"
United 93
Proving insightful as, well, himself. With the absense of grandstanding, Sliney shows skill infront of the camera and lends (even more) authenticity to the film.


Stanley Tucci
"Nigel"
The Devil Wears Prada
The delightful Tucci turns a stock standard "token gay" character into much more, fleshing him out to a believable and lovable emotional investment.


Honourable Mentions: Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg work excellent ying/yang teamwork in The Departed, but for me it was both or neither and I couldn't fit them both in there. Richard Birrinbirrin obviously relishes the comic sidekick role in Ten Canoes. Guy Pearce and Michael Sheen make a fine Andy Warhol and Tony Blair in Factory Girl and The Queen respectively. Rafi Gavron and Christian Beyers impressed on debut in Breaking and Entering and Opal Dream while Alan Arkin and Eddie Murphy gave extra vibrancy to Little Miss Sunshine and Dreamgirls.


GOLD
Steve Carell for Little Miss Sunshine
SILVER
Stanley Tucci for The Devil Wears Prada
BRONZE
David Bowie for The Prestige


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS


Claire-Hope Ashitey
"Kee"
Children of Men
Ashitey creates a wonderful mix of wide-eyed naivity and street-smart sass to cover up the scared cracks in her facade. Her debut is one worth noticing.


Emily Blunt
"Emily Charlton"
The Devil Wears Prada
Taking her chance to upstage Meryl Streep, she does so with refreshing enthusiasm. Blunt is a riot as the smart-mouthed assistant. This is a career-making performance.


Jodie Foster
"Madeleine White"
Inside Man
I devoured Foster's performance with the same maniacal glee that Foster gives off with each passing second. That omnipresent smirk was just a great touch.


Deborra-Lee Furness
"Jude"
Jindabyne
Charging through scenes with the brute-force tenacity of a great white shark, Furness boils over in her fight to protect her family. Just supurb.


Fiona Shaw
"Ramona Linscott"
The Black Dahlia
An utterly bonkers extended cameo is truly like nothing other from 2006. At once both hysterical and terrifying, Shaw chews the scenery and spits it out to the nth degree.


Honourable Mentions: Seema Biswas was the heart of Water, as was Rinko Kikuchi in Babel. Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and Lindsay Lohan were ace in A Prairie Home Companion. Maggie Gyllenhaal made the best of bad situations in World Trade Center and Stranger than Fiction. Rose Byrne and Wendy Hughes were a hoot in Marie Antoinette and Caterpillar Wish respectively (as was Susie Porter in the latter). Mia Kirschner did more with 10 minutes than most of the cast did for the entire Black Dahlia. Carmen Maura was effective as the ghost mother in Volver, while Abigail Breslin and Toni Collette were a fine mother/daughter team in Little Miss Sunshine. Ashley Johnson was enthusiastic and fun in Fast Foot Nation, and Edie Falco was the only good thing in Freedomland, she deserved a much better movie.


GOLD
Deborra-Lee Furness for Jindabyne
SILVER
Fiona Shaw for The Black Dahlia
BRONZE
Emily Blunt for The Devil Wears Prada


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY



Anthony Minghella
Breaking and Entering
A major change of pace for Minghella. He obviously feels passionate about what he's writing with this mature drama about adults.



Michael Arndt
Little Miss Sunshine
Interesting characters to get invested in and many lines of laugh-out-loud funniness. It may be slight, but it's still enjoyable (for the most part).



Rolf de Heer and The Ramingining Community
Ten Canoes
A refreshing home-grown comedy that portrays the stories of indiginious Australians in a accessable and wildly entertaining form.



Paul Greengrass
United 93
Extensively researched and prepared screenplay that tries to present the story of United Airlines Flight 93 from all angles. The victims, the terrorists and the people on the ground.


Pedro Almodóvar
Volver
A true original in every sense of the word, Almodóvar extends his Almodoóverse with ghosts, funerals, dark hearts and murders while keeping the highly stylised eccentricity of his early work.


Honourable Mentions: The Jacobson Brothers wrote many funny lines for Kenny. Rian Johnson invented a universe withing a world in Brick, while John Cameron Mitchell did the same on a more human level with Shortbus. Olivier Assayas have Maggie Cheung some great stuff in Clean and Russell Gerwitz twisted the bank heist movie Inside Man into gold while Guillermo Del Toro did the same to fairy tales. Peter Morgan wrote some great behind-the-scenes goss for The Queen.


GOLD
Pedro Almodóvar for Volver
SILVER
Paul Greengrass for United 93
BRONZE
Anthony Minghella for Breaking and Entering


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY


Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby
Children of Men
Based on the novel The Children of Men
Wonderfully reworking the novel for the screen into a concise (90 minutes!), but powerful film.


William Monahan
The Departed
Based on the film Infernal Affairs
Following the original Hong Kong film fairly well, The Departed adds many new aspects to the original, including some great dialogue.



Aline Brosh McKenna
The Devil Wears Prada
Based on the novel The Devil Wears Prada
After a couple of rom-com misfires, McKenna finally gets the comedy part perfect. Sure, it's not historically accurate, but who cares when it's this much fun?


Beatrix Christian
Jindabyne
Based on the short story So Much Water, So Close to Home
Transforming Raymond Carver's American short into a powerful and very Australian story of responsibility. Adults talking like adults, thankfully.


Sofia Coppola
Marie Antoinette
Based on the biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey
Turning the definitive text on Antoinette on it's head by picking and choosing whatever she wants to create an altogether new interpretation of the Queen.


Honourable Mentions: Todd Field and Tom Perrotta's work on Little Children would have made my final five if it weren't for that mishandled narration. Notes on a Scandal isn't another Closer for Patrick Marber but it sure is fun. Jonathan and Christopher Nolan do indeed work magic with The Prestige while Richard Linklater deserves points for turning non-fiction to fiction in Fast Food Nation.


GOLD
Beatrix Christian for Jindabyne
SILVER
Aline Brosh McKenna for The Devil Wears Prada
BRONZE
Sofia Coppola for Marie Antoinette


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM


Curse of the Golden Flower [Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia]
China
A debaucherous hoot filled with murder, incest, backstabbing, uprisings and a whole freakin' lot of chrysanthemums and costume changes.


Pan's Labyrinth [El Laberinto del Fauno]
Mexico
A wildly inventive, if occasionally flawed, fairy tale for adults. If for nothing else, it wields a technical sword that every film should be envious of.




Sympathy for Lady Vengeance [Chinjeolhan Geumjassi]
South Korea
Beautiful but ugly. Cold but tender. The final entry in Chan-Wook Park's Vengeance Trilogy is a stylish devilish delight.




Volver
Spain
Read about it in the top ten.




Water
Canada and India
The final in Deepa Mehta's Element Trilogy (and the first I've seen), Water is perhaps too Hollywood-ised, but I enjoyed it's colourful storytelling and powerful subject.


Honourable Mentions: Well, the only other title I could have nominated was Don't Tell from Italy. Other than that I didn't get to see many more foreign titles, unfortunately.


GOLD
Volver
SILVER
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
BRONZE
Pan's Labyrinth


BEST AUSTRALIAN FEATURE



Happy Feet
Delirious and bonkers, but that's part of it's charm.






Jindabyne
See the top ten







Kenny
A full out comedy from Australia that's, *gasp*, actually funny. Shocking.






The Society Murders
I'm cheating with this one, but whatever. I really enjoyed this Melbourne-set crime movie made for TV.





Ten Canoes
See the top ten. A first for the industry.





Honourable Mentions: Hunt Angels was unabashedly proud to wave the flag, Macbeth was a mess, but my god I sort of thought it was hilarious, Opal Dream was a surprising Aussie family flick that wasn't terrible, The Caterpillar Wish plumbed usual places, but did it with style. Answered by Fire was another ace made-for-TV miniseries.


GOLD
Jindabyne
SILVER
Ten Canoes
BRONZE
Happy Feet


BEST ANIMATED/MIXED MEDIA FILM


Cars
I fell completely and utterly under the spell of this old-fashioned, new-tech Pixar release with it's Americana and open roads and neon-drenched night skies.




Happy Feet
Taking it's inspiration from everything from Busby Berkley and using the latest pioneering animation techniques, George Miller's Happy Feet is a true original.




Hunt Angels
A new and refreshing way of presenting the documentary feature, Hunt Angels uses visual effects and animation to bring the life of 1920s Australia to the screen.




Monster House
A fun and thrilling haunted house movie that features many great setpieces and thankfully un-starry eyed voice work. Could have done without the 3D effects on the 2D screen though.



Renaissance
Yeah, it's a confusing mess at times, but it's animation and rotoscoping visuals surpass the similarly-aesthetic Sin City for pure bang.




Honourable Mentions: Over the Hedge was a brisk and fun 80 minutes while Flushed Away had some inventive stuff up it's hyper-colour sleeves.

{tie}

GOLD
Cars and Happy Feet
(Sorry, I couldn't tear them apart)
BRONZE
Monster House


BEST DOCUMENTARY



Dave Chappelle's Block Party
See the top ten.






Hunt Angels
This Australian docu-drama mixed talking heads with archive footage with the recreations by Ben Mendelsohn and Victoria Hill, but was patriotic and cheered for filmmakers all over the world.



In Search of Mozart
Mixing the discussions of Mozart's life with many lush performances of his work, In Search of Mozart was over two hours well spent in the presense of a master.




Shut Up & Sing
This documentary got me angry, excited, starry-eyed and emotional. Essentially it's starfucking, but Natalie Maines and crew deserve it.




Welcome 2 My Deaf World
Being "inspirational" and "sentimental" when discussing "disabled" people (they don't think they're disabled) can be tricky, but when your subject are this full-of-life even I get misty-eyed.


I unfortunately didn't get to see the Oscar nominees Deliver Us From Evil or Jesus Camp (much to my chagrin), but Oscar-winner An Inconvenient Truth doesn't deserve a nomination purely because on director Davis Guggenheim's part, all he's documenting is a colourful Powerpoint presentation.


GOLD
Dave Chappelle's Block Party
SILVER
Shut Up & Sing
BRONZE
Welcome 2 My Deaf World

11 comments:

J.D. Judge said...

Damn! I forgot you might be (and were) bluffing about Best Actress! Estupido! [hits forehead]

Kamikaze Camel said...

I like to play with people like that.

NATHANIEL R said...

interesting choices...

the bowie one is a headscratcher (for me) but headscratchers are what making personal awards awesome.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I adore Bowie whenever he's on screen.

His cameo in Fire Walk With Me is one of the craziest things I've ever seen in a David Lynch movie, and that's saying somethin'!

J.D. Judge said...

Yay! Someone else appreciates Ashitey!

Paxton Hernandez said...

WTF? Jindabyne superior to De Heer's masterpiece Ten Canoes? REALLY??

= )

GOOD CHOICES!!!

Paxton Hernandez said...

And just for the record La Dern kicks any actress' ass in last year's film. YEAH. = D

Kamikaze Camel said...

I wish I could agree with you on that Pax, but alas, I still have to wait over a month to find out.

J.D. Judge said...

WHOO!!!!!!!!!! I'm glad someone else recognizes the greatness of Shut Up & Sing!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

RC said...

yea, your funnest picks were definitly your supporting actor picks.

i agree with you on bowie...it's a great choice.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I've been saying all along that Supporting Actor was the most bonkers category. Only Carell really begged me to nominate him (well, you know) so I just went with performances I liked over what may have been technically the best.