OK, I promised further comments about the Oscar nominees when I had time, so here we go!
- Considering how many movies I used to see, it's rather staggering to realize how few movies I saw last year. As of this evening, I've seen four of the nominated movies. And I don't mean four of the Best Picture nominees; I mean of all the films nominated in any category, I've seen three. And the only reason I've seen that many is that I saw Seabiscuit this afternoon. That's pretty pathetic.
- But not as pathetic as this: until seeing Seabiscuit, I had seen none of the Best Picture nominees. You know the last time that happened? 1987.
- By the way, the other two nominated films I've seen are Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Monster, and Finding Nemo.
- The Documentary Feature category is a little unusual this year, in that I've heard of most of the nominees. That may have something to do with my two recent trips to the Landmark E Street Cinemas in DC, which is one of the only theaters in the area that books documentary features.
- Every film nominated in both the Makeup and Visual Effects categories have colons in the title: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. This is, of course, deeply significant.
- I'll bet Penny Marshall never thought that Michael McKean would be the first member of the cast of Laverne and Shirley to be nominated for an Academy Award. I wonder if they'll get Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara to sing it during the ceremony and, if so, they'll be introduced as themselves or as Mitch and Mickey?
- I was startled but very pleased to see Destino among the nominees for Animated Short Film. Work started on Destino, a collaboration between Walt Disney (the person, not the studio) and Salvador Dali, in 1946. Financial problems led to it being shelved for more than 50 years, but under the guidance of Roy Disney, it was dusted off last year and completed by Disney animators, using Dali's original storyboards and in consultation with the project's original director, John Hench, now 95. As an animation buff, it's a thrill to know this film was finally completed and to see it nominated for an Oscar.
- American Splendor becomes only the second film based on a comic book to compete for the Adapted Screenplay award. If history is any guide, it will lose, but at least it won't lose to a hack writer who happened to write, possibly for the first time in his career, a decent screenplay. Sorry, I have Akiva Goldsman issues.
By the way, Seabiscuit was not that good. I have no clue as to how it was nominated for Best Picture.