Marty directs Leo on how to beat the hell out of Matt. Oh, and he finally wins an Oscar.

My Top 20:

  1. The Departed
  2. Children of Men
  3. Pan’s Labyrinth
  4. The Fountain
  5. The Queen
  6. United 93
  7. The Prestige
  8. Army of Shadows
  9. Casino Royale
  10. Tristram Shandy
  11. Volver
  12. The Lives of Others
  13. Stranger Than Fiction
  14. The Painted Veil
  15. Blood Diamond
  16. Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
  17. Joyeux Noel
  18. Perfume
  19. Brick
  20. Thank You for Smoking

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Departed
  • Best Director:  Martin Scorsese  (The Departed)
  • Best Actor:  Forrest Whitaker  (Last King of Scotland)
  • Best Actress:  Helen Mirren  (The Queen)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Eddie Murphy  (Dreamgirls)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jennifer Hudson  (Dreamgirls)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Departed
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Queen
  • Best Cinematography:  Children of Men
  • Best Animated Film:  Happy Feet
  • Best Foreign Film:  The Lives of Others

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Departed
  • Best Director:  Martin Scorsese  (The Departed)
  • Best Actor:  Forrest Whitaker  (Last King of Scotland)
  • Best Actress:  Helen Mirren  (The Queen)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Alan Arkin  (Little Miss Sunshine)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jennifer Hudson  (Dreamgirls)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Departed
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Little Miss Sunshine
  • Best Cinematography:  Children of Men
  • Best Animated Film:  Happy Feet
  • Best Foreign Film:  The Lives of Others

The best film of the year is from 1969. Probably not the best thing. But a great film and about damn time it came to the States.

Top 10 Films (Top 1000):

  1. Army of Shadows  –  #444
  2. The Lives of Others  –  #585  (#36)
  3. Pan’s Labyrinth  –  #712  (#22)
  4. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu  –  #885  (#32)
  5. The Departed  –  (#41)
  6. Children of Men  –  (#46)
  7. United 93  –  (#51)
  8. Still Life  –  (#52)
  9. The Queen  –  (#55)
  10. Letters from Iwo Jima  –  (#56)

note:  Because so much of the focus for the Top 1000 is on classic films, because they have had a longer time to sink into the critical consciousness, they have a separate list called the Top 250 of the 2000′s.  The first number is for those films that actually make their Top 1000, the second number in parenthesis is for their rank in the Top 250 for the 21st Century.  I don’t know their precise methodology, so I can’t explain why some films rank higher on one list than on the other.  But, since the Top 1000 is the more definitive list, a higher rank there is the trump.

Top 10 Films  (2006 Best Picture Awards):

  1. The Departed
  2. The Queen
  3. Little Miss Sunshine
  4. Letters from Iwo Jima
  5. Babel
  6. Dreamgirls
  7. United 93
  8. Pan’s Labyrinth
  9. Little Children
  10. Last King of Scotland  /  The Lives of Others

Top 10 Films  (Award Points):

  1. The Departed  –  2144
  2. The Queen  –  2066
  3. Babel  –  1315
  4. Little Miss Sunshine  –  1112
  5. Dreamgirls  –  1109
  6. Last King of Scotland  –  978
  7. Pan’s Labyrinth  –  838
  8. United 93  –  769
  9. Letters from Iwo Jima  –  639
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest  –  575

note:  The Departed wins by only 78 points – the smallest margin of victory since 2001 and only the sixth time it’s been below 100 in the last 20 years.  United 93 sets a new record for points for a film with no Golden Globe nominations.  With 415 points, Casino Royale has the most for a film with no Oscar nominations since 1987.

This poster’s for me.

Top 10 Films  (Domestic Box Office Gross):

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest  –  $423.31 mil
  2. Night at the Museum  –  $250.86 mil
  3. Cars  –  $244.08 mil
  4. X-Men: The Last Stand  –  $234.36 mil
  5. The Da Vinci Code  –  $217.53 mil
  6. Superman Returns  –  $200.08 mil
  7. Happy Feet  –  $198.00 mil
  8. Ice Age: The Meltdown  –  $195.33 mil
  9. Casino Royale  –  $167.44 mil
  10. The Pursuit of Happyness  –  $163.56 mil

note:  There is $173 million between the #1 and #2 films – the largest difference since 1997 and the second-largest since 1982.  Night at the Museum is the lowest-grossing #2 film since 2000.  I saw 4 of these films a combined 6 times in the theater – my lowest showing for the Top 10 since 2000, yet higher than any year since.

This one’s for Terry.

Top 10 Films  (Worldwide Box Office Gross):

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest  –  $1066.2 mil
  2. The Da Vinci Code  –  $758.2 mil
  3. Ice Age: The Meltdown  –  $655.4 mil
  4. Casino Royale  –  $594.2 mil
  5. Night at the Museum  –  $574.5 mil
  6. Cars  –  $462.0 mil
  7. X-Men: The Last Stand  –  $459.4 mil
  8. Mission: Impossible III  –  $397.9 mil
  9. Superman Returns  –  $391.1 mil
  10. Happy Feet  –  $384.3 mil

note:  Pirates becomes only the third film to ever gross over $1 billion worldwide.  Da Vinci Code, Ice Age and Casino Royale all earn over 70% of their money internationally while nothing earns less than 45%.  On the other hand, Talladega Nights becomes the only film in history to gross over $100 million and make less than 10% on the international market.

Ebert Great Movies:

  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Babel
  • Prairie Home Companion

The Queen and her Prime Minister take a walk with the dogs. The two best performances of the year in any acting category.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture:  The Departed
  • Best Director:  Martin Scorsese  (The Departed)
  • Best Actor:  Forrest Whitaker  (Last King of Scotland)
  • Best Actress:  Helen Mirren  (The Queen)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Michael Sheen  (The Queen)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Rinko Kikuchi  (Babel)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Departed
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Fountain

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture:  Tristram Shandy
  • Best Director:  Pedro Almodovar  (Volver)
  • Best Actor:  Aaron Eckhart  (Thank You for Smoking)
  • Best Actress:  Penelope Cruz  (Volver)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Eddie Murphy  (Dreamgirls)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jennifer Hudson  (Dreamgirls)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Tristram Shandy
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Volver

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Departed
  • Best Director:  Martin Scorsese  (The Departed)
  • Best Actor:  Forrest Whitaker  (Last King of Scotland)
  • Best Actress:  Helen Mirren  (The Queen)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Michael Sheen  (The Queen)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jennifer Hudson  (Dreamgirls)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Departed
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Fountain
  • Best Editing:  The Departed
  • Best Cinematography:  Children of Men
  • Best Original Score:  The Da Vinci Code
  • Best Sound:  Casino Royale
  • Best Art Direction:  The Prestige
  • Best Visual Effects:  The Fountain
  • Best Sound Editing:  Casino Royale
  • Best Costume Design:  Marie Antoinette
  • Best Makeup:  Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Best Original Song:  “Kickapoo”  (Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny)
  • Best Animated Film:  Flushed Away
  • Best Foreign Film:  Pan’s Labyrinth

note:  With 13 different films winning an award, that might be the most ever for one year.  And no film wins more than 4 – a rarity for me.

The Spanish-language poster for the Best Foreign Film of 2006.

Top 5 Foreign Films:

  1. Pan’s Labyrinth
  2. Volver
  3. The Lives of Others
  4. The Black Book
  5. Letters from Iwo Jima

These are the films eligible for Best Foreign Film in the year, so Army of Shadows, originally released in 1969 is out.  But either way, Pan’s Labyrinth is easily my #1 of the year.  And the Academy has a mixed performance here.  They lavished 6 noms and 3 Oscars on Pan, but didn’t actually give it Best Foreign Film.  On the other hand, they did give it to The Lives of Others, which is a great film (and actually narrowly beats Pan in the Consensus).  And Letters from Iwo Jima, which wasn’t eligible, they did nominate for Best Picture.  But what about the other two?  Well, they were eligible and submitted and passed over.  Strange in the case of Black Book, incredibly stupid in terms of Volver, which earned a nomination for Best Actress and which I also nominate for Original Screenplay.  But at least they didn’t completely screw it up.  Their other nominees were all good films – After the Wedding, Days of Glory and Water – and the first two border on being ***.5 and being eligible for this list, though they would have finished behind 12:08 East of Bucharest and Paprika.  But it’s the second best group the Academy has ever nominated (behind 2002) and Water is probably the best film to ever be the weakest nominee.

Nighthawk Notables:

Rachel Hurd-Wood in Perfume.  The picture that got me 30,000 Google hits back in the day.

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  Casino Royale
  • Best Line  (comedic):  “I’m at an age where if I started to do them I’d do nothing but eulogies.”  (Garrison Keillor in Prairie Home Companion)
  • Best Line  (dramatic):  “Who am I?  I’m the guy who does his fucking job.  You must be the other guy.”  (Mark Wahlberg in The Departed)
  • Best Opening:  Clerks II
  • Best Ending:  The Pursuit of Happyness
  • Best Scene:  the opening chase in Casino Royale
  • Most Effective Scene:  watching the plane crash from the Newark Airport in United 93
  • Scene Too Good for the rest of the Silly Movie:  The Da Vinci Code
  • Best Use of a Song  (comedic):  “Misery” in Clerks II
  • Best Use of a Song  (dramatic):  “Gimme Shelter” in The Departed
  • Best Ensemble:  Prairie Home Companion
  • Funniest Film:  Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny
  • Most Over-rated Film:  Borat
  • Worst Film:  Click
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Rachel Hurd-Wood in Perfume
  • Yeah, it really doesn’t get any sexier than this.

    Sexiest Performance:  Eva Green in Casino Royale

  • Highest Attractiveness / Acting Ability Ratio:  Scarlett Johansson in Scoop
  • Best Soundtrack:  Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny
  • Watch the Film, SKIP the Book:  The Painted Veil
  • Star of the Year:  Hugh Jackman  (The Fountain, The Prestige, X-Men: The Last Stand)
  • Coolest Performance:  Daniel Craig in Casino Royale
  • Best Teaser:  Superman Returns
  • Best Trailer:  Casino Royale
  • Trailer Much Better than the Film:  Bobby
  • Best Tag-Line  (comedic):  “With no power comes no responsibility.”  (Clerks 2)
  • Best Tag-Line  (serious):  “The last one to die please turn out the light.”  (Children of Men)
  • Best Cameo:  Meatloaf in Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny
  • Best Animated Character Performance:  Larry the Cable Guy in Cars

Film History:  The second Pirates of the Caribbean film becomes the third film to ever gross $1 billion worldwide.  Casino Royale starts Daniel Craig as the newest James Bond (and is, quite frankly, the best Bond film ever made).  Army of Shadows finally plays in the States, some 37 years after it was originally released and earns widespread acclaim.  The Wind That Shakes the Barley wins the Palme d’Or at Cannes while Still Life wins the Golden Lion at Venice.  Maureen Stapleton dies in March, Jack Warden in July and Glenn Ford in August.  Robert Altman dies on 20 November (after releasing Prairie Home Companion, whose ending keeps making me think that Garrison Keillor is dead).  Little Miss Sunshine wins Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor at the Independent Spirits.  Basic Instinct 2 wins 4 Razzies, including Worst Picture and Actress.

Academy Awards:  For the first time in Oscar history, none of the Best Actor nominees are from Best Picture nominees (or for the first time since 1928, depending on what reference you believe).  Dreamgirls becomes the first film ever to have the most Oscar nominations in a year and not get nominated for Best Picture; its 8 nominations are also the most for a film without a Picture nom since 1981.  The Departed, on the other hand, has the fewest nominations for a Best Picture winner since 1977.  With 6 nominations, Pan’s Labyrinth has the third most ever for a film that loses Best Foreign Film.  The Departed has the most points on the year with 350 – the fewest for a top finisher since 1952.  It also has the most points with only 5 nominations – the fewest for a top finisher since 1934.  Cate Blanchett appears in her fifth Best Picture nominee in six years (and sixth in nine years).  For the first time since 1998 and only the third time ever, only 2 Foreign Film nominees are from Europe; for the first time since 1989 and only the second time ever, there are two from North America.  For the third year in a row one of the nominees is from Africa – the only time there has ever been a streak.  After a 46 years stretch where there were 12 nominations but only 1 win, Germany wins for the second time in five years.  Forty different films are nominated for feature film Oscars – the most since 1999; 13 films win feature film Oscars – the most since 1956.  For the third year in a row, the Best Picture is nominated for only one technical Oscar – Best Editing.

Just remember this about 2006: the Academy nominated Click for Best Makeup over Pirates and The Prestige.  So, not only do they go with fat-suits over genuine makeup – they also nominate an abysmal film.  They go for Letters from Iwo Jima over Dreamgirls – not the wrong choice necessarily, but a perplexing one that killed Oscar prognosticators.  Then, they pass up The Fountain for the likes of The Good Shepherd (Art Direction), Poseidon (Visual Effects) and Click.  But, they got Marty’s Oscars right – yes, he made better films, but here he made the best film of the year and they got it right.  And even though Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth deserved to be in the Picture race, at least Cuarón and del Toro were both nominated.  Though how Apocalypto got nominated for Sound and Sound Effects over Casino Royale perplexes me.

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Original Screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Makeup for Click
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Supporting Actor for Michael Sheen in The Queen
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Click
  • Best Eligible Film with No Oscar Nominations:  The Fountain
  • Best Foreign Film Submitted But Not Nominated:  Volver
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Sound
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Actress
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Editing, Costume Design, Makeup

Golden Globes:  Babel wins Best Picture – Drama without winning any other Best Picture awards – the first film to do so since 1992; it is the first film since 1991 to win Best Picture – Drama without winning any other Globes.  For the first time since 1984, only three films are nominated for Picture and Director – all of them win of the three big awards – Babel wins Picture, The Departed wins Director and The Queen wins Screenplay (and also Actress).  Dreamgirls wins Best Picture – Comedy / Musical over Little Miss Sunshine but the latter is nominated over it at the Oscars – the first time this has happened since 2000.  The Departed becomes the first film in five years to win Director but nothing else.  For the third year in a row, the eventual Oscar winner fails to win Best Picture at the Globes – the longest streak since the Globes began.

Awards:  For the third time for Best Actress and the second time for Best Actor, all six major critics agree – Helen Mirren in The Queen and Forrest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland.  The Departed, with two Best Pictures (Boston, Chicago), four Best Directors (New York, Boston, Chicago, National Board of Review), two Best Supporting Actors (Boston, National Society of Film Critics) and two Best Screenplays (Boston, Chicago), earns more wins and more points at the critics awards than any Oscar winner since Schindler’s List.  However, The Queen finishes ahead of it in both points (799 to 756) and awards (12 to 10), becoming the first film to ever finish first in points at the critics awards without winning a single Best Picture award – instead adding four Screenplay awards (New York, LA, NSFC, Chicago) and a Supporting Actor and Score award from LA.  Finishing much farther back are the other Best Picture winners – Pan’s Labyrinth (NSFC), United 93 (New York – plus the other two Director awards) and Letters from Iwo Jima (LA, NBR).  After only happening twice in its first 57 years, United 93 becomes the sixth film in 15 years to win the New York Film Critics Award and fail to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.  And while there is complete consensus on Actor and Actress, there is the opposite on Supporting Actress.  For the first time since 1977, all the Supporting Actress awards go to different actresses – Catherine O’Hara in For Your Consideration (NBR), Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls (NYFC), Meryl Streep in Prairie Home Companion and The Devil Wears Prada (NSFC), Luminita Gheorghiu in The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (LAFC), Shareeka Epps in Half Nelson (BSFC) and Rinko Kikuchi in Babel (CFC).

Little Miss Sunshine is the biggest winner at the guilds – earning 445 points on 9 nominations and 3 wins: the PGA, SAG Ensemble (the only film other than Apollo 13 to win both and not win the Oscar) and WGA.  It’s followed by Dreamgirls (10 noms, 5 wins) and Babel (12 noms, 1 win) – with all three films among the DGA noms and the latter two losing to Sunshine at the PGA and SAG Ensemble.  The Departed wins the DGA and WGA and is nominated for the PGA and SAG Ensemble, but with only 7 overall noms, it has the fewest guild nominations for an eventual Oscar winner since Braveheart in 1995.  The second Pirates earns the most noms (13) and most wins (6) mostly by dominating at the Visual Effects Society.  After never having more than 17 of their nominees go on to earn Oscar noms before, all 20 SAG nominees end up Oscar nominated (though winner Eddie Murphy fails to win at the Oscars).  It’s the first time in 6 years that Supporting Actor matches the Oscars 5/5, the first time in 8 years for Supporting Actress and the first time in 9 years for Actor.  Dreamgirls becomes the first DGA nominee in 5 years to fail to get nominated at the Oscars for either Picture or Director.

There were big nominees at the BAFTAs but not really any big winners.  Only two films would win more than two awards – Last King of Scotland (British Film, Actor, Adapted Screenplay) and Pan’s Labyrinth (Costume Design, Makeup, Foreign Film).  The Queen would be at the top with 10 noms and would win Picture and Actress but nothing more.  Casino Royale would earn 9 noms but would only win Sound.  Little Miss Sunshine, Babel and The Departed would all get Picture, Director and Screenplay noms (as would Queen and Last King of Scotland) and would combine for 19 nominations but only 3 wins.  And for the second time (and the first of three in a row), the film that wins Best Picture would lose Best British Film.  Even odder, it would beat the British Film winner at Picture but then get nominated for Best British Film and lose (yes, it hurts the brain and makes no sense).  And for the second time in three years, Picture, Director (United 93), Original Screenplay (Little Miss Sunshine) and Adapted Screenplay would go to four different films.

The Departed is the biggest film at the Broadcast Film Critics, winning Picture and Director among its six nominations, though Dreamgirls, with both supporting awards and Best Song earns the most awards.  Joining those two with Picture and Director nominations are The Queen, Letters from Iwo Jima and United 93.  Babel ties a record set by several films by going 0 for 5, including Picture and Screenplay noms.  Little Miss Sunshine earns a Picture nom and wins Best Screenplay.

Best Director:  Martin Scorsese wins his second Consensus Award, taking home the NYFC (2nd time), BSFC (2nd), CFC (2nd), NBR (2nd), Globe (2nd), BFCA (2nd), and most importantly, his first DGA in 7 noms and first Oscar in 6 noms.  He also earns his 7th BAFTA nom and 2nd Satellite nom and wins his 4th Nighthawk Award (in 8 noms).  He’s followed very distantly by Paul Greengrass who wins the other two critics awards and the BAFTA for United 93 (along with Oscar and BFCA noms).  Then comes Stephen Frears for The Queen (DGA, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA, Satellite noms), Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers (Globe and Satellite noms for both, Oscar and BFCA for the former) and Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel (DGA, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, Satellite noms).  My own list is Scorsese, Alfonso Cuarón for Children of Men, Guillermo del Toro for Pan’s Labyrinth, Darren Aronofsky for The Fountain and Greengrass.  My 6 through 10 are Frears, Christopher Nolan for The Prestige, Martin Campbell for Casino Royale, Jean-Pierre Melville for Army of Shadows and Ed Zwick for Blood Diamond.

Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Departed easily wins the consensus award – winning the Oscar, WGA, Boston Society of Film Critics and Chicago Film Critics and earning Globe, BAFTA and BFCA noms.  It’s followed by Little Children (Oscar, WGA, Globe, BFCA noms), Notes on a Scandal (Oscar, Globe, BAFTA noms), Last King of Scotland (BAFTA win) and a tie between Borat (Oscar, WGA noms) and (stunningly) The Devil Wears Prada (WGA, BAFTA noms).  I can’t conceive how they went with the mostly unscripted Borat or the dreadfully written Prada.  My own top 5 are The Departed, Children of Men (Oscar nom), Tristram Shandy, The Prestige and Notes on a Scandal.  My 6 through 10 are The Painted Veil (NBR), Thank You for Smoking (WGA nom), Casino Royale (BAFTA nom), Sophie Scholl and History Boys.

Best Original Screenplay:  Even though Little Miss Sunshine beats The Queen head-to-head all four times (Oscar, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA), it is the The Queen that wins the consensus.  Those are all the awards for Sunshine, while The Queen wins the Globe and four critics awards (NY, LA, Chicago, NSFC).  They are followed by Babel (Oscar, WGA, Globe, BAFTA, BFCA noms), Stranger Than Fiction (WGA, BFCA noms, NBR win) and a tie between Pan’s Labyrinth (Oscar, BAFTA noms) and United 93 (WGA, BAFTA noms).  My own list is The Fountain, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Queen, Volver and Army of Shadows.  My 6 through 10 are Stranger Than Fiction, United 93, The Lives of Others, Brick and Babel.

Best Actor:  My winner is the same as everybody else’s – Forrest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland.  After that, my list gets very different.  The Consensus has Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond / The Departed (SAG, Globe and BFCA for both – though supporting for Departed from SAG, Oscar nom for the former and BAFTA nom for the latter).  I also have DiCaprio as my #2 – for The Departed (he’s my #7 for Blood Diamond).  Then comes Peter O’Toole for Venus (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms), Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness (SAG, Oscar, Globe, BFCA noms) and Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat (LAFC tie with Whitaker, Globe – Comedy win).  But my 3 through 5 are Clive Owen for Children of Men, Hugh Jackman for The Fountain and Christian Bale for The Prestige.  My 6 through 10 are Edward Norton for The Painted Veil, DiCaprio, Smith, Globe – Comedy nominee Aaron Eckhart for Thank You for Smoking and 2007 BAFTA nominee Ulrich Muhe for The Lives of Others.

Best Actress:  This is a year with a group of performances unlike any other in film history.  Where Best Actor had consensus on who the winner was, here we not only have a complete consensus on who the winner is (Helen Mirren in The Queen).  We have an unprecedented consensus on who the nominees are.  Meryl Streep finishes second for The Devil Wears Prada for two reasons – the first that she won the NSFC (for Supporting) and because she was in a comedy and thus won the Globe.  The next three are a tie – Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal, Penelope Cruz in Volver and Kate Winslet in Little Children.  That’s because they are all nominated by Oscar, SAG, the Globes, BAFTA and BFCA.  In other words, everyone agreed that Mirren gave the best performance of the year and that these were the next four best.  I personally would put Streep fifth (with the others in the order I listed them), because, amazingly enough, I also agree.  There’s no question.  Those were the 5 Best Actress performances of the year.  My 6 through 10, mostly unheralded because of the complete consensus, are Naomi Watts in The Painted Veil, Ivana Baquero, with her stunning young performance in Pan’s Labyrinth, Rachel Weisz in her multiple roles in The Fountain, Julia Jentsch, for her stirring performance as Sophie Scholl, and Toni Collette, who actually earned a Globe nom in Comedy and a BAFTA nom (in supporting) for Little Miss Sunshine.

Best Supporting Actor:  There’s not much consensus on Supporting Actor with no one winning more than two critics awards and the overall Consensus winner not winning any.  Also, the Globes, BAFTAs and BFCA couldn’t agree at all – the only person nominated for all three – Jack Nicholson in The Departed – was nominated nowhere else and didn’t make the Top 5 in the Consensus.  The Top 5 are Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls (SAG, Globe, BFCA wins, Oscar nom), Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine (Oscar, BAFTA wins, SAG, BFCA noms), Jackie Earl Haley for Little Children (NYFC, CFC wins, SAG, Oscar noms), Mark Wahlberg for The Departed (NSFC, BSFC wins, Oscar, Globe noms) and Djimon Honsou for Blood Diamond (NBR win, SAG, Oscar, BFCA noms).  The 6th place in the Consensus Award is easily my winner – Michael Sheen for his magnificent performance as Tony Blair in The Queen (LAFC win, BAFTA nom).  The rest of my nominees are Wahlberg, Nicholson, Haley and Martin Sheen (the unheralded member of The Departed).  My 6 through 10 are Murphy, Sergi Lopez for his menacing fascist in Pan’s Labyrinth, Honsou, Michael Caine in Children of Men and Brad Pitt in Babel (Globe nom).

Best Supporting Actress:  While the critics may have given out awards to six different actresses, there was no such confusion for the Consensus Award; that goes to Jennifer Hudson hands down.  The young Dreamgirls star wins only one critics award (NYFC), but sweeps all the awards groups (Oscar, SAG, Globe, BAFTA, BFCA).  She’s followed by Rinko Kikuchi (CFC win, SAG, Oscar, Globe, BFCA noms for Babel), Adrianna Barazza (SAG, Oscar, Globe, BFCA noms also for Babel), Cate Blanchett (SAG, Oscar, Globe, BFCA noms for Notes on a Scandal) and Abigail Breslin (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA noms for Little Miss Sunshine).  My own list is topped by Hudson, followed by Kikuchi, Blanchett, Emma Thompson (BFCA nom for Stranger Than Fiction) and then Blanchett again (for Babel), which means my 6th place finisher – Barazza, gets a nom.  My Top 10 are filled out with Sylvia Sims, as the Queen Mum in The Queen, Simone Signoret in Army of Shadows, Lindsay Lohan in Prairie Home Companion (yes – she is really good in this, stunningly) and Shareeka Epps in Half Nelson (BSFC win).

Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan achieve comedic brilliance again.

Under-appreciated Film of 2006:

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story  (dir. Michael Winterbottom)

Tristram Shandy is a film in which the film never actually ends up getting made.  But that’s okay because it’s adapted from a novel in which the novel never ends up getting written.  In the film, Steve Coogan notes it “was a post-modern classic written before there was any modernism to be post about”  It’s a typical Coogan line in the film, trying to sound smarter than he is, but it’s also right.  As you know, if you have read The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, the novel begins with the birth of the title character and narrator and ends shortly afterwards, some 591 pages later.  You never find out if Tristram, like David Copperfield, gets to be the hero of his life because we never get to his life.

But of course you haven’t read the book.  No one’s read the book, that’s part of the charm about it.  My undergraduate advisor used to begin his Studies in Fiction class every year with Tristram Shandy and then proceed forward chronologically. However, by the time I took his class, he had banished it from the reading list, in utter frustration over the fact that not one student had ever seemed to finish the book.  It simply killed the class right from the start and my year was the first year where he said the hell with it and began with Crime and Punishment.  I tried to read it a couple of times in the years afterwards and then mostly forgot about it until this film was released.  It was from the team of Michael Winterbottom and Frank Cottrell Boyce, who had also brought us The Claim, 24 Hour Party People and Welcome to Sarajevo, so there was a question over what kind of film it would be.

A brilliant one, as it turned out, much in the neighborhood of 24 Hour Party People, which had also starred Steve Coogan (also blathering on about post-modernism).  But instead of asking Coogan to play Tony Wilson, one of the most interesting people in the history of rock and roll, instead Coogan is playing Tristram Shandy.  And Tristram’s father.  And himself.  Oh, and Tony Wilson shows up as himself, and Steve talks about how awkward it is to be interviewed by somebody he once played in a film.  There are a lot of good people in this film – Shirley Henderson, Kelly MacDonald, Ian Hart, Mark Williams (and that’s just the Harry Potter people) – also Jeremy Northam, Stephen Fry, Dylan Moran and Rob Brydon.  The conflict and one-upmanship between Coogan and Brydon, who both play versions of themselves, would later be continued in yet another hilarious Winterbottom film, The Trip.  Then, of course, the filmmakers go out and manage to get Gillian Anderson, because what a score if they can get a star.  “Two stars,” the producer suddenly adds, staring at Coogan.  And then, towards the end, we get Anderson reacting to her role in the film, and how much has been cut out of it.

What’s impressive is not how much of the book actually ends up on the screen (more than you would realize, including the exact ending), but that any of it ends up there with how much meandering goes on.  And we aren’t sure what to make or who because some stars are themselves and others are clearly playing roles.  And even those playing themselves are playing roles.  Does all of this sound confusing?  Well that’s because I’ve just gotten around to actually writing about the film.  And now it’s over.

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