Friday, December 16, 2005

See No Evil, Hear Only Evil

The semi-finalists for the Visual Effects Oscar have just been announced, and there ain't no surprises among these magnificent seven, which will later be pruned down to three official nominees by the sages of the Visual Effects branch:

Batman Begins
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong
Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
War of the Worlds

Not only are there no major travesties in this bunch, at least as far as the Visual Effects go, but it actually shapes up to be a pretty gangbusters category no matter how you cut it. I'd drop Narnia most quickly, since it tended toward chintz much too often, but that was as much an effect of the production design and stolid direction as the effects work. Batman and Charlie enervated me a little, but that hobgoblin hood in Batman and the exponentiation of Deep Roy in Charlie were pretty striking stuff. My own ballot would encompass Kong, Star Wars, and War of the Worlds, all of them deserving of the statue (though I'm betting Harry Potter bumps either the Lucas or Spielberg films on Oscar's list).

Meanwhile, as terrifying as King Kong and War of the Worlds often were, they've got nothing on the pure, wretched horror elicited by this list of the 42 finalists for Best Original Song, which manage almost completely to sidestep the Golden Globes' nominees and still look like absolute crap. (Nathaniel, as usual, was onto this press release before I was.) My guesses for the final five are "Dicholo" from The Constant Gardener, "In the Deep" from Crash, "I've Gotta See You Smile" from Because of Winn-Dixie, "There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway" from The Producers, and Dolly Parton's "Travelin' Thru" from TransAmerica, with outside odds on the cuts from Narnia, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, Mad Hot Ballroom, The Upside of Anger, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But just typing that just made me hurt inside. (If either of the Hustle & Flow tracks gets nommed, especially "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp," I want a notarized contract on someone's desk that says either Céline Dion, James Ingram, and/or Melissa Manchester has to sing it.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Batman Begins deserves to win because that hobgoblin hood freaked me the hell out.

What the heck are those songs? Usually one hears a few movie songs on the radio, but none of these ring a bell.

(p.s. Nick, your attention is requested over at my Oscar predictions.)

4:03 PM, December 16, 2005  
Blogger keep showing up said...

Why oh why did I post a nod to "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" before reading this entry. If you think you're hurting from typing your worst awarded song nightmare, just imagine me hurting from laughing so hard at Celine Dion contracted to sing the Pimp Song...and I don't suppose your notarized contract demands H&F costuming (Ho Ho Ho), or Beyonce wardrobe-overproduction ala 2004 Oscars? Nome sayin?

But, yo, for real Nick. I'm sure the louder I rally, the harder you'll laugh...but I just can't dispute the musical effects on movie-viewership. Or that some, not all, but some directors truly have write scripts with composers in mind...Didn't Stephen Daldry/David Hare/and Scott Rudin have Philip Glass as their top choice to score The Hours? And I can't imagine anyone else...

One far-fetched, but improbably solution, would be to include Original Songs as subcategories of Sound Effects...And that's not cheapening artistry of songwriting, either. Still, the idea comes closer to the ideal I tried to articulate in my first response to your Best Song comment.

And why, oh why, should photography, visual effects, and all things visual get so many props and song engineering, what the sound-engineering's marriage of melodies to palpable affect (or do I mean effect) get no respect?

9:28 PM, December 17, 2005  
Blogger keep showing up said...

Last song-related comments:

1. Why couldn't Rent's "Season of love" be nominated, if Mel Brook's songs for _The Producers_ got nominated. okay, i know the answer - mel brooks invented some new tune for the film version just to score award gold. but again, my un-purist sensibilities kick in. seriously, check out the Aol Music Session Video of the Rent cast's a cappella rendition of "Season" testifies to a gloriously talented singing cast...

And wouldn't performance theory- heads insist that awarding a song's originality is bogus and misguided? That we should award the best *performance* of a song, and who cares who first penned the lyrics?

2. I'd prefer the post-breakdown David Helfgott's flawed Rachmaninoff 3 performance, to technically perfect dubbing concert pianist's version, anyday. Shine On!

3. If you caught my Nov. 2nd ode to Alanis Morissette, you'd understand why I'm so passionate about this topic.

..."All I really want, is some justice...

9:46 PM, December 17, 2005  

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