Oscar categories we’d like to see
You thought SN&R’s film page would somehow be exempt from the last-week-of-December list-making mania? Why? Why on Earth would you ever think that? OK, then. So here it is.
When the time comes in a couple of months for another round of Academy Awards, we’d like to suggest special recognition for these unique movie memories of 2007.
Best Trailer: Get Smart. It’s not coming out until June, but the trailer’s been in theaters for months, and it’s a riot.
Best Camouflage of a Musical (tie): Enchanted and Sweeney Todd. You’d never guess it from the trailers, especially for Sweeney: “From the imaginations of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.” So, what, Stephen Sondheim is chopped liver?
Most Ill-Used Female Star: Diane Keaton (pictured, right) in Because I Said So. Woody Allen and The Godfather never seemed so long ago and far away.
Most Ill-Used Male Star: Nicolas Cage in Ghost Rider. What showbiz genius decided we’d rather watch a flaming CGI skeleton than Nic?
Best Use of Ben Affleck (tie): Smokin’ Aces, in which Affleck’s overwritten, overacted caricature gets blown away unexpectedly and early on; and Gone Baby Gone, in which the A-man wisely confines himself behind the camera—as an admittedly promising director.
Best New Star: Nikki Blonsky in Hairspray. Last year Jennifer Hudson, now this; would they dare give the supporting-actress Oscar to two musicals in a row?
Best Sequel: The Bourne Ultimatum. Memo to Universal Pictures: Don’t let director Paul Greengrass get away. Here’s one franchise that’s actually getting better as it goes along.
Worst Sequel: Daddy Day Camp. Cuba Gooding Jr. takes on a script not even Eddie Murphy would touch.
Least Necessary Sequel: Are We Done Yet? The Ice Cube of Are We There Yet? is back for more. Yes, IC, you’re done.
Best Remake: 3:10 to Yuma. No improvement on the original, but no disgrace either. Yes, that is an Oscar-worthy feat these days.
Worst Remake: Halloween. Bottom-scraper Rob Zombie easily snags an award that might otherwise have gone to the Farrelly Brothers’ takedown of The Heartbreak Kid or that dippy cartoon of The Ten Commandments.
Best-Disguised Remake: Disturbia. A teenybopper Rear Window? Not bad, kid; have at it.
Most Pleasant Surprise (Male): Casey Affleck in Gone Baby Gone and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The kid’s beginning to outshine big brother Ben.
Most Pleasant Surprise (Female): Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson’s War. A gritty, diamond-hard portrait of a woman past her prime but at the peak of her powers.
Deservedly Busiest Actor: Terrence Howard (pictured, below). Six movies—and one for TV—in nine months, and still hasn’t worn out his welcome. Now that’s a star.
Undeservedly Busiest Actor: Timothy Olyphant. Not that Catch and Release, Live Free or Die Hard and Hitman would have been masterpieces without him, but, well, they weren’t masterpieces with him.
Busiest Actress: Hilary Swank. She was no Terrence Howard, and, mercifully, no Timothy Olyphant, but still seemed to be everywhere this year—often doing more for her movies (The Reaping, P.S. I Love You) than they did for her.
Noisiest Flop: The Golden Compass. New Line’s $180 million white elephant probably couldn’t have made a profit even if every reader of the book saw it ten times.
Quietest Flop: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. They’ll be watching this one in 50 years, make no mistake. Too bad nobody wanted to see it now.
Best Small-to-Big-Screen Transition: Jason Bateman. With Arrested Development off the air, he could’ve just faded into obscurity (again). But look how Bateman (pictured, above left) made the most of that thankless gag-cameo in Smokin’ Aces and graciously dignified a placeholder part in Juno. (Let’s just not discuss The Kingdom.)
Saddest Back-Story: Waitress. What might have been a delightful beginning became a mournful farewell when writer-director-co-star Adrienne Shelley died six months before the release of this sweet little comedy.
Most Over-Used City: Washington, D.C. Breach, Rendition, Lions for Lambs, The Bourne Ultimatum, Evan Almighty, Talk to Me, The Kingdom, Charlie Wilson’s War—movie audiences this year logged more time in the Corridors of Power than Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney did. Hmmm….