Dreamgirls, oh Dreamgirls — how could they do it to you? You were such a surprise, an electrifying and endearing rags-to-riches tale led by the performance of the year from Jennifer Hudson. How could you have been robbed of a Best Picture nomination?
Those are the thoughts of so many Dreamgirls supporters, bitter about last week's announcement of the Academy Awards nominees. It is true, non-believers, Dreamgirls didn't make the cut. But is that really the biggest Oscar snub of the year? I think not. In fact, in our list of the Top Ten Oscar Snubs of 2006, Dreamgirls is just the beginning — in reverse order.
All those nominations and no Best Picture nod to show for it. My guess is that everyone and their brother's auteur friend are all upset about Dreamgirls being snubbed from the Best Picture race just because. The film was good, yes. Jennifer Hudson shocked the world. Again, a resounding yes. But was this film the end-all-be-all best film of the year? Not really. I wouldn't even place it in the top ten.
9. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris
They did get a little bit of love from the Academy… okay, they got a ton of love from the Academy. But while Little Miss Sunshine is set to light up Oscar's stage, the dynamic directing duo that dual-handedly created such a fun, endearing, and twisted film is going to go unrecognized. It is disappointing, but at least they have a good shot at making it on stage — they are nominated for Best Picture, which ain't half bad.
8. Aaron Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking)
I understand why Forest Whitaker got nominated. I also agree with Leo DiCaprio getting a nod (although his performance in The Departed was better). But can't you slip Aaron Eckhart's razor-sharp performance in there somewhere? Eckhart was charming and despicable, tactful and irreverent. That has to stand for something, doesn't it?
2006 was a year that was ripe with fine documentaries (two of which made this particular list). The first snub goes to a little documentary about crossword puzzles with a lot of heart. Add in some celebrity cameos and a charming story of nerd-ism and you can't deny that this is the first (and possibly only) film ever made that makes crossword puzzles as interesting as the Super Bowl.
6. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
The critical mass was so up and down, back and forth with Perfume. It was a delightfully quirky tale about a man with an acute sense of smell and a penchant for slaying beautiful young women. The intrigue of Perfume was in its oddity — an oddity that seems to have gone too far for the Academy, too far even to get thrown a bone even the Cinematography category.
5. Shut Up and Sing
The second documentary to make the list was by far one of the more controversial of the year. It was far more interesting than Professor Gore's An Inconvenient Truth with just as much politically charged sentiment. It told not just the story of The Dixie Chicks and their run-in with free speech in our Bush-ian country, but it exposed the notion that behind every scandal there are real people with real emotions and real crosses to bear.
4. Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat)
Sacha Baron Cohen got the ultimate consolation prize this year — a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. What he should have gotten was a nom to mirror the Golden Globe that he just won — for Best Actor. But oh that Academy, they do not dig comedies, do they? What they failed to see was that Cohen's performance was more than comedic, it was the most spectacular embodiment of a character in any film all year.
Yet another one of those films that broke the critical consensus into violent sects, each taking a strong stance with either thumbs up or thumbs down. Emilio Estevez wrote and directed one of the more powerful films of the year. Poignant and relevant to today's political climate, Bobby should have been a welcome addition to many categories (including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay). But alas, it fell deep down into the cracks, right next to another late year sensation…
2. Children of Men
That other late year sensation? Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men. Probably one of the most astonishing accomplishments in film in the last decade, Cuaron's film only received two measly nominations (Cinematography and Editing). It could have been deep in the Best Picture race, but a very late (and mostly mishandled) December release would be its downfall. What a shame…
1. Jack Nicholson (The Departed)
When The Departed hit theaters, it was Jack's movie. He was pure gold as the sexually deviant mobster with a rat in his house. Guided by Martin Scorsese, Nicholson gave probably one of the best performances of his career (which is saying a lot). He deserved nothing less than a Supporting Actor nod, right next to Mark Whalberg. The only bigger snub possible in this year chock full of great films would be if Mr. Scorsese himself is denied the Best Director Oscar.
Agree with it or not, those are my Top Ten Oscar Snubs of 2006. While the situation surrounding Dreamgirls is a tabloid tragedy, there is plenty more for some to be angry about.
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