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Tony’s 2006 Oscar Nominations

by Tony Medley

 The Academy has done it again. They’ve nominated films that are far below what should be the exceptional quality required to qualify for an Oscar. Of the five films they picked for the best, four shouldn’t be on anybody’s list of “best films.” “Letters From Iwo Jima” is a despicable revisionist, counter-factual telling of the battle of Iwo Jima, trying to draw a moral equivalence between the vicious, brutal professional Japanese military that had been raping and pillaging and enslaving throughout Asia for more than a decade to the noble U.S. Marines, mostly volunteers, who were there to stop this inhumane horde.  There were two spectacular Indies this year that should become classics, “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Thank You For Smoking.” The Academy ignored them and instead nominated two films that barely qualify as mediocre; “The Queen” a factually inaccurate polemic from a politically-motivated director, and “Little Miss Sunshine,” a mildly entertaining film that epitomizes mundanity. “The Departed” is just the latest exercise in grotesque, graphic violence that seems to dominate director Martin Scorsese’s craft. So, here I am again, having to set the record straight.

 Despite the poor taste of the Academy, it was a good year for good movies. For me to not nominate “Little Children” and “Notes on a Scandal” and “Apocalypto,” wonderfully entertaining movies all, was difficult. Although all the movies I nominated are deserving of the top prize, and to pick among them was like trying to decide between Sienna Miller and Abbie Cornish for a date (in the end I was fortunate to be able to pick both of them!), the toughest category for me was “Best Supporting Actress.” When I saw Emily Blunt, I thought she had it all the way. Then I saw Naomi Harris and I thought, “Who could be more charming?” Phyllis Somerville and Emma Thompson were wonderful and their performances added immeasurably to their films. In the end, however, I thought Rinko Kikuchi’s performance took so much courage and was so powerful she barely edged out all the others.

 Here’s the way I would have nominated. My winners are indicated by an asterisk:

 Best Original Screenplay

*Guillermo Arriaga (Babel)

Paul Haggis (The Last Kiss)

Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction)

Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond)

Brian Nelson (Hard Candy)

Phil Sears and Blake T. Evans & David S. Ward (Flyboys)

 Best Adapted Screenplay

Todd Field and Tom Perrotta (Little Children)

Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada)

William Monahan (The Departed)

Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee)

*Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking)

 Best Supporting Actor

*Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children)

Greg Kinnear (Invincible)

Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)

Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist)

Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada)

Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)

 Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada)

Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)

*Rinko Kikuchi (Babel)

Phyllis Somerville (Little Children)

Emma Thompson (Stranger Than Fiction)

 Best Actor

*Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond)

Robert Downey (Fur)

Mark Wahlberg (Invincible)

Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)

Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy)

 Best Actress

Abbie Cornish (Somersault)

Helen Mirren (The Queen)

Ellen Page (Hard Candy)

Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)

Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee)

*Kate Winslet (Little Children)

 Best Director

David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada)

Paul Greengrass (United 93)

Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel)

Kirk Jones (Nanny McPhee)

*Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking)

 Best Movie


*Blood Diamond (tie)

Nanny McPhee

The Devil Wears Prada

Thank You For Smoking

*United 93 (tie)