Good Night and Good Luck
Weeding through the Nominees
5. I didn’t love Munich because it falls into the same problems that so many of Spielberg’s movies do, and unlike many of his films, this is one that clearly doesn’t need it. Spielberg tends to over-emotionalize his content and do anything he can to wring an emotional reaction from his audience. With Munich, we’re dealing with the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes and the revenge against the perpetrators. There’s emotion a-plenty for this film, and what we end up with is something that feels oddly muted despite Spielberg’s best effort to make it as emotionally charged as possible. I get why it was nominated, but I don’t think I’d put it on the list.
4. The win of Crash is one of the more controversial in Oscar history, and (I think) calls into question the way the winner is ultimately determined. The backlash against it is really undeserved, though. Crash isn’t a bad movie. In fact, it’s a pretty good one; it’s just not anywhere close to being the best movie of its year. That puts both Crash and me in a weird position. It’s not really nomination-worthy and didn’t deserve to be here, let alone to win. But at the same time, it’s not the terrible affront to cinema that its reputation has made it. Chill out, dear reader. I agree it didn’t deserve to win, but it’s not anywhere close to the abomination you seem to think it is.
3. The consensus winner of this Oscar was Brokeback Mountain. I am bucking that trend and opening myself up for tons of criticism in the comments below by putting it third. In my head, it is more or less tied with the movie that follows it on this list. I’m putting it third simply because, of the two of them, this is the one that I’m least likely to watch a second time. I get why people love it. Truth be told, I think it’s a hell of a movie, too. Release this in a lesser year and it wins without much question from me. The problem is that there are simply two movies from this year that I like better and that I think deserve this more.
2. The beauty of Capote is not in its story but in its performances, that are glorious from beginning to end. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, Clifton Collins…the list of performances that work perfectly in this film simply doesn’t end. I’ve read In Cold Blood, and Capote rings true as the story of the birth of Capote’s book and the genre of the nonfiction novel. Talk to me tomorrow, and I might flip this position with Brokeback Mountain. That’s not likely to be the case, though because I would much rather rewatch this one nine times out of ten.
1. My winner is Good Night, and Good Luck, which I think is not merely wonderfully made, but still incredibly relevant. In fact, I think it’s a film that has become more and more relevant as time goes on. Sure, it’s a bit of hero-making in how it treats Edward R. Murrow. Then again, Murrow was a true hero, so it’s not like a lot of work was needed in that respect. It is, for me, not merely a film where I find myself in tune politically and ethically, but a film where I can’t see a specific place to improve it. Top to bottom, it’s my favorite film of 2005, and just writing this makes me want to watch it again. It’s my winner, hands down.