The Departed (winner)
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Weeding through the Nominees
4: I had relatively low expectations for The Queen but found it to be a film that I rather enjoyed, but also a film I’m not sure I need or want to watch again. This is a film that is very much good and possibly great. It also manages to significantly humanize Queen Elizabeth II, turning her from a figurehead into a very real person with concerns that, despite being of a royal nature, are perfectly understandable. It’s a hell of a good film, but there are films I simply liked better in 2006.
3: The thing I like most about Babel is how ambitious it is as both a film and as a narrative. The entire point of the film is to show us how the world is tightly interconnected, with an event in one place having a massive impact somewhere halfway across the world. It’s problem is that the same sort of movie (Crash) won the previous year and is widely considered one of the most undeserving winners in Oscar history. I liked Babel well enough, but it might simply be too overwhelming a story. I think it lost because of Crash. It loses my support because it's just too much.
1: All of this means I’m going with Letters from Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood’s paean to the Japanese side of the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. There’s not a thing in this film that I would change. I love the washed-out look of the film, I love the fatalism of it. I particularly love how carefully it is made, with men from a culture radically different from the West and different in many ways from the modern world made so real, human, and understandable. This is top-notch filmmaking that depicts war not as we might imagine it but as it really must be, and shows us that the “bad guys” are often just as scared and human as the rest of us. Hell of a film, and of these five, my choice.