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Welcome to my fifth annual Oscar Breach Awards. I am including the best and worst of categories that are important to me. I also threw in a few creative categories that I like. The number of nominations/winners varies depending on how much I care about the category. By my rules, I can be biased for unrelated reasons (usually political), and I can only include films that I have actually seen for this year (except for the body of work category since that includes too many films). I may change a few of my choices later based on films I have yet to see. This is also my first year including a category for editing since I think I have finally learned enough about the art to recognize great achievements in it. I welcome both compliments and criticism, so feel free to email me here. Enjoy!

Best Picture

Winner

Australia The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Dark Knight Frost/Nixon Slumdog Millionaire
This film was way underappreciated. If so many loved classic romances like Out of Africa and The English Patient, then why not this beautiful pick which was superior to them all. I'm not big on romances, but I sure loved this one. I call this the most artistically beautiful film of the year. From its lush cinematography, eerie but historic sets and costumes, and its masterful innovations in visual effects and makeup, this film is great based on the sum of its parts. This would probably win this category, if I wasn't already letting it win best blockbuster. But Dark Knight certainly deserved picture recognition for being the most philosophical, realistic, and finest acted superhero film ever. I first credit Ron Howard for making this film just about itself instead of trying to make any political parallels. But what I really enjoyed was the tense competition surrounding the Nixon interviews, combined with the sympathy of portraying the disgraced president as a flawed but good man. It's a rare case where I don't know why I love this film, I just do. I came out of the theater on such high feelings, I knew this film had done something to me. Danny Boyle made the most uplifting and happiest film of the year, and for that, I give him the best picture award.

Best Popcorn Flick


Winner

The Dark Knight Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Iron Man Tropic Thunder Wall-E
Though I'm just shy of calling it my favorite superhero movie ever, I still call it the best blockbuster of the summer for its brilliant action sequences, tense on the edge moments, and the single best acting performance ever in a superhero film. It's funny, everybody loved this film when it came out, but then they somehow turned on it a week later. They should have went with their first impression which is that it may be flawed, but it has what made Indiana Jones great: amazing stunts, thrilling chase scenes, and a little magic. It's always difficult to get a new superhero movie franchise off the ground. Iron Man wasn't the best, but I think it got off to a good start thanks to a great performance by Downey Jr, an adult target audience, and a real world setting. I think that this is the best original comedy of the decade. Never has a filmmaker been brave enough to satirize Hollywood exactly how it is, but Ben Stiller did it perfectly by including every unusual piece of the Hollywood pyramid, and throwing them all into a dangerous jungle. Brilliant! Not the best Disney/Pixar film, but certainly not the worst. It is however, the most stylized and creative one for creating a unique sci-fi world, and taking up the challenge of making the audience love practically speechless robots. Since we all fell in love with those robots, it succeeded.

Worst Picture

Loser

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian The Duchess Mamma Mia! The Reader Vicky Cristina Barcelona
This film is like deja vu on a lower budget. It's the exact same story as the first film, and the film even knows it's bad so time is spent reminding the audience of how good the first film was. And as much as I hate to say it, but I feel like I need to call the ACLU about some of the casting stereotypes that occurred here. As if the story of a young woman in a heartless marriage who has an affair were an original story, they chose to reinforce the cliche by casting the lead with the actress that always does these roles. In fact, I hope she gets locked in a marriage she hates for the rest of her life, because that's what this film felt like to me for two hours. I don't quite know how to describe this. The film is one big piece of annoying and uncomfortable over-stimulation of the senses. Watching it I felt like I'm tied to the floor, somebody's scratching their nails on the chalkboard, a colorful strobe light is giving me spasms, and there's a gay guy licking my ear. No seriously, that's how uncomfortable it was to watch. It's the worst Oscar picture nominee since, I guess Stephen Daldry's last film. Forbidden love, the Holocaust, controversy, Kate Winslet naked, the most obvious attempt at Oscar recognition in history, and in turn a complete lack of care for what mainstream audiences want to see in a film. I mean no disrespect to Woody Allen... *cough* PERVERT! *cough* But why does he insist on writing a film that is all about sex and not about love, then casting some hot young actresses to star in the sex scenes? I just feel like I have to go to confession after seeing this film.

Director

Winner

Loser

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) Stephen Daldry (The Reader)
Nolan who keeps making one great film after another has made his best one yet, and done it in the challenging superhero genre. He made Batman intense, thought-provoking, and completely real. He definitely should have gotten the Oscar nomination that went to... ...this guy who is the least deserving person ever of three Oscar nominations (a result of Harvey Weinstein's determination to destroy society). Daldry does nothing but make artsy films out of determination to win awards. The saddest part is how the Academy fell for his trick yet again.

Best Actor

Winner

Leonardo Dicaprio (Revolutionary Road) Colin Farrell (In Bruges) Hugh Jackman (Australia) Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
I await the day when Dicaprio will win an Oscar as well as an Oscar Breach Award. I think he should come close this year for creating one of the most layered and developing characters, and getting over the challenge of his character being just a simple household husband. Nobody famous or unusual. Just a great but real performance. Farrell barely beat Brad Pitt to enter the final five here just for giving the best performance of his career in a film that really didn't ask much of him. He was just supposed to play a remorseful hitman, but Farrell gave it such a deeper soul of regret that he has to be recognized for it. I'm glad the Globes noticed. The sexiest man alive, the upcoming Oscar host, and the soon again to be Wolverine gave his best performance yet, and I believe the first with his native accent. Not only is Hugh one of my favorite actors, but he gave a great performance this year as the rugged Australian cattle driver conflicted between two worlds. Now this is a performance. Langella gave the best lead performance of the year, not just for nailing the former president's voice and mannerisms, but for giving the man a number of layers, and portraying him more humanely than any other actor has before. The film may not be historically accurate, but I believe Langella nailed the man perfectly. The runner-up is Rourke, not just for his career comeback but giving a performance with two great aspects. The first is the emotional aspect which sees a broken man falling apart on himself. The second is the physical performance which shows Rourke doing numerous wrestling stunts. Rourke's been given a second chance and I just hope he keeps in on track this time.

Worst Actor

Loser

Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia!) Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace)
It's always sad when last year's winners follow-up with terrible performances in terrible films. I didn't think Bardem deserved the Oscar last year anyway. Pierce Brosnan singing is a lot like Obama being president. He clearly has no experience, and you get sick of hearing him over and over again. Bam! He started off as such a great Bond, then in the second film he was limited to being a walking corpse who throws punches.

Best Actress

Winner

Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Angelina Jolie (Changeling) Melissa Leo (Frozen River) Meryl Streep (Doubt) Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)
Blanchett has been given an Oscar Breach Award nomination for four out of the last five years. Like I said before, she and Kate Winslet are tied for my belief in the most talented actress working today. And though this isn't Blanchett's best performance, it's enough to put her in the top five. This is a late entry, edging out Nicole Kidman, but Jolie is completely deserving of it giving her best performance since Girl, Interrupted. Like her man Brad Pitt, I hope that she has proven herself this year to be a seriously talented actress, and not just a pretty face. Though I am anything but a fan of this film, I can admit that Leo had a great performance in it. I didn't like her character one bit, but I liked Leo's willingness to play such a downbeat woman. Streep, possibly the most talented actress ever, has had such an impressive career. But I'm thinking that this might be her best performance ever. Her cold and bitter authoritarian control was mesmerizing. I would almost give her the win, but like always, I bet she'll top herself again next year. Upon her fourth Oscar Breach Award nomination, I am happy to give this year's best actress to Kate Winslet (for Revolutionary Road, certainly not the other one). It's by far the best female performance of the year, with so many layers and transitions. And I believe it's the best of Winslet's impressive career, beating even Titanic and Eternal Sunshine. Too bad the Academy chose to recognize her for something else.

Worst Actress

Loser

Anne Hathaway (Get Smart) Keira Knightley (The Duchess) Liv Tyler (The Incredible Hulk)
I haven't yet seen Rachel Getting Married, so I can't comment on the good, but I can point out the bad, and this is it. Upon her second worst actress nomination, I'm giving Hathaway the award. A prior winner in this category puts in another bad performance in a worse film. Actually, it's the same character she's played for her last seven films, yet somehow each one is worse than the last. Tyler has never exactly been awards material. But Jennifer Connelly already proved that there's no way to make a good performance out of this role, and Tyler merely reminded us of that.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner

Josh Brolin (Milk) Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder) Emile Hirsch (Milk) Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)
Brolin continues his career renaissance with his best performance yet as the corrupted politician Dan White. I was captivated by watching White start off as a reasonable public servant and spiral into a vengeance-seeking murderer. I hope to see more of Brolin. There is so much controversy over why the Academy often fails to recognize comedic performances. I'm glad they did this year though since Downey Jr. gave one of the best comedic performances ever, and perfectly embodied the overdone mentality of method actors like Daniel Day-Lewis. And if I didn't know better I'd swear he really was black! Since I wanted to nominate him last year for Into the Wild, I'll instead give Hirsch Philip Seymour Hoffman's spot. But Hirsch was every bit as good as Josh Brolin was, and about ten times better than James Franco. He really was willing and able to play a gay character, and pulled it off as his best performance yet. I'm beginning to have regrets for not appreciating Ledger's performance in Brokeback Mountain as much at the time. But now I can make up for it by saying that not only did Ledger have the best performance from anybody this year, but the best performance by anybody in years. I never thought Heath was capable of creating such malice, insanity and provoke such fear in me. I'm proud to say that the memory of Heath Ledger will be remembered in the Joker, one of the finest film performances in history. I'm so glad that the Academy nominated Shannon for this scene-stealing role as the mentally unstable voice of truth in this uncomfortable drama. It takes quite a performance to be able to say the things that Shannon does like leaning into Kate Winslet's pregnant body and sternly saying, "I'm glad I'm not gonna be that kid."

Worst Supporting Actor

Loser

Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace) Terrence Howard (Iron Man) Dwayne Johnson (Get Smart)
He's the worst Bond villain I've ever seen. Not only does he lack any physical impairments, but he's more of an unfair businessman than any sort of killer. And he fights like a girl! It's disappointing to see a once nominated actor get such a great role in a superhero film, and he treats it with a complete lack of enthusiasm and effort. No wonder he'll be replaced for the sequel. The Rock's transition into acting has hit several rough patches. Maybe he should stick to tough guy roles instead of trying to nail comedy, or trying to staple his comedy to the audience's head.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner

Amy Adams (Doubt) Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) Viola Davis (Doubt) Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Adams had the best supporting female performance of the year, but I'd rather not give her another Oscar Breach Award just one year after she won an OB Award for lead actress. She is nonetheless remarkable as the conflicted young nun. Woody Allen does somehow often get good performances from his supporting actresses. Though this one is not the best one he has mustered, Cruz does give her career best performance, even if the role is really small and strategically written just for sex appeal. One year ago, I never would have recognized this actress' name. But now Davis is big stuff thanks to her short but memorable performance as the mother of a possibly abused boy. Sometimes all it takes is one good scene to make a lasting impression. Though I'll never forget Henson for her singing rendition of "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," I'll recognize her this year for playing a compassionate adoptive mother, and for aging decades in the process. For the record, I actually believe that Tomei deserved her Oscar for My Cousin Vinny. But as you can see here she also does drama well, and is clearly not afraid to do whatever and show whatever the role requires of her.

Worst Supporting Actress

Loser

Karen Allen (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Gwenyth Paltrow (Iron Man) Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading)
It may be her first big film in a while, but she could have used that time off working on what made her character great in the first place. I bet she'll have time now because more work ain't coming soon. I think that Paltrow has tried every genre by now, and none of them seem to work well for her. Maybe she should go back to the cross-dressing roles that made her famous. Swinton wasn't terrible, but when you just won an Oscar, and everybody around you in a film is giving a great performance, you should be inclined to try a little harder. But maybe I'm being too hard on her performance in Burn. After all, she was bad in Benjamin Button as well.

Best Screenplay

Winner

Australia Burn After Reading The Dark Knight Slumdog Millionaire Tropic Thunder
I credit Baz Luhrman for creating a story based around a little-known time period and culture. Some complain it was three short movies, but I see it as three acts, each different and excellent in their own way. This is hardly the best among the Coen Brothers' impressive career, that honor goes to The Big Lebowski. But it's an excellent effort with its weird and confusing story, mixed with clever dialogue like, "appearances can be deceptive." I think that the screenplay is the biggest cause of this film's success. Each set piece, whether it's the car chase, the boat game, or the hospital scene, every part is a memorable scene. There is also more meaning injected in to this film than any other superhero film. Simply, it's a thoughtful and intense story. I may complain about little details, like how "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" is not broadcast live. But overall, this is a very creative story about love. And it was brilliantly written to take place in the modern Mumbai culture, and integrate it with a game show everybody is familiar with. I think this is the best written comedy in years. Ben Stiller really knows how to accurately satirize every aspect of Hollywood, but do it at a level where audiences will still understand. Not to mention all the laugh out loud lines like "I'm a lead farmer, motherf***er!!!"

Worst Screenplay

Loser

The Duchess Frozen River Quantum of Solace Vicky Cristina Barcelona The Visitor
This story is just a wannabe Pride and Prejudice or Elizabeth. There's nothing original about it. It's the same wealthy British girl love story we've heard repeatedly, only this one has Keira Knightley... Oh wait, they all have Keira Knightley! Aspiring screenwriters need to do a little more than come up with a problem in America and take a position on it through their film. So what if immigration laws are tough and Native Americans are mistreated. I don't need a film to tell me what to think. What a brilliant story! James Bond tries hard to find an organization that can be found everywhere, makes love to a girl while mourning the loss of another girl, and tries to stop a moderately evil villain from creating a... drought? Pure genius. I've never been a fan of Woody Allen or his perverted casting choices, but this screenplay is a new low for him, engaging in absolutely no story, but merely setting up situations of sexual encounters. This is borderline softcore porn. I group this with Frozen River as a film that has its head up its own butt. As if creating likable immigrant characters then having them deported on a mistake is enough reason for the viewer to abandon all their beliefs on illegal immigration. Don't listen to the movies, people. Read a newspaper.

Art Direction

Winner

Loser

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Quantum of Solace
I liked these sets for the same reason I liked those in Sweeney Todd. It builds full scale sets depicting a historical period, then twisting them slightly in a haunting manner to create a semi-fantasy world. Honorable mention goes to Changeling. These sets just don't make sense. Whether it's that big eye amphitheater, or the stacked condominiums in the middle of the desert, or the new MI6 which now looks like the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise. And they all distract from the weird story.

Cinematography

Winner

Loser

Australia The Incredible Hulk
Like last year, this is a strong year for cinematography, so picking a winner is tough. But I'm choosing Australia for its challenging tracking shots, as well as its perfect capture of the beauty of the outback. There is a serious problem when you borrow all of your shots from other action films like The Bourne Ultimatum, Cloverfield and as you can see above, King Kong. This cinematographer is a little lacking in originality.

Editing

Winner

Loser

Wanted Quantum of Solace
Wanted has really quick and action-packed editing, perfectly synchronized for the timing of everything that is going on, as opposed to... ...Quantum of Solace which has similar quick action editing, but taken way too far. In many scenes, no shot lasts more than a second, and it becomes impossible to tell what's going on, or even where you are.

Costumes

Winner

Loser

Australia Mamma Mia!
This film did well in costumes and art direction for recreating a period and culture that little is written about. And the costumes cover so many classes, like the wealthy landowners, the rugged cowboys, and the primitive aborigines. Meryl Streep's overalls are just the beginning. There is so much unnecessary color and flashiness, I swear that these costumes fell out of a rainbow like Skittles.

Makeup

Winner

Loser

The Dark Knight Frost/Nixon
Narrowly beating Ben Button, I choose Dark Knight for its creativity in the smeared freakish Joker makeup, as well as the "how did they do that?" type of accomplishment we see with Two-Face. I believe the answer lies in a combination of makeup and visual effect. Frank Langella was great as Nixon, but I think it would have really helped if they tried just a little harder at making him look like the guy.

Visual Effects

Winner

Loser

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Conversely with the makeup category, this barely beats Dark Knight. I choose it for its revolutionary methods of "digital youthening", progress in the art of facial motion capture, and for the first time creating a CGI human face that looks completely real up close. Visual effects in general get better every year so it's getting harder to find a loser in this category, but I choose Narnia just because its effects were no better than the original's. I mean look at that sword-wielding mouse and tell me that looks real.

Sound

Winner

Loser

Wall-E The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
I'm convinced Ben Burtt is the finest sound effects editor in the history of the business. From Star Wars to Indiana Jones, and now Wall-E where he was able to create robotic voices that actually pronounce words using nothing but sound effects. It's music to my ears. Again, if the Narnia franchise doesn't want to keep slipping, then it's got to get a bigger budget for its technical department. You know there's a problem when they try to cover up the sound with music. It's because they've got no good sound.

Score

Winner (original)

Winner (re-mixed)

Loser

A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard (The Dark Knight) Howard Shore (Doubt)
Though I hope a more overdue composer wins the Oscar this year, I acknowledge that the best musical score came from Slumdog. It has all the energy, pace, and cultural accuracy that a great musical score should have. Since a lot of it is a rehash from Batman Begins, I'm going to say it's not that original, therefore I can include it here. It's no Danny Elfman Batman theme, but it's got some great elements, most notably the chaotic Joker theme of razor blades on strings. For some reason, Howard Shore just can't write a good score unless it is a Lord of the Rings film. In all the rest, his music is scarce and barely even noticeable.

Song

Winner

Loser

Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman "Down to Earth" (Wall-E) Regina Spektor "The Call" (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
It's not a strong year for songs, but I keep on playing over and over again this catchy tune from Wall-E. Perhaps what I love most is the irregular instruments used, sounding almost like digital sound effects, similar to what we hear in the film itself. Of the film's I've seen, this one has the dullest song of all. But if you want a good laugh, then listen to Clint Eastwood singing the song from Gran Torino.

Young Actors

Male

Female

David Kross (The Reader) Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
I think many would agree this kid is the luckiest guy ever. Who else would get to do such things with Kate Winslet when they're just over 18? I guess the rewards were the incentive for putting in the fine performance that he did. I foresee Elle sooner or later becoming a bigger talent than her older sister Dakota. Sure her role is small and simple, but I can see a bright future ahead of her.

Ensemble

Winner

Loser

The cast of: Tropic Thunder The cast of: Mamma Mia!
This comedy team was truly brilliant. Everybody gave it their all, and what is best is that they all accurately portrayed some member of the Hollywood ladder. The actors playing actors like the out of his league action star (Ben Stiller), the slapstick comedian (Jack Black) and the dramatic method actor (Robert Downey Jr) are the perfect illustrations of several actors I can think of. And even throwing in characterizations of writers, directors, agents and studio execs make it the perfect satire of the movie business. Even normally bad actors (ie Matthew McConaughey) did brilliant work. Half the actors can't sing, the other half can't dance, and the majority of them are certainly miscast. Meryl Streep was okay, but the rest were a mess of incapables and overdoables.

Most Overrated

Film

Performance

In Bruges Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
The film was all right, but I don't see why it's getting all the super-high ratings that it's gotten. Original it may be, creative sure, but among the best of the year, come on. I am somewhat glad to see Jenkins get his first nomination after such a long career, but there were so many better performances that didn't get nominated.

Most Underrated

Film

Performance

An American Carol Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
I understand why many wouldn't want to see this, but I wish more conservatives like myself sought it out. It is simply a wonderful feeling to have a movie made just for us for once. And there is a certain comedic brilliance behind the idea of Zombie ACLU Lawyers. You know there's true talent behind an actor who puts in a great performance in a role that doesn't really require much. Commissioner Gordon is written just like any other good city cop, but Oldman infuses him with a lot more emotion and honor. I swear, if somebody actually gives Oldman a really good role, he'll put in an Oscar-winning performance.

Best Body of Work

Male

Female

Robert Downey Jr.
Charlie Bartlett
Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Tropic Thunder
(The Soloist)
Angelina Jolie
Kung Fu Panda
Wanted
Changeling
This really was the year of Robert Downey Jr. What worked best is his range. He gave us action in Iron Man, comedy in Tropic Thunder and drama in The Soloist (I'm including this film since it should not be held against him that it was pushed 'til next year). All great movies, and all proving that he still has it. Again, great range is key for this category. When you do an animated film, an action blockbuster, and an Oscar-nominated role in a Clint Eastwood drama, you've done a great job in not pegging yourself. Jolie gets a lot of publicity, but more should be said about her great selection of roles.

Worst Body of Work

Male

Female

Terence Stamp
Get Smart
Wanted
Yes Man
Valkyrie
Scarlett Johanson
The Other Boleyn Girl
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
The Spirit
I always like seeing an elderly actor still successful, but Stamp could afford to be more selective. Most of these films were bad, and he had essentially the same role in all of them. I knew Johanson would appear in this category some day. Boleyn and Spirit were terribly reviewed, and I personally hated Barcelona. Aside from that, she gave bad performances in all three. I'm saying it again, I don't know how she keeps getting roles (if not because of her looks).

Best Hero

Winner

Batman (The Dark Knight) Jamal Malik (Slumdog Millionaire) Wall-E (Wall-E)
Narrowly beating Iron Man, I chose Batman because unlike previous versions of the character, Christopher Nolan's version is completely at odds with himself, suffering disappointment over his failure, and being willing to break rules to get things done. He's one of the most human superheroes yet. I think we're all rooting for Jamal to succeed. Jamal is the underdog in this underdog story. For the most part, Jamal goes wherever life takes him, but the only thing he's determined to do is find his lost girl. Who can't love him for that. Wall-E is our strong but silent hero. He is small, he is rusty and he can't compare with newer models. But his heart is pure, he cares for all things, and he knows what needs to be done. Combine him with EVE, and you've got a great hero pair.

Best Villain

Winner

The Joker (The Dark Knight) Irina Spalko (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Harry Waters (In Bruges)
The Joker I believe is the best villain in years, and possibly the best performance as a villain ever. There's no special direction or effects, that make this guy scary, it's all in Heath's performance. My favorite scene is in the interrogation room where Batman keeps punching the Joker to the floor, and the guy just keeps laughing hysterically. You realize that there is something seriously twisted about this guy, and that's where you don't know how to beat him. And seeming unbeatable is a strong characteristic for a great villain. I was never impressed by any villains in the Indiana Jones series, since they were all essentially the same greedy rich Nazi competing archeologists. But Cate Blanchett's Spalko was a little more distinguishable with her Cleopatra look, authoritarian voice, and snippy getup. Ralph Fiennes had a full year, mostly okay performances in bad films, but this was his best as a business only assassin. But he's an interesting character since he does acts of kindness to his victims, like letting them enjoy a week in Bruges before killing them, possibly with the bullets that make the head explode.

Best Action Choreography (my favorite category)

Winner

The Dark Knight
Car Chase Sequence
The Incredible Hulk
Hulk vs. Abomination
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Amphibious Vehicle Chase Sequence
Iron Man
Iron Man vs. Iron Monger
Wanted
Wesley vs. The Fraternity
My only complaint is the part where the Batpod ejects from the Batmobile. That part sort of contradicts the realism from the rest of the film. Nonetheless, it was an impressive scene to film in the streets of Chicago. When it comes to a fight sequence between two or more huge CGI monsters, this can't come close to what we saw in King Kong or Transformers. But it does surpass the action we saw in the first Hulk film. The Indiana Jones films are renowned for their thrilling action sequences, and I think this one might be the best one yet. The fight between several vehicles and characters that ends up in a nest of humongous ants was the most thrilling fight of the year, and even Shia Labeouf swinging from vines can't ruin it. Like in The Incredible Hulk, our hero battles a bigger uglier version of himself. The effects were excellent, and it had its clever parts, but I'm not a big fan of how it ended. Shouldn't Tony Stark have died in that explosion as well? This film has great action throughout, but I was most impressed by the final sequence where Wesley takes revenge on all members of his former team, including lots of guns, knives, and Morgan Freeman saying, "Shoot this motherf***er."

Second-Best Action Choreography

Winner

The Dark Knight
Batman vs. The Joker
In Bruges
Ray vs. Harry
Quantum of Solace
Opening Car Chase Sequence
Tropic Thunder
The Actors vs. The Cartel
The Wrestler
Randy the Ram vs. The Ayatollah
It's hard to create a fight sequence between the Batman and the Joker, because it would clearly be one-sided. That's why you have to throw in several henchmen, mean dogs and other tricks to even the playing field. After the additions, it turned out all right. A foot chase through the city of Bruges takes its turns and casualties, but it's suspenseful and doesn't leave out the cleverly written bickering between the two guys who want to kill each other. In terms of the James Bond realm, Quantum of Solace was disappointing in many ways, including on the action. But the opening car chase was exciting, albeit confusing thanks to the terrible editing. It's more in the writing than the choreography. But I love it when there are teams at work taking care of things their own way. The best part is seeing Nick Nolte going crazy with a flame thrower. There's just something about it that suits him well. What's best about this sequence, is the fact that everything is done with the real actors, and no stunt doubles or CGI was used to enhance it. Mickey Rourke actually performed these stunts and took the punishment. This type of choreography is rare these days, so it's important to recognize it when it happens.

Best Original Filmmaking Concept

Winner

David Zucker (An American Carol) J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) David Fincher and effects technicians (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder) Andrew Stanton and Ben Burtt (Wall-E)
For the concept of making a comedy for conservatives by conservatives, something that seemed impossible in the liberal-controlled Hollywood. But I credit David Zucker for putting his career on the line and making a film that nobody in Hollywood nor the critics would want to see, but half of the country would. A brave move indeed. For the concept of having the entire movie be mere footage from a recovered home camcorder. Sure you might argue nobody would carry the camera for that long, and the battery would run out much sooner, but it made for an exciting, stylized and shaky method of showing a monster film. For the concept of making Benjamin Button portrayable by Brad Pitt in all stages of life. If this film were made a few years ago, Benjamin Button would simply be played by several actors of varying ages. But because Fincher wanted one single portrayal, he got his visual effects technicians and makeup artists to work overtime to ensure that Brad Pitt can give Benjamin's performance in every decade of his life. The result is a perfectly fluid and consistent character. For the concept of fake movie trailers. Starting out the film by featuring several fictional movie trailers that the fictional actor characters star in was a perfect way of setting up each actor's cinematic history. Whether it's showing how Tugg Speedman has squeezed everything out of the Scorcher franchise, or how Kirk Lazarus takes on the most dramatic if ridiculously awards-needy performances, the trailers were simply the perfect character backstories. For the concept of using sound effects as the robot voices. Andrew Stanton could have done what all animated films do these days and cast big name actors for all the animated roles. Instead, he ditched star power and went with art by casting sound effects technician Ben Burtt to create the voices for all of the film's robot characters. It had a much better effect than casting say Robin Williams as Wall-E.

Most Creative Casting

Winner

Tom Cruise as Les Grossman (Tropic Thunder) Kevin Farley as Michael Malone (An American Carol) Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost (Frost/Nixon) Heath Ledger as the Joker (The Dark Knight) Brad Pitt as Chaz Feldheimer (Burn After Reading)
After several years of disastrous performances, Tom Cruise finally gets a role, albeit a supporting one, that reminds the audience of just how talented he is. You wouldn't expect Cruise to play a fat bald angry studio executive in a comedy, but Ben Stiller made a smart choice. Every line this guy says is a memorable quote, especially, "Now I want you to take a step back... and literally f*** your own face!" It's not easy to find a comedic actor who can accurately portray Michael Moore's renowned "douchebagginess". But Chris Farley's younger brother pulled it off perfectly by nailing the manatee's hypocrisy and inflated ego. You see, sometimes you have to bank on lesser known stars in order to get the perfect match. Ron Howard could have done what Doubt and several other film adaptations of recent Broadway plays do and cast bigger names than the stage ones. But he was determined for Langella and Sheen to reprise their roles. The result is that they both put in excellent performances, having had years of experience in preparing for the roles. I wish keeping the same original cast was done more often. When I first heard about this casting choice, I knew Ledger only as a silent solemn performer, therefore I was opposed to it. Then I saw the film and was overly amazed at the power of the performance, and in turn Ledger's range of acting ability. I never would have guessed Heath could play such a great Joker, which is why it is such a smart casting choice. Pitt just barely missed both my lists for lead and supporting actor this year, so I'm going to give him credit here, since this role was still among the best supporting performances of the year. What I like the best is how the Coen Brothers put one of the biggest stars in the world in a supporting role, and Pitt took the role and made it memorable with his adolescent energy and sneaky manipulations like saying, "Osbourne Cox?"

Best/Worst Line (Last Category)

Winner 1

Winner 2

Loser 1

Loser 2

The Dark Knight
The Joker:
I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, NO! No. You... you... complete me.
Tropic Thunder
Kirk Lazarus:
Everybody knows you never go full retard. Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, 'Rain Man,' look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho'. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, 'Forrest Gump.' Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain't retarded. Peter Sellers, "Being There." Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don't buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, "I Am Sam." Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Queenie:
You never know what's comin' for ya.
Frost/Nixon
Richard Nixon:
I'm saying that when the President does it, that means it's *not* illegal!
Like many others, I spent time pondering over the significance of this line and its meaning. My conclusion is that it exemplifies what the film is about. Gotham needs a hero, but at the same time it needs a villain to blame things on, and Batman can become either. I see aspects of this in our society as well, and that's why it is so brilliant. People like us who spend our lives thinking about movie awards probably love this film because it portrays so many things that we have studied, and this line is the perfect example of that. I've come up with many rules on why people tend to win or lose Oscars, but I never considered the full retard rule. It's hilarious and I believe it's completely true. I've slowly been discovering the similarities between this film and Forrest Gump, probably a result of having the same writer Eric Roth. And this line seems strangely reminiscent of "Life is like a box of chocolates." Therefore, it can hardly be considered original, and it's not nearly as clever as the chocolates line. Last year it was "I drink your milkshake!" This year, this Nixon line is the one that I've heard so much that I've grown sick of it. Also, this is the only part of the film that might be trying to draw a parallel with another presidential administration, something I do not appreciate.


Well, I hope that you enjoyed my Fifth Annual Oscar Breach Awards. What a year it has been. Now we must wait another year for my Sixth Annual Oscar Breach Awards. Thank you for reading.