Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: Five to Ten for 2006

Welcome back to weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. Five to Ten is the fifth in a series of projects looking back at the past eight years of the Oscars, dating back to the first ceremony I watched and closely followed.

On the heels of the Academy’s announcement that this coming year will feature anywhere from five to ten films in the Best Picture list, I thought to look back at the most recent decade to determine what number of films would have ultimately earned a slot in the top category. Obviously, this is all guesswork and designed, above anything, to be fun. In the new system, films will need to earn at least 5% of the first-place votes. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments!

Five to Ten for 2006

The actual lineup: Babel, The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen

The locks: The above five and, most certainly, Dreamgirls. This is one of those cases where a film was a sure thing up until the nominees were announced, and whatever backlash caused it to be snubbed couldn’t have been vicious enough to bounce it out of a widened field.

The benefactors: There was enough support behind Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth that it probably could have managed a Best Picture nod. Also strongly in the running: Children of Men, which may have peaked too late and ended up earning only three nominations, and United 93, which merited Best Director and Best Film Editing mentions and could have been included if enough people weren’t too turned off by the subject matter.

The longshots: A few contenders that probably couldn’t have mustered up enough number one votes, such as Little Children, Notes on a Scandal, The Devil Wears Prada, Borat, and Flags of Our Fathers. Maybe even Golden Globe Best Motion Picture – Drama nominee Bobby.

And the nominees could have been… Babel, The Departed, Dreamgirls, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen, United 93

Does it change the winner? No. There was clearly enough backlash against “Dreamgirls” for it not to get nominated, so a win would have been unlikely. The same goes for “United 93,” since it would have proved extremely divisive had it been included. More importantly, “The Departed” was the crowd-pleaser of the year, and it was going to win no matter what.

Which lineup is better? I would have traded “Babel” and “The Queen” for “Children of Men” and “United 93” (in shaping a realistic Oscar lineup, of course, rather than strictly my own selections). Regardless, I do think that “Dreamgirls” was one of the most significant and definitive movies of the year, and “United 93” was very important in its own way, so I prefer the wider list.

No comments: