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February 24, 2005 - Image 13

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8B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Michigan

CATEGOPY

I

FEST GPIGINAL SCPEENPLAY

CATEGOPY

I

EIST SupoFzTIrG Aclok

Kaufman hopes 2005 is finally his year

Church looks to finish comeback

By Christopher Lechner diverse. "Hell's Angels" and the original "Scar-
For the Daily Perhaps the most obvious choice face," and launched the career of starlet
for the nomination, "The Aviator" is Jean Harlow. With a script written by
Complete with drama, comedy, a biopic that chronicles the rise and John Logan, this Martin Scorsese film
romance and heartbreak, the films fall of eccentric millionaire How- explores how a young Hughes uses his
nominated for Best Original Screen- ard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio), innovation and recklessness to become
play are as formidable as they are who produced such classic movies as the world's richest man. Although

Logan's intense thrill ride slows down
in the second half of the movie, for the
first hour and a half, "The Aviator" is a
worthy contender in this category.
In contrast to "The Aviator's" bom-
bastic style, "Vera Drake," a quiet
drama written and directed by Mike
Leigh, focuses on a seemingly normal
woman who also has a dark secret:
While she is a housewife by day, she
is an abortionist by night. Her second
life eventually spirals into devastation
for her family, and Leigh's emotional,
deep script deftly navigates through
the tragedy. The writing translates well
to the big screen, but will likely be
overlooked due to the bigname com-
petition.
"The Incredibles," Pixar's latest
jaunty animated film, tells the story
of a family of retired superheroes
peacefully living in suburbia under
the guard of the witness protection
program. The superb story, written by
Brad Bird, about a middle-aged father
looking for one more chance to save
the day utilizes dazzling animation
and special effects. "The Incredibles"
has garnered praise from critics and
audiences alike for its comedic ani-
mated format and original premise.
Adding to the undeniably diverse
array of movies is "Hotel Rwanda,"
the true story of hotel manager Paul
Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) who
saved the lives of thousands during
the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Keir
Pearson and Terry George (who also
directs) combined to write a script
that grabs the attention of the audience
with its emotion while still being deep
enou gh to tell a fascinating story.
But the year's most "original"
screenplay is Charlie Kaufman's
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind." The film is a beautifully
" " " " " " " " " " " " "" " " " " " "
* 0
- "Eternal Sunshine:
- of the"
- Spotless Mind" :
" will win and should win "
* 0
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Vietnam/Iraq
Comparisons
Vietnam War protestors chose
to ignore the brutality of Ho
Chi Minh, whom they called
"Uncle Ho." Some estimate
that he slaughtered only 15,000
peasants in his 1950's Land
Reforms. Other estimates
put the number of peasants
slaughtered at over 250,000
Gary Lillie & Assoc., Realtors
wwwsgarylillie.com

bizarre tale about the powers of true
love, and "Eternal Sunshine" skips all
the cliches of the genre and delivers
resoundingly. After his screenplays
for "Being John Malkovich" and
"Adaptation" were overlooked by the
Academy, look for Kaufman to take
home a golden statuette for this inno-
vative and witty script.
In the category, there is nothing
that stands in Kaufman's way on his
search for Oscar success. After being
denied twice, Kaufman's "Eternal
Sunshine," is destined to be recog-
nized for what it is - the most origi-
nal film of 2004.
ND THE ;**
A NmS
* 0
* 0
* "The
* Aviator" -
* *0
, John Logan "
* 0
* *0
"Eternal:
Sunshine"
. of the
Spotiess:*
Mind":
" Charlie Kaufman, "
Pierre Bismuth, *
" Michel Gondry "
* 0
* *0
*"Hotel *;
* 0 *
* Rwanda" -
" Keir Pearson, "
" Terry George "
* 0
*
* 0
" S
* "Vera *
eDrake" e"
" Mike Leigh "
r "
Courtesy o Buna Vsta Fne LineFeatues MGM
Miramax..T

By Kristin MacDonald
For the Daily
This year's Best Supporting Actor
field is a hotly contested affair - three
of its nominees have fared equally well
in pre-Oscar critics' awards. "Mil-
lion Dollar Baby's" Morgan Freeman,
"Sideways's" Thomas Haden Church
and "Closer's" Clive Owen have all
attracted significant attention for their
solid work, though their fate come
Sunday will rest upon whether the
Academy chooses to recognize an old
favorite like Freeman or christen one
of the up-and-coming lesser-knowns.
* *@00*00 * *... *
* 0
* 0
* 0
Alan -
- Aida e
i "
" "The Aviator" ."
Thomas[:
.Haden .:
*Church ;
* A"Sideways" ;
* *0
- Jamie -
* C*
- Foxx -"
" "Collateral"
* 0
Morgan:;
Freeman :;
* 0
e 0
* "Millionr .
Dollar Baby" ;
* *0
* ,0
* e e
:- Owen :
* 0
* 0
"Closer"
"
Courtesy of DremWoks DisutributonForSearch:ght,
Miramax, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros.

Clive Owen's meaty role as the sex-
obsessed Dr. Larry in "Closer" - the
screen adaptation of Patrick Marber's
gritty play - has finally garnered the
Hollywood notice that had been expect-
ed of the British thespian last summer,
when he took on the title role in Jerry
Bruckheimer's underwhelming "King
Arthur." For American audiences,
"Closer" serves as a better introduc-
tion to Owen's trademark intensity as he
takes on the blunt callousness of Mar-
ber's two-couple drama with his own
particular brand of quiet smoldering.
Oscar might reward him for the film's
most memorable scene, in which Owen's
Larry character verbally assaults wife
Julia Roberts, to prying from her every
coarse detail of her admitted affair. It
is an exchange that is brutally frank in
its simplicity, not unlike Owen's own
admirable performance.
From "The Shawshank Redemp-
tion" to "Unforgiven" to even "Bruce
Almighty," Morgan Freeman has long
made a career out of providing movies
with a gruff-voiced moral center, and he
certainly doesn't veer far from that beat-
en track for his best-buddy role in Clint
Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby." It
might prove more important to note that
this nod marks the fourth of Freeman's
as-yet fruitless Oscar nominations. If
Freeman does find himself with an
Oscar, it will be less for his "Baby"
character work than for the general role
he has virtually perfected.
As the category's standout, Thomas
Haden Church's rakish turn as a skirt-
chasing, cold-footed groom endows
"Sideways" with the majority of its
hefty comic wallop. In lesser hands,
Church's Jack character could have eas-
ily ended up the shabby stereotype of a
two-timing stifler, but Church offers an
unexpected layer of such well-mean-
ing charm that the character becomes
impossibly lovable despite his wealth
of glaring flaws. As performances go,
Church's is career resuscitating, pull-
ing him from the wasteland of failed
sitcoms and bit movie roles where his
most notable previous work has him
providing Brendan Fraser with a doo-
fus villain in "George of the Jungle."
And his lack of previous fame by no
means works against him in this race
- when the Academy does anoint new
talent, it generally favors doing so in
the supporting venues.
Alan Alda's nomination for his
solid, if unremarkable, turn as "The
Aviator's" villainous Senator Brewster
is given more out of industry respect
than a reward for any acting brilliance.
The part itself gets lost in the sprawl
of the film, as Alda's scoundrel senator
is but one of the many obstacles How-
ard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) must
overcome in the film's wide-reaching
three hours. There is no doubt Alda
invests Brewster with all the slime-
ball wheedling that has come to be
expected of commercial Hollywood's
depiction of politicians, but it is a com-
monplace formula, and certainly not
one that would have garnered award
recognition if not titled with one of
entertainment's more beloved names.

A toast. To "Wings."

Even Alda's iconic status cannot merit
an award for his rather pedestrian role.
Jamie Foxx's achievement of two
same-year Oscar nominations for act-
ing is indeed a notable rarity, though
his "Collateral" role as a mild-man-
nered taxi driver is clearly secondary
to his tour-de-force work in "Ray"
which has him leading the race for Best
Actor. And while Foxx certainly gives
a strong and self-assured performance
in Michael Mann's Los Angeles drama,
the role is too large to be correctly
placed in this supporting category.
Who should win? If Oscars were
truly determined by performance
alone, Church would triumph, hands
down, for a supporting performance
that neither stoops to easy formula nor
overshadows its movie's subtle, bitter-
sweet feel. In managing to both craft a

memorably specific character and
deftly steer him through light con
and heavy drama alike, Church pull
an acting feat that, in a perfect we
would not go unrecognized. Whik
smart money still rests on Freema
pull out the sympathy vote, there i
doubt to whose capable hands 0
should go.
:WE RET ..
: Morgan Freeman
" will win
"

0
"

[BT .. .

- Thomas Haden Chur
. should win

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