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Year End - 2006

The Squid and the Whale      Has there ever been a year when there have been more good films but not great films, and those good films of almost the exact same quality? At the National Society of Film Critics, our vote for Best Film went six exhausting rounds without any concensus, and ended up a split between Capote and A History of Violence. Which was better? I still don't know. I voted for A History of Violence (it lost by one vote) but I could just have easily gone the other way. Or voted for Munich, Brokeback Mountain, or The Squid and the Whale. All good. None masterly.

     The greatest section of an American film of 2005? Undoubtedly, the first half hour of The New World, Terence Malick's recut version, where the British land in Virginia and first meet the native people. Wow! The rest of the movie? Good but not great, wonderful scenes rubbing against lugubrious ones.

      So the best film of the year? And also the best foreign film? Fatih Akin's Head On, hardly seen by the public, which begins in Germany as post-Fassbinder dark screwball comedy and ends in Turkey as a tragedy from Mizoguchi. And the rest?

      Best English-Language Feature: The Squid and the Whale

     The rest of the Ten Best: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, A History of Violence, Munich, Good Night and Good Luck, The Talent Given Us, Funny Ha Ha, The New World, Pride and Prejudice

     And these honorable runners-up: Walk the Line, Crash, The Constant Gardner, Where the Truth Lies, Shopgirl, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Last Days, Palindromes, Broken Flowers, Mysterious Skin

      Best Foreign-Language Feature: Head On

      The rest of the Ten Best: The World (China), Paradise Now (Palestine), The Holy Girl (Argentina), Look at Me (France), Walk on Water (Israel), 2046 (Honk Kong), The Edukators (German), Kontrol (Hungary), Cache (Ausria), Kung Fu Hustle (Hong Kong)

      Best Documentary: Darwin's Nightmare

     The rest of the Ten Best: Grizzly Man, La Sierra, The Boys of Baraka, Murderball, Mad Hot Ballroom, Reel Paradise, Rock School, Touch the Sound, Be Here to Love Me: A Film about Townes Van Zandt

Most Overrated Films: Cinderella Man, Hustle & Flow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Syriana, Me and You and Everyone I Know, March of the Penguins, Mrs. Henderson Presents

Best Actor: Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale

Runners-up: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; David Strathaim, Good Night and Good Luck; Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line; Vince Vaughan, The Wedding Crashers

Best Actress: Kate Dollenmeyer, Funny Ha Ha

Runners-Up: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line; Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice; Sibel Kekili, Head-On; Q'orlanka Kilcher, The New World

Best Supporting Actor: Matt Dillon, Crash

Runners-Up:Frank Langella, Good Night and Good Luck; Matthew MacFayden, Pride and Prejudice; Colin Firth, Where the Truth Lies; Romany Malco, The 40 Year Old Virgin

Best Supporting Actress:Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardner

Runners-Up: Ziyi Zhang, 2046; Amy Adams, Junebug; Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain; Sandra Bullock, Crash; Brenda Blethyn, Pride and Prejudice

Best Director: David Cronenberg, The History of Violence

Runners-Up: Terence Malick, The New World; Bennet Miller, Capote; Andrew Bujalski, Funny Ha Ha, Fatih Akin, Head On

(December, 2005)


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