Friday, December 22, 2006

The 2006 indieWIRE Blog Poll

Tom Hall is organizing a blogger Best of 2006 pool at indieWIRE; below you'll find my entry, with some added notes.

Best Film: The Science of Sleep, dir. Michel Gondry

9 runners up, in no order:

Children of Men
Marie Antoinette
The Queen
The Departed
Wristcutters: A Love Story
Mutual Appreciation
Sleeping Dogs Lie
Old Joy
Factotum

Best Performance: Gael Garcia Bernal, The Science of Sleep
There wasn't a single performance as impressive as Bernal's complete surrender to Gondry's madness, but Matt Dillon's work in Factotum also deserves a mention, as do Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen for their work in The Queen.

Best Supporting Performance: Alain Chabat, The Science of Sleep
It helps that Gondry's script, which otherwise suffered a bit from the filmmaker's wealth of ideas, gave him some of the best lines of the year. Close runners-up: Vera Fermiga, The Departed; Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Best Director: Sofia Coppola, Marie Antoinette
The most undeservedly undervalued film of 2006 is also the year's purest auteur vision. Is it self-indulgent? Sure. That doesn't make it any less of a masterpiece. Close runners-up: Martin Scorsese, Michel Gondry, David Lynch (whose Inland Empire I greatly admire, but can't bring myself to enjoy)

Best Screenplay: Peter Morgan, The Queen
A stunning work of revisionist history which manages to produce sympathy for both Queen Elizabeth and Tony Blair, even as it's subtly yet sharply indicting the latter for failing to live up to the promise of his first months in office. Close runner-up: Andrew Bujalski, Mutual Appreciation; the eight people who worked on Children of Men.

Best Documentary: The Road to Guantanamo
I have trouble classifying Michael Winterbottom's dramatization as a doc, but it's still the most impressive non-fiction film I've seen this year. Close runners-up: Iraq in Fragments, Jesus Camp

Best First Film: Brick, Rian Johnson
This was a tough category for me, but I went with Johnson's breakthrough (which I think I would have loved more if I hadn't seen it at the horrible Angelica, with the subway rumbling underneath and someone's head blocking the screen) for its uncompromising committment to style. I also can't get enough of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men
If you've seen it, you know. If you haven't, go this weekend.

Best Undistributed Film: Wristcutters: A Love Story
I'm absolutely baffled as to why this film has remained largely unseen. Where Little Miss Sunshine hits every indie roadtrip cliche as if going down a list, Wristcutters transcends its subgenre brilliantly. I'm about ready to start my own distribution company, just to put this film in theaters where it belongs.

Films I didn't see, but probably should have before attempting this list: The Fountain, Shut up and Sing, Letters From Iwo Jima, Three Times, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Half Nelson

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