Monday, February 12, 2007

Natalie Shrugged

Back on 7th December, I sent up this post about the Grammy nominations, noting that, from time to time, popular music and I actually collide. In it, I noted the Grammy nominations for the Dixie Chicks and Bob Dylan. Turns out that I missed one of the noms for the Dixie Chicks - they were also up for Song of the Year, for “Not Ready To Make Nice.” Not sure how I missed that, as it's one of the first noms listed and is considered one of the major awards. They were also, technically, nominated for a sixth award, because Rick Rubin, who produced their nominated album (and pretty much every other album in the world this year), was up for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical - with the Dixie Chicks album Taking The Long Way being one of the albums for which he earned his nomination.

Well...the Dixie Chicks won all of the awards for which they were nominated, and Rubin won the award for production. Bob Dylan won two of the three awards for which he was nominated - winning for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance (for “Someday Baby”) and Best Contemporary Folk/Americana album (for Modern Times) but losing out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers for Best Rock Song.

(Those awards for the Dixie Chicks, by the way, are: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, all for "Not Ready To Make Nice"; and Best Country Album and Album of the Year for Taking The Long Way.)

I don't really have a lot to say about those wins - except that I like the music and am glad that the Dixie Chicks and Bob Dylan won. I'm especially pleased that the Dixie Chicks won, and won so big, considering how quickly country music and its hilljack constituency turned on them for Natalie's remarks about President Bush. Plus, the album sold - more than a million units without any major kind of radio airplay. Country music said to them, "We don't want you." The Dixie Chicks replied by saying, "We don't need you." (Those two sentences contain the essential theme of the novel Atlas Shrugged. If you ask the question "Who is John Galt?" in real life - it would be correct to answer by saying the Dixie Chicks.) Thus was born another country crossover band - here's hoping they get all the way over, and hoping that the next album is just as big. If it is, country music will have succeeded in thumbing its nose at one of its biggest success stories of all time - and in thereby helping to turn the Dixie Chicks into even bigger superstars than they were when they were mired in the purgatory of country music.

It’s too bad I don’t have any huge favorites when it comes to the Oscars, which are just two short weeks away - since it seems that Sundays are turning out pretty sweet for me of late, with the Colts winning the World Championship Of All Football last week and the Dixie Chicks cleaning house at the Grammys this week.

That’s not to say that I don’t have some things I would like to see win awards at the Oscars - I would love for Little Miss Sunshine to win Best Picture, but it won’t (that will be Babel), and I would love to see A Scanner Darkly win Best Animated Feature, The Last King Of Scotland win Best Adapted Screenplay, and Shut Up And Sing win Best Documentary, except - oh yes, none of those movies were nominated in those categories. Ah well...


Ana said...

I would be interested in knowing why you think Little Miss Sunshine should win. I saw it and thought it was okay but was shocked when it was nominated for best picture. I have not seen The Queen or The Departed but it seems to me that Letters from Iwo Jima and Babel both embody the creativity, risk-taking, social commentary, excellent acting and beauty that making movies is all about. I didn't see those things really in Little Miss Sunshine. Maybe you saw something in it that I didn't. Just curious.
By the way, apology accepted for last week's goings ons. :)

John Peddie said...

I was shocked when it was nominated for Picture, too, actually. I had recalled thinking when I saw it that it was probably good enough, but that it might be too edgy for Oscar.

For me, all of the power in Little Miss Sunshine - which I think has elements of all the criteria you mentioned, just in much smaller doses, I suspect, than Babel and Letters - was distilled in that moment, just after Greg Kinnear started dancing on stage, when Toni Collette smiled. In that moment, she was alone in that room with her family, and none of the rest of it mattered - which was sort of the theme. She had that same look in her eyes a second later when Paul Dano jumped up on stage, too.

I haven't actually seen any of the other four noms - which is why I say that I would like Sunshine to win, not that I think it should win. At the end of the day, I'm most attracted to movies that are about characters - and to interesting documentaries. I suspect my opinion would change if I saw some of the other pictures, especially The Departed and Letters. I wanted Sideways to win over Million Dollar Baby two years ago for many of the same reasons as I want Sunshine to wn this year - although, overall, Sideways was a better film (and a great novel).

I'm really not good at being brief. Anyway, I don't have anything against the other four noms. From what I have heard and read about them, and the bits and pieces I have observed from my projection booth - it feels like the strongest Best Picture field in quite a while.

(And thanks, by the way.)