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Oscar Chances of Little Miss Sunshine
2006-11-17 13:48
by Jon Weisman

I have a small piece in Variety today summing up the Oscar chances of Little Miss Sunshine:

So there's this plucky underdog trying to get to Southern California to compete for the prize of "Little Miss Oscar." As far as it has come, how can we be sure it'll make the final cut?

The Academy Award prospects of "Little Miss Sunshine" echo the unlikely but compelling pageant hopes of the film's young heroine, Olive. A black comedy with feature-film rookies in the writing and directing slots, with a script that took years to move into production at a sub-$10 million budget, "Sunshine" lacks the sonorous import of the typical Oscar champ but still emerged as one of the most beloved movies of 2006: fun, unpretentious and charming.

Sundance Film Festival audiences gave "Sunshine" a standing ovation (which was then followed by a rights sale to Fox Searchlight for $10.5 million). Though a few complain that the film wears its quirks on its sleeve, "Sunshine" will make too many year-end top-10 lists not to receive nomination consideration, following in the footsteps of recent personal tales "Lost in Translation" and "Sideways." ...

2006-11-17 20:46:35
1.   Voxter
I really, really enjoyed "Little Miss Sunshine", though the movie did have its flaws. (Ie, there's no way that little girl would ever have even gotten into that pageant, but no matter.) The Screenplay nomination tends to be the consolation prize for the little movies that could; I could see it getting nominated there, though a lot of its weaknessess were, in fact, in its screenplay. (See "The Piano"'s sole Oscar victory for reference.)

Where it really ought to be recognized is the acting, which was pretty much universally wonderful. It might steal an award in the other consolation prize category, Best Supporting Actor (see Jones, "The Fugitive", Pesci, "Goodfellas"); Steve Carell, who may turn out to be one of the great actors of his generation, and especially Alan Arkin were awesome. (Oddly, despite its status as consolation prize, the Best Supporting Actor category also recognizes the best work more often than the other major categories, I think -- Cooper in "Adaptation", Landau in "Ed Wood", Coburn in "Affliction", for example -- and seems a little bit more resistant to hype. Then again, there's always the "Hey Robin Williams, you're a comedic genius, so we thought we'd give you a Supporting Actor nod for your relatively pedestrian turn in a drama!" So maybe I'm totally off. Disregard this comment.)

2006-11-17 22:41:16
2.   overkill94
I immediately thought of Sideways when thinking of LMS's oscar chances. There don't seem to be a ton of movies that scream Oscar this year, so I think it'll get a token Best Picture nomination and then get almost no actual consideration. Best screenplay is within sight, although I agree that Arkin should get a lot of consideration for supporting. I actually thought the brother did an excellent job as well, but he's not well-known enough to even be mentioned.
2006-11-18 01:56:27
3.   Voxter
I just wanted to tack on an addendum:

Alan Arkin may be the least-recognized great actor of all time. I can't think of a movie in which he participated that he wasn't the highlight of. For instance, he raised "Grosse Pointe Blank" to an entirely different level, all on his own:

"I am emotionally involved with you, Martin. I am afraid of you."

Essentially a mundane, slightly jokey line. Arkin made it side-splitting.

2006-11-18 14:14:14
4.   overkill94
3 Don't forget his role as the police commissioner in "So I Married An Axe Murderer", he was pretty damn funny in that one.
2006-11-19 16:12:58
5.   4444
I can't for the life of me remember those two appearances by Arkin, but every time I see him, he just seems so spot on. That GPB quote in 3 was even funny, just hearing him say it my head.

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