To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, 2005 was a very good year for film. And overall, that is true — but also misleading. There were many pretty good films with potential that came out, yet it was a few great ones that raised the entire batting average. I’m pleased to say that Oscar, in all his rather finite wisdom, has done a pretty good job in reflecting the last year in film.
Commercial movies did not dominate this year’s list of Academy Award nominees; rather, word-of-mouth propelled films to this year’s short list. Though The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence, Match Point, Syriana and Walk the Lineall lobbied hard, they failed to make the final cut, paving the way for critical darling Brokeback Mountain, the biopic Capote, racial drama Crash, the Edward R. Murrow drama Good Night and Good Luck, and Munich, Steven Spielberg’s treatise on the vengeance that followed the 1972 Olympic massacre.