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2004: The Year in Film

By: Danny Baldwin


     Last year, in this column, I predicted that 2004 would be a great year for epics. In a way, I was right. It is true that Troy was stale, Alexander was homosexual propaganda, and Hidalgo was an endurance test. However, despite what the studios of Hollywood would like you to think, they were not the real epics of 2004. Over the course of this year, I have realized that big battles and flashy editing do not necessarily go hand-in-hand with spectacles. Epic is a term that should be associated with films that are pure, ones that actually evoke emotional responses by their ends. Over the course of the past year, epics came mainly in the form of offbeat romances. They were all very different, not only exploring the bonds between men and women, but the various passions that humans have and the ways in which they affect life, itself.


     I could easily vent about the fact that 2004 had its fair share of awful films. In fact, I disliked far more of its movies than I was able to recommend. However, looking at my Best of the Year list, I can say that my avid hobby of practically living at the cinema proved worthwhile. This is not to say that I do not have the obvious hope that 2005 is a better year for motion pictures. Anyhow, without further adieu, I present you with my roundup of the winners and losers of 2004. Go Directly to the Top 10 ->.



The Most Overrated and Underrated Films of The Year:


Overrated: I Heart Huckabees; I, Robot; Japanese Story; Maria Full of Grace; Monsieur Ibrahim; Osama; Primer; Shrek 2; Ray; The Saddest Music in the World; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie; The Story of the Weeping Camel; Super Size Me.


Underrated: Around the Bend; A Cinderella Story; Code 46; Man on Fire; Ocean’s Twelve; Saved!; Van Helsing; Vanity Fair; What the Bleep Do We Know!?; Wimbledon.



Special Mentions:


     As time rolls on, film is becoming more and more like the fashion industry. Distributors latch on to the exact same idea at the exact same time, and 2004 proved this, in many ways. It was sometimes for the best, and more-often-than-not for the worst. Looking back at the year, it’s easy to observe one trend which towered above all others: the political essay.


     In the hope of swaying the result of the 2004 United States Presidential Election, the movie industry offered its thoughts on the country’s current political situation, without hesitation, time and time again. As a rule of thumb, I stayed away from all things directed by Robert Greenwald, a liberal voice in the independent filmmaking business, whose films did not have the marketing power to affect anyone or anything. Most say that his Uncovered: The War on Iraq and Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism were complete hack-jobs that had nothing interesting to say. However, I did catch several politic-related films, which ranged from being terrible to very good.


      The obvious standout in a crowd of many films of its kind is Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, but not because of quality. In fact, it was a complete disaster, in terms of assembly and power. Not only does Moore lie through his teeth for its entire duration, but he also shows that, contrary what I previously believed, he’s a pretty amateur filmmaker. However, the film did pull in a worldwide gross of $222 million, and made even more with DVD rentals and sales factored into the equation, so it’s impossible to ignore. Using his built-in liberal audience, Moore sold his product with assurance. Many viewers fell for it, too, gasping at his slur of propaganda and believing it to be the truth. Even so, I don’t think anyone, by now, believes that the “documentary” impacted any election results, seeing as Bush was the obvious winner.


     Even with a Kerry loss, Alan Peterson’s FahrenHYPE 9/11 was still very important. Sure, the election was not affected by Fahrenheit 9/11, but exposing Moore for the liar that he is was a task that needed carrying out. Despite its direct-to-video distribution, the few people who did see FahrenHYPE 9/11 know that it was an important film. Exposing Moore’s lies point-for-point and offering The Right’s rebuttals to his opinions, it was a simple but affecting piece of work. Yes, I would’ve been just as happy reading the many truths which it allows to surface, on paper. However, I accept that Peterson chose to bring them to life in the medium of film. I can simply be grateful for his services.


     Jehane Noujaim took a less partisan approach in discussing the issues that the current world faces in her documentary, Control Room. “That wasn't analysis. That was hallucination,” says Samir Khader, one of the subjects of her film, when he refers to the American media’s presentation of an event in the news. An employee of the very popular al-Jazeera Network, which brainwashes the Arab World from day-to-day with their takes on current events, primarily those which occur in Iraq, Khader is representative of the standard modern-day reporter. What’s most intriguing about the film is that it shows that FOX and CNN operate out of the same headquarters in the Middle East as al-Jazeera does, and are also terrible at presenting The Truth to their millions of viewers. This brings us to an important question: is there such a thing as objective journalism? While I question Noujaim’s intent in allowing al-Jazeera footage of dying Iraqis roll without any voice-overs and only the news company’s logo in the bottom-right of the screen to indicate that it has come from them, her documentary is still absolutely fascinating, nonetheless.


     Lars von Trier wrote a more symbolic political essay than any other filmmaker with Dogville, a three-hour assault on small-town America. Performed almost entirely in pantomime, the terrific cast worked with only minimal sets and tape on the floor to invent the fictional Rocky Mountain town which the film is named after. The beauty of Dogville is that it can be enjoyed on the sole level of its narrative, without the viewer reading into it too heavily. However, if one does so, they will find themselves swimming in a sea of themes regarding The United States’ various punishments for criminals. On rhis level, von Trier is only partially successful, but I was enthralled by his motion picture, nonetheless.


     I’m not sure how close Dogville is to South Park, the Coloradoan town where Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s TV show “South Park” takes place, but it certainly isn’t in the same realm as the duo’s side-splitting political puppet-play, Team America: World Police. Crossing the lines of humaneness and mocking just about everything it can about both The Left and The Right, the movie is one of the funniest of the year. It does have some wisdom to be found in its contents, regarding the priorities of the liberal-half of the U.S., but this takes a backseat to its comedy. Sure, not all people like to see marionettes resembling Hollywood-stars sliced-and-diced or extremely long puppet-sex scenes, but I apparently do. Parker and Stone have fashioned a real treat of silliness in a blatant genre of seriousness. With so many political films presenting both facts and lies, in 2004, it was nice to see a film of the sort do some really profane joking around.



The Worst:


10. Anacondas: The Hunt for Blood Orchid—Contrary to what everyone else believed, I never thought that the makers of Anaconda wanted to make their movie scary. It was quite the romp of a B-movie and always offered a funny-good time. It is certainly a treat that can be popped into the DVD player at any time. I’m cannot say the same for Anacondas: The Hunt for Blood Orchid. This time around, the material has a pathetically serious tone. The concept of humor isn’t anywhere in sight. The movie is boring in every sense, because director Dwight H. Little fails to recognize that playfulness is the best way to approach a film about dozens of big snakes chomping down on humans. He the kind of self-infatuated amateur who thinks he’s keeping his audiences riveted when he’s actually putting them to sleep.


9. Taking Lives—The plot of this “thriller” runs around in circles until it reaches a conclusion which simply affirms a hunch one of the characters has in the first twenty minutes. Taking Lives has possibly the weakest narrative arc of any film of its kind, ever made. Borrowing elements from Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs, it is a rip-off of desperate conventions. With so many psychopath killers inflicting terror on the mass public nowadays, why can’t Hollywood find an interesting one to base a movie off of? It even seems as though Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke, who have both looked excited in just about every type of bad movie, are bored, here.


8. Mean Girls—It is a sad fact that the disease of popularity has infected the minds thousands of present-day teenage girls, but all this light-hearted comedy does in trying to satirize such is offend. If it had been darker and more competently directed, Mean Girls could’ve been quite a hysterical piece of work. However, director Mark Waters, who only has experience in fun-fare like Freaky Friday and Head over Heals, tries to handle the material in his usual sugary way and, as a result, makes the movie more cringe-inducing than humorous. When a young girl practices stripping as Girls Gone Wild plays on the living-room TV, amidst quick-cuts and pop-music, Mean Girls comes across as rather perverted. It surpasses the level innocent satire and enters the realm of questionable intentions.


7. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle—Isn’t it ironic that the very humor that I laughed at in this film, which has been considered one-of-a-kind because of its apparent lack of conventionality, was that of a clichéd and stereotypical nature? I’m not exactly comfortable laughing at two guys getting stoned and confronting a bunch of stupid people, mainly because I fail to understand why it’s supposed to be funny. John Cho and Kal Penn are charismatic leads, yes, but their characters are such abhorrent idiots that it’s hard to conjure up any kind of liking for them. And even don’t get me started on the BattleShit scene.


6. Little Black Book—Here, Brittany Murphy, an otherwise very likeable actress, is made insufferable to watch. She giggles sporadically and cries a lot, as she meanders around venting about what she calls love. Sure, all this ends up doing is showing faith to the standard romantic-comedy, but Little Black Book ends up being far filthier than most films of its kind. The thing that kills me is that Murphy’s character, Stacy Holt, always seems to be in an obnoxious, scummy environment. When she’s not working as an associate-producer for a Jerry-Springer-like television show, she’s either eavesdropping on or depressed because of her surroundings. A character must do interesting things to be sympathetic. Stacey never does. As a result, Little Black Book proves to be an irritating test of the viewer’s endurance.


5. Ella Enchanted—There were moments in the past when I, just for a second, thought that Anne Hathaway had potential to be a star. This movie, which is downright repulsive on every level, made me think better of them. A Cinderella-based fairy-tale, it is sickeningly sweet, both in terms of visuals and dialogue. The world of Ella, the main character of which the title takes its name from, does not resemble anything close to that of a fairy-tale. I would instead call it something more along the lines of a G-rated version of the minds of the aforementioned Harold and Kumar. I have tried to block it from my mind for the past few months, but the tiny, dancing, elf-like creatures from the picture’s third act still haunt me, to this day.


4. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement—Only a select few people, most of which were females under the age of fifteen, wanted to see a sequel to The Princess Diaries made. I don’t really remember the first film, but it, at least, had some nice themes and sweet humor. This sequel is the complete opposite, relying on obnoxious one-liners and glitz-‘n-glam to carry itself. Julie Andrews makes a fool of herself, here; why she is resorting to making children’s films of such low calibers after a solid career is beyond me. If you think you would laugh at a poodle sliding down a ramp on a mattress, then you probably would enjoy the whole of The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. I, myself, despised it.


3. Fahrenheit 9/11—I questioned even putting this “documentary” from the scummy likes of Michael Moore on my Worst List—even though it certainly deserves its place here—simply because it has been talked about too much already. In his previous films, Moore was able to use deceptive filmmaking tricks to make himself appear to be a likeable guy. In Fahrenheit 9/11, his blatant documentary that uses lies to fuel an empty debate, he exposes his true self somewhere between trying to tell us that Iraq was practically Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory before The United States came into the picture and blaming the children’s book My Pet Goat for the Two Towers’ collapse. It is a scary thing that enough people bought into his propaganda to allow the movie to gross over one-hundred million dollars, domestically.


2. White Chicks—Changing gender has proven to be a very funny concept for movies in the past, with The Birdcage and Big Momma’s House being prominent examples of such. However, Shawn and Marlon Wayans’ transformation into the Hilton…I mean Wilson…Sisters is far from hysterical. Perhaps I was a fool for not expecting there to be dildos and poop involved in the equation, but I don’t think it was wrong of me to be offended by the material. I think childishness has morphed into a trait which is shared by more and more people, nowadays, and such is exactly why films of this nature are so profitable. White Chicks never even nears the realm of tasteful humor; it is painfully detestable.


1. Latter Days—I never would’ve guessed that C. Jay Cox, the writer behind the charming Reese Witherspoon vehicle Sweet Home Alabama, was a nihilist, before seeing this film. A tirade against the Mormon Church, it criticizes the religious shunning of homosexuality. However, in doing this, it also depicts gay people as being only arrogant, sex-thirsty partiers. Latter Days could’ve been devastatingly real but, instead, it’s an immoral and discriminatory piece of vileness. I’m not sure who Cox hates more: Mormons or gays. Certain scenes in the film show promise at their beginnings, but such is always extinguished by their ends. Writer/director Cox comes across as more and more of a bigot towards the entire race of humans, as the film rolls on. Latter Days is borderline-pornography disguised as an insightful commentary on institutions and their biases, which every viewer is certain to find offensive. That is, unless they’re an arrogant, sex-thirsty partier.


More of the Bottom of the Barrel (In Alphabetical Order): The Butterfly Effect, Catwoman, Christmas with the Kranks, Closer, The Day After Tomorrow, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Envy, Fat Albert, The Grudge, Hidalgo, The Laws of Attraction, The Lion King 1 ½, The Phantom of the Opera, The Ride, Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse, Scooby Doo 2: Monster’s Unleashed, Spanglish, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Movie.



The Best:


10. Touching the Void—In the year 1985, Simon Yates and Joe Simpson set out to climb the Siula Grande, a steep, towering mountain, and found themselves in a harrowing situation of uncompromising peril. Upon their decent, Joe broke his leg and, as Simon guided him down the West Face, he slipped, only to find himself dangling in mid-air, held up by his partner’s lack of a clue as to what had happened. After realizing Joe’s fate, Simon was forced to cut the rope between them, Joe’s lifeline. Joe fell through a giant crevice of ice, but somehow still survived. From there, he faced the magnificent challenge of making his way to the bottom of the mountain with broken-bones and no water. Touching the Void intersperses footage of a re-inaction of the climb with interviews of The Real Joe and Simon. Not only is the story which it documents unbelievable, but it also shows how closely related our passions are to survival. Simon and Joe were willing to do anything to conquer new heights, explore the unseen, and test human endurance, simply to fulfill themselves. In doing so, they had to meet the challenge of life. How far is too far? What makes life worth living? This all goes without saying that one of the two is still mountain-climbing, today.


9. The Polar Express—Here is a fantasy told in the purest of forms, a wonderful spectacle of childhood. Using motion-capture technology, director Robert Zemeckis has not only told a tale of the beauties of youth, but has done so in serene and beautiful way. Just like the classic children’s book which it is based upon, the film contains minimal dialogue and simply allows its cool imagery to gently and adventurously wisp over viewers and captivate them. On the surface, The Polar Express is a wonderful Christmas tale. Looking further into it, it is an accomplished tale of hope and innocence. All of the figures in this film embody a spectacular world of discovery, gliding through space with idealism that is distinguished by its uncertainty, in the same way that the main character experiences the apprehension of growing up. With each new experience that the plot brings, as the cast takes a mythical train-ride to the North Pole, the audience’s imagination is aroused. The Polar Express is a treasure chest of wonder, unfolding like a true family film should: masterfully.


8. Secret Window—Just when I thought the big-budget Hollywood thriller was dead, Johnny Depp entered the picture. The sole reason Secret Window is a great film rather than a good one, Depp crafts a character that will make you smile from ear-to-ear for the film’s entire duration. The premise, which was taken from a Stephen King novella, is delightful: successful writer Mort Rainey is one day greeted by a madman, at his doorstep, who says Mort has stolen his story, and better change the ending, or else. Done in the style of an old classic, bringing back memories of films like J. Lee Thompson’s Cape Fear, director David Koepp expertly takes full advantage of haunting sounds and images to assist his leading actor in making Secret Window thoroughly creepy. This all leads up to the killer ending, which could be called beautiful, simply because it lets Depp be Depp. There will be movies this one made in the future, but none will be as well-done or as entertaining.


7. Garden State—Writer/director/actor Zach Braff, whose only claim to fame before making this film was TV’s “Scrubs”, has crafted an entirely unique gem. In Garden State, he derives true poignancy through bizarre imagery and quirky characters. The reason the movie is so human is because it is imaginative. Braff has created a relationship between two characters who are both lost in a world of darkness that is filled with hope. The beauty of the movie is that it is simple in its storytelling. The story follows Andrew Largeman (Braff), a medicated and depressed twentysomething who returns home for his mother’s funeral. There, he finds Sam (Natalie Portman), someone he can relate to in a wacky world. Andrew has guzzled down pills, which are prescribed to him by his doctor of a father, for almost his entire life. All these do is prevent him from feeling. Sam is his real cure; together, they discover Andrew’s normality and the beauty of self-expression. Andrew expresses himself by really living and Braff has artistically expressed himself through this film, which is wonderful, funny, and, most of all, touching.


6. Before Sunset—Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) met nine years ago on a train in Before Sunrise. This led to a night spent in the Vienna between the two. Then and there, they youthfully pondered the world, wonderfully amused by each other. That was a great film, but this unexpected sequel is even better. After nearly a decade, it is only to be expected that the two have changed and matured. After their planned visit with each other, which was to take place six months after their first encounter in Vienna, failed, the two never spoke again. He lived in America and she in France; a long-distance relationship would’ve been pointless. In Before Sunset, the two make up for past time, as he is in her home-country, promoting his new book, which just so happens to be about their night in the previous film. Their conversation is less aimless and their emotions are derived from life-experience, in this movie. Jesse is married and Celine has been dating, but the chemistry between them is still there. They walk and talk in real-time, over long takes, through Paris, for the film’s eighty minute running-length, investing every minute in either catching up or talking about the present. Their conversation ranges from being funny to solemn and back again, just like reality does. Was it just their own clueless youths that caused them to not exchange phone numbers nine years ago in Vienna? Perhaps, but I think there was a more logical explanation for such: the fact that this sequel would one day be fatefully made.


5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—As elegant as the poem from which its name is derived, Michel Gondry’s film was released at the very beginning of 2004 and it has stuck in my mind ever since. Structurally, it is one hell of a trip, as it follows the story of a man as he tries to erase all of the memories he has of his old girlfriend, using new, cutting-edge technology, courtesy of Lacuna Corp. The focus of the movie shifts from inside his head, where he clings to the images that he has from their relationship, to reality, in which the erasure is actually taking place. Somber in tone, but sometimes quietly very funny, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind features the lyrical dialogue of Charlie Kaufman and captivating performances by Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, and Kirsten Dunst. If life experience is derived from remembering the past, what guidance does one have if all of the hard-edges of their mind are softened? As the mechanical and unfeeling likes of a machine force Carey’s character to let go of his memories of Winslet, the loss of his aimless romantic past only contributes to its reappearance in the future. Can feeling be distilled without consequence? In asking this very question, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind proved to be one of the most touching works the past year.


4. House of Flying Daggers—In addition to containing some of the coolest actions scenes to ever grace the silver screen, Zhang Yimou’s opus offers meaningful commentary on government, historical context, and a passionate love triangle. Most American films of this sort prove to be terrible because there is no thematic or emotional resonance to be found in them. Zhang, as an accomplished writer/director, knows that fight sequences should be built into a story, rather than the other way around. The plot of House of Flying Daggers is twisty, but for good reason. Each plot development is implemented in order to force the audience to think about their previous thoughts of the characters and how they have changed over time. As a result, the film is devastatingly effective, in addition to being great to look at. With a second viewing, I picked up on just how much depth there is to be found in the ideas it has to offer regarding institutions and traditionalism. House of Flying Daggers represents cinema at its finest. It is emotionally impacting, visually gorgeous, and profoundly wise.


3. The Girl Next Door—Falsely marketed as a raunchy teen comedy, this film is actually a beautiful and hilarious depiction of teenage life. Critic Dustin Putman is right when he says that, when one watches The Girl Next Door, they “feel”. It is an almost impossible experience to describe, one of a profound richness with a keen observation of reality. With this movie, director Luke Greenfield has taken all of the ridiculous fantasies of the teenage boy and, instead of feeding them with crudeness, has tastefully made a motion picture about their effect on the life of Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch). Matthew is a smart kid with big dreams, but his own ideas about love and relationships are kept within. That is, until he meets Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert), his temporary next-door neighbor, who we later find out is a porn-star who is struggling to get out of her degrading field of work. Together, the two share scenes of brilliance that I will remember forever. Greenfield has a knack for taking a typical teenage environment, such as a rowdy party, and juxtaposing it with Matthew’s own ambitions. Matthew does well in school but his insightfulness doesn’t translate well into the real world. One could say that he is the polar-opposite of Danielle, but I think that they are amazingly similar, at heart. Only their lifestyles make them different people. Nevertheless, no matter what their personalities may be like, it is the romance between them that makes The Girl Next Door the film that it is. I went into the theatre expecting a retread of American Pie and came out realizing that I had just witnessed a masterpiece.


2. Million Dollar Baby—Clint Eastwood took a risk in using such a simple structure in Million Dollar Baby, and it paid off. With this motion picture, he has created what is, perhaps, the most emotionally-complex work of the year. Side-stepping all of the usual sports-movie clichés, Eastwood allows real plot-development to occur within a natural course of events. This allows his film’s protagonist, Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a poor waitress who comes from a family full of trailer-trash, to be one of the most sympathetic of all time. Maggie hopes to become a great professional boxer and realizes that Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) is the trainer for her. My fellow right-wingers, Michael Medved and Rush Limbaugh, have committed a crime in spoiling this film’s amazing ending, which they consider to be immoral, on their radio shows. I would never commit such a crime, as I realize what a great film it is. Miraculously performed by Swank, Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman, it is certainly deserving of several Oscars for its acting. Million Dollar Baby reminds me of the great films of the past which, instead of convoluting themselves with complicated plots, simply relied on superb acting, writing, and direction to tell their stories. I saw it for the second time, just yesterday, and the repeat-viewing only affirmed my belief that it will be remembered as a classic film, in the future. It certainly deserves to be.


1. Hotel Rwanda—Around 1,000,000 people died in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, in which members of the Hutu tribe sought to kill as many of the rivaling Tutsis as they possibly could. The difference between the two groups had become insignificant to most by the time at which the event occurred, but it still, apparently, had enough power to cause the deaths of massive amounts of people. The U.N. dismissed the genocide as beyond their control and all of the world’s mainstream media markets failed to make sure that it was known of, on a global-level. Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu hotel manager, was one of the few people who realized exactly what was happening, and acted on this knowledge. He saved 1,200 lives by housing as many people as possible in his place of work. As Paul, Don Cheadle gives the best performance of the year, crafting his character’s heroicness in an unspeakably amazing way, never ceasing to show just how brave he was, in a time of absolute horror. Behind the camera, writer/director Terry George provides invaluable commentary on the present-day worthlessness of the U.N. and “peacekeeping” organizations like it. It would also be a fool of me not to mention the fact that supposed lover-of-all and former-president Bill Clinton did nothing but “express concern” about what was happening in Rwanda, at the time. Hotel Rwanda is a heartbreaking film, one of the few that I actually cried during, in 2004. Watching it, I could not believe that such a grave tragedy could go unnoticed by the world and was profoundly affected by the brutality that it spoke of. This is one of the most powerful of all films of all-time, certainly one of the best ten ever made. History is history and, unfortunately, what happened will never change. At least we have Hotel Rwanda to remind us that it did.


More of the Cream of the Crop (In Alphabetical Order): 13 Going on 30, The Aviator, Baadasssss!, The Bourne Supremacy, Broken Wings, Crimson Gold, Friday Night Lights, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hero, I’m Not Scared, In Good Company, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Ladder 49, The Ladykillers, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Manchurian Candidate, Miracle, My Architect: A Son’s Journey, Napoleon Dynamite, The Notebook, The Passion of the Christ, Sideways, Spartan, Spider-Man 2, Spring Summer Fall Winter…and Spring, The Terminal, The Village.



Notable Films That I Missed: The Agronomist, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Bad Education, Being Julia, Birth, Bon Voyage, Born Into Brothels, The Brown Bunny, Brother to Brother, Bukowski: Born into This, The Clearing, The Corporation, Coward Bend the Knee, Criminal, Death in Gaza, A Dirty Shame, Distant, The Five Obstructions, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Goodbye Dragon Inn, Goodbye Lenin!, Imelda, Intimate Strangers, Jay-Z: Fade to Black, Kinsey, La Petite Lili, The Lizard, The Lost Boys of Sudan, The Machinist, Mean Creek, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Moolade, The Mother, The Mudge Boy, P.S., Purgatory House, Red Lights, The Return, Rick, Saints and Soldiers, Saw, The Sea Inside, Stage Beauty, Strayed, Tae Guk GI: The Brotherhood of War, Tarnation, Tokyo Godfathers, Twentynine Palms, Undertow, Vera Drake, A Very Long Engagement, When Will I Be Loved?, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, The Woodsman, The Yes Men, Young Adam, Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman, Zhou Yu’s Train.



The Best Performances of the Year:


Listed in Preferential Order:


Best Actor: Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda, Jamie Foxx in Ray, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator, Kurt Russell in Miracle, Paul Giamatti in Sideways.


Best Actress: Natalie Portman in Garden State, Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Rachel Adams in The Notebook, Zhang Ziyi in House of Flying Daggers.


Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx in Collateral, Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby, Timothy Olyphant in The Girl Next Door, Topher Grace in In Good Company, Hristo Shopov in The Passion of the Christ.


Best Supporting Actress: Eva Green in The Dreamers, Cate Blanchett in The Aviator, Kirsten Dunst for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ashley Judd in De-Lovely, Dakota Fanning in Man on Fire.


Published on: 2.13.2005


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