Friday, February 23, 2007

Esquire's Eighth Annual Alternative Oscars

Here's my fave of Esquire's Alternative Oscars:

Best One-Two Punch: Spike Lee
Clint Eastwood received far more attention for his ambitious, if blunt, Iwo Jima diptych. Richard Linklater tackled a muckraking best-seller (Fast Food Nation) and a dystopian Philip K. Dick nightmare (A Scanner Darkly). But only Spike Lee, recovering from the career-low debacle of She Hate Me, scored solid line drives both times at bat. Inside Man proved that Lee can superimpose his flinty New York attitude upon a conventional genre vehicle without letting it overwhelm the narrative; it also served as a reminder that Denzel Washington does his best, most relaxed work in this filmmaker's hands. And When the Levees Broke, Lee's mammoth four-hour documentary chronicling the Bush administration's inept response to the Katrina disaster, is cinejournalism at its most scrupulous and impassioned -- all the more impressive for the degree to which Spike muffles his own bitter voice. (Listen to the DVD commentary to learn just how bitter.) Neither film is a masterpiece, but together they suggest that he's growing comfortable with his transition from tyro to master.

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