The year in movies

It's movie awards nomination season, as different pools of movie critics across the country select their best films and actors of the year. The AFI has gotten into the act, announcing their first ever nominations for movie awards, and they will be accompanied by an awards show January 5, preceding the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
The nominating committee seems solid. According to Roger Ebert, it included "director Mimi Leder; writer-director Steven Zaillian; actress Marsha Mason; producers Michael Nesmith and Tom Pollock; academics Jeanine Basinger, Todd Boyd, Edward Branigan and Vivian Sobchack, and critics Molly Haskell, Andrew Sarris, Richard Schickel and [Ebert]."
Nominations included:

Best Picture

  • A Beautiful Mind

  • Black Hawk Down

  • In the Bedroom

  • The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings

  • The Man Who Wasn't There

  • Memento

  • Monster's Ball

  • Moulin Rouge

  • Mulholland Drive

  • Shrek

Best actor (female)

  • Halle Berry, Monster's Ball

  • Stockard Channing, The Business of Strangers

  • Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom

  • Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive

Best actor (male)

  • Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind

  • Billy Bob Thornton, The Man Who Wasn't There

  • Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom

  • Denzel Washington, Training Day

Director of the Year

  • Robert Altman, Gosford Park

  • Todd Field, In the Bedroom

  • David Lynch, Mulholland Drive

  • Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down

Looking at the list, what strikes me is that I've only seen five of the best picture nominees. The glass half empty: it was a long, bad year for movies. The glass half full: the home stretch will be a lot better.
I think what's most disappointing about the year is that we got films from some great directors, but none of them, at least from what I've seen, hit a home run.