The 2006 Chizfilm Awards Chizfilm Movie Reviews
February 24, 2007

The 2006 Chizfilm Awards Recognize the Best in Contemporary Cinema

by Jonathan Chisdes

Well, it’s that time of year again. Coinciding with today’s Independent Spirit Awards, and on the eve of the Oscars, I am announcing the second annual Chizfilm Awards. I have no interest in holding up celebrities for people to fawn over; rather to recognize the best talent and creativity in contemporary cinema in 18 different categories. The Chizfilm Awards may not be prestigious, but it is my hope that they will be influential in redirecting attention where attention is due.

In order to qualify, a film must have been shown in a theater in the US during the year 2006, but not in a previous year. (For example, although “Capote” was in US theatres in January and February of 06, it was released in December 2005, so it does not qualify. “The Forrest for the Trees” was released in Germany in 2003, but did not play in the US until 06, so it does qualify.) A film does not need a distributor to qualify, such as some films shown only at festivals. And finally, in all fairness, I must place one more qualification: the film must have been seen by me. There were several movies with excellent reputations this year that, even due to best of intentions, I was unfortunately unable to attend, such as “Babel” and “The Last King of Scotland.” It is regrettable, but I cannot, in good conscience, give an award to a film I have not seen.

With that in mind, there are 65 films that qualify. They are “Aaltra,” All the King’s Men,” “Art School Confidential,” “Be With Me,” “Bobby,” “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” “Camp Out,” “Chalk,” “Clerks II,” “Copying Beethoven,” “Conventioneers,” “CSA: The Confederate States of America,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Day Break,” “The Departed,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Duck Season,” “Flight 93,” “Familia,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” “For Your Consideration,” “The Forest for the Trees,” “Half Nelson,” “Hard Candy,” “Heading South,” “Hawaii, Oslo,” “The History Boys,” “Hollywoodland,” “The Illusionist,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Inside Man,” “Keeping Up with the Steins,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Lonesome Jim,” “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” “Manderlay,” “Men at Work,” “Mini’s First Time,” “Monster Thursday,” “Out of Faith,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “A Peck on the Cheek,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “A Prairie Home Companion,” “The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah,” “Quinceañera,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “The Science of Sleep,” “Scoop,” “A Simple Curve,” “Something Like Happiness,” “Stranger Than Fiction,” “Superman Returns,” “Sweet Land,” “Thank You for Smoking,” “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” “United 93,” “V for Vendetta,” “Volver,” “Who Killed the Electric Car?” “Who’s Camus Anyway?” “Why We Fight,” “Winter Passing,” and “World Trade Center.” (There are also several dozen shorts—too numerous to mention—which qualified for the Best Short category.)

Now, on to the awards:

Best Effects: “Flags of Our Fathers” (Honorary mention to “Superman Returns,” “V for Vendetta,” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”)

Best Remake: “All the King’s Men” (Honorary mention to “The Departed”)

Best Movie Made for Under $100,000: “The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah” ($18,000)

Best Cinematography: “The Illusionist” (Honorary mention to “Copying Beethoven,” “Hard Candy,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” and “World Trade Center”)

Best Ensemble: “Bobby” (Honorary mention to “Be With Me,” “Who’s Camus Anyway?” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Volver”)

Best Supporting Female Actor: Carmen Maura for “Volver” (Honorary mention to Maggie Gyllenhaal for “World Trade Center,” Sheetal Seth for “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” Lola Dueñas for “Volver,” and Maribel Verdú for “Pan’s Labyrinth”)

Best Supporting Male Actor: Chalo González for “Quinceañera” (Honorary mention to Stanley Tucci for “The Devil wears Prada,” Jim Broadbent for “Art School Confidential,” Willem Dafoe for “Manderlay,” and Paul Giamati for “The Illusionist”)

Best Underage Actor: Ellen Page for “Hard Candy” (Honorary mention to Emily Rios for “Quinceañera,” Danny Perea for “Duck Season,” Abigail Breslin for “Little Miss Sunshine,” P. S. Keerthana for “A Peck on the Cheek,” Ivana Baquero for “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and Yohana Cobo for “Volver”)

Best Comedy: “The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah” (Honorary mention to “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Chalk”)

Best Gay/Lesbian Film: “Camp Out”

Best Jewish Film: “Out of Faith”

Best Female Actor: Eva Löbau for “The Forrest for the Trees” (Honorary mention to Meryl Streep for “The Devil Wears Prada,” Diane Kruger for “Copying Beethoven,” Bryce Dallas Howard for “Manderlay,” and Penélope Cruz for “Volver”)

Best Male Actor: Richard Griffiths for “The History Boys” (Honorary mention to Ed Harris for “Copying Beethoven,” Ed Norton for “The Illusionist,” Matt Damon for “The Departed,” Albert Brooks for “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” and Jude Law for “All the King’s Men”)

Best Director: Agnieszka Holland for “Copying Beethoven” (Honorary mention to Pedro Almodóvar for “Volver,” Kevin Wilmott for “CSA: The Confederate States of America,” Christopher Hansen for “The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah,” and Neil Burger for “The Illusionist”)

Best Short: “Who’s the Top?” (Honorary mention to “Lucky,” “West Bank Story,” “Security,” “K-7,” “Closing Time,” “The Trojan Cow,” and “End of a Dog”)

Best Documentary: “Why We Fight” (Honorary mention to “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Camp Out,” “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Out of Faith”)

Best Foreign Film: “Pan’s Labyrinth” (Honorary mention to “Volver,” “The Forrest for the Trees,” “Duck Season,” “The Science of Sleep,” and “A Simple Curve”)

Best Feature: “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” (Honorary mention to “Copying Beethoven,” “CSA: The Confederate States of America,” “The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah,” “Why We Fight,” “Quinceañera,” and “The Illusionist”)

I realize that the mainstream press isn’t going to be paying too much attention to the Chizfilm Awards—they will be overshadowed by the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars, but the point I wish to make by giving these awards is that all the movies that have won or gotten honorary mention are some of the best works of contemporary cinema and I highly encourage my readers to see any of these films they have not yet seen. You’ll be glad you did.

One can only hope that 2007 will bring us such gems as these.

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