I can't say I agreed with the Academy's unexpected decision to award the Best Picture statue to The Departed. Like most people, I'm glad to see Martin Scorsese return to the cops-and-robbers genre that he does so well, and I thought the film was entertaining and well-made, but it has some serious problems that prevent it from being taken seriously. The ending is absurd -- don't worry if you haven't seen it, I'm not going to spoil anything -- and most of the scenes with Jack Nicholson have a strange kind of un-directed air, as if Nicholson insisted on being able to riff and do improvisation. There are a couple of scenes where Leo DiCaprio's anxious undercover cop character is required to just sit and stare at Nicholson's googly-eyed maniac, and you're thinking to yourself 'how are these two characters even in the same movie?'
I didn't see Little Miss Sunshine, and based on recommendations from friends, I probably never will. I did see Babel, however, and thought it was an intriguing piece of filmmaking -- it wound up sneaking in at number ten on my Top Ten List for 2006. Little Children would probably have been my number eleven, but I'm not sure if The Departed would have cracked the top fifteen. As for The Queen -- great central performance, but the movie was essentially made-for-television material. It's place on the Academy shortlist was bizarre to begin with. Am I the only one who thinks The Departed wasn't quite deserving of the honor bestowed on it last night?