Efficient, nasty action scenes can't overcome mostly bland characterizations and a half-baked story.
Updated January 5, 2006 -- Because the membership of the motion picture guilds -- the Writers Guild (WGA), Directors Guild (DGA), Producers Guild (PGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG), etc. -- largely overlaps with the branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who select the Oscar nominees in their categories, you can infer a lot about the Oscars based on the guilds' awards. It's rare indeed that a movie can actually win an Oscar for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, or major acting awards without at least a nomination from the corresponding industry guilds -- or that it can win the Best Picture Oscar without first getting a nod from the PGA, DGA or WGA.
To no one's surprise, it so far looks like "Brokeback Mountain" is a shoo-in for major nominations (as are "Capote," "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Crash"), and "Munich" is a virtual shut-out (except for Steven Spielberg's DGA nomination -- shades of "The Color Purple" in 1985). Here are the guild nominees so far:
"Brokeback Mountain" "Capote" "Crash" "Good Night, and Good Luck" "Walk the Line"
Screen Actors Guild
Performances by a Cast
"Brokeback Mountain" "Capote" "Crash" "Good Night, and Good Luck" "Hustle & Flow"
Supporting Performance -- Male
Supporting Performance -- Female