It is a crime on par with the slaughter of thousands, a complete and utter travesty, a furious portent of the coming apocalypse that Paul Giamatti isn’t even nominated for the Best Actor category at the Academy Awards. That right there should tell you something about the political nature of the institution. Scorcese’s and Eastwood’s are grasping for Best Picture, and yet the writing, cinematography, and acting (good gravy, the acting!) of Sideways shit substantially over the former two. Giamatti’s porch Pinot scene is one of the best deliveries I’ve seen since Michael Douglas’ greed speech from Wall Street. Truly and utterly a shame that the man has more acting ability in his facial twitches than most Hollywood schmucks have in their entire bodies.
For those of you who haven’t seen Sideways, go do it now before the gaping vacuum in your soul sucks your eyeball down your throat. It’s disturbingly realistic in much the same way as Something’s Gotta Give was: the idea of two senior citizens making the beast with two backs was revolting, and yet here are two veterans of the silver screen doing it so convincingly that you can’t help but be captivated. Sideways works in largely the same way, painting a picture of dumpy middle age as something still tender and wonderful. They compare people to wine, if you couldn’t see it coming, and in fact the whole idea behind the wine is a metaphor for relationships and aging.
Paul Giamatti is my favorite character actor since William H. Macy or Gene Wilder. Truly magnificent.