Well I finally got around to seeing Gosford Park
, and I'll be fucked every day of the week and twice on Sunday if that wasn't one hell of a cracking good film. Julian Fellowes deserved every ounce of his Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and Smith deserved her nomination. Helen Mirren didn't -- she hardly had any screen time and her character gets a good speech at the end but she hardly stood out above Kelly McDonald, Kristin Scott Thomas, or a number of other actors. I loved how the camera seemed like a creeping fly on the wall; the actors never once looked like they were performing for it. It was wonderfully blocked and shot by Altman, who has done his finest construction job since Short Cuts
. The story has some wicked things to say about class and servitude, thanks to a handful of memorable lines, such as when (I think it's) Alan Bates says to Ryan Phillippe, whom he thinks is a Scottish valet but who is really an American actor, "Thank you, Mr. Weissman, for giving us all something to think about." It's the intellectual nourishment during the dinner meal. The topic, of course, was about how Brits are born into slavery and America is the land where poor kids with poor parents have the option of becoming rich actors who can pretend to be poor servants.