THROW THE ACADEMY DOWN THE WELL: Could Borat be next year's version of the Three 6 Mafia? The Wacky Kazakhstaki's version of his homeland's national anthem, "O Kazakhstan" is among the 56 songs eligible for the Academy Award's Best Song statue. And with no Randy Newman songs in the mix, its a pretty open field, though you have to guess an original from Dreamgirls will end up winning.
In other Boart news, Borat made the esteemed AFI list of the top 10 films of 2006, which also includes two other films I actually saw in the theater (Happy Feet and Inside Man). Clint Eastwood's Iwo Jima redux, Letters from Iwo Jima, also makes the list and it also topped the LA film critics' list, giving it serious Oscar mojo. And of note on the AFI's TV list is the inclusion of both Heroes and The Office, two shows that I know have big followings round these parts.
And while we are on the subject of lists and such, I wanted to point out that my good friend Peter Orner's stunning debut novel, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, got mentioned twice in this Salon roundup of notable authors choosing their favorite reads of 2006. Steve Almond said if it was up to him, Orner "would have won both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. The novel is that astonishing," while Stephen Elliot was no less effusive, saying, "It's not just the best book I read this year, it's one of my five favorite novels of all time." Even if your name is not Steve or Stephen, you'll find it a rich and compelling read.