In anticipation of the 2006 flashback podcast, Ben Zuk has written in ruminating on that year. Zuk says that he often makes “alternative Oscars” lists and decided to share his from 2006:
I’ve nominated ten films from 2006 in order to reflect the academy’s recent transition to this number of nominees, but I have also ranked my choices in this category for anyone who might be curious what would’ve been top 5 versus top 10.
Babel is a film I feel the need to defend despite it’s popularity amongst people my age. It’s a film that boldly embraces the emotions of it’s characters situations as opposed to trying to intellectually rationalizing every one of it’s points. It’s a collage of global conflict that has only grown in appreciation for me. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu attaches himself to his subjects in a way that many find corny, but I just see it as emotionally engaging and truthful.
The Lives of Others is a film where nothing is wasted. When I saw it for the second time I noticed how the man working in the mailroom at the end is the same character as the one who was chastised and fired in the lunchroom scene earlier in the film. It takes a certain amount of brilliance to pull this off and director (Florian Henckel von Donnersmark) pulled it off despite what the lukewarm reception of The Tourist would have you believe. Deceased actor Ulrich Muhe deserves much credit too for his emotionally restrained and eternally lonely performance as the weaselly East German agent Wiesler.