Actor: Al Pacino
Supporting actor: Robin Williams
Supporting actress: Hilary Swank
Adapted screenplay: Hillary Seitz
Cinematography: Wally Pfister
Editing: Dody Dorn
Score: David Julyan
In a year overflowing with remakes, “Insomnia” was one of the lucky few to make a significant impact with critics and audiences.
Based on a 1997 Norwegian film starring Stellan Skarsgard, “Insomnia” marked director Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to his breakthrough pic, “Memento.”
After his success with that film Nolan was able to assemble an impressive Oscar-bait cast.
As a burned-out detective trying to solve the murder of a young woman, eight-time Oscar nominee Al Pacino is looking to return to the Acad shortlist for the first time since his 1993 win for “Scent of a Woman.”
In recent years, thesp has received more criticism than praise for his frequently over-the-top perfs, but “Insomnia” showcases his inherent depth as an actor and his ability to still carry a picture.
Supporting Pacino are two more former winners, Robin Williams as the killer Pacino is hunting and Hilary Swank as an eager young cop.
Four-time nominee Williams won in 1998, the last time he competed in the supporting actor category, for “Good Will Hunting.”
He considerably stretched his warm-fuzzy persona this year by taking darker roles not only here but in “Death to Smoochy” and “One Hour Photo” (the latter presenting Williams with a shot at an acting nomination).
Swank is also solid in one of her strongest roles since her 2000 actress Oscar for “Boys Don’t Cry.”
“Insomnia” reunited Nolan with several key “Memento” crew members who once again contribute impressive work.
Most notable is editor Dody Dorn, who received a nomination last year for “Memento” and could follow it up thanks to her taut cutting here.
Director of photography Wally Pfister and composer David Julyan also could be singled out for their work.
Nolan received a nomination for the original screenplay of “Memento,” but here directs the work of rookie scribe Hillary Seitz.
Although “The Fugitive,” which got a best pic nom in 1994, was based on a TV series, the last true remake to get such a nomination was Warren Beatty’s “Heaven Can Wait” in 1979.