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With the 2006 MTV Movie Awards on the horizon, we thought we'd bring back some of our favorite interviews and features from the past year to remind us why we got so excited about these films in the first place. So join us as we take a fond look back — and then get on over to the Movie Awards site and cast your votes.


— Brandee J. Tecson and Larry Carroll

With the Golden Globes behind us, the world turns to that other Tinseltown treasure: Oscar. And who among the Hollywood heavyweights and talented newbies wielded enough silver-screen charisma, nuance or sheer power in '05 to warrant a nomination from the all-mighty Academy? Come January 31, we'll know. Until then, everyone has an opinion on who should snag a coveted statuette — and, of course, we here at MTV are no different. But instead of anointing the usual suspects (no "Brokeback Mountain" or "Capote" here, folks), we're going to switch things up a bit and toss out a few wild-card nominees (and categories) that might just put a little spring in Oscar's step.

Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

The fourth installment of the "Potter" films marked a pretty major milestone for our beloved wizards. Not only was Harry chosen to battle in the potentially deadly Triwizard Challenge, but the gang also tackled some heavy PG-13 (translation: darker) material this time around, including the death of a well-liked peer. But nothing was quite as challenging as the hormones suddenly raging through Hogwarts. Sweaty palms, nervous laughter and bumbling hilarity arose as Harry, Hermione and (most charmingly) Ron came to grips with their budding sexuality. When Harry actually gathers up the nerve to ask a girl, Cho Chang (Katie Leung), to be his date for the school's annual Yule Ball, it's excruciating and endearing all at once.
 More on "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"
 More on Daniel Radcliffe

Elijah Wood in "Sin City"

Elijah Wood was occasionally so sickeningly sweet in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, playing the hobbit who saved Middle Earth, that it's hard to imagine his cute mug as anything but decent. So what's an actor to do to save himself from the curse of typecasting? Throw the industry (and fans) a complete curve ball, of course, and that's just what Wood did when he slipped into the sinister world of "Sin City," Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's classic noir comic-book series. But Wood didn't go for the archetypal hero or savior. No, no, no — instead, he ate people. Yes, as in chomp, chomp, swallow. The hobbit went straight-up Hannibal Lecter on us as the creepy, sadistic kung-fu cannibal, Kevin. Bye-bye, Shire.
 More on "Sin City"
 More on Elijah Wood

Heath Ledger in "Lords of Dogtown"

He mumbles, he grumbles, he hides behind long hair and sunglasses and he throws around the word "man" more often than Cheech and Chong combined. But peek under the disguise of that utterly convincing SoCal slacker and you'll find Australian heartthrob Heath Ledger, leaving behind the sleepwalking leading-man roles that previously tarnished his rising star. Months before "Brokeback" announced to the world that he was an actor who could actually act, this little skateboarding gem gave us an indication of Ledger's potential. As Dogtown pioneer Skip Engblom, his performance captured a barely known real-life character with nuance and skill, leaving the audience with the sense of having enjoyed an exceedingly rare mix of authenticity and sheer entertainment.
 More on "Lords of Dogtown"
 More on Heath Ledger

Steve Carell in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"

Steve Carell's now-infamous chest-waxing scene had grown men all over the world wincing in their seats ("Oh, Kelly Clarkson!"), praying they would never have to endure having their own body hair ripped from its roots. Yes, it might have been fiction — no, people, Carell's not really a virgin — but he did take one for the team, opting to suffer through that man-scaping for the sake of comedy. "There was no anesthesia. There was no stunt chest. I just thought it might be funnier if it was real, so we took a shot," Carell recalled. With his weird charm, Carell's turn as the lovable-yet-unloved electronics store employee and action-figure junkie, Andy Stitzer, had audiences locked in from the get-go. Sequel, anyone?
 More on "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"
 More on Steve Carell

Anna Faris in "Just Friends"

Was Faris channeling Paris? Lindsay? Britney? Nobody knew for sure, but there's little doubt that her Samantha James was one of the funniest characters we saw in a movie this year. An off-the-wall Faris stole "Just Friends" while falling off balconies, wrecking automobiles and drooling toothpaste all over co-star Ryan Reynolds. If her character, a whacked-out pop star with little talent and less tact, had any lines that actually pertained to the plot, we never heard them. Faris finally delivered on her career-long comic potential by giving the kind of random, sight-gag-fueled performance that would make Robin Williams or Jim Carrey proud. The only problem? She broke an unspoken movie commandment: If you're going to be that good, be sure to do it in a movie that deserves it.
 More on "Just Friends"
 More on Anna Faris

Christian Bale in "Batman Begins"

It's the comic-book comeback we've been waiting for. Just when you thought that maybe, just maybe, our darling Batman franchise had been royally ripped beyond repair, the Dark Knight returned this year with a captivating new lead behind the mask and some serious back story. With Christian Bale taking on the role of a young Bruce Wayne, whose life was torn apart by the brutal death of his parents when he was just a boy, the flick opened a peephole into the mind of the caped crusader that revealed some mysterious, very real skeletons in our superhero's closet. The events that trigger the evolution of Bruce into the caped crusader are heartbreaking, and Bale's portrayal of the troubled vigilante breathed new life into a character in serious need of reinvention.
 More on "Batman Begins"
 More on Christian Bale

Johnny Depp in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

That pale skin. Those pearly whites. That weird, off-kilter grin hinting that something utterly not right might be bubbling just beneath the surface. A grown man who just can't seem to come to grips with his childhood. Johnny Depp indeed held a Golden Ticket, of sorts, when he devised his quirky characterization of the bizarre chocolatier in Tim Burton's re-imagining of Roald Dahl's classic novel — a depiction that had some folks wondering if they could trace Wonka back to a certain King of Pop. While the actor denied claims that he had based the character on Michael Jackson, it was perhaps a cosmic coincidence that the film dropped not too long after Jackson's highly-publicized child molestation trial. On another note, "Charlie" also reteamed Depp with his young pal, Freddie Highmore ("Finding Neverland"), as the young heir to the chocolate throne — a match made in, well, candy heaven.
 More on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
 More on Johnny Depp

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in "Wedding Crashers"

According to every myth, legend and commonly held assumption on the subject, there's nothing like a wedding to get a woman in the mood, and Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn took no prisoners in this R-rated comedy, crashing ceremonies of wedded bliss in order to add notches to their already heavily scarred belts. Eventually, of course, each of the boys met his match and turned a new leaf, eventually redeeming himself (sort of) with a worthy woman. But it was enjoying their raucous, refreshingly sordid stint in the dark world of crashed weddings that was our guiltiest pleasure of the year, and for that alone the lads deserve some kind of award.
 More on "Wedding Crashers"
 More on Owen Wilson
 More on Vince Vaughn



Check out everything we've got on "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire," "Sin City," "Lords of Dogtown," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Just Friends," "Batman Begins" "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,"and "Wedding Crashers."

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