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Best Picture Nominee: Sideways

Producers: Michael London

Previous Best Film wins: Golden Globe (Musical or Comedy); Boston Society of Film Critics; Broadcast Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics; L.A. Film Critics Association; N.Y. Film Critics Association; San Francisco Film Critics Circle; Southeastern Film Critics

The story: The misadventures begin when amateur wine enthusiast Miles (Paul Giamatti) decides he’s going to take his old college buddy, the charming Jack (Thomas Haden Church), on a relaxing trip to the vineyards of California’s Santa Ynez Valley the week before Jack’s impending nuptials. It would be nice if it were that simple, but in actuality, the two comically mismatched friends have some serious mid-life crises to work through: Miles is a sad-sack worrier who has been depressed for the last two years over a failed marriage and several failed attempts to get his novel published, while over-sexed Jack faces his faded youth and fading acting career. Their journey denigrates into debauchery, as trips like this is are wont to do, and Miles and Jack soon find themselves sniffing, swirling and downing wine while chatting up the local denizens–including the vivacious wine pourer Stephanie (Sandra Oh), to whom Jack takes a shine, and the quiet, wine-savvy waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen), who takes a shine to Miles. At the end of the week, the guys eventually emerge from a haze of pinot noir, sexual escapades and wistful yearnings to collide with the reality of heading back home.

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