There Will Be Oscars

February 24, 2008 at 12:14 pm Leave a comment

Yeah, I know I’m the 400th person to use that headline. Sorry.

I meant to do my Oscar post the day of the nominations, but then the Heath Ledger news hit and I wasn’t really in the mood. Then I kind of forgot about it, had other things to do, etc.

But now, with the show less than 10 hours away, I’m finally ready to foist my thoughts on the world. So herewith, my predictions, wishes, and other pre-show comments for the 80th Academy Awards.


Best Picture

The consensus seems to be around No Country for Old Men, which has won the lion’s share of critics, guild, and other precursor awards. Having seen it again yesterday (at AMC’s Best Picture Showcase showing all five nominees), my initial feelings are reinforced: it was good, but that ending took away some of the punch. For my money, There Will Be Blood (despite its also-divisive ending) was a more audacious and overall more memorable film, chock full of scenes that are imprinted in my mind for all time. However, if any movie has the chance to upset NCFOM , it’s Michael Clayton, which is reportedly the favorite of the older, more traditional members of the Academy. However, I don’t think it has enough momentum.

Prediction: No Country for Old Men
My pick: There Will Be Blood
Omissions: There are a few celebrated movies I haven’t yet seen (Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I’m Not There, The Savages), but I have some choices of my own that didn’t make the cut. Tim Burton’s stylish interpretation of Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd, the Irish not-quite-romance musical Once, and the crime dramas Eastern Promises and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead all left an impression on me.

Hmm…if I spend this much time on all the categories, I’ll be here until after the show airs. Let’s do the rest more briefly.

Best Director

Again based on all the precursors, the Coen Brothers are the safest bet for NCFOM. Some are picking Diving Bell‘s Julian Schnabel as a spoiler, and there are of course fans in P.T. Anderson’s corner for Blood. But this is the Coen’s year, since even those turned off by No Country‘s ending won’t be able to resist rewarding their incredible career.

Prediction and My pick: Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Omissions: Tim Burton for Sweeney, Sidney Lumet for Before the Devil, David Fincher for Zodiac.

Best Actor

Notice being served to Clooney, Depp, Jones, and Mortensen: Daniel Day-Lewis drinks your milkshake! He drinks it up! (Is there a prize for being the 1 millionth person to use that joke?)

Prediction and My pick: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will be Blood
Omissions: Philip Seymour Hoffman in Before the Devil, Don Cheadle in Talk to Me, Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men. Also, Casey Affleck’s performance in (deep breath) The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford probably belongs in the lead category.

Best Actress

Less predictable than it seemed at first, but early frontrunner Julie Christie will probably still pull it out ahead of late surger Marion Cotillard (I have not seen her movie). Ellen Page has been talked about as a spoiler for Juno, but I just don’t see it.

Prediction and My pick: Julie Christie, Away From Her
Omissions: Despite their movies not catching fire, Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart and Jodie Foster in The Brave One were powerful. Also, Helena Bonham Carter proved her role in Sweeney Todd wasn’t a simple case of nepotism.
Edit: Can’t believe I forgot to mention Amy Adams in Enchanted!  Had she been nominated, she’d be my pick.

Best Supporting Actor

There is some sentiment for 82-year-old Hal Holbrook, but you can’t stop what’s coming. This award belongs to Javier Bardem’s chilling portrayal of Anton Chigurh.

Prediction and My pick: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Omissions: Bardem’s costar Tommy Lee Jones in No Country, Paul Dano in There Will be Blood, Michael Cera in Superbad, and Chiwitel Ejiofor in Talk to Me.

Best Supporting Actress

Probably the least predictable of the major categories. All the nominees have a chance – Ruby Dee is the sentimental favorite (and won the SAG), Cate Blanchett has earned kudos for playing a version of Bob Dylan, Amy Ryan is a respected stage actress with a showy junkie mom role, and Tilda Swinton gave a strong (and BAFTA-honored) performance that might give voters their only real chance to reward Michael Clayton. Soairse Ronan is the longest shot, but might benefit from vote splitting among the rest (there’s also the Anna Paquin factor). But I actually think vote splitting will end up working in Swinton’s favor, so I’m picking her just ahead of Ryan.

Prediction: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
My pick: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Omissions: Jennifer Garner for Juno, Leslie Mann in Knocked Up, and Marisa Tomei for Before the Devil.

Screenplay

Both races (original and adapted) or more or less academic at this point, and without having read the screenplays themselves I don’t feel qualified to make my own picks, so I’ll just give the predictions while noting that there will no doubt be some votes for Diving Bell and Blood in the adapted category and Clayton and Ratatouille in original.

Predictions: Coens, No Country for Old Men (adapted) / Diablo Cody, Juno (original)

The rest of the awards I’ll put in a separate post.

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Entry filed under: Movies.

Things I Hate, Part 1 There Will Be Oscars, Part Deux

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