Saturday, February 23, 2008

Everybody In the Pool: Oscar Edition

Call it, Friendo...

Well the Razzie winners were announced earlier today and as many predicted it was a banner year for "I Know Who Killed Me" and "Norbit" as the two dominated the awards. "IKWKM" apparently set a new Razzie record by bringing home 8 awards; one wonders if any movie will top this historic haul (although I'm placing a lot of hope on you next year "Meet the Spartans"). My predictions turned out to be equally successful coming in at an impressive 9 out of 11, far above expectations.

So emboldened by my recent success I now turn my powers of prognostication towards that other movie awards show. I know you'd all like to know my two cents on the always heated races in makeup and sound editing, for the sake of brevity and interest I'll stick to the more publicized categories:

Best Animated Feature
Surf's Up

Are the standards for even being nominated so high that only three movies even got nominated? I mean they could have padded this list up a little bit like they do with all the other categories. You could probably throw in a respect "Simpsons Movie" nomination up there just out of respects a la Ruby Dee. Of course I haven't seen any of these movies but from what I hear, "Ratauille" is as money as Carl Lewis at the Special Olympics so I gotta go with the Pixar pic.

Best Documentary Feature
No End in Sight
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
Taxi to the Dark Side

It seems that the Iraq war is providing ample fodder for recent documentarians, and ironically it's not Michael Moore. I feel like all the war documentaries will cancel themselves out in a fatal Mexican standoff of shocking truth and gritty realities. I would go with "Sicko" but I don't know if the academy likes to award multiple documentary Oscars. So I guess it's the dark horse "War/Dance."

Best Cinematography
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

I actually did see "No Country" so there is a little bit of a bias here. However, I must say that there was some grand sweeping cinematography that made something as dull and ugly as 1980s bumblefuck Texas look like this majestic, hypnotic, epic landscape. I heard some good things about all the other ones too, "There Will Be Blood" and "Atonement" definitely looked expensive and meticulously filmed so they have a puncher's chance as well.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Away From Her
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

I think they should give an extra statue as a little extra "kudos" to the people (or the families of those) who wrote the original screenplays. It all starts with great source material after all. I'm going to go with "No Country" since I think it's a pretty difficult task in capturing the uniqueness of a Cormac McCarthy novel and they actually pulled it off quite nicely here.

Best Original Screenplay
Lars and the Real Girl
Michael Clayton
The Savages

Everybody keeps saying how great that Juno screenplay is. I personally am rooting against it. Not only do I not find it all that well written but I hate it when people (that aren't me) get immediate success right off the bat. Give it to the people that have put in their dues and have the experience. Alas, the the urge for the old fossils of the Academy to try to appear hip and with it by cozying up to chic Diablo Cody appears too great.

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman - Juno
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I think the Academy will find this to be the best opportunity to award the Coen Brothers their long deserved Oscars. The movie itself is also well deserving, I could see that every scene seemed painstakingly rendered. It really works out well for them since they directed the movie together, instead of taking turns as director or producer, so they can be rightfully praised at the two headed iconoclastic directing monsters they are.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not Here
Ruby Dee - American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Ah the supporting actor categories where children, foreign actors, and the really old go win surprising awards. I heard Amy Ryan's the inside favorite here, with a strong meaty Oscar-tastic role. However, I fear she's too obvious for the crazy world of supporting actress Oscars who Ruby Dee and her 10 minutes of screen time could very well come out and Herbie Hancock the whole thing.

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck - The Assassination of...
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

I think Bardem's got this one fairly locked up. His frightening performance was the kind of work the Oscars just eat up. I would like to see Tom Wilkinson win one one of these days and I'm fairly sure Hal Holbrook will die Oscar-less if he doesn't win here, but alas this is the same hard ass Academy that told 87 year old Gloria Stuart to sit on it in 1997. Also, who hasn't been seduced by this ruggedly handsome, sexy, suave, Spaniard?

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie - Away From Her
Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney - The Savages
Ellen Page - Juno

I'm going to with the old school Oscar favorite Christie, but basically I hope anyone but Ellen Page wins this one. Part of it goes back to my wait your turn philosophy, but another part just doesn't think it was all that great of an acting job. Her super sassy teen portrayal was great but had all the subtlety and nuance of a brick to the face. Christie's role seems adequately difficult, heartbreaking, and melodramatic for the Academy.

Best Actor
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd
Tommy Lee Jones - In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

I'm sure Daniel Day-Lewis puts his pants on one leg at a time, except when they're on he wins Oscars. Basically this guy disappears and shows up every couple of years to put on some powerhouse awards worthy performance. If one was attempting to win an acting Oscar they would be best served to mimic all the elements of Day-Lewis' performance in "There Will Be Blood"; the accent, the screaming, the super intensity, the weirdness, it's the stuff Oscars are made of.

Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

This is really a crap shoot as any one of these movies have a legitimate chance of bringing home the bacon (yes even upset special Juno which would fill me with such sadness). Atonement seems Oscar friendly to a fault as does Michael Clayton. I think it is likely to come down to "No Country" and "There Will Be Blood"; with the Oscar going to "No Country" for being slightly less crazy, a little more brilliant. Plus, they probably want some symmetry with the best directing winners.


  1. Atonement has a better chance than you think, my friend. It is like the Academy these days to go against hype, simply because it might draw a few more viewers to the bloated, overly-long applausefest that is the Oscars telecast. Then again, the Coens have such charm!

    And for clarification, most of No Country was shot in the great state of New Mexico. I can even see this porn super-store I used to patronize in the last quarter of the movie.

  2. Damn Texas, stealing your enchantment.

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