Friday, February 22, 2008

Oscar study guide

People love to talk about all the films and directors and actors that never got Oscars in order to discredit the Academy Awards. Whatever. It's Hollywood. It's a money machine. I love the Oscars, because it is all about movies all the time. And for once, I don't think there is too much to complain about with a good batch of films nominated and some good ones that will probably win. I love a good surprise, but for people studying up, here are the predictions:

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
What the polls say: No Country for Old Men
What I say: For once there are only two movies that have the potential for pissing me off for winning: Juno and Atonement. Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men are in a category way above those other two movies, even with that amazing shot in Atonement. In this case, I think the film that will win is deserving of the award. No Country for Old Men is an amazing film.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
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
What the polls say: Daniel Day-Lewis
What I say: Daniel Day-Lewis. As much as I admired George Clooney's performance in Michael Clayton, Daniel Day-Lewis went above and beyond.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie Away from Her
Marion Cotillard Môme, La
Laura Linney The Savages
Ellen Page Juno
What the polls say: Julie Christie
What I say: No doubt about it, the race is between Christie and Cotillard. Cottillard's performance as Edith Piaf was a transformative performance in that I don't think I could pick out Marion Cotillard in a line up if I had to; she simply became a different person, emotionally and physically. Julie Christie's performance is more nuanced and deserving of the award. I think Christie will win for Away From Her and for her lifetime of nuanced performances.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Casey Affleck The Assassination of Jesse James
Javier Bardem No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson Michael Clayton
What the polls say: Javier Bardem
What I say: Javier Bardem. I am on the soapbox for Michael Clayton, and Tom Wilkinson is awsome (especially for the opening rant, where he is not even on screen), but Javier is just unbelievable.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett I’m Not There
Ruby Dee American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan Atonement
Amy Ryan Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton
What the polls say: Cate Blanchet, Ruby Dee, Tilda Swinton
What I say: This category seems to be one that is a toss up. I can see Ruby Dee getting the award, but I really think this is a contest between Swinton and Blanchett. Both were amazing. I hope Tilda Swinton wins because she so often gets overlooked.

Best Achievement in Directing
Paul Thomas Anderson There Will Be Blood
Coen Brothers No Country for Old Men
Tony Gilroy Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman Juno
Julian Schnabel Scaphandre et le papillon, Le
What the polls say: Coen Brothers
What I say: Coen Brothers, although I think Schnabel did some amazing work in adapting The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Juno Diablo Cody
Lars and the Real Girl Nancy Oliver
Michael Clayton Tony Gilroy
Ratatouille Brad Bird
The Savages Tamara Jenkins
What the polls say: local stripper made good Diablo Cody
What I say: If Diablo Cody does not win this award, she will be wearing those fancy shoes for no reason. Because of the media darling, Tony Gilroy will not win.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Atonement Christopher Hampton
Away from Her Sarah Polley
Scaphandre et le papillon, Le Ronald Harwood
No Country for Old Men Coen Brothers
There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson
What the polls say: No Country for Old Men
What I say: This is where There Will Be Blood might be better than No Country for Old Men. No Country will nonetheless win.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Assassination of Jesse James Roger Deakins
Atonement Seamus McGarvey
No Country for Old Men Roger Deakins
Scaphandre et le papillon, Le Janusz Kaminski
There Will Be Blood Robert Elswit
What the polls say: The Assassination of Jesse James
What I say: Okay, I am ashamed to admit that I haven't seen The Assassination of Jesse James, and if it wins, perhaps that will actually push me to rent it. Seamus McGarvey deserves some respect for that centerpiece shot in the middle of Atonement.

Best Achievement in Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum Christopher Rouse
Scaphandre et le papillon, Le Juliette Welfling
Into the Wild Jay Cassidy
No Country for Old Men Coen Brothers
There Will Be Blood Dylan Tichenor
What the polls say: The Bourne Ultimatum
What I say: The camera work in The Bourne Ultimatum was over the top, the editing was great. Where is Micheal Clayton?

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Persepolis Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Ratatouille Brad Bird
Surf’s Up Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
What the polls say: Ratatouille
What I say: Persepolis deserves this award so much more. But it is in French and it did not have the overwhelming critical and commercial success that Ratatouille did.

Best Documentary, Features
No End in Sight Charles Ferguson
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience Richard Robbins
Sicko Michael Moore, Meghan O’Hara
Taxi to the Dark Side Alex Gibney, Eva Orner
War Dance Andrea Nix, Sean Fine
What the polls say: no one cares
What I say: No End in Sight. Clear-headed and straightforward, this documentary is so reveling that I had tears in my eyes. That being said, it probably won't win. War Dance is the safe bet.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Atonement Dario Marianelli
The Kite Runner Alberto Iglesias
Michael Clayton James Newton Howard
Ratatouille Michael Giacchino
3:10 to Yuma Marco Beltrami
What the polls say: Atonement
What I say: Hello!?! There Will Be Blood!

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Fälscher, Die (Austria)
Beaufort (Israel)
Mongol (Kazakhstan)
Katyn (Poland)
12 (Russia)
What the polls say: Who knows
What I say: As much as I love foreign films, this category is always a head scratcher. Where is Persepolis? Where is 2 Months, 3 Weeks, 4 Days? There are about a dozen others that should have been nominated, but that is the way it is every year. My vote goes for Mongol because it stars Asano Tadanobu, and it is from Kazakstan.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
August Rush “Raise It Up”
Enchanted “Happy Working Song”
Enchanted “So Close”
Enchanted “That’s How You Know”
Once “Falling Slowly”
What the polls say: Once "Falling Slowly"
What I say: I know I am a jerk, but "Falling Slowly" is like nails on a chalk board, and after hearing like five times in the film, I would rather poke a stick in my eye than hear that song again. No doubt I will hear it again, and it will win. I look forward to groaning.

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