Friday, February 22, 2008

Jumping off the board without checking for water: I predict the Oscars

It's been well-established that I am remarkably dense when it comes to predicting anything, especially the Academy Awards. But what the hell? I like doing it. On Sunday, we'll see just how incompetent I really am. Plus, this gives me a chance to bitch about some of the snubbed non-nominees -- though really, the Academy did an awesome job this year. This is the first time I can remember that I didn't have a problem with any of the Best Picture nominees.

On with it!

Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
(will win)
There Will Be Blood (should win)

The Academy screwed over Fargo, and everyone remembers. The Coens' return to form is a perfect place to make up for it. Too bad for P.T.A., but I don't hold any illusions that he'll ever win anything. He's just too fucking weird.

Where the fuck is... Zodiac. It feels like that came out three years ago, but it was only March. Too long, I guess, for the Academy.

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

See previous statements regarding the Coens and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Where the fuck is... Joe Wright, Atonement. Seriously -- what the hell? Did you guys watch the same movie I did? Did you get up and go to the bathroom during that scene in Dunkirk? The first truly depressing missed nomination.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away from Her (will win)
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno (should win)

Ellen Page is wondrous as Juno's title character and deserves the win, but I wouldn't worry: judging from her work to date, this won't be her last invitation to the dance. Julie Christie is racking up every precursor award in sight, and the Academy won't disagree with the crowd.

Where the fuck is... Keira Knightley, Atonement. Though, really, I'm fine with the list as-is.

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

Blood is a mean, savage character study of a mean, savage man, and Daniel Day-Lewis practically sets the theater on fire with his intensity. The baptism scene -- "I abandoned my child!" -- is flat-out mesmerizing. One of the greatest screen performances. Ever.

Where the fuck is... James McAvoy, Atonement. That's two truly depressing snubs. There are more, of course.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster (will win)
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement (should win)
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Where the fuck is... Imelda Staunton, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She managed to be scarier than all the other villains combined -- such a dark, murky film, and the greatest terror of all hides behind fluffy kittens and a pink sweater.

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men (will win) (should win)
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Oooh, this is a tough one, as Bardem, Hoffman, and (especially) Wilkinson are terrific. But Bardem owns No Country; it's him you remember after the credits roll.

Where the fuck is... Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood. It would take a miraculous effort indeed to stand up to Daniel Day-Lewis's inferno, and Dano does that and more. Depressing snub number three, and this one really hurts.

Best Original Screenplay
Juno (will win)
Lars and the Real Girl
Michael Clayton
(should win)
The Savages

The script for Juno is a gem, though it is overly cute once in a while ("homeskillet"?). Michael Clayton is the real winner here, for its crackling dialogue and genius structure.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Away from Her
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men
(will win) (should win)
There Will Be Blood

Blood is a thunderous motion picture, but its true power lies in its visuals and performances. From what I understand, the script for No Country is lifted practically word-for-word from Cormac McCarthy's novel, and it works in spades.

Where the fuck is... Charlie Wilson's War. But then, I'm an Aaron Sorkin mark, as I've previously discussed.

Those are the important awards, anyway. I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of them.


  1. Anonymous2:42 AM

    Agree about the Dano snub. I was majorly impressed wth him, and majorly hacked off when he didn't get nominated. I know that he doesn't have the usual supporting actor qualities the academy look for (being old, having a family link to hollywood, etc.) but the kid's got talent. Big mistake on behalf of the Oscars.

    One good thing about obvious snubs is that I now suppose they'll go out of their way to make up for it in the future, right?

  2. Theoretically. But the only Oscar Alfred Hitchcock ever received was the Lifetime Achievement award. So I wouldn't hold my breath.