Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!

Wow, the Oscars are already upon us and I have yet to get all excited about arbitrarily selecting winners. That's probably because this year's nominees are even more uninspiring than last's - Slumdog Millionaire anyone? Nevertheless, I'll persevere by locking my "wants" and "desires" down for all time on this here blog. Side note: I got a ton of shit last year for not having seen all the movies I was "evaluating". WELL guess what? You don't win an office pool by not making Oscar picks AND I've seen even fewer movies this time around so my chances are probably even better!

Maybe it's coincidence or maybe I'm getting lazy in my old age, but for the 81st Academy Awards most of my "wants" match up with the "should wins". That, or my tastes are finally reflecting those of surprisingly conservative and decrepit Oscar voters. Whatever... if they start sending me screeners, I'll vote for whomever they want.

The structure's the same this year:

Who Should Win - Green Font
Who Will Win - Purple Font

If there's no purple font then the "want" matches the "prediction".

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"
Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn in "Milk"
Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler"

I think we all know Rourke's pretty much got this shit locked down tight.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Josh Brolin in "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt"
Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight"
Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road"

I took that film class too and if I learned anything it's that young + dead + actor = winner.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie in "Changeling"
Melissa Leo in "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep in "Doubt"
Kate Winslet in "The Reader"

My friend Matt and I were obsessed with the Oscars and films in general in high school. After having not talked for almost six years we just recently got in touch again. He calls this Kate's "Mercy Oscar". I agree.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in "Doubt"
Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis in "Doubt"
Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler"

Duh... Viola's really winning for Nights in Rodanthe. And by-the-by, Oprah wanted this role. Thank You oh sage producers of Doubt for not giving it to her.

Best animated feature film of the year

"Kung Fu Panda"

THIS should've been the best picture.

Achievement in art direction

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"The Duchess"
"Revolutionary Road"

Changeling was a pretty grueling movie as in, "Hey Angelina Jolie, we get that he's not your son so Stop. Screaming." But it was really beautiful. And I'm sucker for Los Angeles-based period movies.

Achievement in cinematography

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire"

I think this should be the only award Button takes home. But there will most likely be more.

Achievement in costume design

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Duchess"
"Revolutionary Road"

When I went to see The Wrestler at Arclight, they had the costumes from Revolutionary Road on display in the lobby. A-May-Zing. Between this and Mad Men, my wardrobe is complete.

Achievement in directing

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - David Fincher
"Frost/Nixon" - Ron Howard
"Milk" - Gus Van Sant
"The Reader" - Stephen Daldry
"Slumdog Millionaire" - Danny Boyle

I want Fincher to win for work he's already done. As in work from over a decade ago. I do not feel guilty about this at all.

Best documentary feature

"The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)"
"Encounters at the End of the World"
"The Garden"
"Man on Wire"
"Trouble the Water"

Documentaries are fun again!

Achievement in film editing

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"Slumdog Millionaire"

A movie based around a sit-down interview: Editor's wet dream or total nightmare?

Best foreign language film of the year

"The Baader Meinhof Complex" - Germany
"The Class" - France
"Departures" - Japan
"Revanche" - Austria
"Waltz with Bashir" - Israel

I've heard amazing things about this movie from friends and it's from France. Done deal.

Achievement in makeup

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army"

Old man makes-ups wins everytime.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Alexandre Desplat
"Defiance" (Paramount Vantage) James Newton Howard
"Milk" (Focus Features) Danny Elfman
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Thomas Newman

This would be the only category in which Slumdog wins that I wouldn't feel slighted.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

"Down to Earth" from "WALL-E"
"Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire"
"O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire"
Please let M.I.A. win an Oscar!

Best motion picture of the year

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire"

A lackluster crop in anyone's book, but Slumdog's Bollywood ending really seals the deal. That's unfortunate, but I believe, true. Milk would be, frankly, more of a political statement from Oscar voters since the movie left A LOT to be desired.

Achievement in sound editing

"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Richard King
"Iron Man" (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Tom Sayers
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
"Wanted" (Universal) Wylie Stateman

Now if only they could've edited out Christian Bale's creepy Batman voice.

Achievement in sound mixing

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
"Wanted" (Universal) Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

There are so many seemingly silent moments in WALL-E... this movie is precisely what the above category was created for.

Achievement in visual effects

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight""Iron Man"

Button should lose if for no other reason then they wimped out on making Benjamin a giant-sized baby-man at the end. BOOOO!

Adapted screenplay

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
"Doubt" (Miramax) Written by John Patrick Shanley
"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Screenplay by Peter Morgan
"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Screenplay by David Hare
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

It is obvious enough to me that Oscar voters will see that Doubt is based on a famous-ish stage play, and immediately hand the award over.

Original screenplay

"Frozen River" (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Courtney Hunt
"Happy-Go-Lucky" (Miramax) Written by Mike Leigh
"In Bruges" (Focus Features) Written by Martin McDonagh
"Milk" (Focus Features) Written by Dustin Lance Black
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney)

Milk was lifted, pretty much word for word, from The Times of Harvey Milk; WALL-E was lacking in dialogue (quality, not amount); and Happy-Go-Lucky looks like Happy-Go-Shitty. This leaves only two, but Bruges has way more momentum at this point.

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