Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oscar Picks 2009

I have not seen all the Oscar nominated (and/or worthy) films as of yet. So far, I've seen four of the five nominees for best picture- which is pretty good considering how few movies I've seen over the course of the last twelve months. I was going to see Slumdog Millionaire today, but my damn schedule got changed... so it was like this for me today: Me= screwed.

Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire has ridden such a wave of notoriety in the last few months that it would be hard to say it won't win. I don't think it will, but again I have not seen it so it is extremely difficult to judge. Milk, while a very good film is all about Sean Penn playing the legendary Harvey Milk. The Reader is Kate Winslet being as good as she's ever been (and she's been great many times) instead of a worthy best picture. Frost/Nixon is also about performances more than the picture. So, that leaves Benjamin Button and Slumdog. I give it to the Button.

Should Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Might Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Will Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Director

In the race for best director, it kind of comes down to which bad ass, do it your own way director could win. I am going to eliminate Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon) & Stephen Daldry (The Reader) right away. Both put out good films, but in different ways they have been out classed this year. Danny Boyle, David Fincher & Gus Van Sant are all visionaries who play by their own rules outside of the Hollywood/Big Studio mentality. The question is: do you follow the sort of unwritten rule that the Best Director also directs the Best Picture? If you follow recent history that means yes. In the last 20 years, only 5 times have the nominees for director failed to share in the best picture win (Producers usually are called on the stage for that one unless the director also produces the picture or at least share a credit). So, the odds look great for David Fincher and I am going to stick with him. Who cares if I think he ripped off Robert Zemeckis and Forrest Gump a bit/a lot. It was still a damn good film.

Should Win: David Fincher
Might Win: Gus Van Sant or Danny Boyle
Will Win: David Fincher

Best Actress

Please Please PLEASE let it be Kate Winslet. Her body of work is extraordinary! 33 years old. Has made just under 30 movies. Six nominations for Academy Awards. She just gets better and better.

Should win: Kate Winslet
Might Win: Meryl Streep (you can never count her out...EVER.)
Will Win: Kate Winslet

Best Actor

So, is it really Mickey Rourke vs. Sean Penn this year? That seems to be the scuttlebutt that I read out there. Poor Brad Pitt seems to have fallen by the wayside- even past a career spanning performance by Frank Langella and an out of nowhere yet impressive performance from Richard Jenkins (best known as the dead dad in Six Feet Under). I've seen both The Wrestler and Milk. I liked them both but it is hard to get these facts out of my head: Micky Rourke is really playing the car wreck that has been his life last these past twenty years which perfectly mirrors what the main theme of The Wrestler is about: Redemption and Glory of what was & could have been... or Sean Penn giving one more great performance that seemed so genuine and atypical of a Sean Penn role. The Wrestler is a career achievement for Rourke and I hope to see him get more roles that harken back to the promise he practically had dripping off him in the 80's. Sean Penn will probably win this award and it will be well deserved, but Richard Jenkins scares me because the Academy likes to sneak up on you with Adrian Brody or Roberto Benigni. Of course, they could give Langella a career achievement sympathy award, but that would really piss me off since Peter O'Toole has never won the Best Actor trophy and Frank Langella is nowhere near the caliber of actor.

Should Win: Sean Penn
Might Win: Richard Jenkins or Mickey Rourke
Will Win: Sean Penn

Best Supporting Actress

It seems that the world is salivating for Penelope Cruz to win this award...or, they are just salivating for her in general and I understand that too. Amy Adams is going to win an award one of these days. She's smart, understated and kicks you in the gut when you see her on screen. But, her curse this year is that she is up against a fellow actress from the same movie in the same category (Viola Davis...certainly no slouch given her volume of work in television and film over the last ten years). That leaves Marisa Tomei who gets better and better (check out her performance in 2007's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead) & Taraji P. Nelson as the adoptive mother of Benjamin Button. Most of the time, these are always toss ups- even when a nominee is supposed to be a sure thing. So of course I am going with Taraji P. Nelson.

Should Win: Taraji P. Nelson
Might Win: Penelpe Cruz or Marisa Tomei
Will Win: Taraji P. Nelson

Best Supporting Actor

Is there really any doubt?

Should Win: Heath Ledger
Might Win: The Academy should consider closing up shop if they screw this one up.
Will Win: Heath Ledger

The rest of my picks:

Animate Feature: WALL-E
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Cinematography: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Costume Design: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Documentary Feature: Man on Wire
Documentary Short: Smile Pinki
Film Editing: The Dark Knight
Foreign Language Film: Waltz with Bashir
Makeup: Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire
Original Song: O Saya (Slumdog Millionaire)
Short Film, Animated: Oktapodi
Short Film, Live Action: New Boy
Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight
Visual Effects: Iron Man
Screenplay, Adapted: Doubt
Screenplay, Original: Happy-Go-Lucky

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