Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Oscars are here again, and I've got the scoop . . .

. . . and a most interesting scoop it is. There are two categories that I think can be effectively "called." The rest is actually fairly open. I mean, we who make these predictions always think that some things are surer bets than others, but, sometimes, we're proven to be very wrong. One thing that's very important to remember whenever you're discussing Oscar predictions is that the Academy has a mind that is very much its own. Despite the usual indicators that point out who has the edge, such as the nominees/winners of the major guild awards, as well as the Golden Globe nominees/winners, all too often the Academy essentially says "screw you," and picks a completely different winner. I cannot overemphasize this point. Need I remind you of my picks from last year? So, without further ado, here are my picks in the major categories.

Best Picture

The nominees:

Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Breakdown: This category is a bit contradictory. One one hand, it's a no-brainer. No Country For Old Men has won almost all of the major awards going into Oscar night and has all of the momentum. It's been acclaimed as one of the strongest films of the Coen's already stellar filmography. But here's where it gets tricky. I think that There Will Be Blood might be the dark horse of this category. It received a ton of critical acclaim and I wouldn't be completely surprised if it pulls out a win on Oscar night. Personally, I'd be happy if this happened, as I picked this film as the best film of 2007. However, even if No Country For Old Men does get the win, I won't be that disappointed, because it's a great film and is, I think, also very deserving. Despite this, another scenario is completely possible. If the two aforementioned films (both of which are very similar in tone) split the vote between them, Juno just might squeak through and take the big one. I will be mad if this happens, because it's not so often that you have two knockout movies in the running. To see Juno win out over either one of them would be quite tragic.

Predicted Winner: No Country For Old Men
If I was voting: There Will Be Blood
Possible upsets: Juno, There Will Be Blood

Best Actor

The nominees:

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

Breakdown: This is one of the aforementioned "sure things." Daniel Day-Lewis turned in of the greatest performances of his already storied career. There are performances and then there are performances. This is one of the latter. No one else stands a chance.

Predicted Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis.
If I was voting: Daniel Day-Lewis.
Possible upsets: None.

Best Actress

The nominees:

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

Breakdown: Julie Christie is easily the front-runner in this category. So far, she's got a lot of momentum that may well carry her all the way to the podium. However, Marion Cotillard has received a lot of critical acclaim for her performance. I'm not sure if she will be able to overcome the fact that not a lot of people have seen La Vie en Rose. Ellen Page is also a dark horse in this category and might ride the tidal wave of goodwill that people have for her over-rated little film all the way to the victory.

Predicted Winner: Julie Christie.
If I was voting: Laura Linney.
Possible upsets: Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page.

Best Supporting Actor

The nominees:

Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson’s War
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

The Breakdown: Javier Bardem has won every award under the sun for his performance, and I don't think that anyone really has a serious chance of catching him. However, if anyone has any chance at all, I think that Casey Affleck would be the guy. I really don't think that will happen though.

Predicted Winner: Javier Bardem
If I was voting: Javier Bardem
Possible upsets: Casey Affleck.

Best Supporting Actress

The nominees:

Cate Blanchett - I’m Not There
Ruby Dee - American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

The Breakdown: This is a fairly tricky category to pick. Cate Blanchett's had the most steady buzz so far, but Ruby Dee has picked up steam, particularly as a result of her SAG win. Amy Ryan is somewhat of a dark horse, due to the early buzz that she generated, but it's died down a LOT. I think that it will most definitely be either Cate Blanchett or Ruby Dee, and I'm going with Cate.

Predicted Winner: Cate Blanchett.
If I was voting: Cate Blanchett.
Possible upsets: Ruby Dee, Amy Ryan.

Best Director

The nominees:

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

The Breakdown: This award is Joel and Ethan Coen's to win or lose. These guys have some of the most original voices in cinema today. A lot of people felt that they should have received their due back in 1997 with Fargo, but I think that, this year, they've got this one in the bag. However, there are a few dark horses. Paul Thomas Anderson's work was astounding, and Julian Schnabel has generated a lot of buzz. Despite this, I really don't see Joel and Ethan losing this time.

Predicted Winner: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
If I was voting: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
Possible upsets: Paul Thomas Anderson, Julian Schnabel.

Well, that's all, folks. Here's hoping that:

1. I'm able to rebound from doing such a poor job of predicting last year's Oscars.
2. Jon Stewart is actually funny this time around.
3. We get a great show.
4. We're not left scratching our heads too much.
5. Against all odds, Diablo Cody actually doesn't win Best Original Screenplay.
6. "Falling Slowly" wins Best Original Song.

. . . and, most importantly. . .

7. In such a strong year, Juno does NOT win Best Picture.

Enjoy the show.


MrBossLady said...

I am hoping that if anything has to upset The Coen's year it's PTA. At least then I'll feel satisified that it completely deserved it just as much as they did...I just think there is no way No Country for Old Men is losing.

Jackie said...

I noticed that you wanted Falling Slowly to win for best song. Did you watch Once?