Sunday, February 17, 2008

2008 Oscar Predictions

Looks like it's Oscar season again. And it looks like the writer's strike has come to a close in time to make sure that comedy writers in Hollywood would still be able to write some likely painful and awkwardly funny jokes for the ceremony. Because even hacks need to feed their family.

As has become a tradition for me, I'll be predicting the Oscars. And, as is generally the case, I'll be making these predictions without any effort to see any of the films in the list. Because it's a whole lot more fun to be judgmental when you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Obviously, I won't be able to forget the films that I've already seen, and I won't be able to completely ignore the buzz I've heard about other films, but all in all, I think I'm going into this just as unprepared as usual.

The two big nominees this year are Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" and the Coen Brothers' "No Country For Old Men," which makes this sort of an interesting year for me, as I'm enormous fan of both filmmakers. I'll be in a tough position, though, as I'm a bigger fan of Anderson, but have not yet seen "Blood" yet, so there's a very good chance I'll be tipping my hat in his direction perhaps more often than I should.

Still, we'll find out come Feb. 24, when the winners are announced.

And now, without further fucking around, my Academy Award predictions, fresh from being yanked out of my ass.

Best Foreign Language Film
  • Beaufort (Israel), in Hebrew
  • The Counterfeiters (Austria), German
  • Katyń (Poland), Polish
  • Mongol (Kazakhstan), Mongolian
  • 12 (Russia), Russian

My Pick: 12 (Russia), Russian

Justification: We don't get too many foreign films around these parts, so obviously I haven't seen any of these. Also, unless you're a seriously major film geek (or a foreign film got a surprising amount of buzz) you don't hear too much about the foreign nominees, which means very little buzz to go. So I'm picking "12" just because I think the title is cool.

Best Visual Effects
  • The Golden Compass
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  • Transformers

My Pick: Transformers

Justification: I can't believe I actually sat through this entire movie. It made my head hurt from about twenty minutes in, and it never let up. The characters where two dimensional, I didn't give a rat's ass about any one of them, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy. But the one thing you can't take away from the film is that it's visual effects were astounding. And pretty much the only thing that made the movie worth watching. Here's hoping the sequel does us all a favour and gives us more giant-robot fist-fights and less "story" -- or whatever the fuck they want to call the crap going on between the giant-robot fist-fights.

Best Sound Editing
  • Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg - The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Skip Lievsay - No Country for Old Men
  • Randy Thom and Michael Silvers - Ratatouille
  • Matthew Wood - There Will Be Blood
  • Ethan van Der Ryn and Mike Hopkins - Transformers

My Pick: Transformers

Justification: I'm still not entirely sure of the difference between the sound editing and sound mixing categories. Maybe if one of them was sound *design* I'd be able to figure out, but it's not. So I just...I don't know. All I know is that a bunch of giant robots beating the crap out of each other makes for a lot of sounds going on, so I'm picking "Transformers."

Best Sound Mixing
  • Scott Millan, David Parker, and Kirk Francis - The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, and Peter Kurland - No Country for Old Men
  • Randy Thom, Michael Semanick, and Doc Kane - Ratatouille
  • Paul Massey, David Giammarco, and Jim Steube - 3:10 to Yuma
  • Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, and Peter J. Devlin - Transformers

My Pick: 3:10 to Yuma

Justification: Pretty much just because I've heard good things about it, so I thought I'd throw them a bone, you know.

Best Live Action Short
  • At Night
  • The Substitute
  • The Mozart of Pickpockets
  • Tanghi Argentini
  • The Tonto Woman

My Pick: The Mozart of Pickpockets

Justification: Pretty much just the title again. But, I mean, could you imagine what the Mozart of Pickpockets would actually be like? I mean, imagine how nimble his fingers would be, as deft and dextrous as a piano-player's I'm sure. Also, he'd probably be really good. At pickpocketing.

Best Animated Short
  • I Met the Walrus
  • Madame Tutli-Putli
  • Even Pigeons Go To Heaven
  • My Love
  • Peter and the Wolf

My Pick: Madame Tutli Putli

Justification: Are any of these Pixar shorts? Because if any of these are from Pixar, that's my pick. Unfortunately, I have no idea if any of these are from Pixar, and I'm not allowed to look shit up on this, so I'm picking "Madame Tutli-Putli" because the name makes me giggle.

Best Original Song
  • Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - "Falling Slowly" from Once
  • Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz - "Happy Working Song" from Enchanted
  • Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz - "So Close" from Enchanted
  • Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz - "That's How You Know" from Enchanted
  • Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas - "Raise It Up" from August Rush

My Pick: "Falling Slowly" from Once

Justification: Apparently "Enchanted" has a 3/5 chance of taking this category, so they'd be the smart bet. The only problem is, I'm not currently placing the name, and I heard that "Once" was sort of pretty good, so I'm throwing them a bone too.

Best Original Score
  • Dario Marianelli - Atonement
  • Alberto Iglesias - The Kite Runner
  • James Newton Howard - Michael Clayton
  • Michael Giacchino - Ratatouille
  • Marco Beltrami - 3:10 to Yuma

My Pick: The Kite Runner

Justification: This movie (and the book it was adapted from) came up in conversation a few weeks ago, even though I'd never heard about it. Apparently it has something to do with the history of strife in Afghanistan, which means it'll probably have a powerful, poignant score. Or that's what I'm hoping, at any rate.

Best Makeup
  • Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald - La Vie en Rose
  • Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji - Norbit
  • Ve Neill and Martin Samuel - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

My Pick: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Justification: Rick Baker has a long and respected makeup portfolio...but, come on, "Norbit"? Fucking "Norbit"? You can't be serious. I refuse to even acknowledge that it was nominated. So PotC it is, then. Even if I can't even begin to tell what was makeup and what was CGI in that flick.

Best Film Editing
  • Christopher Rouse - The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Juliette Welfling - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Jay Cassidy - Into the Wild
  • Roderick Jaynes - No Country for Old Men
  • Dylan Tichenor - There Will Be Blood

My Pick: No Country for Old Men

Justification: Alright, we're finally starting to get to some of the interesting ones now, even if editing might be tough to call. Are they looking for the flashy, 10-cuts-a-second kind of editing? Are they looking for the subtle sort of editing you can barely tell is there? Are they looking for complicated, dramatic cuts? Who the fuck knows. But I'm going to go with "No Country for Old Men," mostly because I've seen it, and it was pretty well edited.

Best Documentary Short
  • Freeheld
  • La Corona
  • Salim Baba
  • Sari's Mother

My Pick: Sari's Mother

Justification: No idea what it's about, but if it involves a mother, and it's a documentary, it probably is supposed to make you cry about something. Which is as good a reason as any for it to win.

Best Documentary Feature
  • No End in Sight
  • Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
  • Sicko
  • Taxi to the Dark Side
  • War/Dance

My Pick: No End in Sight

Justification: Yeah, I know, Michael Moore is, like, the patron saint of this category these last few years, but I'm going to go against his health-system documentary and pick what I think (and hope) is a film about the war in Iraq, which is an issue for more on peoples minds at the moment. Especially amongst liberal Hollywood types.

Best Costume Design
  • Albert Wolsky - Across the Universe
  • Jacqueline Durran - Atonement
  • Alexandra Byrne - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Marit Allen - La Vie en Rose
  • Colleen Atwood - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

My Pick: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Justification: Haven't seen it, haven't even checked out a single trailer, but from the poster design (which is about all I can judge it from) it looks like it's sort of dark, stylized, period costuming, which is hopefully enough adjectives to get it the statue. And by hope, I don't mean that I'm hoping the film wins for the film's sake -- I couldn't give a shit about the film. I'd just prefer to be right about my prediction.

Best Art Direction
  • Arthur Max and Beth Rubino - American Gangster
  • Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer - Atonement
  • Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock - The Golden Compass
  • Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • Jack Fisk and Jim Erickson - There Will Be Blood

My Pick: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Justification: Pretty much the same as last time -- dark, stylized, and period.

Best Cinematography
  • Roger Deakins - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Seamus McGarvey - Atonement
  • Janusz Kaminski - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Roger Deakins - No Country for Old Men
  • Robert Elswit - There Will Be Blood

My Pick: There Will Be Blood

Justification: Okay, I'm just gonna come right out and say this. I love Paul Thomas Anderson. I mean, sure, I love his films too. But I seriously love that *man* as well. At least in interviews and documentaries and stuff. I don't know what he's really like, I've never met him, but when he's being interviewed, he's just so manic and animated. And he's really super cute and smart too. So I'm going to dropping a whole lot of predictions on "Blood" from here on out, I think. Even though I haven't seen the film yet. I hope it deserves them.

Best Animated Feature
  • Persepolis
  • Ratatouille
  • Surf's Up

My Pick: Ratatouille

Justifcation: It's Pixar, right? Isn't it? I don't know, honestly, but a bunch of people talked about it, so yeah, it'll win. Because people talked about it.

Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Atonement
  • Away from Her
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • No Country for Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood

My Pick: No Country for Old Men

Justification: It's tough call, actually, as my gut says it could go to "Diving Bell." But so much has been said -- and almost all of it good -- about how effectively the Coens adapted "No Country" that I can't help but put my prediction there.

Best Original Screenplay
  • Juno - Diablo Cody
  • Lars and the Real Girl - Nancy Oliver
  • Michael Clayton - Tony Gilroy
  • Ratatouille - Brad Bird
  • The Savages - Tamara Jenkins

My Pick: Juno

Justification: Juno has recently gotten labelled as this year's "Little Miss Sunshine" -- which is basically another way of calling it "The Little Indie That Could" (even though its indie status is somewhat debatable). I don't see it pulling in any major awards, so it'll likely take this one. Also, it's about a complicated and controversial topic that totally hasn't ever shown up as part of some crappy ABC after-school special: Teen pregnancy.

Best Supporting Actress
  • Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
  • Ruby Dee - American Gangster
  • Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
  • Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
  • Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

My Pick: Cate Blanchett

Justification: Cate Blanchett *IS* Bob Dylan.

Best Supporting Actor
  • 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

My Pick: Javier Bardem

Justification: Dude was creepy as fuck. Also, that hair.

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

My Pick: Ellen Page

Justification: Well, they're sure not going to give Cate Blanchette TWO awards. And didn't she already win an Oscar for playing Elizabeth, like, ten years ago or something? So that would be weird, to have two awards to the same actor for the same character. So I'm thinking, maybe Juno gets a little extra lovin' over here. You never know.

Best Actor
  • 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

My Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis

Justification: I haven't seen it, but apparently if you have seen it, and you don't think that Day-Lewis is an absolute shoe-in for this, then you're a crackhead. And a stupid whore. A stupid crackwhore. And Hitler. Also, I love Paul Thomas Anderson.

Best Director*
  • 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

My Pick: There Will Be Blood

Justification: I love Paul Thomas Anderson.

Best Picture*
  • Atonement
  • Juno
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country for Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood

My Pick: There Will Be Blood

Justification: I love...okay, seriously, do I need to keep saying this?

Alright, that's all of 'em, at least according to Wikipedia (and we all know how trustworthy Wikipedia is, don't we?). I'll be back sometime after Feb. 24 to analyze the winners and beat the crap out of myself for all the picks I got wrong, plus a fair share of gloating for the picks I got right. See you all then!

*In my heart, I'm actually pretty sure that the Best Picture and Best Director wins have a better chance of going to "No Country For Old Men" as that picture is getting significantly more buzz from the critics than "Blood" is -- I'm just going out on a limb because I'm hoping to see some love for Mr. Anderson. I LOVE YOU PAUL!

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