Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Pre-Game, and a Revised Top 10

The awards start in a few hours, Swedish death/punk metal band Entombed is playing in my headphones, and instead of finally sitting down and watching THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON I'm here writing this up. Because, frankly, I'm tired of the catch-up, the drive to sit through BUTTON has pretty much evaporated. I'm sure I'll catch up with it in the next few weeks, but for now I'm content with being a few movies short.

Before getting to my revised list, here are my lame-o predictions, for what they're worth (you can see how I did last year over here):

Best Actor: For weeks the odds have been on either Mickey Rourke or Sean Penn, with the difference being who gets Best Picture. The thinking is if SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE trounces like everything believes, then Penn will get best actor to make up for MILK's losses. I have no idea if this kind of thinking goes into the decisioning, but for my money Rourke was galvanizing in THE WRESTLER, and deserves the award. Will not being nominated for anything else hurt it? Who knows.

Best Supporting Actor: I don't see how anyone has a chance against Heath Ledger this year. They're already re-writing the rule so that his daughter can have the statue held in trust until she's 18. His Joker was without a doubt the highlight of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and I think all the other (supposed) snubs the film's received will make this a shoo-in. All that being said, how frickin' great was Robert Downey jr. in TROPIC THUNDER? And how frickin' cool to be recognized for it? My heart goes out, though, to James Franco who was equally amazing in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, but get no nod here. One day the Academy will wise up to the acting intricacies of comedy. But this year just be glad a comic book character is getting the award.

Best Actress: I think they give it to Kate Winslet, even though my worship of her beauty didn't blind me to the fact that THE READER was merely an okay movie that didn't offer anything special in its execution. In a perfect world? Michelle Williams would have been nominated for the incredible WENDY AND LUCY, and we'd be seeing either her or Anne Hathaway up at the podium tonight. Nice to see Melissa Leo get a nod for FROZEN RIVER, but who are we fooling with the Angelina Jolie nomination? The old fashioned acting apparent in CHANGELING doesn't hold up with the rest of the nominated company.

Best Supporting Actress: Always a hard category, and I'd be happy with Viola Davis or Penelope Cruz - both are so draw-dropping you can't take your eyes off of them in their all-too-brief performances in DOUBT and VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA, respectively. I did love Marisa Tomei in THE WRESTLER, but I think her role as Pam/Cassidy didn't turn the movie on its head the way the other two performances did.

Best Director: Is this where the SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE train starts a-rollin'? I don't have nearly the ill will for this movie that a lot of others seem to. And Danny Boyle may have a flashy, LCD visual style in many of his films, but I think he uses every trick to propel the story forward. Not having seen BUTTON I can't comment on David Fincher's further (wonderful) Kubrickain spiral, but he and Gus Van Sant seem to be the only other contenders here. This may be the rare year where we see a different Director and Best Picture win.

Best Picture: The money seems to be on SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, and I'd be hard pressed to go against it. Out of the nominated films, I was most affected by MILK, and I would love to see that get the win. But I wouldn't be overly upset at a SLUMDOG win: to be honest I'm more upset at a film like THE READER taking a slot where (IMHO) a more deserving film like DOUBT or IN BRUGES could have been placed. FROST / NIXON was really good, but over time seems to have faded as more and more better movies kept jumping up in its place. And although I had plenty of reservations about THE DARK KNIGHT as a "perfect" film, it's record numbers (not something I'd normally consider as indicative of quality) and generally high praise does seem conspicuously absent this year.

A few others, sans the pithy comments:

  • Best Screenplay (Original): WALL-E or MILK, although I wish it would go to IN BRUGES
  • Best Screenplay (Adapted): DOUBT, though it will probably go to either MILK or SLUMDOG
  • Best Music - Original Song: "O Saya" By A.R. Rahman and M.I.A., although I think there was a real snub in not nominating either "Dracula's Lament" or "Inside Of You" from FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
  • Best Music - Original Score: WALL-E

And now, without any comments (hooray) after watching about another 20 films from 2008 after the initial was made (you can see that here), here is my new Top 10 for 2008, in no real discernible order:

  1. MILK
  3. DOUBT
  5. WALL-E

1 comment:

  1. finally, someone recognizing In Bruge. i told friends after Alexander i would never see another one of his movies, but i was blown away.