Sunday, February 24, 2008
Oscar is Here!
I'll admit it: I'm halfway interested in the Academy Awards this year. Not the actual water-torture ceremony, the reassuring presence of Jon Stewart notwithstanding. (It'll be interesting to see if the lack of preparation this year, due to the just-resolved writers' strike, produces more or fewer interminable montages.) For the first time in memory, many of the nominees are actually worthy, with There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men towering over the field. Regardless if one or the other wins (and I'd be perfectly happy with either), it seems likely they will be remembered in tandem. Both were developed by the same production company; both were shot in Marfa, Texas; both were made by highly-regarded-yet-controversial auteurs; both feature similar themes and visuals (down to an image of a thundercloud rolling overhead); both have been recipients of an intensifying backlash as the awards have neared, with tiresome reminders that these them movies t'ain't as good as they used to be. Time will be the final arbiter, of course, but I'd bet one of Anton Chigurh's coin tosses that when future cinephiles look back at the filmmakers most reflective of our era, the names Joel and Ethan Coen and Paul Thomas Anderson will be near the top of the list.
The predictions below are my usual mix of cold rational logic and wild hunches. A couple of rules I do hold steadfast: 1) It's important to consider the final number of awards that a movie might bring home (for example, is the Academy's love for No Country worthy of a sweep of eight Oscars, or will it be closer to three or four?); and 2) Actors and actresses in best-picture-nominated films generally have a better chance of winning their categories than performers whose films have not been nominated for the top prize. Thus I foresee the top five films will finish pretty close in the number of Oscars won -- it's a share-the-wealth kind of year -- and I will eat my hat if Ruby Dee wins Supporting Actress, the SAGs bedamned.
BEST PICTURE: No Country for Old Men
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
BEST ACTRESS: Ellen Page, Juno
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
BEST DIRECTOR: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Diablo Cody, Juno
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood
BEST EDITING: The Bourne Ultimatum
BEST ART DIRECTION: Sweeney Todd
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Atonement
BEST MAKEUP: La Mome
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Michael Clayton
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Once
BEST SOUND: The Bourne Ultimatum
BEST SOUND EDITING: No Country for Old Men
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: the Pirates' flick
BEST ANIMATED FILM: Ratatouille
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Beaufort
BEST DOCUMENTARY: No End in Sight
No Country for Old Men = 4 Oscars
There Will Be Blood = 3
Juno = 2
Michael Clayton = 2
Bourne Ultimatum = 2
Atonement = 1
And one for each of the other winners.
Come back tomorrow to make fun!