The Oscar Nominations, my predictions and (nose)picks

My thoughts on the Oscar nominations.

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

What will win: Slumdog Millionaire
My pick: The Wrestler
My pick of their picks: Milk

I loved Slumdog and it is a refreshing mix of old-school epic filmmaking, Bollywood, and really shows Danny Boyle at his best, but I thought Milk was a more important film, handled a subject we are still fighting over instead of joining the 21st century, and elegizes a human being who decided to change the world at age 40 and succeeded.

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins for The Visitor
Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn for Milk
Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (REALLY?)
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler

Who will win: Frank Langella
My pick: Mickey Rourke
Second pick: Richard Jenkins (underdog vote)

Frank Langella is getting on in years and this is his best role in ages, since he played the evil dude in Dave. Mickey Rourke got the Globe, but maybe there’s a lot of bad blood and the Academy will snub him. I think he deserves it. I haven’t written up my review of The Visitor yet, but it’s an excellent, understated film and performance that the Academy might recognize, and also tells an emotional tale of the inhumanity of our immigration policy, but it’s too quiet and small to win. Colin Farrel was great as the morose yet hyper hitman in In Bruges, but he gets snubbed. Sean Penn was great as Harvey Milk, but he’s won before; he might nail it again though. He certainly made me forget he was Sean Penn.

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie for Changeling
Melissa Leo for Frozen River
Meryl Streep for Doubt
Kate Winslet for The Reader

Who will win: Kate Winslet
My pick: Anne Hathaway

Kate deserves it, she’s been snubbed a lot and she was great in The Reader, channeling Marlena Dietrich like a pro. I think she really showed her chops this year, but Anne Hathaway really nailed the recovering addict dynamic, and it moved me personally. It won’t be a tragedy if Kate wins, and at least Hathaway got recognized for her fine work.

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin for Milk
Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road

Who will win: Heath Ledger
My pick: Heath Ledger

He’s friggin’ dead! And he was incredible. Even up against excellent performances such as Josh Brolin as unhinged assassin Dan White, and Michael Shannon stealing the show from DiCaprio, Winslet AND Kathy Bates, and even Robert Downey Jr. in blackface was amazing, but I’m really surprised he got nominated for it. I mean it’s not like nominating Mickey Rooney for his racist imitation of a Chinese guy in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but um… Really, anyone who wins here deserves it, it’s a really tough call, but I think Ledger will get it.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams for Doubt
Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis for Doubt
Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler

Who will win: Taraji P. Henson
My pick: Marisa Tomei

Marisa deserves to shrug off the My Cousin Vinny curse and he recognized as one of our best actresses. I haven’t seen Doubt yet but will soon, so I may change my mind. Hollywood loves nuns, so they might snatch it. I bet green money the Academy can’t NOT give an Oscar to a black performer in the year of Obama, though. Taraji Henson was the most memorable thing about Benjamin Button, though.

Best Director
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry for The Reader
David Fincher for Benjamin Button
Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon
Gus Van SantMilk

Who will win: Ron Howard
My pick: Darren Aronofsky for The Wrestler
My pick of their picks: Danny Boyle

Opie has been snubbed so many times. Justly so, because he’s a good director but not a great one, but they might give him a sympathy vote. Danny Boyle really does deserve this one and I hope he gets it- he made a film that made going to the movies exciting and unpredictable (even when you knew how it would end). But it’s about direction- The Reader and Frost/Nixon ride on story & performances; Milk is very subtle. I love Fincher but Benji’s Buttplug is just Oscar bait and effects. Wall-E should have been nominated- animation directors never get any notice. Same with Christiopher Nolan.

The Oscars only us film nerds care about, after the jump:

Best Original Screenplay
Frozen River
In Bruges

Who will win: Milk
My pick: In Bruges

Why? I loved Happy-Go-Lucky and Wall-E, but In Bruges is a darkly comic masterpiece, something we rarely get anymore. Milk is more about direction and performances; haven’t seen Frozen River yet, but will soon. I have a feeling I’ll stand by my choice. Milk will get thrown a Prop-8 bone (pun intended). Where’s The Wrestler?

Best Adapted Screenplay
Benjamin Button (really)
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Who will win: Slumdog Millionaire
My pick: The Dark Knight

Why? Slumdog didn’t get any acting noms and people love it; they often throw this bone. It might even deserve it, but I think The Dark Knight elevated the superhero movie and even transcended it in a way Watchmen probably won’t. It was a thriller, a police procedural, a heist movie, a terrorist movie, it was Heat with Batman and the Joker. Slumdog is a deserving contender with its rags to Rajah story, but I think the direction stood out more.

Best Animated Feature
Kung Fu Panda

Who wins: Wall-E, no contest; like Beauty and the Beast, this one should have crossed over to Best Picture.

Best Documentary
The Betrayal – Nerakhoon
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

Who will win: Man on Wire
My pick: Standard Operating Procedure
My pick of their picks: Trouble the Water

Why? Man on Wire is a feel-good film about the World Trade Center. No one cares about Katrina, torture, Vietnam, or Darfur anymore. Obama is President! Let’s be happy. That’s my guess. The Garden might grab it, it’s about a garden planted after the L.A. riots. Hey, racial harmony for the win! Trouble the Waters probably deserves it. Haven’t been able to see it.

Best Foreign Film
The Baader-Meinhof Complex
The Class (Entre les murs)
Waltz with Bashir

Who will win: Waltz with Bashir
My pick: Dammit I haven’t seen any of these. But to hell with ’em, Let the Right One In should win!

Best Cinematography
Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader (really?)
Slumdog Millionaire

Who will win: The Dark Knight
My pick: The Dark Knight

Why? IMAX.

Best Editing
Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

Who will win: Benjamin Button
My pick: Slumdog Millionaire

Why? You’re still reading? I thought no one cared about these awards. Slumdog had some great edits.

Best Make-Up
Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Who will win: Benjamin Button
My pick: Hellboy II

Why? Because Hellboy looked real. TDK might grab this but Joker’s scars were nothing new really. Benjamin Button will win for the triumph of making women think Brad Pitt was no longer attractive.

Best Original Score

Who will win: Slumdog Millionaire. My pick too. Something new for a change, and lovely to listen to.

One last one: Best Animated Short? Probably Pixar’s Presto, which reminded me of the old Tex Avery cartoons so much.

And that’s that- the Oscars will be interesting, to say the least!

3 thoughts on “The Oscar Nominations, my predictions and (nose)picks

  1. Just so you know, The Dark Knight isn’t up for Adapted Screenplay. Doubt is in it’s place. I disagree with a few of your picks but you offer very interesting explanations! Blog on, good sir!

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