Sasha Stone touched on this the other day, talking about Atonement upsetting No Country. And it brings up a good question, do people want to see No Country lose on February 24th? Let's be honest, people don't like anyone or anything that keeps winning. Look at recent Oscar history. Brokeback Mountain was winning almost everything in 2005, but lost the Best Picture. In 2004, the frontrunner for most of the season, The Aviator, lost to Million Dollar Baby.
There hasn't been a solid frontrunner for most of the season for Best Picture that pulled through since 2003 with Return of the King. That film of course won ten other Oscars to go 11/11 on the night. That night do you remember how upset people were getting over the onslaught? Billy Crystal tried to lighten up the night about making jokes about New Zealand and whatnot. It didn't seem to work.
That brings us to this year with a clear frontrunner for Best Picture. A film that has won almost every major award besides the LAFCA, NSFCA, and NYFCO. Although, if some film is going to upset No Country, it won't be Atonement. It will be one of these two films.
The lighthearted film is this year's little film that could. Its script is being applauded. Its likable young star, Ellen Page, is quickly rising. Add that to a strong supporting cast with a hotshot, young director, Jason Reitman, and you have a serious contender. Most importantly, Juno is funny with serious moments. Bonus points for a catchy soundtrack. If Oscar voters are turned away from the dark nature of No Country or Blood, then this film will be the benefactor. Considering the last three Oscar winners have been darker films (The Departed, Crash, and Million Dollar Baby), this could bring the Best Picture Oscar to a film with a happier ending. It would be the ultimate upset.
There Will Be Blood:
Really, the alternative to No Country. It allows voters to reward another film while not taking away any quality. Blood is a timeless epic. It's written and directed by arguably the greatest auteur of his generation, Paul Thomas Anderson. It is anchored by arguably the performance of the decade by Daniel Day-Lewis. Add to that, it's top notch cinematography, score, and art direction. It's polished filmmaking that may have flaws, but how can you not respect it for not being so ambitious?