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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Retrospect

And here we are again. Another year has come and gone. Where did you go, 2008? It seems like I hardly knew you and honestly when looking back I'm kind of glad. It's a year that I hope to never have to re-live again.

When I look back I can only think of one thing that typifies this past year. 18-1. And I mean that in much more than just the literal sense. When I think of 18-1, I think of what could have been. Because really 2008 was full of many lost opportunities. Let's take a look back...

After catching some extremely bad luck, something finally fell my way when I got a job working for a top tier literary and talent management company in April. Everything was great at first. I was learning a lot and even though I worked long hours, I didn't mind. In May, I took a temp assignment within the company that was very difficult, but I stuck through it and lasted on the desk for six weeks. I was even applauded during the staff meeting for stepping up.

Then, I started another assignment in late June and it would be my undoing. I was working for two assholes, who had little to no compassion. I was put in a tough position of being offered the position on a full-time basis in August and accepted. I was their fourth assistant of 2008 (the three others quit, two in less than a month). Soon after I realized it was a huge mistake. They gave up on me and I gave up on them. I officially gave notice in October and left in early November.

I don't really have any regrets. I was a beaten man. Not really happy with myself and I don't want to live like that. I don't want to have to get high every night to simply kill the pain of a long work day. More importantly, I don't want to turn into the people I work for. I don't want to be alone in my 40s. I don't want to try to be picking up random girls on facebook and telling people I'm a big deal, when I really am not. I looked around there some days and the majority of the managers there had nothing, but money and their career. What is really more important? I thought I knew the answer, but 2008 showed me a different perspective.

I can honestly write here that I lost my passion for the business. At least in the sense of making major motion pictures. I still do want to produce, but only independent work. I like to describe the film industry as a bunch of bullshit. Really, it's a bullshit business that you really don't understand unless you've sat on a desk at a major studio, agency, management, or production company. Yes, it's high pressure and sometimes millions of dollars are being discussed, but should it really matter if you don't answer the phone right away? Or respond to an instant message in five seconds? Half the time you get yelled at for menial things that really don't matter in the big picture.

I just don't know if I can do this type of work for the rest of my life. If I do, then I may be dead by 50. It burns you out. Especially when you feel like you're working even when you're home. I never felt so tense in my life. I just know that if I do take another entertainment job in 2009, then I will be very conservative in accepting any offer. I'm not going to fall in another trap again.

It was also a tough year as I lost my Aunt in February. She was 86 and living in a nursing home after suffering a stroke in 2006, but it was still extremely difficult. She watched my sister and I a lot when we were kids, so I have a lot of memories and still miss her. Then, my grandfather suffered a stroke in November, but is pulling through. He has fully regained his speech and his mobility is getting better, so at least that is good news.

In politics, Barack Obama became the first African American president. While that is exciting, it was disappointing to see California ban gay marriage. I will say that voting in person for the first time was definitely one of my highlights of the year.

In sports, I watched the Patriots blow their chance at being the greatest team of all time when they were upset in Super Bowl XLII. I think it's safe to say that the Patriots were probably the most unlucky professional sports franchise in 2008. They lose against the Giants to go 18-1. Watching that final drive again, I simply scratched my head how that all went down. Then again, I'm not going to get into it. This season there was hopes of redemption, but Tom Brady went down in the season opener with a torn ACL. Matt Cassel did a great job coming in and led them to an 11-5 record, but the Pats still failed they to make the playoffs. Finally, to top off the year, there are reports Brady might need even more surgery and miss all of 2009.

The Red Sox put up a gallant effort to repeat as world champions, but fell to the Devil Rays in game seven of the ALCS. The Bruins fell in game seven to the Canadiens even though they were a number eight seed. Yes, the Celtics won the NBA championship and that was probably the only team to fully reach its potential in 2008. Then again, I guess one championship is better than none.

Will 2009 be any kinder to Boston sports? The Celtics are in good position to repeat. The Red Sox should contend. Though, I think 2009 could the year of the Bruins. I like this '08-'09 team a lot and maybe they could finally put together a playoff run or do I dare say Stanley Cup championship.

As we shift to movies, I watched the 2007 Oscar season get all screwed up due to the WGA strike. Then to make things even worse, I only predicted 15 out of 24 categories correct. Though the icing on the cake was watching Paul Thomas Anderson lose Best Director and Best Picture for There Will Be Blood to the damn Coen Brothers and No Country for Old Men.

I did move to Hollywood this past year, but I would say there is a very good chance that I will probably move again as I simply can afford to live comfortably in a studio at this point in my life. I have managed to pay my bills and all, but there is no cushion to save any large amount of money with the type of salary of I was earning.

I'm not really sure what I want to do in 2009 with my career. As I stated previously, I still want to still active in the film industry, but I may very well try to get another job in the day. I have a vision of what I would like to happen, but I need help from others and I'm not sure it will happen. I don't anticipate this vision to be carried out for another couple years, but it's something that needs to start happening soon.

I'm also seriously considering going back to school to get my masters degree. And believe it or not, I'm not thinking film. I want options in my life and I think a masters would give me that. At the moment, I'm not going to say what I'm thinking of studying, but I think it would be very beneficial to not only me, but others.

Speaking of others, I'm still flying solo and would really like to meet someone who shares the same passions in life as myself. Will I meet her in 2009? I don't know. I would really appreciate a little help from my friends, but that seems to never happen. Apparently in this day and age, people don't set friends up on dates.

I look back at 2008 and think what could have been. I also look back and see all the possibilities it showed me. Some good, some bad, some ugly. It's part of life. As shitty as some things were this past year, now comes the test to see it I can overcome it all and still succeed. And this past year also showed me that success comes in more ways than one. Everyone's success is measured differently. What's more important is whether you think you're successful and that's how I'm going to live in 2009. I don't really give a shit about what other people think because if I did, then I would still be working at that management company getting yelled at by two assholes...

My New Years Resolution(s):
- Blog more
- Predict a perfect score at this year's Oscars
- Work out more
- Drink less beer
- Smoke less cannabis
- Buy a hamster
- Buy less DVDs
- Save money
- Join Big Brother
- Save the world from global warming
- Watch all five of P.T. Anderson's films in one day
- Study even more about The Beatles
- Have lots of sex

Happy New Year
Mikey Filmmaker

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Xmas!

Hope everyone enjoys the holiday.

From your neighborhood blogger, Mikey Filmmaker!

Been a crazy week, will be back this weekend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Taking Some Personal Days

I'm currently a little under the weather, so I'm going to pull a "Nikki Finke" and take some personal days.  I hope to be in better shape by the weekend, so I can put out another Oscar prediction post.  Until then, try not to miss me too much.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Updates from Boston

I'm writing this in Massachusetts. Been a crazy couple days, so I don't expect to actually do another full Oscar update until possibly Wednesday (though I'm going to try to do it earlier). Meanwhile, while I freeze over here, let's take a brief look at what is going down.

AFI has released their ten best. Definitely an interesting list. Iron Man and Wendy and Lucy being surprises. And no Slumdog? Though, I highly doubt this list has much weight in the big picture. It's still nice to get as many accolades as possible. Here's the list.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frozen River
Gran Torino
Iron Man
Wendy and Lucy
The Wrestler

Also, the Boston Film Critics have announced their awards. I hate to type this, but what a bunch of wimps. A tie for Best Picture and Best Actor? Pick a damn winner. Ties shouldn't be allowed. It gives the city of Boston a bad reputation in my opinion. No guts, no glory.

As for the actual winners, I was surprised to see Wall-E pick up another Best Film. I still don't think it's getting nominated, but good for Pixar.

I think this Best Actor race is going to be an intense one on one battle with Penn and Rourke. I still like Penn, but if this tie tells us something it is that both performances are rock solid. Here's the list of the major winners.

Best Picture: Wall-E and Slumdog Millionaire (tie)
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk and Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler (tie)
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Director: Gus Van Sant, Milk and Paranoid Park
Best Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hugh Jackman to Host the Oscars

Well, there has been reports the last few days that there would be a surprise host to this year's ceremony and the reports are true. Hugh Jackman will host the 81st Academy Awards. Now, while this is somewhat surprising, I don't think it's going to be horrible. In a lot of ways I think it's a good idea. It's somewhat refreshing and if done right it could be a success.

I would actually write a lot more, but I'm heading on a plane in couple hours to head back east for the holidays. I'll continue to update while there and will probably also do a podcast very soon. I'll check in tomorrow after I've made it to Massachusetts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughts on the Golden Globe Nominations

What a mess! Seriously, this Oscar season is just a mess. Low teens could win the Oscar pool this year folks. That's how much of a mess it is right now. No one can seem to agree on anything. Today's Golden Globe nominations honestly made me laugh a little. Not that it's a joke, but that it completely went against what most people predicted. No love for Milk. Much love for Revolutionary Road. No Dark Knight. Tom Cruise gets a nod.

Will any of this actually affect the Oscars? Hard to say exactly as the Hollywood Foreign Press does not vote for the Oscars. Just last year for example it named both Atonement and Sweeney Todd its Best Pictures. While both films were nominated, neither had a good day at the Oscars. The Globes if anything do give films a boost. It brings lesser known nominees into the limelight and the public. The Oscars are like politics and the Globes are another opportunity to campaign. So, it definitely helps to get nominated.

Does that mean that Milk for example is screwed? Doubt it. It still won NY. And, if it does well with the guilds, then I think it will be fine. In the end, I still think it's getting nominated. I'm actually more concerned with The Dark Knight. This film needs all the help it can get and it was literally shut out of the Globes today (save for Heath Ledger). I think the Best Picture chances for this film are getting slimmer and slimmer.

One of the more intriguing storylines is whether Revolutionary Road can use the Globes to get it back in this race. This film has received no love from the critics. Then, it racks up four nominations at the Globes. If anything I think today proved that this film is not going away. Yet, I still see it battling for the final nomination spot.

I find it also funny how irrelevant the Best Picture - Comedy/Musical is this year. None of the nominees have any shot at getting nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It's almost pointless to even care that much about that race. Nothing against the films, but it's true.

I don't see Tom Cruise getting an Oscar nod, but his co-star in Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr. is getting in better position to be nominated. He had a hell of a year. There's a chance the Academy might want to recognize it. Also, how can you not love the FYC ads for him. It's hilarious and stands out. I mean Kirk Lazarus is a five time Oscar winner. Yet, this category still belongs to Heath Ledger. Though, it's somewhat disappointing that Josh Brolin didn't even get nominated. I mean he's probably Ledger's biggest competition and he can't go head to head with him at the second biggest award show of the year. I would have just been curious to see how that would have went down.

Below is the full list of the Golden Globe nominations (TV is not included):

Best Picture - Drama:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


The Reader

Revolutionary Road

Slumdog Millionaire

Best Picture - Comedy/Musical:
Burn After Reading

In Bruges
Mamma Mia

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry, The Reader

David Fincher, Benjamin Button

Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road

Actor - Drama:
Leo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road

Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, Benjamin Button

Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Actress - Drama:
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

Angelina Joie, Changeling
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

Supporting Actor:
Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder

Ralph Fiennes, The Duchess

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, Doubt

Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Viola Davis, Doubt

Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Kate Winslet, The Reader

Actor - Comedy:
Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Colin Farrel, In Bruges
James Franco, Pineapple Express

Brendan Gleason, In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman, Last Chance Harvey

Actress - Comedy:
Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand, Burn After Reading

Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia!
Emma Thompson, Last Chance Harvey

Foreign Language Film:
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Everlasting Moments

I’ve Loved You So Long

Waltz with Bashir

Animated Feature:
Kung Fu Panda


Slumdog Millionaire

The Reader


Benjamin Button


Benjamin Button

Slumdog Millionaire


"Down to Earth", Wall-E

"Gran Torino", Gran Torino
"I thought I Lost You", Bolt
"Once in a Lifetime", Cadillac Records
"The Wrestler", The Wrestler

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Milk Wins NY Film Critics!

Well, Harvey Milk has recruited at least the NY Film Critics as Milk was named Best Picture. This was definitely a much needed boost for the film that still has hopes to possibly contend for Best Picture. There's no denying that it looks good for a nomination, but there's still question marks whether this film can take the top prize.

One thing that isn't hard to notice is how spread out everything is this year. Is any category locked this year? Don't think so. I have a feeling that it is going to be a wacky year for predictions. Though, in a lot of ways it makes it a better season.

Below is the list of the major winners (Note: NY only has one Screenplay category):

Best Picture: Milk

Best Director: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Screenplay: Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married

Other Quick Thoughts:

- As good as Frank Langella is as Dick Nixon, the Best Actor race seems to keep being a duel between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke. So far Penn has been on the winning end most of the time, but don't count out Rourke just yet.

- Sally Hawkins sweeps LA and NY film critics awards. I said yesterday that I wasn't sure if her win meant something. Well, it's hard not to at least put her in this Oscar race. Though, she still probably sits at the five spot.

- Josh Brolin is not going away in the Supporting Actor race. Going to be very interesting to see what the rest of the critics group name as their winner.

- Penelope Cruz may be the closest thing to a lock in any of the major categories. Though, I'm simply too scared to officially announce it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Frost/Nixon Provides Odd Theater Experience

So, I saw Frost/Nixon today, which I actually enjoyed. Went in with some doubts, but was proved wrong. Definitely one of the years best films.

Anyway, that's not really the point of this post. I went to the Arclight in Hollywood to see this film. More specifically the Cinerama Dome, which is a huge screen. It's very nice to see a film there. Hell, there's assigned seating.

There's a scene in Frost/Nixon where David Frost goes to a movie premiere for a film he was executive producer on called The Slipper and the Rose. Now normally this would be no big deal, but the premiere was at the Arclight's Cinerama Dome. So, there I am sitting in the theater watching a scene from a movie being shot where I was watching the movie. Does that make any sense?

Don't get me wrong, I didn't jump out of my seat and scream, but I thought is was just really weird. I said to myself, "Only in Hollywood."

Very true indeed.

Wall-E wins LA Film Critics?!

There's no lying in that the LA Film Critics like to be different, but what a surprise today with naming Wall-E the best of 2008. Not going to lie, I haven't seen this film yet. I missed it in the theater and rather than waste money renting it, I'm just going to watch it after Christmas (my sister asked for it).

Still, the naming of an animation film is a somewhat of a head scratcher.  Ocassionally the LA critics have been known for also helping a film that needed a boost. Look no further than last year with There Will Be Blood. Another example I can think of is when Mulholland Drive took top honors in 2001 and arguably made enough noise for David Lynch to get a directing nomination.

The odd part is that there's really no way Wall-E will be nominated. I know it is arguably Pixar's best, but I just don't see it. And the sad part is that if The Dark Knight won it may have been the boost it needed to get into the final five like Blood last year. Too bad really.

Below is the list of the major winners (Note: LA only has one Screenplay category):

Picture: Wall-E
Runner-up: The Dark Knight

Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Runner-up: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight

Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Runner-up: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Runner-up: Melissa Leo, Frozen River

Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Runner-up: Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky

Supporting actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Elegy
Runner-up: Viola Davis, Doubt

Screenplay: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York

Other Quick Thoughts:

- Sean Penn finally won something this season. I still think he is the man to beat, but I have to say this is going to be a great race. I saw Frost/Nixon today and Frank Langella was as good as advertised. Can't wait for The Wrestler as Rourke is still very much in this race.

- Ledger has won LA. If he wins NY, then it will send a strong message at least with the critics. Though, remember people that the critics don't vote for the Oscars (i.e. don't think this is over).

- Huge surprise in the actress race. Not sure what this means, if anything.

- It's clear that LA definitely had some indie love this year with Happy-Go-Lucky and to a lesser extent Frozen River. Will be interesting to see if it has any impact.

Monday, December 8, 2008


John Lennon died 28 years ago today. I wrote something about it last year and rather than rewrite the same article, feel free to read it HERE.

If you're a fan of The Beatles and/or Lennon, please take a moment tonight at 10:50 p.m. (time of shooting) and 11:15 p.m. (time of death) eastern time to remember him and his legacy.

John Lennon
October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Slumdog Wins DC Film Critics

The DC Film Critics have awarded Slumdog Millionaire its top prize. I believe that is the second major critics group (along with the NBR) to give out their awards. It's funny that their choices did differ from the NBR. Here's a quick look at the major winners:

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, Doubt
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Best Original Screenplay: Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Other Quick Thoughts:
- No major wins for Sean Penn yet, which I find surprising.
- Heath Ledger has won his first critics awards.  Is this the start to a streak that will lead to the Oscar?
- If Slumdog sweeps next week's big critics awards, there's a chance that Danny Boyle could leap over Fincher in the directing race.
- I respect Meryl Streep, but I honestly am not rooting for her to win.  Dare I say that I'm sick of her?
- Rachel Getting Married has been getting some early love.  Will it translate to the larger critics groups, Globes, and even Oscars?

Nice Retrospect Video of Heath Ledger with his AFI Win

I saw this video over at Awards Daily. Honestly thought it was worth the seven minutes to share. Hope you enjoy.

There's no denying that watching Ledger go for history and become only the second posthumous major Oscar winner (along with Peter Finch for Network in 1976) will surely be one of the award season's biggest stories.

Oh, and just to clarify, AFI in this post is Australian Film Institute not American Film Institute

Oscar Update: 12/7

So here we are. The first big Oscar post of the season. Exciting, isn't it? Well, for today I'm just going to look at the top six categories (picture, director, acting).  I will also post my complete chart.  Will have more updates in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to keep checking back.

Before I get into everything I do want to give people a quick background of my Oscar expertise. I love the Oscars and I love predicting who wins. I've done fairly well at it in recent years (including 21 out of 24 in 2005 Oscars), so I figure I would spread the love and help some people win Oscar pools. This is technically my eighth year predicting the Oscars for the public (I started doing this on my old public access show way back in the day). I really hope this is a good year as last year was a lot of fun.

So without further ado, welcome to the 2008 Oscars....

Note: * means I've seen the film.

1. *Slumdog Millionaire
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. *Milk
4. Frost/Nixon
5. Revolutionary Road

Slumdog sits on top for a couple reasons. Being so early in the award season, it's the only film to win the top prize (Best Film at NBR). The film is universally liked and it seems to be in a great position to land at least a nomination. The question will be whether it can hold off Button and Milk to name a few. I see those being the two strongest contenders right now. After next week's LA and NY film critics announce their winners, we should have a much clearer picture. Honestly, I just don't see Slumdog being named Best Picture on February 22nd, but I've been wrong before.

I am extremely excited for both Button and Milk. The whole premise of Button is intriguing and this could be Fincher's chance to finally have some Oscar glory. Its success at the big critic awards will be essential to knock it to the top spot. Though, it feels like it is at least a safe bet for a nomination. As for Milk, I absolutely loved this film and thought is was superior to Slumdog. It's based on a true story and Sean Penn was amazing. This film was set 30 years ago, but is so revelant today especially in California with the recent passing of prop 8. A nomination may be secure, but it's hard not to look back to 2005 with Brokeback. Will homophobia in the Academy stop this film from taking the top prize?

Frost/Nixon seems to be that film that gets nominated every year, people realize it's good, but it fails to have a passionate following. It just feels like a safe bet right now. I've even heard some people say it's Howard's best. I'm going to try to see it next week, so I'll have a better opinion on it shortly. As for Revolutionary, I picked it over The Dark Knight for the final spot. Until I hear that this film is not as good as I think it is, I have to continue to believe in it. The problem I have with The Dark Knight is that I don't know how older members of the Academy will support it. When it comes down to the end of the day, it's still a comic book film. Granted, the best comic book film ever, but only time will tell if that helps or hurts the film's quest for a nomination.

1. David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. *Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
3. *Gus Van Sant, Milk
4. Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
5. *Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight

I think David Fincher is going to win this award regardless if Button wins Best Picture. I think people want to reward him for an outstanding career. Boyle and Van Sant should be safe for a nomination. Both films are very solid and emotional pieces that will be on most people's top 10 lists. If support for either film continues to grow, there's a slight chance I could see either one of them take this. Ron Howard won this award back in 2001 and there's no lying that the Academy likes him. I just think they will probably spread the love. Expect a nomination, but that will probably be as far as it goes. I'm going with Nolan on the last spot. Why? I think they will acknowledge an action packed film.

1. *Sean Penn, Milk
2. Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
3. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road
5. Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino

I was blown away by Sean Penn and would be shocked if doesn't win this. A nomination I would say is an easy lock for him. He really brought Harvey Milk to life and Penn's work continues to amaze me. Langhella is playing Richard Nixon and I would be surprised if he isn't in the big picture. People have been talking about his performance since last year, so I would find it shocking if he wasn't here. The Wrestler is a film I'm personally excited for and I'm very interested to see how Rourke portrays a professional wrestler. I'm a big wrestling fan, so I'm going to be hard on his performance, but I'm hearing good things and the trailer looks great. I'm going with Leo and Clint to round out the nominations. Both actors are big favorites of the Academy and I think they are safe picks right now. Though, if other people emerge, they could be on the outside looking in. I'm particularly curious how Brad Pitt or Josh Brolin will do in this race.

1. Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
2. Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. Meryl Streep, Doubt
4. *Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
5. Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long

This is definitely one of the more interesting categories this year. Right now there is really no frontrunner. Kate Winslet is on pace to become one of Oscar's biggest losers and she may be finally due. It's hard not to root for her this year. The only problem is whether Revolutionary Road is the real deal or not. Cate Blanchett is just one of the best actresses around. Every year, she's in an Oscar race and this year is no different. She's been getting great reviews for her performance and seems to be in good shape for another nomination. Meryl Streep is one of the great actresses of all time. Could she rack up yet another nomination? Looks like it, but I'm not too crazy about this film. Anne Hathaway gave a great performance in Rachel. Though, it feels like the nomination will be her award this year. This last spot, I was having some difficulty choosing. Could be Angelina Jolie, but I'm going with Kristin Scott Thomas. Could also be Melissa Leo in Frozen River or Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky. There's a lot of options. There's a good chance this pick could change in the coming weeks.

Supporting Actor
1. *Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
2. *Josh Brolin, Milk
3. *Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
4. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
5. Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Could Heath Ledger end up pulling this off? A lot of people are hoping so, but it's not going to be easy. Next week it will be very interesting to see if LA or NY critics give him this award. The NBR already chose Josh Brolin, but the NBR is also a horrible Oscar indicator. For now, Ledger stays at top, but if things start to not go his way, it's possible someone like Josh Brolin could win this. Brolin had another solid year and his portrayal of Dan White was great. Dev Patel could also really make some noise in this race especially if Slumdog is universally loved as some say. Plus, you would think that Slumdog needs at least one acting nomination. Hoffman and Shannon round of this category, but both films are question marks. If either falters I would not hestitate to include someone like James Franco from Milk in this race for example.

Supporting Actress
1. *Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. Viola Davis, Doubt
3. Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. Kate Winslet, The Reader
5. Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Penelope won the NBR, but this race should be close. She is well liked and maybe it's her time especially if no one steps up. Viola Davis probably has the best chance to win an Oscar for Doubt. Again, this film has received some mixed reviews and that could hurt her chances. Taraji P. Henson has been making some noise and should be in good shape, but she is relatively unknown. There is a chance Winslet could be a double nominee this year. The Reader's release date was pushed to December, so Winslet could enter this race. For the final spot, I'm going with Marisa Tomei. Her work opposite Mickey Rourke could be enough to have her slip into the final spot.

Complete Oscar Predictions
Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Original Screenplay: Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Animated Feature: Wall-E
Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Cinematography: Australia
Best Costume Design: The Duchess
Best Documentary - Feature:  Man on Wire
Best Documentary - Short Subject: N/A
Best Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Foreign Language Film: Gomorrah
Best Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Original Score: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Original Song: "The Wrestler", The Wrestler
Best Short - Animated: N/A
Best Short - Live Action: N/A
Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
Best Sound Mixing: Wall-E
Best Visual Effects: Iron Man

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thoughts on the NBR

With the National Board of Review (NBR) announcing their best film of the year, some may say the award season is finally here. Let the games begin. Though, let's be honest, the NBR is not the best Oscar indicator. Finding Neverland was named the best film all the way back in 2004. Good Night, and Good Luck won in 2005 and Letters from Iwo Jima won in 2006.  The only time their best film has matched the Oscars this decade was last year with No Country for Old Men. Before that you have to go all the way back to 1999 with American Beauty.

With that said, where does Slumdog Millionare stand? I actually just saw this film today. It's one that is really hard not to like. It makes you feel good at the end and is just a beautiful story in every way. Though as I sat in the theatre, I kept thinking to myself that while it may and should garner a nomination, this film is not going to win Best Picture in February. I'll get into this in more detail over the weekend.

There were a couple surprises for sure. The biggest in my opinion is Josh Brolin winning for Milk over Heath Ledger. I have had my doubts about Ledger. Still believe he is the frontrunner, but if he doesn't start winning, it might prove that winning posthumously is just too difficult to do.

Also, Anne Hathaway winning Best Actress and Clint Eastwood winning Best Actor were curveballs. Anne has been considered a serious contender, but she basically beat out Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, and Cate Blanchett. Only one word: impressive. As for Clint, that shows that Sean Penn might not coast to this award as some people project. Though, I figured Penn's biggest competition would come from the likes of Mickey Rourke, Frank Langhella, or even Leo.

I think the plan now is to collect some more thoughts and actually do an official Oscar post this weekend. I'm picking up the pace in regards to Oscar worthy films. Going to try to see Milk in the next couple days. Critic awards will be coming in from left and right shortly, so things should get interesting.

Here's a complete list of the major winners:

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Actor: Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Original Screenplay: Gran Torino
Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (tie)