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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oscar Update: You Gotta Love It

You know what I love most about the Oscars?  It's when races seem more or less over, yet people still find some far fetched reason they aren't.  You don't need to look any further than my last Oscar post to realize that I'm not a huge Slumdog fan.  Though, I've just accepted its fate and concluded the Best Picture race is over.

Any time a film dominates like this, it's common for there to be some backlash.  People get sick of it.  They got sick of Brokeback and No Country in recent years.  I just don't really see how this race changes.  If Slumdog loses the DGA tonight, then maybe a little.  Though, I feel like this is in the bag.  The only real race left out of the major categories is probably Best Supporting Actress.

Let's take a look at some updated Oscar rankings plus a full list of my current picks for all 24 categories...

* Films I've seen.

Best Picture
1. (1) *Slumdog Millionaire
2. (2) *The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. (4) *Milk
4. (3) *The Reader
5. (5) *Frost/Nixon

I finally saw Button this week.  I don't think it's as horrible as some people say, but the comparisons to Forrest Gump are evident.  This is also not Fincher's best.  Maybe, people should stop trying to make movies to win Oscars and just focus on making good movies.  I think Button is a good example of this.

There is talk of Milk gaining some steam.  It's possible, but I don't think it will be enough.  Could Slumdog and Button split the vote allowing Milk to win?  I don't see it, but I would be happy if that happened.

The only really dead horse in this race seems to be Frost/Nixon.  I actually like this film, but it seems to lack a passionate fanbase.

Best Director
1. (1) *Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
2. (2) *David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. (4) *Gus Van Sant, Milk
4. (3) *Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
5. (5) *Stephen Daldrey, The Reader

This race really won't change much unless either Fincher or Van Sant win the DGA.  The DGA is the best indicator at predicting its award.  It almost always matches up with the Oscar, so we should know more after tonight.

Best Actor
1. (1) *Sean Penn, Milk
2. (2) *Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
3. (3) *Frank Langhella, Frost/Nixon
4. (4) *Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
5. (5) *Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I've seen all the nominees now and my opinion still hasn't changed.  Sean Penn is still the man to beat.  I've been with him since the beginning.  Unless I hear massive support for either Rourke or Langella, then I will continue to believe he will win.

I do have to say that Richard Jenkins was very strong in The Visitor, which is a solid indie film about post 9/11 New York.  Definitely worth checking out.

The only thing to think about is Frank Langella.  I think he is a bit of a wild card here.  He's an older actor, who portrayed President Nixon.  There's a lot of old members of the Academy that remember what he did to this country.  My only reason to not buy this is that Langella has gained absolutely no traction in this race.

Best Actress
1. (1) *Kate Winslet, The Reader
2. (2) *Meryl Streep, Doubt
3. (3) *Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
4. (4) Melissa Leo, Frozen River
5. (5) *Angelina Jolie, Changeling

This is Kate Winslet's year.  It just is.  I don't see this race changing.  I won't say locked since that can be a dirty word, but she's not going to lose on Oscar night.

Best Supporting Actor
1. (1) *Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
2. (2) *Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
3. (3) *Josh Brolin, Milk
4. (4) *Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
5. (5) *Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder

Like the above race, I don't see this one changing much.  Heath Ledger is not going to lose.  Brolin and Downey Jr. will have their chance in the future.  I hope they both get it as they are two of the finest working actors today.

Best Supporting Actress
1. (1) *Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. (2) *Viola Davis, Doubt
3. (4) *Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler, Amy Adams, Doubt
4. (3) *Amy Adams, Doubt
5. (5) *Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Finally, a race.  This race is going to give me many restless nights.  I don't know what to do.  I still have Cruz in the top slot, but watch out for Viola Davis.  I have this feeling that she is closing in on this.  I may be changing my pick soon.

I look at Davis' scenes.  They are money scenes that really change the dynamic of the film.  For a mother to basically not care if her son is molested is a powerful statement.  It's shocking and Oscar worthy.

It's going to be tight.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
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: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Costume Design: The Duchess
Best Documentary - Feature: Man on Wire
Best Documentary - Short Subject: The Witness, From the Balcony of Room 306
Best Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz with Bashir
Best Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Original Song: "Jai Ho", Slumdog Millionaire
Best Short - Animated: Presto
Best Short - Live Action: Spielzeugland (Toyland)
Best Sound Editing: WALL-E
Best Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight
Best Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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