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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oscar Update: Two Weeks Away

Only two weeks to go. Can you believe it? This is the stretch run. The WGA and BAFTA were this past weekend, so all the major award shows are over. Still, some of these races are just plain tough to predict. In the major categories, I look at Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Best Original Screenplay is also going to be tough to call.

I also look at the technical category and it's tough to predict either sound category, original song, and cinematography to name a few. I'm a mess right now. The suspense and possible scenarios are maddening.

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. (3) *Milk
4. (4) *The Reader
5. (5) *Frost/Nixon

Slumdog has had the best major awards run since American Beauty (Brokeback I believe had more critics awards, but it is rather pointless since it lost Best Picture). Can it still lose? Yes, it's possible, but unlikely. I still look at either Button or Milk to be the upset special.

Harvey Weinstein believes The Reader has the best chance for the upset. I don't see it.

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. (4) *Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
5. (5) *Stephen Daldrey, The Reader

Boyle won the DGA. He's so much on fire that if you were to shake his hand you would probably get a third degree burn. Game. Set. Match.

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

Penn has the SAG. Rourke has the Globe and BAFTA. Who will win the Oscar? I'm still sticking with Penn. Wouldn't it be funny though if Frank Langella came out of nowhere and won this? That would be classic.

This is probably the biggest battle of the night. Both Penn and Rourke have strong supporters. I really like both performances, but still give the edge to Penn for his portrayal of Harvey Milk. With a win on Oscar night he could make claim to being the actor of the decade. Only time will tell.

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

Kate Winslet is way in front. Streep and Hathaway have hope, but I haven't heard anything to make me change this race at all. Kate will finally have her Oscar.

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

I have changed my opinion that if anyone will beat Heath on Oscar night it may be Robert Downey Jr. Though the probability of that happening is very slim. Heath should and will win this.

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

This is the tighest race of the major categories. I'm still seriously debating Cruz and Davis. I'm sticking with Cruz still, but my pick could change anytime leading up to the Oscars.

Best Original Screenplay
1. (-) Milk
2. (-) WALL-E
3. (-) In Bruges
4. (-) Happy-Go-Lucky
5. (-) Frozen River

Yes, I'm adding the Screenplay categories for extra fun. It will be a battle between Milk and WALL-E. I'm giving Milk the edge. It won the WGA the other night. I also look at this award as a consolation prize. Milk will probably lose Picture and Director, so it will be awarded in Screenplay. It has happened in the past for other films such as Sideways and Lost in Translation to name a few.

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. (-) Slumdog Millionaire
2. (-) The Reader
3. (-) Frost/Nixon
4. (-) Doubt
5. (-) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This race is over. I don't see any of these films winning this from Slumdog.

Complete Oscar Predictions:

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: "Down to Earth", WALL-E
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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