Sunday, February 22, 2009


Here are my predictions for Oscar 2009. More than the actual awards themselves, I'm looking forward to the show as a production. Writer-director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls), is exec-producing the show, and A-list star Hugh Jackman (Australia, Wolverine), is hosting the shin-dig. It should be a different atmosphere this year. Very curious to see how it all pans out. Anyways, without further ado, here are my predictions:

Best Picture

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire
My choice: Slumdog Millionaire
Note: If Benjamin Button were to upset I'd be pretty happy. But Slumdog is the film of the moment.

Best Director

Winner: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
My Choice: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Note: This is a very tough decision to make. Boyle has really evolved as a filmmaker, and he brought a lot of flair and style and energy to Slumdog Millionaire. But Fincher's craft and sensibilities have really been maturing. He should have been nominated for his brilliant work in last year's masterpiece Zodiac, but with Button, he really turned a corner, showing a side of himself as a storyteller that he never has.

Best Actor

Winner: Sean Penn, Milk
My choice: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Wouldn't it be cool...if Richard Jenkins won for The Visitor?

Best Actress

Winner: Kate Winslet, The Reader
My choice: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Note: Winslet should've been nominated for her work in Revolutionary Road. Not that she's bad in The Reader -- far from it. It's just that Hathaway was a revelation, really coming into her own with the best written role of her career. I hope it leads to good stuff down the path.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
My Choice: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Note: Heath had a tough act to follow with the role of the Joker, which had been made famous by Jack Nicholson about 20 years earlier. He totally owned The Dark Knight. However, I'd laugh my ass off if Robert Downey Jr. won for Tropic Thunder.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
My Choice: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
But...if Taraji P. Henson or Amy Adams won for their equally impressive work, I'd be happy. This is a strong category.

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
My choice: Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky
Note: It'll never happen, but if Martin McDonagh heard his named called up to the podium for his truly original In Bruges screenplay, that'd rule. I'd argue that Milk was a rather traditionally conceived screenplay, and was bolstered by stylish direction and a powerhouse performance from Penn. Reward something truly original, like In Bruges, Happy-Go-Lucky, or even the subversively brilliant Wall*E, a film that used very little actual dialogue, but relied upon genius plotting and a streamlined narrative to tell an extremely compelling story.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
My Choice: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Why: However contrived, this is a masterful effort by Beaufouy. In adapting the novel Q&A, he fused an old-school, Hollywood romance with a new-school, non-linear sensibility, creating a wild and fresh feeling story that while ultimately predictable, thrills you for a brisk two hours.

Best Animated Film

Winner: Wall*E
My Choiuce: Wall*E
Why? Wall*E is my favorite animated movie of all time.

Best Cinematography

Winner: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
My Choice: Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Note: This is my favorite category every year. And it's always damn near impossible to pick a favorite. Film is a medium consisting, first and foremost, of the visual image. In my opinion, the most important aspect to a film is how it looks. You've got a massive movie screen to fill, and if you're projecting an image that isn't well composed, well, you might as well stop right there. Mantle, shooting in various film speeds and stocks, made Slumdog Millionaire feel vital and alive in a way that few films have in recent memory. Sure, he ripped Tony Scott off a lot, but Mantle juggled a lot of different aspects of the craft in composing his film. However, the visual artistry of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button cannot be dismissed. The film, simply put, was one of the most ravishing things I've ever seen on a big screen. Miranda's use of light, texture, shadow, and color, under the supervision of Fincher, was something that washed over me, making me feel warm and soothed on the inside. But hell -- if Wally Pfister won for The Dark Knight, I'd jump for joy as well.

Best Editing

Winner: Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire
My Choice: Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire
Note: The editing of Slumdog is relentless yet extremely coherent. It's a fabulous effort.

Best Visual Effects

Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
My Choice: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Why? Flawless, groundbreaking work.

Best Original Score

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire
My Choice: Slumdog Millionaire
Why? Lots of catchy, exotic tunes.

Best Original Song

Winner: Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire
My Choice: Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire
Why? It's a catchy beat.

Best Costumes

Winner: Michael O'Connor, The Duchess
My Choice: Jacqueline West, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Note: An almost impossible category to guess. It could easily go to Button. But the work in The Duchess was big and flashy and very realistic feeling.

Best Documentary

Winner: Man on Wire
My Choice: Man on Wire
But, wouldn't it be cool if...Werner Herzog got a chance to thank the Academy?

Best Foreign Language Film

Winner: Waltz With Bashir
My Choice: Can't Say
Sadly, I haven't seen any of the nominated films. But not for lack of desire. They just haven't opened near me yet. Really want to see Bashir, and really want to see France's selection The Class.

Best Art Direction

Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
My Choice: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Why? Beause it was f'ing gorgeous to look at.

Best Sound Editing

Winner: The Dark Knight
My Choice: The Dark Knight

Best Sound Mixing

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire
My Choice: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Animated Short Film

Winner: Presto
My Choice: Presto

Best Live Action Short Film

Winner: New Boy
My Choice: Don't really have one. This is a total guess.

Best Make-Up

Winner: Button
My Choice: Button
Why? Because the work done was brilliant.

Best Documentary Short Subject

Winner: The Final Inch (total guess)

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