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post #294
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Sneaky Little Oscars

The Oscars snuck up on me this year. One minute I’m prodding along watching good movies; then suddenly (bang!) it’s time to play the Oscar pool once again.

The ceremony is this coming Sunday, so hopefully Sunday will be the last time we watch Daniel Day Lewis watching a clip of himself shouting ‘I’VE ABANDONED MY CHILD’. I wonder if Daniel Day Lewis might feel a little bit cursed by his talent as awards show after awards show, he must sit through such emoting. Ah, the burdens one must carry.

Anyway, I feel that every year I do a small service to the happyrobot community by posting my predictions/hopes/research here. Personally, I would love to see some upsets, but this is how I think it’s all going to play out on Sunday.

Best Picture/Best Director/Best Adapted Screenplay

You know how this is going to turn out. No Country for Old Men has been killing the competition everywhere---especially in production, directing, and writing. Last year, the killing machine came from Boston and Scorsese under the title The Departed. This year, it came from Texas and the Coens.  

Best Actor

Viggo Mortensen was so good in Eastern Promises, so he should win. Tommy Lee Jones just keeps getting better with age, so he should win. Johnny Depp took on one of the hardest roles in American Musical Theatre and made it his own, so he should win. George Clooney gives us a master class in subtle film acting in the tradition of Spencer Tracy, so he should win. Daniel Day Lewis is so much in his own universe in There Will Be Blood that he should win.

Daniel Day-Lewis will win. He will be gracious and articulate while acknowledging the work of his fellow nominees, his cast and crew, and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Best Actress

Ellen Page deserves it for the Sunny D scene in the beginning. Cate Blanchett deserves it because she’s doing some hard core Elizabethan acing. Laura Linney deserves it because she’s doing hard core family angst. Julie Christie deserves it for subtlety which rivals Clooney, and Marion Cotillard deserves for taking on Piaf.

The prevailing wind seems to be with Julie Christie, but Marion Cotillard could upset it. How do you compare them? Christie is perfect and subtle in a small chamber movie while Cotillard anchors an epic musical bio pic. I will probably decide when I’m about to turn in my ballot.

Best Supporting Actor

This one’s easy. Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men. Thinking about the bullet removal scene still makes me cringe. Euuuu!

Best Supporting Actress

This one’s hard. The only certain thing is that the winner will be female.

First there’s Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone. She’s a respected theatre actress and won a whole bunch of awards. Then, there’s Cate Blanchett channeling Bob Dylan in I’m Not There. She won the Golden Globe and won the Oscar for playing Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. Whoever thought the same actress would have Hepburn and Dylan in her? Then, there’s Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton. She won at BAFTA and her winning an Oscar could be a way for the academy to honor the film as a whole. Then, there’s Ruby Dee in American Gangster. She got to slap Denzel Washington and won at SAG. Then, there’s Saoirse Ronan in Atonement. She’s thirteen, cute, and potentially this year’s Anna Paquin.

I’m going to say Ruby Dee. She was born in Cleveland (I grew up there) and she went to Hunter College (my mom went there).

Best Animated Feature

The choice is between a film about a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution (Persepolis), surfing penguins (Surf’s Up), and a rat who longs to be a chef (Ratatouille). I’m going with the rat.

Best Original Screenplay

I think there is a potential two-script race here between two best picture nominees: Juno and Michael Clayton. I am going with the sisterhood on this one. Besides, Juno won the WGA award, and Michael Clayton is way beyond my maturity level. I’m going with Juno.

Best Original Score

I’m going with the score for Atonement. It was the best thing about the movie.

Best Original Song

‘Falling Slowly’ from Once. Remember the scene? The piano store. He’s got a guitar. She’s at a piano. It was such a movie moment that it has to win.

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins is nominated twice in this category for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men. The three other nominees are Seamus McGarvey for Atonement, Janusz Kaminski for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood. There Will Be Blood won the cinematographers’ award, and those shots of the flames shooting out of the oil well are spectacular. I’m going with Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood. However, don't count out the visual poetry of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Best Editing

You know how earlier I said that No Country For Old Men was winning everything. Let me correct that. It didn’t win the American Cinema Editors Award. Bourne Ultimatum did, so my pick is The Bourne Ultimatum.

Best Foreign Language Film

My rule with Foreign Language Film is pick the Art House hit. However, this year, there is no art house hit. I’ve seen none of these films, so I’m going by word of mouth among the Oscar handicappers. My pick is The Counterfeiters from Austria.

Best Documentary Feature

Two of the five nominated films are about Iraq War (No End In Sight and Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience). One is about torture (Taxi to the Dark Side). One is U.S. Healthcare (Sicko). One is about Ugandan refugee children (War/Dance). My NPR listening gut tells me it will either be No End in Sight or Taxi to the Dark Side.

Inconvenient Truth
won best Documentary last year. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Al Gore showed up and gave the best Documentary Award to a film about the Bush Administration’s errors during the invasion of Iraq (No End in Sight)?

Best Documentary Short Subject

And now we move into the Shorts. Eeek. Just close your eyes and pick randomly. Or you can go to and read up on them.

Best Animated Short Film

Thanks to youtube, you can see clips of the animated nominees. I’m going with either I Met the Walrus or Madame Tutli-Putli. How’s that for definite?

Best Live Action Short Film

Following the trend of definite choices, I’m either going with The Tonto Woman or Tanghi Argentini.

Best Makeup

La Vie en Rose. Old Piaf really was something to see.

Best Art Direction

Among the handicappers, this seems to be a three film race between Atonement (Oh to be in England in the hot summer and on the beach of Dunkirk during a retreat), Sweeney Todd (Oh to be in London and need a shave), and There Will Be Blood (Oh to be on the oil fields when they’re a-burning). There Will Be Blood, Golden Compass, and No Country For Old Men (not nominated for an Oscar) won Art Directors Guild awards. I’m picking There Will Be Blood.

Best Costume Design

I’m going with Sweeney Todd which won the Costumers Guild Award, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s outfit was fabulous.

Best Visual Effects

Everyone says Transformers. More than meets the eye.

Best Sound Mixing & Best Sound Editing

Kevin O’Connell has been nominated for an Oscar nineteen times before this one, and he has never won. He’s nominated for Sound Mixing for the Transformers, but No Country for Old Men also has a shot. For Sound Editing, I’m going with the toys and picking Transformers.

If you choose to play a drinking game during the Oscars, take a drink when. . .
---Jon Stewart’s voice goes high
---The camera cuts to George Clooney in the audience.
---An acceptance speech is cut off by the orchestra.
---A winner hoists the statuette over his or her head.
---God is thanked.
---There’s a standing ovation
---A milkshake joke is made

Add your own criteria as the evening progresses.

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