I love the Oscars which are this Sunday. I love the schmaltz of it. I love the surprises. I love watching actors cradle gold statuettes while thanking their agents in between the tears.
But enough about me. It’s all about you, you lovely cubicle dwellers who want to do your Oscar pool without too much embarrassment. I’m here to help.
Slumdog Millionaire will win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, and Best Editing because
A. The Academy is embracing Bollywood cinema channeled through a Western sensibility.
B. It’s a feel-good movie in a time when people want to feel good.
C. The kids in it are cute.
D. It is written.
Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger. I’m playing the joker. Lock it in. Final answer.
Best Supporting Actress
Basically, it’s a nun, a stripper, a mother, a caretaker, and an artist all sprinting to the finish. I’m saying the artist by inches. Penelope Cruz showed up in a Woody Allen film and took over. Woody Allen women in the past have done this and won Oscars. She’s also from Spain, so it’s the international thing. And she’s beautiful.
Word on the internet street is that it’s either Streep or Winslet (aka the battle of the kick-ass acting blondes). I’m going Winslet. She’s never won, and she’s in a holocaust film which, if we all remember her episode of Extras, is the key to winning a golden naked guy. Personally, my favorite actress of the year was Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky. She had to play happy for two hours. Now, that’s some acting.
Rourke and Penn. Penn and Rourke. I think they should do a movie together after this. They could play brothers. One is a former gay community activist. The other is a former pro wrestler. They could run an old folks home, and one day space aliens show up. Ron Howard could direct. But I digress. I’ve seen them both. I loved them both (but not at the same time). I wanted to be Sean Penn/Harvey Milk’s boyfriend, but Mickey Rourke/Randy the Ram broke my heart. I’m going Rourke. Besides, he likes dogs.
Best Animated Film
WALL-E. Go robots go! Take out the talking animals! Robot power!
Best Art Direction
I think this is where Benji Button with his thirteen nominations will feel the love.
Best Costume Design
I think this is where The Duchess with her two nominations will feel the love.
Best Documentary Feature
Man on Wire. It’s the stuff of dreams. However, Trouble the Water, about a New Orleans family during and post-Katrina, has been getting raves.
Best Documentary Short
The Conscience of Nhem En. There was a story about it on NPR the other day. It’s a fascinating portrait of a 16 year old soldier in Cambodia in 1975 who took photographs of victims of the genocide.
Best Foreign Language Film
I think it will either go to The Class from France or Waltz with Bashir from Israel.
Best Original Song
Until about a week ago, I would’ve said the song from Wall-E because the other two nominees from Slumdog Millionaire would cancel each other out. However, Peter Gabriel, due to perform the Wall-E song, dropped out at the last minute. Okayyyy. Now, I’m going back to my Slumdog sweep thinking, and Jai Ho is it. Or it could be O-Saya.
Best Animated Short
I have not seen the Animated Shorts. Presto about a bunny and a carrot has been shown at WALL-E screenings. It’s a Pixar short. Oktapedi is a three minute short about Calamari fighting to live. This Way Up is about undertakers and comes from Great Britain. Lavatory-Lovestory is about a stewardess who gets flowers. La Maison en Petits Cubes is from Japan and is about an Old Man dealing with rising water. Apparently this one is quite creative. Eenie-meanie-miney-mo.
Best Live Action Short
This year, I did see the Live Action Shorts. I liked On the Line, a meditation on voyeurism and missed opportunities from Germany. It dealt with the modern world in an adult way. I liked Manon on the Asphalt, a short story of woman on a bicycle from France. It covered a lot of stuff in a short time. I liked New Boy, an Irish film about an African boy’s first day in an Irish school. It was funny without being cutesy funny, and the kids were great without being annoying. I liked The Pig, from Denmark, about old man’s fascination with a painting while he is in hospital. It was a well-acted morality tale about tolerance. Finally, I liked Toyland from Germany about a little boy in Germany during World War II who thinks his Jewish neighbors are going to a place called Toyland. It had some really great production value, and the woman who played the boy’s mother gave a very subtle but great performance.
Oscar handicappers say it will be either The Pig or Toyland. However, I think New Boy will win because I’ve been seeing a lot of ads for it in the trades, and when I walked out of the theatre, people were talking about it.
Best Sound Editing & Best Sound Mixing
Usually the same film wins both. Nominated in both are Wall-E, Knighty, Slumdoggy, and Wanted-E. Slumdog love might trickle down into this category (trickle down Oscar-nomics?), but Wall-E, with its trash robots, is looking mighty strong.
Best Visual Effects & Makeup
In the past, the Academy has used these categories to make a statement about how not all Visual Effects should be violent and not all Makeup jobs should be blood and gore. That said, I’m going with the violent gorefest called Benjamin Button. But! There could also be some Dark Knight love left over after Heath Ledger, so it’s respectable to go Dark Knight.
Best Original Screenplay
I love all these scripts. I’m going Milk. Go Dustin Lance Black, take out Prop 8!
Oh that would most definitely be the vesper from Quantum of Solace. Not only was it tasty, but it carried a lot of emotional weight in the film. And James Bond could get one on an airplane.
Tony Stark's car collection in Iron Man. Best Action Figure