Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last Train to Oscarville

This is going to be my last Oscar Nominations post, meaning that no posts after this one will aim at predicting the nominees of the Oscars. All future Oscar posts are about predicting the WINNERS.

At least one reader pointed out to me that conceivably, things have not remained so static after the Golden Globes. Upon closer examination, I believe him correct. So, for the final time before the nominations are announced, here are my Oscar nominee predictions.

Best Actor
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Breakdown: Jenkins' inclusion is due to no clear fifth nominee (DiCaprio? Pitt?) and a surprisingly strong pre-Oscar awards showing. If his movie is too invisible for Oscar voters, however, watch Brad Pitt take that spot for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I do believe that Eastwood, Langella, Penn, and Rourke are guaranteed nominations.

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

Breakdown: Well, so much for Winslet failing to secure a nomination. Her surprise victories at the Globes will boost her here, but I hope that the more deserving Hathaway or Streep win the award. Hawkins, Jolie, Melissa Leo, and Kristin Scott Thomas could all fall in the last two slots, but personally, I'd love to see Kate Beckinsdale for Nothing But The Truth in one of those spots. Lord knows she deserves it more than Jolie.

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Breakdown: Franco's out, Patel's back in, but it's all just a ridiculous game of cards at this point. Ledger's got this award sewn up, and anyone who is willing to hear any BS indicating otherwise needs to wake up and smell the Joker.

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Kate Winslet, The Reader

Breakdown: Well, so much for simplicity. The HFPA have made Winslet viable here again, but I really don't want her to win for such a substandard role. Give it to Cruz! Give it to Davis! Give it to Tomei! Even give it to the superbly weak Henson! BUT DON'T GIVE WINSLET THIS OSCAR! As far as nominations go, this might be the most secure category. Henson's pretty unsteady here, and she should worry about Amy Adams for Doubt or Vera Farmiga for Nothing But The Truth, but these five are the smartest bets.

Best Original Song
"The Wrestler", The Wrestler
"Barking at the Moon", Bolt
"Can I Have This Dance", High School Musical 3
"Gran Torino", Gran Torino
"Down to Earth", WALL*E

Breakdown: More competitive category than it usually is this year, even though the fear that High School Musical 3 songs could sweep the category is quelled. A new rule prohibits more than 2 songs from any one movie, in an attempt to stop what happened the last two years: three-way vote splitting from Enchanted and Dreamgirls. So HSM3 will probably only get one song in; the current, fun ballad "Can I Have This Dance" seems like a logical choice. "The Wrestler", "Down to Earth", and "Gran Torino" are all guaranteed in. Upsets could come from "Once in a Lifetime" (Cadillac Records), "I Thought I Lost You" (Bolt), and "I Want It All" (HSM3).

Best Adapted Screenplay
Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
The Reader, David Hare

Breakdown: No surer list, really. Hare might get bumped off, but I doubt it.

Best Original Screenplay
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen
Milk, Dustin Lance Black
Burn After Reading, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Rachel Getting Married, Jenny Lumet
Gran Torino, Nick Schenk

Breakdown: No less steady list. That, my friends, is the difference between Original and Adapted. Changeling, Happy-Go-Lucky, and WALL*E all could sneak onto this list, and the Coen brothers or Schenk could get bumped right off. I'm fairly confident in these five, but one word of warning: comedies are favored in this category. Right now I have three dramas to two comedies. If Happy-Go-Luckywriter Mike Leigh were to sneak in, as he is very likely to do, it'll probably be for Torino writer Schenk.

Best Director
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
Gus Van Sant, Milk

Breakdown: Van Sant's presence here irks me to no end, but what can I say? Pundits love the Milk. Nolan needs to watch his back for a more prestigious film to sweep in and take his nomination. His unappreciative, unworthy speeches for Ledger haven't been winning him points. Still, these five are about as certain as you can get in Oscarology.

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

Breakdown: Almost every Oscarologist has this list right now. It's widely being accepted as the final five. However, I think it stinks. For one thing, Button and Frost/Nixon have not won ONE critics' prize for Best Picture COMBINED. Meanwhile, Doubt, WALL*E, The Wrestler, and Revolutionary Road have picked up at least one EACH. Plus, I'm no fan of The Dark Knight's presence on this list. Slumdog Millionaire is the only movie that truly, wholly, 100% deserves its place here. And that's why it will win Best Picture. That's right. More than a month before showtime, before voting even takes place, I'm calling Slumdog as the Best Picture of the year.

I'll post a scorecard as well as winners' picks the day of the nominations announcements, the 22nd. Keep posted on all your AIWWAF updates as Oscar season progresses, and comment on either my Blogspot or my Facebook!

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