Thursday, February 5, 2009

"...What's 'In Brugjez'?"

Say that title phonetically. I had someone ask me that earlier this week. *hangs head in shame*

I know I promised y'all the writing categories this week, but I'm throwing in Best Original Song and Best Foreign Language Film for flavor. Next week, along with Best Picture and Best Director, you'll also get Best Original Score and Best Animated Film. Keep those categories in mind, and start doing your research, because you'll need that knowledge soon...

Best Original Screenplay
WALL-E, Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter
Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh
Frozen River, Courtney Hunt
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh
Milk, Dustin Lance Black

Breakdown: AKA The Category That Screwed Woody Allen and Jenny Lumet. Not that I'm bitter or anything. I mean, Lumet only crafted the best wedding film's script in recent memory, Rachel Getting Married. And Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona may have been his funniest, sexiest script since 2005's Match Point, and THAT got an Oscar nom, but who cares, really? No, I'm not bitter. Not bitter at all. One good thing did happen, though: Nick Schenk's tragic Gran Torino script got left out, as part of the film's overall snub. Out of the films that were nominated, WALL-E, though a great film in so many respects, shouldn't win because it almost completely ignores the most difficult part of screenwriting: dialogue. Frozen River's nod was great, and that's all it'll get. Happy-Go-Lucky couldn't get its star nominated, so the script's victory feels very dark horse. Like black horse. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree-type dark horse. That leaves it to the incredibly funny In Bruges and the bland, stylized Milk. Though McDonagh deserves it, I'm afraid Black's too young and talented for the Academy to ignore. (By the way, I say that in a good way, not a bad one.)

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

Breakdown: For all of y'all who thought The Dark Knight deserved a nod here, go back and watch TDK again, paying special attention to before and after Bruce Wayne's toast at the party for Harvey Dent. The writing is truly terrible. Okay, moving on to the nominated scripts. The play adaptations will vote-split, so Morgan and Shanley are out of luck. Roth's gonna get a lot of backlash for essentially remaking his Forrest Gump screenplay and merging it with an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story. Also, Fitzgerald needed only 12 pages for his story. Why did Roth need a 3-hour movie? Hare's script pales in comparison to the original book, and his faux-happy ending still sickens me. So Beaufoy should walk away with this trophy easy.

Best Original Song
"Down to Earth" from WALL-E, Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman (music), Peter Gabriel (lyrics)
"Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire, A. R. Rahman (music), Gulzar (lyrics)
"O Saya" from Slumdog Millionaire, A. R. Rahman and M.I.A.

Breakdown: How will this go? The Disney route? Then "Earth" wins. The celebrity route? The M.I.A. collaboration "O...Saya" takes it. The real best song? "The Wrestler" will...oh, wait. If they really give it to the best song nominated here, it'll be for "Jai Ho", but I'm betting on "Earth".

Best Foreign Language Film
Revanche (Austria)
The Class (France)
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
Departures (Japan)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

Breakdown: I liked inevitable winner Bashir. I'll be happy when it wins. It's a good movie. Not the best movie in this group, though. That honor goes to the French film. The Class is brilliant, beautiful, and absolutely incredible. But it's not Bashir, and this year, that's all that matters.

Next week's post will go over the last four categories. Then, one week from the big show, I'll post my picks for those 12 categories. I want everyone I tag to post their picks. Whomever beats me by the largest margin will get a prize (read: candy). The caveat is that you must BEAT me. Tying me is no good, and even if you beat me by a good margin, unless you're the #1, you won't win the big prize. All picks must be on the post entitled "Pick Yer Horse", that will be up on February 15th.

Good luck to everyone! Start researching Oscar blogs and get ready to place your bets!

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