Monday, February 18, 2008

and the oscar goes to...


Every year, I eagerly await the Oscar ceremony and make a special point to see as many nominated films as I can prior to the big night. This year is no exception...so without further ado, I present the first annual Annals of Spacetime Oscar predictions!

ACTOR
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis
An excellent field this year, but there's really only one complete standout, and that's Mr. Day-Lewis. Pretty much anything this guy touches becomes gold, and for good reason: He turns his juicy roles into extensions of his personality more than actor I can think of. Bravo.

ACTOR - SUPPORTING
Will win: Javier Bardem
Should win: Casey Affleck
I have issues with Javier Bardem's role appearing in the supporting category, for it could easily have been listed as a lead. That said, he'll walk away with the statue for his searing portrayal as a robotic mass murderer. It's a bit of a shame, though, since Casey Affleck deserves recognition for his nuanced performance as the disturbed killer of Jesse James.

ACTRESS
Will win: Julie Christie
Should win: -NA-
I'm gonna refrain from suggesting a favorite here since I only saw two of the nominated performances (Linney and Page) and I don't think either one is or should be a contender. So far there has been buzz aplenty around Julie Christie for her portrayal of a woman with Alzheimer's, so I'm guessing she'll take the prize.

ACTRESS - SUPPORTING
Will win: Saoirse Ronan
Should win: Tilda Swinton
I have a feeling the Academy may be looking to annoint a new child star... But while Ronan did give a nice performance as a prissy aspiring young writer, I'm pulling for Tilda Swinton. Swinton has had some meaty roles over the last few years, but none (that I've seen) has been as palpable as her nerve-racking portrayal of a corrupt business executive.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Will win: There Will Be Blood
Should win: The Assassination of Jesse James by the
Coward Robert Ford

Wow, this is a toughie. All five are deserving, all for different reasons. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has probably the most unique shots, but I'm gonna go with The Assassination of Jesse James, which features breathtaking vistas of the wintery West captured in artistic, untraditional ways. I'm guessing There Will Be Blood will pull in the award, though.

ANIMATED FILM
Will win: Ratatouille
Should win: Ratatouille
I was a big fan of Marjane Sartrapi's Persepolis graphic novels, but I keep hearing the film version is actually pretty flat. (I have yet to see it, though, so I may yet change my mind!) However, I think it's obvious that this year's animation prize will go to Ratatouille, and deservedly so. Wonderful animations and a cute story. And it is the year of the rat, you know.

DIRECTOR
Will win: Paul-Thomas Anderson
Should win: Julian Schnabel
While I think P.T. Anderson is very much deserving for his vision of Upton Sinclair's (truly) muckraking Oil! I have to give props here to Julian Schnabel, for turning the improbable autobiography of a man paralyzed but for one blinking eye into a somewhat fantastical full-feature film. My only suggestion, though, Julian: Skip the U2!

PICTURE
Will win: There Will Be Blood
Should win: There Will Be Blood
This category is by no means a walkover; there are four excellent films in the running this year, plus a token "fan favorite." That nomination would of course be Juno, which was a cute flick but nothing more. Atonement was a devastating love story, and its execution was more than competent, but I just wasn't as compelled by the film as I thought I should be; for instance, some of the war scenes really dragged, which was my one major criticism of the book, too. Michael Clayton is probably the most gripping mind-bender of the bunch, but despite its all-star cast, hot-button political message, and fresh score, I have a feeling it won't win the Academy over. I think there will be some split over the two Westerns, but in the end, the powerful acting and intriguing story behind There Will Be Blood will and should prevail.

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