Literary Corner Cafe

Friday, February 22, 2008

Something Different - My Picks for the Academy Awards

Since films are fun, and since more and more films seem to be being adapted from novels, we thought it would be fun if I posted my picks for the Academy Award's on Sunday, February 24th. Now, these aren't necessarily the films and actors I liked/like the best, but they're all the ones I feel will win.

Oscar speeches are usually far too long, so I won't bore you anymore here. Instead, I'll go straight to my own personal picks:

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis for "There Will Be Blood." Just no other choice. George Clooney was terrific, but not up to Day-Lewis' standard. Tommy Lee Jones and Viggo Mortenson could pose a threat, but I don't think it will be more than a threat. And anyone who thinks the Academy is going to give Johnny Depp, and I love Johnny Depp, an Oscar for playing yet another weirdo in yet another Tim Burton film is...well, wrong. He'll garner lots and lots of People's Choice awards for doing that, but not Oscars.

This was so easy, I get no points for this one.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Javier Bardem for "No Country for Old Men," though Hal Holbrook for "Into the Wild" could be a sentimental upset much like Alan Arkin was last year. I hope not, though, as Bardem was truly magnificent and no one, absolutely no one deserves a win more this year. Javier Bardem is consistently magnificent. Just watch him in "The Sea Inside" or "The Dancer Upstairs" and you'll see what I mean.

So glad he won. He's so magnificent.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Julie Christie for "Away From Her." If there's any justice, the beautiful and talented Julie Christie will win, though Marion Cotillard could be an upset as Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose." I can't see anyone else winning. Christie's performance was far more intense, however. This is an actress who's had some very good roles ("Doctor Zhivago" and "Darling") and some very bad ones ("Don't Look Now"), but "Away From Her" was intense, heartbreaking, and intensely heartbreaking.

I really thought Christie would win, but I'm glad the award went to Marion Cotillard. She was truly great as Edith Piaf. I'm buying the DVD today.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Ruby Dee in "American Gangster." I know I'm swimming against the tide in not choosing Cate Blanchett, but again, if there's justice in this world, Cate will never again win another Oscar. Personally, I think history will judge her a very mediocre actress, much like the colorless Gwyneth Paltrow. And the Academy likes sentimentality. Give the eighty-plus-year-old Ruby the win even though her role was a bit "lightweight" by Academy standards. Heck, so was Arkin's and he didn't have a whole lot of screen time. And there's always an upset. Right?

It's good to know performance won out over sentimentality. Tilda Swinton gave, by far, the best performance. Ruby Dee has given many, many, many great performances, but this wasn't one of them. Again, glad I was wrong.

Best Animated Feature: "Ratatouille." How can anyone resist this charming film? Or Remy? And the Academy loves animals, even animated ones. ("Happy Feet" really wasn't better than "Cars.") Well, anyone who can make me love a rat, and in the kitchen, too, deserves several awards.

My favorite film of the year. It would have broken my heart had it not won this category.

Best Art Direction: "Atonement." It was just beautiful. And beautiful in a very artistic way. This is one of those cases where the film was actually better than the book. And I'll admit, I'm not generally an Ian McEwan fan, but I did love "Atonement."

This was a hard category as all the films were deserving, but I can live with "Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street." I'm just sorry I didn't choose it. LOL

Best Cinematography: "No Country for Old Men." This was a hard one for me because all the films are so worthy. And I really wanted to choose "Atonement," but if you've seen "No Country for Old Men," you'll know what I mean when I picked it for the winner. If you haven't seen it, you might not "get it."

Again, all the films were worthy, but I was surprised at "There Will Be Blood's" win. Could it have been the fire on the oil rig?

Best Costume Design: "Atonement." Again, just beautiful. And the Academy has been veering away from truly lavish costumes and going more for originality and authenticity in period design. (Hooray!) In that case, "Atonement" should win, hands down.

So sorry not to see "Atonement" win in this category. Maybe they are going for the truly lavish?

Best Directing: Joel and Ethan Coen for "No Country for Old Men." Joel was nominated for "Fargo" but lost to Anthony Minghella for "The English Patient." Though not everyone in Hollywood likes this duo, this is is just their year to shine.

And shine they did. Are they no longer quirky, but mainstream?

Best Documentary Feature: "No End in Sight." It's topical and important. And it gives the Academy a chance to make a political statement, something many of its members love to do.

So hard to predict. I took a chance and missed.

Best Documentary Short: "Sari's Mother." Heartbreaking and poignant.

Again, took a chance and missed.

Best Film Editing: "The Bourne Ultimatum." It's a fast paced action film, that's why. It sure wasn't my favorite film of the year. I don't even like Jason Bourne. I found him annoying. LOL

I didn't care for the film, but the editing was spectacular.

Best Foreign Language Film: "The Counterfeiters" (Austria). I actually hope I'm wrong with this one. I loved Poland's entry, "Katyn," but I just don't think it'll win. It's director has already won a Lifetime Achievement Award, something that counts with the Academy. However, both films are set against the backdrop of WWII, the Academy's "favorite" era, so right now I think this prize is up for grabs.

I preferred "Katyn," but really did think this would win, and so it did.

Best Makeup: "La Vie en Rose." Transforming a young Marion Cotillard into an elderly Edith Piaf will not go unrewarded.

And it didn't.

Best Original Score: "Atonement" (Dario Marianelli). Again, just lovely.

Who can forget the sound of the typewriter keys integrated into the lovely music?

Best Original Song - "Falling Slowly" (Once). And if not that, then "That's How You Know" (Enchanted).

The only one "Oscar worthy," in my opinion.

Best Short Film, Animated: "Madame Tutli-Putli." The short films are so hard to predict and I think the nominees in this category all have a chance, but this one's so creative and imaginative, I'm putting my hopes on it.

I originally picked "Peter and the Wolf," then changed it. I overanalyze and it gets me every year. LOL

Best Short Film, Live Action: "Tanghi Argentini." Utterly charming and fun. And history tells us that the Academy loves lighter fare is this category.

I preferred this to "Les Mozarts des Pickpockets," which I had originally picked as the winner. Again, I overanalyzed instead of going with my instincts and it got the best of me. It was so good to see Owen Wilson looking healthy, if a bit subdued.

Best Sound Editing: "Transformers." I know, I know, some of you didn't like the film, but I still think it's going to win this category. Personally, I thought the film was awesome and fun. One of my brothers had all the transformers, every single one, and now his son does. So, in a way, I grew up with them. I think the sound technicians, and they are the ones voting here, are going to love this one. They worked hard on it.

I still think "Transformers" should have won. I always will.

Best Sound Mixing: "Transformers." See above.

But what do I know about sound editing. ;)

Best Visual Effects: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

I am very puzzled by "The Golden Compass' " win here. To me, it was the weakest of the nominees.

Best Screenplay, Adapted: "No Country for Old Men." It really was superb and this is the year of the Coen brothers. (I'm not really a fan, but I have to give credit where credit is due and it's due here in a very big way.)

I'm becoming a fan of the Coen brothers.

Best Screenplay, Original: "Juno." It charmed many and was very well done, despite a few problems with the dialogue. Personally, I don't feel it's "Oscar worthy," but I think it'll be chosen. I'd love to see "Ratatouille" win, but I don't think the Academy, despite its love for animals, is going to give this award to an animated feature, no matter how popular or how good.

I was turned off, rather than charmed, by this film, but I knew it was riding high on a wave of popularity.

Best Picture: "No Country for Old Men." Anyone who thinks "Juno" will win picked "Little Miss Sunshine" last year and was wrong. "Juno," though charming to many, just doesn't have that "Big Picture" feel, and the Academy isn't that fond of comedy. Besides, this year's dramas are really "heavy hitters."


One thing I do know for sure: Time will tell. LOL


John Self said...

You didn't do too badly!

Literary Corner Cafe said...

Thanks. Compared to previous years, I didn't do so well, but I'm actually glad I got some of them wrong.