Saturday, February 23, 2008

Oscars

***Editors Note: I will, hopefully, be posting my recap of 2007 BEFORE the end of February. I have actually got a good chunk of it going. Life just keeps getting in the way of me actually finishing it.***

Thankfully, the Academy will be gracing me with my annual birthday present this year—writer’s strike seemingly at its end. Having said that, I’m not sure if I’m going to remember my 25th Academy Awards show as the one that almost didn’t happen or the one that left me inexplicably staring at the ballot opinions saying, I’m sorry, WHAT?

Norbit has an Oscar nod?! What the hell is the world coming to?! And why is it that most of the Best Picture nominees (And best director nominees by proxy) seem wholly out of place in their selection?

I don’t care what anyone says, No Country For Old Men was almost as disappointing as it was plain boring. Tommy Lee Jones didn’t even need to be in the movie, and the part he did play was about as useful as a broken air conditioner on a hot day.

There Will Be Blood has the same sort of ailment as Monster did a few years ago; it seems to be little more than a platform for a fantastic actor to showcase his craft. The story itself inconsequence to the brilliance of one of its leading players. It’s a cheap acting class for those who want to be “one of the greats” someday.

Michael Clayton was an enjoyable enough film, but an Oscar nod? Seriously? Why, exactly? There was nothing overly profound, nor overly original about any of the story, acting, or cinematography. So why all the hullabaloo? Does Clooney really have that much pull in Hollywood? Astonishing, I tell you.

Juno and Atonement I understand, both because of the beauty of the films and the typically Oscar-buzz quality they both seemed to garner. Atonement seems a more obvious choice of the two merely because I’m not optimistic enough to think the Academy has either the sense of humor or the gumption needed to pill Juno out from the crowd. Juno has (although I didn’t like the it half as much) the same sort of following that Little Miss Sunshine ran with last year. On the other hand, Atonement deals with the devastating consequences of misunderstandings and assumptions, not to mention the particularly gruesome and hopeless nature of war. Atonement is in no way perfect. It is often too pretty for its own good, and almost as pretentious as some of its characters. But really, isn’t that what we’d expect from an Academy Award Wining film?

Right, well, now that I’ve got that out of my system…

Actor – Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis basically has the lock on thisaone. If I were a betting girl, that’s where I’d put my money. Of course, I’d really like to see Depp get some applause, but I don’t think this is the movie he’s going to get it for.

Actor – Supporting Role
Javier Bardem was perhaps the only good thing about No Country for Old Men, and even that I say with a grain of sarcasm. He was a batshit crazy serial killer with enough subdued disquiet to make the audience squirm. He also reminded me of a cross between AndrĂ© the Giant and the dude who played the brother on Everybody [does not] Loves Ramon. If you’re looking for an alternate, it really is difficult to go wrong with Philip Seymour Hoffman, no matter what the movie.

Actress – Leading Role
For one, I’d like to see Cate Blanchett win just because I have a serious girl-crush on both her and Queen Elizabeth the First; but I digress, as we’ll get to her (Cate, not Queen) later. I think Julie Christie has this one, both because of the body of work she has laying behind her, and because of the preference she’s been shown by every major award offering thus far. I, again, find myself a little ‘meh’ about her part in this role, itself, but that really isn’t always the point. My own choice, of course, goes to my fellow brunette—and Canadian—Ellen Page for her fantastic turn as Juno. I don’t see her nabbing the little gold guy, but I really hope the Academy gives her high marks for this one…so next time she’s up for it, she might actually get to stand on the podium.

Actress – Supporting Role
Here’s where we get to talk about Cate Blanchett and how much I want to marry this woman. Okay, maybe notsomuch with my crazy fan-girl obsession with her, but why she should actually win. I’m Not There—which is sure to become even more iconic now that one of its quartet of stars has passed away—was a fantastic montage of the multiple personalities of Bob Dylan. Cate’s one of those actors that I like watching, even if I don’t like the movie. If Cate was in No Country for Old Men, I’d probably feel differently about it. Let that be a lesson to all of you about the importance of casting. If the Academy decides that Cate already has her share of the gold, Ruby Dee might just creep in to take an Oscar home. She’s an older woman, where’s Cate is not, so perhaps she should get the acclaim while she’s around to receive it. But I think the untimely deaths of Ledger and Renfro should vastly highlight how we never know when, exactly our time is up.

Animated Feature
If the Academy actually grows a pair of balls—Oo! And they could be gold ones! To go with the motif!—Persepolis would win. Since I highly doubt this, the family friendly Ratatouille is my betting choice. The movie, to me was cute and squishy, but I’ve seen better, and I miss the days of really smart, snark like Emperor’s New Groove, Finding Nemo, and (to a degree) the Shrek installments. Kids aren’t stupid, we don’t have to make everything pretty and happy in front of them. And it’s really better that we don’t, because promising them nothing but good things can lead to really spoilt, pissed off young adults.

Art Direction
Art Direction is a category reserved for the sets, set dressings, and overall “world” in which the characters engage. I think, using only that concept as criteria, Sweeney Todd takes the cake—er, statue. Having said this, the creation of Gothic London might not appeal sincerely to all Academy Voters. As such, the layouts of lavish Country homes and devastatingly dark Dunkirk beach may pop Atonement to the top of the list again. There are many critics, however, who are putting their money on There Will Be Blood for the “raw reality” of the art direction. While I get what they’re trying to convey, but I don’t think that coping reality should necessarily be proclaimed above the astronomical task of creating something out of the ether.

Cinematography
Remember that glorious over-prettiness I mentioned about Atonement above? Yeah, well, here’s where it matters. Another movie that did a lot to be, well, not pretty—but in a visually appealing way—was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. They could pull out the rabbit here, especially since the nominations for it are very spare. If Blood or Old Men win…well, it’s not like I’m going to stop watching, so…um, I will be grumpy, so there!

Costume Design
The last time I remember so much hubbub about a dress, Monica Lewinski was talking stains on navy in the Oval Office. In this case, we’re talking green silk on Keira Knightly. It seems funny to hinge a vote on that one piece of glamour, but that’s the most iconic moment of costuming out of any of the Academy’s offerings. Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Sweeney Todd, and La Vie En Rose all have their points of fantastic fancies of fabric…but it doesn’t leave the lasting impression of the green dress. Somehow it lingers—almost like the aftertaste of a really nice wine, memorable enough for you to want to have it again. (As a complete side note: Lauren, that would look beyond amazing on you.)

Directing
This is, I’m afraid, one problem of the other. (The other being the Best Picture category that I’ve already soap boxed above.) Everyone is screaming “COEN BROTHERS!!” to which I can only reply, “Really? Why?” But since I seem to be in the minority, don’t waste your vote on me; go with the Coen’s. Out of this grouping, my honest pick is Le Scaphandre et le papillon, aka The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Julian Schnabel did amazing things with this movie about the real-life Jean-Dominique Bauby, and I encourage everyone to take a gander at it—when you don’t mind doing a little reading with your film watching. I admit, my major reason for not proclaiming the entire film ingenious, is because of its subject matter. “Locked-In” syndrome terrifies me almost as much as losing my mind. (Read about it, it’ll scare the fuck outta you too.) Besides that, its kinda amazing…both because it’s basically true, and because—well, because it just kinda is.

Documentary Feature
In a wash of war-based epics, No End In Sight is my stand out favorite. I can’t remember where I read it, but I heard it described as “informative without feeling like a beat-down classroom lesson.” Let me tell you, with all the extreme empathy I have washing around in my little body, there’s only so much horrior and sadness—and all around human weakness—I can experience without losing myself a little. No End In Sight hit me much like reading Blowing My Cover…while it did make me sad, it also made me feel…I donno, right? As if it confirmed what I knew in my heart all along. Michael Moore’s Sicko has everything it needs to win, but—after Columbine—I honestly think the Academy is scared to death of putting Moore up to speak. I also would highly recommend War/Dance, just because it’s wonderful.

Documentary Short
Sari’s Mother takes my vote here, although the category is obscure enough that anyone could win. Still, you combine a young mother, her even younger child with AIDS, with the background of war and chaos, and you’ve got some seriously powerful ammunition.

Film Editing
Out off all of the options, the only one with more than ten split-second edits is The Bourne Ultimatum. The movie is fast, and edited to a tea. If you disagree, think about being the person in charge of looking through hours of film footage and trying to piece together what Bourne ultimately became. (You like the little play-on-words I did there? Yeah, I totally rock.)

Foreign Language Film
Again, this one is kinda, throw a magic eight ball up in the air and see what it says. My first pick is The Counterfeiters. My dark horse? Beaufort.

Make-up
Again with the disbelief of Norbert being an actual Oscar nominee. Regardless, I give this one to La Vie en Rose.

Original Score
Look, every nominated score has merit. Having said this, the only one that actually sticks into your mind is the rhythmic taping of a typewriter interspaced with the notes of a piano. Atonement here as well.

Original Song
Everyone is saying that the three songs from Enchanted will end up cancelling each other out. I really hope that’s not the case, as I really, really loved “That’s How You Know.” Assuming the cancelation proclamation does happen, look for “Falling Slowly” from Once to end up on top.

Short Film
There are very few people in this world who don’t have some sort of love for The Beatles. As such, I Met the Walrus has my vote.

Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, & Visual Effects
All of these I give to Transformers, so I’m just going to go ahead and put ‘em together for now. Of course, Visual Effects could go to Pirates as well…but I think the “transformations” of the transformers will come out on top. Also, Pirates won last year. Moving on…

Screenplay – Adapted
This whole category is more “up in the air” for me than any other. I feel like all of the stories have value. (Well, except for Old Men.) It’s impossible for me to select just one. However, since this is what y’all pay me for—er…or something—I’ll go ahead and say my guess is the Academy will select the one I wouldn’t. THERE, be happy.

Screenplay – Original
My hope here is Juno. Mostly because I don’t think it will win anything else, but also because the script is smart, relevant, and irreverent. Oh, and it’s also the snarkest thing I’ve seen in…well, if not ever, definitely in recent memory.

Well, that’s it kiddoes, with the singular exception of Best Picture, I’ve given you my pick for every single Oscar category running. Besides the awards, be prepared for the celebrities to bring it like never before, thanks to the subdued nature of the award shows prior. Also, there’s a bunch of buzz about Ex’s and the new couples coming out en masse. (Special note here on Justin Timberlake/Jessica Biel/Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie/Jenifer Aniston.) I’m also thinking it’s about time for another random weirdo to show up and try to get their message across by crashing the party. Also, all things being equal, don’t expect to get through the night without a lot of politically charged commentary and tongue in cheek references to the Writer’s strike.

Enjoy!
Ms. I

Quote of the Moment: [Russian I.T. Girl, looking at a co-worker’s messed up computer] “Ah, yes. I see this often. This…this is what we call, ‘the blue screen of death.' Let me see what we can do.”
Soundtrack of the Moment: Ryan Adams, “Take Me Home”
TV/Movie Quote: Atonement:

Robbie Turner: [regarding his letter, which included a graphic reference to oral sex] It was a mistake.
Cecilia Tallis: Briony read it.
Robbie Turner: I'm so sorry, it was the wrong version.
Cecilia Tallis: Yes.
Robbie Turner: It was never meant to be read.
Cecilia Tallis: No. [walks away, Robbie follows her]
Cecilia Tallis: What was in the version I was meant to read?
Robbie Turner: Don't know... it was more formal, and less...
Cecilia Tallis: Anatomical?
Robbie Turner: Yes.

2 comments:

Edmund Dantes said...

Ha, enjoyable predictions. I didn't like No Country for Old Men much either. It was my least favorite of the candidates.

Lauren said...

It is now March 11. No recap for 2007. I think it's too late now.