Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oscar Thoughts

Okay, so my period of mourning for dear Heath Ledger has not expired, but I feel I must carry on. All I can say at this point is that I now understand what all those women were going through when Rudolph Valentino died in 1926.

Let me just get on with my thoughts on the Oscar nominations- the other big news event yesterday. Overall, I was very happy with the nominees with the very occasional "Nice surprise." There were no Dreamgirls-sized snubs yesterday (and no omissions forcing me to call them racist again) and I was very happy about that. Here are the nominees:

Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

How I Did: 4/5, missed Juno for Into the Wild

What I've Seen: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men

Thoughts: This is actually a pretty nice batch of nominees. I've seen 4 of them (no There Will Be Blood in Kalamazoo yet) and they have all gotten **** and more from me. I'm not at all upset about the Into the Wild snub because Juno is actually a much stronger film. I'm just surprised that it was this loved by the Academy as well. I figured that after Little Miss Sunshine last year, Oscar would take a break from quirky indie comedies and go back to their old standbys. I figured that they would find a way for Atonement to sneak in, but I'm rather relieved that it panned out.

Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

How I Did: 4/5, missed Jones (but, to my credit, nearly everyone on the planet did) for Gosling

Who I've Seen: Clooney, Depp, Mortensen

Thoughts: I guess the biggest talking point here is the miraculous Tommy Lee Jones mention. I had him in my predictions when he was receiving rapturous praise after In the Valley of Elah opened in September. But then his buzz died and I figured his chances were gone. Guess it goes to show that you can always count on the Academy for a surprise or two. The rest of the nominees are pretty standard. I'm just glad that Mortensen finally got his nomination!

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno

How I Did: 4/5, missed Linney in favor of Jolie

Who I've Seen: Christie, Cotillard, Page

Thoughts: Yes! I am so glad Angelina Jolie didn't get this nomination for A Mighty Heart. If you don't know my thoughts about her performance go here and I'll just leave it at that. I'm sad that Amy Adams didn't make it in, but I'm genuinely happy for The Lovely Laura Linney for sneaking in with The Savages (I haven't seen the film yet, but I think she is simply amazing). Now that it's finally happened I can finally, and proudly, proclaim:


I know both Christie and Page are amazing as well, but Cotillard just hits it out of the park and I hope the Academy will see past their prejudice toward foreign films and vote for her. It's the performance of a lifetime that few people would have been brave enough to tackle, let alone pull off the way Cotillard does.

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

How I Did: 5/5 (whoa, I'm amazing)

Who I've Seen:
Affleck, Bardem, Holbrook, Wilkinson

Thoughts: Nothing exciting here. Same five names we've been hearing all season and pending some major catastrophe between now and voting, Bardem already has this wrapped up.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

How I Did: 5/5 (THIS is why I'm hot)

Who I've Seen: Dee, Ronan, Ryan, Swinton

Thoughts: Blanchett, Ronan, Ryan and Swinton were pretty much locks, so that finally spot between Dee and Catherine Keener in Into the Wild must have been a bloody one. I'm glad Dee pulled ahead, because even though I didn't think much of the performance (except for that bitch slap), I'm glad this living legend has finally gotten the respect she deserves.

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman, Juno
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

How I Did: 4/5, missed Reitman for Penn

Who I've Seen: Coen, Gilroy, Reitman

Thoughts: I completely missed that Reitman nomination- I just assumed that someone so young with only one big hit behind him (last year's Thank You For Smoking) and directing a quirky teenage pregnancy comedy wouldn't be taken seriously by the Academy. I guess they showed me. The rest of the nominees were pretty standard.

Best Original Screenplay
Brad Bird, Ratatouille
Diablo Cody, Juno
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl

How I Did: 5/5

Who I've Seen: Bird, Cody, Gilroy

Thoughts: We've seen this list with only a couple of changes over the whole season so it's not a real surprise. I just wish there was room for both the Hot Fuzz and Superbad scripts.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sarah Polley, Away From Her

How I Did: 4/5, missed Polley in favor of Penn

Who I've Seen: Coen, Hampton, Polley

Thoughts: Wow, the Academy really didn't go for Into the Wild. Not that I can blame them, but not even a mention for it's screenplay? Ouch. I'm glad Polley made it in though, because, Julie Christie excepted, the screenplay is the best part of Away From Her.

Go read the rest of the nominees here: I don't feel like typing them all out. What do you think? Who are you surprised to see? Who are you angry that they snubbed?

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