Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Empty, Vapid Award Show Predicciónes

The prestige of the Academy Awards has wavered for many years, as critical acclaim and mainstream popularity have continued to oppose each other, the days of great films coinciding with record crowds having gone extinct in light of the shifting bottom line focus of most studios. Great films still continue to be made, albeit for smaller budgets on vastly smaller scales, but in today's era of greatly expanding media resources and theatre price surges made to compensate for the constant competition of the entertainment marketplace, award shows like the Oscars will always struggle to toe the line between appeasing their critical constituents and the disinterested public whose attention they desperately desire.

That being said, hopefully the show goes on, and the WGA strike is finally settled if only for the sake of seeing Jonny Stew give me reason to actually watch this languishing God forsaken show.

And now for some nominee predictions:

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Ryan has all the critical acclaim riding in and is the favorite. Though Blanchett may get the nod since the Academy appears to have decided to give her the "Annual Judi Dench nomination quota" treatment. Props to Ruby Dee, who is sadly and most likely to come away as the Academy's obligatory African American nomination of the year.

Best Supporting Actor:
This is hands down Bardem's lose, as his only real competition is the sentimental elderly favorite Hal Holbrook. Hoffman could've easily been nominated for "The Savages" or "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" which (much to my chagrin) has been completely snubbed. Casey Affleck seems a mistake here as his turn in "Gone Baby Gone" was much more worthy.

Best Foreign Language Film:
"Beaufort" and "Mongol" are strong contenders, but surprisingly enough, the much heralded "La Vie En Rose (La Môme)" was snubbed. And where the fuck was "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days"? A film that good just wasn't good enough? Damn you out of touch Oscar voters.

Best Screenplay:
Many believe "Juno" writer Diablo Cody is a lock, but with the exception of the underwhelming "Lars and the Real Girl," all the other nominees could easily walk away with it. Still, it would be pretty sweet to see what outrageous get-up Cody walks up there with. And her award show blog updates on the Pussy Ranch should be great.

Best Animated Film:
While in my heart of hearts I would love to see the wonderous "Persepolis" walk away with the prize, it's pretty much a given that Brad Bird and his "Ratatouille" will walk away with it. Here's hoping Bird brings stars Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo up there with him, if not just for the visual of that awkward duo clamoring up the steps.

Best Documentary:
Following his last polarizing public display at the Oscars, odds are Michael Moore will not be awarded for his suprisingly heartfelt and strong doc "Sicko." Though it's interesting to note that the remaining nominees deal with some facet of war, and were it not for Moore and the disturbing absence of the hilariously well contructed "King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters," a sense of humor would be desperately lacking in the docs.

Best Music from a Motion Picture:
Naive casual viewers ignorant to the past of Kimya Dawson and her Moldy Peaches compositions may feel slighted, but worse yet is the inexplicable absence of Jonny Greenwood for his immaculate scoring of "There Will Be Blood." "Enchanted" is obviously going to win something being nominated for three of the five noms, but it would be a sweet coup for the beautiful "Once" to pull off the upset.

Best Director:
The strongest collection of nominees so far, Paul Thomas Anderson would be a perfectly deserving winner, were it not for the unassailable momentum of the Coen Brothers. Schnabel also has a shot, but his persnickety public persona may prove to disuade the Academy. Todd Haynes's masterful direction of "I'm Not There" was also a surprising omission. How the hell the amazing 82 year-old wonder Sidney Lumet and his crime masterpiece "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" was overlooked is a complete and total fucking travesty. Ben Affleck may feel slighted, but fuck man, does Boston really need to win anything else?

Best Actress:
It all comes down to critical and sentimental fave Julie Christie and everyone's favorite girl of the moment, Ellen Page. Cate Blanchett is inexplicably nominated for a film and performance that was much maligned by critics and the public, once again showing the Academy's tendency to exercise the "Judi Dench quota." In a dream world, the heartbreaking Marion Cotillard would win, but since most people don't know who the fuck she is, she's a long shot. Some feel Angelina Jolie and Keira Knightley were robbed of nods, but in the end it'll coming down to the Alzheimer's geriatric and the pregnant teen.

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis is a muthafucking lock. And if he doesn't win, hopefully Clooney or Mortensen pull out some off-the-cuff shout out that encapsulates remotely even half the brilliance of Day-Lewis's acceptance speech from the Critics Choice Awards. Depp once again gets his annual nominated due, and Tommy Lee Jones should be trading spots with Casey Affleck, as his supporting role in "No Country For Old Men" was equal to Affleck's starring turn in "Gone Baby Gone."

Best Film:
Once again a battle between critical acclaim and mainstream love. "No Country For Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" should battle it out as the best films of the year, but period chick flick "Atonement" and box office hit "Juno" should put some pressure on the Academy. "Michael Clayton" seems like a nice surprise, but Clooney's showcase could potentially be locked out the whole night.

0 painful displays of affection:

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