Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jeff’s Bold Predictions: The Oscars


I’m back baby… and so is Not Today You Ain’t.

With Emily forcing me to watch The Oscars’ red carpet (yawn), I thought I’d make my triumphant return to blogging. My picks for tonight:

BEST PICTURE
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost / Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire
Milk. I should note, that these are my picks, not who I think will win (Slumdog Millionaire). I really enjoyed this movie… Sean Penn was fantastic. He’s up for best actor for his performance. Milk was also very timely since it coincided so well with California’s prop 8. I saw all five of the nominated films and I would rank them as such: 1. Milk, 2. Slumdog Millionaire, 3. Frost / Nixon, 4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 5. The Reader.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
  • Bolt
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Wall-E
Wall-E. Hands down, this was the easiest of all the categories to pick. With all do respect to Bolt which I enjoyed (particularly Rhino the hamster), Wall-E runs away with the win. I liked this movie enough to see it twice actually: once with my niece, Angel, for her birthday and once with Emily. Wall-E has something for everyone; it’s a visually stunning movie with humor, romance and an important, eco-friendly message. That it works for all ages and largely without spoken dialogue is all the more astonishing.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
  • Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
  • Angelina Jolie – Changeling
  • Melissa Leo – Frozen River
  • Meryl Streep – Doubt
  • Kate Winslet – The Reader
Meryl Streep, Doubt. This is the category I’m least qualified to make a prediction… I only saw two (Doubt and The Reader) of the five movies. With all due respect to Kate Winslet (who I thought was even better in Revolutionary Road), Streep was fantastic in Doubt. When she and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were going toe-to-toe, it made for great drama.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
  • Amy Adams – Doubt
  • Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Viola Davis - Doubt
  • Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. First let me say something kind of controversial… I was completely unimpressed with Viola Davis in Doubt. Never mind that she was only on screen for like 6 minutes, I just wasn’t impressed. There was a lot of superb acting in that movie and she wasn’t a part of it. There, controversy. My nod goes to Taraji P. Henson who I thought grounded a completely ridiculous movie (one that I didn’t anticipate enjoying) but Marisa Tomei is a close second.

ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE
  • Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
  • Frank Langella – Frost / Nixon
  • Sean Penn – Milk
  • Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler. This was a tough one. I could have easily gone with Sean Penn who was fantastic in Milk. At the end of the day, I went with Rourke. I already reviewed The Wrestler for this blog. At the time I wrote:

When wrestling, Randy “The Ram” Robinson had me on the edge of my seat – particularly during cringe-worthy, ECW-style match. Out of the ring, he was emotionally devastating in the intimate scenes with his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) and his stripper romantic interest (Marisa Tomei).

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
  • Josh Brolin – Milk
  • Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
  • Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
  • Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight. I’m definitely going with the popular choice here. And I’d like to think it’s not because of the hype. I thought Ledger was sensational in Chris Nolan’s latest take on the Batman series. When I first heard that Ledger was going to be playing the Joker (who’d previously been played by the brilliant Jack Nicholson), I thought it was ridiculous. I stand corrected. How would I have known the long-haired goon from 10 Things I Hate About You would be so dark, so convincing – an anarchist villain stripped of all emotion except a yearning for chaos.

My apologies to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who would otherwise receive the nod for his excellent performance in Doubt.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Doubt
  • Frost / Nixon
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I can’t help but be impressed that a short story from 1921 can be made into an Oscar-worthy 2009 movie. Side note: there is no way Slumdog Millionaire doesn’t win this.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • In Bruges
  • Milk
  • Wall-E
Wall-E. I’ve already spouted some love for the world’s cutest trash-compactor (sorry Emily, it was a close vote). So I’ll just use this spot to ask how that piece of trash movie In Bruges got nominated for anything.

4 comments:

  1. How come you only dress nice when you're a decapitated Simpson head? Doesn't seem fair.

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  2. I wish I saw this before I picked Doubt to win best screenplay.

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  3. Hola, this is Emily's friend Jessica - I just have to point out that the short story for Benjamin Button is completely different from the screenplay. The only thing that's the same? The growing younger as he gets older thing. Nothing about a clock, or girl he loves, or anything. In the short story, he's not even likable. He marries a girl and doesn't even like her as she gets old. I think they attributed the mechanism to the story and took the name. That's why I wouldn't pick it as an adapted screenplay pick...I thought it was a poor adaptation, though I think they made it better - but it's not the same story, it's just a name and a mechanism.

    Two cents. That's all. Good choices, good choices! :D

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  4. Jessica -

    Pleased to meet(?) you.

    That's certainly a fair point. And while I haven't read F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, I would have already assumed it would be very, very different from the movie.

    You've obviously taken a very strict (reasonable) interpretation of "adapted."

    You're not wrong... but I'm always right.

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