80th Academy Awards Predictions: No Country Leads an Impressive PackFeb 21, 2008 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line The Oscars are going forward, and I'm readier than I've ever been!
Boy, am I pumped for the Oscars this year. After not even being certain they would happen, I'm extra excited as the ceremony approaches and I try to cram in a few last-minute films. For the first time in... probably ever, I've seen all five Best Picture nominees and several other films in consideration for other categories. I missed a few here and there, of course, and I'm pretty clueless as always when it comes to the documentary shorts and such. But you can bet I'll be paying attention to every category on Sunday night. I told myself last year that I'd be better prepared this time around. I'm pumped.
Since I haven't actually seen any of the nominees involved, I'm going to skip Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short,Best Documentary Short, Best Documentary Feature and Best Foreign Film. Thus, working my way up the categories as listed by IMDB, I'll start with...
Best Animated Feature: I'll admit I haven't seen Persepolis, which I hear is impressive, or Surf's Up, which I thought looked awful. But Ratatouille is a beautiful film, heartfelt, sophisticated and ever so aesthetically pleasing. I say the rat wins, paws down.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects: I only saw Pirates, which had excellent visuals, but the other two looked good in previews. Seems to me that maybe the time for Pirates has come and gone, though, and Golden Compass made so little of a splash after all the controversy surrounding its release that I'll go with Transformers as the most likely candidate.
Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Here's where I admit that I'm not overly clear on the difference between sound editing and sound. I saw three of the five nominees, all of which sounded good to me, but my gut is going with No Country For Old Men on this one.
Best Achievement in Sound: Mostly the same nominees. I'll say Ratatouille.
Best Original Song: Ah, now this one is interesting. I'm still a little bitter that Pop Goes My Heart, the ingeniously infectious Eighties send-up from Music and Lyrics, got shut out of a nomination. Somehow it seems unfair for Enchanted to snag three of the spots, and it may end up hurting it if the vote is split too much. If that happens, Once's harmonious, radio-friendly Falling Slowly is a sure bet; I don't see much hope for August Rush. But the clever, jubilant That's How You Know seems to be the song with all the momentum, and the Academy loves Disney musicals, so I suspect that one will win the trophy.
Best Original Score: Of the three I saw, Michael Clayton made no impression. Ratatouille's French-infused score has a shot, but the unique integration of the typewriter into Atonement's score might just be memorable enough to give it the win.
Best Achievement in Makeup: Why do I feel like the Academy would implode just a little if Norbit walked away with an Oscar? Clearly there were major amounts of makeup involved in that movie, but still... Norbit? I haven't seen La Vie En Rose yet, but the makeup was not as impressive in the third Pirates film as in the second, and I've heard good things about La Vie En Rose's makeup so I'm going to go with that.
Best Costume Design: Elizabeth is on its way to me right now, no doubt filled with elegant costumes, and much ado has been made about Keira Knightley's green dress in Atonement, but I'm going to go with Sweeney Todd on this one.
Best Art Direction: Guess I'll go with Sweeney here too. Tim Burton films are always such a feast for the eyes...
Best Editing: It's a tough call, but I think I'm going to have to say No Country For Old Men. So much about that movie was flawless...
Best Cinematography: I have a feeling that Roger Deakins will cancel himself out. While The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is shot in a very unusual way, I think the epic sparseness of There Will Be Blood might just triumph.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Atonement felt incomplete. Away From Her failed to move me. There Will Be Blood had so little to do with its source material it barely makes sense to call it an adaptation. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly could have a shot, but No Country For Old Men perfectly transfers Cormac McCarthy's terse language onto the screen, so I think it will emerge victorious.
Best Original Screenplay: I adored Lars and the Real Girl, which was sweet, eccentric and just really beautiful. I want to see it get rewarded, and this is its only chance. Ratatouille is also lovely, and every word out of Anton Ego's mouth - or pen - is pure gold. But all the money seems to be on Diablo Cody's very smart Juno script, which I'll agree is delightful, so when she wins on Sunday, I won't mind too much.
Best Director: Gotta be the Coens, though they've got some seriously stiff competition, especially in P. T. Anderson.
Best Supporting Actress: Soirse Ronan blew me away in Atonement, but she doesn't seem to be a very serious contender. I wasn't really wowed by Tilda Swinton or Amy Ryan, and Ruby Dee was only in American Gangster for a few minutes, so I'll go with Cate Blanchett for her gender-bending role that apparently worked very well.
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem makes possibly the creepiest movie villain I've ever seen. He's totally invested in his role, which must have been very hard for him, especially since he says he's quite the pacifist. That soulless stare is enough to make me want to run from the room. Seriously scary, and almost certain to take home the Oscar.
Best Actress: Nobody cared about Elizabeth, and all of Cate Blanchett's momentum is in the other category. Julie Christie's performance in Away From Her has gotten raves, but it didn't do anything for me. Ellen Page is a fantastic up-and-comer, though, and I think Hollywood just might be inclined to reward her for it.
Best Actor: There Will Be Blood's Daniel Day-Lewis is getting all the attention in this race, and at this point I really can't imagine that any of the other nominees could snag the statue. His absolute immersion in that role was remarkable.
Best Picture: It's a tough category for sure, but while Atonement, There Will Be Blood and Juno all impressed me for different reasons, No Country For Old Men definitely stuck with me the most. I didn't know much about it going into it, but the drama riveted me, while comedy was sprinkled in just the right amounts to relieve the tension. I really want to see it get top honors, and I think it will, but I'll probably be okay with whoever wins, as long as it isn't Michael Clayton.
Well, there you have it. A few predictions for Sunday night. Can't wait to see if I'm right about a few of them!
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