February 22, 2008

Oscar Predictions

Gotta say that this has been a petty lackluster Oscar season (some blame goes to the writers strike) but some of the blame has got to go to the types of films that are nominated. Violent, boy-centric and self-indulgent.

Here's to a better slate of films next year.

Some quotes from around the web on the Oscars:
from Kim Masters at Slate:

I'm amazed that Sarah Polley isn't the human-interest story of these Oscars: She's a 29-year-old knockout who just made an astonishingly mature, critically lauded debut as a writer/director. Is it because Away From Her's subject matter is so depressing (as opposed to the nonstop merriment of, say, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)? Is it a woman thing? A Canadian thing? Or is Polley just less savvy at self-packaging than, say, Diablo Cody?
I really think that it's interesting to talk about Sarah Polley and Diablo Cody. Both to me are strong female role models in very different ways. Sarah Polley is an artist who let's her work speak for herself. She comes off as shy and not interested in the publicity machine. Cody is just the opposite, very interested in milking the system (saying some great feminist bits) and riding her wave as far as it goes. She seems to have very few inhibitions (kind of makes sense since she worked the pole for a while).

But really, it just seems that Hollywood can't tell more than one "women's" story at a time. God forbid we should have read anything about Nancy Oliver nominated for Lars and the Real Girl. Come on, we must have read 400 stories about No Country for Old Men and There Will be Blood.

The Oscars this year reflect an ongoing trend in the business -- women just don't matter.

from the Guardian:
Intelligent contemporary Hollywood has become very macho: a quality that I think is under-reported and under-analysed by the media, which arguably has just as much of a male bias as cinema. The Coens' No Country for Old Men and Anderson's There Will Be Blood are, I believe, superb: benchmarks for American movie-making. But, goodness, how that testosterone positively drips off the screen. These are movies about the sweat, the thrust, the growl, the facial hair - and the guns and the violence. No Country for Old Men might as well be called No Country for Women of Any Age, although it does have two excellent contributions from Kelly Macdonald and Tess Harper. As for There Will Be Blood, there are hardly any women at all.

That is why I think the remarkable young Canadian director Sarah Polley should have been given a director's nomination for her film Away from Her, starring Julie Christie. Hollywood has only just finished congratulating itself on finally giving acting awards to African-Americans. But it has an inbuilt assumption that the director's role is a man's job - and this assumption goes unchallenged with incredible regularity.

from David Carr aka the Carpetbagger at the NY Times:
Three women are in this category, which should tell Hollywood a story it needs to hear. The conventional wisdom wants Diablo Cody. Juno what? (Yes, the Bagger is a bit punchy by now, but bear with him.) Sometimes the conventional wisdom is right. She nailed something fresh, which even Hollywood can’t resist.
from Gold Derby at the LA Times:

When Oscar is not comforting the long-suffering wife, he can often be found in the arms of a young beauty.

Last year's best actress winner, Helen Mirren ("The Queen") was the first leading woman older than 40 to take home an Oscar in a decade. Up until then, the list of recent winners looked like the lineup at a beauty pageant: Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow. Personally, I think Mirren was able to overcome that trend by embracing it. At age 62, she's still quite sexy (remember her nude scene in "Calendar Girls"?) and she was brazenly frisky while out on the Oscar campaign trail last year, even appearing on the cover of Los Angeles magazine tugging at her bra.

Granted, the younger screen lovelies would often win acclaim and awards by deglamourizing themselves to show Hollywood that they were more than just pretty faces. But during Oscar campaign season, off came the false noses, boxing gloves and trailer-trash outfits, to be replaced by designer gowns and comely coifs.

This year, classic Gallic beauty Marion Cotillard turns from ugly duckling to swan and back playing tragic chanteuse Edith Piaf. With her head shaved and her eyebrows plucked, the French actress, 32, is transformed into the "little sparrow" at the end of her troubled life.

While 1960s siren Julie Christie, star of "Away From Her," still sizzles in real-life, like Mirren, for this 66-year-old to win would be to buck the trend. Though this age bias is less blatant in the category for supporting actresses, older gals still triumph there only now and then: Judi Dench once, Dianne Wiest twice in recent years, for example.

Pace University proved the obvious a few years ago when it conducted an Oscar study spanning the 25 years before 2000 and discovered that best actor winners were, on average, five years older than their female equivalents. And seven years separated male and female nominees.

In the last 15 years only two actresses older than 50 have won an Oscar in the lead or supporting races: Dames Mirren and Dench. Meantime, consider all of these chaps north of the half-century mark who've triumphed during the same years: lead actors Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Anthony Hopkins as well as supporting Alan Arkin , Morgan Freeman, Chris Cooper, Jim Broadbent, Michael Caine, James Coburn, Martin Landau, Gene Hackman, Jack Palance.

Here are all the nominees and Women & Hollywood's predictions (in the categories I have a clue about):

Best motion picture of the year
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Winner: No Country for Old Men

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis- no one else has gotten any traction in this category. Hollywood is in awe of Day-Lewis.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Winner: Javier Bardem

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in "Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production)

Winner: Julie Christie- I think that while Ellen Page is getting lots of traction lately, she is going to have a career and will see her time come later. I'm betting that not enough people have seem La Vie en Rose so that hurt Cotillard's chances. Christie is a mythical character, she transcends film and has become an icon. She doesn't give a shit about the pomp and circumstance and her performance in Away from Her was transcendent.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Winner- Ruby Dee. I'm not sure about this one. Amy Ryan had the early momentum as did Cate Blanchett, but Blanchett recently won and Ryan has faded as Swinton and Dee have gained. I just don't think that this will be the role Swinton will win for and Oscar always likes to honor a body of work and Dee has been around and is deserving.

Best animated feature film of the year
"Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
"Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Winner: It pains me to say that Ratatouille will be about the magnificent Persepolis.

Achievement in directing
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson

Winner: Joel and Ethan Coen- whatever

Best documentary feature
"No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
"Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara
"Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
"War/Dance" (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Winner: No End in Sight- great doc

Best documentary short subject
"Freeheld" A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
"La Corona (The Crown)" A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
"Salim Baba" A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
"Sari's Mother" (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James Longley

Winner: Haven't seen any but I'm pulling for Freeheld

Achievement in film editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Christopher Rouse
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment): Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Dylan Tichenor

Winner: Roderick Jaynes (he'll ride of the No Country like sweep)

Best foreign language film of the year
"Beaufort" Israel
"The Counterfeiters" Austria
"Katyn" Poland
"Mongol" Kazakhstan
"12" Russia

Winner: Since they didn't nominate 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days or Perspepolis, I could care less about this category.

Adapted screenplay
"Atonement" (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
"Away from Her" (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Winner: Joel & Ethan Coen, but wouldn't it be great if Sarah Polley won?

Original screenplay
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Written by Diablo Cody
"Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
"The Savages" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins

Winner- Diablo Cody. This will be Juno's award.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
"The Kite Runner" (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics): Alberto Iglesias
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Winner: Dario Marianelli

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Falling Slowly" from "Once" (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and: Marketa Irglova
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush" (Warner Bros.): Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas
"So Close" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Winner: Since hardly anyone in the Academy will have seen August Rush or Once (both those songs are great), I'll give it to Enchanted- don't know which one, don't really care.

Achievement in makeup
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
"Norbit" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount): Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Winner: La Vie en Rose

Achievement in visual effects
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Winner: The Golden Compass

Achievement in cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.): Roger Deakins
"Atonement" (Focus Features): Seamus McGarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Janusz Kaminski
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Roger Deakins
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit

Winner: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Achievement in costume design
"Across the Universe" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Winner: Elizabeth: The Golden Age- bad movie, great costumes