Come drink my milkshake: This year’s Oscar picks


Even though the writers have apparently settled on a deal to end the strike, there is still a great deal to fear on the Oscar broadcast set for Feb. 24, that can be summed up in three simple words (two if you hyphenate correctly):

Oscar-winner ‘Norbit’.

That’s right. While many wrestle with the fact that their favorite films have been left on off the nominee list (I understand, though don’t agree with, the love-fest called Juno, but even my friends who are the most ardent supporters of the film agree that it has no place in the Best Picture and Best Director category) a film that was universally loathed like ‘Norbit’ has a shot at earning the most coveted trophies in the biz.

Here to give you an edge on the office ballots, I have opted to fill this column with a handy guide to this year’s nominees, chock-full of winner predictions. (Plus, you can check out some of the shorts on your computer, links provided, free of charge. You’re welcome!)

Best picture



Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood

Winner: “No Country for Old Men. A sweeping 86 wins from various awards programs, coupled with the Academy’s love for the Coens, means the “Old Men” should have a lot of life in them on Oscar night.


Best Director

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” Julian Schnabel

Juno” Jason Reitman

Michael Clayton” Tony Gilroy

No Country for Old Men” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

There Will Be Blood” Paul Thomas Anderson

Winner: The Coens again will be awarded, not only for this film, but for their decades of impressive contributions to cinema, whereas the runner-up, Anderson, seems to be just beginning his remarkable run.

Best Actor

George Clooney in “Michael Clayton”

Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”

Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah

Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises

Winner: Daniel Day Lewis. Of the film’s 45 award wins, the majority have gone to Lewis, whose Daniel Plainview could have easily been the embodiment of evil, were it not for the actor who shades the character with the tiniest sliver of humanity.


Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Julie Christie in “Away from Her

Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose

Laura Linney in “The Savages

Ellen Page in “Juno”

Winner: Christie. Winning nods from coast (New York, D.C.) to coast (San Francisco, San Diego), to all parts in between (Arizona, Houston, Phoenix), as well as a BAFTA from overseas, Christie is a lock.


Best Supporting Actor

Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”

Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War

Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild

Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton”

Winner: Bardem. Who knew a bowl-cut could be so bad-ass? Bardem’s emotionless killing machine is the embodiment of evil in “No Country.”


Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There

Ruby Dee in “American Gangster

Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement”

Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone

Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton”

Winner: Blanchett. Unless her two nominations this year cancel each other out, Blanchett is the best thing in an otherwise decent, but rather convoluted movie.


Best animated feature



Surf’s Up

Winner: “Ratatoille.” Unless the Academy chooses to show its indie credibility with selecting “Persepolis,” the little guy should go to Pixar’s latest masterpiece, and one of its most technically lavish and emotionally mature works in its canon.


Best documentary feature

No End in Sight

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience


Taxi to the Dark Side


Winner: “No End in Sight.” My only hope is that an Oscar win will bolster this film’s chances of being seen, since it is far and away one of the most insightful documentaries concerning the war in Iraq out there.


Art direction

American Gangster


The Golden Compass

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

There Will Be Blood

Winner: “There Will be Blood.” Only because “No Country for Old Men” didn’t make it, the Academy will toss “Blood” a bone here.



The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” Roger Deakins

Atonement” Seamus McGarvey

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” Janusz Kaminski

No Country for Old Men” Roger Deakins

There Will Be Blood” Robert Elswit

Winner: “There Will Be Blood.” For true cinema geeks, this is the most exciting category of the evening. Deakins, whose work in “Jesse James” is nothing short of poetic, adequately captures the harsh dust bowls in “No Country.” But in “Blood,” there are entire stretches of time where not a word is uttered and we can drink in the sumptuous images captured by Elswit.


Costume design

Across the Universe” Albert Wolsky

Atonement” Jacqueline Durran

Elizabeth: The Golden Age” Alexandra Byrne

La Vie en Rose” Marit Allen

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” Colleen Atwood

Winner: “Atonement.” After sweeping up at the BAFTA awards last weekend, the period piece that is perhaps more notable for its costume over its content. In particular, Kiera Knightly’s green dress in act one may cinch the prize alone.

Best documentary short subject


La Corona (The Crown)

Salim Baba

Sari’s Mother

Winner: “Sari’s Mother.” Look for director James Longley’s tale of a mother in Iraq trying to get health care for her young AIDS-afflicted son to take the prize. It helps that he’s earned such prior praise with his doc “Iraq in Fragments.’



The Bourne Ultimatum” Christopher Rouse

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” Juliette Welfling

Into the Wild” Jay Cassidy

No Country for Old Men” Roderick Jaynes

There Will Be Blood” Dylan Tichenor

Winner: “No Country for Old Men.” Perhaps more than any other technical category, “No Country” earns its stripes for its near-perfect slicing.


Foreign language film

Beaufort” Israel

The Counterfeiters” Austria

Katyń” Poland

Mongol” Kazakhstan

12” Russia

Winner:Beaufort.” In a rather weak field, “Beaufort” is the only film that seems to be making any critical waves. And if Borat had done enough to sully the name of Kazakhstan, “Mongol” has been doing a bang-up job on its own.



La Vie en Rose


Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Winner: “Pirates.” So help me, Rick Baker has been a pioneer in real-life visual effects, but if he walks with one for transforming Eddie Murphy into a gargantuan shrew, I’m out, man. Game over.


Original score


The Kite Runner” Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias

Michael Clayton


3:10 to Yuma

Winner: “Michael Clayton.” Where the hell was Jonny Greenwood’s eclectic, haunting orchestration for “There Will Be Blood”? Because of some lame technicality, it was left off. None of the other candidates here are even in the same league, but Clayton’s is the only score that I can still recall after seeing the film, so it gets my vote.


Original song

Falling Slowly” from “Once”

Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted”

Raise It Up” from “August Rush”

So Close” from “Enchanted”

That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”

Winner: “Falling Slowly.” Sure, there’s overwhelming odds that “Enchanted” could pick it up here, and it deserves some love, but more for a nomination for its lead Amy Adams, not in its cheeky, but slight, soundtrack.


Best animated short film

I Met the Walrus” (trailer)

Madame Tutli-Putli” (full film)

Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)” ( full film)

My Love (Moya Lyubov) for Natalie” (Channel One Russia) (full film, part 2’s link is provided after film)

Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films)

Winner: My Love. Like a Renoir painting come to life, this is one of the most lavish 2-D animated films in quite some time.

Best live action short film

At Night” (clip)

Il Supplente (The Substitute)” (full film)

Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (full film)

Tanghi Argentini

The Tonto Woman” (trailer)

Winner: “Il Supplente.” Comic gold and a great punchline.

Sound editing

The Bourne Ultimatum

No Country for Old Men


There Will Be Blood


Winner: “No Country for Old Men.” It could be a toss up with “There Will Be Blood,” but I have a feeling that the cold thud of Javier Bardem’s pneumatic air gun gives it a slight edge.


Sound mixing

The Bourne Ultimatum

No Country for Old Men


3:10 to Yuma


Winner: Transformers. Kevin O’Connell and Greg P. Russell have a combined 32 nominations in their career. It’s time Oscar paid them for their labor for their work literally making heavy metal.


Visual effects

The Golden Compass

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End


Winner: Transformers. Was there a part of this film that was not a visual effect? “Compas” flopped, “Pirates” sailed off with the trophy last year, plus, wouldn’t it be cool to have a statue that morphed into a robot that would blow up screenwriter Diablo Cody’s prize?

Adapted screenplay

Atonement” Christopher Hampton

Away from Her” Sarah Polley

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” Ronald Harwood

No Country for Old Men” Joel and Ethan Coen

There Will Be Blood” Paul Thomas Anderson

Winner: “No Country for Old Men.” This one will be swept up in the Coen fever that will take hold on Oscar night, though I think “Blood” will have a longer shelf life with repeated viewings.


Original screenplay

Juno” Diablo Cody

Lars and the Real Girl” Nancy Oliver

Michael Clayton” Tony Gilroy

Ratatouille” Brad Bird

The Savages” Tamara Jenkins

Winner: Diablo Cody for Juno. I think the Academy members have a stake in the merchandising of the T-shirts, since the entire script seems ready to be ironed on to the front of clothing, line by agonizing line.

~ by usesoapfilm on February 11, 2008.

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