My super-tardy Oscar pics


I realize that is is right before the ceremony and many of you base your Oscar pool strictly on my word (my tongue is firmly in my cheek), so my apologies in getting this posted so late, but nonethless, here ya go:

Can Wolverine save the Oscars? It seems a rather odd request for an X-Man, but after mixing it up with a variety of comedic hosts (Letterman, Martin, Stewart) and being met with increasingly dwindling ratings, the awards show will need a superhero to rescue them this year.

The question is:  Is Hugh Jackman’s plan of hosting a “more intimate” Oscar ceremony what is needed?

First, there is not really a blockbuster of the bunch (Benjamin Button is the highest grosser, but it’s hard to find someone who really loved the film).

Second, the nation’s largest economic recession in decades hardly feels like a time to celebrate the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. (“Hmmm…can I feed my children and myself tomorr…oooh, is she wearing Versaci?“)

Third, no disrespect to Jackman, but how intimate can a bloated, three-plus hour extravaganza soaking in Hollywood excess be?

He has a Herculean task tomorrow, and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science president Sid Ganis’ proclamation of a “truly different” ceremony does little to allay fears (Rob Lowe dancing with Snow White was certainly “different”). As done in the past, I will break the main categories in what will win and what should win.

Best Picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

What will win: “Slumdog” has been on a roll, and it’s the plucky underdog story that seems to dominate the awards of late (see the entirely overrated “Juno” and the sweet-but-marginal “Little Miss Sunshine”).

What should: Honestly, none of these choices are truly worthy of being called the best film of the year, but for sheer visionary achievement, “Benjamin Button” is deserved for its epic sweep, seamless CGI, and thematic heft.

Best actress
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”

Who will win: Winslet’s Golden Globe win ups her chances for Oscar glory, and her winless streak combined with two strong 2008 performances should increase her chances here.

Who should: Those few who have witnesses Leo’s note-perfect performance in “River” will not soon forget it.

Best actor
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”

Who will win: Rourke has been rapidly exhausting his goodwill with his erratic off-screen behavior (which is just puzzling, as he’s not getting the award for his lifestyle). Nonetheless, look for Penn’s earnest embodiment to eke out a victory.

Who should: Rourke. While his face may have changed over the years, his talent continues to mesmerize.

Best supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”

Who will win: Cruz has been the slow and steady one in this race, and was the standout of Woody Allen’s sexed-up dramedy. And while Davis was equally impressive, her marginal role in “Doubt” may not be enough against some of the meatier roles.

Who should: between “The Wrestler” and last year’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” Tomei has bared herself to the audience in ways no other mainstream actress of her generation has.

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”

Who should and will: A much deserving Heath Ledger.

Best director
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”

Who will win: Danny Boyle. For all its sentimental faults, he raised “Slumdog” with skill and technical verisimilitude.

Who should: It always seems as though this category exists for voters to split love between two Best Picture favorites, so since I selected Benjamin for the top honors, it’s only fitting that Fincher should prevail here.

Best original screenplay
Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”
Mike Leigh, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Marttin McDonagh, “In Bruges”
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, “WALL-E”

Who will win : “Milk’s” Black crafted a fine highlight reel of the politician’s life, which should also get a boost from those in the Prop. 8 state.

Who should: Is it odd that a film with such little dialogue win best screenplay? I don’t care, for within “Wall*E’s” rather quiet first half, there are still plenty an homage to cinematic genres to appeal to any lover of film.

Best adapted screenplay
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire”
David Hare, “The Reader”
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt”
Eric Roth, Robin Swicord, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Who will and should win: Life-as-game show metaphor “Slumdog” should prevail here

Best animated film
Kung Fu Panda
Who will and should: “Wall-E,” if only because this is one of the few bones thrown to this picture this year.

 and the rest…

Best editing

Who will: This one will most likely be just another winning round for “Slumdog’s” contestants.

Who should: “Dark Knight,” for providing us with the anti-Bay summer blockbuster that’s not afraid to let the camera linger for more than 20 seconds.


Art Direction

After being left out of top-tier prizes, look for “Dark Knight” to nab various technical awards this year.


Original Score
Judges will honor “Slumdog’s” score to earn hipster points.

Original Song
Because of the frustrating Academy rules that exempted Spingsteen’s poetic closing number for “The Wrestler,” look for Peter Gabriel to earn honors here for “Wall*E’s” Down to Earth.

Costume Design
Unless the voters are feeling sorry for sending Button home empty handed by giving it to them, bow to “The Dutchess” here.

Button’s” astounding work should earn props here.

Sound Editing
“Dark Knight,” here’s another consolation prize.

Sound Mixing
“The Dark Knight”

Visual Effects
“Button” should stitch this up.

Foreign Language
“Waltz with Bashir” should, after getting snubbed in the animated category

Doc Feature
“Man on Wire”

Best Animated Short Film
Yes, most of these are available to those who search hard enough. That said, the short that accompanies “Wall*E,” “Presto”  is vintage-Warner Bros.-era bliss.

~ by usesoapfilm on February 20, 2009.

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