Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dean's super-reliable 2009 Academy Award picks

Okay, so the 2009 Academy Awards are upon us, due to splash down Sunday night on ABC, starting at 8 pm ET. This is the most talked-about Oscar show in decades, not because of the nominees (which, let's face it, shed light on the fact that it wasn't such a good year for movies), but because of the show itself, which producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark (of Dreamgirls fame) assure us is going to be one of the most creatively-mounted Oscar ceremonies of recent times. Aside from the tantilizing prospect of having longtime Tony Awards host Hugh Jackman as the show's leading man, most other aspects of Sunday's event have been kept under tight wraps--they're even trying to dispense with the red carpet (which, rightfully, they see as taking away a lot of the show's moxie--used to be you had to watch the whole show to see what the stars were wearing and such; in recent years, the red carpet arrivals seem to have taken away much of this suspence--though I must say, I couldn't care less what everybody's attired in).

Anyway, before the Oscar ceremony touches down, I thought I'd post on The Nose my predictions, award-wise, for what's going to happen on Sunday. So, without further ado...

Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
THE WINNER is, of course, going to be Heath Ledger, the only extraordinary aspect of the overrated Dark Knight. Totally well-deserved!BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicki Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
THE WINNER? I once thought that Penelope Cruz had the heat in this category, but I find myself leaning more and more towards Viola Davis for her powerhouse, one-scene performance in Doubt. I have a soft spot for memorable one-scene performances, so of course I'd go with Davis, who's extraordinary in the film. But also: there has never been a film to win four acting nominations without at least taking one home. As Hoffman is going to lose to Ledger in Supporting Actor, and Streep's Best Actress chances appear to be in jeopardy, that leaves either Davis or the wonderful Amy Adams as probable takers of this award. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
THE WINNER? Though Penn has taken a lot of hardware home for his role in Milk, it's becoming clearer and clearer that that Mickey Rourke is gonna take the gold for The Wrestler. It's just too committed a performance, and plus he's a sentimental favorite. That's a combo that can't be beat. This is the most suspenseful award of the night, by far, as a result. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader
THE WINNER? This is a tough category to call, but I'd say the odds are with Kate Winslet for The Reader. Though a Streep spoiler wouldn't surprise me at all, I don't see the Academy allowing Winslet to lose her seventh nomination. Plus, with she delivered TWO noteworthy performances this year, which they DO take into account, no matter what anybody says.BEST DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Finscher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
THE WINNER: the always-reliable Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire.

Milk, Dustin Lance Black
Wall-E, original story by Pete Docter & Andrew Stanton; screenplay by Jim Reardon & Andrew Stanton
Frozen River, Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh
THE WINNER? The battle here's between Black's blah Milk and Pixar's snappy Wall-E. Hard to say, but I'm landing tentatively on the Milk side. But I'm really rooting for any of the other three--particularly Mike Leigh--to sneak in there somehow.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Screenplay by Eric Roth; Screen Story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Reader, David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy
THE WINNER: Beaufoy's capable work on Slumdog Millionaire

Kung Fu Panda
THE WINNER: Do I have to say it? Okay, Wall-E, though Kung Fu Panda took all the Annies (the animated Oscars) home!

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
The Class (France)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)
Departures (Japan)
Revanche (Austria)
THE WINNER: the haunting Waltz with Bashir

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
THE WINNER will be Slumdog Millionaire, of course, which is sort of amazing and brave, considering it's a movie that was dumped by Warner Brothers, and just barely survived being given a mere direct-to-video release. Just goes to show you what a little enthusiastic film festival support can do for a little movie like that.The other winners will be:
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Slumdog Millionaire
ART DIRECTION: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
SOUND (mixing): Slumdog Millionaire
SOUND EFFECTS (editing): Wall-E
FILM EDITING: Slumdog Millionaire
MAKEUP: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
VISUAL EFFECTS: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
SCORE: Slumdog Millionaire
SONG: "Down to Earth" from Wall-E
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: The Conscience of Nhem En
ANIMATED SHORT: Lavatory Love Story

I usually get 3/4 of these right. But we'll see how I do on February 22nd (that is, if miffed Dark Knight fans bedecked in sinister Joker makeup don't burn the Kodak Theater to cinders). Oh, and a big congrats to Jerry Lewis, winner of the night's Honorary Award (though it's being given to him more for his humanitarianism rather than his movie work, I prefer to look at it as an award for both). Anyway, it should be great to see Jerry on the show! Have fun, kids!


Jane said...

Agree, agree, agree with all your picks 100%. I just posted a couple of Slumdog videos. So VERY EXCITED about seeing my idol Jerry Lewis on the awards this Sunday! Thanks for mentioning that Dean! I wish you and Lisa and me could all watch the Oscars together. Perhaps we will have to do quick posts as the ceremony gets underway.

Oh I just love this time of year! It's better than Christmas!

Awesome post!

Lisa said...

I was just watching somebody on CNN talk about the Best Actor race, and he sort of dismissed Rourke as merely "the sentimental choice" but people aren't responding to his personal life but to his sublime performance which is perfection. The personal aspect only adds some depth to the story. I also wish we could watch together. And Dean, your predictions are, as always, informed, passionate and I hope will turn out to be accurate!

Dean Treadway said...

I, too, wish we could all be together on Sunday night. Alas, it's not to be...except for the miracle of the WWW. I'll be blogging as I watch!