My 2008 Oscar Predictions

Little Gold ManHandicapping the Oscars this year is difficult.  There are just a lot of excellent choices.  It has been an excellent year for those of us who value great films.

With that said I have narrowed the field down to my picks for the little gold men this coming Sunday.

Best Actor

Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd.  Who knew that he could kind of sing?  Depp’s Sweeney is a fully realized, obsessive monster who stares off into the middle distance sullenly contemplating the tragedy of his life and then bursts to life in gleeful, homicidal rage. 

Likely to win… Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood combines John Huston with Bill the Butcher and acts up a storm.

Best Actress

Julie Christie in Away From Her.  A wonderful, wonderful performance.  Tough call though, I also loved Ellen Page in Juno, but I have to side with Christie.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone.  I know that Cate Blanchett likely has it for her portrayal of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, but Ryan’s performance is really great piece of acting.  And I admit as a huge fan of HBO’s The Wire I am prejudiced in her favour.

Best Supporting Actor

Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men is hands down the best monster in a movie this year (sorry Sweeney).  Bardem with his weird haircut and quiet manner, not to mention his air powered cattle bolt, is a joy to watch.  Don’t lose a coin toss to this guy.

Best Animated Feature

I hate to admit it but I will have to give it to Ratatouille even though the idea of a rat in a kitchen still makes me queasy.  That aside this is a vastly entertaining film which, in a year with fewer great films, could have easily been a Best Picture nominee. 

Best Director

I have to go with the Coen Brothers for No Country For Old Men.  The Coen siblings have turned out some of my favourite films in the past twenty years starting with Blood Simple and on through Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lewbowski and O Brother Where Aren’t Thou.  They refuse to conform to Hollywood conventions and, with few exceptions, turn out great, entertaining films. 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Again, the Coen brothers for No Country For Old Men.  They remain completely faithful to Cormac McCarthy’s novel at the same time infusing it with their distinct sensibility.  Their screenplay should stand as the perfect model of adapting a story to screen.

Best Original Screenplay

Diablo Cody for Juno.  Cody’s script is bright, perceptive, fun and deeply moving.  She has created that rare thing in movies today, a completely original character. 

Best Documentary

Sicko by Michael Moore.  I know that there has been a backlash against Moore lately, mostly engineered by the extreme right, but Sicko is a really great film.  I don’t mind that Moore continues to grandstand in his films, but hey he truly believes in what he is saying and recognizes the power of film to change minds.  Despite the lies of the American Medical Association, the private health care industry and the insurance companies, Sicko makes a strong case that for most Americans basic health care is a luxury they can’t afford.

Best Foreign Film

My personal favourite is The Host from Korea, but since it did not get nominated I will have to go with 12 the Russian adaption of 12 Angry Men. 

Finally the envelop please for….

Best Picture

No Country For Old Men.  A bleak, but beautiful essay using the vast expanse of the west as a metaphor for changing American values, the film challenges your expectation of how the story should unfold.  Each performance down to the smallest character feels real.  The film has been described as both nihilistic and existential and it is, but it is also hugely entertaining.

And there you have it my picks for Oscar this Sunday.  I’ll report back in a week on how well I did.

2 Responses to “My 2008 Oscar Predictions”

  1. Promod says:

    So many movies I have not seen :(

    I am definitely for Javier Bardem as best supporting actor. I would like to see Juno win big.

  2. Peter McGarvey says:

    Juno is a great film and in any other year would likely be an odds on favourite, but the best picture category is a strong one. Comedies, with the exception of Annie Hall rarely win Best Picture, which is too bad.

    The same applies to horror films and fantasies – Silence of the Lambs and Lord of the Rings are the only two examples of these gendres I can recall winning Best Picture awards.

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