Monday, January 21, 2008

Oscar nomination predictions

Here's what I expect tomorrow morning ....

Best Picture:
No Country for Old Men
Michael Clayton
There Will Be Blood

The first three are near-locks. TWBB should have enough. The fifth is up for grabs. I get a feeling that it will be a surprise. Everyone seems to think Into the Wild or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Maybe the box office success of Charlie Wilson's War makes that the surprise. Maybe Atonement gets British help to recapture the nomination that was presumed to belong to it.

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl

Those were the Screen Actors Guild nominees, plus Depp, minus Emile Hirsch. These are all good performances. But, heavens, is Sam Riley's performance in Control ever missing.

Best Actress
Julie Christie, Away from Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Ellen Page, Juno
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Keira Knightley, Atonement

A ho-hum field. Pretty much everybody's list. Cate Blanchett's I'm Not There performance ought to be a lead (and she's good in Elizabeth, too), but it ain't. No worries. The best actress of her generation is in her late 30s with only a supporting actress win. How are there so many more exciting actresses out there than men but still so few appropriately interesting roles?

Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
Casesy Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Can't argue too much here. Like every year, you can tick off a list of ten or fifteen performances that you justifiably sub in. And this year that's just Zodiac and Jesse James. Would like to find a spot for Robert Downey, Jr. for Zodiac, but I don't want to knock out the favored Affleck to do it. I'm just glad that people have apparently seen through Paul Dano, who gets eaten alive by Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. (For the record, Pitt, Schneider, Downey, Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Chris Cooper, Tony Kebbell, Steve Zahn, Tommy Lee Jones, J.K. Simmons, Jason Bateman (loved him in The Kingdom), Paul Rudd, Ben Foster, someone from Before the Devil, etc. )

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan, Gone, Baby, Gone
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Kelly MacDonald, No Country for Old Men

I figure that being the Oscar favorite often means that you get surprise nods in some of the weaker fields, hence MacDonald. If it turns out to be Jennifer Garner for Juno, I'll barf. Not because she does a bad job, but because a hundred actress could have played the role as well. The other possibility would be Catherine Keener for Into the Wild, with a better performance than any of her recent nominations. Justice demands Marie-Josee Croze for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, who had to act against a camera for most of her screen time and did so with a sense of passion, insecurity and secrecy. But this is the Oscars.

Best Director
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
David Fincher. Zodiac
Sean Penn, Into the Wild

Somehow, I think there will be a surprise or two. Juno and Michael Clayton are not strong in this category. Schnabel will grab one of those spots. A third spot could shift with whatever the fifth Best Picture slot becomes. So I followed my earlier surprise BP prediction and put in Fincher. Penn has more skins on the wall than Gilroy, nevermind that Gilroy's film is better.

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins, No Country for Old Men
Roger Deakins, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood
Seamus MacGarvey, Atonement
Janusz Kasminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

May lightning strike them down for failing to nominate Harris Savides for Zodiac and Martin Ruhe for Control.

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