The Film Snob’s Oscar Picks

Average Joe and I did a radio show discussing the Oscars about a month ago, but now that I have seen a few more of the movies and reflected a bit more on the performances, I want to re-examine my Oscar picks.

Score
I don’t understand how the score for Revolutionary Road was not nominated–I simply cannot comprehend it. That score was the best I ever remember hearing–it was like one of the characters–I really loved it.

Should Win: Revolutionary Road
Will Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Animated Film
Here’s where the Academy is going to err–Wall-E is going to be the obvious winner even though it was only the 4th best animated film of the year. No other animated film has a chance. I just don’t understand the fascination.

Should Win: Kung Fu Panda
Will Win: Wall-Epenelope-cruz2

Actress in a Supporting Role
How did Amy Adams get nominated? She was surrounded by three overpowering performances and she seemed to be as much of an observer as I was. Don’t get me wrong, her performance was fine–the film couldn’t have handled another emotional performance–so in Doubt she played the role she needed to, but there was nothing about it that was Oscar worthy. Viola Davis from Doubt turned in a strong performance, but was she on the screen long enough to win an Oscar? Even if it is in a supporting role. Taraji Henson, from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was really good–but not great—with no memorable line or scene to anchor her performance. Maria Tomei did fine work, really played her character beautifully, but after giving her an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny there is no way she gets another one–there’s just no way. Plus, getting nude in an Oscar role is Kate Winslett’s thing–Tomei can’t just take that. It’s about time that Penelopee Cruz gets the on-screen recognition she deserves–and this role was perfect for her–Woody Allen has a way of writing a perfect role for his leading female actors.

Should Win: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona
Will Win: Viola Davis, Doubt

Actor in a Supporting Role
It is a shame that Michael Shannon from Revolutionary Road won’t win an Oscar this year–because really his performance was shannon-rrbreathtaking. That’s one of the best supporting roles I have ever seen; unfortunately, it came in a year when Heath Ledger turned in a perfect performance in The Dark Knight. The Academy should just go ahead and give Shannon the 2010 Oscar–because he doesn’t deserve to go home empty handed. I don’t really care for Robert Downey Jr., but he has done some fine work in his career–Tropic Thunder was not one of those performances. It’s kind of ironic–the old adage is that if you play an ugly character, an old character, a gay character–any stretch from your reality, well–that’s worthy of an Oscar nod. In this movie Downey’s character pretends to be a black character and he gets a nomination–it’s like he was daring the Academy not to nominate him.

Should Win: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Will Win: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Actress in a Leading Role
It’s not going to be Jolie and it’s not going to be Hathaway–let’s just clear that up. When I saw Doubt I thought Streep was a shoe-in for another Oscar. However, I’m beginning to wonder if she played too great a role. There’s a possibility that her character was so emotional and had so many outbursts that it is hindering her chances–like her role was too perfect. Melissa Leo and Kate Winslet both turned in great performances as well. I almost think that Winslet might be a little hindered because she is always so great. To me, there is nothing that separates her performance here from the ones in Revolutionary Road or Little Children. Leo is a real darkhorse, Frozen River is not nominated in any other category–yet, her performance was every bit as good as Streep’s or Winslet’s. To me, this category is the biggest toss up of the night. I guess for me, Streep terrified me with her portrayal of Sister Aloysius–so I’ll give here the nod.

Should Win: Maryl Streep, Doubt
Will Win: Kate Winslet, The Reader

Actor in a Leading Role:
Richard Jenkins. There, I mentioned him. Pitt was good in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but his role just wasn’t thewrestler_1008_18962621_0_0_7023130_300demanding enough to compete. I think he played Benjamin exactly right–which is why he is nominated, but a win is out of the question. I’m going to say this now–and Average Joe will be all over me–Micky Rourke was overrated in The Wrestler. There, I said it. I didn’t think he stretched his acting limits or reached deep down for anything. It seemed like he played an alteration of himself–so yeah, the role was perfect for him–I just wasn’t overly impressed by his acting skills. I think people are so impressed that he’s alive and able to act, without considering whether or not he’s on the same caliber with the other nominees. My guy, Frank Langella, won’t win it. I thought he did a terrific job in a tough role. When someone as famous as Richard Nixon is portrayed, everyone is comparing the actor to the real thing. It’s unfair–but Langella did a great job with it.

Should Win: Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Will Win: Sean Penn, Milk

Director

Ron Howard is going to be penalized because Frost/Nixon comes from the stage–it’s unfair, but there is some sense that some of the direction was already done by the time Howard arrived. David Fincher is the director who impressed me the most. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was an extraordinarily difficult story to tell–it came from nothing more than a short story and he, along with others, developed it into a full, lengthy screenplay. I realize that a lot of this credit goes to the screenwriters, but Fincher’s direction was just right. He used considerable restraint at times, preventing Pitt and Blanchett from overacting–which would have been easy to do, given the situation.

Should Win: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Will Win: David Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire20081224-034649-pic-210628898_r350x200

Best Picture
I’ve got to tell you, I’m not in love with any of this year’s nominees. Milk seemed too cookie-cutter for the subject matter, Slumdog Millionaire–which might be my favorite of the bunch, lacked a certain deepness that I think the winner of this category should have, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fell flat in some areas (although Benjamen gave one hell of a speech). I think Milk is going to take home an Oscar and I’ll tell you why–Hollywood is unapologetically liberal–and with Crash upsetting Brokeback Mountin a few years ago, I think Milk claiming best picture makes just the statement they want it too. Not to mention that it’s a better movie than Brokeback Mountain. After seeing the movie, Slumdog Millionaire was my favorite, but after giving it some time and some thought, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button really grew on me. It had a life romanticism about it–it had love and loss, it was thoughtful and beautiful-plus the great speech, which earns major points with me.

Should Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Will Win: Milk

February 22 Note:

Apparently Slumdog Millionaire is a sure thing to take home the Oscar for best picture so disregard my Milk pick. What’s more is that I have been thinking more and more about Slumdog—and I would have to say that I did like it a hair more then Benjamin Button. The two are very close, but after a few days of reflection–I have to proclaim that Slumdog is the best film of the year (at least of those that were nominated).

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