Here are a few of my Oscar predictions, just for the fun of it.
Note: These guesses are almost completely divorced from what I think *should* win this year. I won’t bother with a full line of predictions because, frankly, I really don’t care. The Academy blew it so badly this year, I don’t want to guarantee a couple of hours of disgruntled snarling on Sunday night.
So we’re having some folks over to watch WALL-E and Shotgun Stories.
In fact, if you want to see a handful of films that I think you’ll find more satisfying than the Oscar nominees, here you go: “Oscar Do-Overs” – a piece I turned in at SPU today.
But okay, here are my handful of predictions. And yet, in almost every case, I’m going to recommend something that the predicted winner did earlier in their career that was much better than what’s getting all the attention this year.
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Sean Penn in …
Milk DEAD MAN WALKING
Yeah, I know… the odds are with Rourke. But never underestimate Hollywood’s political interests. I’d prefer to see Jenkins or Langella win, but it’ll be Penn or Rourke. Penn because it’s politically popular, and Rourke because, well, the Academy often confuses physical transformations with acting. (That’s not a criticism of Rourke. I haven’t seen The Wrestler.) Plus, didn’t Rourke’s dog just die? Who would vote against a guy whose dog just died?
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Heath Ledger in…
The Dark Knight BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Sure, Ledger had a leading role in Brokeback, but Oscar doesn’t know the difference between leading and supporting, and they should have given him *something* for Brokeback. Ledger’s work as the Joker was iconic and brilliant, but his performance in Brokeback was more complex and challenging. I think it was more award-worthy.
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Kate Winslet in…
The Reader ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
This year, my vote probably would have gone for Hathaway, who astonished me in Rachel Getting Married. But Winslet’s been one of my three favorite actresses for years, and gave two impressive performances this year (reportedly… I haven’t seen either film yet).
Penélope Cruz in… VOLVER
I’d vote for Viola Davis, who is always worth watching, and who made her one scene really count in Doubt. If we give Judi Dench an Oscar for her fleeting appearance in Shakespeare in Love, then we give this to Viola for doing a lot with so very, very little. Why don’t they develop a One Scene Oscar for cases like this?
Best animated feature film of the year
WALL-E FINDING NEMO Still my favorite Pixar film.
But yeah, if it doesn’t go to WALL-E, then the Academy is asking for every slap they receive.
Achievement in directing
Danny Boyle for…
Slumdog Millionaire MILLIONS
I find Millions to be a better film than Slumdog on almost every level. In *this* story about two young boys (one good, one bad), global poverty, and a truckload of money, the characters were far more interesting and three-dimensional.
Best foreign language film of the year
Waltz with Bashir will win, and I don’t know anything else by those filmmakers, so I’m stuck here. Sorry.
If Laurent Cantet’s The Class wins, I’ll be thrilled. It’s fantastic. The director’s other masterpiece is Time Out.
Something tells me that WALL-E will win, but it could be In Bruges. In either case, I don’t think the screenwriters have turned in stronger work before, so I’m stuck here too.
Best motion picture of the year
Slumdog Millionaire MILLIONS
Of the five nominated, I’d vote for… none of them. Looking at which filmmakers I’d like to see get some respect, I’m fine if Gus Van Sant, David Fincher, or Danny Boyle are honored. But that’s because they’ve all done more exciting work in the past.