Friday, February 20, 2009


+PICTURE: Slumdog Millionaire (Insert "it is written" tagline here. If it were up to me, I'd write down "Milk", but I can't fight with destiny - or bad taste - can I?)

+DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle, Sunshine (You know that looks better.)

+ACTRESS: Kate Winslet, The Reader (I don't think a Melissa Leo win is totally out of the question, and if there was another month of campaigning left, I feel like the actress - who's my favourite in this category - could have pulled it off. Still, Frozen River came out on DVD two seconds ago, and I'm thinking she's peaked too late. I know screeners have been floating around for a while, but I feel like more people have seen the Daldry film at this point. Along with the "Give it to Kate" issue, etc, etc.)

-ACTOR: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler (I don't know if anyone is itching for another uncomfortable, thorny Penn speech - not when Mickey can make them cringe and guffaw at the same time. Since Penn was due a SAG prize anyways, the combined forces of BAFTA + GG give Rourke the upper hand here.) [Penn wins his second Leading Actor Oscar.]

-SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Viola Davis, Doubt (Penélope Cruz may have won the BAFTA, but she wasn't up against Davis or Winslet. And I'm thinking that the "Doubt needs to win something for acting" argument actually might hold some water.) [Cruz pulls through.]

+SUPPORTING ACTOR: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (To anyone who's predicting an upset in this category: if there was a backlash against him, it would have happened by now. A year of front-runner talk, and nothing's really changed.)

+ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire (I seriously doubt that he has any competition in this category, although David Hare should have a speech ready just in case.)

+ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Dustin Lance Black, Milk. (The only assured victory for Milk, and Wall-E has Animated Feature all locked up anyways.)

+ANIMATED FILM: Wall-E (Should just be called "The Pixar Appreciation" Category)

+DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Man on Wire (There's no reason to believe its winning streak throughout awards season will suddenly cease here.)

-FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: A three-way race between Waltz with Bashir, Departures, and The Class, and I'm betting on the humanism of the latter to emerge the victor. [The late word on Departures proved to be more than just rumour.]

+CINEMATOGRAPHY: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire (Going with the "flashiest = best" theory. Although a Dark Knight win wouldn't be surprising at all.)

+ART DIRECTION: Donald Graham Burt and Victor J. Zolfo, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Spoiler: The Duchess)

+COSTUME DESIGN: Michael O'Connor, The Duchess (Repeating my commentary from last year: bad reviews don't really matter in this category. See Marie Antoinette, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.)

+EDITING: Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire (Grrr, one of the most frustrating races of the night. I want to predict The Dark Knight here, since action films often score in this category, but this is the year of Slumdog after all.)

+MAKE-UP: Greg Cannom, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (But all the nominees are very much in the race.)

-ORIGINAL SCORE: Thomas Newman, Wall-E (I love Rahman, and I've worshipped him for years, but is there really a score to Slumdog Millionaire? My view is that there are more memorable songs in the film than actual instrumental pieces. Newman is way overdue, and animated films have a great track record here.)

+ORIGINAL SONG: A.R. Rahman and Gulzar for "Jai Ho", Slumdog Millionaire (Although "O Saya" is the clear standout here)

-SOUND MIXING: The Dark Knight [Oscar goes to Slumdog]
(Probably not the smartest move, but since The Bourne Ultimatum did it last year, why not the biggest blockbuster of last year?)

+VISUAL EFFECTS: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Should be an easy get, IMO, but it's hard to know how big the Button-backlash really is.)

Slumdog Millionaire - 6
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 3
The Dark Knight - 3
Wall-E - 2
The Class - 1
Doubt - 1
The Duchess - 1
Man on Wire - 1
Milk - 1
The Reader - 1
The Wrestler -1

16/21 = 76%

Oscar's TALLY
Slumdog Millionaire - 8
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 3
The Dark Knight - 2
Milk - 2
Departures - 1
The Duchess - 1
Man on Wire - 1
The Reader - 1
Vicky Cristina Barcelona - 1
Wall-E - 1