Hey, have you heard the Oscars are on Sunday? I look forward to this every year, and because Trevor & I finally caught 'The Reader' this weekend (the last of the Best Picture nominees), I am ready to make some way too emotionally-driven and completely arbitrary predictions:
Shocking no one, 'Slumdog Millionaire' wins! Everyone feels good about themselves until they watch it again in two years and wonder what on earth they were thinking saying that was the most well-made film in Hollywood this year.
Sorry Melissa Leo – I remember you fondly from your days on Homicide, but the Academy tends to favor Out There choices in the Supporting categories, not the lead ones. (That’s why Slumdog Millionaire’s producers lobbied for Dev Patel – the main character – to be recognized as a supporting actor, not a lead one). For you and Richard Jenkins - who was wonderful in the delightful 'The Visitor' - the nomination truly was the award.
That being said – Best Actress is the toughest category to call, what with Kate Winslet as the perennial bridesmaid when it comes to Oscars (but was she nominated for the wrong movie? In my opinion, no.), Meryl Streep as, well, Meryl Streep (but has she been recognized enough in her career? Is there such a thing? Who could have watched this movie and been impressed with her?), and Anne Hathaway as the long-time industry presence who shocks everyone with her dramatic prowess.
This is the category where I’m having the hardest time separating out my own personal feelings. I truly don’t understand how anyone could have seen 'Rachel Getting Married' and come out anything short of mind blown by what Anne Hathaway did in it. Kate Winslet was good in 'The Reader' (but what is up with movies set in foreign countries, where they speak English just with that foreign accent? Can I discredit her just for that?) but certainly not mind blowing. Still, because 'The Reader' is more front-of-mind because of its late release date, and because it's got the campaign backing of the Weinsteins, I'm going to predict this one goes to Kate Winslet.
The most predictable outcome of the Best Actress announcement? Angelina Jolie will look pissed.
As far as Best Actors go, it’s also a three way race (because, inexplicably, Brad Pitt is being completely ignored for what was some amazing work in ‘Benjamin Button). The only thing that Oscar likes more than a comeback story is awarding old time industry favorites, but I wonder if this type of voting will lead to Mickey Rourke and Frank Langhella splitting the vote and bestowing the Oscar upon the, in my opinion, most deserving, Sean Penn.
Best Supporting Actress:
I still can’t believe Cate Blanchett wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Doubt's Viola Davis has really been really hitting it out of the park in all her award show appearances:
But I really don’t support the idea of giving an Oscar to someone who’s on screen for less than 10 minutes. I think Taraji P. Henson has a real legitimate shot here, and because I truly enjoyed her in 'Benjamin Button' (I think she carried her character the most realistically through age and more than held her own opposite Brad Pitt), I hope it happens.
Best Supporting Actor:
It’s too bad that the Best Supporting Actor race is so predictable, not only because Heath Ledger won’t be there to accept the award he certainly deserves, but because it’s quite the collection of performances: Robert Downey Jr. would have had a great shot at this for his role in ‘Tropic Thunder’ because that's just the type of role the Academy likes to reward in this category (See: Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Michael Shannon and Philip Seymour Hoffman were the best parts of their respective movies.
Most of the widely recognized films this year were adapted from other works, making the Original Screenplay category one of the oddest: 2 never-heard-of-‘ems ('Frozen River' + 'Happy Go Lucky'), 1 long-forgotten comedy ('In Bruges'), 1 of the front-runners for Best Picture ('Milk'), and an animated gem ('Wall-E'). If the Academy is paying attention to the carefully scripted silences in the brilliance that was Wall-E, that’s where the Oscar will land.
As far as Best Adapted Screenplay, I'd be shocked if this didn't go to 'Slumdog Millionaire,' and disgusted if it wound up with 'Doubt,' but I think it truly belongs to 'Frost/Nixon,' which took on the daunting task of converting a play into a truly watchable movie.
That’s all I’ve got as far as opinions go for now, but have you heard that Peter Gabriel is refusing to perform the song from 'Wall-E' for the telecast, because the producers wanted him to perform a shortened version? Yet, he is still attending the event. Interesting.