random reviews, recollections & reminiscings

Saturday, February 23, 2008

2007 OSCARS: The "Should" & "Will" wins....

Official Oscars poster (2008)

I feel it's been a great year for films and it's that time of year again. The Oscars are this weekend and I know I haven't really shared much about the nominees. Well, here's a look at who I think should win and who I think will win. That's right, what you see below in the red is who I think should win and what you see in purple is who I think will win. If there is just red, then that's who I think should and will win. I'll be sittin' on the couch at home with my wife come Sunday night talkin' it all in.

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

I haven't seen "Atonement"or "Michael Clayton" yet and I know they're great but they're just not Best Picture ths year. "Juno", while a quirky lil gem that has become huge and could be this year's suprise, just hasn't really remained with me after watching it a month ago. It was some great performances and is well-written and directed but I didn't find it terribly unique. It's really between "No "Country"and "Blood" and I think it will go to "No Country" due to the variety of solid performances, great cinematography and screenplay. The Coen brothers have had a well-deserved fan following for some time and it'd be great to see them get the gold.

Best Director
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Jason Reitman - Juno
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

Usually this category is a shoe-in to match the Best Picture category. It is given out before the Best Picture win, so it usually is a precursor but sometimes the talent of the director overshadows the film. Not in this case. I think the Coens will take it. They made an excelent film that didn't necessarily feel like a "Coen brothers" film. Plus, the Coens won the Directors Guild Award last month, and that winner automatically becomes the Oscar front-runner.

Best Actor
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones - In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

Now I know this will likely go to Day-Lewis but I think Tommy Lee Jones really did his best work yet in this film. Check it out here

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie - Away From Her
Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
Ellen Page - Juno
Laura Linney - The Savages

I know everyone's rootin' for Page but I just can't see it. He performance was great and all but it didn't really stay with me. I think Christie could win for her graceful performance as a woman dealing with Alzheimer's. But after seeing Cotillard's work....whoa. She was simply mesmerizing. Check it out here

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

Well, this is kind of a lock. Bardem did an amazing job as the Buster Brown, neo-Western Terminator. While, it'd be great to see Holbrook get it since he's never won an Oscar, I think it'll go to Bardem.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Ruby Dee - American Gangster'
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

I think it's between Blanchett and Ryan. I'd be happy with either. I dunno even know if Blanchett will be there seeing as how she's like 7 mths. pregnant. Ruby Dee could snatch this one right out from under these two but I dunno. This category is usually the first acting category awarded and it's always up in the air.

Best Animated Feature Film
Surf's up

I've only seen "Ratatouille" and I know for certain it will win, hands down. I'm looking forward to director Brad Bird's speech.

Best Foreign Film
'Counterfeiters' (Austria)
'Beaufort' (Israel)
'Katyn' (Poland)
'Mongol' (Kazakhstan)
'12' (Russia)

I chose the film from Austria cuz the trailer looks good. Check it out here

Best Original Screenplay
Juno - Diablo Cody
Lars and the Real Girl - Nancy Oliver
Michael Clayton - Tony Gilroy
Ratatouille - Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco & Brad Bird
The Savages - Tamara Jenkins

Well, this one's kind of a no-brainer. I have a feeling this 'critical darling' will only win this award. I'd have no problem with that. Cody's quirky, clever and real script is at times a bit to excessive in the pop-culture reference but there is still plenty of real characterization going on and for a comedic drama, that's rare.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Atonement - Christopher Hampton
Away from Her - Sarah Polley
'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' - Ronald Harwood
No Country for Old Men - Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
'There Will Be Blood' - Paul Thomas Anderson

Polley did a fantastic job with Away from Her but with her directorial debut, it's just great to get the nom. It's hard enough to write a good screenplay but adapting an already published work that may have a built-in fanbase must be even more difficult. I give it to "No County"cuz there were some really great lines with some clever dialogue.

Best Documentary Feature

No End in Sight
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
Taxi to the Dark Side

I've only seen "Sicko"and it was fine but not really worthy of a nomination. There are two other docs that got snubbed, In the Shadow of the Moon and The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters but that's the way it goes. I'd like to see Taxi to the Dark Side win. It looks harrowing, compelling and something a subject that hasn't been covered. It's a documentary murder mystery that examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers. In an unflinching look at the Bush administration's policy on torture, the filmmaker behind Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room takes us from a village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House.

Best Original Score
Atonement - Dario Marianelli
The Kite Runner - Alberto Iglesias
Michael Clayton - James Newton Howard
Ratatouille - Michael Giacchino
3:10 to Yuma - Marco Beltrami

It would be awesome if a Pixar film won this category. The score of their films always raise it's level of entertainment. Plus, Micahel Giacchino has worked magic on both Alias and Lost. I'd love for him to get it. It'll go to "Atonement" cuz I think that's the only award it will get.

Best Original Song
Falling Slowly - Once
Happy Working Song - Enchanted
Raise It Up - August Rush
So Close - Enchanted
That's How You Know - Enchanted

Let me just say that if "Once" doesn't take it, it will ruin my evening. Knowing how Oscar usually treats this category, I bet the film won't win but it'd be a welcome surprise.

Best Film Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum - Christopher Rouse
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Juliette Welfling
Into the Wild - Jay Cassidy
No Country for Old Men - Roderick Jaynes
There Will Be Blood - Dylan Tichenor

There was a lot of quick shots to work through in "No Country" and smooth transitions were key.

Best Documentary - Short Subject
Freeheld - Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
'La Corona (The Crown) - Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
Salim Baba - Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
Sari's Mother - James Longley

I have no idea but this sounded fun.

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

There's some talented nominees here but there's a reason veteran Roger deakins is nominated twice. He's just that good. He's worked with the Coens before and with "No Country" he's working with wide-open Texas landscapes and tight interior shots. Every inch of the film looks good.

Best Costume Design
Across the Universe - Albert Wolsky
Atonement - Jacqueline Durran
Elizabeth: The Golden Age - Alexandra Byrne
La Vie en Rose - Marit Allen
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Colleen Atwood

I know most of the films that usually win this category are period pieces and that Colleen Atwood has won numerous times already but "La Vie En Rose" stand out to me in it's simplicity.

Best Sound Mixing
The Bourne Ultimatum - Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
No Country for Old Men - Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
Ratatouille - Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
3:10 to Yuma - Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
Transformers - Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

This may just be another category that "No Country"takes but I can't help but thinking of all that noise that went on in that French kitchen in Paris. All that stirring and shaking and slurping really gave that film a kinectic feel.

Best Sound Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum - Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
No Country for Old Men - Skip Lievsay
Ratatouille - Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
There Will Be Blood - Matthew Wood
Transformers - Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

You know the familar sound of them robots 'transformin' back and forth is just too cool, right? Come on, you know it.

Best Live Action Short Film

'At Night'
'Il Supplente (The Substitute)'
'Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)'
'Tanghi Argentini'
'The Tonto Woman'

I saw all of these and have discussed them here

Best Animated Short Film

'I Met the Walrus'
'Madame Tutli-Putli'
'Même les Pigeons vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go To Heaven)'
'My Love (Moya Lyubov)'
'Peter & the Wolf'

Dunno if I'll get to see any of these but I like the title of this one. I know, real deep.

Best Makeup
La Vie en Rose - Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
Norbit - Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

I asked some co-workers if they saw "Norbit" (knowing they probably have) and sure enough they did. I asked them if they were offended by the film. No, they weren't. I asked them if they think Eddie Murphy should hang it up. No, they don't mind him. I asked them if Murphy should at least scale down his roles per film to maybe....one. They agreed. When I told them "Norbit" was nominated for an Oscar one of them was shocked, "For what?" she asked. I told her it was for makeup, to which she replies, "Why? Everyone knew it was him! Yeah. While I think the make up was great on "Pirates"I still think the highlight of that movie was the visual effects. A film with great make-up work doesn't have to involve much, sometimes if it serves the character and the story well, it's rarely noticed and it helps the actor transform seamlessly. That's the case with "La Vie En Rose".

Best Art Direction
American Gangster - Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
Atonement - Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
The Golden Compass - Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
There Will Be Blood - Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

While all of these movies looked good and I haven't seen all of them, I would say that the overall look of "There Will Be Blood" was as much a star of the film as the actors. You really felt like you were in a dusty, dry landscape with sweaty, bloody and oily drenched actors. That had to do with the look of the film.

Best Visual Effects
The Golden Compass - Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
Transformers - Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

I'm not a huge fan of any of these films but I do kow what Iike in Visual Effects. I like to be watching a film and not even think that I'm seeing any visual effect. I didn't see "The Golden Compass" yet but I know it has fantasy characters that need CGI in order to make them interact and believable. Obviously I know there's a need for CGI when bringing robots to life but I guess for me the most convincing F/X are the ones where I'm not really even noticing them, where the entire world created is touched by them but not overwhelmed by them.
That's why I chose the pirate world. From Davey Jones to the surreal multiple Jack Sparrows this one did it for me. It left me with the most memorable visual effects. Still, I bet the voters will give it to those oversized robots.


Best Picture: No Country for Old MenBest Director: Joel Coen & Ethan CoenBest Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be BloodBest Actress: Marion Cotillard in La Vie en RoseBest Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem in No Country for Old MenBest Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan in Gone Baby GoneBest Original Screenplay: JunoBest Adapted Screenplay: No Country for Old MenCinematography: No Country for Old MenFilm Editing: No Country for Old MenArt Direction: There Will Be BloodCostume Design: Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetOriginal Score: AtonementOriginal Song: "Falling Slowly" -- OnceBest Makeup: La Vie en RoseSound Editing: No Country for Old MenSound Mixing: No Country for Old MenBest Visual Effects: TransformersBest Animated Feature Film: RatatouilleBest Foreign Language Film: The Counterfeiters -- AustriaBest Documentary Feature: Taxi to the Dark SideBest Documentary Short: Salim BabaBest Live Action Short: Tanghi ArgentiniBest Animated Short: Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis

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