Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oscar Predictions From a Guest

My dad has always loved the movies, and these days he gets to just about every one that's released. So, since Oscar nominations are revealed tomorrow morning, I thought I'd give him a shot at predicting the finalists in Best Picture and the acting categories. These are not his personal favorites, just the names he expects to see, with a bit of commentary. We'll give him a grade after the official announcement tomorrow...

Best Picture

The Wrestler, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight

The Wrestler is at the top of my pyramid. Button wouldn’t make my top 5, but it’s ambitious, and that will count with voters. Slumdog has momentum on its side, politically topical films like Milk score well with the Academy, and Dark Knight is a long shot that I think will sneak in for having scored so big at the box office.

Best Actor

Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins

Rourke was mesmerizing in The Wrestler -- makes you realize what he could have been. I tend to dismiss roles, like Langella’s in Frost/Nixon, that are essentially imitations of well known figures, but his body of work earns him a nomination. And The Visitor isn’t on many radar screens, but Jenkins nailed it. I hope he's recognized.

Best Actress

Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sally Hawkins

For Winslet, take your pick between Revolutionary Road and The Reader. I preferred her in the latter, but her versatility marks her as the heiress apparent to Streep. Speaking of the perennial nominee, her crusty nun should earn her another shot, but I doubt she will need an acceptance speech. Hathaway’s neurotic and troubled turn as the monkey wrench in her sister's wedding weekend moves her several rungs up on the acting ladder. Thomas is a consummate pro and should be recognized for I’ve Loved You So Long. As the cockeyed optimist in Happy-Go-Lucky, Hawkins left an indelible impression, and she should battle Winslet for the statue.

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger, Eddie Marsan, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Downey, Jr., Anil Kapoor

Ledger is a likely posthumous winner, and sentiment aside I think he deserves it. You wouldn’t want to take driving lessons from Marsan’s character in Happy-Go-Lucky, but he was perfect. Hoffman seems relegated to the supporting category for his portrayal of Streep's foil in Doubt, but his role was more nuanced and, as usual, he nailed it. Downey was the critics’ darling this year, and Kapoor may ride Slumdog’s coattails to a nomination.

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz, Viola Davis, Amy Adams, Marisa Tomei, Frances McDormand

Cruz is the likely winner for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but her standout performance of the year was in Elegy, which has fallen off the radar screen thanks to its midyear release. Viola Davis was only on screen for a few minutes in Doubt, but what a few minutes! Adams would be the fourth acting nominee from Doubt, but she’s terrific as the young nun who starts the ruckus. Tomei complements Rourke perfectly as the over-the-hill stripper he regards as the antidote for his loneliness in The Wrestler, and what are the Oscars without a mention of the Coen brothers -- McDormand’s effort in Burn After Reading was as good as any.



Blogger Miles Doyle said...

impressive. papa williams almost nailed it.

9:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home