Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Oscar Picks & Musings

An expansion of my Alligators in a Helicopter comment.

Best Picture: There Will Be Blood
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson
Overall, There Will Be Blood had the obsessive, over-the-top expansiveness of a great film. And, the bitter cynicism of an Upton Sinclair adaptation really appeals to me, to boot.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis
DDL chewed some very expansive scenery in There Will Be Blood. I'd really like to see it go to Viggo Mortenson -- not because his performance was better, per-se, but because he's such an underappreciated actor.

Best Actress: Laura Linney
Though, frankly, if Juno is nominated for script, director and picture, Ellen Page should be up here because her performance is what made the other nominations possible. Ellen Page really made that film, even if the terrible, unbearable soundtrack of relentless preciously ironic folk songs -- a soundtrack so bad I almost walked out of the film in the first few minutes when it was really overused -- was really her doing.

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem
Excellent screen villain. His character made that film the phenomenon it has become, even more so than th Coen's excellent directing and Tommy Lee Jones (who I think is great), as far as I'm concerned.

Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton
I heart Tilda Swinton. There's really not much other logic behind my choice.

Best Animated Film: Ratatouille
I know I'm biased here, since I worked on Ratatouille, but Surf's Up just was not as good of a film (but it was good). Persepolis was a good film, as a film and a story, but the animation performance is not award worthy. I think Persepolis is a worthy competitor, but even if you think its serious subject matter makes it better story-wise (and I don't, I think it's an apples to oranges comparison, but I will say Brad did a sterling job with the Rat story), the actual animation performance element makes it not the best choice.

Foreign Film: Katyn
I'm a "gimme" for this film -- my opinion is probably not very reliable given my predisposition to the subject matter.

Documentary: No End In Sight
Lots of good Iraq documentaries, but you have to pick only one...

Cinematography: The Assasination of Jesse James...
Roger Deakins should win for one of his two films, it's time he got his well deserved Oscar kudos. He's been nominated six times, he's one of the great Cinematographers of all time, and he's also a heck of a nice guy (I had the privilege of taking a one-day class with him, and he was very cool). Robert Elswit is also deserving for There Will Be Blood -- actually so are Janusz Kaminski for Diving Bell and Seamus McGarvey for Atonement -- but Deakins deserves his due.

Visual Effects: Pirates
Transformers is not as undeserving as some claim, and I would not be unhappy to see it win also, but the work in Pirates is some really good stuff. I think Transformers probably will win because Pirates will be seen as just follow-on work from the first two films, but that's fine with me. Golden Compass, on the other hand, didn't really blow me away (either the film or the VFX).

Art Direction: Sweeney Todd
My hands-down favorite. Art Direction made this film better than it otherwise would have been (I like Tim Burton, but I think he should have made more changes to the source material and made it better).

Sound Editing: Ratatouille
Sound Mixing: Ratatouille
I am biased. But I do really like all the sound work that gets done for our films.

Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum
Not a great film, per-se, but a nice job with the editing.

Best Original Screenplay: Ratatouille
I'd like to see an animated film win this once, and as mentioned, I'm biased. I'm pretty sure that Juno will win simply for being the little indie film that could, which is also fine (even though it makes me jealous as it's a script close in style and genre to what I most commonly write), as it was a pretty good script -- but Michael Clayton was perhaps better, so if that wins, that's cool too.

Short Live Action: Haven't seen enough of them.

Short Animated: Don't care for any of the ones I've seen.
I preferred The Ark, which was a Cannes official selection this year.

Other categories: Either haven't seen enough of the entrants to judge, or don't care for what's there.

That's my two cents on this year's Oscars, except to say this: Neither Stanley Kubrick nor Peter O'Toole ever won an Oscar, so in the final analysis, who cares?