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Monday, January 21, 2008


Oscar-ology: The Official 2008 Predictions

The Oscar nominations are set for tomorrow morning, which means it's time for us to tell you what we expect in the major categories. I don't think 2007 will go down in history as a great year for films, but having made these predictions for the last 17 years, I admit it was a lot less painful than others have been. (To be clear, this isn't a list of people I want to win; instead, it's a list of who I think will actually get nominated. Important distinction, especially when you see me listing the crapfest Into The Wild all over the place.) Let me know where you disagree with m logic in the comments.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Possible Spoiler: Into The Wild
Dark Horses: Atonement; Sweeney Todd
If I Were The Academy: The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford

The only serious question for Best Picture is whether the actors in the Academy loved Into The Wild enough to push it into contention. I'm guessing (hoping?) no, because I think it'll come at the expense of Michael Clayton, which is a far better movie structurally.

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Sean Penn, Into The Wild
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Possible Spoiler: Joe Wright, Atonement
Dark Horses: Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd
If I Were The Academy: Sarah Polley, Away From Her

I'm predicting no surprises here; Wright may surge if there's an Atonement voting bloc, which is going to hurt Michael Clayton in all categories.

George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Daniel Day Lewis, There Will Be Blood
James McAvoy, Atonement
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Possible Spoiler: Emile Hirsch, Into The Wild
Dark Horses: Frank Langella, Starting Out In The Evening
If I Were The Academy: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

I think there's enough buzz in Hollywood to propel James McAvoy -- who's been on every magazine cover in America this month -- past his fellow rising star Hirsch. If the Academy gets sentimental, however, Langella could begin a swing of geezer nominations (although Langella will probably have his year in 2009, with Frost/Nixon on the way).

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Ellen Page, Juno
Possible Spoiler: Kiera Knightley, Atonement
Dark Horses: Amy Adams, Enchanted; Laura Linney, The Savages
If I Were The Academy: Tang Wei, Lust, Caution

Yawn, no surprises here either. I think the only question for me is Jolie, but she's got enough star wattage to hold off Knightley and Adams, I think. It would do my heart good, however, to be wrong about Laura Linney's omission.

Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Hal Holbrook, Into The Wild
Tommy Lee Jones, No Country For Old Men
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Possible Spoiler: John Travolta, Hairspray
Dark Horses: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
If I Were The Academy: Ben Foster, 3:10 To Yuma

I don't see any push for There Will Be Blood's Paul Dano, so I've left him off the list entirely. I loved Hoffman, but he's won too recently. What I'm really afraid of here is Travolta. Please, dear sweet Jesus....no Travolta.

Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Sairose Ronan, Atonement
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Possible Spoiler: Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement
Dark Horses: Kelly MacDonald, No Country For Old Men
If I Were The Academy: Marisa Tomei, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

Don't be surprised if Redgrave's career pedigree pushes out young Ronan...even with her 7-minute performance.

Diablo Cody, Juno
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl
Steve Zaillian, American Gangster
Potential Spoiler: Brad Bird, Ratatouille
Dark Horses: Judd Apatow, Knocked Up
If I Were The Academy: Kelly Masterson, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

What a weak category...I think Clayton is the only true superlative in the field this year, although Juno and Savages have their moments.

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Wilson's War
Possible Spoiler: Sean Penn, Into The Wild
Dark Horses: James Vanderbilt, Zodiac
If I Were The Academy: John Logan, Sweeney Todd

I'm relatively certain that the big guns in this category will carry the day...and among screenwriters, this is just about the cream of the crop. I doubt that Penn's star power can push any of the out, to be honest.

Beaufort (Israel)
Days of Darkness (Canada)
Katyn (Poland)
The Unknown (Italy)
The Year My Parents Went On Vacation (Brazil)
Possible Spoiler:
Mongol (Kazakhstan)
Dark Horses: 12 (Russia), The Counterfeiters (Austria)
If I Were The Academy: The Trap (Serbia)

The crime here is that the big films among the country's selections were all skipped (Persepolis, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Exiled, Secret Sunshine, Silent Night, Belle Toujours). Of the remaining possible selections, you've got two world-class directors: Denys Arcand (Days of Darkness) and Andrzej Wajda (Katyn). Beaufort's got a little buzz. The rest of it's a complete guess.

Bee Movie
Possible Spoiler: The Simpsons Movie
Dark Horses: Shrek The Third
If I Were The Academy: Persepolis twice

Can the Simpsons supplant Jerry Seinfeld and the Bee Movie? I don't know. I don't think so, but I hope so.

Seamus McGarvey, Atonement
Roger Deakins, The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford
Roger Deakins, No Country For Old Men
Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood
Janusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Possible Spoiler: Eric Gautier, Into The Wild
Dark Horses: Harris Savides, Zodiac
If I Were The Academy: Oliver Wood, The Bourne Ultimatum

What an incredible category. I hope these five artists -- who made, in my opinion, the most important cinematic contributions to 2007 -- will be justly honored for their work.

"Come So Far (Got So Far To Go)," Hairspray
"Falling Slowly," Once
"Grace Is Gone," Grace Is Gone
"Happy Working Song," Enchanted
"Guaranteed," Into The Wild
Possible Spoiler: "Do You Feel Me," American Gangster
Dark Horses: "If You Want Me," Once; "Rise," Into The Wild
If I Were The Academy: "Lyra," The Golden Compass

I'd love to see Enchanted, Once and Hairspray get the attention they deserve here. Sadly, it'll be tough...they're up against Oscar magnet Diane Warren and that Gangster tune.

Michael Brook with Kaki King and Eddie Vedder, Into The Wild
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford
Michael Giacchino, Ratatouille
Alberto Iglesias, The Kite Runner
Dario Marianelli, Atonement
Possible Spoiler: Howard Shore, Eastern Promises
If I Were The Academy: Johnny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood; Alexandre Desplat, Lust, Caution

UPDATED because The Envelope let it slip that There Will Be Blood has unfairly been disqualified due to an arcane rule that has been erratically applied over the years; they can suck my dick, because Johnny Greenwood's music made the largest contribution to a non-musical film I've ever seen. And while you're at it, they should watch their Lust, Caution screeners, just to hear the master at work.

Previous 2008 Oscar-ology:
- Golden Globe Predictions
- New York Film Critics Flout L.A.
- Boston, Los Angeles Critics Weigh In
- National Board of Review Winners
- Golden Satellite Nominations
- Independent Spirit Nominations

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Blogger Nick Davis said...

Dammit! I totally forgot about the American Gangster possibility in Original Screenplay. Oh, well. Too late to change it now. I'll look forward to your reactions on Tuesday!

1/21/08, 2:10 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Well, color me unimpressed with Atonement. Watching it over the weekend, I was reminded of our little tiff a few years ago about The English Patient -- only this film didn't even have Juliette Binoche and Naveen Andrews to offer an appealing alternative to two protagonists I didn't give a shit about. Atonement is very pretty, but a pretty cipher.

1/21/08, 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you're smoking but Diving Bell will not be nominated for Best Picture and Atonement will get the nod and likely win Best Picture in February.

Bee Movie? You gotta be kidding me! The Simpsons movie and even Shrek would be nominated before that critical yawn of a film.

1/21/08, 5:20 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Jill, totally agree with you about ATONEMENT. Spot on with your analysis, as always.

Boston, I very well could be wrong about Diving Bell...but I'm hoping its recent surge in the precursors and its clear superiority will push it past ATONEMENT. Of course, it doesn't as big a campaign, so you may be right. (But I'll gladly take your bet that it'll win Best Picture...you're smoking some lovely crack there.)

As for BEE MOVIE, yeah, it sucks. But it's got the corporate synergy behind it. I hope SIMPSONS beats it, but I'm not sure it will.

One thing we can COMPLETELY agree on, however...Boston Rob does indeed suck.

1/21/08, 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll appeal to logic. In the over 50 year history of the Golden Globes only once has the winner of Best Drama-Picture not been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. I don't think this will be the year. I'm not even a fan of the film but I do recognize what the Academy will find appealing about it-historical drama combined with a love story. The other films may be too dark for their innately Hollywood sensibilities.

I suspect you chose the Diving Bell also because the director was up for a DGA award. While often there is a similarity, the entire academy votes for Best Picture and I doubt that enough of them have seen this small though amazing foreign film.

My prediction as spoilers are Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hard to rule out critical darlings who are past nominees.

1/21/08, 9:40 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

I chose DIVING BELL because it got not only the DGA but the PGA and WGA...and because it's better, and because they got their screeners out early and often to Academy members (it was one of the first I received). You make a good argument about the Globes and ATONEMENT...but it's safe to say that the Globes didn't have the juice this year that they normally have.

All of this is to say that your logic works, but so does mine. And I realize that actors, who make up the majority of Oscar voters, will love ATONEMENT because's it's sooooo...actory. But I remain hopefully that good will triumph over British wallpaper.

1/21/08, 10:37 PM  
Blogger ZenDenizen said...

Pretty lackluster, I wouldn't mind if they skipped this awards broadcast, too.

1/22/08, 9:13 AM  

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