Monday, February 16, 2009

81st Annual Academy Awards-The Winners Predicted

In just 6 days the 81st the Oscars will be handed out for the 81st time. Meryl vs. Angelina. Brad vs. Mickey. The millionaire vs. Benjamin. Who will win? Shocking omissions and surprising (albeit pleasant) additions aside, I will take a stab at predicting the winners in all 24 races. Last year, I got 20 out of 24 correct. This year, I'm going 24 for 24. Herewith, the predictions with just a bit of commentary along with the one that SHOULD win.

Best Original Screenplay: All five nominees are terrific choices. Sadly, In Bruges and Frozen River don't stand a chance; Happy Go Lucky did win some critic's awards and Wall-E is an animated film (not a bad thing but it would have been better had it also been up for Best Picture). That leaves Milk.

SHOULD WIN: Frozen River or Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Adapted Screenplay: The only group that should bother showing up for this award is the group from Slumdog Millionaire, though the "Button(s)" could pull a surprise upset.

SHOULD WIN: Slumdog Millionaire
WILL WIN: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Editing: Contrary to popular belief, the award that wins Best Editing does NOT always win Best Pic. Normally I would choose The Dark Knight but it will possibly win Makeup and/or Visual Effects and most certainly win Supporting Actor. With that movie out of the way, it falls to Slumdog.

SHOULD WIN: Slumdog Millionaire
WILL WIN: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Cinematography: It's between Button and Millionaire in this race. While both are deserving, Slumdog has the edge.

SHOULD WIN: Slumdog Millionaire
WILL WIN: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Art Direction: One of the Slumdog-less categories, which leaves another "button" sewn up unless The Duchess pulls a corset out of the air.

SHOULD WIN: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
WILL WIN: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Best Original Score: Again, this is Slumdog's to lose. The soundtrack was exciting and buoyant.

SHOULD WIN: Slumdog Millionaire
WILL WIN: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Song: I would say that Slumdog Millionaire would win (it has two of three slots) and even though the thinking may be Wall-E should get some more love, Slumdog's ending dance number should dance away with the prize.

SHOULD WIN: "Jai Ho" Slumdog Millionaire
WILL WIN: "Jai Ho" Slumdog Millionaire

Best Costume Design: This one hands down will go to Keira Knightley's film, The Duchess for the extravagant and colorful frocks that bedeck this movie.

SHOULD WIN: The Duchess
WILL WIN: The Duchess

Best Makeup: This is a tough one. The Dark Knight will certainly get a win for Heath Ledger's creepy and fascinating turn as the Joker but might it also get a little more love for the splendid makeup? Possibly, but I'm going to go for the wizardry of Button.

SHOULD WIN: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
WILL WIN: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Best Sound Editing/Sound Mixing: This is always a tough category to choose because, really, what goes into choosing the winner of sound mixing? Who knows...I'm going for a split decision.

SHOULD WIN: The Dark Knight (Best Sound Editing & Mixing)
WILL WIN: Slumdog Millionaire (Best Sound Mixing); The Dark Knight (Best Sound Editing)

Best Visual Effects: If Button wasn't up for this award, I'd go for the knight in black.

SHOULD WIN: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
WILL WIN: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Best Foreign Language Film: This is between France's The Class and Israel's Waltz With Bashir. Sadly, I haven't seen any of the nominees; I usually have seen at least two. Just for its timeliness and cutting edge animation, Waltz should win but Japan will probably walk away with the prize.

SHOULD WIN: Waltz With Bashir
WILL WIN: Departures

Best Documentary Feature: This race is between a high wire act and the survivors of a hurricane but between the two, the fascinating story of Philippe Petit will rise to the occasion.

WILL WIN: Man On Wire

Best Documentary Short: Another category in which I've seen not one of the nominees so this is a complete guess.

SHOULD WIN: The Witness-From The Balcony Of Room 306
WILL WIN: Smile Pinki

Best Animated Feature: The trash cleaning robot has this one wrapped up.


Best Animated Short: Another pseudo victory for Wall-E? Yes, as Presto, the film that played before Wall-E, will take this prize.

WILL WIN: Presto

Best Live Action Short: Unless the film with the Holocaust theme comes from behind, this one is going to the toys.

SHOULD WIN: Auf der Strecke (On The Line)
WILL WIN: Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best Actor: The dark horse in this race is Frank Langella's performance as Tricky Dick. Having said that, it's going to be a head to head battle between the gay politician and the washed-up-making-a-valiant-comeback wrestler (and actor). Sean Penn might pull an upset and I (and maybe even more than a few Academy members) can't believe I'm going to say that Mickey Rourke will soon be an Oscar winner.

SHOULD WIN: Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon
WILL WIN: Sean Penn for Milk

Best Supporting Actor: Who deserves this more? Josh Brolin whose turn as Dan White was full of angst and layers or Heath Ledger who wowed audiences with his bold turn as the Joker? Would the answer be different if Ledger were still alive today? Possibly. Everyone thinks Ledger has this sewn up and he well might but I don't think he deserves it the most.

SHOULD WIN: Josh Brolin for Milk
WILL WIN: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight

Best Actress: One shocking omission was Sally Hawkins for her turn in Happy-Go-Lucky. She won the Golden Globe and several critcs awards. It is great, however, to see Melissa Leo (I think she possibly took the slot that would have normally gone to Hawkins) in this race. Her turn as a mother who turns to transporting illegals across the border between New York state and Quebec was honest, raw and revelatory. Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathway don't stand a chance. I'd say that Streep would win but Winslet's sixth nod will yield her first win.

SHOULD WIN: Melissa Leo for Frozen River
WILL WIN: Kate Winslet for The Reader

Best Supporting Actress: I would really like to see Amy Adams win because she's such an honest actress; her performances are real and full of richness. Viola Davis did do a remarkable job but, really, any actress in that role could have done the same thing. Taraji P. Henson was also amazing but wasn't quite a standout. Marisa-yes-you-can-really-act Tomei better not win this race. She was good in The Wrestler but it was a "wow" performance. That leaves Penelope Cruz who was up for a lead actress Oscar just a few years ago. She's proven that she's beautiful AND can act.

SHOULD WIN: Amy Adams for Doubt
WILL WIN: Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Director: Every director in this race is very deserving of the nomination. The race, however, is between the Millionaire and the man who ages backwards. Barring an upset (which wouldn't happen in this category) Danny should have his speech ready.

SHOULD WIN: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
WILL WIN: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Picture: If an upset is going to happen it will be in this category and will be the biggest since Shakespeare In Love beat out Saving Private Ryan back in 1999. My money's on the Slumdog.

SHOULD WIN: Slumdog Millionaire
WILL WIN: Slumdog Millionaire

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