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Friday, February 20, 2009

Jacob Predicts the 2009 Oscar Winners. The Forecast? Have Indian food for your party...

Last year was one of my better years, I think I only missed on 3 categories, and was exactly right in the amount of time the show would go over.

Will win= Red

Favorite= Bold

Sleeper=strikethrough

Who I’d Give it to=underline

BEST PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Really, The Reader’s only chance is if the late Anthony Menghalla and Sydney Pollack get enough sympathy votes from the older voters. Milk could pull an upset, it did get all of the necessary nominations in important categories. But there just doesn’t seem to be enough excitement for it. I think most people forgot that Frost/Nixon was nominated.

BEST ACTOR
Richard Jenkins - The Visitor
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn - Milk
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

The closest race of the night; Rourke’s is the best story of the year, and he perhaps the most memorable job. Voters love actors who abuse their bodies, and he got pummeled in that film. Penn may have done the best job of his career and has only won once (he should have won at least 2 other times before that), but that was in the past decade. Often Academy Voters vote for the speech and at first you’d think that’d be Rourke, but after the Golden Globe snafu, plus the fact many of his former co-workers still probably hate him a little; and if there’s enough anti-prop 8 sentiment, which there is, Penn giving a politically impassioned speech would come out on top. Jenkins is an actor’s actor, but I’m not sure he’s that loved to jump both actors in a movie nobody saw, and while the Oscars love impersonations and Langella’s a beloved actor, they don’t like Nixon portrayals.

BEST ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Melissa Leo - Frozen River
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Kate Winslet - The Reader

If the academy hadn’t overlooked Kate 6 times this would be Ms. Hathaway’s year, but instead we have to give Ms. Winslet this lifetime achievement award for a terrible film. Leo gave the best performance out of the bunch, but she’s probably in the “just happy to be nominated category.”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin - Milk
Robert Downey Jr. - Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road

It’s been Ledger’s for over a year now, this will just make it official. How in the bag is this (aside from his tragic death)? He plays a villain, he played ugly, and this is usually the category they throw a bone to the film they snubbed the most (ie. The Dark Knight). Add to that the love and admiration other actors have for him, and there’s really no way he can lose.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams - Doubt
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis - Doubt
Taraji P. Henson - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler

Always the hardest of the major categories to pick. My first thought was Tomei. I mean come on she plays a stripper, and she cries what more do you want? But she hasn’t gained traction at any other awards shows. Davis seemed like the logical choice, she’s a new face, she has a single, short (seriously, remember when William Hurt won for being in A History of Violence for like 20 seconds?), yet intense scene stealing role against a legendary actor, and a great story; that’s stuff what the supporting actor categories often go for. But Sup. Actresses in Woody Allen movies have great track records, and they liked Pen enough to nominate her for the little seen Volver. Often the supporting acting spots go to the film as much than to the actors themselves, but neither Doubt nor VCB seem to have loyal followings (and if Doubt did it’d split the votes). I’ll go with what my gut says.

DIRECTOR
David Fincher
Ron Howard
Gus Van Sant
Stephen Daldry
Danny Boyle

Not a whole lot to say here, except that I hope Danny recognizes his co-director, who got snubbed.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Courtney Hunt - Frozen River
Mike Leigh - Happy-Go-Lucky
Martin McDonough - In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black - Milk
Andrew Stanton - WALL-E

Seems like this is where there’d be the love for Milk. Wall-E might get a consolation prize for its Best Picture Snub, and critically In Bruges was the best. My gut says Milk. But the screenplay wasn’t the flashy part of the film, it was the acting. Frozen River would be a dark horse because it’s the “problem picture” here that is unique because it’s a very strong screenplay by a woman for women characters, and I’d love to see it win. It depends on how many saw In Bruges. If people saw it, they’d give it the award, if not for its brilliance, for a consolation prize for having this as its only nomination. Here’s some inside information: The WGA voted for Milk. The WGA has some problems with animated films because animated scriptwriters can fall under a different guild, as we saw in the WGA strike animated scripts could be written. So, that could explain why they wouldn’t go with an animated film. I don’t know how much carry-over there is to that in Oscar voters, and since the WGA itself is quite divided itself, I’ll go with Wall-E.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord - Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley - Doubt
Peter Morgan - Frost/Nixon
David Hare - The Reader
Simon Beaufoy - Slumdog Millionaire

He’s won every award so far.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex
The Class
Departures
Revanche
Waltz with Bashir

One of two categories Oscar never gets right (song is the other; they don’t even nominate the best docs so that would be a third if they ever did), so this is always hard to pick. Bashir seems to be the pick, its timely, important; films from Israel have a good track record. That aside The Class won Cannes, French films have the best track records, and is a bit less heavy on subject matter; and it’s not animated. That Bashir didn’t get a nod for Doc or animated film one has to wonder if Oscar was confused as to where to categorize a non-fiction animated film, or if it didn’t gain a lot of traction.

ANIMATED
Bolt
Kung Fun Panda
WALL-E

I assume the Annie sweeps by KFP (not Kentucky Friend Panda, sorry Homer) was in recognition that this was Wall-E’s award.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory — Lovestory
Oktapodi
Presto
This Way Up

This is how to pick this one: First, see if Wallace and Gromit are nominated. Then if any Ardman film is nominated. Ok, so we don’t have any of those this year. Then see if any Pixar films are nominated. Check, Presto! We’ll check that for a while. Next look for Eastern European films; this is probably the only category where that is a plus, especially Polish and Czech films. Lavatory-Lovestory has an amazing title, and is Russian. So, we’ll bookmark that. La Maison, is Japanese, and I don’t think a Japanese film has ever won this before and that would be huge as far as recognizing that tradition. Oktapodi is only 2 ½ minutes long, so either that will help, with voters in a hurry, or hurt it. Presto was the only Annie nominated film from the list. The fact that I’ve only seen Presto, and that it’s Pixar, and cute, is why I’m going with it. Thought don’t count LL out.

BEST ART DIRECTION
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

Benjamin Button’s been losing a lot of the technical awards, and my gut says The Dark Knight here, but I think that this may be BB’s best chance at winning (after makeup). Also, don’t rule out The Duchess. Left-field period pieces always have a way of winning this.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

I really don’t feel like SM wins this, but I can’t see another film taking it away from it. The Dark Knight has the best shot. But the academy likes to go with colorful films and TDK was pretty monochromatic. The Reader, I don’t know how it got nominated here, or for anything for that matter. BB was the most technically innovative, but it didn’t really stand out on non Digital screens. Changeling may have been the best composed, but for some reason the Oscar’s don’t seem to like Tom Stern. He won critics prizes for his other Eastwood films (Iwo Jima, Flags, Mystic River) but wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar. And as this category has shown, it takes about 4 or 5 nods before you win. Of all of the individual groups Cinematographers are perhaps the most exclusive. That or shoot the Best Picture winner.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Milk
Revolutionary Road

It’s Button (pretty much just for Cate’s hats) or The Duchess. Had Australia done better and more people seen it, it would have a chance. But The Duchess has everything this category loves. I mean everything.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

The subject matter of The Betrayal is more along the lines of what Doc Oscar voters usually go for. Man on Wire was entertaining and popular, which ironically tends to hurt a film’s chances in this category. Herzog needs to win one of these years so maybe he’ll slip through? That said Trouble the Water was the most critically acclaimed of the bunch (well according to Meta-critic, not Rotten Tomata’s), and for all I know it’s going to The Garden. Then again if Pelipe Petit gives the acceptance speech, than he’s a lock, and the last decade the popular films have done markedly better.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306

A bit easier to predict than its live-action counter-part, since many of these air on TV before the Oscars, and you can usually guess by the content of the films. I can hardly find any info on Nhem En. The Final Inch aired on TV, Smile Pinki was at Silverdocs, and The Witness has played at 4 large doc fests. My initial instinct was the The Witness, with all that’s happened in politics this year and since it’s the 40th anniversary of its events, would take it. But Smile Pinki is so charming, and why not, if Slumdog sweeps the night shouldn’t another fairy-tale-like story from India win?

BEST EDITING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

A film rarely wins Best Picture without winning best editing. And Slumdog did foreground its editing; it was noticeable and there was lots of it. The Dark Knight has a shot here, The Matrix won it back in ’99 over American Beauty, but Slumdog was an editing heavy film.

BEST MAKEUP
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Essentially a lock. Had Hellboy 2 been bigger it would have had a better shot.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat
Defiance, James Newton Howard
Milk, Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman
WALL-E, Thomas Newman

The Oscars love them some Desplat, and JNH. Elfman’s not gotten much love, but Milk isn’t the type of film he’ll win for. Rahman’s a great personality, a musical genius outside of film, and gave the most memorable and unique score of the year.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
''Down to Earth,'' WALL-E
''Jai Ho,'' Slumdog Millionaire
''O Saya,'' Slumdog Millionaire

The other category that is never right. This year the best song wasn’t even nominated. I think that the Oscar voters will go with the closing number from Slumdog, as it’s the more exciting of the choices. Then again seeing MIA win with the other Slumdog number would be something too. Beloved songwriters (Ie. Peter Gabriel) traditionally don’t do to well here (Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, etc.) and it was a bit unexciting.

BEST SOUND EDITING
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Punches, and bullets en mass go great here. Iron Man and Wanted may have had more, but TDK had the more interesting sound design over-all. And a score that deserved to be nominated, so its winning one of the sound awards. The only thing here is that Wall-E might get a shout out here, especially since Ben Burt is essentially the reason why they made this a category.

BEST SOUND MIXING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Loud films do good here. And TDK was the loudest of the bunch. However, Slumdog and its rather hyper-active soundtrack have won the technical awards, and the other types of films that do well here are musicals, of which Slumdog sort of is. That, and films rarely sweep both sound awards (often the prestige pic beating out the technical; Last Emperor over Robocop, por exemple).

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

My gut says they give it to I. Ron Man here. This is a post-production fx category, and TDK was mostly stunt heavy. Iron ma n had the most green-screenage of the bunch, and while Button had a lot of it, it was mostly used to age actors and create older scenery, two things which will probably get confused with makeup and art-direction. But, for some reason my logic tells me its Button.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

This is always the tie-breaker or bonus category, because no one’s seen the films and rarely does a film like Six-Shooter come along that transcends the category. I usually go with the best title, and Brit films do well here. Toyland is about kids and the Holocaust, which makes it the odds-on favorite. Manon is about a dying woman, so that would go well. Grisen’s gotten the best buzz from the folks I’ve talked to, but they’re not Oscar voters and they say it’s probably too difficult (and its Danish). On the Line’s a lovestory, and New Boy is about multi-cultural kids in Ireland. New Boy won Berlin, TriBeCa, and Seattle, and while my gut tells me go with Toyland, I think maybe voters had a bit too much of the Holocaust this year.

Over/under on:

Oscar winners who mention Heath Ledger in their speeches: 4

Puns on Slumdog Millionaire: 1

Awkward presenter pairings: 4

Digs at Prop 8: 2

Superfluous tributes (ie. hooray for telephones!): 3

Memorable Gaffes: 2.5

Mentions of Viva Laughlin: 0

Horrid dance numbers: 3.5

Standing ovations: 5

Appearances by animated characters: 2

Most hostess products eaten by Bruce Villanch during a commercial break: only 2 this year, he’s getting back into Hairspray shape.

Chance of Woody Allen showing up: 1%

Will someone plug airborne in their speech for the $1 million dollar charity prize? No.

The Oscars will go over by: 21.5 minutes

Cut aways to:

Meryl Streep: 2

Jack Nicholson: 2

Anne Hathaway: 3

Kate Winslet: 4

Will Smith: 2

George Clooney: 1

Leo DiCaprio: 3

Dev Patel: 3

Robert Downey, Jr.: 4

Mickey Rourke: 2

Darren Aronofsky: 0

5 comments:

erin said...

I think you're off in the number of PUNdog Millionaires. or something. I mean, Hugh Jackman is hosting.

Though I think Ben Burtt has enough Oscars at this point to make a giant stage dressing sized Oscar, he deserves to win for WALL-E, I mean, how many times has a person nominated for this category been the "lead actor"? Anyone can do Batbike style whirrs and massive explosions.

whitney said...

Cut Aways to Michelle Williams: 2

Also, I think This Way Up has a chance in the animated shorts category. It's just as cute as the Pixar film but far more elaborate...I'm rooting for it.

whitney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Stentzel said...

I think you have made some fine predictions/observations.

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