Matt's Oscar Predictions

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Now that I have seen all the nominated pictures for Oscars this year, it's time to take a stab at predicting the results. As it's very rare for anyone to get them all right, I definitely expect some surprises come February. But for now, let's engage in the discussion and the dissent and the fun. My picks are in bold. Do you agree with my choices? I'd love to hear your views!

Performance by an actor in a leading role
While Mickey Rourke revived his career with a win in the Golden Globes and his performance was in deed dazzling, Oscar tends to favor more serious fare. Not only was Frost/Nixon an amazing motion picture encapsulating a key time period in American History, every performance in this movie was award-worthy. Frank Langella turned in the performance of his life as Richard Nixon and I predict he'll upset both Mickey Rourke and Academy Award Winner Sean Penn for Milk.

* Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor" (Overture Films)
* Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon" (Universal)
* Sean Penn in "Milk" (Focus Features)
* Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Every performance in this category is deserving of an Oscar win, but this is the year of the Joker. Heath Ledger will win, and expect a fitting tribute for this actor who's life tragically ended far too soon.

* Josh Brolin in "Milk" (Focus Features)
* Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder" (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
* Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt" (Miramax)
* Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.)
* Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Six-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet emerged as the favorite to win this year following her double-victory at the Golden Globes. She is also the sentimental favorite to win after being denied for so long. No one has been Oscar-nominated more without a win than Kate. Expect that distinction to end this go-round. While Anne Hathaway gives a breakout performance in "Rachel Getting Married," the feeling in Hollywood is simply it's Kate's turn. Oscar Winner Angelina Jolie's performance in "Changeling" is not as weighty as Winslet's. Meryl Streep's performance in "Doubt," while excellent, does not rate with her Oscar-nominated role for the "Devil Wears Prada." If there is to be an upset, it may come from Melissa Leo's nuanced performance in "Frozen River," but that remains a longshot. Expect Winslet to take home the Oscar as much for her body of work as her brilliant performance in The Reader.

* Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married" (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Angelina Jolie in "Changeling" (Universal)
* Melissa Leo in "Frozen River" (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Meryl Streep in "Doubt" (Miramax)
* Kate Winslet in "The Reader" (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
This category is wide open since Kate Winslet's performance in The Reader has been put in with the Lead Actress Category instead of the Supporting Category for which she competed in the Golden Globes. Doubt's dynamic duo of Amy Adams and Viola Davis will probably take away Support for Amy Adams. Davis' role was outstanding, but far too short for true contention. Oscar Winner Mrisa Tomei turned in a stellar performance for The Wrestler, but this category should come down to Taraji P. Henson's multi-nuanced performance as Brad Pitt's mother in Benjamin Button and Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I predict it will be a good night for Benjamin Button.

* Amy Adams in "Doubt" (Miramax)
* Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (The Weinstein Company)
* Viola Davis in "Doubt" (Miramax)
* Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight)

Best animated feature film of the year
When Pixar is on their game, no one can compete with them. WALL-E is even a better bet than Heath Ledger.

*"Bolt" (Walt Disney) Chris Williams and Byron Howard
*"Kung Fu Panda" (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Andrew Stanton

Achievement in art direction
This is one of those categories that Oscar likes to reward pictures that didn't quite make it to the Best Picture Category. With it's innovative and completely original sets and art direction, The Dark Knight should do well here, but all pictures in this category are worthy. Benjamin Button might ride the wave of its most nominated status, and Revolutionary Road could also win as a consolation prize. The Duchess has an outside shot, but period pieces such as this one have been much honored in the past.

*"Changeling" (Universal) Art Direction: James J. Murakami
Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt
Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Nathan Crowley
Set Decoration: Peter Lando

*"The Duchess" (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) Art Direction: Michael Carlin Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
*"Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) Art Direction: Kristi Zea Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Achievement in cinematography
There's a strong correlation between Best Picture and Best Cinematography. I think The Reader is poised to be the upset film of the night and take the highest honors.

*"Changeling" (Universal) Tom Stern
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Claudio Miranda
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in costume design
Kate Winslet particularly was stunning in the 1950s costumes created for Revolutionary Road. The entire cast looked 50s sharp.

*"Australia" (20th Century Fox) Catherine Martin
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Jacqueline West
*"The Duchess" (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) Michael O'Connor
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Danny Glicker
*"Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) Albert Wolsky

Achievement in directing
It's rare when Best Director does NOT go to the film that wins Best Picture. This year will be no exception.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Fincher
*"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Ron Howard
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Gus Van Sant
*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Stephen Daldry
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Danny Boyle


Achievement in film editing
For all you Benjamin Button fans, the movie was just two darn long! The whole theater thought so Saturday night. But this is a close category. Because of the amazing action sequences, I give the nod to The Dark Knight, but Milk may win for some of the crowd sequences and Slumdog Millionaire is also in the running for the juxtaposition of the Millionaire game show and real life in India.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Lee Smith
*"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Elliot Graham
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Chris Dickens

Best foreign language film of the year
I have not seen any of these, but if you judge by the amount of previews, then I would think "The Class" is the front runner. But the Golden Globe Winner, "Waltz with Bashir" is my pick. I just think the foreign press knows something about foreign films.

* "The Baader Meinhof Complex" A Constantin Film Production - Germany
* "The Class" (Sony Pictures Classics) A Haut et Court Production - France
* "Departures" (Regent Releasing) A Departures Film Partners Production - Japan
* "Revanche" (Janus Films) A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production - Austria
* "Waltz with Bashir" (Sony Pictures Classics) A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production - Israel

Achievement in makeup
Button was superlative, but The Dark Knight will win.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Greg Cannom
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan
*"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (Universal) Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Button nearly put me to sleep. Elfman's Milk score was genius, but the originality of Slumdog Millionaire should carry the night.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Alexandre Desplat
*"Defiance" (Paramount Vantage) James Newton Howard
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Danny Elfman
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
I think the voting will be split for the Slumdog selections, allowing WALL-E a win.

*"Down to Earth" from "WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Lyric by Peter Gabriel

*"Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman
Lyric by Gulzar
*"O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best motion picture of the year
Benjamin Button is a sentimental film, but it's not really Oscar worthy. Plus it's just way too long. Milk and Frost/Nixon represent US history well, and in every way Frost/Nixon is more serious, more weighty, and funnier than Benjamin Button, but it seems to be missing the gravitas necessary for Oscar. Slumdog Millionaire swept the Golden Globes, but America likes to honor Holocaust films, and The Reader is a powerhouse with acclaimed acting performances by all three leads. I'll be betting on The Reader to achieve for Stephen Daldry what he almost achieved with "The Hours" in 2003.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
A Kennedy/Marshall Production Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
*"Frost/Nixon" (Universal)
A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
*"Milk" (Focus Features)
A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company)
A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production Nominees to be determined

*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight)
A Celador Films Production Christian Colson, Producer


Achievement in sound editing
Toss up between The Dark Knight and WALL-E. I choose WALL-E.

*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Richard King
*"Iron Man" (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Tom Sayers
*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
*"Wanted" (Universal) Wylie Stateman

Achievement in sound mixing
The same. Again I choose WALL-E.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
*"Wanted" (Universal) Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Achievement in visual effects
Grafting Brad Pitt's face on to different bodies was an impressive and difficult achievement. I'm going to choose Benjamin Button in this category, but I wouldn't be surprised if The Dark Knight won.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
*"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
*"Iron Man" (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Adapted screenplay
Button was too long. The Reader hit all the right notes.

*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Screenplay by Eric Roth
Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
*"Doubt" (Miramax) Written by John Patrick Shanley
*"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Screenplay by Peter Morgan
*"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Screenplay by David Hare
*"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original screenplay
This is the category where Milk gets its due. Although, after a surprise win at the Golden Globes, In Bruges may score an upset; and as brilliant as WALL-E was, the Academy may see fit to recognize the animated film here where it is loathe to do in the Best Picture Category.

*"Frozen River" (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Courtney Hunt
*"Happy-Go-Lucky" (Miramax) Written by Mike Leigh
*"In Bruges" (Focus Features) Written by Martin McDonagh
*"Milk" (Focus Features) Written by Dustin Lance Black
*"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon
Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter


Thanks for reading!

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16 comments:

Ken Armstrong said...

Great stuff Matt. I haven't seen 25% of these so it would be hypocritical f me to disagree to hard with you. I think Dark knight will get supporting actor, and some design/sound awards.

Here's a bit of fun though. In a 'previous life' I have had occasion to meet and interact with two Academy Award nominees from this years list and I have a feeling that they both will win. So, I predict that Martin McDonagh will win best original screenplay and Simon Beaufoy will win best adapted screenplay. I will Paypal you five bucks if you are right on your predictions for these two awards, wanna return the bet (not mandatory) :)

I may come back and pronounce on more of these as I get to see more of them.

(Mickey Rourke for best actor plays well, I could see that happening)....

January 27, 2009 5:41 PM
PaulsHealthblog.com said...

Mickey Rourke will most likely not win an Oscar, due to his politically incorrect comments about George Bush. He claimed Bush was not directly responsible for much of the mess we're in right now.

February 01, 2009 12:06 PM
Henson Ray said...

Wow. I'm so impressed that you've even seen all these films, let alone have any opinions on them. I guess I just don't care that much any more about the Oscars. When I was a kid, I loved watching the Oscars...it seemed like such a big "event" and you never knew what would happen. Now they're so long and drawn out and boring that I could care less. I wait to see most movies now until they come out on HBO or Showtime. And I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed in "The Dark Knight" when I finally saw it. I thought it was an interesting, dark film...but I didn't think it was "all that" like everyone raved. Heath Ledger was, of course, quite inspired in his interpretation of the Joker. But I think the Oscar is really going to him for his body of work, as I have never seen him give anything short of a good performance. He was a true actor in every sense of the word, and it's very sad that he's no longer with us.

February 07, 2009 9:07 AM
Ken Armstrong said...

The BAFTAs went as I predicted, will Oscar follow suit? I still think so. :)

February 09, 2009 10:47 AM
C K said...

Definitely looking forward to the Oscar. Having sat through 2hrs of Bafta, I wonder why Angelina and Brad turned up in the first place (and yes, there was a huge anticipation of their attendance).

@Ken, you know what? You should set up online betting for this year's Oscar. I wouldn't be surprised if you'll be swamped with offers. :)

February 12, 2009 5:25 AM
Jackie said...

There are some really great actors in the lineup this year and with the right script they could easily make the grade. I will probably go for Sean Penn, Kate Winslet and Robert Downey Jnr as I have yet to dislike anything they have been in. Haven't a clue about best supporting actress as either they have bored me in previous offerings or I haven't a clue who they are.

February 13, 2009 4:16 AM
Roxiticus Desperate Housewives said...

Hey, Matt... Happy Valentine's Day!

Looks like you've had about as much time for blogging lately as I have... just dropping in on a few friends after Valentine's Dinner at the Pluckemin Inn with Rex and the girls...

I haven't seen ANY of the movies... are the Oscars next week?

Roxy

February 14, 2009 8:07 PM
Wayne said...

Heath really needs to win. I can't get his 'Why so serious-a' out of my head.

I started a contest on my site where I'm giving 10k in EC credits to one person. Details are on my site if you'd like to enter.

February 18, 2009 11:39 AM
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February 19, 2009 1:59 PM
Ken Armstrong said...

I owe you five bucks! Just let me sell a cow or something... :)

February 23, 2009 1:20 PM
hope said...

Just checking you for a pulse. :) Sent you an e-mail a couple of days ago.

You're probably just out playing in the water. Hope all's well.

February 28, 2009 3:14 PM
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December 08, 2010 9:51 AM
Hampers said...

Not sure what the actual results were but Heath Ledger (RIP) definately deserved the award, although I dont see how anything to do with Tropic Thunder could even be mentioned in this article. One of the worst films I have seen in years!

December 12, 2010 9:18 AM

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