It’s February and you know what that means…..Awards season. The powers that be are most definitely relieved after a turmoil-filled three month WGA strike that counts the Golden Globes among one of its many casualties. The Grammys, however, managed to go on as scheduled only to be forgotten by Monday morning. It gave the message that less can be more and more can be Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra indulging in a duet from beyond the grave. Then again, the Globes’ “newscast” told us it really is all about the glitz and glamour and not necessarily ‘who wins.’ Hopefully this years Oscars will find a nice balance between a free box office boost and George Clooney’s smug smile.
Ok, so let’s get to the awards. As I said before the Oscars can be viewed as nothing more than as a reason for ABC to make millions in ad sales and for the studios to reap more DVD sales. But in all honesty, they do manage to get a lot of things right. Other times, however, they praise Crash and Paul Haggis for their genius. So instead of just a “Who Will Win” list, which, besides its highly opinionated nature (much like the Oscars themselves) we’re going to take our chances at guessing this year’s winners.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Let’s start with something small before moving on to the heavyweights. Funny enough two of they year’s biggest heavyweights fall into this category, so who will grab the statuette?
NOMINEES: Atonement, Away From Here, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood
Should Win: There Will Be Blood. For a movie devoid of speaking for the first 20 minutes, the script is outstanding. Henry Plainview’s perfectly written speech is, ironically, lifted almost exactly from the book, Oil. But, it’s not a true adaptation (more inspired than adapted) and therefore will fall to the wayside. It’s ok, though, it’ll have many more chances for glory.
Will Win: No Country For Old Men. This film also has an outstanding script via the Coen Brothers and being a truer adaptation will most likely win. No qualms here as it’s quite a tough choice, but I think the truer of the two will take the title.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
It’s amazing that the Academy managed to find five films that weren’t sequels or comic book adaptations. Seriously, though, 2007 was a year that had some great original scripts.
NOMINEES: Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, Michael Clayton, Ratatouille, The Savages
Should Win: Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl. Apart from the fact that this film was blue balled from the nominee list, it actually has a really great screenplay. Ryan Gosling unfortunately gave a performance of 95 during a year of many 100s, so his nomination would have been trumped anyway. But if all else, this film should be recognized as a lost treasure this year.
Will Win: Diablo Cody, Juno. This year’s Little Miss Sunshine is equally as good. Good—not great. If anything carries this film it’ll be Ellen Page’s “cheese to my macaroni” indie vernacular. Diablo Cody is the new golden child of Hollywood and they’ll make sure to let her know they want a sequel (Don’t listen Diablo!). It may touch the hearts of the millions of 16 year old girls out there now grooving to the Moldy Peaches, but it’s not quite Oscar worthy.
This year, I’m going to have to go ahead and skip this category. I don’t think it’s a big secret that the obvious winner wasn’t even nominated due to parts of it being used before. I’m of course referring to Jonny Greenwood’s score of There Will Be Blood. Just because “parts” were written before does not mean it wasn’t used effectively in the film.
NOMINEES: Atonement, The Kite Runner, Michael Claytong, Ratatouille, 3:10 To Yuma
Will Win: Atonement. Ok, ok I said I wouldn’t. But I did. I think this film will win coming off of its Golden Globes win and lacking a real strong competitor.
This category may not be a huge deal to many movie-goers but any film buff knows how important cinematography is to a film. It’s that beautiful panned shot of the sun setting over the countryside, or the decision for a five minute uncut scene.
NOMINEES: The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Flood
Should Win: Robert Elswitt, There Will Be Blood. Elswitt is PT Anderson’s in house cinematographer and an important part of the Anderson film-making family. PT Anderson has a great vision and he and Elswitt work really well together. But I have a feeling he’ll miss out, unless Roger Deakins’ (No Country For Old Men) votes get spread across both of his nominations.
Will Win: Roger Deakins, No Country For Old Men. Deakins was also nominated for Jesse James, which itself is amazing cinematographically. I think between the two, he’ll be recognized for this one.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
OK, now we’re getting into the big time. There are some great nominations this year and I’m going to have to go with the most obvious, but hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
NOMINEES: Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There), Ruby Dee (American Gangster), Saoirse Ronan, (Atonement), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
Should Win: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone. Again, another movie that is noticeably absent from the overall list. And anyone who’s seen or heard about this film has heard about Amy Ryan. Ryan was so good at role, that she was refused entry the first day of filming, being confused for a Boston regular, but she’s from Queens.
Will Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There. Another film that’s missing from the overall list, I think Blanchett will ride her win from the Globes. A great performance, but Ryan’s was outstanding.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
This is a category I’m really torn on. On the one hand, I’m pretty sure I know who will win and I think he deserves it. On the other hand, there’s an actor who had a really great year and this is his only nomination.
NOMINEES: Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Philip Seymour Hoffman, (Charlie Wilson’s War), Hal Holbrook. (Into the Wild), Tom Wilkinson, (Michael Clayton)
Should Win: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. What turned out to be 2007’s love it or hate it film, the one thing no one can deny is Casey Affleck’s performance. 2007 was, unfortunately, his year, having to go against the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis. His other leading role in Gone Baby Gone was also amazing, but this was his breakthrough.
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men. An amazing film and an amazing cast. Bardem was excruciatingly silent, which made him all the more menacing. I do think he put up a great performance, but I think he’s already getting the press he deserves. Let’s give the younger (better?) Affleck a chance to shine.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
There’s two Golden Globe winners in this category and one of them will definitely win.
NOMINEES: Cate Blanchett, (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Julie Christie (Away from He), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose (La môme), Laura Linney (The Savages), Ellen Page (Juno)
Should Win: Laura Linney, The Savages. I know it’s a long shot, but she was really great. This part may not garner her a win, but in true Oscar fashion it shouldn’t be just about this performance, but her cumulative career that wins here. Nominated for two in the past but losing both, Linney is undeniably one of the greatest actresses of our time and she deserves to be recognized for that.
Will Win: Marion Cottilard, La Vie En Rose. Cottilard is getting a lot of buzz this year. Other Globe winner Julie Christie has a good chance, but I’m going with Cottilard’s awesome portrayal of singer Edith Piaf.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
This is by far the easiest category to guess. I think you’ll agree.
NOMINEES: George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis, (There Will Be Blood). Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Tommy Lee Jones, (In the Valley of Elah), Viggo Mortensen, (Eastern Promises)
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood.
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood. If you’ve seen this movie, need I say more? If you haven’t, see it.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Actually, this is also another incredibly obvious category.
NOMINEES: Persepolis, Ratatouille, Surf’s Up
Should Win: Ratatouille.
Will Win: Ratatouille. The only reason I’m mentioning this blatantly, but deservedly, obvious category is because I think this film should have been up there among the best films of this year, not just relegated to the fairly new “animated” category. It wasn’t the greatest film of the year but it deserves to be listed amongst them.
NOMINEES: Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, (No Country for Old Men), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Jason Reitman (Juno), Julian Schnabel, (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Usually Director and Picture go hand in hand: not always, but it usually works this way. That’s why I think Globe favorite The Diving Bell and the Butterfly won’t make the cut. But Sunday night will only tell.
Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood. This is his first nod as a director. He’s been previously nominated twice as a writer and he’s just as equally, if not more, talented as a director. I don’t think he’ll win this year, but it would be great if he did.
Will Win: Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men. The first time the two Coens have been nominated as a directing team. Each have an underwhelming one Oscar each for the Fargo screenplay and I think this may be their year. If they win it will be as much for this film as for their prior efforts.
Here it is, the most prestigious and nerve-racking award of them all. What is the best film of the year? The Golden Globes threw a monkey wrench in my decision making process, but I won’t let it get me off track.
NOMINEES: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men
Should Win: There Will Be Blood. PT Anderson is by far one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. This film is undeniably a tour de force among a plethora of masterpieces in 07. Does PT need an Oscar? I’m not so sure. I think he definitely deserves it and it would be great to see him get one, but I don’t think he’s the type of filmmaker out to get the awards. And that’s probably why he’s nominated.
Will Win: No Country for Old Men. That’s right, I’m completely ignoring Globe winner Atonement. The Coen’s made a huge comeback this year with a great Cormac McCarthy adaptation. Also, as they will most likely win as Directors, this will follow in suit. The only reason I’m hesitant to say that it’s not the best film of 2007 is because I’m not so sure it’s the best film Ethan and Joel have ever made.