Well its that time of the year again, the statues have been polished, the Academy have surely made their votes and the world waits with baited breath for the results. Though can we all assume that this is the most predictable Oscar race ever? Possibly even the most frustrating? Let's take a look at the big categories nominees...
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Honestly I think this award is a foregone conclusion, Slumdog has dominated this year's BAFTAs and Golden Globes so unless the Academy really want to send a shock through the industry and pick one of the other contenders instead I think this one is a sure bet for the bookies. Though I really enjoyed Slumdog, I probably preferred Frost/Nixon that little bit more however I sincerely doubt it will get the nod if there is a surprise shock. Outsiders pick would go to Gus Van Sant's Milk though if you fancy a punt. While we are here I would like to express my sincere disappointment to the Academy snubbing The Wrestler, Wall-e and yes The Dark Knight (oh yes groan away but this was a well made cinematic masterpiece, comic books be damned!) for this award.
Prediction: Slumdog Millionaire
Worth a punt: Milk
My choice: If it were nominated, The Wrestler
"Just remember the deal Frost, you get your confession, but I get the Best Actor nomination. Got it?!"
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Gus Van Sant - Milk
Stephen Daldry - The Reader
Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
With about 75% of the Best Picture winners usually receiving Best Director also, Danny Boyle is once again hot favourite to pick this up to add to his BAFTA and Golden Globe. Having already won back in 2001 it wouldn't be impossible to discount Ron Howard, and even though the film itself is an emotionless pile of trash David Fincher did do a great job with Benjamin Button, but great directing doesn't always mean a great film, which is where Fincher is likely to suffer. Once again if you fancy an outsider punt ol' Gus (nominated for the first time in 12 years since Good Will Hunting) is worth a go for his wonderful camp political drama Milk. The Academy are prone to shocking everyone now and again by giving one film Best Picture and a different film Best Director even though it makes little sense whatsoever. Also another injustice suffered at the hands of the Academy was snubbing Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, Christopher Nolan's epic work on The Dark Knight and Andrew Stanton's beautiful take on Wall-e.
Prediction: Danny Boyle
Worth a punt: Gus Van Sant
My choice: Christopher Nolan (OK so I loved The Dark Knight, deal with it)
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Sean Penn - Milk
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Richard Jenkins - The Vistor
As with the previous two categories this one is as much a sure thing as Man United winning the Premiership. The award season belongs to one actor, and one alone Mickey Rourke for his work in The Wrestler, no point arguing it. The man delivered a performance that would reduce anyone to tears and the role that will define his career. End Of. However if Rourke wasn't in the frame this award would have surely gone to Penn for his moving, heartfelt portrayal of Harvey Milk, in regards to the Oscar snubs this year, I was disappointed not to see Michael Sheen in the frame for his role as David Frost in Frost/Nixon as well as Clint Eastwood for his starring role in Gran Torino and most surprisingly young Dev Patel for his work in Slumdog Millionaire? It's a great film and it is going to get Best Picture and Director most likely, but deny its star? Really lads? Any chance?.
Prediction: Mickey Rourke
Worth a punt: If you want to waste your money on someone other than Rourke go with Sean Penn.
My choice: Have to agree with everyone else, Mickey Rourke
Kate Winslet - The Reader
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Melissa Leo - Frozen River
Is the world really prepared for another Winslet acceptance speech? They better be. If The Reader is going to win any awards on this evening, it will surely be this though it is actually a surprise that Winslet only got the one nomination, as her work on Revolutionary Road (although completely dismissed by the Academy got her the Best Actress award at the Golden Globes last month?!). However you can never discount Mrs Streep, having been nominated a staggering 15 times (and only won once!?...Well twice if you count her best supporting award) though I must admit, its hardly cinematic gold I'm surprised she didn't get a nod for her work on Mama Mia also. Angelina Jolie is also a dark horse with her solid work on Changeling. Um...that's all I got for this one...
Prediction: Kate Winslet
Worth a punt: Meryl Streep
My choice: Kate Winslet
Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Josh Brolin - Milk
Robert Downey Jr - Tropic Thunder
Philip Semour Hoffman - Doubt
Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road
Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock will know of the tragedy the film world suffered when Heath Ledger died in his home from an accidental overdose so it is only fitting that if anyone is going to receive this award it's gonna be him. Won by technical default you say? Utter nonsense, watch The Dark Knight and you will see Heath Ledger didn't merely play The Joker, he WAS The Joker and that is the main reason there will not be an on screen appearance from another actor as The Joker in a Batman film for a long time. That isn't to say the other men don't deserve a nod, Brolin was excellent in Milk as was Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder (actually correction, he was the best thing in it) but again why the hell wasn't Michael Sheen or even Sam Rockwell in this category for Frost/Nixon?!!?!?! No justice I swear da god.
Prediction: If the Academy don't wanna receive a hate campaign, Heath Ledger
Worth a punt: Josh Brolin
My choice: Ledger.
Best 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
Now I gotta admit, unlike the Best Actress category, I'm a bit more up to speed on this one. Obviously on the back of a Golden Globe and BAFTA in the same category Penelope Cruz is the most likely victor for this award, and rightly so because she was absolutely fantastic in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and (as said in my review a couple of weeks ago) the stand out star of the film. However, this isn't who I personally wanna win, any loyal followers of the blog since its first review of The Wrestler will know I have been pitching for Marisa Tomei to win this award since I saw the film and I still stand by that. If Rourke deserves his Oscar then she deserves this award too, and it was just as much her film as it was his ("Comeback roles" be damned for a moment). Honourable mention does actually go out to Taraji Henson because her performance was one of the few things I actually liked about Benjamin Button.
Prediction: Cruz (unfortunately)
Worth a punt: Marisa Tomei
My choice: Marisa Tomei (I demand justice!!)
Are you people actually still reading?! Well done. Only going to analyse the other two big categories, so endure for just a tiny bit longer. You're a true champion for reading.
Best Original Screenplay
Happy Go Lucky
Now this is more fucking like it!? For the first time in this article I am actually stumped between two films (and coincidentally two of my favourite films of last year), in my opinion both Wall-e and In Bruges deserve this, both amazingly delightful to watch for different reasons and uniquely written in the way you expect from modern cinema. I really don't wanna choose one, but if I had to it would be In Bruges as it of course won the BAFTA. Of course that is just my opinion, I really do want to think of both Wall-e and In Bruges as serious contenders for this one, with the other being (possibly the likely winner) Milk. Decisions...decisions....
Prediction: Ahhh!?!....ummm....In Bruges!
Worth a punt: Milk
My choice: Wall-e (conflicted much?)
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Respect goes to Eric Roth on this one for squeezing just under three (very...very...very...long) hours out of a short story to produce Benjamin Button, however that doesn't mean I thought he succeeded so, sorry Roth I'm counting you out of this one. Slumdog Millionaire has won this award at both the Globes and the BAFTAs this year so it will most likely pick this one up as well. However I would love to see Frost/Nixon pip this one, has frankly you gotta give an amazing film an even break once and a while. The Reader is a serious contender for this one also but honestly as the title of this blog says, its a Slumdog Awards this year.
Prediction: Slumdog Millionaire
Worth a punt: Frost/Nixon or The Reader
My choice: Frost/Nixon
So there we go! Yes yes I missed out on a lot of other useless Mickey Mouse awards so to compromise I'm going to give you the straight quick run down for my choices for the winners of the rest (side commentary included but not needed).
Animated Feature: Wall-e (no contest)
Foreign Language Film: Waltz With Bashir
Animated Short: Presto (worth the Wall-e DVD alone)
Art Direction: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (though I'd personally like TDK to win!)
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire (but again TDK)
Costume Design: Australia (you gotta give it at least that right?)
Documentary: Man On Wire
Film Editing: Frost/Nixon
Make up: Hellboy II (though since the Academy seemingly hates comic book films Benjamin Button will most likely win)
Original Score: Wall-e
Original Song: Down To Earth by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, though its an utter shame Springsteen wasn't even nominated for The Wrestler
Sound Editing: Wall-e
Sound Mixing (could someone please mail me the difference): umm...Wall-e?
Visual Effects: The Dark Knight but Iron Man does deserve a nod even though Ben Button will unfortunately win.
That was a hell of a lot of writing. Now that award season has virtually wrapped up, next week is back to old school reviewing. Some good un's to come! Watch this space.