Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Final Academy Award Nominees

It's that time of January, folks! Time to finally put those crystal balls to work and predict who will end up with an Oscar nomination (or two). I've decided to go with some surprises - Kate Winslet, for instance - and some left field selections - Best Costume Design has a history of that - but, generally, I am merely toeing the company line. So many of these seem like foregone conclusions. As many have already noted there were apparently only five films released this year worth nominating for Best Picture by the Academy. Funny how that works, hey?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

If anything out of the regular happens here I think it will be Wall-E in the place of either Milk or The Dark Knight. A shame that it couldn't have replaced Frost/Nixon, yet that movie seems solid as a rock.

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
Gus Van Sant, Milk

I can see Van Sant or Fincher actually missing out here... but for who? Stephen Daldry has never missed a nomination (er, from two movies) but he's not getting in for The Reader and Andrew Standon directed an animated movie so, in their eyes, he didn't direct anything at all. No, if there is a lone director this year (obviously, I don't think there will be) I'm sure it will be either Darren Aronofsky for The Wrestler, Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky or - and I very VERY nearly put this prediction down in typeface - Woody Allen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. That one is one I really do think could come to pass.

Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Obviously, I would not be surprised to see Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button) or Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road) in there instead of Eastwood of Jenkins (I hope not in relation to the latter.)

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader

I fully expect to go 3/5 in this category, but I've have the Winslet hunch for a while now so I feel like I have to go with it instead of Winslet for Revolutionary Road and I am entirely aware that it's probably foolhardy to dismiss Angelina Jolie (Changeling) in favour of the much smaller Melissa Leo, but I'm doing it. I sense more passion behind Leo and that her fans will be trying hard to get her cited over somebody like Jolie who hardly warrants (or, apparently, deserves) it. Of course I could be entirely wrong and people like Kristen Scott Thomas or Cate Blanchett could waltz in and grab a nomination.

Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire

It pains me to include Patel on here, but doesn't it just feel inevitable? Ugh. The likes of James Franco (Milk), Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky) or Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) could sneak in, but I doubt it.

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

Because I've put Winslet in Lead for The Reader that means I didn't have to think about who to include out of Adams or Henson.

Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married
Tom McCarthy, The Visitor
Andrew Stanton, Wall-E

Don't rule out Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky) or Robert Seigal (The Wrestler) here, although wouldn't it be lovely to see Martin McDonough score for the only chance In Bruges has at the Oscars?

Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
David Hare, The Reader
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley, Doubt

Interesting that Beaufoy and Roth are the frontrunners since, at least what I thought, the screenplays for their respective films were by far the weakest aspects. The only spot that doesn't seem locked and loaded for a nomination is Hare for The Reader, who could easily be overtaken by The Dark Knight or Justin Haythe's work on Revolutionary Road.

Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Chris Dickins, Slumdog Millionaire
Elliot Graham & Gus Van Sant, Milk
Daniel P Hill & Mike Hill, Frost/Nixon
Lee Smith, The Dark Knight

I'm really tempted to throw Claire Simpson (The Reader) or Dan Libental (Iron Man) in here at the expense of Milk or Benjamin Button, which I think could be a surprise exclusion.

Johnetta Boone, Cadillac Records
Deborah Hopper, Changeling
Catherine Martin, Australia
Michael O'Connor, The Duchess
Jacqueline West, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I could easily take out Martin or the never-nommed Boone and replace her with Albert Wolsky (costume legend for Revolutionary Road), Patricia Field (Sex and the City), Ann Roth (The Reader or Doubt), Danny Glicker (Milk) or - scarily - Suttirat Larlab for Slumdog Millionaire. Although I kind of hope they nominate Lindy Hemming for The Dark Knight's iconic duds.

Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
Chris Menges, The Reader
Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight
Mandy Walker, Australia

Perhaps I'm being foolish ignoring Roger Deakins for Revolutionary Road, but maybe - just maybe - they feel like those two nominations last year was enough to tie him over for another year. Of course there is also Harris Savides for Milk or Eduardo Serra for Defiance.

Brigitte Broch, The Reader
Donald Graham Burt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Nathan Crowley, The Dark Knight
Bill Groom, Milk
Catherine Martin, Australia

I'm remembering that the Academy nominated Martin for Romeo+Juliet, which makes me think they like her, but she could very easily miss (duh) since the film was so poorly received by industry types. But, then again, something just doesn't feel right about this category. Too many lower-rung movies that I can easily see missing (see also Changeling and Revolutionary Road).

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

If it is not these three then I'll be incredibly surprised, won't you?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Synecdoche, New York

While it seems odd to have three serious-minded films in the running for a category that tends to favour fat suits (no such films made the shortlist) I almost think they'll throw a nomination to Tropic Thunder, what with the make-up being so character defining. I'm personally hoping for The Wrestler though because gory blood work just doesn't get enough respect here, ya know?

Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Thomas Newman, Wall-E
AR Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard, The Dark Knight
John Williams, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

AAAGH! John Williams!!! Gross.

"Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire
"Down to Earth" from Wall-E
"The Wrestler" from The Wrestler
"Once in a Lifetime" from Cadillac Records
"I Want it all" from High School Musical 3

I'm predicting they will cull this category down to three this year. And while it would be quite a story for "Trouble the Water" to score here, I don't think the music branch will dig that deep to be honest.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire

Standard stuff it would seem.

The Dark Knight
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Iron Man
Tropic Thunder

Ack! How boring.

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
The Class (France)
Everlasting Moments (Sweden)
Revance (Austria)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

I don't have the faintest idea, honestly.

Kung Fu Panda
Waltz with Bashir

I can totally see Bolt stealing a spot, which is depressing, although it'd be nice if the Aussie film $9.99 surprised everybody, wouldn't it?

At The Death House Door
Encounters at the End of the World
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

Anything could happen, honestly. Can you imagine if Man on Wire missed the cut? It'd be Hoop Dreams all over again.


And that's that, folks. We'll see how I do at about Midnight tonight. Hope something you really want to get in gets in. It's always nice to wake up (well, for you international folks) to a nice present in your Oscar swag.


J.D. said...

Ugh, why must you get my hopes up for "I Want It All"? What did I ever do to you, Glenn? Huh?

Overall these seem good (and daring!).

Neel Mehta said...

Interesting that Beaufoy and Roth are the frontrunners since, at least what I thought, the screenplays for their respective films were by far the weakest aspects.

To each his own, but if you read the novel upon which Slumdog is based, you'd give Beaufoy an Oscar AND a medal.

Curiously (pun intended), it's similar to what Roth did 14 years ago -- take a horrible book and inject it with better storytelling and some humanity. I didn't like Forrest Gump the movie, and there were better screenplays, but Roth's effort was worthy then.

Paul Martin said...

Man, what a depressingly mediocre list of predicted nominations! Thankfully, new releases only make up 20% of my viewing experience.

Joel said...

Well don on the Kate prediction! Very impressed!