Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jason writes and obligatory Oscar post

I remember back when I had more time to do this. Anyway, here it is Oscar morning and I haven't announced my picks. To start out with, here are the Oscar nominated movies I have not seen, not even on DVD or illegal download:

August Rush--nominated for best song. I missed it in the theaters, and it's not out on DVD yet. I suppose I could find a download, but a) I don't like doing that, and b) it's too late anyway. Besides, it's just best song, so I could hear it during the ceremony and make my call then.

Norbit--nominated for best makeup. No way! No fucking way!

The Contenders, Beaufort, Mongol, Katyn, and 12--all the foreign nominees. The industry has been particularly bad about making these unavailable for the general public this year. This are the only misses that really bother me. Beaufort will play at Cinequest in a week. The Contenders is out in limited release now. The other three, I have no idea. I especially want to see Mongol. Whatever

War/Dance--I could've seen this at the Kabuki during the free slate of Oscar docs. But I missed it. Oops.

Funny thing is, by Monday morning I won't give a crap about any of these movies. Is it insanity if I do the same thing every year and already know it won't mean a thing?

So that means I saw quite a lot of nominees. In my last three posts I quickly did all the shorts (docs, animated, and live-action). So here's my quick take at the rest:

Best Actor: I'm very happy Johnny Depp got nominated, but he hasn't a chance (and he doesn't care). When Tommy Lee Jones was nominated for In the Valley of Elah, I was confused as to why he wasn't nominated for No Country for Old Men. Then I watched Elah, and he's awesome in it. George Clooney hasn't a chance. It's gonna be Daniel Day-Lewis, for screaming his way through There Will Be Blood, but I'd be happier with it going to either Tommy Lee Jones or Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett gets one of her two nominations for reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth. Whatever. There are a lot of great performances in this category. If enough people saw it, Marion Cotillard will probably win for La Vie En Rose, but my heart is going with Ellen Page as Juno.

Supporting Actor:
It's appropriate that Casey Affleck was nominated as a supporting actor. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, is more about Robert Ford (Affleck), then Jesse James (Brad Pitt), but just like in real life Robert Ford gets second billing. I loved Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War. But really it's a waste of time to debate this. Javier Bardem has this locked up for No Country for Old Men.

Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett gets nominated in a male role, while notoriously androgynous Tilda Swinton also picks up a nomination. This means nothing, except they're both great actresses and almost interchangeable in my mind. Cate Blanchett wins.

Original Screenplay: This might be the one Oscar Michael Clayton will win. I liked the movie, and am happy it got nominated, but I don't see it competing much. In fact, I don't even see it winning this category. I'm pulling for Juno. Should I be disturbed that I'm such a fan of a movie about a pregnant teenager?

Adapted Screenplay: This is a very, very strong category. Hard to make a call here. With that said, why wasn't Into the Wild nominated? I'm pulling for There Will Be Blood, but I think No Country for Old Men will win. This will be a theme of the night, I think.

Cinematography: Again, why no Into the Wild? Jesse James and No Country have cinematography by god. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly use the cinematography to great effect to put you in the eyes of a man who's body no longer works, but it's also painful and frustrating to watch. I'm going for There Will Be Blood.

Editing:
What the heck is the uber-shaky Bourne Ultimatum doing here? That's f'ed up, man! I'm going for No Country for Old Men here.

Art Direction: Okay, now we're getting into the categories I don't really know much about. But why isn't Across the Universe in here? For all it's flaws, it looked beautiful. Maybe people aren't going for over the top this year? But then, I'm casting my vote (not that I have one) for Sweeney Todd.

Costume Design:
And Across the Universe is in here...okay. Again, I don't care so I'll just vote for the movie I preferred--Sweeney Todd.

Makeup:
This category should be abolished, retroactively. Not that I don't appreciate the hard work of makeup artists, but I don't want to live in a world where Norbit is an Oscar nominee. There should be a global veto rule, where the Academy president can eliminate a category for one year if utter crap is nominated. I'm not making a call here.

Best Score: If you notice the score, it failed. Atonement is the only one I noticed. So it'll probably win (yay typewriters as musical instruments!)

Best Song: Way to split the vote, Enchanted. As I said, I haven't seen August Rush so I can't actually make a call. Still, I'm calling Once, because Enchanted annoyed me so much.

Sound: No clue, how about No Country For Old Men.

Sound Editing:
What, exactly, is the difference? I'll go with There Will Be Blood.

Visual Effects:
You can thank the best makeup award for keeping this category from being the biggest crap-fest of the Oscars. Still, it's close. Of the three, I'll go for Pirates.

Animated Film:
I have a love/hate relationship with this category. I love that animation is recognized, but I hate that it's ghetto-ized. Persepolis can stand with any of the best picture nominees, and it's obviously my choice. Ratatouille is also good, but Surf's Up? I mean, it wasn't awful, but one of the best three animated films of the year? What about The Simpsons Movie? Or Paprika? Whatever.

Foreign Language Film: Fuck that Academy and the rules that incentivize distributors to not release these films to the general public. You see, unlike other categories you can only vote for this if you've seen them all. They hold special Academy screenings, but if you have a film that might only appeal to the people who make it to those screenings, you're better off not letting everyone else see it.

Documentary Feature: I haven't seen War/Dance, but I'm voting for Taxi to the Dark Side. But Sicko will probably win.

Best Director/Best Picture: I don't know why there's ever a split here. I wouldn't know how to justify splitting my vote. In any case, both of these come down to No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood for me. I think No Country will win, but Blood should win.

And that's my obligatory Oscar post. In about 4.5 hours, I'll see how well I did. Cheers!
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