Monday, February 23, 2009

So how'd I do on the Oscars predictions?

Let's see how I did with my Oscar predictions; having only seen about six of the nominated films.

First, an explanation of the format from my original prediction post the day the noms were announced:
I'm going to intersperse my commentary, and my predictions will be in bold. If I bold two, it's because I can't really decide which one. If I italicize it, it's because I think that entry SHOULD win, instead of the one I think WILL win.
So, simple format; and I'll intersperse my comments:
Best Motion Picture Of The Year:

The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Not exactly a surprise here. Slumdog took every oscar it was nominated for except sound editing (which went, unsurprisingly, to Dark Knight).
Achievement In Directing:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button David Fincher
Frost/Nixon Ron Howard
Milk Gus Van Sant
The Reader Stephen Daldry
Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle
As I said when they announced the nominsations "No question here, Danny Boyle is getting his Oscar. There isn't even an outside shot for anyone else". And there wasn't.
Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role:

Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn in Milk
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler
So this one reversed on me; but I always suspected it might. When the nominations were announced, there was a strong backlash against Sean Penn, and a groundswell for Mickey Rourke. Since then, Penn has been pulling a hardcore lefty suckup (no pun intended); and Rourke has been refusing to play the game, making a ridiculously profane (though hilarious and fun) and clearly intoxicated (well... maybe not. Maybe thats just him after 30 years of destroying his brain) acceptance speech at the Independent Spirit awards, and going so far as to say he didn't hate Bush. That pretty well decided it.

I will say, I did appreciate that Penn gave a shoutout to Rourke at the end though. It seemed that Penn was genuinely surprised that the statue didn't go to Rourke.
Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role:

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
Josh Brolin in Milk
Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road
Again, no discussion necessary; this one was Ledgers before the movie ever opened Loved the tribute by his family.
Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role:

Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Melissa Leo in Frozen River
Meryl Streep in Doubt
Kate Winslet in The Reader
There was a severe ani-Winslet backlash after she cleaned up (and showed an astonishing lack of good grace) at the Golden Globes; so for a while it looked like someone else had a shot, but then her Campaign kicked into high gear, and all was forgiven.

Oh and Winslet proved again that she should never go off script, telling Meryl Streep she'd just have to suck it up losing this one. I'm sure it just came out wrong and wasn't intended to sound crass, but it did.
Performance By An Actress n A Supporting Role:

Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Amy Adams in Doubt
Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis in Doubt
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler
No surprise there. Good looking girl that everyone likes, with a reputation for doing arty indie work with good directors, her second nomination, nominated in a supporting role in a Woody Allen film. She was always a lock.
Best Animated Feature Film Of The Year:

Kung Fu Panda
It's not like the other nominees even needed to be considered.
Original Screenplay:

Frozen River
In Bruges
When the nominations were announced I said I thought Milk would likely get it "since the writer himself is both a well known gay activist, filmmaker and writer; and an ex mormon who is very publicly critical of the church"; though "Happy go Lucky" had an outside shot at a consolation prize. Turns out I was right.

Oh and other stars who have a "cause" should really take a lesson from Dustin Lance Black (the winner here). He gave one of the best acceptance speeches of the night, and he did it with strength, pride, and class; and without trying to preach.

Sadly, Sean Penn didn't get that lesson (as if anyone would expect him to).
Adapted Screenplay:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
Again, I'm guessing Slumdog continued its sweep; giving "Full Monty" writer Simon Beaufoy his first statue (he was nominated for Monty though).

Although I didn't predict it in my post, I expected that best foreign language film would go to "Waltz with Bashir"... and judging from reactions today, so did everyone else. It appears that though anti-israeli, it wasn't anti-israeli enough for hollywoods taste (it certainly was not for the Lebanese or Arabs). Of course the film was barely considered for any Oscar, after they deliberately changed the rules to disqualify it from the animated and documentary categories.

So of the main predictions I made, how'd I do? 8 for 9 in the majors, and the ninth was always a split.

I also predicted in comments that Button would win for best makeup, best visual effects, best art direction, best cinematography, and best editing. I went 3 for 5 there; with Slumdog surprising me to take editing and cinematography (again, it took every oscar it was nominated for except best sound editing).

Not bad for someone who didn't see any of the best picture, best actor, best actress, or best supporting actress nominees eh? In fact of the winners, I only saw Wall-E and Dark Knight.

As to the show as a whole, what did I think?

Well first of all, the GAYEST Oscars ever; and it was very much deliberate. Personally, I enjoyed the musical numbers, and the overall design and feel of the thing.

I very much enjoyed the treatment of the four acting categories; choosing previous winners in the category to deliver the nomination, rather than the film clip that has been typical of the past few years. It added a personal element that I thought was touching (except in the case of Sophia Loren, who unfortunately still barely speaks any english; so at least it's understandable).

Bill Maher... well, honestly, what did you expect? It's Bill Maher.

I appreciated that it was a relatively short telecast, and well paced; but they still got in the major features, like the songs. No interpretive dance this time thank god, but the "The Muscial is Back" number in the middle was great fun. Was it too much? Yes. That was the point.

But what can I say, I've always loved musicals.