Feb 22, 2009

O!

Finally. I just finished watch The Wrestler. I can now say I've seen each film (some twice). Yes, even The Visitor. I don't believe in making uninformed critiques.

Male actor in a leading role:

Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor" (Overture Films)
Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon" (Universal)
Sean Penn in "Milk" (Focus Features)
Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight)


Sean Penn should win. His acting in Milk was remarkable and astounding. He carried the weight of the film. I worry that the Academy will give the statue to Micky Rourke. His performance was great, but Marisa Tomei and himself both made the movie.

In any other year, I think Brad Pitt would have won. His portrayal of Benjamin by an lesser actor would make the film laughable.

Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon looked...Hispanic and this minor detail kinda ruined the movie- is that bad? Also, the annoying trailers for F/N made me dislike the film before even sitting down to watch it. His actual performance was really enigmatic though.

Side note: Leo wasn't snubbed in the male category, his acting was simply sub-par. In fact, I would even argue that Haaz Sleiman was the one who was actually snubbed from a great performance as Tarek in The Visitor.

Male actor in a supporting role:

Josh Brolin in "Milk" (Focus Features)
Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder" (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt" (Miramax)
Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) [There isn't any contest here, and if there is, it's coming from Philip Seymour Hoffman]
Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Heath Ledger deserves to win this. His portrayal of The Joker is something greater than any summer blockbuster. I personally do not understand the Josh Brolin nomination- James Franco delivered a better performance than Brolin in Milk. If not anyone else, then Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance in Doubt was riveting and convincing. If anyone but these two win the award, I think I might not carry on watching the rest.

Female actor in a leading role:

Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married" (Sony Pictures Classics)
Angelina Jolie in "Changeling" (Universal)
Melissa Leo in "Frozen River" (Sony Pictures Classics)
Meryl Streep in "Doubt" (Miramax)
Kate Winslet in "The Reader" (The Weinstein Company)

Meryl FTW! Meryl in Doubt was amazing. Absolutely amazing. I think I've watched doubt about three times now and each time I watch it, I get something different from her performance. Anne Hathaway, who doesn't play Rachel from Rachel Getting Married, put on a performance that was realistically broody and filled with grounded contempt. Even Melissa Leo, playing Ray Eddy in Frozen River, delivers a better performance than Kate.

Sorry Kate, but I've jumped ship after watching Revolutionary Road. I think Revolutionary Road was one of the worst films of the year. Stage acting with a strained American accent does not merit an Oscar nod. Similarly, Meryl is capable of playing a character and making it her own. The real shame is that Kate's younger lover from The Reader wasn't nominated.

Female actor in a supporting role:

Amy Adams in "Doubt" (Miramax)
Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (The Weinstein Company)
Viola Davis in "Doubt" (Miramax)
Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight)


This, to me, is one of the toughest categories to choose from. My top favourites are Penny, Taraji and Marisa. Viola did a great job in Doubt, but was only on screen for a few minutes- does that mean that she deserves the award on that merit or that it's undeserved for the same reason? That's really up to you.

I personally do no like Amy Adams but found her character endearing in Doubt. So this is tough. I fell in love with Penny's Maria Elena; like, head over heels. Marisa really made sure that she made her mark when on screen, arguably, stealing the show. But Taraji, like the other women of Benjamin Button, really carried the movie. I have no decision in this, but I would love to see Penny win. Also, why was Blanchett not nominated? Or Tilda? Shame.

Best animated feature film of the year

"Bolt" (Walt Disney) Chris Williams and Byron Howard
"Kung Fu Panda" (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Andrew Stanton


Really? If WALL-E doesn't win then...I don't know.

Achievement in cinematography

"Changeling" (Universal) Tom Stern
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Claudio Miranda
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Anthony Dod Mantle


This award belongs to Benjamin Button. No one else comes close.

Achievement in costume design:

"Australia" (20th Century Fox) Catherine Martin
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Jacqueline West
"The Duchess" (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) Michael O'Connor
"Milk" (Focus Features) Danny Glicker
"Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) Albert Wolsky


Okay, I lied. I haven't seen all the nominated films- I didn't watch Australia. I did take a four hour nap though- does that count?

Think this award deserves to go to Benjamin Button for Tilda's wardrobe alone.

Achievement in directing

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Fincher
"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Ron Howard
"Milk" (Focus Features) Gus Van Sant
"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) Stephen Daldry
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Danny Boyle


I would really love to see Benjamin Button take this. The directing was flawless- the same can't be said about Slumdog, Milk or Frost/Nixon. The Reader also might deserve this if it were a better film.

Best motion picture of the year

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)A Kennedy/Marshall Production
Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
"Frost/Nixon" (Universal)A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production
Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
"Milk" (Focus Features)A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production
Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company)A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production
Nominees to be determined
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight)A Celador Films Production
Christian Colson, Producer

I do not think that Slumdog Millionaire deserves the best picture of the year- it was a good movie, but it isn't what everyone is making it out to be. I just don't buy the whole 'it was written' thing. And besides, it's a little odd to give best picture to a film that has no acting nominations- but then again, stranger things have happened.

My favourite film of the year was Doubt (and The House Bunny, don't judge me) but I really do think Milk or Benjamin Button deserve the award. Milk, unless you're a homophobe, is inspired and manages to tell a true story without being overtly self-important. On the other hand, Benjamin Button has Oscar stamped all over it- it is fantastical, larger than life and layered. The acting in both films is superb.

I wonder if the Academy will go for either of these two or if they too are caught up in the Slumdog hysteria?

Also, Hugh Jackman? Bring back Billy or Whoopie. Thanks.

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