Friday, February 20, 2009

And the Winner is...Whatever

It's Oscar time again. How do you make a fluffy extravagance relevant in the face of hardening times? Make it about triumphs over adversity. I have no doubt that will be the theme of these awards, and I also have no doubt that for some reason I really don't care about who is honored this year and who goes home empty-handed. For the first time I've actually seen all five best-picture nominees, as well as most of the other nominated films/performances, and I have to say that 2008 was a mediocre year for movies indeed. Any of the nominees for best documentary are better films than the best picture nominees, which is saying something about the state of fictional storytelling in this culture. Having said that, here are my guesses:

Best Picture and Best Director: Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle. This is only fine with me in that it prevents both The Reader and Benjamin Button from winning. I thought BB was Forest Gump with makeup (and that it will win for makeup), and a gross mismanagement of a terrific short story, and that The Reader just wasn't very good. If the decision were up to me the award would go to Frost/Nixon. It's hard to adapt a play for the screen, and this was a terrific adaptation. Slumdog, though, has the momentum, is a little film that had to fight to get distributed, and is in fact about the triumph of love and intelligence over horrifying odds. Feel good, folks, feel good.

Best Actor: No one has overcome more than Mickey Rourke, so he gets the Oscar. His performance was the one interesting thing about a mediocre film, so there is that. Frank Langella should win this, but he won't.

Best Actress: Kate Winslett for her body (of work). Not for The Reader, although her performance was predictably good, but because she's overdue. Melissa Leo should take this, but she won't. Feel good, Kate's finally getting her due.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger overcomes death. The Dark Night should get cinematography, editing, and a host of other technical awards. It should have been nominated for best picture. Oh well.

Best Supporting Actress: Nate Silver thinks this will go to that woman from Benjamin Button, and he's usually right about things. However, since overcoming adversity is the theme, I'm going to predict Penelope Cruz overcoming the fact that she was nominated for a Woody Allen film. Plus, she was better.

Screenplays: I'm too lazy to double-check who's nominated. In an ideal world, Frost/Nixon for adapted, Frozen River for original. And maybe this will be the case. Frozen River is, after all, a little film that could, and screenplay is the category where little films that could get recognized. It would also be a feel good award.

Best Documentary: Man on Wire has momentum and was one of the best pictures of the year. This is a competetive category, though, and Herzog will probably get the Kate Winslet treatment. He's overdue, and it would be an award we can all feel good about.

A bunch of other awards will also be handed out, but I can't bring myself to care. My final prediction, and the one that will absolutely be true: someone will be wearing a dress so awful, so cringe-worthy, that the hours of my life spent watching the telecast will have been hours well-spent.

1 comment:

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

THANK YOU FOR Melissa Leo props!

Being paparazzi fodder is not qualifications for best actress.


But I have a Kay Howard bias.