80th Oscar Nominees; or There Will Be Expletives

I have very little use for the Oscars, but one of my fondest memories is when Magnolia was up for Best Original Screenplay, but lost to the tepid swill known as American Beauty. P. T. Anderson did not smile weakly, he did not clap politely. He said the eff-word and enunciated it nicely for the camera.

Best Picture
“Atonement”
“Juno”
“Michael Clayton”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

I’ve only seen No Country and There Will Be Blood. Juno looks fun, but at its heart I can’t help think that this is a heartless movie. Also, it cannot possibly be as good as Junebug. Michael Clayton is what? Fracture? Relentlessly plotty movies only go so far in my book. Atonement is a wild card, drawing on that wartime nostalgia and weird patriotism. Why is patriotism always wound up with our wars? There Will Be Blood should win this 97 times out of 100 with No Country for Old Men winning it the last three times, but I’m afraid the Little Miss Sunshine/Knocked Up combo will win it.

Actor
George Clooney, “Michael Clayton”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”
Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Tommy Lee Jones, “In the Valley of Elah”
Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises”

D. Day-Lewis won an award for acting only with his left foot. That’s how good he is. He scared the bajeebies out of my with his Bill the Butcher character from Gangs of New York. Johnny Depp made Disney a Billion Dollars (not exaggeration) with a funny walk and eyeshadow, so we know he’s good. I don’t think Tommy Lee Jones isn’t acting, I just think he is that guy. Viggo is a bold nomination, sadly fewer voters have watched Eastern Promises than There Will Be Blood. Clooney…he didn’t win it for getting fat and growing a beard so I don’t think he’ll win it here, but congrats for become a serious actor despite once wearing a purple Batman suit with nipples. Daniel Day-Lewis should win this award and will win this award.

Actress
Cate Blanchett, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Julie Christie, “Away From Her”
Marion Cotillard, “La Vie en Rose”
Laura Linney, “The Savages”
Ellen Page, “Juno”

This is the runaway category. Ellen Page will trounce the competition.

Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
Javier Bardem, “No Country for Old Men”
Hal Holbrook, “Into the Wild”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Charlie Wilson’s War”
Tom Wilkinson, “Michael Clayton”

Javier Bardem is such a bad dude in No Country that I’d be cringing in fear throughout Love & Death in the Time of Cholera if I were inclined to watch such things. Hoffman already won for Capote, if you start giving him gold for things like Charlie Wilson’s War you might as well just chisel him in for it every time he finishes a film. Similar congratulations as George Clooney can go to Casey Affleck but instead of the Batman comment insert “masturbating into a baseball glove”. Wilkinson might garner the “Let the Old Guy Win” vote so he might pull off an upset, but I’m still inclined to give the nod to Bardem.

Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”
Ruby Dee, “American Gangster”
Saoirse Ronan, “Atonement”
Amy Ryan, “Gone Baby Gone”
Tilda Swinton, “Michael Clayton”

I don’t really have any thoughts here except: Cate Blanchett is so gimmicky. I can’t stand her. Let’s have an award for most Overrated. Just to make a pick I’m going to go with Saoirse Ronan. Mostly because I want to know how to say that name.

Director
Julian Schnabel, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Jason Reitman, “Juno”
Tony Gilroy, “Michael Clayton”
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood”

I enjoyed Thank You For Smoking but this is not a category for Reitman, bless his heart. This isn’t even a conversation. We say: Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood. Then we can say: Hey, let’s go watch The Big Lebowski a million more times. Unfortunately the only thing more unlikely than the Academy voters watching The Big Lebowski a million times is not vote for Juno. At least we get to see PT say “brother-trucker” on live television.
Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Hampton, “Atonement”
Sarah Polley, “Away from Her”
Ronald Harwood, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood”

Atonement is about war and romance, I mean, seriously, how do you not adapt that? From what I’ve heard the Coen Brothers didn’t so much adapt as film every scene in the book. I’ve read most of Oil! by Sinclair Upton and let me tell you Upton’s a bore. P.T. Anderson took dirt, spit on it, and made the blindman see. Am I blinded by my passions? Paul Thomas Anderson wins it, but we vow to watch O Brother Where Art Thou, Fargo, The Ladykillers, and even Intolerable Cruelty again, because truly the Coen Brothers are a force to be reckoned with.

Original Screenplay
Diablo Cody, “Juno”
Nancy Oliver, “Lars and the Real Girl”
Tony Gilroy, “Michael Clayton”
Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco, “Ratatouille”
Tamara Jenkins, “The Savages.”

I’m really starting to get bored now.

Animated Feature Film
“Persepolis”
“Ratatouille”
“Surf’s Up”

That’s really embarrassing that they had to nominate Surf’s Up.

Art Direction
“American Gangster”
“Atonement”
“The Golden Compass”
“Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
“There Will Be Blood”

Cinematography
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
“Atonement”
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

Sound Mixing
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
“No Country for Old Men”
“Ratatouille”
“3:10 to Yuma”
“Transformers”

What’s the difference between Sound Mixing and Editing? 3:10 to Yuma needed to be edited better and, sure, who doesn’t agree that There Will Be Blood was mixed like crap?

Sound Editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
“No Country for Old Men”
“Ratatouille”
“There Will Be Blood”
“Transformers”

Original Score
“Atonement,” Dario Marianelli
“The Kite Runner,” Alberto Iglesias
“Michael Clayton,” James Newton Howard
“Ratatouille,” Michael Giacchino
“3:10 to Yuma,” Marco Beltrami

Original Song
“Falling Slowly” from “Once,” Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
“Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted,” Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush,” Nominees to be determined
“So Close” from “Enchanted,” Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted,” Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz

Costume
“Across the Universe”
“Atonement”
“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
“La Vie en Rose”
“Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Film Editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“Into the Wild”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

What about Film Mixing?

Makeup
“La Vie en Rose”
“Norbit”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

Let me repeat, Johnny Depp w/mascara + funny walk = billion dollars.

Visual Effects
“The Golden Compass”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”
“Transformers

This should be a closer race than it will be. Golden Compass wins because of the fighting polar bears, but Transformers maybe shoulda.

You’ll notice I cut out the Junk Drawer Oscars. Best Documentary on a Short Live Action Foreign Film doesn’t make for scintillating picks. Go check out the Oscar page for the full run down.

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6 thoughts on “80th Oscar Nominees; or There Will Be Expletives

  1. 1.Juno is far from heartless. In fact, it might be the OPPOSITE of heartless. They speak of which they do not understand…

    2.How is Cate Blanchett gimmicky? Just because she played a dude? Or because she takes good roles? Or how about because she is the best actress ALIVE? I’ll admit, the Bob Dylan thing weirds me out, but I absolutely love Blanchett in basically everything she does. You just hate that she was a better Catherine Hepburn in The Aviator than even the real Catherine Hepburn.

    3.I’m with you on Javier Bardem. Holy Crap. But T.L. Jones? Yeah, he’s acting. You’ve got to take his whole body of work and contrast it. Come on, you can do it – reach back a little.

  2. 1. Possible. But it won’t be as good as Junebug.

    2. No, no, no. Cate Blanchett is the female Al Pacino. Yelly-screamy over-acting. She’s like an 8 yr old beating the cymbals of her talent. Bethany mentioned “Notes from a Scandal”. She could never do something like Russ Crowe did in The Insider. When people want a quiet, but weighty performance they get Tilda Swinton. When they want flashbang TomCruise-circa-Jerry Macguire they get Blanchette. Or she picks roles that are gimmicky, like playing a man or a myth like Hepburn. She was next in line for Monster (hot girl playing an ugly girl! that’s Oscar worthy) and Virginia Wolfe from The Hours (…on second thought…she probably couldn’t’ve played that role, what would they do with that nose prosthetic? stick it on her forehead?)…

    3. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tommy Lee Jones. He’s great. I loved him in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada too, but I mean, hasn’t he played that character -oh I don’t know, once or twice in the last 50 years?

  3. 2.Wrong. Sure, she’s loud in some roles – when it calls for it. But she’s not doing that CONSTANTLY. Pushing Tin and Babel come to mind. The first half of Elizabeth. An Ideal Husband. Dude, sometimes roles call for different personalities at different times. That’s the way it goes. Russell Crowe was pretty loud at times in The Insider – when he needed to be. It sounds like you’ve got something against Cate, because she’s never been less than brilliant in my estimation. Are you seriously holding against her roles she ALMOST got, and roles she COULD HAVE gotten? As far as beating her own drum – SHE’S AN ACTRESS. That goes with the territory. But keep in mind, this is an actress that went uncredited in Hot Fuzz. That was cool.

  4. 3. Sure but everyone camps it up in the Purple Batman movies. Doesn’t count.

    2. Okay, modified Cate Blanchett opinion. In her Oscar buzz performances she’s gimmicky and channeling Pacino. Or both if you consider her Galadriel, which was either in a near psycho-tropic fog or Ms. Blurty-Wide-eye. You mentioned Babel, she was mostly dead in that movie, if I want mostly dead I’ll watch The Princess Bride.

  5. I dunno, she was nominated for Elizabeth, and didn’t seem to be channeling Pacino. Or Aviator for that matter, despite playing a “myth”. And I’d say it’s a pretty good effort if she still evoked emotion playing mostly dead. Then again, playing opposite a brilliant Brad Pitt has its advantages…

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