Predicting Oscars 09: who should win and who will
The ceremony for the 81st Academy Awards is finally about to take place. I’ve finally managed to see most of the nominated films for the major catgories that are available to me (see reviews here, here and here). While I initially predicted the winners and losers when the nominations first came out (here and here), the landscape has changed a little and I feel that now, since I’ve seen most of the films, I can also comment on who deserves to win.
So for tomorrow night, here’s who should win and who will (only categories with films I’ve seen). If there is an asterick (*) next to a nominee it means I have not seen that film (so my views do not include it).
Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire
Who should win: All great movies. Based on my ratings and reviews of the films, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Reader scored the highest marks, but I would give the nod to Button. I just thought it was such an unusual and memorable film. Though not quite as good, it had a certain Forrest Gump-feel to it (probably because of the same writer).
Who will win: Slumdog Millionaire has been tipped all along and there won’t be anything standing in its way come Oscar night. There is a teeny little chance for an improbable upset by Button (which had the most nominations) but I can’t see any of the scandals derailing what should be a glorious night for Slumdog. Especially now that all the child actors are coming to the ceremony (albeit after the voting).
Nominees: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Stephen Daldry (The Reader), David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon) Gus Van Sant (Milk)
Who should win: A very difficult one to pick because I feel they all did terrific jobs in their respective films. If I had to pick one I’d have to go with Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire was just that little bit more extraordinary than the others, and the way he pieced it all together was absolutely masterful.
Who will win: Danny Boyle. No doubt about it.
Nominees: Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)*, Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Sean Penn (Milk), Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Who should win: A coin-toss between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke. I saw The Wrestler first and thought Rourke was a lock based on his emotional, nuanced performance, not to mention his amazing physical resemblance to a real-life wrestler. You felt his physical pain in the ring, you felt his emotional pain outside of it. It was the performance of a lifetime. But then I saw Milk and Sean Penn’s performance just blew me away. Yes, he was playing a real-life character, but man did he do it well. You honestly believed he was the inspirational Harvey Milk. Too hard for me to choose.
Who will win: Mickey Rourke. He’s the sentimental favourite and Penn has already got one (for Mystic River). The only way Rourke can lose is if he really pissed off as many people in the industry as he claims (and judging from his BAFTA acceptance speech I can kind of see how it might be possible).
Nominees: Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Melissa Leo (Frozen River)*, Meryl Streep (Doubt), Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Who should win: Really tough choice. I think as far as the performance is concerned, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway are all very deserving (Jolie was very good but not quite there). But based on the difficulty of the roles they had to play I would give Kate Winslet the edge. Her character was so important to what The Reader was trying to tell and she played each phase of Hanna Schmitz’s life wonderfully.
Who will win: Kate Winslet. It’s her time. Streep is consistently this good so she won’t stand out as much, whereas Hathaway is young and she’ll have plenty of chances (plus her role is less sensational).
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Josh Brolin (Milk), Robert Downey Jr (Tropic Thunder), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)
Who should win: Heath Ledger. As terrific as Hoffman was in Doubt and Shannon was in Revolutionary Road, Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight will forever be remembered as one of the great ones. I still remember when he was first cast as the Joker and plenty of people scoffed at the idea that he could pull it off (even after Brokeback Mountain). No one is denying that he was the right man for the role now.
Who will win: Heath Ledger. All the major awards leading up to the Oscars indicate he will win. I honestly believe he deserves it, even if he were still alive today – the performance was that mesmerizing. The fact that he’s not around anymore just about locks it in.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Amy Adams (Doubt), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Viola Davis (Doubt), Taraji P Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Who should win: The ones that stood out for me were Amy Adams and Taraji P Henson. Marisa Tomei was wonderful in The Wrestler but I liked the other two more. Viola Davis was barely in Doubt, though she made great use of her limited screen time. Penelope Cruz was good but I didn’t think the performance was Oscar-worthy – or maybe I just didn’t like the character.
Who will win: Penelope Cruz. In this case, I think the least deserving will win. She’s the most well-known of the group and her role was different and explosive. Plus all the focus has been on her leading up to the Oscars. I hope she doesn’t win but I think she will.
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Frozen River*, Happy-Go-Lucky*, In Bruges, Milk, WALL-E
Who should win: Having only seen 3 of the 5 nominees, I don’t feel sufficiently equipped to judge this one. Out of the 3 films I did see, they were all very good, but probably In Bruges stood out as just being somewhat special.
Who will win: In Bruges has taken a lot of the lead-up awards, but WALL-E is also a favourite because it manages to do so much with so little dialogue. I’m going with In Bruges but won’t be surprised in WALL-E took it out. Note I originally picked Milk, but that was before I saw most of the films.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire
Who should win: “Adapted” screenplay is thrown around a little loosely because some of the scripts I’m sure barely resemble the original source. Nevertheless, I thought the adaptation of The Reader was sensational, dealing with the majority of the themes and events perfectly in Bernhard Schlink’s novel.
Who will win: Originally picked Doubt but after seeing the film I felt the adaptation could have been better. I have a feeling this award will be lumped with the bunch of awards that Slumdog Millionaire will win on the night.
Nominees: Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire
Who should win: Another tough one. I’m don’t have any technical specialty so this is based purely on what I thought looked best. And using that criterion, I thought Changeling was particularly memorable, though Slumdog Millionaire’s eye-opening portrayal of Mumbai was also impressive.
Who will win: Slumdog to bag another one.
Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire
Who should win: Another technical one, but I liked the work in Button, where editing was particularly important.
Who will win: This might be one of those sympathy awards given to Button, which, despite all its nominations, continues to be beaten by Slumdog. I hope so because I think in this case it deserves the award.
Nominees: Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Duchess*, Revoluntionary Road
Who should win: I thought the Art Direction in Changeling was the best, though The Dark Knight was pretty cool too.
Who will win: A category where Slumdog was not nominated? Chalk this one up to Button because when the two films go head to head, it’s going to lose out most times.
Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Who should win: No contest – the make-up in Button was just ridiculous. Sure, Hellboy II was good, but we had seen it all in the first film.
Who will win: Button. The make-up had to be seen to be believed – especially the old Cate Blanchett.
Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Iron Man
Who should win: Another no contest in favour of Button. As goods as the effects were in the two superhero films, the effects in Button were the best I’ve ever seen. Freakishly amazing.
Who will win: See above. Button all the way. It cannot not win.
Nominees: Australia*, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Duchess*, Milk, Revoluntionary Road
Who should win: Only seen 3 of the 5 films, so not qualified. Though from what I’ve seen of the other 2, The Duchess looked great.
Who will win: The Duchess had won the earlier awards so I look for the trend to continue.
Music (Original Score)
Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Defiance*, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, WALL-E
Who should win: To be honest I can’t really remember much of the music in any of the films – except the Bollywood music in Slumdog.
Who will win: Slumdog, just because it’s the favourite to win.
Music (Original Song)
Nominees: Slumdog Millionaire (twice), WALL-E
Who should win: Slumdog – one of the songs was pretty good.
Who will win: Slumdog – it has a 2 in 3 chance anyway.
Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, WALL-E
Who should win: The sound in The Dark Knight stood out for me amongst the nominees. It was probably the Batcycle.
Who will win: Slumdog.
Nominees: The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Slumdog Millionaire, WALL-E, Wanted
Who should win: Now this I remember pretty well, and The Dark Knight was phenomenal.
Who will win: The Dark Knight. I hope it gets this one – and Slumdog can’t just win them all.
Nominees: Bolt*, Kung Fu Panda, WALL-E
Who should win: Not a big fan of animated films but WALL-E wasn’t too bad. Kung Fu Panda was pretty ordinary and Bolt (which I haven’t seen) didn’t look too crash hot either.
Who will win: WALL-E – pretty much a lock.