And here it is...quite probably the most exciting time in moviedom is nigh. This morning, the Academy (whoever they are) announced the nominees for the upcoming ceremony. Now, there is a key question here: will there be a ceremony?
I'm not a fan of the red carpet shenanigans of the celebrities and their new hot dresses. However, the Golden Globes showed that without the ceremony, the awards are useless. Absolutely obsolete. The only use for them is to print them on the DVD covers to pump up the sales for the "critically acclaimed fare".
Without further ado, let me give you my humble analysis of this year's nominees:
- George Clooney for Michael Clayton - a shoe-in nomination, but I don't think the movie, or the performance actually, was memorable enough to win.
- Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood - whenever he is nominated, he is the favourite - deservedly. The Academy still owes him for Gangs of New York. Regardless, he is a god among acting talent.
- Johnny Depp for Sweeney Todd - Oh, Johnny...who doesn't love you? But, I still feel he had a better chance for Pirates.
- Tommy Lee Jones for In the Valley of Elah - I haven't seen the film, but I'm pretty sure he did a great job. However...who saw the movie in the first place?
- Viggo Mortensen for Eastern Promises - the fight scene in the bathhouse is deserving the nomination alone, but it feels like a caricature role.
And the winner is...Daniel Day-Lewis
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Casey Affleck for The Assassination of Jesse James - for me this was the performance of the year. And any other year, it would have been the clear favourite. But...
- Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men- ...as usual, Mr. Bardem steals the show. One of the scariest characters ever put on film.
- Philip Seymour Hoffman for Charlie Wilson's War - perhaps the movie is too light for Oscar, but Hoffman always delivers.
- Hal Holbrook for Into the Wild - just hoping that the Academy gives the award to the person who deserved it this year and not make amends to clear up old omissions...
- Tom Wilkinson for Michael Clayton - good performance, but again, not that memorable.
And the winner is...Javier Bardem
- Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth II - she should have won for the first one. This feels a little bit of a stretch to me.
- Julie Christie for Away From Her - the momentum from the Globes should carry her to the finish line.
- Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose - a role tailor-made for Academy, but her downfall could be that the Academy might favor an American, or better-said, an English-speaker.
- Laura Linney for The Savages - has she been not good at anything?
- Ellen Page for Juno - the best thing in the movie. She might be too young to win, but I wouldn't be surprised.
And the winner is...Ellen Page
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Cate Blanchett for I'm Not There- a woman playing a guy? An icon? The only thing against her is that she won this award before.
- Ruby Dee for American Gangster - a filler nomination.
- Saoirse Ronan for Atonement - I thought Keira Knightley's performance was far more moving, but she did a good job.
- Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone - one of the two revelations from the movie (the other is Ben).
- Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton - another amazing performance. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't have enough buzz.
And the winner is...Cate Blanchett
BEST ART DIRECTION
- American Gangster - it was Harlem, all right. But it wasn't anything special,
- Atonement - looked and felt amazing. Without extreme theatricality, it replicates the time perfectly.
- The Golden Compass - Pullman's world is hard to bring onto the screen, but they did a good job of it.
- Sweeney Todd - haven't seen it yet, but Burton's films always looked stunning.
- There Will Be Blood - a strange choice, maybe, but a very strong contender.
And the winner is...Atonement
- The Assassination of Jesse James... - the sepia colors, the scenery, the look...absolutely fantastic.
- Atonement - some very clever camerawork and the interior shots are great too.
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - haven't seen it yet, but if the trailers are anything to go by, then this could be the dark horse.
- No Country for Old Men - when was the last time a Coens movie didn't look great? Can't remember? Because there isn't one.
- There Will Be Blood - I think Day-Lewis' performance takes all the attention away from the camera.
And the winner is...The Assassination of Jesse James
- Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - perhaps a surprise win in the Globes, but it looks like a real contender.
- Jason Reitman for Juno - well, clearly the thing that struck with this was Ellen Page. Not a director's movie. I'm sure Ang Lee is cringing somewhere...
- Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton - it looks good but a tad too slow and pretentious.
- Joel & Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men - it's their year, for sure.
- P.T. Anderson for There Will Be Blood - every film student's favourite film director, but will the Academy like him as much.
And the winner is...are...the Coens
- The Bourne Ultimatum - the only thing going for it was the editing, but it might be a little too hectic for the older members.
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - again, judging from the trailer, it might just go home with the trophy.
- Into the Wild - haven't seen this one too, so I have no comments...
- No Country for Old Men - the Coens have always been very meticulous, and this is no exception.
- There Will Be Blood - again, too strong a performance for the movie to shine elsewhere.
And the winner is...The Bourne Ultimatum
Unfortunately for me, I haven't seen any of these films yet. I blame the time I spent in Los Angeles.
- Atonement - the use of typewriters as percussion was genius and it added another layer of tension to the film.
- The Kite Runner - haven't seen this one either, but I read a lot about how good it is.
- Michael Clayton - I can't even remember the music...
- Ratatouille - too much Pixar brass gives me a headache.
- 3:10 to Yuma - westerns always do well in music, so this could be a contender.
And the winner is...Atonement
BEST MOTION PICTURE
- Atonement - the inconsistency in the second half will be the downfall of this otherwise shoe-in-genre film.
- Juno - too light and indie to win, but even the nomination is as good as a win. And the cliche...this year's Little Miss Sunshine
- Michael Clayton - it was too long ago for the members to even remember it. It wasn't that good anyway.
- No Country for Old Men - if this doesn't win...well...I will do something else with my life.
- There Will Be Blood - perhaps too dark to win.
And the winner is...No Country for Old Men
- Christopher Hampton for Atonement - a beautiful script with sharp dialogue, but the shift in second half is a little awkward.
- Sarah Polley fort Away From Her - a filler nomination.
- Ronald Harwood for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - when it comes to scripts, the Academy has a soft spot for the foreign films, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise.
- Joel & Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men - it might be a little too faithful to the novel, but the Coens use some of their magic too.
- Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood - not a screenwriting movie.
And the winner is...are..the Coens.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
- Diablo Cody for Juno - this will win, but it doesn't take enough risks. Then again, that's perfect for the Academy.
- Nancy Oliver for Lars and the Real Girl - I'm pretty sure the premise is a lot more interesting than the end result.
- Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton - serious subject matter could be working in its favour.
- Brad Bird, Ian Pinkava, Jim Capobianco for Ratatouille - the animated scripts are, unfortunately, bound to the animation...so, I'm not sure this is good enough
- Tamara Jenkins for The Savages - I'm not sure if anybody has seen this yet...
And the winner is...Juno
So here it is folks. These are only some of the nominees...the ones I care about anyway. So, we'll see in four weeks whether I did good or not. Then again, my picks might change as I watch the other nominated films.
So until then...