Oscars

The list is up. In some of the categories, there’s basically no contest. I expect Javier Bardem to win Best Supporting Actor (and deservedly so; the coin-flip scene in No Country for Old Men is excellent), Daniel Day-Lewis to win Best Actor (because the Gods hate me, There Will Be Blood still isn’t showing anywhere near me, so no comment), and Juno to win best original screenplay (you know how I feel about that). The actress categories are trickier; I expect a three-way contest between Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Julie Christie (Away from Her), and Ellen Page (Juno) for best actress, and a two-way one between Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There) and Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), though I think Blanchett definitely has a leg up. Documentary feature looks like it’ll be a slugfest between No End in Sight and Sicko; I haven’t seen the latter, so I don’t have a strong preference. Animated feature also looks like a two-way race, between Persepolis and Ratatouille (sorry Surf’s Up); it’s an absolute travesty that The Simpsons Movie wasn’t so much as nominated, so I’ll be rooting for the merely decent Persepolis out of spite.

I suppose the best picture nominations (No Country, Juno, There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton, Atonement) aren’t too out of left field; No Country, There Will Be Blood, and Atonement were basically locks, with Juno less of a sure thing, and Michael Clayton a definite surprise. Clayton and There Will Be Blood are the only ones I haven’t seen, Clayton because it seemed like, as Dave Weigel puts it, a “moody-but-pointless corporations-will-kill-your-family potboiler”, and There Will Be Blood because of the aforementioned hatred of me by the Gods. Of the ones I have seen, I really don’t know what I’d choose. Atonement looked great as I watched it, but the more I look back on it the more I realize it didn’t actually have much of a plot. The first half is great, taut period filmmaking, but latter half of the movie just sort of meanders along. I don’t even know how to compare No Country for Old Men and Juno; as a technical achievement, No Country is obviously superior, but Juno‘s screenplay is more notable, if only because No Country‘s seems like it could be printed on 30 pages or so. I would definitely say the Coen brothers deserve the director trophy over Jason Reitman, both because of their respective work in these movies and because the Coen brothers have been paying their dues for significantly longer. But Juno did have a much more visceral, emotional impact on me than No Country, the coin-flip scene excepted. Hopefully, There Will Be Blood will get picked up by the Nugget soon and blow my mind so that all this inner conflict gets resolved. But I’ll say this much: when the best Coen Brothers movie I’ve ever seen, and what from the sounds of it is the best movie Paul Thomas Anderson has made thus far, aren’t the only films in serious contention to win Best Picture, that’s a good year for cinema.

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