It's Valentine's Day on Thursday, and the mister and I are going to check out Morris East, which comes highly recommended. I love going to new restaurants, and this one is just around the corner. Another celebration is also approaching: Oscar night! What a relief! Now that I know the Writer's Strike is actually over, I'm calling my picks:
Best motion picture of the year
- "Michael Clayton"
- "No Country for Old Men"
- "There Will Be Blood"
I personally like TWBB better, but I'm almost certain NSFOM will win.
Performance by an actor in a leading role
- George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
- Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
- Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
- Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
- Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
There is no way Daniel Day-Lewis can lose. I loved Mortensen and of course have to hope a Cronenberg movie is recognized, but if Day-Lewis doesn't get the Oscar, there is something wrong with the world. His performance was terrifying. All last week I was muttering "I have a competition in me" and "This is my son and business partner H.W." to unsuspecting friends. Also, Depp doesn't deserve the nomination for the lukewarm Sweeney Todd. Sad but true.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
- Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
- Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
- Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
- Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
I have not seen any of these movies except for NCFOM, so I'm going to have to go with Bardem (thought I hear Casey Affleck was great and stole the movie from Mr. Jolie). The theme at this year's Academy Awards is to be bleak and scary.
Performance by an actress in a leading role
- Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
- Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
- Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
- Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
- Ellen Page in "Juno" (Fox Searchlight)
She's in a bio-pic, and thus automatically has the edge.
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
- Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
- Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
- Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
- Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
- Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Blanchett must win this because she was nothing short of brilliant, and her performance of "Ballad of a Thin Man" gave me chills.
Achievement in directing
- "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
- "Juno" (Fox Searchlight), Jason Reitman
- "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy
- "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
- "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson
Once again, I kind of like PTA better, but I think this is the Coen brothers' year.
Best animated feature film of the year
- "Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
- "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
- "Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck
I missed seeing Persepolis at Monday Night Movies, and regret it. It looks great. But I'm still guessing that, once again, Brad Bird and co. will win.
- "Atonement" (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
- "Away from Her" (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
- "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
- "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
- "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
AFH had considerably less fanfare than other films in this category, but I think Polley has a good chance of winning this one.
- "Juno" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Diablo Cody
- "Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
- "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
- "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
- "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins
The writing in this film was smart and sharp with very little missteps. For a first screenplay it's amazing.
Best documentary feature
- "No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
- "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
- "Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara
- "Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
- "War/Dance" (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine
I think Michael Moore really matured with this film, and while I haven't seen the other movies in this category, I do think he deserves it.
There you are. I'm not getting into the editing and effects (et cetera) categories because I would just be picking blindly. Last year I won a couple of prizes for my Oscar picks... this year I'm hoping to just enjoy the show and gloat when I'm right.