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Archive for the ‘No Country for Old Men’ Category

Whether the Oscar ceremony happens or not (and at this point it looks like it will),  awards will still be given out and bets can still be placed. So put aside your bitter grudges (Jonny Greenwood? The Host? Fuck you!) and check out this list of predictions and hopes. I’m leaving out documentaries and foreign films for now because I haven’t seen enough of them to give any kind of valid opinion.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

  • Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)
  • Ruby Dee (American Gangster)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)
  • Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
  • Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

This is an interesting category. Oscar has a boner for Cate Blanchett, but I feel I’m Not There was too strange of a film for the AARP card members that make up the Academy. They’d be much more comfortable with someone like Ruby Dee, who has never won an Oscar and held her own against Denzel Washington’s over-the-top character in American Gangster. Of these performances, the one that I remember the most is Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone. That movie didn’t get enough credit, and neither will she.

Will Win: Ruby Dee

Should Win: Amy Ryan

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

  • Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
  • Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)
  • Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
  • Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)

This category is pretty much locked down. Javier Bardem might even get a foot massage while he’s giving his acceptance speech. While Bardem is terrifying and fun in this role, Casey Affleck created a character in Robert Ford that the audience could pity, love and hate all at once.

Will Win: Javier Bardem

Should Win: Casey Affleck

Best Actress

Nominees: 

  • Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
  • Julie Christie (Away From Her)
  • Marion Cotillard (Ma Vie En Rose)
  • Laura Linney (The Savages)
  • Ellen Page (Juno)

This is between Julie Christie and Marion Cotillard. I haven’t seen Ma Vie En Rose yet, so I’m going to go with Julie Christie.

Will Win: Julie Christie

Should Win: Julie Christie

Best Actor

Nominees:

  • George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
  • Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
  • Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd)
  • Tommy Lee Jones (In The Valley of Elah)
  • Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Daniel Day Lewis will drink the milkshakes of his fellow nominees. He will drink them up.

Will Win: Daniel Day Lewis

Should Win: Daniel Day Lewis

Best Animated Film

Nominees:

  • Persepolis
  • Ratatouille
  • Surf’s Up

Why Surf’s Up is even in this category, I do not know. Persepolis was a fantastic film, but Ratatouille is the best movie you’ve ever seen. Ever.

Will Win: Ratatouille

Should Win: Ratatouille

Best Original Song

Nominees:

  • “Falling Slowly” (Once)
  • “Happy Working Song” (Enchanted)
  • “Raise It Up” (August Rush)
  • “So Close” (Enchanted)
  • “That’s How You Know” (Enchanted)

I find it ridiculous that Once was only nominated in this category. All the same, I think it’ll win. The songs from Enchanted will cancel each other out, and who the fuck saw August Rush?

Will Win: “Falling Slowly”

Should Win: “Falling Slowly”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

  • Atonement (Christopher Hampton)
  • Away From Her (Sarah Polley)
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Ronald Harwood)
  • No Country For Old Men (Joel & Ethan Coen)
  • There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)

While I would love to see Paul Thomas Anderson win a screenplay award, it doesn’t seem like There Will Be Blood is a particularly faithful adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s Oil. Apparently he used it as a stepping stone to create his own characters and themes. The two bigger novels in this competition are No Country For Old Men and Atonement. I’m voting for the latter.

Will Win: No Country for Old Men

Should Win: Atonement

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

  • Juno (Diablo Cody)
  • Lars and the Real Girl (Nancy Oliver)
  • Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy)
  • Ratatouille (Brad Bird)
  • The Savages (Tamara Jenkins)

No screenwriter has gotten more press this year than Diablo Cody. But will the Academy get what phrases like “Oh my blog!” mean? And do I? All the same, there is some wonderful writing in Juno, and I think if it is going to win any award, it’ll be this one.

Will Win: Juno

Should Win: Juno

Best Director

Nominees:

  • Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
  • Joel & Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men)
  • Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
  • Jason Reitman (Juno)
  • Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

A friend has pointed out that Joel and Ethan Coen, directors of The Big Lebowski, are going head to head in this category against Julian Schnabel, who was the inspiration for Jeff Bridges’ character The Dude. It’s The Dude vs. The Coen Brothers! Fucking crazy! The Coen Brothers will win though. The fact that Schnabel wasn’t nominated for best picture pretty much throws him out of the race.

Will Win: Joel & Ethan Coen

Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson

Best Picture

Nominees:

  • Atonement
  • Juno
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country For Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood

Michael Clayton doesn’t seem epic enough, and Atonement didn’t get a Best Director nomination. Juno was cute, but will most likely only get recognition for the screenplay. It comes down to No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.

Will Win: No Country For Old Men

Should Win: There Will Be Blood

And, that’s all for now. Agree? Disagree? Chime in!

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So the long year is finally over, and while many of us return to work today, here is a chance to look back at what I thought were the cinematic achievements of the year. January is usually a time when the shittier films come out (except Cloverfield) so you’ll have the month to catch a lot of these in theaters or on DVD. I didn’t get to see everything, so if you notice something missing that you think deserves to be listed, please let me know.

1. There Will Be Blood – If No Country For Old Men is a masterpiece of editing and restraint, Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film There Will Be Blood is a masterpiece of balls-out bravado. From the first silent fifteen minutes to the wildly violent last ones, Daniel Day Lewis brings his character to such life that I was often scared that he would pop out of the screen. While I wish he would make films more often, it’s always nice when Paul Thomas Anderson shows up every couple of years and proves yet again that he is the most daring and exciting American filmmaker working today.

2. No Country For Old Men – Joel and Ethan Coen decided to go back to their roots this year in making their most exciting movie since Blood Simple. While this is largely a plot driven movie, they managed to create one of their most frightening characters in Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh, who almost turns this violent crime drama into a full blown horror movie.

3. Once – Just recently released on video, this film seems to be the sleeper hit of the year. I’ve met few people who didn’t enjoy watching the film’s subtle relationship (between an Irish folk singer and a Czech pianist) unfold. They might as well sell the DVD with the soundtrack, because once you’ve seen the film, it’s impossible not to buy the music that goes with it. If you’re lucky, you even caught the pair while they were on tour earlier this year.

4. Juno – Backlash for Juno has already begun. Like Garden State and Little Miss Sunshine before it, this film is twee and has a good soundtrack. Unlike those (or at least Garden State), the film also has some fantastic writing, an incredible performance from Ellen Page, and never corrupts the story to make things squeaky clean. Unwanted pregnancy had two big movies this year, and while Knocked Up was often hilarious, this is clearly the more interesting film.

5. Superbad – The biggest mistake from the Golden Globe nominations was this film not getting nominated for best comedy/musical. Do they know the definition of comedy? No film made me laugh more than Superbad this year. Aptly written by a teenage Seth Rogen and his high school friend, this teen sex comedy reinvented a genre that lately has only generated straight-to-video American Pie movies. While the plot is still the same (teens want sex; high jinks ensue), the writing is funnier, the acting is better and despite all the shenanigans, the characters feel like people you might have actually known in high school.

6. Ratatouille – Though it is not the funniest of the Pixar cartoons, I would say Ratatouille is the sweetest and most adult of them all. Instead of being over-populated with celebrity voices and pop culture humor, the film gets laughs out of its characters and the amazing animation work that lends itself so perfectly to slapstick.

7. Eastern Promises – This film is suffering from having come out earlier in the year, but there’s no denying that David Cronenberg’s latest is thrilling from start to finish. Armin-Mueller Stahl deserves a lot of praise (but isn’t getting it) and Viggo Mortensen is impressive as always, especially in a tense naked bath house knife fight that has to be seen to be believed.

8. The Host – A fantastic monster movie from Korean director Joon-ho Bong. When vats of toxic chemicals are dumped into the Han River, a monster is created with the grace of Nancy Kerrigan and the brutality of…Tanya Harding (zing!). The monster takes a young girl hostage and her dysfunctional family has to fight off government quarantines to save her. It’s been compared to Jaws, and for good reason.

9. Control – The story of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis through the lens of music video director Anton Corbijn. Actor Sam Riley does an eerily good impression of the late Curtis, mimicking his mannerisms and vocals. The story itself is more interesting than your average music biopic, simply because it consists of more than just someone rising to fame, doing drugs and cheating on his wife (though clearly, that’s in there too).

10. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – This film was as quiet and distant as its title characters. I saw it several months ago and have just now come to terms with how beautifully filmed and articulately scripted it was. Writer/director Andrew Dominik takes so much time setting up the mood of the film that, despite the title, you are still surprised by the inevitable ending of the film.

Honorable Mention: Sweeney Todd, 30 Days of Night, This Is England, Into the Wild, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Lesley Vernon, Knocked Up, Charlie Wilson’s War, Southland Tales and…no joke…Shoot ‘Em Up.

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