Oscar Predictions 2009

Emboldened by my success at predicting/guessing the BAFTAs [LINK] and trying to prove that it wasn’t all a fluke or that it was just because I’m British, these are my predictions for the Academy Awards tonight.

I also won’t include a picture of an Oscar, or any image associated with the Academy, after some lowly employee of BAFTA contacted me to ask me, very politely, to remove the old BAFTA image I had on my BAFTA prediction post. No skin off my nose, but you have to feel sorry for someone who has to surf the web for copyright-protected logos …

Disclaimer: the Oscars are vapid, pointless, not a true indicator of real art in cinema and plagued with politics (see any of the infamous cock-ups of previous winners: Crash, Chicago, Helen Hunt, Roberto Benigni, most of the 1980s … you get the point). Still, it’s a larf, innit?

Best picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

What Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
What Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire

I’m more than happy to go with the consensus and the betting on this; well made, well acted and a happy ending that works because of what has gone before.

Best director
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 Will Win: Danny Boyle
Who Should Win: Danny Boyle

This is the only one where I have a twinge: David Fincher is a really good director who may get sympathy in an Oscar split (see Ang Lee winning for Brokeback Mountain but Crash was best film, or Steven Soderbergh winning for Traffic but Gladiator was best film). But I shall go with the DGA, perhaps the most accurate predictor of an award.

Best actor
Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn – Milk
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Who Will Win: Mickey Rourke
Who Should Win: Anyone but Mickey Rourke

This is a lock for the melting plastic-faced Rourke although I don’t want him to win – I didn’t think it was a great performance because it was just him – but I know when I’m beat.

Best actress
Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Melissa Leo – Frozen River
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Who Will Win: Kate Winslet
Who Should Win: Kate Winslet

Despite the irony of her Extras cameo, all about using the Holocaust to win an Oscar, it’s time for Kate (after five nominations) and nobody can deny she is an actress who is actually Oscar worthy, rather than, say Halle Berry or Helen Hunt or Cher or Mira Sorvino, Whoopi Goldberg, etc.

Best supporting actress
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 Will Win: Penelope Cruz
Who Should Win: Marisa Tomei

The Woody Allen Supporting Oscar effect should see this through, although I believe that Tomei was fantastic in The Wrestler. However, after the urban legend that bloomed after her win for My Cousin Vinny, the Academy will never let her win again … This is the most unpredictable of all awards – I still can’t believe that Whoopi Goldberg won for Ghost – so there is no such thing as a certainty in this category.

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin – Milk
Robert Downey Jr – Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road

Who Will Win: Heath Ledger
Who Should Win: Heath Ledger

The overwhelming inevitability of this is quite remarkable, much like the performance. I think that the sadness of his young death is the impetus (and perhaps for missing out on Brokeback Mountain, another Oscar trait of rewarding another role when they obviously got it wrong before: see Russell Crowe winning for Gladiator to atone for not winning for The Insider, Judi Dench winning for Shakespeare In Love for not winning for Mrs Brown, Al Pacino winning for Scent Of A Woman to atone for The Godfather, etc.)

Best adapted screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

What Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
What Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire

I don’t think there is going to be a landslide, but three big Oscar wins is still impressive for such a film. A lot of makes a screenplay good is difficult to see on the screen sometimes, but the balance between the horrors inflicted on the characters, the tension in the studio and the love story had to come from somewhere, and that place is the script.

Best original screenplay
Happy-Go-Lucky
Milk
Wall-E
In Bruges
Frozen River

What Will Win: Milk
What Should Win: In Bruges

The category for rewarding the films that don’t get nominations they should have (Wall-E for Best Picture, anyone?) will probably result in Milk winning because it’s not going to win anything else. The voters won’t see an animated film as a best original screenplay, unfortunately; Happy-Go-Lucky is a bizarre choice seeing as Mike Leigh films are based so heavily on improvising on a basic premise. I’d like to see In Bruges repeat its BAFTA win but I can’t see that happening.

Those are the main film categories that I wanted to chat about. The remaining categories will get my prediction for completeness (because they are the picks I put up for the Empire magazine sweepstake).

Best foreign language film
Revanche – Austria
The Class – France
The Baader Meinhof Complex – Germany
Departures – Japan
Waltz With Bashir – Israel

What Will Win: The Class

Best animated feature film
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
Wall-E

What Will Win: Wall-E

Best original score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Defiance
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire
Wall-E

What Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire

Best original song
Down To Earth – Wall-E
Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire
O Saya – Slumdog Millionaire

What Will Win: Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire

Art direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Changeling
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

What Will Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Cinematography
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Changeling
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
The Reader

What Will Win: The Dark Knight

Costume design
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Australia
Milk
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

What Will Win: The Duchess

Best documentary feature
The Betrayal
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble The Water

What Will Win: Man on Wire

Best documentary short subject
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306

What Will Win: The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306

Film editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

What Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire

Make-up
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

What Will Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best live action short film
Auf der Strecke (On The Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

What Will Win: Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best animated short film
La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory – Lovestory
Oktapodi
Presto
This Way Up

What Will Win: Presto

Sound editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Iron Man
Wanted
Slumdog Millionaire
Wall-E

What Will Win: Iron Man

Sound mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Wanted
Slumdog Millionaire
Wall-E

What Will Win: The Dark Knight

Visual effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

What Will Win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Some are guesses (what do I know about Documentary Short?) but the rest are my predictions – we shall see how we do (poorly, no doubt). I won’t be watching it live – not only do I not want to stay up all night, I don’t have Sky Movies or know anybody who does – but I’ll look forward to the various live blogging/twittering the morning after.

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