Waking Up with Oscar
BEST PICTURE (4/5 correct)
Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood
I'M HAPPY that sticking with Atonement was worth it, and that Juno is a movie I savor more than Diving Bell, which I thought would be here in its stead.
BEST DIRECTOR (3/5 correct)
Anderson, Coens, Gilroy, Reitman, Schnabel
I'M GIGGLING at my certainty that this would be Auteur Year when Gilroy and Reitman are here instead for movies that Hollywood just liked more than I guess they did Zodiac or Eastern Promises or (holy freezing temperatures, Batman!) Into the Wild. I'm sure Reitman will get a lot of flak for being here when his visual and technical ideas are pretty minimal, but he choreographed his ensemble better than any of his peers in this category.
BEST ACTRESS (3/5 correct)
Blanchett, Christie, Cotillard, Linney, Page
I'M A LITTLE SAD that I can't be happier for my new bosom buddy, Laura Linney, though I am quite happy for her, because I really wish Cate had budged for her instead of Angelina. Someone this morning reminded me that Zhang Ziyi was on all the same precursor lists that Cate was and still didn't rate with Oscar, which was very spirit-lifting. And whatever, Cate Blanchett is a great actress who does whatever anyone could with her movie; she's hardly The Green Mile. But: poor Angie, mostly because so many fewer people will see A Mighty Heart, now or later, than otherwise would have.
BEST ACTOR (4/5 correct)
Clooney, Day-Lewis, Depp, Jones, Mortensen
I'M THRILLED that people stopped d*cking around with Ryan Gosling and Emile Hirsch and nominated Tommy Lee Jones' implosive but fully articulated performance, one of the year's best, in Elah, which I was just complaining everyone had forgotten about. His inclusion makes this by far the strongest of any of the Best Actor lists we've seen through awards season, which is as it should be.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (5/5 correct)
Blanchett, Dee, Ronan, Ryan, Swinton
I'M ECSTATIC TILDA!!!! And a Todd Haynes movie! And Ruby Dee is an Oscar nominee! And my only perfectly predicted category!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (4/5 correct)
Affleck, Bardem, Hoffman, Holbrook, Wilkinson
I'M NEUTRAL because this category has been stable, give or take Hoffman vs. Jones, for so long now that I don't have anything to respond to. Though the clip of Michael Clayton they showed on Good Morning America reminded me that I really don't get Tom Wilkinson in that movie.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (4/5 correct)
Juno, Lars, Michael, Ratatouille, Savages
I'M SELF-CRITICAL for changing at the last minute from what turned out to be the correct line-up to American Gangster in place of The Savages. I read in EW (you probably did, too) that this is the first-ever screenplay category with three solo women in the field? Crazy. I'm wondering if the full-on anti-homeskillet backlash will set in to a sufficient degree for Diablo Cody to lose this to Ratatouille or Michael Clayton.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY (4/5 correct)
Atonement, Away, Diving, No Country, TWBBlood
I'M PLEASED for Sarah Polley and prediction-proud about keeping Atonement, even though this list officially has nothing to do with my own list that I published this morning.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (4/5 correct)
"12," Beaufort, Counterfeiters, Katyn, Mongol
I'M INTRIGUED at the possibility of getting to see these movies, especially "12" and Katyn and Mongol, but really, all of them sound kind of tantalizing in a way that Foreign Film nominees rarely do (and the Canadian, Italian, and Brazilian semifinalists sure didn't). Perhaps they will be released in the spring? Maybe around 4 months from now? 4 months and 3 weeks and ... ?
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (1/5 correct)
No End in Sight, Operation Homecoming, Sicko, Taxi to the Dark Side, War/Dance
I'M SKEPTICAL because Sicko wasn't nearly the movie that Lake of Fire was, and I've heard nothing but raves about Body of War and Nanking, but No End in Sight and Taxi to the Dark Side are both superb (and Sicko is better than The Price of Sugar, which was the other short-lister I saw), so no need to be too miffed. I thought War/Dance was supposed to pass through Chicago in the fall; maybe it did, and I missed it?
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE (2/3 correct)
Persepolis, Ratatouille, Surf's Up
I'M IN THE SAME BOAT as everyone else who's going, "Surf's Up over The Simpsons Movie?" But I've also heard from somebody (you, Ann?) that Surf's isn't half-bad, and since I wasn't as bowled over by Ratatouille or Persepolis in the way the reviews implied I should be, maybe it's worth a look.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (4/5 correct)
Assassination, Atonement, Diving, No Country, TWBBlood
I'M MOSTLY HAPPY that this is a very strong race, even if I didn't like Atonement's morbid overexposures as much as a lot of people, and even if Into the Wild's omission seems actually churlish here, where it seems more like a matter of taste in other categories. (Yes, I understand that it's always a matter of taste.) No Country sure has support across the board, doesn't it? Will Deakins beat himself for the win or split his own vote and lose to Kaminski, or Elswit, or even McGarvey? They're probably all in the race.
BEST FILM EDITING (4/5 correct)
Bourne, Diving Bell, Into the Wild, No Country, TWBBlood
I'M VERY HAPPY about this being one of the year's sturdiest line-ups, and about the Bourne franchise finally having some Oscar noms to its credit, and about Into the Wild placing here, which I considered its strongest suit outside of the Song category. I assumed No Country had this sewn up (like Jean-Dominique Bauby's eyeball, yo!), but now looking at the list, I wonder if Bourne can spoil. Oh, and I deserve to have one race that I predicated better than Nathaniel did, right?
BEST ART DIRECTION (3/5 correct)
A.Gangster, Atonement, Golden Compass, Sweeney, TWBBlood
I'M FRUSTRATED that I didn't get my act together to see The Golden Compass, but I heard it was just so horrible. I also didn't see anyone predicting American Gangster for this category, but in retrospect it makes pretty good sense. Elated for Jack Fisk. I wonder if Sissy will wear a slim-tailored black suit with a white shirt that has a high collar?
BEST COSTUME DESIGN (3/5 correct)
Across the Universe, Atonement, Elizabeth: Full Throttle, Sweeney, La Vie en Rose
I'M BAFFLED as to why I didn't put La Vie en rose in my predictions instead of Love in the Time of Cholera, a less-admired movie by the same, recently deceased designer, Marit Allen. And more baffled by Across the Universe. Do we need to make Evan Rachel Wood look young? Let's give her A HEADBAND! Need to age her a little. How about...a TURTLENECK. Snooze-o-rama. I don't really understand costume designers. I love them, but I do not understand them. (Where is all the Western stuff?)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (2/5 correct)
3:10 to Yuma, Atonement, Kite Runner, Michael Clayton, Ratatouille
I'M PISSED that I have to go see The Kite Runner tonight. Dammit. That its inclusion comes at the exclusion (in my mind) of Alexandre Desplat's gorgeous work on Lust, Caution will only make me more sour about this experience. Who's going to be surprised if I don't like the movie? I'm so obviously neutral. (Wonderful pick with Beltrami for 3:10 to Yuma, though. Maybe the only nominee who made it onto my personal list but wasn't on my predictions.)
BEST ORIGINAL SONG (1/5 correct)
"Falling Slowly," "Happy Working Song," "Raise It Up," "So Close," "That's How You Know"
I'M THROWING UP to even be reminded of August Rush, and to see THREE Enchanted songs here, given that they were all pretty subpar. If "Falling Slowly" can't win thisI just went straight back to Neneh Cherry and Soul II Soul losing that Best New Artist Grammy to Milli Vanilli, which was an outrage well before The Revelation. I'm going to drop leaflets over Beverly Hills. This is an emergency. As with most elections, Americans obviously can't be trusted to choose correctly.
BEST SOUND (3/5 correct)
3:10, Bourne, No Country, Ratatouille, Transformers
I'M PETTY because this is the only category where I out-predicted Nathaniel and In Contention, even though none of us did so very well. Thank God No Country for Old Men is here, which restores my faith that the sound designers can still hear things beneath the decibel-threshold of a glass-factory explosion.
BEST SOUND EFFECTS (4/5 correct)
All of the above, minus 3:10, plus There Will Be Blood
I'M AGAIN WONDERING why the Sound Branch insists on separate categories, which makes terrific sense in principle, when in actual point of fact they barely do anything different with their choices. I clearly applaud Blood's inclusion here, but one still feels the redundancy.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS (2/3 correct)
Golden, Pirates, Transformers
I'M FLUMMOXED that, for the first time since 2000, when The Grinch and 102 Dalmatians were both up for Costume Design, I'm confronted with a category where I didn't see two of the nominees. And when there are only three to begin with, that sucks. And I saw 140 movies this year! And why did everybody hate 300 so much? Did it remind them of Into the Wild?
BEST MAKEUP (1/3 correct)
Norbit, Pirates, La Vie
I'M AT PEACE with having a second category where I've only seen nominee, and a second category where I only made one correct prognostication, because you would have had to spot my ticket to get me to see Pirates 3, and you would have had to kidnap my brother to get me to see Norbit. And we are talking about voters who have been breathing spray-on cosmetics and rubbing alcohol their entire professional lives.
TOTAL 64/91 correct = 70%
I'M SO TIRED I love you, Angelina! Call me, Sean! Hugs and congrats, Tilda and Jack (Fisk)! I want to go to bed... yet I can't help noticing that it's time to go to work.
BUT I'M A LITTLE LESS TIRED NOW (9:25am) and I'm realizing, 8 noms apiece for No Country and There Will Be Blood, and 7 apiece for Atonement and Michael Clayton: that's some tough Best Picture competition (and Juno is hardly out of it, since 4 is already the upper reaches of what it was ever going to get, with no technical artistry to distinguish it). I'm also thinking: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, according to the voters, has some of the year's best directing, writing, editing, and cinematography, but it's not one of the Best Pictures? I guess the actors weren't sufficiently impressed.