Monday, November 24, 2008

Oscar Nom Predictions (Pre-NBR)

Y'all, I am only doing this twice. I am not superhuman. I lack the energy to play all of the possible angles. I'm not even really that good at guessing, because I don't know how to get out of my own head, or how to hold back from the weirdo prognostication that seems totally interesting, rather than particularly likely. So I'm going to publish my thoughts before the National Board of Review kicks things off on December 4. And then I'll check in again after the National Society of Film Critics announces, whenever that is, and probably after the Golden Globes happen on January 11.

In the spirit of wet blanketude, I would also just like to go on record that the Oscars and all of its attendant hysteria might not even happen this year if the entire global economic network collapses before mid-February and we're all too busy looting the Walgreens down the street to notice, or care, about Meryl vs. Kate. And also, for the first time in history, I am more excited about what's happening on January 20 than on January 22. (Also, is Bill Conti ailing? How else am I to understand this? I'm all about Giacchino, I'm just wondering.)



BEST PICTURE
MY GUESSES: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, Wall•E
BUT MAYBE: Revolutionary Road, Doubt, Frost/Nixon
OR EVEN: Australia, Rachel Getting Married, Defiance, The Wrestler, The Reader

BEST DIRECTOR
MY GUESSES: Danny Boyle, David Fincher, Steve McQueen, Christopher Nolan, Gus Van Sant
BUT MAYBE: Jonathan Demme, Andrew Stanton, Darren Aronofsky, Sam Mendes, Steven Soderbergh
OR EVEN: Baz Luhrmann, Stephen Daldry, Ron Howard, Edward Zwick

BEST ACTRESS
MY GUESSES: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Kristin Scott Thomas, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet
BUT MAYBE: Melissa Leo, Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie

BEST ACTOR
MY GUESSES: Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Frank Langella, Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke
BUT MAYBE: Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Hugh Jackman
OR EVEN: Benicio Del Toro, Michael Fassbender, Josh Brolin

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
MY GUESSES: Penélope Cruz, Viola Davis, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kate Winslet, Elsa Zylberstein
BUT MAYBE: Taraji P. Henson, Marisa Tomei
OR EVEN: Debra Winger, Kathy Bates, Alison Pill

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
MY GUESSES: Josh Brolin, Bill Irwin, Anil Kapoor, Heath Ledger, Michael Shannon
BUT MAYBE: James Franco, Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng
OR EVEN: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Liev Schreiber, Mark Margolis, Emile Hirsch, Brad Pitt, Kenneth Branagh

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
MY GUESSES: I've Loved You So Long, Milk, Rachel Getting Married, Wall•E, The Wrestler
BUT MAYBE: Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Visitor
OR EVEN: Happy-Go-Lucky, Hunger, Burn After Reading, Synecdoche, New York, Waltz with Bashir, Changeling

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
MY GUESSES: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire
BUT MAYBE: Tell No One, The Reader
OR EVEN: The Dark Knight, Defiance

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
MY GUESSES: Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire
BUT MAYBE: Rachel Getting Married, Milk
OR EVEN: Blindness

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
MY GUESSES: Australia, Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Duchess, Revolutionary Road
BUT MAYBE: The Fall, The Brothers Bloom, Sex and the City
OR EVEN: Brideshead Revisited, The Reader, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Reader

Maybe after I've finally seen Milk, Benjamin Button, and The Wrestler, my feelings will be different. But at the moment, don't you sort of scan the horizon of possibilities and go "Ehhhh......."? Which is too bad, because I need to get back to that summer place of being excited that Dark Knight and Wall•E were both so much better than they even "needed" to be, and it would be delightful to see critics, AMPAS, and the ticket-buying public rally behind two of the same titles for once. And, okay, that director field is pretty snazzy, if you overlook Slumdog, which I just completely, completely hate (and I will hopefully, one day soon, tell you why).

Okay, so I'm a little excited... but it's still nothing compared to January 20.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Simone said...

Nick, you gave 'Hunger' an A- review, but it doesn't show up in your predictions with the exception of Michael Fassbender (which I support without a doubt). Not everyone's favorites will get nominated, I realize that, but when movies like Wall E, Slumdog, Rachel /married, etc, are getting noticed, why not 'Hunger' with equal praise? It will be in limited release in December, so I'm hoping people will take more notice of it then outside of the film festivals when I was first exposed to it.

7:23 AM, November 24, 2008  
Blogger Cal said...

I really hope you're right about Wall E. I can't help but feel it might get forgotten about with all these December hopefuls coming out.

McQueen is an interesting pick. It's such a small film but I can see him getting raves, and a possible BAFTA nomination.

7:40 AM, November 24, 2008  
Blogger Catherine said...

I second Cal, I'd be over the moon if Wall-E got nominated for Best Picture. I have a feeling it'll be this years "Laura Linney in The Savages" for me.

Oh, and I think there'd be a large sector of the population (most of 'em circulating around this corner of the blogosphere) who would still be tossing the Meryl vs. Kate nugget around while their homes were being repossessed. Maybe. ;)

8:52 AM, November 24, 2008  
Blogger Yaseen Ali said...

I was already dreading the possibility that Dev Robot Patel would undeservedly sneak into the supporting race, but now I have to think of Anil Kapoor as a contender too?

Thanks for the nightmares, Nick.

10:31 AM, November 24, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Simone: Actually, I've got Hunger helmer Steve McQueen predicted as the annual novelty nominee in the Best Director race, and Hunger is tucked in there among my Screenplay possibilities, too. I share your hopes that a certain voting bloc in Hollywood might respond to it, and that the Academy could make itself useful by showcasing the movie to a huge audience. And the fact that it's been astonishing people all the way since Cannes (à la last year's Diving Bell...) makes me hopeful, though I suspect you and I are both hoping against hope.

@Cal: Well, the DVD will drop in December, which is a huge surge in visibility, to say nothing of the fact that it will be plastered all over the TVs of every Academy member with kids. And every Pixar movie seems to have done better than the last with nominations. So many of these December releases seem to be splitting people up, and Wall•E didn't do that much. A critics prize for Best Picture isn't even out of the question. Though again, I may be tilting at windmills.

@Catherine: You know I, too, will be huddled on the sidewalk trying to peer into the window of the last electronics store to find out who's winning Art Direction. But I'm trying to achieve some perspective. :)

@Yaseen Ali: Oh, I thought Kapoor was horrendous. "Billy Zane in Titanic" horrendous. But almost all the critics at my screening seemed so impressed, and he keeps being singled out in reviews, and he is actually a supporting actor in the film unlike certain other blank-slate male ingénues sitting across the Millionaire monitor from him. So, with a wide-open category, a big studio push, and a crowd-pleasing movie (though it pains me to say this), I don't see why he wouldn't be a strong contender. But let's hope against hope, shall we? (And since Nathaniel isn't even clocking him at all, maybe it isn't even worth worrying about.)

11:27 AM, November 24, 2008  
Blogger Guy said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who has "The Brothers Bloom" on my costume design list. I loved the costuming there -- really witty and couture-conscious, which is unusual in American film.

Sorry, just geeking out a bit there.

Smart predictions. You're so very sensible -- daily Oscar blogging is no job for a grownup!

I see we match 5/5 on Best Actress. I so want Sally Hawkins to get in, though I must admit I'm even more partial now that I've interviewed her, and discovered she's as beguiling off-screen as on. Have you seen "Happy-Go-Lucky" yet? I don't recall you saying anything about it.

6:34 PM, November 24, 2008  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

you tilt away at those windmills my friend, you tilt away!

It would be so cool to see them go all daring and "hey, what about this animated parable and this scary Brit prison drama with frankly amazing in-your-face confidence?!" rather than "oooh look at shiny landscapes. Mmmm speak those themes at me: HOT!"

that said. I am HORRIFIED at the prospect of Hathaway missing for Rachel. Kate Cate and Meryl do not need yet higher tallies when Hathaway so gamely picked it up several notches.

ugh.

6:22 AM, November 25, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Guy: I haven't even seen The Brothers Bloom, so you're doing me a service by beefing up my wild, snapshot-based guess with something approximating a qualified opinion. Thanks for the assist! And yep, I just recently saw Happy-Go-Lucky, and while I wasn't crrrazy about it, and I think Hawkins may well cede her spot to one of my three runners-up, I was repeatedly charmed.

@Nathaniel: "Mmmm speak those themes at me: HOT!" immediately goes in the book of constant quotables. And thanks for being the enabler to all my tilting. What do you think about Kapoor, though? His is the one nod I'm trumpeting that I'm surprised isn't anywhere on your radar. I'll be thrilled—and so, apparently, will Yaseen Ali—if I'm wrong, but I'm worried I have at least a marginal reason to be, well, worried.

2:13 PM, November 25, 2008  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

i'm here to talk you down. If it's not on the radar, it's not happening. because

1) he's not famous enough
2) he has vote splitting with the category fraud of dev patel not to mention the actually great thespian Irrfan Khan
3) this category is all about Ledger and whenever you have those so far ahead of the pack it's ridiculous sure things... (this is a theory mind you) what you get in the other nominees is people that voters are obsessed with in small numbers. Because it's based on numerical placing.

Let's say Heath Ledger pulls 80% of the #1 votes. Everyone knows his name and it's impossible to forget that he's in the running. so you scribble his name down first even if he isn't your favorite.

you HAVE TO HAVE 1st place votes to place in the shortlist which means the other men who've gotten people obsessed in small numbers or who have a lot of hollywood friends slip in.

which means no unknowns this year and only one true lesser known (michael shannon) -mark my words it'll be four big names + shannon.

I can dream about Bill IRwin for now but i sincerely doubt he could pull it off. But then again, with TONY and genius grants and other awards under his belt... maybe he's one of those magical awards people that just magnetizing kudos.

5:55 PM, November 25, 2008  
Blogger Glenn said...

But wouldn't such a tidal wave-styled nomination such as Ledger lead to voters going "well, he's going to win so I'll throw [insert lowly ranked but personally liked performance] in for the hell of it"?

10:25 PM, November 26, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

That's what I was thinking, Glenn. And since there don't seem like a lot of people out there contending that we know Hollywood loves, that seems like when they start taking quick resort to the movies they love.

But this race is so dumb so often, I can barely get worked up about it. If we're headed for another Jon-Voight-in-Ali Situation, just don't even tell me.

10:38 PM, November 26, 2008  
Blogger Guy said...

"If we're headed for another Jon-Voight-in-Ali Situation, just don't even tell me."

Thank GOD. I thought I was the only person who wondered what the hell was going on there. I saw "Ali" and didn't even remember he was in it until the nominations started rolling in.

I think the Kapoor pick is quite smart, actually -- flashier than Patel, for starters. Though I'm holding out faint hope that the dearth of contenders in this category might allow for Eddie Marsan to slip in for "Happy-Go-Lucky." He's so terrific in it.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

6:58 AM, November 27, 2008  
Blogger Brooke Cloudbuster said...

I'm going to through Lena Olin's name into the hat for Best Supporting Actress for The Reader, for no other reason that I'm surprised to see her mentioned in posters, it's been so long since she's had a legitimate movie role to nominate (not including what actually is pretty good turn in Chocolat here) and if the movie catches on, I think it'll be likely.

I also think everybody is underestimating the reader here; Daldry has struck gold twice with Oscar, so I see no reason to discount this effort, especially with an Oscarable plot and actors that seemed groomed for a trophy.

Granted, I'm probably biased because I'm a rabid fan of The Hours.

12:30 AM, November 28, 2008  

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