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MovieMaker Goes for the Gold

MovieMaker Goes for the Gold

Articles - Acting

Academy members may have the final say on who will walk away with the gold at this Sunday’s Oscar ceremony. But that doesn’t mean that we here at MM can’t have a little fun getting in on the action, too. Here, five editors and longtime contributing writers weigh in on Oscar’s hits, misses and most egregious snubs!

Timothy Rhys
Editor-in-Chief/Publisher

“These aren’t so much my predictions as what I’d like to see happen,” notes Rhys.

BEST PICTURE
Will Win: There Will Be Blood

BEST DIRECTOR
Will Win: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

BEST ACTOR
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will Win: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild

BEST ACTRESS
Will Win: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will Win: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Will Win: SiCKO

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Will Win: Roger Deakins, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

BEST EDITING
Will Win: Roderick Jaynes, No Country for Old Men

Jennifer Wood
Editor

BEST PICTURE
Will Win: No Country for Old Men
Should Win: No Country for Old Men

BEST DIRECTOR
Will Win: The Coen Brothers, No Country for Old Men
Should Win: The Coen Brothers, No Country for Old Men
In one of the greatest movie years in recent history, it’s a shame that only one award can be given in the Best Picture and Director categories—and that films like Eastern Promises and Into the Wild didn’t get a nod. The good news is that it’s shaping up to be the year of the Coens.

BEST ACTOR
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
It surprised me to learn that Day-Lewis has been nominated only three times before—and that he’s only won one actual statue. If it were up to me, I’d nominate him any time he came out of hiding to make a movie. Fortunately, I think the Academy is going to agree with me this year.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Should Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Every so often, an actor delivers a performance that makes my jaw drop—literally. Bardem does that here. In the first five minutes alone, he sets the stage for what will go down as one of the most frightening on-screen villains in cinema history.

BEST ACTRESS
Will Win: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Should Win: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
There’s always one category that remains anyone’s game until the envelope is opened. This year it’s Best Actress. While Julie Christie has cleaned up at many of the pre-Oscar events, my money’s on the lesser known—but clearly talented—Cotillard.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Should Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Does two nominations mean double the chances for success? Blanchett will find out on Sunday.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Will Win: Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood
Should Win: Roger Deakins—any film
Don’t get me wrong—Elswit’s work is fantastic. And if it were any other year, my vote would certainly be with him. But Deakins remains one of today’s true “auteur” DPs—a cinematographer whose camera work you recognize, as evidenced by his three most recent (and highly acclaimed) films: No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and In the Valley of Elah.

BEST EDITING
Will Win: Christopher Rouse, The Bourne Ultimatum
Should Win: Christopher Rouse, The Bourne Ultimatum
It’s no coincidence that my pick for Best Editing—and the one heavily favored to win—is the only action film nominated. Though the Bourne series is certainly notable for its great acting, writing and direction, it’s Rouse’s editing that really helps to bring it all together.

SNUBBED
Though I would love to have seen Josh Brolin recognized for his great work in No Country for Old Men, American Gangster or even Planet Terror or Once take the “indie” place of Juno, I only get one vote here. So it’s got to go to Zodiac. Like All the President’s Men before it, David Fincher’s brilliant retelling of the serial killer who stalked the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s is clear proof that timing is everything (the film came out in March). I’d even have been willing to overlook the fact that both Fincher and screenwriter James Vanderbilt got snubbed in their respective categories if Robert Downey, Jr. had been recognized for his ability to scene-steal—and add levity and humor to a film that could have been something far darker without him.

Mallory Potosky
Associate Editor

BEST PICTURE
Will Win: No Country for Old Men
Should Win: No Country for Old Men
It’s got tough competition in There Will Be Blood (and rightfully so), but this is a year for the Coen brothers.

BEST ACTOR
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Aside from a few acceptance speeches and the rare interview, no one really knows what Daniel Day-Lewis is like. He transforms himself into the characters he plays and this year’s role as an early oil tycoon is no different. There’s no competition here. And there shouldn’t be.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Should Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Because somehow, even though he was a murderer-for-hire, Bardem managed to get people to like him—possibly even root for him.

BEST ACTRESS

Will Win: Julie Christie, Away from Her
Should Win: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Christie’s graceful turn as an Alzheimer’s patient was moving and after so many accomplishments throughout her career do you really want to deny the woman another award? The thing is, Cotillard—previously a bit player in popular stateside films—pulled off an extraordinary performance that gave Christie a run for her money. That’s nothing to shrug off.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will Win: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Should Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Blanchett was the front-runner for a long while for her role as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There—racking up awards from every major festival and awards show—but the movie seems to only be playing in two theaters nationwide. Ryan, who seems affable in person, left you disgusted with her on-screen persona. It’s my bet she’ll pull an “upset” this year (although this might be one of the biggest categories without a sure thing nominee).

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Will Win: Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood
Should Win: Roger Deakins, No Country for Old Men
Elswit will most likely be walking out of the Kodak Theatre with this award since he won top honors this year from the American Society of Cinematographers. However, it’s Roger Deakins—nominated twice in this category for good reason—who should be the winner. His work on the Coen brothers’ Best Picture nominee carried out the suspense and dread that left audiences wanting more.

BEST DIRECTOR
Will Win: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Should Win: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Together these brothers created a masterpiece of classic cinema that resonated with today’s audiences. Plus, isn’t it a miracle that not only as directors, but as siblings, they can share and carry out a collaborative vision?

BEST EDITING
Will Win: Christopher Rouse, The Bourne Ultimatum
Should Win: Dylan Tichenor, There Will Be Blood
Academy Awards novice Tichenor should be going home with the trophy for his subtle editing of the two-hour+ movie, but I have a feeling the award will go to Rouse, whose action-packed movie relies on work such as his for Oscar glory.

SNUBBED
Josh Brolin. In 2007 alone the man was in three films that have nominations to their credits (No Country for Old Men, In the Valley of Elah, American Gangster)—and good in every one of them. While his only major part was a supporting player in the No Country for Old Men ensemble, the Academy could have honored him with a nod just for his resume alone. Seems to happen sometimes…

Joe Leydon
MM Contributing Writer, Founder, Moving Picture Blog

BEST PICTURE
Will Win: No Country for Old Men
Should Win: Michael Clayton
Should Have Been a Contender: Knocked Up
There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men appear to be the early favorites. But both films may be too darkly despairing for the delicate tastes of many Academy members. And, more to the point, they could split the vote in the final tabulation. Juno is a long shot—comedies rarely claim the Best Picture award—and Michael Clayton may be viewed (wrongly) as lacking sufficient gravitas. All of which means Atonement, the sort of glossy Brit period piece that often gets the grand prize, could—repeat, could—slip into the winner’s circle. But would Academy voters really make such a… well, such an idiosyncratic choice? To be brutally honest: I haven’t a clue which horse to bet on in this race, so I’ll cop out and pick a frontrunner.

BEST ACTOR
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Should Win: Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
Should Have Been a Contender: Adam Sandler as the emotionally devastated dentist in Reign Over Me
Looks like a showdown between over-the-top (Day-Lewis, Depp) and close-to-the-vest (Clooney, Jones, Mortensen). And in this category, traditionally, flamboyance trumps understatement.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will Win: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Should Win: Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Should Have Been a Contender: Jeff Daniels as the sardonic blind buddy in The Lookout
This award is Bardem’s to lose. He won’t.

BEST ACTRESS
Will Win: Julie Christie, Away from Her
Should Win: Ellen Page, Juno
Should Have Been a Contender: Christina Ricci as the sexpot who gets a shot at redemption in Black Snake Moan
Christie would seem the prohibitive favorite here, for reasons both sentimental (she’s a much-admired actress who hasn’t received an award since 1965’s Darling) and cynical (she plays a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s, and Oscar voters love to reward people who essay afflicted characters). Cotillard could conceivably score an upset with her acclaimed portrayal of French singer Edith Piaf—but, unfortunately, leads in foreign films seldom bring home the top prizes. (Do Academy members hate to read subtitles, or what?)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will Win: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Should Win: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Should Have Been a Contender: Bae Doo-na as the straight-arrow heroine in the Korean-produced monster mash The Host
Back in 1983, Linda Hunt earned a Supporting Actress award for playing a male character in The Year of Living Dangerously. This year, history could repeat itself, and Blanchett might grab the golden statuette for her attention-grabbing turn as Bob Dylan. But Ryan’s breakout performance as a slatternly, substance-abusing Bostonian will be hard to beat.

BEST DIRECTOR
Will Win: Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men
Should Win: Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men
Should Have Been a Contender: Julie Taymor for the lovely, lyrical and phantasmagorical Across the Universe
It’s hard to believe, but Ethan and Joel Coen have been around long enough to qualify as grizzled veterans. And we all know how Oscar voters like to honor grizzled veterans, right? Think of this as a kinda-sorta Lifetime Achievement Award for the siblings whose joint resume also includes Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

David Geffner
MM Contributing Writer

Fair to average year for movies with some outstanding gems—The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Once, No Country for Old Men, The Savages, etc. far outweighed by mostly crappy studio fare. American indies were the biggest losers this year; when Juno is the film that has to carry the flag for American independent film, we’re in trouble!

BEST PICTURE
I would have liked to have seen Once, a true little indie that film that could, be on this list and the terrificly overrated and overhyped Juno taken off. Juno was such a thin, slight little truffle disguised as a feature film. The script was irritating (and what we think of when writers “write” dialogue instead of reproducing how people really talk). Juno‘s subject matter was a fairly serious one that was just glossed over with jokes and fun production design. Having gotten that off my chest, I would say this is a two-horse race between There Will Be Blood and Atonement, with the nod going to There Will Be Blood. No Country for Old Men is pretty dang violent, but it is based on a famous best-selling book, so I give it the long-shot status.

BEST DIRECTOR
Tough call here. I think There Will Be Blood is going to have a lot of juice this year, so PT Anderson should take it. But if any year is good for the Coen brothers, it’s this one, so too close to call. Schnabel would be the dark horse, and he may deserve it more than anyone else, given the risks he took on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. My sentimental choice is the Coens—they are just brilliant filmmakers who have making unique, original, visionary work for years. Snub is David Fincher for Zodiac. Jason Reitman should not be nominated.

BEST ACTOR
Daniel Day Lewis will win. Thought Viggo Mortensen should win. Viggo had the most intense, authentic characterization on-screen in some time, and he fully pulled off playing a Russian gangster without any accent slip-ups. Honorable mention goes to George Clooney for allowing Tom Wilkinson to completely steal Michael Clayton in a showy and over-the-top supporting role. Clooney looked like hell and submerged his star personna (as he often does) to play a complex, average guy caught in events way beyond his control. Ending of Michael Clayton was awkward and dorky, but that wasn’t Clooney’s fault. George is my close second to Viggo.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Gotta go with Hal Holbrook in a film that has been very much snubbed by Academy voters. Casey Affleck is nominated for the wrong film—should have been Gone Baby Gone, which was a much better turn for him. Philip Seymour Hoffman, as well, should have gotten the nod for The Savages, which all goes to show you just how out of touch Academy voters still are! They think they’ve got the indie film thing wired, but they don’t—only the high-profile indies that make a lot of money, a la Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, do they deign to recognize. Also, the Coen bros. are always the stars of their own films—rarely do their actors matter…

BEST ACTRESS
Julie Christie, hands down. Brave, tough, great performance for an actress that is still fabulous (and couldn’t care less about acting) 40 years after her first Oscar turn. Honorable mention to Laura Linney, who did the best work of her career in The Savages. Don’t even get me started on Ellen Page… overhyped movie that deserves nothing, except maybe a satirical skit on Comedy Central—late night!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I’d go with Amy Ryan here in Gone Baby Gone. Again, great South Boston accent that never faltered, tough role playing a complicated woman with faults.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
This category is a bit of a joke as wonderful docs like Crazy Love, My Kid Could Paint That and Manda Balla were all left off the list because they were not overtly political or did not receive much of a theatrical release. No End In Sight was a fine film and put the Iraq War into a political and historical perspective, but its impact was muted and style fairly stand-offish. War/Dance should take this section, I think.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Wow—what a group! Deakins should only be nominated for No Country for Old Men, not for Jesse James. Which means a few DPs were slighted: Harris Savides for Zodiac, Eric Gautier for Into The Wild and Bruno Delbonnel for Across The Universe. Winner will be Elswit.

BEST EDITING
This category is often a mirror of best director or picture in many ways. How do you define “Best Editing?” Is it the flashiest editing, or perhaps the least amount of editing needed to tell the story? I think Diving Bell deserves to win, because of the chances the moviemakers took, particularly in the opening 30 minutes. I think There Will Be Blood will win, and I think Once is a film that was snubbed and deserved to be on this list. The editing in Once was beautifully economical and did exactly what was needed to convey that story’s narrative and emotional impact.

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