Tuesday, January 22, 2008

JSH's Oscar Picks

  • Best picture: No Country For Old Men. In a perfect world, this will come to pass. But it depends really on what unknown factors of behind-the-scenes politics occurs, in which the award may be given to one of the other films as a "consolation".

  • Actor in leading role: Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd. Easily the correct choice. It has to be Depp. Not only did he pull out the performance of his life in his role where he sings, dances, and commits numerous counts of cannibalism and murder, it also has mythic pop-culture resonance in that it contains seemingly deliberate echoes of his past roles in Edward Scissorhands, From Hell, Cry-Baby, and others. Someday, people will see this movie as the quintessential centerpiece of Depp at the pinnacle of his game when looking back at his oeuvre.

  • Actress in leading role: Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose". Even if you were lukewarm on the film itself (I wasn't. I loved every second of it) you still have to give Cotillard props for a bravura, career-defining performance as Edith Piaf.

  • Supporting actor: either Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War or Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild. This is a toughie. Hoffman did some real acting here, unlike the cute pantomime he did in Capote. Capote was a great movie, but let's face it, anyone can comb their hair sideways, don some glasses and a scarf, and do a Truman Capote imitation. I can do it, you can do it, Robin Williams can, my mailman can, random dudes can. Hoffman is totally unrecognizable in Charlie Wilson’s War and does a hell of a job. On the other hand, although I haven't seen Into the Wild and don't know anything about Hal Holbrook's role in it, a have a feeling that the powers-that-be are going to give this award to Holbrook as a sort of "lifetime achievement award", as they often do with great but insufficiently recognized actors in the twilights of their career.

  • Supporting actress: Ruby Dee in American Gangster. Same thing applies here. There's a good chance that the 83-year-old Dee will take this one just because of her age. On the other hand, Dee has already garnered more awards in her career than Holbrook so she may not be considered as deserving of a "consolation prize". They may just be content to have given her a nomination (as they did with Gloria Stuart who was 87 years old when she was nominated for Titanic). Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There might be the alternate, as a consolation nod to her if they don't give her best leading actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

  • Best director: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen - No Country For Old Men. Please, God, let the Coens sweep the Oscars with this one and reward them for making a Coen-like film again. Knowing their reactionary ways, it may also encourage to do something really out-there next time out, like that rumored project they've wanted to do for years with no dialogue whatsoever.

    - - JSH
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