|Slumdog Millionaire Still Looking Like a Million in Oscar Best Picture Race|
Oscar nominations are out. Going by my top 10 contender lists for Best Picture and Best Acting categories, there were no out of left field nominations this year. However that doesn’t rule out big surprises. THE READER over THE DARK KNIGHT was a big shocker. The lack of love for the difficult REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (which I believe upsets viewers so much that they confuse not liking that feeling with not liking the film) wasn’t too surprising, but Kate Winslet’s supporting work in THE READER getting a Best Actress nod over her challenging lead work in ROAD was. DiCaprio getting left out is just a repeat of TITANIC; only this time it’s one of his best performances.
Happy surprises came in the form of Richard Jenkins (THE VISITOR) and Melissa Leo (FROZEN RIVER) getting Best Actor and Best Actress nods. FROZEN RIVER also received deserved recognition in the Original Screenplay category as well. Leo’s nod for her indie work left out other indie contenders. Most surprising was Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins for HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, another example of the Comedy/Musical GG category meaning nothing come Oscar time. Another indie performance left out was Kristin Scott Thomas in the little seen French-language film I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG, which as of mid-December still looked like a near lock. How things change so quickly.
Other minor surprises popped up in the so often messed up categories of Best Foreign Language Feature (no GOMMARAH), Best Documentary Feature (no STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE) and Best Animated Short (no SKHIZEIN). A not-all-that-unexpected surprise happened in Best Animated Feature with BOLT sneaking in instead of the critically acclaimed WALTZ WITH BASHIR. But the latter Israeli film is the leading contender for Best Foreign Language Film. A little spreading the wealth possibly?
So because the big film buzz this week is all Oscars, I’m going to take an early stab at picking the winners for the major categories. When I’ve seen more of the films in other categories, I’ll return with a full list of projected winners closer to Oscar night on Sunday, Feb. 22.
Getting Buzzed - Oscar Predictions
BEST PICTURE: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
The more people see this film, the more people will love this film.
DIRECTING: Danny Boyle - SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
With the director nods matching the Best Picture noms, he seems like the logical choice. It doesn’t hurt that he deserves it.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Mickey Rourke - THE WRESTLER
Rourke is out there pimpin’ his story, which is bigger than the movie. The performance is truly great too.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Kate Winslet - THE READER
It’s her year. Too bad it’s for the wrong film.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Heath Ledger - THE DARK KNIGHT
Does anyone doubt this? But with The Dark Knight getting no love in the major categories will Christopher Nolan show up to accept for Heath?
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Penelope Cruz - VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Without Winslet to compete with, Cruz gets the win for her best English language performance to date.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy
Not really much of a competition really. SLUMDOG love will roll on.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
DOUBT - Written by John Patrick Shanley
FROST/NIXON - Screenplay by Peter Morgan
THE READER - Screenplay by David Hare
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: WALL•E - Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter
Toughest of the top categories to call, but I’m going with the heart warmer instead of a second place consolation prize for MILK.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: WALTZ WITH BASHIR
This history-making win (first animated feature to win this category) will be extra nice for not landing a Best Animated Feature nod.
THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: WALL•E
The safest bet of the Oscars.
VISUAL EFFECTS: THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
The award that BUTTON really deserves to win.
ANIMATED SHORT FILM: PRESTO
Pixar love will come to the Oscars. Viewers will love seeing it win, because it will be the short the largest percentage of them have actually seen.