As with last year, I’ve decided to throw out who would win the oscars if the Academy decided that maybe they should ditch the whole voting process and get some guy from Calgary to pick the winners. I will list both who I think the academy will pick (Who Will Win), and who I would pick if I had an actual ballot (Who Should Win.) I’ll be keeping score during the oscars to see how well I did.
Who Will Win: Heath Ledger (Dark Knight)
Who Should Win: Heath Ledger (Dark Knight)
The Dark Knight wasn’t a very good movie, but Heath Ledger was great in it. He took the Joker out of the clownish imp of Caesar Romero and Jack Nicholson and turned him into the insane monster he really is. Some will say he wouldn’t have won if he was still alive, but that’s an unnecessary excuse – it’s the best performance of the nominees.
Who Will Win: Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Who Should Win: Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
The academy loves supporting actresses who are different See Mira Sorvino for Might Aphrodite and the bizarre win by Tomei for My Cousin Vinny. And Penelope Cruz is quite the character. But I think that this year Marisa deserves the award, and not just because she was naked, but finally real.
Who Will Win: Sean Penn (Milk)
Who Should Win: Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
I have a feeling I’m picking the wrong role for who should win, but the academy loves Sean Penn, and with the Democrats in charge, maybe they’ll put up with this politics. But thank goodness for Darren Aronofsky who wouldn’t make this movie without Rourke (hard to believe that Nicholas Cage was once attached to this role.) Forget all of the art imitates life drama, this is where MIckey proved once and for all that he is a true actor. Remember Diner?
Who Will Win: Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Who Should Win: Kate Winslet (The Reader)
It’s finally Winslet’s year. So many nominations (5) and so few wins (0). This nomination makes her the youngest actor in history to have received six nominations, and she will ride the tidal wave of her dual Golden Globes to Oscar gold. She plays a character who is detestable in every way that matters, but you can’t look away.
Who Will Win: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Who Should Win: Gus Van Sant (Milk)
Make no mistake – Slumdog Millionaire is a great film with the unmistakable stamp of Danny Boyle all over it, but it’s riding a wave of over-hype that was only fed by the Golden Globes. The true directing achievement of the year is Van Sant, who evokes old timey San Francisco while creating a truly interesting film even though we come in knowing the result.
Who Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who Should Win: Milk
Again, the nominations are wrong this year. For Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon to be nominated in the year that Wall-E and The Wrestler were released just shows that the Academy is, in a lot of ways, out of touch. There are no masterpieces on this list, unlike There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men last year. Once again, while I’m a big fan of Slumdog, it doesn’t have the direction or performances of Milk. While Sean Penn seems so over the top in the movie, you need to seek out video of the real-life Harvey Milk, and you’ll see how dead-on his portrayal is.
And there it is, folks. I’m hoping to live blog during the show again and seeing how I measure up. For everyone playing at home, here are my full picks. Once again, I’ve omitted best foreign film and the shorts, because I saw none of them.
Please feel free to comment or email me with your own choices (see here for a full list of nominees) and weâ€™ll compare our prognostication abilities.
|Lead Actor||Sean Penn (Milk)|
|Supporting Actor||Heath Ledger (Dark Knight)|
|Lead Actress||Kate Winslet (The Reader)|
|Supporting Actress||Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)|
|Art Direction||The Duchess|
|Costume Design||The Duchess|
|Director||Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)|
|Documentary||Man on Wire|
|Film Editing||Slumdog Millionaire|
|Makeup||The Curious Case of Benjamin Button|
|Original Score||Slumdog Millionaire|
|Best Picture||Slumdog Millionaire|
|Visual Effects||The Curious Case of Benjamin Button|
|Adapted Screenplay||Slumdog Millionaire|
|Original Screenplay||In Bruges|
 To the fanboys complaining about The Dark Knight getting “snubbed” in the best picture category, not only is it not the best picture of the year, but in retrospect, it’s not even that good.