Watching a few hundred Tribeca submissions has precluded me from doing my normal year-end round-ups and catch-ups. I don't mean writing, I mean actually catching-up on nominated films for the Oscars, Spirit Awards, Razzies, etc. Other than Cloverfield, I haven't had a chance to see any regular theatrical films since early January. My new TiVos -- yes, two of them -- are both virtually full because there's been no time to watch TV. On the plus side, as we come closer to locking the Tribeca program within the next week, I'm really excited about a lot of what I've seen so far, and as usual, there will be several films which I liked immensely but sadly for which we won't have room.
But it is Oscar night, and I figured for my own benefit (or harm) among those who might or might not believe that I picked such-and-such when I did, I'd just give my own perspective on the wills and the shoulds ... win that is.
Should win: There Will Be Blood -- Simply the best movie (so far) of the 21st Century.
Will win: No Country for Old Men -- A film this dark manages to be more mainstream and less dark than Blood. Recent momentum gives it the win.
Should win: Paul Thomas Anderson forThere Will Be Blood -- The best movie of this year was also hands down the most well-crafted.
Will win: The Coen Bros. for No Country for Old Men -- Winning the DGA Award is not always a perfect predictor, but this year, it clinched it for Joel and Ethan.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Should win: Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood -- Rinse and repeat. For all intents and purposes, it really is an original screenplay, and a brilliant one.
Will win: The Coen Bros. for No Country for Old Men -- A fantastic adaptation, and a well-deserved award any year other than this one
Best Original Screenplay
Should win: Brad Bird et al for Ratatouille -- One of the weaker categories this year, but the latest Bird/Pixar collaboration was a wonderful exploration of the creative and artistic processes. Yes, I'm talking about the cartoon featuring a rat who cooks!
Will win: Diablo Cody for Juno -- I could (but won't) start a rant here. Suffice it to say, Juno -- together with Michael Clayton -- are my frontrunners for most overrated films of the year. In Juno's case, I don't dislike the movie, but Cody's going to get an award thanks to her biography, not because of a phenomenal screenplay. Good but uneven and flawed screenplay, yes. Oscar winning? No.
Disclaimer (what I haven't seen): I never got to Lars and the Real Girl nor The Savages. I heard mixed things about both, but obviously can't judge for myself.
Should AND Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood -- A brilliant performance that will go down in the history of cinema as one of the all-time greats. Day-Lewis made his previous tremendous work almost look like hackery, and that's saying something!
Disclaimer (what I haven't seen): I missed In the Valley of Elah so also didn't see Tommy Lee Jones.
Should win: I abstain
Will Win: Marion Cotillard for La Via en Rose -- She's winning everything else.
Disclaimer (what I haven't seen): This is one of my worst covered categories, unfortunately. The only performance I did see was Ellen Page in Juno, so I can't even judge Cotillard for myself.
Best Supporting Actor
Should AND Will win: Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men -- Probably the second-best performance on-screen this year after Day-Lewis, a well-deserved nod for Bardem.
Disclaimer (what I haven't seen): Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James
Best Supporting Actress
Should/Will Win: Cate Blanchett for I'm Not There -- I make this pick with reservations. I would be surprised to see Blanchett lose both awards, and I think unlike some others, Oscar will justifiably appreciate Blanchett's performance for more than what some morons dismiss as her simply playing a guy. However, I haven't seen Gone Baby Gone, and I think Amy Ryan has a great chance to be the underdog winner. Ryan is a tremendous actress who I've seen on stage several times -- not to mention in small film and TV roles, especially on a season of The Wire. She also is an atress who used to be represented by the agency at which I worked in the mid-90s in LA, so I'm a fan and would be very happy to see her take home the prize. Still, in my office pool, I picked Blanchett.
Disclaimer (what I haven't seen): Along with Gone Baby Gone, the fates kept making me miss American Gangster and Ruby Dee.
Best Animated Feature Film
Should AND Will win: Ratatouille
Best Foreign Film
Should win: I abstain -- NFC (it's an acronym) -- I haven't seen any of the nominees.
Will win: I kind of rolled the dice and based on nothing other than reading descriptions, I chose Beaufort for my office pool. But again ... NFC (still an acronym).
Should/Will win: No End in Sight -- I actually did see every film in this category, and for me, it's no contests. No End in Sight was not just the most important of these films, but also the most well made.
Best Art Direction
Should/Will win: There Will Be Blood -- it wasn't necessarily always extravagant, but it was beautiful and brilliant. If I'm wrong here, I think it will be Sweeney Todd, and it wouldn't be undeserved.
Disclaimer (what I haven't seen): American Gangster and The Golden Compass
Should/Will win: There Will Be Blood -- Hands down, the most stunningly shot film of this and many other years.
Disclaimer (what I haven't seen): The Assassination of Jesse James
Best Costume Design
Should/Will win: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street -- Oscar likes to spread things around. Not as much as the Golden Globes, but some, and here's where I believe Tim Burton's great adaptation will take home a prize.
Best Film Editing
Should win: There Will Be Blood
Will win: No Country for Old men -- Often, but not always, this award is a predicator for the rest of the night, but especially Best Director and Best Picture. If Blood wins it, I actually don't believe that will be the case, but I don't think it will get it anyway.
Should win: I abstain cause what should win is Jonny Greenwood's There Will Be Blood, but for some reason it was not nominated/ineligible/huh?
Will win: Michael Clayton -- This was my pick, but it's not a secure one. I figure, again, that Oscar will try to through Clayton a bone, and this would be its best chance.
Disclaimer (what I didn't see): The Kite Runner or 3:10 to Yuma
Best Original Song
Should/Will win: "Falling Slowly" from Once -- This is another weak prediction. I haven't seen Enchanted nor August Rush, but the fact that Once even received a nomination against two big studio releases proves people saw the film and heard the song, so I'm taking the leap.
It's showtime, and really ... the rest of the awards are a toss-up. Give Pirates of the Caribbean a prize for Makeup and maybe even Visual Effects. Throw Transformers something like Sound Mixing, maybe even Sound Editing, although both could go to The Bourne Ultimatum, or There Will be Blood could (deservedly) grab Sound Editing.
Time to go. Happy Oscar!