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Oscar Wrap-Up 2008

Posted by goldwriting on February 24, 2008

no_country.jpg Go ahead, say one more thing about the haircut. Just get it out of your system already.

Another year has passed and another year of watching Jon Stewart polish off the Oscars like it was just another episode of The Daily Show. I swear the man cannot be fazed. As for the winners, I made predictions a while back, so let’s see how I matched up: (I’ll mark the ones I got right with a “*”)

* Best Picture: No Country For Old Men – Flocks of people left this movie confused about the ending, but I stand as one of the minority that enjoyed it, understood it (at least I think so), and was glad they didn’t try to wrap it up nicely in a Hollywood colored bow. A well deserved win for the Coen Brothers and I anxiously await their next picture, the adaptation of The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood – Was there anyone who didn’t see this one coming? I wasn’t a huge fan of the film, but his performance was the one thing that kept me interested. I still hold that this role felt a lot like a continuation of his character from Gangs of New York, but since he lost that year I consider it a dual win for him this time around. You might notice the star missing, because even though it was all going his way, I actually wanted Viggo Mortensen a little more for his role in Eastern Promises. I’m happy either way.

* Best Actress: Marion Cotillard for Mome La (or The Rose or La Vien Rose or whatever else they called it) – If she hadn’t won this I might have punched the nearest puppy. This was a monumental performance and when I saw her at a screening of the film there was a five minute standing ovation for her. Never before have I witnessed such an outpouring in person and I felt it could have gone on for even longer and been worthwhile. She was truly brilliant.

* Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men – Another shoe in for the award, even though his field was well stacked. In the end I think he just scared the living crap out of people who might vote against him.

Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton – This was the biggest upset of the night. Most people had Cate Blanchett walking away for her Bob Dylan interpretation in I’m Not There, but again I was in the minority of people who liked Michael Clayton and I congratulate Tilda on her award. If you happen to see her winning it, you can tell she was also honestly shocked. She probably bet against herself in her own Oscar pool.

* Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men – I was thrilled by this. All the other movies were well deserving of nominations, but this film was a true work of art. Well paced, well acted and well shot. Overall fantastic work by these two geniuses.

Best Editing: Christopher Rouse for The Bourne Ultimatum – This is one of three awards the film took in surprising fashion tonight. I would be incredibly remiss to disagree with the choice though because the movie was thoughtfully and skillfully paced. Editing action is an amazing balance of quick cutting and specific holding and if you watch the Brazilian fight scene in this film, you will know why he won. Best use of a book in a fight ever!

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood – Another well deserved win for this film. I might not have been one of the die hard devotees to it, but it was beautifully shot. The landscapes were picturesque and the intimate moments were kept close and meaningful.

* Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Any Tim Burton film is automatically a wonderland for an Art Director. The worlds are dark, ornate and yet lovely in their eccentricities. The morose canvas they had to play with was helped to create the playground for Tim Burton and his man-muse Johnny Depp to complete yet another in their list of superb collaborations.

Best Song: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for “Falling Slowly” in Once – The main reason I didn’t vote for this, when everyone in the world who saw it told me to, was because I honestly never heard the song or saw the film. It had a limited run here and I never made it out to see it, but it moved a nation of people and after hearing it played on the show I can see why it walked away the winner. I also want to give a hearty thanks to the amazing Jon Stewart for bringing Marketa back out on stage since she got cut off on her way to the microphone to deliver her thanks. Very classy.

Best Visual Effects: Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood for The Golden Compass – The world of cyber-geeks was stunned by the passing over of Transformers and so was I. I saw The Golden Compass and I’ll give them credit for the amazing effects, but the movie itself lacked in so many other areas it was hard to come out appreciating anything about it. If I were them, I would make sure to hide those awards in something bomb proof because Michael Bay is comin’ for them.

* Best Score: Dario Marianelli for Atonement – I went for this no only because it is a truly wonderful collection of music, but it is also the best use of a typewriter in movie history. Clickity clack indeed.

* Best Sound Editing: Karen M. Baker and Per Hallberg for The Bourne Ultimatum – You could hear every piece of breaking glass when he jumped through the window and every bone that got bruised by being bashed with a book (YAY!) or a table leg or an entire cabinet. Amazing work done here.

Best Documentary: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner for Taxi to the Dark Side – A definite shock since Sicko by Michael Moore made a ton more money along with the fact there were two other Iraq war documentaries nominated so the thought was the votes would be split, but I have read that this was extremely well done and hopefully more people, like myself, will see it now. In fact, I’m issuing a challenge to everyone out there to watch at least one documentary a month, just one. So much is out there to learn about. It’s not all people being beat up with books (Can I mention that fight scene some more? It was awesome!)

Best Foreign Film: Austria with Falscher, Die (The Counterfiters) – I actually didn’t even cast a prediction in this category, along with the short film nominations, because I know nothing about them, but congrats to them all the same. I’ll try to see if I can find this on Netflix or somewhere and give it a spin in the ole’ DVD player.

Best Live Action Short Film: Phillippe Pollet-Villard for Mozart des pickpockets, Le (The Mozart of Pickpockets) -They showed a clip of a little kid hiding himself in a duffle bag so he could steal someone’s wallet. I give him the award just for the sheer ingenuity.

Best Animated Short Film: Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman for Peter and the Wolf – Again, I didn’t see it, but the animation looked cool. Kid hung upside down from a tree branch and caught a wolf in a rope net. Sweet move.

* Best Animated Feature: Brad Bird for Ratatouille – This was one where I actually felt bad for the other nominated films. I’m sure they were good, but Pixar is a beast and cannot be stopped by ordinary means. They will continue to dominate the Animated Feature world until someone comes up with a whole new form of CGI. Until then, I’m perfectly fine sitting back and laughing like a little kid in front of their cartoon worlds.

* Best Costume Design: Alexandra Byrne for Elizabeth: The Golden Age – Put Cate Blanchett in that role and those clothes, sign yourself up for the post-Oscar party and save a chair for your statue.

* Best Makeup: Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald for Mome La (or all those other names) – They took a gorgeous actress and made her look not only plain, but aged her nearly forty years. The transformation throughout the film was staggering and I was convinced that three different actresses were playing the part. Stunning work done here. Absolutely stunning.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men – What can you say about these two. This was their year. I was pulling for Sarah Polley for Away From Her, which is one of the most tender films of the year, only second to Lars and the Real Girl (almost completely passed over in my opinion by the Academy), but I can’t be sad about the Coen’s winning anything this year. Tremendous work and they deserve it all.

Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody for Juno – Yes, I loved Juno. Yes, I didn’t vote for it. This goes back to my absolute infatuation with Lars and the Real Girl and this was the only category it was nominated in, so I hoped beyond hope that it would get something. But Juno was another steamroller in the hearts of the voting public and I agree (just take out the uber-cutesy first scene and the movie is scripted flawlessly). Also, kudos to Diablo for a touching acceptance speech.

Best Sound Mixing: Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis for The Bourne Ultimatum – Yet another blow by Jason Bourne and his third film in the franchise against those big spiky, nasty robots.

Best Documentary Short Subject: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth for Freeheld – According to her speech the film is about the discrimination of same sex couples. Most likely she was on the “give them equality side” of the argument, so I’m happy she won then. Like her, I don’t have that discrimination against myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support those who have to deal with it on a daily basis. Were all human, so we should only fear one thing and that’s big spiky, nasty robots. And if you give them a book to fight with, oh hell no, I’m leaving this place right quick.

In the end I got 10/24 right, which isn’t too bad considering there were a handful I didn’t even try for. All the movies this year were outstanding and I can only hope that we keep having Oscar shows where I don’t care who wins what award because they are all so damn good. Those are good days for a movie fanatic such as myself.

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3 Responses to “Oscar Wrap-Up 2008”

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