Eaglie's Aviary

Monday, January 26, 2009

Better than the NCAA Office Pool

The Oscar nominations were announced a few days ago, and I've been prepping my pool guide for you guys. As a note, I have seen very few of these films (at this point) and I am betting based on instinct and the amount of talk I keep hearing. Personally, this has gotten me a lot of Super Bowl picks and free hot dogs, so I'm sticking with this method. Remember: when it comes to the Academy Awards, performance quality often does not matter. (That gets you the Golden Globe well enough.) No, you need BUZZ, PITY, and/or a TOTAL DISREGARD FOR WHAT PEOPLE REALLY WANT TO WATCH.

Best Supporting Actor:
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Guessing this one's a joke. Robert Downey, Jr, awesome nomination. Complete with the irony of the role's nomination for an award. But Heath Ledger blew him and everyone else out of the water (note the past tense).

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

I love "One-Movie, Two-Actress, One-Catfight" situations, especially in a young nun-laden category. But as a rule of thumb (also great for nuns), I go with the person with the least chance of being nominated again, and that would be Penelope Cruz.

Best Actor:
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke (see Penelope Cruz).

Best Actress:
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader

Most of the buzz at the moment is going to Kate Winslet, but I'm going out on a limb and handing the award to Anne Hathaway. Mostly because she hasn't won any Oscars yet, and, if you count earlier times, she matches Winslet's bust buzz. And, no, I don't expect the Norbit effect to occur, in reference to Miss Hathaway's militant feminist biopic, Bride Wars. (Still, I worry.)

Skipping the effects Oscars...

And the sounds...

And the documentaries...

Best Animated Feature Film:
Kung Fu Panda

I'd have skipped this category, but I had to say good luck to Bolt and Kung Fu Panda, since they'll need it against Pixar's best, WALL-E.

Best Original Screenplay:
Frozen River - Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky - Mike Leigh
In Bruges - Martin McDonagh
Milk - Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E - Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter

Best Original Screenplay is always the way the Academy gives dark horses an Oscar, and often is how they give a mildly popular film an award without disrupting the rest of the voting. (Think Juno and Little Miss Sunshine.) WALL-E had note-perfect writing (no talking for a half-hour into a film, plus an adorable cockroach) and got shoved into the animated category to demolish kiddie fare in its treads, and it should win a big boy's award. In fact, it should take Best Picture, in my opinion. Alas, my opinion is not in the Academy, partly because I haven't apologized for the plumbing incident yet.

I do love this category though: In Bruges was nominated, and it was my favorite non-Batman/non-robot film of the year. The Academy will feck that one away though, and it likely will give this to... uh, damn, there really isn't a dark horse here. Except Happy-Go-Lucky, but a feeling deep inside of me (the plumbing?) makes me think "no."

Maybe Milk. Milk is very likely to be snubbed for just about every other category, and that increases the odds to take what a lot of the Academy considers a pity Oscar.

Best Director:
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Picture:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

I combined these as this year's top categories are a dogfight [sic/pun] between Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button. Which means they'll likely split them. I'll probably have to change my picks as we seesaw to the finish line, but, as of right now: David Fincher of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will take the director's Oscar, pissing off a billion Indians, and Slumdog Millionaire will win Best Picture, pissing off a billion Indians.

Another rundown of my picks:
Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Original Screenplay: Milk - Dustin Lance Black
Best Animated Feature Film: WALL-E
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

(List compiled from Ain't It Cool News.)