Academy Awards Predictions: Part 2

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Best Art Direction
Donald Graham Burt / Victor J. Zolfo (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
*Revolutionary Road might give Button a fight, but wow, what a gorgeous film.

Best Cinematography
Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire)
*This is a  hard one to call. I loved Button and TDK, but the chaos of Slumdog blew me away. From early on in the film I was expecting to have a Bourne-style headache, but it was surprisingly smooth.

Best Film Editing
Chris Dickens (Slumdog Millionaire)
*The editing and the cinematography blended together so well; you couldn’t have one without the other.

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Best Costume Design
Michael O’Connor (The Duchess)
*Period pieces winning the award three times in a row? Probably. I wouldn’t mind seeing Revolutionary Road sneak in for the award.

Best Make-Up
Greg Cannom (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
*This is a toss-up between Button and TDK (*cough*Joker*cough*) Both are very deserving.

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Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
*Slumdog and WALL-E also have a pretty good shot at this. Desplat’s score was a great compantion for the film, from atmosphere to period.

Best Original Song
“Down to Earth” (Peter Gabriel) (WALL-E)
*Personally I would choose “O Saya” from Slumdog Millionaire, but I’m thinking there will be a Slumdog split vote on this one.

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Best Sound Mixing
Ben Burtt / Matthew Wood (WALL-E)

Best Sounding Editing
Ben Burtt / Matthew Wood (WALL-E)
*Hand down in my book. The sound was incredible in this film.

Best Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
*If this doesn’t win, I will be sorely disappointed. It needed some more work, but it was spectacular throughout.

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Academy Awards Predictions: Part 1

The following are my tentative predictions for the 2009 Academy Awards.

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Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
*I’m being pretty risky with my picks this year, with the Slumdog train constantly picking up momentum, but this was such an incredible film. And winning would help make up for Zodiac not receiving one nomination last year.

Best Director
David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
*Even if Slumdog manages to take best picture over Button, Fincher still deserves the best director award. (Did I mention that Zodiac didn’t receive on enomination last year?)

Best Screenplay (Adapted)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Eric Roth)
*From what I’ve heard (Planning on reading the short story soon), Roth’s adaptation took the story to a whole nother level. It definitely has it’s Forrest Gump influences, but it’s still a great story.

Best Screenplay (Original)
In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)
*There’s a lot of good competition this year, so it’s a hard call to make. Relative newcomer McDonagh wrote a mighty fine script. The underdog award goes to him.

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Best Actor
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
*Just watch The Wrestler, already.

Best Actress
Kate Winslet (The Reader)
*I admit that I haven’t seen The Reader yet, but I plan doing so before the ceremony. Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep also have a decent chance here as well.

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
*Especially in a year where there isn’t much competition in the supporting actor award (Why is Josh Brolin in there?), this is a lock.

Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
*Again, haven’t seen it, but it should be coming in via NetFlix today. I wouldn’t mind seeing Amy Adams or Marisa Tomei taking the award, either.

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Best Animated Feature
WALL-E
*Grade A work from Pixar, from start to finish.

Best Documentary Feature
Man on Wire
*Totally took my breath away; kicking myself that I didn’t see this in the theater when I had the chance. It is nice to see Herzog nominated as well, though it’s not one of his best films. I still have to see the other three nominations.

Best Foreign Language Feature
Waltz With Bashir
*I’m picking this solely on the buzz. I haven’t seen any of the films in this category yet.

I’ll continue with the technical awards at a later date…

Trailer Watch: The Soloist

The Soloist
Release Date: November 21st, 2008
Directed By: Joe Wright
Starring: Robert Downey Jr / Jamie Foxx / Catherine Keener

Oh it’s beginning to feel a lot like Oscars…

(Hat-Tip: In Contention)

Michael Curtiz

Michael Kurtiz is one of those directors who’s films have had a huge impact on my life growing up. Yesterday I watched Yankee Doodle Dandy with my family to celebrate the 4th of July. I was curious who directed the film, so I looked it up on IMDb. I found a treasure trove of classic films that I grew up with and am still discovering today. Here’s what I found, in chronological order:

1. Captain Blood (1935)
2. The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)
3. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
4. The Sea Hawk (1940)
5. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
6. Casablanca (1942)
7. Jim Thorpe: All American (1951)
8. White Christmas (1954)
9. We’re No Angels (1955)
10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)
11. The Comancheros (1961)

My three favorites would be The Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca, and Jim Thorpe: All American. Kurtiz apparently liked working with actors James Cagney, and especially Errol Flynn.

Born in Budapest, Michael Kurtiz has directed over 170 films, most of which were made in the United States. He won an academy award in 1944 for directing Casablanca.

Which of his films do you like the most, and what other films of his do I have to see?

My Favorite Films of 2007

(Taken from my lists page)

Naturally, the lists are subject to frequent change. For example, I didn’t watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly until recently.

10 Top Ten Films of 2007

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
A beautiful film about celebrity status, idolizing, and the West. Great performances from Casey Affleck and Brad Pitt in the title roles. A film that deserved a satchel full of Oscars.

No Country for Old Men
The latest from Ethan and Joel Coen; easily one of their more serious films. Plenty of food for thought.


Juno
A fun and engaging Indy film with a great cast ensemble. Not to mention it’s insanely quotable.


Lars and the Real Girl
The film that took me by surprise the most last year. Word of advice: It’s better than the summary sounds. And the more I watch it, the more I love Rob Schneider as an actor.


The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
A surprisingly suspenseful and entertaining documentary about Donkey Kong. Not what I was expecting.


Ratatouille
Pixar can do no wrong. I never thought a story about a rat that wants to be a chef in Paris would succeed. I loved the different themes in this, and Anton Ego was amazing.


There Will be Blood
Wow. What an amazing performance from Daniel Day Lewis. I’m still thinking about this film.


Zodiac
Completely underlooked at the Academy Awards. It should have been up there with the rest of them for several of the big awards. I loved how the story was from a different perspective than you’d expect, and was a great introduction to Robert Downey Jr. for me.


Paris, Je’Taime
Some of the films in this collection I’m not a fan of, but there are several little gems to be found. I highly recommend checking this out. And watch out for New York, I Love You next year.


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
A fascinating and emotional story that blew me away.

What are your favorite films from last year?

Oscars: Final Tally

All said, I got 14 predictions right this year. More on that in a future post.

Highlights (In no particular order)

  • Jon Stewart (or was it Cate Blanchett?) was once again great as the host. Some Stewart quotes:
  • “Too often, the Academy ignores movies…that aren’t good.” (Referring to Norbit)
  • “Thank God for teen pregnancy”
  • “Tonight, welcome to the make up sex” (About the writer’s strike)
  • “Oscar is 80 this year, which makes him automatically the front runner for the Republic nomination”
  • Playing Wii Tennis on stage
  • The early montages: Binoculars & Periscopes / Waking from a bad dream. Priceless.
  • Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan as Halle Berry and Dame Judi Dench
  • Once winning best song
  • Markéta Irglová being let back on stage after being cut off for her acceptance speech. Good form!
  •  Marion Cotillard winning best actress award! Not my prediction, but I was SO happy for her. What an amazing performance
  • Daniel Plainview kneeling before the Queen after winning the award for best actor. Awesome.
  • How can Tom Hanks look old?
  • Robert Boyle’s speech
  • The Coens on stage.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis: “This sprang like a golden sapling out of the mad beautiful head of Paul Thomas Anderson”

I Drink Your Milkshake