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…

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The Reviews Are In

The Unseen DVD Blog-a-Thon will be over in half an hour. I would like to thank everyone that submitted their reviews; I’ve really enjoyed reading them and learning what to watch and what to avoid.  🙂

The turnout was much better than I had initially anticipated. Great work all! And again, if I forgot about a review that you sent in, please let me know and I’ll add it in later.

In Chronological Order:

Name: Nick
Site: Demented Door Knob
Entry: Nobody Knows

Name: Adam
Site: Counting the Hours
Entry: Batman: The Movie

Name: Connor
Site: Celluloid Fire
Entry: Zodiac

Name: Leeny
Site: 353 Review
Entry: Surf Nazis Must Die / Psycho Beach Party

Name: Tommy
Site: Pluck You Too
Entry: Steel Magnolias

Name: Scott
Site: He Shot Cyrus
Entry: Fatal Attraction

Name: Leeny
Site: 353 Review
Entry: Ninja Mission / Earth vs. The Spider

Name: Connor
Site: Celluloid Fire
Entry: Straw Dogs

Name: MovieMan0283
Site: The Dancing Image
Entry: Real American Hero: Buford Pusser Story

Name: Joseph
Site: Cinexcellence
Entry: Cutthroat Island

Name: Shannon
Site: Movie Moxie
Entry: Legionnaire

2008 Oscar-Bait

Well, it’s been a good year at the movies so far. There are only a few films that I’m interested in seeing this Summer (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Pineapple Express, and Tropic Thunder)

My Top 5 for 2008 So Far:

1. The Dark Knight
2. Wall-E
3. American Teen
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
5. Iron Man

That said, I’m really looking forward to Oscar season this year. I have a feeling that the Academy Awards are going to be insane with competition. Last year was good, but this will probably be better. This afternoon I hunted down the upcoming films for the rest of the year.

My Top 11 Must-Sees:



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Directed By: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt / Cate Blanchett / Tilda Swinton

Zodiac was royally shafted at the Academy Awards this year. I thought it should have been nominated for picture, adapted screenplay, supporting actor (Robert Downey Jr) and visual effects. It probably wouldn’t have won any, but it should have had some recognition.

That said, I think Benjamin Button is going to get Fincher back in the game.


(Apple Trailers)

Burn After Reading
Directed By: Ethan Coen / Joel Coen
Starring: Brad Pitt / George Clooney / John Malkovich / Tilda Swinton / Frances McDormand

After the amazing No Country for Old Men last year, it looks like the Coens are back in action with a dark screwball comedy (their forte) with a great ensemble cast. It will be nice to see Frances McDormand in a Coen film again.


(Apple Trailers)

Revolutionary Road
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Starring: Leondardo DiCaprio / Kate Winslet / Kathy Bates

Looks like a Titanic cast reunion. Add in the director of American Beauty and Road to Perdition and you have an awesome combination.

The Soloist
Directed By: Joe Wright
Starring: Robert Downey Jr. / Jamie Foxx / Catharine Keener

Robert Downey Jr. has been in an insane number of films the last few years. That’s all.

Australia
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Hugh Jackman / Nicole Kidman / David Wenham

Quite simply, this looks epic, and I do not want to miss seeing it on the silver screen. It may end up being the next Lawrence of Arabia for all we know. And you can’t go wrong with Hugh Jacman.


(Apple Trailers)

Appaloosa
Directed By: Ed Harris
Starring: Viggo Mortensen / Renée Zellweger / Jeremy Irons / Ed Harris

As long as it’s better than Hidalgo. Solid cast, and the amazing Ed Harris.

Lakeview Terrace
Directed By: Neil LaBute
Starring: Patrick Wilson / Kerry Washington / Samuel L. Jackson

What can I say? The preview sold me. This looks to be quite the tense film.


(Apple Trailers)

Body of Lies
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio / Russell Crowe

Since 2002, DiCaprio hasn’t disappionted me once as an actor. He just keeps plugging away. With 8 films in the next two years, he’s going to be a busy man. And to top it off, the preview reminded me a little bit of Michael Mann’s Heat, which is never a bad thing.

Doubt
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Meryl Streep / Philip Seymour Hoffman / Amy Adams

I’ve heard really good things about the Shanley’s play, which this is based on. And what a great cast.

The Reader
Directed By: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Kate Winslet / Ralph Fiennes

Defiance
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Starring: Daniel Craig / Liev Schreiber / Jamie Bell

You can’t go wrong with Edward Zwick.

What films are you looking forward to the most?

Blog-a-Thon: First Batch

Here’s the first batch of reviews for the Unseen DVD Blog-a-Thon:

Name: Nick
Site: Demented Door Knob
Entry: Nobody Knows

Name: Adam
Site: Counting the Hours
Entry: Batman: The Movie

Name: Connor
Site: Celluloid Fire
Entry: Zodiac

Name: Leeny
Site: 353 Review
Entry: Surf Nazis Must Die / Psycho Beach Party

Name: Tommy
Site: Pluck You Too
Entry: Steel Magnolias

Name: Scott
Site: He Shot Cyrus
Entry: Fatal Attraction

The blog-a-thon officially ends on the 17th, so keep the reviews coming! If I’ve forgotten your entry, leave a comment here and I’ll put a link to it. Thanks to everyone who’s participated so far!

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?