Jump to content

Oscar Predictions and.....

Recommended Posts

Oscar Time



Well here it is already; Oscar time.

One prediction I’ll put money on is that this season should wind up among the least watched ceremonies in the history of the Academy.

Why? Well tow reasons actually.

First comes the glaring omission of two excellent and very popular films, THE DARK KNIGHT and GRAN TORINO. I’d been prepared to decry these snubs as hypocritical or political forces wishing to pimp a lesser but agenda driven film.

Just this week I rounded out the Best Picture nominees, but honestly could not find one that I considered unworthy. The aforementioned pair and THE WRESTLER could have been added so it’s too bad there are only five slots.

Rounding out the category this week I’ll touch on the three remaining (We’ve done FROST NIXON and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) beginning with the closest one to box office success.




PG 13 165 min



Brad Pitt is the star here of a sprawling tale taken from a story by F Scott Fitzgerald.

Baby Benjamin is born as an old man, a tiny infant with all the degenerative ills of an octogenarian. His mother dies giving birth and his father is so shocked by the frightful little creature that he abandons him, ironically, on the steps of a retirement home.

The story progresses throughout his life as he becomes younger and stronger. There follows a series of vignettes relating to his life and times that will all revolve around the home and his adopted family.

Also central to the plot is the recurring and star-crossed romance with Daisy (Cate Blanchette) who starts as a friend to the old Ben. She ages as he grows young but the two can never really hang on together. That’s probably the reason I never really felt the chemistry between the two and that’s really necessary to make the love story work.

It’s long too, and many of the sub stories seem too drawn out for their seeming importance to the film.

It reminds us of FORREST GUMP in another way too.

I was bothered by the constant voice over from Pitt delivered with a fake southern accent. Not as grating as Hanks’ but still annoying.

BUTTON is a serious film and an impressive production but too long and with too little to empathize with.

More credit goes to the makeup man than the actor.








R 127 min


Now this is the one I guessed might have been the plant. With the heavy handed Gay message and political activist Sean Penn in the lead role there’s little doubt as to why the film got the attention that it did but to be fair, without the nomination I and a lot of others would have passed it by completely and missed a very good film.

Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) was a Gay businessman who fought his way through the political beltline to a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and the country’s first openly Gay public officials.

After serving only eleven months Milk, and SF Mayor Mosconi were gunned down by fellow Supervisor Dan White. The film is based on the events leading to that assassination and from transcription of Milk’s own taped will in which he predicts his own end.

In any film based on historical events there is a natural tendency to turn history into entertainment so I can’t comment on the facts behind the story. It isn’t really necessary.

Like FROST NIXON, this is an interpretation as well as a look into somewhere few of us ever see.

Gus Van Sant and Charley Beal shoot this in what appears to be old seventies film producing a look we remember from the era rather than synthesized look of THAT 70S SHOW.

Not being familiar with the man, (as we were with Richard Nixon), Penn doesn’t need to mimic a character but from what I have seen it’s a respectable cover. This is one of his better roles.

Early on Van Sant tries to shock with Gay love scenes and in that way blunts what might have been an uneasy feel throughout.

If I could have asked for anything it might have been a closer look at White’s life and motives, but that was not to be.

It’s a top drawer telling of a quite different story.





The Reader


R 123 min


Another unusual story is THE READER another offering that is quite different than it appears on the surface. One would expect a touching tale that I’d heard referred to as SCHINDLER’S LIST meets THE GRADUATE. That’s a clever line but please don’t expect that.

THE READER does feature a May December relationship as well as a Nazi concentration camp theme but don’t expect to leave the theater with a reinvigorated heart.

A World War 2 era German Fifteen-year-old Michael (Young David Kross, old Ralph Fiennes) meets an odd older woman Hannah, (Kate Winslet) and the two embark on one of filmdom’s least sensual love affairs. Of course a teenage boy is overwhelmed by the sex, but what Hannah most enjoys is to listen to the boy read to her.

As it turns out part of what makes her so edgy is the fact that she’s illiterate.

After nearly a year the affair comes to an abrupt end and Hannah is gone.

Years later, during the Nazi war crimes trials, Michael, now a German law student is shocked to see her as a defendant. She’d taken a job with the SS guard and now the other guards testify it was she who wrote the orders that killed hundreds.

She’s too proud to admit she couldn’t have written anything and Michael is too cowardly to speak up.

There’s no heroic moment here, and you have to be in the mood for a very dark film, but I guess in that day I was. There is a staggering lack of heroes and villains here.

When the ending does arrive there’s no real vindication or resolve, no winners or losers, but I wasn’t able to think of any other way it could have ended.







So who’s gonna win these babies? This is a tough year to bet since there’s no clear-cut winner that has the world buzzing. Most folks loved GRAN TORINO but Clint pulled a snub for some reason.

Best Supporting Actress, I’m going to guess Penelope Cruz since that’s what the oddsmakers are saying, though I loved Marissa Tomei in THE WRESTLER. Then again she won a shocker for MY COUSIN VINNY years ago.

Best Supporting Actor will go to Heath Ledger. He gave The Joker a great take that would have been a top contender even if he’d lived.

Best Actress I think THE READER will have some pull, but not for the big categories. I’ll predict Kate Winslet. I didn’t see DOUBT so far, yet but I can’t imagine Meryl Streep not being great.

Best Actor will be Sean Penn. He was better than usual and there is a huge Gay lobby in Tinseltown. I liked Frank Langella’s NIXON and Mickey Rourke’s WRESTLER better but I think Penn has the momentum.

I’m betting Best Picture will be SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. I liked other films better (THE READER, THE WRESTLER or TORINO.) but recently the Academy is into that “Foreign is better than American” kind of mood and it is an interesting film.

Danny Boyle will probably take Best Director for SLUMDOG unless Van Sant (MILK) or Daldry (READER) get a late boost.










Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...