Friday, February 22, 2008

The Reverand's 33rd Annual Oscar Preview!

Hello friends, the Reverend here. With Oscar season upon us, Brian asked me if I could come up with a little something-something for his worldwide Blog that would inform/educate the commenters about the upcoming awards show. Since I owed Brian a favor, I told him that I would do an Oscar preview filled with predictions, fun pictures, and a fun little bonus section at the end.* Have I seen a lot of these movies? Yes. Have I seen all of these movies? No. But who cares! So here ya go, "The Reverend's 33rd Annual Oscar Preview!"

*Note: Actually Brian owed me a favor for putting me in a TBD category for his upcoming wedding nuptials for what seemed like 13 years. I hope he enjoys the set of coffee mugs that I am getting him. And I am spelling his name wrong on them too! Bryan and Kait in 2008!

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood), Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Jason Reitman (Juno), and Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Who should win: Toss up between P.T. Anderson and Joel and Ethan Coen

Who will win: P.T. Anderson/Joel and Ethan Coen

I know, you all hate me already. This is the first category and I already copped out by not picking a winner. But here's the thing, there SHOULD be ties allowed in the Oscars. Here me out now. There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men both are amazing, outstanding, incredible, *superlative, superlative, superlative* movies (foreshadowing!!!) and their directors deserve the recognition. Also, both Anderson and the Coen brothers have their fair share of disappointment (but nothing like Scorsese's constant snubs). Anderson got shafted in 2000 for not even being nominated for Magnolia (won by American Beauty) and the Coen brothers got the stiff end in 1997 for Fargo (won by The English Patient which will go down as one of the worst Oscar winning films in history). So I feel that the Academy owes both Anderson and the brothers Coen an apology and a gold statue. It's unfortunate for first time nominees Gilroy, Reitman, and Schnabel that they have to be in the same categories as aforementioned 3 geniuses but such is life. Bonus note: Thankfully, Sean Penn will NOT be able to give an anti-George Bush/Iraq War/Republican speech. My check is in the mail Academy…excellent job!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There), Ruby Dee (American Gangster), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), and Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Who should win: Tilda Swinton

Who will win: Cate Blanchett

If you thought Swinton was a witch (literally and figuratively) in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, well then you haven't seen anything until you see Michael Clayton! Swinton is ruthless, cut-throat, and devious as all hell in this movie. She scares the hell out of me and makes me even more scared of females with power than I already am (I'm looking at you Hillary Clinton!). But alas, Swinton will not win. Dee (the oldest nominee), Ronan (the youngest nominee), and Ryan (the uber-hottest nominee) are all fine and dandy in their roles but the Academy will give the award to Blanchett for her portrayal of Bob Dylan. It's a known fact that the Academy rewards actors/actresses that go outside their comfort zones and take on roles that are in the realm of mental retardation, homosexuality, evil dictators, ugly people, etc (I'm looking at you Forrest Gump, Capote, Last King of Scotland, North Country, etc) so Blanchett's portrayal of a man will obvious score big points for her. Blanchett is a great actress and it shows with 5 past Oscar nominations to her credit. She will add this hardware to her mantle (do celebrities even have mantles?) to sit along side with her Oscar win from The Aviator.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)

Who should win: Javier Bardem

Who will win: Javier Bardem

I'll confess something. I do not understand the difference between "Lead Actor" and "Supporting Actor." Are there certain rules that have to be met to be considered the lead? Do you have to have a certain amount of lines? The same goes with the Emmy's. These need to be explained better. But I digress, it's been wonderful career for Holbrook, Casey Affleck is finally stepping out of his big brother's shadow, Hoffman is one of the greatest actors of this generation, and Wilkinson is lost in hoopla over George Clooney and Tilda Swinton. But it's Bardem who played the best character and has left audiences everywhere thankful that they have not stolen some of his precious drug money. Bardem had this award locked up once people saw his hitman character's hair, expressionless face, and limp in the preview for No Country for Old Men. Bardem's character will haunt your dreams after you see this movie. His monotoned voice will send chills down your body. This movie will also jump start his career (although some will argue that he has been here since Before Night Falls in which he earned a nomination in 2000).

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Julie Christie (Away from Her), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Laura Linney (The Savages), and Ellen Page (Juno)

Who should win: Ellen Page

Who will win: Laura Linney

I'll admit right now that I've never seen either of Blanchett's Elizabeth films. I also have never heard of Christie and Cotillard's films. So to be fair, I went to the Internet to do some research on the movies. Yes friends, the Internet can be used for things other than Facebooking, MySpacing, and adult entertaining. According to most sites/critics, Blanchett's performance in her first Elizabeth role (1998) was much better than her second go around. Christie's portrayal of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's is considered the best work of her career (even better than her 1965's Darling in which she won a best actress Oscar at the ripe old age of 24). Cotillard's portrayal of singer/legend Edith Paif will put her on the map of "stars to come" but the general public just does not flock to see foreign biopics (except for Evita). So it comes down to the young star Ellen Page and the incredibly talented Laura Linney. Page showed that she was a talented actress in 2005's Hard Candy but she has become a superstar thanks to Juno. Her candid dialogue, her whimsical humor, and her "she's the girl next door/I totally want to be best friends with her" quality should win her the Oscar. However, Linney's role as Wendy Savage impressed the voters more. Linney has had an amazing career and her tag-team effort with Philip Seymour Hoffman will land her the Oscar. Throughout this movie, you feel as if Linney could be your own sister. You know, the one you bicker with, laugh with, and cry with. Hoffman is outstanding in his role but Linney steals the show. Do to the fact that this storyline (siblings going home to care for their ailing father) might hit close to home with a lot of baby boomers in the Academy, Linney most likely will win. Page's time will come (hopefully in the near future) but for right now, Linney is the one to beat.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah), and Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Who will win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Every year when the nominees are announced; there is obviously hoopla over who got snubbed and who got lucky. When I saw the nominees for the Best Actor I immediately did a double take. Actually, I did a double take and said, "What the *beep?*" Don't get me wrong, Tommy Lee Jones is one of my favorite actors of all time, but he did not deserve a best picture nod. The same goes with Viggo Mortensen and his role of a ruthless mobster. In fact, I think Mortensen has officially been typecasted as "that guy who can play a hitman/mobster/guy who cares a sword or gun." Mortensen was overrated in History of Violence and the same goes with Eastern Promises. I also just don't get the Academy's infatuation/lovefest with Johnny Depp. In fact, I might be the only person in the world to think that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the biggest jokes in movie history. Depp's early career in Edward Scissorhands, What's Eating Gilbert's Grape, and Blow are all movies that he rightfully should have been nominated. Since Blow, Depp's work has steadily gone downhill and is only surviving because teenage girls flock to see if he happens to take his shirt off. The fact that the Academy did not include Ryan Gosling (Lars and the Real Girl) and Denzel Washington (American Gangster) really ticked me off the most. Maybe the Academy feels that Gosling will eventually win an award and maybe they are tired of Denzel. Regardless, both deserved nominations. So that leaves the list down to a battle of two men. George Clooney has once again shown that he can play pretty much any role. Throughout this movie, I kept thinking to myself, "Are we sure this is NOT a John Grisham book?" From now on, anytime I read a Grisham book, I am going to picture Clooney as the main character. But alas, this award will go to Daniel Day-Lewis who in my mind is the GREATEST actor of the past 15 years and also the most UNDERRATED actor of the past 15 years (if this is even possible). DDL is so good that he retired for 5 years until he was begged by Martin Scorsese to come back and be in his film, Gangs of New York. DDL has one Oscar already but should have two more. He lost out in 1994 (In the Name of the Father) to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and in 2003 (Gangs) to Adrien Brody's The Pianist which will go down as one of the biggest jokes in Oscar history. Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of oil tycoon/maniac Daniel Plainview left audiences scared, confused (me), and thirsty for milkshakes. Lewis has the one locked up and rightfully so.

Best Picture

Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, and There Will be Blood

Who should win: Juno

Who will win: No Country for Old Men

And now for the granddaddy of them all! They save the best of last for the awards show and I of course will do the same. Every so often, very special years come around to where we are clueless to who will win Best Picture because there is more than one movie that rightfully deserves the title. 2008 will go down as one of the closest races in Oscar history. I am confident in saying that 2008 will join 1990 (best year ever), 1991, 1994, 1995 (second best year ever), and 1997 as the cream of the crop for Best Picture nominations. Please note that I was born in 1982 so, like Jesus, everything before I was born was not really that important. The only downfall to this year's race is that American Gangster was not in place of Atonement. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Keira Knightley as much as the next guy, but it did not deserve to be in the Best Picture category. Another problem is that Michael Clayton absolutely has no chance at winning which is unfortunate because it's a good movie that in any other year would probably be the front runner. So it's down to Juno, NCFOM, and TWBB. Since the people who know and love me know that I'm an obsessive gambler, I will set odds of each picture winning. I would say that NCFOM is about a 34% favorite, Juno at 33%, and TWBB at 32%, Clayton at 1%, and Atonement at 0%. I personally would love to see Juno win because comedies never get any recognition by the Academy. Last year Little Miss Sunshine was the little engine that could…err…couldn't and I think this year Juno can win against all odds (cue Phil Collins). The dialogue in Juno is fantastic and it reminds me so much of Kevin Smith movies (who someday will rightfully be rewarded with an Oscar). The actors/actresses were perfectly cast and I cannot even fathom anyone else in those respective roles. Every year, I watch the winner of Best Picture (either before or after the ceremony) and see if I say, "That was the best movie I've seen in a long time." After I saw Juno I immediately wanted to hide under my seat to see if I could sneak into the next showing but since I was running low on Jujyfruits, I decided against it. I came out of There Will be Blood excited because it was a fantastic movie, but it was a little too weird (this coming from the guy that loved Vanilla Sky). It was everything I was told to be prepared for; good writing, good acting, and good directing. However, there is just something missing that I cannot put my finger on. Like I said above, Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor of the past 15 years and he definitely carries this movie but no one else really sticks out. And it is because of that point that I feel that No Country for Old Men will take home the statue because of its ensemble. Tommy Lee Jones' narration, Javier Bardem's menacing character, Josh Brolin's breakout performance (although he WAS in The Goonies!!! and the Coen Brothers again blowing my mind with their storytelling abilities, camera angles, and screenshots all point to this movie winning it all. I will not be angry if Juno doesn't win nor if There Will be Blood wins because they both deserve it. I am looking forward to the ceremony not because I want to see what everyone is wearing, but I want to see if Jack Nicholson is drunk again.

Eight movies you need to see in 2008 or Brian will revoke your commenting privileges

Why 8? Because I said so!

1.) The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (May 16). The first "big kid" book I ever read was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I was immediately transfixed. I read all of the Narnia books in a matter of weeks. Allow C.S. Lewis to take you on an adventure to a magical land and forget about life for awhile!

2.) The Dark Knight (July 18). Christian Bale reprises his role as Batman and faces off against the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. After this film, Bale will be considered the best actor to play the caped crusader, topping Michael Keaton.

3.) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22). First off, can you all believe Harrison Ford is 65 years old!!! He looks fantastic! If I look like him at 65 (If I even make it to 65) I think my wife will be very happy. Anyway, it's been almost 20 years since we last saw Indy and if you aren't excited about that, well then you have no sense of adventure.

4.) Quantum of Solace (November 7). Daniel Craig is back as the blond haired, blue eyed James Bond. Before I saw Casino Royale, I thought Craig was a terrible choice to portray 007. However, he impressed me immensely and will do so again as he is back seeking to avenge the death of his first and only true love, Vesper.

5.) The Time Traveler's Wife (late November). The book has been mentioned on this blog before and I will reiterate what has been said before, READ THIS BOOK! It's fantastic and finally will be made into a movie. It doesn't hurt that the beautiful Rachel McAdams plays the lead, Clare Abshire.

6.) Burn after Reading (September 26). Joel and Ethan Coen are back and possibly better than ever??? They bring with them an all-star cast that includes George Clooney (dreamy), Brad Pitt (dreamier), and John Malkovich (uhh...bald?). This movie is about two average men who have the unfortunate luck of coming across some highly classified CIA material and are forced to go on the run (sounds like "Chuck"). I always enjoy CIA movies because they make me thankful that I'll never be shot in the head by the government…I hope.

7.) Choke (August 28). Sam Rockwell is currently one of my favorite actors, ever since I saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (again…CIA!). Rockwell is the lead character who goes around faking that he is choking, gets saved by a Good Samaritan, and then cons his way into their lives/money. The film did wonderfully at Sundance and look for this to be a darkhorse in next year's Oscar race.

8.) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (May 30). Looks like I'll be at the movie theater 3 weekends in a row come May. Judd Apatow continues his hot streak by releasing a romantic comedy featuring the underrated Jason Segel who has just been dumped by his drop dead gorgeous girlfriend Kristen Bell and now must pick up the pieces and move on. Hilarity ensues as it always does with Apatow movies.

Well that's all for me. Thanks for the time and please, feel free to comment. I can take the criticism…sort of. And since this is a LOST blog first and foremost, I will let you know that my picks for the "Oceanic 6" are Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Sun, and Sayid. And Juliet is the one in the coffin. Until next time, Reverend Scott…OUT!


susa said...

Creepy...almost all of your favourite actors, picked must-see films and predictions are mine, too! I so much hope for Javier Bardem to win, and think he will - he is SO hot, and a fantastic actor. I haven´t seen a type of killer like this in a long while. Definetely some great films and worthy actors this year to be rewarded...just for dedicating his last award to the deeply missed Heath Ledger, Daniel Day Lewis should get his next Oscar!!! His fine acting will do so, I hope!
Anyway, thanks for your preview!

Renee said...

Thanks Rev!
Almost saw No Country for Old Men last night, but chickened out. Changed my mind and might see it tonight!

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lost said...

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Anonymous said...

'Choke' is a much better book than 'Time Travellers Wife.' Chuck Palahniuk is a pretty good author..especially his early stuff. I doubt the movie would get much Oscar talk. That movie is VERY sexually themed. I'm looking forward to seeing it. See also: 'Lullaby,' 'Survivor' & 'Invisible Monsters.'

Eric said...

I don't know what all the fuss about Juno is about. It was cute. But it seemed like an overly precious rip-off of a Wes Anderson movie to me - right down to the East Village folk soundtrack and the season titles.

It has potential and I would give it best screenplay (which it got), but the execution was awful in my opinion.

Heidi said...

I really like your Lost information, and I like what you have to say about most of these movies, and I love your shout out for Narnia-but I have to say I am a little confused about your love of Juno. I thought the movie was good and cute and sweet and the ending made everybody happy-but a lot of movies are like that and it did not make it a great movie. And while I really did like Ellen Page, I thought that the worst part of the movie was that the character of Juno was totally unrealistic. The reason I thought that is because I don't care how savvy or down with retro pop culture a 17 year old is today, there is NO WAY they would be able to shoot off the 1980's pop culture jokes and references as often as Juno did. It was just so obvious that the writer (who I think is annoying) was putting all of her nostalgia for her teenage years into the character that she forgot that no person who was born in 1991 could be that savvy about all things late 70's and early 80's. The part that just put me over the edge was when she yelled Thunder Cats are GO! at the end- no way would today's 16 year old know that well enough to scream it as they are going into labor and it sort of took me out of the movie at the end. I think that this all could have been totally avoided by setting the movie in 1989. two cents. I guess I could have put this on my blog, but I just wrote it here =)

Anonymous said...

I agree on The Time Traveler Wife.
One of the top 10 books I've read in the last 5 years.

Problem possibly - the book was so great I cant imagine a movie being as good...and it might even ruin my fond memory of the book I've read twice.

Thanks for mentioning this book - I love it!