It’s been a pretty predictable award season this year, so if you’re into gambling, I hope you’re in Vegas during the Oscars. But if you do bet on the winners or nominees, keep in mind that Academy members do like to throw in a few surprises each year. Most of my picks still are favorites, but I think I could be pretty close to getting it right:
Best Original Screenplay – And the Academy Award goes to…Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky! This one is difficult to call, but I think that this little screenplay has a big chance at snagging an Oscar. Other nominees will be Jenny Lumet for Rachel Getting Married, Robert D. Siegel for The Wrestler, Dustin Lance Black for Milk, and Tom McCarthy for The Visitor. I’ve tried to throw in a few lesser-known films here, because the Academy tends to honor these with nominations in the screenplay categories.
Best Adapted Screenplay – And the winner is…Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire! This film has just been doing too well in every category it’s been nominated for, so it’ll probably do very well on Oscar night. Other nominees will be Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon, Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight, and David Hare for The Reader.
Best Foreign Language Film – And the Oscar goes to…Waltz with Bashir! Deciding the winner here was easy enough, as this animated masterpiece has been doing well on the awards circuit. My picks here for the rest of the nominees, however, are pretty much just shots in the dark. I’ll go with The Baader Meinhof Complex, Tear this Heart Out, 3 Monkeys, and Revanche.
Best Documentary Feature – And the winner is…Man on Wire! This film is majorly racking up nominations and awards, and it’s not hard to see why. Other nominees will be Standard Operating Procedure, I.O.U.S.A., Trouble the Water, and Encounters at the End of the World.
Best Animated Feature – And the Academy Award goes to…Wall-E! This one was a no-brainer. The other nominees will be Kung Fu Panda and Bolt. Waltz with Bashir should also be nominated in this category, but it’s not a kiddie film, so that probably won’t happen (as unfair as that is).
Best Supporting Actress – And the Oscar goes to…Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona! I think she’ll barely edge out nominee Kate Winslet for her performance in The Reader. The nominations will be rounded out by the Doubt duo, Viola Davis and Amy Adams, along with Oscar winner alum Marisa Tomei for her role in The Wrestler.
Best Supporting Actor – And the winner is…Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight! I know I wrote a whole article about how and why he wouldn’t win an Oscar, but with all the hoopla his death has created at awards shows, I’ve changed my mind. The noms will also include Josh Brolin for Milk, Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt, Dev Patel for Slumdog Millionaire, and Robert Downey, Jr. for (shudder) Tropic Thunder.
Best Actress – And the Academy Award goes to…Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road! I don’t think she’ll pull a double whammy this time, but I think she’ll get the big one. At least, I hope so, because her acceptance speeches are a little less annoying than those of another nominee, Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married. Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky, Meryl Streep for Doubt, and Angelina Jolie for The Changeling complete the field.
Best Actor – And the Oscar goes to…Sean Penn for Milk! Gay is new black in Hollywood, and while I would love to see Mickey Rourke win for The Wrestler just to hear his acceptance speech, I just don’t think it will happen. Other nominees will be Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon (even though he looks nothing like Richard Nixon), Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Clint Eastwood for Gran Torino.
Best Director – And the winner is…Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire! No surprise here; I think this will definitely be one of those years where best picture and best director match up. Other nominees will be David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon, Christopher Nolan for (sigh) The Dark Knight, and Gus Van Zant for Milk. I hate to see Eastwood knocked out, but it looks like there’ s a good chance of that happening.
Best Picture – And the Academy Award goes to…Slumdog Millionaire! Well, this one was obvious if you read the comment above. This category will be completed with other unsurprising nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and The Dark Knight. (I think the Academy will make an exception for a superhero/summer film just this once.)
Sorry, Brangelina! I don’t think either of you have a chance in hell at winning, but at least we’ll still get to be dazzled by your perfection (and, really, everyone just wants to look at the two of you all dressed up like living dolls, anyway). And I’m also sorry to movie lovers everywhere, because the selection of great films of 2008 was so slim.
Still, trying to predict all the major awards is a lot of fun, and you could even have a friendly contest with your film-loving friends to see who gets the closest to hitting the mark (as long as you keep it legal). It’s a great way to make an otherwise dull awards show almost as entertaining as the movies that it’s honoring.