As I mentioned before, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences treats my opinion with less respect than Bush did Colin Powell. This, however, does not stop me from making my Oscar picks every year.
This year I can’t weigh in on every race. I have only seen two of the Best Picture nominees (Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). I’ve only seen three of the nominees for Best Actor and Actress. Instead of a complete list, here are a few of the nominees most deserving of their awards:
SHORT FILM, ANIMATED
Presto ran in theaters as a companion to Wall-E, though they have nothing in common but the studio that made them. Presto is beautifully animated, hilarious, and quick. It makes me wish animated shorts still ran before every movie.
Penelope Cruz should be the biggest star in Hollywood. She can do drama and comedy without it seeming like a stunt for awards like these. And yes, she’s totally hot. Woody Allen has been on a roll lately, from Match Point to Cassandra’s Dream to Vicky Christina Barcelona. I’m an unabashed Woody Allen fan, so I’m going to watch whatever he does, but lately he’s been making some really interesting moral stories. Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona reminded me of Dianne Keaton in Allen’s 70’s movies – Allen has found a woman who isn’t lost in his text-dense scripts. She created a true character and not just a Woody Allen surrogate.
Wall-E is not only the best animated film this year, it is the best film. Eat it, Academy.
ART DIRECTION and CINEMATOGRAPHY
At first I thought Slumdog Millionaire should get it for Cinematography, but forget it. I’m going with The Dark Knight. That movie looked so darn good. It’s the closest thing we’ll ever see to Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” on the big screen.
SOUND EDITING and SOUND MIXING
Wall-E’s got these. It doesn’t even have dialogue in the first act; it is completely driven by sound.
This was tough. Should I go with the creepy old man/baby with Brad Pitt’s head, or the shiny, shiny flying metallic man, or a guy who’s face was half burned off? Such different goals with each of these movies. In the end, I chose Iron Man because of that scene in which Pepper Potts has to reach inside Tony Stark’s chest to retrieve an errant wire. That’s when effects and acting work together to create something purely enjoyable.
Springsteen was robbed.
These are not predictions. I expect to be wrong on many, if not all of these picks. However, for what it’s worth, this is my two cents. Happy watching!