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Sunday, February 22, 2009

And the Oscar Goes To...

Teebore's picks for the 81st Annual Academy Awards. I won last year's pool, so the pressure is really on this year:

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Amy Adams "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis "Doubt"
Taraji P. Hension "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Marisa Tomei "The Wrestler"

Another toss-up year for a category that is traditionally either a forgone conclusion or entirely up-for-grabs before the ceremony. Amy Adams is likely to split "Doubt" votes with Viola Davis, but if Doubt wins in this category, it will be for Davis's short-but-much acclaimed performance.Taraji P. Henson's straight-forward but heartfelt performance is a surprise nominee from "Benjamin Button" who has that film's numbers on her side. MarisaTomei , with her third Oscar nomination, could further repudiate the critics of her "My Cousin Vinny" win with a win in the same category again, but in a movie defined by the performance of its lead, it's doubtful. So I guess I'll go with Golden Globe winner Penelope Cruz in Woody Allen's latest, as Allen's supporting ladies tend to do well at the Oscars. Davis is my second pick as a possible upset, but don't be surprised if someone else goes home with this award entirely.

1st Pick: Penelope Cruz
2nd Pick: Viola Davis

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin "Milk
Robert Downey Jr. "Tropic Thunder"
Phillip Seymour Hoffman "Doubt"
Heath Ledger "The Dark Knight"
Michael Shannon "Revolutionary Road"

While Robert Downey Jr. was easily the best part of "Tropic Thunder," his nomination for a comedy performance is likely his award as far as the Academy is concerned. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, meanwhile...

Seriously, who are we kidding? It seems like Heath Ledger won this in July; the ceremony on Sunday is just to make if official.

1st Pick: Heath Ledger
2nd Pick:
Heath Ledger.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie "The Changeling"
Melissa Leo "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep "Doubt"
Kate Winslet "The Reader"

In what is largely seen as a head-to-head showdown between Academy Vet Streep and Academy Bridesmaid Winslet, the edge goes to Winslet. She's been racking up award after award this season. While many critics believe her work in Revolutionary Road to be superior than for what she's nominated, it seems likely the Academy will make the six-time nominee a winner. But don't countStreep out entirely; despite her huge number of nominations, she hasn't won since '82's "Sophie's Choice" and the Academy may want to honor "Doubt" with a win. If they're in the mood for an upset, look forStreep to emerge victorious.

1st Pick:Kate Winslet
2nd Pick: Meryl Streep

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Richard Jenkins "The Visitor"
Frank Langella "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn "Milk"
Brad Pitt "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke "The Wrestler"

Like Best Actress, this award is seen as a contest between Penn and Rourke. While Rourke won the Golden Globe and had lots of early buzz, the tide has shifted towards Penn recently with most prognosticators giving him the nod. "Milk" on the whole received more nominations than "The Wrestler," including a Best Picture nod, showing stronger support within the Academy for that film. For now though, I'm going with my gut: Hollywood loves a comeback story, especially one that has the main character coming back from a self-inflicted exile, and giving Rourke the Oscar would be the Hollywood ending to his comeback.

1st Pick: Mickey Rourke
2nd Pick: Sean Penn
(But I may end up flip-flopping this a few times before filling out my official ballot).

Achievement in Directing
David Finchner "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard "Frost/Nixon"
Gus Van Sant "Milk"
Stephen Daldry "The Reader"
Danny Boyle "Slumdog Millionaire"

Danny Boyle's been riding "Slumdog Millionaire's" success this award's season, and all indicators suggest that won't stop on Oscar night. Stephen Daldry's nomination is mainly notable because he's now been nominated for all of his first three films ("Billy Elliot" and "The Hours" as well) but a win tonight seems to be along shot. Ron Howard suffers from the general malaise towards winning that is affecting "Frost/Nixon" elsewhere, leaving Gus Van Sant and David Finchner as possible upsetters. In the end, I guess Finchner has the best shot at taking down Boyle, but at this point, that seems highly unlikely.

1st Pick: Danny Boyle
2nd Pick: David Finchner

Best Motion Picture of the Year
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire"

The plucky little indie that could, "Slumdog" (as the kids say) is the easy favorite to win. It's been gobbling up pre-Oscar awards like a hungry, hungry hippo, including the Golden Globe and the SAG, DGA, PGA and BAFTA awards. Which is not to say an upset isn't possible: "Brokeback Mountain" was in a similar postion a few years ago before "Crash" crashed the party (pun intended). What's tricky here, though, is figuring out which movie has the best shot at upsetting "Slumdog Millionaire." "Frost/Nixon", having been largely shut out at other ceremonies, seems to be the token film for which the nominations are the only recognition it's going to get. "Milk" has a decent chunk of nominations, but its largely seen as an "acting" movie. There's been some scuttlebutt that HarveyWeinstein is applying his usual Oscar guerrilla tactics to "The Reader" but many view it as the fifth nominee as is. Which makes "Benjamin Button" the film in the best position to upset. Maybe. It does have the most nominations this year and is the kind of movie of which traditional Best Picture winners are made. But it too has been racking up nominations throughout the awards season while going home empty-handed.

In the end, its likely a moot point, as all indicators are pointing at this being Slumdog's night.

1st Pick: "Slumdog Millionaire"
2nd Pick: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"


  1. Did you end up flopping on Penn? Cuz you really called 'em!

  2. I did not end up flipping on Penn, but I still managed to win the pool, beating blogmate Dr. Bitz by one point (thankfully, he also went with Rourke/Penn instead of the other way around, so the lead I gained over him in one of the minor categories held).


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