Posted by: seth | February 24, 2008

Oscar Countdown: Best Picture / Director

Best PictureAnd the glamor awards that we stay up late for to hear about. By the time they’re announced Jon Stewart will have used up his jokes, Sean Penn will have compared Bush to Ahmadinejad, and the television producers will have gone to a shot of Jack Nicholson grinning maniacally or napping at least 15 times. But us diehards will still be there for the presentations. And these two categories seem especially tough this year.

Achievement in directing

  • “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, Julian Schnabel
    • This is the top movie on my ‘to see next’ list. It looks absolutely beautiful and original. But the Oscars seems to shy away from movies that have that ‘art-house’ feel, so I think Schnabel doesn’t win it.
  • “Juno”, Jason Reitman
    • I didn’t see anything very special about the directing here. It was a good group of actors who pulled off an interesting script. It was thoroughly enjoyable to watch, but I certainly didn’t came away saying ‘wow’.
  • “Michael Clayton”, Tony Gilroy
    • I haven’t seen this, but it’s interesting how much it hung around. But there’s zero buzz on Gilroy winning this.
  • “No Country for Old Men”, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
    • I’m going on a limb here. I think the Coen Brother’s lose here, but the movie wins for Best Picture.
  • * “There Will Be Blood”, Paul Thomas Anderson
    • While the Oscars clearly like the Coen Brothers, I think PTA should get rewarded here. He was nominated for Boogie Nights and Magnolia, both fantastic movies, and I think this one is even better. If he doesn’t win for this, when will he ever win? Of course, the same argument goes for the Coen Brothers, who won for their “Fargo” script, but not for directing. Still, I think There Will Be Blood was more impressive, and he gets my vote.

Best Feature Film

  • “Atonement”
    • Maybe this is the dark horse that wins (see “Crash” from Oscar-past), but I doubt it.
  • “Juno”
    • The Oscars never seems to reward comedies. I thought it was a ‘nice’ movie, but…
  • “Michael Clayton”
    • I haven’t seen this…but it seems a little too ordinary of a movie to win against the last two nominees.
  • * “No Country For Old Men”
    • Let’s be clear, these two categories are between this movie and There Will Be Blood. I just don’t see the Oscars going to a third movie. Both were incredible movies. They may not have always been easy to watch, but they were fabulous. The big question is whether it’s a sweep for one movie. My hunch says No Country was easier to understand and wins best picture.
  • * “There Will Be Blood”
    • While I think the Oscar goes to No Country, I liked There Will Be Blood More. Daniel Day-Lewis was incredible, the entire movie looked gorgeous, and the soundtrack was stunning (by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, it was found to be ineligible for an Oscar because too much of the score came from previous pieces he wrote. Booo). In the end this movie might be a little too esoteric for the Oscars, but it’s got my vote for the ‘should win’ category.
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