Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscars 09- TRS Style

The Oscars air tonight, in case you weren’t aware, and while I typically try to avoid straying too much from sports and Pittsburgh-related topics, I felt that this was a worthy exception. I'm a pretty big movie fan and wanted to weigh in with my thoughts on the year's best movies.

By my count, I watched 38 movies that came out in 2008, which I think is a pretty respectable number. Included in this are 4 of the 5 Best Picture Nominees, all 5 Best Actor Nominees, 4 of 5 Best Supporting Actor Nominees, strangely just 1 of the 5 Best Actress Nominees, and 4 of 5 Best Supporting Actress Nominees. Aside from the Best Actress Nominees I think that's pretty good.

So with that said, I'd be upset if I didn't make some predictions, along with adding who I think should win each award.
Best Picture:
Its no secret that Slumdog is the heavy favorite going into this race. I enjoyed the movie, I really did, and thought it was extremely well done and better than many past Best Picture winners (looking squarely at Crash). But at the same time, my favorite move of the year was Frost/Nixon. Hard to pinpoint one reason, besides Frank Langella, but I just thought the story was very well done and I liked seeing the depths of the Nixon character for a change.
Who I Think Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I Think Should Win: Frost/Nixon

Best Actor:

This is a loaded category here. Sean Penn was downright amazing in Milk, you couldn't help but feel this was about a lot more than wrestling for Mickey Rourke, and as I said, Langella's performance absorbed me. In many other years, I think any one of these three would have walked away with the Oscar. But not this year. I also was stunned by the impressive Richard Jenkins performance in The Visitor, though I loathed Benjamin Button and thought Brad Pitt was only okay and that Clint Eastwood should've taken his spot here. Personally, though, I am pulling for an upset with Frank Langella taking home the Gold Fella. I was just blown away by his work. Maybe its because I'm used to Sean Penn's amazing talents, but I was expecting that kind of performance from him and it might have diminished it a bit.
Who I Think Will Win: Sean Penn
Who I Think Should Win: Frank Langella

Best Actress:
As I mentioned, this one is hard for me, as I have only seen Meryl Streep in Doubt among the 5 contenders. Still, it seems likely that it is mostly a two-horse race between Streep and Winslet. Winslet figures to get the edge in my mind because she is quickly turning into the next Streep with this being her sixth nomination and yet no wins. Meryl has 2 W's in about a thousands nominations. I think Kate cuts in to her lead.
Who I Think Will Win: Kate Winslet
Who I Think Should Win: Meryl Streep

Best Supporting Actor:
I don't know that there has ever been a more sewn-up award. If Heath doesn't win this thing, I'm going to go insane. It was not only a great performance, but it was by one of the brightest young talents around. The guy deserves an Oscar and has deserved one for quite some time.
Who I Think Will Win: Heath Ledger
Who I Think Should Win: Heath Ledger

Best Supporting Actress:
For some reason everyone associates this with being an upset pick all the time. Maybe its just that too often they don't have a good read on what the Academy values in a secondary role. And rarely do I remember there being a heavy favorite for this award. Whatever the case, it is a wide open field again. This was a tough one for me, so let's rule them out one-by-one. First, I didn't see Vicky Cristina Barcelona, so I can't throw my support behind Penelope Cruz (though she probably is the favorite). I can't support anything involving Benjamin Button, so sorry Taraji Hanson, thoug you were solid. Marisa Tomei was good in the Wrestler but I never once thought it was an award-winning performance. So we're left with the two Doubt performances. I like Amy Adams a lot and think she's a good talent, but Viola Davis not only was better, she had the better role and the better scenes.
Who I Think Will Win: Viola Davis
Who I Think Should Win: Viola Davis

I don't bother with the rest of the predictions. They are more trouble than they are worth in all honesty, though I will say this: The Dark Knight is up for 8 Oscars, if it doesn't win at least 4 (including Heath's automatic W for Supporting Actor) I am going to be very upset. Let's be honest here, too. It should probably have 10 noms. It's ridiculous it didn't get Chris Nolan a Best Director nod and how does the best superhero movie with costumed people everywhere not at least get considered for Best Costume Design. Anyway, I don't see it winning Art Direction, but the other 7 it has at least a decent shot for. Cinematography should win, it should win at least one (and hopefully both) sound ones, it could win Visual Effects (though I wouldn't mind seeing the visually inspired Iron Man win one), and it will be in a dog fight with Button for Makeup. Still, I think the second highest grossing movie in US history deserve 4 Oscars. That's not too much to ask is it? Especially when only 1 is in the major category.

Here are my Power Rankings For the 38 Movies I saw this year. They are grouped of course, along with comments on a few.
The Best of the Best
1 Frost/ Nixon- Frank Langella is amazing in this.
2 Slumdog Millionaire- I was skeptical, but this came through.
3 The Dark Knight- Heath was great, but no one gives much love to Bale, Eckhart, and the Nolans. They put the movie over the top.
4 Milk- Sean Penn is the best.
5 The Wrestler- No one could have pulled this off but Mickey Rourke.
6 Gran Torino- Criminally ignored by the Oscars.

Very Memorable, But Not Quite Great
7 Forgetting Sarah Marshall- Very underrated. Hysterical movie.
8 Pineapple Express
9 Iron Man
10 Step Brothers
11 Tropic Thunder- Downey and Cruise made this movie 1000 times better than it should've been.
12 The Visitor- Richard Jenkins is the only reason this movie makes it here.
13 Zack and Miri Make A Porno

Kept Me Interested
14 Doubt
15 21
16 Hancock
17 The Hammer- One of the most under-the-radar movies of the year. Watch it if you get the chance
18 Role Models
19 Seven Pounds
20 Vantage Point

Would Have Been Better If They Were Less Hyped Up
21 Body Of Lies
22 Quantum of Solace- This Bond just didn't satisfy me for some reason.
23 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull- Blah.

Worthy of Matinee Price
24 Stop-Loss
25 The House Bunny- Tricked into seeing by my girlfriend. Turned out to be pretty funny.
26 The Incredible Hulk- I'm a comic book nerd so I liked this more than most.

Most Overrated Movie. Ever.
27 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button- Words cannot describe how much this movie disappointed me. Way too long and Brad Pitt did next to nothing. How was he better than Eastwood's Gran Torino guy?

Not Terrible But I Wanted More Out Of Them
28 The Rocker- Dwight Schrute was funny at least. Though he was naked a little too much.
29 Wanted
30 Valkyrie
31 Traitor- I thought this looked great, but it was an average flick.

The Movie That Gave Me A Headache
32 Cloverfield- Did they really need to make it hand-held camera the entire time? I understand what they are trying to do, but that was downright unwatchable in the theater.

The Trainwrecks

33 The X Files: I Want to Believe
34 Righteous Kill- I'm not ready for a world where a Pacino/ De Niro movie flops. I'm just not.
35 College
36 The Happening- Ironic name considering nothing happens.
37 Mirrors- Jack Bauer, please just stick to 24 things. Instead of this, why weren't you making the 24 movie? That's the real question here.

The Trainwrecks That Spilled Nuclear Waste Everywhere
38 88 Minutes- Can someone please stop Al Pacino from making movies?
39 Jumper- Absolutely dreadful. Anakin Skywalker and the OC Girl and for some reason Diane Lane and Samuel L all were useless to stop this thing from being an unmitigated, Detroit-Lions level disaster.

1 comment:

Will said...

I agree about Gran Torino. I didn't like Button, Milk, or Slumdog anywhere near as much. I can't believe they ignored a lifer like Eastwood.