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Every year I try to see all the nominated films, but never quite succeed. Here we'll talk about all the films and post our picks. Try to see all the noms with me, or watch from the sidelines. I want to hear your opinion (because it's likely different than mine!). Last year I was able to see them all and I'm hoping to do that again. Nominations will be announced on January 22, 2009.

It's about that time- My Predictions

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 4:43PM

Best Picture
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Best Actress
Kate Winslet - The Reader

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight

Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Original Screenplay
Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Adapted Screenplay
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Editing
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Art Direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Costume Design
The Duchess

Best Makeup
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best Original Score
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Song
"Jai Ho" - Slumdog Millionaire

Best Sound
The Dark Knight

Best Sound Editing
WALL·E

Best Visual Effects
Iron Man

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
WALL·E

Best Foreign Language Film
Waltz With Bashir

Best Documentary
Trouble the Water

Best Documentary, Short Subject
The Final Inch

Best Short Film, Animated
Presto

Best Short Film, Live Action
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best Original Screenplay

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 4:21PM

This category is just so interesting this year. I'm still completely on the fence over who's going to take it this year.

Frozen River
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Milk
WALL·E

Prediction:
Happy-Go-Lucky. It's a bold prediction, but it's gotten so much critical praise and Sally Hawkins really lost out on a nomination. They may want to honor it here.

What Should Win:
WALL·E. I think it's got the most original story here, even though it has such little dialogue. I'd love to say Milk here, but I'm so weary about it being an original screenplay. It's based on the life of a real person and there is already has a book and a documentary on the subject, so the fact that it's an original script loses credibility in my mind.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 4:07PM

I love this category- it's easily one of my favorites. Normally I go in having read most of the books that the movies are based on, but this year I'm a little out of my element with two plays nominated.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Prediction:
Slumdog Millionaire. It's such a great film and I didn't even realize that it was a book until it was over- a good sign of a good adaptation.

What Should Win:
Slumdog, for sure. I think there are too many inconsistencies with The Reader's adaptation to win here. I would love it if Frost/Nixon upset this category, though.

Best Supporting Actress

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 3:48PM

What interests me most about this category is that I had one person nailed for this award, and have since completely changed my mind.

Amy Adams for Doubt
Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis for Doubt
Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler

Prediction:
Penélope Cruz. Originally I thought Viola Davis had this one for sure, but after seeing Vicki Cristina Barcelona, my mind has been completely changed. Cruz's performance is raw, real, and amazing.

What Should Win:
I'll go with Cruz. While I thought the Academy would flip for Davis' performance, I wasn't completely sold on it to begin with and the same thing goes for Henson. I'd love to say Tomei, but unfortunately for Marisa, The Wrestler is all Mickey's show.

Best Supporting Actor

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 3:36PM

Here's a category that's had a front runner since before the film even came out. I think it's the only category this year with an absolute shoe in for the award.

Josh Brolin for Milk
Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road

Prediction:
Heath Ledger. No explanation necessary.

What Should Win:
How many people would freak out if I didn't say Heath here? I'm not going to, but I'm just curious. Heath should definitely posthumously take this award, though I've said before that I wish I could have known how his performance would have been received if it wasn't for his untimely death. My biggest beef was with who did and didn't get nominated with Heath, and my second viewing of Milk hasn't changed my mind that I wish Franco was up there instead of Brolin.

Best Actress

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 3:21PM

At first, I thought this category had some pretty stiff competition and would be difficult to predict, but as I saw all the films and the awards season wore on, it was made pretty clear who the front runner is here.

Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie for Changeling
Melissa Leo for Frozen River
Meryl Streep for Doubt
Kate Winslet for The Reader

Prediction:
Kate Winslet. Her performance in The Reader is amazing and I'm so glad to see it here. If her other performance this year (Revolutionary Road) had been nominated I don't think she'd have stood a chance.

What Should Win:
Winslet, for sure, though I would have loved to see Hathaway up there as well.

Best Actor

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 3:06PM

This year this category is full of very strong contenders this year with no clear front runner.

Richard Jenkins for The Visitor
Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn for Milk
Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler

Prediction:
Mickey Rourke. There's the chance that Sean Penn could upset this as he's gotten a lot of praise for his Harvey Milk, and Langella is the dark horse here, but everyone has just adored Rourke this awards season. He's quirky, he gives crazy acceptance speeches, and above all, he freaking deserves it. I think the Academy will do the right thing here.

Who Should Win:
Mickey by a mile.

Best Director

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 2:57PM

I love this category- especially when someone unexpected and deserving wins it (see Roman Polanski for The Pianist). This year is a little unusual and, I think, a little predictable as the category is identical to Best Picture:

Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry for The Reader
David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant for Milk

Prediction:
Danny Boyle. He has a wonderful vision and of these nominees he deserves it the most.

What Should Win:
Darren Aronofsky. Moreso than being snubbed for Best Picture, I think The Wrestler had the best direction I've seen this year. I really wish the Academy had done right by Aronofsky by at least giving him a nomination.

Best Picture

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 2:41PM

In my opinion, the Best Picture showcase should be mandatory for all voting Academy members. It's an event that really separates the men from the boys, the strong from the weak, and the hardcore filmgoers from the casual audience. Imagine 13 1/2 hours of back to back films, supposedly the best films of the year. Some only come for two or three, but not I. I dress in sweats, pack a lunch, and hunker down for all 5 films. For the second time. That's right, the last two years I have gone into the Best Picture showcase having already seen the films. It gives me a chance to give every film an intense second scrutiny and compare them side by side. Unlike last year, this year I'm not crazy about most of the nominees. Whereas last year I had flipped for films like Michael Clayton, Juno, and No Country, this year I was just kind of excited to see Slumdog and Milk again. Having watched all five of these films back to back, I'm nowhere near convinced that these were the best films of the year. I know I'm beating a dead horse, but The Wrestler was easily the best film I saw this year. Also, I'd go so far to include The Dark Knight and WALL-E amongst the best as well. If I had my druthers, I'd replace Benjamin Button with any of these three, and possibly swap out Frost/Nixon and The Reader as well. But as I have yet to become a voting Academy member, I'll suffice with choosing between the five nominees they've given me this year:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Prediction:
Slumdog Millionaire. It's taken home tons of awards already and tonight will be no different.

What Should Win:
Slumdog. Upon a second viewing, it got even better and I loved it the first time around. Other films didn't hold up as well (The Reader, for one) and just can't compare. Though I'd be happy to see an upset by Milk, which is easily second best.

#24/36 - The Reader

Posted By Phasekitty on Feb 22, 2009 at 2:24PM

I saw this film in theaters a few weeks ago and I was the youngest person in the audience by about 20 years.

When a young boy, Michael Berg (David Kross), gets sick on his way home from school, a woman, Hannah Schmitz (Kate Winslet), helps him get home. When he goes back to thank her, they discover a tension there that manifests into an illicit affair. During the course of their relationship, Michael begins to read to Hannah and they bond through the words on the page. Three years after the affair ends, he encounters her once more under very different circumstances.

The performances in this film are fantastic. Kross and Winslet convey their lust and passion with few actual words. Michael’s reading and Hannah’s reactions are what drives their relationship. In later years, Ralph Fiennes portrays Michael as a tortured soul with a secret in his past. Having read the book, I enjoyed the film but felt that there were a few small things that were mishandled. A few important looks between Michael and Hannah are missing that I think would have further developed their characters well. Also, there is a reveal that is handled in the film as a big revelation, when I thought it was made quite obvious throughout.

Nominations:

Best Picture
The Academy loves holocaust films and I think it’s the only film here that could give Slumdog a run for its money.

Best Director – Stephen Daldry
There’s nothing special about the way this film is directed, though, and I don’t think that Daldry stands a chance here.

Best Actress – Kate Winslet
Her quiet performance of a tortured and painfully honest character is the reason these awards exist. I look forward to seeing her win.

Best Adapted Screenplay
I do like this nomination here. The book is a great story and the film does it justice. If anything is going to knock out Slumdog here it would be this.

Best Cinematography
Poor Roger Deakins does breathtaking work. He works like a dog (last year he was responsible for The Assassination of Jesse James and No Country for Old Men, this year he can claim both The Reader and Doubt) and has been nominated 8 times, but has never won. And I don’t think that will change this year.