Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Oscar Predictions: No Country for Old Men to Dominate

Okay, I'll make a few.

Best Picture: The Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel, is a tense, artfully plotted, beautifully photographed thriller that uses a frightening chase across Western landscapes to make a statement or two about (depraved) human nature. Yeah, bleak and all, but a real cinematic achievement, including a trio of top-rank performances. It should and will win.

Best Director: Let's call it for the Coen Brothers (No Country). Has this award ever gone to two people? Siblings?

Best actor: Daniel Day-Lewis is fierce and wholly absorbed into his role as brutal oil baron Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. In a year of strong male performances, his is the best. I'm thinking that the Academy will feel the same.

Best actress: Julie Christie (Away From Her) has been the talk of the awards shows for several months running, and here's betting that she'll win. Second-most-likely: Marion Cotillard, as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.

Best supporting actor: If there's any justice in the world ... Javier Bardem, as one of the scariest movie villains EVER, in No Country for Old Men. I'm predicting that there will be justice in the world, at least on Sunday night. This is a very strong category, too, as Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James ...) and Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild) all turn in superb performances. I didn't see Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War, but he excels in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and The Savages.

Best supporting actress: Amy Ryan does bone-deep work as the world's worst mom in Gone Baby Gone, but I'm guessing that the too-long-overlooked Ruby Dee will win for American Gangster (for sentimental reasons - she has very little screen time).

Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody for creating the snappy, very funny and finally poignant dialogue in Juno, this year's Little Film That Could. The film has received a swell of recent attention, so it makes sense that the Academy will want to give it at least one major award (since it's unlikely to win in the categories of best picture or best actress)

Adapted screenplay: When the Coens meet McCarthy, genius happens, and No Country for Old Men will win again (I think).

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