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01.23.08

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Oscar Race

By Richard von Busack


Metro film critic Richard von Busack handicaps this year's nominations, all the way from Best Picture (anybody can do that) to Best Editing (where else can you get odds on that?).


BEST PICTURE

Atonement

Juno

Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood

They'll probably give it to Juno, because the No Country and Blood votes will split the ticket. Might be Atonement, though that's a real Ernest Borgnine pick, and as critic James Rocchi's Rule puts it, the way to handicap the Oscars is to guess what Borgnine would pick.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

George Clooney in Michael Clayton

Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah

Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises

Nice list; Clooney deserves it, Depp would be good with it; the Borgnine voters will go for Jones, of course but they may be outvoted.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men

Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War

Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton

Bardem, obviously.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Julie Christie in Away from Her

Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose

Laura Linney in The Savages

Ellen Page in Juno

Borgnine and common sense dictate Christie.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There

Ruby Dee in American Gangster

Saoirse Ronan in Atonement

Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone

Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton

Ruby Dee? Oh, come on! She had ONE scene. Hope it's Blanchett, but I wouldn't dream of trying to handicap a race this tight. Best Supporting Actress is always the most interesting category.


DIRECTOR

Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

Ethan Coen & Joel Coen - No Country for Old Men

Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton

Jason Reitman - Juno

Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I presume it's going to be the Coens, for previous work


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Brad Bird - Ratatouille

Diablo Cody - Juno

Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton

Tamara Johnson - The Savages

Nancy Oliver - Lars and the Real Girl

Juno, because everyone wants to describe Diablo Cody as the girl who went from brass rails to bronze statues. It ought to be Bird, but it ain't going to happen.


ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

Ethan & Joel Coen - No Country for Old Men

Christopher Hampton - Atonement

Ronald Harwood - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Sarah Polley - Away From Her

Five nice choices, but it ought to be Polley


ANIMATED FEATURE

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Ratatouille - Brad Bird

Surf's Up - Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

I'm still meeting people who don't know what Persepolis is. The Borgnine vote is going to go with the Rat, despite the uproar over the very good Satrapi/Paronnaud film. Really, go see it.


FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Beaufort - Israel

The Counterfeiters - Austria

Katy? - Poland

Mongol - Kazakhstan12 - Russia

Katy?? indeed. Where did these movies come from? Beaufort's a war movie, I know that much. Is Mongol our gesture of apology to Kazakhstan for Borat? Borgnine must be scratching his head over this list.


ART DIRECTION

American Gangster Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino

Atonement Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

The Golden Compass Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

There Will Be Blood Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Atonement has to be the choice here.


CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Roger Deakins

Atonement - Seamus McGarvey

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Janusz Kaminski

No Country for Old Men - Roger Deakins

There Will Be Blood - Robert Elswit

Far too tight a race to call.


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

No End in Sight - A Representational Pictures Production; Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience - A Documentary Group Production; Richard E. Robbins

Sicko - A Dog Eat Dog Films Production; Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara

Taxi to the Dark Side - An X-Ray Production; Alex Gibney and Eva Orner

War/Dance A Shine Global and Fine Films Production

Five worthy choices. The Ugandan orphans are going to have to take a back seat to the more important problems of the most important country on the globe. Haven't seen Taxi yet, and it's supposed to be a knockout. With that in mind, and since many members find Michael Moore physically offensive (ah, but does Borgnine?) let's provisionally give this to No End in Sight, on the hopes that some Academy member can stick it to Bush one last time from the stage.


ANIMATED SHORT FILM

I Met the Walrus - Josh Raskin

Madame Tutli-Putli - A National Film Board of Canada Production; Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski

Mme Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven) - A BUF Compagnie Production; Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse

My Love (Moya Lyubov) - A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production; Alexander Petrov

Peter & the Wolf - A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production

Eh, yeah.


LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM

At Night 10 Production; Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth

Il Supplente (The Substitute) - A Frame by Frame Italia Production; Andrea Jublin

Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets) A Karz Production; Philippe Pollet-Villard

Tanghi Argentini - An Another Dimension of an Idea Production; Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans

The Tonto Woman - Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Maybe they'll have one of these at Cinequest?


VISUAL EFFECTS

The Golden Compass - Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier

Transformers - Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier Decisions. Which of these occasionally chalky CGI fests was the most convincing? I guess Compass.


COSTUME DESIGN

Across the Universe - Albert Wolsky

Atonement - Jacqueline Durran

Elizabeth: The Golden Age - Alexandra Byrne

La Vie en Rose - Marit Allen

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Colleen Atwood

Well, I'm glad to see that the new Orson Welles, as Anne Thompson was deeming Julie Taymor, got one nod for that gaucheness festival of hers. Elizabeth was putrid, but wasn't it well appointed? You hate to leave a movie saying, “The costumes were so good.” It has to be Elizabeth, but I'd vote for Sweeney (I know, a lot of people would say you couldn't even see the costumes in that movie.)


DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Freeheld - Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth

La Corona (The Crown) - Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega

Salim Baba - Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello

Sari's Mother - A Daylight Factory Production; James Longley

Suri's Mother? It's about time someone did a documentary on the sufferings of Katie Holmes. Did you see how lean and weary she looked in Mad Money?~ Oh, wait, Sari's Mother. Never mind.


FILM EDITING

The Bourne Ultimatum - Christopher Rouse

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Juliette Welfling

Into the Wild - Jay Cassidy

No Country for Old Men - Roderick Jaynes

There Will Be Blood - Dylan Tichenor

No Country—jeez, that pit bull attack was the kind of editing you could show in film school.


SOUND MIXING

The Bourne Ultimatum - Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis

No Country for Old Men - Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland

Ratatouille - Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane

3:10 to Yuma - Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe

Transformers - Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Pass on this one. Transformers was the loudest, that's for sure.


SOUND EDITING

The Bourne Ultimatum - Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg

No Country for Old Men - Skip Lievsay

Ratatouille - Randy Thom and Michael Silvers

There Will Be Blood - Matthew Wood

Transformers - Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike HopkinsAs above.


ORIGINAL SCORE

Atonement - Dario Marianelli

The Kite Runner - Alberto Iglesias

Michael Clayton - James Newton Howard

Ratatouille - Michael Giacchino

3:10 to Yuma - Marco Beltrami

Either Clayton or Rat...


ORIGINAL SONG

Falling Slowly from Once - Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Happy Working Song from Enchanted - Music by Alan Menken; lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Raise It Up~from August Rush

So Close~from Enchanted - Music by Alan Menken; lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

That's How You Know~from Enchanted~- Music by Alan Menken; lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

That's How You Know was such a damned good show tune, I was surprised to hear Bacharach and David hadn't written it. It was essential to the surprise of Enchanted, and the staging looked like real big Disney money was up on screen.~ I so hope Falling Slowly—an overwrought ballad they kept trying to twist into your brain through repetition in Once—doesn't beat it out on the grounds that it's more tender and intimate. (If you're going to nominate a song from Once why not “When Your Mind's Made Up?” Was it too peppery for old Borgnine's ears?)

MAKEUP

La Vie en Rose - Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald

Norbit - Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Turning Eddie Murphy into a fat lady was good; turning Edith Piaf into a girl version of Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes—so much better. But the local talent gets it first, and Rick Baker—one of the two or three masters of his craft—is seeing his work go to CGI artists. It's going to be Norbit.


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