pre-oscar thoughts

I love movies. Love love them. I haven’t been seeing that many of them until recently – partly just due to doing other things in the city and partly due to expense. Movies in NYC are pricey. Most offer no discount to go earlier in the day and you’ll pay just as much to go to an older run down theater as you’ll typically pay to go to the snazzy bells-and-whistles one over by Times Square (seriously – six floors?!? woah).

But I’ve been on a kick lately, partly after hearing a lot about the different films and partly due to having some friends who were interested in going with. Always helps. Anyhow, I can’t remember another year where I’ve seen so many of the things nominated so I’m actually really curious to see the way it plays out this year. I’m feeling mighty opinionated.

Below are who I think should win – not necessarily who I think will actually win. I think it’ll be close between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke. I thought Mickey Rourke’s performance in “The Wrestler” was quite good. The movie as a whole was good and I thought the performances were very moving. Always impressive when you really start to relate and empathize with a character who is so completely and totally different than yourself. But overall, I just thought Sean Penn’s performance was amazing – better. I’ve said it before, I’m not a big Sean Penn fan. I always think he’s just smirky and annoying in person, but I also think he is one fine actor. “Milk” was such a moving movie. Sometimes sure it didn’t walk the line so well between a film and documentary, but I stopped seeing Penn as himself and as the character. I thought he was amazing in “I Am Sam” so I think this should be his. But I also won’t be surprised if as is being predicted, the nod instead goes to Mickey Rourke. He did do a great job, even if he’s not the prettiest thing to look at for 2 hours (let’s be honest here!).

It’s a close call between Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet for best actress. I was curious to see Kate in this role after I finished reading the book, as the character is so distant and seemingly cold and cruel. I thought her performance was pretty dead-on and that they did a great job of taking someone whose beauty was so played up in “Revolutionary Road” and molding her to the part for “The Reader”. I would definitely recommend reading the book first though. It’s very well done. But there’s something haunting about Meryl Streep’s performance in “Doubt” that is just so impressive. She’s such a force to be reckoned with in that film. She’s so someone I’d love to meet sometime. I’d probably just stutter – a lot!!

Best overall I definitely give to “Slumdog Millionaire”. What a different approach to a movie. It’s a unique love story and I definitely think it doesn’t try to glamorize the areas of Mumbai in which it was shot. I loved the colors in the movie and the way it was shot that made you feel like you were there. I heard they used handheld cameras to better get into the action for the shots in the slums. It definitely gave an interesting perspective. I want to see this one again!

So here are my picks…

Performance by an actor in a leading role
* Richard Jenkins – “The Visitor”
* Frank Langella – “Frost/Nixon”
* Sean Penn – “Milk”
* Brad Pitt – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* Mickey Rourke – “The Wrestler”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
* Josh Brolin – “Milk”
* Robert Downey Jr. – “Tropic Thunder”
* Philip Seymour Hoffman – “Doubt”
* Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
* Michael Shannon – “Revolutionary Road”

Performance by an actress in a leading role
* Anne Hathaway – “Rachel Getting Married”
* Angelina Jolie – “Changeling”
* Melissa Leo – “Frozen River”
* Meryl Streep – “Doubt”
* Kate Winslet – “The Reader”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
* Amy Adams – “Doubt”
* Penélope Cruz – “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
* Viola Davis – “Doubt”
* Taraji P. Henson – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* Marisa Tomei – “The Wrestler”

Best animated feature film of the year
* “Bolt”
* “Kung Fu Panda”
* “WALL-E”

Achievement in art direction
* “Changeling”
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “The Dark Knight”
* “The Duchess”
* “Revolutionary Road”

Achievement in cinematography
* “Changeling”
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “The Dark Knight”
* “The Reader”
* “Slumdog Millionaire”

Achievement in costume design
* “Australia”
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “The Duchess”
* “Milk”
* “Revolutionary Road”

Achievement in film editing
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “The Dark Knight”
* “Frost/Nixon”
* “Milk”
* “Slumdog Millionaire”

Achievement in makeup
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “The Dark Knight”
* “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “Defiance”
* “Milk”
* “Slumdog Millionaire”
* “WALL-E”

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
* “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E”
* “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire”
* “O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire”

Best motion picture of the year
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
* “Frost/Nixon”
* “Milk”
* “The Reader”
* “Slumdog Millionaire”

Are you watching the Oscars?

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