Oscars 2008: Predictions & Commentary

Site Map for the Movie Review Home Page
Oscars 2007 * * Oscars 2009

[Commentary made after the 2008 Oscars]

My comments may be a little more incoherent than usual. I got sick yesterday afternoon, and still managed to drag myself to work for my three hour shift today.

As usual, I saw about half of the nominated movies, skipping the ones that looked too violent. I will note what I haven't seen and will go ahead with my predictions anyway. For the last few years, I've been hedging my bets with a "will win" (WW) & "should win" (SW) before the Oscars actually start!

Performance by an actor in a leading role

This is a very strong category. I used to be a huge fan of Daniel Day-Lewis, but, in recent years, he seems to only go for the big/over-the-top roles. While I have't seen either Gangs of New York or There Will Be Blood, the previews I've seen from these movies make it look like Day Lewis is playing almost the same character with a slightly different accent. Johnny Depp brought a little subtly (here and there) to Sweeney Todd, but, frankly, I was surprised to see him nominated. I haven't seen In the Falley of Elan, but Jones looked good. George Clooney was outstanding in Michael Clayton; in another year, he should win. But, the best major performance of last year was Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises, an overly underrated movie. He was generally inscrutable, which was completely perfect for this very complex role. Since his role specifically did not call for histrionics but control, he'll probably lose.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

This is one of the few locks for the evening. Bardem will most likely win, though any of these nominees deserved it this year. Wilkinson and Hoffman continue to give outstanding supporting performances in any movie they're in. Holbrook could always sneak in with a "lifetime achievement" award, though he did most of his best work on TV and not in the movies.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

I love Cate Blanchett and Laura Linney, but Elizabeth wasn't a very good movie (though it looked glorious) and I don't \ this is quite Laura Linney's year. I think Julie Christie gave the best performance of last year in the small film Away from Her (and, Gordon Pinsent, who played her husband, is also quite good). Marion Cotillard could sneak in as she won both the BAFTA and the equivalent of the French Academy best actress award. Ellen Page is something of the IT girl just now, but I felt that Juno, while enjoyable, is terribly overrated.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

This is a tough category and may even be the most competative. I keep going back and forth between Blanchett and Dee, but any of them could win (I saw all the performances but Amy Ryan's). I think I'll go back to thinking Blanchett will win, as she gave two incredibly different performances last year. [[Great for Tilda Swinton - I really enjoyed her performance too!]]

Best animated feature film of the year

Ratatouille had the best art direction of any animated feature since Beauty and the Beast. Persopolis (which I have not seen, but I have read about), has a richer story than Ratatouille (the story for Ratatouille, while clever, is very slight, even for a cartoon).

Achievement in art direction

This could be for Sweeney Todd, or, possibly for The Golden Compass.

Achievement in cinematography

I'm betting on Diving Bell because I hear it's very interestingly photographed. Of these nominees, I've only seen Atonement, which has fine photography, but it wasn't quite great.

Achievement in costume design

The costumes in Elizabeth were terrific, though either Atonement or La Vie en Rose are both strong possibilities.

Achievement in directing

I wouldn't quite call this a lock, but I think this may be the Coen brothers year. A shame Reitman is on this list instead of Cronenberg!

Best documentary feature

Sicko was terrific, though No End in Sight is at least a possibility.

Best documentary short subject

Haven't seen any of these, so my guess is "Sari's Mother."

Achievement in film editing

I haven't seen The Bourne Ultimatum, but the editing is supposed to be great.

Best foreign language film of the year

This is the first time in years that I haven't seen at least one of the nominees for best foreign language film. My WAG is Katyan.

Achievement in makeup

A shame to see two horrible movies in this category. This should go to La Vie en Rose, where the make-up artists did a great job aging Marion Cotillard.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

Movie music wasn't overly memorable last year, though the music for Atonement was pretty good.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

"Falling Slowly" is just such a sweet song, fitting song; I do enjoy "Happy Working Song" for being so completely outrageous for a Disney song.

Best motion picture of the year

Best animated short film

I saw clips of these this moring on Sunday Morning. "My Love" was beautifully done, but I suspect "I Met the Walrus" may win because of its unique origin (based on a 40-year old interview with John Lennon).

Best live action short film


Achievement in sound editing

Achievement in sound mixing

I don't understand why Atonement, which had some amazing sound mixing, was overlooked here. Anyway, it's probably Kevin O'Connell's turn to stop being the Susan Lucci of the Oscars. (no, it wasn't!)

Achievement in visual effects

Adapted screenplay

Original screenplay

I wound up falling asleep during about five of the awards and "In Memoriam list;" I woke up in time to see Viggo lose for Best Actor, then dozed before DDL hit the stage. I'm just as happy to not be awake to see Diablo Cody win yet another award, for an amusing but very overrated screenplay.

John Stewart as an OK host, but I prefer Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen Degeneres and Billy Crystal. He tried too hard and laughed too much at his own jokes. I'm sorry that I was asleep when he brought Marketa Irglova out to make her speech after she was played off. Ever notice that women get played off more readily than men (unless it's the Best Actress winner)?