Thursday, January 22, 2009

Phil Smith's Thoughts On...

OSCARS, 2009

For the last two years, I've written a blog detailing my thoughts on the OSCAR nominees and subsequently, the winners. First and foremost, I'd just like to bring most of you up on a certain fact which will give you an eye opener into why I'm slightly "lost" about the nominees this year.

Folks, I've been very conservative about how I've been spending my money these last two months. I've come quite close to going broke and I am also currently looking for part-time work in order to bring in extra cash. I have not seen a lot of the movies up for OSCARS and I really wanted to. Hopefully with a loan I've managed to secure from my Dad, I may get to see some of these before their theatrical run ends.

I know for a fact I'll be seeing at least one of them tonight at Paul's house.
Yep, tonight's the night I finally watch The Dark Knight! I am sure that the Academy had this whole "That's just what they'd be expecting us to do..." attitude about why they didn't give it more noms. But lets face it, they gave it the one that everyone wanted it to have, Heath Ledger for 'Best Supporting Actor.' I have to think that if they didn't give it that nomination, there'd easily be a riot among fans.
So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on this year's OSCAR nominees...
Best Picture
Basically, with the exception of The Reader, I wanted to see all of these films, but have yet to do so. I didn't want to see The Reader mainly due to the fact that I actually read the book the movie was based on as my 'Summer Reading' book for when I began college. It was an incredible read, but it was one where like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, I actually enjoyed enough to remember key scenes and plot points and was worried that seeing its theatrical adaptation would end up dislking it. Not that I disliked One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as a film, I merely noted certain scenes weren't included.
I wanted so much to see Frost/Nixon and Milk. These are among only a few movies I've ever wanted to see that dealt with politics.
Slumdog Millionaire was brought to my attention by way of The Internet Movie Database as a sort of 'What's the big deal about (fill in the blank with a movie title)?' Plus Danny Boyle's just an awesome director. The man gave us Trainspotting for crying out loud! What could be bad about it???

As for Benjamin Button, well, the idea just intrigues me. It's a fantasy tale and its also directed by David Fincher, the master craftsman behind Seven, Fight Club, and Zodiac (which the Academy severely snubbed for the 2008 OSCARS).

Personally, I cannot say which I think would win, but if I had to choose, I'd more than likely go with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Director
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Now with the exception of Daldry, I've seen many of these directors films. Each one is unique. Each with a specific style. Yet many of them haven't had any big hits for a few years. Gus' last big opus was Elephant. Don't get me started on Last Days, because it isn't worth it. Ron struck gold when he directed A Beautiful Mind. David directed, in my opinion, one of the greatest thrillers of 2007 with Zodiac. As for Danny, well I only recently watched 28 Weeks Later and from the little clips I saw of 28 Days, the man is incredible.
Personally, I think Ron deserves to win again. He's one of those people with a great story of how he got to where he is today; 'cute redhead kid goes from playing youngster in musical (The Music Man) to getting an 8 year stint on a popular TV series (The Andy Griffith Show) to rising fame as a teenager on an even more popular sitcom (Happy Days) to bigger fame as a Hollywood director superstar.'

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

Now this is a toughie. All these men are incredible actors and they all have got some stiff competition with one another. Yet, if I could say only one of these would possibly dominate them all and be the ultimate champion of the Best Actor OSCAR, I would have to go with Sean Penn. I mean he to me, is like Johnny Depp. Just about anything he does, any role he takes on turns to absolute gold. He is...he's just Sean Penn! The winner in my honest opinion!
Best Actress
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Kate Winslet, The Reader
Meryl Streep, Doubt

Another set of powerhouse players in this category! However, this is the first time I've heard of Melissa Leo. Anne Hathaway is a beautiful and talented girl who is only about a year or two older than me and she's gotten some really great roles in the last three years. Angelina Jolie is a wonderful actress that just about any woman in the world wants to get in bed with no matter what their sexual preference! Kate Winslet is absolutely gorgeous in all her roles and already has a few OSCAR noms under her belt. Meryl Streep...Meryl, Meryl, Meryl! Gotta love Meryl Streep! Woman all over the place constantly make reference to her incredible Award Winning roles! How can you possibly go wrong with Meryl??????????? Meryl!!!!!!!!! Meryl Streep, that's it. I'm stating it here and now, I give my vote for Meryl Streep for Best Actress.

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

Now, one might think that the Academy had the decency to think "No contest..." with this one and give it to Heath Ledger, but with the exception of Michael Shannon, I've seen a great amount of these other nominees' work and let me tell you it's not anything to dismiss! I mean my God! Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder! Guess life imitates art huh? He was absolutely hysterical in that movie! Philip Seymour Hoffman! A true master at his craft! The more films I see him in, the more I realize how truly gifted he is as an actor! Josh Brolin! No Country For Old Men really allowed me to see this guy in a completely different light than how I saw him in Grindhouse: Planet Terror. There's some incredible acting in this crop. But let's face it, if Heath isn't awarded this posthumously, I think it's safe to say the entire world will vibrate as fans all over the place shout a collaborative "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Another good selection by the Academy! However, I very much wanted Taraji P. Henson to take home a Best Supporting Actress OSCAR in 2008 for her role in Talk To Me so it's very nice to see her make it to this year's list of nominees! Although from what I've heard, it seems a sure thing that Marisa Tomei (and FYI, I just watched My Cousin Vinny for the first time and I can see why she won the Best Supporting Actress OSCAR for that role!) may win it this year.


Best Animated Feature
Hmm, two Disney/Pixar movies and a Dreamworks movie. Well, one thing I've learned is that when Disney has one of their animated movies up for an OSCAR nomination, it'll most likely win it, unless one of the other nominees involves dancing penguins (as we learned when Happy Feet beat out Cars). I personally see Wall-E winning this as it seems to have been Disney's biggest moneymaker of 2008.

Best Foreign Film

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
The class (France)
Departures(Japan)
Revanche (Austria)
Waltz With Bashir (Israel)

I never saw any of these but the trailer for Waltz With Bashir looked incredible, like Chicago 10, so that's what I'd pick.

Best Original Screenplay

Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter, WALL-E

Based on the great things I've heard about it and how it really seems to have a sweet storyline,

I'd pick Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Eric Roth, Robin Swicord, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley, Doubt
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
David Hare, The Reader
Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

I'd give it to Eric Roth and Robin Swicord for Benjamin Button. After all, it was Eric who adapted the Academy Award winning screenplay for Forrest Gump!

Best Documentary Feature

The Betrayal
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

From what I've heard, Man on Wire was one of the best of the year, so that's my pick.

Best Original Score

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Defiance
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E

No idea, but knowing Disney's track record, it'll most likely go to Wall-E.

Best Original Song

'Down to Earth,' WALL-E
'Jai Ho,' Slumdog Millionaire
'O Saya,' Slumdog Millionaire
Again, knowing Disney, it'll probably go to Wall-E.

You know what? That's all I'm going to cover, I mean everything else is all technical and short film stuff and I don't really think you need to hear my thoughts on all that.

So there it is! My thoughts on this year's OSCAR Nominees!

1 comment:

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you doing? Hope all is well.