Jan. 22, 2008
The Oscar Nominations: Atonement?
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is predictable in some ways and mysterious in others. For example, the academy luh-luh-loves George Clooney. But Atonement was snubbed in awards nominations by the big guilds—which was OK with many critics—and there it is in the best-picture category.
Nothing for director Joe Wright, mind you, or his stars. Must be a bittersweet moment for him, and for Julian Schnabel, nominated for his brilliant direction of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. His movie is left out in best picture and knocked out of contention for best foreign-language film by the French because he is American.
The bottom line for these nominations is that once again, there are lots of films that most people haven't seen and don't care about. The only nominee in the best-picture category to generate real heat at the box office is Juno. Should commercial success figure into Oscar nominations? Of course not. But when it comes to generating big ratings for the telecast, this year's slate spells trouble.
Of course, there is the small matter of the writers' strike, which might provide a convenient excuse for the academy if it derails the usual type of show. That would be predicated on the strike continuing that long. We're feeling giddy and reckless today, so let's get into some predictions:
- The strike will settle in time for the show to go on.
- No Country for Old Men will win best picture.
- Best director? Let's go for the Coen brothers.
- Daniel Day-Lewis will win best actor.
- Best actress? A little tougher. Julie Christie or Marion Cottillard. The academy feels love for Christie but also adores celebrity-channeling, as in Capote, The Last King of Scotland, and many other cases. (It was a very pleasant surprise to see Laura Linney nominated in this category, although probably not to Angelina Jolie.)
These do not—repeat, not—represent choices that Hollywoodland would make. These are not necessarily what should win but probably what will win. And that's as much help (or harm) that we're willing to provide (or inflict on) the office pool at this point. Except for one more tip. Best animated feature: Ratatouille. Bet the rent. (link)
Jan. 18, 2008