Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Oscars 2009: What Movie Will Win Best Picture?

The 2009 Oscars (for the films of 2008) are upon us, and in a few days, we’ll know who won.

In this post, I’d like to talk about who and what should have been nominated, and which movie I think will win in the end.

Australia for Best Picture…. No, just kidding! That one they got right. But the Academy missed Revolutionary Road. It’s almost as if there were two Kate Winslet films and they had to pick one. Gosh, we all love Holocaust films, so let’s go with that! While The Reader is a fine movie, Revolutionary Road picked a much harder subject to talk about: our mundane, ordinary lives. And speaking of Revolutionary Road, there were several other actors in that film who deserved to be nominated (like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kathy Bates).

I also feel that Benjamin Button as a movie is not the complete picture. It’s rather ordinary except for its special effects and a few acting performances (e.g., Taraji P. Henson). The movie is really about a rather passive man who just watches the world age backwards (at least from his point of view). He never really does anything important, he never pushes his way forward. He just is and people around him react to him.

For that matter, I didn’t think Brad Pitt was that compelling in the role. I believe people really like the epic motion picture, and will find some way to reward it.

Ralph Fiennes could have been nominated for any of three outstanding performances in a standout year for him: The Duchess, The Reader, and In Bruges. My nomination would’ve been for The Duchess. He makes a royal monster look like a three-dimensional man who’s just misunderstood.

In the Best Actress in a Leading Role category, what happened to Kristin Scott Thomas in I’ve Loved You So Long? The performance was highly touted when the film came out, but that was over a year ago. Academy members’ memories are so short.

And what about The Dark Knight? I think the latest Batman picture was one of the best of the year. But we all know what happens to most sci fi and certainly comic book movies: they’re relegated to the bottom of the awards heap.

So, speaking of those Best Picture nominees, who will win and who deserves to win?
The nominees are:

Benjamin Button
Frost / Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

There is not a doubt in my mind that Slumdog Millionaire will win. Every other movie up there is a downer; Slumdog is the only one that has you dancing at the end like you’re in a Bollywood musical. Slumdog also boasts a surprisingly inventive screenplay and a very likeable cast. I think the only other movie that could possibly overtake Slumdog in this category is Benjamin Button, just because Button was a widely-seen, popular movie. But I think Slumdog will carry the day.

However, in my opinion Milk is the stronger movie, based on a brilliant screenplay. I would also not hesitate to vote for The Reader, a complicated movie which stirs rich emotions.

Next: We’ll take the other categories one-by-one. Who will win, and who should win.


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