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Okay, I lied

The 2009 Oscar nominations are out. How did I do with my predictions? Let's take a look.

BEST PICTURE: I went a dismal one for five here, in keeping with my total inability to figure out what the Academy voters like. Slumdog Millionaire was wildly overrated, but I’m not shocked it got a nomination; that shock belongs to The Reader, which was both lousy and unpopular. Synechdoche, New York didn’t even get the writing nomination I thought it would. I suck.

BEST DIRECTOR: Tied for my worst category — I went one for five. I’m genuinely shocked that Demme didn’t get a nomination for Rachel Getting Married, and surprised but pleased that they didn’t throw Clint Eastwood a bone for the two overrated flicks he made in 2009. My colleage scottvond was right (and I was wrong) that Van Sant and Fincher making un-Van Santian and Fincheresque movies would pay off, but Stephen Daldry getting the nod for The Reader is a joke.

BEST ACTRESS: Two-and-a-half: I called Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road, because her role in The Reader seemed more support than lead, but at least she got a nomination. This category was the biggest disappointment: Jolie was frankly not that good in Changeling, and Cate Blanchett got screwed behind a great performance in a bad movie.

BEST ACTOR: Four for five here, and somewhat satisfyingly, the one I got wrong — Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road -- was the one I thought least deserved it. I’m still disappointed, though not surprised, that Benecio del Toro didn’t get a nomination for Che.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: I went 3 for 5, missing Taraji P. Henson (really?) in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the deserving Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler. I correctly guessed the wonderful Debra Winger would get screwed out of a nomination for Rachel Getting Married, but I’m slightly surprised that Kate Winslet didn’t get the nod for The Reader.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Technically, I got half of them right again— I called two correctly, and predicted that Robert Downey Jr. would get the nod, but I thought they’d give it to him for The Soloist instead of nominating a goofball comedy like Tropic Thunder. How Philip Seymour Hoffman’s lead performance in Doubt is considered a supporting role is beyond me.

Overall, I scored a below-the-level-of-chance 46%, so there’s something to keep in mind when wagering.


Jan. 22nd, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
On one level I have to respect Eastwood's choice to exclusively cast Hmong in the role of Hmong characters. That's a bold move considering that out of the entire supporting cast of Hmong, only one of them had any acting experience, and he was relegated to the simplest character. I think the decision speaks to Eastwood's love of the craft of film making and authenticity of the story he's attempting to tell.

On the other hand, christ, couldn't he have sent the two lead actors to acting boot camp or something? Maybe a few drama classes? I think it really hurt the story in many key dramatic sequences because those two sounded like they were doing a high school stage production.

Overall, I enjoyed the film, but my read on the audience I watched it with is that most of them were enjoying the vicarious catharsis of listening to Eastwood be an unrepentant racist. There's a really good story in Gran Torismo, one of personal redemption and social responsibility that is, I think, marred irrevocably by the some people's overeager enjoyment of Clint spitting out "zipper head" and "gook" at well timed intervals.

Also, there was something really odd about some of the editing. Slow pans to nothing and lingering shots on bare walls left me thinking that every electrical outlet, light switch and shrub was a potential Chekhov's Gun.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
One typo later, and now I'm imagining Uwe Boll directing a movie based on the video game Gran Turismo.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
My failure's don't often result in such high entertainment.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Enh, neither do his.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
That sounds like the best movie ever.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
The nominations are dumb this year. Say what you will about The Dark Knight, what Nolan pulled together was far more impressive that Benjamin Button (and I'm a Fincher fan).
Jan. 22nd, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
> How Philip Seymour Hoffman’s lead performance in Doubt is considered a supporting role is beyond me.

I kinda feel the same way about Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. But I guess the Globes and the Oscars are in agreement over this one.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
With the caveat that I haven't seen 90 percent of the best picture noms (the Oscars really does fulfill its brief of getting the hoi polloi out to spend their bucks on prestige message pictures that they would otherwise never see), I am flabbergasted that Benjamin Button is up for so many awards. The technical awards yes, but adapted screenplay? (Most reviews lambaste the movie's sodden pacing and poor structure. Plus the face that this they didn't so much adapt the story as nick the premise and the title, and re-write everything else). Best Actor? Brendan Gleeson could have had that slot for In Bruges. He wouldn't have won, but it would've been nice.


flavored with age
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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