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2008 Oscars: My heart screams 'Juno!' but my head says Coen Bros.
rogerebert.com ^ | Roger Ebert

Posted on 02/22/2008 11:44:04 PM PST by L.A.Justice

In theory, if I correctly predicted every single Oscar race, nobody could outguess me, and by default, I would win the prize. Alas, that has never, ever happened, and it's unlikely again this year, because as usual I will allow my heart to outsmart my brain in one or two races, which is my annual downfall. In any event, for what they're worth, here are my Academy Award predictions in a year rich with wonderful films.

PICTURE

Prediction: My heart cries out "Juno! Juno! Juno!," but my brain dashes a pail of cold water and sternly corrects me: "No Country for Old Men." To be sure, "There Will Be Blood" cleaned up a lot of the year-end critics' prizes, but is a little too dark and odd for the academy. "Atonement" and "Michael Clayton" are excellent, but don't have the buzz.

Dark horse: "Juno," because the academy may go for an upbeat audience pleaser. Besides, according to me, it really is the best film of the year.

ACTOR

Prediction: Here I cannot see the odds for predicting anyone but Daniel Day-Lewis, period, for "There Will Be Blood." It's a powerful performance, almost in disguise, with that greasy, oily voice, and it's a way to honor an ambitious, respected film. My vote might go to Tommy Lee Jones, who was so fine in "In the Valley of Elah," but I'm pleased enough he at least got a nomination; pleased, too, by Viggo Mortensen, George Clooney and Johnny Depp, in a strong field. But don't bet against Day-Lewis. In this race, I don't think there is a dark horse.

ACTRESS

Prediction: Ellen Page for "Juno." OK, here's where my heart takes over. My brain says Julie Christie will win, both for her career achievement and for the quality of her work. But my heart says Ellen Page made me want to hug Juno in a performance that was much more difficult than it might have appeared. To deliver Diablo Cody's high-voltage dialogue with such breezy authority and to make the character loveable and three-dimensional was a genuine achievement.

Dark horse: Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose."

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Prediction: Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men," don't you think? His weirdo killer with the unpronounceable name and the compressed-air cow stunner made an indelible impression. And it wasn't just for the heartless violence, but for the droll timing of scenes like his exchange with the gas station owner. The other four nominees seem sort of overshadowed, wonderful as they were.

Dark horse: Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Charlie Wilson's War."

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Prediction: Ruby Dee for "American Gangster." I think the race is between Cate Blanchett, playing Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There," and the beloved veteran Ruby Dee," the mom of the "American Gangster." The supporting actress has a way of throwing a curveball some years. Does that mean Dee will win? Or maybe Amy Ryan?

Dark horse: Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone."

DIRECTOR

Prediction: Joel and Ethan Coen for "No County for Old Men," and a lot of other great films. The other nominees are all in one sense or another not Hollywood insiders. Well, neither are the Coens, for that matter, but they're better known. Plus, the Coens won the Directors Guild Award last month, and that winner automatically becomes the Oscar front-runner.

Dark horse: Paul Thomas Anderson for "There Will Be Blood."

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Prediction: Diablo Cody for "Juno." She looks like a sure thing. The film benefits so mightily from its screenplay, which is so unconventional in its dialogue that we hardly notice how sure it is in its construction. Here again, I don't see a dark horse.

ANIMATED FEATURE

Prediction: "Ratatouille," hands-down. Period. Case closed. Despite the charm and originality of "Persepolis."

DOCUMENTARY

Prediction: The powerful, irrefutable "No End in Sight," which does some real reporting and obtains useful interviews with insiders who discuss what went wrong with the Iraq invasion.

Dark horse: "War/Dance," kids in an African war zone, being kids.

The following categories are not on the Outguess Ebert ballot, but here are my fearless picks, anyway.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Prediction: The Coens, for "No Country for Old Men," with their laconic, subtly funny, economical yet quirky dialogue, with a big assist from Cormac McCarthy's original novel.

Dark horse: Paul Thomas Anderson for "There Will Be Blood."

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Prediction: Roger Deakins for his elegant, measured vision and wide open spaces in "No Country for Old Men," commencing with the hypnotic opening shots.

Dark horse: Seamus McGarvey, for "Atonement" and its astonishing tracking shot (no special effects) in the Dunkirk scene.

EDITING

Prediction: Christopher Rouse for "The Bourne Ultimatum." Well, it sure had the most edits, didn't it? Even though the microscopic average shot length gave some viewers the heaves.

Dark horse: Roderick Jaynes for "No Country for Old Men." The award will be accepted on his behalf by the Coen brothers (in-joke).

ORIGINAL SONG

Prediction: "Falling Slowly" from "Once," not just for the song but for the manner of its presentation. The three nominees from "Enchanted" will cancel one another out.

Dark horse: "Raise It Up" from "August Rush."


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: academyawards; hollywood; oscar; oscars
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN will probably get the BEST PIC award...I watched NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, ATONEMENT, and MICHAEL CLAYTON.

My ranking: 1. MICHAEL CLAYTON 2. ATONEMENT 3. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

I enjoyed M CLAYTON, in spite of some questionable plot twist towards the end. A question...When a car is burned down, do you assume that a person was in it just because you find a wrist watch in the car? Is it not obvious if a human body was not in the burning car? In any case, George Clooney did a good job.

ATONEMENT was good...I just thought that it was too slow at the beginning...

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN...Javier Bardem was great portraying a killer. However, there were moments in the movie when I asked myself what was the point of this particular scene...For example, what was the point of the scene with the sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) and some old guy? I guess that I was not too sophisticated enough to "understand" this film...Oh well. I am sure there are other people out there who watched NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. I would love to hear your reactions...

Julie Christie...I think that she was great in DR ZHIVAGO. She did hand out awards at some AARP function. At the function, Michael Moore got some award for SICKO. Christie, at that function, commented that it is important that Hollywood make films challenging present policies on Iraq...Whatever...

I am prepared to be disgusted when the BEST DOCUMENTARY winner is announced Sunday night...Some anti-Iraq War documentary will probably win...Either TRIP TO THE DARK SIDE or NO END IN SIGHT. TRIP TO THE THE DARK SIDE is about US troops torturing an Afghan taxi driver to death...I am sure that maker of either documentary will use the platform to critize Bush Administration.

I am looking forward to OSCAR LIVE THREAD Sunday night...

1 posted on 02/22/2008 11:44:06 PM PST by L.A.Justice
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To: L.A.Justice

My heart does not care. My head said who gives a damn what awards liberals give to other liberals.


2 posted on 02/22/2008 11:45:43 PM PST by RetiredArmy (Obama: NOT the next JFK. He is the NEXT STALIN!!!! Wake up America!!!)
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To: L.A.Justice

I hope that Ruby Dee gets the BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS award...She was great in AMERICAN GANGSTER.


3 posted on 02/22/2008 11:46:10 PM PST by L.A.Justice
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To: L.A.Justice

Last movie I saw was the Godfather—as in the original one with Marlon Brando.


4 posted on 02/22/2008 11:49:24 PM PST by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: L.A.Justice
Here's a real treat (trip?):

For those FReepers in to reading: Try reading a collection of Coen Bros. screenplays (I can give links to free ones--let me know). I started out with Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing one night. They're screenplays so they're short--2 hrs max ea. but, with your mind's eye, they come alive like in a movie, but with a difference.

5 posted on 02/22/2008 11:55:00 PM PST by Rudder
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To: L.A.Justice

The last academy awards presentatiion show I saw was hosted by Bob Hope.


6 posted on 02/22/2008 11:57:15 PM PST by preacher (A government which robs from Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.)
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To: L.A.Justice
The only movie I’ve heard about is Juno. I have no idea what any of the others are about. Why don’t they put Mark Steyn in the movies? I’d go if he were in it. Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin could be in supporting roles. Throw in Limbaugh for a cameo.
7 posted on 02/23/2008 12:01:45 AM PST by beaversmom
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To: L.A.Justice

obligatory in-joke explanation-

Dark horse: Roderick Jaynes for “No Country for Old Men.” The award will be accepted on his behalf by the Coen brothers (in-joke).

Roderick Jaynes is a pseudonym for the Coen brothers themselves that they use for Editing credit.


8 posted on 02/23/2008 12:04:43 AM PST by HarryCaul
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To: L.A.Justice

My brain says, “WHO THE FU@K CARES??????”

It’s just the frickin’ liberal nutjob self-absorbed Oscars. Who the absolute fu@k cares about anything in Hollyweird anymore? They need to be ignored. I wish the writer’s strike would’ve kept going.


9 posted on 02/23/2008 12:16:01 AM PST by Secret Agent Man
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To: L.A.Justice

I hated “No Country for Old Men”.

It was doing fine until the last 20 minutes or so...

Then it got disjointed like the film broke and the important pieces got lost... The end made the whole thing feel like a waste of time.

Needless to say, I was really disappointed.


10 posted on 02/23/2008 12:22:03 AM PST by DB
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To: L.A.Justice

I haven’t watched that Hollywood swill crap for years and for sure will not this year after seeing what’s up for Oscar. I’m predicting the lowest TV audience in the history of that show.


11 posted on 02/23/2008 12:26:52 AM PST by fish hawk (The religion of Darwinism = Monkey Intellect)
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To: L.A.Justice

Last year, it was all about gays, pimps, and global warming.

This year, its all about “dark” subject lines and documentarys ripping on the US military.

The oscars have become one big liberal circle jerk. I haven’t watched them in years.


12 posted on 02/23/2008 12:32:47 AM PST by Proud_USA_Republican (We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. - Hillary Clinton)
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To: L.A.Justice
I have only one prediction: this will be the lowest-rated Oscars ever because they have a host from basic cable and a slate of movies that few people saw and even fewer liked. All dark, violent, depressing, art house money losers that we're supposed to force ourselves to sit through because all that self-flagellation is good for us somehow. "Juno" is the only one of the bunch that's made over $100 mil, and a movie reviewer friend of mine told me that "Michael Clayton" is ranked #47 out of all the movies released in 2007 at Internet Movie Database, and isn't even among the top five thrillers.

Where are the nominations for Amy Adams in "Enchanted," or "King of Kong" for Best Documentary, or for anything that anybody actually liked and might be rooting for? They nominated a bunch of stuff that was about as enjoyable as sitting through a root canal, and the Oscar telecast will probably be just as painful as any of these movies and twice as long.

13 posted on 02/23/2008 3:01:31 AM PST by HHFi
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To: L.A.Justice

I read No Country. It was a pointless story built around some guy’s facination with guns and violence(shotguns with silencers?).

I don’t want to see any of them.


14 posted on 02/23/2008 3:19:59 AM PST by Soliton
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To: DB

They were right on one area, the takeover of our southwest by gangs of narcoterrorists, the “hero” of the story an enforcer for them.
I agree a total waste of two hours, I am glad I did not pay to see it.


15 posted on 02/23/2008 5:22:41 AM PST by pennboricua
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To: HHFi

“..and the Oscar telecast will probably be just as painful as any of these movies and twice as long.”

I don’t watch that swill but I’m betting there will be a lot of “Go Obama” going on. It’ll drive Hillidiot nuts.


16 posted on 02/23/2008 5:26:51 AM PST by TalBlack
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To: Soliton

The movie was about a lot more than that. It’s a very good and thought-provoking movie.


17 posted on 02/23/2008 5:42:00 AM PST by Buckhead
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To: L.A.Justice
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN...Javier Bardem was great portraying a killer. However, there were moments in the movie when I asked myself what was the point of this particular scene...For example, what was the point of the scene with the sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) and some old guy? I guess that I was not too sophisticated enough to "understand" this film...Oh well. I am sure there are other people out there who watched NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

The Coen Brothers hit their peak with Raising Arizona, a funny movie. Regarding their nonsense scenes, either they are much dumber than anyone thinks, or they slip them in to have fun with the critics trying to make sense out of them. Personally I think they got lucky with Arizona, ran out of material shortly afterward, and have been displaying their incompetence ever since, which the critics love.

18 posted on 02/23/2008 5:54:36 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Westlander
Last movie I saw was the Godfather—as in the original one with Marlon Brando.

Brando used cue cards in most of his scenes. Talk about over rated.

19 posted on 02/23/2008 5:55:34 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

amen amen. According to Bill O’Reilly,he’s in L.A. nobody cares about the oscars.Hollyweird is all about supporting abortion and homosexuality! And let us not forget that hollyweird overwhelmingly supports Demon-crats.


20 posted on 02/23/2008 9:42:34 AM PST by red irish (Gods Children in the womb are to be loved too!)
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To: DB
I hated “No Country for Old Men”.

THANK YOU!!!

I usually love the Coen Brothers, and was with them till the film suddenly stopped. I was like "What the hell was that?!"

21 posted on 02/23/2008 9:58:14 AM PST by bigjoesaddle (Toby Keith doesn't want to be fed, Toby Keith wants to HUNT!)
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To: L.A.Justice
FYI, conservative Oscar parody.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1971471/posts?page=21#21

22 posted on 02/23/2008 10:00:31 AM PST by purpleraine
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To: Buckhead
I will admit that at the beginning it felt like “Fargo”, so I was expecting “Fargo”, and it ended up not being like “Fargo”. I’ll have to watch it again
23 posted on 02/23/2008 10:03:25 AM PST by bigjoesaddle (Toby Keith doesn't want to be fed, Toby Keith wants to HUNT!)
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To: bigjoesaddle

I’ve discussed this movie with other folks on line, and hardly any two impressions are the same. However, I felt it was a serious film about good, evil and fate.


24 posted on 02/23/2008 11:42:20 AM PST by Buckhead
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To: DB

Nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t completely enjoy NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

By the way, Michael Medved gave three stars (out of 4) for the film. But, he did say that the film was “overpraised”.


25 posted on 02/23/2008 11:12:26 PM PST by L.A.Justice
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To: Moonman62

I did watch THE LADYKILLERS (2004), starring Tom Hanks. That movie wasn’t too bad...

I guess you didn’t like FARGO?


26 posted on 02/23/2008 11:25:14 PM PST by L.A.Justice
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To: L.A.Justice
Fargo was OK, but I don't see what all the fuss was about.

My favorite lines in the movie, Where is pancakes house?

27 posted on 02/24/2008 4:15:58 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: RetiredArmy
I haven’t watched an awards show (well except maybe for those commercial of the year (cause they’re so good!) in almost 30 years.

There is no other purpose for these award shows except to feed egos that are already excessive* and to sell even MORE music, dvd’s, etc.

With the exception of the commercial of the year I can’t stand these show!

*My apologies for those of you who work behind the scenes in the industry. I’m sure you do work hard and deserve the recognition.

28 posted on 02/24/2008 4:23:33 AM PST by proudofthesouth (Liberalism IS a mental illness.)
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To: L.A.Justice

Personally, I loved No Country For Old Men. I don’t like when all movies start and end the same. Who needs cookie cutter films. Don’t we get enough of that in Presidential elections?


29 posted on 02/24/2008 1:41:47 PM PST by RonPaulLives (I won't be a neo-pawn in the game.)
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To: RonPaulLives

I will miss the awards tonight... as, I will be flying home (THANK YOU, GOD) from Buenos Aires. Nice place, but..... I’m ready to be home.

MY wife and I loved JUNO. Really, a surprisingly good film from start to finish. THERE WILL BE BLOOD was long and dark, but really a very good film. I agree that Daniel Lewis MUST win for that performance.

Haven’t seen any of the others yet.. but, NO COUNTY FOR OLD MEN is one I want to catch when it comes back out after the awards. It looked good, from the trailers...

However... as a piece of art, the Rat movie was best made last year. :-)


30 posted on 02/24/2008 1:55:26 PM PST by SomeCallMeTim
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To: L.A.Justice
Re: the watch being thrown back into the burning car...I thought it was odd too (along w/throwing credit cards?). Anyway, it was much better than I thought it would be. Clooney was very good. I think a darkhorse for best supporting actress (though they won't dis Ruby Dee) would be Tilda Swinston. Great performance in MClayton...understated and unnerving.

I really liked Attonement (thought Kiera Knightly did well to loose her 'brand' of the Pirate movies. I dind't see No Country for Old Men...but I did see There Will be Blood and I didn't like it at all. Daniel Day Lewis will win by sheer volume of face time he had. I wouldn't recommend it myself.

Lastly I loved Juno. It was adorable and witty/funny. Great movie. Disney's Enchanted should have been up for something...it was just fun technicolor escapism...everything that a movie should be (and I can't wait to buy it...I want to count all of the 'Princess' references...I may have missed a few.)

31 posted on 02/24/2008 2:03:32 PM PST by PennsylvaniaMom (Michelle Obama: this seasons Teresa Heinz.)
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To: proudofthesouth

I perfectly agree with you. No argument.


32 posted on 02/24/2008 4:18:48 PM PST by RetiredArmy (Obama: NOT the next JFK. He is the NEXT STALIN!!!! Wake up America!!!)
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To: HHFi
I have only one prediction: this will be the lowest-rated Oscars ever because they have a host from basic cable

I am not watching....but my son just called from Chicago to see if I heard what Jon Stewart just said. According to my son, and I'm paraphrasing him paraphrasing Jon Stewart,"Can you believe we are in a war with Islamic Fundamentalists and we are about to elect a guy named Hussein POTUS?" My son said the audience didn't laugh and appeared very uncomfortable. I can't wait to see it on Youtube.

33 posted on 02/24/2008 6:06:51 PM PST by Zevonismymuse
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To: RetiredArmy
"My heart does not care. My head said who gives a damn what awards liberals give to other liberals."

Amen.

34 posted on 02/25/2008 7:43:58 AM PST by redstates4ever
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To: Zevonismymuse

You were right about the low ratings. I haven’t watched the Oscars for at least 10 years because I don’t care about the movies that were nominated. I think that the best movie of 2007 was “The Simpsons.” In ‘06, my favorite movie was “Man of the Year.” Why don’t more comedies receive Oscar nominations? No comedy won the Best Picture Oscar in the last 30 years.


35 posted on 02/25/2008 12:12:50 PM PST by PhilCollins
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