Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blue Sky Dreams of Oscar...

Oscars are right around the corner, so before they release their nominations in a few weeks here, I wanted to chime in with my choices in some of the major categories. Of course these are once again completely subjective, and again these are my choices, not predictions. For instance if I were predicting I'd put Clooney in for best actor, but I'm not saying who I think will be nominated I'm saying who I would choose. Enjoy, be sure to sound off with your choices below.

Best picture- see here
What about the new rules ? Well if there were only five nominees the. Take the first five on my list.

Best director
Tomas Alfredson - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive
Mike Mills - Beginners
Terrence Malick - Tree of Life
Kim Jee Won - I Saw The Devil

The first four are pretty solid, I don't know who I would ultimately pick out of Kim Jee Won or Steve McQueen. Here Kim has the edge slightly if only for his amazing juxtaposition of beauty and violence. For the win I'd have to go with Alfredson. A more meticulously crafted film I have not seen in quite awhile. So while Mills has my favorite film of the year and is an amazingly brilliant film, it's hard to deny the Kubrick like perfection that permeates every scene in Tinker.

Best screenplay
Mike Mills - Beginners
Peter Staughn & Bridget O'connor - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Scott Z Burns - Contagion
JC Chandor - Margin Call
Woody Allen - Midnight In Paris

Tough category, they all are great for different reasons, but I would give the win to Mills. His time shifting balance of character sadness and joy is expert writing. All the little touches that pepper the background like Mcgregors work life, historical consciousness, and his brief stint a Freud all come off as charming rather than trite. Definitely deserved here. It's subtlety hides deep complicated emotions.
Best cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki - Tree of Life
Hoyte Van Hoytema - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Kasper Tuxen - Beginners
Mogae Lee - I Saw The Devil
Sean Bobbit - Shame

C'mon. Although you could make the argument for all of them, Lubezki should have received this award for Children of Men, but his work here is astounding as the film tells so much through image. I would say Beginners is right there with an absurdly subtle hand that yields very strong cinematic language. I could have easily doubled this, but this is what I have so far.

Best Actor
Michael Fassbender - Shame
Ewan McGregor - Beginners
Ryan Gosling - Drive
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Jean Dujardin - The Artist

Awesome year for actors, with just powerhouse performances across the board. This is quite possibly the easiest category to call though. Fassbender turns in a career making performance as the sex addicted New Yorker struggling with the reality of his situation. Even a career best from Oldman and an incredibly exuberant without being pandering performance from Dujardin can come close to the intensity and humanity in Fassbender's performance. I'm still hoping next year they give Oldman a best supporting nomination for TDKR, his Commisioner Gordon is just a iconic as Ledger's brilliant Joker.

Best Actress
Rooney Mara - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Stephanie Sigman - Miss Bala
Jessica Chastain - Take Shelter
Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia
Juliette Binoche - Certified Copy

I didn't see any of the "expected" nominees films. But I like this selection, each one did some daring work. I think I would give this to Mara though, she disappears into the role. Giving us a completely damaged soul, with just a glimmer of humanity emerging at the right moments, her Lisbeth is a wonderful heroine.

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Albert Brooks - Drive
Brad Pitt - Tree of Life
Ben Kingsley - Hugo
Min Sik Choi - I Saw The Devil

Another great category. I'd have to give a slight edge to Min Sik Choi's deliciously evil serial killer. His murderer is a force of nature bringing pain and sorrow wherever he's at, seemingly inhuman in his malice he leaves a wake of bodies in his stead. He does this all while making him insanely watchable, as you never look away while he's onscreen.

Best Supporting Actress
Melanie Laurent - Beginners
Kati Outinen - Le Havre
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Carey Mulligan - Shame
Jessica Chastain - Tree of Life

Much like Fassbender in the same film, Mulligan is far and away the winner here, although Chastain makes it on the list twice.


One last thought - nominations are out on Tuesday. I'm guessing my
thoughts are about as far from what will actually be nominated as any online blogger.


  1. Sadly, I do not see Tinker Tailor being nominated for anything... Maybe Cinematography or Director but that is about it.

  2. Yah, they're gonna have to settle for the love that BAFTA is giving them. I can't believe there isn't more love for Oldman

  3. the film is based on material that has been done better before with the original BBC series, and the Academy rarely goes for remake stuff anyhow. Oldman deserves huge props and the acting in general is superb (hence the BAFTA love), but the film is too much of a mess to get too many award nominations. Cinematography and production design both deserve nominations, though unfortunately the Academy has a hard on for fancier and splashier production designs. The editor has mostly done non-American work and it shows in the way he handled the multiple timelines and butchered putting together the dramatic and suspense moments from the film. That's why the film was a disappointment for me, it was handed those performances and that book and didn't make the most of it.

    Also, you have to remember Oscars have two screenwriting categories, adapted and original, so that changes that race quite a bit.

    In the end I really only care about two categories: cinematography and film editing (as well as sound editing) and they usually get those wrong anyhow.