And now, the big one.
Personally, I'd love for Juno to win. It has so much going for it: charming characters, zippy dialogue, and a good time at the movies. Unfortunately, it's the fluffiest, least "substantial" of the five nominees. Michael Clayton, on the other hand, is anything but fluffy. Its conscience-conflicted characters rub against each other like sandpaper and create real dramatic heat in the process. Still, its complex plot and character-centric focus might turn voters off. Aside from Juno, Atonement is the only movie of the five with a love story, and it's the sweeping, historical, epic, British sort of love story that Oscar loves to reward. I wouldn't be unhappy if Atonement won, but its lack of a Best Director nod and the fact that most of its other nominations are clustered in the artistic categories doesn't bode well. No Country For Old Men got my pick for Best Director(s), but I suspect that it might be too violent for the older Oscar voters. Actually, they don't mind violence, but it's senseless, glamorized, and consequence-free violence in films like No Country and Pulp Fiction that tends to turn them off. There Will Be Blood is plenty violent, but the body count is much lower and it has the historical and epic qualities that voters are often attracted to. Its themes are clearly presented and it has artistic merit and great performances throughout. No Country and Atonement might surprise with an upset, but my pick for Best Picture of 2007 goes to There Will Be Blood.