Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Post-Mortem 2009

Hooboy. That was a rough Oscar Night.

In the end, the final score was Doug: 13, Oscar: 7. That's a shameful 65%. I put too much faith in The Wrestler and Benjamin Button and too little faith in Slumdog Millionaire and The Countess. And next year will someone please stop me from making official picks in the Foreign Language category?!

Even worse than my average was the show itself. I can see that they were trying to shake things up and do it a little different, but what was supposed to be "innovative" ended up as time-consuming and tedious. Here are three examples:

1. The awful song-and-dance tribute to movie songs organized by Baz Luhrman. Giant waste of time and energy and an embarrassing throwback to the cheezy ceremonies of the '70's and '80's.

2. The whole presentation of the acting awards. Instead of showing clips, five past winners took turns eulogizing the nominees. It was just too much talking and it took what felt like an eternity to get to the award. This was a worse idea than having all the nominees on stage at once or making presentations in the audience, like they did a few years ago.

3. Hugh Jackman's opening number. God help him, he tried SO hard. But the song-and-dance part could have been a lot shorter and his second monologue after the medley should have been cut entirely.

That's just the start. I still feel that the Technical and even some of the Artistic categories should be relegated to the un-televised Sci-Tech Oscars. That would really move things along nicely. Overall, the show dragged on and there was too much of a gap between interesting things. Also, we were treated to the most boring red carpet in ages. On the plus side, no one rambled too long on their acceptance speeches and there were a few highlights. Here are some superlatives:

It's Not a Shampoo Bottle: No, Kate Winslet. It's not. Besides a bit of silly rambling, she had the most heartfelt, honest (and therefore, best) acceptance of the evening. Runner up: The tightrope-walking subject of Best Documentary Feature "Man On Wire" balanced an Oscar on his nose. I also enjoyed a lot of the Slumdog winners, who were genuinely surprised at their own wins and as starstruck as fans.

Biggest Upset: I was surprised that Sean Penn won (though his performance was great) and that anyone takes Penelope Cruz seriously enough to give her an Oscar, but for me the biggest surprise was that the Sound categories split. Seriously - since time began, Best Sound Editing and Sound Effects Editing have (almost) always gone to the same film but this year, Dark Knight took Effects and Slumdog took Sound Editing. It just left me slack-jawed.

Best Presenters: A great year for presenters! Steve Martin and Tina Fey were hilarious, gently ribbing celebrity solopism and taking a veiled crack at Scientology. Well done. Ben Stiller was also great as he lampooned Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre recent behavior and Jack Black, who revealed that the key to his financial success is to do a movie for Dreamworks each year, take the money to the Oscars, and bet on Pixar. I also enjoyed the Pineapple Express video bit where the stoners watched movies. Especially James Franco watching himself in Milk.

Best Dressed: Can I take a pass this year? Not only was there no "zowie!" fashion moment, but the red carpet was so dull it almost wasn't worth it. Just about every dress was black, white, or washed-out neutral. Zzzzzzzzz. Those who did wear color, like Amy Adams or Kate Winslet, weren't really exciting. If I have to pick a standout, I'd say it was Taraji P. Henson, who looked great in white and was beaming and effusive the whole time.

Worst Dressed: No Bjorks this year, but did you see Miley Cyrus? Her silver sparkley gown was painful to look at. Like a wrestler's title belt. Or like a matador exploded all over her. And I don't accept "she's just a kid" as a viable excuse - everyone on the red carpet has handlers and stylists who are paid big bucks to tell them what to wear and what not to wear. Plus, Miley Cyrus is backed by one of the biggest entertainment corporations in the world. You'd think that someone from Disney would meet with her to make sure that one of their most bankable assets looks presentable.

Not the best year for my picks, but there's always next year to vindicate myself. I hope you had as much fun reading these posts as I did writing them. I'll go back to blogging about music for now, but check back next January for my take on the 82nd Academy Awards!

Doug's Big Oscar Quiz - Part 5 Answers

21. "Everything in its proper place... except the past"
c. Ordinary People

22. "There are no clean getaways"
e. No Country For Old men

23. "Love is the only inspiration"
b. Shakespeare In Love

24. "His whole life was a million-to-one shot"
a. Rocky

25. "They got a murder on their hands. They don't know what to do with it."
d. In the Heat Of the Night

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Final Predictions

Here's my final list of Oscar predictions:

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger
Best Actress: Kate Winslet
Best Supporting Actress: Marissa Tomei
Best Original Screenplay: Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Cinematography: Benjamin Button
Best Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Score: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Song: WALL-E
Best Art Direction: Benjamin Button
Best Costumes: Benjamin Button
Best Makeup: Benjamin Button
Best Visual Effects: Benjamin Button
Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
Best Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight
Best Animated Feature: WALL-E
Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz With Bashir
Best Documentary Feature: Man On Wire

Normally, the most-nominated film goes home with the most Oscars, but in this case it will share that distinction with the Best Picture winner. According to my predictions, there will b a tie, with Slumdog and Benjamin Button each taking five Oscars. The Dark Knight will take three and WALL-E and The Wrestler will each go home with two.

I always keep an eye on what Entertainment Weekly picks and this year we agree on most categories with a few notable exceptions. First, they're picking Sean Penn for Best Actor. He was good and it was a real departure for him, but I really don't see him beating Mickey Rourke. They also picked Penelope Cruz for Supporting Actress. Despite the fact that this is her second nomination, I just can't believe that Hollywood takes her seriously. With a good director in her first language, perhaps, but in English - not so much.

The Oscars are on Sunday, February 22 at 8:30pm on ABC. If you're like me, you'll watch E!'s coverage all day and tune in for the arrivals starting at about 7:00. The official pre-show starts at 8:00pm. Good luck with your own predictions and happy Oscar Night, all!

Doug's Big Oscar Quiz - Part 5

Match the Best Picture-winning film with its advertising tagline:

21. "Everything in its proper place... except the past"
22. "There are no clean getaways"
23. "Love is the only inspiration"
24. "His whole life was a million-to-one shot"
25. "They got a murder on their hands. They don't know what to do with it."

a. Rocky
b. Shakespeare In Love
c. Ordinary People
d. In the Heat Of the Night
e. No Country For Old Men

Friday, February 20, 2009

Best Picture

Warning: spoilers ahead.

I believe that the nominated movies' themes will be the key to this year's Best Picture race. First is The Reader, about the dark secrets and lies uncovered during the trial of a concentration camp worker. Next is Frost/Nixon, about the final disgrace of an already-maligned political leader. Then we have Milk, a film about the brief success and tragic end of a martyred political activist. Benjamin Button traces the life of a man who ages in reverse - it's an epic and tragic love story, but it's essentially a movie about death.

Finally, there's Slumdog Millionaire - the triumphant movie where the young protagonist rises from the filth and brutality of India's slums to win the girl of his dreams and millions of Rupees, while inspiring the downtrodden of his city.

It's a new world out there, people. We're in the Obama age and people are ready to embrace change and optimism and put the darkness of the past decade behind them. After years of brutal movies about moral ambiguity, war, and corruption winning Best Picture, I believe that the world needs a movie with a low body count where the guy gets the girl and lives happily ever after. We saw it happen back in 1998 when the relatively lighthearted Shakespeare In Love blindsided dour favorite Saving Private Ryan. Slumdog Millionaire has no nominations for acting and two of its ten for Best Song. With the most nominations of the year, Benjamin Button is a strong contender, but the world needs Slumdog Millionaire to win Best Picture. Let's all root for the underdog.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire follows Jamal (Dev Patel) as he uses the knowledge gained from a lifetime of poverty and hardship on the streets of Mumbai to answer questions on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." Like an Indian Charles Dickens character, we see Jamal overcome hardship, navigate the dangerous streets, fall in love, and learn the art of survival with the help of his brother Salim and Latika, a fellow orphan. The vivid colors and dizzying energy of the city provide a kinetic backdrop for the action, mirroring Jamal's struggle for survival and ambition - and it's the same ambition that drives Jamal to success that drives his brother and Latika in very different directions.

It's hard to believe, but Slumdog Millionaire almost didn't get released. Even though it's a British production mostly in English, the big studios thought that Western audiences wouldn't relate to the struggles of young Indians. Wouldn't relate? The film relies heavily on the very British themes of class distinction and colonialism. The plot is based on the very American concept of rising from nothing and achieving great success through hard work and determination. The vast majority of the Academy is American or British, so it seems highly unlikely that they can't relate to something in the film. Also, it's an upbeat, feel-good fairy tale with a sweeping, epic love story and clearly defined heroes and villains set against historical events. Plus, it doesn't have the highest number of nominations, making Millionaire the underdog in some tight races - and what American doesn't love to root for the underdog? It's practically designed for Oscar consideration.

Slumdog Millionaire is up for 10 Academy Awards: Cinematography, Editing, Score, two for Best Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay, Directing, and Best Picture. As the front-runner for Best Picture, it is also strongly favored for Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing. Its kinetic score is also favored to win but its votes for best Song will likely be split and the technical awards will go to stronger effects films. Working against Slumdog is its complete lack of acting nominations and those two in the Song category, but I think it will pull through and take the big prize.

Best Director

Statistically, the Best Director award goes to the same film that gets Best Picture about 85% of the time and is usually a good indicator for choosing a winner. Looking at the last ten years, though, that statistic drops to about 50%, making this method a crap shoot. Complicating things slightly, the five Best Director nominees line up perfectly with the Best Picture contenders this year, meaning that no one can be easily eliminated.

The next step to choosing a Best Director is to look at the total number of nominations for each film. David Fincher's Benjamin Button leads with 13 (two of which are for acting, which bodes well), followed by Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire with 10. This makes these two movies the major contenders for Best Picture and, therefore, Best Director.

I'm going to give my pick to Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire. While Benjamin Button was more classically pristine and will do well in the artistic and technical categories, Slumdog showed off Boyle's uniquely kinetic style. Danny Boyle for the win.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Writing Awards

There are three things to look out for in the writing categories: Best Picture nominees (there's always at least one), actors who write (like Matt Damon or Emma Thompson), and the compelling story of a struggling writer who makes a big break (Diablo Cody and Quentin Tarantino come to mind). While there is no shortage of Best Picture nominees in the writing categories and there are compelling stories of struggle, we don't see any actors in the writing categories this year. It's a shame. That always makes things a little more interesting.

the Adapted Screenplay category gives us Best Picture nominees Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and Slumdog Millionaire. Filling out the category is Doubt. For this particular award, the adaptation itself must be taken into account. Doubt and Frost/Nixon are based on stage plays and it's often a challenge to move a story from the enclosure of a proscenium into the broad canvas of film. Benjamin Button is a three-plus-hour movie spun from a short story, and the other two are based on novels. I'm going to pick Slumdog Millionaire for the win. More than any other, it uses the source material as a jumping-off point and becomes something purely cinematic. While Doubt and Frost/Nixon retain much of the staginess of their origins, Slumdog Millionaire feels like it was originally intended for the screen.

There's only one Best Picture nominee among the Original Screenplays and I'm picking it to win. Milk comes with a great story: after decades of attempts and false starts, Hollywood wasn't able to make a dramatized bio of the gay-rights activist until a young Mormon came to town and showed them how to do it. It should handily beat Frozen River, In Bruges, and the largely-improvised Happy-Go-Lucky. Its only impediment might be WALL-E, but I'm confident that Milk will prevail.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button follows the life of a man (Brad Pitt) who ages backwards. Born an old man and raised in a retirement home, Benjamin grows, learns, falls in love, gets his heart broken, goes to war, and lives a full life - all in an increasingly youthful body. Benjamin doesn't achieve anything out of the ordinary in his lifetime and doesn't gain celebrity or recognition, but his unique peculiarity does have a startling effect - it throws his mortality into stark relief, coloring all the events and relationships in his life with melancholy tones of finality. As Benjamin grows younger, he sees everyone around him age and die, acutely aware of death throughout his life. The story is a dark fairy tale (literally read from a book in a clever framing device) and, like my favorite movie, is the confession of a man living under the cloud of regret and despair. The moral is made clear: forwards or backwards, life is fragile and death is an inevitability for everyone.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is up for 13 Academy Awards - more than any film this year. The nominations are for Lead Actor (Pitt), Supporting Actress (Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin's adoptive mother), Art Direction, Cinematography, Costumes, Makeup, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Editing, Score, Adapted Screenplay, Director, and Best Picture. It's sure to win more than a few and its best shots are for Makeup and Visual Effects, which combine seamlessly to create the illusion of age and put Brad Pitt's performance into an ever-changing body. It is also a likely winner for Costumes, Art Direction, and Cinematography. It is outmatched by heavy favorites in the other categories but might pull upsets for its score, screenplay, and editing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Doug's Big Oscar Quiz - Part 4 Answers

16 - b. Ben Affleck "Losing would suck..."
17 - a. Cate Blanchett "I don't have a sense of entitlement..."
18 - d. Grace Kelly "...I wish I smoked and drank."
19 - c. Jack Nicholson "...nuts in the Academy..."
20 - e. Hillary Swank "...trailer park..."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Doug's Big Oscar Quiz - Part 4

Match the actor with the quote from his or her Oscar acceptance speech:

16. Ben Affleck
17. Cate Blanchett
18. Grace Kelly
19. Jack Nicholson
20. Hillary Swank

a. "I don't have a sense of entitlement or that I deserve this. "
b. "Losing would suck and winning would be really scary. And it's really, really scary."
c. "I guess this proves there are as many nuts in the Academy as anywhere else."
d. "This is one night I wish I smoked and drank."
e. "I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Best Actor

Best Actor is another award that was decided ages ago. The category is filled with broad performances, but Mickey Rourke is poised to take the prize.

The Visitor, starring nominee Richard Jenkins is a great little film and his performance is wonderful. See it if you get a chance. Sadly, he is the least likely to win against a lineup of big-budget heavy hitters. Frank Langella mumbles and blusters his way through a terrible impression of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk is more nuanced, but doesn't have the heft of his competitors. Brad Pitt lives a lifetime in Benjamin Button and, as the lead in the most-nominated film, stands a reasonable chance.

But it looks like Mickey Rourke's year. Hollywood loves a comeback and he has certainly achieved it here. The whole movie plays as an allegory for Rourke's life and career: a young man wastes his fame and talent, burning hot and fast like a comet across the sky and in regretful middle age grasps at a fleeting happiness. The Wrestler is Mickey Rourke's apology for his youthful hubris and I can't think of anyone else who could play the part.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Animated Feature, Doc Feature, & FLF

A few years ago the Academy started a new category for Animated Feature Film, in order to better recognize those movies. While I appreciate them getting more attention and recognition, I can't help but feel that it's a move that ghettoizes animation and prevents them from ever achieving a Best Picture nomination. One such movie that ranks in quality with the Best Picture nominees is Pizar's WALL-E. It's the movie Stanley Kubrick would have made if he ever pursued animation. While its contenders, Bolt and Kung Fu Panda were above-average kid's entertainment, WALL-E works on multiple levels, giving kids a cute story about robots while providing biting social satire to the adults. WALL-E will easily walk away with this one.

At this point, I should note that I don't make predictions in the short film or documentary categories. I don't get to see many of them and don't feel comfortable predicting the outcomes based on synopses. That said, I would like to make an unofficial prediction for Documentary Feature - Man On Wire made a lot of critics' end-of year lists and will probably take the prize. Close behind, though is cinematic juggernaut Werner Herzog and his Antarctic documentary Encounters at the End of the World. He's a legend doing what he does best (epics of man vs. nature) but I'll go with Man On Wire for my unofficial pick.

Foreign Language Film is another one of those that I usually don't pick, not just because I don't see them, but because the rules for this category are much different than others and greatly effect the outcome. That said, I'm going to risk a guess that Israel's Waltz With Bashir will take the Oscar. Another film that uses animation to address adult themes, Waltz With Bashir has been almost universally praised and is a standout among the nominees.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Frost/Nixon

The interviews depicted in Frost/Nixon are famous for finally answering questions and addressing issues that weighed on the minds of Americans since Watergate. What the movie focuses on, though, is the behind-the-scenes preparations that brought two men together in a mental chess game. No, not a chess game - more like a boxing match. In fact, the whole film seems to parallel one of the most famous sports films of all time, Rocky. Actually, it's more like Rocky III. In one corner, we have the underdog: flashy British celebrity chat-show host David Frost (Michael Sheen), high on success and easy celebrity but looking to shed his lightweight reputation. In the other corner is the heavyweight champ: calculating and evasive former President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella), eager to establish a legacy focused on his successes rather than the scandal that brought him down. The two circle each other for quite a while, prepping for the interviews. Our underdog goes through challenges finding backing for the project and is under constant pressure to research every aspect of his subject's life - the journalistic equivalent of training in the snow and hauling timber. Meanwhile, Nixon has his own aids who expect softballs but prepare for the worst - A political version of Ivan Drago's high-tech training lab. When the two finally meet, the heavyweight just toys with his challenger, running down the clock. Can the challenger muster his courage and his last ounce of strength to defeat the champ?

The real theme of the film, aside from the political implications, is the power of media. Nixon's strength is his nimble mind and analytical nature, but ever since his debates with John F. Kennedy, he is fully aware of his complete lack of on-screen charisma. Frost may be a lightweight, but he understands the power of television, fully aware of how to work the medium to his advantage. He is comfortable and confident on screen and Nixon underestimates him because of this. I think that what the film is saying is that good public image is as important to a politician's success as positive actions. Nixon had neither and his downfall was inevitable.

Frost/Nixon is up for five Academy Awards: Best Actor (Langella), Editing, Adapted Screenplay, Directing, and Best Picture. Mickey Rourke's win seems like a sure thing this year, so Langella is out of luck. The editing is nothing too flashy and long-time readers know how I feel about Opie's directing, so I can't in good conscience pick them to win. Frost/Nixon was based on a play and transcends its origins into something naturally cinematic, so it might have a chance for Adapted Screenplay, but up against three better-received Best Picture contenders those chances are slim. Like Milk, Frost/Nixon uses historical events to make a statement about modern issues, but I think voters will want to go with something less cynical and more uplifting than a film about holding a scandal-plagued former President accountable for his wrongdoings.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Doug's Big Oscar Quiz - Part 3 Answers

11. Who has the most Best Supporting Actor Oscars?
c. Melvyn Douglas won three

12. Who wrote the most Best Songs?
d. Alan Menken, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer & Jimmy Van Heusen all won four times.

13. Which country has produced the most Best Foreign Language Films?
b. Italy has produced 13 Best Foreign Language Films.

14. Which film earned the most nominations without any in the acting categories?
d. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King received 11 nominations - none of which were for acting.

15. Who has the most nominations in the writing categories?
b. Woody Allen has racked up a record 14 writing nominations.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Doug's Big Oscar Quiz - Part 3

Multiple choice:

11. Who has the most Best Supporting Actor Oscars?
a. Michael Caine
b. Jason Robards
c. Melvyn Douglas
d. Peter Ustinov

12. Who wrote the most Best Songs?
a. Alan Menken
b. Sammy Cahn
c. Johnny Mercer & Jimmy Van Heusen
d. All of the above (3-way tie)

13. Which country has produced the most Best Foreign Language Films?
a. Japan
b. Italy
c. The Netherlands
d. Germany

14. Which film earned the most nominations without any in the acting categories?
a. The Last Emperor
b. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
c. Reds
d. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

15. Who has the most nominations in the writing categories?
a. Billy Wilder
b. Woody Allen
c. Frederico Fellini
d. William Wyler

Friday, February 6, 2009

Best Actress

The Best Actress race is a toughie this year.

Melissa Leo (Frozen River) stars in a tiny independent that not many people saw, so without a huge marketing push, her chances are weak. Perennial nominee Meryl Streep's dour nun in Doubt might be too severe a character and, though she gets a few good crying scenes, Angelina Jolie's movie, Changeling, fizzled at the box office.

The real revelation this year was Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married. As an alcoholic who ruins her sister's wedding, Hathaway gets to do all the things that voters love to see - broad range and self-destructive behavior. On top of that, this is the opposite of all the frothy romances she's know for. On the other hand, her recent follow-up, Bride Wars, didn't set the world aflame and may hurt her chances. Remember when Norbit was released right after Eddie Murphy was nominated for Dreamgirls? Many believe that it left a sour taste in voters' mouths and the same thing might happen to Anne Hathaway.

Any other year, I'd pick Hathaway, but Kate Winslet's nomination complicates things. Her role in The Reader has won her awards for Supporting Actress, but she is, in fact, the lead in the movie and is up for Lead Actress at the Oscars. Unlike Hathaway, her nomination is bolstered by a great un-nominated performance in Revolutionary Road. I think that the oft-nominated Winslet has gained a lot of support and will end up on stage this year. It's not a great movie and certainly not her best performance, but chances are, she'll win.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Music Awards

As always, I'm happy to see one of my favorite composers up for Best Score once again - Danny Elfman scored a nod for Milk. Unfortunately, he finds himself amid heavy competition and is likely to loose once again. There's the dramatic action of Defiance, the comically bittersweet music of WALL-E, and the mournful Benjamin Button to contend with. Most of all, though, is the musical explosion that backs up Slumdog Millionaire. A.R. Rahman's score spans action, suspense, and love scenes with Bollywood flavor. My concern, though, is that voters will confuse the score with the songs (two of which are also up for Oscars) and the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" theme music and dismiss the score. Still, it gets my pick.

I must admit that I have a bad history with the Best Song category. Last year was the first time in a long time that I actually picked it correctly. What I've learned, though, is that voters prefer to award songs that are integral to the fabric of the film (last year's "Falling Slowly" from Once) or that bring depth to the characters ("Loose Yourself" from 8 Mile or "It's Hard Out There For A Pimp" from Hustle And Flow). This year we have two songs from Slumdog Millionaire - "O Saya," the "running through the slums" music from the beginning of the film, and "Jai Ho," the dance number heard over the closing credits. The third nominee is "Down to Earth," written by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman for WALL-E. I think that the biggest disadvantage for the Slumdog entries is that they're not in English - lyrics go a long way here. I also think that while the Slumdog songs set the mood and tempo for their respective scenes, "Down to Earth" does more to illuminate the characters. It manages to humanize robots, which is an amazing feat and worthy of the prize.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Milk

Milk is not as much the story of Harvey Milk as it is the story of a revolution with one charismatic personality at its center. Starting as a humble but civic-minded businessman in San Fransisco's Castro district in the mid-1970's, Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) was drawn into the world of politics through his involvement in the growing gay community in his neighborhood. Spurned into action, Harvey goes through three unsuccessful campaigns for public office, gaining allies and support as well as enemies with each attempt. When he finally becomes America's first gay publicly-elected official, he finds that things don't get easier. An expert at the theater of politics, Harvey used the media and grass-roots movements to affect change. He started speeches by saying "I'm Harvey Milk and I'm here to recruit you," demonstrating his belief that there is power in numbers and that when united behind a cause, minorities can make up a majority. As he gains support and influence, Harvey also gains powerful enemies who turn out to be his undoing, but the revolution he led grew and lives on, becoming more powerful than the actions of one man.

Milk is up for eight Academy Awards: Best Actor (Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin), Costumes, Editing, Score, Screenplay, Directing, and Best Picture. Brolin and Penn each have big competition and aren't likely choices. I'd love to see Danny Elfman's score awarded, but pop songs were used as much as original music, so a film with more sustained use of score is more likely to win. The costumes were period, but it was a recent period and will be considered to have a lower degree of difficulty than some other films. Milk will probably not win its Editing or Directing nominations. As for Best Picture, it's impossible not to draw parallels between Harvey's struggle against Issue 6 in the movie to the recent outrage over California's Proposition 8 - a ballot measure opposed by many current Academy voters. It's a very timely movie that brings up current events and strong emotions, but it will lose ground against flashier fare and epics. Its best shot is for Best Original screenplay. The story of Harvey Milk has been kicked around Hollywood for years and it was only recently that someone had the novel idea to focus on the political movement rather than the politician. Besides, it's the only Best Picture nominee in the Original Screenplay category.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Doug's Big Oscar Quiz - Part 2 Answers

6 - c. "...friendo" Javier Bardemin "No Country For Old Men"

7 - e. "You think you're free?..." Angelina Jolie in "Girl Interrupted"

8 - b. "Rule number one..." Reese Witherspoonin "Walk The Line"

9 - d. "There is not a word..." Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote"

10 - a. "...justice being done." Tom Hanks in "Philadelphia"