Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Clearinghouse #14...Post Mortem

Slumdog cast and crew winning Best Picture

It says something that the biggest surprise of the night was Best Foreign Film...Japan's Departures. Otherwise, the evening was full of the expected. My perfect night of predictions in the Big 8 categories ended when Sean Penn won his second Best Actor Oscar for "Milk". I had thought that his first win for "Mystic River" was too recent and that the Mickey Rourke comeback story would prove irresistible. That being said, it's hard to quibble with the award going to Penn because he was truly outstanding as Harvey Milk.

As to the rest of the categories: Nailed 'em, but it didn't seem all that difficult...a little suspense in the two actress categories.

But the Slumdog momentum was just too much everywhere else. Including a tiny surprise in Sound Mixing that made the total count for Slumdog go to 8 Oscars.

I have said it before...I think that we discovered after Telluride this year that it was not the best year for film. Compared to last year's fest (Juno, Into the Wild, Diving Bell, There Will Be Blood, Persepolis...) and the year that was 2007...2008 couldn't really compete. I think we also realized as the fall turned into winter that the festival organizers had done a terrific job with what films they had to chose from. Slumdog isn't a great's good, but not great...still, it was the best thing I saw all year (Milk was a close second).

We learned again that the Telluride Festival is, perhaps, the most influential fest in the world...certainly among the top 5...and as I watched the Oscar telecast last night, I was reminded of how incredibly fortunate I have been to have been able to have participated the last three years. And I am thrilled at the prospect that come Labor Day this year, I expect to be back. Thanks Larry and Mitzi!!!

The Telluride Film Blog now goes into hibernation for a while. I'm at my busiest time of the school year for the next 2 months. As we approach summer, I'll resurrect the blog and start the speculation about what the 2009 version of Telluride may hold. Can't wait!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oscar Clearinghouse #13...And On With The Show

Overture, curtain, lights,

This is it, the night of nights

No more rehearsing and nursing our parts

We know every part by heart

Overture, curtain, light

This is it, we'll hit the heights

And oh what heights we'll hit

On with the show this is it

Tonight what heights we'll hit

On with the show this is it.

2 days left before Oscar!!!

And the expectations addressed last week have not really changed...My picks remain the same

Picture: SLUMDOG (TFF 2008)


Actor: Mickey Rourke/Wrestler (edging out Sean TFF buddy from 2007)

Actress: Kate Winslet/Reader

Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger/Dark Knight

Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz (TFF 2006)/VC Barcelona

Original Script: Dustin Lance Black/Milk


Additionally look for Slumdog to get Film Editing, Cinematography, Score and Song...and if it's a real sweep...Sound Mixing and Sound Editing...most pundits don't think the last two are going to happen...but maybe...

I'm guessing Button wins 2 or 3 tech awards...
WALTZ WITH BASHIR (TFF 2008) wins for Foreign Film

Check back next week...I'll do an Oscar post mortem for 2008's films in what will probably be the last post until sometime after the State Speech Tournament here in Oklahoma...I have a small part to play in its execution...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oscar Clearinghouse #12...Tick, Tick, Tick...

Dev Patel and Freida Pinto in Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire"
Is it 2008's Best Film? Oscar is going to say: "YES" on Feb. 22...

Less than two weeks from the Big Show and the Oscar community has settled into relative stupor. The conventional wisdom is that most of the main races are all but over and far be it from me to disagree...The Slumdog Millionaire Express has taken a lot of the suspense out of the weeks leading up to Oscar. That is unlikely to change in the next few days. The BAFTA awards over the weekend (the British version of Oscar) continued to echo what has been happening throughout awards season...Slumdog is the big dog and in all likelihood will be on Oscar night as well. Here's the lowdown by category for the Big Eight awards and a few comments along the way...

Best Picture: There is some buzz of a backlash against Slumdog based on whispers of exploitative work practices with regard to the younger children in the film. I suspect that is entirely hogwash...and that it won't actually diminish the film's chances of winning the Best Picture Oscar...Winner: Slumdog Millionaire...Surprise: Anything Else

Best Director: Danny Boyle has cleaned up this season and will no doubt do so again on Feb. 22. Again, some negative backlash buzz and a supposed mini-boomlet of support for Stephen Daldry, but Boyle is your winner. Winner: Danny Boyle/Slumdog. Surprise: David Fincher/Benjamin Button

Best Actor: The best race of the night it seems...Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke? Both performances have been honored during this awards season...Saw Milk a couple of weeks back and Penn is amazing! But Rourke has the come back story going for him and his work (what I've seen from the film) is also amazing...go with....Winner: Mickey Rourke/The Wrestler. Surprise: Though not really, Penn

Best Actress: A lot of folks think that the move to Kate Winslet in the last month has sealed the deal for her to win her first Oscar. I'm not so sure. She is the best thing about The Reader...which aims and misses as far as I was concerned...but she is very good in it. That said, I still think the Academy might go elsewhere...Streep being the most likely to pick up the trophy. The Anne Hathaway bandwagon, which seemed pretty strong 4-6 weeks ago, has all but disappeared. Winner: Winslet/The Reader. Surprise: Streep/Doubt

Supporting Actor: Ledger. Not a lot more to say. Going to win it...Should win it. Surprise: Impossible to contemplate.

Supporting Actress: I have been very confident about Penelope Cruz for months now. And with Kate Winslet gone to the lead category...she should be in great shape. Winner: Cruz/Barcelona. Surprise: Davis/Doubt

Original Script: Some actual uncertainty here. A battle between Milk and Wall-E...The human wins? Winner: Milk. Surprise: Wall-E

Adapted Script: Slumdog strikes again. Winner: Beaufoy/Slumdog. Surprise: David Hare/The Reader.

Other notes: I think that Slumdog is also likely to win Cinematography, Film Editing, Song, Score, And perhaps the Sound Editing and Mixing as well...meaning as many as 9 trophies...(It can't win 10 as it is double nominated in Best Song)...And maybe it doesn't...but I got a feeling...

It's D. Destiny!

Button...13 noms and no wins? Probably not. It probably wins a technical award here and there to avoid the complete shutout...

Waltz with Bashir will win Foreign Film...

Man On Wire will win Best Doc...beating 2007 TFF entrant from Werner Herzog, Encounters at the End of the World.

Last column before Oscar will go up the Friday before...Peace!