Academy Awards Un-Predicted

Okay. So the show is over and I’m actually quite pleased with the results, which I haven’t always been in the past few years. And it’s not because I was right with some of my predictions (cf. my previous post) but because the Academy actually took a step forward this year and took some “risks,” so to speak.

Here’s IMDb’s nice and concise list of nominees and winners again.

So where were my predictions right and where was I way off, I wonder…

Best Picture

My personal favorite, No Country For Old Men, received the trophy and not my Academy prediction, There Will Be Blood. (I guess what they say about the Berlin Film Festival is true after all: If you take a Bear home from Berlin, you ain’t gonna make it big at the Oscars.) I’m truly very happy for the Coen Bros for finally having their great talents be recognized. Big kudos from across the pond, guys.

Actor in a Leading Role

Well, nothing needs to be said here. This was clear as daylight from day one. The trophy went to Daniel Day-Lewis (as wished and predicted), a true actor who did a fantastic job, a man who does not even take credit for his own work when he holds a damn Oscar in his hands.

Actress in a Leading Role

In contrast to the Leading Actor award, this one was a major surprise. I don’t think “anyone” honestly had Marion Cotillard on their list, not even Marion Cotillard herself. Brave choice. It’s just a bit sad for the wonderful Julie Christie, who was my prediction. Ellen Page (who was my wish) on the other hand has many more nominations ahead of her and at least one win is surely going to be among them.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Just like the Lead Actor, this category has always been clear. Javier Bardiem got the golden boy for his stunning performance, as hoped for and predicted. Nicely done.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Tilda Swinton took home the trophy. In all honesty, I did not see that coming (I had predicted Cate Blanchett or Ruby Dee). Ms. Swinton seemed a bit startled herself, too. Again, kudos to the Academy for making a statement.

Directing

My dying wish, the decision I had to make with a gun point blank in my face, came true: the Coens got the Oscar for best Directing. Outdoing Paul Thomas Anderson again. My surprise prediction (Julian Schnabel) did not come true, of course. There were enough other surprises already.

Original Screenplay

Both my own favorite and prediction pulled through. Diablo Cody got the thing for Juno. Here’s another real artist who’s got a great future ahead of her if she doesn’t sell herself out. Which she won’t. No way.

Adapted Screenplay

The Coen boys did it again (as hoped). This was actually their first Oscar of the night. When they announced it I was happy and a bit disappointed at the same time because I deemed all chances for a Best Picture Oscar to be gone. My prediction for this one had been Paul Thomas Anderson.

Sound Mixing

No Country didn’t get it, as hoped, but The Bourne Ultimatum did, as somewhat expected.

Animated Feature Film

For me, this was the one real disappointment of the night because both my hopes and predictions were with Persepolis. Only one time during the night did the Academy go really popular/commercial, and this was it. Ratatouille got the Oscar. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a bad film. But compared to Persepolis, it’s not even worth mentioning. The high level of art and story of that little French film was superior to any animation film from last year. Period. But still kudos to the Academy for not having nominated The Simpsons Movie.

Animated Short Film

I was actually happy that Peter and the Wolf received the Oscar simply because I’ve seen that gem already. I cannot quite remember when and where, but I know I have.

Cinematography

This went to Rober Elswitt for There Will Be Blood, which is very justified. Although The Diving Bell and the Butterfly would have been, too.

Editing

The Bourne Ultimatum. Seeing that this was the only action film among the nominees in this category, it might not be such a bad decision because in order for an action film to work, its editing needs to be of the highest quality.

Art Direction

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I can see where they get the idea to vote for his.

Costume Design

Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Quite justified, I must say. Although strong consideration should have been given to Across the Universe with its sometimes freakishly weird outfits that are out of this world. But when it comes to Costume, the Academey tends to give the nod to the “oldest” film, in terms of the year it’s set in. So Elizabeth wasn’t a real surprise.

Makeup

This went to La môme (or La vie en rose, as the international “English” title goes). This was a bit of a surprise, judging from the few minutes of footage that I have seen of this film. But I’m just glad that Norbit didn’t get it.

Original Score

… went to Atonement, the only Oscar this film got out of seven nominations.

Original Song

I loved this. Although Disney’s dumb-ass flick Enchanted had three (!!) “songs” nominated in this category (and of course performed during the ceremony), the Oscar went to the utterly wonderful song “Falling Slowly” from the very independent film Once (sung by the leading actors of the film Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová). When called up on stage to receive the award, the two of them gave very heartfelt acceptance speeches. The show’s host, Jon Stewart, even brought Markéta Irglová on stage again after the commercial brake because she got cut off before by the orchestra just as she had wanted to start talking. These two speeches alone were worth staying up all night (mind you, I’m nine hours ahead of L.A. time).

Sound Editing

… went to The Bourne Ultimatum again, resulting in three Oscars for the movie. There Will Be Blood only received two!

Visual Effects
… went to The Golden Compass. Personally, I don’t like visual effects in movies, but I suppose there’s no way around an Oscar category for these. This movie is still the best choice out of the three, though.

Foreign Language Film

This one went to Austria for Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiters). Good choice, I have to admit, especially since it’s the second German-language film in a row, after last year’s win by Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others). I thought either 12 or Katyn would get it.

Documentary Feature

Taxi to the Dark Side. I was just happy about this, that’s all.

Documentary Short

Freeheld. I don’t really know anything about the films in this category, but I thought it a bit ironic that the nod to a piece about a dying lesbian police officer, who is refused to give her pension benefits to her life partner, was announced via satellite by young soldiers stationed in Iraq.

And last but not least…

Live Action Short Film

Le mozart des pickpockets. Again, I know nothing about the works in here, but the title sure seems nice.

As mentioned at the beginning, tonight’s show was really a good one. Which is mostly thanks to a really great year in the world of filmmaking. Many true artists received trophies tonight. Granted, many true artists were already nominated. But this just goes to show that either the Academy went a step forward by not nominating commercial, popular “blockbusters,” or the filmmakers themselves went a huge step ahead in putting better stories on screen, made by better people.

A lot of the films were independent productions and finally got the recognition they deserve. In the Original Screenplay category, female nominees outnumbered male ones. I believe this is a first in Oscar history. The Coens were extremely humble in their speeches. The only two words that Ethan said each time he was up at the mic were “Thank you.” You just gotta love these guys.

During the acceptance speech for Best Picture, they didn’t say a word and just let their co-producer Scott Rudin speak. (After all, they were just on stage right before accepting the Directing Oscar.) Rudin, at the end of his speech, dedicated the award to his partner Brian (I forget his last name) by saying, “Honey, this is for you,” clearly stating that he is gay. This went out live on national, conservative, American, network television (ABC) at primetime. What a great move. If the Oscars would’ve been broadcast on super-conservative FOX this year, this would’ve been even better.

It was a great event full of welcome surprises and only few disappoinments. And I cannot say it enough, most of the people who took home a Golden Boy tonight were those who are genuinely truthful to their art and craft: Ethan & Joel Coen, Daniel Day-Lewis, Javier Bardem, Tilda Swinton, Diablo Cody, Glen Hansard, and Markéta Irglová. This of course does not mean that those who didn’t get an Oscar are not “truthful to their art.” One really worthy candidate who got passed over was Paul Thomas Anderson.

That shall be the first half-assed “analysis.” Maybe there’ll be more as all of this settles in and the world wide talk gets going.

Oh yes, I’m not going to discuss Jon Stewart’s skills as a host. The films matter, not the show in itself.

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