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81’st Oscars, Winner Picks

Written By: Kyle Bulai

The 81’st Academy Awards are but one day away. After watching all of the films nominated and thinking over all of these, I’m making a list that is divided into two choices. The first is who I think will win the Oscar, the other is who I want to win. It was a great year for performances with many interesting films. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has topped the Oscars with the most nominations at 13, with Slumdog Millionaire coming in second with 10. After taking my time compiling this list, we’ll find out on Sunday how close these picks were.

Best Picture

SlumDog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader

Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Milk

Slumdog Millionaire was the underdog until it started sweeping awards, making this year’s race for Best Picture one of the closest yet. Milk is a powerful film considering it came out with the passing of proposition eight and although it may have been one of my first choices,the voters love a feel good story. What this movie did for other cultures, what it did for independent filmmaking is a huge deal. A perfect fairytale about a rags to riches boy finding love in the process. Danny Boyle gave it all he had. Something tells me that Button may ring too familiar a bell with Academy voters. Hint: Forrest Gump. Just like Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash in 2005, Milk may very well lose to Slumdog which is a fantastic picture in its own right.

Best Director

Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry – The Reader
David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Gus Van Sant – Milk

Who I think will win: Danny Boyle
Who I want to win: Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle made a film that will be remembered for years. Slumdog Millionaire takes place in a country far from England and his direction makes it seem as if he’s lived in India his entire life. Gus Van Sant and Fincher are at a close second, but Danny Boyle is this years golden boy.

Best Actor

Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn – Milk
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Who I think will win: Sean Penn
Who I want to win: Sean Penn

Sean Penn gave an Oscar winning portrayal of Harvey Milk that is as deserving of the award as Mickey. Having already won an Oscar and having strong political views in the media may hold him back,  but Penn beautifully recreated the life of Milk to the point where he was him. Likewise, Rourke gave an incredible comeback performance in the Wrestler. Every breath, every emotion were played powerfully. He was Randy the Ram and you could see his pain.  This is pretty close to a tie, with Rourke’s acting the best of his career as well as Penn’s. Hollywood still has a bout with homophobia, so like Heath Ledger lost to Philip Seymour Hoffman, Penn may not get it. Though Rourke has given a career reviving performance, Penn just won Best Actor five years ago. This is as close as it gets. Either one could win it.

Best Actress

Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Melissa Leo – Frozen River
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Who I want to think will win: Kate Winslet
Who I want to win: Kate Winslet

Although Meryl Streep gave a tremendous performance in “Doubt” (as she always does) Kate Winslet gave quite possibly her best performance yet in the Reader. After six nominations and no win, this year the Oscar will finally be hers.

Best Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin – Milk
Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road

Who I think will win: Heath Ledger
Who I want to win: Heath Ledger

The lip licking, maniacal laughing psychopathic transformation of Heath Ledger into the Joker is a performance that each and every single comic book villain will be judged on hereafter. His performance is one of the best in years. This one is in the bag.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – Doubt
Penelope Cruz -Vickey Christina Barcelona
Viola Davis – Doubt
Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Who I think will win: Taraji P. Henson
Who I want to win: Taraji P. Henson

Henson played Benjamin Button’s mother in as much an emotional way as Sally Field played Forrest Gumps. Her moving and superbly acted performance is well deserving of the Oscar. Though Penelope Cruz and Viola Davis are very close.

Best Original Screenplay

Wall-E
Happy Go Lucky
Frozen River
In Bruges
Milk

Who I think will win: Milk
Who I want to win: Milk

This utterly moving screenplay captured the 70’s while changing the way a biopic is told. The story of Harvey Milk brought awareness to his causes and did it in a timeless fashion. The amount of research and authenticity poured into this script makes it more then deserving for the win.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Curious Case of Bejamin Button
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
Doubt

Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Although Eric Roth way able to take a short story and turn it into a nearly three hour epic, academy voters may find the structure of Button all to similar to his Oscar winning screenplay Forrest Gump. This leaves Slumdog Millionaire, which was able to translate a Bollywood feel for American audiences. Add a a rags to riches story and you’ve got gold. It’s the perfect fairytale and nearly a sure shot win. The storytelling of Slumdog and the way it is presented is better then many past winners.

Best Animated Feature

Wall-E
Kung-Fu Panda
Bolt

Who I think will win: Wall-E
Who I want to win: Wall-E

At the risk of sounding pretentious, Wall-E is made by Pixar. Their animation always impresses, always wins. Wall-E is no different, with quite possibly the best animation ever produced.

Best Cinematography

Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Slumdog Millionaire

Though the Dark Knight had some truly epic photographic moments, nothing tops Slumdog’s sometimes frenentic, always engaging camera work. The buildings, the slums and the locations it has put on film are truly noteworthy.

Best Visual Effects

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Who I think will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight heavily relied on miniatures which are “real effects” and abstained from implementing too much CGI. With Button, he himself is fully motion captured and CGI’d for the first fifty two minutes of the film. The animation is so good in fact, that most moviegoers scratched their heads and wondered how David Fincher made Brad Pitt look so old.

Best Original Score

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Defiance
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire
Wall-E

Who I think will win: Wall-E
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Film Editing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
Frost/Nixon
Milk

Who I think will win: Milk
Who I want to win: Milk

Not too long, not too short, not too flashy. Milk found the perfect balance between all three. Button could’ve used twenty minutes or more cut, Slumdog had some great editing but too many camera cuts and the Dark Knight felt like it could use some work.

——–

That’s it for my list. I would’ve done this sooner but instead I had to rush it since the Oscars are tomorrow. Will my picks be accurate? Tomorrow night will prove that. Can’t wait to see what happens.

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One Response to “81’st Oscars, Winner Picks”

  1. As of right now, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Animated Film and Best Supporting Actor are all correct. I got Best Supporting Actress wrong, Penelope Cruz won.

    Original Score went to Slumdog Millionaire, and Best Editing went to Slumdog Millionaire. Two more that were incorrect.

    What a night! I went 10 for 13 with my picks. I actually got a higher percentage correct then Roger Ebert. Sean Penn won Best Actor, Slumdog Millionaire got Best Picture. Yes. Film critiquing credibility, here I come!


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