Friday, February 20, 2009

2009 Academy Awards Predictions

Whether you've entered in a pool or just predicting the winners for fun, part of what makes the Academy Awards fun is seeing which nominees actually end up with the big prize. This year is shaping up to be a bit predictable, because there seems to be a lot of shoo-ins rather than toss ups. But what makes the Oscars so interesting yet so frustrating is that the winners aren't always necessarily the "best," or most qualified work. I would say that it's 50% talent, 25% studio campaigning, and 25% plain ol' politics that determine who the winners are. So, while many of the categories have very clear frontrunners, there is always a big chance of an "upset."

First a little word on the format this year. Instead of the usual comedian hosting the show, the host of this year's Oscars is... People's Sexiest Man Alive, Hugh Jackman. Yeah, I don't know how that is going to play out. It is no secret that the ratings for the Oscars have been slipping in recent years. It didn't help that many of the movies nominated this year are not ones that did excellent at the box office. So in order to lure in viewers, producers have been working overtime to create a new format for the show. What can you expect? 1) They're not releasing the names of presenters this year, to keep it mysterious (I will tell you, Robert Pattinson/Twilight fans, he has been confirmed as a presenter). 2) The Oscars will take on a 'show-within-a-show' theme, with some of the awards/winners playing roles in this theme. Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, the Mamma Mia cast, Beyonce.. They've all been tapped to play a role. And my favorite, director Baz Luhrmann, has been recruited to choreograph a song-and-dance routine. 3) Judd Apatow and his crew have made a short film for the show. What it is no one will say, but as a fan, I am looking forward to it.

Ok, here are my predictions:

Best Picture
Slumdog Millionaire. It's been awhile since one film has managed to sweep EVERY major award leading up to the ceremony. It will be the biggest upset EVER if it does not follow through and win the biggest prize of the night. In addition to the Best Picture, it will win: Best Director for Danny Boyle, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song (I personally love O...Saya more, but I think the more people-friendly Jai Ho will win), Best Original Score...

If, for some reason the Academy does not award Best Picture to Slumdog, and it can happen, (see: 2006's frontrunner Brokeback Mountain losing to Crash) the award could go to MILK, or the most nominated film this year, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. But neither of these films have had the traction and buzz Slumdog has enjoyed, so I wouldn't bet on an upset in this category.

Best Actor
This is one of the more unpredictable awards of the night. It's come down to 2 contenders: Sean Penn in MILK, and Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Here is what makes this interesting, Penn immerses himself completely in the role of Harvey Milk while Rourke reveals himself completely in his role of the wrestler. What do I mean? Penn transforms himself into a whole different person, the real-life gay activist Harvey Milk. On the other hand, the role of the beaten-but-not-done Wrestler so closely mirrors Rourke's real life and career, it's like watching his life story play out. I think at this point they're neck and neck, but I'm going to go with Rourke as the winner. However, I do think there's a HUGE chance the Academy voters will try to prove that they're not irrelvant, antiquated, and homophobic (as they have been accused of in the past) and go with Penn's performance. This is what I mean when I say the Oscars are about politics.

Best Actress
Like the Best Actor category, this award is between 2 seasoned veterans. Doubt's Meryl Streep and The Reader's Kate Winslet. Um, Time Magazine already declared Winslet the winner on their cover this week. I think Kate will win this one, though the Academy can decide to go with Streep, who is widely known as the best living actress and despite her 14 career nominations, has only won twice (the last one being 26 years ago). However, plenty of campaigning from The Reader's studio, 2 strong performances this year, the perennial loser story (hey, the sixth's time the charm!)...Kate Winslet, this is your year!

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger, FTW. Nothing more to say here. Oh, except I take back what I said earlier, if Heath doesn't win a posthumous Oscar for his Joker, this will be the biggest upset EVER.

Best Supporting Actress
This is usually the first award given out of the night, and this is the hardest to predict. I want to go with Penelope Cruz (how cool would it be to see her real-life boyfriend and last year's Best Supporting Actor winner Javier Bardem hand her the award?? MAKEOUT SESSION!). But, she seems to sort of been losing steam in the last couple of weeks. This leaves the door wide open. Viola Davis for Doubt has a good chance, but may end up splitting the votes with her fellow Doubt co-star Amy Adams. Taraji P. Henson has been quietly building buzz, so she may take the prize from all of the nominees. And don't ever count out Marisa Tomei, who won once for My Cousin Vinny (seriously). I think most people think she actually deserves the award this time, unlike the last time she won. But, I'm going with... Cruz.

Other predictions
Best Documentary: Man on Wire.
Best Animated Fim: Wall-E.
Best Original Screenplay: MILK. Or Wall-E, if the Academy feels bad enough about not nominating this film for the Best Picture category.

The 81st Academy Awards are on Sunday, Feb. 22, ABC @ 8PM.


Julia Park said...

Definitely soo much better than last year's show! And seeing RPattz and ZEfron in one night .. AWESOME.

And hooray for Slumdog Millionare!

sang said...

Jackman was great. I can't look at wolverine the same though.