The Wrestler, The Dark Knight, Slumdog millionaire, Man on Wire, Waltz With Bashir - The Alternative Oscars
Ryan Owen 24/02/2009
Completed before the night itself, Ryan Owen picks out his favourite and less favourite film and acting nominees from this year's Academy awards ceremony. Finally selecting his picks for this year's Oscars. But do you agree with him?
As a Brit, I have to stay up ridiculously late whilst the rest of the nation sleep. Two Oscars ago, myself and friends all illegally streamed it together whilst MSN'ing each other our thoughts. As I will no doubt find myself deprived of sleep at the monumental time, I feel slightly aggrieved that one friend is in the US and another is in Japan, which means they will be up anyway when the Oscars are happening. Deprived of sleep and now companionship, I still experience that magical witching hour (or rather four or five) when it seems as if all the world is asleep apart from me and the BFG will turn up to see Kate Winslet cry too. Tomorrow is a new day, and if I had a job to go to, people would denounce my behaviour as lunacy. Alas I do not have a job, but an interview in 12 hours or so, but that won't let that stop me staying up past me bedtime.
Although, I feel this sacrifice should only be worthy if I were rewarded with a presenter of caliber. What about a Jew I hear you cry. Why not?! Larry David? Not yet that worldly familiar. Woody Allen? What a brilliant choice. But all those naysayers, “Oh but he bummed a child”. Jerry Seinfeld? Didn't he too? But I always preferred Kramer in Seinfeld. Now he would go down well. Hmm… maybe not. We'll have to make do with Huw Jackman instead.
Anyway my picks for the awards.
So Best Film.
Benjamin Button should be applauded for its special effects, but the story was too saccharine (Forrest Gump meets Cocoon anyone?), and if for a second you take away that Benjamin Button ages backwards, the story is not interesting and features characters that are not dynamic enough to be engaging.
Frost/Nixon was suspenseful, interesting and good to watch, but so too was Saved by the Bell. Frost/Nixon is much like a TV movie, and how can you take this serious by the same director who reveres Dan Brown. Yes, you Richie from that show Happy Days.
Milk and The Reader were alright, and featured good performances but were ultimately flawed. It's a crying shame that The Dark Knight and The Wrestler weren't nominated instead. I'll just repeat that as I'm still hurting. The Dark Knight and The Wrestler weren't nominated. Pontificate the Academy should.
Slumdog Millionaire is engaging throughout, shot energetically, with authentic and thoughtful performances, and a storyline that makes you root for the central character. I think Slumdog Millionaire should definitely win Best Picture. For many the same reasons I feel Danny Boyle should win Best Director.
Mickey Rourke undoubtedly deserves to pick up Best Actor. Do I need to explain?! I think Kate Winslet was good in The Reader but her performance is not Oscar worthy, if such a term exists. Kate Winslet is a great actress but her recent performances in Revolutionary Road and Little Children surpass this and I would prefer to see relative newcomer Mellissa Leo to win Best Actress for her role in Frozen River.
Heath Ledger deserves to win Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal as The Joker as I'm sure he will. Every time I watch The Dark Knight, his performance gives me goose bumps and a fright, and I always notice something else he does that I missed the last time.
I would like to see Marisa Tomei pickup the Best Supporting Actress gong as her role is crucial for Mickey Rourke's character in The Wrestler, although Penelope Cruz stole the silver screened show in VCB.
I think Milk should win Best Film editing, but I think it's editing is of standard fare, and Slumdog Millionaire should win as its editing is intrinsic to keeping the audience engaged and interested, and along with its score it has a vivacious energy. Best Adapted Screenplay should go to Slumdog Millionaire as the structure allows for the audience to get to know the central characters whilst maintaining suspense and tension throughout.
Further to this end, I'd like to see Slumdog Millionaire pickup Best Cinematography, Best Score, and Best Song for Jai Ho. I think The Dark Knight comes in a close second for Best Cinematography and would like to The Dark Knight pick up the Best Sound editing and Best Sound mixing awards.
Just to note, Bruce Springsteen's song for the Wrestler should have been nominated and won. I'm appalled at the academy for not nominating Bruce. Again I will repeat this for effect. I'm appalled at the academy for not nominating Bruce.
For Best Original Screenplay, I don't want Milk to win and think that In Bruges, Frozen River, Happy-Go-Lucky are all great little scripts, that are more deserving.
Although I haven't seen two of the nominees for Best Foreign Film, I feel that Waltz With Bashir should win, although The Class and the Baader Meinhof Complex were very good and close contenders.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button should win for Best Visual effects, however as most of the ageing on Brad Pitt was done through special FX, rather than make-up, it should win Best Visual effects and not makeup. Instead that award should (but won't) go to The Dark Knight as the Joker's makeup is now iconic. Hellboy 2 deserves a mention but as it's a sequel, most of the accomplishment was achieved for the first Hellboy.
I don't really like any of the nominees for Best Animated feature film but I'd say the award should go to Wall-E, especially for its courageous absence of dialogue during the first half making it almost a silent film. If it weren't for its stinking advertising, I'd almost like the film. One of the other nominees Kung-Fu Panda also stinks, but the director made a great little short called 'Made' which is mind-bogglingly brilliant, and you should look it up and watch now. Trust Ry, that's what I say. You can buy a T-shirt with that slogan on from www.filmryan.com now.
My awards for the Oscars go to:
Best Picture - Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director - Danny Boyle
Best Actor - Mickey Rourke
Best Actress - Kate Winslet
Best Supp Actor - Heath Ledger
Best Supp Actress - Penelope Cruz
Best Cinematography. - Slumdog Millionaire
Best Original Screenplay - Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay - Slumdog Millionaire
Best Foreign Film - Waltz With Bashir
Best Score - Slumdog Millionaire
Best Song - Jai Ho - Slumdog Millionaire
Best Animated feature film - Wall-E
Best Art direction - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Costume design - The Duchess
Best Documentary feature - Man on Wire
Best Film editing - Milk
Best Make-up - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Sound editing - The Dark Knight
Best Sound mixing - The Dark Knight
Best Visual effects - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
See the full list of Oscar winners here.
Who do you think should have been nominated, who do you think should have won a golden statue to prop open their toilet door and who shouldn't have?