Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oscar Predictions: Eyes-Closed Edition

Now that November's almost over, and the precursor awards are waiting to be handed out starting in early December, I figured I'd put one last set of predictions on record so that once again I can hope to be proved clairvoyant about these things when in actuality I will be proved adequately observant. Better than nothing.

As we head into the turn on the Oscar year, we still don't have a movie that can be definitively termed a "lock." There's strong consensus around some films, certainly -- Atonement, Charlie Wilson's War, No Country For Old Men -- but nothing's a sure bet quite yet. Even in the acting categories, only a small handful of performances are pretty much guaranteed to endure (Cate Blanchett: clear up some mantle space). So here are my best educated guesses, frozen for posterity.


  1. Atonement (Focus)
  2. American Gangster (Universal)
  3. No Country For Old Men (Miramax)
  4. Sweeney Todd (Paramount)
  5. Juno (Fox Searchlight)

Also: Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.); There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage); Into The Wild (Paramount Vantage); Charlie Wilson's War (Universal); The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax).

Truth be told, I'd like to swap out one of Sweeney/Juno for Michael Clayton but I'm not confident enough about which to drop. Unless Atonement gets brutalized by the critics, it looks safe for a nomination (I wouldn't call it a frontrunner for the win, though). Gangster's strong box office is strong in its favor while No Country has the critics. Any of that second five could surge its way to a nomination if it catches a wave of support in the next month.

  1. Joe Wright -- Atonement
  2. Ridley Scott -- American Gangster
  3. Joel and Ethan Coen -- No Country For Old Men
  4. Tony Gilroy -- Michael Clayton
  5. Paul Thomas Anderson -- There Will Be Blood
Also: Sean Penn (Into The Wild); Jason Reitman (Juno); Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly); Sidney Lumet (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead); Mike Nichols (Charlie Wilson's War); Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd).

This looks like a strong year for that 5th director slot that tends to favor iconoclastic directors without corresponding Best Picture nods. Anderson, Penn, Schnabel, and Lumet fit that mold perfectly. Predicting Gilroy probably means I'm still holding a torch for big Oscar success for Michael Clayton, but I really do think it could end up as a big winner. In general, I'd caution against drawing too many comparisons from American Gangster to The Departed in terms of its potential Oscar success, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Ridley Scott could finally get a Best Director trophy this year.

  1. Daniel Day-Lewis -- There Will Be Blood
  2. James McAvoy -- Atonement
  3. Denzel Washington -- American Gangster
  4. George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
  5. Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd)
Also: Matthieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly); Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah); Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild); Viggo Mortenson (Eastern Promises); John Cusack (Grace Is Gone); Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson's War); Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Savages).

The advance raves for Daniel Day-Lewis are already looking mighty similar to his raves for Gangs Of New York. This time around, they may end up pushing him all the way to a second trophy. The time seems right for McAvoy's ascendance to the Best Actor echelon. I wasn't crazy about Denzel in Gangster but enough will be to allow him to ride a Best Picture nominee to a nomination of his own. Clooney by all rights should get recognized for a career-best performance while Depp will either blow people away or disappoint them utterly. The second tier looks kind of anemic, with only a groundswell for Viggo or a late charge by Cusack or Amalric looking like genuine upset possibilities.

  1. Amy Adams -- Enchanted
  2. Marion Cotillard -- La Vie En Rose
  3. Ellen Page -- Juno
  4. Julie Christie -- Away From Her
  5. Kiera Knightley -- Atonement

Also: Laura Linney (The Savages); Jodie Foster (The Brave One); Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart); Cate Blanchett (The Golden Age); Nicole Kidman (Margot At The Wedding).

Best Actress is suddenly looking like a stronger category than Best Actor, thanks in part to early-year performances from Cotillard, Christie, Foster, and Jolie. Amy Adams is at the top of my list because she's the only one of the top five that I can really evision winning the award. She's having this weird "Julia Roberts by way of Julie Andrews" moment -- it'll be interesting to see if it lasts.

  1. Javier Bardem -- No Country For Old Men
  2. Phillip Seymour Hoffman -- Charlie Wilson's War
  3. Tom Wilkinson -- Michael Clayton
  4. Casey Affleck -- The Assassination of Jesse James
  5. Paul Dano -- There Will Be Blood

Also: Hal Holbrook (Into The Wild); Max Von Sydow (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly); Philip Bosco (The Savages); Alan Rickman (Sweeney Todd); Tommy Lee Jones (No Country For Old Men).

Nobody's talking about Tommy Lee Jones in No Country, but I think it's an easily-campaigned lead/supporting borderliner, provided his Elah bid doesn't catch fire. Bardem's buzz hasn't diminished any, and Hoffman's had a strong enough year that he'll end up getting nominated for something. I'm currently picking youth (Affleck and Dano) over age (Holbrook, Von Sydow, Bosco), but I could easily see that flipped.

  1. Cate Blanchett -- I'm Not There
  2. Tilda Swinton -- Michael Clayton
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh -- Margot At The Wedding
  4. Helena Bonham Carter -- Sweeney Todd
  5. Saoirse Ronan -- Atonement
Also: Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone); Romola Garai (Atonement); Leslie Mann (Knocked Up); Meryl Streep (Lions For Lambs); Marisa Tomei (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead).

Blanchett's about as locked a nominee as you can get. It's starting to look like she's unbeatable for the win, too, but seeing as I'm Not There doesn't figure to be that strong of a presence in other categories, I won't set it in stone yet. As strong as Supporting Actress has been in the last couple years, it's looking awfully anemic this year. Which is good news for someone like Tilda Swinton, who'd have been overlooked in years past. I'm still hoping Leigh can hold on, though her popularity may be more among prognostocators rather than those with an actual ballot. I'm calling "uncle" on Saoirse Ronan as the Atonement nominee since she's the one people keep coming around to. I tried, Romola Garai. I really did.

In other category prediction news:

1. Juno
2. Michael Clayton
3. Enchanted
4. Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
5. The Savages

Also: Ratatouille; Knocked Up; Eastern Promises; Lars and the Real Girl; Once.

1. Atonement
2. No Country For Old Men
3. American Gangster
4. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
5. There Will Be Blood

Also: Into The Wild; Charlie Wilson's War; Sweeney Todd; The Assassination of Jesse James; Away From Her.

1. Roger Deakins -- The Assassination of Jesse James
2. Eric Gautier -- Into the Wild
3. Janusz Kaminski -- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
4. Robert Elswit -- There Will Be Blood
5. Seamus McGarvey -- Atonement

Also: Roger Deakins (No Country For Old Men); Dariusz Wolski (Sweeney Todd); Rodrigo Prieto (Lust, Caution); Harris Savides (Zodiac); Edward Lachman (I'm Not There).


DL said...

I just got back from Enchanted and we're definitely on the same page about Amy Adams' Oscar prospects. If she manages to get nominated, I can't see her losing.

adam k. said...

Wow, suddenly Amy Adams is IT. What happened??

I definitely see her winning the globe, but this movie looks awfully "Disney" for something that wants to win a major oscar. But if people keep up these Julie Andrews comparisons, it just might happen. I certainly wouldn't begrudge Amy anything. In my book (and a lot of other people's), she should already have an oscar.

But original screenplay, too? Really? Why not just predict it for best picture? I think Amy and the songs are good bets, but come on. Whatever, I'm seeing it tomorrow, maybe it's great.

I don't feel good about JJL. I think she and Nicole will both get globe noms and then miss out everywhere else. That's just my feeling. We'll see.

Also, where the fuck is Helena Bonham-Carter actually campaigning? I'm so confused. But I don't see her as a lead nominee. So she shouldn't really try to be one.

Joe R. said...

Original Screenplay is looking mighty thin on heavyweights, Adam. If Amy becomes a contender, she could easily drag this along with her. Look at the other contenders beyond the top 5 -- none of them will have a top-four category nominee in their corner.

Michelle said...

Wow, I have clearly not been paying any attention to Enchanted. I had no idea the reviews were so strong, and when I first glanced through this entry I was sure you meant Adams' performance in some other Serious movie. I guess I will have to check it out.

Julia said...

I'm calling it- Ellen Page is NOT getting in this year. I'm seeing Best Actress as being:


The only way I can see her getting in is if she swaps with Keira Knightley, as sort of the ingenue nominee, and that's only going to happen if Atonement's box office or reviews don't pan out here the way they've done in Europe.

I feel like otherwise this category is way too young and new for Oscar- Adams, Knighley, and Page, plus the basically unknown Cotilliard? No way.

Joe R. said...

That's a good point, Julia. It's weird, with Juno, because the more I see of it, the more it doesn't seem to be in line with Academy tastes, but then everyone who sees it falls passionately in love with it.

Julia said...

Yeah, I know what you're saying about Juno, Joe. Perhaps I shouldn't judge, as I haven't seen it yet and consequently might not be paying it the appropriate amount of attention, (incidentally, have you seen it yet?), but I feel like buzz for it has fallen off in the past few weeks. Also, Amy Adams has definitely taken Ellen Page's place as the sort of "a star is born" awards prospect, at least for the time being.

Of course it's early yet, but I've never felt really strongly about Juno's Oscar chances in the major categories- I always pictured it as getting an original screenplay nod, but I just couldn't see it in the big dance. Again, though, I need to see it before I can set what's currently a gut feeling in stone.

adam k. said...

Yeah, I (for the record) and feeling similarly about Juno. It just doesn't seem oscary to me. And Ellen Page is screaming "Thora Birch in Ghost World to me. People fell in love with that film, too, but that didn't give it lots of nominations.

I don't see both Ellen and Amy getting in. And I also don't see Amy not getting in, if this praise keeps up.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of a single one of those movies. Is it because I still live in Buffalo?