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Home » Dave’s 2008 Oscar Preview – Part Two: Kazakhstan Lives for a Day

Dave’s 2008 Oscar Preview – Part Two: Kazakhstan Lives for a Day

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In which we see how even a film like Norbit can have a (surprisingly good) shot at the little golden man.

MAKEUP

  • La Vie en Rose
  • Norbit
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Will Win: La Vie en Rose
Should Win: La Vie en Rose

This is a very close call. Don't forget, The Nutty Professor won Rick Baker a statue back in '96. So just because it's Norbit, don't hate on the nomination. That having been said, Nutty Professor was a top ten grosser in its year and we had never really seen anyone create that effect before. Now, Norbit is just another fat suit. The only other obvious choice is La Vie en Rose, and the winner here usually goes to an obvious choice (even if they usually forget to nominate a bunch of more obvious choices). As for Pirates, don't be fooled, most of that's CG.

Marion Cotillard gives a dazzling performance in La Vie en Rose, but the makeup doesn't exactly hurt.

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Across the Universe
  • Atonement
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • La Vie en Rose
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Will Win: Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Should Win: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

The taste for this vote has turned slightly Baroque over the last few years, so the understated dress of Atonement and La Vie en Rose might not make an impact. Across the Universe is wild, but not so much because of the costumes. The Golden Age is a lot more in your face with its couture, and even if not a lot of people saw it, that didn't hurt last year's winner.

Sweeney Todd isn't quite as fabulouuus as The Golden Age, and so might be overlooked, but its costumes work better as part of an integrated look than the costume design of these other films, though Atonement comes close (which may be why they were the only two films also nominated for the next category…).

ART DIRECTION

  • American Gangster
  • Atonement
  • The Golden Compass
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • There Will Be Blood

Will Win: Atonement
Should Win: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I've sort of argued myself into a corner by picking The Golden Age for Costume Design, since these two awards almost always match and that film was not nominated here. Then again, they didn't match last year. There's also been a trend of late away from strict Best Picture nominees winning this award and I'm going to defy that, too, and say that the BAFTA win for Atonement is predictive.

At least my "should win" picks for Art Direction and Costume Design will match. Sweeney Todd truly is an aesthetic triumph (not to mention a directorial one, which, funnily enough, the Academy didn't).

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Atonement
  • The Kite Runner
  • Michael Clayton
  • Ratatouille
  • 3:10 to Yuma

Will Win: Atonement
Should Win: Atonement

On this one, I'm pretty much doing what little math I can come by. Clayton and Ratatouille's scores haven't been acknowledged elsewhere. 3:10 got a BFCA nod. Runner got a BAFTA nod. Atonement got both of those and a Golden Globe win.

The only score that stands out here for me is Atonement's. The narrative hinges on the very idea of narrative and things being written down, so the fact that the sounds of a typewriter are actually incorporated into the soundtrack as percussion is nothing short of brilliant. It's not every day you get subtext in your score.

ORIGINAL SONG

  • "Falling Slowly" – Once
  • "Happy Working Song" – Enchanted
  • "Raise It Up" – August Rush
  • "So Close" – Enchanted
  • "That's How You Know" – Enchanted

Will Win: "That's How You Know"
Should Win: "Falling Slowly"

I think it's a toss up between "Falling Slowly" and "That's How You Know." Splitting the vote three ways didn't help Dreamgirls any last year and "Slowly" has the only win to it's name (from the BFCA). On the other hand, "That's How You Know" has a BFCA nod and a Golden Globe nod and it's from a far more recognizable film. On top of that, Disney has a very strong history in this category. On top of that, Amy Adams, who sings the song herself, is an up-and-coming starlet and the Academy loves rewarding up-and-coming starlets (damn near gave her an Oscar already in '06), even if the award doesn't actually go to her.

Once, in my opinion, was the best film of last year, in no small part due to the amazing music, of which "Falling Slowly" is a prime example. You could have nominated five songs from that film to fill this category and I would have been happy. I'm just glad Once is getting some kind of props at The Show.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Beaufort
  • The Counterfeiters
  • Katyn
  • Mongol
  • 12

Will Win: Beaufort

Should Win: Mongol

First, let's reflect on some of the more obvious choices and why they're not represented here:

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Not submitted by France. They opted for Persepolis instead, which was probably a mistake, because…
Persepolis – Not here either. Got picked for Best Animated. Which would have left the door wide open for Diving Bell, had they submitted it.
Lust, CautionNot "Taiwanese" enough. Don't get me started.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days – I have no freakin' clue.
Black Book – Not submitted by Germany.
The Host – Okay, this would have been a long shot. But Korea didn't submit it, so we'll never know.

Pretty much any of these films could have knocked out any of the films that actually got nominated, but such is the fickle finger of the selection process. Anyhoo, Beaufort seems to have the most plaudits and domestic box office, if those are any indicator of name recognition, which is about all these flicks will have to go on as I doubt most of the Academy has seen any of them. Also, the plot, revolving around Israeli soldiers in Lebanon circa 2000, is kind of, um, timely.

I have seen none of these films, but I'm going to give it to Mongol just because it's Kazakhstan's first entry to make it to the final five and damn if we didn't give 'em hell last year.

In our next installment: Will there never be an Oscar season without penguins again?

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