Are you one of those film fans who treat the Academy Awards as the Super Bowl of cinema? Well, I am.
The dozens of award shows leading up to the Oscars merely serve as playoffs, with the Golden Globes serving as the AFC and NFC Championships simultaneously. The red carpet is pre-game, and the performances are halftime entertainment. The only real differences between the Super Bowl and the Oscars are that the commercials aren’t as important and the action comes in the form of announcements, not touchdowns.
Nonetheless, when you sit down to watch the big show, have some delicious party food in one hand and your predictions in the other. The following are my predictions of who I think will win gold and who will go home empty-handed.
- Michael Clayton
- No Country for Old Men
- There Will Be Blood
Of all the 2007 theatrical releases, No Country for Old Men is easily the most masterful. Executed to perfection, No Country for Old Men is a classic take on the good vs. evil tale. While the film may appear to be focused on the paper that makes the world go round, it’s entirely centered on the contrasting personalities of its main characters. Between a small-town sheriff, a “lucky” hunter who believes in finder’s keepers, and an outright madman, there are purpose, providence, and chance respectively.
Despite its sudden Sopranos-esque ending, No Country for Old Men unearths a whirlwind of cinematic sensations from intensity to reflectivity. One minute you’ll be sitting on the end of your seat and the next you’ll be pondering the poeticism. What’s more, it features some of the year’s best acting and puts a legendary directing duo on display at the top of their game. After taking home the Golden Globe, Atonement presents the film most likely to upset No Country for Old Men. As for Michael Clayton and There Will Be Blood, one hasn’t garnered enough buzz and the other is too dark and comprehensive for the Academy's choosing. By far, the most interesting nominee is Juno. Hands down, Juno is one of the best intelligent comedies to come along in years. Unfortunately for Ebert’s heart, Juno doesn’t carry the capacity to beat out No Country for Old Men for the ’08 title.
- Probable Academy Pick: No Country for Old Men
- Possible Upset: Atonement
- Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
- Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men)
- Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
- Jason Reitman (Juno)
- Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Typically, the “best director” directs the “best picture.” That is to say, whoever takes home this golden guy virtually locks in the win for the final award. With that said, Joe Wright’s name is absent from the list. Therefore, Atonement loses stock in taking home the Best Picture honor. Similarly, Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly wasn't nominated for Best Picture or for Best Foreign Language Film. The Academy needs to rethink its factors for consideration. Even though the director is a Texan, the film at least deserves a foreign language nomination and more justly a Best Picture nom.