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A late push of anticipation and Hollywood star power actually give the ceremony a fresh spin this year.

Tall Writer’s Oscar Picks and Analysis

Yes, the Academy Awards will be televised this year thanks to the end of the Writer’s Guild of America strike. The late push of anticipation and Hollywood star power actually give the ceremony a fresh spin this year.

Not all filmmakers are included in this cavalcade of cinematic celebration. Knocked Up, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, I Am Legend, The Great Debaters, The Namesake, Spider-Man 3 and Zodiac didn’t get any nominations.

In any case, it’ll be nice to see talented filmmakers and actors getting their due and pretending not to get mad when they don’t win. Categories and my picks in bold.

Best Picture

  • Atonement
  • Juno
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country for Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood

The Coen brothers’ Country should win here. Michael Clayton was the only nominee from a major studio, the rest were independents. The Bourne Ultimatum should have been a nominee.

Best Director

  • 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

The Coen brothers won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) award, which usually means they’re sure winners. Anderson has the second best chance. Schnabel also has a chance because he won the Golden Globe. First time nominees Gilroy and Reitman have great careers ahead of them.

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Julie Christie – Away from Her
  • Marion Cotillard – La vie en Rose
  • Laura Linney – Savages
  • Ellen Page – Juno

Christie’s the front runner here even though she has already won an Oscar for Darling (1966). Cotillard has a chance thanks to her Golden Globe win. Page also has a chance, but new actresses usually have more success in the supporting category than lead.

Best Actor

  • George Clooney – Michael Clayton
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
  • Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd
  • Tommy Lee Jones – In the Valley of Elah
  • Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises

Probably the easiest category to pick. Day-Lewis will likely join the double Oscar club with Christie, though the competitors on the list are very popular.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Casey Affleck – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – Charlie Wilson's War
  • Hal Holbrook – Into the Wild
  • Tom Wilkinson – Michael Clayton

Bardem has dominated the other award show and seems a likely winner year for his unique antagonist performance. First time nominee/veteran actor Holbrook could take the prize here while giving some much needed recognition to Into The Wild. Affleck also has an outside chance.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Cate Blanchett – I'm Not There
  • Ruby Dee – American Gangster
  • Saoirse Ronan – Atonement
  • Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone
  • Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

A Blanchett win, for her Bob Dylan portrayal, would make cross gender performance history. Support for her Elizabeth lead actress performance could shift here. Ryan would be the next competitor (she’s the only nominee for the high quality Gone Baby Gone), then Swinton or Dee, who both won other awards. Jennifer Garner (Juno) deserved Ronan’s spot.

Best Animated Film

  • Ratatouille
  • Persepolis
  • Surf’s Up

Disney/Pixar made one of the best films this year (animated or live action) with the reviving Ratatouille. Sony will try to steal it away with their two nominations.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Diablo Cody – Juno
  • Nancy Oliver – Lars and the Real Girl
  • Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton
  • Brad Bird – Ratatouille
  • Tamara Jenkins – The Savages

Diablo Cody will likely win, but it’s close with the talented Gilroy for the only other best picture nominee in this category, Michael Clayton, which could possibly cancel them both out for a Bird win. Would’ve been great to see the late Adrienne Shelly get a nomination for Waitress.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Christopher Hampton – Atonement
  • Sarah Polley – Away From Her
  • Ronald Harwood – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – No Country for Old Men
  • Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood

Another tight race. The Coen brothers already won a screenplay Oscar for Fargo, so Anderson should get it here, especially because he likely won’t win for Best Director. Polley gets her first nomination.

More categories of interest include:

Best Cinematography

  • Roger Deakins – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Seamus McGarvey – Atonement
  • Janusz Kaminski – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Roger Deakins – No Country for Old Men
  • Robert Elswit – There Will Be Blood

A serious lack of American-born winners hurts a deserving Elswit, who ironically won the American Society of Cinematographers award. Deakins doubles his chances, plus hasn’t won yet after five nominations.

Best Documentary

  • No End in Sight
  • Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
  • Sicko
  • Taxi to the Dark Side
  • War/Dance

Usually a hot topic category, so the Iraq war wins out. No way the Academy will let Moore take the stage again.

Best Editing

  • Christopher Rouse – The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Juliette Welfling – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Jay Cassidy – Into the Wild
  • Roderick Jaynes – No Country for Old Men
  • Dylan Tichenor – There Will Be Blood

Long running times increase the chances in this category, but the blending of the drama and action genres shown in Bourne and No Country make them front runners. Go with Rouse because “Jaynes” is already getting an Oscar for directing.

Best Original Score

  • Dario Marianelli – Atonement
  • Alberto Iglesias – The Kite Runner
  • James Newton Howard – Michael Clayton
  • Michael Giacchino – Ratatouille
  • Marco Beltrami – 3:10 to Yuma

Giacchino is my personal pick and Newton might be due after seven nominations for score/songs, but Marianelli takes it.

Best Original Song

  • “Falling Slowly” from Once – Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
  • “Happy Working Song” from Enchanted – Music by Alan Menken, Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
  • “Raise It Up” from August Rush – Music and lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas
  • “So Close” from Enchanted – Music by Alan Menken, Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
  • “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted – Music by Alan Menken, Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Three times is not the charm here. Amy Adams will sing “Happy Working Song” at the awards plus Menken and Schwartz are very talented, but one nomination is all Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova need to win.

Best Makeup

Norbit gets a nomination thanks to Rick Baker’s makeup work and Eddie Murphy’s tolerance for fat suits (remember the turnstile scene), but Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End will likely beat Norbit and La Vie en Rose.

Best Visual Effects

Transformers takes the prize here for complexity. Golden Compass and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End are the other nominees.

Jon Stewart returns as host (hopefully for many more years to come). Be sure to watch Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, live on ABC beginning at 8 p.m. EST.

About Tall Writer

Love writing, media, and pop culture with a passion and using them in meaningful ways.

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