Just a quick note. I did not do a "should win"/"will win" kind of thing. I mostly discussed this in my blurb of each section. I have also only commented on categories in which I have seen at least 60% of the films in question (with one exception).
* denotes the movies I have not seen.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: MY OPINION!
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
*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
This is not my being anti-no country, this is sctrictly routing for a deserving under-dog. Bardmen was convincing enough that when I see him at awards shows on TV I want to shout to the actors around him "Get away from him, he's a maniac!" (on the flip-side I hope that Ben Mulroney and Ryan Seacrest will ultimately sheild the stars from the attack). Anyways, Tom Wilkenson rocked my world.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There.
*Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
*Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
I'm rather partial to Cate Blanchett, it can't be helped. I am also partial to taking risks in acting and this has got to be one of the big ones. Though I suspect her big competition is Ruby Dee and I have yet to see American Gangster, so I will reserve judgement if Cate is not victorious.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
*Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
*Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno
Okie-dokie, here it goes. Julie Christie was brilliant, no doubt about it- but a huge part of why her performance was so moving was Gordon Pinsent. I understand why he wasn't nominated, but he was a huge part of why that movie and her role worked so well. Ellen Page on the other hand carried Juno. She was Juno, and will have a hard time transcending that role. She acted brilliantly despite some sketchy writing here and there, and her age. She showed a depth and maturity in tackling that character that would be difficult for anyone. I love Julie Christie, but the nod's to Page to me.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
*Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Le sigh. Daniel Day Lewis will win, but let's be clear, just because he was ROBBED in 2003 from his Gangs of New York oscar, doesn't mean he gets it now. Same goes to Johnny Depp, who is not allowed to win just because they wanted to give it to him for something artier than Pirates of the Carribean. I thought Viggo Mortenson was brilliant. BUT I would like to give an honourary mention to someone who should at the very LEAST be on the list. James McAvoy gave far and away the best performance in Atonement, and was probably the best thing about the movie. Given more screen time (rewrite! rewrite!) he could easily have been on the list.
Best Achievement in Directing
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, Scaphandre et le papillon, Le
The Coen Brothers are poised to take it and I agree that they should. No Country was a well paced, well acted, well shot movie, and I will be damned if I admit that it should be best picture. So this is what you get instead.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Away From Her
*The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Quite frankly anything apart from Atonement should probably win. It will become clear as this list goes on that I was no great fan of the Oscar favourites this year No Country and There Will Be Blood so I suspect that's shading my opinion of the writing. Away from Her is beautifully written and it's an absolute shame that Sarah Polley isn't up for Best Director so I'm defaulting to giving her the writing oscar.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007): Roger Deakins
Atonement (2007): Seamus McGarvey
No Country for Old Men (2007): Roger Deakins
Scaphandre et le papillon, Le (2007): Janusz Kaminski
There Will Be Blood (2007): Robert Elswit
This is a no brainer. Whatever I liked and didn't like in No Country, it is undeniably well shot and well paced. It is absolutely an "achievement in cinematography".
Best Achievement in Art Direction
*American Gangster (2007): Arthur Max, Beth A. Rubino
Atonement (2007): Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
*The Golden Compass (2007): Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007): Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo
There Will Be Blood (2007): Jack Fisk, Jim Erickson
My brother and I will disagree on this, but I'm a big fan of Sweeney for this one. I thought that it was a visually fantastic movie, and while I agree that it was (as Scott brilliantly put it) "Tim Burton at his Tim Burton-est", it was the artistic elements of the direction that stood out (as opposed to the acting and pacing elements that made No Country so excellent)
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Across the Universe (2007): Albert Wolsky
Atonement (2007): Jacqueline Durran
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007): Alexandra Byrne
*Môme, La (2007): Marit Allen
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007): Colleen Atwood
I'm seriously divided between Sweeney Todd and Atonement on this one. As you know I tend to look at the Academy Awards in context of "What really stood out about that movie?". For Sweeney Todd I think that the costuming was a big part of is, but Atonement's military garb was spot on. I wasn't that convinved at the period authenticity of Keira Knightly's green dress though, so I suppose that tips it for Sweeney Todd.
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
*August Rush (2007): Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack, Tevin Thomas("Raise It Up")
Enchanted (2007): Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz("Happy Working Song")
Enchanted (2007): Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz("So Close")
Enchanted (2007): Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz("That's How You Know")
Once (2006): Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová(“Falling Slowly” )
This was a pretty cool movie, and the best part of it was naturally its music. I recommend it, unless you really can't handle poor production quality (I couldn't help whispering "Buy a fricking tripod" to my brother when we watched it). But obviously this has no effect on the music. Right. Still see Once.
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Persepolis (2007): Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
*Ratatouille (2007): Brad Bird
Surf's Up (2007): Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
I suppose the favourite is Ratatouille, so I ought not comment on Persepolis's vast superiority. Though I inevitably assume it :)
Best Documentary, Features
*No End in Sight (2007): Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs
*Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (2007): Richard Robbins
Sicko (2007): Michael Moore, Meghan O'Hara
*Taxi to the Dark Side (2007): Alex Gibney, Eva Orner
*War Dance (2007): Andrea Nix, Sean Fine
This time around I've only seen one of the pictures, but I felt the need to comment. I watched an illegal copy of Michael Moore's Sicko before it was released in theatres. It was very Moore in fashion: basically tells you a lot of what you already know, makes some statements that are bold, some gutsy, some unfair. What I will say for Moore is that he had a lot of balls taking 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for the free medical treatment they couldn't receive in the US. Some will say that he painted an unfair picture of Cuba- I argue that it makes one consider how bad the American health care system can be that Cuba can ever be made to look like good-guys.
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Away from Her
Fine. Michael Clayton. Just because I liked it the best. And because it has no chance of winning. It's like my Toronto Maple Leafs of film.