A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Picks – 2009

It’s time once again for my annual predictions for the Best Picture Oscar to be awarded this weekend. I base my predictions solely on media buzz, plot synopsis, and my knowledge of Academy Award history, because once again this year life happened and I didn’t see of these films. This year I hope to improve on my perfect record (FYI I’m 0 for 2) and accurately predict the winner. The nominees for Best Picture are:


No, you’re wrong. This is not the exciting, suspenseful story of the “got milk?” ad campaign from a few years ago. Actually, it’s a bio pic about a crusading gay leader in 1970’s San Francisco, who probably became more famous outside the Bay area as a result of how he died: assassination. Sean Penn’s performance is getting a lot of buzz in the lead role, although it will be quite a feat to outshine his previous performances in I Am Sam and Mystic River.


Another film based on historical fact about the television interviews disgraced ex-President Richard Nixon granted to British television journalist David Frost. These interviews made news at the time because they were the first time Nixon spoke publicly about his years in the White House since his resignation. If memory serves me correctly, I believe the interviews coincided with the publication of Nixon’s memoirs. Frank Langella’s performance has also been praised as Oscar-worthy. I can’t help wondering that the title itself is a subliminal message harking back to Nixon’s approval ratings during the Watergate scandal. We weren’t exactly having a warm, fuzzy relationship with our president at that time. Cold and chilly are good metaphors for our feelings toward Nixon then and now.


I’ve heard very little about this film even though its subject matter - an affair between an older woman and a teenage boy - is every man’s fantasy at one time or another. It also helps that Kate Winslet is part of this fantasy. She is favored to win Best Actress, but I don’t know if odds makers are taking her acting ability into account or the fact that she looks great au natural.


This year’s best picture nominee from the sprawling epic genre is based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story which, if I recall correctly, was maybe five pages long. Leave it to Hollywood to mine so much out of so little source material. This isn’t the first time this has happened: the story for It’s A Wonderful Life originated on a Christmas card (!). The result is a special effects laden narrative that many people have found similar to Forrest Gump.


This story — a poor boy in India who wins big on a million dollar television quiz show — has universal appeal and has garnered international acclaim and awards recognition. The stars appear to be aligning for this to be the big winner at the 81st Annual Oscars ceremony. Why should I buck the tide with my record? I’ll go with the flow and root for this one to get Best Picture.

Overall, look for the bio pics Milk and Frost/Nixon to divide the acting categories. Historical dramas have not done well in recent years where Oscar is concerned. Case in point: Good Night and Good Luck. Exceptions have been the more exotic histories: Braveheart and The Last Emperor. Button will probably take the majority of the special effects categories. The Reader may be disappointed and come up empty-handed. It may well be the biggest upset in Oscar history if Slumdog does not take Best Picture.


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