2009 Academy Awards Predictions

By no means does this list represent what I think should win, but what I think will win. That being said, some of these picks totally deserve to take home the golden statue.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

I predict a big night for “Slumdog Millionaire” because it’s the obvious choice and the academy almost always goes for the obvious choice. I’ve seen three of the five films in competition this year and I liked “Slumdog” the most, but that isn’t saying much. It’s more like I hated it the least. I’ll save the juicy details for the review I plan on writing if and when it comes out in South Korea.

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke for “The Wrestler”

You know an actor did a good job when you can’t imagine anyone else in the same role. Mickey Rourke, the washed up has-been in real life makes a stunning comeback with his first big lead in years as, well, a washed up has-been. Of this year’s choices, he is the only other actor besides Heath Ledger who successfully managed to make the movie he starred in all about him.

Best Actress: Kate Winslet for “The Reader”

It pretty much comes down to first-time nominee Anne Hathaway and seasoned Academy Award veteran Kate Winslet (currently running 0 for 5). This year’s competition for “Best Actress” pits a fresh face vs. experience, indie vs. studio. Regardless of who gave the best performance, Winslet will probably win because she’s paid her dues while Hathaway is still too wet behind the ears.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for “The Dark Knight”

The dude died just a few months after breathing new life into a character that will forever be remembered as one of cinema’s most colorful villains. He’ll win.

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for “Doubt”

This is the toughest one to predict because there is no frontrunner. I’m betting on Viola Davis to be this year’s “token black actress” pick.

Best Director: Danny Boyle for “Slumdog Millionaire”

Danny Boyle is a respectable director. He’s made a handful of decent movies (“Millions,” “The Beach,” “28 Days Later”), but a lot of his work is very hit (“Trainspotting) or miss (“Sunshine”). As I mentioned earlier, “Slumdog Millionaire” fits more in the miss column. I suppose it isn’t the end of the world if Boyle wins an Oscar when so many talentless hacks have before him. It’s just a shame to award a good filmmaker for one of his bad movies. This seems to be a tradition at the Academy Awards – two years ago Martin Scorsese won for “The Departed” (a solid film but not his best by a long shot) and last year the Coen brothers took the trophy home for “No Country for Old Men” (again, a commendable effort but rather minor compared to “Fargo” or “The Big Lebowski”). David Fincher and Gus Van Sant, two capable directors, are also nominated for some of their poorest contributions to cinema: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Milk.” Perhaps it’s just a testament to how often the academy fails to get it right. After all, they left the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Bunuel, and Ingmar Bergman completely empty-handed.

Best Original Screenplay: “WALL-E”

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Dustin Lance Black’s screenplay for “Milk,” but I’m following my heart on this one. Andrew Stanton merits more than just a pat on the back for creating two main characters whose combined vocabulary is limited to “WALL-EEEEEEEE” and “EEEEEEEEVE,” and still make a film that works wonders. But the odds are against him. If “WALL-E” wins, he will go down in history as the first person to be awarded an Oscar for writing the script of an animated feature.

Best Adapted Screenplay: “Slumdog Millionaire”

The “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” and “Best Screenplay” (Original or Adapted) often go together, and as the French say “jamais deux sans trois.”

Best Animated Film: “WALL-E”

“WALL-E” single-handedly quadrupled my respect for Pixar. It’s not that I disliked “Toy Story” (1995) or “Finding Nemo” (2003), I’ve just never been so swept off my feet by a cartoon. If I’d had it my way, this computer generated gem would be a shoe-in for “Best Picture” and “Best Director,”  but because it doesn’t quite fit the academy-award mold, it was unjustly robbed of nominations in the more prestigious categories. “WALL-E” is not only the best animated film of the year, but arguably of all time – if it doesn’t win, I’ll teleport myself to Los Angeles and bomb the Kodak Theatre (in case the CIA/FBI is tracking this, that’s a joke).

Best Foreign Film: “The Class”

Palme d’Or winners rarely do very well at the Oscars, especially in the foreign film category. Yet, this French docudrama has what it takes to pull off an upset over “Waltz with Bashir” – an interesting technique, realistic performances, and most importantly, a taut but always politically correct examination of a weighty subject (the ethnic diversity of a Parisian high school).


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10 Responses to “2009 Academy Awards Predictions”

  1. Jonnytalbs Says:

    I completely agree man. You have a way with words. I’m really impressed with your writing style. It is witty and enjoyable to read. Good on ya brother.

  2. Alex Says:

    I gotta disagree with the Viola Davis thing. I think Penelope Cruz is going to win.

    And I hate that Kate Winslet is going to win for such a mediocre movie. She’s easily the best actress working today and she did such good roles this year in two otherwise kinda crappy movies. If she had won for Eternal Sunshine it would have been ok.

  3. jacobworrel Says:

    Penelope Cruz may very well win (I missed “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” so I can’t judge just how good her performance was) BUT never underestimate how political the Oscars are. There are no African-Americans nominated in any other category and most critics gushed over her appearance in “Doubt.” It’s a tough call, that’s for sure.

  4. KNEEL Says:

    I am wondering what films you would choose if the decison was up to and not just the films nominated by tinsel town.

    Alternative Oscars:

    Best Picture: Mamma Mia!

    No Guns, Nio Violence, No Hang-ups, No social problems. Just Really Good Fun.

    Best Actor: Ricky Gervais: Ghost Town

    I don’t always like Gervais but in this he was great.

    Meryl Streep: Mamma Mia!

    For being so happy

    Best Supporting Actor: Tom Cruise: Tropic Thunder


    Best Supporting Actress

    Best Director: Pierre Morrel: Taken

    End to End action

    Best Adpated Screenplay: Traitor

    Anything written by Steve Martin should win and it is a good film

    Best Animated Film

    Waltz with Bashir

    Not all animation has to be sweet and for kids

    Best Foreign Film

    The Chaser

    About time Korea won an Oscar and this isn’t the best movie to ever come out of Korea.

  5. KNEEL Says:

    I meant to say if the voting was up to you, which movies would you choose.

  6. jacobworrel Says:

    That’s a good question, but it’s hard to say, really. For the most part, I don’t agree at all with the nominations. I’m gonna post my “top 10 films of 2008” list within the next month or so, when I feel like I’ve really seen everything that deserves consideration.
    As it stands, the only categories I feel strongly about are:
    Best Actor – Mickey Rourke
    Best Supporting Actor – Heath Ledger
    Best Original Screenplay – WALL-E
    Best Animated Film – WALL-E

  7. Maureen McCole Says:

    Best picture will be: SlumDog
    Best Actor: Mickey Rourke or Sean Penn
    Best Actress: Meryl Streep (forget about Winslet for now).
    Best Supporting: Penelope Cruz
    Best Supporting Actor: Heath
    Best Director: Danny Boyle

  8. jacobworrel Says:

    David Carr of the New York Times must have read my article because his predictions are exactly the same (other than “Best Foreign Film” – he picked “Waltz with Bashir”).

  9. juju567 Says:

    My two cents.
    I could not agree with you more about Mickey Rourke. The movie is bad ass (with a few criticisms that can be easily made like the fact that aronofsky does not know how to write female parts or does not know how to direct them). The movie’s effectiveness relies on its presentation of two visual settings. The first is the wrestling league: the ring and the backstage. Its so fun to see how these people would interact before the fight and how much is really acting in their fighting. The scene where Rourke signs autographs is great as well. The other main setting of the movie which makes the film is Mickey Rourke’s body. It reflects all the contradictions of his life. He is muscular and manly, yet he is old and somewhat feminine. His struggle for meaning and admiration from the public is reflected in his physique. His journey is reflected in the various scars, wrinkles, shades of sun tan, and other physical transformations that he engages in. If film is the art of showing and not telling, then this movie is effective in its task. Finally, I thought the moments of humour where great and appropriate. I could not help but think about The Wrestler the next day when I was buying my deli meat and cheese from the local supermarket.
    Now, my second cent. I totally agree with you Jake when you talk of the “political correctness” of The Class. I think that is a valid criticism. Despite the difficulties of running a class of high energy teenagers, none of the students nor any of the teachers are detestable. The behavior of the least likeable teacher in my opinion (the history teacher) is actually quite understable. As for the students, they are all quite engaged in their learning. For the most part, they respect the teacher and their challenges to the “system” come off as normal for teenagers. I would have also like the film to deal a little more with the families of these kids. That is essential to the problem in these schools. Overall, I enjoyed watching the movie. It brought back memories. I think we will be seeing more and more movies of the sort now that Obama is president. I thnk that any subject matter that falls under the domain of “cultural diversity” will be applauded by audiences regardless of artistic merit. Slumdog millionaire comes to mind (not that I want to equate these two movie). Ultimately, The Class provides good insight into the issues of cultural diversity in the French public school system, but one would wish to see a movie that is a little more daring (and a little less of a crowd pleaser).
    Those were my two cents. Oh yes, and I love you too Jake.

  10. My Yearly Oscar Angst « YOU’LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN Says:

    […] year, I took the time to actually make predictions; this year, I don’t see the point. I wasn’t going to write about the Oscars at all, but […]

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