Oscar Picks and Predictions

BY PAMELA FOOHEY

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

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

Johnny Depp deserved the Golden Globe he recently won for his portrayal of Sweeney Todd and, while I would like to say that he seems unlikely to face much competition this Sunday, many would point to Daniel Day-Lewis as the likely winner. Besides Day-Lewis, whose Daniel Plainview rivals Sweeney Todd in unwavering evilness, Depp’s biggest threat is George Clooney, who brought intrigue and depth (and a tiny bit of evilness) to Michael Clayton. Nevertheless, I hope that Sweeney Todd’s bloodletting comes out on top.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Julie Christie – Away from Her

Marion Cotillard – La Vie en Rose

Laura Linney – The Savages

Ellen Page – Juno

Ellen Page deserves to win for her portrayal of Juno just as much as Johnny Depp deserves to win for his portrayal of Sweeney Todd. Juno owes most of its success to Ellen Page, who proves she is a great actress. But Page faces serious competition from Julie Christie, an accomplished actresses whose status as a legend (Doctor Zhivago, Bonnie and Clyde), combined with her remarkable performance as an elderly woman dealing with Alzheimer’s most likely will deliver the Oscar to her.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

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

I want to pick Javier Bardem simply because I enjoyed No Country for Old Men and his character in novel form so much. Luckily, he appears to be the clear leader. Brandishing a weapon traditionally used to slaughter cattle and an outlandish haircut, Bardem embodies the lawless west Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy is famous for. Though the entire cast of No Country for Old Men is superb, Bardem really stands apart in his ability to haunt viewers long after the film has ended. I expect Oscar voters were similarly haunted.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There

Ruby Dee – American Gangster

Saoirse Ronan – Atonement

Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone

Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

Although looking at Cate Blanchett dressed up as Bob Dylan immediately makes one wonder how she could not win for best actress in a supporting role, Tilda Swinton and Amy Ryan could potentially steal her best supporting actress Oscar. Even so, given the Oscar’s affinity for actresses portraying characters that aren’t like them (Charlize Theron in Monster, Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry), such an upset is unlikely.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Nominees:

Persepolis

Ratatouille

Surf’s Up

No matter how good Persepolis may have been, Ratatouille definitely has this one locked in. Ratatouille proved that Disney rarely (if ever) gets it wrong. Ratatouille was heart-warming, charming, hilarious, and meaningful. Remy has the potential to become one of the most memorable animated characters of all time. The rat’s a winner.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Nominees:

Atonement

Juno

Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood

I still think Sweeney Todd deserved to be nominated for best picture of the year (and to win while we’re at it). However, choosing from what was actually nominated, No Country for Old Men seems to be the natural selection. Yet, Michael Clayton and Juno both have the potential to upset No Country for Old Men. Like Erin Brockovich and Seabiscuit from years prior, these two films have garnered lasting attention throughout their runs, especially Michael Clayton. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them rallied enough to steal the Oscar from the powerful and frightening No Country for Old Men. It’s just a question of whether the thwarter will be depressing (Michael Clayton) or uplifting (Juno). But even if No Country for Old Men doesn’t leave with the best picture Oscar, the Coen brothers can rest assured that they will go home with the best adapted screenplay Oscar or the best director Oscar, and most likely both.

The Oscars air live this Sunday, February 24th at 8pm on ABC.

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