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Oscars 2009 – Nominations, Predictions, Choices and Comments

"Oh (sob) ahh (sob) no but ohhhhhh (sob) I mean thaaaaank you (sob)

"Oh (sob) Aahh (sob) I mean (groan) what can I say (sob and groan)

Oscars 2009 – Nominations Predictions, Choices and Comments

London: 01.40 GMT – Just in under the wire before the announcements are made.

I do this every year as a kind of personal aide-memoire. Historically I’ve been crap at prediction. And my personal preferences, though supported by arguments in reviews are always at root personal. So as a parlour game and for no other reason than to underline that for all its glitz, its over-wrought emotion and just plain up-itself narcissism, Oscar night is irreducibly about marketing, promotion and profit, not art. If the camera lingers too long and lovingly on the Mumbai slum children dragged out of their poverty for a one-off night with the ‘stars’ being used as a kind of moral blackmail of the Academy voters I may just switch off, throw up, or both. The film industry’s track record with real, non-acting-trained kids they have used in films and then left behind is not great. They should turn their cameras on the Mumbai kids from Slumdog Millionaire at next year’s Oscars, not this. I have a hunch it would be less than uplifting.

Haven’t seen Milk which has faded fast in UK multi-plexes but without being prejudiced Sean Penn always does a bit too much for me. The Visitor is a beautiful little film far too few people will have seen and Richard Jenkins is superb in it – well worth an Oscar. But despite all the make-up and special effects, the sheer quietly assured way Brad Pitt makes the unreal Benjamin Button both real and affecting is the best male actor performance I have seen this year. I think it will be grotesque sentimentality for Mickey Rourke to win the actor award essentially for playing himself in a movie with a thin cliched narrative simply designed for him.

Penelope Cruz vs Marisa Tomei is a close call. I’d be happy for it to go either way – though perhaps Marisa has more to do.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Richard Jenkins
Frank Langella
Sean Penn
Brad Pitt
Mickey Rourke

Prediction: Mickey Rourke
Choice: Bradd Pitt

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Josh Brolin
Robert Downey Jr.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Heath Ledger
Michael Shannon

No contest – Heath Ledger. Justifiably not sentimentally but I hope the make-up men and women, is waterproof.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Anne Hathaway
Angelina Jolie
Melissa
Meryl Streep
Kate Winslet

Prediction: Not Winslett
Choice: Kate Winslett

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams
Penélope Cruz
Viola Davis
Taraji P. Henson
Marisa Tomei

Prediction: Marisa Tomei
Choice: Marisa Tomei – by a very feisty head.

Best animated feature film of the year

Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E

WALL-E – no contest

Achievement in art direction

Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

Prediction: Bejamin Button
Chocie: Benjamin Button

Achievement in cinematography

Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Prediction: Slumdog
Choice: Slumdog

Achievement in costume design

Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Milk
Revolutionary Road

Prediction: Benjamin Button
Choice: Benjamin Button
Comment: The Changeling is a surprising omission here. It is the one it deserved the most.

Achievement in directing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – David Fincher
Frost/Nixon – Ron Howard
Milk – Gus Van Sant
The Reader – Stephen Daldry
Slumdog Millionaire – Danny Boyle

Prediction: David Fincher
Choice: David Fincher

Best documentary feature

The Betrayal
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble The Water

Prediction: Man On Wire
Choice: Man on Wire
Comment: This is the one I care about most. Absolutely unique. Inspirational.

Achievement in film editing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

Prediction: Slumdog
Choice: Slumdog

Best foreign language film of the year

The Baader Meinhof Complex
The Class
Departures
Revanche
Waltz with Bashir

Prediction: Waltz With Bahir
Choice: Baader Meinhof Complex
Comment: Lemon Tree and I’ve Loved You So Long are striking omissions from this list. I would have given I’ve Loved You So Long the Oscar and Kristin Scott Thomas should have been nominated for best lead actress for this superb performance

Achievement in makeup

The Curious Case of Benjamin
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II

Prediction: Benjamin Button
Choice: Benjamin Button.
Comment: No contest. Breathtaking and totally unobtrusive in style to support the artistic purpose of the movie.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Defiance
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E

Prediction: Slumdog
Choice: Slumdog
Comment: Absolutely right. The best thing in the movie and it makes it.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

Down to Earth from WALL
ai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire
O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire

No Idea

Best motion picture of the year

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Prediction: Benjamin Button
Choice: Benjamin Button

Achievement in sound editing

The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Prediction: Slumdog
Choice: Slumdog

Achievement in sound mixing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Prediction: WALL-E
Choice: Slumdog

Achievement in visual effects

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Prediction: Benjamin Button
Choice: Benjamin Button
Comment: No contest. Extraordinary.

Adapted screenplay

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Prediction: Benjamin Button
Choice: The Reader
Comment: BB is 95% an original screenplay. David Hare did a marvellous job on The Reader

Original screenplay

Frozen River
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Milk
WALL-E

Prediction: In Bruges
Choice: In Bruges
Comment: Jonathon and Christopher Nolan should certainly have been nominated here for their brillian script for Dark Knight

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