Anyway, here are my picks for the major awards:
- Best Picture: For the first time in, well, ever, I've actually seen all of the Best Picture nominees. The category essentially boils down to No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Juno has an outside chance, except that comedies don't usually do well in this category, and often movies like this will be rewarded with a Best Screenplay nod, which Is what I'm betting on. Michael Clayton, while a fine movie, has inexplicably garnered a lot of attention. Nevertheless, a hot new director and Hollywood's most popular actor probably aren't enough to beat out the competition. In the end, I'm going with No Country for Old Men. It's about time the Coens got a best picture/director win.
- Best Director: Again, going with the Coen brothers here for No Country for Old Men. It's pretty rare for best picture and director to be split. The only other person I could see taking the award is PT Anderson. Jason Reitman is good, but I'm honestly surprised to see him get the nomination, let along win the award. Julian Schnabel's film didn't get a best picture nom, which means he's pretty much dead in the water. Tony Gilroy is a dark horse I guess, but I can't see him winning.
- Best Actor: I've got to go with Daniel Day-Lewis for this. No one else commands attention on the screen the way he does, even when he's spouting off about milkshakes and such. That said, some folks will be put off by the scenery-chewing ending, so I guess there's a possibility for someone else to take the award... but I just don't see anyone in this category taking it (despite not having seen a couple of the films here)
- Best Actress: With the exception of Juno, I haven't seen any of the films these actresses are nominated for. The buzz seems to be with Julie Christie's turn as an Alzheimer's patient, but Ellen Page is also a decent bet. I'm torn, but I'll say Julie Christie (though I'd rather Ellen Page won, as I think she's a fantastic actress).
- Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, playing the chilling, unstoppable killer Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, hands down. No real contest here, though some people might go for Hal Holbrook as a sympathy vote.
- Best Supporting Actress: This might be the toughest of the major categories. Everyone loves Cate Blanchett, and her gener-bending turn as Bob Dylan seems to have impressed a lot of folks (I didn't see it, but I can't picture anyone else pulling this sort of gimmicky thing off without it seeming gimmicky). Ruby Dee might get a sorta career achievement award for her performance in American Gangster, but that's all she really has to go on. Amy Ryan has an excellent, showy performance that's sure to garner attention, while Tilda Swinton's role require more of a quiet, vulnerable intensity. I'm going with Swinton here, because Michael Clayton isn't likely to win any of the other awards it's nominated for, but the Academy will still want to award it in some way (and best supporting nods are often a way of doing so). Plus, you know, it's a good performance.
- Best Original Screenplay: Juno is the film everyone loves, but not enough to give it a best picture win, so I'm betting the Academy will throw the screenplay award to Diablo Cody's script, which despite the too-cool-for-school hipster dialogue that occasionally grates, probably deserves the award. Another outside chance for Michael Clayton, but it's just not as clever or charming as Juno.
- Best Adapted Screenplay: No Country for Old Men will get this, I think, though there's an outside chance that The Diving Bell and the Butterfly will pull an upset. There Will Be Blood is too loosely based on it's source material, and it's streghths are with the way it's filmed and acted, not the writing.
- Editing: For some reason, this award often tracks with best picture, so I'm going with No Country for Old Men. I suppose there's an outside chance that The Bourne Ultimatum will win, though I think enough people will be put off by the frenetic cutting and shaky camera.
- Cinematography: Roger Deakins may get the most votes, but they'll be split between No Country for Old Men and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (which both seem to be gorgeously photographed, though I've only seen one of them), so I'm going with Robert Elswit's work on There Will Be Blood.
- Visual Effects: I think Transformers will take this one. For some unknown reason, people seem to like this movie, and I'll admit that the effects are pretty good.
- Musical Score: Well, not sure about this. The typewriter-laden score for Atonement makes the biggest impression (perhaps because it's overused:P), but I think Ratatouille's score is pretty good too. I'll go with Atonement, just because it is striking (no pun intended).
- Best Song: For the second year in a row, a single film has garnered 3 nominations for this category. And I'm learning from last year's mistake and guessing that votes will be split up between those three, and thus none will get enough votes to beat "Falling Slowly" from the popular film Once. Musicals just ain't my thing, but I have to admit, I got chills from Once on a number of occasions, so that's my pick.
- Makeup: No idea. I'll just say La Vie En Rose as the other two nominees don't seem like the type to inspire a lot of votes (I mean, Norbit? NORBIT!?)
- Best Animated Film: Ratatouille is a great film and my pick, though I guess there's an outside chance that Persepolis will win this.
- Best Documentary: No End in Sight is the favorite here. Yay Iraq!
- Best Foreign Language Film: I've only even heard of one of these, so I'm betting that's going to win. So my pick is: The Counterfeiters.
Oh, and Alex has posted his picks (we only really disagree on Best Supporting Acress... he picked the one person I didn't even consider), and he may be liveblogging (though I think the Aussie broadcast is behind the U.S. broadcast... so he'll be delayed).
Update 4:00 pm: The fine folks at Greencine will also be liveblogging...
Update 7:39 pm: I'm sorry, but does Barbara Walters actually not realize who Ridley Scott is? And she's got this job why?
Update 8:03 pm: I'm sorry, I can't take this pre-Oscar, red carpet crap. I'll be back at 8:30, when the updates will come more frequently.
Update 8:27 pm: Regis just called Javier Bardem "Xavier" Bardem, and the best part about it was that you could tell that Regis knew he was saying it wrong, but he went ahead anyway like nothing was wrong. Well played Regis. Well played.
Update 8:32 pm: And the show begins with a montage thingy. You know, I wonder how the show would have been if the WGA strike was still going strong. There was apparently some super secret plan that was in the works, but obviously didn't see the light of day. And John Stewart is hosting again? Huh, I didn't think anyone would want to host multiple times. Not bad so far.
Update 8:36 pm: "Too often, the Academy ignores movies that aren't good" Heh. Oh, and again with the sunglasses, Jack Nicholson? Again?
Update 8:42 pm: Oh boy, the costumes award! Let's just say there's a reason I didn't pick one above. And what a shock, the most absurd, showy costumes get the win. Holy crap, I blinked and she was done her speech. Well done, woman I've never heard of!
Update 8:50 pm: "Hi, I'm George Clooney, I'm going to mention a bunch of things you wish would happen at this Oscars, like a streaker running across the stage." Depending on how you classify the opening, this is Montage #2. We're only 20 minutes into the broadcast. What's the over under for montages? I'm going to say 18. Place your bets!
Update 8:53 pm: Good presentation by Steve Carell, and best Animated Film goes to Ratatouille! I'm one for one so far, and Brad Bird gives a mildly amusing speech, followed by the typical thank yous and the music ushering him off stage.
Update 8:56 pm: Were there really so few movies to nominate for Best Makeup? And holy crap, my shot in the dark guess is correct - I'm two for two!
Update 8:59 pm: As is traditional, the first best song nominee performance warrants a break so that I can start drinking alcohol. I do like Amy Adams a lot though...
Update 9:03 pm: First music performance down, and I'm still alive (mmm, beer). A good sign. I actually am kinda looking forward to "Falling Slowly" from Once. In case you can't tell, musicals ain't my thing, but I kinda enjoyed Once and I think it deserves this award.
Update 9:08 pm: Can you smellllll what the Rock is cooking? It's apparently the visual effects award. Again, I have to wonder why there are so few nominees. What the - The Golden Compass wins the award? Huh. I could have sworn Transformers was a shoe-in. I actually never saw The Golden Compass... And I'm 2 for 3 so far.
Update 9:12 pm: Art Direction award goes to Sweeney Todd (another movie I haven't seen, but given Tim Burton's work, I'm not surprised this won for Art Direction). I guess we're getting all the "small" awards out of the way first, eh? Heh, people with accents are funny. Almost makes the traditional "Thank You" speech bearable.
Update 9:17 pm: Montage #3! Though at least we're getting to a good award early. Best Supporting Actor goes to ("Call it, friendo") Javier Bardem. Shocking! I love it when people speak a foreign language in their acceptance speech. I think they bleeped him too. I'm 3 for 4.
Update 9:22 pm: Javier Bardem's speech was not a classic Oscar moment. It could have been, if his entire speech was in Spanish. That would have been awesome. Are you kidding me? Montage #4. For binoculars and periscopes. Seriously? I guess it was a joke, but still. #4. And wow, #5. Bad dreams, an Oscar salute. Making fun of montages with more montages still counts as a montage, right?
Update 9:26 pm: Music performance #2, and I'm on beer #2. This does not bode well for me. You'll be lucky if I'm conscious by the end of the Oscars, let alone able to piece together coherent sentences.
Update 9:30 pm: Are the short film awards really necessary? Not to belittle the films themselves, but it's not like the grand majority of the audience has ever even heard of these things. And Seinfeld is still pimping his Bee Movie stuff? With another montage (#6)!
Update 9:38 pm: Yet another montage (#7). I'm beginning to think that the "super secret Oscar plan" for if the WGA strike was still going was just to show non-stop montages. And best supporting actress goes to Tilda Swinton. Yes! In your face Alex! I'm 4 for 5. And a decent speech too.
Update 9:41 pm: The little asides before commercials where former winners comment on their award has also got to be part of the "super secret Oscar plan" for if the WGA strike was still going.
Update 9:44 pm: I Watch Stuff is also liveblogging: "Tilda Swindon wins, dressed as half a wizard. Or possibly as an art piece: 'Woman Emerging From Satin.'"
Update 9:48 pm: Jack Nicholson "I'm going to have you killed, Josh Brolin." And best adapted screenplay goes to No Country for Old Men. Er, interesting speech? Keep it simple, Ethan. I like it. Incidentally, this does not bode ill for No Country, but it doesn't necessarily bode well either. Best screenplay awards tend to go to movies that are too cool to win the best picture awards. But I still think No Country will win.
Update 9:54 pm: Ahhhh, another song. I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Antonio Banderas. (For those who don't know or remember, Banderas performed one of the best song nominees in 2005 in what has become one of the better unintentionally funny Oscar moments).
Update 9:58 pm: It's been like, 20 minutes, since the last montage. I'm going through withdrawal pains.
Update 10:06 pm: Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill are awesome, imitating Dame Judi Dench and Halle Berre (that would make sense if you were watching - incidentally, how does one become a "Dame"?). And best editing goes to The Bourne Ultimatum. Darn, I'm 4 for 6. This also does not bode so well for No Country though at least There Will Be Blood didn't win, which would be a really bad sign for No Country. And Sound Editing (an award I didn't pick) also goes to The Bourne Ultimatum. Perhaps this isn't too surprising. Lots of people like that movie (including me - it's in my top 10 movies of 2007), so it makes sense that it would be given these smaller awards.
Update 10:08 pm: Montage #8! I feel better now.
Update 10:14 pm: Cate Blanchett is scared of herself, I think. Or maybe she's just thinking, "I can't believe I got nominated for being in a film no one saw or liked." And best actress goes to... Marion Cotillard? Huh? Ok, I guess. I wasn't expecting that, but then, I didn't see most of the films in this category. Foreign people are funny. I'm 4 for 7.
Update 10:20 pm: Fourth nominated song. So close. Oh, and this is the one I actually like. And it's performed by the actual people in the movie. Seriously though, the song loses something without context. But I'm still rooting for this one.
Update 10:20 pm: Jack Nicholson, what the hell? You've replaced your lame sunglasses with trendy ones? Montage #9! Best pictures of the past.
Update 10:29 pm: I'm a moron. Apparently the earlier award for editing was actually "Sound Editing." But The Bourne Ultimatum wins this one too, so my thoughts then remain. Also, I remain at 4 for 7. Heh, John Stewart: "Someone just took the lead in their Oscar pool with a guess." Hehehe.
Update 10:32 pm: Who the hell is Robert Boyle? I bet a montage will tell me why this guy is getting an Honorary Oscar. Yep, montage #10. Score.
Update 10:34 pm: Some other livebloggers:
- California Girl, Living in Oklahoma... "Will someone close to Renee Zellweger please tell her to stop getting plastic surgery? Her face looks like she got stung by a bee after eating 500 lemons." Heh.
- The Gideonese Bible
- telling minor stories to avoid a major one
- Heather Bird (includes links to several other livebloggers)
Update 10:50 pm: The crowd is clearly with "Falling Slowly" for best song. It better win. And it does! I actually like the best song winner. Shocking! Make Art, Make Art! Awwww, she didn't get to say anything. Poor girl... I'm 6 for 9.
Update 10:54 pm: Montages I'm looking forward to:
- Cinema's Greatest Bowel Movements (with emphasis on Dumb and Dumber)
- Great Moments in Lawn Care (with emphasis on My Blue Heaven)
- The Oscar Tribute to Vomit (with emphasis on The Exorcist)
Update 11:00 pm: Hehehe, blondes are dumb and can't pronounce cinematography. And the award goes to There Will Be Blood. I'm 7 for 10. Oh my, Paul Thomas Anderson looks absolutely diabolical.
Update 11:02 pm: Yay dead people! Montage #11.
Update 11:09 pm: And best score goes to Atonement and it's stinkin' typewriters. I'm 8 for 11 though. Who is that sitting next to James McAvoy (on the left)? She looks like a zombie.
Update 11:15 pm: All of the nominees for documentary, short subject are about Iraq. Several of the full documentary nominees are about Iraq as well. Yay Iraq!
Update 11:20 pm: Just a callout for The King of Kong and My Kid Could Paint That, two documentaries that could be nominated if we didn't demand that documentaries be controversial or about Iraq. And the Oscar goes to... Taxi to the Dark Side. Huh, it looks like we'll get our political statement of the night... and not much of one. Apparently I suck at picking this award. I'm 8 for 12 so far.
Update 11:28 pm: Original Screenplay goes to Juno, which pretty much means it won't win best picture. Still, it's a worthy win, and I'm glad. I didn't expect someone named Diablo to cry, but good on her. It was her first script, after all, and it was pretty darned good. I'm 9 for 13.
Update 11:35 pm: Montage #12! Oh, they chose to show a bad scene for Daniel Day Lewis, but he's going to win anyway. Look at Johnny Depp grinning maniacly like he knows he's going to win. Whoa, look at Viggo's beard. And best actor goes to, big surprise, Daniel Day Lewis. I'm 10 for 14.
Update 11:37 pm: I'm sorry, did he say his grandfather was Michael Bolton? It can't be! Ok, I just rewound, and it sounds more like Michael Bolkin or something. Phew. I thought we had a time travelling no talent ass clown on our hands.
Update 11:40 pm: Montage #13! And the best director oscar goes to Joel and Ethan Coen! Great reprise Ethan! Oh wow, I want to see Henry Kissenger, Man on the Go. Well done guys, you deserve it.
Update 11:45 pm: And best picture goes to No Country for Old Men. A complete surprise? Yeah right!
Update 11:50 pm: Only 3.5 million hours. Not bad. I came in at 13 for 17 (I think I lost count somewhere in there), which is 76%. Not too shabby, and about average for my picks the last few years. All in all, a decent show this year, though nothing too special seemed to happen. Oh well, there's always next year. And they're ending the show with the Mission Impossible theme song? What the heck? Well, that's my cue, have a good night folks.
Update 2/27/08: Alex has posted his thoughts on the awards, and he's got a new theme on his website too.