Friday, February 22, 2008

COPs: Best Director, Best Picture

All right, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Funny ... doesn't it seem like we've had some wide-open Best Picture races lately? Last time I can remember a movie being a lock was "Brokeback Mountain." Oh yeah, and it didn't win. With that ...


Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly": Um, no. There's some noise about how this guy could sneak in, but ... no. Your movie not only won't win, it can't win because it wasn't nominated. So ... no. (And yes, I have no idea what it's about.) ODDS: 15-to-1.

Jason Reitman, "Juno": The real question: Did Ivan Reitman ever get nominated for an Oscar? I'm thinking no. Still, he made some funny movies. Did I mention I just saw "Meatballs" again recently? Anyway, his boy won't win. They just threw him a bone with the nom. ODDS: 18-to-1.

Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton": It's a mostly mainstream movie, and this is a case, I think, of script writer busting out. Still, hard to see him nudging out the two -- well, technically, three -- guys below. ODDS: 15-to-1.

Joel and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men": The dynamic duo go legit for the first time in many years, and this could be a chance for the Academy to finally give them some props, especially after "Fargo" was robbed. (More on that in a bit.) ODDS: 4-to-1.

Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood": There's a chance -- a slim one -- that the Academy will bypass the Coens again and take another guy with a cult following (albeit smaller). But it's hard for me to see the Hollywood farts liking PTA over E&J, so I think he comes up short despite his most critically acclaimed work to date. ODDS: 6-to-1.


"Atonement": Critics raved, yet no ordinary people have talked about this movie at all. I saw a Variety ad that said it's grossed more than $100 mil worldwide, but c'mon ... that's because of chicks and mouth-breathing dudes ogling Keira. So nothing doing here. In fact, I say it's the longest shot on the board. ODDS: 10-to-1.

"Juno": The people's choice, it seems, and we're hearing all sorts of talk about how this uplifting tale could carry the day. (Pause) I don't see it. I haven't seen it, either. But word is it's not as good -- meaning, as rich and nuanced -- as "Little Miss Sunshine," and that didn't win. In general, I think the Academy gave its awards for this movie with the nominations. ODDS: 8-to-1.

"Michael Clayton": Hmmmm ... maybe it's just me, but unlike "Juno," I can see this bad boy slipping in and stealing the prize. Not saying it will happen, but it really could. If the below two movies split the artsy-fartsy vote, the Clooney lovers and mainstreamers -- but not so mainstream to go with "Juno" -- could propel this safer bet to a win. I wish I had the stones to actually pick it. Instead, I'll say it just misses. ODDS: 5-to-1.

"No Country for Old Men": I'll admit ... I need to see this again. Maybe then I would appreciate the ending vs. being disappointed. Still, I remain pissed off because I loved the first 90 minutes of this. I suspect that the Coens' artistry, great performances and faithfulness to the book -- for better or worse -- will end up in a win here. Also, with "Fargo" not winning Best Picture -- seriously ... "The English Patient?" Have you ever heard anyone talk about that movie? -- the Academy owes them. Maybe in time I'll accept all that. For now, though, I'm thinking of the true masterpiece might have been with just a little tweaking. ODDS: 4-to-1.

"There Will Be Blood": Hey, I love the Coens. Ask anybody, or just read past posts on this blog. But this movie gets my vote. It's close, I admit. I also admit that period pieces don't normally grab me. But Daniel Day-Lewis is so amazing here, and this odyssey of an oilman with no soul is so compelling that I place it just a hair above "No Country." Sadly, because it's such a downer and will be written off as Day-Lewis and little else, it not only won't beat out "No Country" but probably will fall behind "Clayton." Not that we'll ever see the votes. Damn Academy. ODDS: 6-to-1.


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