Friday, December 28, 2007

'Tis the Oscar Season to be Jolly

The following are not Oscar predictions. They are merely an assessment of the Oscar season the way I see it shaping up in my own mind. I'm not saying I think In the Valley of Elah will be nominated for Best Picture, merely that I'd love for such a thing to happen. Obviously my mind will be changing as I see more films. That said, I've seen a lot, including every film on this chart. There are no wild guesses here. I don't need to poll any Academy members to know that Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cotillard will be nominated, but that doesn't necessarily mean I have to lock them into my chart at this point in time. Speaking of which, there seems to be this huge rush amongst Oscar prognosticators to be the first one to anoint someone or something Best This or Best That, to be the first champion in a film or performer's corner. Rather than make educated guesses months in advance, based on films I haven't even seen a single frame of, I'm starting this blog to tell you how the movies that I have seen measure up against each other. Anyways, please note that in some categories, a handful of honorable mentions are made beneath the Top 5 contenders, while my personal favorites are marked with an asterisk.

So who am I and why should you care about what I think? I'm MiraJeff. Who the hell are you? I'm just teasing, folks. The truth is, you shouldn't care what I think at all. What are you even doing reading this? The point is, as William Goldman so famously said, no one knows anything. Especially not at this stage in the game. This blog was started as an act of defiance, a bold, boredom-provoked answer to the hordes of 'expert' prognosticators who are as much in the dark as the rest of us until that magical evening known as Oscar Night. You won't see these predictions or picks or whatever you want to call them anywhere else, either because they suck or because others are afraid to make them. Regardless, these are the names and movies you should be paying attention to. 2007 is shaping up to be a great year for movies. There's a lot of depth this year. Some films are bound to get lost in the shuffle, others will peak at just the right time. The Oscar season is a rollercoaster ride for everyone and I look forward to taking that ride with each and every one of you. My readers. My people. Enjoy!


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly*
Grace Is Gone
In the Valley of Elah
There Will Be Blood

(Honorable Mention: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Control, Into the Wild, No Country for Old Men, Once, Ratatouille, Reservation Road, Things We Lost in the Fire)


Paul Thomas Anderson- There Will Be Blood
Ethan and Joel Coen- No Country for Old Men
David Fincher- Zodiac*
Sean Penn- Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

(HM: Susanne Bier, Things We Lost in the Fire; Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd; John Carney, Once; Anton Corbijn, Control; David Cronenberg, Eastern Promises; Andrew Dominik, The Assassination of Jesse James...; Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton; Paul Haggis, In the Valley of Elah; Sidney Lumet, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; James C. Strouse, Grace is Gone; Joe Wright, Atonement)


John Cusack- Grace Is Gone
Daniel Day-Lewis- There Will Be Blood*
Benicio Del Toro- Things We Lost in the Fire
Emile Hirsch- Into the Wild
Tommy Lee Jones- In the Valley of Elah

(HM: Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Christian Bale, Rescue Dawn; Don Cheadle, Reign Over Me; George Clooney, Michael Clayton; Russell Crowe, 3:10 to Yuma; Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd; Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and The Savages; James McAvoy, Atonement; Joaquin Phoenix, Reservation Road; John C. Reilly, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Sam Riley, Control; Seth Rogen, Knocked Up; Adam Sandler, Reign Over Me; Denzel Washington, American Gangster)


Helena Bonham Carter- Sweeney Todd
Jodie Foster- The Brave One
Angelina Jolie- A Mighty Heart
Laura Linney- The Savages*
Anamaria Marinca- 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

(HM: Halle Berry, Things We Lost in the Fire; Marketa Irglova, Once; Ashley Judd, Bug; Nicole Kidman, Margot at the Wedding; Keira Knightley, Atonement; Ellen Page, Juno; Charlize Theron, In the Valley of Elah)


Casey Affleck- The Assassination of Jesse James...
Javier Bardem- No Country for Old Men*
Paul Dano- There Will Be Blood
Vlad Ivanov- 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Max von Sydow- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

(HM: Ashraf Barhom, The Kingdom; Philip Bosco, The Savages; Adrien Brody, The Darjeeling Limited; Chris Cooper, Breach; Russell Crowe, American Gangster; Brian Dierker, Into the Wild; Robert Downey Jr., Zodiac; Albert Finney, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Ben Foster, 3:10 to Yuma; Ed Harris, Gone Baby Gone; Ethan Hawke, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War; Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild; Omar Metwally, Rendition; Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad; Armin Mueller-Stahl, Eastern Promises; Igal Naor, Rendition; Alan Rickman, Sweeney Todd; Mark Ruffalo, Reservation Road; Ed Sanders, Sweeney Todd; Timothy Spall, Sweeney Todd; Denzel Whitaker, The Great Debaters; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton; Steve Zahn, Rescue Dawn)


Cate Blanchett- I'm Not There*
Jennifer Jason Leigh- Margot at the Wedding
Shelan O'Keefe- Grace is Gone
Amy Ryan- Gone Baby Gone
Susan Sarandon- In the Valley of Elah

(HM: Jennifer Connelly, Reservation Road; Ruby Dee, American Gangster; Kelly Macdonald, No Country For Old Men; Emily Mortimer, Lars and the Real Girl; Samantha Morton, Control; Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement; Saoirse Ronan, Atonement; Meryl Streep, Lions for Lambs; Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead)


4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days- Cristian Mungiu
The Darjeeling Limited- W. Anderson, R. Coppola, J. Schwartzman
Grace Is Gone- James C. Strouse*
In the Valley of Elah by Paul Haggis
The Savages- Tamara Jenkins

(HM: Steve Zaillian, American Gangster; Kelly Masterson, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; Quentin Tarantino, Death Proof; Diablo Cody, Juno; Judd Apatow, Knocked Up; Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl; Matthew Michael Carnahan, Lions for Lambs; Noah Baumbach, Margot at the Wedding; John Carney, Once; Brad Bird, Ratatouille; Mike Binder, Reign Over Me; Allan Loeb, Things We Lost in the Fire)


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Ronald Harwood, based on the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby*
Into the Wild by Sean Penn, based on the book by John Krakauer
No Country for Old Men by Ethan and Joel Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on Oil! by Upton Sinclair
Zodiac by Jamie Vanderbilt, based on the books by Robert Graysmith

(HM: The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford by Andrew Domink, based on the novel by Ron Hansen; Atonement by Christopher Hampton, based on the novel by Ian McEwan; Gone Baby Gone by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane; Reservation Road by Terry George and John Burnham Schwartz, based on the novel by Schwartz)


Surf's Up

Movies I Have a Date With: Lust, Caution

Still to See: Away From Her, The Band's Visit, Beaufort, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Enchanted, Evening, Hairspray, The Kite Runner, Lake of Fire, Love in the Time of Cholera, Man in the Chair, Music Within, The Namesake, No End in Sight, Persepolis, Shrek the Third, Starting Out in the Evening, Stephanie Daley, Talk to Me, This is England, La Vie en rose, Waitress, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Youth Without Youth

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Golden Globe Nomination Reaction

So the HFPA decided to throw a couple of curveballs after all. If you look below, you'll see why I am not paid to prognosticate, the choicest example being that I completely forgot the Best Supporting Actress category. That's what happens when you blog into the wee hours of the morning. I slept for about 90 mins before waking up at 4:55 to head into the office, which lucky for me, is only a block away. A group of four brave souls huddled around a computer watching's live feed of the announcement before the big categories were shown on TV. The first call was first-time nominee Nikki Blonsky at 6:10. Over the course of the day I had the pleasure of speaking to: John Travolta, Ryan Gosling, James Schamus, Aaaron Sorkin, Ellen Page, Diablo Cody, Russ Smith, Todd Black, Helena Bonham Carter, Jennifer Todd, Adam Shankman, Walter Parkes, Jim Brooks, Cristian Mungiu, Jonathan Sehring, Marc Forster, Marjane Satrapi, Tom Wilkinson, Christopher Hampton, Ronald Harwood, Michael Brook, Alberto Iglesias, Dario Marianelli, Jamie Cullum, Christina Applegate and the one and only Jeremy Piven. It was a pretty hectic day. I started to crash around 11:30 and by noon I was back home, sound asleep in bed.

Looking at the predictions, Into the Wild was dealt a crushing blow in its Oscar hopes, missing out on being one of 7 Best Picture, Drama nominees. Swap out that one for Eastern Promises and I would have been dead-on. The Best Actress, Drama category was the easiest to predict and I went 5-for-5 there, as well as in the Best Foreign Language Film category, where The Counterfeiters didn't make the cut while Persepolis did, although it was snubbed for Best Animated Feature Film, along with Beowulf, in favor of Bee Movie and The Simpsons Movie, the latter of which was completely deserving. Not sure why I didn't go with my gut last night.

In the Best Actor, Drama category, James McAvoy rode Atonement's momentum to snag a spot from Emile Hirsch. McAvoy is excellent in the film, but for some reason I thought the HFPA would take a cue from Paramount Vantage's ad campaign and vote with their hearts, but oh well. My Juliette Binoche prediction proved futile in the Best Actress, Comedy/Musical category, where the HFPA also chose to snub Laura Linney, who for my money gave one of the best female performances of the year in The Savages. However, the org did single out Philip Seymour Hoffman for his fine work in that film. The HFPA also somehow left The Savages out of the Best Picture, Comedy/Musical category, instead choosing to reward Across the Universe, which came as a bit of a surprise considering how divided critics were over the Julie Taymor art film.

In the Best Director category, the HFPA decided to recognize Ridley Scott for American Gangster over Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood, a truly inexplicable move if there ever was one. Sean Penn was also left off the list in both the Directing and Writing cateogories despite Into the Wild being his best film.

I can't really argue with the Globes' love for John C. Reilly in Walk Hard, as he truly carried that movie, though I am a bit surprised they ignored the gifted Steve Carell for Dan in Real Life, a movie that a lesser actor would have walked through in their sleep.

I'm totally Golden Globe'd out so I'm going back to bed before I check out a midnight IMAX screening of I Am Legend. I'll be praying in my dreams that it's not as bad as I've heard. As Ahnuld once said, I'll be back..

Golden Globe Nomination Predictions

Before we begin, I'd just like to stress again that I am NOT a prognosticator. It seems a bit silly to me, guessing what other people are going to pick as the best of 2007. I just wouldn't want to stake my professional reputation on something that is completely out of my control. That said, since this is My First Blog and all, I've decided to take the opportunity to try my hand at predicting the Golden Globe nominees, most of whom I will have the incredible chance to talk to tomorrow, as I take nomination reactions for V. The HFPA is a rascally group. They're unpredictable, yet they never reinvent the wheel. I suspect they'll play it pretty safe this year, but I've decided to spice things up a bit and predict some underdogs, especially in the Best Actress, Comedy/Musical category, where I have the sinking feeling that Juliette Binoche will be overlooked despite being impossible to resist in the surprisingly charming Dan in Real Life. Without further adieu, my latenight idiocy, posted for all the world to see and make fun of. Then again, don't be surprised if I told you so. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get up soon...

Into the Wild
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
(alt: The Great Debaters, American Gangster)

Charlie Wilson’s War
The Savages
Sweeney Todd
(alt: Across the Universe, Enchanted)

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd
Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men
Sean Penn, Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
(alt: Denzel Washington, The Great Debaters; Joe Wright, Atonement)

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Diablo Cody, Juno
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sean Penn, Into the Wild
(alt: Christopher Hampton, Atonement; Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Wilson’s War)

Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
(alt: Denzel Washington, American Gangster OR The Great Debaters; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Jodie Foster, The Brave One
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Keira Knightley, Atonement
(alt: Halle Berry, Things We Lost in the Fire; Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)

Steve Carell, Dan in Real Life
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl
Tom Hanks, Charlie Wilson’s War
Jack Nicholson, The Bucket List
(alt: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages; John C. Reilly, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY (yes 6 of ‘em, like 2005’s Best Actor, Comedy/Musical)
Amy Adams, Enchanted
Juliette Binoche, Dan in Real Life
Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en rose
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno
(alt: Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray)

Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James…
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War
Max von Sydow, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
(alt: John Travolta, Hairspray; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton)

(alt: The Simpsons Movie)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
The Kite Runner
Lust, Caution
(alt: The Counterfeiters)