And The Oscar Goes To…

402227617_85fb49e26a.jpgFinally on February 24,2008, the Academy for Motion Pictures and Sciences will honour the best in cinema. After almost two months of massive campaigning, intense lobbying, hectic screenings and a grand celebration of cinema, the stage has been set for another beautiful evening dedicated to films. I have been writing about the Oscars for a long time, seen quite a few of the nominated films, but stayed away either from reviewing or giving my personal feedbacks on the films, thereby placing myself as a neutral Oscar reviewer rather than a film reviewer. However, this does not naturally exclude preferences and hence this time, I will be giving my personal preferences and predicting the winners as well.

The easiest of the top awards to predict ( the Best Actor in a Leading Role) is Daniel Day Lewis for There Will Be Blood. He was ‘bloody’ good and a very few actors seem to have swept the pre-Oscar awards season the way he has. So, Lewis get ready for a grand speech, your second Oscar is on its way. The Best Supporting Actor is not a difficult choice as well. Javier Bardem’s Anton Chiqurh has been compared to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector. This, coupled with the respect he has earned over the years, makes him the best bet for this prize. I personally hope he wins too; he simply overshadowed everyone else in the film.

The prizes for the actresses are slightly more complicated. Although Cate Blanchett seems the firm favourite to win the award for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Ruby Dee’s surprise win at the Screen Actor’s Guild (she won it for a few minutes role in American Gangster) and Amy Ryan’s last ditch effort from the studios may spoil Blanchett’s second Oscar. I do hope she wins; I have loved her humorous interpretation of Bob Dylan’s life and that is probably the only reason why I’m Not There remains in our mind long after we finish watching the film. I do hope pure cinematic merit wins over sentimental or other parameters. The Best Actress in a Leading Role award seems the most difficult to predict. Even though recent wins have made Julie Christie (Away From Her) the popular choice, the studio’s massive backing of Marion Cotillard (for the Edith Piaf saga La Vie en Rose) and public support for Ellen Page (Juno) means nothing is certain till the last moment. However, I would still put my money on Christie. She is an industry veteran, a long deserving candidate along with a previous Oscar win (unlike her younger contenders) and she also plays a role, which the Academy loves. So, industry support, especially the Actor’s Guild (they love their veterans) and a favourable role might give Christie her second Oscar.

The writing prizes seem fixed for the Coen brothers for No Country for Old Men (Adapted Screenplay) and Diablo Cody for Juno (Original Screenplay). The Director’s Guild has recognized Ethan and Joel Coen and it seems very difficult for anyone else to beat them this time. This is their year and No Country for Old Men is their swansong. I predict and I hope that No Country for Old Men wins the Academy’s Best Picture and Best Director awards. It’s a brilliant film and deserves every bit of the accolade that it is receiving.

Having done so, I must say that predicting the Oscars isn’t easy. The Academy is a highly professional organization working on various parameters before they come to a decision. In the previous years, sometimes, even the best have not won. However, we may just as well wait for it. Hollywood’s drama and suspense gets reflected in their awards as well. So till the envelope is opened, hold on to your breath!

Anupam Dhar

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