This is Oscar weekend so Sunday night I'll be watching the annual back slap fest that is the Academy Awards. I'll probably be bored a lot, unhappy with most of the awards but I'll keep watching--just like I do every year. Sunday night I'll post my Oscar journal with jotted down thoughts and opinions from the night, from red carpet all the way to best film (check out the February 2008 archives for last year's recap). These are the films I'm rooting for, not who I think will win.
Best picture: Only two of the five nominated films made my top ten for the year: Milk and Slumdog Millionaire. The other three films just did not grab me emotionally (The Reader) or were too self serious (Frost/Nixon) or were too reliant on high tech gadgetry (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). I'll root for Slumdog Millionaire probably because it is one of those "little" films that sort of take over the cultural buzz for the year. It doesn't mean it's a better film than Milk; it just hit the right mark for 2008.
Best actor: This is probably a two man race between the always great Sean Penn and the back from the road of ruin Mickey Rourke. I won't be rooting for either of those two despite remarkable performances by both of them. I will be pulling for the longshot--character actor Richard Jenkins from The Visitor. I loved this film but I've long been a fan of the versatile Jenkins, here's hoping he wins a stunner. I'll be happy if Penn wins but wouldn't mind seeing Rourke's speech as that could be a wild ride. If Brad Pitt wins I will be livid as he was okay but that performance owes as much to CGI and technology as it does acting, sorry Brad.
Best Actress: I didn't see two of the nominated films--Frozen River and Changeling. I'm kicking myself for not seeing Frozen River as I've always enjoyed Melissa Leo from way back in her Homicide TV days. I'll be rooting for Kate Winslett (even though I thought she was better in Revolutionary Road than The Reader) to break her long winless streak or for Leo, just to see an older actress rise up out of obscurity. If Angelina Jolie wins, I will not be happy, talk about irritating, it's Jolie.
Best supporting actor: No brainer. Heath Ledger is winning this award. I'm not rooting for him though (call me a mean spirited bastard, I don't care). I'm a huge Philip Seymour Hoffman fan so I'd love to see him win again. Robert Downey's comic take on method acting was hilarious, bitter and wonderful so I wouldn't mind him winning. I absolutely loved Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road as a man damaged by electro shock therapy. That performance came out of nowhere as I didn't really know him but he stole every scene he was in. But these all have no chance against Ledger. I'm already dreading the standing ovation that will come when he wins. Not that it won't be a nice moment--it will just reek of Hollywood phoniness. Dang, I'm cynical of those people, aren't I?
Best supporting actress: I'll be hoping Marisa Tomei wins her second Oscar in this category (she won for My Cousin Vinny). I am still ticked Tomei didn't win a few years ago for In the Bedroom. I'm afraid her performance might have been lost in the raw storm that was Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler but without her soulful performance, there is no shot at redemption for Rourke's character. This one is Tomei for me all the way.
Best director: Danny Boyle, a director that has both frustrated me and excited me over the years, should win this. He made a dazzling, kinetic, electric film (Slumdog Millionaire) in a foreign country with a huge cast (including lots of kid actors) and made one of the best films of the year and the best film of his career. I won't be happy if any of the others win this one, it's Boyle or bust for me and best director.