Actor in a Leading Role
Who Will Win: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
Who Should Win: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
Both Sean Penn and Rourke have achieved something memorable with their performances and are both deserving. 3 of the last 4 Oscars awarded in this category were from biopics, which smiles on Penn’. He also won the SAG award, is highly respected by his voting peers as has been evident with his 4 previous nominations and 1 win…The “art imitating life” qualities are too powerfully paralleled in Rourke’s portrayal of a washed up, broken wrestler who is seeking redemption and forgiveness. Rourke has burned a lot of bridges in Hollywood that Director Darren Aranofsky has given him the opportunity to rebuild. Hopefully he is a more successful bridge builder than his on screen counterpart.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Who Will Win: Heath Ledger – Dark Knight
Who Should Win: Heath Ledger – Dark Knight
I’m sure many will write this off as a “legacy” award considering Ledger’s tragic passing early last year but that isn’t the case here. Big budget blockbusters typically earn a lot of profit but few awards outside of the technical categories. This will be the exception and rightfully so. He created a very unique character in the Joker and stole the show. Ledger was one of our finest developing young actors and hopefully this award will be the source of some solace to his family and fans.
Actress in a Leading Role
Who Will Win: Kate Winslet – The Reader
Who Should Win: Kate Winslet – The Reader
This is as close to a lock as you’re likely to find. Kate in my estimation is the most admirable actress of her generation and with a 0-6 record at the Oscar’s is long overdue. She has cleaned up at every awards ceremony this year and I expect the same tonight.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Who Will Win: Penélope Cruz – Vicki Cristina Barcelona
Who Should Win: Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Don’t get me wrong, I love Penélope and she was excellent in a very challenging role when. My hesitation is that her role, though central to the story, didn’t call for enough screen time to justify her winning over the other well deserving nominees. Woody Allen’s actresses also do well at the Oscar’s and her 2006 loss for Volver is still fresh in the voters minds. Taraji P. Henson displayed an abnormally broad range of talent in her role as Brad Pitt’s surrogate mother in Benjamin Button. I think she is deserving but I don’t know if there has been enough buzz for her or the film. Amy Adams could also factor in here somewhere for her role as a naïve nun in Doubt.
Who Will Win: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Who Should Win: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry will be a very close 2nd here for The Reader (if not a surprise winner) but Danny Boyle’s delicate and graceful work in Slumdog without the safety net of a recognizable or experienced cast, seems unstoppable.
Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire
I could make a legitimate case for Benjamin Button or The Dark Knight, and then I’m reminded of the haunting, unforgettable visuals of Mumbai and the train scene in Slumdog Millionaire. The rich color that was used amidst the dreary slums was used to great effect as a symbol of hope. Beautiful.
Will Win: Man on Wire
Who Should Win: ???
I haven’t seen enough of these to be fair about who should win, but Man on Wire was as engaging a documentary as I have seen in years. It is a retelling of the realization of French performance artist Phillipe Petit’s dream of walking across the World Trade Center on a tight rope. The doc benefitted from a wealth of original video from the 70’s and extremely animated interviews from the crew that helped make it happen. It was so suspenseful and well crafted that I forgot it was a documentary.
Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Benjamin Button lead all films with 13 nominations but I think it’s destined to be this years Babel. Both are films that peaked too early. Slumdog is the clear favorite and came out of nowhere. I think history and the Academy will remember Slumdog as 2008’s most memorable film.
Foreign Language Film
Will Win: Waltz with Bashir
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Will Win: The Reader
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Will Win: Milk
Will Win: James Newton Howard for “Defiance”