Oscar Picks 2008: Observer Edition


Published: Febrary 14, 2008

By TIM JALBERT, Staff Writer

Overall, my favorite film of all the nominated films would be “No Country for Old Men,” so it would be appropriate that I would also think that it’s going to win in the Best Picture category. But “There Will Be Blood” or “Atonement” could also take the Oscar.  “No Country” still has the best story performed by the best cast, which was proven with the Best Ensemble Cast win at the SAG awards.

I also expect “No Country” to pull in awards in the Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay categories. Julian Schnabel picked up the Best Director Golden Globe for “The Diving Bell and The Butterfly;” however, the Coen brothers are far superior in technique, which shows in the quality of their films. In Best Cinematography, however, Roger Deakins, who is nominated twice in the category, will take the award for his camerawork on “The Assassination of Jesse James  by the Coward Robert Ford,” which is by far the most beautifully crafted film of the nominated features.

As for the Best Actor award, my favorite would have to be Viggo Mortenson (“Eastern Promises”), however, he is the least likely to win the award. Daniel Day-Lewis (“There Will Be Blood”) has dominated this category at every award show, and he will remain the favorite before and after he accepts his award. Josh Brolin, and the rest of the “No Country For Old Men” cast, will have to rely on Javier Bardem to pull in a supporting actor award for “No Country.” The award is the “gimme” award this year; Bardem will without a doubt be celebrating on Oscar night. His closest competition, Casey Affleck, is definitely Oscar-worthy in a role that finally fits his prepubescent voice, as the coward Robert Ford. However, Bardem took his screen presence one step higher than Affleck, portraying the creepiest serial killer since Hannibal Lecter.

And now for the women.  Cate Blanchett will definitely pull off a victory on Oscar night, most likely, in the Best Supporting Actress category, for her role as Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There.” Blanchett, surprisingly, out-acted the men portraying Dylan in this film, which shows not only the versatility of Blanchett but also what an amazing actress she truly is. The Best Actress award will most likely be won by Julie Christie (“Away from Her”). She is the favorite to win the award, and did a powerful job on screen. Also, contrary to the hype of Ellen Page’s acting in “Juno,” she is least likely to win the award. “Juno”’s power comes from the script, which will probably win Diablo Cody an award in the Best Original Screenplay category.

And we can’t forget about the Best Animated Feature category, which will definitely be won by “Ratatouille.” “Ratatouille” is one of the only films on the nomination list which was not released in the second semester of the past year. It is acclaimed as one of the “best reviewed films of the year,” and it is also one of the leaders with its number of nominations. It is a great film, with great music, a great story and amazing animation.


By JOE MARVILLI, Staff Writer

For Best Animated Feature, the contest  will come down to “Ratatouille” and “Persepolis.”  Both “Ratatouille,” a tale about a rat living in Paris who wants to be a chef, and “Persepolis,” a story about the Iranian Revolution through the eyes of a girl hoping for change, have original ideas and strong writing.  While the CGI in “Ratatouille” is impressive, “Persepolis” has a much stronger story and will most likely be the victor in this category.

For Best Supporting Actor, Javier Bardem stands out above the rest.  His chilling performance as a psychotic hitman in “No Country For Old Men” is virtually perfect and should lead to an easy win for him.  While a couple of other actors have a chance of challenging Bardem, the actor with the worst shot in this category is Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”  While he does a very good job with the character of Robert Ford, his performance isn’t as astounding as Bardem’s.  If Affleck keeps up with this level of acting though, it won’t be long until he wins an Oscar.

In the category for Best Supporting Actress, the Academy Award should go to Cate Blanchett for her stunning portrayal of Bob Dylan at the height of his fame in the 1960s in “I’m Not There.”  Representing this side of Dylan through Jude Quinn, she manages to capture the very essence of Dylan’s life as his popularity grew and his fan base changed.  The weakest nomination in this category has to go to Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone.”  This isn’t due to her actual performance but simply because she’s overshadowed by the other nominated actresses.

While all of the nominations in the Best Actor category are incredibly strong, the Oscar should go to Daniel Day-Lewis.  His dramatic role in “There Will Be Blood” as an oilman who becomes consumed by greed is spectacular.  He will most likely earn his second Oscar this year.

The award for Best Actress should go to Julie Christie for her role in “Away From Her.”  She plays a married woman who develops a romance with a nursing home resident after Alzheimer’s disease takes all her memories of her relationship with her husband.  Her acting expresses strong emotions as her character’s life unravels along with her memories.

For Best Director, the Oscar should go to Joel and Ethan Coen, who directed “No Country For Old Men.”  The brothers have never won an Academy Award for this category and it’s only appropriate that they finally pick up a golden statue for what could arguably be their best film.

Finally, we arrive at the Best Picture category.  Out of all the strong nominations, “No Country For Old Men” deserves the win here.  It’s a masterpiece that combines brilliant acting, amazing writing, and depicts the dark horror of the world created in the novel.  It’s one of the best movies of 2007.  Are these choices correct? We’ll all have to wait until Feb. 24 to find out.