The 80th Academy Awards…My Picks…And Who Will Actually Win

The 80th Academy Awards

As I always state, the Academy Awards are the Super Bowl for this film geek. Jon Stewart’s hosting and I can’t wait to see what he and his Daily Show writers (he’s using more of them than the last time he hosted) have come up with.

So help me if Juno wins ANY Academy Awards, I’ll beat the voters with Martin Scorsese’s eyebrows. Either that or Daniel Day-Lewis beats Diablo Cody with his Academy Award (he BETTER win tonight, dammit!). Both of those scenarios are more idea than having to sit through the acrid banality that is Juno.

You know the deal here, folks. So on with it we go…

Best Actor

George Clooney – Michael Clayton

Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood

Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Tommy Lee Jones – In the Valley of Elah

Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises

My pick – No other star turned in as complex and maddening a performance as Day-Lewis. He carried There Will Be Blood on his shoulders and turned Daniel Plainview into a palpable presence that is a forceful, vengeful, evil terror.

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Supporting Actor

Casey Affleck – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Charlie Wilson’s War

Hal Holbrook – Into the Wild

Tom Wilkinson – Michael Clayton

My pick – Javier Bardem’s icy portrayal of the monster known as Anton Chigurh is on a level we haven’t seen in quite some time, if at all.

Will win: Bardem. The buzz and the critical acclaim add up to a win for a character that has had people talking.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Julie Christie – Away From Her

Marion Cotillard – La Vie en Rose

Laura Linney – The Savages

Ellen Page – Juno

My pick: Laura Linney. It’s been a long time coming for this actress.

Will win: With this win, the idiocy of Academy voters will be confirmed. Ellen Page will walk away with Oscar gold and I’ll projectile vomit everywhere. She’s a terrific actress; Juno, however, is a terrible movie.

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There

Ruby Dee – American Gangster

Saoirse Ronan – Atonement

Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone

Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

My pick – Saoirse Ronan. Her character is the integral part of Atonement and Saoirse is an excellent actress. I look forward to seeing her in Amy Heckerling’s new film (sadly relegated to direct-to-DVD status by the machinations of the industry), I Could Never Be Your Woman.

Will win – Despite a top notch fleet of performances, the voters will give this one to Cate Blanchett for her portrayal of Bob Dylan. This will be a gimme gift, so that the Academy can feel down with the hip. Um, Academy? You’re not the writers of Pitchfork and never will be (thank goodness).

Best Animated Feature



Surf’s Up

My pick – Persepolis. Marjane Satrapi’s labor of love biopic deserves accolades.

Will win – The power of Pixar will win. Brad Bird’s love letter to Paris, food, and the art of criticism and why it is so vital, necessary, and needed is a triumphant, marvelous jewel of a film. And if nothing else, it’ll be really, really, really cool to see Patton Oswalt on stage at the Academy Awards.

Best Art Direction

American Gangster


The Golden Compass

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

There Will Be Blood

My pick: There Will Be Blood, for perfectly realizing the harsh and unforgiving terrain of the late 19th and early 20th century so vividly.

Will win: The meticulously designed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Cinematographer

Roger Deakins – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Seamus McGarvey – Atonement

Janusz Kaminski – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Roger Deakins – No Country for Old Men

Robert Elswit – There Will Be Blood

My pick: Robert Elswit’s lens ably captures the harsh panorama of the barren oil fields (and much, much more) in turn-of-the-century California in There Will Be Blood, and every shot is a masterful one.

Will win: While Deakins is a force of nature and a stalwart in his field, his double nomination may cancel him out. Therefore, I think Elswit’s going to win this one, and righfully so.

Best Costume Design

Albert Wolsky – Across the Universe

Jacqueline Durran – Atonement

Alexandra Byrne – Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Marit Allen – La Vie en Rose

Colleen Atwood – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

My pick: Colleen Atwood’s always amazing designs are something to marvel at and always capture perfectly the mood and theme of the film.

Will win: Colleen Atwood’s incredible work will pay off with a richly deserved win, and the third Academy Award she’s won.

Best Director

Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Jason Reitman – Juno

Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen – No Country for Old Men

Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood

My pick: PTA has redefined himself. Heretofore, he was known for wide-ranging epics of dysfunctional souls navigating the murky and uncertain waters of life, mostly set in Los Angeles. With There Will Be Blood, he swings for the fences, aiming to make his own Terrence Malick-type epic, one that’s unconventional but powerful and unrelenting. He not only cleared the fences, the ball never came back.

Will win: Despite much griping about the ending, the Academy loves the Coen Brothers like they’re family and their taut, terrific No Country for Old Men will give them this award.

Best Documentary Feature

No End In Sight

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience


Taxi to the Dark Side

My pick: Michael Moore’s Sicko. The film cut through the lies and deceit the right-wing paints universal health care with and presents a damning and scary look at how greed and the chase for the almighty dollar supercede keeping America healthy.

Will win: A non-partisan look at the botched post-invasion planning of Iraq, No End in Sight will win this.

Best Film Editing

Christopher Rouse – The Bourne Ultimatum

Juliette Welfing – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Jay Cassidy – Into the Wild

Roderick Jaynes – No Country for Old Men

Dylan Tichenor – There Will Be Blood

My pick: Tichenor. With a running time of 158 minutes, nothing seems extraneous or warmed-over in There Will Be Blood.

Will win: Roderick Jaynes is a pseudonym for The Coen Brothers and I predict tonight’s Oscars will be a love-fest between their film and the waste of time and space known as Juno. Bet on Jaynes, friend-o.

I cannot list Best Foreign Language film, as I’ve not seen them but I hear The Counterfeiters is amazing.

Best Makeup

Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald – La Vie en Rose

Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji – Norbit

Ve Neill and Martin Samuel – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

My pick: Marion Cotillard’s transformation into Edith Piaf is remarkable.

Will win: The cinematic atrocity known as Norbit. Rick Baker should be ashamed of himself.

Best Original Score

Dario Marianelli – Atonement

Alberto Iglesias – The Kite Runner

James Newton Howard – Michael Clayton

Michael Giacchino – Ratatouille

Marco Beltrami – 3:10 to Yuma

My pick: Giacchino expertly captured the flavor of France.

Will win: Giacchino, though Beltrami might eke out a win, and Howard’s always a favorite. But I think Giacchino will win. And a giant fuck you to the Academy – Jonny Greenwood’s other-wordly seemingly sentient score for There Will Be Blood deserved a nomination and win. Stupid rules.

Best Original Song

“Falling Slowly” from Once – Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

“Happy Working Song” from Enchanted – Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

“Raise It Up” from August Rush – Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack, and Tevin Thomas

“So Close” from Enchanted – Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

“That’s How You Know” from Enchanted – Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

My pick: The haunting “Falling Slowly” beautifully captures the theme of love.

Will win: “That’s How You Know”. The Academy loves Disney. And I mean LOVES Disney.

Best Sound Editing

Karen Baker Landers and Per Halberg – The Bourne Ultimatum

Skip Lievsay – No Country for Old Men

Randy Thom and Michael Silvers – Ratatouille

Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood – There Will Be Blood

Ethan Van der Ryan and Mike Hopkins – Transformers

My pick: The sometimes deafening silence followed by Greenwood’s score paint the picture of perfection that is There Will Be Blood. Scarabosio and Wood deserve the win here.

Will win: Transformers. Loud must mean good.

Best Sound Mixing

Scott Millan, David Parker, and Kirk Francis – The Bourne Ultimatum

Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkay, Greg Orloff, and Peter Kurland – No Country for Old Men

Michael Semanick and Doc Kane – Ratatouille

David Giammarco and Jim Steube – 3:10 to Yuma

Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell, and Peter J. Devlin – Transformers

My pick: No Country for Old Men.

Will win: Transformers. Again, loud must mean good.

Best Visual Effects

Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, and Trevor Wood – The Golden Compass

John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson, and John Frazier – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl, and John Frazier – Transformers

My pick – Transformers. The task of making CGI robots look like the contents of a silverware drawer glued together is the lesser of three evils, it seems.

Will win: Transformers. See above.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Christopher Hampton – Atonement

Sarah Polley – Away from Her

Ronald Harwood – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen – No Country for Old Men

Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood

My pick: PTA used Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil! as a launching pad for his own tale of some one who’s more monster than man.

Will win: The Coen love will continue with another Academy Award win in this category.

Best Original Screenplay

Diablo Cody – Juno

Nancy Oliver – Lars and the Real Girl

Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton

Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird – Ratatouille

Tamara Jenkins – The Savages

My pick: Jenkins is a true talent.

Will win: Juno The worst screenplay ever (even worse than Manos: The Hands of Fate), written by a non-talent, will win an Academy Award. I wonder how hip and full of “irony” Cody’s acceptance speech will be. Expect Juno-esque knockoffs to flood theaters very soon. With this win, cinema loses.

Best Picture



Michael Clayton

No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood

My pick: There Will Be Blood was not only the best film of last year, it’s the best in a long time. It is a force of nature.

Will win: The Coen Brothers will win for their pitch-perfect adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel. But don’t count out the afterbirth that is Juno. If Juno wins, Variety better run an obituary for film.

The season premiere of Saturday Night Live was the cat’s pajamas. I think the writer’s strike recharged their batteries and restored their creative juices. Hopefully this refreshment carries over for the rest of the season and beyond.

Today’s the first day I’ve had off in six days. This Friday’s paycheck should hopefully be delicious.


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