Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oscar-Rama 2008

We've come a long way since 2007 kicked off with the likes of "Code Name: The Cleaner," "Wild Hogs" and Oscar nominee "Norbit." And now it's everyone's favorite time of year again, when Hollywood joins together to give itself a collective pat on the back, and finally back a single high-def format (the one that's twice as expensive, damn it!).

Some argue that it's silly to write 20,000 words on the Oscars in these troubling times. They ask, "Do the Oscars really matter?" But people only ask such questions after their prediction skills prove inept.

Chris Bellamy, Jeremy Mathews and Brent Sallay have set aside their petty squabbles, the quietly stewing resentment and the popcorn to give you the longest version yet of The Only Oscars Article Longer Than the Oscars[TM]. We hope you can handle it.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"
Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"
Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement"
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton"

Look at that cute old Ruby Dee. Sure, she didn't do much in "American Gangster," but she's cute! And old! We best not pass her by. She could be dead by next year. Cuteness and oldness were the primary criteria for the Screen Actors Guild this year, so what the hell, let's give her an Oscar, too. Maybe she'll show us pictures of her grandkids!

But wait. Saoirse Ronan is young and cute! Don't you love it when kids win Oscars, and they're smiling and can barely reach the microphone? They're all up on their tippy-toes and you can't barely even hear what they're saying...we just laugh and laugh...and they get all self-conscious. Good times, good times. If Ronan pulls the upset, she could be headed for a long and illustrious career, following in the footsteps of the long, illustrious, legendary, illustrious career of Anna Paquin. Or she could lose, in which case she'd follow in the footsteps of Keisha Castle-Hughes and totally get knocked up when she's 16.

Jeremy says: There are four award-worthy performances in this category. And Ruby Dee was nominated, too. Now, Dee has had a rich and impressive career, and that's well and good, but she didn't have a whole lot to do in "American Gangster." She loves her boy and what he does, but doesn't want to know about his gangster ways, and that's about it. It's not a bad performance, but it doesn't compare to Saorise Ronan's fragile youth, Tilda Swinton's neurotic corporate whore or Amy Ryan's irresponsible but sympathetic druggy mother.

While Ryan seemed the clear favorite early in the season, she seems to have faded from memory a bit. That leaves the door open for my favorite, Cate Blanchett's performance of 1968 electric Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There." Blanchett personifies Dylan's anger, frustration and confusion with his own identity, both personally and as a pop culture icon.

But then again, Blanchett plays a dude, and she's totally a chick. Isn't that weird?

Chris says: That's what I was wondering about. I mean, Blanchett totally has a vagina, and Bob Dylan doesn't have a vagina. How can she play him in a movie? Seems like an inaccurate portrayal to me. In all seriousness, I think this same issue confused the hell out of increasingly senile "critic" and former shoplifter Rex Reed. He seems very flummoxed by this. And by movies in general.

But this is the best supporting actress category – it's always full of surprises. It prides itself on being kooky. After all, this is the same category that awarded Judi Dench when she played herself in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in "Shakespeare in Love." This is the category that gave Kim Basinger an Oscar because people thought she was nominated for "Sullivan's Travels." This is the category that awarded Renee Zellweger because she did a really cute, broad Southern accent, and Jennifer Hudson because she has a really loud voice and threatened to unleash the Lion's Roar from "Kung Fu Hustle" if they didn't "give me my fucking Oscar."

But if the voters were really all that creative, they would have nominated Imelda Staunton for her bubbly, cheerfully ruthless villain in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

As it is, for me it's a toss-up between Blanchett – who far transcended mere mimicry, creating a portrayal of anxiety and contradictions that works even if you don't know who the hell Bob Dylan is – and Amy Ryan. Those two were the obvious favorites for months until Ruby Dee inexplicably came out of nowhere to snag some momentum – in the process reminding people that she was actually in "American Gangster," since we had all forgotten. And now some folks – notably Entertainment Weekly – are calling a win for Tilda Swinton.

With my back against the wall, I'll say it goes to Ryan – who, prior to her great performance in "Gone Baby Gone," was excellent in a supporting role in Season 2 of "The Wire." And since most of the industry has conspired to never give a single fucking award to the best show on television, I'll say the Academy does something about that. [Note: Omar from "The Wire" was in "Gone Baby Gone," too.]

Brent says: I also like "The Wire." Give it to Amy Ryan.

That being said, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that, while women should still be permitted to act, the Academy should probably still do away with this category altogether. I know I'm not going to make any female fans by saying this, but this category is routinely a bore, with at least four nominees that are a complete stretch, for people who were either hardly in the movie or who "really showed their range" in such "dynamic" roles as "wife," "mother," "sister," or "daughter." Hell, the most likely winner in this category this year is for a woman playing a man. Until Hollywood starts writing riveting roles for women, we should stop pretending that their performances are riveting. The only performance by a woman that really knocked me off my seat this year was by Marley Shelton (or rather, Marley Shelton's eyes) in "Grindhouse."

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
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"

Look at that cute Hal Holbrook. Sure, he didn't do much in "Into the Wild," but he's cute! And old! We best not pass him by. He could be dead by next year. Cuteness and oldness were NOT the primary criteria for the Screen Actors Guild this year, so what the hell, let's give him an Oscar, dammit! Maybe he'll show us pictures of his grandkids!

Do we really need to nominate anyone in this category, though? Jeremy Mathews called it for Bardem back in May at the Cannes Film Festival, and he's always right. Except when the Cannes jury gives its award to some fucking Russian guy instead. Thankfully, there are no Russkies in this year's supporting actor race, so Javier Bardem may be in the clear.

But wait! Philip Seymour Hoffman played a guy who fucking killed Russians for a living. He actually got paid to go and kill him some Russians. If That Guy who won at Cannes were in "Charlie Wilson's War," Philip Seymour Hoffman totally would have killed his ass. So what makes Bardem thinks he's in the clear after all? Russian beats Bardem, Hoffman kills Russian, ipso ergo sum, Hoffman beats Bardem.

Then again, Casey Affleck killed Jesse James...and if he killed Jesse James, he totally could have killed Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is much fatter than Jesse James and therefore can't as effectively avoid danger.

So: Russian beats Bardem, Hoffman kills Russian, Affleck theoretically kills Hoffman, ipso ergo sum, Affleck beats Bardem. Mathews resigns in shame.

Or not.

Chris says: Bardem pretty much has this thing wrapped up. Mostly because voters are terrified to vote against him. The man has his principles, you know.

And a deserving win it will be. But I have an inner conflict here – an inner conflict brought on by the silly disconnect between the nature of some performances vs. the category in which they are nominated. Casey Affleck's sad, affecting portrait of Robert Ford was the lead role, not supporting, in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." He was the center of the film, he had the most screen time. Jesse James (in a great supporting turn by Brad Pitt) was the most important symbol, but Ford was the most important character. The complexity of Affleck's performance – how whimpering insecurity would spontaneously morph into confident overcompensation, how the character carried a mass of conflicting intentions and emotions that Affleck laid bare with his face, his voice, his body language – may have made it the best lead performance of the year.

And yet, with Pitt getting first billing, Affleck was relegated to the supporting category. So while it may be true that Bardem is the year's best supporting actor, Affleck – who also gave a strong lead performance in his brother's "Gone Baby Gone" – is equally deserving, if not more so. It's just in the wrong category. Affleck gets my vote, but Bardem will take the gold.

Jeremy says: I feel slightly guilty about saying that Javier Bardem easily deserves to take home the Best Supporting Actor statuette, because, as Chris explained, Casey Affleck delivered one of the best lead—not supporting—performances of the year in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." But, like Bardem, I have principles, and must vote for the Best Supporting Actor of the year. While both performances will remain cherished performances in cinema history, I'm standing by the prediction of Bardem's victory that I made in May.

Bardem's portrayal of Anton Chigurh embodies evil of an unforgettably peculiar sort. Calculated, methodical, sinister and sadistic, his Chigurh is a haunting presence. He reminds us that even if we could see what's coming, we wouldn't necessarily understand it. Bardem intersperses unexpected humor into this individually horrifying entity that looks like a human being. It's uncomfortable, it's startling and it's exhilarating.

Did I mention that I predicted Bardem's victory in May?

Brent says: Gee Jeremy, I wonder what other Oscar predictions you made last May, and how the rest of them panned out. Given that this is the only one that you're gloating about, I think it's safe to assume that you were wrong about every single other category.

But seriously, this is not Jeremy's Oscar. It is Bardem's Oscar. (With Affleck and Hoffman also very deserving.) And for the record, I called it in February. Which comes before May. Sort of.

Jeremy says: It's still kind of my Oscar.

Best Achievement in Makeup
Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald, "La Môme" ("La Vie en Rose")
Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji, "Norbit"
Ve Neill and Martin Samuel, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

In case anyone missed it, "Norbit" received as many Oscar nominations as "I'm Not There."

Brent says: It is a shame that there are only three available slots for this category. The makeup work also looked phenomenal for "Epic Movie," "Bratz" and "The Hottie and the Nottie," but sadly, this work will forever be lost to the annals of time.

Jeremy says: This one seems all too obvious. Eddie Murphy is a man of average build, yet he played a fat woman in "Norbit." How did he do it? Through the magic of makeup. It's quite possible that if makeup didn't exist, there would be no "Norbit" (unless Robert Zemeckis did a motion-capture version—which, let's face it, he probably will sooner or later).

So since they made it possible for "Norbit" to exist, Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji should win.

Wait, sorry, I got that wrong. They should be shot. Which leaves the stage wide open for the work of Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald in "La Vie en Rose." Their makeup both places Marion Cotillard in every stage of Edith Piaf's life and subtly captures her emotional state during those stages.

Johnny Depp's mascara is pretty cool too, though, and it got men everywhere wearing eye makeup. I know because I read it on the Internet.

Chris says: How many times do I have to tell you, Jeremy? It's not mascara and eyeliner! I just, uh...I just fell down some stairs.

Anyway, "La Vie en Rose" will be the deserving winner...though really it's by default, since "Norbit" and the third "Pirates" movie never actually happened. By the way, what's the ETA on "Beverly Hills Cop IV"?

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Albert Wolsky, "Across the Universe"
Jacqueline Durran, "Atonement"
Alexandra Byrne, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" Marit Allen, "La Môme" ("La Vie en Rose")
Colleen Atwood, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

The Best Costume Design category, also known as "Let's Throw the Tim Burton Movie a Nomination," is and has always been an affront to the beauty that is the naked human body. Costumes are nothing but symbols of authoritarian repression of our sexual nature. As such, we demand that this category be removed from this and all future Oscar ceremonies until the people of the world can recognize the beauty of our bodies, our selves. Until that happens, I guess we better put in some predictions.

[Editor's Note: For the record, Jeremy and Chris are both naked right now.]

[But not in a gay way.]

[Brent would be too, but he is a never-nude.]

[Not gay that is, but naked.]

[Picture goes here.]

Chris says: I didn't notice anyone wearing a costume in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Huh.

Well anyway, the voters face a virtually unprecedented dilemma. Those who vote in the costume design category are genetically engineered to vote for whatever old-timey period piece featuring royalty looks identical to all the old-timey paintings featuring royalty we've seen a thousand times in museums. A sign hangs outside the Costume Design voting booth that reads: "Corsets, wigs, Elizabethan dresses, castles, parasols = quality costume design." You see how it goes.

The problem this year is that the best [read: only] asset of "The Golden Age" – Cate Blanchett – doesn't count as a costume. Contrary to some suspicions brought on by the movie's visual "style," she's actually an actress, not an extension of the set design. And since nobody saw the movie, its chances are low...despite tradition.

That leaves "Atonement" as the favorite in this category. Indeed, the film's visual qualities are its greatest distinction, as director Joe Wright and his team of artists created an impressively imagined period. Plus, the famous green dress is the one in which Cecilia Tallis presumably had her hymen broken (unless she was a total slut and got de-flowered by someone else years previous). I may have to double-check this, but I believe the Academy bestows a bonus for coital entry points.*

What's consistently frustrating about both this category and the art direction category is that, on the surface, they should represent the best and most creative of films' creative artists...and yet they so often just end up mirroring whatever Oscar-bait movie has the most momentum. My favorite in this year's category is Albert Wolsky's work on Julie Taymor's endlessly creative and unique "Across the Universe," but it's a highly unlikely winner. Ditto anything with Tim Burton's name on it – sure, they'll throw his movies a technical nomination or two, but when it comes to actually handing out the trophies, the Generic Period Piece or whatever is favored in the Best Pic race always win out.

* Vagina.

Back to you, Jeremy.

Jeremy says: Um, the very word makes some men uncomfortable, you know?

I'd give it to "Across the Universe," but the Academy won't. I don't know, they might actually lean to Atwood on this one, but I might be underestimating "Atonement," especially considering the coital entry factor. But "Sweeney Todd" does indeed take place in the past, which could give it the leverage it needs. Oh boy oh boy, what to do? For the record, I won't predict "Elizabeth" on principal. "La Vie en Rose" had some nice design work, too. Wow. This is a real puzzler. I'm gonna go with "Sweeney Todd."

Brent says: What's this I hear? Accolades for "Across the Universe"? In its defense, I didn't actually see it, for the simple reason that the sheer idea of the movie rendered all of my coital entry points permanently useless.

I'm going to have to go with "Sweeney Todd" on this one. Because every costume looks better…drenched in blood.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
And the nominees are...
"The Golden Compass": Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End": John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charlie Gibson, John Frazier
"Transformers": Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl, John Frazier

In case you missed it, "Transformers" received as many Oscar nominations as "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," I'm Not There," "Knocked Up," "Grindhouse," "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," "Zodiac," "Sunshine," "Manda Bala" and "Hot Fuzz" combined.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention. Please welcome special guest Robert Zemeckis to introduce the special effects category.

Robert Zemeckis: Hello, there. It's a pleasure to once again contribute to The Same Dame. I'm a bit dismayed that "Beowulf" was snubbed in this category. I mean, the whole fucking movie was one big special effect! What the fuck?!? Sure, "Transformers" used digital versions of actors during the action scenes, but that pussy Bay didn't have the balls to use them during the dialogue sequences. Live-action actors? Welcome to the new millennium, asshole. Remember all those times when people are talking to each other? And that LaBeouf (or whatever the fuck) guy is like making facial expressions and expressing emotion? "Look at me! My eyes aren't hollow, lifeless and creepy! I'm a real human being! La-di-fucking-da!" God, stop doing that shit with your face! I can do it on my cocksucking computer, you little shit!

If that LaBeouf (or whatever the fuck) guy had been in my movie, I would have made an even better version of him. Why would you go for the real thing when you can have digital? I'm touching myself just thinking about it.

All these nominees are bullshit. Go watch my expressionless zombie freaks in "The Polar Express" if you want to see a "best achievement in visual effects." I'm making my own Academy Awards next year, with fucking digital presenters. Fuck you, real things.

Chris says: Prior to whittling down their choices for this year's Visual Effects Oscar, members of the Academy held a top-secret symposium – under the clever guise of an Amway sales conference – in the grand ballroom of a prestigious downtown Los Angeles hotel in order to discuss the important category's qualifications, which have remained up in the air for years now. Minutes turned to hours and hours to days, as a heated discussion stretched late into the night and the next several mornings. The diligent Academy members – who, needless to say, always try their damnedest to see every qualified motion-picture, instead of merely relying on hearsay, reputation and money – went through many pots of coffee (digital, of course) until finally bearing fruit for their intense labors.

The sweeping conclusion reached by the committee was this: Voters should operate under the mantra that, if something changes shape and costs $200 million, it must be a great special effect.

With that in mind, the Academy narrowed it down to the year's three most obvious choices given that framework.

Now, all of that has already been reported in various outlets such as Variety and Hollywood Reporter. What has been less publicized is the method by which the voters will decide this year's winner. A round table discussion – hosted by a small, little-known experimental filmmaker by the name of George Lucas in his underground lair – was put together at the last minute and quickly erupted into controversy. Mr. Lucas insisted that he personally put together a film version featuring all the fantastical creatures and special effects of all the category finalists, and let them digitally fight to the death. This would include armored polar bears with British accents, shape-shifting animals and Nicole Kidman's facial expressions from "The Golden Compass"; shape-shifting automobiles that turn into giant, weaponized robots from "Transformers"; and human/fish hybrids, giant octopus monsters and Orlando Bloom from "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

Though several academy members passionately voiced their dissent, Mr. Lucas – seated in a large throne atop a small pillar erected in the middle of his lair – was not deterred, presenting an elaborate demonstration on exactly how the competition would play out, which he created on his computer while furiously masturbating the entire time.

The results were these: The sea creatures and inanimate boyish would-be heroes from "At World's End" were perceived by their competitors as a non-threat, as they insisted on sitting around talking about expository plot details that no one gave a shit about instead of actually getting on with the fight. That tacit pacifism was their undoing, as they were quickly and efficiently extinguished (Mr. Bloom's CGI death was particularly gruesome), leaving only the robots and giant bears to fight to the death. What looked like a mismatch in the robots' favor, however, quickly turned into a dogfight. Despite much more impressive visual design, physical capability and versatility, the Transformers shockingly met their downfall when the great Optimus Prime repeatedly and unnecessarily foreshadowed his Kill Move. The armored bears were able to easily anticipate the move, thwarting the robots' aggression and answering with a sneak attack; the bears mauled the robots to death to pull off the Visual Effects upset as Michael Bay spontaneously disintegrated into a pile of ashes and Mr. Lucas climaxed.

Not surprisingly, the category still faces controversy, as all three of the nominated films completely sucked and smaller-budgeted films with superior effects – such as Danny Boyle's visually stunning "Sunshine" – were completely overlooked.

When an unnamed audience member brought up the merits of "Sunshine," Mr. Lucas just stood there and did a jerk-off motion with his hand and then walked away. The visual effects voters followed suit.

Brent says: Wow, I am speechless.

Jeremy says: OK. Well, I guess Chris settled that up well enough. "Transformers" might win for its very impressive technical specs, but the lack of distinguishing character design (yes, there were two yellow ones) remains a major flaw in the film. Of course, the screenplay and the direction were greater flaws. "The Golden Compass" sucks ass, and it's CG sucks—no offense to those great Coca Cola polar bear ads. That leaves "Pirates of the Caribbean," which had the best overall effects of the bunch. The most impressive effect: The movie never ends. Seriously. I can still sense one more scene around the corner.

Best Achievement in Sound
"The Bourne Ultimatum": Scott Millan, David Parker, Kirk Francis
"No Country for Old Men": Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland
"Ratatouille": Randy Thom, Michael Semanick, Doc Kane
"3:10 to Yuma": Paul Massey, David Giammarco, Jim Stuebe
"Transformers": Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Peter J. Devlin

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum": Karen M. Baker, Per Hallberg
"No Country for Old Men": Skip Lievsay
"Ratatouille": Randy Thom, Michael Silvers
"There Will Be Blood": Matthew Wood
"Transformers": Mike Hopkins, Ethan Van der Ryn

Without sound, movies would be silent. We know this because 80 years ago, it was the case. Then "The Jazz Singer" came out and people said, "That kind of sucked. Maybe we should stay silent." But it turned out that good movies could be made with sound, too, and the whole thing stuck.

And now, we present the opening of "The Bourne Ultimatum," for the hearing impaired.

Dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada, dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada... [continues]

Beee-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh [Computer readout sound]

Shhiii-ccchhhhh, boom!

Dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada, dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada-dada... [higher-pitched, with violins]

Shoes crunching in snow

Berrrrrrrrrrng [Train whistle in background]

Weee-oooh-weee-oooh-wee-oohh-wee-oooh [Police sirens]

Heavy breathing

SCREEEEECH! [Cars coming to screeching halt]

Unintelligible Russian yelling [Kill all Americans!]

Train station announcement, in unintelligible Russian woman's voice [Make love to us and drink lots of our vodka!]

BRRRRR! BRRRRR! [Car horn honking]

Feet on steps

Creeeeek! [Train screeches to a stop on tracks]

Unintelligible Russian shouting [We will make moon landing before you dirty Americans!]

Low rumble of sliding door

Creeeeeek! [Train screeches on tracks again]

Heavy breathing, unintelligible Russian shouting

Door slams open

BERRRRRRNG! [Another fucking train whistle]

Low rumbling of large stringed instruments

BANG! Rat-tat, bang! [Door shuts]

Plop! [Jason Bourne falls on ground]

"Aaaargh!" [Jason Bourne does Charlie Brown impersonation]

Brent says: There is no contest. The sound editing in "No Country for Old Men" was practically as much a star of the film as were its three leads. They should teach from this movie in film classes. Plus, "No Country" seems to have enough momentum that even the people who don't know what sound and sound editing are, but just check all the boxes on the Oscar ballot for their favorite movie, will still vote for it.

Jeremy says: A quick note about sound design for Academy members: Just because it's loud and constant doesn't mean it's good. So relentless are the pows, bangs and clanks in "Transformers" that the climax (and I use the word charitably, much in the same way one of Chris's lovers might—zing!) that a fellow critic fell asleep during it. "It's like white noise," he later told me. So let's just pretend that four films were nominated in each of these two categories.

With its sparse score and several scenes that play out with little dialogue, "No Country for Old Men" required the most delicate and precise sound design of all the nominees. And Skip Lievsay and his team delivered in every scene. "No Country for Old Men" owes much of its tense atmosphere to each crunch, shuffle and breath, brought to you by the sound design team.

But will it win either of the categories? It might not be flashy enough. "There Will Be Blood's" sinister design, which is a major part of its atmosphere as well, could take sound editing, but so could the big action movies of the category. Then again, Academy voters might just vote for their favorite film of the bunch, likely to be "No Country." So "No Country" for the sweep, I suppose, though I might change my mind.

Chris says: Obviously you just don't appreciate good sound design, Jeremy. I mean, Michael Bay is an artist. You don't understand how much vision went into the sound work on "Transformers." I mean, when they first put the rough cut of "Transformers," there wasn't any sound at all – whenever things banged into each other, a garish title card like the ones from the 1960s "Batman" series flashed on the screen. It was like, BAM! CRASH! THWAP! And then Michael Bay, the visionary, was like, "You know what? What if – instead of title cards, we actually tried to make real sounds, and then we recorded them? That's what dear old Daddy Frankenheimer would have done." And so he got together a sound design team, went back to his house and got all his pots and pans and electronic appliances, turned on the tape recorder and had everyone bang them all together at once and voila! Sound design.

Anyway...I would like to think that the Academy wouldn't honor "Transformers" just because it was loud. Plus, if that movie were an Oscar winner, it might hurt Bay's street cred. The sound work on "No Country" was a miraculous feat in and of itself – the film wouldn't be the same without it. Consider Llewelyn's initial meeting with his anonymous hunter as he's waiting in his hotel room. The slow, almost-absent creaking of the hardwood floors. The phone ringing downstairs in the lobby. The slow, methodical unscrewing of the lightbulb in the hallway. I would probably like to see "No Country" win both of the sound categories, but wouldn't mind seeing it split with "There Will Be Blood."

Best Documentary, Short Subjects
"Freeheld," Cynthia Wade, Vanessa Roth
"La Corona," Amanda Micheli, Isabel Vega
"Salim Baba," Tim Sternberg, Francisco Bello
"Sari's Mother," James Longley

Best Short Film, Animated
"Même les pigeons vont au paradis": Samuel Tourneux, Vanesse Simon
"I Met the Walrus": Josh Raskin
"Madame Tutli-Putli": Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski
"Moya lyubov": Aleksandr Petrov
"Peter & the Wolf": Suzie Templeton, Hugh Welchman

Best Short Film, Live Action
"Om natten": Christian E. Christiansen, Louise Vesth
"Il Supplente": Andrea Jublin"Mozart des pickpockets, Le": Philippe Pollet-Villard
"Tanghi argentini": Guy Thys, Anja Daelemans
"The Tonto Woman": Daniel Barber, Matthew Brown

We just got ahold of some screeners, so we'll fill you in on these categories soon.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Dario Marianelli, "Atonement"
Alberto Iglesias, "The Kite Runner"
James Newton Howard, "Michael Clayton"
Michael Giacchino, "Ratatouille"
Marco Beltrami, "3:10 to Yuma"

Hear that? Well, if you're deaf, you can't. And we're not going to sit here and transcribe what is going on musically; that would just take too long. We already did that for sound design, you greedy bastard. Suffice it to say the music is really fucking pretty, and I enjoy listening to it. What's that? I don't speak sign language! And this is a written medium! I can't even see you doing anything with your hands! Bastard in a basket!

Bastard in a basket!!

Chris says: Fuck the Academy for disqualifying the score that had the greatest impact this year – Jonny Greenwood's from "There Will Be Blood" – based on their stupid, arbitrary rules. Yeah, we'll see what gets remembered 30 years from now: A) The anxious, manic, powerfully offbeat work of Greenwood, which sets the film's atmosphere and, teetering on the brink of spiraling out of control, signals the trajectory of the main character's point of view? Or B) the fucking "Kite Runner."

"The Kite Runner," seriously? Was the score playing during that idiotic scene when our hero gets saved when a kid kills the bad guy from his childhood with a slingshot and then he jumps out the window and escapes? Well then I'm disqualifying it.

Oh yeah, spoiler alert.

Anyway, the Academy also failed to recognize the ethereal mournfulness of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' work on "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," but it did nominate three excellent scores from "Atonement," "Michael Clayton" and "Ratatouille." Though I wasn't as enamored with the film quite as much as some were, "Atonement" may be my favorite score of the bunch; the use of a typewriter as percussion was a stroke of genius. That particular element has garnered a lot of attention and makes it the most likely winner in this category; however, I would still be happy to see Michael Giacchino ("LOST") win for his work on "Ratatouille." Same goes for James Newton Howard, one of the two or three best working composers who is on his seventh Oscar nomination with no wins. He has done some of the best scores of recent years ("King Kong," "Unbreakable"), even making bad movies sound better if you just listen to the soundtrack ("The Village"). Unless I'm vastly underestimating sentimental value for a six-time loser or the Oscar viability of "Michael Clayton," I'd say Howard walks home empty-handed once again.

But there's always next year. Then again, he's working on a Holocaust-era movie, and those never win any Oscars.

Brent says: Ditto on Jonny Greenwood's score. It's the best thing anyone from the Radiohead camp produced last year, and it's a travesty that it wasn't even nominated on a technicality, but "Atonement" probably would have beat it anyway. Of the nominees, it's the most safe and memorable, and we could do worse I suppose. Though I wouldn't quite call its use of typewriters a "stroke of genius." I was also quite fond of Alexandre Desplat's sexually explicit score for "Lust, Caution," but sadly, it was not gay enough (like the score from "Brokeback Mountain") to merit a nomination.

Jeremy says: Dario Marianelli's lush score for "Atonement" draws enough attention to itself with the typewriter for voters to remember it, but not so much that it gets disqualified. Well played. Giacchino's score is my favorite of the bunch, but only has an outside shot of taking home the gold.

(The Oscar is made of gold.)

(I think.)

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush," Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack, Tevin Thomas
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz
"So Close" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz
"Falling Slowly" from "Once," Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová

It is now in the Oscar bylaws that one film must receive three nominations for Best Original Song. Hopefully, Beyoncé will sing them all. Hopefully some orphan who never touched an instrument in his life will deliver a rousing percussive guitar solo during "Falling Slowly." Then Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's eyes will meet and they'll realize that it's their fucking son. And then confusion will set in when Jamie Foxx comes down from the balcony and is all like, "No, wait, that's MY son! I can tell because I looked at him from across the room!"

Jeremy says: Every time I peruse the list of Oscar nominees, I experience a nightmarish flashback. "Oh, Best Original Song," I say, "at least 'Once' got one Oscar nomination, though it deserved recognition in some other categories. And Jesus, 'Enchanted' got three nominations in one category, presumably to make up for the Amy Adams snub. What was the fifth nominee again…? 'August Rush?!?' NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!"

Then I shake on the ground for 113 minutes, remembering every contrived, unbelievable second of that horrible film. Robin Williams thinks he's channeling Bono? Please Mommy, tell me everything will be OK. The saddest part is that I block the trauma from memory, ensuring that I re-live it. Robin Williams thinks he's channeling Bono? Please Mommy, tell me everything will be OK.

Chris interrupts: I guess that's what August Rush gets for rooting for a team like Arsenal.

Jeremy again: What's with the Academy and triple nominations for Best Original Song? I liked "Enchanted" quite a bit, but don't feel the need to watch a production number of every song from the film during the fucking Oscar ceremony.

"Falling Slowly" is clearly the best song of the bunch, and "Once" has to win at least one Oscar. Why? Because what if "Norbit" wins for Best Makeup, and years from now we have to explain to our grandchildren why "Once" didn't win any Oscars, but "Norbit" did. (They may also want to know what the hell happened to the ice caps and/or their social security.)

Robert Zemeckis says: Actually, I convinced the Academy to make up for my Visual Effects snub by allowing my dead-eyed zombie train-car waiters from "The Polar Express" to sing all the nominated songs. And I promise you – it will be just as creepy as that inexplicably terrifying song about hot chocolate.

Tom Hanks: Hot! Hot! Hot! We got it!

Stephen Tyler from Aerosmith says: Ooh, ooh, can I come?

[Chris kicks Robert Zemeckis in the face; Stephen Tyler runs away in fear.]

Chris says: Well, on that note...

(Get it? Note?)

("Note" – because we're talking about music. It was a pun.)

...I feel it's important that we give the Academy a nice big pat on the bum for having the courage – the scrotal fortitude, if you will – to nominate a family fairy-tale movie like "Enchanted" in the all-important Best Original Song category instead of something small and inconsequential like, I don't know, Best Actress. You definitely wouldn't want to give anyone the wrong idea for nominating a brilliant performance in a movie like "Enchanted." Wait, what category is this?

Yeah, for me it's a toss-up between "Falling Slowly" and the hilarious "Happy Working Song." The edge goes to the former, as "Enchanted's" three nominations will likely have a detrimental effect.

Brent says: Yes, just like last year, when everyone was shocked that Melissa Etheridge's "We Are the World" for retards beat out "Dreamgirls" and its three nods, this year, "Enchanted" will fall victim to vote splitting, and "Falling Slowly" will win, or more likely, the song from "August Rush" will, because, to my knowledge, the Academy has not awarded a decent song Oscar gold since the advent of the phonograph.

Jeremy says: I predicted the Etheridge win. I might have even predicted it as early as May.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Arthur Max and Beth A. Rubino, "American Gangster"
Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, "Atonement"
Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock, "The Golden Compass"
Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Jack Fisk and Jim Erickson, "There Will Be Blood"

Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock's daemons, Ricky Raccoon and Stanley the Serpent, respectively, at the Oscars:

Ricky Raccoon: Hey Dennis, we're at the Oscars!
Gassner: Shh! I know we are. I had to get this tuxedo and shit.
Stanley the Serpent: We walked down the red carpet. Now we're in our chairs!
Ricky Raccoon: You noticed that too? I was about to say the same thing!
Stanley the Serpent: Our movie was nominated for an award!
Ricky Raccoon: Dennis, Anna's daemon keeps saying what I'm going to say. She's mean!
Gassner: Hey Anna, why is your daemon always such a prick?
Pinnock: Fuck off!
Ricky Raccoon: Dennis, Anna just told you to fuck off!
Stanley the Serpent: Hrumph!
Presenter: And the Oscar Goes to…Jack Fisk and Jim Erickson, for "There Will Be Blood."
Ricky Raccoon: We didn't win!
Stanley the Serpent: Jack Fisk and Jim Erickson won! For "There Will Be Blood!"
Ricky Raccoon: Hey Dennis, we're at the Oscars!

Chris says: To be fair, maybe the art direction in "The Golden Compass" would have looked a bit more impressive if the movie hadn't completely sucked. But even then, it would be hard to defend the work of Gassner and Pinnock against the snubbed art direction of "La Vie en Rose" (likely my favorite in this category all year, with the possible exception of "There Will Be Blood"), "Sunshine," "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "The Orphanage" or even the otherwise lifeless "Youth Without Youth."

As for the nominees, this is one of the few categories that a Tim Burton movie ever has a chance of winning, with "Sleepy Hollow" and "Batman" picking up art-direction Oscars. The other category is makeup ("Ed Wood" and "Beetlejuice" both won.) Since "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" – Burton's best film in years – was so well-received, the Academy might want to honor the film in this category. It seems to be between that and "There Will Be Blood" (which gets my vote), unless I'm grossly underestimating momentum for "Atonement."

Jeremy says: Yes, I'm also curious about "Atonement's" momentum. It seems to have died out after a healthy start, but it is much more an Oscar film than "There Will Be Blood," which is my favorite of the bunch. Just look at that damn bowling alley. I can see this race going three ways. I hope "There Will Be Blood" will take it, but suspect that "Sweeney Todd" may put in a strong showing.

Like Chris, I spent most of "The Golden Compass" trying to make sense of its nonsensical three hours of repetitive exposition, and completely missed the fact that there were in fact sets, costumes and what not.

Oh, "American Gangster" was nominated, too. Did you know Ruby Dee is in it?

Brent says: I also like "Sweeney Todd" and "There Will Be Blood," but I'll give "Sweeney Todd" the edge.

Best Achievement in Editing
Christopher Rouse "The Bourne Ultimatum"
Juliette Welfling, "Le Scaphandre et le papillon" ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly")
Jay Cassidy, "Into the Wild"
Roderick Jaynes, "No Country for Old Men"
Dylan Tichenor, "There Will Be Blood"

Says, "This is the second nomination for Roderick Jaynes. He was previously nominated for 'Fargo.'" Also, he is a fictional character created by Joel and Ethan Coen, who actually edited "No Country for Old Men" under a pseudonym. If Jaynes wins, there will only be one statuette, so Joel and Ethan are going to have to battle it out for who gets to keep it. It's gonna get ugly, especially if it's anything like the fight the brothers had over directing and producing credits—that we just made up.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" had a shitload of cuts in it. So did "Transformers," but it wasn't nominated. Insiders tell us that "Bourne" won out on the fifth slot because you could actually tell what the fuck was going on. Insiders also say that if "Transformers" had been a sprawling movie with eight different interconnected storylines, it would have gotten the nod instead. Because if a movie has a ton of interconnected storylines, that must mean you're doing a lot of editing. "There Will Be Blood" only has one storyline—ipso ergo sum, there wasn't any editing. "No Country for Old Men" only had two storylines—so there was like a tiny bit of editing. "Into the Wild" used flashbacks—definitely a lot of editing involved there.

Half the shots from "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" had to be lifted directly from the main character's brain tissue, as it was shown directly from his point of view and told—LITERALLY—through his eyes. Underneath his eyelids and everything. That's a shitload of post-production work, and Juliette Welfling deserves our commendation.

Of these movies, "Le Scaphandre et le papillion" (we speak French) was the shortest, and therefore was the most-edited movie. "There Will Be Blood" was the longest, and therefore was the least-edited movie. It's pretty simple. [What's simple is that shorter movies mean the editing is better. Did you get that? That's what I was talking about. Length.]

"Le Scaphandre et le papilion" (we speak French) had the longest shot of a penis of all the nominated films, and therefore wasn't edited enough. Insiders tell us that the two lengthy shots of a penis in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" were the reason it was disqualified from the editing category. "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (we speak English) just made the cut.

Get it? Cut?

Get it?

("Cut" is another word for "edit." That's the joke.)

("Cut" could also reference circumcision. We were talking about penises. It was a multi-layered joke.)

Most importantly, the job of the editor is to keep things at a proper pace. For example, if you feel like a movie, or a particular scene in a movie, maybe the introduction (or simply an introduction to a specific scene in a movie) is dragging, going on forever, will never end, then it's probably due to bad editing. It's the same in writing. If you're reading something, and it never gets to the point—I mean, it just meanders all over the place, bringing up things that are completely off-topic, like penises or baseball cards or..well, really anything that's not on-topic - it's bad editing. It's not about cuts and timing, it's not about the emotion of the scene. It's about keeping things moving. Not dragging on. And on. Because that gets really annoying. Especially when you want to hear the fucking predictions for Best Editing.

Or any category, really. I mean, the principle is the same no matter what. If you want to hear predictions on any category, you don't want to have to sit through endless, aimless yammering about this and that—or, in some cases, yammering about the fact that you're sitting through endless yammering instead of being able to finally get to the predictions for the Best Editing category (or any category, for that matter). I mean, you never want that. Wouldn't that be aggravating? I mean, wouldn't you just want to punch your computer screen? But no—don't punch your computer screen. Because then you REALLY would never get to the predictions for the Best Editing category for the 80th annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards, presented on Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 8 p.m. ET.

And like I said earlier, it doesn't just apply to Best Editing. It's the same principle no matter what.

Brent says: I want something other than "No Country for Old Men" to win (assuming it wins Best Picture) so that people will stop saying that this category predicts the Best Picture category. Sometimes I worry that in all the spectacle of the awards season, we lose sight of the true meaning of these awards. This category shouldn't be about hedging your Oscar bets, but about which movies are under 90 minutes and have the shortest-duration penis scenes. Also, this category was invalidated when "Requiem for a Dream" didn't win seven years ago. That's all I have to say on the matter.

Jeremy says: I give the edge to, uh, Roderick Jaynes. He's due.

Watch any "No Country for Old Men" and you'll see a scene of perfectly constructed cinema, with each shot timed perfectly for maximum impact. To see Jaynes at work, study the pursuit from the hotel room to the empty streets as it builds and builds on the film's relentless pursuit. It's suspense filmmaking at its finest.

Christopher Rouse's work in "The Bourne Ultimatum" is also noteworthy. While action films routinely cut quickly to create the feel of excitement, "The Bourne Ultimatum" actually replicates its character's fractured memories and runaway lifestyle. Rouse pieces together Paul Greengrass' handheld camera work into a chaotic yet comprehensible scramble of intense action, including the absolutely perfect Waterloo Station sequence.

Chris says: Since this category is often a precursor to the Best Picture winner, Jaynes is the clear favorite. However, I wouldn't count out "The Bourne Ultimatum," either. It's not great editing simply because there are so many cuts – that's irrelevant. It's great editing because there's so much information packed into such a briskly paced film. It's a miracle "Ultimatum" is as crisply told as it is, and that miracle was created in the editing room.

My personal choice would either be that or Dylan Tichenor's work on "There Will Be Blood." Tichenor also deserves props for editing "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Plus, he totally got shafted for "Cold Creek Manor" a few years ago. Um...

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Roger Deakins, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Seamus McGarvey, "Atonement"
Roger Deakins, "No Country for Old Men"
Janusz Kaminski, "Le Scaphandre et le papillon" ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly")
Robert Elswit, "There Will Be Blood"

Remember last year's cinematography race? Remember how Universal couldn't even get "Children of Men" a fucking Oscar for Best Cinematography, even though it was the obvious fucking choice? And a god damn Universal screensaver is floating on Jeremy's TV right now. Think about that. Fucking Universal.

What's funny this year is how two of the nominees have the exact same name. What are the chances of that? I wonder if the voters will notice. And there's even a French movie called "Le Scaphandre et le papillon" (we speak French). Weird category this year, huh?

Chris says: Roger Deakins is the best cinematographer in the business and has been for years...and yet he's never won an Oscar. Unfortunately for him, he's up against himself this year, and that should only pave the way for Robert Elswit to take the prize for his stunning work on "There Will Be Blood." It would be a well-deserved honor; Elswit has been doing great work for years now.

But the prize should go to Deakins. Problem is, the likely Best Picture winner, "No Country for Old Men," is the most prominent of his two nominees...but his best work – and in my mind, the best work of his career – came in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." The photography of the film alone is an incredible work of art.

Brent says: I agree that Deakins should win, and for "Jesse James," but vote splitting could do him in, paving the way for, I don't know, one of the other three nominees. They're all more or less deserving. But it's not really any sweat off Deakins' back, Deakins being a fictional alias for Joel and Ethan Coen. They'll be winning enough other Oscars as it is that I think they can throw one of these other guys a bone.

Jeremy says: This year's cinematography category is notable because no matter who wins, I won't be pissed off.

While the Academy usually completely screws up the cinematography nominations, this year they've highlighted nothing but excellent work. The great, Oscar-less Deakins is surely due for a win (I'd pick "Assassination," the Academy will likely favor "No Country" between the two of them, but you never know), but strong cases can be made for Elswit's visceral combination of form and anger in "There Will Be Blood" and Seamus McGarvey's elegant use of dramatic highlights and long takes in "Atonement." Januz Kaminski distinct work from "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" may also win it because his point-of-view camerawork and surreal colors will be sure to impress less-savvy voters as well as those who know their cinematography. I'll put my preference to Deakins for "The Assassination of Jesse James," and my prediction to him as well, for "No Country for Old Men" (although I think Elswitt and McGarvey just as good of a chance).

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Christopher Hampton, "Atonement"
Sarah Polley, "Away from Her"
Ronald Harwood, "Le Scaphandre et le papillon" ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly")
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"

Coincidentally, every single nominee in this category based their movie off an already-existing book. So it's like, "I'm reading this book here," and then it's like, "hey, they're making a movie about this book! It's like I'm actually SEEING what I'm READING!"

Here's the thing, though: This category is easy to figure out. Look at the nominees. There's a fucking French movie in there—definitely not going to win on American soil. Then there's a British movie – no taxation without representation, motherfuckers. That ship has sailed, Great Britain (if that's your real name). You'll imperialize us no longer.

And then there's a Canadian movie, which is probably about hockey. So there you go.

I hope neither of the remaining American movies star actors from other countries. This is an election year, dammit.

Brent says: I give this one to one of the frontrunners, the Coens or Anderson. "No Country" is much more of a faithful adaptation of its source material, and its screenplay and dialogue are one of the film's many highlights (whereas "There Will Be Blood" is more memorable for its acting, direction, and musical score). On the other hand, the guy from "Diving Bell" died something like a week after he finished his book, dictated entirely from the blinking of his eye. If this were an award for the best book, he would totally win as a sentimental favorite, but since it isn't, chalk another one up for "No Country."

Jeremy says: The nominees for Adapted Screenplay are collectively of much higher quality than those of Original Screenplay, but the screenplays for "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" work on a much higher level than their competition.

I would like to see Anderson win for his complexly layered life story. With Daniel Plainview, he crafts a loud, larger-than-life character, but examines him with quiet, small strokes. Where lesser screenwriters might offer belabored explanations of Plainview's anger and cruelty, Anderson refuses, dropping quiet hints but no clear, reassuring explanations.

"No Country for Old Men" probably has the edge for the Oscar though, and I'm not complaining. There are several passages of pure beauty in the film, and the "call it" scene's series of scary, funny and wholly uncomfortable lines cannot be undersold. If either of these contenders win, it'll be a great year for the screenplay award.

Chris says: Yes Jeremy, "No Country" is clearly the favorite, but there are a few intangibles that you aren't taking into account. First, It's rare that any filmmaker (or filmmaking team) takes home four Oscars in one night. They usually like to spread the wealth a bit. Of course, that could mean Anderson takes director, or "The Bourne Ultimatum" takes editing....but screenplay seems as likely a category as any. Second, some may give Cormac McCarthy as much or more credit for the screenplay as the Coens themselves, since so much of the film is lifted directly from McCarthy's spare, screenplay-like text. That's not my opinion, but I've heard the opinion voiced for this film in particular – and not for the other four nominees. Third, "Atonement" isn't likely to win Best Picture and wasn't nominated in the directing or acting categories...and since everyone except me seemed to go apeshit over the script (instead of the far-superior direction and technical elements), this might be "Atonement's" time to shine.

But for my money, Christopher Hampton's overly controlled, shallow screenplay – which basically just goes through the motions of storytelling and character-building after the first act, making the film's war-time setting seem like no more than set decoration, since it (and its characters) are so limply explored – would be an unfortunate winner. Andrew Dominik's fleshed-out character work in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" – a fully realized study in thematic, historical and emotional contrasts – is the perfect counterpoint to "Atonement." But oops, Warner Bros. apparently hates this movie.

"There Will Be Blood" would still be my choice – for all the reasons Mr. Mathews stated – but "No Country for Old Men" would be a worthy victor.

Jeremy says: Chris, you're assuming that voters know that Roderick Jaynes isn't a real person. For shame.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Diablo Cody, "Juno"
Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco, "Ratatouille"
Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages"

This category is totally sexist. The movies in the Original Screenplay category teach us that all women are either baby-making whores ("Juno"), neurotic self-important homewreckers ("The Savages"), plastic sex dolls ("Lars and the Real Girl") or should be in the kitchen ("Ratatouille"). Shame on you, Hollywood.

Chris says: OK, OK, OK,'s what we're gonna do. We're gonna play a little game. I'm just not even going to look at this list. Instead, we're going to pretend like five deserving scripts were nominated. God, this is gonna be fun. We'll give a free pass to Brad Bird for his brilliant work on "Ratatouille," easily the best choice of this category and one of the best scripts of the year. And we'll give a free pass to the excellent "Michael Clayton."

Here we go. Alright, close your eyes first.

Good. OK then...

Hey Jeremy, Isn't it awesome how the Academy grew a pair and honored the freshest, most honest human comedy of the year, "Knocked Up"? I mean, they totally didn't give Judd Apatow an unprotected shafting just because his movie was an R-rated celebration of boyishness. It definitely wasn't completely overlooked just because some other pregnancy movie had a bunch of adorably pithy teenagers and found a family-friendly audience. That would never happen. The Academy loves summer comedies.

Jeremy says: You said it, Chris. "Juno" is a lovable film thanks to its collection of excellent performances. But some who have fallen under its spell fail to recognize the limitations of Diablo Cody's uneven and immature screenplay. Those people are probably pissed that it wasn't nominated, but grow up. This is one snub that can't be unsnubbed. Cody certainly understands her characters' feelings and motivations (part of the reason those performances are so good), but she's too obsessed showing off her cleverness, much to the detriment of her obnoxious and eventually monotonous dialogue, home skillet! I'm glad that "Knocked Up" was recognized as the superior film, otherwise I might have had to predict "Juno" as the big winner.

Chris says: Yeah, and then Diablo Cody would probably have won and gone up on stage with that hilarious hamburger phone.

Jeremy says: Exactly. Horrifying.

And let me be the first to commend the nomination of "I'm Not There" in this category. The Academy could have easily gone for some gimmicky screenplay about a guy who thinks his sex doll is real, so it's awesome to see a complex and challenging screenplay on the list instead. Todd Haynes and Oren Moverman threw out every convention of the musical biopic to create a labyrinthine exploration of a complicated man whom no one can truly understand. The film isn't only about the different personae of Bob Dylan, but the pressure and importance we place on those personae due to the music they stand behind.

Chris says: Yeah, thank God the Academy was able to nominate six films in this category this year, leaving room for Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's brilliant deconstruction of the action-movie genre, "Hot Fuzz," as well as Kelly Masterson, who dug right to the heart of pain and human desperation in Sidney Lumet's tragic noir, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." So thank God there are so many good nominees in this category this year. In a lesser year, the Academy might give a nomination to a totally mediocre and painfully obvious script like "The Savages." Phew!

Aren't you glad the Academy didn't make such an unforgivable mistake?

Jeremy says: Indeed. And Brad Bird's script totally rocks, by the way.

Brent says: OK, if you guys are done, I'm going to go out on a limb and say I actually loved "Lars and the Real Girl," though more for Ryan Gosling's performance than the screenplay. However, "Juno" will most likely win, partly because of its huge momentum right now, and partly because the last hour or so of the film actually deserves it.

Jeremy says: I'm lucky I saw that hour, as I almost walked out after the first 15 minutes.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
"Persepolis," Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
"Ratatouille," Brad Bird
"Surf's Up," Ash Brannon, Chris Buck

This category has a French film in it! And another one takes place in France. Luckily, the clear victor, "Surf's Up," is pure Americana.

Jeremy says: Brad Bird has already proved himself to be the best living director of feature-length animation, so I don't know why he felt the need to go and make another of the best films of the year. "Ratatouille" works as a thrilling action film, a hysterical comedy, a whimsical fantasy and a heartfelt drama.

Bird presents us with some of the most the most emotive characters and stunning visuals of any film this year. He will take home his second Oscar in this category, and deservedly so. "Persepolis" is also a worthy entry, lacks the same level of artistry, and the characters, designed for a graphic novel, don't lend themselves as well to animation. "Surf's Up," in stark contrast to its other nominees, is mediocre and boring. and should have been passed in favor of "The Simpsons Movie," which is better written, crafted and animated.

Chris says: "Surf's Up" is boring…coming from the guy who liked "Home on the Range" and "Robots"? The Dude is personally offended. Hey, at least "Surf's Up" had a few solid voice performances and found a few clever things to do with its mockumentary motif...even if the basic elements of the film were generic and predictable. Plus, James Woods was in it.

But I'll admit it's not that good of a movie and certainly doesn't belong as one of the three finalists. No animated movie even comes close to "Ratatouille" this year, so there's no use arguing about it. "The Simpsons Movie" – a triumphant return to form for what was once the best show on TV – could have easily filled that slot and made this one of the strongest animated film categories we've seen since its inception. Ditto for Satoshi Kon's "Paprika," a thrilling experiment that created a universe in which reality and fantasy aren't just confused for one another (which is common enough) but which become essentially interchangeable. Kon was able to tie his sci-fi ideas to modern technological possibilities and concerns, and it worked exceptionally well. Unfortunately, "Paprika" never got much beyond the art-house circuit.

Jeremy says: Hey, "Robots" is a damn call to overthrow the capitalist system, but, you know, for kids! It's appropriate that you bring it up, given the presence of an Upton Sinclair adaptation among the major nominees. And the mockumentary style was executed so haphazardly that it only felt like a documentary during the lazy gags.

I liked all (well, most of) the voice actors, though—too bad animation involves moving pictures, too.

Brent says: I agree on Brad Bird, "The Simpsons," and "Paprika." However, unfortunately, I am not free to comment further, as this category was invalidated when the Academy failed to nominate "Waking Life" five years ago.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
"Die Fälscher" (Austria)
"Beaufort" (Israel)
"Mongol" (Kazakhstan)
"Katyn" (Poland)
"12" (Russia)

I'll make it easy for you:

Austria = Arnold Schwarzenegger
Kazakhstan = famine, poverty, disease, Borat
Poland = conquered by Hitler (an Austrian)
Russia = lost the space race
Israel = Hollywood
*correction: Austria = Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hitler

An interesting possibility: Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Hitler. Titillating, no?

Brent says: Yeah, I thought I would actually be in pretty good shape this year when the foreign nominations came out, what with all the foreign films that I saw this year. I'd seen all the Golden Globe nominees (with the exception of "The Kite Runner," which didn't even bother to have its title or director be in a foreign language) but not a single one of them made the cut. Not even heavily buzzed films like "Persepolis" or "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days" made it. As such, I am forced to choose my favorite foreign film based solely on which foreign country is the most fun to pronounce. Therefore, I go with "Mongol." Which I believe means retard.

Chris says: Unlike last year, when four of the five nominees had actually been released stateside, none of this year's Foreign Film nominees have been distributed in the U.S. as of yet. So I can't speak from any experience regarding the quality of the films themselves. I can, however, complain about one film's lack of inclusion. Roy Andersson's absurdist/surrealist masterpiece "Du Levande" ("You, the Living") – a brilliant comic look at human grief and apocalyptic dread – was Sweden's entry, but missed the cut. The lesson is clear: Hollywood hates the Swedes.

I was part of a lengthy standing ovation given to "Du Levande" last May at the Cannes Film Festival, and it deserved every second of it and more. In fact, I'm still standing.

Jeremy says: Yeah, I have a hard time believing that any of these films are as good as "Du Levande." But I haven't seen any of them, so who knows? From what I've heard, it'll either be "Beaufort" or "The Counterfeiters." I'm gonna guess…"Beaufort!" No! "The Counterfeiters." That's it.

Best Documentary, Features
"No End in Sight," Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience," Richard Robbins
"Sicko," Michael Moore, Meghan O'Hara
"Taxi to the Dark Side," Alex Gibney, Eva Orner
"War Dance," Andrea Nix, Sean Fine

Jerry Seinfeld told us not to see these movies, because they're all a bunch of depressing downers. That's what documentary filmmaking is all about. Bringing people down.

By the way, is there a war on or something?

Jeremy says: I'm still bummed that Jason Kohn's "Manda Bala" didn't make the short list, let alone the final nominees. Jason Kohn dazzlingly explores the many facets of Brazil's kidnapping industry with haunting imagery, an ambitious film narrative structure and a complex understanding of details. The film weaves among the poverty and political corruption in which crime thrives, the scarred victims and fearful wealthy class, and finally the businesses that make money off reconstructive surgery and bullet-proof cars. "Manda Bala" was simply one among many great documentaries, including "Protagonist," "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters," "Manufactured Landscapes" and "My Kid Could Paint That." Oh, I could go on and on about them, but I suppose I should discuss the nominees.

"Sicko" was good, but not great, and I don't think that Michael Moore has been on good enough behavior to get another Oscar. "No End in Sight" will probably take home the award for its damning historical account of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The film lays out its well-researched information with confidence and clarity, allowing any emotional response one might have to come from the subject matter. It might be a bit too cold and methodical for the voters' taste, but its power is still apparent.

I haven't seen "Taxi to the Dark Side," but hear good things.

Chris says: For anyone who hasn't yet seen "No End in Sight," I'm going to make it easier for you and tell you what happens at the end: there's no end in sight.

For the war, I mean. Did you get that I was talking about the war? Well, I was. The war totally sucks.

Now, use those two free hours I just gave you, go to your local Blockbuster – Hey, put that copy of "Why We Fight" down! Now! – and rent "The King of Kong," then add "Manda Bala" and "My Kid Could Paint That" to your Netflix queue. Do it.

Brent says: I am adding "Manda Bala" to my queue as we speak. Otherwise, I don't know why people think all these war documentaries are so important. "The King of Kong" deals with many more pressing issues of our day.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie, "Away from Her"
Marion Cotillard, "La Môme" ("La Vie en Rose")
Laura Linney, "The Savages"
Ellen Page, "Juno"

French actress Marion Cotillard came out of nowhere at the beginning of award season and rapidly proved herself one of the front-runners in the Best Actress category. She plays legendary songstress Edith Piaf in "La Môme," which is French for "La Vie en Rose." A win here would be a great lead-in to Cotillard's next project – from the people who brought you "Freddy vs. Jason" and "Alien vs. Predator," – "A Good Year Vs. Under the Tuscan Sun."

Chris says: Oh, that's right Academy. Go ahead: Hate Sienna Miller 'cause she's beautiful. I didn't know actresses were deemed ineligible for being smokin' hot. My mistake.

Surely if she hadn't been disqualified on the basis of hotness, you would have noticed the dexterity of Miller's performance – an actress playing an actress who herself is consciously (and subconsciously) playing a dozen different roles over the course of a single night. The blurring of the line between performer and character is almost Cassavetes-esque – only with another filter.

I trust you noticed the performance, Academy – but I guess rules are rules, right?

And it's definitely against the rules to nominate a pitch-perfect performance from someone like Amy Adams in a family-friendly fairy-tale movie. That would be so uncouth. So your best bet is Marion Cotillard, who – just when we thought all was lost – somehow brought her career back from the black hole that was "A Good Year" and delivered a knockout performance in "La Vie en Rose." She and Julie Christie have been the favorites in this category for months now, splitting almost every Best Actress award along the way.

But folks, I'm about to do the unthinkable. I'm calling an upset here. Keep in mind I'm not basing this on my own personal choice at all. Because of the nominees, my favorite is actually Cotillard. But I'm calling an upset for Ellen Page in "Juno." Yeah, I said it. She's America's new favorite star, she's been getting more attention than any single actor over the last two months and I think enough voters will have been swayed her way. People just adore "Juno," you see. This seems to be one of those movies that everyone is talking about while simultaneously underestimating its Oscar chances.

Also: Never underestimate the power of Roger Ebert. The man singlehandedly turned "Million Dollar Baby" into an Oscar favorite, and singlehandedly forced an upset of "Crash" over "Brokeback Mountain," even though he was the only major critic in the entire country who thought it was the best movie of the year.

Sunday night, he does it again....sadly for him, he doesn't quite have what it takes to pull off a Best Picture shocker, so Best Actress will have to suffice.

Jeremy says: Chris is a fucking bastard. For the past 1500 words, I've been plotting the great unveiling of my shocking Ellen Page prediction. And then Chris goes and beats me to the punch. And how does he set it up? "I'm about to do the unthinkable." Bravo. You all know that I would've come up with something better than that. Bastard. Yeah, Cotillard is the best of the nominees too.

Now, it seems the Academy's Internet hasn't been working for the past four months, and they let their subscription to the L.A. Times expire. How else explain that they never got the news flash that "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" doesn't count as a movie. Its only contribution as a historical drama is that the experience of watching it is not unlike that of the Spanish Inquisition's torture. Blanchett is my favorite supporting actress of the year, but there was absolutely no reason to nominate her for standing around while a camera does 360 degree shots to show off all the expensive art direction. That doesn't quite live up to Nicole Kidman's quiet self-destruction in "Margot at the Wedding" or Markéta Irglová's warm presence in "Once." But I guess she's Cate Blanchett, so that's that.

Brent says: This category is only marginally better than Supporting Actress, because at least all of these actresses are the main characters in their movies. I don't think the Ellen Page prediction is all that shocking really. She is all anyone can talk about these days, and, as her delightful turn in "Hard Candy" proved a few years ago, she really is a fine actress actually.

Jeremy says: I think that's the first time I've heard "delightful" used to describe anything onscreen during "Hard Candy."

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
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"

All of this year's actors sacrificed a bit of themselves to get into character. Daniel Day-Lewis went bat-shit insane, Viggo Mortensen covered his body in tattoos, Johnny Depp learned how to give someone a perfect shave in five seconds flat, George Clooney sold out to corporate America, and Tommy Lee Jones had to work with Paul Haggis.

Brent says: In any other year, I would be all about Viggo Mortensen, who gave probably his best, most daring role ever in "Eastern Promises." If this were, say, the 90s, I would be all about Johnny Depp, who I didn't feel quite brought his usual flair to the lead role in "Sweeney Todd." And George Clooney was admittedly fairly convincing in Tony Gilroy's taut corporate thriller, "George Clooney." But none of these performances even come close to Daniel Day-Lewis, whose role in "There Will Be Blood" had me going back and watching many of his previous performances, and even going so far as to adopt many of his mannerisms from the film (i.e. walking with a limp, placing napkins on my head). I don't know, I've never felt this way about another man before. If DDL doesn't get the Oscar, I don't know what I might do.

Jeremy says: The prediction for this one is a no-brainer. Daniel Day-Lewis will win. I'm as sure of it as I was that he'd win for 2002's "Gangs of New York." I've still got that year's ceremony on tape. I can't wait to watch his speech. Who else was gonna win? Adrien Brody? No one had even heard of him back then!

As oil magnate Daniel Plainview, Day-Lewis portrays a man who tries to grow himself into a giant, only to turn into a monster. Day-Lewis conquers the role without fear of exploring the frightening parts of the human mind, but with as much attention to small tells as to his grandiose gestures. While some have accused Day-Lewis of over-acting, his character isn't a man who sits around drinking tea and speaking quietly. I don't think the accusations will stick, especially considering the reputation that precedes the presumptive winner.

As for Viggo Mortensen, George Clooney, Tommy Lee Jones and Johnny Depp—well, it's a strong category this year. Mortensen was creepy yet enigmatic. Jones was quiet, deliberate and poignant in a film that didn't deserve such wonderful work. Clooney straddled the conflict between morals and monetary concerns wonderfully.

There are, however, two great performances that should be here. One is Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," which we already discussed in the Supporting Actor category. The other is Seth Rogen, who brought heart and humor to his slacker character in "Knocked Up." While it's foolish to expect a comedic actor to receive a nomination for a comedic role, Rogen deserves one for adding weight and empathy to his cool, razor-sharp lines.

And I didn't even mention James McAvoy in "Starter for 10," Ulrich Mühe in "The Lives of Others," Simon Pegg in "Hot Fuzz," Michael Cera in "Superbad" or Kurt Russell in "Death Proof."

Chris says: You're forgetting about Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and John C. Reilly in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."

As for the actual nominees, I admire all five performances but don't see how any can or should beat Daniel Day-Lewis.

Daniel Day-Lewis drinks my fucking milkshake, you see. He drinks it up.

Best Achievement in Directing
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Jason Reitman, "Juno"
Julian Schnabel, "Le Scaphandre et le papillon" ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly")

And now, ladies and gentleman, the prestigious category that honored such auteurs as Kevin Costner, Barry Levinson, Sydney Pollack, Robert Benton and John Avildsen but never gave an Oscar to that hack Alfred Hitchcock: Best Director, everyone, let's have a round of applause!

Chris says: I would like to take this time to apologize, on behalf of the Academy, to Andrew Dominik, Todd Haynes, Judd Apatow, Brad Bird, Sidney Lumet and Edgar Wright for failing to recognize their directorial efforts this year. Yes, there are only five spots, so there are bound to be people overlooked, just as there are bound to be petulant critics who insist on pointing out such snubs. But I just had to make that apology on the record.

Having said that, Joel and Ethan Coen will win this category, and I won't complain. Hey, at least it's not Kevin Costner. The Coens can legitimately stake a claim to being among the finest American filmmakers of all-time, and they've made their way from the unfair label of Quirky Indie Curiosity to Oscar frontrunner by doing it their way. I will applaud when they take the stage to pick up directing honors.

You may notice that my personal choices have been going against them this whole time...but it's really nothing personal. "No Country for Old Men" was No. 4 on my top-10 list. It is a masterpiece. It is perfectly executed cinema. However, Paul Thomas Anderson (who, I insist, will go down as this generation's Scorsese, the most influential of his generation) not only crafted a masterpiece but re-invented the expectations of cinema while doing so. Like "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia" and "Punch-Drunk Love" before it, "There Will Be Blood" is virtuoso filmmaking at its best and most creative. Anderson re-invented the epic, creating an unforgettable and completely idiosyncratic portrait – exemplified by its main character, of course – of ambition, greed, envy and power. Anderson is the best and ballsiest filmmaker working today, insisting on taking risks – with the film's spare, "2001"--esque opening sequence; with Jonny Greenwood's anxious, offbeat score; with the already-infamous ending. The risks paid off and then some.

While an Anderson upset in this category wouldn't be shocking, I won't predict it. And hey, it might be better that he doesn't win an Oscar; then he can be one of those Scorsese/Kubrick/Welles/Hitchcock types that is too good to be recognized be the Academy (at least for a few decades). I see a Thalberg Award in PTA's future. That'll work.

Brent says: Even though I like "No Country" a little more, I'm all about giving credit where credit's due. So even though the Coens are probably my favorite directors working today, and even though "No Country" is as expertly directed as their best films, I have to give this one to PTA, if only because it is greatly due to the direction that "There Will Be Blood" is such a masterpiece.

Jeremy says: There is definitely a great split vote in both Best Director and Best Picture. Most years, I can easily single-out my favorite of the five nominees in these categories, but this year provides a bit of a challenge. I'm also a bit stunned to actually see Paul Thomas Anderson nominated for Best Director, having opined the lack of recognition he receives since I was writing for my high school newspaper. I say let the Coens have their year, they deserve it. And if Anderson never wins one, well, at least I'll have some Oscar injustice to complain about.

Also, Jason Reitman should be disqualified from competing in this category for his failure to cut the line "That ain't no Etch-a-Sketch. This is one doodle that can't be undid, home skillet." Joe Wright did some amazing directorial work in "Atonement" (if anything, problems in the screenplay held the film back) so I'm a bit perplexed that the Academy snubbed him after all the Oscar love "Atonement" received this year.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

And the nominees are...
"Atonement" - Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster
"Juno" - Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick, Russell Smith
"Michael Clayton" - Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox, Kerry Orent
"No Country for Old Men" - Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
"There Will Be Blood" - Paul Thomas Anderson, Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar

If you put all these movies together, it would be about a pregnant Daniel Day-Lewis who is stripped of his one true love by a little girl, and then discovers a secret that will bankrupt a corporation and is forced to go on the run from a contract killer played by Javier Bardem.

Brent says: To start off, this is probably the least pissed off I have been at the Best Picture nominees in recent memory. As should be abundantly clear by now (I think we have collectively used the word "masterpiece" in this article at least 27 times by now), either "No Country for Old Men" or "There Will Be Blood" would be a welcome winner in any year. The only problem with this is the potential for vote splitting, wherein all smart people are torn between these two films, while all not as smart people are drawn towards "Atonement," or perhaps "Juno." Though "Atonement" is the only one serious enough to have a chance at an upset.

Of course, the nominees aren't perfect. I've soured just a little on "Atonement" and "Juno" since first viewing, the former for expecting us to believe that just because James McAvoy (who I still hated in "The Last King of Scotland") sees Keira Knightley in a clingy wet dress and tells her he wants to eat her "sweet, wet cunt," that they have THE GREATEST LOVE EVER KNOWN BY MAN AND WOMAN, and the latter because it became popular. That leaves Tony Gilroy's "George Clooney," which I actually admire more as time passes, but still suffers a little because they should have gotten a better actor to portray the character of George Clooney.

Actually, "No Country" and "There Will Be Blood" are not even quite the best work of their respective directors. (For those honors, I'm going to have to go with "Fargo" and, wait for it…"Punch-Drunk Love.") But, it's a testament to the talent and vision of these directors that they could make "just another movie" and it could still stand high above all the competition. Honestly, I'd be happy if either one win. And "There Will Be Blood" certainly has momentum going for it, but "No Country" seems like the more conventional pick, and the likely winner.

Jeremy says: Sure, "I'm Not There" only received one nomination and the Academy completely snubbed "Knocked Up," but luckily this year had at least five masterpieces, and Oscar simply couldn't figure out how to snub all of them. Two truly great films up for Best Picture is damn good by Oscar standards. Film snobs of the future will look fondly on this year's award whether it goes to Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men," which it almost surely will, or Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood."

The filmmaking masters have had one of the most significant careers of the past three decades, yet only ever won a Best Screenplay Oscar for "Fargo." "No Country for Old Men" is simply too memorable, too haunting, too brilliantly executed to ignore. Of course, so is "There Will Be Blood," but the Academy isn't quite ready for Anderson yet.

Of the other three nominees, "Atonement" was an early front-runner, but excitement has died down for Joe Wright's study of envy, betrayal and guilt. While the screenplay has a couple forced reveals and the second act stagnates a bit, "Atonement" is nevertheless an emotionally affecting work, with some of the most beautiful images of the year and an honest, devastating ending.

"Michael Clayton" excels thanks to the performances of George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton.

"Juno" isn't bad either, but certainly reached an unreasonable level of appreciation in recent months. I only pray that its momentum diminished rapidly enough to ensure a victory for "No Country for Old Men."

Chris says: Here's how the Best Picture nominations look to an organazized, orderly mind:

1. [Error: film not recognized by Academy]
2. "There Will Be Blood"
3. [Error: film not recognized by Academy]
4. "No Country for Old Men"
5. [Error: film not recognized by Academy]

Wait a second...only two of the five best movies of the year were nominated? Que? (We speak Spanish.)

OK, so like Jeremy said, two legitimately brilliant films made the final cut, two very good movies made the cut, and one half brilliant/half disappointing movie. Not bad, not bad. Not perfect...but the kids did alright. The Academy will likely make up for not giving Best Picture to "Fargo" 11 years ago and finally give the Coens their due. But the possible-but-unlikely spoiler, P.T. Anderson's primal masterpiece, "There Will Be Blood," is the worthy winner. This is the one they'll be talking about 50 years from now.


Janean said...

Good thing we don't have plans tonight. I'm going to read this whole article!!

Unknown said...

I can't believe I read the whole thing.

Unknown said...

and has Brent ever heard "Things Have Changed"??

It's not exactly "You'll Be in My Heart." Don't you guys have any obligation to journalistic integrity?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Wow Jeremy's May Oscar prediction came true.

When will he make his first 2008 prediction?

Unknown said...

What was the ceremony's running time? Did the article live up to its name?

Anonymous said...

Fine, if Jeremy doesn't have the balls* to make a 2008 prediction already, allow me. I have the balls* to do it.

William Monahan steals the late-season monentum from Eric Roth's adaptation of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" as Monahan's "Body of Lies" wins best adapted screenplay. In the original category, Mitchell Lichtenstein (dubbed "this year's Diablo Cody by the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert...not because of his writing abilities but because, like Cody, Lichtenstein is a former all-nude stripper and phone-sex operator, and like Cody he has a tattoo of a buxom, bikini-clad woman on his right shoulder) pulls off a shocking upset, as his idiotic "Teeth" wins over the highly-touted "Synecdoche, New York," from first-time helmer Charlie Kaufman.

Meanwhile in the best actor category, "Revolutionary Road's" Leonardo DiCaprio narrowly loses to the great Jason Statham of "The Bank Job." And, needless to say, legendary auteur Paul W.S. Anderson wins best director for his remake of "Death Race 3000."

Also: I predict that Brad Pitt - for either Fincher's "Benjamin Button" OR the Coens' "Burn After Reading" - will finally get another fucking goddamn Oscar nomination.

Suck on that, Jeremy Mathews. (If that's your REAL name.)


Unknown said...

Well Jeremy, it looks like the gauntlet has been thrown.