Monday, February 16, 2009

Final Oscar Predictions: Will Slumdog Sweep?

It is written ... that it might.

Last night I watched Forrest Gump and How Green Was My Valley back to back. This experiment in terror was held to prepare for the next edition of Best Pictures From the Outside In, which will be posted soon after this year's Oscars ceremony. But for the next week here at the site and blog, it's all current Oscars (and film bitch awards) all the time. Last night's waterbo"oscarboarding" (hey, it was torturous) did have one unexpected benefit, though. It reminded me that though the Oscars a) fascinate as a time capsule b) are important as a pop cultural record and c) provide a glitzy industry back patting party, they should never be taken too seriously.


Which is to say that AMPAS's collective lapses in judgment can be so extreme that in proper historical context it's crazy to get overly worked up about next Sunday's coronation of Slumdog Millionaire. I don't think that highly of the film but the whole Best Picture list is excitement-averse and I also don't "hate" it. There are many Best Pictures winners from year's past that are far more deserving of spitballs.

I'm predicting a clean sweep for Slumdog Millionaire. You read that right. The momentum for the picture seems unstoppable and ever growing. Backlash hasn't hurt it. It keeps handily winning or being nominated for things you'd think it would have no business getting anywhere near (acting prizes and the like). And awards season keeps clearing the way for it in strange ways: think of the Springsteen snub in Best Song or the Best Picture snubs for the only other movies with comparably nutso passionate fanbases (The Dark Knight and WALL•E) either and especially both of which could have made the Oscar's a real smackdown had they been included. But in regards to the projected sweep: I am very much hoping to be proven wrong. I find it tough to stomach sweeps even in years when I love the movie that's sweeping. Virtually no movie contains the Best Achievement in Everything.

If you're joining an Oscar pool or contest I'll try to help you out right here by delving into the only categories that seem up in the air... which are...

Sound Mixing & Sound Editing
It might sound odd to say but I believe these are the key categories of the night. If they announce them early and they both go to Slumdog Millionaire we have a sweeper on our hands and you'll watch it win all 9 of its categories. If it loses both it will likely be a more traditional night when several film get a couple of statues each. But these two categories are clearly where Slumdog is most vulnerable to defeat. Voters could also opt to improve WALL•E or The Dark Knight's statue total since they both have fine sound work and this would make a lot of people happy since both films are in danger of emerging from the big night with only one trophy to show for it. That doesn't seem representative of their enormous reach this year ...everywhere outside of the Kodak, that is. If WALL•E wins both, it was probably in 6th place for Best Picture and it might upset elsewhere too (Score or Screenplay?). But I don't think it will. Animated films rarely win these prizes despite a good nomination record (The Incredibles won Sound editing though so who knows...). I thought about predicting The Dark Knight in both categories (my preference is WALL•E) and if the Batman movie takes both of these I could see it upsetting Benjamin Button or Slumdog for a 4th prize, too (MakeUp, Cinematography... or even Editing). The biggest problem for both the robot and the batman is, I fear, each other. Which might have also been the case in the best picture nomination battle.

Best Actress ~ Some people feel this one is a 50/50 race between Meryl Streep in Doubt and Kate Winslet in The Reader. Both are seen as overdue but trying to judge by sentiment (who is most overdue: Kate who has never won or Meryl who hasn't won since '82?) doesn't help since both are beloved. It'd be different if Kate was only seen as overdue but not an endearing cultural figure ... then it would be Streep for the win. But Kate has her own passionate fans and the Best Picture nomination for The Reader cinches it for the future Dame I suspect.

Best Actor ~ Now this one is a truly 50/50 scenario. I change my mind everyday. Sean Penn in Milk has the 'actor's idolize him' advantage and the biopic advantage and he's in a topical Best Picture nominee. All of which say: sure thing! But he won five years ago. I hear what you're saying "That doesn't matter!" And yes, Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) and Sally Field (Places in the Heart) both managed their second win in that same time span. But here is the key difference. Both Swank and Field were up against a field of competitors that were splitting the counter programming vote. Swank was up against two members of Hollywood's elite that were seen as overdue (Bening & Winslet) AND a momentum building powerhouse turn from a lesser known (Staunton). In other words, though it was said at the time to be a rematch between Swank and Bening, wasn't it really a contest between Swank and Staunton, with Bening die hards and passionate Winslet fans unwilling to abandon ship? In a divided field Swank took it on the strength of her sympathetic character and the no small matter of being in the Best Picture winner. Field was up against a field of three women who, like herself, were already Oscar winners (Redgrave, Lange, Spacek) and one subtle performance by a newbie (Judy Davis in A Passage to India). Davis never had the support to win and giving it to anyone else was giving a second statue away, which negates the 'do we want them to have a second Oscar factor?' in awards decisions.

Which brings us to Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. He's the only true competition for Penn (it's tough to imagine that Pitt, Langella or Jenkins are pulling significant numbers) so the 'Not Sean Again' votes aren't being split. Plus Rourke has an extremely compelling "story" in his comeback and the role fits him like a glove. Of all of the Best Actor nominees his is the performance that most carries his film. Even Penn in Milk has a huge cast of actors and an important topic pulling some of the weight of the film's appeal. The Wrestler IS the Mickey Rourke show essentially. Both actors have been gracious and publicly supportive of each other so I think the still growing fanbase of The Wrestler (which might have been in more categories if Fox Searchlight had given it more attention and opened it earlier to let it grow naturally with the public) wins this for Mickey in a squeaker. Either one of them would be a dream winner and truly deserving. Every once in a while the Oscar frontrunners are truly the best of the year.

Long story not made short: I think the safer bet is still Penn (the biopic / best picture factor) but I'm going to predict Rourke.

For a few more tossups and the complete predictions...
click on over to the Oscar category index page.
Polls on which contestants you're rooting for will be open until Saturday and results published here.

62 comments:

Pablete said...

Could this be an "Adrien Brody" year?

NATHANIEL R said...

i know what people are saying when they say that "the third party" but i don't think it's that sort of year. It only would be if ROURKE was also a previous winner. at least Brody was getting talked up under some "should win" criteria, wasn't he?

ROURKE & PENN are clearly neck and neck and at this point i would be shocked if it was anyone but them.

shocked enough to make out with Marion Cotillard!

Andrew said...

Nat, your Swank scenario (in the actor section) sounds just like this year's actress race.

Two big actress, long over due, fighting it out (Winslet and Streep), both fanbases unwilling to surrender. And then a third party takes it. Is it possible Kate and MS cancel out and Hathaway gets it? Or will their spilt vote totals be too high and leave no shot for anyone?

NATHANIEL R said...

andrew... i suppose that's possible but i doubt it because Hathaway has no real advantage in that spoils of war scenario since AMPAS clearly didn't like her film.

If Rachel had a supporting actress and a screenplay nod, I'd say it was highly possible. But i really doubt it.

I still think it's WINSLET but i understand why some say Streep

yolande said...

LOL

Apparently Evan Rachel Wood confirmed that she'll be filming Jodie Foster's Flora Plum at the end of the summer.

BEST. NEWS. EVER

NATHANIEL R said...

that is great news.
by the end of summer 2032 i imagine. and by then ERW will be playing the bearded lady and not Flora!

Mr. said...

what about live action short? do you even have those listed?

CrazyCris said...

I just got back from seeing Benjamin Button... and I got so swept away in the magic I don't for the life me see how it couldn't win the Oscar?!?! But then I haven't seen Slumdog yet... So many movies, so little time!!! All the big nominees have just landed in my city in the past couple of weeks. Not time!!! argh!!!

Andy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Scott said...

I don't think Swank's 2004 win is very analogous to Rourke vs. Penn solely because Swank was in the Best Picture frontrunner. I'd be willing to bet that she won a good majority of the votes that year because Hollywood was obviously crazy for that movie.

That being said, I'm probably going to predict Rourke just because it seems like something the Academy would do. He'll make for a fine winner, but I'll still be sad if it happens because Penn was tremendous in 'Milk' -- a career-best.

But not as sad as if 'Slumdog' sweeps. Sometimes I wish I could pull a Cher in 'Moonstruck' and tell Oscar voters to snap out of it.

Arkaan said...

lol.

You know what would be funny. If Slumdog ties itself in song. So unlikely, but my god, can you imagine! I'm practically rooting for it because really, if you want to give the backlash a reason to go crazy.

I've also got to ask about "surprises." The biggest surprise of the decade was probably Brokeback Mountain losing the best picture oscar, and that practically engendered mourning here; the biggest lock of the decade was Lord of the Rings, which was certainly a highly supported film here.

Lets say that the winners line-up includes Langella, Leo, Brolin, Henson, Kung Fu Panda, Japan in foreign film, In Bruges in screenplay alongside a Slumdog sweep (defined as winning 6 or more oscars). Would that make people happy? Of course not - the surprises that happened aren't the ones we wanted. Of course, if Milk was in Slumdog's position - say two supporting nods instead of one and a sound nod, and it came in with the GG/BFCA/BAFTA/DGA/SAG/WGA, was the recipient of an overwhelming backlash, would you be wanting a surprise? Of course not.

We want a genuinely exciting oscar race, but we also want to see our favourites get crowned. We actually WANT a favourite (because as much as I admire the performances from Streep and Hathaway, and admire Winslet in general, as soon as Hawkins was snubbed, I stopped caring). We want our sentimental moments, but we don't want sentiment as the defining point.

Oscar watchers are fickle creatures.

ryan said...

andy -- i dont think it is either. which is my point. swank couldn't really lose because she didn't have a single competitor she had a diffuse array of competitors. Penn only has Rourke to beat. But that also means Rourke only has Penn to beat.

arkaan --so true. I don't want the surprise of Cruz losing (even though it wouldn't be a surprise) becaue I think she deserves the win.

BUT that said. I think more surprises and more often would definitely soften the blow of those terrible surprises. I still feel like slapping people when they try to write off Brokeback's loss as a normal byproduct of awards season. In my day to day life I've long ago accepted that loss but it's when people try to explain it away that i get angry. Not at Oscar but at their own delusions. Nothing about that loss was"normal" and it's absolutely ungrounded to say (as so many people still try to) that the academy hates following suit and was rejecting the notion that you can tell them what to vote for. If they hated following suit and 'doing what they're told' we wouldn't see Slumdog (or insert titles of 98% of other frontrunners) with 6 or more Oscars come Sunday night. But we will.

but yes, Oscar lovers are temperamental and not easily pleased. ;)

mr forgot. i'm still working on those categories cuz i have to research every one

FenixPahedi said...

I do not agree with you giving so much advantage to Milk over far better movies. Penn is stereotypical and the movie is about cast only.
It has no chances in Picture, Editing nor actor.

I say it will be Slumdog for both picture and director. In the acting side: Rourke, Ledger, Winslet & Cruz.

I think it will be unfair if Benjamin wins Make Up and Visual Effects. The visual were first featured in X-Men 3 and the make up is not that amazing...

Costume design... is a category were Benjamin should win, instead of The Duchess (Maire Antoinette's win is too recent and they may feel is the same thing).

Arkaan said...

I agree ryan, but I'm gonna argue that yeah, Brokeback's loss was definitely unprecedented (you'd need to go back twenty five years to find a similar scenario), but I wonder if it's true that oscar voters like being told what to do. I mean, Nathaniel pointed this out in the 2002/2003 season that it seemed like the opposite (Polanski getting his career award before Scorsee; Eminem winning over more rewardable acts, etc). I actually thought The Reader might be this year's The Pianist and sneak through, but that (thankfully) hasn't happened - I think I'd rather Brokeback lose very year than The Reader win anything major (outside of Winslet - I've become fine with it. Nothing wrong with a career award at thirty three).

Also, I think there must be some difference between being "told" to honor something by outside forces and responding to it naturally. I've seen Slumdog several times, and each time I've seen audiences just eat it up completely - and these are the people exist very much outside the whole rigamarole.

Arkaan said...

lose EVERY year, not very year

Howler said...

These predictions scared the shit out of me. I hope you're wrong. I don't hate "Slumdog Millionaire" but I hate sweeps.

Kevin D. said...

Am I the only more more excited for the indie spirit awrds on saturday? The best picture line-up is WAY more exciting, not to mention accurate.

Glenn said...

I'm predicting Sean Penn. Mainly because of Nick Nolte. Nothing Nolte has done this year, but in 1998 instead of going with Nolte, the oft-troubled but so talented gruff actor in the best performance of his life they went with Benigni who made them feel happy and emotional from a Best Picture nominee. You could also say Frank Langella is Ian McKellen, a revered Brit actor who probably should have been a more obvious choice, but then wasn't.

I'm also thinking The Duchess will lose Costume Design. They've given that movie this award two years in a row already under different names and I think they'll give it to something else. Either Benjamin Button or even Australia. This category routinely goes to movies without big love from the Academy at large.

cal roth said...

Let me start the talk here: How Green Was My valley is a very beautiful movie. Don't even try to say anything bad about it!

Jack said...

Here's a contentious question for all Oscar-watchers out there, and one that gets a different answer every time I pose it:

What constitutes a "sweep" to you? I'd say seven or more (Dances With Wolves and Schindler's List being sweeps, Chicago and Forrest Gump not being sweeps), but some people would say even six is a sweep. Other people would say that it depends on the awards.

Either way, I don't imagine Slumdog as a "sweep"-type film, so I'm only predicting it for six awards. I haven't decided which six yet though. It's clearly got Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Song in the bag, and then most likely after that is Cinematography and Film Editing. But it is also presumably the favorite for Score as well.

RahulB said...

I think Forrest Gump is the only reviled-Best Picture winner that I still genuinely enjoy.

That soundtrack! Come on!

Arkaan said...

For me, "sweep" depends on the amount of nominations. The Departed did not sweep the oscars in 2006 despite winning four (the most in an evening, and three of them were biggies). For me, a sweep suggests blind alliegance, which means ticking off at least 2/3 of the categories, but that would also require the film be nodded a lot (nine+) - no one would refer to King Kong's performance in 2005 as a sweep, for example.

A good example is 1998. Saving Private Ryan won five and Shakespeare in Love won seven, but neither film swept. Nor did Chicago, which lost key awards.

If Slumdog wins those six awards, I'd say it's a minor sweep. Losing sound and score would be a clear indicator that the film wasn't just blindly checked off, though.

Films that swept (recently)? Return of the King. Titanic. The English Patient. Schindler's List.

NATHANIEL R said...

jack i've read some places that call only the movies that win the top five prizes sweeps but i think that's ridiculous. Some movies don't even have leads of both sexes.

to me a sweep is when you win either all your categories (and that's six or more) and or you just win a lot of Oscars without losing the "important" ones (though to me they're all important) for example CABARET won 8 Oscars but it lost adapted screenplay and best picture to The Godfather so it wasn't a sweeper.

Anonymous said...

I noticed on your awards that Kung Fu Panda is listed as only having 2 noms, when it has 3.

Also, I'm happy with all the 50/50 chances. When was the last time that happened?

Anonymous said...

Hey Nat, how about you enjoy the Independent Spirit Awards before having to suffer through the Oscars. It's the one place where I think Rachel Getting Married will be rewarded with at least a few awards, and if not, at least we'll have some surprises. None of the Best Feature are nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, so there's no clear winner this year (like Juno last year, and Little Miss Sunshine the year before, but I love both movies so I can't complain). Anyway, it's a shame that so many people here have it out for Slumdog Millionaire, because I just saw it a second time, and while there are some things that bother me about it, I still can't get past that uplifting feeling when I leave the theater, and I found myself enjoying the scenes on the game show (the games played between Jamal and the Prem in one scene make for great drama). And, I know it's a simple story, but I actually feel the characters are beautifully written and easy to care about, and I especially love the character of Salim (he loves his brother, but he also wants to survive, so he's constantly conflicted between both side of himself until he realized he had to make the ultimate sacrifice).
Thenagain, I also love Forrest Gump. I love the satirical bite and the lovable characters, and there are scenes that never fail to make me laugh. I don't get why so many people hate it, because I actually feel it's a very moving story with a beautiful character at its center.

Bryan said...

A sweep isn't a number. A movie begins to sweep when the night clearly becomes less about one-on-one competitions and more about a movie becoming a force of nature. When a movie starts winning categories without there being much rationale for that specific category, but with an apparent rationale about its throw-up-your-arms awesomeness, then you are looking at a sweep.

That's why "Slumdog" winning the SAG ensemble started this sweep.

Andrew said...

While Button was my favorite movie nominated, I think Slumdog is well deserving of all its accolades, even the SAG award. I think every actor in that show was great from Regis, to Dev Patel, to the little children, and the cop. Yeah it wasnt like Doubt that had 4 nominations, but I think overall the acting was fantastic.

So I would be fine seeing a Slumdog "Sweep" because the four main acting awards will not be from Slumdog. Which evens things out a bit.

Robert said...

If Rourke wins, it'll be the first time since 1997 that all 4 acting winners were playing fictional characters.

Will AMPAS really let that happen?

NATHANIEL R said...

anon 10:22 i do plan to enjoy the indie spirits! more than usual, too.

my dream for them is that one day they realize their own place in things and stop catering to Oscar buzz and just deal with the indies that need to have a way to be recognized. So yeah, i'm excited that there's less overlap this year.

bryan exactly... when the rationale is gone and it's just a "we love this movie!" statement. you're exactly right.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

I don't have it in me to predict Jai Ho. That sequence was by far the worst in that film. If you have actors who clearly can't dance, don't make them dance!

Yoan.Petrov said...

About costume design: I think BUTTON has this in the bag. I could be wrong and it's a category where it's usually about flashy, but I think that enough Oscar voters have not seen The Duchess and they've seen BUTTON and it having 13 nominations, most of them think it deserves some awards. I think that they'll see costume design and cross it right away, because it was the epic with great art direction/costumes.

About cinematography: I think that SLUMDOG could very well lose here. Even people who hate The Dark Knight, love the cinematography! It could happen! And I don't think Slumdog wins sound editing!

Actress: I think Meryl Streep wins this. For several reasons. And I think that the SAG (and the great speech) give her the boost!

GeeB said...

Really don't get all the 'Slumdog' hoo-haa.
Having seen 'Button' and 'Reader' either of them, for me, are way way better films.

Simone said...

A Slumdog sweep? Thank God I decided not to watch this year's broadcast months ago.

NATHANIEL R said...

well it's just a prediction. one could also see these other scenarios taking place and let's hope we do!

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Thanks for voicing my fears about a possible Slumdog sweep. It seems the Oscars haven't done a sweep in forever, and after how boring the 2003 awards were, who could blame them for deciding to switch things up after that at least in not letting one film sweep.

This does feel like a sweep year though, which I think would be very disappointing especially because I don't think Slumdog should sweep, but also because I would like to see WALL-E and TDK walk away with more than one award next Sunday and that's not going to happen if a sweep happens for SM.

Thanks for the advice on how to predict if a sweep is in the works. If it does win the sound categories, I know it's going to be a long night, but if it doesn't, that should be a good sign that they're going to spread the love. Sadly I fear the latter scenario isn't going to happen this year.

At least there's more supsense in the Best Supporting Actress and Leading Actor categories than in 2003, and I'll be happy with any combination of Rourke/Penn/Cruz/Davis winning. Right now I think Rourke and Davis are going to win. With Rourke, I think it helps that Milk will most likely win at least the Best Original Screenplay award, so they don't feel pressure in giving it Best Actor since it will already have won one big award of the night. With Davis, I think she has the best shot to win for Doubt, and I feel that Winslet's category fraud really hurt Cruz the most since except for BAFTA, Cruz never got to build enough momentum.

NATHANIEL R said...

it's true. this'll be a test of sorts toward how important precursor momentum is... because in a normal year it's tough to imagine that Cruz wouldn't have built some.

though this category is often the most volatile so who knows

Pablete said...

Is 2008 equal to 1958? I am inferring the following: "Slumdog Millionaire" = "Gigi"? Winners of 9 Academy Awards without even a single acting nomination. It was far stranger in the case of "Gigi" since its four leads were nominated to the Golden Globes, and Hermione Gingold was able to get the actual prize.

Kurtis O said...

LOVE the newfangled poster. I didn't even notice the Oscar heads until just now.

I'm betting on Rourke, too. It's that whole once-in-a-lifetime-role thing. Rourke will most likely never be up there again. My personal vote goes to Penn, but I'm sensing he comes in second.

adam k. said...

Well, call me contrarian, but I'm gonna be rational and predict that Slumdog just wins 6. It seems fairly easy to me, if the academy is voting with their brains even a little bit.

Slumdog gets Pic, Dir, Scr, Editing, Cinematography, Score. All the awards it's been winning in the precursors. Sound goes to Dark Knight (it has to win SOMETHING other than Heath... this will be like the Dreamgirls scenario). Sound editing goes to WALL•E (those robot noises! come on, AMPAS, get it right). Song also goes to WALL•E do to the vote split and the fact that AR Rahman doesn't need 2 oscars, whereas Thomas Newman definitely needs one.

Simple. I just hope the academy sees this über-rational approach and goes with it.

NATHANIEL R said...

but what has been rational about the Slumdog phenomenon?

(i hope you're right but even the sound guys gave their top prize to SLUMDOG this past week)

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing. QT is amazing. Hes 4 for 4 for me too (Dogs, Pulp, Kill Bill 1, 2... haven't seen Jackie or Death Proof, what am I waiting for?!)

I'm there opening day.

Davey said...

"Slumdog Millionaire" was an excellent film, and I'll be thrilled at its sweep if it ends up happening. I'm predicting it to win all 9 Oscars.

Giorgio said...

I think that slumdog is overstimated is not a very good film, Milk and Benjamin Butoon are better than him, viva sean penn

Arkaan said...

adam, if only one music category goes to Slumdog, I think it'll be song - everyone leaves the theatre humming "Jai Ho." And Fox Searchlight is pretending that "O Saya" doesn't exist (sending out CDs of the former but not the latter, etc).

The downside to WALL.E is that the best music cues come from Hello, Dolly, don't they? Though the "The Axiom" and "Define Dancing" are excellent.

adam k. said...

Well I personally thought "Down to Earth" was fantastic, and I didn't leave the theater humming "JaiHo", but maybe that's just me.

If "O Saya" managed to get nominated, then people do realize that it exists. I think it'll be pulling some votes. And "JaiHo" wasn't even nominated for the globe - and the globes LOVED Slumdog - so it doesn't seem like that easy a get to me.

And it's just SUCH an easy way to give Newman his first oscar. You may recall that the other Newman (Randy) finally won his first oscar the same way (song from a pixar that was not expected to win, and didn't even particularly deserve to... but this one does).

I just think it makes so much sense to give Rahman his oscar for the score (i.e. ALL the songs), and then give Newman and Gabriel some love in a 2-for-1 thing.

And I just can't see it winning the sound categories, not when Dark Knight and WALL•E both need to win some more stuff (and are so very deserving). Remember, the sound guilds only get one chance to show their love for their favorite movie, whereas the oscar voters have muchas otras categories to vote for it in.

Anyway, I'm sticking to my guns.

Tapley's actually predicting the same thing.

adam k. said...

And remember, Forrest Gump for example, in all its infinite inevitability, still only won 6 oscars. Chicago only won 6 oscars. Schindler's List only won 7. American Beauty only won 5.

Even when they really REALLY love something, they don't usually vote for it EVERYwhere. Clean sweeps are very, very rare.

NATHANIEL R said...

well sure it's the safer call to not predict a sweep (and I probably wouldn't have if I felt i understood how Dark Knight and Wall*e won't get into each other's way in the sound categories) . but i usually take a few chances and I do see it as a scary and very real possibility so i'm going for it.

Arkaan said...

1. The song category at the Globe is a joke.

2. I agree in predicting six.

3. Good call on the 2001 comparison, though. I don't know I'd go that far, but kudos.

4. Sweeps might be rare, but when there's passionate support for one film in a weak line-up, they do happen, and that's what's likely happening here.

Rick said...

if Winslet wins ( and I think she will ), I feel it should go down as one of the weakest performances in Best Actress category ever. Wrong role to be nominated for...
Streep and Leo gave much gutsier Performances... as much as I love Streep, I would love to see Leo win!

We are talking Best in Acting .. not Politics,etc.?

NATHANIEL R said...

i'm still so curious about everyone turning on Kate Winslet.

i never saw it coming. I thought she was really good in both her pictures this year.

maybe i'm deluding myself but i'm sjust assuming that everyone decided not to like it (since most people saw it after the awards season chaos it caused) and thus didn't.

Arkaan said...

I don't think you can get annoyed at anyone questioning your motives for disliking Eastwood/Blanchett/etc in the future.

Arkaan said...

That was snippy, and I apologize for it, but I don't think I've read something so casually dismissive of another opinion on this site, so it set my teeth on edge.

Rick said...

I did not turn on Kate Winslet.... if you look back quite awhile ago, you will note that I did not think Winslet was good in The Reader... especially as Lead Actress... David Cross stole the picture... I sadi at the time... if Winslet gets nominated, it should be for RR ... and then came Weinstein!!!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

i wasn't talking about Rick's opinion specifically. I was talking about the overriding dislike of Kate Winslet this year.

i DO think this happened post nomination in general. When she was winning supporting awards people weren't exactly complaining about the performance.

and arkaan... i'm fine with people taking my blanchett/eastwood opinions with a grain of salt. I accept that. if people don't want to believe that I go in hoping for the best they can... but it seems awfully masochistic to assume i go to movies eager to dislike them.

anyway... my question remains... doesn't anybody else find it a little odd how kate winslet who could previously do no wrong for people is now considered to be an actress giving bad performances?

YH said...

I saw "The Reader" before the Oscar nominations came out. Thought it was garbage then, and still think that now. I didn't "turn" on Kate Winslet. I didn't want her to win supporting or lead for that performance. If anything, she should have been nominated for lead in "Revolutionary Road" and called it a day, but instead, they nominate that awful film and her overacting, dishonest performance in "The Reader". It's sad really. That after all of these losses to inferior actresses over the years, she will win an Oscar for one of the weakest and poorly received lead actress wins in decades.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I had a thought today:

If Sean Penn wins that will be two years in a row that the best actor winner has been a man who has already won in the past. Has that ever happened before?

Arkaan said...

But Nathaniel, isn't that a little facile? Very few people got the chance to see it before the oscar nominations - it's not like it was in wide release.

GFH said...

I will predict Mickey Rourke for the win. And even if he loses, I won't regret having predicted him.

NATHANIEL R said...

arkaan -- maybe. i'm just surprised is all. I think i overestimated the performance (which i'll talk a teensy bit in the symposium) but i just don't understand where people are coming from on that film. I really don't understand it at all and I've tried. Every article i read seems to grossly misread the movie (and sometimes in really forcefully ignorant ways) or have it out for the movie in some transparent way (this reaction started early with all the cries of pedophilia. Filming scenes with an actor of legal age is NOT pedophilia no matter how uncomfortable it made people. It's like everyone forgets the basic definition of words when they're offended by something.

Still and all... it feels exceptionally weird to become a sort of defacto defender of a movie that I don't even really care that much about...

adam k. said...

Well I saw The Reader before nominations, when it was only expected to compete in supporting actress, adapted screenplay, and maybe a few techs. And I didn't think much of it. My main gripe was that it was uncinematic - obviously based on a book - and at a lot of times, just plain boring. I had no problems with the morals or lack thereof.

I actually thought Winslet's performance was borderline supporting. Not really fraud. But it's in the unenviable position of being too big and prominent to really be supporting, but also too small and opaque to really be lead (or at least to win in lead... at least to me). So if she wins supporting, people bitch about category fraud. If she wins lead, people bitch that the role wasn't substantial enough. She can't win.

And I liked her better in Rev Road. So I would've liked to see her win for that. But I'm happy she wasn't nommed in supporting cause now Cruz can win.

I think the Reader perf has been overestimated by a lot of people because it's such a stretch for her. Obviously it was different from what she's always great at. But by the same token, she's not as great at it as she is at something like Rev Road. I thought the German accent was patchy and the old-age makeup was bad, so that kinda killed it for me. And I just found her more affecting in Road, despite my overall "meh" feeling for that film.

Yet I still want her to win this year, I guess cause I still like her perf better than Streep's. Oh well. Color me conflicted.

Shabsblog said...

Nice blog!