Sunday, February 01, 2009

Oscar Race Ends 23 Days Early

The DGA Awards aren't exactly known for throwing the Oscar race into a frenzy of "what ifs" but last night's crowning of Danny Boyle, or plaqueing of Danny Boyle as the case may be, officially makes this the dullest most predictable Best Picture race (Slumdog Millionaire wins with ease) since... since... Maybe since Titanic. If it wasn't already. Which it probably was. And the 1997 lineup was almost as meh as 2008's.

In the absence of real Oscar drama which category are you clinging to? Which race do you hope can be squeezed like a rock to drip droplets of suspense?


Emily said...

I think their still is a race in (most) of the acting awards - between Kate & Meryl, Mickey & Sean, and Penelope & Viola. Although i would be happy with any of those winning so its not going to be that dramatic (But i wanna see another Meryl Speech, coz she will be SO funny)
I would be interested to see if Ben Button can actually win any awards!

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

Surely the year of "Return of the King" was equally, if not more, predictable. Every single acting category was set in stone months in advance too.

And this lineup is "meh-er" (is that a word?) than 1997's ... at least that had one legitimately great film in "LA Confidential." This year's has none.

I'm hoping there might still be some life in the Best Actor and Supporting Actress contests, but I suspect not. And I'm clinging to the possibility of "WALL-E" taking Original Screenplay. (I'd prefer "Bruges" or "Happy," but that ain't happening.)

Anonymous said...

I heard that Meryl wouldn't attend the Oscar, is that True?

Emily said...

I wouldn't see why Meryl wouldn't be at the Oscars.. she has attented it every year she has been nominated except one when she was very pregnant in 1991 (so 13times), she may not go on the red carper, like she hasn't for golden globes/SAGs this year.
Where did you hear that anyway?


anon -- no the Meryl no show thing is in reference to the Academy luncheon that's held every year. Brad and Angie aren't going either.

I suspect they'll all be at the actual Oscars.

Scott said...

Actress and Original Screenplay. An In Bruges or WALL-E win would be exciting (I thought Milk's screenplay was far and away its weakest point).

Lara said...

I, too, am not overly convinced that Kate is going to take an Oscar home, Meryl could be sneaking in.
And supporting actress is probably Penelope ... or Amy. I haven't seen Doubt yet, and I know those who have are routing for Viola, but somehow Amy seems to be the one "award voters" are keeping in good memory (see Bafta).
And yes, the year where "Return of the King" won what seemed like 63 Oscars was one of the dullest ever.

gabrieloak said...

The only categories of interest are the three acting categories outside of supporting actor and maybe screenplay. I'm for Sean Penn, Kate, and the Milk screenplay but all of them could lose, which will ruin my night.

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Surely the year of "Return of the King" was equally, if not more, predictable. Every single acting category was set in stone months in advance too.

Yes, I found both years sort of boring, but overall I found the ROTK year to be the worst show overall.

Even if the Titanic year was excruciatingly long because they did that thing of putting all the former actor winners on stage, at least the supporting actor races were sort of suprising at least compared to the 2004 awards. Well, I didn't follow Oscar pundits as much as I do now, but I think that Gloria Stuart or Burt Reynolds still had a small chance to win. Plus, Billy Crystal was still somewhat funny then, and definitely not as painful as the ROTK year when it seemed like he would alternate between being bored that he was hosting the show again and being disgusted at ROTK's sweep. Plus, at least for my boyfriend and I at that time, it was fun to watch to see if Titanic would get cockblocked in the make-up category to prevent it from breaking the Oscar record, since he thought that movie was overrated, and I was rooting for it to win everything it was nominated for because I liked it but mostly to see him get upset about it.

With the ROTK year, all the acting categories were set in stone months beforehand, and if there was ever a case against all the other precursors weakening the Oscars, she who must not be named-* would be exhibit A. Did she really need to sweep every freaking televised award that year, and wear basically the same dress and give the same speech at every show?

*-(I can't believe I confused she who must not be named's nickname with Beezlebub's nickname in my last comment here. I'm a bad TFE fangrrl.)

adam k. said...

Yeah, 2003 was much worse. EVERYTHING was set in stone early, except, arguably, for a modicum of suspense in the Actor category, where it looked like Penn might lose to Murray or Depp. But any thinking oscar pundit still would've picked Penn to win.

Plus, none of the winners that year were particularly exciting/deserving, and in some cases, they were just bad. Even the very deserving ROTK win was tainted by overkill. At the end of the day, it had to have been the most boring oscarcast in over a decade.

This year, even though things look pretty set, there's still a little suspense in Actress/Supporting Actress, the song performances will be fun, and we'll get to see either Kate or Meryl finally winning, Penelope getting her oscar from Javi (probably), Thomas Newman finally winning (sort of), and a great gay film being celebrated.

par3182 said...

i'm still waiting for them to recognize the brilliance of the ice storm in the 1997 race

Deborah said...

The only categories that have me knotted up inside are original screenplay, because I love In Bruges so much, and best actor, because I am rooting for Sean Penn with all my heart.

Leehee said...

I'm clinging to the Foreign Movie category... I'm originally from Israel, so a little biased, but I'm definitely rooting for "Waltz With Bashir". I'll be biting my nails till that category is announced! If it wins, it will be a first for and Israeli movie.

I also desperately want Kate Winslet to win. Her speech won't be as amusing as La Streep, but I genuinely liked her performance better and damn it, she needs to win.

The Jack said...

The 1997 year was great. But then again, "Titanic, "Good Will Hunting" and "L.A. Confidential" are three of my favorite films ever, so that might have some bearing on it. And it was the first year I ever watched the Oscars, so maybe I'm looking back on it with an air of nostalgia.

Andrew said...

Can you imagine if there were NO precursors?
If top ten awards and guilds had to award after the Oscars? Or The Oscars were held much earlier? How much fun would it be watching the Oscars if all you had to go on was which nominee you liked the most

Anonymous said...

In fact I think I'm not even going to watch this because the only thing I'm looking forward to is Penelope's win (I love Kate but I think her speech will be similar to the one from SAG awards which is: not enthusiastic enough and kind of boring. And I hope she won't say "I finally got this").
I'm curious if they'll go for WALL.E in "original screenplay" and I'm interested how many Oscars will "The Dark Knight" get.
Best picture race, though in my opinion a little better than 2006 is too boring and predictable to get me interested. I'd love to see "Milk" or "The Reader" winning, but I'm not really passionate about any of them.

cal roth said...

Best Actor, because Rourke is gonna upset. I'm sure.

You-G said...

Meryl vs Kate. Gosh, I can't choose, it's like Sophie's Choice or something.

I know this is set to stone but honouring Heath would be my favourite moment. Not sure who's going to receive the award on behalf, but I can already see tears forming.

5 more days to WGA. One last shot at stopping Slumdog.

John T said...

I still think the only one with a hope of a surprise is Viola's win over Penelope. I think the Mickey, Kate, and Heath wins are also pretty darn locked up right now.

ReX said...

Congratulations to Danny Boyle! He earned this DGA win, and will earn the Oscar that's coming in his future this month too! Cheers for "Slumdog Millionaire"!


andrew i often try to imagine that! it would be heaven.

I mean I LOVE awards shows in general... but if they showed different taste regularly it would be a lot of fun but since they don't I think we could do with some pruning.

it's too bad that things like The Saturn Awards suck because if things like that were actually great or exhibited good/interesting taste you could totally see different things winning during awards season. It might be fun.

but there's too many groups that all seem to have the very same taste in movies. Which is weird if you think about it. I disagree with my friends on movies quite a bit. Why do all of these groups agree?


Jim T said...

I think The Reader has a shot at the adapted screenplay category. They loved unpredictably the movie so, who knows?
Doubt might have a shot as well but it's less probable.

Anonymous said...

Nath, Are you gonna watch the Oscars?.
I only wait Kate Winslet gold moment.

Anonymous said...

I think Mickey Rourke could surprise if they don't want to give 2 Oscars to Sean Penn (which is disgusting, because he is better than Tom Hanks, and Hanks has 2 Oscars). Remember Russell Crowe in 2001?

I think 'Slumdog' will win picture, director and adapted screenplay.

Viola Davis and Meryl Streep will emerge as best actress-supporting actress winners (yeah, no Winslet or Cruz) and Ledger will win supporting actor.

'Milk' will win original screenplay, but actually 'Wall-E' could win this too.

BELINDA said...


Picture: SLUMDOG
Director: Danny Boyle
Original: MILK
Adapted: The Reader

ajnrules said...

1997 was a pretty good Oscar year. I've always liked how even though Titanic virtually swept with its 11 awards, each Best Picture nominee still won something. And besides, that was the ceremony that got me hooked on Oscar.

Anyways, I'll be focusing my attention on Best Supporting Actor. If Ledger wins, great. If somebody else wins, then it'll possibly lead to the biggest outrage in Academy Award history.

Anonymous said...

The only award I care about, now that Hawkins and Scott Thomas are out of Best Actress, is for Penn to win Best Actor.

Not the best year for films in general, and some of the more interesting ones got very limited releases so now I have to wait for the DVD, or in some cases still waiting hopefully for a wider release, and not a great year for awards watching either.

At least your site adds some color and charm.


RahulB said...

It'd be great if no one brought up the Bill Murray loss from 2003 ever again. :'(

1997 was wicked boring, but Titanic was also the biggest movie ever - so it was one of those Oscars where everyone and their mother had seen at least one movie on the list.

I just keep thinking about how much fun this year would've been had Wall-E been included in Best Picture. It'd be a "all-bets-are-off" scenario.

Alex in Movieland said...

Best Original Score
Best Cinematography
Best Original Song

these are 3 categories I'm undecided about. I think Slumdog is winning at least two of them.

oh... and I still hope Kate doesn't win for The Reader (as it's far from being her best performance ever; to me, she was way more deserving for Eternal & Little Children).

Bernardo said...

Penélope and Viola.

The Sound categories.

The Duchess or CBB for Costumes.

Imagine The Reader beating Slumdog in Screenplay!

Mickey & Sean.

Original Screenplay is quite exciting. Milk or WALL·E?

tim said...

2003 may have been predictable, but because Return of the King and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy were some of my favorite films of all time, I have to say that I was thrilled throughout it. Spielberg saying, "And it's a clean sweep," is one of my top ten favorite oscar moments.

This year is very similar to that year, except I don't love the frontrunner nearly as much as I did in 2008.

MIchael C. said...

Sure Slumdog has its big three wins wrapped up, but three out of four acting races are still up in the air and so is Original Screenplay. Fun! Not to mention the fact that the inevitable winner of Supporting Actor is enormously deserving. If you can't get excited about a deserving nominee winning why watch the Oscars at all?

Kamila said...

In my opinion, the most exciting Oscar races of the year are: Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Honestly, I don't know who will win between Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep.

And anything can happen' on Best Supporting Actress. All the nominees have a strong chance to win, even Amy Adams!!!

Anonymous said...

Best Original Screenplay (wide open)

Best Supporting Actress (Wide open)

Best Leading Actress (Meryl Streep/Kate Winslet)

Best Leading Actor (Rourke/Penn)

Are pretty unpredictable!

Shawn said...

Well when Titanic and ROTK won, didn't the Academy get very good ratings?

Maybe this bodes well for the award show this year. People like the sweep years.

And I, for one, am happy it's happening to Slumdog Millionaire.

Chuck Williamson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SLB said...

All I'm really interested in with this year's Oscars is "Slumdog Millionaire" winning picture, director, and adapted screenplay, and seeing Heath's coronation. I'm rooting for Frank Langella, but he looks to be in a distant third in his race. With no Sally Hawkins in lead actress, that category is meaningless, and having Kate Winslet win for that awful "The Reader" is nothing I'm looking forward to. I hope that Penelope Cruz wins supporting actress, but now I think she's losing to one of the "Doubt" girls, and that film was a disappointment. No "Rachel Getting Married" in original screenplay is supremely lame. No "The Dark Knight" in best picture. And now they're f-ing the ceremony with all of these changes and starwhoring presenters. And Hugh has to preside over this mess. Whatever.

Chuck Williamson said...

Like some other posters, I wouldn't go so far and claim that 1997 was as bad as 2008, since L.A. Confidential is a genuine, honest-to-goodness masterwork.

I would, honestly, compare this year to 2000. Think about it. Two liberal-minded social dramas--one of them about an underdog who brings about social change. A splashy, expensive, overhyped epic that was generally disliked by critics. A Weinstein selection of somewhat questionable quality. And an international success that appropriated a genre common to a national cinema (wuxai epics/Bollywood melodrama), gave it a Hollywood sheen, and made it more palatable for mainstream audiences.

Okay, so the comparison is imperfect. But I find it interesting.

In saying this, I will also add that 2000 was generally a better year for film. And I didn't even really love any of those best picture nominees.

Devin D said...

I am hoping for Best Original Screenplay to move me to the edge of my seat.

Go In Bruges.

Brian said...

The Documentary Feature category is still a nail-biter with a strong lineup. Man on Wire packs an emotional punch, but is its topic "important" enough to sway the voters who see all five nominees (the only ones who can vote in this category)? I love the idea of Werner Herzog giving an Oscar speech, even if it is for one of his weaker documentaries (folks should see Land of Silence and Darkness, La Soufriere and Wings of Hope). The Betrayal is terrific, just the kind of film that seems like a potential surprise winner in this category. I haven't seen Trouble the Water yet, but it's coming back to local cinema screens this week, and I hope to rectify. No word yet on the Garden.

Edward Copeland said...

The only acting race with a little suspense is supporting actress, but I still think Penelope has the edge. You'll have to start dipping into the tech categories for any real nailbiters. Cinematography: That may be the category to keep you on the edge of your seats.

Notluke said...

I couldn't agree less about 1997. With the possible exception of 2002, never since has the overall quality of the BP lineup been better than that year. IMVHO. I'll give you that maybe there were plenty of more deserving films (I would have to look up what else was released that year), but looking just at the quality of the actual Five, I'd take the worst of them (Titanic) over 25% of the recent nominees any day.

FELLA said...

A little voice inside me is saying...The Oscars love drama
they go all soap opera-ish and choose Milk...or the Reader
and leave everybody except me open mouthed for five minutes!

A guy can dream right!

Julia said...

Agree with all the previous comments re. the super-dullness of 2003, and the suspense that's still in 3 out of the 4 acting races.

I think that Best Supporting Actress is going to be pretty hard to predict. I honestly can't see Penelope taking this one home, even now that Kate's out of her way. This could just be wishful thinking on my part though, hoping that this race is more exciting than it actually is!

Anonymous said...

The only thing I'm hoping for is a small protest for when the homophobic, sexist, ableist, utterly contemptible Jerry Lewis takes the stage for his undeserved lifetime achievement award.

Bitter? Yes, please.

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

I couldn't agree less about 1997. With the possible exception of 2002, never since has the overall quality of the BP lineup been better than that year. IMVHO. I'll give you that maybe there were plenty of more deserving films (I would have to look up what else was released that year), but looking just at the quality of the actual Five, I'd take the worst of them (Titanic) over 25% of the recent nominees any day.

That's another good point even though it may not have been the best line-up ever, I think 1997 was a pretty good year for Best Picture. Not that they ever get the five best pictures right anyway, but I think they did a great job in balancing different genres and different size movies, certainly then this year's line-up, so as a capsule of 1997, those five films really captured that year instead of this year's line-up. Okay, maybe As Good As It Gets might be stretching my point about encapsulating that year, but at least they were willing to go with a comedy with big names attached to it, something that I don't think today's Oscar would do.

Anyhow, I forgot to mention in my previous post that I do think that this year's show will still be somewhat exciting at least certainly more so than the ceremony for 2003 was. Supporting actress is still as unpredictable as last year's race imo because even though Cruz swept most of the precursors, her momentum may have passed now that Winslet won all of the top prizes so I think everyone pretty much has a good chance here. The actor race is still close with either Penn winning his second or Rourke winning for his once in a lifetime role. Original Screenplay may not be as rock solid for Milk either if they want to reward WALL-E with something besides just the Best Animated Oscar.

Plus, on the technical side, I think it could be exciting unless they go boring with a Slumdog sweep which could happen, but it will be interesting to me if perhaps The Dark Knight can still win the most awards of the night if there's a backlash to it not being nominated for Best Picture from some voters, or if The Curious Case of Benjamin Button can possibly go winless. It's probably unlikely, but it could happen.

I think this year will be better than 2003 too because at least Hugh Jackman has to be better than Billy Crystal was. I'm also looking forward to seeing the Best Supporting Actor presentation, and seeing what kind of changes did Bill Condon do and if they improved the show for the better.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone has already checked up the official ballot but it's interesting how the majority of the our predicted winners are in the last spot of each category of nominees...

Slumdog, Wall-E, Rourke, Winslet, Iron Man... Only two things that don't look right: Michael Shannon and Marisa Tomei as winners in their category.

Can this be real, I mean, Shannon taking home the prize instead of Ledger? I can see this happening... Posthumous awards aren't usually given and also Shannon seems to have a role that's more accordingly to the AMPAS standards... Can this really happen?

Anonymous said...

Picture director and adapted screenplay are set in stone

Actor will go to mickey rourke as the comeback of the year and the academy not wanting to reward Penn

Winslet will most likely take actress with a slight possibility of an upset from Meryl

Supporting actress sounds like it is going to go to penelope but it could actually go to tomei or davis depending who has the most momentum in the last few weeks.

Original screenplay is an exciting category. This years oscar race would all have been worth it if somehow IN BRUGES won best original screenplay. After that i would want Milk to win especially if it doesn't win actor. I would also love if WALL-E won.

Matt said...

Cinematography will be interesting.

I think its a four-way race between the three colourful and flashy films (TDK, Button & Slumdog) and the slightly more muted, yet equally effective The Reader.

I think The Reader could pull an upset win, since the blockbusters may cancel eachother out and leave the still Oscar-less Roger Deakins with his first win (albeit shared with Chris Menges)

Andy Scott said...

I think 'Slumdog' is the biggest lock since ... last year.

Blech. I'm over this race.

Anonymous said...

I actually loved the 1997 lineup. Partly because my favorite film of the 90's (L.A. Confidential) was on it, and I think it should have been the winner that year, but I also loved Titanic, I love Good Will Hunting, and they balance it out with two comedies (As Good as it Gets and The Full Monty) which I am also very attached to. These films only get better every time I see them, particularly L.A. Confidential, which I did not get the first time I saw it, but every time I see it now, something new comes up. Also, it's interesting that you bring up 1997, because Simon Beaufoy who wrote Slumdog Millionaire also wrote The Full Monty, which was nominated for Best Picture in 1997. Anyway, every time I talk to my parents or most of the people I've met, we talk about the 1997 lineup as one of the best we've seen, and even though I don't think Titanic was the best of the five, I still think it's an impressive film (though I understand there's a reason it didn't get a screenplay nomination, believe me).

Glenn said...

Even though I'm barracking for the frontrunner (Cruz), supporting actress has some suspence. I am also really looking forward to see how Original Screenplay and Costume Design pan out (i'm hoping for Wall-E/Frozen River and Catherine Martin to take those categories respectively).


michael c i couldn't not watch the Oscars no matter what. It's in my DNA. But am I excited to see Heath Ledger win? I'm not sure. I mean HE DESERVES IT. don't get me wrong. But public grief freaks me out and not seeing him holding it, as I would have if they had given it to him the first time they should have...
will undoubtedly freak me out a little.

and i always think the Oscars are more fun when they realize they're a party for movies and not thinking that they're saving the world and being all serious. unfortunately they feel like the latter more often than the former and the tribute to heath will fall in the latter category.

In short: I'M HARD TO PLEASE ;)

You-G said...

I'm feeling it for In Bruges too but if "Milk" is the only nominee to be nominated in both Oscars and WGA, I don't see In Bruges having much chance.

However, if Milk falls at WGA, then the race is really open.

Anna said...

It seems every year around this time people are pointing out how "boring" and "predictable" the results and show are going to be. I personally thought 2008 was a great year for movies and I'm really looking forward to the Oscars.
I was in the minority last year because I didn't enjoy NCFOM (people just kept telling me that I "didn't get it"... whatever). I'm relieved this year that I thoroughly enjoyed Slumdog and am looking for to seeing it win.

The Jack said...

You're not alone there, Anna. I didn't enjoy "No Country" either, and I'm certainly no philistine (I loved "There Will Be Blood"... and it's not a "Blood"/"No Country" thing either, as some people seem to think you either like one or the other). I didn't like "Slumdog" either though, so I'm not looking forward to this year's Best Picture announcement. I'm not even very happy about seeing Danny Boyle win, which is a shame because if you'd told me this time last year that Danny Boyle would be winning this year's director award I would have been over-the-moon.

On a side note, what makes people think "Slumdog" is going to sweep? I'd consider a sweep in Oscar-terms being seven awards or more, and I don't see "Slumdog" being more than a five or six award film. Although out of Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Score and Song, I don't know which one(s) it would lose.

Jacob said...

I would be utterly amused in Winslet and La Streep tied much like Streisand and Hepburn did. Partially because the comparison would be amusing, but also because I would get the Winslet win and the Streep speech.

Lee said...

I think the boredom that sets in every Oscar season has a lot to do with people wanting arbitrary surprises to keep themselves entertained, and that comes from meticulously following the season's precursors. Yes, I know it also has to do with your favorites not winning what they're supposed to, but if we went into Oscar night not knowing anything and seen nothing like most average watchers, I'd bet we'd have a happy ignorance when it comes to winners and be more "surprised." And the irony of that is, if you don't watch any of the movies in question, you're probably not likely to watch the show anyway. So in essence, we get what's coming to us by being so rabid.

Credit Cards UK said...

Agree with everyone - it's the best of a bad bunch.

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Re, Jerry Lewis:

Yes, people with disabilities; women; and gay/lesbian/bi/trans people are in fact organizaing protests against Jerry Lewis' so-called "humanitarian" award. Visit for more details.

Also, read what bloggers are saying about his award at