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Oscar Previews

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by Marc Glassman.

Oscar has turned serious this year. It’s only natural; after all, the venerable gentleman and his award statuettes turn 80 in 2008.

Eschewing the usual frivolous fare, the committees seemed to attack their assignments with greater fervour, as if, for once, they truly believe they represent an “academy of motion picture arts and science.”

Look at the five films nominated for Best Picture: two adaptations of great contemporary novels (Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men and Ian McEwan’s Atonement), a bizarre but interesting treatment of Upton’s Sinclair’s Oil! (There Will Be Blood) a film about corporate malfeasance (Michael Clayton) and a subversive comedy on teenage pregnancy (Juno). Not a dud among them. Arguably, they all deserve the Oscar.

That’s true in the acting categories as well. Take a gander at the Best Actor nominees: George Clooney, ambiguous and riveting as the fixer in Michael Clayton; Daniel Day-Lewis, compelling as the John Hustonesque charismatic oil man in There Will Be Blood; Johnny Depp, over the top as Sweeney Todd; Tommy Lee Jones, intense and moving as the father investigating the death of his son in Elah and Viggo Mortensen, persuasive as a Russian mobster in Eastern Promises.

Or best actress. Who’s better? Cate Blanchett reprising her role as the first Queen Elizabeth, Julie Christie as the Alzheimer’s victim in Away from Her, Marion Cotillard as Piaf, the always resourceful Laura Linney in The Savages or the wryly confident Ellen Page in Juno?

This is a year of hard decisions: can anyone beat Javier Bardem’s portrayal of a cold blooded killer in No Country for Old Men? Unlikely—which means that a fabulous performance by Casey Affleck and a very funny one by Philip Seymour Hoffman will not be acknowledged.

It’s not just actors who will be hard done by on Oscar night. Persepolis and Ratataouille are up for Best Animation Feature; choosing between the two is like, well, apples and oranges. Or take docs: should No End in Sight win for its doggedly intelligent investigation into the litany of blunders that created the quagmire in Iraq or should it be the funny and controversial Michael Moore’s take on the US medical system, Sicko?

Or—even better—should the Academy reward Roger Deakins for his great cinemaography in No Country for Old Men or for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? Or will he eliminate himself by working on two fine films in one year? (Actually, Deakins shot a third fine film in 2007, In the Valley of Elah).

OK. So it’s all guess work, especially this year. A lot of great candidates won’t win. For once, the winner whose acceptance speech starts off by acknowledging the other nominees will not be wrong. But who will win?

I think No Country for Old Men will be the film of the year—because, well, it is the film of the year. So, Academy members, I cast my vote for: the Coen Brothers as best Directors and script adapters; their film will win Best Picture while Bardem and Deakins will gather statuettes in, respectively, the best supporting Actor and Best cinematography categories.

It will be a good year for Canadians with the NFB’s Madame Tutli-Putli winning as the best Animation short and Julie Christie getting her second Oscar for her leading role in Sarah Polley’s Away from Her—Ellen Page will have to wait until she’s 22!

Other major winners include: Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor and Cate Blanchett as best supporting actress (as Bob Dylan!). No End in Sight will cop the best Doc prize; Ratatouille will grab the Best Animation statuette and Diablo Cody will accept the Best original Screenplay award for Juno.

Here’s my choices followed by a complete list of nominees:

Best motion picture of the year
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production
Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Julie Christie in “Away from Her”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”

Best animated feature film of the year
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Brad Bird

Achievement in art direction
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Art Direction: Dante Ferretti
Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

Achievement in cinematography
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design
“Across the Universe” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky

Achievement in directing
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Best documentary feature
“No End in Sight” (Magnolia Pictures)
A Representational Pictures Production
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

Best documentary short subject
“La Corona (The Crown)”
A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production
Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega

Achievement in film editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Christopher Rouse

Best foreign language film of the year
“The Counterfeiters” An Aichholzer Filmproduktion, Magnolia Filmproduktion Production Austria

Achievement in makeup
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush” (Warner Bros.)
Music and lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas

Best animated short film
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada)
A National Film Board of Canada Production
Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski

Best live action short film
“Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films)
A Karé Production Philippe Pollet-Villard
Achievement in sound editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal)
Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg

Achievement in sound mixing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal)
Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis

Achievement in visual effects
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney)
John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier

Adapted screenplay
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Original screenplay
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Diablo Cody

Academy Awards 2008 – NOMINEES
Presented on Sunday, February 24, 2008
At the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland Center®

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
(DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah” (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises” (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal)
Julie Christie in “Away from Her” (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in “The Savages” (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in “Juno” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There” (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster” (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement” (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone” (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

Best animated feature film of the year
“Persepolis” (Sony Pictures Classics) Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Brad Bird
“Surf’s Up” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Achievement in art direction
“American Gangster” (Universal)
Art Direction: Arthur Max
Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino

“Atonement” (Focus Features)
Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood
Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners)
Art Direction: Dennis Gassner
Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Art Direction: Dante Ferretti
Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Art Direction: Jack Fisk
Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in cinematography
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.) Roger Deakins
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Seamus McGarvey
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Janusz Kaminski
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roger Deakins
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit

Achievement in costume design
“Across the Universe” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Achievement in directing
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Julian Schnabel
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight) Jason Reitman
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) Tony Gilroy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Paul Thomas Anderson

Best documentary feature
“No End in Sight” (Magnolia Pictures)
A Representational Pictures Production
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (The Documentary Group)
A Documentary Group Production
Richard E. Robbins
“Sicko” (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company)
A Dog Eat Dog Films Production
Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
“Taxi to the Dark Side” (THINKFilm)
An X-Ray Production
Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
“War/Dance” (THINKFilm)
A Shine Global and Fine Films Production
Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Best documentary short subject
“Freeheld”
A Lieutenant Films Production
Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
“La Corona (The Crown)”
A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production
Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
“Salim Baba”
A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production
Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
“Sari’s Mother” (Cinema Guild)
A Daylight Factory Production
James Longley

Achievement in film editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Christopher Rouse
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Juliette Welfling
“Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment) Jay Cassidy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

Best foreign language film of the year
“Beaufort” A Metro Communications, Movie Plus Production
Israel
“The Counterfeiters” An Aichholzer Filmproduktion, Magnolia Filmproduktion Production
Austria
“Katyÿ” An Akson Studio Production
Poland
“Mongol” A Eurasia Film Production
Kazakhstan
“12” A Three T Production
Russia

Achievement in makeup
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
“Norbit” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount) Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) Ve Neill & Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
“The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Falling Slowly” from “Once”
(Fox Searchlight)
Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
“Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted”
(Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush”
(Warner Bros.)
Music and lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas
“So Close” from “Enchanted”
(Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”
(Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best motion picture of the year
“Atonement” (Focus Features)
A Working Title Production
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight)
A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production
Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
A Clayton Productions, LLC Production
Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production
Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best animated short film
“I Met the Walrus”
A Kids & Explosions Production
Josh Raskin
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada)
A National Film Board of Canada Production
Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
“Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)” (Premium Films)
A BUF Compagnie Production
Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
“My Love (Moya Lyubov)” (Channel One Russia)
A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production
Alexander Petrov
“Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films)
A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production
Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film
“At Night”
A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production
Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
“Il Supplente (The Substitute)” (Sky Cinema Italia)
A Frame by Frame Italia Production Andrea Jublin
“Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films)
A Karé Production Philippe Pollet-Villard
“Tanghi Argentini” (Premium Films)
An Another Dimension of an Idea Production
Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
“The Tonto Woman”
A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production
Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Achievement in sound editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal)
Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Skip Lievsay
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney)
Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Achievement in sound mixing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal)
Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney)
Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate)
Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Achievement in visual effects
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners)
Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney)
John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Adapted screenplay
“Atonement” (Focus Features)
Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
“Away from Her” (Lionsgate)
Written by Sarah Polley
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn)
Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Original screenplay
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Diablo Cody
“Lars and the Real Girl” (MGM)
Written by Nancy Oliver
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
Written by Tony Gilroy
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney)
Screenplay by Brad Bird
Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
“The Savages” (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Tamara Jenkins

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