Although 2008 is behind us, my 2008 movie-watching is still a work in progress. I have only one big release--Frost/Nixon left to watch. I will post my top ten, as well as my acting prizes (for those of you who care) soon thereafter, though honestly, my top ten feels pretty firmed up. I will post reviews for The Visitor, Revolutionary Road, Wendy and Lucy, The Reader and The Wrestler (all of which I saw last week--very heavy week) in the next couple of days. I am going to make a few random predictions.
10. Anne Hathaway will win Best Actress. I know this seems crazy, given the overall lack of support for Rachel Getting Married, but hear me out. Even among those who had a less than positive response to this polarizing (albeit brilliant) film, the consensus seems to be that Hathaway is doing career best work here. The Globes and the SAGs will clear things up, but my only question is this. If not Hathaway, then who? Having seen both Doubt and Revolutionary Road, I really don't see enough enthusiasm being generated to drive Streep or Winslet to wins. Streep already has two statues and no one wants to see Winslet win for this turn...or maybe I'm projecting. If the Academy grows a conscience and nominates Winslet for The Reader in lead, then that changes everything. But that's not too likely.
9. Wall-E will be nominated for best picture. I will officially be placing Wall-E on my best picture predictions in place of The Dark Knight, which has been sputtering in the precursors.
8. Gus Van Sant will win Best Director. Again, insane, I know. Especially considering the fact that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire are currently fighting it out for the win. But the last time best director went to a first time nominee was 2000. Not the craziest statistic, I know. But best director has gone to, of late, filmmakers viewed as overdue in some way, or Hollywood royalty, or both (those two qualifications kind of converge at Martin Scorsese). Neither David Fincher nor Danny Boyle are filmmakers whose work the Academy has embraced in the past. Christopher Nolan, sure, but like I said, The Dark Knight is not doing too great and will be lucky to even get a nomination. Ron Howard already has one and Frost/Nixon is the type of film that could easily be overlooked for best director even if it does get a best picture nod. That leaves Van Sant, the only true auteur of the bunch and likely to be the only previous nominess without a win.
7. Hugh Jackman will be a very good Oscar host. I'm waiting for the naysayers to come around to the conclusion that this broadway baby is actually perfect for the job. Just wait and see. The old formula of hiring funnymen (or women) to helm a ceremony that is very humorless hasn't worked. It's time to try something new.
6. Mickey Rourke will win best actor. The stars have aligned for this comeback kid, who's no "one trick pony." If Sean Penn hadn't already won an Oscar for Mystic River, a performance that's inferior in every way to his turn in Milk, he would have the statue locked up. But alas, being a previous winner, and so recently, will probably cost Penn another win. And I'm okay with that, because these are two very accomplished performances.
5. Heath Ledger probably won best supporting actor the day The Dark Knight trailer premiered. I know some are wondering if there will be an upset, if he can lose at this point. The answer is no. They're giving it to him, end of story. Whether Ledger deserves it or not is another story entirely, but it's irrelevant. This is the easiest way to honor a film that a lot of people loved.
4. Both Melissa Leo and Sally Hawkins will be nominated for best actress. Most lineups, I've noticed, have predicted one or the other. Although Hawkins missed SAG and BFCA, she has two many critical prizes to statistically miss a nomination. Too big to lose. Leo is the shakier bet, but I'm guessing she gets in too. I'm predicting a Jolie snub, which means the final five will be Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Hawkins and Leo.
3. If Kate Winslet gets nominated for supporting actress for The Reader, she will win. They won't let her become the most nominated loser. I know it's silly, since I'm currently predicting that she won't be nominated for supporting. But if she is...she wins. Don't ask me why. And on that note...
2. If Clint Eastwood is nominated for Gran Torino, he will lose (and I don't think he'll be nominated). The NBR were having a brain fart that week. The precursors haven't been rallying and the performance isn't riding the coattails of a best picture lock a la Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby.
1. Slumdog Millionaire is going to win best picture. Though you already knew that, didn't you?