It’s Oscar time, and everybody has an opinion. It took me a while, but I’ve finally seen enough of last year to pick my favorites for the winner on Sunday, as well as give my own list for the best of 2007. I encourage all who read to include your picks for who you would like to see win the Academy Award, and also list your top films of the year. I would love to know what kinds of films the readers of Cityzine favor, and what they reject. So, I’ll go first.
Best Director, the Coen Brothers. Best Picture, Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece, There Will be Blood. For me, those two things usually go hand in hand. But while There Will Be Blood was the better and more important movie, the style and craft of No Country For Old Men was to good to be over looked. There Will be Blood is an instant American classic, easy to understand, in the tradition of Citizen Kane, and it ends in a beautiful fucking bloodbath. It is an American epic, and should be rewarded Best Picture for its grand accomplishment. No Country For Old Men was like their other films (Blood Simple, Fargo), but had a new twist that was relevant for the times. The Coens have proven to be two of the greatest filmmakers of all time and deserve an Academy Award.
Best Actor. Some really great performances were noticed this year, although I’m sick of the Johnny Depp nod. I do wish Emile Hirsch was mentioned for Into the Wild. Viggo Mortensen, George Clooney, and Tommy Lee Jones were all solid and worthy of the Oscar, but once again it was Daniel Day-Lewis who towers over the competition. After seeing him in There Will Be Blood as Daniel Plainview, you wonder if anybody else could have played that role as good. It is a perfect performance.
Another tough category, maybe the toughest, is Best Supporting Actor. Phil Hoffman, Tom Wilkinson, and Javier Bardem were all exceptional. Casey Affleck was amazing. His was I think the deepest role, and I would love to see him walk away with the Oscar. But Hal Holbrook made me cry. It was a powerful performance from one of the American greats. He deserves the award for Into the Wild.
Best Supporting Actress is between two women as I see it, Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton, and Cate Blanchett for I’m Not There. Swinton was fully convincing as a desperate woman doing whatever it takes to survive in the dirty corporate underworld. She always impresses me, and I think this was my favorite of all her roles. But I’d have to say the same for Blanchett. And my love for Bob Dylan forces me to pick her for the win. She was dead on. It made me so happy to see a young Dylan walking around again, re-enacting history.
I did not see all the films for Best Actress, but of the three I did see, I choose Julie Christie for Away From Her. She was brilliant, and was in a little seen movie that was excellent. This film by Sarah Polly should be seen, as it is one of the few films that deal with Alzheimer’s disease.
There was one truly great Original Screenplay this year, Michael Clayton. From the opening monologue, to the taxi ride through the city, it is one of the finest screenplays ever written. Perfectly paced and cleverly constructed, it holds up as one of the great thrillers, and a truthful in depth look at justice in America. Adapted Screenplay has five great titles, but I had to choose the Julian Shnabel’s, the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Although No Country For Old Men, made me laugh and left me thinking, Shnabel’s script was the retelling of an amazing true story of a man who communicates by winking. It made me feel more than perhaps any other film this year.
All the Cinematographers out did themselves this year. There were some really beautiful movies. Once again I felt Into the Wild should have been nominated, but there is not one film nominated that doesn’t deserve it. Roger Deakins, nominated twice, will get the award for the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. He also shot No Country For Old Men. These make his 6th and 7th nominations and he has never won.
Every year I disagree with the Academy, so make my own Awards. It is simple, a list of ten films are recognized, number one being the best taking the top honor. As you can see, Juno and Atonement, while both outstanding films, did not make the list. It turned out to be a great year. The Assassination of Jesse James is maybe the greatest western I’ve seen in my life. The style and look of the film was truly mind blowing. It is rare to see such an authentic looking film. It is just as an important part of history as anything we’ve seen this year, and is very telling of the American psyche today. Include your Oscar picks and favorites before Sunday.
- The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
- There Will Be Blood
- No Country For Old Men
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
- I’m Not there
- Into The Wild
- Michael Clayton
- Across the Universe
- Eastern Promises
- Grindhouse: Planet Terror and Death Proof
Photo of Oscars by Wikipedia
Photo of There Will be Blood and Michael Clayton by IMDB