"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

And the Winner is…

Welp, tonight’s the night, if you care about this sort of thing. I don’t, but I do enjoy bagging on all the celebrities, goofin’ on all the pomp and whatnot.  I like being a contrarian and the almost certain prize for Heath Ledger, which he seemingly won before the latest Batman movie was released, is perfect to get me going.  I didn’t think he was so terrific in the role either.  He wasn’t bad, but, ah, anyhow, it’s something to talk smack about. 

So, who do you like to win the big awards?

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1 boslaw   ~  Feb 22, 2009 10:44 am

I thought Kate Winslet was terrific in Revolutionary Road, but she's not nominated for that. Meryl Streep was fantastic in Doubt but I thought the movie itself kind of stunk. The woman in Frozen River was pretty good too. Winslet will probably win since she has all the buzz, but I could see Streep or the Frozen River lady taking it.

Sean Penn for Milk, although all of the nominees were pretty good.

Supporting actress: either of the nominees for Doubt. Penelope Cruz was also good in Vicky Cristina.

Supporting Actor should be the guy in Revolutionary Road. It was a small part but it was pretty good. Heath Ledger was good in Batman but I didn't particularly think it was ground breaking - I would think it's a lot easier to play crazy when you're all covered in crazy makeup.

Best Picture: Milk, Reader, Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon were all better than Slumdog.

2 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 22, 2009 11:16 am

Rourke should win. I'll be absolutely stunned if Penn doesn't win though, if for no other reason then to give him another forum to rant.

3 boslaw   ~  Feb 22, 2009 11:54 am

[2] but don't you think it was a much bigger stretch for Penn to play a gay guy (very convincingly) than for Rourke to play a washed up loser?

I'd rather see the wrestler win for best pic - I didn't think frost/nixon should really have been nominated for anything other than Frank Langella.

4 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 22, 2009 11:59 am

Well, Penn is a woman beater. I'm sure he could tap into some of his misogynistic tendencies.

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 22, 2009 12:10 pm

I thought Ledger was fantastic (though I'll admit I've not yet seen Revolutionary Road, which contains the dark horse performance). My contrarianism would come in regards to Rourke. I thought the film was fantastic, but his performance, while good, didn't blow me away. I felt it was as much a case of perfect casting as a great performance.

Of the leading actors, I saw all but Pitt in Button and would give it to either Penn or Langella.

Of the supporting actors, I saw all but Shannon in Rev. Road and would give it to Ledger. Incidentally, I can't figure out what Brolin did to earn his nomination.

Of the leading actresses, I only saw Streep and Winslet in the Reader, and would give it to Streep out of the two, even though I'm a big Winslet fan.

Of the supporting actresses, I saw only the two from Doubt and Tomei. The Viola Davis nomination has a slight controversy due to the brevity of her part, but she knocked it out of the park and I'd give it to her. Particularly after seeing her on talk shows and realizing how little she resembles the character she played.

Of the Best Pictures, I saw all but Button. I probably liked Frost/Nixon the most, but it was by far the least ambitious and, while excellent, almost felt out of place on the big screen. Slumdog left me with mixed feelings, but a lot of that was due to the script. The filmmaking was spectacular. Milk was simply Frost/Nixon with a longer timeline and a more tangible relevance to the present. A good film, but a fairly standard biopic. The Reader was solid, but didn't blow me away. I'd be tempted to give Danny Boyle the directing statue and leave Best Picture empty given this list. Best Picture should really be between the Wrestler and Wall-E, both of which got stiffed here.

I only saw two of the Original Screenplays, Milk and Wall-E, and would give it to Wall-E, because it actually was original.

Of the adapted screenplays, I saw all but Button, and would probably give it to The Reader.

6 The Hawk   ~  Feb 22, 2009 1:28 pm

The thing that made Ledger's performance great, besides the magnetism he brought, was he somehow suggested a history and humanity to the character that wasn't really in the script. It put the performance over the top and gave a character dimension that could have been a bit of a cardboard cut-out.

7 tsengsational   ~  Feb 22, 2009 1:53 pm

I thought Ledger was very good in Dark Knight. I don't know if he'd be so favored if he hadn't died, but it was a great performance.

I actually really liked Slumdog, so I'm hoping it wins.

8 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 22, 2009 2:12 pm

My problem with Slumdog was that I thought the tone was horribly uneven throughout. It was essentially something of a fairy tale (otherwise the coincidence of the Millionaire questions and the events of the main character's life would have been inexcusably hacky), but it contained scenes of extremely graphic brutality and misery that didn't seem in any way separated from some of the awful realities of Indian life. I had great difficulty throughout reconciling the two and was even more perplexed by the ending, which seemed to go too far in subverting both expectations and logic. Of course, my wife loved it.

9 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 22, 2009 2:15 pm

Oh, and I think that Ledger might be even more of a shoo-in if he hadn't died because no one would question their motivation for voting for him. He was that good, in my opinion.

10 rbj   ~  Feb 22, 2009 2:35 pm

Heath for best supporting actor. I came out Dark Knight wishing they had focused more on the Joker, he was a more compelling character than Batman. Perhaps they were expecting to explore the character more in future movies, as he was captured at the end. Ooops.

Haven't seen any of the other movies. For the last few years there really haven't been a lot of movies that have compelled me to go see them.

Spring training games start Wednesday!

11 tsengsational   ~  Feb 22, 2009 3:09 pm

I dunno Cliff, I feel like a lot of the hype about his performance was a result of his death. If he won it certainly wouldn't be a travesty as he probably deserves it whether he's dead or alive.

As for Slumdog, it's implausible, sure, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying movies.

12 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 22, 2009 3:28 pm

[3] I agree about actors who are cast in a parts where real life resembles art. I mean, if you had a character that was a dumb guy, kinda stiff, with little personality or facial expressions, and you cast Keanu Reeves, well... you'll get an awarding winning performace. Not for acting though, but for just being himself. So I agree that Penn's task was harder and required more 'real acting' (althoug I saw neither movie. Just commenting because I'm so glad ARod is not in the news (yet) today).

13 The Hawk   ~  Feb 22, 2009 3:58 pm

I find the assertion that Ledger's performance gets attention cause he died to be specious. I mean, there's no way of telling what would have been the case had he not died. Maybe it would have been less celebrated, maybe not. But to confidently state either case is silly. The fact that he DIED indisputably gets more attention than if he were still alive, but I've also seen plenty of actors praised for performances they survived by decades.

14 Just Fair   ~  Feb 22, 2009 4:03 pm

I just watched Mark Fidrych pitch a complete game vs. the Yanks in 1976. The Detroit faithful was going nuts after the last out. The Bird even got a curtain call a few minutes after entering the dugout. What a trip. : ) FWIW, I loved Slumdog Millionairre. I thought the music was cool, too. I have not seen any of the others, though. As awards go, I find the Oscars completely preposterous. C'mon, the best pretender goes to.....

15 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 22, 2009 4:33 pm

Awards for art are preposterous in general because they're so subjective, but when you compare the general agreement between the Academy, the critics, and passionate cinephiles to the complete disconnect between the Grammys and the preferences of passionate music listeners and critics, the Oscars come out looking pretty legit. Then again, that might be too low of a standard to hold them to. The Grammys are a total farce.

16 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 22, 2009 4:34 pm

Oh, and Just Fair, I've been watching the '85 Yanks battle Tom Seaver on Phil Rizzuto day. Between that, Gaylord Perry's 300th win and the Fidrych game, the MLB Network seems to be having "vintage Yankee loses" weekend. Fine by me.

17 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Feb 22, 2009 5:26 pm

The Oscars is a fashion freak show for egoists who think they are making art.. Dances with Wolves is Best Picture over Goodfellas? Driving Miss Daisy over Do the Right Thing? Al Pacino Best "Actor" for Scent of a Woman??

..and talk about inflated salaries..Nicole Kidman gets $15million for "The Stepford Wives", yet people complain about baseball players making millions for a 162-game season?

I'm with you Alex, and will await Chyll Will to back me up here, viva le Cinema!

18 rbj   ~  Feb 22, 2009 6:27 pm

[16] Yeah on the Yankee's lose day. Though those were significant games. How about Rag's nohitter? Also wouldn't mind seeing, blanking on the name, one-handed guy's nohitter. To me that's most impressive.

19 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 22, 2009 6:28 pm

Finally... a sane voice in the ARod debacle.

"But before we get self-righteous, we should look in the mirror and ask ourselves whether exposing A-Rod, or any player for that matter, is worth stepping all over rights, privacy, confidentiality and anonymity.

There is a lot of outrage out there about Alex. Not surprising. But what really surprises me is the lack of outrage about how a confidential and anonymous test could be made public. "


20 Just Fair   ~  Feb 22, 2009 6:31 pm

[18] Jim Abbott. And YES plays Righetti's 7/04 no hitter plenty. I guess if you don't have YES your SOL.

21 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 22, 2009 7:09 pm

I've discovered that watching no-hitters after the fact is boring as sin because you know exactly what's going to happen in each opposing at-bat: nothing. Sure, Rags faced some great Sox hitters (Rice, Boggs, Evans), but you don't get to see those guys be great. Watching random milestone games is more compelling because you don't necessarily know when each team is going to score or get a hit. I actually let out a few yelps during the Seaver game, and I got to see Mattingly, Baines (playing some fine right field), Fisk, Winfield, and Henderson do their thing and/or make some big outs without knowing what was coming (other than the eventual Chisox win).

22 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 22, 2009 11:52 pm

I always love watching noted degenerate Sean Penn rant on morality. Even if he's making a good point, he has zero credibility.

23 Toxic   ~  Feb 23, 2009 9:00 am

Winslet guaranteed to win one.


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