And The Oscar Goes To…

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of movies. So much so that I read textbooks that are used in flimmaking classes just to see how the art is created…and I even taught a class last summer on Film & Theology. The class was designed to teach you to find the message of the artist creating the film and then compare/contrast that message with what Scripture says. It was really just an extension of what I do when I go to the theater as it’s what I do constantly in my brain.

So, I enjoy movies.

And, I enjoy spectacle. I really love happenings and if they’re big and blown-up, all the better.

And tonight combines the best of both: Movies and spectacle! That’s right, it’s time for The Oscars!

We started here at The Diner two years ago with the major categories…but I pick the movies two ways: Who I want to win, followed by who I think will win. Here’s the major categories this year:

Best Actor: I only saw two of the movies these actors were nominated for, and in this category I’d like to add Who I Don’t Want To Win…which is Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Manalive, if there was ever a more overrated performance in a more overhyped movie, I’m not sure what it was. 3 hours of a poor man’s Forrest Gump if you ask me. Anyway, this one comes down to two guys anyway, Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn. Who I Want To Win: Mickey Rourke. He was brilliant in The Wrestler. Who Will Win: Sean Penn, for Milk.

Best Actress: This is always a tough category because there are usually so many great actresses. I thought Angelina Jolie was good in The Changeling. I didn’t see Doubt but my wife said Meryl Streep was, well, Meryl Streep. But, for my money, the best acting I’ve seen in years was from Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married. Maybe it’s because she went so far against playing princesses in romantic comedies, but she was stunningly brilliant as a recovering alcoholic. Obviously, Who I Want To Win: Anne Hathaway. Who Will Win: Meryl Streep, for Doubt, and because she’s Meryl Streep.

Best Supporting Actor: You don’t even have to say anything because this category was won after The Dark Knight opened. And, it will be deserved. Who I Want To Win: Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder. Who Will Win: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: This category, contrasting the supporting actor category, doesn’t have a clear winner. Who I Want To Win: Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler. She won’t, because Oscar folks can never get past when she won for her comedic role in My Cousin Vinny. People went so far as to say that the presenter read her name as a joke and it wasn’t in the envelope…and the backlash against her will keep her from it, but she was fabulous as a kindred spirit to Rourke. Who Will Win: Taraji P. Henson for Benjamin Button. Hollywood types are going to force us to think this was actually a good movie with great acting. The only thing it should win is for cinematography or costumes, maybe.

Best Animated Film: I like that they added this category. But, Who I Want To Win and Who Will Win are one in the same. While I really liked Kung Fu Panda, the hands down winner will be Wall-E.

Best Director: Are you kidding? A shoot in the slums/city of Mumbai, India, with a no name cast of young actors…many of whom were children. Not to mention the scope of the events and the back and forth nature of telling a story from each question of a “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” If there’s a director that did more with less than Danny Boyle in this list, I don’t know who it was. Who I Want To Win: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire. Who Will Win: Gus Van Sant for Milk. But if you’re asking me, it’s easy to direct Sean Penn in a biopic set in San Francisco.

Best Original Screenplay: Who I Want To Win: Happy-Go-Lucky. That movie grew on me. I’d heard good things, and when I saw it the pace seemed slow. That’s what serious flim critics say when they mean “boring.” But the message was great and the dialogue was meaningful. Who Will Win: Milk.

Best Picture: Who I Want To Win: Slumdog Millionaire. If there was a better movie this year, I didn’t see it. It was simply a brilliant movie that stood out by surprise. In fact, many Oscar observers have mentioned backlash against it because it wasn’t done in Hollywood by insiders in the biz…and it won Golden Globes and got such amazing buzz. Who Will Win: Milk. It has everything Hollywood voters love: Big stars, big name directors, big studio behind it. It’s possible that Ron Howard’s name could get behind this deal and get some love for Frost/Nixon but I don’t think so.

Well, that’s most of the major categories…

…what do you think, patrons?