Thursday, September 27, 2007

Race for the Prize 9/27/07

Welcome to the first of this year's Stereo Sanctity "Race for the Prize" columns, in which I will monitor the year's annual race for the little golden guy known as Oscar. We are officially into 2007s Oscar Race, as the Toronto International Film Festival ended last week and a full range of this year's big Oscar hopefuls are finally being unleashed on the general public. What this column will attempt to do is gauge the heat on certain films and throw out arbitrary predictions from way-too-early-to-actually know-anything, in a (perhaps vain) vain attempt at getting inside the heads of those sheep known as Academy members. The contenders are ranked by the likelihood (as of today) that they will be nominated. I can't guarantee weekly updates, but I will update when there is a obvious sea change or at least a palpable switch in buzz for certain films or performances. So I'll get right to it.

What's already obvious this year is that no studio wants their film to be labeled with the dreaded "frontrunner" status, and seeing what happened with Dreamgirls last year, who could blame them? So this year, more than ever, it is a guessing game. A good majority of the hopefuls have been screened for critics though, so things seem to be taking a vague shape. Toronto cleared up a few things a bit - the main question answered was that Elizabeth: The Golden Age is not the Awards stud it once was deemed. Cate Blanchett still seems like an obvious choice though, if only because of her legendary loss to Gwyneth Paltrow back in '98. Besides that, it looks like only tech awards for ol' Liz. Surprisingly, Eastern Promises got a leg up at TIFF, but Cronenberg has never been much of an Oscar favorite, so the film seems to be relegated to probably some acting notices if anything. Other than that, Sean Penn's Into the Wild came up huge, along with it's cast, which includes lead actor hopeful Emile Hirsche and highly buzzed supporting work from Hal Holbrook and Catherine Keener. We should know more in the coming weeks though, as reviews for I'm Not There, Reservation Road and Michael Clayton trickle in. So we wait...

Main Category Predictions as of 9/27/07

Best Picture:
1. Atonement
2. Charlie Wilson's War
3. American Gangster
4. There Will Be Blood
5. No Country for Old Men

Five On the Fringe:
The Kite Runner
Into the Wild
Sweeney Todd
Michael Clayton

Best Director:
1. Joe Wright - Atonement
2. Mike Nichols - Charlie Wilson's War
3. Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
4. Ridley Scott - American Gangster
5. Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men

Five of the Fringe:
Andrew Dominik - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Sean Penn - Into the Wild
Marc Forster - The Kite Runner
Tim Burton - Sweeney Todd
David Cronenberg - Eastern Promises

Best Actor:
1. Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
2. Tom Hanks - Charlie Wilson's War
3. Tommy Lee Jones - In the Valley of Elah
4. James McAvoy - Atonement
5. Denzel Washington - American Gangster

Five on the Fringe:
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Before the Devil Knows Your Dead or The Savages
Emile Hirsche - Into the Wild
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Viggo Mortenson - Eastern Promises

Best Actress:
1. Keira Knightley - Atonement
2. Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
3. Julie Christie - Away from Her
4. Ellen Page - Juno
5. Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose

Five on the Fringe:
Jodie Foster - The Brave One
Laura Linney - The Savages
Halle Berry - Things We Lost in the Fire
Nicole Kidman - Margot at the Wedding
Angelina Jolie - A Mighty Heart

Best Supporting Actor:
1. Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
2. Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
4. Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton
5. Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Five on the Fringe:
Phillip Boscoe - The Savages
Paul Dano - There Will Be Blood
Russell Crowe - American Gangster
Armin Mueller-Stahl - Eastern Promises
Benicio Del Toro - Things We Lost in the Fire

Best Supporting Actress:
1. Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
2. Vanessa Redgrave - Atonement
3. Helena Bonham Carter - Sweeney Todd
4. Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
5. Jennifer Jason Leigh - Margot at the Wedding

Five on the Fringe:
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Susan Sarandon - In the Valley of Elah
Catherine Keener - Into the Wild
Romola Garai - Atonement
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Best Original Screenplay:
1. The Savages
2. Juno
3. Margot at the Wedding
4. I'm Not There
5. Once

Five on the Fringe:
Michael Clayton
Things We Lost in the Fire
Eastern Promises

Best Adapted Screenplay:
1. No Country for Old Men
2. Atonement
3. There Will Be Blood
4. American Gangster
5. Charlie Wilson's War

Five on the Fringe:
In the Valley of Elah
The Kite Runner
Into the Wild
The Diving Bell and Butterfly
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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