Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Overload

Yesterday was a zero poker content day for me yesterday. Why? Because of fun times at this:

For the second straight year, AMC Theaters ran a special promotion where, for $30 and 12 hours of your life, you could sit through all five Best Picture nominees in one sitting. And, for the second straight year, the Good Doctor Mondo and I stepped up to the batter's box for this marathon of movie madness.

The Good: The films. All of them. The only nominee we'd seen previous to this was Juno, a film the two of us already adore. My twee as fuck musical taste dovetails with the soundtrack nicely, we're both huge fans of cast members from Arrested Development days (and news of an A.D. movies makes us swoon), and yeah, pretentious yet cute dialog is a major turn on. So we got to see Juno again, awesome.

But more importantly, we got to see films we've been waiting months for this very event, to see. Having done so, I think we both would love to see Juno get Best Picture, but that seems unlikely. The Good Doctor Mondo would have voted for Atonement in a heartbeat, except for a glaring problem to be mention in The Bad. Michael Clayton was a fantastically acted and shot movie, with great pacing, and enough suspense to be riveting all the way to the end. However, the ending itself contained what, for me, was one really large hole of logic that required enough suspension of reality to make it not Best Picture material.

No Country For Old Men was was, simply, amazing. Of course, in my book, the Coen brothers can pretty much do no wrong, going all the way back to Blood Simple and The Hudsucker Proxy. I am an Achiever, after all -- even if only in my feeble mind. That said, No Country is so dark, so wantonly violent, and for some, so unresolved, that it may fall short in the voting, to the one film that seems objectively, the Best Picture of the Year. That, folks, is There Will Be Blood, a character study tour de force, in which Daniel Day-Lewis pretty much chews up half of California. The supporting actors are all stunningly talented, the cinematography is stark and really hints at the roughhewn nature of life in 1910's California, and Jonny Greenwood's score is just about perfect.

With that, I predict the following:
Best Picture - There Will Be Blood
Best Director - Joel & Ethan Coen
Best Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Actress - either Ellen Page or Julie Christie
Best Supporting Actor - Javier Bardem
Best Supporting Actress - Tilda Swinton (but I've not seen them all)
Best Original Screenplay - Diablo Cody (Juno)
Best Adapted Screenplay - No Country For Old Men

The Bad: This particular theater's print of Michael Clayton, or at least, the audio of same. The sound kept cutting from what sounded like blown speakers, to not, that the theater was forced to give us all two passes for any other movie, just to keep the natives from getting restless. I mean, tix to this were $30 a head, and no, we weren't settling for anything less than Best Picture-nominee sound.

Also bad, in Atonement, there were at least 4-5 separate occasions where boom mikes popped right down on the screen enough that the entire audience laughed. I won't say this ruined the movie, because, while it only looked like a period piece, it was in truth more a story of deception and deceit. The style of movie-making (costumes aside) was actually far more modern. However, that many obvious gaffes in simple filmaking automatically disqualify you from best anything. I mean, really. How much of the film did the nominating committee actually see? Obviously, not enough.

The Ugly: AMC Theaters. Last year, our $30 smackers apiece also got us popcorn and soda, with free refills. This year, only ONE refill on the soda. Cheap bastards. The profit margin on that pop is enormous, and we're there for 12 hours? C'mon.

That'll pretty much take care of that. Perhaps the neatest part of the whole event is that I'm much more charged up for the awards tonight, than I otherwise would have been. By all accounts, 2007 really was a great year for movies, and there are certainly deserving films not in the category this year, if only because of room.

Happy viewing!

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