“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Slumdog Millionaire” won Best Picture at the Producer’s Guild Awards on Saturday and the Best Ensemble award at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards tonight, so that all but guarantees a Best Picture win for this little-international-picture-that-could on February 22 at the Oscars. In addition, the film has won 16 other critic’s and award show awards during this season. It’s closest rival, “Milk,” has four. For a complete awards tally for 2008-2009, click here. “The Dark Knight” and “Wall-E” have four wins each also, but in its infinite wisdom, the Academy has chosen not to nominate them. For a complete list of 2009 Oscar snubs, click here.
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Sean Penn commented during his speech to accept the award for Best Actor in “Milk” that his win tonight (following Rourke’s Golden Globe win) meant that the “dogfight” between he and Mickey Rourke was on. He was no doubt referring to both actors’ status as frontrunners for the Oscar this year and called all the people like myself who need something to write about “idiots” for making the competition into a race. Fair enough. I get overly excited each year about these silly awards shows because I love going to the movies so much and I like to see great work like his and Rourke’s get recognized.
Now, because I like to bet on the Oscars as much as most people like to bet on the Super Bowl, on to the idiotic subject of predicting a winner. Penn’s win gives him a grand total of 17 Best Actor awards this season, which is one more than Rourke. Although that may seem like a narrow margin, the SAG is a better predictor of the Oscar than the Golden Globe. Actors make up a huge voting block of the Academy, and “Milk” is an issue-driven movie with a lot of goodwill behind it. My feeling today is that Penn will win that Oscar as well.
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
The Actress and Supporting Actress categories are all screwed up, mainly because Kate Winslet is nominated in the lead Actress category for “The Reader” at the Oscars, but she won the Supporting Actress award for the same role at the SAGs tonight and at the Globes a couple of weeks ago! This makes her a clear frontrunner, along with Meryl Streep, who won the lead Actress SAG tonight. Ironically, the woman who beat Streep for the Golden Globe Actress award was also Winslet, but for a different movie: “Revolutionary Road.” Confused yet? Anne Hathaway tied with Streep for the Critic’s Choice award, and leads both Winslet and Streep for total awards this season, but she’s the third most likely to win the Oscar. Still, if the old “split the vote” theory proves true, Hathaway could slip in come Oscar time. But Winslet, a five-time Oscar loser, will most likely take home her first gold man come February 22.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
With Winslet out of the way in the Supporting Actress category, this Academy Award will be the first broadcast movie award not to go to her. This means it’s the most wide open race of the night. A look at previous awards from critics places Marisa Tomei (“The Wrestler”) in the lead, with one vote more than Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), and four more than Viola Davis (“Doubt”). My thinking is that this will go to Cruz (a previous nominee for “Volver”) over Tomei, who already has her Oscar (for “My Cousin Vinny”). Don’t count Davis out, though. Her one scene with Streep in “Doubt” was one of the most emotionally draining of the year.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
Heath Ledger will win the Best Supporting Actor category, and it will be because of his arresting and original portrayal of one of the world’s best known villains, not because of his untimely death. His Joker from “The Dark Knight” will be on AFI’s revised Best Villains List as soon as they make it. It’s that good.
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
On January 31, the Director’s Guild will award Danny Boyle his Best Director trophy, to go along with the 20 other awards he’s won for “Slumdog Millionaire.” He’ll go on to win the Oscar as well.
“Wall-E” will win Best Animated Film, “Waltz with Bashir” will win Best Foreign Film, and “Man on Wire” will win Best Documentary, just like all the other awards in these categories have gone this year. (Technically, “Waltz” has a lock because Sweden didn’t nominate neorealist vampire flick “Let the Right One In,” which has garnered 14 wins up to now.)
In the screenplay categories, it’s pretty obvious too. “Slumdog” has won nine more critics’ awards for Adapted Screenplay than its closest (and most staid) competitor, “Frost/Nixon.” “Milk” will win the Original Screenplay because its closest competitor, “Rachel Getting Married,” wasn’t even nominated.
God, it’s almost depressing to note that most of the show is a done deal at this early date. Here are some more picks that I will boldly make at this time:
“Slumdog” will win Best Score, Best Song (for “Jai Ho”), and Film Editing. It will probably also win Best Cinematography, though pissed off “Dark Knight” fans may push that one over the top.
Makeup, Visual Effects, Art Direction, and Costumes will be the only awards that “Benjamin Button” will win out of its 13 nominations, because the word about “Gump” is out!
Sound Mixing and Sound Editing both went to “The Bourne Ultimatum” last year. This year’s “serious” action film is “The Dark Knight” (Even though it’s so much more than that!), so it will win both of these.