Two Cents From Two Witsamans. Our Oscar Picks.

Well it’s that time once again, time for the academy awards. Big stars, hollywood glamor, and a whole lot of ego boosting. Currently every asshole with a computer is flooding the interwebs with their own Oscar predictions. Well prepare to add me to that long list because I am about to drop my awards precognition on you all! However how many people do you know who have their wife offering a counterpoint to their predictions? Probably not many! This is the first in a, hopefully, ongoing series of posts where my wife weighs in on my plethora of geeky interests. This topic though holds equal bearing for us, as we both like to think of ourselves as pretty enthusiastic cinephiles. So without further ado, I present my Oscar Predictions Husband and Wife Point/Counterpoint!

"And the Oscar goes to . . . . "

Original Song:
Joshua: Coming Home from Country Strong. I have not seen this movie or heard this song but that movie seemed to do well, it was about music, and it has an original song so my money is on that!

Lauren: We Belong Together from Toy Story 3. Not because I think it’s good. In fact, every Randy Newman song in the world now reminds me of Family Guy. However, that fat bastard has a lock on heart-warming songs for animated features (see his 2002 Oscar win for Monsters Inc.).

Original Score:
Joshua: Inception. The score of this movie was a central part of the whole experience, if anything the score was one of the viewers only links to sanity while watching this movie. Some of the other scores have some big names attached to them, but Hans Zimmer is no lightweight and I personally think this one has the upper hand.

Lauren: The Social Network. The score contributed to the buzzy energy of this film. In a movie that could have so easily felt nerdy, dry and boring, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross composed a score that helped make computer programming feel sexy and edgy. Well, done, my friends.

Sound Editing:
Joshua: True Grit. I don’t really have a strong case for it at all but the film really drew you in to the scenes, like you were out on the trail with them. If Ben Burtt has taught me anything during my repeated viewings of the commentary reels of the Star Wars movies, it’s that sounds can make or break a scene. I assume with as much ambiance and picturesque landscapes filmed in this movie there must also be a great deal of detailed, subtle sound editing.

Lauren: Who gives a shit? Eh, I’m going with Inception.

Sound Mixing:
Joshua: Inception. There were a lot of crazy sounds coming together in so many scenes of this movie, I can’t really see it going to any of the other choices.

Lauren: Agreed.

Ben Burtt won an oscar in Sound Editing for Star Wars (1977)

Film Editing:
Joshua: Social Network. A wonderfully edited movie, that’s it.

Lauren: Agreed on this one as well. I really felt that this film had good pacing. Black Swan, The Fighter, and The King’s Speech all had moments that could have been cut.

Costume Design:
Joshua: The Tempest. I didn’t see the Tempest, but I did see Alice in Wonderland, and as much as I like Tim Burton, I really don’t think that movie should win any awards even for costuming.

Lauren: I’m going with Alice in Wonderland on this one. I like the use of Alice’s increasingly tattered and strangely sized dress to indicate the changes that our fair heroine goes through in the film. Though I agree the movie sucked, I think the visuals were fairly stellar. And many of those visuals were created through exciting costume choices.

Visual Effects:
Joshua: Inception. This is a tough call, I really want Harry Potter to win, just because I think Deathly Hallows Part 1 really stepped the game up on effects, but I think Inception was just perfect on the effects, very cool, very trippy, and interesting original concepts.

Lauren: Inception. I agree with Josh about Harry Potter, but regardless of my personal feelings, HP is just not Oscar Bait. No matter how much I love it. Inception, on the other hand, was made wonderful by the dizzying visual effects. I sincerely hope the Academy doesn’t screw this category up. Why was Iron Man 2 even nominated, btw?

Live Action Short Film:
Joshua: God of Love. I have no idea, this is purely a guess.

Lauren: Na Wewe. I was going to go with this one anyway, as it has a foreign title, thereby making it automatically more Oscar worthy. However, after reading up on the short film category, I think this one has even more of a shot. It takes place during the Rwandan genocide, and tells the story of a group of people who are pulled over in Burundi. The guerillas demand that the Hutus go to one side of the road and the Tutsis go to the other. The Tutsis will be killed. In a show of solidarity, both groups refuse to move. I think given the current political climate abroad, Oscar voters will go with a film that has a message that highlights our shared humanity. OR maybe they’ll go with Wish 143, about a dying kid whose last wish is to lose his virginity. Who knows.

Animated Short Film:
Joshua: Day & Night. This is actually the only animated short I saw, but honestly it is great. It is very original and harkens back to the earliest days of Disney and other big animation studios. When animation was still an art form and an experimental one at that. Just a great concept and execution.

Lauren: I agree with Josh on this one. I loved Day and Night.

Art Direction:
Joshua: Harry Potter. This is one I just really want to win, pure and simple. I have loved the look of the last few Potter films and like I said earlier Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a great looking film all around.

Lauren: I’m going with Alice in Wonderland on this one. The movie was bad. Hella bad. But it had such a great visual point of view.

Makeup:
Joshua: The Wolfman. Sure why not?

Lauren: I’m going with Barney’s Version. Not because I’ve seen it. Or because I give a shit about this category. I’m just imagining this as a serious take on the children’s program, Barney, that I was forced to watch with my brother as a child. Don’t ruin my vision.

Cinematography:
Joshua: The King’s Speech. I think there were just some really great shots in this film and I really liked the way it was shot, along with everything else about this movie!

Lauren: True Grit. Classic Western in a new and Coen-y way. Great shots of the wide open prairie, and that cool sequence near the end when Jeff Bridges rushes our delirious heroine to the doctor amid a swirling sky of trippy stars.

Adapted Screenplay:
Joshua: The Coens for True Grit. Here the brothers Coen do what they do best, write good dialogue, and they really make use of the already great words at their disposal. I think they have this hands down.

Lauren: I’m going with Social Network here. I’ve heard alot of badmouthing of Sorkin lately, and I’m not sure why. I don’t know much about the guy. I was not a watcher of the West Wing. However, I enjoyed the dialogue in this film and I think the liberties he took with actual events made for a well-rounded and moving story.

Original Screenplay:
Joshua: David Seidler for the King’s Speech. This was a bit of a tough call, but once I thought about it, there’s really no contest. This isn’t just a good screenplay, it’s also part historical research paper, part detective work, part biography, etc. There’s a lot going on in this screenplay, a big workload that really came together in the film. Inception was close, and although it is a highly original concept for a screenplay I don’t think it had the same level of dynamism, if that makes sense.

Lauren: I agree with Josh on this one as well. A huge amount of research went into this, and a lot of work to present the royal family as both regal and relatable.

Foreign Language Film:
Joshua: Biutiful. I haven’t seen any of these and this is the only one I’ve heard anything about.

Lauren: I agree, although I’ve heard that the film is inconsistent and Bardem’s performance is the only truly good thing about it. So we will probably be wrong.

Animated Feature:
Joshua: Toy Story 3. If this doesn’t get the Oscar it will be a crime.

Lauren: I’m rooting for Toy Story 3, but I think the Oscar will go to The Illusionist (brought to you by the creators of 2003’s The Triplets of Belleville). In 2003, the award went to Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo. I think the academy will be showing the French Folks some love this year to make up for their last slight. Plus, I don’t care how you slice it, hand drawn art just feels like it has more craftsmanship than the computer animated stuff. Also, Toy Story 3 was just a little too maudlin for me.

Documentary Short:
Joshua: Sun Come up. I literally just heard about this on NPR and it sounds really interesting and very topical. It’s about a small series of inhabited islands that are being overtaken by rising sea levels. The documentary deals with the people being displaced and having to cope with their former home becoming submerged.

Lauren: Yes. Those of you who “don’t believe in climate change” can suck it.

Documentary Feature:
Joshua: Exit Through the Gift Shop. Again I have not seen any of these but I have come across a few articles mentioning this one, so my guess is Gift Shop.

Lauren: Three way tie here between Exit Through the Gift Shop, Restrepo, and Inside Job. Exit is about “guerilla art” and I’m sure the Academy just salivates over the very idea, but Restrepo and Inside Job are topical and represent good investigative journalism (on the war in Afghanistan and the Wall Street debacle, respectively). I will be shocked if one of these three doesn’t take home the prize.

Director:
Joshua: Darren Aronofsky. I think Arononfsky has it this year, it is close, but honestly his track record speaks for itself. Darren Aronofsky makes good, interesting movies.

Lauren: I’m going with Aronofsky here as well, because I know that Black Swan is not going to win for best picture and darn it, someone needs to be recognized for that film.

Supporting Actress:
Joshua: Hailee Steinfeld. I really want her to win, I think she was awesome in True Grit and the only one that might give her trouble is Amy Adams, maybe. But I think she deserves it, she was very strong up against her talented male co-stars.

Lauren: I really want Hailee Steinfeld to win also, but I don’t think she will. I think the Oscar will go to either Melissa Leo or Amy Adams, both of whom turned in solid performances in The Fighter. I’m putting my money on Amy Adams. Leo’s portrayal of the matriarch of a boxing family is over the top and just. too. much. (Although, from what I hear, so is the real life woman she portrays). Amy Adams’s Charlene is much more nuanced and strong. I won’t be upset if she walks away with the award.

Actress:
Joshua: Natalie Portman. I think she was perfectly cast for Black Swan and I think this role will get her the Oscar. If she doesn’t get it, I will be very surprised.

Lauren: Agreed. And to be honest, I’m not sure why Annette Bening is even in this category. Yes, she turned in a good performance, but I was more focused on Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right, and she didn’t even get a nomination.

Supporting Actor:
Joshua: Geoffrey Rush. He is always great, and I think had he not been in the King’s Speech the movie would not have worked. That is not to say that the other actors weren’t great, but he was truly a support in this production. Give the man an Oscar!

Lauren: Christian Bale. Dude knows how to transform himself into a brawling, crack-addicted nutjob. Not sure if he should be proud of that (?) but it was a performance with phenomenal range.

Actor:
Joshua: Colin Firth. This is a really really tough call, but I like Colin Firth and hope he wins. I think he did a phenomenal job in the King’s Speech and really brought his emotional A-Game. He played the stutter up well without over doing it, and as we all know from Tropic Thunder you “never go full retard” just enough of a disorder to express that gut wrenching pain. I think he’s got this one.

Lauren: Colin Firth. Because this was a carefully crafted, restrained and lovely performance. And because the King’s Speech is not going to win for best picture.

Best Picture:
Joshua: The King’s Speech. I already know Lauren will disagree with me on this one but I think it was the best. The academy loves movies about the royals. This was one particular monarch that had gone by the wayside in modern memory and was ripe for a movie to bring him back to the forefront. World War II, personal struggles, family scandal, the man who would be king, overcoming the odds! There are just so many things in this movie that I can’t think of any reasons why it shouldn’t get the oscar!

Lauren: I loved The King’s Speech. But I also love A LOT of things that 83 year old ladies love–reading, baking, the BBC, wearing elbow length gloves, etc. I think the audience at the theater when we went to see this illustrates perfectly exactly why this film will NOT win the Oscar. Nothing but white-hairs as far as the eye could see, and there were more than a few “Hush Mabel”s from well-meaning family members who had sprung Granny from the retirement home for the day. This is an example of the old academy. The Social Network, on the other hand, is a film that is both well-crafted and of-the-moment. It has love, betrayal, ambiguous heroes and villains, sex, drugs, money, power, hubris, and redemption–all of the good stuff. But it plays out in a very “now” kind of a way. For me, this is a bigger accomplishment than doing a period piece about the royal family. Also, and Josh disagrees with me on this, The King’s Speech lacked a clear narrative arc. For me, it felt like it was about to end at approximately 3 different times. I hate it when movies do that. So, for what it’s worth, I’m putting my money on The Social Network. And I’ll be way pissed if Winter’s Bone wins.

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One comment on “Two Cents From Two Witsamans. Our Oscar Picks.

  1. David Wester says:

    The Illusionist is my #1 want-to-see movie right now. It looks amazing, but I have a hard time imagining it better than Toy Story 3.

    I am not nearly as up-to-date with my film viewings as you two are. I also haven’t seen any of the documentaries. Given what I know about them though, it seems like Inside Job deserves to win based on importance alone. I’m hesitant to say that, because I absolutely LOVE Banksy (perhaps the greatest artist of this generation) and it’s difficult not to give my vote to Exit Through the Gift Shop. Inside Job has been on hold for me at the library for forever. One day I’ll see it.

    Day and Night. Yes. Fantastic.

    Haven’t seen Social Network. Aaron Sorkin definitely writes great dialogue. I never watched that much of West Wing but I (mostly) enjoyed the short-lived Studio 60 and I watched Charlie Wilson’s War, which was well written but rubbed me the wrong way ideologically.

    I know it won’t happen, but from what I’ve seen I would definitely have to cast my Best Picture vote to Toy Story 3. I just felt like that movie was perfection. I’m very Pixar-biased. I tend to think most of their films set a standard which only they can meet. Plus, I’d love for an animated film to win best feature as a slap in the face to every asshole who thinks animation is strictly for kids. I know… Wishful thinking.

    Inception’s score was great. And creative how the timing of the music was slowed down throughout the levels of the dreams. Probably deserves Best Score.

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