Saturday, February 23, 2008

The First Annual Wunelle Picks 'Em Post **Appended**

(movie-trailer-guy voice)
He hadn't seen all the evidence.
He didn't know what he was talking about.
But there comes a time when a man must make a choice.
He must take sides.
And he must face his destiny, alone.
That day has arrived for Uncle Wunelle.
(/movie-trailer-guy voice)

OK, here it is. The moment you've both been waiting for. With a heady mixture of half-baked analysis and bald-faced fabrication (it gives me a perverse pleasure to pick a winner among films I haven't even seen) here's our prediction for who will take home the gold.

Best Actress:
  • Cate Blanchett; Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Julie Christie; Away From Her
  • Marion Cotillard; La vie en Rose
  • Laura Linney; The Savages
  • Ellen Page; Juno

My pick: Julie Christie. I did not see the movie, but Cate Blanchett (whom I normally love) did not get universally good reviews, and I couldn't bet on either Cotillard or Page, both of whom I did see. Laura Linney I also like very much, but I've not heard much buzz about The Savages.

(The Academy's Pick: Marion Cotillard. The sincerity of her acceptance speech makes me not hate the Academy. Wunellacumen: 0 for 1)


Best Actor:

My pick: Daniel Day-Lewis. Of the ones I saw, these are all powerhouse performances. But Day-Lewis's turn isn't a performance so much as a transformation; a rare treat.

(The Academy's Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis. Wunellacumen: 1 for 2)


Best Supporting Actress:

My Pick: Tilda Swinton. Amy Ryan may take this one (I didn't see the movie), but I was hugely impressed with Swinton's performance.

(The Academy's Pick: Tilda Swinton. I always said the Academy was brilliant. Wunellacumen: 2 for 3)


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

My Pick: Tom Wilkinson. I loved Javier Bardem, and his performance was spot-on; but he was part of the ensemble where the movie itself was the star. Wilkinson's role seemed the greater challenge.

(The Academy's pick: Javier Bardem. He joins Anthony Hopkins in getting an Academy nod for a really unsavory character. Wunellacumen: 2 for 4)


Best Director:

My Pick: Paul Thomas Anderson. It's a toss-up with the Coens, but I think the time period issues give Anderson's accomplishment the edge.

(The Academy pick: The Coens. With this choice, I cannot complain. Wunellacumen: 2 for 5)


Best Picture:

My pick: I could see several of these pictures taking the prize, as they're all excellent. Juno is more a screenplay triumph, I think, and Michael Clayton does an absolutely top shelf job with a pretty mainstream concept. The other three seem more ambitious examples of storytelling, and I struggle to choose between No Country and Blood. Given that the Coen Brothers have been my hands-down favorite directorial team for nearly 20 years, I have to give them the nod. I don't think No Country is a better movie than Blood; but it's equal, and I think the Brothers are overdue for an acknowledgment of their contribution to American cinema. (And I acknowledge an attempt to engender a certain cosmic justice when I felt the two leading movies were so close. Knowing that No Country had to get my top pick, I picked Anderson for Director in part because I felt his movie is just too good not to get recognition.)

No Country for Old Men.

(The Academy pick: No Country for Old Men. Wunellacumen: 3 for 6)


So, 50%. And I should have seen Supporting Actor and Director coming. The Best Actress I still wouldn't call that way. Ah well, they'll listen to me next year.

Lastly, my favorite five movies of the year.
  1. No Country for Old Men
  2. There Will Be Blood
  3. Michael Clayton
  4. Atonement
  5. The Brave One
And an honorable mention for Pixar's Ratatouille, which I like more the more I see it. This was a year to feel excited about American moviemaking. Let's hope 2008 is as fertile.

1 comment:

dbackdad said...

I definitely think it was a good year for American films. Ironically, all of the top acting nods went to foreign actors, but at 3 of them were in American films.

Can't argue with your personal top 5. I saw your top 3 and would put all in my top 5. I have not had the chance to see the other two yet.