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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2007 at 10:11 AM

OSCAR UPDATE III - December 5, 2007

Before we commence with some highlights from the past week, jennybee asks "I'm not as sure about Julie Christie being nommed as everyone else seems to be. I thought her role lacked something, was too idealized. She does carry herself with beauty, grace and poise as always, but I guess with Alzeihmer's, I felt it called for a little more ugliness, harshness. Polley shows her despair and transference of love a little too neatly. Gordon Pinsent was the real star, I thought, and even Kristen Thomson as the nurse was a standout, though no one ever mentions her. With Christie, I feel like people want to nominate her for aging so gracefully, rather than for her performance itself. Am I way off base?"

I agree with your comments about Pinsent.  He's a real gem in this film and he should be getting more attention.  My view is that Julie Christie was very powerful.  While I noticed her beauty, I don't think that it overshadows her performance.  The Academy has a long history of nominating aging actors for incredible performances that occur late in their lifetimes (Katherine Hepburn - "On Golden Pond" (1981), for example).  Christie's last memorable performance was in "Afterglow," in 1998, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.  Since then, her only decent role was her supporting turn in "Finding Neverland."  So I will disagree with you, I guess.  I think Christie will be nominated, and it will be because of her performance and not because of her looks.

I've been out of state, but I'm checking my usual sources for big news.  We'll know more today when The National Board of Review announces its 2007 award winners.  Sasha Stone over at Awards Daily has her predictions.  Buzzmeter has new Oscar predictions out this week.  Sidney Lumet seems to be picking up steam for his recent effort "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead."  Interest in George Clooney ("Michael Clayton"), "The Kite Runner" and Ellen Page ("Juno") is still there.  And watch out for Julian Schabel and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly."  It could be this year's "City of God." 

"Charlie Wilson's War" got some tough early reviews, and "Juno" also got smacked around a bit this week.  "Atonement" is finally out of the gate, and the reviews are good, but not great (see this harsh review from Anthony Lane of The New Yorker).  Expect steam for Kiera Knightly, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan to continue for their roles in the film, however. 

"Sweeney Todd,"
is certainly bolstered by positive reviews.  Roger Friedman of Fox News
declares it the best film of 2007.  Kirk Honeycutt of Hollywood Reporter calls Depp "a Sweeney Todd for the ages."  Todd McCarthy of Variety writes that everyone involved was "the right person for the job." 

Every year we see how box office number buoy a nomination or two.  Amy Adams of "Enchanted" seems to be this year's beneficiary.  Her film has grossed $70 million at the box office, and dominated the recent slow weekend.  She seems to be in control that 5th nomination spot, knocking Angelia Jolie ("A Mighty Heart") out of the mix.

"The Savages" is rocking an 86 on Metacritic, which could prove to be very good for Laura Linney's lead Oscar chances (Philip Seymour Hoffman will be pushed for lead in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and supporting for "Charlie Wilson's War"). 

It's still a very fluid race in every category.  Critics groups will be chiming in over the next few weeks as will individual critics with their Top 10's.  This could help films like "No Country for Old Men,"  "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "The Savages," "Into the Wild," and "Juno."

Here are my Oscar locks as of 12/5/07 (new additions in italics):

Best Picture:
None

Best Director:
The Coen Bros. - "No Country for Old Men"
Ridley Scott - "American Gangster"

Best Actor:
Daniel Day Lewis - "There Will Be Blood"
Denzel Washington - "American Gangster"
Johnny Depp - "Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard - "La Vie En Rose"
Julie Christie - "Away from Her"

Best Supporting Actor:
Javier Bardem - "No Country for Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman - "Charlie Wilson's War"

Best Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett - "I'm Not There"
Amy Ryan - "Gone Baby Gone"

Additional resources:  Sultans of Bling, In Contention's "Main Charts," Guru's o' Gold, Oscar Igloo, and The LA Times "Buzzmeter." 

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