This Sunday, the elderly and those with equity (cards), who populate Los Angeles will tell us all what’s “Best” about the motion picture industry in 2007. Yes, it’s Oscar time, though, with much less fanfare than usual because of the WGA strike.

This year’s there’s a respectable crop of films up for awards. Prognosticators, belonging to Hollywood’s pundit class, have been harping away with predictions that seem especially insignificant given the current political sturm und drang that is Obama v. Hillary.

Here’s what I think will happen, should happen, and should have happened.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War; Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild; Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Overlooked: Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood; Albert Finney, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead; Heath Ledger, I’m Not There; Robert Downey Jr., Zodiac

Will Win: The hardest call on the ballot. Voters may love the hectic tirades of Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton or feel they need to give Hal Holbrook an award because he’s still alive. Javier Bardem, however, should be able edge them out on creepiness alone. In particular, Bardem takes it for that eye thing he did when Anton Chigurh breaks the cop’s neck.

Should Win: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Best Actor

Nominees: George Clooney, Michael Clayton; Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood; Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah; Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

Overlooked: Sam Riley, Control; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis. Daniel Plainview is a sea of oil, a black abyss, sloshing underneath a rugged exterior. Day-Lewis’ eyes annihilate all. The physicality, the brutality, the intensity, will make this a part that will be compared to DeNiro in Raging Bull.

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There; Ruby Dee, American Gangster; Saoirse Ronan, Atonement; Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone; Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Overlooked: Kelly MacDonald, No Country for Old Men

Will Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There

Should Win: Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There. Her smile in her last scene in I’m Not There (back of the cab while being “interviewed” ) was the greatest cinematic moment of the year.

Best Actress

Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Julie Christie, Away from Her; Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose; Laura Linney, The Savages; Ellen Page, Juno

Overlooked: Anamaria Marinca in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Tang Wei, Lust, Caution; Carice van Houten, Black Book

Will Win: Julie Christie, Away from Her

Should Win: Julie Christie, Away from Her

Best Documentary

Nominees: No End in Sight; Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience; Sicko; Taxi to the Dark Side; War/Dance

Overlooked: Lake of Fire; Manufactured Landscapes; Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten; Deep Water; Terror’s Advocate

Will Win: No End In Sight

Should Win: No End In Sight

Best Editing

Nominees: Christopher Rouse, The Bourne Ultimatum; Juliette Welfling, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Jay Cassidy, Into the Wild; “Roderick Jaynes,” No Country for Old Men; Dylan Tichenor, There Will Be Blood

Overlooked: Agnus Wall, Zodiac; Jay Rabinowitz, I’m Not There

Will Win: “Roderick Jaynes,” No Country for Old Men

Should Win: “Roderick Jaynes,” No Country for Old Men. “Roderick Jaynes” is a pseudonym for the Coen Brothers. The ending alone makes this an important win for the film. The beats during Jones’ final monologue are perfect. Perfect.

Best Foreign Film

Nominees: Beaufort; The Counterfeiters; Katyn; Mongol; 12

Overlooked: Oh, where to begin? 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Syndromes and a Century; Colossal Youth; Regular Lovers; The Band’s Visit; Black Book; Lust, Caution; This Is England

Will Win: Who cares! they excluded the best foreign films of the year.

Should Win: Pick any of the “Overlooked.” As a matter of fact, just watch them all.

Best Song

If Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova do not win for Once’s “Falling Slowly,” then just turn the telecast off and do something else.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Roger Deakins, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Seamus McGarvey, Atonement; Janusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Roger Deakins, No Country for Old Men; Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood

Overlooked: Ed Lachman, I’m Not There; Harris Savides, Zodiac; Martin Ruhe, Control; Robert Yeoman, The Darjeeling Limited

Will Win: Roger Deakins for No Country for Old Men

Should Win: Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood

Best Director

Nominees: Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Jason Reitman, Juno; Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton; Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men; Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Overlooked: Todd Haynes, I’m Not There; David Fincher, Zodiac; Andrew Dominik, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Cristian Mungiu, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Will Win: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Christopher Hampton, Atonement; Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men; Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Overlooked: James Vanderbilt, Zodiac

Will Win: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Should Win: How can you deny the award to the script with these following sequences:

Are you an angry man, Henry? Are you envious? Do you get envious? ! I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people. ! There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to earn enough money that I can get away from everyone ! I don’t want to talk about those things. I see the worst in people. I don’t need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I’ve built my hatreds up over the years, little by little, Henry ! to have you here gives me a second breath. I can’t keep doing this on my own with these ! people.

And:

Stop crying, you sniveling ass! Stop your nonsense. You’re just the afterbirth, Eli. You slithered out of your mother’s filth. They should have put you in a glass jar on a mantelpiece ! Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake … I … drink … your … milkshake! I drink it up!

Obviously, it should go to Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Diablo Cody, Juno; Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl; Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton; Brad Bird, Ratatouille; Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

Overlooked: Kelly Masterson, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead; Noah Baumbach, Margot at the Wedding; Todd Haynes and Oren Moverman, I’m Not There; Quentin Tarantino, Death Proof

Will Win: Diablo Cody, Juno

Should Win: Ratatouille is a close second here, but it should go to Tamara Jenkins’ The Savages. Making the death of a parent far more banal and brutal than you ever could have expected.

Best Picture

Nominees: Atonement; Juno; Michael Clayton; No Country for Old Men; There Will Be Blood

Overlooked: I’m Not There, Zodiac

Will Win: No Country for Old Men

Should Win: In the end, I love There Will Be Blood, but the film needs time to infect our cultural consciousness and become part of the canon. No Country for Old Men is a film of unfathomable ontological bleakness grafted onto a B-movie façade. Art-snobs can enjoy the Cormac McCarthy/Coen Brother Molotov cocktail, while the masses can enjoy the chases and have their first extended contact with Nothingness, both rendered in meticulous detail.

Steven Rybicki is a senior writer for Patrol and a contributor to Jewcy.

 
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