Oscarmania!

Every year, my cousin (first cousin, once removed, if you must know) in Niwot throws an Oscar extravagansa party.  Good times are had by all, especially in the ‘gambling on the outcomes’ department.

Now I am not much for seeing movies in the theater; as such, I often fail to see most of the nominated films until well after the night is over.  I’ve come to grips with this fact, and adopted a strategy which tries to compensate for it.

In fact, I think it’s a strength in my prediction scheme – I usually finish in the Top 3 in the balloting, on the strength of my strategy.  I figure that the Oscars are, generally, a ‘conventional wisdom’ sort of event, and while you certainly have your outlier events (damn you, Crash!  Damn you to hell!), typically the awards reflect the CW of the Academy, and Hollywood at large.

As such, instead of trying to judge the merit of various performances, I do a meta-analysis consisting of, basically, finding as many predictions online as I can, especially looking for sources which might be part of forming that CW, tallying up all the votes, and going with the favorite.

Without further ado, and with sincere hope that nobody from the party is snooping for my picks, this year’s predictions, with commentary when needed.

  • Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire.  No real controversy here.
  • Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.  Ditto.
  • Best Actor: Mickey Rourker, The Wrestler.  Although Sean Penn is getting lots of mention for Milk (the votes I tallied were about 60/40), so I might do the cursed vote-splitting here.
  • Best Actress: Kate Winslet: The Reader.  She’s very hot, so I’m okay with this.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.  As one pundit suggested, this award should be renamed ‘The Heath Ledger Memorial Award’, just for this year.
  • Best Supporting Actress: No Idea.  I’ve seen predictions for 4, the top two vote-getters being Penelope Cruz and Viola Davis.  But Henson from Slumdog got Nate Silver’s (of fivethirtyeight.com fame) statistical prediction.  So who knows?  CW sounds like Cruz, so that’s probably where I’m going.
  • Animated Film: Wall-E.  Duh.  It’s, like, the Pixar one, right?
  • Costume Design: The Duchess.
  • Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire.  Sure.
  • Makeup: Benjamin Button.  I can buy this, I think.
  • Sound Editing: Wall-E.  I’m picking a split between this and Dark Knight in the two sound categories, on some general principle which I can’t quite describe.
  • Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight.  See above.
  • Documentary Feature: Man on Wire.  Sounds good to me.
  • Foreign Film: Waltzing with Bashir.  I do love me some Israeli ballroom dance movies.
  • Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Original Song: Peter Gabriel from Wall-E. Another toughy – lots of love for Jai Ho from Slumdog.  I may reconsider by tonight.
  • Visual Effects: The Curious Case of CGI’ing Brad Pitt’s Artificially Wizened Head Onto A Baby’s Body.
  • Art Direction: Benjamin Button.
  • Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Original Screenplay: Milk.
  • Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Live Action Short: Spelzugland.  Because in a year when The Reader will be shut out of everything but Best Actress, we have to give the Germans something, or else they will cut off our supply of precious, precious sauerkraut.
  • Animated Short: Presto.  Duh.  It’s, like, the Pixar one, right?  (See also: Animated Film.)
  • Documentary Short: Witness.  Personally, I preferred the ‘Harrison Ford becomes Amish and discovers the true meaning of Christmas’ version of this film, although this one sounds pretty engaging too: “In the award-winning documentary THE WITNESS, Eddie Lama explains how he feared and avoided animals for most of his life, until the love of a kitten opened his heart, inspiring him to rescue abandoned animals and bring his message of compassion to the streets of New York.”  Ummm, okay.

Everyone have a good watching tonight, and enjoy!

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