And the Oscar goes to …


The countdown to the 80th Annual Academy Awards is on after being threatened to be canceled because of the seemingly endless writer’s strike. But the ceremony is officially on schedule as a deal has been struck sending the writers back to doing what they do best.

One thing the writers won’t have to worry about scripting are the Oscar winners and storylines. As they plug away at what this year’s host Jon Stewart will say for his opening monologue, I’m here to tell you what will happen after he takes the stage with a slew of not-so-funny political humor and jabs at all of this year’s nominees.

Best Picture
Who will win: “No Country for Old Men” has taken home most of the awards for this category the award ceremonies preceding the Oscars. Despite “Atonement” winning Best Picture Drama at the Golden Globes and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (more commonly referred to as the British Academy Awards) for Best Picture, the film has not won an award where the majority of the voters were Americans. “Michael Clayton” shows no visible threat of taking home a victory, despite its seven nominations, and will suffer from being released too early in the year (October 12) and not coming out on DVD soon enough to keep itself fresh in voter’s minds. “Juno” definitely is sporting the little-movie-that-could attitude with its campaign eerily resembling that of last year’s “Little Miss Sunshine.” Despite “Juno” being the highest grossing nominated film at about $118 million, since 1990, 12 out of 17 of the winners have been the second highest grossing film. Who has that honor this year? “No Country for Old Men.”

Who should win: “No Country for Old Men” without a doubt. Not only did it create one of the most memorable villains since 1991 Best Picture winner “Silence of the Lambs” delivered Hannibal Lecter, but it also presented a great cast of characters intertwined in a plot that represented so much more than what was on screen. “Michael Clayton” was an excellent film, full of great performances from its four main characters. But despite its inventive spin on a plot that’s been used before, it really does nothing to make you remember it once it’s over. “Atonement” could have easily been this year’s “Titanic,” but its “twist” of an ending was way too much of an iceberg to sink the ship. “There Will Be Blood” may be the least deserving of the five nominees, as it becomes a two and a half hour long film looking at the development of a character. The question is, did it need to be that long and the political message behind it so up front? Had it not been for “No Country for Old Men” coming out the same year, “Juno” would be the clear choice as it not only presented a set of great characters, but has an agenda hidden below what was occurring on screen. It was more than what some are calling a film about teenage pregnancy, and the way it has appealed to viewers of all ages while being written by a first time screenwriter solidifies that it deserves to be a nominee, but not a winner.

Best Director
Who will win: The most reliable Oscar predictor is the Directors Guild of America Award, as they almost always seem to coincide. This means the best director this year will be the Coens for “No Country for Old Men.” If there is any such thing as a lock, this is the category. The closest competition the Coens have is actually Schnabel, but a director whose movie was not nominated for best picture has not won the award since 1929. Likewise, directors of comedy films have not fared so well over the years, pretty much eliminating Reitman from contention. Gilroy will suffer because his film came out too early in the year, and Anderson will be a victim of a strong competition.

Who should win: The Coens. I firmly believe best director and best picture awards should go hand in hand. “No Country for Old Men” was this year’s best movie, and because the film is their creation, you have to give them the award.

Best Actor
Who will win: Has Day-Lewis even lost at any award ceremony yet this year? The answer is no. Why start now?

Who should win: I can understand the hype surrounding Day-Lewis’ performance, but I question whether it’s the same thing he did in “Gangs of New York.” Clooney suffers from the same problem, as his performance felt like it was Dr. Ross in a crime thriller. And although I am one of the biggest Depp fans ever, I can openly admit his role was “Edward Scissorhands” with razors instead of scissors. Jones has already won an Oscar and his performance, although heartbreaking, was not stuff Oscars are made of. However, it is hard to get past how good Mortensen was. He topped his Oscar snubbed performance in “A History of Violence” by making you ask Aragorn who? He got into the role and researched it likely more than any of the other nominees, and although that isn’t the deciding factor, it can’t hurt either. His Russian accent was suspect at best, but overall he is the only nominee to make you forget most if not all of his previous works while watching their respective films.

Best Actress
Who will win: Christie has it locked up. Cotillard’s film came out way too early in the year, and although it enjoyed early award season buzz, it hasn’t been able to keep up with Christie’s recent domination of the major awards. Blanchett has recently won an Oscar, which will hurt her. Plus the movie she was in was panned by critics, which will have the same affect. Linney will continue to be one of the best actresses that has yet to win an Oscar because her movie was not mainstream enough. Page may have the best chance at an upset, but Christie winning the Screen Actor’s Guild Award in this category essentially diminished that hope, as most of the voters for this category are also the voters for the SAG.

Who should win: Christie’s role as someone suffering the onset of Alzheimer’s is nothing new. Blanchett pretty much does the same thing she did in the first “Elizabeth,” while Cotillard’s performance could be passed off as an imitation of the icon she was portraying. That means it’s down to Linney and Page. Page gave the more memorable performance, and the way she hit dead on what a sixteen year old girl is like despite being 20 years old in real life is something I won’t forget anytime soon.

Best Supporting Actor
Who will win: Bardem is yet another lock. Like Day-Lewis he has yet to lose, and he may have created one of the better villains of all time with Anton Chigurh.

Who should win: Even creating a debate between who is the better villain, Lecter or Chigurh, is impressive. But convincing me that he created the better villain makes him all the more deserving.

Best Supporting Actress
Who will win: This is the year’s hardest category to call. Any one of four nominees could take it. Eliminate Ronan, the competition is too fierce and her role was only in the beginning of a longer movie. Ruby Dee definitely surprised everyone when she won the SAG award for this category, but her lack of screen time, like Ronan is going to hurt her. Blanchett and Ryan have been the early favorites splitting most of the awards 50-50. But I find it hard to believe Blanchett would receive the award only three years after winning one in the same category. As for Ryan, her consistency as of late brings her chances down. That leaves Swinton, who will benefit from a split between Ryan and Blanchett and not enough people voting for Ronan or Dee.

Who should win: If Chigurh were to be made into female form, Swinton’s character in “Michael Clayton” would be it. She created one of the best female villains of all time, but her ability to bring an emotional appeal to it as well is something generally unheard of when dealing with villains.

So hopefully now that you know who the winners will be, you won’t have to sit through the entire four hour long broadcast. Tune in to see who wins the Best Supporting Actress race, and other than that you should be good to go and home free. And don’t forget to be a little lenient with Jon Stewart, the man is only reading what the writers write for him, and the consistent disappointment in opening monologues can only help to make everyone thankful the writers are off of their strike.

Hansen is sophomore print journalism major and chief copy editor of The Spectator.