Each year the act of predicting which artists will take home a Oscar becomes one of pop culture’s greatest guessing games. Someone picks a category, and everyone becomes a pundit. That includes us. We want your comments, too. Do you think our choices are right? Watch the show on Sunday night, and check back Monday morning for a recap of all the memorable moments.
British upstart James McAvoy and stick-thin Keira Knightley play a couple torn apart by World War II — and Knightley’s little sister, Saorise Ronan, whose despicable lies turn the lovers’ families against them. The book was excellent. The movie . . . eh, not so much.
Canadian cuteness Ellen Page is a knocked-up and very sarcastic teen who attempts to give her unborn child up for adoption to Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner. The script’s verbal pyrotechnics are impressive — as are Michael Cera’s bandied knees — but does it have the heat to beat out No Country For Old Men? In a word: no.
It’s George Clooney in the titular role as a fixer for a law firm. When one of the firm’s top lawyers has a mental breakdown in the middle of a deposition, Clooney’s called in to fix the mess, which has to do with a class-action suit against an agricultural manufacturing company. It’s complicated, but then again, good films sometimes are.
No Country For Old Men
When Josh Brolin stumbles across the remains of a drug deal gone bad, he pockets the cash and hightails it away from the scene. Unfortunately, both the law and a merciless, Terminator-like psychopath are hot on his trail. The killer, played by Javier Bardem, has a bad haircut and nasty temper. It’s a quiet, contemplative orgy of violence.
There Will Be Blood
Daniel Day-Lewis is oil prospector Daniel Plainview, whose business conflicts with the religious interests of Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a preacher in a desolate California town. The lives of the two are inexorably intertwined after an accident at one of the wells. As time goes on, Daniel becomes a capitalist monster and Eli loses his faith. No film this decade has an uglier ending, although No Country For Old Men comes close.
Should win: It’s a toss-up between No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Both offer particularly bleak visions of America. In the former, the Coen brothers interpret Cormac McCarthy’s novel as an existential treatise on the meaninglessness of life; in the latter, Paul Thomas Anderson converts Upton Sinclair’s Oil! into a wrenching screed about the seductive evils of capitalism. (Yes, we just wrote “seductive evils.” So what?) That said, for pure brilliance and artistic achievement, No Country is the more successful film.
Will win: No Country For Old Men.