Predicting The Oscar Winners Of 2009 (Part Two)

 
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Penelope Cruz (VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA)
 
Without question, of all the acting categories, this one is the toughest to call.  You have past winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) playing Mickey Rourke’s stripper girlfriend in The Wrestler, Viola Davis as a mom whose young son spends an awful lot of time with priest Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt, Amy Adams portraying the nun who unintentionally triggers the suspicions of Meryl Streep about that whole mysterious situation, Taraji P. Henson who looks after the title character in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and Penelope Cruz as Javier Bardem’s jealous ex-wife in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
 
Last year, Tilda Swinton won this category unexpectedly for her work in Michael Clayton.  Is another upset forthcoming in 2009?
 
Amy Adams, who was last nominated for Junebug three years ago, probably won’t take it.  Roger Ebert is picking her co-star, Viola Davis, to win, a strong possibility but I can’t agree.  Henson is a long shot and Tomei, who was also nominated in 2002 for her performance in the overrated In The Bedroom, is an actress who could really use another trophy after all these years of malicious smearing she’s had to endure over the phony controversy regarding her win 16 years ago for My Cousin Vinny.  (How that awful urban legend continues to exist is beyond me.)  But Mickey Rourke’s performance has generated far more buzz so it would be a surprise to hear her name called.
 
It is far from a sure thing but I’m predicting a win for Penelope Cruz.  From what I understand, she had the most challenging role to play of all the nominated performances, she needs this acknowledgment more than anyone (her Spanish work usually gets more respect than her American movies) and considering the number of actors who have won Oscars for appearing in Woody Allen pictures (Diane Keaton, Michael Caine, Mira Sorvino, Dianne Wiest (twice)), she has a lot going for her.  Cruz for Best Supporting Actress.
 
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Heath Ledger (THE DARK KNIGHT)
 
A bigoted politician.  A method actor who gets a race lift.  A kindly or abusive priest.  A compulsively honest mental patient.  The Joker.
 
It’s an eclectic mix of comedic and dramatic performances in the race for Best Supporting Actor.  Right away, we can eliminate Josh Brolin (Milk) and Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), two first-time nominees just happy to be recognized.  Philip Seymour Hoffman already has a Best Actor statue for playing Truman Capote.  And Robert Downey Jr., one of the great comeback stories of recent years and a previous nominee for his brilliant portrayal of Charlie Chaplin in an otherwise disappointing biopic, doesn’t need anything else to celebrate besides his sobriety, his family, and his newfound movie star status.
 
Heath Ledger’s highly acclaimed work in The Dark Knight was talked about months before the film’s summer release.  Even if he survived that tragic overdose in January 2008, he would still be the frontrunner in this category.  It will be a bittersweet victory for his family and supporters as he’s about to join actor Peter Finch (Network) and cinematographer Conrad L. Hall (Road To Perdition) among many others in the growing group of posthumous Academy Award winners.  Ledger for Best Supporting Actor.
 
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – WALL-E
 
Since the introduction of this category seven years ago, Pixar has seen three of its blockbusters rewarded with golden statues.  (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille.)  The company will need to find space on their mantelpiece for Oscar number four.  Wall-E, their latest commercial and critical juggernaut, will be their second consecutive win in this category.  Disney’s Bolt and DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda, the latter of which also made money and has its admirers, don’t have a prayer.
 
 
Here are my picks in the remaining categories: 
 
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – TROUBLE THE WATER
 
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Dustin Lance Black (MILK)
 
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Simon Beaufoy (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE)
 
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – WALTZ WITH BASHIR
 
BEST SOUND MIXING – THE DARK KNIGHT
 
BEST SOUND EDITING – THE DARK KNIGHT
 
BEST ART DIRECTION – THE DARK KNIGHT
 
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – THE DARK KNIGHT
 
BEST FILM EDITING – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
 
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – Down To Earth (WALL-E)
 
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Thomas Newman (WALL-E)
 
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – THE DARK KNIGHT
 
BEST COSTUME DESIGN – THE DUCHESS
 
BEST MAKE-UP – HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
 
BEST ANIMATED SHORT – PRESTO
 
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – TOYLAND
 
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – THE WITNESS: FROM THE BALCONY OF ROOM 306
 
 
The 81st Academy Awards, hosted by Hugh Jackman, air Sunday, February 22nd on ABC in America and CTV in Canada.  The pre-show starts at 8 p.m. with the ceremony following at 8:30.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 15, 2009
5:36 p.m.
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Published in: on February 15, 2009 at 5:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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