Tuesday, February 20, 2007

As Oscar night draws near...

I am in the midst of a blitz of movie-watching. I'm quite pleased with my efforts to catch up on as many of the nominees as possible. I've done a couple of double features at the theatre and have rented most of what is available on DVD.

I am prepared to make a prediction on one of the big categories.

Actor - Leading

Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
Peter O'Toole - Venus
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness*
Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland

The odds on this one are clearly in Whitaker's favour (he's already nabbed the Globe, SAG, and BAFTA award), and having seen The Last King of Scotland on Sunday, I now really understand why. I saw Venus a few weeks back, though, and won't be terribly shocked if the Academy decides now to award O'Toole, especially given that he is getting old, and appears to be a bit ill (though he was quite peppy during his appearance on The View). Nothing in O'Toole's performance works against him - he's absolutely brilliant as the aging actor Maurice; what is working against him, as it did the previous seven times he's been nominated, is his well-known dislike for Hollywood, and Hollywood's resulting dislike for him (yeah, he lost for Lawrence of Arabia, which was Best Picture, but he lost to Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird; that's a damn tough call). Also, he was given an honorary Oscar in 2003, so the finicky Academy may feel he's been sufficiently recognized already.

Peter O'Toole and Leslie Phillips enjoy a whiskey in Venus
Peter O'Toole and Leslie Phillips enjoy a whiskey in Venus.

I just watched Half Nelson this evening. The odds aren't in Gosling's favour, but I think it's enough of an accomplishment that anyone from Breaker High has been nominated for an Oscar. Also, it's always nice to see some Canuck representation on the big night.

From what I've been hearing, the general consensus is that nobody really understands why DiCaprio is nominated for Blood Diamond instead of The Departed. I haven't seen The Departed yet (it's on my schedule for the next few days), so I'm in no position to compare. I found Blood Diamond to be a good film overall, and I enjoyed DiCaprio's performance, but this isn't his Oscar performance.

Of the five films in this category, Blood Diamond is the only one with more nominations than the one in this category. Regardless, the films I've seen are definetly worth watching not just for these individual performances.

Who should win: Peter O'Toole
Who will win: Forest Whitaker (let's hope his acceptance speach is less painful to watch than those he gave at the Globes and SAGs)

* indicates films I haven't seen

What I'll be watching in the next few days:
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen
The Departed
Flags of Our Fathers (maybe)

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