Another Oscar Preview: Part 2

Prepare yourself, people. We are going to continue our obsession about that silly little award show coming Sunday all week. Like, forget all other forms of pop culture obsessed (maybe excluding some American Idol love, but really, don’t expect a review of My Dad is Better Than Your Dad). While we’ll spend some of the movie duking it out about various movies, I’ll also be posting a few previews of 13 categories I care about in the next 6 days. Today, we move to the men that operate behind the camera, the cinematographer, and his boss, the director.

Best Director

Keep it Simple, Stupid: Ethan and Joel Coen. The DGA tends to be a very good predictor, and they awarded the Coens. Please tell me any reason to believe this movie won’t make a pretty good sweep of things on Oscar night. Outside of the Academy wanting to buck the trend, there is no other valid reasoning.

The Main Competitor: P.T. Anderson. The Academy loved “There Will Be Blood”, but I wonder if they liked the script or the directing better. I think I actually like the directing a bit better, but I don’t feel strongly, and I can understand awarding the writing instead. When the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar is handed out, we’ll know more. If Anderson wins, this will go the Coens. If the Coens win, Anderson and Schnabel have more of a chance.

If They Split the Vote: Julian Schnabel. In a sense, the veteran of the group, but Schnabel’s IMDB page indicates that he has experience more on par with Tony Gilroy and Jason Reitman than the Coens and P.T. But word is that Schnabel crafted a beautiful movie with “The Diving Bell”, and he did win a few precursors. He’s not out of the question.

Bryan’s Preference: P.T. Anderson. I loved the movie, I loved the performances Anderson got out of his whole staff, from the score to the actors. I love how the movie is crafted, and I think Anderson deserves an Oscar.

Bryan’s Pick: Coen Brothers. Everyone else other than me, it seems, believe Joel and Ethan deserve it. To paraphrase a drunk Josh Brolin, they did make one freaky little movie.

Best Cinematography

Keep it Simple, Stupid: Roger Deakins, “AJJCRF”. Deakins was nominated for both “The Assassination of Jesse James…” and “No Country…”, and he is considered the top in his field. He did a great job with big landscapes, but “Assassination”, with its wonderful hazy shots and 19th century feel, has to be considered the better work for Deakins. His main competitor might be himself, oddly enough.

The Main Competitor: Seamus McGarvey, “Atonement”. I’ll give it to McGarvey, though, who navigated through a couple different memorable landscapes to make “Atonement” succeed as a visual piece of work. Obviously his crowning achievement is working through James McAvoy’s days as a soldier, but McGarvey also created a lot of beauty in the beginning, working with a far more picturesque setting.

If They Split the Vote: Janusz Kaminski, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. I haven’t seen it yet, but every bit I see from this movie indicates it is a stunning visual masterpiece, and visual above anything else in the movie. If the Academy agrees with that notion, Kaminski could slide in.

Bryan’s Preference: Roger Deakins, “AJJCRF”. There’s a lot of genius done with the Western genre that I credit Deakins for, and he proved in “No Country” that he is pretty consistently capable.

Bryan’s Pick: Roger Deakins, “AJJCRF”. The name will be right, the only question is whether the Academy wants to give the whole night to No Country

[Coming tomorrow: The male actors, leading and supporting.]

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