Thursday, 1 January 2009

PRE-OSCARS ROUND-UP:
The Guess List

OK, so it's 2009 now and we're all supposed to have lists and so on, and since the NY Post Popwrap blog put forward Jarett Wieselman's "Best Movies To See This Fall" a couple of months ago AND the UK's illustrious and very shiny BBC has published its own feeble guess list of what might take the Best Film Oscar in 2009 AND the New York Magazine went and did the same damned thing, we figured it's just about time to drag our arses out of bed and start guessing whether any of these pseudo-possible-maybe Oscar contenders might be worth seeing in the first place.

And so, using the same lazy pithy, down and dirty, scattergun approach of these publishing titans, here is PART I of our guesswork (in order of UK release date):

IN THE RUNNING

THE READER
Director: Stephen Daldry
UK release date: 2 January 2009

Post-war flashback drama. Stars Oscar-nominated Kate Winslet (statistically naked 48% of the time) and Oscar-nominated Ralph Fiennes (naked just 12% of the time). Based on an internationally best selling, Oprah Book Club sanctioned novel about sex and war crimes and sex. Director Daldry (rarely naked) has been nominated for two Oscars, won 27 other less impressive titles and received 22 nominations for awards that no-one can quite remember. They might as well have called the film "Give me your Oscar votes NOW, you stinking sons of bitches!". It should win. It must win. It won't win. Probably because Kate Winslet looks a bit silly as an older version of herself. Unless she's naked. Then she's fine.

Verdict: Always the bridesmaid.

FROST/NIXON
Director: Ron Howard
UK release date: 9 January 2009

Ron "Richie 'Hot Balls' Cunningham" Howard likes make-up. He teamed up with Henry "Arthur 'The Fonz' Fonzerelli" Winkler in a pro-Obama Happy Days and Opie video pastiche thing that went out on the U Tubes before the election. Everyone looked 800 years old and nobody was fooled by Howard's 3.5cm-thick layer of make-up, much less Winkler's cucumber down the pants. (But Obama won anyway, so that's got to count for something.)

The fact that Ron Howard is behind the camera on Frost/Nixon - which is a film version of a play of a TV special of an article of a sketch on a napkin of some original interviews between former President Nixon and Sir Robert Frost - means that viewers can expect equally thick make-up and some tear-jerker moments thrown in for good measure. But no sex. I'm hoping. (God, now that I think about it, I can't stop thinking about it. Seriously. Even the title is like some emoticon from hell, Frost's pasty white body pressing down on Nixon's heaving hunchback... bleurg, I'm going to need a shower now. And a Tetanus shot.)

Verdict: As likely as Nixon coming back and retaking the Presidency in his inevitably decayed but no doubt strangely sweet smelling (like almonds?) Zombie form.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Director: Danny Boyle
UK release date: 9 January 2009

Danny Boyle directed Sunshine, Millions, 28 Days Later, Alien Love Triangle, The Beach, A Life Less Ordinary, Trainspotting and Shallow Grave. I'm doubting there'll be a toilet scene in Slumdog Millionaire [UPDATE: We have been reliably informed that the film DOES include a toilet diving scene, by the ever delightful @msMarmiteLover - see comments] full frontal from Keith Allen or Ewan McGregor. And those were the only Oscar-worthy moments in anything Boyle's done to date. Having said that, everyone likes this. So it might just come in second on the night. No: third. Definitely nearly maybe almost.

Verdict: Snowball's chance on a slightly chilly day in hell.

DOUBT
Director: John Patrick Shanley
UK release date: 6 February 2009

Philip Seymour Hoffman playing a perv. I still haven't recovered from the Happiness money shot (and that was a "a masterpiece of irony" according to IMDB reviewer drosse67 from Virginia). This time, PSH's playing a priest perv. Or accused of being a priest but turns out to be a perv. Or something. And Meryl Streep is in it as a nun apparently. (Streep as a nun - really? First Mamma Mia!, now this. What is wrong with Hollywood these days?)

Nope, I just don't quite get this one. The trailer makes it look like a comedy. Speed it up and add Yakety-Sax and it would be all over the internets. It looks like it was created with left-over wardrobe from McNight Shallamallabingbong's The Village, but without the whole "it-looks-really-old-but-the-Village-is-just-hidden-away-from-the-modern-world-like-the-Amish" thing. (Sorry, spoiler alert. Damn.)

Verdict: Prayer might help. Couldn't hurt, anyway.

THE VISITOR
Director: Thomas McCarthy

UK release date: 4 July 2008
I literlly know nothing about this at all. Not a damned thing. So here's my guess at what this film is about: someone comes to visit someone else. It's a surprise, unexpected. Maybe... someone from the other person's past? Or, no wait - an ALIEN. Yes, that's much better. An alien drops down from his spaceship to visit someone unexpectedly. A young boy. A young boy without a father figure in his life. He bonds with the little alien and together they discover much about each other's lives and, in so doing, discover much about themselves. Then his mom finds out, freaks out, throws a glass of water on the alien and it melts. Prompting an attack on the Earth by the alien mothership. Which is finally destroyed when two brave but foolhearty volunteers steal an alien attack ship, fly straight into the mothership and download a computer virus that doesn't do anything, but unbeknownst to our two heroes, they are both carriers of a real virus that is deadly to the aliens and kills them all off.

Verdict: If that's what The Visitor is about, it's totally going to win.


2009 Academy Award nominations are announced in Los Angeles on 22 January ahead of the ceremony itself on 22 February.


Stay tuned for PART II of our guesswork: COMING SOON.

2 comments:

marmitelover said...

Haven't seen Frost/Nixon but that's a good thing, right?, for this site?
But I reckon Hollywood might want to reward Ron Howard for being a child actor, being on Happy Days and then becoming a bankable director. Now he's done an 'important' film, they'll be wanting to reward him.

marmitelover said...

There was a toilet scene in Slumdog...