Michael John Dunaway Lifestream

February 18, 2009

2009 Dunnies for Achievement in Film

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaeljohndunaway @ 5:34 pm

the_wrestler_low_41In lieu of a full essay on Film in 2008, I have copied below my contributions to Paste’s “Who Will Win/Who Should Win/Who Was Overlooked” column, which you can see here.

As is my custom, I have also listed my top ten films of the year below, with my Best Picture nominees starred, and the 2009 Dunnies for Achievement in Film. This year I think I saw most of the most acclaimed films out there, including all 26 of the full-length narrative films nominated for Academy Awards.

* Defiance
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Frozen River
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
* Paranoid Park
The Reader
* Slumdog Millionaire
*** Wall-E
* The Wrestler

The 2009 Dunnies for Achievement in Film:
Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky
Supp Actor: Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges
Supp Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
Song: Bruce Springsteen for The Wrestler, from The Wrestler
Score: Defiance
Adapted Screenplay: Defiance
Original Screenplay: In Bruges
Sound Editing: Iron Man
Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
Visual Effects; Hellboy II
Makeup: Hellboy II
Animated: Wall-E
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Costumes: The Duchess
Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Foreign: Tell No One
Documentary: Man on Wire
Director: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Film: Wall-E
Most Overrated: Milk
Most Underrated: Defiance, In Bruges
Best Ensemble: Slumdog Millionaire

My film of the year for 2008 was Wall-E, but I believe there were six or seven better films last year. See my 2008 Dunnies essay here.

2009 Oscar Predictions and Proclamations

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees:
Richard Jenkins – THE VISITOR
Frank Langella – FROST/NIXON
Sean Penn – MILK
Brad Pitt – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Mickey Rourke – THE WRESTLER

Who will win: Penn
Why: Not a bad performance, and it wouldn’t be an egregiously bad choice if not for Rourke’s monumental work in The Wrestler.

Who should win: Rourke .
Why: He never strikes a false note; he just plain IS the Ram for a hundred minutes. Brutal, tender, touching, crushing, fascinating. The most powerful performance not only of this year, but of the last few years. An absolute crime if Milkfest 09 robs him.

Who really should win: Rourke.
Why: See above.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Josh Brolin – MILK
Robert Downey Jr. – TROPIC THUNDER
Philip Seymour Hoffman DOUBT
Heath Ledger – THE DARK KNIGHT
Michael Shannon – REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Who will win: Ledger.
Why: If betting was legal in the US…

Who should win: Hoffman.
Why: Hoffman does a great job of walking the “did-he-or-didn’t-he” line, which is more faithful to the play’s ambiguity than the film ends up being.

Who really should win: Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges.
Why: Gleeson is always better than his material, and here he’s even better than some great material (the best original script of the year). Colin Farrell won the Golden Globe, but it’s Gleeson’s haunted, textured performance that drives the film.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Anne Hathaway – RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
Angelina Jolie – CHANGELING
Melissa Leo – FROZEN RIVER
Meryl Streep – DOUBT
Kate Winslet – THE READER

Who will win: Winslet.
Why: Who can believe she’s only won one? She’s due, having been fruitlessly nominated six straight times now. And this performance is one of her best.

Who should win: Winslet
Why: Because her silences in The Reader speak more than most actress’ words. Refreshing that a subtle, subdued performance will win for once. Melissa Leo is an awfully close second, a high honor considering she’s competing against a generation’s best actress at the top of her game.

Who really should win: Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky.
Why: Hawkins manages to make perky Poppy at once the most annoying and most endearing character of the year.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams – DOUBT
Penélope Cruz – VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Viola Davis – DOUBT
Taraji P. Henson – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Marisa Tomei – THE WRESTLER

Who will win: Henson
Why: The only Supporting Actress nominee from a Best Picture nominee.

Who should win: Tomei
Why: Her portrayal of an aging dancer never, ever reverts to stereotype, and she holds her own against the performance of the year. A standout in a relatively weak year for a usually-strong category.

Who really should win: Tomei
Why: See above.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

BOLT
KUNG FU PANDA
WALL-E

Who will win: Wall-E.
Why: The most charismatic character of the year is an animated robot who doesn’t speak and has nearly no facial expression. That alone clinches it.

Who should win: Wall-E.
Why: Even with a rather heavy-handed environmental message, the love story is so heartfelt that the movie is an absolute triumph.

Who really should win: Wall-E.
Why: Because it’s the best film of the year, period.

Achievement in Art Direction

CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE DUCHESS
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Who will win: Benjamin Button
Why: The Academy loves an epic that does multiple eras very well, and Button fits the bill nicely. (Possible alternate scenario – the Academy votes Revolutionary Road in a fit of Mad Men fever)

Who should win: Button
Why: See above.

Who really should win: Button
Why: See above.

Achievement in Cinematography

CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Who will win: Slumdog
Why:

Who should win: Slumdog
Why:

Who really should win: Slumdog
Why:

Achievement in Costume Design

AUSTRALIA
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DUCHESS
MILK
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Who will win: Milk
Why:

Who should win: Duchess
Why:

Who really should win: Duchess
Why:

Achievement in Directing

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
FROST/NIXON
MILK
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Who will win: Milk.
Why: See Best Picture.

Who should win: Slumdog.
Why: See Best Picture.

Who really should win: Slumdog.
Why: Because although Wall-E was the best film of the year, Danny Boyle had to work with actors’ faces and bodies as well as their voices.

Achievement in Film Editing

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
FROST/NIXON
MILK
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Who will win: Milk.
Why: Milkomania.

Who should win: Slumdog
Why: Although some scenes drag, the jump-cut frenzy and frenetic energy of the quick parts carry the day here.

Who really should win: Slumdog
Why: See above.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

The Baader Meinhof Complex
The Class
Departures
Revanche
Waltz With Bashir

Who will win:
Why:

Who should win:
Why:

Who really should win: Tell No One
Why: The Michael Clayton of 2009 – a suspense/mystery film that transcends its own nature as a genre film (a fellow named Hitchcock did that a few times too, and I’ve no doubt he’s looking down and loving both films).

Achievement in Makeup

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

Who will win: Button
Why: Because Brad Pitt’s transformations are the first thing people remember about the film.

Who should win: Hellboy II
Why: Because for all his frustrating weaknesses as a storyteller, Del Toro is a genius at creating (or supervising the creation of) the most intriguing humanesque beings in film history.

Who really should win: Hellboy II
Why: See above.

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DEFIANCE
MILK
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E

Who will win: Milk
Why: Because the melodramatically swelling hero music perfectly matches the melodramatically swooning hero cinematography.

Who should win: Defiance
Why: Because the soaring, authentically inspiring music perfectly matches the soaring, authentically inspiring true story.

Who really should win: Defiance
Why: See above.

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

“Down to Earth” – WALL-E
“Jai Ho” – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
“O Saya” – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Who will win: “Down to Earth,” Wall-E
Why: Because the Academy is too old to think the Slumdog songs are anything but “exotic.”

Who should win: “Jai Ho,” Slumdog
Why: Because we know better.

Who really should win: Bruce Springsteen, “The Wrestler”
Why: Tell me again how Bruce freaking Springsteen, of all people, writes a beautifully evocative new song for one of the year’s most praised films and doesn’t even get nominated?

Best Motion Picture of the Year

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
FROST/NIXON
MILK
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Who will win: Milk
Why: Gus Van Sant’s workmanlike-but-thin Harvey Milk hagiography isn’t the best film of the year by a long shot (it isn’t even Van Sant’s best film of the year), but it doesn’t have to be. Oscar voters are frantic to express their horror at the Prop 8 results, and anything above the level of an after-school special will do. As inevitable as Paul Krugman’s Nobel — and as undeserved.

Who should win: Slumdog
Why: The very events that made his life a living hell are the very events that give him the knowledge to redeem it. It’s not an especially deep premise for a movie, but it somehow feels bigger in the execution. A four-star film in a year with no five-star films.

Who really should win: Wall-E
Why: Except possibly this one.

Achievement in Sound Editing

THE DARK KNIGHT
IRON MAN
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E
WANTED

Who will win: Dark Knight
Why: Because much of the Academy feels (needlessly) guilty for not nominating it for Best Picture.

Who should win: Iron Man
Why: Because it made metal clicking together sound different – and exciting – every time.

Who really should win: Iron Man
Why: See above.

Achievement in Sound Mixing

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E
WANTED

Who will win: Dark Knight
Why: Because much of the Academy doesn’t know the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

Who should win: Slumdog
Why: Because, like There Will Be Blood last year, it sounded like no other movie.

Who really should win: Slumdog
Why: See above.

Achievement in Visual Effects

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
IRON MAN

Who will win: Button
Why: Because it’s the “serious movie” choice.

Who should win: Dark Knight
Why: Because the created-from-whole-cloth Gotham City continues to amaze.

Who really should win: Hellboy 2
Why: Did you SEE those monsters?

Adapted Screenplay

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DOUBT
FROST/NIXON
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Who will win: Slumdog
Why: Because the Academy looks for consolation prizes for jilted favorites.

Who should win: The Reader
Why: Because what’s wonderful about Slumdog has nothing to do with the script – it has to do with the source material, several wonderful performances, and the look, sound and feel of the film. The Reader actually pulls off the always-difficult feat of telling a story that spans decades (always easier on the page than on the screen).

Who really should win: Defiance
Why: The most dumbfoundingly overlooked film of the year. It has everything the Academy loves – a true story that’s an uplifting historical epic about fighting oppression with a wonderful script and great performances and production values. Only one nomination, for music??? Adapted screenplay should have been a shoo-in, at least.

Original Screenplay

FROZEN RIVER
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
IN BRUGES
MILK
WALL-E

Who will win: Milk
Why: Because, apparently, turning a good man into Jesus and caricaturing anyone who disagrees with him is brilliant writing.

Who should win: In Bruges
Why: The other most overlooked film of the year. Suspense, guilt, spiritual searching. Brought an award-winning performance out of Colin Farrell, which takes some doing.

Who really should win: In Bruges
Why: See above.

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