One of the most remarkable films the season is “Revolutionary Road,” which is directed with ferocity and honesty, delving into the reality of what happens to a soul sold out. Too dark for such a dark year, perhaps, but no director is finer than Sam Mendes.
Except if you’re talking about Clint Eastwood, who acted and directed in the best film of the year, “Gran Torino.” Never mind it wasn’t nominated in that category. Remember, neither was “American Gangster.”
Of course, the odds are on “Slumdog Millionaire,” though after “Babel” (a movie I detested) I wouldn’t be surprised if “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” won. Another movie I could have lived without.
As for best actor, if there is any justice it will go to Frank Langella, whose human portrayal of Richard Nixon was the most difficult role of the season. Just ask Anthony Hopkins, who didn’t come anywhere near Langella’s performance, or the humanity. That some thought the film was a documentary hardly matters.
But Mickey Rourke, who is fantastic in “The Wrestler,” is likely to get the best actor, something that anyone can appreciate. Though I’m still puzzled by that weird, oddly flat representation of a local stripper played by Ms. Tomei.
The best female performance is Meryl Streep in “Doubt,” one of the most disturbing movies ever made. The script is flawless, the acting sublime, with everyone in it outrageously on target.
Best song must go to The Boss, which is really the only sure thing.
Except that in picking Hugh Jackman, a Broadway and Hollywood star, the Academy obviously decided to choose someone of extreme talents, not just comedic stylings. As a former Broadway babe, my money is on Jackman to put on quite a show. His movie “Australia” didn’t quite live up, but he always does. The true definition of triple threat, something I know a little bit about.
Either way, it will be fun to watch, though that wasn’t Bill O’Reilly’s take last time I heard him bloviate. Evidently, the lack of big family blockbusters means nobody cares about the films this season. Utter hogwash. The films of 2008 were superb, sometimes stunning, even surprising, with performances that were off the charts, even when the movie slipped into oblivion.
Glass of red wine in hand, I’ll toast them all. After all America is the movies. It is our crowning export. Something that no other country can match in intensity, sheer mass, as well as creativity. I grew up on the movies, as they took me away from the small town I longed to escape. They remain that magical, if for different reasons, today.
UPDATE: Wonderful show, but then again I love musicals, with Jackman wonderful, and the theme as well as bringing back actors a marvelous touch. As for Bruce… um… it’s a theme, folks: see “Gran Torino.” Get it? But what a wonderful surprise to see Sean Penn win for “Milk.” I didn’t think he had a chance even though his performance rated it. Can there be any doubt Penn will be up front and center on “The Factor”? How delicious. Can’t complain with Kate Winslet, who is a marvelous actress. But oh what an elegant presence she made tonight, fitting an Oscar winner. Just a grand night for all.