Ricky Fitts sees beauty everywhere. Once, he saw so much beauty in a dancing bag, that he felt like he couldn't take it. I don't know what happened to Ricky Fitts, but I do know all the beauty I've seen this year. 2007: One of the most fantastic cinematic years in recent history. We've seen ravishing musical revamps, heart-wrenching tales of deceit, psychopathic romps through the desert, touching takes on the teenager, and so, so much more. I, for one, believe that the Academy Awards, in all of their subtle shortcomings, have left out so much of this beauty that I feel the need to invent my own little awards. They're called The Dancing Bags, and I hope that by relaying my picks to you here, I'll not only do justice to Ricky Fitts, but to the year 2007 as well.
Keep in mind that I do love the Academy Awards, and I hope that they go on despite the strike. I just hate so many of their decisions. I feel that they operate based primarily on politics and secondarily on merit. My finest example from 2007 is that of Cate Blanchett's Leading Actress nomination for yet another (yawn yawn YAWN) rendition of Queen Elizabeth. One would think that both Helen Mirren and Judi Dench have done the trick by now. But no. In light of this decision and several others, some very fine performances have been given the Academy stiff arm.
But here, there are only stiff arms for boredom and the cinematically challenged. So suck it, Academy. This is up to me and our old pal, the Dancing Bag.
1 - "No Country for Old Men"
2 - "There Will Be Blood"
3 - "Juno"
4 - "Michael Clayton"
5 - "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
***Oscar Prediction: "No Country for Old Men"***
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
1 - George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"
2 - Daniel Day-Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”
3 - Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd”
4 - James McAvoy, “Atonement”
5 - Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises”
***Oscar Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"***
Of course, Day-Lewis is the shoe-in, and I'll gladly welcome him to his second Oscar. My pick, Gorgeous George has already conceded to the grisly Oil Man. But to be honest, while I was profoundly disturbed by Daniel's performance, I wasn't really surprised. But I was surprised by George. He really brought it to the table, and I'm proud of him.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
1 - Ellen Page, "Juno"
2 - Laura Linney, “The Savages”
3 - Keira Knightly, “Atonement”
4 - Marion Cotillard, “La Vie en Rose”
5 - Helena Bonham-Carter, “Sweeney Todd”
***Oscar Prediction: Julie Christie, "Away from Her"***
What's the deal with this? Yes, it's a nice role and a harrowing performance. But come ON. It's "The Notebook" sans all the sexy flashbacks, and who, honestly, isn't becoming deathly ILL with all the crying sapfests that just keep getting made and made and made... I'm with The Onion on this one. Overrated, overrated, overrated. If we're going with newcomers (because, pardon my french, but who the f$%& is Julie Chistie besides Madame Rosmerta in HP 4?), let's go with Ellen Page. Seriously.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1 - Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton"
2 - Paul Dano, “There Will Be Blood”
3 - Ethan Hawke, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”
4 - Casey Affleck, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
5 - Robert Downey Jr., “Zodiac”
***Oscar Prediction: Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"***
And, well, fine. I enjoyed Javier as the compressed air wielding psycho. But, as you can see, it's my firm belief that all of the performance wins this year should be awarded to the cast of "Michael Clayton." That is all.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
1 - Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton"
2 - Jennifer Garner, “Juno”
3 - Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”
4 - Amy Ryan, “Gone Baby Gone”
5 - Catherine Keener, “Into the Wild”
***Oscar Prediction: Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"***
Yet again, who the f$%# is Ruby Dee? Also, see above for my reasons.
1 - Joel and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
2 - Joe Wright, “Atonement”
3 - Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood”
4 - Tony Gilroy, “Michael Clayton”
5 - David Fincher, "Zodiac"
***Oscar Prediction: Joel and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"***
There is no doubt that this will be the year of the Coen.
1 - Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"
2 - “Juno” by Diablo Cody
3 - “No Country for Old Men” by Joel and Ethan Coen
4 - “Atonement” by Christopher Hampton
5 - “Superbad” by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
***Oscar Prediction: Original - "Juno"; Adapted: "No Country for Old Men"***
This was a tough one, but after thinking long and hard about the intricacies of PTA's riveting "There Will Be Blood," I've decided that there's been no better script this year. Perhaps it isn't quite as perfectly executed as "No Country," but it is, by far, the most thought-provoking, and it takes a lot of incredible risks. I can't imagine what it looks like on the page, but I know that, whatever it looks like, it's still brilliant.