Starting with the absolutely adorable Slumdog kids on the red carpet, everyone seemed relaxed and happy last night. The acceptance speeches were pretty touching all around, and Penelope Cruz and Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black definitely had the most heartfelt ones of the evening. And we can breathe a sigh of relief -- Kate Winslet remembered to thank her husband this time.
Things were toned down a bit thanks to the recession, with the ladies showing up in gorgeous gowns -- but little bling -- and the ceremony playing it pretty straight. The opening cardboard cutout, "we don't have money for set pieces" nominee song and dance was pretty amusing, even if somewhat out of place performed under a huge (and no doubt expensive) Swarovski crystal arch. And donít worry Hugh, you didnít miss too much by not yet seeing The Reader. Read More...
Best Picture Ė Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director Ė Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor Ė Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler (itís only too bad little Loki wonít be around for the acceptance speech)
Best Actress Ė Kate Winslet, The Reader (though Iím really pulling for Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married)
Best Supporting Actor Ė Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (duh)
Best Supporting Actress Ė Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Animated Film Ė WALL-E
Best Documentary Ė Man on Wire
Best Foreign Language Film Ė Waltz with Bashir
So what do you think? Are these people actually going to be taking home statues or am I way off base?
Why it could win: Kate Winslet is due for an Oscar and unless an upset occurs, itís already hers. Her presence in a movie thatís about one of Oscarís favorite subjects, the Holocaust, doesnít hurt things either.
Why it could lose: Besides Winsletís strong performance, there hasn't been that much attention thrown on the film and if it hadn't been released so late in the year, who knows if it would have gotten a nomination at all. Also, with the economy tanking and jobs disappearing left and right, voters are probably more apt to go with a certain feel-good crowd pleaser than this heavy drama.
More on The Reader:
Photo © Weinstein Company
To make the night memorable, however, you donít have to spend a lot of dough. Potluck parties are a great idea (so long as your friends are good cooks), and by taking the time to plan out a few special cocktails, you donít have to stress about stocking your entire bar. If youíre more of a do-it-yourselfer, the appetizers just need to be quick and easy, the kids happy and quiet, and the drinks delicious. And as you finish the night off with some delectable treats (see: chocolate covered strawberries), everyone will walk away happy. That is, unless your guests are rooting for cute little Bolt to win best animated feature (because WALL-E has that in the bag).
Why it could win: In addition to stellar acting by everyone in the cast, gay rights are still a hot button issue (Prop 8, anyone?) and Oscar loves films that tackle important social issues.
Why it could lose: Competition with Frost/Nixon could split votes among biopic-loving voters -- plus no matter how great the movie, itís still a controversial topic and even a lovable Sean Penn will have a hard time triumphing over the attention being heaped Slumdogís rags-to-riches way.
More on Milk:
Photo © Focus Features
So it's interesting that this year, the Wolverine himself, the dashing Hugh Jackman, has accepted the honors. But no complaints here. Sure, he's no stand-up comedian, but the guy's a laid back charmer who won't feel the pressure to make sure every line he utters is a hilarious joke, which quite frankly, sounds good to me. Plus, uh, he's the reigning sexiest man alive, so it's not like anyone can argue with having to stare at him all night long.
Even if he's not Jon Stewart, this change looks to be a good thing -- and change is exactly what Oscar's ratings need, especially after last year. But what do you think? Is there someone else you'd rather see at the helm?
Photo © Getty/Pascal Le Segretain
Why it could win: Itís become the little film that could: one that almost didnít get released before rising to become a buzzworthy fan favorite and snagging Best Picture at the Golden Globes. An underdog film with a no name cast and feel-good ending makes it impossible not to root for, and the wave of audience support could carry it through to Oscar glory.
Why it could lose: Because almost everyone wants it to win.
More Slumdog Millionaire:
Photo © Fox Searchlight
So what memorable lines can we take away from 2008? Read More...
Why it could win: Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost. Plus itís based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
Why it could lose: The performances of the principal actors aside, the rest of the movie feels really uneven. It starts well, then drags throughout the middle, then picks itself back up to end with a bang. It also has to compete with Milk, another based-on-true-events movie that stays a bit closer to the true events itís based on.
Photo © Universal Pictures
From February 1-March 3, TCM will be playing all Oscar-nominated classics, all the time. Check out the full schedule and make sure your DVR has ample recording space. This could be the year you can finally agree with your friends that Sophieís Choice is, quite possibly, the saddest movie ever made.
(Photo courtesy of MGM Studios)