Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 Oscars

So, tonight is the night for the 2009 Oscars. I'll probably DVR it, so I can later go back and watch the speeches and song performances that were worthwhile. A lot of the in between stuff just feels lik filler, so it's often boring to sit down and watch it straight through. In anticipation of the results, here's who I'm predicting and/or rooting for in some key categories:

Actor in a Leading Role
Having just seen The Wrestler last night, I'm rooting for Mickey Rourke. Gosh, he brings so much genuine emotion to a character who, in my opinion, is discovering his humanity for the first time in his life. However, I just saw that Brad Pitt has only been nominated for one Oscar. Really? He's definitely more than a pretty boy, and is so talented in any role that he plays, that it astounds me that this is only his second nomination. So, he's my second choice for winning. Somehow though, I predict that Sean Penn is going to win. I haven't seen Milk yet, but based on his previous work, he'd certainly be deserving, though I'd be more excited for Mickey Rourke or Brad Pitt who haven't yet enjoyed a win.

Actress in a Leading Role
Sadly, I haven't seen any of these nominated performances yet, but my heart is with Kate Winslet. This is her sixth nomination, and she deserves the accolades for her body of work. Come on Academy, don't pull a Susan Lucci on us and keep nominating her if you're not going to award her soon. She's got tough competition against Meryl Streep, who I personally is rather overrated. I feel like there are just never enough good leading actress roles in any given year, which is why I think Angelie Jolie got nominated for a what was probably a great performance in a mediocre film (with only a 61% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes).

Actor in a Supporting Role
Ever since his death, I'd been saying that Heath Ledger would get nominated for a posthumous Oscar. And in a way, I hope he wins, which would certainly help seal his status as an iconic talent who died too young, ala James Dean.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Honestly, I'm having a hard time picking a favorite in this category. I'll go for a threeway with Amy Adams - Taraji P. Henson - Marisa Tomei being my favorites. I'm not predicting that any of them will win though, as I really don't know who to predict. I haven't seen Doubt, but Viola Davis does seem to have a lot of buzz, and Penelope Cruz seems like a formidable opponent to be up against.

Animated Feature Film
If WALL-E doesn't win, then there's just no justice in the world and I will never have faith in the academy again. I do wonder, if this category hadn't been created a few years ago, would WALL-I have been nominated for Best Picture? I think that it would have, though I doubt it would have won, though I think it would have been deserving of the win.

Documentary Feature
I haven't seen any of these, but I would love to watch some of them - Man on Wire, Trouble the Water, and Encounters at the End of the World sound especially fascinating.

Foreign Lanuage Film
Again, haven't seen any of these, but I'm interested in Waltz with Bashir, The Class, and the Baader Meinhof Complex.

Music (Score)
I'm torn between Thomas Newman (WALL-E) and A. R. Rahmen (Slumdog Millionaire). My Indian friends tell me that Rahmen's scores for previous films were better, but these films never gained much following outside of India, so this is like this talented composer's one shot at winning that coveted statue. Thomas Newman is definitely deserving for his work on WALL-E, as I feel like the music really made the film, more so than with Slumdog, but he is likely to be nominated again.

Music (Song)
My vote is for "O Saya" from Slumdog Millionaire by A. R. Rahmen and M.I.A. Man, the performances for both this and "Jai Ho" are going to be awesome to watch.

Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This film just wouldn't have been what it was without the incredible aging/youthing of Brad Pitt.

Best Picture

Given that perhaps the true best picture of the year is in another category, which of these films is really deserving of this title? I feel like it's been a relatively weak film year, and I have trouble wanting to bestow this award on any film this year. Even Roger Ebert didn't declare a best picture, he just listed his 20 best films of the year, instead of of ranked top 10. Really, even the nation's most well-known film critic can't pick a number one film of the year? Well, I am going to pick my favorite - Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven't seen it, then you should by now. It's hard for me to pinpoint what exactly I like about it, but it's a great story with fascinating characters, beautifully made, and I know that I could watch it repeatedly.

My goodness, is this category filled with amazing individuals with a great body of work! Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, the rumored Arrested Development Film), Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), Stephen Daldry (The Hours, Billy Elliott), plus the never before nominated David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) and Danny Boyle (Millions, Trainspotting)! Really, any of these men are worthy of the award. It seems like it generally follows that the winner in this category will win best picture, soooooo . . . Go Danny Boyle, Go!

Writing (Adapted Screenplay) - Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire
Writing (Original Screenplay) - Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon for WALL-E

Ok, I totally just copped out on those last two and selected my two favorite films among all of the nominees.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


A dream I had several nights ago posed an intriguing question. In this dream, I was sitting at a big table of a Tex-Mex restaurant, filled with various friends and people I knew. Sitting across from me was an old high school friend, not one whom I'm particularly close to know, but he asked me this question:

"Imagine that many years later in your life, you appear before God to ask him for something that you've longed for but never yet received. What will you already have?"

This question immediately struck me with the uncertainty of nearly everything in my life. What will I have many years from now? My first thought was friends and family, but I cannot say for certainly which friends will still be in my life and which of my family members will still be living many years from now, and I can't say for certain that I will be married or have children. Then I thought of having my doctorate and my license to work as a psychologist, but even this is shaky. I'm still a few years away from having my doctorate, and there's still a possibility that my course could change. And if I do earn licensure a few years from now, this could also change as my licensure could expire or be revoked or I could change careers entirely. Next, I thought of my personality traits, inner things that I hold that are not likely to change, things like my optimism and my worries. I can say for certain that I will still have some degree of optimism and some number of worries, and will probably still have my friendly, extroverted personality, though I'm likely to grow and change and won't exactly be the same person that I am today, but I'm fairly certain that some core aspects of my personality will never change. I can say for certain that I will still have God himself in my life, even if my thoughts and ideas of him change drastically in the years to come.