Well, the major theme of the night was how many surprises there were. Even Roger Ebert is probably second guessing the Academy right now. But it was a memorable evening. We got to see some great young talent be honored and recognized, which is a great thing. Here’s a recap of the winners for each category and my thoughts on them.
Best Achievement in Costume Design:
Alexandra Byrne for Elizabeth: The Golden Age
The movie was very mediocre in all terms except this category. It seemed to be the only thing Shekhar Kapur cared about in the film, but I guessed it paid off. My choice would have been Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:
Ratatouille (Brad Bird)
This was a lock. Persepolis was a fine and unique film but there would have been some chaos had Ratatouille been overlooked. Way to go Brad Bird.
Best Achievement in Makeup:
Didier Lavergne for La Vie en Rose
You can’t tell me that there were not any other deserving nominees other than Norbit and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Norbit! What were they thinking? At least they chose a decent enough movie for the win.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, and Trevor Wood for The Golden Compass
I think they made the right choice here and awarded a very underrated film. The effects in Transformers were cool, but The Golden Compass created a really fantastic world to get lost in.
Best Achievement in Art Direction:
Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
I wasn’t crazy about the film, but there’s no denying that the art direction and costume design on display here are second to none. Glad it wasn’t shut out.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Javier Bardem for No Country For Old Men
I wish there was more love for Casey Affleck and what he accomplished for his role as Robert Ford, but I’m not upset nor surprised that it was Bardem who created the unforgettable Anton Chiurgh.
Best Short Film, Live Action:
Mozart des pickpockets, Les (Philippe Pollet-Villard)
Haven’t seen any of these yet, but I’m planning to shortly at a local film festival and I’m looking forward to it.
Best Short Film, Animated:
Peter & the Wolf (Suzie Templeton, Hugh Welchman)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton
Overrated, overrated, overrated. Michael Clayton was a good film but I thought that Tilda Swinton was one of its major flaws. Amy Ryan on the other hand was unforgettable, and devastating in Gone Baby Gone. If Ryan wasn’t going to win, then I think we all expected Cate Blanchett to win it. This was one of the big upsets of the night and I, like many others I’m sure, am not very happy about it.
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published:
Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country For Old Men
No surprise here. It’s a fantastic and ridiculously entertaining adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel. However, out of the nominees, nothing hit me as hard as Sarah Polley’s Away From Her and she had to work only from a short story rather than an entire novel, which is even more impressive.
Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
Karen M. Baker, and Per Hallberg for The Bourne Ultimatum
I really expected No Counrty For Old Men to win this. I mean, just think of the impact that Chiurgh’s arsenal of weapons, especially his silenced shotgun, has on the suspense sequences.
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
Scott Millan, David Parker, and Kirk Francis for The Bourne Ultimatum
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose
Another surprise, but the Academy seems to have a thing for La Vie en Rose. When you watch her performance of Edith Piaf and then see how different she looks in person, that’s the point where you really appreciate her work. But still, no one was as powerful as Julie Christie in Away From Her and if the Academy wanted to recognize a more fresh and uprising actress, then Ellen Page probably would have been a more popular pick.
Best Achievement in Editing:
Christopher Rouse for The Bourne Ultimatum
Again, I expected No Country For Old Men to win this award simply because of the way the Coens weave their story. But not a bad choice here.
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: The Counterfieters (Austria)
Okay, let me go ahead and say that this is the worst category of nominees ever put together. I’m not judging the films because I haven’t seen them. But that’s the point, almost no one has and none of the nominees saw a U.S. release in 2007! What about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and Lust, Caution? I will never understand the Academy’s reasoning here.
Best Achievement in Music Written For Motion Pictures, Orginial Song:
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for Once
Well deserved. A beautiful song for a beautiful film.
Best Achievement in Cinematography:
Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood
Again, another upset. Apparently, Roger Deakins got his votes split between his two nominations (outstanding work in both pictures). That was expected, but I think most of us thought that Janusz Kaminiski would take home the gold for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. But you know something, there really is no wrong choice here. The cinematography in all of these films is top-notch. Personally, I would have chosen Atonement. No shot in 2007 fascinated me more than the one set of James McAvoy walking down Dunkirk Beach.
Best Achievement in Music Written For Motion Pictures, Original Song:
Dario Marianelli for Atonement
The best choice out of the nominees, but I’m not sure why Johnny Greenwood wasn’t nominated for There Will Be Blood
Best Documentary, Short Subjects:
Cynthia Wade for Freeheld
Best Documentary, Features:
Alex Gibney and Eva Orner for Taxi to the Darkside
I only saw two of the nominees (No End in Sight and Sicko) and thoroughly enjoyed them both, so I have no say here about whether Taxi to the Dark Side is better.
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
Diablo Cody for Juno
And this year’s Little Miss Sunshine is….
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood
Best Achievement in Directing:
Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country For Old Men
Best Motion Picture of the Year:
No Country For Old Men
And so let the debate commence. It’s not every year we see two films that end up ranked in the top 40 on the IMDb Top 250. 20 years from now there will be dicussion among movie lovers alike if No Country For Old Men truly deserved the Oscar over There Will Be Blood. Did P.T.A. deserve it more than the Coens? Who was the better badass: D-Day as Daniel Plainview or Bardem as Anton Chigurh?
It was an interesting evening but when it was all said and done, There Will Be Blood didn’t get to sip the movie industry’s most delicious milk shake and No Country For Old Men came out on top as the best motion picture of 2007. Until the 81st Annual Academy Awards, so long, friendo.
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