Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2008 Oscar Preview & Predictions: Animated, Documentary, Foreign, Shorts

Animated Feature Film

Kung Fu Panda

What Should Have Been Nominated? I'd make a case for the major casualty in this category, Waltz With Bashir, which has a lot more merit than the panda movie. Horton Hears a Who is probably better than them both, and even made me cry. Sshh! :-)

What Deserves To Win? I found Kung Fu Panda very overrated, and culturally pretty dim in truth. I'm seeing Bolt next week, but in any case I highly doubt that it's better than the majestic Wall-E, which I gave an A-. If it is, I'll update you. The space adventure is my favourite animated film since Finding Nemo and is certainly in an All-Time Top Ten of those sorts. But if only enough of the Academy could have widened their horizons as much as Andrew Stanton's film this could have shown up in the Best Picture 'elite'.

What Will Win? Wall-E, which has the most nominations of any Animated Film (tied with Beauty and the Beast), and the only one to ever win a major critics prize

Animated Short Film

La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory - Lovestory
This Way Up

What Should Have Been Nominated? Beats me.

What Deserves To Win? The only one of those I've seen is Presto, because they played it before Wall-E. I liked but didn't love.

What Will Win? I'd say that Presto has the edge because it's Pixar, but La Maison has its share of fans.

Documentary Feature Film

The Betrayal
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

What Should Have Been Nominated? I do regret not seeing as many documentaries as I should. It's something I'm trying to remedy but it's rather difficult when there are minimal theatrically-released features (Trouble the Water has seemingly been and gone -- you can be forgiven for missing it) and the impetus to watch these documentaries on DVD in April/May evapourates fairly quickly. As it turns out the only ones I caught this year were the runaway frontrunner Man On Wire, and the ambiguous docu-nature of Waltz With Bashir. Both of these are great. Up the Yangtze, which I count as 2007 because of its release in other countries, was eligible for a place this year, and is bloody brilliant, so shame on the Academy (not for the first time!).

What Deserves to Win? Obviously I can't judge that, but I will say that Man On Wire is an excellent film.

What Will Win? Man On Wire. It's been seen by at least twice as many people as any of the other nominees, and has won nearly every critic award.

Documentary Short Subject

The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

What Should Have Been Nominated? N/A

What Deserves to Win? N/A

What Will Win? I'm guessing The Conscience of Nhem En because it's about liberty etc. etc.

Live Action Short Film

Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

What Should Have Been Nominated? N/A

What Deserves to Win? N/A

What Will Win? Toyland. It's about the holocaust.

Foreign Language Film

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
The Class (France)
Departures (Japan)
Revanche (Austria)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

What Should Have Been Nominated Submitted?
Nothing really stands out. Some will make a case that France should have opted for I've Loved You So Long over The Class. I've not seen the latter, but the the Scott-Thomas flick has a lot wrong with it. Germany could have submitted The Wave but I'm glad they didn't because it runs out of ideas very quickly, and I liked Baader-Meinhof.

What Deserves To Win? I can't judge because I've seen only two of five nominees, but Waltz With Bashir is different and engaging.

What Will Win? There's an apparent history of upsets in this category, but I'm not so sure that The Lives of Others (a film universally adored) triumphing over Pan's Labyrinth (something that won three oscars elsewhere) was that much of a shock. Neither was Tsotsi's win over Paradise Now. I don't think Waltz With Bashir is nailed on, but its snub in the Animated Feature category might encourage people to make sure it is truly rewarded with an "Oscar Win" label. But I wouldn't count out The Class.

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