- Director: Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line)
- Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, The New World, Sleepy Hollow, A Little Princess)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan, Fiona Shaw.
This is my favorite movie of the year – and I suppose it was bound to be. When Malick makes a movie it is my favorite movie of the year. That's just how it goes. The master has, of course, never won an Oscar; he will not be winning his first one this year; and I don't imagine him, quite frankly, ever winning an Oscar. And he doesn't need to. He's going to keep making a great movie every five years or so with or without awards, right? I also just want to say that I was over the moon that this made it to be one of the nine Best Picture nominees. I know a lot of people (shout out to Michael, Dayne, and Jordan) for whom this is their absolute favorite picture of the year, but I wasn't really imagining it as one of the nominees. I am delighted. As for Lubezki, his work on the last two films for which he was nominated, The New World and Children of Men was just extraordinary. He's never won, and I just don't think he can be ignored this year. (Incidentally, The New World was my favorite movie of 2005 and Children of Men was my favorite movie of 2006. Coincidence?)
Will Win: Cinematography
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #1 out of 65
- Actor: Gary Oldman
- Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
- Original Score: Alberto Iglesias (The Kite Runner, The Constant Gardener)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: John Hurt, Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds, Kathy Burke, Simon McBurney, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes.
I loved this movie too! People have found its plot confusing and its acting underwhelming. I had the precise opposite reaction. The number of talented actors in this film is staggering, the plot is completely engaging and unexpected, and the story is a deeply moving one about betrayal, sacrifice, honesty, and loyalty – as well as violence, intrigue, and espionage. Gary Oldman is great, and so is his supporting cast. The score to this film is absolutely gorgeous, and I have been listening to it on a loop for at least a week now. It will not be winning on Oscar night, but it is lovely nonetheless.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #12 out of 65
- Actress: Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction, The Natural, The Big Chill, The World According to Garp)
- Supporting Actress: Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds)
Director: Rodrigo García
Cast: Close, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, McTeer, Brendan Gleeson, Pauline Collins, Phyllida Law, Jonathan Rhys Myers.
This is a very sweet, very small movie that had a couple of excellent sequences and that I liked quite a bit. It is based on a play by Simone Benmussa, and Glenn Close is superb in it. Janet McTeer earns a well-deserved second Oscar nomination: she is fantastic in this. The film itself is a big departure from García's usual work, and I'm not sure if I understand it, but I can see why he was drawn to the material, even if it's not his usual thing.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #25 out of 65
- Art Direction: Stuart Craig (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The English Patient, Chaplin, Dangerous Liaisons, The Mission, Gandhi, The Elephant Man), Stephenie McMillan (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The English Patient)
- Visual Effects
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis, Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, David Thewlis.
No film from the Harry Potter franchise has ever won an Oscar. It's also never been nominated for makeup. So... I think this is the year. The makeup really is extraordinary – that Voldemort face. Seriously. But in this one there is also the makeup job on Ciarán Hinds as Dumbledore's brother and that dead-body-slash-chandelier in the first Voldemort scene. It makes me shudder just to think about it. As for being impartial about this franchise, I don't think I can be. It's easy to say I didn't like The Order of the Phoenix (I didn't) but I love, love, love Harry and Ron and Hermione, and when I recently re-watched The Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2 I was reminded just how good these movies were. Objectivity? Forget about it.
Will Win: Makeup
Could Win: Visual effects
My Rating: #21 out of 65