Yikes. Sasha Stone is sure a gutsy Oscarologist. Over at AwardsDaily.com, she bravely takes a shot at forecasting the top race: "Gun to my head Best Picture predictions at this moment in time: 'Atonement,' 'Into the Wild,' 'There Will Be Blood,' 'Charlie Wilson’s War.' Fifth slot: 'The Kite Runner,' '3:10 to Yuma,' 'No Country for Old Men.'" READ MORE
Excuse me, Sasha: may I borrow your pistol? Tx, amigo. Now, pointing it at my feeble gray matter, I let loose with my own five predix for best picture: "Atonement," "Charlie Wilson's War," "Into the Wild," "Juno," "The Kite Runner," "Sweeney Todd" and "There Will Be Blood." Ooops, that's seven. Sorry!
Sasha, I see — in the comments section of your blog piece — that you're getting grief about your faith in "Charlie Wilson's War." Hold tight, comrade. I suspect you're right about that! Also about "Atonement." Maybe Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" too. The Studly-Actor-Turns-Director Phenom is huge, as we know (Mel Gibson's "Braveheart," Robert Redford's "Ordinary People," Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby"). But, wait, Sean's doing little press. Yeah, some, sure, but begrudgingly. At the recent L.A. premiere, he trotted past 98.5% of the media along the red carpet, nose pointed high in the air. What in the world was more important in Sean's life than talking to the media about this movie he's spent years working on and now asks us to care about? Why did he invite the media to join him at his premiere if he had no intention of talking to them?
Sean Penn's arrogance may do him in. Remember: Last year Peter O'Toole could've had that best-actor trophy in the bag if only he'd worked the campaign trail. I don't understand at all the hesitation of those notoriously thirsty rascals Sean and Peter to make the rounds. Heck, at every turn in the campaign trail there's an open bar with hospitable tenders, right?
However, pardon me, Sasha — I don't buy the best-pic buzz for "No Country for Old Men." It's got a strong bid for Javier Bardem in supporting, yes, and definitely for screenplay, but the Top 5 Race? I just don't see it. Too violent, too scary and the finale just kinda peters out.
Either "Juno" or "The Kite Runner" will get in, thus taking care of the Heart-Tugger's Slot that "Little Miss Sunshine" held last year and "Babe" and "The Full Monty" owned in previous years.
I'm suddenly leery about "Sweeney Todd." Early on I was hopeful because that Broadway masterpiece swept the Tony Awards in 1979, including best musical. But Johnny Depp must pull off the vocals in order for it to sing at the Oscars. Why didn't Johnny show us his chops in the trailer? Even a hint of crooner abilitity? That's what everyone's waiting to hear. Why, instead, did Johnny talk the brief musical part featured there? Hmmmm. I'm leery about "Sweeney," yes, but, being an optimist, I'm keeping it in key consideration and I — the tireless fan of "Dreamgirls" and "Moulin Rouge!" — sure hope we see a musical in the best-pic race this year! Especially this one. "Sweeney" is a classic for the ages. It deserves a brilliant screen adaptation embraced by Oscar.
(Photo: Paramount Vantage)