Well the results are out, and some pleasant surprises out there. This had to be the most fragmented Academy Awards i had ever seen with no single movie dominating the show. And in a radical break, the Academy choose a dark tale of crime and drugs over an epic tale of a ruthless oil baron. It was as if the Academy had given a statement saying “Epic tales are fine for performances, but not the Best Picture”. And that in itself is a big departure, consider some of the past results Dances With Wolves over Goodfellas, Titanic over L.A.Confidential, Braveheart over The Usual Suspects. And going by that i was expecting There Will be Blood to win the Best Picture. It had everything going for it, epic sweep, a larger than life character, intense performances. And while No Country for Old Men, was one of the most quirky movies to come, for me Blood looked like a sure fire winner.
Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men and There will be Blood were the contenders. Atonement was the sentimental favorite, but when it came to crunch it clearly boiled down to No Country vs Blood. There will Be Blood was a typical Hollywood epic, more Sergio Leone in its scope. With wide tracking shots and a character facing inner conflict, it was a well made movie, but truth be told it was Daniel Day Lewis stunning performance that lifted the movie. No Country for Old Men on other hand was a more Sam Peckinpah kind of movie, violent, cold blooded thriller set against a bleak landscape much like his earlier classics like Wild Bunch. The Coen Brothers again showed that after Fargo, they were one of the best in business when it came to cold blooded, cynical kind of thrillers and deserved the Oscar.
Again when it came to Best Actor, it was Daniel Day Lewis all the way. While Clooney was excellent in Clayton, it was a role he had been through many times before, and Depp some how had never been an Academy favorite. Though both Tommy Lee Jones(In the Valley of Elah) and Virgo Mortensen( Eastern Promises) had put in good performances, it was clearly Daniel Day Lewis night. Like his character in There Will Be Blood, he said “I am gonna take your milkshake” and he took it. It is as if Daniel Plainview stepped out of screen and said to all, this Award is mine.
I have not seen any of the Best Actress movies, so can’t really comment on that. Again when it came to Best Supporting Actor, no competition there at all for Javier Bardem. Make no mistake, Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men is one of the most devilish characters, ever since Hannibal Lecter ate a tax collector’s liver with fava beans and some chianti. He kills every one in his path without batting an eye lid, without any remorse. And Javier Bardem manages to send a chill right up your spine.
And another nasty portrayal won the Academy Award, for Tilda Swinton, playing a ruthless corporate attorney, who leaves no stone unturned to get rid of the evidence implicating her powerful client in Michael Clayton. Matter of fact most of the acting awards have gone to actors playing characters who are ruthless( Daniel Day Lewis), manipulative( Tilda Swinton) or plain pyschotic( Javier Bardem). Again i have no idea about the Best Foreign film Counterfeiters.