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That Elusive Little Gold Guy

That Elusive Little Gold Guy

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What worthy artist will win this year?

It’s that time of the year again….and Reverse Shot has Oscar Fever!! In an attempt to combat the ever-proliferating Oscar Watch websites and their googly-eyed mascots (Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neill looks like the offspring of Jerry Seinfeld and the muppet Scooter…and we’re supposed to trust his prognostications?!), we offer our pragmatic predictions. So, take it from the experts: we have the real inside track, and your fearless Reverse Shotters know who’s really going for the gold come this January or February or March. More importantly, we know that this is the only true barometer of art…and away we go!

Best Picture: Though everyone from Ebert to Edelstein has been predicting the clean and easy Lord of the Rings-ish sweep at this year’s Kodak Theater of Lodge Kerrigan’s epic Keane, I am going to go out on a limb and say that I foresee a possible Keane snub. Hollywood has been all abuzz about Damian Lewis’s subtle, haunting work since the film was released way back in summer (prime Oscar time), but let’s face it, there’s been a lot to distract Academy voters ever since, and Kerrigan might just have to settle for a Best Actor nod. In my mind, the best pic category comes down to two obvious nominees: Rob Zombie’s rollicking, lovable little-engine-that-could The Devil’s Rejects, and Hubert Sauper’s Darwin’s Nightmare, which is well on its way to being the first documentary ever to get a best picture nomination. As we know, the Academy has been all about globalization in recent years, and since this promises to be a “topical” and “political” year, I just can’t see them ignoring a film about the plight of impoverished Tanzanian waterfront villages ravaged by AIDS, unemployment, and poverty. I mean, this is the OSCARS we’re talking about.

Best Actor: Looking past Damian Lewis’s easy win, the name on everyone’s lips seems to be Banlop Lomnoi. Virtually unknown before rocketing to stardom last year with the sentimental favorite Tropical Malady, Banlop Lomnoi has barely been able to sort through the stacks of scripts that have started piling up on his desk (at his new Malibu beach home). Radiating sexy intelligence, Banlop Lomnoi bravely took on duel parts in Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s twisty delight. With two crowd-pleasing roles in one film (as a wide-eyed gay Thai soldier in love with a village boy and then as a wordless hunter searching the deep thick jungle for his abandoned lover who has transformed into a tiger), how can Oscar ignore?

Best Actress: If there were any more of a household name than Banlop Lomnoi, it would be Dina Korzun. An Academy favorite since 2000’s Last Resort, the Russian actress has been accruing Oscars and other awards left and right for her patented onscreen delicacy. However, shocking as it may be, there’s an outside chance that, if Korzun backlash ignites, her understated work in Forty Shades of Blue could be left off the final five of what has shaped up to be this year’s most overcrowded category. If the Academy is going sentimental, they could pick Liv Ullmann from Saraband (which, like Forty Shades of Blue, played at the Film Forum, which often guarantees an Oscar nod); if they’re going for heavy, there’s Oscar stalwart YOU, from Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Nobody Knows, whose performance as the negligent, childlike mother sent audiences into spasms of recognition; and of course, no one could deny the immense cultural impact of Marilou Berry’s portrayal of a troubled, selfish, unlikable, unattractive, overweight French teen in Agnes Jaoui’s Look at Me (that film’s easy stateside box-office triumph over Mean Girls proved that American audiences are looking for something more than vapid starlets in their leading ladies). You heard it here first.

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