Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

My 2009 Academy Award Predictions (for movies released in 2008)

Mickey Rourke was robbed. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Except that Mickey Rourke was really, really robbed, and there’s no way around it. There. I got that off my chest, and I will let it go and move on.

Okay, maybe I am reacting to the fact that my predictions would look a lot more impressive if the Oscar for Best Actor had followed the conventional wisdom, as did all the other major categories. But, by all the Academy’s precedents, conventions and past practices, Mickey should have gotten it. Seriously, could all those foreigners (Golden Globes, BAFTAs) really have got it wrong? Wasn’t this going to be the year that America was finally going to stop going it alone?

Okay, I will really let it go now. I only wish that I had made a prediction for the Best Documentary Feature category because I would have correctly chosen James Marsh’s wonderful Man on Wire, but you will just have to take my word for that.

But let’s not dwell on what might have been or should have been. Let’s focus on the fact that a movie so wonderful and life-affirming and so well made and so downright deserving as Danny Boyle’s brilliant Slumdog Millionaire got so many awards. What was especially nice was Boyle’s pure personal joy at every prize he and his colleagues received. In a room crowded with over-size egos, this man clearly was thrilled merely to be there and would have left happy no matter what his film walked away with.

It was also good, if foregone, that Heath Ledger got his posthumous recognition and that it had the further effect of bringing some deserved recognition to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which might well have been passed over entirely otherwise.

So let the politicking and competing for the 2009 movies begin. A childhood friend who has just gotten in touch with me after decades predicts that Viggo Mortensen will get Best Actor for 2010.


Most Likely to Win

Most Deserving to Win


Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor

Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Sean Penn (Milk)

Best Actress

Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Best Supporting Actress

Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)

Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)

Best Director

Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

Best Original Screenplay

Milk (Dustin Lance Black)

Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Eric Roth & Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)

Best Animated Feature



Best Foreign Language Film

Vals im Bashir (Israel)

Entre les murs (France)

Okuribito (Japan)

Total Scores

7 cases of seeing it coming

5 instances of the voters getting it right

2 of life’s little surprises