February 24th is here. This year, the Academy Awards are celebrating their 80th season of turning a blind eye to the deserving films and, well, awarding the lame-os. And although he’s still considered the barometer for film quality standards, Oscar will surely be back this year with his latest disappointments, when he’ll send those “should-have-beens” to the world of movie mediocrity. So, without further adieu, I present to you my picks – I mean, the rightful winners – as opposed to those of Oscar’s. A hint? Expect “Atonement” to take home Best Picture. Eugh.


Best Picture:


It’s the kind of sappy, over-the-top, made-for-the-Oscars film that you’d expect from the likes of Clint Eastwood. Plus, I can’t stand that stupid, hyper-emotional shot of Keira Knightley with her arms stretched out in the fog. Dear writers: Don’t bank your film on a pretty girl looking sad. Lame.

Leading Actor:

Daniel Day Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”

Exception. I think even the Academy has enough sense to recognize groundbreaking acting when they see it. The man’s brilliant, but somehow, he’s only got one Oscar under his belt. Now, it’s finally time for another.

Leading Actress

Julie Christie, “Away From Her”

A formerly attractive, married old woman (Julie Christie) comes down with Alzheimer’s, gets committed and somewhere between fraught old folk-emotions, falls in love with another man in the nursing home. Smells like Oscars. And maybe more old folks. Plus, the buzz in Hollywood circles has been traveling almost exclusively around her.

Best Directing

The Coen Bros, “No Country For Old Men”

Joel and Ethan Coen seem to have finally gotten the recognition they’ve deserved for more than 20 years. Their latest film has garnered four nominations this year, more than any of their previous contemporary cult classic films at one time. Once again, there’s been tremendous buzz about this one, and once again, it’s about time, anyway.

Best Cinematography

“No Country For Old Men”

Even ol’ Oscar can’t resist the sweeping shots of the barren, yet somehow beautiful rural Texas landscape the Coen Brothers captured. It’s nothing particularly stunning, but it seems cool enough – without being too sophisticated – for the Academy to stomach.


Best Picture

“There Will Be Blood”

Simply put, it’s the most ambitious, frightening, deliciously creepy and visually satisfying film in recent memory. Other critics say it’s the “next Great American movie.” I say “good call.”

Leading Actor

Daniel Day Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”

The man is a genius. Somehow, Lewis is able to transcend his own humanity and fully enter into the role of a maniacal oilman. His stare is deathly eerie, and his delivery is superb. I first witnessed his performance about three weeks ago, and haven’t been able to sleep since then.

Leading Actress:

Laura Linney, “The Savages”

Laura Linney is one of those rarely acknowledged indie gems that sparkles with every performance. Her character is likable and accessible, and she’s the only one who could’ve pulled it off. Plus, she hasn’t won an Oscar yet – seriously – and I know that the Academy is into concessions (a la Scorsese), so why not?
Best Directing

Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood”

PTA is one of the up-and-coming young-ish directors who’s on his way to making movie history. So let’s start here – with his epic masterpiece – in which he flawlessly directs the larger-than-life D. D. Lewis, and photographs the lonely, haunting California landscape with enough macabre to make even Edgar Allen Poe lose his lunch.

Best Cinematography

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

This picture is one of the most magnificently shot films I’ve ever seen. The soft colors and interesting focus-play just makes me feel good. And imagine that in a film that’s about a guy who loses nearly all control over his body, forcing him to live with “locked-in syndrome” for years before he dies. Dreamlike, subtle, yet atmospheric, it captures the delicate beauty of the here-today-gone-tomorrow essence of life.

About The Author

Daniel Peleschuk is one of our founding staff writers and an editor-at-large. He can be reached at [email protected]

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