I love movies. Grew up on them. Cannot imagine how many I have seen in my life. For the past few years, we have tried to see all the major nominees for the Oscars prior to the awards show. Last year I predicted No Country for Old Men, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tilda Swinton and Javier Bardem. I completely disagreed with Marion Cotillard.
This year I have seen all 5 films nominated for "best." I believe Slumdog Millionaire is the best of the lot. Frost/Nixon is a close second, and should win Best Director for Ron Howard. Milk was too one-sided in its portrayal of history. The Reader was a very good, but not great film. And Benjamin Button now looks like a novelty compared to the rest. The snub was Gran Torino.
For best actor, I have seen all the nominees performances and think that Mickey Rourke is the best. Some wonderful performances, but Mr. Rourke brings you in, holds you close and plays the most honest and real of all the actors.
For best actress, I go with Anne Hathaway. I will not disparage the other performances nor suggest this is a weak field, but suffice it to say that this was a big change for Ms. Hathaway, who showed promise in "The Devil Wears Prada."
For best supporting actor, Heath Ledger rivets and awes upon each viewing. A master of his craft, and taken from us too soon.
For best supporting actress, I go with Viola Davis. Perhaps the most powerful 5 minutes among all films in 2008. Her performance is notable and stands out in a film built for actors.