Sunday, January 27, 2008

Surprise Oscar Pick

This year's Oscar Nominations produced the normal assortment of previous nominees, press-popular films, unknown foreign films, and then there is Juno.  One of the most creative films of the year and perhaps my favorite, Juno tells the story of a pregnant teen and her developing relationship with the baby's father, her father and step-mother, and the adoptive parents.  The movie had an interesting mix of cast members, combining old and new.  Ellen Page and Michael Cera,  both young and new to the screen, play the teen couple.  Famed middle-age actors Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman portray the adoptive couple, and recognized actors Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons play Juno's parents.  All are from different walks in the film industry, yet they blend together for the quirky feel of the film.  It came as a surprise to me that it nagged several nominations this year for the Academy Awards.
You never know how this movie will do at the Oscars.  Page has won several awards already for her portrayal of the quirky teen Juno, and although her competition is steep, she could come out on top.  Up against Cate Blanchett, an Oscar winner already, and timeless actresses Julie Christie and Laura Linney, Page is definitely the newcomer in the Oscar circuit.  Not that the recognition isn't due, in my opinion Page was excellent.  The absurdness of her nomination, and of course role, could sway the envelop in her favor.  
Juno is also up for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.  After seeing the movie the first time, I immediately appreciated the creative and quirky screenwriting.  Diablo Cody produced a brilliant script for director Jason Reitman.  I thought the movie was a given for the award, but on closer examination, the film may have more competition that Ellen Page does in her category.  Lars and the Real Girl and even The Savages are both the same sarcastic, witty style as Juno.  I am unfamiliar with Micheal Clayton, but the film has had so much press and buzz.  Finally, Ratatouille is the best family film of the season.  It is very difficult to say who has the best bet in Best Writing, but I am pulling for Juno in this category.  I would love for Juno take every nomination, however, it is rare that the out of place movie takes all the awards.  Dramas, in general, take home more Oscars than comedies.  The Academy, though, is known for surprises and even upsets, so I wouldn't place any bets.

Perhaps the best thing about this film, is the cameo by Rainn Wilson, best known as Dwight Schrute of The Office, as a drug store employee named Rollo.  By far my favorite sequence in the movie, Rollo is full of hilarious, rhyming pokes at Juno.

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